So that’s it for another Strictly week! Next week it’s BLACKPOOL – kick off is at 6.45pm, and the Glittergang Funbus waits for no man, so don’t be late. I’ve had it steam cleaned after last year’s shenanigans, so feel free to wear your best dancing frock/trousers.
Thank you all for joining in – you can find me on Twitter @heidistephens if you fancy giving me a wave, otherwise I’ll see you next week. Cheers! Hx
Amy is in tears, hard to tell if that’s sadness or relief. They say the usual nice things about each other and notably don’t claim to have made a friend for life.
They take to the floor for their final dance, to ‘Leaving On a Jet Plane’ by Peter, Paul and Mary. Amy is Welsh, it’s not that far.
So how will the judges vote? Craig chooses Danny and Amy, and Darcey saves Graeme and Oti! Bruno also saves Graeme and Oti, because apparently Danny went wrong. Shirley also saves Graeme and Oti, which means DANNY AND AMY are leaving the Strictly dancefloor.
SURELY Danny has to stay. They can’t choose this hallucinogenic Zumba nightmare over Danny’s Samba.
Meanwhile Graeme’s Salsa should come with a flashing lights warning, everything about it is horrible. I find it helps if you focus on Oti’s thighs, which are magnificent.
First up it’s Danny and Amy! I quite liked this Samba, I know Danny has some problem with Latin flow and softness in his knees, but the content is very much there. It was a good dance, I thought, AND it featured the Strictly lamppost.
Apparently it’s Blackpool next week. I had no idea, they should have mentioned it.
So this is an interesting one – based on last night’s scores alone, Danny and Amy should be leaving the show. But Danny is clearly a better dancer than Graeme, whose Salsa last night was hideous. But the judges liked it, and undermarked Danny (I thought), who is going through a tabloid mangle right now, on a show that really doesn’t need any more scandal.
From which I conclude that Danny and Amy probably should stay, but probably won’t.
Lovely Remembrance Day trip for a tea dance at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, looked like a lot of fun.
So who is joining Graeme and Oti in the dance off? Kate and Aljaz are safe, along with Joe and Dianne and Faye and Giovanni and Stacey and Kevin.
Which means DANNY AND AMY are in the dance off!
On closer inspection, I’m less keen on Darcey’s frock. As you were.
Lovely wafting from Anton and Luba too. Love a feathery dress.
Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who is joined by his 21-year-old son Matteo, who appears to be Italian Ed Sheeran.
We can now tick Bocelli off our Strictly musical interlude bingo card, but it’s still a long way to Christmas and we haven’t yet seen Michael Ball, Alfie Boe or Andre Rieu and his Disney Princess Orchestra.
See, it’s moments like this that I find Charles Venn hard to love. FOCUS ON THE ARMS HEIDI.
Ashley has also never been to Blackpool. Right now, we are one and the same.
So who has bagged their seat on the Blackpool Bus, and who is in tonight’s bottom two? Lauren and AJ are safe, as well as Charles and Karen (hooray no dance off for them) and Ashley and Pasha.
First couple in tonight’s Dance Off: GRAEME AND OTI. See, I told you we’d have to watch that ghastly Salsa again.
Shirley has gone full Working Girl power shoulders again, Darcey is trussed up in a lace lampshade and STILL looks amazing.
LAST NIGHT ON STRICTLY: a couple of fab Waltzes, a wedding Quickstep, two Sambas, a hip hop Charleston, some heartfelt contempo-waft, a top notch Jive and a Jane Fonda Salsa I don’t ever want to watch again (but suspect I might have to).
Well that was wonderful. Good work, Strictly.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in a white shroud, Claudia in a pussy bow shift. Not keen on either tbh.
Our opening pro dance celebrates 100 years of the Royal Air Force. I grew up in an RAF family and my sister is still a serving member – my parents, my sister and her husband (who is also ex-RAF) were all at the Cenotaph in London this morning. I’m hugely proud of them all, and this dance is a wonderfully fitting tribute on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
And we’re off! Who’s off to Blackpool? I’ve never been to Blackpool, do I need to go? If Weston-super-Mare at high tide in June is a 5 out of 10, what is Blackpool in November?
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back to tonight’s Strictly results show! Last night’s show was a corker, despite another week of increasingly deranged scoring. Dance-wise, it feels like we’re getting to the business end of proceedings, where it becomes harder each week to pick the couple who should leave. Nobody did a technically bad dance last night, so definitely a tough one to call.
Apologies if you had a sore head after last night’s Strictly Come Bingo – they are clearly on to us and added in bonus Blackpools just to see if we could keep up. Tonight I will be taking regenerative sips of peppermint tea every time anyone mentions the ‘B’ word, I’ve got to go to work tomorrow.
Kick off is at 7.50pm, see you then!
Is everyone still playing the drinking game? They know what we’re up to, hopefully everyone is still conscious. BLACKPOOL BLACKPOOL BLACKPOOL.
So that’s it for another week - thank you all for joining in, I’ll be back tomorrow at 7.50pm for the results, when someone will be hoofed off the bus from Elstree to Blackpool before it’s even made it to South Mimms Services. See you then!
I think we may well see Danny and Amy in the dance-off tomorrow, maybe with Graeme and Oti – not bad performances by any stretch, but overshadowed by some really good ones tonight.
So how does the leaderboard look? Pashley at the top at usual, and Danny and Amy at the bottom, which is more of a surprise. Lines are open!
Time for a recap - some great dancing this week, enjoyed that very much. Faves this week were Lauren and AJ and Stacey and Kevin, but plenty of great dances to choose from.
Scores: 8,9, 9,9 - a total of 35 for Charles and Karen.
Shirley agrees - a superb ending to a superb show. Bruno thought it was sparkling and squeaky clean, without a smudge - their best dance yet. Craig thought it was too controlled and lacked eccentricity, but Darcey thought it was strong and in sync, and she loved Charles’ crazy fun side.
Charle and Karen are cleaning windows, and for some reason Karen has borrowed the Flavia wig. Great footwork from Charles and some strong lifts and tricks – he keeps the energy right to the end and I love the elements of slapstick silliness. Good work, a great finish to a really good show. Also, Charles’ arms. HELLO.
And FINALLY, it’s CHARLES AND KAREN! This week they’re dancing the Charleston to ‘No Diggity’ by Minimatic. This is a swing version of the Blackstreet classic, which should absolutely not be allowed.
Charles was in the bottom two for the third time last week, which he really didn’t deserve. He could probably do with a week off, so a decent Charleston and some high marks from the judges would be ideal at this point.
Scores: 8,8,9,9 - a total of 34 for Lauren and AJ. After those comments, I expected higher.
Darcey loved the flow and seamless transitions, although she’d have loved more exaggeration in the top line. Shirley thought it was hugely inspiring and it had the best pivot she’d ever seen. Bruno could hug then both (he does), Lauren gets lovelier and better ever week. Craig felt Lauren was dancing for the first time, absolutely brilliant.
Lauren’s dress is entirely dreamy, and I’m already smiling madly. Lauren has improved massively in this competition, and this is a much more confident performance from her – lovely top line and super footwork. Just gorgeous, really loved that - my favourite dance of the night so far.
Next up it’s LAUREN AND AJ! This week they’re dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘You Are The Reason’ by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis. I had no idea these two had collaborated, so I went and had a listen earlier – turns out it’s a rather sweet duet that will one day make a lovely John Lewis Christmas ad, but in the meantime will do for a romantic Waltz.
I can’t keep up with all the Blackpool mentions, so just keep drinking.
Scores: 7,8,8,9 - a total of 32 for Joe and Dianne.
Joe has never been to Blackpool and really wants to go to Blackpool. DRINK.
“I love your little face”, says Tess to the 27-year-old man. CAN WE NOT.
Craig thought it was a bit exaggerated in places, but he did enjoy it. Darcey was distracted by Joe’s mouth, but he was definitely selling it. Shirley thought Joe gave it 100%, and Bruno thought it was another hit.
Well this is quite the rainbow party, and you can’t fault Joe for throwing himself into it. Despite having a frame that resembles a handful of toothpicks, he still manages to deliver some kind of hip action and rotation, and a very decent amount of rhythm. He’s got great timing too, and this is identifiably a Samba, albeit a slightly spiky one. I actually really enjoyed that.
It’s time for JOE AND DIANNE! This week they’re dancing the Samba to ‘MMMBop’ by Hanson. Ooh a second Samba in one week. Strictly, how you spoil us. I’m already worrying about the Dave Arch Singer who is going to have to deliver this falsetto, it may require some kind of surgical clamp.
So the big question is, can Joe find his Samba hips and Latin party spirit? If he’s got any sense, he’ll have had a few ciders beforehand. I’d be a litre of Thatchers down by now.
Scores: 8,8,8,8 - a total of 32 for Stacey and Kevin.
Bruno thought Stacey was genuine and natural, and the footwork was great, but Stacey needs to keep the flow through her arms. Craig agrees - Stacey’s upper body needs more expression but a well-studied performance. Darcey loved the routine and Stacey has a natural quality, but every line needs to be finished and she wants to see her in Blackpool (DRINK). Shirley loved the flow at the beginning - Stacey blows her mind every time.
Stacey looks glorious in silver, and this Waltz has bags of charm - romantic and stylish without being sugary-sweet. Lovely rendition of Moon River too - I’m a bit goosebumpy. Just lovely.
Next up it’s STACEY AND KEVIN! This week they’re dancing the Waltz to ‘Moon River’ by Audrey Hepburn, and if there has ever been a better song for a Waltz then I’ve yet to find it. I really want this to be fabulous, but since that seems to be the only setting Stacey has, I have high hopes.
Scores: 9,9,8,10 - a total of 36 for Faye and Giovanni.
Get back to us when you know what more you want, Shirley. ‘More dynamic’ is a bit vague tbh.
Shirley thought it was competent and capable, but lacked the change of energy Shirley was looking for from Faye pre-Blackpool (whatever that means). She needs to change the dynamic a bit. Bruno thought it was picture-perfect rendition of a 1940s Jive with immaculate styling. Craig loved it, and Darcey agrees - a great job from Faye and Giovanni.
So Giovanni is selling icecream, and Faye wants one of his creamy treats. Who wouldn’t? As expected this is really good Jive with some precision footwork from Faye and some outstanding kicks and flicks. Loads of personality, bags of energy, and a class effort from start to finish. Really enjoyed that.
It’s time for FAYE AND GIOVANNI! Tonight they’re dancing the Jive to ‘Reet Petite’ by Jackie Wilson. Faye generally has great control and foot placement and never fails to deliver on performance, so I have high hopes for this Jive.
I do struggle with the chemistry between these two, however – they’re a great dance partnership but it’s all business and there’s no spark for me.
Scores: 7,8,8,8 - a total of 31 for Graeme and Oti
Darcey strangely loved that, Graeme was pumping out the rhythm and he gave his all, despite it being a bit flat-footed. Shirley loved the impact - it was bright and jolly and had plenty of rhythm. Bruno could feel the burn in his retinas, I know how he feels. Craig thought it was the oddest Salsas he’s ever witnessed on Strictly - it was a complex routine and Graeme handled it well.
So this has an 80s exercise class theme, with lots of neon gym wear. Everything about it is offending my eyes, including Graeme’s timing. There are definitely Salsa hips of a sort, but it’s all lost in a mess of gym equipment, bouncy madness and faffing abaaht.
That was horrible. No.
Next up it’s GRAEME AND OTI! This week they’re dancing the Salsa to ‘Follow The Leader’ by Soca Boys. Remember the Cha Cha Slide? Yeah, this is so much worse than that.
Graeme definitely one of the weaker dancers remaining in the competition, and isn’t really delivering on epic journey right now. He’s definitely in the danger zone tonight if this Salsa isn’t a hip-tastic party showstopper.
More mentions of Blackpool. I probably need to stop drinking now.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a spectacularly predictable 39 for Ashley and Pasha.
Craig thought Ashley was super incredible, but he would have liked to see a little more breath. He can’t really explain what that means, however. Darcey thought there was lots of breath, with wonderful strength and fluidity from Ashley. Shirley starts crying, Ashley spoke for everyone who has ever lost someone. Bruno thought it was a hauntingly beautiful tribute danced to perfection.
This is full interpretive dance, and Ashley is very good at it, arguably better than Pasha. There is much pulling, tugging and making angry shapes, and it’s all quite totes emosh and rather haunting. Beautifully done.
I quite like couple’s choice, but I’m less keen on contestants using it to give us their life story, X Factor-style. Maybe I need more wine.
It’s time for ASHLEY AND PASHA! This week they’re dancing their Couples’ Choice, which is a Contemporary routine to ‘Unsteady’ by Erich Lee (Gravity Remix by X Ambassadors).
I’d assumed Pashley would bust some Club moves PCD-style, but actually it’s probably a good thing that they’ve chosen something (vaguely) out of Ashley’s comfort zone, and in Pasha’s. I have a sneaky feeling she’s going to give Flackers a run for her money on the barefoot contempo-waft front.
GOSSIP WATCH: Apparently all rumours of Ashley/Giovanni fireworks are entirely untrue, but they said that about Gorka/Gemma last year and those two remain the most loved-up couple on Instagram.
Loving Danny’s mum in the audience with a face like thunder.
Scores: 6,7,7,7 - a total of 27 for Danny and Amy. Blackpool! DRINK!
Bruno thought Danny went for it, but it was a bit sharp and staccato in places. Craig agreed it was spiky and stiff and there was too much energy, Danny needs to chill out. Darcey loved the dance content but needs more undulation and a softer bounce, and Shirley thought it was a miracle compared to last week, but Danny’s bounce needed more fluidity.
Well this is my kind of Samba – great hip action from Danny, lovely extension and plenty of party spirit. He still needs to soften his knees and loosen up a bit as this still feels a bit stiff, but one of the better Sambas we’ve seen this year.
Next up it’s DANNY AND AMY! This week they’re dancing the Samba to ‘Feels Like Home’ by Sigala, Fuse ODG, Sean Paul and Kent Jones, which is quite a lot of artists on one record, even if it is a summer party banger that sounds like it should have been a World Cup anthem.
These two have had a barney this week, if the tabloids are to be believed. More often than not they aren’t, but you can hardly expect everyone to get on. For every Strictly couple rubbing each other up the right way, it’s reasonable to assume there are those for whom the rubbing creates a bit of friction. ANYWAY, Samba party time!
Reading this week’s Terms and Conditions - the lovely Rylan. I met him at Eurovision and he was entirely charming. Delighted he’s taking over Zoe Ball’s Saturday Radio 2 show.
Scores: 7,7,8,8 - a total of 30 for Kate and Aljaz. Good start. Blackpool! Drink!
Shirley thought it was a bright, light and crisp Quickstep although the end was a little jerky. Bruno thought it was confident and joyful, and Craig agrees - a vast improvement even though there was a bit gappy in places. Darcey thought it was joyous and lively - a delight from beginning to end.
So this dance has a wedding theme, and Kate looks splendidly bridal. Nice footwork, but Kate’s top line needs more extension and there’s quite a lot of gapping. The skippy section out of hold seems to go on for ever, but a good effort and a fun routine.
First up it’s KATE AND ALJAZ! Their dance tonight is the Quickstep to ‘I Want You To Want Me’ by Letters To Cleo. Alas not the Jason Derulo version, this is entirely different song. Last week’s rib-busting Rumba didn’t go down very well with the judges, but Kate and Aljaz are clearly a people’s fave. Hopefully it will be a Quick Step To Blackpool for these two*
*Just trying out some Tess puns. Needs more work.
Out come the judges! Darcey is a walking poppy, because there is no limit to how much respect one can pay when given six metres of polyester.
Meanwhile, some seriously random outfits from our Strictly stars this evening.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in one-shouldered poppy-red frock, Claudia in another black sparkly sack. How many does she have?
Blackpool! DRINK! Reference to the drinking game! DRINK.
And we’re off! Blackpool mention by the continuity person, so start drinking! Last week on Strictly it was curtains for the lovely Dr. Ranj. I will miss his joyful smile, but at least he can now properly focus on his day job of saving children’s lives. Probably for the best. Only nine couples remain, and BLACKPOOL is only one week away. Drink!
I think that was at least three or four Blackpools. TINY SIPS.
This week’s Strictly Come Bingo – ONE WORD SPECIAL. Take a tiny sip of your favourite tipple for any mention of BLACKPOOL.
Please pass on my apologies to your liver in advance, but it has to be done. Tiny, tiny sips.
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing Liveblog! It’s the official pre-Blackpool warm up, so expect plenty of wistful dreaming about the mythical Tower ballroom. Nine couples remain, but there are only eight places available in possibly the longest and most convoluted game of Musical Chairs ever.
Right now Ashley, Faye, Stacey, Danny and Joe feel like they might as well buy a non-refundable ticket; for me the Battle for Blackpool will be fought between Kate, Graeme, Charles and Lauren. Hopefully this week’s scoring will be a little less erratic than in recent weeks, it’s starting to give me a headache. Kick off is at 7pm so grab snacks, booze and loved ones and I’ll see you then!