Hello and welcome to Strictly Come Dancing week five. We’ve already whittled our line-up down to 12, but we’re very almost at the mid point of the series. From here on out, things are going to get serious. As serious as sequins and fake tan can get.
Pick up that metaphorical score paddle and join me, Ellie Walker-Arnott – RadioTimes.com’s official Strictly superfan – live from 6.35pm 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.
I’ll see you back here, same time, same place, next Saturday. Be a love and pop it in your diary. It’s Halloween Week so you won’t want to miss it.
Forget the final, forget Blackpool, Halloween is the best show of the series. It’s the night when Strictly goes supersize. We’ll have gruesome face paint, impressive costumes and the usual villians: the Strictly judges.
In the mean time, keeeeeep dancing!
Remember the vote is only open until 8:40pm, so you’ve got to act swiftly. Do let me know who impressed you most this evening, in the comments below and on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa.
And remember, while the live show is over, this isn’t it for Strictly this weekend. We’ll be saying goodbye to yet another star tomorrow night at 7:15pm.
The vote is now open. Here’s how you do it online.
To recap, Helen and Kellie are joint top while Jeremy’s languishing at the bottom. But remember, it’s not just about what Craig and co have to say. No one is safe, so pick up those phones/press those keys if you want to save your fave…
Scores are in: It’s an 8 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, 9 from Len and 9 from Bruno. That’s 35. She’s joint top with Helen. The last spot really is lucky!
Kellie Bright is Jiving in the last slot of the night (which could mean she’s heading for leaderboard success…)
Her performance is fun, energetic and perfectly in time. But can it do enough to beat Helen? Let’s find out:
“You delivered all the goods… unbeleivably fast,” says Darcey, “It really was outstanding.”
“I know the clocks to back tonight but I’d like them to go back right now so I can see that again,” adds Len.
“It was clean, it was sharp. Brilliant,” concludes Craig.
Craig, Len and Bruno give in a 8 and Darcey goes for a nine. That’s 33. Good, but not better than that Jive. And not better than Helen. She might keep that top spot this week…
Jay’s up next with a punchy Paso. It’s impressive, confident and sharp. The audience barely stop screaming all the way though and jump to their feet as soon as it ends. He’s back on top after last week’s dance.
“Great lines, great control, great shaping, great dance,” says Craig.
“Those arms are the best male arms I’ve ever seen from a celebrity,” adds Darcey.
“You’re the opposite to Sampson, You’ve had your hair cut and you’ve gone from strength to strength,” says Len.
Before Bruno turns the Strictly airwaves blue. “The bull’s b*****ks!” he shouts. “When you get it right, it’s brilliant.”
Tess quickly apologises for Bruno’s language, but he’s so excited he doesn’t realise what he’s said.
Helen George is up next with a fun and confident train-inspired Quickstep. That leaves Craig hugely impressed.
“On the fast track to the top!” shouts Bruno.
“So beautiful, stunning transitions… loved it,” gushes Darcey.
“I tell you what, that was right on track,” concludes Len.
Craig gives them a 9, so do Darcey and Bruno. Len goes for an 8 but it’s still the highest score of the night and Helen’s first nines. With 35, they’ve gone straight to the top of the leaderboard.
Interesting aside: before tonight’s dances, Helen had accrued more points than any other contestant. She might not have topped the leaderboard yet but she’s a real contender.
The judges have their scores. It’s a 3 from Craig, 5 from Darcey, 6 from Len and 4 from Bruno. That’s 18 and quite possibly the lowest score of the night.
Next up? Jeremy Vine. He’s Waltzing around the floor. It’s a delicate and sweet routine – and the radio DJ wields his lengthy limbs with impressive control. I do prefer it when he’s funny though…
“Lots of proper technique and steps going on there,” says Len.
“It was a Waltz by the book. A book that went out of print 50 years ago,” adds Bruno, calling it lifeless and somewhere a mummy and a zombie.
Darcey was charmed by Vine’s grin, but Craig remained unmoved.
“Shapeless, ploddy,” says Craig. “It looked like you were dragging a log.”
The scores are in. She gets a cruel 4 from Craig, a 6 from Darcey, 6 from Len and a 5 from Bruno. It’s a 12 less than last week, so think it’s fair to say she won’t be topping the leaderboard this time around…
Anton’s got Katie rubbing herself all over him tonight. It’s a saucy number with impressive moments – and some risky lifts – but it’s messier than last week’s performance.
“There was plenty of fun… it just wasn’t the right spice,” says Darcey. “Latin isn’t your strength… not great.”
“You’ve got to get your bum going in this dance and that was lacking,” adds Len.
“You were throwing yourself around like a wild kitten,” says Bruno, gyrating his hips with abandon. “You went for it, but then you lost the timing.”
Craig isn’t a fan of her hip action. “That sadly was just a shimmy and a dreadful, dreadful salsa.” Uh oh…
Katie Derham is taking to the floor next. Her and Anton topped the leaderboard last week. It was a first for both of them. And they’ll be hoping to replicate the high tonight…
Craig gives her a 5, while Darcey, Len and Bruno go for a 7. That’s 26, six lower than her high score last week.
Craig was a fan of the beginning but not the end. He’s sniffed out an illegal lift and we all know how we hates them. Plus there was a mistake in the second half that all the judges picked up on.
“You should be very proud,” says Darcey praising her “glide.” “It’s a great improvement in your ballroom.”
Len prefers Jamelia’s latin rhythms. But he enjoyed her style: “It’s not all bad.”
“Like a nice cup of Horlicks darling,” concludes Bruno. “The first half was very pleasant.”
Jamelia and Tristan are Foxtrotting. They impressed last week, scoring 32 and coming joint second on the leaderboard. This week’s dance isn’t quite as exciting to watch, but she’s certainly more confident and focused than she was at the beginning of the competition.
“It is a very individual version of a Jive… but the timing was a bit better,” says Bruno. “You have to make the dance distinguishable,” he continues, telling Ainsley he always does his “own impersonation of a dance.”
“It does need to be more technical at this point,” drawls Craig. “Everything was haphazard. I didn’t enjoy it unfortunately.”
Darcey praises his ability to entertain but adds: “The character overtakes occasionally.”
“Mix of shake rattle and roll and the shake ‘n’ vac,” concludes Len. “But as always, fun, rhythm, entertainment.”
Craig gives him a measly 4. Darcey and Len go for a 6 and Bruno a 5, giving them a total of 21.
Ainsley Harriott’s reverted to cooking-inspired numbers. He’s in Strictly Cafe. And he’s wearing a rather odd pink chef’s hat.
He’s Jiving his heart out. There are a few wobbles and countless flailing limbs. But you can’t fault his enthusiasm.
It’s a glamorous, smooth and confident dance. And the judges are suitably impressed.
“You pulled it off big time!” says Len.
“The difference in a week is unbelievable,” says Bruno, saying she’s definitely got better.
“You were actually dancing tonight so that was one good thing,” adds Craig. He’s got some pointers, but concludes “you were shining tonight.”
Darcey calls her performance “such a wonderful surprise.” She reckons she’s definitely done enough to escape the dance off. But only time (and the public vote) will tell…
Craig gives them a 7, Darcey and Bruno do to while Len opts for an 8. That’s a rather brilliant 29.
What a dress. Those ruffles alone get a 10 from me.
Kirsty’s up next. Her and Brendan found themselves in the dreaded dance off last week. They were saved when Daniel O’Donnell went home, but they’ll be putting their all into this Viennese Waltz. No one wants to be dancing for survival two weeks in a row…
Craig gives him a 7, so does Darcey. It’s an 8 from Len and a 7 from Bruno. 29. Lower than his PB, but nothing to worry about.
He oozes competence and certainly looks the part. Let’s see what the judges have to say…
The experts think Peter pop background might not help. He’s feeling the music too much and accidentally stamping his feet in time with the beat.
“Sometimes you get the dynamics wrong,” says Darcey. “I believe you have a lot more to give.”
“It did make me smile,” says Len. “For a hard tough dance you did great.”
“I love your commitment to the character… you really are immersed into what you do,” adds Bruno.
“Salsa hips were creeping in,” says Craig, calling it “a bit stompy.” But he’s not being critical. “Fantastic storytelling,” he concludes.
Peter Andre is up next, dancing a Rumba to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud. This is where those Mysterious Girl hip wiggles come in useful. We know he can do it. We watch it most weeks on YouTube…
The scores are in. Craig gives them an 8, so does Darcey… in fact it’s 8s across the board, giving them a total of 32. It’s their highest dance so far – and an emotional Anita looks chuffed.
Craig loved the choreography, while Darcey enjoyed the story and contemporary feel.
“You have got the others fighting for a place in this competition,” says Darcey.
“You gave it some wellie… you were like a panther stalking all the time,” says Len. “You should be proud of yourself. It was very, very good.”
“Tango Trek the last frontier!” shouts Bruno, adding that he liked the arrogance of Anita’s dance.
Anita’s up next dancing a Tango to Temper Trap (don’t envy the singers having to replicate that song…)
As ever, she’s confident and accomplished. She’s really holding her own with her pro. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
4, 6, 6, 5. One less than last week. A little mean, if you ask me…
Her dance is graceful, elegant and confident. I’m no Craig Revel Horwood but I’d give her a solid score for that.
“It had the romance of a cleaning session. You have to put life into a performance,” says a catty Bruno, calling her dance “blandish.”
The audience disagree and so do I. In fact, even Craig does (we’re so in sync…) calling Bruno’s comments “nasty.” These two seem to be swapping places this season.
“I can see that you are trying,” he continues. “I can see some light darling at the end of the tunnel. Well done.”
“Pasha really gave you quite a lot to think about and you didn’t make any mistakes. You should be quite proud,” says Darcey.
“It had an elegance about it… a very nice stylish Viennese Waltz,” concludes Len.
Next up? Carol Kirkwood. She’s doing a Viennese Waltz. The smiley weather presenter isn’t a high scorer, but last week she wasn’t bottom of the leaderboard. Will she be able to impress again this week?
Craig gives them a 7, Darcey goes for 8, as do Len and Bruno. 31. A top score but the same as they had last week.
“A great show starter and a bit of a showstopper,” says Len. “I’m going to change your name from Georgia May Foote to Georgia May Hip!”
“You are a gorgeous little scrumpet!” purrs Bruno. “Those lifts were incredibly ambitious… I absolutely loved it.”
Craig, naturally, has some criticism. Lift preparation wasn’t great, but those underarm turns “incredible.”
“We’re only being fussy because we know you have the ability to go really far in this competition,” adds Darcey.
Georgia is up first this week. She’s dancing a Salsa. It’s a confident, easy performance, complete with Dirty Dancing style lift. (Always a winner if you ask me.)
Here are our stars, all looking rather stylish. This of course won’t be the case next week when we’ll have ghosts, pumpkins and witch’s familiars galore.
Claud and Tess are looking lovely as ever. As usual I’m regretting sitting down to watch in my scruffy Saturday attire.
Len’s not strutting his stuff this week because he’s recently had a knee operation. No heel turns for him.
We’re off! This is Strictly Come Dancing week five. All the celebrities will be dancing their hardest for survival. Because let’s be honest, Halloween is the best week and no one wants to miss out on the face paint.
Just minutes to go until tonight’s Strictly Come Dancing. I’m kicking off proceedings with a sparkly G&T. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments section or on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa.
Just over half an hour to go. Here’s a reminder of what we’ve got this evening. There’s a Micheal Buble inspired Salsa plus some Jiving to One Direction and a Tango to Temper Trap. A Celine Dion inspired Foxtrot, a Paso to Bon Jovi and romantic Rumba to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud… Here’s the full list of dances.
Let’s remind ourselves of last week’s live show, when we said farewell to Daniel O’Donnell and his professional Kristina. We had cocktail sausages, naked torsos and tears. Walks down memory lane, disappointing Quicksteps and an incredibly close battle for the spot at the top of the leaderboard.
Katie Derham is leading the pack as we go into week five. Dancing last, she impressed the judges with her Viennese Waltz and bagged a score of 33. There were a lot of couples vying for that top spot, though, with Kellie, Jamelia, Helen and Peter all just one point below her on the leaderboard.
Down at the other end, Jeremy Vine is bringing up the rear after a bathroom-themed Jive to Splish Splash by Bobby Darin. Kirsty and Carol are also down there with him in the danger zone. Jay McGuiness (still the bookies fave to grab that Glitterball) is here too, after a performance which failed to compare to his ah-may-zing Jive the week before. Fingers crossed he manages to impress this evening…