The judges’ verdict: After her Viennese Waltz, Alexandra got a standing ovation from Shirley Ballas as Bruno said it was “elegant, classy but more than that it had a soft, dreamy quality”. He also loved the use of her arms throughout the routine and said it was “brilliant”.
Craig said he couldn’t get “as mushy as old Bruno” about their performance and there was “one place” that her feet didn’t come together in the routine. He also said there was a good amount of rotation and that there weren’t many surprises in the performance. Darcey said there was an “ethereal quality” to her dance and that she used the music until the last beat and that it was “exquisite” how she finished off every line.
Shirley said it was “quite an emotional performance” and that she was “so sincere” in her movements. “Everything about it was stunning. You are stunning,” said Shirley.
“Rotation in the hip, isolation, body rolls, continuous flow…….absolutely fab-u-lous!” shouted Craig, as Darcey said she absolutely loved the routine and wanted to be at Alexandra’s private disco. She loved it, and said if she wasn’t in the final she was going to wear Bruno’s Speedos. Crikey!
Shirley said that foot-to-foot it was “super clear” and that it was “party time all the way”. Bruno gave us a bit of a sing song and said it might be December but that it felt like “mid-summer in Puerto Rico”. Unsurprisingly, she landed a whopping 40 for this routine – just the second time a celebrity has got full marks this series following Debbie McGee’s top score in week 7.
The judges’ verdict: Bruno couldn’t contain his excitement, singing “SupercalifragilisticexpiAlexandra” and adding that it was “practically perfect” and was the showstopper the show needed to close Musicals Week. Craig, meanwhile, said that Alexandra had “better swivel than Gorka” during the routine and said he “absolutely loved” their performance. Meanwhile Darcey said it was “absolutely terrific” and she couldn’t tell who the pro dancer was of the two of them. Shirley, lastly, said she was “stratospheric” and that she loved it. Although sadly it still wasn’t enough to save Alexandra from landing in the dance off against Davood Ghadami.
The judges’ verdict: “All the torment, all the conflicted emotions…it was like a couple going through a breakup and then getting back together at the end. It was like a drama set to music,” said Bruno, who said that at times Alexandra needed to extend more throughout her lines. “However I was very intrigued by the performance.”
Craig had similar thoughts, picking up on the fact that she needed “straighter legs in your Rumba walks” and that he felt it was more of a technical display that “lacked any sort of connection and chemistry…but you should be proud of yourself, it still was a beautiful Rumba.” Darcey could see that Alexandra had worked incredibly hard, but that she didn’t see the desire and connection through the music during her performance.
Finally, Shirley conversely said she thought Alexandra did have nice expression in the routine and that she was a great performer who would “come back strong”.
Dance: Quickstep to The Gold Diggers’ Song (We’re In The Money) from 42nd Street
The judges’ verdict: Craig asked: “Is there nothing you can’t do? Incredible, amazing”. Darcey, meanwhile, “loved the choreography”. Shirley thought it was “high-energy, full of life, light and bright” and Bruno described it as “magical like a classic Hollywood movie”.
Dance: Argentine Tango to Mi Confession by Gotan Project
The judges’ verdict: “You’re a magnificent creature” enthused Bruno after Alexandra’s performance, as he praised her sequence of “razor-sharp” ganchos – those bits where their legs flick left, right and centre. Craig said that Alexandra never ceased to amaze him and said that their performance was “incredible”. Darcey said that she had beautiful lines and feet and that their performance was “so passionate”, while Shirley felt as though she was transported to a nightclub where it was just the two of them performing and described it as “superb”.
Dance: Cha Cha to I Got The Music in Me by Marcia Hines
The judges’ verdict: Shirley said that Alex “looked like a professional” and “put the cheeky into cha cha”. Bruno compared her to both Naomi Campbell and Beyonce in terms of sex appeal and said she was the “cha cha goddess”. Craig “really loved it” and Darcey concluded that it was “incredible work”.
The judges’ verdict: Craig said she “came out with all guns blazing” and he “loved it”. Darcey thought it was “fierce but not wild” and, in the spirit of Halloween, “terrifyingly good”. Shirley deemed it almost perfect and Bruno said Alexandra attacked the dance like a true “tigress”.
The judges’ verdict: After last week’s triumph, Alexandra was expected to pick up another 10 or two this week. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way. The judges were critical of the detail in Burke’s performance, with Craig saying: “You’re an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it”. Shirley agreed: “You have immense power, you’re a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on foot and ankle position.”
The judges’ verdict: Both Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli gave Alexandra a standing ovation – and the routine went on to get an almost perfect score of 39 which was the highest of the series to date. “I have no idea where all that came from, darling!” said Craig, who thought that she created a nuclear reaction on the dance floor. “I don’t know about Proud Mary, but I’m Proud Shirley!” exclaimed the Head Judge, who also admitted that she was rendered speechless.
Bruno dropped Tina Turner’s name on the floor in spectacular fashion saying that he’d had the honour to work with the superstar and that he thought she would have loved the routine.
The judges’ verdict: Alexandra’s technique was “very good”, and she had “lovely pivot turns” according to Shirley. “Your artistic sensibility is flawless,” said Bruno, who praised the fact that the former X Factor winner really “got what it was all about”. Craig, who had given Alexandra a standing ovation the previous week, said he wouldn’t be giving her the same praise this week – mainly owing to her free arm. But he did say that the routine was “brilliantly constructed” and that she danced it “really, really well.” Darcey said she was very versatile and that she was one to watch…
The judges’ verdict: It doesn’t get much better than this. Alexandra got a standing ovation from the studio audience and judges Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli…and eventually Craig Revel Horwood, too! She was praised for her strength and drama by Darcey, who said she was on the “edge of my seat” watching the former X Factor winner perform the Paso. Shirley Ballas loved it and said Alexandra was “fierce” and “brought it”, while she blew Bruno away.
“I’ve been trying to get on Strictly for years, so being asked was a dream come true. I didn’t hesitate for a second – as soon as I got the call, I postponed my album and my single. I cancelled everything!
“The one thing that will drive me is my mum, who recently passed away. My being on the show was a dream of hers, as well as mine, so doing the best I can on Strictly means a lot to me.
“My mum was my biggest critic. And she has turned me into a perfectionist; everything I do is for her. So when I step on to that dance floor on Saturday night I want to do the best I can and make her proud.”
Hear more from Alexandra and Gorka in our exclusive interview below:
What is Alexandra Burke famous for?
London-born Alexandra Burke rose to fame after winning The X Factor in 2008. She has since become one of the most successful winners of the competition.
Her debut album, Overcome, entered the charts at Number One and spawned four top-selling singles which earned her three BRIT nominations.
In 2014, she made her West End debut in The Bodyguard, taking over the lead role from Beverley Knight and has just completed a year-long residency as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act The Musical – which was directed and choreographed by none other than Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood.
Since being a contestant on The X Factor all those years ago, Burke has been a guest judge on the ITV singing competition and also on the BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance. Burke’s reality CV also includes a crack at the celebrity versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and First Dates.
Of taking part in Strictly, she says: “I am taking part in Strictly because I absolutely love the show. It’s a privilege and an honour that I have been asked because I never thought for a million years that I’d be able to get on the show that I’ve wanted to do for the longest time. Strictly is all about the fun, the families, it’s a great learning experience and I just want do my family proud.”