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Strictly Come Dancing 2016 week 4 recap

The focus was back on the dancing tonight after a headline-grabbing week.

Anastacia & Brendan Cole
Credit: BBC

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 continued tonight and the couples were down to 12 after Will Young decided to quit earlier in the week.

The week has been full of controversy following the exit of EastEnders star Tameka Empson and her partner Gorka Marquez last weekend. Midway through the week Will Young decided to leave the competition due to ‘personal reasons’ meaning that he and partner Karen Clifton are no longer one of the frontrunners to win the series.

Fans had hoped that Tameka would return due to Will’s departure but BBC bosses aren’t replacing Will and there will still be an elimination tomorrow night.

Yesterday Brendan Cole was rushed to hospital but he did manage to make it to the studio to dance with Anastacia tonight.

How did the remaining couples get on during tonight’s live show? Keep reading to find out…

Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe

Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Olympian Greg Rutherford has been improving every week and tonight he had some of the most daring lifts that the show has seen to carry out. During training Greg injured his wrist but he didn’t let that deter him from rehearsing hard. Olly Murs, whose song Greg and his partner Natalie Lowe danced to, popped by to see them during the week. Tonight Greg and Natalie danced the Salsa to Wrapped Up by Olly Murs.

The dance: The Salsa was not Greg’s dance. He looked uncomfortable and his footwork was a bit clumsy. The lifts were impressive but quite clumsy in parts. I don’t think that this was Greg’s best week.

The comments: Len said it was tasty mostly but a bit sticky in the footwork. Bruno said ‘keep going tiger’ and referred to Greg as ‘Hurricane Greg’ but told him that he lost his timing due to his energy level. Craig said that Greg was treading too heavily, which meant he lost fluidity. Darcey said that she loved Greg’s energy and told him she loved his performance.

The score: 28 out of 40

Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice

Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Irish TV presenter Laura Whitmore found herself in the bottom two last weekend and almost departed the competition. Her Salsa split the judges but ultimately they saved her and Giovanni Pernice over Tameka Empson. During the week Laura worked on her endurance with the help of Mick Jagger – her dog! Tonight Laura and Giovanni performed the Quickstep to Ballroom Blitz.

The dance: Laura was definitely better than last week and she was very fast on the dance floor. It was an energetic routine that should easily see her pass through to next week.

The comments: Bruno said that Laura performed a difficult and fast dance with ease. Craig said that they covered the floor well and admitted that he loved the head banging section despite his initial reservation. Darcey said that Laura was better tonight but told her that her top line rolls in when she’s traveling. Len said Laura’s head was over-exaggerated at times and told her he would pickle his walnuts if she was in the bottom two again.

The score: 33 out of 40

Anastacia & Brendan Cole

Anastacia & Brendan Cole

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Anastacia has had a rough time in the competition so far after an injury stopped her performing in the dance-off during week 2. Last week the singer impressed with her routine and she seems to have found her footing in the competition. Tonight Anastacia and Brendan Cole danced the first Rumba of the series to The Way We Were. During the week Anastacia serenaded Brendan in the hope that it would ignite her passion.

The dance: Anastacia seems more comfortable with the Ballroom styles but I don’t think she was at her best tonight. She danced fairly well but

The comments: Craig said that he felt Anastacia was a little stilted but commended her hand shaping. Darcey said that Anastacia has expressive arms but told her that she wants her body to undulate more. Len said there was a lot of lines and wiggles but that he wanted more Rumba content. Bruno said it was ladylike, glamorous and subtle.

The score: 27 out of 40

Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard

Claudia Fragapane and AJ Pritchard

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane finally came into her own last week and picked up four 9s from the judges. This week Claudia and her partner AJ Pritchard danced the Foxtrot tonight and Claudia thought she might struggle with it. AJ organised for Claudia’s former teachers to visit and critique her during the week. Tonight Claudia and AJ danced their Foxtrot to Carly Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You.

The dance: The Foxtrot didn’t go as smooth as last week’s Charleston. It was cute and fun but the energy wasn’t quite right for me. It didn’t flow the way I’d expect

The comments: Darcey said that she liked the story throughout the routine and told Claudia that she has a very strong core. Len said that it had a flavour of the American Smooth and told Claudia her footwork was terrific. Bruno said that he noticed a mistake in the routine and told Claudia that she should always look like she’s flowing. Craig said it lacked grace and elegance and told Claudia it wasn’t for him.

The score: 30 out of 40

Ed Balls & Katya Jones

Ed Balls & Katya Jones

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Former politician Ed Balls has been entertaining the nation and last week he dressed up as Jim Carrey in The Mask leaving quite the impression on everyone. During training Ed said that the scores he was getting were better than he could have hoped for. Tonight Ed and Katya danced the Paso Doble and to get him into the spirit of a Knight, Katya took him to a medieval event. Ed and Katya danced their Paso Doble to Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For a Hero.

The dance: Oh dear! Ed looked like he didn’t have a clue what he was doing during his routine. Katya pretty much dragged him round the floor and sometimes he caught up, sometimes he didn’t. It was entertaining but perhaps not for the right reasons.

The comments: Len said he was ‘holding out for a Paso’ but commended Ed for giving it his all. Bruno said the shaping was a tragedy and asked if he was directing traffic in the middle of the routine. Craig said that Ed was mincing around like he was on an episode of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Darcey said there was plenty of performance, even if it wasn’t the right kind of performance, and told Ed he performed with gusto.

The score: 16 out of 40

Naga Munchetty & Pasha Kovalev

Naga Munchetty & Pasha Kovalev

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty experienced a mishap last weekend when her partner Pasha Kovalev couldn’t undo the buckle from her harness. She eventually got into the routine and recovered quickly. Len told Naga that she’s better than she thinks she is but did she take that on board? Tonight Naga and Pasha danced a Charleston to Minnie the Mermaid.

The dance: Naga seemed the most comfortable she has on the dancefloor with tonight’s routine. She gave it her all and actually she was pretty impressive. If she keeps on this track she’ll do a lot better.

The comments: Bruno said that most of the time Naga was on it but told her she lost timing in the middle. Craig said that Naga’s performance was messy. Darcey said that Naga worked hard at the characterisation but told her she had timing issues. Len said that Naga was more confident tonight and told her she sold it.

The score: 24 out of 40

Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton

Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Singer Louise Redknapp had a very strong week last week with her Flashdance inspired routine. This week it was back to Ballroom and Louise had to tackle the Foxtrot with her partner Kevin Clifton. Louise had trouble getting to grips with the routine but she practised her socks off during the week. Tonight Louise and Kevin danced to Amy Winehouse’s Tears Dry On Their Own.

The dance: Another classy routine from Louise and Kevin. They looked like they were having a ball out on the dancefloor and the routine was infectious. Louise really let loose and lost herself in the dance.

The comments: Craig said he really and truly enjoyed Louise’s performance telling her it was gorgeous. Darcey said that she loved how Louise set the scene from the beginning. Len said ‘excellent footwork’ but told Louise she was a little too far on Kevin’s right side. Bruno said that Louise played the part stunningly and told her she performs with ease.

The score: 33 out of 40

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Actor Danny Mac has a lot of pressure on him as he’s been far and away the best dancer in the competition so far. Last week he picked up four 9s from the judges so expectations are very high. This week Danny and his partner Oti Mabuse were dancing the Quickstep and Danny had to play the role of an orchestra conductor. Tonight Danny and Oti danced their Quickstep to I Won’t Dance.

The dance: Another week, another stunning routine from Danny and Oti. They are the couple to beat this year and there’s absolutely nothing they can’t do. In isolation and in hold, Danny was fantastic.

The comments: Darcey said that Danny was ‘pure class’ and told him his performance was ‘outstanding’. She went on to say it was ‘one of the best classic Quicksteps’ she’s ever seen. Len said that once Danny got onto the floor he did really well. Bruno said it was old school and exciting telling Danny he was wonderful. Craig said ‘Danny Mac you are on fire darling!’

The score: 36 out of 40

Daisy Lowe & Aljaz Skorjanec

Daisy Lowe & Aljaz Skorjanec

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Model Daisy Lowe was the second celeb of the night to tackle the Rumba. During the competition so far Daisy has been one of the strongest dancers in the competition and the judges are big fans of hers. During training Daisy admitted that she thought Aljaz was quite scary when he was firm with her. Tonight Daisy and Aljaz danced their Rumba to Careless Whisper by George Michael.

The dance: Go Daisy! A much more sensual Rumba than the one that Anastacia did earlier in the night. Daisy moved around with elegance and she had fantastic chemistry with Aljaz.

The comments: Len said that Daisy wasn’t lazy and told her that he could tell she’d worked hard. Bruno said he was tingling all over and ‘panting to the point of turning’ telling Daisy she did every Rumba step. Craig said that it lacked a bit of chemistry leading Darcey to shout over him. Darcey said she didn’t agree and told Daisy she used her whole body to express herself.

The score: 31 out of 40

Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero

Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Judge Rinder performed a Flintstones Charleston last week with his partner Oksana Platero. He may not have got all the moves right but he certainly entertained. This week Judge Rinder and Oksana danced the Viennese Waltz and during training Judge Rinder struggled with all the spins and turns. Tonight Judge Rinder and Oksana danced the Viennese Waltz to Boom Bang A Bang by Lulu.

The dance: That was a surprisingly restrained performance from Judge Rinder tonight. He really can dance when he’s not trying to entertain and tonight showed that he could actually be very good.

The comments: Bruno said that the performance was unusually restrained by Judge Rinder’s usual standards. Craig said that his heart didn’t go Boom Bang A Bang but told Judge Rinder his facial expressions had improved. Darcey said that when Judge Rinder is in hold he’s in control of the dance and she asked him not to exaggerate. Len said that he liked the rotations and natural turns and told him to keep doing what he does.

The score: 27 out of 40

Lesley Joseph & Anton du Beke

Lesley Joseph & Anton du Beke

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Lesley Joseph has been doing very well in the competition surpassing everyone’s expectations. During the week Anton du Beke flew out to see Lesley while she was filming Birds of a Feather. The cast of the show watched Lesley rehearsing and they told her they were proud of how she was doing. Tonight Lesley and Anton danced the Charleston.

The dance: Every week I’m surprised by just how good Lesley is. She kept up with Anton and had so much energy that she put a lot of the other contestants to shame. I hope Lesley will be in the competition for weeks to come!

The comments: Craig said that Lesley was ‘shockingly good’ calling her strong and vibrant. Darcey said that Lesley brings cheeky fun to the competition and commended the amount of dance content she performed. Len said the Charleston was Lesley’s best dance and told her if she keeps it up she’ll have many happy returns. Bruno said that Lesley always delivers and told her she was like a 20 year old.

The score: 31 out of 40

Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton

Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

The final couple to dance tonight was presenter Ore Oduba and his partner Joanne Clifton. Last weekend Ore had a very emotional night and he shed a few tears following his performance. This week Ore and Joanne danced the Jive and during the week Joanne took him to Wembley Stadium to practice his kicks and flicks. Tonight Ore and Joanne danced their Jive to Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars.

The dance: Ore is another celeb that gets better and better every single week. He’s definitely in contention to make it to the final and the reaction from the studio audience was amazing! His Jive was perfect to my eyes!

The comments: Darcey said that Ore takes on board every dance style and called him an athlete. Len said it was ‘show-stopping, jaw-dropping, eye-popping’ and told last year’s winner Jay McGuiness to ‘move over’. Bruno said ‘a star is born’. Craig said that Ore is the one to beat in the competition.

The score: 39 out of 40

The overall leaderboard for the evening was:

Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton – 39
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse – 36
Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice – 33
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton – 33
Daisy Lowe & Aljaz Skorjanec – 31
Lesley Joseph & Anton du Beke – 31
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard – 30
Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe – 28
Anastacia & Brendan Cole – 27
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero – 27
Naga Munchetty & Pasha Kovalev – 24
Ed Balls & Katya Jones – 16

Strictly Come Dancing 2016 continues at 7.15pm tomorrow night when the second couple leaves the competition. See all of the action from today’s dress rehearsal in our gallery below:

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