See you next week!
Anyway, it’s farewell to Tyler and Dianne. They take to the floor for their final dance, to ‘Last Dance’ by Donna Summer. WHAT a tune.
And with that, it’s another Strictly weekend in Blackpool over – thank you all for joining in with my nonsense and being amazing – it’s been a really fun show. I’ll be back next week at 7.15pm for another turn around the Strictly dancefloor, this time safely back in Elstree. Feel free to come and say hi on Twitter/Instagram @heidistephens if you’re passing, and apologies in advance for the book plugs this week. Have a great week!
Tyler and Dianne say heartfelt things about each other (friends for life etc.) and on this occasion it’s easy to believe that these two have become good mates.
But I’d really love to see the data over twenty years. What’s the average lifespan of a Strictly pro/celebrity Whatsapp message thread, before they start leaving each other on read? To what degree does going on the live tour help to plaster over any early cracks or reinforce the friendship? Does, for example, Natasha Kaplinsky still send Brendan Cole a Christmas card? Do Pasha and Kimberley ever meet for lunch? I feel like if I ever do a PhD, this will be my doctoral thesis.
Clearly a difficult choice for the judges this week – Craig agrees that both danced WAY better second time round.
Craig and Motsi both save Molly and Carlos, but (PLOT TWIST) Anton saves Tyler and Dianne. Which means Shirley has the deciding vote, and decides to save…Molly and Carlos.
Which means TYLER AND DIANNE are leaving Strictly this week. It’s a shame – I thought Tyler had huge potential to make the Grand Final this year, but that Salsa choreo did him no favours. Difficult to say goodbye to anyone at this point in the competition, we’ve all emotionally invested in their journeys. But we’ll always have the memory of his Paso harness.
Tyler and Dianne are up next – this Salsa was great fun, but I’d argue the party spirit came from the disco elements, rather than any high quality Salsa. Also if that’s the same afro wig worn by Aston Merrygold in 2017, it’s cursed.
Tyler is NOT going out quietly – this Salsa has definitely got more intent in the hip action. Could this save him?
Dance off time!
Molly and Carlos are up first with their Jive – poor Molly has been in this dance-off so many times, can we just put her out of her misery? It wasn’t my favourite dance of the night, but she had huge talent and you can see the determination to keep going. Absolute respect to her for that.
Tonight’s dance-off is going to be a close one – Molly and Tyler both scored 35 last night. I’d argue Molly is the stronger dancer, but if it all comes down to this one dance it could go either way. Who will it be???
So who is joining Molly and Carlos in the bottom two? Helen and Gorka are safe, along with Will and Nancy and Kym and Graziano.
Which means TYLER AND DIANNE in the dance off.
So Kym, Ellie and Will have all won the public vote this week, saving them from the dance-off. The next few weeks are going to be VERY interesting.
Time for a musical interlude, with Eurovision troubadour and knitwear inspiration Sam Ryder back for the third time this weekend, if you count the Terms & Conditions.
He’s singing his latest single ‘All The Way Over’ (this episode of Strictly). Neil and and Jowita and Gio and Katya are dancing. There is a great deal of hair and spinning.
Oh, I LOVE Tess’s glittery fish dress – my fave look of the season so far.
So who is definitely going back to Elstree next week, and who is heading for the dance-off? Fleur and Vito are safe, along with Hamza and Jowita and Ellie and Johannes (OOOOH, that’s a surprise).
First couple in the bottom two –MOLLY AND CARLOS.
Last night on Strictly: BACK IN BLACKPOOL, the AC/DC track we never knew we needed.
Highlights (for me, anyway) – the return of big spectacle Strictly, the sheer joy of it all, some brilliant dancing. I grinned from start to finish, and god knows we need a bit of that right now.
Lowlights: Scoring that has become largely meaningless now, but that’s hardly new news.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH
Tess in fabulous green sequins, Claudia in tiger stripes. More on the bottom half later.
And we’re off! Time for some pro dancer Blackpool nostalgia, complete with old photos of teens with really orange tans. And now grown up Amy and Kai are dancing with little versions of themselves. How cute is this?
Music is provided by Sam Ryder, singing John Farnham’s 80s inspo banger ‘You’re The Voice’. Actually, Sam, this is Strictly. The Voice is on the other side. Happy to clear up any confusion.
Tonight’s Countryfile Casual Weatherperson is the lovely Louise Lear, who also did the weather at the end of the news forty minutes ago and has since CHANGED HER TOP for more casual weather-appropriate red sweater. Very much on the autumn/festive cusp, I approve.
Very much enjoying the irony of Countryfile plugging a printed calendar on a show about saving trees. Feel free to pay with your paper cheque.
I see from the comment box that Fleur’s dance split the room last night – for some it was brilliant, and others just pop video posing. So when my mum (77) popped over today, I gave her the deciding vote – was Fleur’s dance actually worth four tens?
The verdict? Fleur and Vito was her favourite dance of the night. So there you have it. No further discussion allowed.
In other news, mum also loved Tyler’s Salsa and thought he was undermarked. Might make ‘what did Joy think?’ a regular Sunday feature. (Feel free to give this a better name).
Learning about trees on Countryfile, and whilst I accept it’s important, carbon offsetting is quite hard to get excited about. Maybe it needs a rebrand?
Also I struggle with episodes of Countryfile that are only about one thing. I have a very short attention span and need variety. Give me trees, but also sheep and basket-weaving and storm-blasted seals.
Also thank you for pointing out that the pinned leaderboard is a huge spoiler for late-night Saturday or Sunday readers – I totally hadn’t considered this when I got so excited about it yesterday. I’ve taken it down, and won’t do it again.
Farewell, newly-discovered Guardian liveblog feature – we barely knew you.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back for the Blackpool Results Show! I know you all hit the town with Vito and Giovanni in your dreams last night, but I had an evening of wholesome chat about love, light and penguins with Hamza and Sam Ryder, so I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Tonight we say goodbye to another Strictly couple, and then we’re into the final four weeks. I say it every year, but the first month seems to drag and then suddenly the weeks fly by and it’s nearly all over. Already a bit sad about it.
Kick off is at 7.20 – see you then!
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow…
Thank you for getting stuck in down below and being very funny and wise – I’ll be back here tomorrow from 7.20pm for the Results show, possibly with a bit of bonus Countryfile beforehand. In the meantime I’m off to eat salty chips in a biting sideways wind, just to create the authentic Blackpool experience. Genuinely wish I was there, I can taste them already.
See you tomorrow! Hx
The dancing is done, and the voting is open!
I’ve been using a pinned leaderboard at the top of the blog, having only discovered such a feature existed last week when Hollie used it. What else can this magic platform do that I don’t know about?
Anyway Fleur and Vito are at the top of the tower, and Ellie and Kym are at the end of the pier. Will they be in tomorrow’s bottom two? I’m not so sure – Tyler and Molly could be in trouble too.
Scores: 8,9,9,9 – a total of 35 for Will and Nancy.
Why give that an eight, Craig? What was wrong with it?
Motsi could see the full body action and Samba rhythm, and Shirley could see how much Will enjoyed that - he is one very well-oiled machine. Anton has had some Samba nightmares over the years (really, Anton? You’ve never mentioned it), but Will was amazing. Craig is still reeling from all the hip content, the whole night has been absolutely exceptional. AGREED.
This is exactly the kind of technicolor feather-festooned campery I want from a Samba, and Will is giving it everything. He has great musicality and you can see that hip action from space. Might actually be my favourite dance of the night.
And finally, it's Will and Nancy!
Poor Will, having to follow that. This week he and Nancy are dancing the Samba to ‘I Go To Rio’ by Hugh Jackman. Technically this belongs in Musicals Week, but whatever. It’s been a good night, and I don’t care.
We’ve had a couple of very good Sambas this year, including Fleur and Vito absolutely smashing it last weekend. Can Will and Nancy follow in their footsteps, or is this a Samba walk to the nearest tram stop?
‘I’ve always wanted to be a member of Destiny’s Child, and Vito got to be Michelle’, says Fleur. I love her so much.
Scores: 10,10,10,10 – a perfect 40 for Fleur and Vito.
FAB-U-LUSS says Craig. Motsi gets VERY excited and thought it was amazing. Shirley thought it was iconic routine that will go down in history – she was absolutely phenomenal. Anton has been waiting for this number from Fleur, but now she’s learned to channel her control.
Come on Craig, get your ten out.
Can we just take a moment to acknowledge how entirely fierce Fleur is? This is pure Beyonce attitude and I’m entirely here for it. Fleur is OWNING this dance, and Vito is just making up the numbers. Absolutely LOVED that.
Next up it's Fleur and Vito!
This week they’re dancing their Couple’s Choice to a Destiny’s Child Megamix. Will this be an unmissable banger-tastic celebration of everything we love about Fleur? Or a Michelle Visage Blackpool exit anthem? I’m banking on the former.
Still can’t believe nobody has said ‘take to the Fleur’ on this show yet. Very disappointing.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 – a total of 39 for Helen and Gorka.
‘I need a wee now’ said Helen, after lots of jumping up and down. So many mums across the land feeling you right now, Helen.
Anton though it was amazing – especially from the neck up, which I’m not sure is a compliment. Craig had an issue with Helen’s frame but her footwork was exceptional. It scored tens in every one of Motsi’s categories, and Shirley is speechless. Not literally, though – it was absolutely superb. More tens, anyone?
That pleather bodice really is dreadful, I hope Helen has talced liberally or there’s going to be terrible chafing. Still, if Strictly doesn’t pan out there’s a career waiting as a Clare Grogan impersonator.
Helen really is a brilliant dancer, and this Quickstep is FAST. Can’t see much wrong with that – FAB-U-LUSS.
Who's next? It's Helen and Gorka!
This week they’re dancing the Quickstep to ‘Valerie’ by Mark Ronson ft Amy Winehouse. Peter Andre and Janette did a Quickstep to this in 2015, which is mostly a reminder for all of us that Peter Andre took part in Strictly. I’d entirely forgotten.
Keep your glass poised for when Helen or Gorka mention how big the floor is in this VT. Oh no wait, Tess has already done it.
Scores: 7,8,8,8 – a total of 31 for Ellie and Johannes.
Shirley loved the music, which is the ultimate shade, since it’s the only bit Ellie wasn’t involved in. She wanted more heart and soul. Anton wasn’t keen on Ellie’s head position, but otherwise beautiful. Meanwhile Craig wasn’t keen on Ellie’s arms – a bit Barbie doll, and a bit clunky in and out of the lifts. Motsi loves the partnership, but it needed to be more intense.
Ellie looks gorgeous, but this gets off to a very stiff and tentative start. Needs more neck extension, but the lifts and the general vibe are lovely. Also love that the last 15 seconds is just Johannes dancing while Ellie has a sit down.
It's time for Ellie & Johannes!
This week they’re dancing an American Smooth to ‘You’re My World’ by Cilla Black. Hopefully whichever Dave Arch singer tackles this won’t actually sound like Cilla Black.
It’s risky, doing a low-key dance like the American Smooth for a big theme week, especially after Hamza has already done one. This needs to be really GOOD.
Scores: 8,9,9,9 – a total of 35 for Tyler and Dianne. This is classic Anton – the bits in hold were ploddy, but here, have a nine.
Motsi thought it was excellent – she loved how much Tyler’s body had to say. Including ‘please let Vicky Gill have reinforced these seams,’ possibly.
Shirley thought the lifts were off the charts, and she loved the fluidity – Tyler is Mr Rhythm. Anton thought the bits in hold were a bit ploddy, so he should take all those bits out. Yes but would that still be a Salsa, Anton? Craig wanted more hip rotation – SAME CRAIG – and he could see the mechanics of the first lift.
Is this our first disco Salsa of the season? I think it might be. Tyler goes straight in with a mega lift – he’s go some nice Salsa footwork and possibly the TIGHTEST white trousers in Strictly history.
I’d have liked more Latin hip action and a bit more energy, but all good fun.
Next up - it's Tyler and Dianne!
This week they’re dancing the Salsa to a KC & The Sunshine Band Megamix. Did they even have enough hits for a megamix?
More fairground rides! DRINK! I absolute hate rollercoasters, Tyler’s reaction is very much my vibe.
*This is a rhetorical question, please don’t be sending me the entire KC/Sunshine Band discography. I don’t care.
Scores: 8,8,8,9 – a total of 33 for Kym and Graziano.
Craig thought Kym could have stepped it out more and her shoulder dropped in hold, but otherwise loved it. Motsi loved the control and the energy – Kym brought fire and light. Shirley noticed that Kym’s frame was too far forward, and Anton loved the atmosphere – Kym is brilliant.
OH, it’s a DRAMATIC version of Rihanna/Calvin Harris with big old drums. That makes so much more sense. Kym is fabulous in the solo bits, but the sections on hold have too much gapping and her top line is a bit soft. All felt a bit frantic to me – a lot of swinging through loads of partners, feels like country dancing.
It's time for Kym and Graziano!
This week they’re dancing the Paso Doble to some kind of Rihanna/Calvin Harris mashup. I love a dance banger as much as the next woman experiencing a midlife crisis, but I’m struggling to imagine how one might use it to create Paso drama. We found love (and Spanish line) in a hopeless place? Actually that works.
Consumption of chips! DRINK!
Scores: 8,9,9,9 – a total of 35 for Molly and Carlos.
Anton thought it was tremendous – clean and beautifully timed, but Craig though it lacked a bit of retraction and needed to be lighter (THANK YOU). Motsi loved how calm and neat it was, and Shirley thought Molly kept up with Carlos very well, especially as he’s the king of Jive.
Molly’s timing is fabulous as ever, but it all feels a bit stuff and clunky in the transitions, and her retractions could have more oomph. All good fun, but I don’t think that was her best dance.
Next up it's Molly and Carlos!
This week they’re dancing the Jive to ‘Bandstand Boogie’ by Barry Manilow. It’s quite an old-fashioned Jive tune for Molly, who I expected to use a bouncy pop track to appeal to the yoof, but presumably Carlos knows what he’s doing. Has they brought precision kicks and flicks to Blackpool?
Fairground rides! DRINK.
Sam Ryder doing the terms and conditions! Can confirm he really IS that nice.
At least two more mentions of that bloody floor. It’s sprung, in case you were wondering.
Scores: 9,9,10,10 – a total of 38 for Hamza and Jowita. Well, that’s set a high bar for the evening.
Shirley thought Hamza shone brighter than all the beads and bangles and baubles in the world. She also loved the footwork and the details. Anton thought it was gorgeous, and that’s the dance he would have loved to do. Craig wasn’t fond of the solo jazz section, but everything else was spectacular. Motsi loved how in control Hamza was.
Another 10/10 for Motsi’s hair. It looks incredible.
Ooh, superfluous backing dancers with giant feathers. I feel like I need an extra pair of eyes for all this – it’s hard enough doing one eye on the telly and one on my laptop, without all the extra Blackpool gubbins.
As expected, this is all kinds of fabulous and classy, and there really is no style that Hamza can’t dance. Jowita looks like a frozen swan, and the lifts are amazing. Loved that.
First up tonight it's Hamza and Jowita!
This week they’re dancing the American Smooth to ‘New York, New York’ by Frank Sinatra. I feel like we all expect this to be pretty epic, even by Hamza standards.
I’ve watched their Afrobeat Couple’s Choice SO many times this week. On close inspection (quite hard when you’re in the studio) it was actually quite a bit untidy in places, but tens all round for sheer joy.
Out come the stars! Helen appears to be dressed as one of those picnic blankets with a waterproof backing. Very popular with people watching Gary Barlow at one of the more civilised festivals. Very here for Tyler’s giant ‘fro, though.
I feel like everyone is a bit excitable. As far as dance quality goes, please adjust your expectations accordingly.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Tess as Kermit the frog, Claudia down at Fraggle Rock. LET THE MUSIC PLAY.
First sprung floor mention! DRINK!
Since Blackpool is technically a feem week, we get a bonus opening dance which celebrates…all things Blackpool. Plastic rain macs all round – god, they must be sweaty.
Out comes Shirley dressed as toffee finger, followed by Motsi in leopard print lycra. Loving every bit of this camptastic joyful nonsense, more please.
And we’re off! The people of Blackpool are delighted to have Strictly back, and the Strictly stars are delighted to be there. Everyone is gazing at the ceiling of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom like it’s the Sistine Chapel of The North. Ah, this is nice. Welcome back to Blackpool, everyone!
Indulge me while I take a brief moment to shamelessly plug my new book, which is out on Thursday. It EVEN includes a thank you to you lot down in the acknowledgements, because I’m nice like that.
Strictly Come Blackpool Bingo!
Have a swig of something delicious for any occurrence of the following
Anton getting nostalgic for Blackpool days of yore
Anyone informing us how large the Tower Ballroom is
Any mention of the sprung floor
VT featuring fairground rides or consumption of chips
Mentions of actual bingo
It’s hotting up in Heidi’s Hunches…
Now Tony has gone, it’s anyone’s game – with the exception of Hamza, I don’t think there are any nailed-down finalists this year. Everyone has had the odd bad week, and I can’t confidently say that any of our celebs are streets ahead of the rest in either ability or popularity. How exciting is that? That said, here are my predictions as we move into the final five weeks of the competition:
Fighting for the Final: Will and Nancy, Hamza and Jowita, Helen and Gorka, Molly and Carlos
Hot on their heel leads: Fleur and Vito, Kym and Graziano
Dodging the dance-off: Tyler and Dianne, Ellie T and Johannes
Some of you are asking for info on my trip to the Strictly studio last week. You know I was back on the blog on Sunday, right? If you open last week’s blog the second half is all me.
Anyway, just for latecomers – it was lovely. Had a very fun time, but also very happy to be back on my sofa in my pyjamas.
Every week I try to watch a bit of The Wheel with the sound on. Lasted a good four minutes this week, which is a record.
It's the Strictly Blackpool Special!
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly liveblog! It’s week nine, which means packing our sparkly bags and heading north to the bright lights and bingo halls of Blackpool. Gird your loins for superfluous backing dancers, tens being tossed around like a seagull in a bag of chips, and our Strictly pro dances getting all nostalgic for that time they won their first competition in the legendary Tower Ballroom. See also: Anton.
It’s our first time back in Blackpool since 2019, when Michelle and Giovanni Vogued their way out of the competition for good. Whose time is up this week? Grab seaside snacks and get ready for some joyful viewing – incidentally, in 2018 I wrote “Think of it as a warm blanket of predictability and comfort while the country burns around us”. Four years on and absolutely nothing has changed, so I suppose that’s one reassuring constant in our lives right now.
See you at 7.45!