The judges’ verdict: “Tonight you felt uncomfortable,” said Darcey of Jonnie’s performance, saying that she felt as though he was straining at times during the routine. “I’ve noticed you were better a couple of weeks ago in ballroom, and it’s strange for you because you have this amazing focus.” Shirley thought there were some parts that had improved, but there were other areas that needed to keep improving. “Some of the footwork was OK, but it’s week eight now so that needs to really improve,” she said, adding that it wasn’t his best but it wasn’t his worst performance either. Craig, meanwhile, said “dull, dull, dull, dull”. Ouch.
The judges’ verdict: “The armography, the ease of control, how you handled Oti throwing herself at you…” enthused Darcey, who noted that where Jonnie lacked in hip rotation he made up for in “the ease in your upper body” while she also praised his lack of fear. Bruno said that Jonnie always delivers, while Shirley thought that he had a “natural pulse” in his upper body. “You’re finding rhythms that suit Jonnie Peacock,” he addressed Oti, while Craig said that he would have liked a bit more Salsa content, but aside from that he “absolutely loved it”.
The judges’ verdict: Shirley said the dance “looked difficult” for Jonnie as he had “no rotation or body action”. Bruno thought the timing was off. Craig tore him apart a bit, saying it was “stompy” and “flat-footed”. Darcey was gentler, concluding that the pair “worked hard, good effort”.
Dance: Quickstep to Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder
The judges’ verdict: Darcey said that Jonnie and Oti made it look “easy, light and speedy” and praised the “impressive detail” in the performance, although she still spotted that right elbow drop! Shirley marvelled that the pair “didn’t miss a beat” and described the dance as “outstanding”. Craig rather whimsically said: “The stars are aligning and elements [are] coming together”. He must be getting soft in his dotage…
Dance: American Smooth to Cry Me A River by Michael Bublé
The judges’ verdict: Jonnie and Oti’s best dance yet! A full 11 points higher than week 1. Shirley highlighted his impressive spins and turns and good footwork, calling it a “definite improvement”. Darcey was a fan of those daring lifts. The most controversial comment came from Craig, who asked him to take acting lessons – so he can maintain the character even when he’s in hold.
The judges’ verdict: The judges’ main critique was for Jonnie’s bum – that it wasn’t tucked in enough! Shirley also said that Oti’s routine was “wonderful” and that it was a “great Paso Doble”. Bruno called him Indiana Jonnie and wanted to explore the Amazon with him (we’re not going to ask) and said it was a “great performance”. Craig critiqued Jonnie’s body shaping, and Darcey agreed – telling Jonnie that he needs to keep thinking about “character, character, character” during the routines.
The judges’ verdict: “Cowboy Jonnie!” said Darcey. “Stamina and extra details, clean kickball changes, fearless and fabulous”. The rest of the feedback was also glowing, with slight criticism of his arm action and hesitation as he stepped back on his blade. Viewers were seriously inspired as they saw him fearlessly take on the jive while wearing his new dance prosthetic.
Dance: Waltz to When I Need You by Luther Vandross
The judges’ verdict: Craig said that Jonnie’s posture was letting him down, but also said that the Paralympian star did a “brilliant job”. Darcey wanted him to improve on bringing out a character during the dance, while Shirley commended his footwork and his rise and fall and Bruno added that he was “totally charmed by the Peacock”.
Radio Times spoke exclusively to Jonnie Peacock:
Why are you doing Strictly?
“It came at the perfect time, as there are no big athletics championships in 2018.”
Any hesitation about signing up?
“I’ve got a prosthetic leg, so the rise and fall of ballroom will be tricky, but my ability will hold me back more than my leg! Oti will be like, “Someone give this guy some new arms”!”
What’s your fitness level?
“I’m a sprinter, but Strictly is a marathon…”
Hear more from Jonnie and Oti in our exclusive interview below:
What is Jonnie Peacock famous for?
Cambridge-born Peacock went to a Paralympic sports talent day when he was fifteen years old, a decade after a bout of meningitis led to him having his right leg amputated below the knee.
From that point on, he went from success to success as an athlete, running his first international race at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in May 2012.
Peacock has since won gold at two Paralympics – London 2012 and Rio 2016 – and has come top in two World Championships finals.
At the 2012 games he ran against Oscar Pistorius – watch the race below:
Even though the Strictly Come Dancing contestant is the proud owner of two gold Paralympic medals, it seems as though he’s mislaid all of his competitive spirit on his way to the ballroom!
“I am normally really competitive with pretty much anything but with this, my expectations are so low of myself that I’m not coming into this with a competitive attitude whatsoever,” said Jonnie.
“I’m trying to be the best version of myself and be the best dancer that I can be but I don’t think that’s going to be high enough to do anything spectacular in the show. For me, I’m not thinking about the final because I don’t rate myself enough to make it there, but I think I’d be really happy if I could even get a score of 5 or 6 on the show. I’d be happy enough with that.”
Oh dear. We’re sure this is nothing some encouraging words, a bit of training and a hug or two from Claudia can’t fix.