HomeTVStrictly Come Dancing 2022 week 8 recap

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 week 8 recap

We’re now onto week eight of Strictly Come Dancing 2022 and the competition is heating up amongst our nine remaining celebrities.

Last week, Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds became the sixth celebrity to leave this year’s series, after she and her professional partner Nikita Kuzmin lost the dance-off against Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu.

Strictly Come Dancing is making a trip to Blackpool’s legendary Tower Ballroom next week for the first time since 2019, and all the couples want to make it there. Sadly, one of them will miss out – but who will it be?

Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were on hand to guide us through all the action from the dancefloor, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas shared their thoughts on all things frame, footwork and fleckerls.

So who would be booking their ticket to Blackpool – and who would be heading home? Read on to find out…

Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

After avoiding last week’s dance-off, tonight Ellie and Johannes took on the Charleston, dancing to ‘Friendship’ by Elaine Paige and Bernard Cribbins. In training Ellie spoke about having to trust Johannes and overcome her fear of the lifts and tricks, as well as wanting to show the free and fun quality of the dance and their friendship. The two of them even came up with names for their characters!

The dance: I thought Ellie brought loads of character, energy and playfulness to the routine, as well as great swivel in the opening sections. She also coped with the tricks (including the ‘jacket-ography’) well and her timing and synchronisation with Johannes was excellent. The dance really showcased her acting skills and humour too, and for me felt like her strongest performance yet, so I think she should be safely on her way through to Blackpool.

The comments: Shirley thought it looked like Ellie had a ball and praised her synchronisation and swivel – she is ‘on a roll’. Anton agreed; it was a huge improvement from last week, and Ellie could be a musical theatre star. Craig felt it could be sharper and more extreme, but it was goofy and Ellie coped well with the difficult rhythm pattern. Motsi said Ellie ‘owned it’ and her presence was felt the whole way through the dance.

The scores: 7, 8, 8, 8 – 31 out of 40

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Last week Tyler received mixed critiques from the judges and found himself near the bottom of the leaderboard. Could he and Dianne bounce back with their Paso Doble to ‘Unstoppable’ by ES Posthumus? In training Tyler spoke about trying to master the shapes of the dance and cope with the intricate timing, as well as his desire to get him and Dianne to Blackpool next week.

The dance: Well there was certainly plenty of drama in that! Dancing with a fiery diamond backdrop, Tyler took command of the dance from the off, creating some great shapes with his arms and practically flinging Dianne around the dancefloor. The arms did get a little throwaway in the middle section, but overall he had great control and power and it felt like he was very much back in contention for the glitterball trophy.

The comments: Anton said it was powerfully, beautifully timed, strong and atmospheric. Craig disagreed, however – it lacked any Spanish line whatsoever and was too square and placed, and Tyler didn’t dance through the movements. Motsi thought it was impressive, praising Tyler’s determination and intention, but wanted more engagement from Tyler’s core. Shirley liked the ‘striking’ entrance and ‘beautiful’ heel leads and felt Tyler had a ‘striking’ command of the dance, but he needed more twisting at the end of his movements.

The scores: 6, 8, 8, 9 – 31 out of 40

Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Kym and Graziano were back in Ballroom mode, dancing an American Smooth to ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol. In training Kym spoke about wanting to work on her frame and the lifts, as well as making the dance look easy and flowing. She also emphasised the importance of the song to her family, speaking very movingly about losing her son Archie who was born prematurely.

The dance: This was such a beautiful routine, full of emotion and with a gorgeous flowing quality about it. I thought Kym coped with the lifts and transitions well – they looked absolutely seamless to me – and her frame has improved considerably since her last Ballroom routine. She also had lovely lines in her arms and hands and I thought she performed the routine really well. A very moving moment and one that shows how much she’s grown as a dancer over Strictly Come Dancing 2022.

The comments: Craig called Kym’s heel turn ‘immaculate’ and praised her develop√©, as well as the storytelling and transitions. Motsi felt the fragility and vulnerability came through well but the energy changed in the middle of the dance. Shirley said Kym had a ‘beautiful’ connection to the dance and picked up the routine ‘absolutely divinely’ after her mistake. Anton liked the improvement in Kym’s top line moving backwards but wanted her to work on it moving forwards.

The scores: 8, 7, 8, 8, – 31 out of 40

Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Last week Helen and Gorka got their highest score of Strictly Come Dancing 2022, and were hoping to build on that with tonight’s Salsa to ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonzi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber. In training Helen spoke about dealing with the challenge of the number of steps and performance level of the dance, as well as the lifts in the routine. Could they bring the party to the Strictly dancefloor?

The dance: Helen absolutely oozed confidence and fun throughout, particularly in her solo sections, with great hip action and timing. She handled the lifts brilliantly and the dance had an excellent sense of flow about it, as well as good synchronisation with Gorka in her side-by-side sections. It’s so nice to see how much she’s growing every week and I feel confident that this performance should see her and Gorka lighting up the Tower Ballroom.

The comments: Motsi said Helen didn’t disappoint – her solo sections were rhythmical and had a nice vibe, but felt she was a little nervous in her partner work. Shirley loved Helen’s attitude but wanted her to work on her spotting to help with her speed. Anton enjoyed Helen’s development throughout the series but thought the routine started a bit slowly. Craig said Helen’s head and neck were ‘a real problem’, but otherwise loved it, praising the lifts and her hip rotation.

The scores: 8, 8, 8, 8 – 32 out of 40

Tony Adams and Katya Jones

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

After surprising everyone with his Salsa last week, tonight Tony and Katya were hoping to reach Blackpool with their Jive to Wilson Pickett’s ‘Land Of 1000 Dances’. In training Tony spoke about trying to handle the variety of moves involved and keeping up his stamina throughout the routine, as well as his determination to put everything into the dance.

The dance: This felt like a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I thought Tony coped well with the speed of the routine and his synchronisation with Katya in the side-by-side sections was good. He also handled the tricks of the routine and his solo sections well. However, it was a little bit hesitant and stop-start for my liking, and I would have liked more energy as well as sharper kicks and flicks. By no means a disaster but just a little bit flat for me, and I’m not sure if it’s quite enough for him to dodge the dance-off.

The comments: Shirley said Tony gave his best and put his heart into the performance. Anton wanted more retraction in Tony’s kicks and flicks but felt that he gave it a good effort. Craig called it a ‘technical disaster’ but Tony did the best he could. Motsi thought Tony was looking a lot sharper every week and more comfortable on the dancefloor, but there is still room for improvement.

The scores: 4, 6, 7, 7 – 24 out of 40

Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Molly and Carlos survived their second dance-off of Strictly Come Dancing 2022 last week, and tonight they faced the technical challenge of dancing the Rumba to ‘All The Man That I Need’ by Whitney Houston. In training Carlos advised Molly to channel her inner cat (as you do), whilst she struggled with the need for control in the routine as well as the emotion and passion needed for the dance. Would it be enough for Blackpool?

The dance: I thought Molly delivered a very measured solo opening section as well as some lovely acting throughout, and lots of drama in the routine. Her arms had a really sharp yet controlled quality about them and she had a nice flow between poses too. It’s really nice to see a different side to her – including a surprising sense of power and passion – and I think she should successfully avoid another trip to the dance-off tomorrow.

The comments: Anton called it ‘tremendous’, praising Molly’s ‘mature’ performance and connection with Carlos, but wanted her to improve her spins. Craig said it was ‘quality’, whilst Motsi liked Molly’s rumba walks and how she danced through her spine, as well as the moments of passion. Shirley loved the stretching and rhythm, as well as the sensitivity and Molly’s rumba walks.

The scores: 9, 9, 10, 9 – 37 out of 40

Fleur East and Vito Coppola

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This week Fleur and Vito took on the Samba, dancing to Arrow’s classic ‘Hot Hot Hot’ (which long-time Strictly viewers may remember being used for the same style by Mark Ramprakash back in the day). In the VT Fleur spoke about her nostalgic love of the song, but also struggling with the challenge of the routine. She and Fleur also showcased some of their dance to a group of her friends.

The dance: Fleur seems to have finally broken her Latin curse. She had fabulous hop action and bounce, as well as some great arm movements, and I loved the sense of confidence she brought to the performance too (as well as her nods to the Ramprakash routine with the African walks!). A sharp, controlled routine with great energy and sass, and one that should hopefully see her and Vito heading up north next week.

The comments: Craig said ‘if that doesn’t get you to Blackpool I don’t know what will’. A tearful Motsi spoke of how proud she was of Fleur and how much work she’d put into the performance. Shirley thought Fleur had mastered her craft and showed powerful dancing with beautiful control and footwork. Anton called it ‘brilliant’ and ‘perfect’.

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

Will Mellor and Nancy Xu

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Will and Nancy have been on a hot streak over the past few weeks, and tonight they were aiming to keep that going with their Waltz to The Commodores’ ‘Three Times A Lady’. In training Will spoke about how much the song meant to him and his family, whilst he and Nancy also spoke to his mum in an emotional phone call. Could the two of them do the routine justice?

The dance: Well that was just gorgeous. I felt Will had a lovely caring quality about his performance, as well as some lovely rise and fall, beautiful lines throughout and some good heel leads too. He and Nancy absolutely glided around the Strictly dancefloor and his posture in hold keeps coming on leaps and bounds, plus he showed her off really well and the storytelling of the whole routine was fantastic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye…

The comments: Motsi said ‘wow’, calling the dance ‘the essence of beautiful’. Shirley loved the feeling and ambience of the routine, as well as Will’s ‘fantastic’ footwork. Anton thought it was the epitome of dancing, praising the partnership and Will’s improved top line. Craig felt it lacked swing and sway but that was nothing in comparison to the storytelling.

The scores: 9, 10, 10, 9 – 38 out of 40

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Closing the show this week were Hamza and Jowita, dancing their Couple’s Choice routine to ‘Jerusalema – Remix’ by Master KG featuring Burna Boy and Nomcebo Zikode. In training, Hamza and Jowita worked with choreographer Patience to incorporate Afrobeat in their routine, whilst Hamza spoke about his childhood in Sudan and the opportunities of his career in wildlife filming, as well as the support he’s received from his family throughout his life. He and Jowita also visited his family at home to reflect on some memories.

The dance: That was such a joy from start to finish. Hamza had great synchronisation with Jowita throughout, fabulous energy and excellent control and command of the dance, as well as coping brilliantly with the lifts and tricks. I loved the celebratory feel of the routine, as well as the inclusion of traditional African dance moves and the playful quality he brought to his performance. It was a really entertaining and uplifting note to end the show on and highlighted just why he’s one of the favourites to win Strictly Come Dancing 2022.

The comments: Shirley praised Hamza’s control of the rhythms throughout and the subtlety of his movements. Anton called him ‘sunshine’ and ‘joy’, singling out his lifts in particular. Craig thought the timing got out at the end, but dancing is in Hamza’s soul. Motsi spoke about the power of Hamza celebrating his African roots and how special the routine was.

The scores: 8, 10, 10, 10 – 38 out of 40

The leaderboard for the evening was:

Fleur and Vito – 39
Will and Nancy – 38
Hamza and Jowita – 38
Molly and Carlos – 37
Helen and Gorka – 32
Ellie and Johannes – 31
Tyler and Dianne – 31
Kym and Graziano – 31
Tony and Katya – 24

Strictly Come Dancing will return for the Results Show on Sunday 13th November at 7.20 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Laura Cooney
Laura Cooney
Laura is a music and lifestyle blogger with a particular interest in country music, and occasional writer for Entertainment Focus.

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