So that’s the end of Week Two – thank you for joining in and adding your special brand of sparkle – you can find me on Twitter/Insta @heidistephens if you want to say hello. Next week is MOVIE WEEK, so please come back for giant props, bonkers costumes and more wigs than Joan Collins. Kick off is at 6.45pm, so I’ll see you then!
Nina and Neil take to the floor for their final dance, to ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ by Harold Melvin. I miss the end of show pile-on and hugging. Covid is rubbish.
Nina thanks Neil for being incredible, and he says lots of lovely things about her.
‘Literally, we’re like a married couple,’ says Neil. If he literally means literally, then Nina’s husband may want to have words.
Which means NINA AND NEIL are the first couple to leave the Strictly dancefloor. I’m gutted for Nina, she had SO much more to give, but I’m guessing she and Neil have spent today RUING the decision to Samba first and Tango second. SO much ruing.
Craig and Motsi both save Katie and Gorka, but Anton saves Nina and Neil as they upped their game the most. Which gives Shirley the deciding vote, and she saves Katie and Gorka.
Dance off time! Nina’s up first, and there are definitely fewer mistakes in this Tango compared to last night. But Neil should never have included all the Argentine bits, they make it look untidy.
Katie’s Jive outfit hasn’t approved overnight, and neither has this Jive, really. If anything the timing is more off – really not sure how this voting is going to go now.
Time for some more filler in the shape of a plug for Movie Week. Will spend the next week climbing the hill of ‘movies that were originally stage musicals don’t belong on Movie Week’ so I can die on it next Saturday.
I can’t stop laughing at Dan Walker in that dreadful outfit. I like to think wardrobe fought hard for him to just wear the Star Trek top and the pleather skirt, but he refused on religious grounds and ended up in slacks.
Well, this is arguably the first big shock of the season. Would any of us have put these two in the bottom two after their first dances last week? Katie delivered a very decent Tango and Nina’s Samba was incredible.
I can’t be sure about Katie, but I’m absolutely convinced that if Nina had performed her two dances the other way round, she probably wouldn’t be here. But likewise for Sara and Robert and Tilly – the order of their two dances has made ALL the difference.
So who is joining Nina and Neil in the dance off? Rhys and Nancy are safely through to Movie Week, along with Greg and Karen and Dan and Nadiya. Also, please can everyone stop doing Giovanni’s THANG YOU THANG YOU, we were all very over it some years ago.
Robert and Dianne are also safe, which means KATIE AND GORKA are in the dance off.
Can someone take the opportunity to green screen some fundamentals onto Shirley?
Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of singer/songwriter Griff performing her new single, One Night. You may remember Griff from Katie and Gorka’s Tango last week, which was another of her tracks - ‘Black Hole’. She’s dressed as a tin of custard.
So who else is safely through to next week? Sara and Aljaz are through, along with Ugo and Oti, Rose and Giovanni and Adam and Katya. See? Tight trousers and olympic guns for the win. We’ll find out who else is in the dance off later.
Claudia’s Chatterpillar is back, so we may have to wait another year for the Clauditorium Zoo to make a reappearance. Although actually I quite like the calm of this on a Sunday night.
Apparently John found a penny last week and has tucked it in his knickers for luck. I feel like this story is another way for John to remind us that he has a partner and is definitely not getting down and dirty with Johannes. We KNOW, John. But can you not let us dream?
So who is the first couple in tonight’s Dance Off? John and Johannes are safe, along with Judi and Graziano, AJ and Kai and Tilly and Nikita.
First couple in the dance off – NINA AND NEIL. Well, that’s a shame, but she has massive room for improvement in the dance-off.
Totally agree with everyone in the comment box saying Anton is a brilliant judge, by the way. I really enjoyed his commentary last night, he seems very much in his element.
Last night on Strictly – grinning from start to finish. Highlights included John and Johannes’ joyful Cha Cha, AJ and Kai’s dreamy Foxtrot and Judi and Graziano’s twerking Samba. And a few surprises too, like Tilly and Nikita’s Charleston and Sara and Aljaz’s Foxtrot. I think this is a really tough series to predict, because there’s a huge amount of Journey potential in that middle group, and no real ’17 years of dance training’ ringers or ‘legs on backwards’ duffers. If ever there was a series for shock evictions, I think it’s this one.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess is dressed for an evening of judo, Claudia’s in a black suit with cropped trousers. Meanwhile Shirley’s wearing Motsi’s Kermit dress from last week.
And we’re off! Tonight’s opening pro dance has a wild west saloon theme, with vocals provided by Tom Grennan singing ‘Something Better’. If you’re carrying over last night’s bingo, there are many hats and very few shirt buttons.
I just looked Tom Grennan up and he’s the chap that did that song ‘A Little Bit Of Love’ from earlier this year. He’s basically George Ezra but cooler and *checks notes* from Bedford.
Just seen it’s a 55 minute show tonight. How can it possibly take 55 minutes to kick off one couple? Is it being broadcast in slo-mo? Are there four pro dances? Expect more filler than Simon Cowell’s forehead.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back to the first Strictly Results Show! I’ve missed our autumn Sunday catch up, it’s good to be back even though Countryfile was on earlier and I missed Nick Miller doing the Casual Weather.
Tonight we’ll be waving goodbye to our first Strictly couple, and I genuinely have no idea who it’s going to be. Ugo, Greg, Katie, Adam and Nina are currently making up the bottom five, and I think we can reasonably eliminate Greg (Couple’s Choice free pass) and Adam (spray on trousers free pass) from those five. Which means Ugo, Katie and Nina could be in serious trouble unless the nation has stepped in to save them.
What’s also clear is that my Heidi’s Hunches from yesterday is already in ruins, because pretty much everyone in that bottom group stepped up and smashed it last night. I’ll definitely be reshuffling the cards next Saturday.
Kick off is at 7.15pm; in the meantime enjoy David Attenborough talking about biodiversity - Countryfile is back in its usual pre-Strictly slot next week. See you in a bit!
And on that note, we’re done! Thank you for joining in – I’ll be back tomorrow at 7.05pm for the Results Show – we carry on right here rather than starting a new blog, so just swing by whenever you’re ready. See you then!
Time for a HUGE recap - my faves this evening were John and Johannes, AJ and Kai and Judi and Graziano, but to be honest the performance levels this year are incredibly high and I could happily watch all that again. Just maybe not liveblogging, because I really need the loo and my hands are like claws.
And that’s it for the dancing! AJ and Kai and John and Johannes are at the top of the leaderboard (no surprise), but somehow Nina and Neil have ended up at the bottom, which is a travesty after that Samba last week. Second bottom is Ugo and Oti, and Katie and Gorka are in danger too. Voting is open!
Scores: 8,9,9,8 - a total of 36 for Tilly and Nikita.
Anton loved the verve and personality - it was wonderful and he enjoyed the animation. Craig loved it - it was a difficult routine but the energy was fantastic. Motsi thought Tilly made it her own, and Shirley thought Tilly was a total powerhouse.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this Charleston, but actually Tilly is bringing bags of personality and fun to this dance. It’s a bit frantic and stompy in places and the lifts feel a bit laboured, but great fun. A fab way to end another brilliant show.
Incidentally, Gordon Ramsay is this year’s bingo rollover. He’s not on the weekly list, but every sighting/mention from here on requires you to either a) drain your glass or b) shout your favourite swearword for no reason at all.
And finally, it’s TILLY AND NICK CARTER! Look, let me have another couple of weeks out of this joke, then I’ll let it die of natural causes.
Tonight they’re dancing the Charleston to ‘Yes Sir! That’s My Baby’ by Firehouse Five Plus Two. This is a Strictly Charleston standard – how will Tilly fare with a bit of slapstick characterisation?
Scores: 5,7,7,6 - a total of 25 for Ugo and Oti.
That definitely brought a smile to Shirley’s face - it was a huge improvement on last week. Anton loved Ugo’s left arm position, but his right one is a little far back. Craig thought that was definitely worth more points than last week, and his growth is enormous. Motsi loved how Ugo concentrated on what he’s doing and she can see how hard he’s worked.
Well, this is fun. Ugo’s bringing sunshine, personality AND great footwork, with only a few little timing issues. Nice control on the floor spin at the end too. Really enjoyed that.
Next up it’s UGO AND OTI! This week they’re dancing the Quickstep to ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ by The Jive Aces. It’s hard to imagine anyone bringing more sunshine to this dance than Susan Calman and Kevin Clifton, but we already know that Oti is a magician. Ugo was near the bottom of the leaderboard last week, so he and Oti have some work to do here.
Scores: 7,6,6,7 - a total of 26 for Dan and Nadiya.
Motsi isn’t sure why she liked it, but she did. Shirley thought it had the eye of the tiger (eh?) but it was a bit stop-start in places. Anton wanted it to be more of a dance, but he liked the energy and power. Craig wanted more Spanish line and shaping, but it was strong and he was glad they went with the Gladiator theming.
Hold on to your hats, it’s time for DAN AND NADIYA. This week they’re dancing the Paso Doble to ‘Giant’ by Calvin Harris and Rag N Boneman. I mean Dan’s tall, but he’s not THAT tall.
He showed us he can Quickstep last week, but can he deliver a passionate, powerful Paso? Can he be a thrusting Spanish matador sex god? I’m suspecting not, but Dan may be the dark horse of this competition.
I am LOVING guyliner Paso Dan Walker. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be uber-camp or actually thrusting and powerful, but I don’t care, camp is very much my jam. Dan dragging Nadiya across the floor at the end has John Sargeant energy. Kind of loved that.
Scores: 8,8,9,9 - a total of 34 for Sara and Aljaz. WELL. That was a turn up for the books.
Craig thought it was absolutely wonderful, and Motsi thought it was the improvement of the week. Shirley loved the heel turn and the grace and poise. Anton wants to dance that dance with Sara at some point - her leg action was worthy of any final.
Loving Aljaz in tweed, less keen on Sara’s chiffon curtains. Wardrobe - she’s 37, why is she dressed like Miss Havisham?
Horrid dress aside, this is a nice Foxtrot from Sara - lovely fluidity in the footwork, although she needs a little more extension through her neck. Enjoyed that very much, absolutely dreamy.
Only four left! Next up it’s SARA AND ALJAŽ! Tonight they’re dancing the Foxtrot to ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’ by Cass Elliot.
Sara made a solid effort of the Cha Cha Cha last week, but I suspect that ballroom might be slightly more in her comfort zone. Incidentally, getting Aljaz to teach me the Foxtrot is very much on my ‘Things To Do Before I’m Fifty’ list. I don’t want to rush you Aljaz, but that milestone is getting dangerously close. Call me, yeah?
Scores: 6,7,6,7 - a total of 26 for Rose and Giovanni.
Anton always felt awkward doing Salsa (not nearly as awkward as we felt watching you, hun), but Rose absolutely delivered. Craig wanted better dismounts out of the lifts and Rose needs to point her toes, but she had a natural feel for this dance. Motsi was impressed with the solo parts, but her steps were a little big. Shirley thought the lifts were spectacular but agrees Rose’s feet need work.
Rose looks FABULOUS as a Latin disco diva, and she’s brought plenty of party spirit to this dancefloor. Lots of great Salsa basics, nice to see a proper Salsa without disco and hiphop. A bit clunky in and out of the lifts, but incredibly trust between her and Giovanni - what a partnership.
Next up it’s ROSE AND GIOVANNI! Tonight they’re dancing the Salsa to ‘Cuba’ by The Gibson Brothers, which was also a Salsa for Jay and Aliona. After last week’s triumphant opening Jive, Rose is sticking with upbeat party fun, and absolutely nobody is complaining.
Scores: 7,7,6,7 - a total of 27 for Robert and Dianne.
Shirley thought it was sophisticated and Robert didn’t make any mistakes. Anton loved it too, it was tremendous (DRINK). Craig thought Robert’s right hand was a bit high but it was a WOW on the Tango. Motsi was wowed too, she loved how he kept his composure and character.
I love the traditional music and Dianne’s red dress is spectacular, but this Tango lacks drive for me - it feels a bit soft in the feet. But nice pacing and he’s not gurning, so great job.
Bonus drink for the Strictly wobbly lamppost.
Next up it’s ROBERT AND DIANNE. This week they’re dancing the Tango to ‘La Cumparsita’ by Machiko Ozawa. I think it’s reasonable to assume that Robert’s Tango Face will look a lot like his Cha Cha Cha face, which is mostly his generic Robert Webb face. The issue for Robert is finding his space in this competition – if he doesn’t match the talent of Bill Bailey or have the charm of Chris Ramsay, he may not make it to Halloween. It’s a tough competition this year.
Scores: 6,7,6,6 - a total of 25 for Judi and Graziano.
Motsi loved that the life and heart of Samba was there, and Shirley loved the pulsating body rhythms. Anton has never been so thrilled in his life - he’s never seen a twerk on Strictly before. Craig thought it was a technical disaster but he LOVED it - Judi’s bottom should have its own show.
Judi’s working in a laundrette whilst wearing a butcher’s curtain, but I absolutely LOVE the vibe of this Samba. The footwork is rough in places but Judi is selling it with bags of attitude like the sass queen she is. MORE PLEASE.
Also thank you, Dave Arch singers. You did not disappoint.
It’s time for JUDI AND GRAZIANO! Their Week Two dance is the Samba to ‘Get Busy’ by Sean Paul. Much as we enjoyed Judi’s American Smooth last week, I think we all agree that she is born to Latin. Very much looking forward to this Samba.
Also can we take a moment to acknowledge this legendary music choice, and send thoughts and prayers to the Dave Arch singer who is about to do justice to Sean Paul. If he doesn’t replace ‘Jodi and Rebecca’ in the opening bars with ‘Judi and Graziano’, I’m going to have to take it up with Ofcom.
I think we’re half way through. Stay strong, everyone.
Scores: 7,9,7,8 - a total of 31 for AJ and Kai.
Craig thought AJ was absolutely amazing, classy and elegant - AJ just needs to watch her footwork. Motsi agrees, AJ took it up a notch this week. Shirley thought it was refined and poised, but she’s like her to work on her musicality. Anton thought it was dreamy and he loved the heel turn.
I love the charm and romance in this, AJ has natural elegance and a really nice ballroom frame. A few little footwork issues, but mostly she’s making this look easy. We don’t see nearly enough Foxtrots on Strictly, and this is just lovely.
Next up it’s AJ AND KAI! Tonight they’re dancing the Foxtrot to ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ by Amy Winehouse. They ended up at the top of the leaderboard after their mind-blowing Jive last week. Can they repeat that with a Foxtrot, or is it a case of ‘You Know I’m No Good’? Please talk amongst yourselves while I labour these jokes a little longer.
Scores: 8,8,8,7 - a total of 31 for John and Johannes.
Anton thought it was tremendous (DRINK), and Craig thought it had style, power and punch. Motsi loved the synchronicity, it was fabulous and fun. Shirley doesn’t want them to shy away from dancing in hold and delivering something called a ‘natural top’. I swear Shirley does this on purpose.
John has been oiled up and has hit the dancefloor with guns blazing. He’s got hips to spare and lovely fluidity to his dancing. It feels like a party I definitely want an invite to - I don’t know about all the technical details, but I absolutely loved that.
It’s time for JOHN AND JOHANNES. This week they’re dancing the Cha Cha Cha to ‘Starstruck’ by Years & Years. Their Tango last week was an absolute triumph, putting them up near the top of the leaderboard. Can they keep up that performance standard, or is upbeat poptastic Latin going to be John’s downfall? I genuinely hope not, because these two are giving me life.
Two thumb mentions from Tess! DRINK DRINK!
Scores: 3,6,7,7 - a total of 23 for Greg and Karen.
Shirley thought the whole thing was joyous and moving. Anton thought Greg had great hands and delivered some great lifts. Craig thought it lacked internal rhythm but the storytelling was gorgeous and emotional. Motsi loved the intense beginning and the build up to the energy, it looked like a lot of fun.
Loving Karen’s sparkly jumpsuit, she was born to disco. This is pure dad dancing but Greg is clearly having the time of his life and there’s never a bad time for Saturday Night Fever Fingers. Mostly he provides a pole for Karen to dance around, but I don’t care. Just joyful, bit dusty in here.
It’s GREG AND KAREN! This week they’re dancing Couple’s Choice to ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ by Ultra Naté, Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez. I think we’d all prefer to see Couple’s Choice later in the series, but Greg is dedicating this dance to his sister Clare, who sadly died of breast cancer. I get why this is important to him, so bring out your inner John Travolta and do your sister proud, Greg.
Scores: 4,6,5,6 - a total of 21 for Katie and Gorka.
Motsi thought Katie’s weight was too far back but she kept up the energy. Shirley loved Katie’s coordination but there were a few mistakes that she has to pick up on for everyone equally (this will be a first, Shirley). Anton enjoyed the performance but he could have done with more softness in the standing leg. Craig didn’t like it - there were mistakes, there was no retraction, it was stompy and Katie was flagging by the end.
Katie is doing a very decent job of this Jive, although her feet are a bit turned in on the kicks and flicks. But her timing is great and there are plenty of Jive basics, albeit she’s thrown in the towel by the end. Needs more polish and that outfit is DREADFUL, but a really solid effort.
Next up it’s KATIE AND GORKA! This week they’re dancing the Jive to ‘Good 4 U’ by Olivia Rodrigo. We don’t see many angry girl-rock Jives on Strictly, I’d be happy to explore this genre more.
Katie and Gorks delivered a solid Tango last week; keen to see how Katie can bring her personality and characterisation skills to this Jive. Actors are normally pretty dependable in this department.
Scores: 4,5,5,5 - a total of 19 for Adam and Katya.
Toto, we’re not in Week One anymore.
Craig thought the frame wasn’t great and there was a lot of gapping, but characterisation was excellent. Motsi thought it was a bit panicked, and Shirley thought it needed more ease of movement, but he’s not going down easily (matron). Anton thought Adam had issues with his frame and his arms were in the wrong place, which was causing all kinds of problems.
The premise of this dance is that Adam is a nerd on a train who chats up a hot girl. I think, anyway - it’s all a bit odd. Adam’s Quickstep feels a bit stilted, but that may be down to the tightness of those trousers. He’s also visibly counting, which is a bit distracting. Gappy and skippy, but not the worst Quickstep we’ve ever seen.
It’s time for ADAM AND KATYA. Tonight they’re dancing the Quickstep to ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ by Jet. Ore did a biker leathers Quickstep to this a few years back and got a ten from Darcey. But does Ore have any Olympic medals? No he does not.
Scores: 3,5,5,5 - a total of 18 for Nina and Neil.
Anton liked the performance but there were a couple of mistakes and Nina’s head needs work. Craig thought the frame wasn’t great, he didn’t like the Argentine bits and the footwork was ropey - not Nina’s dance, sadly. Motsi liked the commitment to character but Nina needs to get control of her spine. Shirley thought Nina started off well and she picked up the mistakes well - a very good effort.
Nina’s storytelling is amazing in this Tango, and it has great power and drive. But her posture needs work and the Argentine leg actions look a bit clunky, sadly. Not a patch on their Samba last week, but I still love her.
Next up it’s NINA AND NEIL. Their Week Two dance is the Tango to ‘Would I Lie To You?’ By Eurythmics. I loved their Samba last week, Nina has such huge potential in this competition. Really enjoying this partnership too; Neil did an amazing job bringing out the inner dancefloor goddess in Alex Jones in 2019, and I think he may well do the same for Nina.
First Terms & Conditions of the season! This week it’s Alan Carr in front of some horrible wallpaper.
Scores: 7,8,8,7 - a total of 30 for Rhys and Nancy.
Shirley loved Rhys’s straight legs and lowered heels, it was amazing. Anton loved the Motown vibe and Rhys’s open work was outstanding, but it needed more fluidity. Craig thought it was spiky and stiff and there was no hip action, but his isolations were great. Motsi loved the energy and she’d love to go to a party with Rhys.
I mean, Rhys definitely has some moves, and he’s not afraid to use them. The routine feels a bit spiky and frantic in places and Rhys’s arms look like he’s doing semaphore, but his timing is decent and you can’t fault his enthusiasm.
OK, let’s get this dancing started. First up tonight it’s RHYS AND NANCY. This week they’re dancing the Cha Cha to ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’ by Human Nature (or the Four Tops, if you want to get all original about things). Rhys and Nancy delivered a lovely Waltz last week, but I feel like it was just banking a ballroom so Rhys could smash a Latin on a week where it matters.
Out come the stars! Loving nerdy Adam Peaty and Nina’s glitterball dress.
Wait, what in the name of spandex space barbarians is Dan Walker wearing? It’s like Gladiator meets Star Trek, a crossover literally nobody asked for.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in black sparkles with power shoulders, Claudia in scarlet. We haven’t seen a dud outfit yet, it’s all quite unsettling.
Out come the judges! Loving the co-ordinated dance moves.
I’ve been inspecting this year’s opening credits for random/annoying elements. Apart from Nina and Neil playing pat-a-cake, Katie doing the robot and Tilly looking like she’d rather be anywhere but here, it’s pretty standard fare. The only bit that’s guaranteed to grind my gears until Christmas is Oti booping Ugo on the nose like he’s the family Labrador.
And we’re off! Last week on Strictly: a show that lasted longer than a flight to Portugal. Lots of incredible dancing, including a super-hot Man Tango and Adam and Katya impregnating the nation through the medium of Cha Cha Cha. Little by way of clunkers or ringers this year, but bags of potential for a really great series.
This week’s Strictly Come Bingo – a swig of black market diesel for any occurrence of the following:
- Shirley saying ‘fundamentals’
- Anton saying ‘tremendous’
- Craig banging on about thumbs
- Tess inviting us to look at someone’s little face
I’ve just been reliably informed (thanks @fewernotless in the comments) that Strictly isn’t going to Blackpool this year, so nobody’s Battling For Blackpool. I’ll come up with something new for next week (suggestions welcome!)
So the judges’ scores will be carried over from last week, which means some of our couples have an uphill struggle to stay out of the Dreaded Dance-Off tomorrow night. But even on very limited evidence we can start thinking about how far they might go in this year’s competition, which means it’s time for the return of Heidi’s Hunches, a feature last seen in 2019 that never really caught on. Let’s give it another spin on the liveblog dancefloor, shall we?
Group 1: driving for December – Adam and Katya, AJ and Kai, John and Johannes, Rose and Giovanni, Rhys and Nancy
Group 2: battling for Blackpool – Katie and Gorka, Nina and Neil, Greg and Karen, Tom and Amy (if they come back), Judi and Graziano
Group 3: happy to see Halloween – Tilly and Nikita, Sara and Aljaz, Dan and Nadiya, Ugo and Oti, Robert and Dianne
Let me know in the comment box if you think I’m wildly off-piste here, and I’ll shuffle them round each week as the competition progresses and we start to get a proper feel for who’s a contender and who’s making up the numbers.
Evening all, and welcome back to this week’s Strictly liveblog! It’s Week Two, which means the public vote will be opening tonight and our first couple will be heading home tomorrow. I know we’d love to keep them all, but I’m already impatient for shows that are sub-two hours and I’m afraid that means sorting the sparkly wheat from the stompy chaff. Although I’m happy not to lose any more couples to Covid, which has struck down Tom and Amy this week. Hopefully they’ll both be fit and well and back on the dancefloor next week.
Kick-off tonight is at 6.45pm, and even though we’re one couple short it’s still two hours and twelve minutes long. Please bring joy, sparkle and a fully-stocked snack hamper. See you then!