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Recap: Strictly Come Dancing week 9

Who wowed the judges and who disappointed on tonight’s show?

Natalie Lowe and Michael Vaughan

With only four weeks of Strictly Come Dancing left the competition was the most tense it’s been this year tonight. Seven couples are still in with a chance of winning the glitterball but one couple will be leaving during tomorrow night’s results show.

Who impressed with their dancing skills and who disappointed the judges? Find out by reading our latestStrictly recap.

Kimberley Walsh opened the show tonight and hoped to match her high score from last week’s Tango. This week it was high energy and lots of choreography for the Jive. In her intro VT she worried she couldn’t keep up the pace. Did Pasha Kovalev manage to help Kimberley pull it all together? Len said there was ‘one or two dodgy moments’ but overall congratulated the couple on their routine. Bruno said Kimberley was like a ‘frisky rabbit’ and commented on the ‘great timing’.  Craig said it was ‘brilliant’ commending the ‘fast, efficient footwork’. Darcey said Kimberley matched Pasha’s energy and has a ‘strong core’ which is needed for a Jive.

Dani wowed the judges and the audience last week with her energetic Samba. She’s quickly establishing herself as the one to watch in the competition but could she keep up the momentum this week? Tonight she danced the Viennese Waltz with her partner Vincent Simone. Bruno said it was a Viennese Waltz with an ‘Italian flare’ and called it ‘enchanting’. Craig said it was ‘full of musicality’ but admitted it didn’t blow him away. Darcey said that she wanted a better curve in Dani’s upper body but called her ‘elegant’. Len said it was ‘beautiful’ and liked the fact it was a different type of Viennese Waltz.

Third to dance tonight was Michael Vaughan who keeps surprising as the weeks go by. Unfortunately last week his Argentine Tango landed him in the bottom two but he claimed victory over Victoria Pendleton. This week Michael was hoping to stay out of the bottom two and was out to impress with his Samba. Could he and Natalie Lowe win over the judges? Craig said it wasn’t ‘completely dreadful’ but said it looked ‘awkward’. Darcey said Michael’s improvement has been ‘outstanding’ and commended on how hard he’s worked but criticised his hip action. Len liked the amount of content in it but admitted wasn’t ‘fantastic’. Bruno said Michael finally let himself go but advised him to ‘swing both ways’ with his hips.

Nicky Byrne came into his own last week impressing with his Charleston and achieving his highest score to date. This week the pressure was really on for him to match his glory from last week. Tonight Nicky and his partner Karen Hauer danced to the new Bond theme Skyfall and served up an Argentine Tango. Darcey said the intensity was perfect but wished the routine had been a bit more lustful. Len said the lifts were good but said the overall feeling of the dance was too ballroom. Bruno said it was intense and commended the lifts. Craig said the storytelling was superb but said it was too aggressive and stompy.

Our favourite Lisa Riley was next to take to the dance floor. Last week she didn’t get great comments from the judges for her Rumba but she hoped to win them over again this week. Despite suffering from illness this week, Lisa danced the Quickstep with her partner Robin Windsor. Len said Lisa brings ‘sunshine’ to the show every week and congratulated her. Bruno said Lisa has such a ‘zest for life’ and said she managed ‘beautifully’. Craig said the energy was ‘incredible’ but criticised some of the moves. Darcey said it was ‘beautiful’ and called Lisa ‘fast and light’.

Frequent leaderboard topper Denise Van Outen was the next to show off her dancing prowess. Last week she impressed with her American Smooth. Feeling the pressure more than the other celebs to keep her spot at the top Denise danced the Salsa with her partner James Jordan. Would she be spending another week at the top of the leaderboard? Bruno said it was ‘hot and spicy with some very sharp edges’ but said he spotted some near misses. Craig said Denise has the ‘best spins’ he’s ever seen on the show. Darcey said it looked a little clumsy at times and wasn’t keen on her shimmies. Len said Denise recovered well despite James’ mistakes.

The last couple to dance tonight was Louis Smith and his partner Flavia Cacace. Despite a strong start in the competition, Louis has fallen foul of the judges in more recent weeks. Last week’s Paso Doble didn’t win over the judges but Louis was hoping to turn things around tonight. Dancing the Charleston could Louis finally act the dance? Craig said that Louis’ personality finally came through in the dance. Darcey said she loved the ‘insane doctor’ and the tricks. Len said Louis has personality and Bruno said tonight Louis showed ‘fun and personality’.

The full leaderboard for the evening was:

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace – 37
Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone – 34
Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev – 34
Denise Van Outen and James Jordan – 32
Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor – 31
Nicky Byrne and Karen Hauer – 30
Michael Vaughan and Natalie Lowe – 24

Tune into ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ tomorrow night to find out which couple leaves the competition.

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