So that’s IT for another week on planet Strictly! It felt like the first few weeks dragged on for years, but now this series is flying by. Before you know it we’ll be back from Blackpool and arguing about the difference between Movie Week and Musicals Week. Thanks for joining in with all your comments - next week’s pre-Blackpool warm up kicks off at 7pm, so join me then for another turn around the floor. Have a great week!
Ranj and Janette say lovely things about each other, and it’s getting a bit dusty in here. So much love in the room.
They take to the floor for their final dance to ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ by Cher, with bonus shimmy.
Judging time! Craig saves Dr. Ranj and Janette (unexpected!), but Darcey saves Charles and Karen. Bruno also Charles and Karen, so Shirley has the deciding vote. She chooses Charles and Karen, which means DR. RANJ AND JANETTE are leaving the competition.
It’s a shame to see him go, but he’s given us plenty to smile about for the last seven weeks, and I’ve enjoyed seeing him and Janette signing little messages in Makaton as they come down the stairs at the beginning of each show (it was ‘fireworks’ yesterday).
Time for Charles and Karen – this Waltz is just lovely, and it definitely looks like he’s trying to flatten out the rise and fall and add a bit more glide. Gawjus.
Dance off time! Ranj and Janette’s dance off is still full of fireworks and sparklers, and George Michael is still spinning in his grave.
Rather unusually, this week’s dance off features two dances I really don’t mind watching again. Don’t really want to choose between these two, but Charles is definitely the better dancer and will probably stay unless he completely muffs it.
Ah that’s a shame – I know Dr. Ranj isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m a sucker for an underdog as long as they’re putting the effort in (Scott Mills, anyone?). That said, I’m pretty sure Ranj is running out of party dances, although I was quite looking forward to him and Janette busting some street dance moves for Couple’s Choice.
So who is joining Charles and Karen in the dance off? Ashley and Pasha are safe, along with Lauren and AJ, Graeme and Oti and Danny and Amy!
Which means DR. RANJ AND JANETTE are the second couple in the bottom two.
The absolute STATE of Darcey’s outfit. I think that’s a new Strictly low.
Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of gravel-voiced pop banger machine Jess Glynne, who is wearing a space blanket. She’s had more chart number ones than any other British female in history, by essentially taking the same song to the top of the charts six times. Good work, Jess Glynne.
Jess has also spurned her own backing dancers in favour of Nadiya and a shirtless Graziano, so I instantly like her more than Rita Ora.
So which couples are safely through to next week? Joe and Dianne are safe, along with Kate and Aljaz (well saved, people), Faye and Giovanni and Stacey and Kevin.
First couple in the bottom two: CHARLES AND KAREN.
Oh poor Charles, he really doesn’t deserve to be in the bottom two this week – his Viennese Waltz was one of my favourite dances last night.
Last night on Strictly: a top notch Foxtrot, a couple of nice Waltzes, an off-time Quickstep, an emo Jive and a bunch of other stuff that’s already left my heavily congested head.
I did watch Stacey and Kevin’s Couple’s Choice again today, and struggled a bit to get my head around it – it seemed to be a combination of contemporary, street AND theatre, which I don’t think was the brief. Beautifully danced, but I didn’t really get it – since it’s such a new style, did it really need a twist?
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in a shredded wetsuit, Claudia in a halterneck binbag.
Out come the judges! Darcey and Shirley have ditched last night’s upholstery in favour of massive bows and ruffles. Darcey looks like a frill-necked lizard.
Who upset wardrobe last night?
Goodness, this is quite gymnastic. Nothing says R-E-S-P-E-C-T like flashing your knickers at the nation.
Tonight’s opening pro dance is a tribute to the magnificent Aretha Franklin. All our female pros are dressed as various Quality Streets, presumably because they were Aretha’s favourite. Clearly not a fan of the Toffee Deluxe, however.
And we’re off! It’s around this point in the series I start dreaming about this theme tune; and I only watch It Takes Two occasionally, so I only hear it twice a week. If you watch every day, it must be a 13-week earworm.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back for this week’s Sunday Results Show! Last night was a welcome return to non-theme business as usual, although the scoring was completely bonkers. We’ve reached the midpoint in the series where Bruno doles out a 7 for a dance performed entirely out of time to ‘balance it a bit’, and Shirley is changing her judging criteria based on factors that a) we’re not aware of and b) change every week. It’s quite hard to keep up.
ANYWAY, another couple has to go home this evening – could be any one of Graeme, Ranj, Charles, Kate, Danny or Lauren. The only ones truly safe right now are Ashley, Faye, Joe and Stacey – unless two of these end up in the dance off at some point, I can’t imagine how all four aren’t going to be in the Grand Final in 6 weeks’ time. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if all four don’t sail through to the final without ever troubling the bottom two.
Kick off is at 7.50, so join me then!
So that’s IT for another Strictly Saturday! Thank you all for joining in and being as glittery and splendid as ever. I’ll be back tomorrow at 7.50pm for this week’s Results, so please join me then. Am off to steam my head, enjoy the rest of your Saturday!
Time for a recap! Feels like the show is back on track after last week’s Halloween madness. Sadly the mad scoring endures - is it too much to ask for the judges to decide if technique matters and apply that consistently?
Faves this evening were Charles and Karen, Dr Ranj and Janette and Joe and Dianne, and I’m predicting Danny and Amy and Kate and Aljaz in tomorrow’s bottom two – or maybe Graeme and Oti? Even Lauren and AJ could be in trouble, it’s a hard one to call this evening.
Scores: 7,9,9,9 - a total of 34 for Joe and Dianne.
Bruno thought Joe was a lean and mean Paso Doble machine - some great lines and shapes. Craig thought it was a bit wooden at times, but he loved the routine. Darcey thought it was dramatic and powerful, although there were moments when his arms went awry. Shirley goes in for another hug, because that’s how she and Joe roll now. Not weird at all.
OK I already love this, just for Joe’s terrifying Paso face. He’s not here to play, is he? It’s a commanding performance, albeit a bit wobbly and lacking strength in places – not sure those sit-ups have paid off. Some nice Spanish line out of hold, but a bit wooden in places. Great effort though, and quite the finish to tonight’s show.
And FINALLY, it’s JOE AND DIANNE! This week they’re dancing the Paso Doble to ‘Pompeii’ by Bastille. Oh my goodness, what a song to finish on, it’s a HUGE tune. On paper this is going to be amazing, but we haven’t seen Joe do anything other than goofy and charming so far, and that is NOT going to cut it in a Paso.
You’re a fellow member of the North Wilts massive, Joe, now is the time to let all that repressed anger out. Think about how long it’s taken to make the A350 round Chippenham a dual carriageway; they’ve been doing it since before you were BORN, and it’s still not finished. CHANNEL THE FURY.
6,7,7,8 - a total of 28 for Charles and Karen, after weeks of 25. Good work.
Shirley thought it was genuine and sincere with wonderful timing, although she’d like to see more glide. Bruno thought it was charming and Charles’ musically has improved enormously. Craig thought there was too much rise and fall and his fleckerl was flat-footed, but he loved Charles’ acting. Darcey loved the storytelling but Charles lost his frame on occasion.
So Charles leaves a half-drunk pint in the pub to dance with Karen, and it’s all rather lovely. Nice flow and rise and fall from Charles, and he makes this look quite effortless. I think that’s probably my favourite dance of the night so far, which is unexpected.
Also what a gorgeous rendition of Piano Man. Good work, Dave Arch singer.
Only two left - time for CHARLES AND KAREN! This week they’re dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel. This is a lovely song for a Waltz, and I badly want Charles and Karen to do it justice.
I forgot to include incongruous training room poppies in this week’s Bingo. Just as well, really.
Scores: 9,10,9,10 - a total of 38 for Faye and Giovanni. Sure, why not.
Darcey is having a hot flush - she loved the intensity, passion and precision. Shirley loved the splashes of colour but Faye’s frame jiggled a bit and her feet were a bit turned out. Bruno thought it was tighter than Craig’s girdle, and Faye didn’t miss a beat. Craig thought the cube wasn’t required - if they’d got rid of that it would have been worth a ten. Eh?
OMG Faye looks incredible. They’re dancing in a box, albeit not technically a phone box. Sharp footwork and plenty of attitude from Faye - nice staccato and good Tango face. Not sure if her knees are meant to be that bent, but enjoyed that.
Next up it’s FAYE AND GIOVANNI! This week they’re dancing the Tango to ‘Call Me’ by Blondie. I love the idea of a Tango to this song, it’s entirely fierce and hopefully Faye From Steps will bring both barrels. Extra drink for a prop phone box or literal phone-themed dancing.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for Ashley and Pasha. Gets kind of dull when they’re dishing out tens in Week 7. Where does she go from here?
Craig thought that was a proper Foxtrot - no tricks or gimmicks, and he loved it. Darcey thought Ashley made that her own, and Shirley thought it was exquisite, classic Foxtrot that she couldn’t find fault with. Bruno thought it was classic Hollywood glamour - delicious and flawless.
Strictly lampost! This is splendidly cheesy and so sweet my teeth are hurting. The dancing is old-school Hollywood and lovely, despite Ashley and Pasha’s outfits clashing horribly. Good work Pashley, you smashed that.
Time for ASHLEY AND PASHA! This week they’re dancing the Foxtrot to ‘Orange Coloured Sky’ by Natalie Cole. This will be an outstanding Foxtrot, because Ashley is entirely incapable of having a bad week and giving us the journey we all crave. It is what it is.
4,6,5,7 - a total of 22 for Danny and Amy. LOL at Bruno for that 7 - if I was Kate or Ranj I’d be LIVID.
Bruno points out that Danny was on the wrong foot for most of the dance, but he covered it well. Craig agrees - it was completely out of whack but Danny is a great showman. Darcey thought it was light and effortless in the bits that went right, and Danny has a superb top line. Shirley agrees that Danny pushes his strengths and hides his weaknesses, it started well but the mistakes snowballed.
As expected, Danny is giving this plenty of style and panache; but his timing is all over the shop and it’s all gone a bit awry. The sections out of hold are great, but in hold is gappy and has a lot of mistakes. Oh dear.
Next up it’s DANNY AND AMY! Tonight they’re dancing the Quickstep to ‘Freedom’ by Pharrell Williams. Danny is inherently fleet of foot and should deliver a top notch Quickstep, I have high hopes for this.
Scores: 9,9,9,9 - a total of 36 for Stacey and Kevin. I love her, but the screaming doesn’t half grate.
Shirley thought it was a modern twist on street/commercial (is street not modern then, what have I missed?), and Stacey has grown incredibly since Week 1. Bruno thought it was imaginative and flawless, and Stacey acted and danced it like a pro. Craig thought it was absolutely everything he loves. Darcey loved the contemporary fusion and it had bags of sass and coolness.
The cafe table! Ah, how I’ve missed you. I love Stacey’s outfit, and the precision of movement in this dance. Kevin is a master choreographer, and this is a really interesting dance - somehow old-fashioned and charming but still capturing the spirit of street dance. Risky, but I think they pulled that off. Definitely one I’ll watch again later, deserves both my eyeballs.
It’s time for STACEY AND KEVIN! This week they’re dancing their Couples Choice’ – a Street/Commercial dance to ‘Empire State Of Mind (Part II’) by Alicia Keys. I’m worried this is going to be the kind of intense street dance you see on TV talent shows, done by a man in a hat and saggy-crotched trousers who takes himself far too seriously. Do not want.
That said, Stacey’s bruised her ribs week so I’m mentally sending her a gentle hug and a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
This VT counts as journey. DRINK.
Scores: 6,7,7,7 - a total of 27 for Dr. Ranj and Janette.
Darcey thought Ranj sold it, but there was a tiny mistake. Great energy and lots of natural bounce, even though his technique wasn’t perfect. Shirley thought it was better than last week, and she loved some elements of his technique. Bruno loved the flamboyant fun, and was dazzled by the dentistry, and he recovered well from the mistake. Craig thought Ranj found his groove - the timing was out in places but he loved watching it.
OK this is right up my street. Party Ranj is back, and whilst he could do with a bit more hip action, it’s definitely a Samba and I’m smiling madly. Sadly my dentist isn’t as brilliant as Dr. Ranj’s, who has a smile that can be seen from space. Lovely spin at the end - timing was patchy, but I’m prepared to let that go because I love him.
Also actual firework theme, so I hope you’ve been drinking all the way through that.
Let’s never speak of this version of Freedom again.
Who’s next? It’s DR. RANJ AND JANETTE! This week they’re dancing the Samba to ‘Freedom 90’ by George Michael. This is one of my favourite songs of all time (for lots of nostalgic reasons I won’t bore you with), so I badly need it to a) not be butchered by the Dave Arch Singers and b) not forever be associated with a terrible Ranjette Samba. Am a tad worried, not gonna lie.
Scores: 4,6,6,7 - a total of 23 for Kate and Aljaz. I didn’t love that, but not sure it deserved a 4 from Craig when Lauren got a 7.
Craig though it was stuck in the mud - it was heavy and he could see each movement coming. Darcey loved how Kate told the story but she could see the strain in the lifts - not her best but a brilliant effort. Shirley thought the ganchos were superb but she missed the chemistry and it looked a bit laboured in parts. Bruno thought Kate was starting to defrost - it had great shapes and beautiful lines, but Kate was holding back.
Kate looks rather fabulous and is being manhandled splendidly by Aljaz. They’re definitely capturing the mood, but Kate’s toes need to be more pointy and the footwork is all a bit clunky, sadly - not the smoking hot thing of beauty I was hoping for. BOO.
It’s time for KATE AND ALJAZ! Tonight they’re dancing the Argentine Tango to ‘Assassin’s Tango’ by John Powell. Ooh, first Argentine! I had fully expected Ashley or Faye to cross this particular crocodile-infested ravine first. Fingers (and ankles) crossed that Kate can pull this off.
Scores: 6,7,8,8 - a total of 29 for Graeme and Oti. Graeme is crying, because it means everything.
Bruno thought Graeme was a swan(n) this week, a huge improvement on the quality of movement compared to last week - it was a smart and elegant Waltz. Craig thought Graeme’s top line needs finessing, but it was graceful and Graeme was definitely leading. Darcey thought it was touching and it had nice flow and control, although the transitions need a little smoothing. Shirley loved the footwork and the ambience, it made her all fuzzy.
Darcey’s earrings: iron filings.
Well this is splendidly romantic, and it’s lovely to see the return of the Strictly Gazebo. Some nice footwork and frame from Graeme, who scrubs up rather nicely. Some heel leads too, which will make Shirley happy. Rather enjoyed that.
Next up it’s GRAEME AND OTI! Tonight they’re dancing the Waltz to ‘The Last Waltz’ by Engelbert Humperdinck. I feel like Graeme is coming to the end of his Strictly adventure, it does seem a bit like his progress has stalled somewhat AND they’re in the slot of death. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong and this will be magnificent. If all else fails, we can just watch Oti.
This is dedicated to Graeme’s nan and grandad, and now his parents have turned up. Are there any other members of Graeme’s family we haven’t met?
Reading the terms and conditions this week: BOYZONE. Or middle-aged manzone, as they are now known.
Scores: 7,8,8,8 - a total of 31 for Lauren and AJ.
Shirley loves how Lauren’s confidence is growing, and she enjoyed the jump in the middle. Bruno is digging Lauren’s streetwise attitude and it was a sharp, clean and clear Jive. Craig thought there was a hesitation in the first bit, but he loved the energy and liveliness. Darcey agrees, but would like to see more expression in the character.
Did we watch the same dance? I’ll have to watch again.
Good work on capturing the spirit of Avril Lavigne tartan in a rubbish skate park, and LOL at AJ wearing a helmet to tentatively skateboard across the studio. Good old BBC health and safety.
Talking of tentative, this is a bit lacklustre from Lauren, sadly – the kicks really need to be sharper and the whole thing needs more welly. Her timing is great but this song needs more of attitude and character. Great lifts though.
First up tonight it’s LAUREN AND AJ! This week they’re dancing the Jive to ‘Girlfriend’ by Avril Lavigne. Part of me really wishes they’d done this when Seann and Katya were still there, the lyrics are savage.
Lauren absolutely has the stamina and core strength to nail this Jive, she just needs to throw herself at it and bring bags of personality and character.
Out come the stars! They all look a little drab after last week’s costume madness. Sadly no hats in tonight’s bingo, or we’d be swigging madly.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in black satin, Claudia in a black and white pantsuit. They both look outstanding. I think Claud’s shirt is Zara.
Meanwhile both Shirley and Darcey have been fully upholstered. Less keen.
And we’re off! PREVIOUSLY ON STRICTLY: the Halloween Spooktacular! A mixed bag of tasty treats and economy bonbons. Seann and Katya took a spin around the Strictly Dancefloor for the final time, apparently next stop is Seann being packed off to the jungle for his I’m a Celebrity redemptive narrative arc.
This week: MORE DANCING. And the pressure is on, because it’s halfway through the competition and everyone is upping their game. It’s time to step things up, etc. etc.
This week’s Strictly Come Bingo – a swig of Lemsip Max Strength for any mention of the following:
- Natural rhythm
- Hip action
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing liveblog! It’s the post-Halloween sugar crash, where we bridge the halfway point of this series and things start to Get Serious. Attention turns to Blackpool, that fairytale ballroom mecca at the end of the rainbow otherwise known as the M55. Everybody wants to go in two weeks’ time, but sadly there’s only room on the funbus for eight couples. Who will be staying behind? My money’s on Charles, Lauren or Graeme, but let’s see how the next couple of weeks pan out. I’ve got a cold, by the way, so apologies in advance if my fuzzy brain results in substandard fingerwork.
As usual I’ll be keeping a watery eye on proceedings up here, while you are encouraged to add your usual magic and sparkle in the comment box below. Kick off is at 7.05pm, so grab all those leftover Halloween treats and I’ll see you in a bit!