The judges’ verdict: Oh dear. Craig kicked off the critique of Mollie’s performance by saying that he thought the palm trees “had more bounce than that…all the rolls looked really awkward, the changes of rhythms were far from seamless and sometimes you were behind with the music. It wasn’t your best…that wasn’t great, darling.”
Darcey was a bit more positive, saying that Mollie looked like a “gold goddess” but that she looked like she was “chasing the music” and that “sadly this was not your dance”. Shirley was a bit more enthusiastic, saying that she did some nice stationary Samba walks and that she had “some really good solo pieces” when she was separated from AJ. “Generally, overall, I thought you were really going for it!” she said. Bruno reckoned that Mollie missed the flight to Rio and that Southern Rail had better timing than Mollie. Is there a more damning criticism?
The it came to her Waltz, Mollie fared far better than in the Salsa. Darcey said that the routine had “all the elements” of a serene and romantic Waltz and that she held onto her top line and posture throughout the routine – although it dropped a little at the very end.
Shirley reckoned that she was a lot more comfortable in the Waltz than the Samba and that she had earned the nickname “pivot queen” because it doesn’t matter what ballroom dance Mollie has, she always does the right pivots. Although Shirley did pick up on the small hiccup in the middle of the performance, for which Mollie said she was “so sorry” about and started to cry.
Bruno said she had pure lines and that it was much, much better while Craig said that she had redeemed herself from the Latin round. Sadly it still wasn’t enough to save Mollie from the dance off, and after losing to Gemma she just missed out on a place in the Strictly final.
The judges’ verdict: Bruno reckoned their chemistry was pretty believable as he said: “Obviously devoted to each other – I could feel the fireworks myself!” He also praised Mollie’s “quality of movement” and said that she did so well and improved so much. Craig instantly picked up on the fact that there was a cheeky lift in the routine which he was not impressed by, and wildly disagreed with Bruno (who started to throw paper at him) and said he thought she was “dancing by numbers” and that she needed more extension in the body.
Darcey said that it was very “sweet and romantic” for a Rumba and that she would have liked a “more sensual” performance and that it was a little bit light and girly rather than womanly. Shirley thought that the pair embraced the characters of Grease’s Danny and Sandy and said that her “timing was impeccable”.
The judges’ verdict: “Very good, Mollie,” said Darcey, who described her routine as “confident” and “assured”, and was pleased with her “clean and crisp” footwork. Meanwhile Shirley said that Mollie had made “humungous strides when it comes to your frame” and that three quarters of the routine was really good and that her core was improving.
“The rain has gone, the fog has lifted!” said Bruno, who praised Mollie for improving so much. “That is the way to get to the final!” he said. Craig commented that she dropped the ball towards the end of the routine, but that he had to agree with his fellow judges. “You are making so much progress! It really is wonderful to see.”
The judges’ verdict: Mixed. Although Shirley commended King for taking on “difficult lifts”, Craig said, “no turnout in your swivel, lumpy, clumpy, erratic and floppy footwork”. Darcey concluded that although there was “lots of precision in your swivel”, King failed to hold her frame. And Bruno said: “The bird took full flight, it was like a ride on the Big One down at Pleasure Beach, more confidence and strength, you lost concentration but great improvement!”
Dance: Paso Doble to Layla by Derek and the Dominoes
The judges’ verdict: Craig said that some of Mollie’s shapes were “very very awkward”, but “what it did have was power, what it did have was presence”. Darcey said that it had attitude and drama but that she had to keep working on her core strength, while Shirley also said that she needed to maintain her core and that she looked “much better in closed hold”. Bruno said that all of the control and the artistry of the Paso disappeared and that she went quite off time during the routine, too.
Dance: Foxtrot to Call Me Irresponsible by Connie Francis
The judges’ verdict: Bruno thought it was “elegant, classic, nice job”. Craig saw some “balance issues, especially on the disaster part”. Darcey said it was “elegance all the way through” and that Mollie “recovered well” from the minor slip-up. Shirley concluded that she “didn’t race or chase, beautifully timed, definitely going in the right direction”.
Dance: Cha Cha to Better the Devil You Know by Kylie Minogue
The judges’ verdict: Bruno liked the “devilish fun” and said the pair’s “connection has improved”. Craig had a bit of constructive feedback: “Needed straighter legs, slight balance issues, good hip rotation and you looked confident.” Darcy loved how “sharp and sassy” the dance was. And Shirley, finally, concluded that there were issues with Mollie’s “core and shoulders coming up”.
Dance: Viennese Waltz to Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black
The judges’ verdict: Mollie felt a bit queazy after all those spins, but Craig said that he “really loved the opening armography” and that there was “a lot” of Viennese content in the routine. Darcey said it was “very impressive” and that the pair had grown throughout the competition, but that the only thing that let her down was the hold and her “dead straight” arm. Shirley said the pair had “believable chemistry” and “great turns”.
Dance: Salsa to ‘Súbeme La Radio’ by Enrique Iglesias
The judges’ verdict: “I’m alive!” Mollie excitedly exclaimed after finishing her routine. But Craig Revel Horwood wasn’t so excited, pointing out that her “footwork was very sloppy” and adding that it was a little bit “loose and late” in places. He did love the lifts, with Darcey adding that her partnership with AJ was “definitely saucy” and that her lifts had improved.
Shirley, meanwhile, said it was a “challenging routine” but that it “lacked in the quality in the dance content.”
The judges’ verdict: Craig “absolutely loved” the lifts in Mollie and AJ’s routine – although criticised her landings. Darcey’s advice was to keep her core strong when coming out of the lifts but said that Mollie had “so much potential” in the competition. Shirley, meanwhile, was full of praise for Mollie – even going so far as to say that she made her night!
The judges’ verdict: Craig called out Mollie and AJ on an illegal lift amongst the routine but he did praise her “attack” and “intent” in the routine. She impressed Head Judge Shirley Ballas, who said despite needing to be a bit softer in her knees, it was the best Tango delivered by a celebrity so far this series.
The judges’ verdict: Bruno wanted Mollie to watch her arms, while Craig said that the former Saturdays star needed to react a little more to AJ’s lead and pulled her up on her flat feet. Darcey said that the attack and stamina was missing from her performance, but that she would probably gain that in time. Shirley described their partnership as having a “lot of potential” and that generally, Mollie did a “very, very good job”.
Radio Times spoke exclusively to Mollie King:
Why are you doing Strictly?
“Who wouldn’t? You learn to dance, the outfits are incredible, and it looks like so much fun! I loved watching Frankie [Bridge, finalist in 2014, fellow singer in the Saturdays]. If I do half as well, I’ll be delighted.”
How many hours can you train?
“I’m a slow learner, so 24 hours a day? Thankfully I’m not seeing anyone, so it’ll just be my dog, Alfie, getting jealous!”
Hear more from Mollie and AJ in our exclusive interview below:
What is Mollie King famous for?
Like Strictly 2014 finalist Frankie Bridge, Mollie King is a member of girl band The Saturdays. The group went on hiatus a couple of years ago and since then King has launched a solo career.
Mollie King biography
King had a promising ski career ahead of her when she was a kid, even racing for Great Britain – but she chucked it all in to follow her dream and become a singer.
Her first attempt to break into the music industry came in 2005, when she auditioned for The X Factor. The judges praised her performance (and criticised her outfit), but told her to come back when she was older. And that’s what she did: she came back in 2007 as a member of girl group Fallen Angelz and managed to get to the final stages of boot camp before elimination.
After leaving Fallen Angelz, King successfully auditioned for The Saturdays. The group signed a record deal and were the support act for Girls Aloud on their Tangled Up Tour in 2008.
Soon they had released their first single, If This Is Love. The Saturdays went on to record 13 top-ten and eight top-five singles, including their biggest hit: What About Us.
King also added a bunch of TV shows to her CV, appearing in Hollyoaks Later, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and TV documentary Chasing The Saturdays.
The band went on hiatus after Christmas 2014 while members King, Frankie Bridge, Una Healy, Vanessa White and Rochelle Humes took a break. Since then King has launched her solo career, starting with last year’s single Back to You.
Does Mollie King have any dance experience?
The singer told Nick Grimshaw on his Radio 1 Breakfast Show that she was anxious about picking up routines.
“It’s completely different to what I’ve done with The Saturdays and I’ve never done any stage school,” she said. “I’m quite slow at picking up routines in general with the band. I’m really nervous so I’ve just got to throw myself in.”