This was week eight of Strictly Come Dancing. We had 90s hip hop, “unnecessary grinding” and a new highest score of the series. Plus a lot of references to next week’s little trip to Blackpool…
Anita Rani’s up first this week. She’s dancing a blind-date inspired Quickstep. It’s sweet and she’s confident and great to watch as always. There are little patches where he looks a little bit like he’s dragging her around, but hey, it’s hard to walk that fast let alone dance!
“It was fast and clean,” says Len. “I liked it.”
“I’ve got the feeling that Blackpool is calling your name… very pleasing indeed,” grins Bruno.
Craig had some pointers about her footwork and gapping. But her timing was “absolutely excellent.” “Well done,” he concludes.
The scores are in. Craig gives her 8, Darcey does too. In fact they all do. 8s across the board, for a total of 32.
The lovely Jay McGuiness is up next. He’s performing a Foxtrot and attempting to ramp up his characterisation after being criticised for a lack of expression last week.
It’s romantic and passionate, with clever lifts and perfect timing. There is a little slip up, though – and the judges notice it.
“Exquisitely lyrical,” says Bruno. “It was fantastic.”
“I found the whole thing a little bland,” drawls Craig. “As soon as you begin to dance properly… the face goes dead. You’ve got to do something about that.”
“Your technique is outstanding,” adds Darcey. “I could see you telling this story… beautiful.”
“This was beautiful poignant foxtrot,” concludes Len. “Up until that trip you owned the night.”
The scores are in. Craig gives them a 6, Darcey an 8, Len an 8 and Bruno an 8. 30 points. Len looks like he could punch Craig in the face. Jay looks like he could cry.
Jamelia’s next, dancing a Salsa to an 80s classic. It’s a fun routine full of hip shaking and saucy expressions.
“I can feel the party atmosphere,” purrs Bruno. “I like the energy… but you have to be more precise and clean.”
Craig thinks her hands were “particularly unattractive” and disliked her bent knees and “unnecessary grinding.”
“It was a lovely story you both created,” smiles Darcey. “It was a fab dance.”
“The gyrating was excellent,” concludes Len. “For energy, exuberance and getting out there and giving it a good go, top notch.”
The scores are in… 5 from Craig, 7 from Darcey, SEVEN! from Len and 7 from Bruno. 26, which is a little less than last week.
Helen George is next, and she’s got that mean Tango face down to a T. It’s a sharp, sassy routine which ends on a dramatic note. I’m a fan and so are the audience who jump to their feet.
“Choreographed beautifully, I loved that… the drama as perfection,” says Darcey, praising Helen’s facial expressions. “That worked. You did it… that was special.”
“It was sharp, it was fast,” says Len. “It was such a great Tango, well done both of you.”
“That was a beautifully tailored, high fashion Tango,” purrs Bruno.
“I think you work really well as a couple… and i thought the lines were extremely powerful,” concludes Craig.
The scores are in: 8, 9, 8, 9. 34, up on last week. Helen’s pleased!
Katie’s up next, sporting a saucy thigh split. She’s dancing the Rumba. It’s sexy, dramatic and full of lovely shapes. And the audience are back on their feet.
“Fantastic,” grins Len.
“Look at her… she looks supremely elegant,” adds Bruno. “Tonight it was a hit!”
“It was a little melodramatic,” smirks Craig. “But I absolutely loved it”
“One classy love story,” concludes Darcey.
The scores are in… Craig gives them a 7, Darcey an 8, Len an 8 and Bruno an 8. 31. That’s the highest Rumba score this series – and Katie’s highest score for a Latin.
Kellie and Kevin are next. They are dancing a hip-hop inspired Samba. And they’ll be dancing to impress after finding themselves in the dance off last week.
Their Samba is saucy, silly and really, really fun. The audience are on their feet and so is Bruno. “The Samba as got street cred,” he shouts. “You did it and it really worked beautifully… I really, really enjoyed it.”
“Very odd music choice… completely not my thing,” frowns Craig. “I decided in the end that I would love it… I’ve got to say you were shaking that Darcey Bussell, darling, for all that it’s worth.”
“You give such an assured performance… that is very exciting,” adds Darcey. But she wasn’t convinced by the hip hop theme, and neither’s Len.
“I’m a cup of tea in a world of skinny lattes,” ends Len. “Two things I really don’t like is babies crying and hip hop.”
The scores are in! 9 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 7 from Len, 9 from Bruno. That’s a total of 33.
Peter Andre is next. He topped the leaderboard last week with 38 points. Can he do it again tonight with a Viennese Waltz?
“You danced it very well but it was a little bit too frenetic for me,” says Craig. “I did love it, I absolutely loved it.”
“For me it was flowing with emotion, it was flowing with energy,” adds Darcey. “I want you at Blackpool and you’re going to be at Blackpool.”
“To get a 10 you have to do something really special. Now this was good, but I can’t…” says Len.
“It was like watching a ballroom scene in Cinderella,” says Bruno. “I found it extremely effective.”
Craig gives them an 8, Darcey a 9, Len an 8 and Bruno a 9. 34 points. It’s down from last week but they are “so happy.”
Georgia May Foote is up next. She’s dancing a Chicago-inspired Charleston. It’s energetic and zany and fun. There are a couple of tiny, tiny slip ups but she covers them well. And the lifts. Those lifts. The audience are back on their feet at the end.
“That was tight, clean, brilliant,” says Darcey. “That took my breath away.”
“You put the go in Chicago,” says Len, “Take a coat to Blackpool because it gets very cold!”
“You danced amazingly,” adds Bruno. “You’ve grown not just as a dancer but as a performer… I am so proud.”
“Thee letters: l u v,” concludes Craig.
The scores are in… They get a 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, “from Len a 10” and 10 from Bruno. 39. The highest score of the series so far. No one can hear anything apart from Georgia’s squeals. She almost loses her wig with excitement.
Jeremy Vine’s up next, dancing a Quickstep with glittery mining tools. Only on Strictly, eh?
“If you’re not there [in Blackpool], there will be a lot of fun and a lot of entertainment missing,” says Len.
Bruno admires his determination and his resilience. But Craig wasn’t feeling as kind.
“It didn’t exactly fly around the ballroom floor,” he said, likening his performance to dressage.
“I can see how hard you’ve worked,” adds Darcey. “A great improvement”
The scores are in. 4 from Craig, 6 from Darcey, 6 from Len and 5 from Bruno. 21. Same as last week.
And that’s all your dances for tonight. Here’s how the leaderboard looks. Georgia’s top with 39 while Helen and Peter are joint 2nd. Jeremy’s languishing at the bottom with 21 points, while Jamelia and Jay are also in the danger zone…
Strictly will be back at 7:20pm tomorrow night, when we’ll find out which unlikely celebrity won’t be making it to Blackpool.