Simon Rimmer and his partner Karen Clifton were the latest couple to leave Strictly Come Dancing 2017 following last weekend’s Halloween special.
They found themselves in the dance-off opposite The Saturdays’ singer Mollie King and her partner AJ Pritchard. With 10 couples left in the competition, things are getting more fierce than ever.
With Blackpool within reach, all of the couples performed again tonight to win over the judges and the public. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were on hand to support the couples as judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli delivered their verdicts on the performances.
Find out who soared and who crashed on the dancefloor tonight…
Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez
After her zombie-themed Tango last week, tonight Alexandra and Gorka took on the Cha-Cha-Cha. To prepare for their jazz-themed routine to I Got The Music In Me, Gorka took Alexandra to a jazz club where she performed on stage.
The dance: Alexandra definitely showed off her sassy side in this routine, with shades of her jive particularly in the side-by-side section. She also had plenty of hip action and great arm movements, although she looked a little wobbly in her spins and her hands were a little spatulistic (as Craig might say). That said, it was a great start to the show and she looked like she was having the time of her life performing the routine.
The comments: Shirley said Alexandra’s forward walks looked like a professional and that she used her arms well, putting ‘the cheeky in cha-cha-cha’. Bruno called her a ‘cha-cha goddess’ and compared her to Beyoncé, as well as complimenting her precision and said it was the best cha-cha-cha this series. Craig praised Alexandra’s foot turnout and hip action, whilst Darcey called her the dancing queen and said the routine was flirty and confident.
The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40
Mollie King & AJ Pritchard
After finding herself in the bottom two last week, Mollie hoped to bounce back with her movie-themed Foxtrot to Call Me Irresponsible. In training this week AJ became Mollie’s assistant for the day.
The dance: Mollie was back on form with this romantic routine. She glided across the dancefloor and radiated confidence in AJ’s arms, with lovely rise and fall. Although there was a bit of gapping at times and some slightly clunky footwork towards the end, it was a big improvement from her Cha-Cha last week and I think she will be safe from the dreaded dance-off tomorrow.
The comments: Bruno said Mollie had great control in the first half of the dance and the routine was well-placed, elegant and classy. Craig criticised Mollie’s balance and pivots but praised her transitions and top line. Darcey said it was a stylish routine and that Mollie had good flow, whilst Shirley commended her attempt to keep her shoulders down as well as her timing and recovery.
The score: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27 out of 40
Joe McFadden & Katya Jones
After Joe’s Foxtrot last week was praised by the judges, he was hoping to build on it further with a toy solider-themed Charleston to Alexander’s Ragtime Band by Ella Fitzgerald. In training, Katya took Joe to meet a a marching band and they played with the band as well as showing them their routine.
The dance: This is definitely a dance that suits Joe down to the ground. It was light, bright and fun, with plenty of swivel and personality, but there were some timing issues early on and he lost co-ordination with Katya a couple of times. However he improved as the routine went on, as well as pulling off some impressive lifts. He’s getting better every week and I think he stands a great chance of making it to the final.
The comments: Craig loved the ragtime and head wobble and praised Joe’s co-ordination, but pointed out the lack of swivel on his left foot. Darcey liked the detail and said it was a great Charleston. Shirley said Joe’s new nickname was DJ – Detail Joe (or perhaps Dark Horse) – and that the routine was effortless, whilst Bruno called it charming.
The score: 9, 9, 9, 9 – 36 out of 40
Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec
After the mixed comments for her Jive last week, tonight Gemma took on the saucy Salsa to Sun Comes Up by Rudimental. As Aljaz is playing a barman in their routine, this week in training he took Gemma to a tiki bar to practice their routine.
The dance: Gemma definitely showed off her sultry side in this routine, with good hip action, excellent armography and some stunning lifts. She’s struggled with the Latin routines in the past but I think this could be her breakthrough in that regard as she looked far more confident than in previous weeks. Another strong routine and showing why she’s considered a potential finalist.
The comments: Darcey said it was hot and saucy but Gemma looked nervous in the lifts and wanted her to work on her dismounts. Shirley agreed with Darcey about the lifts and wanted Gemma to point her feet, but praised her rotation and upper body co-ordination. Bruno wanted Gemma to let herself go more and not overthink the dance, whilst Craig said she needed more figure eight rotation in her hips.
The score: 5, 7, 7, 7 – 26 out of 40
Aston Merrygold & Janette Manrara
After scoring two 10s for his Paso Doble last week, this week Aston danced the Viennese Waltz to Michael Jackson’s Who’s Loving You. In training Janette encouraged Aston to channel Michael Jackson and they watched footage of him performing as Michael Jackson on Stars In Their Eyes when he was younger.
The dance: Aston has been this year’s surprise package when it comes to ballroom, and this was another strong routine. I liked the contemporary touches added to the choreography, whilst he showed great posture and had a nice top line throughout the routine. It was another great performance from him and I think he’s consistently proving that he’s an all-rounder in this competition.
The comments: Shirley said it was a bit bouncy in areas but praised Aston’s attempt at the fleckle, whilst Bruno thought the dance didn’t quite gel. Craig criticised the lack of grace and elegance and said there was too much rise and fall. Darcey said Aston lost his energy in hold and wanted him to enjoy it more.
The score: 4, 7, 7, 7 – 25 out of 40
Ruth Langsford & Anton Du Beke
After another improvement with her Quickstep last week, this week Ruth danced the Paso Doble to The Shady Dame From Seville. In training Ruth struggled with the changes in timing in the routine and spoke emotionally about the effort she was putting in during practice.
The dance: I was impressed with Ruth’s characterisation and liked the humour she put into the routine. However, she also managed some good shaping, particularly in hold, and the routine had plenty of drama as well as showing Ruth’s control. Her hands and arms were a little flyaway at times and the ending went slightly awry, but overall this was a surprisingly good routine and I think she might have done enough to avoid the dance-off.
The comments: Craig said it was ‘entertainment vs technique’ and criticised Anton’s choice to go for the former. Darcey, however, said Ruth brought the character alive and loved her stalking kicks, whilst Shirley said she represented absolute joy and praised Ruth’s promenade positions.
The score: 4, 6, 6, 6 – 22 out of 40
Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice
Last week Debbie topped the leaderboard for the second week running as well as scoring her first 10s. In training for their Tango to The Black Eyed Peas’ I Got A Feeling, Debbie spoke aiming for a full 40 points. It was also her birthday this week so Giovanni took her on a helicopter flight over London.
The dance: Debbie certainly brought plenty of drama to the dancefloor. She had excellent control and attack throughout the routine, although her top line collapsed a couple of times and the footwork was a little skippy in places. It wasn’t a bad performance by any means but simply didn’t wow me in the way her previous routines have done.
The comments: Craig came out from behind the desk to bow down to Debbie’s ‘amazing’ routine, whilst a speechless Darcey called it ‘extraordinary’. Shirley said it was a beautiful Tango and liked Debbie’s fast feet and soft legs, and Bruno called the routine flawless.
The score: 10, 10, 10, 10 – 40 out of 40
Jonnie Peacock & Oti Mabuse
After dropping down the leaderboard last week, this week Jonnie faced the Salsa, performed to Turn Me On by Kevin Lyttle. In training Jonnie spoke about his disappointment with his performance last week and finding the lifts difficult, but was confident they could pull it off.
The dance: Jonnie delivered on the lifts and improved as the performance went on, but ultimately it all felt a bit flat. He lacked hip action and there was a slight feeling of stiffness about the routine, which meant the dance didn’t quite have the party flavour that it needed in my view. He’s definitely trying his best but sadly I just don’t think this was his dance and think he might be in trouble this week.
The comments: Darcey praised the ease of the routine but said it needed more hip rotation, whilst Bruno praised his strength and upper body groove – it just needed to translate to the lower half. Shirley said Jonnie had found a rhythm that suited him, and Craig liked how he showed Oti off particularly in the ‘spectacular’ lifts.
The score: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27 out of 40
Susan Calman & Kevin Clifton
After a disappointing Foxtrot last week, this week Susan was hoping to come back fighting with a Jive to Shakin’ Stevens’ This Old House. In training Susan was surprised by her wife and the two of them danced the routine with Kevin.
The dance: Susan definitely bounced back this week. Although it was a bit stompy in places, she had great kicks and flicks and co-ordination with Kevin in the side-by-side section and her sheer enthusiasm shone through as always. I loved the humour she and Kevin incorporated into the routine as well. A much stronger routine than last week and I think she captured the spirit of the dance really well.
The comments: Shirley said Susan had slick kicks and that she was back, whilst Bruno said she gave it everything she got and had good pumping action. Craig called it a vast improvement on last week and praised her timing and synchronicity, and Darcey loved Susan’s energy and said it was definitely her dance.
The score: 6, 7, 8, 8 – 29 out of 40
Davood Ghadami & Nadiya Bychkova
Despite some negative comments last week, Davood definitely made a breakthrough with his romantic Rumba. This week he and Nadiya danced the American Smooth to This Will Be (An Everlasting Love). In training, Davood spoke about finding it difficult to remember all the parts of the routine and his determination to do a good job.
The dance: What an improvement from Davood! He led the dance really well and had lovely control in the lifts, as well as good posture in hold and nice rise and fall. I loved the personality he brought to the dance as well. Although he was up on his toes a bit too much, he delivered a really strong performance and has come on leaps and bounds yet again.
The comments: Bruno said Davood was like a movie star and said the dance was ‘fabulous’. Craig wanted more swing and sway but loved the press-up lift, whilst Darcey praised Davood’s control and the air of Hollywood glamour. Shirley called it ‘totally awesome’ and said Davood moved well.
The score: 8, 9, 9, 9 – 35 out of 40
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice – 40
Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez – 39
Joe McFadden & Katya Jones – 36
Davood Ghadami & Nadiya Bychkova – 35
Susan Calman & Kevin Clifton – 29
Mollie King & AJ Pritchard – 27
Jonnie Peacock & Oti Mabuse – 27
Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec – 26
Aston Merrygold & Janette Manrara – 25
Ruth Langsford & Anton Du Beke – 22
Strictly Come Dancing 2017 says goodbye to another couple during the results show tomorrow at 7.15pm on BBC One. Check out all the couples in rehearsals earlier today in our gallery below: