With only four weeks to go until the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2016, the remaining 7 couples hopped on the bus to Blackpool for this week’s live show.
Last weekend model Daisy Lowe and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec left the competition after losing the dance-off to Olympian Greg Rutherford and his partner Natalie Lowe. Daisy was gutted to miss out on the chance to dance in Blackpool but the model should take comfort in the fact that she’ll be part of the Strictly 2017 live tour.
Each week the leaderboard seems to change this series and it’s difficult to tell who may be in with a chance of lifting the Glitterball trophy. Even former politician Ed Balls stands a chance to make it all the way!
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman guided the celebs and their partners through tonight’s Blackpool spectacular. Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli also made the trip up to the seaside for the annual Blackpool special.
Find out how the remaining couples got on during tonight’s live show…
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard
Gymnast Claudia Fragapane had the honour/pressure of opening the Blackpool show tonight. Last weekend she picked up 4 9s from the judges and she’s been growing in confidence and skill every week. During the week AJ Pritchard took Claudia on a tour of Blackpool as she’d never visited the town before. Tonight Claudia and AJ danced the Jive.
The dance: Claudia had a lot of choreography to remember tonight and she did a great job. There were moments that seemed a little out of sync but she kept up her energy throughout and held her own against the dancing troupe that backed her.
The comments: Len called Claudia ‘little miss dynamite’ and told her that she went for it. Bruno commended the way that Claudia took the lead and told her it was a ‘brilliant performance’. Craig said he could have given Claudia a 10 but a small mistake affected the score. Darcey said the routine showed off all of Claudia’s strengths, calling it ‘a spectacular performance’.
The score: 36 out of 40
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton
The Rumba got presenter Ore Oduba back on track last week. This week Ore was dancing the Viennese Waltz and he struggled with the amount of spins in the routine. During the week Joanne Clifton took Ore to try and cure his issues with spins by putting him on a spinning machine. Did it work?
The dance: A smooth performance from Ore tonight. He really does excel at the Ballroom side of the show and he leads Joanne with confidence. It was a classy performance that once again puts him in a strong position to win the show in a few weeks time.
The comments: Bruno called Ore the ‘ace in the pack’ and told him he loved the angle he put on the dance. Craig said that Ore’s top line bothered him a bit and picked the routine apart. Darcey said that no one can hold their frame as well as Ore did and told him she loved it. Len said it was a mix of flare and care telling Ore it was a terrific performance.
The score: 38 out of 40
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton
Singer Louise Redknapp has really found her strength the past couple of weeks and become a serious contender. Ahead of her performance in Blackpool, Louise and her partner Kevin Clifton went to see how Blackpool Rock is made. Tonight Louise and Kevin danced the Paso Doble at the Tower Ballroom.
The dance: What a powerful performance. Louise really committed to the routine and Kevin always delivers a stunning Paso. A contender for one of the best performances of the night!
The comments: Craig said that the performance didn’t disappoint, commenting on how good Kevin’s Paso choreography always is. Darcey said it was passionate throughout with a lot of style. Len said that people always come out with so much drama during Blackpool and he told Louise that he was blown away tonight. Bruno said it was like a Game of Thrones Paso Doble telling Louise she was fabulous.
The score: 38 out of 40
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse
Last weekend Danny Mac was criticised for being too aggressive with her performance but I thought Craig and Darcey were wrong with that critique. This week Danny and his partner Oti Mabuse were dancing the Charleston. During the week Oti asked Danny to meet her at a fish and chip shop so he could get into character. Did Danny and Oti wow with their Charleston?
The dance: Danny and Oti did something different with their Charleston adding a touch of class and a bit of jazz to the routine. It was very different to the usual Strictly Charleston and for that reason it was pretty special.
The comments: Darcey predicted that Danny would still be at the top of the leaderboard after his impressive performance. Len said it was almost choreography overload telling Danny it was full on and on the edge. Bruno said it was like watching a Broadway show and told Danny he liked that it was overly slapstick. Craig said ‘fab-u-lous’.
The score: 40 out of 40
Ed Balls & Katya Jones
Ed Balls has become easily the most entertaining of the celebs left on the show and despite lagging behind in terms of dance ability, he’s really putting his all into it. Tonight Ed and his partner Katya Jones were dancing the Jive and Ed admitted it was faster than he expected. During the week Katya made Ed practice on a floor piano.
The dance: Once you got past the entertainment factor, it was clear that Ed is actually improving as a dancer. The routine may have lacked the attack you’d expect from a Jive but he kept up with Katya and he gave it everything he had. Surely this is what the show’s about?
The comments: Len said that Ed is getting better telling him he made Blackpool rock. Bruno said it was strangely addictive and admitted that most of the routine looked like a Jive. Craig said it looked like Ed was playing hopscotch in an all-girls school but told him he loved how committed he is. Darcey said she was worried about the energy but told Ed it came by the end.
The score: 23 out of 40
Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe
Olympian Greg Rutherford found himself in the bottom two last weekend but he survived to dance another week. He admitted that he was thrilled to be through so he could dance at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom. During training Greg had to rein in his jumping prowess as he was making it difficult for Natalie to keep up. Tonight Greg and Natalie danced the Quickstep.
The dance: Greg pulled it out of the bag tonight and he impressed with his Quickstep. It’s the most natural he’s looked on the dancefloor and it could be enough to keep him in the competition for another week. Good effort!
The comments: Bruno said that it was good to see a brighter side of Greg and told him he was very handy. Craig said that there was too much power into the floor giving him too much height but told Greg he danced it brilliantly. Darcey said that Greg has no problem travelling but agreed with Craig that it was a bit too bouncy. Len said Greg maintained his frame while getting his feet moving but told him it was ironic that he mucked up the leap.
The score: 32 out of 40
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero
Judge Rinder was the last celeb to dance during tonight’s Blackpool special. The TV personality has been quietly climbing up the leaderboard and last week he wowed the judges with his Foxtrot. During the week Oksana Platero took Judge Rinder to the Pleasure Beach to help him with his lifts. Tonight Judge Rinder and Oksana danced the Salsa.
The dance: Not Judge Rinder’s finest moment. He struggled with a lift at the beginning and seemed to stumble around for large portions of the routine. It lacked the energy I’d expect to see in a Salsa and I found it disappointing.
The comments: Craig said he was impressed with Judge Rinder this week. Darcey said she’d never seen a guy shake his cheeks the way Judge Rinder did and commended his lift. Len said it was a sweet smelling Salsa but told Judge Rinder that he got over excited. Bruno said Judge Rinder lost a bit of timing but admitted it was a great way to end the night.
The score: 33 out of 40
The overall leaderboard for the evening was:
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse – 40
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton – 38
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton – 38
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard – 36
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero – 33
Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe – 32
Ed Balls & Katya Jones – 23
Strictly Come Dancing 2016 continues at 7.15pm tomorrow night when the next couple leaves the competition. See all of the action from today’s dress rehearsal in our gallery below: