When Ellie Simmonds and her professional dance partner Nikita Kuzmin bound onto the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom each Saturday, you can't help but smile at their contagious energy.
Last week was no different when the Paralympian swimmer performed a Scooby-Doo themed Foxtrot as part of the show's annual Halloween episode, which saw the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 line-up embracing the spooky theme.
Despite earning praise from the judges for her acting skills, Shirley Ballas and co scored Ellie 29 points, leaving her second to last on the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 leaderboard. They also gave her some constructive criticism and said they knew she had even more room to improve in future performances.
So will their predictions come true this weekend? The latest Strictly Come Dancing 2022 songs and dances have now been announced and Ellie and Nikita will be performing a fun Charleston to Too Darn Hot from Kiss Me Kate. We've got a good feeling about this one...
Ahead of Saturday’s routine, here’s everything you need to know about the gold medallist.
Who is Ellie Simmonds?
Job: Former athlete and broadcaster
Best known as a gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer, Simmonds made history as the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, where she won gold in the 100m and 400m freestyle events.
Following that, she picked up more golds at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games, and has 10 World Championship titles. At age 14, she became the youngest person ever to receive an MBE (later elevated to an OBE), and after retiring from competitive swimming has presented for BBC Sport and fronted documentaries about disability.
Ellie's Strictly journey
Week 1: Cha Cha Cha (6+7+7+6) = 26
Week 2: Waltz (7+8+7+8) = 30
Week 3: Quickstep (6+7+7+7) = 27
Week 4: Salsa (7+8+7+8) = 30
Week 5: Paso Doble (6+8+8+8) = 30
Week 6: Foxtrot (6+8+7+8) = 29
Wowing the judges with their Cha Cha Cha to Dance by DNCE in Week 1, Simmonds and Kuzmin placed seventh on the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 leaderboard.
“You powered across the floor, you went, ‘OK, here we go, have some of this,'" said Anton du Beke. “Your side-by-side work was great, your timing was excellent. It was good.”
Unusually, Craig Revel Horwood agreed with the comments, and continued: “I have to agree with Anton, the timing, your attitude, the rhythm, your isolation. It was excellent.”
Motsi Mabuse added: “I absolutely love this team. What I love is this focus, you understand what the dance was about. Allow yourself to enjoy it even more. I loved it.”
The pair have gone on to score consistently, typically ending up around the middle of the leaderboard. They scored 30 points with an emotional Waltz, and picked up 27 points for their Movie Week Quickstep, inspired by the Oscar-winning movie The Artist.
In Week 4, Shirley Ballas praised the "magnificent turns and twirls" in their salsa, and also singled out their impressive lift work.
The couple were docked a point for an "illegal lift" in their Apprentice-themed Paso Doble the following week, but still managed to receive a very respectable score of 30.
While Week 6's Scooby-Doo themed Foxtrot saw Ellie commended for her impressive acting skills and really getting into character each week. Despite a strong score of 29, Ellie was second to last on the leaderboard but is ready for a brand new challenge this week.
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What has Ellie Simmonds said about joining Strictly 2022?
“Oh my gosh!! I’m literally bursting with excitement!!” Simmonds said when she was unveiled.
“It’s been soooo hard keeping this secret as I’ve wanted to tell everyone. I’m going on Strictly Come Dancing!! I’m a tad nervous too, well more than a tad… I’m absolutely petrified!
“To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to so much fun. I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, it’s going to be a blast.
“I’ve been watching Strictly from as far back as I can remember; it’s a traditional lead up to Christmas with my family and it’s a genuine privilege to be part of it.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 5th November at 7pm on BBC One, with the results show airing on Sunday 6th November at 7:15pm.
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