Strictly Come Dancing is decamping to Blackpool this weekend. The lucky celebrities who managed to bag themselves a seat on the mini-bus are set to perform their routines in the iconic Tower Ballroom, the home of ballroom itself.
It’s a big one. Arguably Strictly’s biggest, brightest and best night. So naturally this year’s celebrities will be pulling out all the stops.
Pick up that metaphorical score paddle and join me, Ellie Walker-Arnott – RadioTimes.com’s official Strictly superfan – live from 6.50pm tonight to dissect the dancing, the judges’ catty comments and those occasionally cringe-worthy VTs.
You can tweet me your comments, questions, queries and snap judgements on tonight’s dances @Ellie_Wa or post in the comments box below.
So that’s your lot for tonight. But that’s not it for Strictly this weekend. We’ll be saying farewell to another celebrity during tomorrow’s Results Show, back in the Tower Ballroom. That’s 7.15pm tomorrow evening.
I’ll see you back here, same time, same place next Saturday. It’s a date so you’d better put it in your diaries.
The leaderboard is looking interesting tonight… Georgia is top again, with Anita and Kellie in second place, while down at the bottom it’s Peter Andre. Yes, Peter Andre.
Jamelia is 2nd to last, with Helen hovering in the danger zone too.
The scores? It’s three 9s and a 10 from Bruno. It’s their highest score and their first 10.
The last dance of the night? That went far too quickly…
We’ve got Kellie and Kevin, dancing a Quickstep to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5. It’s a fast, clever routine and the pair are perfectly in time. And there’s a spectacular, seamless ending which leaves the audience on their feet.
“You made that look like one easy day at work, darling,” smiles Darcey.
“You can file that under B for brilliant,” adds Len.
“Another outstanding performance in a night of dancing delight,” says Bruno.
“Tight, clean. I loved it,” concluded Craig.
What a way to close the show…
It’s a saucy, seaside postcard. She even does the splits. There was a little slip up but the audience couldn’t care less and she recovers quickly.
“Too controlled, too placed,” frowns Craig, conceding: “You are a brilliant dancer.”
“For me, it was one classy Charleston,” says Darcey. “I loved it.”
“A tad too much side by side,” says Len. “As always a wonderful, polished performance.”
“It was like watching one of those show stopping numbers on Broadway,” concludes Bruno. “You’ll go a long way. You are a brilliant, brilliant dancer.”
The scores are in: 8, 9, 8, 9. A total of 34.
Helen’s up next. She’s dancing a Charleston. And I’ve got high hopes…
The scores: 9 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, a 10 from Len and a 10 from Bruno. A total of 38. Not quite as high as last week, but it’s, you know, a pretty good score. “I think I’m going to cry,” giggles Georgia.
They are dancing an American Smooth. In true Balckpool style, Georgia makes he entrance on a glittery moon, being lowered into the studio. She also appears to be channelling Tangled (her fave Disney film, don’t you know) with that flower-studded hair do.
It’s a romantic, confident dance. Georgia even looks at ease being lifted by new professional dancers, which must feel a little stressful.
“You heavenly creature,” smiles Bruno. “Pure ballroom bliss… it was fantastic, my dear.”
Craig, as ever, has some criticism, but plenty of compliments too: “You have come into your own. It was fantastic.”
“So graceful,” adds Darcey. “You are going to go far, darling.”
Len says she’s blown him away: “If she’s not top, she’s right up there. That was a brilliant, brilliant dance.”
Georgia is up next. She bagged 39, the highest score of the series last week. Can we beat it this week? Is it time we had a 40?
The scores? 6 from Craig, 7 from Darcey, 8 from Len, 8 from Bruno. 29. Far from his best, but he doesn’t look phased.
Peter Andre is up next, dancing a 60s-inspired Jive. He’s definitely taken the judges advice to heart when it comes to embracing new characters. He’s embracing this Hairspray vibe. Shame about the so-not-sixties tattoo sticking out of his sleeve at the end…
“Lights, camera and plenty of action,” says Len. “It wasn’t your finest… but all in all, action packed and full on.”
“Enthusiasm, energy, performance level, top of the pops,” adds Bruno, who thinks he lost the Jive elements in his enthusiasm.
“It was flat footed, it was heavy…” drawls Craig critically, adding: “Your commitment and your energy to dance is phenomonal.”
The scores are in 8, 9, 9, 9. A total of 35. It’s Katie’s highest score. It’s Anton’s highest score. Du Beke is besides himself.
There must be something in the water in Blackpool. The standard is incredibly high this evening. Do tell me what you think of tonight’s dances, in the comments box or on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa.
Katie and Anton are dancing an American Smooth next. It’s all old school glamour and class. Katie’s rather amazing dress is shedding feathers all over the floor as she moves from man to man.
“That was exquisite,” says Darcey, praising her film star style. “Plenty of wow factor.”
“It was better than a kick in the head,” smirks Len. “You really came out and performed it… elegance, glamour and sophistication. Your best dance, no question.”
“What an amazing welcome to the temple of Ballroom. Blackpool brings the best out of people. Stylisitically it was impeccable,” purrs Bruno.
“It certainly had the elegance that we expect,” concludes Craig. “Absolutely gorgeous.”
The scores are in: 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, 9 from Len and a 9 from Bruno. It’s their first 10. And I’m 99% sure it had nothing to do with those dancing six-packs…
“Total theatre… magnificent,” shouts Craig.
“You blew me away,” smiles Darcey. “It was beautifully classy”
“That was full of drama. You turned the ballroom until a bull ring… it had mood, it had passion, it was fantastic,” adds Len.
“I’ve never seen to much prime beef in such splendid display,” purrs Bruno, jumping of his feet once again. “Ole!”
Anita Rani makes a dramatic entrance to her Paso, being carried in by a group of burly bare-chested dancers.
Her performance is passionate, dramatic is FULL of pouting. The audience are back on their feet as the duo head over to Tess still in serious character mode.
The scores are in. Craig gives her a 7, Darcey an 8, Len an 8 and Bruno an 8. That’s a total of 31. Jamelia’s so pleased she sheds a little tear.
Jamelia’s up next. She found herself in the dreaded dance off again last week, but was saved when the judges decided to send poor ol’ Jeremy home. Can she keep herself out of the bottom two this weekend?
Her quickstep is fun, flirty and confident. Definitely one of her best performances in the competition.
“That was a Quickstep of great content… I can see that you worked a lot on your footwork,” says Bruno.
Craig still thinks her dancing is “problematic” in places, but he’s feeling complimentary too. “Your ballroom has come such a long way, you should be very, very proud.”
“There was not one mistake,” praises Darcey. “Your best ballroom.”
“You deserve 100% to be here in Blackpool,” concludes Len. “Great job. It was fabulous.”
The scores are in. It’s 9s across the board for 36. Jay’s happy.
He’s confident and pulling cheeky expressions, most of the way through. There are no mistakes (that I spied) and some fab-u-lous lifts. The audience are on their feet for the first dance of the night, but what will the judges have to say…
“There’s no end to your talent,” says Len. “You really got the party started. I’ve been waiting since week three’s Jive to see anything as good and you’ve shown it to me.”
Bruno is so excited he’s out of his seat and talking about fiery loins. “You blended with the professionals so well it was indistinguishable,” he says.
“I loved your hip action,” smiles Craig. “I absolutely adored the lift… and finally we are seeing some facial expression.”
“You were flirting,” concludes Darcey, praising his characterisation and “fantastic” performance.
Fair to say they liked it then, eh?
Jay’s dancing a sunny Samba. He’ll be attempting to smile his way through every step after the judges criticised his blank expression last week…
Jay McGuiness is up first. He’s been the bookies favourite since the early stages of the competition, but last week saw him down the bottom of the leaderboard with Jamelia and Jeremy Vine. Can he turn it around this week and get back up to the top?
Here are our judges. Nice to see Len back on his feet after a couple of weeks resting up.
Craig is being lowered in on a guitar. I repeat, Craig is being lowered in on a guitar, Jeremy Vine-style. Good move, Strictly…
Luckily Jeremy Vine is the audience to give it a well-deserved 3 out of 10.
Strictly is channelling Downton Abbey this evening, with an upstairs/downstairs themed pro dance. LOVE this.
Welcome to the home of ballroom dancing. This is the biggie. The week Strictly decamps to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
Sadly we won’t be seeing Jeremy Vine being lowered in on a firework-fueled guitar, but we can expect some suitably theatrical performances none the less.
And we’re off to Blackpool. I hope you’ve packed your swimming trunks…
Here’s a reminder of how the leaderboard looked last week. Georgia was on top after an impressive Charleston, which bagged the highest score of the series so far, with Helen and Peter coming in second place.
Down at the other end of the board, we had Jeremy Vine, who was voted out of the competition during Sunday’s results show, while Jamelia and Jay were also in the danger zone…
We’ve got some exciting performances in store this evening. Georgia will be hoping to have nothing but high scores with a Whitney Houston-inspired American Smooth, while Jamelia’s fingers will be hoping the public don’t leave her when she performs I’m A Believer by The Monkees. Kellie and Kevin are dancing a Quickstep to Dolly Parton’s Nine to Five (if Kevin is well enough by then) while Helen George is set to tackle the Charleston for the first time. Here’s the full list…