Normality resumed on Strictly Come Dancing last weekend following the previous week’s kissing scandal.
Radio presenter Vick Hope and her partner Graziano Di Prima departed the competition after losing the dance-off to comedian Seann Walsh and his partner Katya Jones. The remaining couples progressed through to Halloween, which is always one of the best live shows of the series.
The couples went to town with their outfits, make-up and routines in a bid to keep their place in the competition. Who soared and who crashed and burned?
Find out how everyone got on…
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse
Graeme has been one of the most improved dancers as the weeks have gone on in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. Could that streak continue with his and Oti’s zombie-themed Cha Cha Cha to Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller? In training Graeme and Oti visited the cast of the West End show Thriller for some tips on getting into character.
The dance: The routine started well, with sharp movements and good synchronisation between Graeme and Oti, but quickly went downhill. It was skippy in places, stompy in others and there were no straight legs or hip action to speak of. However, Graeme did get into the character of the routine really well and I liked the Michael Jackson moves Oti threw in to her choreography.
The comments: Shirley thought Graeme had great entertainment value and personality, but the Cha Cha Cha still needed a bit of work and she wanted more rhythm in the body. Bruno called it ‘tremendously horrendous’ and ‘more Michael Flatfeet than Michael Jackson’, but said some of the Cha Cha Cha looked pretty good. Craig thought it was messy and criticised Graeme’s stiff hips and flailing arms, but said his energy was magnificent. Darcey said Graeme came alive on the Thriller references but everything else died.
The score: 4, 5, 6, 6 – 21 out of 40
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
This week Stacey and Kevin were back to a Ballroom routine, dancing the Tango to the Doctor Who Theme with Stacey as the Thirteenth Doctor and Kevin as a Cyberman. In training Stacey spoke about channelling her inner Jodie Whittaker and taking on some of the man’s part of the Tango, whilst she and Kevin discovered a mysterious blue box that took them to the future…
The dance: This was another great routine from Stacey, from the dramatic drop-and-spin opening onwards. Her kicks and head movements were sharp and precise, she had great speed across the floor and there was drama and attack by the bucketload. For me the switch to Stacey leading didn’t quite work, but overall this was an excellent performance and should see her near the top of the leaderboard once again.
The comments: Bruno said Stacey seemed to regenerate and come back better every week, praising her sharp moves and focus. Craig said it was a very strong performance full of intent and purpose, but wanted more staccato head placement. Darcey loved Stacey’s fixed frame and footwork, as well as the unique ending and musical references. Shirley liked Stacey’s closed promenade where she brought her feet together, as well as her control.
The score: 8, 9, 9, 9 – 35 out of 40
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara
Dr Ranj started off strongly, but has been struggling with his routines in the past couple of weeks. Could he and Janette turn that around with their Jive to the Halloween classic Monster Mash by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett? In training Ranj found the energy of the dance challenging, but kept getting woken up by a monster under the bed (which turned out to be Craig).
The dance: For me this was a bit of a mixed bag of a routine. I thought Dr Ranj really got into the character of a friendly monster and liked the playful quality, with good synchronisation between him and Janette, decent kicks and flicks and nice movement around the floor. He also definitely had the best costume of the night! However something about it felt a bit flat for me – there wasn’t quite enough drive though the floor and it needed more pace.
The comments: Craig thought the costume covered a multitude of sins and the routine was heavy and stompy, with timing issues. Darcey said there were too many clear mistakes but the character and relationship were strong. Shirley loved the concept and the strong start, as well as the American spin, but again there were too many errors. Bruno thought it was charming but warned Dr Ranj against making any more mistakes next week.
The score: 5, 5, 5, 5 – 20 out of 40
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec
This week Kate and Aljaz took on the Rumba to Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s Skin, playing the frozen Ice Queen and King. In training Kate spoke about how much she enjoyed last week’s performance but also struggled with the hip action of the Rumba, whilst Aljaz took her to an ice bar to get into the spirit of the dance.
The dance: Kate certainly brought plenty of passion and drama to the routine and I thought her hip action was decent. However it was a bit ‘walky’ in places and her facial expression was a little distracting, and I would also have liked to see her finish off her hands rather than throwing them away. Not perfect but a solid effort.
The comments: Darcey said Kate looked the part and there were glimmers of desire, but wanted her to use her arms more. Shirley liked Kate’s legs and back walks but thought there wasn’t enough music in her body. Bruno said it needed more of a fluid quality, whilst Craig wanted Kate to engage her whole body.
The score: 4, 6, 5, 5 – 20 out of 40
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden
After scoring the first 10 of the series last week, could Danny and Amy build on that with their American Smooth to Spirit In The Sky by Doctor and the Medics? In training Amy was concerned about Danny’s lifts but Danny was up for the challenge, whilst Anton was revealed to be haunting their training room (before watching a bit of the dance).
The dance: We know Danny is very strong on Ballroom and this was another good performance from him. He had good rise and fall, the lifts and transitions were smooth, and there was plenty of flourish such as his leap midway through. I also liked the flying ending as Danny rose to the ceiling! For me his top line was a little wobbly but overall this should see him safely through to next week.
The comments: Shirley loved Danny’s arms and thought he executed the lifts well, but wanted him to work on his flow. Bruno said Danny was flying high and praised his showmanship and command of the dance. Craig thought the dance was a bit staccato and needed to be smoothed out, but liked Danny’s musicality. Darcey said Danny had softened his knees but wanted him to maintain the care in the lifts towards the end.
The score: 6, 8, 7, 9 – 30 out of 40
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev
Ashley continues to be one of the leading contenders in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, scoring four nines for her Rumba last week. Tonight, she and Pasha got the chance to show their fun side with a Trolls-themed Charleston to Don Lang’s Witch Doctor. In training, Pasha gave Ashley a potion for the perfect Charleston, but warned her she mustn’t drink it before Saturday night…
The dance: This was a fun and fast-paced Charleston from Ashley, packed with tricks, treats and quirky footwork, and her personality shone through. She had great stamina throughout, lovely synchronisation with Pasha and acted the dance really well. It was nice to see a different side of her and altogether hugely entertaining.
The comments: Bruno said it was ‘astonishing’ and one of the best moments of the series. Craig called it ‘swivel-icious’, whilst Darcey loved the freedom and the details as well as Ashley’s facial expressions. Shirley said Ashley was outstanding and absolutely in synch with Pasha.
The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
Last week Seann found himself in the dance off for the first time, but could his and Katya’s luck change with their Viennese Waltz to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You? In training Seann spoke about wanting to have fun in training this week, whilst Katya took him to a toy museum for ‘inspiration’ for their doll-themed dance.
The dance: Firstly, all credit to Katya for the original concept and stunning choreography. It’s just a shame Seann couldn’t quite execute it. He started off well, but once he got into hold his footwork went completely, particularly in the spins, and consequently the dance looked a bit too heavy and lumpy. That said, I thought his acting at the end wasn’t bad and he had an OK frame, but I don’t think it’s enough to save him from the bottom two.
The comments: Craig said he thought Seann would find himself in the dance off again, and there were timing issues all the way through. Darcey agreed – despite the strong character, Seann lacked character in the rise and it was too jerky and skippy. Shirley liked Seann’s driving step and foot placement on the fleckerl, but there were a couple of mistakes. Bruno thought the role playing was beautiful but it technically wasn’t very good.
The score: 3, 5, 6, 6 – 20 out of 40
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton
After their triumphant Couples Choice routine last week, could Charles and Karen keep the momentum going with their Jive to The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show? In training Charles spoke about how his previous routine had been a major breakthrough, whilst Karen took him to a cinema to watch the film and learn the classic dance routine.
The dance: I really enjoyed this routine from Charles. Right from his solo opening it was bouncy, fast-paced and full of kicks, flicks and tricks. I liked how Karen incorporated the Time Warp moves into the choreography too. Technically it wasn’t perfect – he needed to point his toes more, the hands were a bit throwaway at times and I’d have liked a little more pressure into the floor – but overall it was a fun and entertaining performance.
The comments: Darcey thought it started well and liked the attack and energy, but there were timing problems and criticised Charles’ flappy feet. Shirley said Charles had all the best promise and it was entertaining, but there were several mistakes. Bruno enjoyed Charles’ quirky energy and thought the performance was pitched just right. Craig loved the routine but thought it needed tightening up and tidying up.
The score: 6, 6, 6, 7 – 25 out of 40
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice
This week it was Faye and Giovanni’s turn to take on the Couple’s Choice, and they picked Theatre/Jazz. Dancing to Peggy Lee’s Fever, would their performance heat up the Strictly dancefloor? In training Faye spoke about her family’s support to help her follow her dreams and her experience in Steps, as well as wanting to do well on the show for her son.
The dance: Faye delivers excellent dances week after week, and this was no exception. It was a sharp routine and she hit all the musical accents perfectly, with incredible control in the lifts (and the splits!) and some surprisingly sultry moments too. I loved the drama of the dance as well as the slick feel. Overall it was an unusual routine, executed brilliantly and just oozed cool.
The comments: Shirley said it was ‘outstanding’ and loved the small details in the routine. Bruno called it ‘Fosse fabulous and all that jazz’. Craig said it was ‘a-ma-zing’, whilst Darcey praised the mirroring and Faye’s en pointe section. calling it ‘stunning’.
The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Joe is building a reputation as a particularly strong Ballroom dancer, and this week he and Dianne had a chance to build on that with their vampire-themed Foxtrot to 5 Seconds Of Summer’s Youngblood. In training Dianne took Joe to face his fears by riding a rollercoaster at a theme park, in preparation for their dance’s fairground setting.
The dance: For me Joe’s Ballroom improves with every routine, and that was definitely the case tonight. In particular I thought he really got into the character of the dance, particularly early on. He also had a nice top line and good footwork, and showed great control as he and Dianne moved around the dancefloor. There are a couple of things to work on – there was a bit of gapping, he seemed to be down in his knees a bit too much and I’d have liked some more heel leads – but another good effort that should see him through to next week.
The comments: Bruno said it was a foxtrot with an infectious bite, and praised Joe’s improvement in leading the dance. Craig loved the breakouts and the snap back into hold, whilst Darcey thought Joe was ‘spookily good’ and his technique is getting better and better. Shirley gave Joe a hug and called him ‘outstanding’.
The score: 8, 9, 9, 9 – 35 out of 40
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard
This week Lauren and AJ closed the show with their Paso Doble, danced to Poison by Nicole Scherzinger, with Lauren playing the role of the Wicked Queen from Snow White and AJ as the Huntsman. In training Lauren spoke about how much she enjoyed her Couple’s Choice routine last week, but found it difficult to get into character, so she and AJ tried apple bobbing (as you do).
The dance: Acting and performance-wise, this was a breakthrough for Lauren. She got into the character of the Wicked Queen absolutely brilliantly and I loved the amount of drama and attack she brought to the routine. However, technically there were a few things still lacking; the shaping in the body wasn’t quite strong enough and the drag towards the end looked a little awkward. But she’s definitely getting better as the weeks go on and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next Saturday.
The comments: Craig thought the shaping could do with work and there were a couple of wobbles, but that Lauren’s focus and energy were absolutely brilliant. Darcey liked Lauren’s determination and power and praised her attitude, but wanted her to use her waist to create curve in hold. Shirley said Lauren was powerful and it was her best dance so far, whilst Bruno said it was a strong, proud, powerful and regal performance.
The score: 6, 7, 8, 8 – 29 out of 40
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev – 39
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice – 39
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton – 35
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell – 35
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden – 30
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard – 29
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton – 25
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse – 21
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara – 20
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec – 20
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones – 20
Strictly Come Dancing 2018 continues tomorrow at 7.50pm on BBC One. Take a look at all the couples in rehearsal in our gallery below…