Has it really been a week since Strictly Come Dancing blazed back onto our screens for a double bill of opening live shows? Well tonight it was time for the celebrities to dance for the second time and their last chance to avoid being eliminated in tomorrow night’s results show.
Bruce Forsyth was off with the flu so Tess Daly hosted the show with Claudia Winkleman as her co-host. After last week’s thrilling live shows, our expectations were through the roof in terms of the standard of dancing we expected. Could the celebs better their performances from last week?
First onto the dancefloor tonight was BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid and her professional partner Kevin Clifton. Despite a cartwheel gone wrong Susanna had a good weekend last week. In the VT Kevin was seen following Susanna round so they could practice at every opportunity. Tonight the couple danced the Tango. Could they impress the judges once again?
Len said that Susanna put the ‘go’ in Tango but said her frame was a little bit loose at times meaning she lost connection at times. Bruno said the routine was ‘hell in a good way’ complementing her ‘attack’ but saying that could be the cause of her frame issues. Craig said the routine was full of ‘drama and intent’ but agreed that her frame was too loose before saying it was ‘very, very good’. Darcey said Susanna sold the routine but told her that she’s ‘got it’.
Susanna and Kevin scored 31 out of 40 from the judges.
The second celebrity to dance tonight was Tony Jacklin and his partner Aliona Vilani. Last week Tony ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard with Hairy Biker Dave Myers. In his VT Tony said he was nervous last week and admitted he was gutted with his score and comments from the judges. This week Tony was dancing the Charleston and he revealed it was a bit challenge for a man his age. Could he keep his energy up and pull off a great routine?
Bruno said Tony’s jumper was the most exciting thing about the dance and said it wasn’t brilliant. Craig said Tony’s Charleston was lacklustre and lacked energy. Darcey was kinder saying he was more confident and got all the lifts right. Len commended Tony for giving such an energetic dance a go at his age (he’s 69 years old).
Tony and Aliona scored 13 out of 40 from the judges.
Hoping for a better reception from the judges it was Corrie’s Natalie Gumede with her partner Artem Chigvintsev next. She admitted she was surprised by how well she did last week after finishing second on the leaderboard. During training Natalie admitted she was struggling with the spinning aspect of the Waltz and Artem tried his best to help her beat her issues. Did she manage to do the Waltz without being sick?
The audience gave the couple a standing ovation but did the judges feel the same way? Craig said he was moved and said Natalie had a gorgeous top line calling the routine breath-taking. Darcey said the headturns and rolls were brilliant calling Natalie ‘one to watch’. Len said he loved the feel of the routine but said he would have liked to see more heel leads. Bruno said Natalie had ‘incredible control and confidence’ for week 2 and said she tells a story with her movements.
Natalie and Artem scored 34 out of 40 from the judges.
The moment we’d been looking forward to was next as Hairy Biker Dave Myers took to the floor with his professional partner Karen Hauer. Last week he may have ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard but he had a great time despite Craig’s complaints. Tonight Dave was dancing the American Smooth Foxtrot and he admitted during training he was going to try not to say his food-related dance steps out loudly whilst dancing.
Darcey said Dave tamed his excitement and found some control but told him to be careful of his long arms. Len said it was like ‘flying on a budget airline’ but said Dave got through it. Bruno said Dave was ‘cooking up a stink’ and said he went through the routine like he was ‘walking on eggshells’ with no musicality. Craig said Dave was ‘dancing by numbers’ and went on to criticise most aspects of the dance before saying he does like him.
Dave and Karen scored 17 out of 40 from the judges.
Casualty star Patrick Robinson was one of the big surprises last week when he wowed the judges with his Jive. This week Patrick was dancing the Tango with his partner Anya Garnis so could he wow the judges all over again? Anya said that Patrick was finding it hard to remember and pick up the steps whilst Patrick admitted he was beginning to hate Michael Jackson after repeatedly dancing to his song Beat It in training. Did he pull it out of the bag tonight?
Len said the dance could have been tighter and more compact but said it was a great Tango. Bruno said that Patrick went for it but agreed with Len that it needs to be a bit tighter. Craig told Patrick that he needs to tuck his bottom under but said his timing and attack was impeccable. Darcey said it was ‘strong and masculine’ and advised him to use his whole back during the changes.
Patrick and Anya scored 27 out of 40 from the judges.
Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden messed up her routine in the middle last week but she scored a respectable 24. With her partner Robin Windsor, Deborah was dancing the Cha Cha tonight and admitted she was looking forward to the routine. During training Deborah’s husband stopped by to give her moral support. Could she show her fun side on the dance floor?
Bruno said he loved the ‘bubbly, feisty and frivolous personality’ telling her the routine was much better than last week. Craig said ‘dragon versus drag queen’ and told her she needs to straighten her legs as the routine was a bit stompy. Darcey said she loved Deborah’s ‘zest for performance’ and said her timing was good. Len said Deborah had his respect and said she captured the character of the dance.
Deborah and Robin scored 24 out of 40 from the judges.
Countdown’s Rachel Riley was next up with her partner Pasha Kovalev. She had a good weekend last week with her Waltz even though Len told her it was a bit ‘careful’. Rachel admitted in her VT than nerves got in the way. This week the couple were dancing the Salsa and Pasha struggled to help Rachel find her sexiness. Could she put the nerves to one side and dance through it?
Craig said Rachel was ‘wriggling round like a slug in salt’ and picked the routine apart. Darcey said there was ‘lots of sugar but not enough spice’ and told Rachel to flirt with Pasha. Len said he thought Rachel was ‘working her assets’ but told her the performance was too careful once again. Bruno said it was like watching ‘a gorgeous rag doll’ and told her to work on control as her balance wasn’t great.
Rachel and Pasha scored 20 out of 40 from the judges.
Vanessa Feltz was fighting back this week after being pulled apart by the judges last week. In her VT she said she thought she’d done a good performance and mused maybe she should have taken her shirt off. This week Vanessa danced the Waltz with her partner James Jordan. During training Vanessa was overcome with emotion and shed more than a few tears. Did she keep her emotions in check tonight?
After shedding a few tears Vanessa received her comments from the judges. Darcey said she felt the emotion and told Vanessa to soften her knees. Len said it was ‘heartfelt and poignant’ but told Vanessa to work harder on the details to make it the complete package. Bruno said Vanessa was ‘connected and involved’ and agreed that she had technical issues to work on. Craig said James had done a lovely job with Vanessa this week.
Vanessa and James scored 23 out of 40 from the judges.
Fashion designer Julien Macdonald didn’t impress the judges last week with his camp cha cha. This week Julien had to control himself a little more to pull of the Tango with Janette Manrara. During training Janette dragged Julien to the gym to increase his upper-body strength and make him a bit more masculine. Did it all help make the performance tighter?
Len said that Julien was more of an orchid than a cactus (apparently a cactus is what the Tango needs) and called the routine ‘more Wimpy than Big Mac’. Bruno said Julien’s feet were in the wrong places at the wrong time and told him the idea was good but it didn’t work the way it should. Craig said Julien’s posture was ghastly. Darcey said she liked the attack and conviction but agreed his posture needed work.
Julien and Janette scored 18 out of 40 from the judges.
Bond Girl Fiona Fullerton was another of last weekend’s surprises and her partner Anton du Beke is surely glad he’s finally got a partner that can dance this year. In her VT Fiona said she blanked the minute her name was called last week and nerves took over. This weekend Fiona was dancing the Cha Cha but would need to keep her nerves in check to score more points.
Bruno said that Fiona can play the part but she needs to get the steps right. Craig said he thought Fiona was very good until she messed up in the middle. Darcey said Fiona loses consistency but admitted when she’s good she’s very good. Len said he loved it until she messed up and said she never quite recovered.
Fiona and Anton scored 22 out of 40 from the judges.
Actor Mark Benton and his partner Iveta Lukosiute had a lot to live up to after his Tango was warmly received by the judges. During training Iveta told Mark that he needed to discover his sexy side for this week’s routine. We’re not entirely sure he found it but we had a good laugh with him and Iveta. Did he bring sexy back with his Salsa?
Craig said the routine was a bit disjointed but said it was a crowd-pleaser despite lacking the technical precision. Darcey said she loved Mark’s wild energy and admitted it was entertaining. Len labelled Mark a ray of sunshine and said the routine had lots of content. Bruno said he didn’t know if he was watching a psychotic incident or a psychedelic rave.
Mark and Iveta scored 22 out of 40 from the judges.
Popstar Sophie Ellis Bextor had to contend with the Charleston this week following her rather lovely Waltz last week. Tess pointed out that despite having been on the show for 10 years, Brendan has never danced a competitive Charleston so the stakes are high. In training the couple seemed to be having some issues but could they iron them out on the night?
Darcey said ‘wow-eee’ and told Sophie the Charleston was made for her. She also complemented Brendan on his choreography calling it the best dance of the night. Len said it was a great routine. Bruno said it was stylistically perfect and commented ‘well done old sport’. Craig told Sophie the dance was ‘fit’.
Sophie and Brendan scored 36 out of 40 from the judges.
Former rugby star Ben Cohen didn’t get a great score last week finding himself towards the bottom of the leaderboard at the end of the weekend. Kristina admitted that Ben’s body and physique wasn’t right for ballroom and was affecting his frame. She took him to ballet lessons to try and help him. Tonight he danced the Waltz. Did his ballet lesson pay off?
Len said he liked Ben’s footwork and frame this week but told him he needs to move a bit more. Bruno said it was ‘simple, effective’ and told Ben he had a ‘wonderful, natural charm’. Craig said Ben’s ‘delicious’ butt was a problem and told him to smile more. Darcey said there was more confidence this week and told him his frame was better. She told them to work on their connection.
Ben and Kristina scored 25 out of 40 from the judges.
Abbey Clancy topped the leaderboard last week with her passionate Waltz. Dancing with Aljaz Skorjanec it seems Abbey could be the one to beat this year. In her VT Abbey mocked the ‘romance rumours’ surrounding her and Aljaz with husband Peter Crouch joining in too. Tonight they swapped ballroom for Latin to dance the Cha Cha.
Bruno said there was ‘plenty to fancy about Miss Clancy’ but told her to be careful with her free hand. Craig said the whole routine was very enjoyable. Darcey said that Abbey needs to relax and trust Aljaz as she loses focuses out of hold. Len said it was ‘loud and proud’ and told her to be careful with her arms.
Abbey and Aljaz scored 30 out of 40 from the judges.
Last to dance tonight was Hollyoaks’ Ashley Taylor Dawson with his partner Ola Jordan. Over the week Ashley became a father for the second time which must have made training pretty tough. In his VT Ashley admitted he was really nervous last weekend and said he was too busy thinking about missing the birth of his baby. Even though he became a father again, Ashley was straight back to training. Did he manage to perfect his American Smooth?
Craig said there were some problems with the routine but revealed he was amazed at the performance. Darcey said there was amazing dance content in the routine and predicted he would go far in the competition. Len said Ashley put the ‘oo’ in Smooth and told him he was better than the week before. Bruno said Ashley couldn’t have been smoother if he tried and told them they perfectly captured the American Smooth.
Ashley and Ola scored 32 out of 40 from the judges.
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Brendan Cole – 36
Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev – 34
Ashley Taylor Dawson & Ola Jordan – 32
Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton – 31
Abbey Clancy & Aljaz Skorjanec – 30
Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis – 27
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff – 25
Deborah Meaden and Robin Windsor – 24
Vanessa Feltz and James Jordan – 23
Fiona Fullerton and Anton du Beke – 22
Mark Benton and Iveta Lukosiute – 22
Rachel Riley & Pasha Kovalev – 20
Julien Macdonald and Janette Manrara – 18
Dave Myers and Karen Hauer – 17
Tony Jacklin and Aliona Vilani – 13
The overall leaderboard for the weekend is:
Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev – 65
Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Brendan Cole – 64
Abbey Clancy & Aljaz Skorjanec – 62
Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton – 59
Ashley Taylor Dawson & Ola Jordan – 57
Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis – 55
Deborah Meaden and Robin Windsor – 48
Rachel Riley & Pasha Kovalev – 47
Fiona Fullerton and Anton du Beke – 46
Mark Benton and Iveta Lukosiute – 46
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff – 44
Vanessa Feltz and James Jordan – 42
Julien Macdonald and Janette Manrara – 38
Dave Myers and Karen Hauer – 33
Tony Jacklin and Aliona Vilani – 29
Tune into Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow at 7.20pm on BBC One and BBC One HD to find out which couple is the first to leave the show. You can take a look at lots of photos from today’s rehearsal in our gallery below: