Which means another Strictly week is over – thank you for joining in, and please come back at 6.35pm next week for MUSICALS WEEK. Is it me, or does the Strictly start time get earlier every week? If it carries on like this we’ll be watching the Grand Final over lunch.
ANYWAY, please come back. In the meantime you can find me on Twitter/Insta at @heidistephens, on BBC iPlayer, in a good bookshop near you, or watching JLS at the O2 on Friday night. I’ll send Aston your love. Have a great week!
Which means SARA AND ALJAZ are leaving Strictly! I’ll miss Sarah’s sheer determination and Aljaz’s mesh vest and leather harness combo. Sara describes her Strictly journey as ‘a life-changing experience’ and I get the impression that it really has been for her. Aljaz makes a full Oscar acceptance speech, and I kind of love him for it.
They take to the floor to dance their final dance, to ‘You Make My Dreams Come True. by Hall & Oates. I miss the contestant pile-on at the end.
Judging time! In a dramatic plot twist, all the judges decide to save Tilly and Nikita, like yesterday’s scoring never happened. Twenty-four hours* is a long time on Planet Strictly. I’m not saying it’s the wrong decision, but it kind of makes a nonsense of yesterday’s scores.
*actually about an hour and a half.
Sara’s next, once again dancing a Disco Argentine that really didn’t work for me (or the public, by the looks of it). But it worked for the judges, and they’re the ones that get to decide who stays and who goes.
Plenty of attack from Sara too second time round - I’m pretty sure she’s done enough.
The Dance-Off – Tilly vs. Sara
Tilly’s up first, dancing their Quickstep from last night that I can remember absolutely nothing about. I think that may be the problem for Tilly – in a year with a handful of couples who are shining bright, everyone else feels a bit like they’re making up the numbers. Also Tilly’s a great dancer, but she’s inconsistent – her Cha Cha a few weeks ago feels like it was danced by a completely different woman.
That said, Tilly isn’t going down without a fight. Feel like there’s definitely more energy this time round.
It’s Musicals Week next week, which is a lot like Movie Week but with fewer couples and more superfluous backing dancers. I CAN’T WAIT. Mostly because I now know that Kai is going to be the Captain Von Trapp to AJ’s Maria.
So if last night’s scoring is anything to go by, Sara (4th on the leaderboard) should easily have the edge over Tilly (7th on the leaderboard) in this week’s dance-off. But worth noting that the public has once again saved Dan and Tom (and AJ, although that’s no great surprise) at Sara’s expense.
But since the judges’ scoring last night was largely erratic and inconsistent, I’m not sure we can judge the public for doing whatever the hell they like.
So who is joining Sara and Aljaz in the dance off? Tom and Amy are safe, along with John and Johannes and AJ and Kai. Phew! That was BRUTAL, Strictly.
Which means TILLY AND NIKITA in the dance off.
Apparently Anton judges Dan against himself. Perhaps we could try judging him against everyone else, like...everyone else? Particularly at this stage in the competition.
All I want is consistency - it doesn’t feel like a big ask really. Grumble over.
To mark Remembrance Day, the Strictly crew have gone to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall in Leicestershire. They do incredible work.
Incidentally, if you don’t follow James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) on Twitter you absolutely should. He’s very funny. His bio reads ‘proof that one song is all you need’, which always makes me laugh.
Lovely dancing from Luba and Graziano. I know JB isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I actually really enjoyed that.
Time for a musical interlude!
This week’s performance is courtesy of mid-noughties Chris De Burgh tribute act James Blunt. He’s singing his other hit ‘Goodbye My Lover’, which will always make me think of Uncle Bryn on Gavin and Stacey. Come on James, sing the one about the wise men and the sea.
Very excited that Rose and Gio are dancing to ‘Love Is An Open Door’ from Frozen next week. I’m sure Gio will make a lovely Prince Hans, but I kind of want him to be Olaf.
So who is safely through to MUSICALS WEEK next Saturday? Rose and Giovanni are safe, along with Rhys and Nancy and Dan and Nadiya.
First couple in the bottom two: SARA AND ALJAZ. Ooh, didn’t think that was going to happen. They were fourth on the leaderboard, who else has the public saved?
Last night on Strictly: a hot mess of suspect costumes, wild scoring and mid-season madness.
Highlights: Motsi in a dress that could be seen from the International Space Station, Rhys discovering he was born to Charleston, and Rose and Giovanni’s stunning Couple’s Choice. Possibly the most powerful and captivating dance in Strictly history, and it was such a privilege to watch it live.
Lowlights: undermarking, overmarking, wombling free.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Both in sober black - Tess in a pantsuit, Claud in a dress. Both stunning.
How does Claud get her hair so glossy? It can’t be JUST Head & Shoulders.
And we’re off! Tonight’s opening pro dance is in honour of Remembrance Sunday, and as usual it’s heartfelt and beautiful. If you’re reading this later and missed this dance, watch it on iPlayer or YouTube. It’s quite special.
Extra round of applause for the Tommy Blaize rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back to tonight’s Results show! Last night was something of a rollercoaster of emotions, from the WHY? To the WTF? To the OMG! So tonight’s show is going to be an interesting one – are we in for a massive upset? If the panic AJ voting from last night is anything to go by, I’d say probably not – but I’m definitely not counting my glitter chickens just yet. See you at 7.20pm!
Thank you all for joining in tonight, you bring joy to the comment box and sunshine to my weekend. I’m off to read all your comments (I’m expecting them to be QUITE spicy), and I’ll be back tomorrow at 7.20pm for the Results Show.
Please join me then, and let me know in the comments below who you think is heading home this week. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! Hx
Can you imagine if there’s an AJ/Dan dance-off and the judges save Dan? I think it’s more likely that the public will save both of them and it will be a Tilly/Tom dance off. A very odd show this week - some strange music choices, slightly unhinged scoring and plenty of unexpected twists.
Maybe the nation has accepted the inevitability of an AJ/John/Rose Grand Final and the BBC has decided to create some chaos.
The dancing is done and the voting is open!
So, what did we all make of that? We’ve ended up with Rhys and Nancy at the top of the leaderboard and AJ and Kai at the bottom. I’m not sure ANY of us would have predicted that. Time to cast your vote!
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for Rose and Giovanni.
Motsi thought it was a beautiful and a real moment. Shirley stands up out of respect, and she congratulates Rose for sharing her heart and soul. Anton thought it was the greatest thing he’s ever seen on Strictly. Craig thought there were a couple of technical issues but it was FAB-U-LUSS.
Goodness, bit dusty in here.
Rose is a beautiful dancer and this is such an uplifting and joyful piece of choreography. Love the section in the middle with no music - an incredible representation of what it’s like to dance in Rose’s world. It’s a love story - for dance, for expression, and for living your best life. A real Strictly moment.
And finally - it's Couple's Choice for Rose and Giovanni!
This week they’re dancing Couple’s Choice to ‘Symphony’ by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson. I think this has been one of my favourite Strictly journeys ever, and I’m fully expecting Rose and Giovanni to take it all the way to the Glitterball. An extraordinary partnership, and I feel like it’s brought out something special in them both. I still think Couple’s Choice should be fired into the sun, but I suspect this one might be something a bit special.
Scores: 7,8,7,8 - a total of 30 for Tom and Amy. Only Rose and Giovanni to go!
Craig thought it was a bit snatch and grab, but he liked the realness and it was unusual. I think he said he liked the street elements, but maybe I misheard that - is Street Viennese a thing?
Meanwhile Motsi liked the specialness of Tom and Amy’s speciality, it makes them special. Shirley liked the flow but there was some suspect footwork. Anton thought it was generally good but it wasn’t big and bold enough for the music - he wanted more power. It was...nice.
Well this...nice? Tim has lovely footwork and very elegant arm work, but I’d have loved a little more storytelling and connection between these two. It just feels like a thing that happened, I can’t really get excited about it. Has it been a weird week? It feels like a weird week.
It’s time for Tom and Amy!
This week they’re dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘Iris’ by Goo Goo Dolls. I feel like this is a Strictly Waltz standard, but I can’t find any evidence of it being used since Jason Donovan. Maybe it just lives in my head, like the essence of Radio 2.
Scores: 9,10,10,9 - a total of 38 for John and Johannes.
Anton thought it was amazing, but John’s shoulders drop a bit far back. Craig agrees, John sits back too much but the energy was incredible. Motsi wanted to be at John and Johannes’ party, and she loved the connection between them. Shirley loved the combination of weight, time, energy and space, which is all you need for a dance like this.
The Strictly cafe table and chairs have been sprayed yellow, and John is giving it full Samba shimmy. He’s got great hip action and as usual his timing is impeccable. I could watch these two dance all day long, and it’s great to see John showing us a bit of party abandon. Really enjoyed that.
Who's next? It’s John and Johannes!
This week they’re dancing the Samba to Acuyuye by DLG. This is a proper no-holds-barred Samba track, and I’m very much hoping this is going to be the brilliant party Samba we’ve been waiting for. Just to lay that Greg Wise spectre to rest, if nothing else.
Scores: 7,8,8,9 - a total of 32 for Sara and Aljaz.
Shirley thought it was atmospheric and she loved the passion, but it needed to be looser in the legs. Anton loved how clean it was, and the timing was great - a good job. Craig agreed with Shirley on the over-stiff legs but it had attack, drive and drama. Motsi loved the energy and Sara left her heart on the dancefloor.
Sara is emoting next to a giant disco ball, and I suspect that her lovelife is boring her to tears. Enough is definitely enough.
Quite difficult to see Sara’s feet in the ankle fog, but to me the music is hampering the changes of tempo you’d normally expect to see in an Argentine. There’s no tension and there are definitely some timing and balance issues. Didn’t love that, sorry.
It's time for Sara and Aljaž!
This week they’re dancing Argentine Tango to ‘No More Tears (Enough is Enough)’ by Donna Summer and Barbara Streisand. I’m always a bit nervous about Argentine Tangos performed to non-traditional music, and the prospect of this disco ballad-into-banger is making me feel a bit itchy.
That said, Sara is at her happiest and best when she’s velcro-ed to Aljaz (and who can blame her), so maybe this will be amazing.
Scores: 10,10,10,10 - full marks for Rhys and Nancy. Right now, I’m feeling like Tilly is in trouble.
Motsi thought it was the Charleston of the season, like AJ and Kai last week never happened. Shirley has never seen a Charleston like that and it was astounding. Anton thought Rhys smashed the place up, it was unbelievable. Craig thought it was A-MAY-ZING.
A week is a very long time on Planet Strictly, isn’t it?
Rhys’s stripey suit and boater is supposed to be Henley Regatta, but instead it’s giving me Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins vibes - he just needs some dancing penguins. Great performance from Rhys here and his timing is impeccable - not wholly tidy in the details but definitely an energetic showstopper. Loved that - I think Rhys has found his thing?
Next up, it’s Rhys and Nancy!
This week they’re dancing the Charleston to ‘The Charleston’ by Bob Wilson and his Varsity Rhythm Boys. Not sure it’s possible to have a song choice that’s more appropriate for a Charleston, so let’s see if Rhys and Nancy can do it justice. Rhys has the natural exuberance for this dance, if he can just keep his limbs controlled and those swivels precise.
Scores: 4,8,8,9 - a total of 29 for Dan and Nadiya. The scoring is off the rails this evening.
Craig thought it lacked feeling and style and it had no swing and sway, but Motsi thought it was Dan’s best dance so far. Shirley loved it, and Dan is representing all the men who have never danced before. Anton wanted Dan the man but got Dan the dancer, and his hold was amazing. This is going to get megascores, isn’t it?
King Of The Road is quite a ploddy song, isn’t it? A bit pedestrian, kind of like this American Smooth. I have a bit of a soft spot for Dan and he’s come a long way since Week 1, but he struggles with transitions and that final lift looked perilous. Not enough style for a smooth.
Also why wear ballroom tails for Country and Western? It’s just odd. Oh, Shirley’s on her feet. Whatever.
It’s time for Dan and Nadiya!
This week they’re dancing the American Smooth to ‘King of the Road’ by The Proclaimers (or originally by Roger Miller, if we’re being nit-picky). Dan is unquestionably the weakest dancer left in the competition now, but he’s also this year’s People’s Choice, so I’m not counting him out just yet. Especially after the first two sets of scores.
Scores: 6,7,7,8 - a total of 28 for AJ and Kai. EEK.
Anton thought it was a strong performance, but she needs to work on her levels of tension as she tends to get a bit stiff *DO NOT MAKE CHEAP KAI JOKE HERE*.
Craig thought it looked pedestrian in the walks and it needed more Spanish line, he was disappointed. Motsi loved the suspense and the passion but it wasn’t a good dance for AJ. Shirley loved the beginning and the end but there wasn’t enough flamenco for her liking.
Ooh, this is intense, and I’m transfixed by AJ’s sparkly merkin. Lovely staccato footwork from AJ and some nice armography too. No idea if that was a good Paso from a technical standpoint, but I really enjoyed it either way.
Next up it’s AJ and Kai!
This week they’re dancing the Paso Doble to ‘Game of Survival’ by Ruelle. Ooh, this is going to be good, isn’t it? If anyone can give us a powerful Paso, it’s these two. I want PASSION and FIRE and absolutely NO POLITENESS WHATSOEVER.
Loving AJ’s mum, she’s immense.
You may have noticed that I never bother mentioning the Terms & Conditions. No plans to change that any time soon.
Scores: 7,7,7,8 - a total of 29 for Tilly and Nikita.
Shirley thought Tilly did the Quickstep very well, but it looked a bit heavy in places and it was a bit out of sync. Anton thought Tilly’s frame has improved, but her spine needs to be tipped to the left. Craig thought it could have been lighter and the footwork was sloppy, but her personality came into its own. Motsi thought there were improvements but now Tilly needs to focus on the details.
Goodness, this CGI set is busy. Another ugly outfit for Tilly, and most of the intro to this Quickstep is actually Charleston, which I know is A Thing but I don’t like it. She’s got a nice top line at the start, but her feet are turned in and her footwork looks a bit scrappy in places. Love the enthusiasm, but this feels under-rehearsed to me. Not Tilly’s best week, I don’t think.
Up first tonight - Tilly and Nikita!
Tonight they’re dancing the Quickstep to ‘I Won’t Dance’ by Damita Jo. I mean, you probably should, Tilly, now isn’t the time to throw in the towel. Last week’s Paso put Tilly in the dance-off, so she needs to rediscover her mojo with this Quickstep.
Out come the judges! Loving Motsi in eye-watering neon yellow.
Out come the stars! Highlights include Dan in a dapper suit, John and Johannes in shirts made from early 90s ethnic-print curtains, and Giovanni in institutional grey pyjamas.
Tess and Claudia Dress Watch!
Tess in wet-look pleather body armour, Claudia in cutesy red polka-dots and white stilettos. Weird.
And we’re off! The pressure continues to grow, and everyone’s upping their game because nobody wants to go home. They’re all pushing each other, which is probably not advisable in a pandemic. Just saying.
Get ready for tonight’s Strictly Come Bingo!
It’s a Tess and Claud special tonight – take a swig of something sparkly and fabulous for any occurrence of the following:
- Black sequins
- Assymetric hems
- Look at their little faces
- They’re on their feet
- Early mentions of Musicals Week
Heidi’s Hunches – an update!
It’s getting tough to separate out the pack now – I think Rose, AJ and John would have to have a seriously duff week to end up in the bottom two, but any of the others could be going home tomorrow. The competition’s getting fierce, but I’ve put Rhys in the bottom two with Dan because he’s never quite lived up to his early potential, and his Charleston could go either way. But I’d probably say the same about Sara’s disco Argentine, so we’ll have to wait and see.
- Group 1: one eye on the final – Rose and Giovanni, AJ and Kai, John and Johannes
- Group 2: hot on their heel leads – Tilly and Nikita, Tom and Amy, Sara and Aljaz
- Group 4: dodging the dance-off – Dan and Nadiya, Rhys and Nancy
In shameless self-promotion news, if you’re a fan of this (or any other) liveblog, you might be interested in my bit on Radio 4’s Front Row on Thursday, where I talked about ‘the art of the liveblog’. Yes, it’s officially an art form, because Radio 4 says so. I don’t make the rules.
I’m the last ten minutes, although the rest of it is actually really interesting. Also the people at Radio 4 are delightful and made me very welcome despite me being a cultural wasteland and making the place look untidy.
Waltz this way for Week 8!
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly liveblog! We’ve made it to Week 8 (well done everyone), and only eight couples remain – usually at this point we’d be getting ready for Blackpool next week, but the coach trip has been cancelled for the second year. But no matter, because Strictly is doing Musicals next Saturday instead, a week earlier than usual.
Kick off tonight is at 6.40pm, so please gather your family and gird your loins for another rainbow glitter explosion. The wine is chilling, the snacks are ready and the comment box is open – let’s do this thing, shall we?