Strictly Come Dancing has been hit by what Craig Revel Horwood might call a scoring dis-AH-ster darling – as the scoring for Saturday night’s lindy-hop-athon went so badly and painfully wrong that the live show descended into farce.
The judges were meant to be ranking the seven remaining couples for their performance in the Lindy Hop, with the full seven points going to the winning couple and just one point going to the couple at the bottom of the table. But as head judge Shirley Ballas went to read out the results, a technology malfunction left her floundering.
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“So Shirley, starting with seventh place,” Tess Daly prompted her.
“I have conferred with my fellow adjudicators. In s – s – we’ve lost the board but anyway I’ll keep going,” Shirley said, before deciding to start from first place instead: “Getting seven points will be Ashley.”
Switching to notes on paper, she added: “Sorry, sorry,” while Bruno explained: “We apologise, the board went all berserk. We have to go with the piece of paper. So we start on seventh place, just to say I’m sorry. The whole thing went.”
But things went from bad to worse as Shirley struggled through the judges’ scrawled-out list.
“Seventh place is Lauren and AJ. Into sixth place is Graeme and Oti. Into fifth place is Charles and Dianne.”
That was confusing news for Strictly couple Charles Venn and Karen Clifton, as well as for Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell – and by this point all the contestants were not 100% sure what was going on.
“Sorry, she means Charles and Karen,” Tess explained.
“Sorry, I’ve got no names on here,” Shirley continued. “Into fourth place is Stacey and Kevin. Into third place is Joe and Dianne. Into second place is Faye and Giovanni and into first place – have we got the wrong one?”
In the middle of complete confusion at Elstree, she ploughed on: “I’m only reading off the board. And into first place is Ashley and Pasha.”
Tess and her co-host Claudia Winkleman were trying to keep everything together, with Claudia trying to clarify: “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, just to recap: in seventh place was Graeme.”
But no – the judges insisted that Lauren and AJ were in last place, working from their notes on paper.
Explaining the judges’ decisions (to quite a bit of laughter from the audience), Darcey Bussell remarked: “It was difficult for us as you can tell.”
Perhaps the final word on the whole debacle came from Claudia: “If you are watching at home, goodness have a drink.” That’s live TV for you…
BEAR WITH US. WE'VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE PEOPLE. ?
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) November 24, 2018
Hysterical , computers went down , well that's live tv , amazing show this evening. @DarceyOfficial @BrunoTonioli @CraigRevHorwood great team. Thank you to all who tuned in. X @bbcstrictly pic.twitter.com/Z4gOgaMzi4
— Shirley Ballas (@ShirleyBallas) November 24, 2018
Strictly Come Dancing will continue next Saturday with the quarterfinal on BBC1