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Strictly Come Dancing 2019 week 7 recap

The remaining celebrities and their professional partners have reached the halfway point of this year’s competition.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Emma Barton Anton Du Beke
Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

Halloween may be over, but it’s certainly been a dramatic week for the cast of Strictly Come Dancing 2019.

As well as actress Catherine Tyldesley and her professional partner Johannes Radebe being eliminated on Sunday, earlier this week it was announced that Paralympian Will Bayley was leaving the competition after sustaining a knee injury in training. Meanwhile, professional dancer Neil Jones was out injured for a second week, meaning his celebrity partner Alex Scott danced with Kevin Clifton again.

After all that, could the remaining nine celebrities and their professional partners rise to the challenge and handle the pressure?

Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were on hand to soothe the contestants’ nerves, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and head judge Shirley Ballas gave their expert opinions on every fleckerl and heel lead.

Find out how everyone got on…

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden

Strictly Come Dancing Karim Zeroual Amy Dowden

Credit: BBC/Guy Ley

This week Karim and Amy were dancing a Quickstep to Mr Pinstripe Suit by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, with a routine set in a tailor’s. In training Karim spoke about enjoying his return to ballroom and we got a sneak peek into how him and Amy prepare for learning a routine.

The dance: This was definitely a classy Quickstep, with lots of energy and playfulness from Karim and some lovely jazzy touches. He moved across the floor really well, had lovely posture and frame throughout and kept up with the speed of the dance too. I would personally have liked to see a couple more heel leads but overall this was a confident, lively performance that was full of fun and provided a really entertaining opening to the show.

The comments: Shirley said Karim’s frame was exquisite and his footwork was off the charts, calling it ‘one of the best Quicksteps I’ve ever seen’. Bruno thought it was ‘tailored to the highest standards’, praising his detail, nuance and timing. Craig felt there was some occasional gapping, but it was clean, precise and had swing and sway – ‘totally stunning’. Motsi thought Karim ‘killed it’ and was light on his feet, calling it his ‘best dance ever’.

The scores: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40

Michelle Visage & Giovanni Pernice

Strictly Come Dancing Michelle Visage Giovanni Pernice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

After topping the leaderboard last week with her Addams Family-themed Foxtrot, this week Michelle took on a Paso Doble to the Queen classic Another One Bites The Dust. In training Michelle spoke about how thrilled she was to get three 10s, but also found the skirt work and shaping of the Paso Doble a challenge, as well as praising Giovanni’s ability as a dancer. Could she pull it off on the night?

The dance: Michelle definitely got the drama of this twist on the Paso right, with plenty of drive across the floor and attack. I also thought she had great Spanish arms and shaping in her upper body, and good synchronisation with Giovanni. Perhaps it needed a bit more pressure into the dancefloor but this was another powerful, confident routine and should see her safely through to next week.

The comments: Bruno said Michelle always delivers on content, with a clear, clean and strong routine, but her lines looked a little bit small. Craig wanted Michelle to go further with the shaping as it looked a little bit blocky, but praised her purpose and passion. Motsi loved the intensity and thought Michelle was ‘phenomenal’, while Shirley liked the simple steps and ‘exquisite’ timing.

The scores: 8, 9, 9, 8 – 34 out of 40

Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skornajec

Strictly Come Dancing Viscountess Emma Weymouth Aljaz Skornajec

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Emma and Aljaz danced a Samba to I Don’t Care by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber. In training Emma spoke about finding the steps and the details challenging, as well as the bounce rhythm, but was determined to get it right, particularly the performance aspect.

The dance: Emma definitely brought a playful, fun quality to this Samba, with decent hip action and nice flow across the floor at the start. However, it ran out of steam a little in the middle and sadly there wasn’t much bounce action to speak of, plus I’d have liked her to finish off her hands. That said she coped well with the tricks and it was a side of her we haven’t seen, which I liked. Not technically the strongest routine so I’m not certain it’s enough to save her from the dance-off, but we’ll see.

The comments: Craig said we got the energy but technically it was a little bit sloppy and lacked bounce. Motsi thought Emma did well in coordinating her body but the ends were unclear, and wanted more focus. Shirley praised Aljaz’s choreography and did see bounce and samba walks, but wanted Emma to work on her posture. Bruno thought Emma lost a little bit of tone in the body, but did a great job of a very hard dance.

The scores: 5, 7, 7, 7 – 26 out of 40

Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Kelvin Fletcher Oti Mabuse

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Kelvin and Oti were back in Ballroom mode, dancing a Viennese Waltz to Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. In training Oti brought back ‘Alejandro’ the frame machine to help Kelvin during the routine, whilst Kelvin spoke about learning the dance in sixes rather than threes to help with speed as well as wanting to bring out the story and the emotion.

The dance: This was a tender and touching Viennese Waltz, with plenty of emotion and great acting from Kelvin. I thought he had great control in the spins too and led Oti around the dance floor really well, as well as bringing a lovely romantic quality to the routine. His frame and posture were good too and he handled the tricks well, but I felt he was up on his toes a little too much. That said, this was another solid routine from him and should see him near the top of the leaderboard again.

The comments: Motsi said Kelvin’s ability to capture the mood of a dance is ‘absolutely outstanding’, and that it was a beautiful, emotional routine. Shirley agreed from an emotional point of view, but there was too much rise and fall and Kelvin’s fleckerl looked a little bit stuck. Bruno loved the contemporary setup of the story and how Kelvin held it all the way through, as well as his top line. Craig felt the fleckerl looked laboured, but said Kelvin’s flow was ‘beautiful’ and praised his grace and storytelling.

The scores: 8, 9, 8, 9 – 34 out of 40

Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Saffron Barker AJ Pritchard

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Saffron and AJ performed a Salsa set on a basketball court (as you do), danced to Instruction by Jax Jones featuring Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don. In training Saffron found it difficult to embrace her natural shake and bring energy and rhythm to the dance, but enjoyed learning the routine and spoke about feeling positive about performing the dance.

The dance: Saffron brought tons of sass and fire to this routine, delivering a confident performance with good hip action and coping well with the tricks. She also had plenty of energy and I liked her armography as well. Whilst it might not have been the most polished routine I’ve seen on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, it was clear she was enjoying herself and for me it was her best performance yet.

The comments: Shirley said Saffron had no fear when it came to the lifts but that her rotations were blocked and wanted her to turn her feet in, paying more attention to details. Bruno thought Saffron had boundless energy, but her timing was off and her hips needed to be smoother. Craig felt it lacked fluidity in the transitions, but loved how Saffron came out of the lift, whilst Motsi wanted Saffron to clean it up whilst keeping her energy.

The scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27 out of 40

Alex Scott & Kevin Clifton

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Alex Scott Kevin Clifton

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

With professional partner Neil Jones still out through injury, this week Alex and stand-in partner Kevin danced an American Smooth to the classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. In training Alex spoke about still being in a state of shock after last Saturday’s events and not knowing whether she would be dancing with Neil or Kevin until the last minute, as well as wanting to do Neil proud.

The dance: This was another strong routine from Alex, with some impressive tricks and lifts and a beautiful lightness to her steps. I loved the playful feel of the dance and thought she had a great quality about her performance. She still needs to finish her hands and at time she was clinging on to Kevin a little, but I thought she had lovely frame and footwork and it was another step forward for her.

The comments: Bruno wanted Alex to link her musical phrasing and keep the routine going throughout her performance. Craig said it was the first time we’d seen Alex, whilst Motsi was ‘falling in love more and more’ with Alex’s dancing but wanted more consistency. Shirley said Alex has made a ‘miraculous’ improvement and is a delight to watch.

The scores: 7, 8, 8, 8 – 31 out of 40

Chris Ramsay & Karen Hauer

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Chris Ramsay Karen Hauer

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Chris and Karen did a Commercial/Street Couples’ Choice routine, performing to Let’s Get Ready To Rumble by PJ and Duncan. In training Chris spoke about his childhood and how he got into stand-up comedy, and received a visit in training from his mum and dad. We also heard from his wife Rosie about how proud she is of him and his Strictly Come Dancing journey.

The dance: For me this was one of Chris’ best dances so far – it really brought out his personality and sense of fun, and I liked the 90s hip-hop moves too. There was also lots of energy in the routine and some decent lifts, particularly at the end! Yes it could have been slicker and more polished, but for the sheer entertainment and joy of it it was one of my highlights of the evening and should see him safely through to next week.

The comments: Craig said it was ‘sick’. Motsi thought it was Chris’ best dance to date, whilst Shirley was reminded of a flash mob, saying it was ‘so entertaining’ and calling Chris ‘fantastic’. Bruno said Chris was ‘almost right on time’.

The scores: 8, 9, 9, 8 – 34 out of 40

Emma Barton & Anton du Beke

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Emma Barton Anton Du Beke

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Emma and Anton danced a Rumba to Barbara Streisand’s Woman In Love. In training Emma spoke about finding the leg action of the dance difficult, as well as working on her chemistry with Anton and pushing things more after last week’s comments from the judges.

The dance: This was definitely a different side to Emma, with a confident and well-acted performance and some impressive leg extensions. However, there were also a lot of technical issues, with a noticeable lack of hip action and drive through the floor, which made it look a little bit laboured for me, and I was missing the typical sensuality and passion of the Rumba. Sadly for me it feels like she’s gone backwards with this dance and I have a feeling that she could find herself in the dance-off.

The comments: Motsi loved Emma’s intention but wanted her to keep pushing. Shirley criticised Emma’s timing, whilst Bruno said her placement stopped the perpetual movement. Craig highlighted Emma’s arm placement but said her leg extension was ‘wonderful’ and liked the storytelling.

The scores: 5, 6, 5, 6 – 22 out of 40

Mike Bushell and Katya Jones

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Mike Bushell Katya Jones

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

After finding himself in the bottom two again last week, could Mike avoid the dreaded dance-off with their hot air balloon-themed Charleston to Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines by the Ron Goodwin Orchestra? In training Mike spoke about struggling with the aftermath of last week’s dance-off and wanting to enjoy this week’s routine, as well as the importance of synchronisation throughout.

The dance: This dance really suited Mike and allowed his fun-loving personality to shine, with a real sense of fun and playfulness. It did look a little skippy and marchy in places, but I thought he handled most of the lifts and tricks well and had good swivel, as well as great synchronisation with Katya – their hard work evidently paid off! Perhaps it wasn’t the most technically accomplished routine but I thought he performed it really well and it may well be enough to save him from a third dance-off on the trot.

The comments: Shirley said this was in Mike’s comfort zone and that he put 100 per cent in, but there were a few mistakes. Bruno thought it was cheeky, charming, funny, crazy and wonderful and Mike sold it like a great showman, but wanted him to iron out the errors. Craig found Mike got out of time but it proved he’s a musical comedy man, whilst Motsi thought it was entertaining and fun despite running out of steam towards the end.

The scores: 7, 7, 8, 8 – 30 out of 40

The leaderboard for the evening was:

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden – 39
Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice – 34
Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse – 34
Chris Ramsay and Karen Hauer – 34
Alex Scott and Kevin Clifton – 31
Mike Bushell and Katya Jones – 30
Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard – 27
Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skornajec – 26
Emma Barton and Anton du Beke – 22

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 will return on Sunday 3rd November with the Results Show at 7.15pm on BBC One.

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