Strictly Come Dancing 2018 delivered one hell of a live show last weekend as the 15 couples danced for the first time.
Ashley Roberts and Faye Tozer tied in first place while Susannah Constantine and Katie Piper languished at the bottom of the leaderboard. No couples went home during the first week so tonight was their chance to convince the public to save them before the elimination tomorrow night.
Nerves were higher than week 1 with all of the couples fearing the dance-off. Who did enough to stay in the competition and who could be in danger?
Find out how everyone got on…
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
After her Quickstep last week, it was time for Stacey to take on her first Latin routine of the series, as she and Kevin performed a Cha Cha Cha to Came Here For Love by Sigala featuring Ella Eyre. In training Stacey spoke about her lack of confidence with the dance and need to stay focused, as well as ‘ambushing’ Kevin in the style of her documentaries.
The dance: If Stacey was nervous, it definitely didn’t show. She got the party going, encouraging the crowd to clap along throughout, and delivered a fast-paced routine with plenty of swagger and sass as well as decent basic moves. Her legs were a little bent throughout and for me it needed a bit more hip action, but it was a decent start to the show and should see her safely through to week 3.
The comments: Shirley said it’s clear Stacey has a lot of talent and will keep improving, but wanted her to get her standing leg in order. Bruno called her ‘spicy Stacey’ and said she has all the tools necessary to win, but needed to keep the fire all through the dance. Craig found it a bit stiff and thought her upper body was unruly, while Darcey said Stacey was a free spirit and her energy was infectious but asked her to clean up her directions.
The score: 4, 5, 5, 6 – 20 out of 40
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton
Despite Shirley saying it was ‘too disco’, Charles showed he could be the dark horse of Strictly 2018 with his Cha Cha last week. Tonight we got our first chance to see him dance a Ballroom routine, as he and Karen performed a Quickstep to Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. In training Charles spoke about finding the audience seeing him as himself liberating, but found the Quickstep very intense.
The dance: For me this dance was a bit of a mixed bag. There was quite a lot of gapping in hold and Charles’ knees were a bit too bent at the start, plus he also made a mistake midway through the routine. That said, his acting skills were great throughout, he moved around the floor incredibly well and I loved the cheeky quality he brought to the routine, as well as the section danced on the stools.
The comments: Bruno said it was suave and elegant and Charles led with confidence and ease. Craig thought Charles’ top line was wobbly and he missed all but one heel leads, but liked his confidence and jazz flip. However, Darcey enjoyed it despite Charles’ ticking head, whilst Shirley said he flew like a feather.
The score: 5, 6, 7, 7 – 25 out of 40
Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez
Katie suffered badly with nerves in her Waltz last week, so could she conquer them in her and Gorka’s Paso Doble – the first of Strictly Come Dancing 2018 – to Demi Lovato’s Confident? In training Katie spoke about finding the co-ordination of the dance moves and her Paso skirt challenging, as well as wanting to conquer her anxiety about performing and showing a different side.
The dance: The routine opened dramatically with Katie descending from a flight of stairs, and was a vast improvement on last week. She had a great frame, nice shapes, showed plenty of attitude and strutted around the dancefloor like she owned the place. That said, it felt a little bit walky in places and I wanted a bit more attack and drama, but overall much better than week 1.
The comments: Craig thought it was stompy and plankish. Darcey called it a transformation, but wanted Katie to carry her shaping through into the body. Shirley thought Katie got on the wrong foot early on and wanted more flamenco, but said it was a good try. Bruno said the dance took the right direction yet lacked the flavour of Spain and wanted Katie to play the part.
The score: 2, 4, 3, 4 – 13 out of 40
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse
Graeme was my surprise package of the opening week – but would he continue to live up to his early promise? Tonight he and Oti performed the first American Smooth of the series, dancing to the Otis Redding classic Try A Little Tenderness. In training Graeme revealed that he used to be in a band and took Oti to see him performing their song in a local bar.
The dance: This was an American Smooth with a unique Graeme Swann spin on things, with some possibly more unexpected moves thrown in! His posture was a bit hunched and I’d like his hands to be more finished off, but he moved nicely across the floor and I was seriously impressed by the lift at the end in particular. There’s still work to be done, but it’s clear he’s enjoying his Strictly journey so far and he’s definitely entertaining to watch.
The comments: Darcey said she was confused and the dance didn’t link up, but wanted to see more of Graeme the showman. Shirley thought the hip-shaking moves didn’t work and the dance lacked the American Smooth feel. Bruno called it ‘the American Clumpy’, while Craig said it fell apart in hold and didn’t work on any level.
The score: 3, 5, 3, 4 – 15 out of 40
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec
Last week we saw Kate’s sassy side emerge in her Cha Cha. However, tonight was a complete switch as she and Aljaz took on the Tango to Alice Merton’s No Roots. In training Kate spoke about how excited she was to do the Tango but had difficulties keeping her shoulders down, whilst Aljaz visited Kate’s house to help with the school run and showed off their routine to her children’s class.
The dance: This was another solid routine from Kate. She had great confidence in her sassy solo opening, whilst in hold her posture was decent and she moved around the ballroom smoothly. I also thought she acted it well and the whole routine had a decent amount of drama and passion. She’s definitely built on last week and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she’ll do next.
The comments: Shirley gave the dance a standing ovation and said Kate’s in it to win it. Bruno said Kate transformed into a killer vamp and had incredible allure. Craig praised Aljaz’s choreography and Darcey said Kate was one cool, beautiful lady.
The score: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27 out of 40
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Joe wowed the judges and the viewers with his high-energy Jive last week, so could his and Dianne’s Charleston to Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex help him climb the leaderboard? In training Joe took Dianne back to his hometown to have a go at thatching roofs – his job before he became a vlogger.
The dance: This was a lively, fun routine with some acrobatic leaps from Joe and plenty of flashy tricks, although some of them looked a little laboured. I also thought he and Dianne had really good synchronisation and he did well in his solo section. For me it lacked a little of the cheeky character of the Charleston, but given he doesn’t have an acting background I thought it was another strong performance overall.
The comments: Bruno said it was like watching a playful puppy and called the dance inspired and original. Craig said Joe is ticking a lot of boxes, while Darcey said he had a natural spring built into him and praised the timing of his lifts. Shirley loved it and said Joe had a great musical ear.
The score: 7, 8, 8, 8 – 31 out of 40
Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke
Susannah found herself at the bottom of the leaderboard last week, but could she and Anton save themselves from elimination with their Foxtrot to the Frank Sinatra classic They Can’t Take That Away From Me. In training Susannah spoke about losing her confidence after last week’s dress rehearsal, but also wanting to go out and enjoy herself.
The dance: Susannah started well, with good posture and nice rise and fall, but had a little wobble in the middle which she slightly struggled to recover from and her expression looked a little forced throughout – you could tell she was concentrating on getting her steps right and consequently it all felt slightly stiff. That said, she looked a lot more confident and secure in Anton’s arms and it was definitely an improvement on last week.
The comments: Craig said it was a complete dance disaster. Darcey wanted Susannah to keep telling the story throughout and not glaze over, whilst Shirley thought she improved but the footwork wasn’t quite right. Bruno, meanwhile, said Anton would get better movement out of a lamppost and the routine was tight.
The score: 1, 4, 4, 3 – 12 out of 40
Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova
Lee stumbled a little in his week 1 Waltz – but could his and Nadiya’s Jive to Elvis Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes get them back on track? In training Lee spoke about finding the pace of the dance tough but also wanting to do well, as Nadiya repeatedly put him through his paces. He also made a cheeky call to fellow contestant Dr Ranj asking for painkillers for his feet!
The dance: Lee opened the routine with a solo section before dancing with Nadiya. He had good timing and synchronisation throughout, sharp kicks and flicks, bags of personality and delivered a fun routine with lots of energy that oozed 50s cool. There were a couple of stompy moments and it was a little skippy, but I thought he captured the character of the dance really well and it was much better than week 1.
The comments: Darcey liked the opening but wanted Lee to turn his kicks and flicks out. Shirley said Lee tried to get his musical ear going but it was inconsistent, while Bruno thought it was a very strong performance and Lee should be very proud. Craig thought it was a bit heavy and flat-footed, but Lee’s sense of musicality shone through.
The score: 6, 7, 6, 7 – 26 out of 40
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden
Danny marked himself out as a contender for the glitterball with his flamboyant Foxtrot last week. But would he show the same flair in his Latin as he and Amy took on the Cha Cha Cha to Madcon’s Beggin’? In training Danny found the counting of the dance hard and spoke about the pressure to follow up his first routine, but wanted to take big risks for big rewards and was determined not to go home first.
The dance: This was a commanding performance from Danny, with good hip action and nice side-by-side sections with Amy. It was a bit skippy in parts early on and his hands were occasionally too throwaway, but he led well and as the dance went on he seemed increasingly settled and like he was enjoying himself a lot more. The routine got a standing ovation from the audience and it confirmed that he’s definitely one to watch.
The comments: Shirley said Danny had a great vertical line but his attempt at a straight leg didn’t go into the body. Bruno thought it was full of content and Danny was sharp as a razor. Craig said it was absolutely fantastic, while Darcey found the speed extraordinary and praised Danny’s effortless shoulders.
The score: 7, 7, 7, 7 – 28 out of 40
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima
After mixed reviews for their Jive last week, Vick and Graziano had a change of pace this week as they performed a Waltz to Somewhere from West Side Story. In training, Vick and Graziano met up with Vick’s family to give her a confidence boost and show off her potential. Vick also spoke about her determination to do a good job and make her family proud.
The dance: Vick looked absolutely beautiful and I loved her balletic solo opening section, as well as the chemistry between her and Graziano. She had nice posture and glided across the floor, as well as great control in her spins – particularly the one-footed one towards the end. It was a gorgeous, romantic routine and actually made me quite emotional! She’s clearly come on leaps and bounds and I’m hoping she’ll be even better next time out.
The comments: Bruno said it was a classic waltz to a classic song. Craig said Vick lost it a bit in the pivots but owned it. Darcey said she was made for ballroom and will get better and better, while Shirley thought it was the epitome of femininity but still had an issue with Vick’s core and footwork.
The score: 7, 7, 6, 7 – 27 out of 40
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara
Dr Ranj was one of my favourites last week, so I was excited to see what he and Janette could do with their Salsa to Fireball by Pitbull featuring John Ryan. In training Dr Ranj spoke about being overjoyed with the comments for his Cha Cha Cha and his budding friendship with Janette, but was worried about dropping her in the lifts.
The dance: This was a performance with plenty of fire and fun, with Dr Ranj shaking his hips and a Cheshire Cat grin plastered across his face. He kept up with the speed of the routine well, had good timing and synchronisation with Janette, and pulled off some great tricks and lifts. Whilst it didn’t quite hit the heights of last week’s routine for me, it was still very entertaining and I really enjoyed it.
The comments: Craig wanted to see more basic Salsa but said Dr Ranj’s performance was tremendous. Darcey said it was a million-dollar performance but missed the figure of eight in the hips. Shirley thought some of the steps lacked rhythm but that Dr Ranj’s personality would carry him through, whilst Bruno wanted more Salsa hips but liked the energy and passion
The score: 5, 6, 7, 6 – 24 out of 40
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice
Faye showed why she’s one of the favourites to win Strictly Come Dancing 2018 with her Cha Cha last week, but would her Ballroom match up? This week she and Giovanni danced the Viennese Waltz to Seal’s version of It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World. In training Giovanni surprised Faye with a visit from her husband and son and showed them a bit of her performance, as well as teaching her son Benjamin some Waltz moves!
The dance: Faye showed off her acting skills in the dramatic opening, before she and Giovanni moved into the sharp, passionate routine. I liked the contemporary touches and thought she moved really well around the ballroom, as well as having good control in her turns. The fleckerl towards the end was a little unevenly paced for me but it was nice to see a different take on the dance and showed why she’s a frontrunner in this competition.
The comments: Darcey said it took her breath away and praised Faye’s conviction. Shirley loved the storytelling but said Faye went forward on her toes rather than her heels, which limited her movement. Bruno called it compelling and dramatic and loved the characterisation, whilst Craig said Faye shattered the old-fashioned Viennese Waltz and it was the best dance of the night so far.
The score: 8, 8, 7, 8 – 31 out of 40
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard
Despite limited training, Lauren showed plenty of potential in her opening dance last week – so how would she and AJ fare in their Charleston to Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox’s version of New Rules? In training Lauren spoke about enjoying showing a different side of herself in her Waltz, but struggled with her balance and synchronisation as well as the lifts. She also received a visit from fellow contestant Graeme Swann.
The dance: Lauren delivered a light, bright Charleston, with plenty of sass and fun. The routine was full of impressive tricks and lifts and she and AJ had nice synchronisation throughout. Some of her kicks early on needed a little bit of finesse but overall I thought she performed the routine well and is definitely establishing herself as a potential challenger for this year’s trophy.
The comments: Shirley said it was an ambitious routine but wanted Lauren to hold her core in the lifts. Bruno wanted more attack and sharp scissor action, whilst Craig said there was too much of a soft approach and wanted Lauren to double the amount of energy. Darcey said Lauren needed to clean up the links between her moves but thought it was impressive.
The score: 5, 6, 5, 6 – 22 out of 40
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
After a shaky start with his and Katya’s Tango last week, Seann had a chance to redeem himself with his Jive, danced to Elton John’s hit I’m Still Standing. In training Jill Halfpenny – who famously got the first Strictly with the same dance and song way back in series 2 – paid Seann a visit to give him some tips and advice.
The dance: Seann had great, sharp kicks and flicks with pointed toes and lots of energy throughout the routine, as well as good synchronisation with Katya. I loved his quirky solo section midway through too, as well as his spin on the floor subverting the typical Jive routine. Although I did see him counting during the routine and he did lose his timing, it’s clear he’s really trying to improve and I think he deserves to come back next week.
The comments: Bruno didn’t know what to say (for once!) and said Seann did all the right steps at the wrong time. Craig thought it all went horribly wrong but could see how much effort Seann put in. Darcey could see Seann’s intensity but thought he lost his timing, whilst Shirley said she liked his hair.
The score: 2, 4, 4, 5 – 15 out of 40
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev
Ashley was riding high after coming joint top of the leaderboard last week, but could she and Pasha continue their hot streak with their Cha Cha Cha to Earth Wind & Fire’s disco classic Boogie Wonderland? In training Ashley found the fast pace of the dance a struggle, and also received a surprise visit from her mum who’d flown over from America.
The dance: Ashley opened her routine with a solo section that showed great hip and leg action before moving into hold with Pasha. They had great synchronisation, tons of content in the routine and a sharp, clean quality which worked really well. I also loved how much Ashley looked like she was enjoying herself, as well as her attention to details such as her hand shapes. It was another excellent routine from her and a great finish to the show.
The comments: Craig said, ‘you are good, darling’. Darcey thought it was lively and bright with tons of content and performance, and praised Ashley’s speed and musicality. Shirley said her energy was outstanding but wanted straighter standing legs, which would improve her flow. Bruno thought it was a ‘cha-cha disco dazzler’ and Ashley’s hips didn’t lie.
The score: 8, 8, 7, 9 – 32 out of 40
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev – 32
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell – 31
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice – 31
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden – 28
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec – 27
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima – 27
Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova – 26
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton – 25
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara – 24
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard – 22
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton – 20
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse – 15
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones – 15
Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez – 13
Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke – 12
Combining the scores with those from week 1 made the overall leaderboard as follows…
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev – 61
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice – 60
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell – 58
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden – 55
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara – 51
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton – 50
Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova – 48
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec – 47
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard – 47
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima – 45
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton – 44
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse – 37
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones – 33
Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez – 30
Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke – 24
Strictly Come Dancing 2018 continues tomorrow night at 7.15pm on BBC One when the first couple will leave the competition. Take a look at all the couples in rehearsal earlier today in our gallery below…