See you next weekend (but only on Sunday!)
Well, that was emotional. Thank you all for joining in, has been one of my favourite Strictly weeks in ages. I’m off to do some out-of-time clapping in the Strictly studio next Saturday, so I’m leaving a supply teacher in charge of the liveblog – no idea who, but I’m sure they’ll be FABULOUS.
I’ll be back on Sunday for the spoiler-free Results Show, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @heidistephens if you want to see some Elstree pics. Off to dust off my sequins – have a fabulous week! Hx
Ellie and Nikita take to the floor for their final dance to Everlasting Love. It’s a glorious finish for a brilliant couple.
I know the pros and celebs say lovely things about each other every week (friends for life, always), but it’s clear that the relationship between Ellie and Nikita has been something incredibly special. It’s been a genuinely life-changing experience for Ellie, and I don’t think we’ll ever forget what she’s brought to the Strictly dancefloor. Who’s crying? I’m crying.
All the judges vote to save Molly and Carlos, including Shirley. Which means ELLIE AND NIKITA are leaving the Strictly ballroom. Curse of the middle table, but also the curse of the Charleston. That’s four out of six so far.
Time for the dance off!
Molly and Carlos are up first - the sugary theming of this Foxtrot was far too cutesy for me, but it’s a lovely dance from Molly – she’s one of the strongest dancers in the competition and she absolutely deserves to stay.
That said, this Charleston from Ellie S is also a brilliant showcase of the flawless partnership between her and Nikita – she’s been an outstanding performer from Week 1 and she also deserves to stay.
Funny thing is, if Craig had just given Ellie T the six she deserved this probably wouldn’t have happened. It’s a strange old world.
So who’s joining Ellie and Nikita in the bottom two? Helen and Gorka are safe, along with Will and Nancy, Tyler and Dianne and Kym and Graziano.
Which means MOLLY AND CARLOS are in the dance off.
WELL. That means the public saved Will, Tyler, Ellie T and Tony, AND gave Fleur a week off. Molly was FOURTH on the leaderboard, out of ten couples.
Neither Ellie S OR Molly deserve to go home, in my opinion - they are both fabulous. I suspect it might be Ellie Simmonds who ends up leaving, which is actually quite upsetting.
Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of stage/screen actor Luke Evans. He’s singing the Simon and Garfunkel classic ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, from his album A Song For You.
It’s a beautiful song and Luke is a fabulous singer, very much enjoying this. Can we just have turtlenecked Welsh singers who sound brilliant live, every week? I’d be totally fine with that.
Kai and Nadiya are dancing, and now I’m thinking about how much Kai looks like Luke Evans. We all know that Kai and Nadiya are dating, right? Their Instagram is just one giant heart-eyes emoji.
Also I’ve just looked up who’s doing the Sunday turn next weekend when I’m in the studio, and it’s Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Zak Abel. Love a cello, and very hope Zak is singing this song because it’s GORGEOUS.
So who is safely through to next week? Ellie and Johannes are safe, along with Fleur and Vito, Hamza and Jowita and Tony and Katya.
First couple in the bottom two: ELLIE S AND NIKITA.
Eek, that’s a big chunk of the bottom of the leader board safe, then – never let it be said your votes don’t count, for better or worse. The only ones on the leaderboard below Ellie S were Tyler and Will, so I’d argue whoever goes tonight probably shouldn’t.
Last night on Strictly: an evening of pure joy, unencumbered by wigs and props and random themes. We don’t ask for much around here, but can we have more of this please?
Highlights: great dancing all round, and a brilliant effort from both the naturally gifted and the triers. You can tell how much everyone is loving the journey, and it makes for great telly. Also I’m obsessed with Imelda Shirley’s tiny shoe collection – absolutely going in next week’s bingo.
Lowlights: Inconsistent scoring, poppies so ubiquitous they ceased to have meaning, this week’s judge/presenter wardrobe – barely had we got our head round Claudia’s wizard pyjamas when Motsi came out dressed as a split condom and Shirley danced down the stairs in a pubic jumpsuit.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Tess in a sparkly shirt, Claudia in a black jacket with a weird bra. SO much better than last night, in every possible way.
Tonight’s opening pro dance brings a bit of commercial Bollywood to the Strictly dancefloor. It features Michelle and the rest of Strictly pro crew, along with Bollywood dancer Ramzan and a few of his backing dancers. Johannes is, as ever, living his best life.
This is all kinds of fabulous - would happily add Bollywood to the Strictly dance options, but of course something else would have to go. Farewell, Couple’s Choice, it was occasionally fun while it lasted.
Right, are we ready for some Strictly? Let’s do it.
In many ways the star of this episode of Countryfile is the collection of BBC drones, which have definitely been putting the miles in. Although I find it’s actually quite fun to imagine John Craven in a hot air balloon with a camcorder.
Superstar Saul is abseiling in atrocious weather with Barney Walsh, who the internet tells me is an actor, and also the son of Bradley Walsh. You’re welcome.
It's the Countryfile Casual Weather!
Tonight’s Countryfile Casual Weatherperson is the dashing Matt Taylor, serving Fat Face plaid and matching denim. Could have done with rolling those sleeves up and undoing another button, Matt, but it’s undeniably a lovely fit.
Producer to John Craven: ‘John, do you fancy going on a ramble with some amazing people?’
John Craven: ‘Bugger that, I’m 82. I’ll give you half an hour of Zoom chats in a gilet, then a bonus plug of the Countryfile calendar.’
How amazing is 13-year-old Saul Wilton on Countryfile? Can’t stop grinning, he’s an absolute superstar.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening glitterbunnies, and welcome back to Week 7 Results! Hope everyone’s pets are stress-free today after last night’s fireworks.
Tonight we’ll be sending another couple home – it SHOULD be Tony and Ellie T in the dance-off, but I think there’s a good chance they picked up a truckload of public votes last night. Tony for having a nightmare, and Ellie for getting undeservedly rinsed by the judges. Every year we all get frustrated by the lack of judging consistency – either judge on progress or performance, I really don’t care, but can we not mix and match in the SAME EPISODE?
Anyway, deep breaths. A few people in the danger zone as a result of the above, including Tyler, Will and Ellie S. Could tonight see two of these in the dance-off for the first time?
Kick off is at 7.15 – join me then, or stick around for a Countryfile ramble. Back where it belongs in the pre-Strictly slot! I couldn’t be happier.
See you tomorrow for the results!
Thank you as ever for joining me for another spin round the Strictly dancefloor, and for lighting a few sparklers in the comment box. I’ll be back at 7.15 tomorrow for the Results show, so please come back then! In the meantime enjoy the rest of your Saturday! Hx
Time to vote!
The dancing is done, and the voting is open! Hamza, Kym and Helen are riding high at the top of the leaderboard, whilst Ellie T and Tony are lingering at the bottom. Will they be the bottom two tomorrow? YOU DECIDE.
Don’t know about you, but I very much enjoyed the lack of theme chaos this evening, free from Couple’s Choice and other gimmicky nonsense. My favourite week in a while – let’s do a recap!
Scores: 4,6,5,6 – a total of 21 for Tony and Katya. Not sure that deserved a higher score than Ellie T, Craig.
Anton thought it went wrong a LOT, and Craig agrees – it wasn’t a great dance. Motsi thought maybe Tony tried too hard, but he needs to Salsa on. Shirley thought it had great rotation and he was fearless, but there were too many mistakes.
DJ Tony is on the decks, and you can’t fault his commitment to fake tan and giving it everything. And good lord he’s come a long way since week 1. That doesn’t mean this is technically any good, but there are glimmers of really great footwork until he picks Katya up like he’s shifting scaffolding and I stop breathing. Mistakes galore, but 10/10 for enthusiasm.
And finally tonight, it's Tony & Katya!
This week they’re dancing the Salsa to ‘I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)’ by Pitbull. Look, I get that Tony is the people’s favourite and doing it for the dads etc., but I’m afraid I will be on the lookout for some actual Salsa in this routine. I know, I know – it’s old-fashioned, but I’m a bit of a stickler for hip action.
Lots of Strictly family in the crowd tonight – I’m going next Saturday, so I’ll be leaving you with a supply teacher. Please behave.
Scores: 9,9,8,9 – a total of 35 for Fleur and Vito – SURELY that keeps her out of the bottom two?
Shirley loved how beautiful Fleur kept it – it had style and grace. She gets another pair of shoes out to demonstrate some toe issues – has Clarks set up a branch under the judges’ desk?
Anton thought it was beautiful to watch, but agrees there were one or two things down below that need adjusting. Craig thought it was graceful, elegant and stylish – he adored it. Motsi loved how Fleur commits every week – it was one of the best dances she’s seen tonight.
Fleur’s dress is just stunning, and Vito in white is frankly delightful, even though the waistband of those trousers is practically under his armpits. Great rise and fall from Fleur in this Waltz, and her frame looks divine from where I’m sitting. There’s a beautiful chemistry between these two – one of my fave dances of the night.
It's time for Fleur & Vito!
This week they’re dancing the Waltz to ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues’ by Elton John. Love this song, and have every hope that Fleur and Vito are going to do a gorgeous job of it. Can she stay out of the dance-off this week? I hope so, god knows she deserves a break.
Scores: 9,9,9,10 – a total of 37 for Helen and Gorka. Oh Anton, really? DRINK.
Motsi thought it was a statement dance – Helen made a tiny mistake but it was magnificent. Shirley thought that was the way to dance a Jive – she made it look easy. Anton thought it was brilliant and Craig was reaching for his 10 paddle, but Helen made a mistake right in front of him.
I love how Helen has grown in confidence this series – she’s on a Louise Redknapp-style journey of rediscovery and PURE REVENGE. She loses her timing at one point, but this has BAGS of attitude and one of my favourite Jive routines in ages.
Helen wanted people to think it was cool, and it definitely was.
Next up it's Helen & Gorka!
This week they’re dancing the Jive to ‘Tightrope’ by Janelle Monáe. I could have sworn Helen has already done a Jive, but apparently not.
I absolutely LOVE this song, and it lends itself to a very cool funk/soul Jive that I’m already very excited about.
Scores: 8,8,8,9 – a total of 33 for Will and Nancy.
Craig thought it was a bit heavy in the footwork, but it had great rhythm and was really entertaining. Motsi thought it was a bit hesitant in the transitions, but Will has great musicality. Shirley agrees on the transitions, and she has a TINY SHOE to demonstrate how Will needed to stay on his toes more. Anton loved the speed and floor coverage, and Will’s top line is coming on wonderfully – a great performance.
Will is such an effortless performer, and this kind of dance is very much his happy place. Lots of Charleston elements in this Quickstep, and Will is absolutely selling it. Liked that a lot.
Who's next? It's Will & Nancy!
This week they’re dancing the Quickstep to ‘Soda Pop’ by Robbie Williams featuring Michael Bublé. Regardless of how you feel about swing band Robbie (insert side eye emoji) it’s undeniable that this is a brilliant song for a Quickstep.
Will could really do with a brilliant week to keep him in the running – feel like he’s been wafting around in the cursed middle for a few weeks now and that’s an increasingly dangerous place to be.
Scores: 9,9,9,10 – a total of 37 for Kym and Graziano. DRINK.
Anton loved it – it was unrecognisable compared to Kym’s Quickstep a couple of weeks ago. Craig thought Kym had raised shoulders, but was otherwise perfect. Motsi loved the understatement and quality, and Shirley doesn’t think Kym knows how good that was. OK, clearly I need to watch that again.
What is going on with the strapping on Kym’s dress? It’s making my left boob hurt on her behalf.
As you expect from Kym, this is technically a brilliant Argentine – she has core of steel and a lovely fluidity to her dancing. But the first half feels too balletic, and the second half has no heat. I REALLY wanted to love that, but I’m afraid I didn’t. Boo.
It's time for Kym & Graziano!
This week they’re dancing an Argentine Tango to ‘Assassin’s Tango’ by John Powell. Risky doing an Argentine off the back of a Halloween Rumba, but it’s a good opportunity for Kym and Graz to show us a bit of sizzle, because last week left me a bit cold.
Scores: 7,7,7,8 – a total of 29 for Tyler and Dianne.
Shirley loved the quality of the expression, but it wasn’t the most comfortable dance for Tyler – too many incorrect steps and his frame collapsed. Anton agrees – Tyler was falling over his feet a bit and his topline wasn’t right. Craig thought it was a bit pedestrian, and Tyler was dancing too much into the ground and his bum was sticking out. Motsi wants to see the next level – Tyler needs to listen to the judges and take it on board.
Is that our first park bench of the season? Have a bonus drink.
This is gorgeous, obviously, but Tyler definitely has some postural issues and his balance is on the wonk, with some scrappy footwork and his bum is out. It feels under-rehearsed to me – not my favourite Tyler dance, but I could watch a Viennese with Tommy on vocals all night long.
Next up - Tyler & Dianne!
This week they’re dancing the Viennese Waltz to ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ by Seal. I love a Viennese, and this song is gorgeous. If Tyler can keep his bum in, am fully expecting this to be 100% dreamy.
Scores: 7,9,8,9 – a total of 33 for Ellie and Nikita.
Motsi thought it was a whole new level – Ellie put her heart on the dancefloor. Shirley loved the strength and it had the wow factor. Anton thought the incredible reaction was absolutely justified – Ellie was just gorgeous. Craig wanted more detail in the Charleston elements and there was a bit of a stumble, but the last lift was incredible.
Loving sass queen Ellie being flung around by Nikita. There are definitely some timing issues and I’d have liked more Charleston between the 74 lifts, but Ellie is giving this both barrels and I’m here for the sheer joy of it.
Next week it's Ellie S and Nikita!
This week they’re dancing the Charleston to ‘Too Darn Hot’ by Kiss Me Kate. I mean technically it’s by Cole Porter from the musical Kiss Me Kate, so clearly belongs in Musicals Week at the end of the month. But to be honest I’m too tired to die on this hill mid-season.
Are we all drinking for the training room poppies? Pity the poor production assistant frantically pinning them on before the camera rolls.
Scores: 8,9,9,9 – a total of 35 for Molly and Carlos.
Craig thought it was absolutely GAWJUS, and Motsi was transported away into the dance – they danced it perfectly. Shirley thought it was the epitome of style and sophistication, and Anton thought it was super-duper. I mean, it was all of those things, but just a bit saccharine for a raddled old cynic like me.
Shirley’s outfit is DREADFUL. She looks like a butcher’s curtain.
Oh goodness, this is a pack of Love Hearts in dance form. Great footwork and another solid performance from Molly, but I can do without Carlos mouthing the words and this is actually making my teeth hurt. Like a cheese sandwich, dipped in sugar.
It's time for Molly & Carlos!
Their Week 7 dance is the Foxtrot to ‘You Make Me Happy’ by My Sun and Stars. I mean, watching a Foxtrot makes me happy. The lack of wigs and facepaint and mad props DEFINITELY makes me happy. Hopefully this will also make Ellie happy, because I suspect she’s crying quite hard right now.
Scores: 3,7,5,7 – a total of 22 for Ellie T and Johannes. She looks devastated.
Anton thought Ellie had lovely lines and immaculate footwork, but he wanted more fluidity (THANK YOU) in the transitions. Craig thought it was a bit stiff and it looked like Ellie was walking around – there was no resistance and hip action. Motsi loved how Ellie devoted her performance to Johannes but agrees on the hip action. Shirley though it had lovely finish and the footwork was nice but it needed more flexibility and musicality.
Oh no, they’re doing it properly. Boo. This is actually a pretty decent Rumba with plenty of drama and some lovely arms from Ellie, but the moves feel a bit spiky and need more hip action and fluidity in the transitions. Says she, on her sofa, drinking gin.
Next up it's Ellie T & Johannes!
This week they’re dancing the Rumba to ‘Alone’ by Heart. I grew up in the era of 80s power ballads and this is one of my least favourite examples of a genre I can’t be doing with. I’m also not generally a fan of the Rumba, so overall this doesn’t bode well.
That said, I’m a HUGE fan of both Johannes and Ellie, and I’m hoping they pull this off by going full 80s overblown camp. It’s their only hope.
I’ve just noticed that Claudia’s Primark Wizard PJs have flared trousers. DRINK.
Scores: 8,10,10,10 – a total of 38 for Hamza and Jowita. Drink everything, it’s going to be a long night.
Shirley thought it was an amazing opening to the show – one of the best Cha Cha Cha’s she ever seen. Anton thought it was absolute brilliant, he couldn’t find anything to mark it down for. Hamza gives Craig a sticky bun, sadly he still points out that his feet were turned in – but it had great hip action and straight leg. Motsi thought the music was in Hamza’s body and on the dancefloor – she loved it.
This is quite technicolour, but I love this paring SO much. Hamza has great hip action and does a proper straight leg, even though his toes turn in a bit. But definitely one of my favourite Cha Chas of Strictly this year – enjoyed that a lot.
First up tonight it's Hamza & Jowita!
This week they’re dancing the Cha Cha Cha to ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)’ by the Four Tops. We don’t get nearly enough Motown classics on Strictly, and I have every hope of Hamza making this joyful in every possible way.
Out come the stars! Nobody else has been punished by wardrobe this week, because clearly they were too busy with Tess, Claudia and the judges.
Out come the judges! Craig’s in a turtleneck, Shirley’s dressed as a yeti and Motsi’s in a hot pink shower curtain. Is there strike action in the wardrobe department?
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Tess dressed as a banana, Claudia as a magician who does kids parties. All time low.
And we’re off! We’re halfway through the competition, which means time for another slo-mo VT. Nobody wants to go home, and it’s anyone’s game. THE TENSION.
Let’s play Strictly Come Bingo!
We’ve had a heavy couple of weeks, so I’m going to go easy on you this evening. Take a polite sip of tap water (room temperature, no ice) for any occurrence of the following:
CGI floor graphics
Anton 10s (like a Donny 10, but even more worthless)
Early sightings of training room poppies
I’m watching The Wheel with the sound off – I find that if you imagine Michael McIntyre having the voice of Jim Bowen, it feels like a very different gameshow.
Heidi’s Hunches – November update!
Only ten couples left, and we’re at an interesting point in the competition. I’m reasonably confident that Will, Tyler and Hamza will be in the Grand Final – they’re all good all-rounders with the holy trinity of talent, judge love and public support. But that fourth spot could go to any one of Molly, Ellie S, Helen, Kym or Fleur – there’s every chance that the dance-off battle in the coming weeks will be all about the ladies. I’m leaving Tony out of this for the time being, because how far his public support will take him is a big unknown – history suggests no further than Blackpool, but we’ll see.
Fighting for the Final: Will and Nancy, Tyler and Dianne, Hamza and Jowita
Driving for December: Molly and Carlos, Fleur and Vito, Ellie S and Nikita, Helen and Gorka, Kym and Graziano
Dodging the dance-off: Tony and Katya, Ellie T and Johannes
Dates for your diary!
Just to let you know that there are some changes to the Strictly schedule in December to make way for some football thing, so please adjust your diaries accordingly.
The quarter-final will now be on FRIDAY 2ND DECEMBER, which means we get a Saturday night off. A Saturday! In December! What on earth am I going to do with it? Even the IDEA is making me giddy.
The semi-final will now be on SUNDAY 11TH DECEMBER, which presents the tantalising possibility that they might do the Results Show LIVE later that night. How good would that be? How knackered will I be at the end of it? Don’t care, let’s do it anyway.
It’s Week 7!
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing liveblog! We’ve passed the halfway point, so it’s all downhill from here, but hopefully in a good way. Inexplicably there are still ten couples left – how have we only sent home five so far? I suppose we’ve usually lost a couple by now due to Covid, injury or general meltdown, but this year’s bunch seem to be pretty hardy. Very much hoping this sentence doesn’t come back to haunt me.
For this week and next there is NO THEME, so let joy be unconfined. Then we’re off to Blackpool, which is less of a theme and more of a circus with a sprung floor, but we’ll worry about that nearer the time. For now, let’s enjoy a week where the dancing takes centre stage – kick off is at 7pm, so please join me then!