Thanks to Will Young’s shock departure during the week we’re an extra man down for tonight’s Strictly extravaganza but the show must go on.
We’re holding out for a hero with Ed Balls taking on Bonnie Tyler, Danny Mac channelling Fred Astaire and Daisy Lowe doing the rumba to a bit of George Michael – join us LIVE for a super Strictly party
20.25 Well, that’s it for week four. Excuse us while we go and watch Ore Oduba jive over and over and over again.
Here’s how the leaderboard stands.
20.20 We’re in a glass case of emotion.
20.19 A 9 from Craig… and THREE STRICTLY TENS!
20.14 Darcey’s “flabbergasted” and can’t get over the stamina Ore has. “You have set the standard so high with that jive”.
“It was show stopping, jaw dropping, eye popping jive” says Len. “I thought last week was fantastic. You’ve had a week. Move over Jay…”
“A star is born” says Bruno, who says Ore belongs in a Strictly Holy Trinity with Jay and Jill Halfpenny.
Craig says Ore is THE one to beat.
20.10 Last weekend Ore was so good that even Fred Astaire’s widow couldn’t resist complimenting him.
And it looks as though he’s pulled another CRACKER out of the bag again.
20.08 Three 8s and a 7 give Lesley and Anton a well-deserved 31
20.07 Much like the judges, we can’t believe Lesley keeps cracking those moves out every week either.
What. A. Woman. You’d never think she was 74.
20.01 A 6 and three 7s give Rinder and Oksana 27 points
19.58 Bruno thought that dance was “unusually restrained” by Rinder’s usual standards, and thought it could have been a little more fluid.
There’s a “delicious dancer” beneath those facial expressions, says Craig.
Darcey thinks Rinder is over-thinking, and says he doesn’t need to. She knows there’s quality in there – “we just need to see it now”.
Len thinks Rinder has a “great balance between good dancing and a bit of fun”. He wants him to keep doing what he does because he loves it.
19.53 A 7 and three 8s give Daisy and Aljaz 34
19.50 Well that was QUITE the rumba
Bruno was loving the intent and thought the content was great too. “You didn’t skip out anything”, he adds. “Just next time, be more fluid.”
Craig just wasn’t convinced: “I felt there could have been a bit more of an emotional connection.”
Darcey doesn’t agree, she was VERY impressed.
19.44 Four 9s give Danny and Oti 36.
We’d have given him four tens for those gorgeous dogs.
19.40 What. A. Dance.
“That is one of the best classic quicksteps I’ve seen” says Darcey.
“Up on there got on me wick in the end” says Len of Danny’s opening. “But once you got down here you looked good, you danced good and my good you did good.”
“Right up there with Fred Astaire” says Bruno, who says it was like being back in a Hollywood movie.
“Danny Mac, you are on FIRE darling” says Craig.
19.37 We’re not usually impressed with Claudia’s jokes Chez Sarah, but that carless Whispa pun actually made us chuckle.
19.36 Three 8s and a 9 give Louise and Kevin 33
19.33 “I really and truly enjoyed that performance” says Craig, who comments that the routine was “gorgeous”.
Darcey loved the narrative. “You’re such a natural dancer” says Darcey, who wants Kevin to push Louise. “I want you to drive her.”
“Excellent footwork” begins Len, but he thinks Louise is a little bit too far on Kevin’s right side. “But I’m going to give you quite a good mark because the footwork you nailed.”
“A delicious soap opera set to music, danced exquisitely” says Bruno.
19.32 Louise is looking every inch a lady in red – and Amy Winehouse’s Tears Dry On Their Own is an inspired choice.
19.28 A 5, a 6, a 7 and a 6 – that’s 24 for Naga and Pasha
19.25 We’re loving Naga’s wig!
Bruno loved her enthusiasm and character. “It didn’t stop the lift looking like she was being harpooned” says Craig.
Darcey thinks it’s a big improvement and Len agrees. “You certainly came out of your shell” he tells her, while defending her honour with Craig.
19.22 Something about this VT is distracting us
19.21 2,5,5 and 4 make it a dark night for Ed – that’s a total of 16
“I think he’ll be Labour leader at this rate” says one of our Strictly sofa panel.
19.18 Well, that was interesting…
Len says Ed won’t lose the glitterball for lack of trying.
Bruno says it was a bit of a tragedy because of the shaping. He thinks Ed was a little more traffic warden than paso doble bullfighter. He found it entertaining but doesn’t think Ed will get a high score.
“I don’t think it’s going anywhere near a four” says Craig, who thinks it made Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’s Frank Spencer look butch. “Dreadful” says Craig.
“There was plenty of performance in there” says Darcey, who thanks Ed for the entertainment.
19.15 If Katya needs a hero, we can think of a better one…
19.14 We hope AJ had a decent screen protector…
19.10 A controversial 6 from Craig and three 8s give Claudia and AJ 30
19.07 Well, wasn’t that a treat?
Darcey LOVED it too and is very impressed with Claudia’s core. “I could see you’d been working really hard, so well done.”
“I thought she did very, very well” says Len, before getting the rulebook out to ask if it was more Foxtrot or American Smooth? Overall, though, he’d give it an A.
Bruno says they’re like a “teenage dream”. He may have spotted a little error and thinks it may have looked a little angular at times. “You’re so good, but you can always get better.”
Craig says it lacked “grace and elegance”. It wasn’t for me, I’m afraid.”
19.06 In case you forgot Claudia was young, they’ve brought in her teachers to remind you she looks as though she could still be at school…
19.03 A 6 and three 7s give Anastacia and Brendan 27
19.00 Craig’s not totally convinced, but he can see strong sections in the dance and says Anastacia’s hand shaping is exquisite.
Darcey loves her beautiful arms and hands and says she’s “hitting some lovely shapes”. “There’s just times when I would like the body to undulate” she explains.
“I didn’t mind it at all” says Len, who thought it was all “lines and wiggles”. He did like the arms, the light and shade, the speed of the turns and the swivels.
“Very ladylike” says Bruno, who could see Rita Hayworth in Anastacia’s performance. He wanted a little more passion and sex appeal, though.
18.58 We do like a rumba… remember Kara and Artem’s?
Or Jay and Aliona’s?
18.57 Anastacia has changed the lyrics to I’m Outta Love. We don’t know if we love it or loathe it.
18.54 Three 8s and a 9 give Laura and Giovanni 33
18.51 “I think I felt a sonic boom” said Bruno who describes the dance as “fantastic”. “You deserve to be here” he tells Laura.
Craig couldn’t make up his mind about the headbanging but decided at the end that he loved it.
“My goodness it was busy down below” says Darcey, who loved it save for the top line which she thought might need some work. “Very impressive” she adds.
Len wasn’t sure about her head but says if Laura’s in the bottom two tonight he’ll pickle his walnuts.
We don’t fancy that, so if you want to vote for her please do.
18.50 Who cares about the dance, we’ll give Laura a TEN for the dog.
18.48 While Laura’s VT takes us back through last week’s SHOCK dance off, let’s remember happier times.
Like that time Jake Wood got his hips out.
18.46 Four 7s give Greg and Natalie a total of 28 points
18.42 Len’s loving Greg’s bum, which he said was going to town, but he wasn’t too keen on the footwork.
“Oh keep going tiger” says Bruno. “Hurricane Greg hits the salsa and shakes it for all it’s worth.” He thinks Greg could do with working on his footwork, though.
Craig wasn’t impressed with the hip action but he’s loving the shimmy. He loves Greg’s enthusiasm and the lifts but thinks he lost his dignity with the bottom grinding.
Darcey says Greg could calm things down a bit, but she was very impressed with his lifts.
18.40 Greg’s showing off some Jake Wood style hips here. But will the judges be as enthusiastic as he is?
18.35 We’re loving Tess and Claudia’s black and silver ensembles.
BTW, if you’re wondering
what happened to Will Young, here’s his official statement on his Strictly departure.
18.25 With five minutes to go, Tameka Empson has spoken out about her controversial Strictly exit last weekend…
17.50 He’s got the shimmer shimmer shakes – Ore’s getting his sparkle on.
And Naga’s psyching herself up for a Charleston with Pasha.
17.30 Right, ONE HOUR to go. Better get cooking dinner before tonight’s show kicks off….
17.15 Meanwhile, backstage, something terrible has happened to Anton’s face…
Lord Voldemort on the loose again, Brendan?
17.10 Will Young won’t be dancing tonight as he has pulled out of the competition but he’s sending his love to the ballroom
17.00 With 90 minutes to go until tonight’s live show, there’s a LOT of glitter on that ballroom floor
Ore was feeling a bit nervous earier…
Oh and there’s good news for fans of professional dancer Neil Jones…
You’ll get to see him perform with Ed’s professional partner Katya Jones tomorrow night!
Good luck keeping up with the Joneses!
16.00 Afternoon all – Sarah here, back for another week of Strictly magic. Movie Week was an absolute treat, what with Ed Balls taking on The Mask, Danny and Oti’s daring Paso, and Ore and Joanne bringing even Fred Astaire’s widow sheer joy with their Singing In The Rain routine.
It’s been a busy week, what with
Tameka Empson and Will Young BOTH making shock departures but the rest of the celebs have had to keep their focus to make sure they can keep dancing.
With T minus 2 hours and 30 mins to go, here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s show…
New dancers Chloe Hewitt and Neil Jones didn’t get paired with Strictly celebs this year, but don’t worry: they’ll still be performing in the group dances, running their eyes over the performances in Strictly’s It Takes Two – and acting as back-up just in case there are any unforeseen injuries… Meet the two new dancers here.