Vanessa Feltz and James Jordan departed Strictly Come Dancing last week after failing to win over the public and the judges during Love Week.
With 13 couples left in the competition, the playing field is starting to get a whole lot more even with some of the weaker dancers gone. Tonight all of the couples danced again to secure their place in the competition and ensure that they got one step closer to that glitterball trophy.
Opening the show tonight was Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her partner Brendan Cole. Sophie has turned out to be a real revelation on the dancefloor the past three weeks wowing with her natural rhythm and ability. Last week’s Samba was cool and sophisticated but Sophie admitted that she was very nervous. This week Sophie and Brendan are moving from Latin to Ballroom for the Foxtrot which should suit the couple well. Was it another leaderboard topper?
Well the audience opened the night with a standing ovation so it seemed to go down well. What did the judges think? Len said there was no messing about and told Sophie he loved the dance. Bruno said Sophie looked like a Hollywood star but told her to sustain her topline. Craig agreed with Bruno but called the dance ‘elegant and graceful’. Darcey said Brendan gave Sophie a hard Foxtrot but said Sophie had ‘style and grace’ throughout.
Sophie and Brendan scored 35 out of 40 from the judges.
Second onto the dancefloor tonight was actress Fiona Fullerton and her partner Anton Du Beke. Last week’s Waltz was very well-received by the judges and the couple scored the highest points they have so far this series. During the week Anton surprised Fiona’s family by popping round to her house to dance with her Mum. Tonight Fiona and Anton danced the Rumba.
Bruno said the packaging was promising at the beginning but said there were issues throughout the performance. Craig criticised Fiona’s hip action and said it lacked rhythm and connection. Darcey said Fiona has the ‘slinky lady effect’ but criticised her for losing focus and told her to try and cover her mistakes. Len said all the steps were there and the attitude was good but agreed there were too many mistakes.
Fiona and Anton scored 22 out of 40 from the judges.
Actor Mark Benton was the next to dance with his partner Iveta Lukosiute. Throughout the competition so far the couple have surprised the judges and the audience with their routines. This week they are injecting a bit of hip-hop into their Cha Cha. During training Iveta pimped Mark’s image up to try and get him into the spirit. Did it work?
Well the audience loved it. What about the judges? Craig said he couldn’t understand the audience and criticised Mark’s dancing. Darcey disagreed and said she didn’t know he had it in him. Len said Mark is ‘full of talent’ and asked him to do it again. Bruno said it was ‘unique, different, memorable and very funny’.
Mark and Iveta scored 26 out of 40 from the judges.
Ashley Taylor Dawson was hoping for another good week after scoring high with Ola Jordan for last week’s Samba. This week was the complete opposite kind of dance as the couple were dancing the Viennese Waltz. During the week Ola took Ashley to the cinema and made him watch footage of his love scenes from Hollyoaks. Did it get him in the right mood for tonight?
Darcey said the routine was a little bit too safe and placed asking him to push a bit harder next time. Len said it had ‘romance and elegance’ but said it was a little wafty on occasions and needed more gusto. Bruno said he didn’t mind the wafting but agreed the dance needed more ‘oomph’. Craig said Ashley’s arms out of hold seemed unnatural and disagreed with Bruno.
Ashley and Ola scored 31 out 40 from the judges.
Fashion designer Julien Macdonald has been struggling in the competition over the past few weeks. He’s been in the bottom two with his partner Janette Manrara for the last two weeks but has been saved both times by the judges. This week Julien is dancing the Salsa to the Spice Girls and received a good luck message from Scary Spice Melanie B. Did he finally prove he can actually dance?
Len said that the routine needed more control and was a bit ‘wild and wacky’. Bruno said it looked like Julien tried to be all of the Spice Girls during the routine and said he threw himself into it. He warned him that he needs to flow with the dance rather than force himself on it. Craig said the dance should flow but said Julien lacks musicality. Darcey said it was fun and told Julien it was his best dance.
Julien and Janette scored 23 out of 40 from the judges.
Countdown’s Rachel Riley was next with her partner Pasha Kovalev. In her intro VT Rachel said she was scared to dance the Cha Cha after having such a disastrous week the week before. This week Rachel is dancing the Quickstep and Pasha took her to a squash court to work on her speed. Did Rachel do her best dance yet?
Bruno said Rachel ‘just about got away with it’ saying there was lots of content but a lack of control. Craig said Rachel’s topline let her down and told her to tighten her buttocks to glide better. Darcey said Pasha gave Rachel a tough Quickstep and told her again to strengthen her core. Len said the quantity of steps was there but the quality wasn’t.
Rachel and Pasha scored 26 out of 40 from the judges.
Former rugby star (and all-round hunk) Ben Cohen danced next with his professional partner Kristina Rihanoff. Last week Ben achieved his best score yet finally letting go and dancing. This week Ben and Kristina are dancing the Salsa and it looked like he was struggling a little. Kristina called up former contestant Matt Dawson to come to training and help him train. Did Ben manage to let go?
Craig said Ben ‘ticked every box’ this week. Darcey said Ben could handle Kristina with ‘ease and confidence’ and said she loved that he was having fun. Len said Ben’s Salsa was terrific. Bruno said ‘surprisingly smooth for such a big bruiser’ before saying he wanted to see more of Ben.
Ben and Kristina scored 31 out of 40 from the judges.
Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden had a good week last week after scoring her highest score to date with her Quickstep. Along with her partner Robin Windsor, Deborah received a standing ovation when she finished her routine. This week Deborah and Robin danced the Jive to Bucks Fizz and got into the spirit by throwing their own Eurovision party. Did they top last week’s score?
Darcey said that Deborah’s routine was a little soft and said the Jive wasn’t her dance. Len said it had plenty of fizz but agreed that the technique wasn’t there. Bruno said Deborah got the camp right but agreed with the other judges. Craig said there was no real spring in Deborah’s step and agreed with Darcey that it wasn’t the right dance for her.
Deborah and Robin scored 23 out of 40 from the judges.
Coronation Street star Natalie Gumede topped the leaderboard with her partner Artem Chigvintsev last week after dancing the Rumba. During training Natalie experience a back injury and had to go and have it checked. Dosed up on painkillers, Natalie returned to training as she prepared her Quickstep. Did she dance through the pain?
Len said it was a bit long-winded getting started but said he liked it when Natalie was in hold. Bruno said he couldn’t believe Natalie delivered a dance of such a high standard in such a small amount of time. Craig said he loved the fusion of Quickstep and Jazz and said there was no stopping her. Darcey agreed the style was nice and told Natalie to look after herself rather than be ambitious.
Natalie and Artem scored 35 out of 40 from the judges.
Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis were the unlucky couple to follow Natalie and Artem’s stunning performance. This week the couple danced the Cha Cha and Patrick admitted he was struggling to balance the dance rehearsals with his Casualty commitments. Did he pull it out of the bag on the night?
Bruno said it was Patrick’s best dance yet. Craig said it was ‘absolutely brilliant’ with no criticism. Darcey said Patrick was confident out of hold and told him he had ‘an inner groove’. Len said he was ‘happy’ and agreed it was Patrick’s best dance yet.
Patrick and Anya scored 33 out of 40 from the judges.
Abbey Clancy was the next to dance with her partner Aljaz Skorjanec. In her VT Abbey admitted that she thought Craig’s comments last week were fair when he said she needed for attack. After two weeks of fast dances, Abbey was dancing the Tango with Aljaz this week. The couple attended an army training course to get prepared. Did Abbey improve her attack?
Craig said that Abbey used all the accents in the music to great effect and labelled it ‘amazing’. Darcey said she wasn’t expecting such a fantastic performance commenting on Abbey’s ‘great strength throughout’. Len said that Abbey was ‘formidable’ in ballroom. Bruno said that Abbey had it all and told her he loved the chemistry with Aljaz.
Abbey and Aljaz scored 35 out of 40 from the judges.
The penultimate couple to dance tonight was Hairy Biker Dave Myers and his partner Karen Hauer. The couple have established themselves as the highlight of the live shows to date despite the judges criticising them a lot every week. Last week’s Paso Doble went down well with the audience but could Dave pull off the Waltz? Karen took Dave to get Strictly-fied ahead of the performance to try and win over the judges.
Darcey said that Dave started really well and told him to use his long limbs. Len said that Dave tries his hardest every week and admitted he liked that. Bruno said there’s a ‘ray of hope’ on the horizon and told Dave the performance was better. Craig said it was very placed and told Dave to feel the music more.
Dave and Karen scored 23 out of 40 from the judges.
The last to dance tonight was BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid and her partner Kevin Clifton. Last week the judges loved their Viennese Waltz but this week they were dancing the notoriously difficult Samba. With the music of Shakira to guide them, could they win the judges over once again?
Len said that Susanna should be assumed of herself for such a saucy routine and said she gave it plenty of attack. Bruno called Susanna ‘sexy and saucy’ and said it was hard to keep up with her because it was so fast. Craig said he thought it was a bit muddy and felt Susanna and Kevin were fighting each other rather than dancing together. Darcey said she liked the ‘wild Samba Queen’ and told her to be careful on the finishes.
Susanna and Kevin scored 29 out of 40 from the judges.
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec – 35
Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev – 35
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole – 35
Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis – 33
Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton – 29
Ashley Taylor Dawson and Ola Jordan – 31
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff – 31
Mark Benton and Iveta Lukosiute – 26
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev – 26
Dave Myers and Karen Hauer – 23
Deborah Meaden and Robin Windsor – 23
Julien Macdonald and Janette Manrara – 23
Fiona Fullerton and Anton Du Beke – 22
Tune into the Strictly Come Dancing results show tomorrow night at 7.15pm to find out which couple will be leaving the competition. Take a look at all of the couples in rehearsals earlier today in our gallery below: