Joanne Clifton: Mollie was “grossly undermarked” on Strictly Come Dancing this week

The former Strictly pro gives her verdict on the weekend, from how much she loved Davood to why she believes the judges are being "disrespectful"

Strictly jo clifton

The judges on Strictly Come Dancing were being extra picky on Saturday.


It’s an important week for who gets to Blackpool, and rather than looking for the good things they were probably looking for the bad.

That said, I thought Mollie was grossly undermarked. It was a real shocker and I don’t know what that was about, because I thought she definitely came back fighting from being in the dance off two weeks running and did a great Paso Doble. OK, there were a few moments where she was a little bit uncoordinated, but she did a great job.

When we saw her come through the doors after the scoring she looked like she was about to cry. I would as well; her and AJ were training 12 hours a day, and after what happened last week with Aston Merrygold a lot of people had been saying it was wrong she was still in the competition.

But I thought she really attacked it and I think the public voted for her because she was just so undermarked. I don’t know what the judges marked her down for and it was a real shame that she got those scores, but there are a few little weird things happening with the marking this year.

Mollie King on Strictly Come Dancing 2017
Mollie King on Strictly Come Dancing 2017 (BBC Pictures)

I don’t know whether it’s favouritism – that’s not really allowed and I think Shirley is professional enough not to do that. Maybe she’s judging the dances and celebrities on their individual ability, but still: I know Susan got the steps right, she was sharp, she had expression and the feeling was there – but bits of it weren’t great. Her frame was a little bit weak, her hold was not back enough and sometimes her arms were wobbling about.

I don’t know if you can give an 8 to Susan just because she got the steps right, when Mollie got the steps right and did a great Paso as well but only got 5s and 6s? It wasn’t really that fair and it was slightly weird.

For me, Mollie was definitely the most improved celebrity this week. I was very glad that the public kept her in. She deserved it and at the end of the day she got through and she’s going to Blackpool.

In the dance off between Ruth Langsford and Jonnie Peacock, when Ruth came over Tess said something to the judges like, “What’s she got to do?”. With Jonnie, one of them said, ‘Focus on this and that’ but when they went to Ruth, bless her, Bruno sat there and the first thing he did was laugh. I was like, ‘That was a bit unfair!’ It wasn’t a great dance but still, give her some courage.

Ruth Langsford on Strictly Come Dancing 2017
Ruth Langsford on Strictly Come Dancing 2017 (BBC Pictures)

I keep having a go at the judges and I do respect them a hell of a lot, but there are a few little things like that that are getting to me. I think it’s quite disrespectful, and you could see from Ruth’s face you could see she was like, ‘I’ll try my best’. I think we could all already guess that she was going home, but you don’t laugh at her. Maybe he was laughing at what Tess said, I don’t know. I just thought it was a bit horrible because what I took from it that he was laughing at her because she didn’t have a chance.

This week, however, I absolutely loved Joe and Davood. This is the second week that Davood has come out with a great dance. It was really fun, he got all the swivels – and that’s quite a difficult thing to do. The lift at the end was amazing, and I think Nadiya has discovered that he is really really strong and he can do all sorts of things.

Meanwhile, Joe had hip action, chemistry, shaping – it was a slow dance and the slower the routine is, the more details can be seen. It’s very exposing; for a beginner male to look good in a slow Rumba it is quite hard but Joe did – he looked great!

Davood Ghadami on Strictly Come Dancing 2017
Davood Ghadami on Strictly Come Dancing 2017 (BBC Pictures)

I would now say that Davood and Joe are contenders for the final. Joe’s Rumba was a proper competition Rumba. He’s come up from not having danced and I think Davood’s the same – and the British public love an underdog.

I particularly enjoyed Giovanni’s beginning to his dance with Debbie: “D-E-B-B-I-E – Debbie!” It was so silly and funny, but dancing wise they were so cool. I liked that first lift they did where he was holding her by one leg – you have to have a lot of courage and trust to do that. I don’t think I’d let anyone do that to me! Again, though, some things went wrong. It was a little bit messy coming out of one of the lifts but these things happen.

When it comes to Alexandra’s Argentine Tango I haven’t really got anything to say, other than it was simply amazing. I just loved it. It was such an intricate routine, like when she walked on Gorka’s feet. She is the best performer on there and I would have given her a 10 for that. This week she was by far the best.

I have to say though, what made me cry my eyes out this week was the group dance in the Sunday results show. The pros were absolutely amazing and I was literally in tears as it was danced so well. A big round of applause to them and choreographer Chris Scott.


Also this week, my single with my Flashdance co-star Ben Adams is coming out. It’s called Here and Now and it’s out on Friday, but it can be pre-ordered on iTunes. It’s exciting times. We’re going to be the new Kylie and Jason!

Strictly Come Dancing will return on Saturday 18th November on BBC1. Joanne Clifton currently stars in Flashdance – The Musical in theatres across the UK.