Strictly Come Dancing 2017 waved goodbye to comedian Susan Calman and her partner Kevin Clifton during last week’s results show.
Landing in the bottom two opposite Alexandra Burke and her partner Gorka Marquez, Susan was sent home by the judges. As much as I’ve loved watching her every week, it did feel like it was her time to leave the competition.
Tonight the series reached the quarter-final stage as the 6 remaining couples fought for a place in next week’s semi-final.
Keep reading to find out how everyone got on…
Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec
After a muted reception from the judges to last week’s sleepy Samba, Gemma needed to up her game if she hopes to stay in Strictly Come Dancing. Would her and Aljaz’s Quickstep to Hello Dolly! from Hello Dolly! help her to bounce back in the competition? This week in training, Gemma spoke about being disappointed by the judges’ comments and struggled with the complexity of the routine.
The dance: Gemma showed plenty of personality in the opening of the routine and had nice synchronisation with Aljaz throughout. There was a bit of gapping and a couple of wobbles but she moved well across the floor and kept up with the speed of the routine. Overall though it had plenty of pizzazz and I think she could be on course for the semi-final.
The comments: Shirley said Gemma did very well, praising her posture and footwork, but felt it needed 20% more acting skills. Bruno loved the entrance and said it had razzle-dazzle but thought Gemma lost the character. Craig said it looked heavy and that Gemma had a bouncy frame but loved the theatricality. Darcey said it was hot and cheeky but wanted Gemma to have a tauter posture.
The score: 6, 7, 8, 8 – 29 out of 40
Mollie King & AJ Pritchard
Mollie made a massive improvement with her Quickstep last week, scoring her first 9 of the series. Could she keep this up with her and AJ’s Rumba to Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease? This week in training Mollie talked about how much she enjoyed the Quickstep and gave AJ a photo album of their Strictly Come Dancing journey.
The dance: Mollie had a strong start in her solo section and conveyed the emotion of the routine well. She also had some nice hand movements out of hold. However, I felt the dance lacked passion and needed more hip action. Not a bad routine but it was all a bit too ‘nice’ and I think she might be in trouble this week.
The comments: Bruno liked Mollie’s quality of movement and ability to convey the emotion of the song. Craig criticised the lift and wanted more body extension, but praised Mollie’s hip action and straight legs. Darcey wanted more sensuality and resistance through Mollie’s feet. Shirley said it was a believable love story and praised Mollie’s impeccable timing.
The score: 6, 7, 9, 9 – 31 out of 40
Joe McFadden & Katya Jones
Last week Joe topped the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard for the first time this series – could he and Katya make it two in a row with their Samba to Money Money from Cabaret? In training Joe spoke about how pleased he was with last week’s scores and took Katya back to his old school in Glasgow.
The dance: Someone cast Joe as the Emcee in a Cabaret revival, quick! It’s an unusual choice for a Samba but he made it work, showing off a strong sense of flamboyance and plenty of bounce. I also thought he acted the role well and had great Samba rolls. It’s another strong routine from him and should see him safely through to next week.
The comments: Craig said it was ‘incredible’ and praised Joe’s characterisation and timing. Darcey liked how Joe combined the character and technique but wanted more flexibility in his feet. Shirley said Joe’s acting skills were ‘off the chart’, whilst Bruno called it ‘divinely decadent and slightly twisted’.
‘The score: 9, 9, 9, 10 – 37 out of 40
Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice
Debbie wowed the Strictly Come Dancing viewers last Saturday with her Argentine Tango and won the Paso Dobleathon. This week she and Giovanni were back in ballroom mode with their American Smooth to Memory from Cats. In training Debbie struggled with the technique of the spins and the lifts due to an injury but spoke of her determination to get to the semi-final.
The dance: Debbie brought a beautiful balletic quality to her solo opening to the dance and there was a wonderful connection between her and Giovanni. The lifts were smooth – including one incredible flying one! – and I loved the choice to do a Viennese Waltz-based routine. My one small criticism was her hands were a little throwaway in parts, but this emotional routine showed why she’s still the front-runner for the glitterball.
The comments: Darcey said the routine was ‘stunning’ and loved Debbie’s fluidity and co-ordination. Shirley called it ‘intimate, polished and hugely impressive’. Bruno praised the story arc, whilst Craig simply purred (yes really) with delight.
The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40
Davood Ghadami & Nadiya Bychkova
Davood has been going from strength to strength in the latter stages of Strictly Come Dancing. After his romantic Waltz last week, could he and Nadiya impress the judges once again with their Argentine Tango to The Phantom Of The Opera? In training, Nadiya took Davood to the West End to meet the cast of The Phantom of the Opera stage musical.
The dance: Davood made a dramatic entrance hanging from a chandelier and had a commanding presence in his solo opening to the routine. It was packed with drama and passion and he showed great control in hold. The lifts were seriously impressive too, particularly the final one! However I would have liked a bit more sharpness in his ganchos and at times his posture was a little wobbly, so he could find himself in the dance-off this week.
The comments: Shirley liked the character and the lifts but wanted more control. Bruno praised Davood’s presence and figures but wanted it to be slicker. Craig didn’t feel Davood led the dance but loved the concept. Darcey praised the start of the routine but said Davood had some balance issues.
The score: 7, 8, 7, 7 – 29 out of 40
Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez
After finding herself in the bottom two for the first time last week, Alexandra faced an uphill struggle with her and Gorka’s Charleston to Supercalifragalistic from Mary Poppins. Could she get back to the top of the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard? This week in training Alexandra said she was relieved to survive the dance-off and cooked Gorka a meal as a thank-you for teaching her how to dance.
The dance: Alexandra showed she’s back on form with her Charleston. She and Gorka had lovely synchronisation and timing, and she brought a wonderful sense of character to the dance. I loved the light humorous touches and tricks she incorporated too. It was fast-paced and fun and I think she’s definitely done enough to make it through to next week.
The comments: Bruno called her ‘super Alexandra’ and said it was the showstopper needed to end the night. Craig said Alexandra had better swivel than Gorka and the routine was ‘brilliant’. Darcey called it ‘terrific’ and said she couldn’t tell who wasn’t the pro, praising the amount of detail in the dance. Shirley said it was ‘stratospheric’ and ‘amazing’.
The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice – 39
Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez – 39
Joe McFadden & Katya Jones – 37
Mollie King & AJ Pritchard – 31
Davood Ghadami & Nadiya Bychkova – 29
Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec – 29
Strictly Come Dancing 2017 continues at 7.15pm tomorrow night on BBC One. Take a look at all of the couples in rehearsals earlier today in our gallery below: