The end of this series of Strictly Come Dancing is in sight and the couples need to really up their game to keep their place in the competition.
Last weekend we said goodbye to Steve Backshall and his partner Ola Jordan, and the competition was fiercer than ever. We also saw the return of Robin Windsor to the Strictly ballroom for the results show pro dance.
We caught up with Robin to talk about his return to the show, find out how the Christmas show training is going, and to discuss all of the action from last weekend’s live show.
You made your return to Strictly at the weekend and you were appropriately dressed as a Bobby. How did it feel to be back?
It was fantastic to be back. Strictly is like a second family and it was really great to see them all. More importantly I realised where I’m at my happiest and that’s on that Strictly ballroom floor.
Will we be seeing you in the pro dances again over the rest of the series?
No. That was just a one-off. I’ll be concentrating heavily on the Christmas show so you’ll be seeing me on that.
How is training going for the Christmas show?
As you would expect it’s been a lot of fun getting everything ready for Christmas. Lisa (Riley) and I have been getting up to our usual antics. I can’t wait! It’s going to be a great show. I’m on my way to Christmas pro rehearsals as we speak.
At the weekend the competition was fiercely close wasn’t it?
Normally after Blackpool it’s a bit of a flat show but this time it came back and it was very exciting. Steve (Backshall) has gone, who I think was the right person, and it’s left it to the 7 people I think could all compete for the final.
Do you think that Sunetra Sarker could be in trouble this weekend after being in the dance-off twice?
I think anybody could be in danger now. On paper Sunetra is the person who should leave but every week it’s someone different in the bottom two. If her and Brendan do something a little different that makes them stand out a bit more, it could be anybody in that bottom two.
Jake Wood topped the leaderboard at the weekend and had a bit of a return to form. What did you think of his Samba?
Performance-wise it was the best I might have seen especially coming from Jake. I just didn’t expect that from him and the twerking was just off the scale fabulous. The actual steps of the Samba weren’t that great and it got over-powered by what was the performance of the series.
It was his hips! He can really move those hips can’t he?
He can move those hips more than most of the professionals can. My jaw hit the floor I was that impressed. The audience loved it and it was just entertaining. It did lack a little bit of technique though.
Tying at the top with Jake at the weekend was Frankie Bridge. What did you make of her Viennese Waltz?
As every week with Frankie and Kevin (Clifton) it was beautiful. It was everything a Viennese Waltz should be. I really want to see Frankie do a rock number. I’m dying to see her do something that shows a different side of her. Everything has been beautiful so far and I just want to see her be rough.
Pixie Lott got rave comments from the judges for her content rich Charleston. What did you make of her routine?
I thought it was the most complicated Charleston that I’ve ever seen on the show. She performed it immaculately. If I had an 11 paddle I would have got that out for her at the weekend.
Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack and Mark Wright were in the middle of the leaderboard this weekend. Which of the three routines did you really enjoy this weekend?
Simon’s by far. I thought he would have been at the top of the leaderboard. That Salsa was so fast. The armography and the footwork were ridiculously fast. If he had made one small error or mis-step he would have ended up in a pile on the floor. He’s just getting better and better. Something has come over him since the week before Blackpool and he’s ready to win this competition.
Caroline was just behind Simon on the leaderboard. She did make an unfortunate stumble during her performance. Do you think that could have hampered her scores?
It shouldn’t have. What a lot of people don’t realise is that if you stand on chiffon on a wooden floor it becomes like an ice rink. The fact that she didn’t fall over was quite a miracle. Because she just brushed it off, pretended it never happened and carried on with the dance, I thought that was exceptional. She did not deserve a 7 from Craig at all.
Mark got great comments from the judges for his mean and moody Tango. Did you like that side of him?
I love the Tango but I’m in love with Mark’s smile and I missed that this week. Moody Mark didn’t work for me. I need Mark’s smile because it lights up everybody’s television at the weekend.
We’ve only got a few weeks of the competition left. What advice would you give to the couples to help them get to that final?
I think a lot of it depends of what dance you get. Unfortunately Steve got a Jive that wasn’t suited to him and Sunetra got a Ballroom dance which meant she was in her element. If Sunetra had got a Latin dance and Steve a Ballroom, the result could have been very different. The dancers have to really think hard about what order they do their remaining dances in. Also there is no room for error. One small mistake will mean that your Strictly journey will be over. It’s just practise, practise, practise even harder than before.
Strictly Come Dancing 2014 continues at 7pm on Saturday night on BBC. Watch Simon and Kristina Rihanoff’s Salsa from last weekend: