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Strictly's Ian Waite "upset" to see Adam Peaty leave – and expected 40 for AJ Odudu

RadioTimes.com columnist and former Strictly pro Ian Waite weighs in on all the action from this weekend.

Ian Waite Strictly Column
Published: Monday, 8th November 2021 at 1:08 pm

It was another action-packed weekend on Strictly Come Dancing, which ended with the departure of Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, who fell into the bottom two with children's television presenter Tilly Ramsay.

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It was a disappointing loss for many viewers, but with standards impressively high for this stage in the competition, it just goes to prove that truly no one is safe as we enter the second half of this year's series.

AJ Odudu came out on top overall, scoring a near-perfect 39 points with an excellent Charleston, making her a strong contender to lift the Glitterball trophy next month.

Below, RadioTimes.com columnist and former Strictly professional Ian Waite gives us his insight on all the dances performed this week, as well as answering some of your biggest questions.

How did the Strictly couples do this week?

Adam Peaty and Katya Jones: Kicking off the show with a very energetic performance. Good posture from Adam by pitching weight forward which should have kept him on the balls of his feet but sadly, they were a little bit flat and sometimes turned in. But very strong kicks and flicks.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice: Dancing the whole opening on her own and completely on time. Technically very good with many musical changes, could have seen a little more rhythm through the body.

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden: So lovely to see a traditional Pasa Doble. The music reminded me of dancing at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool. Fantastic posture, shaping and gave us every move in the Pasa Doble book. Superb character.

Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu: Quickstep is always a difficult dance because of the speed and amount of content. The frame looked compromised because of the difficulty of the routine, a simpler routine would have given Rhys the chance to improve the hold and technique. This being said, very enthusiastic and energetic dance.

Rhys Stephenson – Strictly 2021

Rhys and Nancy perform the Quickstep

Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin: I really liked this performance. They kept body contact throughout and acted the character of the Tango very well. Could have created more strength by emphasising the count one in a promenade position.

Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova: This dance was better than I expected. It was fun and an interesting take on street dance. I still think Dan is a ballroom dancer, just because of the wonderful lengths of bone that he has.

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe: A very simplistic interpretation of the Rumba. For me, it was a little too simple. John needs to have more toning in his hands and fingers, sometimes they can be thrown away without finishing off the lines. That being said, it was very rhythmical, with plenty of body and hip action.

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington: This was a very technical, traditional Charleston and I loved it. I thought AJ mastered every nuance of the very difficult steps. My only criticism is that AJ looked slightly hesitant but she is still the best all-round dancer in the competition.

Sara Davies and Aljaž Škorjanec: A very quick routine – unfortunately this compromised the technique and posture throughout the dance. Also, it had some gapping in the hold, but covered the floor very well and energetic to the end.

Strictly High of the Week

AJ Odudu – Strictly 2021

AJ Odudu performs the Charleston

I would have to say AJ again. I'm feeling like I'm repeating myself every week, but AJ, for me, is the best all-round performer and this was a really difficult Charleston. For her to do all the swivels, all of the characterisations, all of the arm movements, she literally looked like she'd just walked out of the 1920s. For me, it was just such a brilliant standout performance.

Strictly Low of the Week

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 – Adam and Tilly in the dance-off

Adam Peaty and Tilly Ramsay found themselves in the dance-off

Seeing Adam and Katya leave the competition. I was really upset because I think that Adam is what Strictly is all about. He's an Olympian, all he has ever done is swim all his life and win gold medals, and then he does this show. But I love the fact that he has absolutely given 100 per cent to every performance and I think it's a shame that he's out of the competition. We're going to miss him because he's such a legend and I think he could have gone further.

Ian's Top Tip

I felt that some of the routines were slightly over-choreographed. When the dances are fast, like the quickstep, if the choreography is a little simpler, the celebrities have a better chance of mastering the technique and I think that is key.

Ian answers...

Did AJ's Charleston deserve a full 40 points?

I was actually expecting it to get 40 and I was really surprised when Craig gave his '9' paddle, just because he said it was, in his words, "A-ma-zing.". The only thing that it lacked was that she looked as though she didn't have 100 per cent confidence, and to get four 10s, you need to attack it and look completely confident as well as having the technique down and everything else – so that's where it failed for me.

Should Dan have been in the dance-off this week?

It's a difficult one because there's so many great dancers left in the competition, but for me, I think Dan should have probably been in the bottom two. It could have been a very different dance-off for me.

Have the judges' scores been too generous?

I do think the marks are very high. The trouble is, if you're marking high, you haven't really got anywhere to go. If you see a performance, mark it 10, and then somebody else's performance is better, you've got to mark it 10 as well – you've got no choice. So, I think the marks are very high for this stage in the competition, but also, the celebrities are dancing so well, so the judges are in a very difficult position when they're seeing fantastic routines in front of their faces.

Waite's Week

I was in Bromley last night with my tour, the Ballroom Boys, and I will be in Epsom tonight and then we are in Poole tomorrow night for our show, and we're having great fun. It's full of Hollywood classics, Broadway musicals and even my little Italian friend's legendary Argentine Tango. We're having a ball travelling around the country together on tour. It's a lot of fun.

Strictly Come Dancing airs every weekend on BBC One. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide or visit our Entertainment hub for the latest news. 

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Ian Waite is currently on tour. Visit theballroomboys.com for tickets. 

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