The competition started to feel more real for the celebs last weekend as the first couple left the competition.
Susannah Constantine and her partner Anton Du Beke were eliminated after losing the dance-off to Blue star Lee Ryan and his partner Nadiya Bychkova. It wasn’t a huge surprise but usually the viewers keep Anton in a lot longer than they have this year.
Tonight the 14 remaining couples participated in Movie Week, one of the best weeks of the competition. Tackling adventurous routines and putting the costume department to the test, the couples had a lot of pressure to deliver the goods.
Find out how everyone got on…
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima
After making huge progress with her Waltz last week, tonight Vick and Graziano took on the Salsa to Take A Chance On Me from Mamma Mia!. In training, Vick spoke about her worries about performing another Latin dance and struggling with the number of props, as well as going to a Greek restaurant for some plate-smashing. As you do.
The dance: I loved the humour and cheekiness Vick brought to this dance, and thought she had good timing and synchronisation with Graziano. She also had good armography and made the medley of lifts look suitably dramatic and effortless. However, for me there wasn’t quite enough hip action and it looked a little flat-footed in places (probably not helped by her wearing trainers). Not quite as good as last week in my view but a definite improvement on her first Latin routine and it was nice to see another side to her.
The comments: Shirley said Vick ‘absolutely did amazing’ and praised her lifts and recovery, but wanted her to work on her rotation and body action. Bruno said it was a feel-good Salsa which Vick threw everything at and it worked. Craig would have liked more energy in the turns and more Salsa content, but Vick’s transitions were ‘spectacular’ and he loved her African section. Darcey liked the relationship between Vick and Graziano and the fun and sweet character she brought to the dance.
The score: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27 out of 40
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara
Dr Ranj is rapidly becoming one of my favourite contestants on Strictly Come Dancing 2018, so I was really looking to his and Janette’s Quickstep to Prince Ali from Aladdin. In training, Janette took Ranj to meet the cast of the West End musical version of Aladdin and get some advice from them.
The dance: Ranj opened the dance by riding in on an elephant, before getting into hold with Janette. He flew across the floor as light as air and had great synchronisation with Janette, particularly in the Charleston section, and brought bags of personality to the dance floor. Granted he was a bit gappy in hold and I would have liked him to finish off his hands, but this was another sparkling, cheeky and fun routine which I’m sure will see him safely through to next week.
The comments: Bruno said Ranj encountered a little bit of turbulence and was stalling at times, but said he did well for a first Quickstep. Craig thought Ranj’s posture was poor and wanted him to cover a lot more of the floor. Darcey said it was fun and cheeky but Ranj was missing quite a lot and his left elbow dropped as he got tired. Shirley thought Ranj was pure magic out of hold and the routine was quite nice, but wanted him to get comfortable being in frame.
The score: 4, 5, 5, 6 – 20 out of 40
Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova
After finding themselves in the bottom two last week, could Lee and Nadiya stay out of the dance-off with their Cha Cha Cha to The Power Of Love from Back To The Future? In training Lee got a message from his former Blue bandmate Duncan Jones and last year’s Strictly finalist Alexandra Burke, as well as dancing on hoverboards with Nadiya.
The dance: Lee began the dance flying across the dancefloor on a hoverboard before moonwalking back towards Nadiya. He brought plenty of flair and energy to the dance and had good co-ordination with Nadiya, as well as lots of tricks, but I wanted a bit more hip action and his legs weren’t quite straight enough. Not his strongest routine I’m afraid and I fear he might be in the bottom two again tomorrow.
The comments: Craig said the basic wasn’t clean and Lee didn’t get the leg action right. Darcey praised Lee’s attitude and enthusiasm yet wanted him to place his free arm. Shirley liked Lee’s playfulness but said there wasn’t enough weight transference from foot to foot. Bruno said it wasn’t a blockbuster but it wasn’t a flop either, and Lee hit some good positions and lines, but it needed polishing and refining.
The score: 3, 5, 5, 6 – 19 out of 40
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec
After her sensational Tango last week, Kate has established herself as a potential challenger for the Strictly glitterball – so could she and Aljaz continue their hot streak with their Foxtrot to Why Don’t You Do Right from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? In training Kate spoke about how much she’s enjoying her Strictly experience, whilst Aljaz made her wear a wig and red lipstick in rehearsals to get into the character of Jessica Rabbit.
The dance: Emerging from behind a curtain, Kate showed off her sassy, sultry side before getting into hold with Aljaz. She had good rise and fall and excellent control, particularly in the spins, her movement across the floor was lovely and fluid and although she stumbled a little, she covered it up well. I felt she really got into the character of the dance and the film and delivered her strongest performance yet.
The comments: Darcey called it ‘divine’ and said she absolutely loved it, but wanted her to ‘glue’ herself to Aljaz and lower her left shoulder. Shirley praised the synchronisation of Kate and Aljaz’s feet and found it ‘fascinating’ to watch her control. Bruno was ‘gobsmacked’ and liked how Kate made the stumble part of the choreography. Craig thought it was sultry and seductive and praised the storytelling but said Kate’s pivots were all on her toes.
The score: 6, 7, 8, 8 – 29 out of 40
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
This week Stacey and Kevin took on the Jive to Happy from Despicable Me 2, dressed as Minions. In training Stacey and Kevin showed off their fun side with their best Minion impressions, as well as how excited she was about the routine, but also her concern that her Ballroom is stronger than her Latin. Could this dance change that?
The dance: This was a fast, fun and frenzied Jive, with Stacey having plenty of bounce, sharp kicks and flicks and enough energy to power the National Grid. She had good synchronisation with Kevin in the side-by-side section and it looked like she was having the time of her life out there. It’s a big improvement from her Cha Cha Cha last week and I really enjoyed seeing the cheeky side of her personality too.
The comments: Shirley said this was a major breakthrough for Stacey and that she’d become the queen of Jive as she didn’t miss a beat. Bruno was ‘delighted’ and said Stacey was on it, praising her for taking the judges’ comments on board. Craig couldn’t agree more, while Darcey loved Stacey’s carefree action, high energy and strong core.
The score: 8, 8, 8, 8 – 32 out of 40
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Joe has been many people’s surprise package over his first two dances, and tonight we got the first glimpse of his Ballroom ability as he and Dianne performed an American Smooth to Breaking Free from High School Musical. In training Joe spoke about learning to dance in his Ballroom shoes, and also took Dianne back to his high school where they performed their routine for the pupils.
The dance: This was a lovely, fluid American Smooth, with Joe having decent posture in hold and giving the dance a nice romantic quality. I liked that he put in some little flourishes which showed off his personality and he did well with the lifts too. There was a little bit of gapping and his hands weren’t quite finished off, but it was another strong routine from him and showed that he’s got the all-round ability to win this competition.
The comments: Bruno said the routine showed Joe wasn’t a one-trick pony and praised his phrasing, but that his bum was sticking out. Craig criticised Joe’s posture and wanted it to be smoother, but loved watching him dance. Darcey was impressed by Joe’s top line and strides but wanted him to lift his arms and finish his lines. Shirley said Joe never ceases to amaze but would have liked the routine to cover more floor space and wanted more attention to the footwork.
The score: 6, 7, 6, 7 – 26 out of 40
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse
Graeme had a bit of a wobble in his disappointing American Smooth last Saturday, so his and Oti’s Charleston to the Spiderman Theme gave him a chance to return to his early promise. In training Graeme spoke about last week being a wake-up call but also the fun character of this week’s dance, before Oti took him abseiling at the Olympic Park in London.
The dance: Graeme definitely had the character of this dance down, with a huge grin on his face the entire time. He pulled off some impressive lifts and tricks and had great energy throughout, as well as excellent timing, swivel and synchronisation. The only thing I would have liked would have been for him to point his toes in his kicks more, but this was definitely a return to form and should be more than enough to get him to week four.
The comments: Craig said ‘welcome back to the competition’. Darcey loved the swivel and said Graeme’s energy was impressive. Shirley said Graeme would definitely be his sons’ superheroes and loved everything about the dance. Bruno gave it a standing ovation and said Graeme had gone from zero to superhero, but wanted him to bring it again next week.
The score: 7, 8, 8, 8 – 31 out of 40
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev
After scoring the first 9 of the series last week, could Ashley and Pasha stay on top of the leaderboard with their Salsa to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing? In training Pasha took Ashley to a pool to practise the iconic lift from a film, whilst Ashley spoke about her determination to get the routine right.
The dance: Ashley had a really nice balletic quality at the start of the routine, before showing her feisty side in the Salsa section. She pulled off the lifts – including that one – absolutely seamlessly and I loved the playful and cheeky quality she brought to her side-by-side sections with Pasha. It was a little walky in places but overall this was a great routine and should see her sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard once again.
The comments: Darcey said Ashley can sell a dance and it was totally fearless, ticking all the boxes. Shirley thought Ashley did it justice and didn’t miss a step, praising her rotation, arms and timing. Bruno liked that they included some steps from the movie but created something all their own, and said the way Ashley hit every accent was sensational. However, Craig thought it lacked a little hip rotation and was too straight-legged.
The score: 8, 9, 9, 9 – 35 out of 40
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
After Seann struggled in his Jive last week, tonight he and Katya faced another big challenge – a Paso Doble to the theme tune from The Matrix. In training, Seann practised the flying section of his routine and spoke about his nerves in doing so, as well as his determination to get the dance right.
The dance: I really liked seeing another side of Seann in this dramatic Paso Doble. I thought he had some great arm movements and nice shaping, as well as excellent control in the slower sections and plenty of drama. It was a little skippy occasionally and his hands were a bit spatulistic, plus he had a small wobble when he landed after the flying section, but this was a huge step forward for him and it’s great to see him improving week on week.
The comments: Bruno said it was a clever and original sci-fi Paso extravaganza and Seann maintained the power and intensity throughout. Craig called it ‘profound, powerful, impassioned, strong, masculine and… hot’. Darcey thought there was plenty of drama and Seann had conviction and purpose and praised how he used his waist, but wanted him to soften his legs. Shirley called Katya’s choreography ‘sheer brilliance’ and said Seann ‘nailed it’.
The score: 7, 7, 8, 8 – 30 out of 40
Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez
Katie has been struggling with her nerves throughout the competition, but could she conquer them for good with her and Gorka’s Foxtrot to City Of Stars from La La Land? In training Katie spoke about feeling deflated but also wanting to enjoy the performance and express herself, whilst Gorka used a resistance band to help them move as one.
The dance: This was a lovely, gentle, sweet routine from Katie and Gorka. She had a nice light quality to her movement, hit some lovely lines and brought a quirky, playful character to the dance. Although she was up on her toes a bit too much for me, she’s really growing into the competition and is getting better every week.
The comments: Shirley gave Katie a standing ovation and said she gave a moving performance with no mistakes and nice footwork, but wanted Gorka to push her more. Bruno thought it had a dreamy quality and told Katie to stop doubting herself. Craig thought it was a tentative start and Katie had issues with timing on the stairs, but thought there’d been a breakthrough with her musicality. Darcey said Katie was moving in the right direction and wanted her to be proud of her performance.
The score: 5, 5, 6, 6 – 22 out of 40
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard
This week Lauren and AJ took on the Cha Cha Cha to the theme from Fame. In training Lauren spoke about her struggles with having confidence in her ability as well as her acting skills, as well as getting a pep talk from AJ and fellow contestant Stacey. Could she deliver a stellar performance?
The dance: Lauren opened the routine dancing on a car bonnet before AJ lifted her off and into hold. She had good straight legs and decent hip action, and has definitely grown in confidence with her tricks (including a particularly spectacular fall backwards into AJ’s arms at the end!). However, for me there wasn’t quite enough weight in her steps, her free arm was a bit throwaway and she lacked the cheeky character of the dance. It’s clear she’s trying her best but this definitely wasn’t her strongest dance and I’m concerned she could be facing the dance-off tomorrow.
The comments: Craig said it was a bit lacklustre and wanted Lauren to think about overdancing and give it more attack. Darcey said Lauren needed to overexaggerate her shapes, but she has plenty of potential. Shirley liked Lauren’s personality but thought she needed more strength in her legs and feet, which will help her rotation. Bruno felt there was still a bit of a barrier and told Lauren to sell the dance and character and go for it more.
The score: 4, 5, 5, 6 – 20 out of 40
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton
Despite making a mistake in his Quickstep last Saturday, Charles showed he’s got some slick Ballroom moves. Could he and Karen continue their solid start with their American Smooth to Up Where We Belong from An Officer And A Gentleman? In training Charles’ mum came along to watch him and Karen practice and give him some tips for the live show.
The dance: Clad in an immaculate white Navy uniform, Charles has definitely improved since last week. His hold with Karen was much better in terms of posture and reduced gapping, he moved across the floor really nicely, had good arm movements and acted the dance very well. I would have liked to see a few more heel leads but overall he delivered a confident, polished performance with plenty of passion. The lifts were excellent too, particularly the final one which showed off Charles’s strength.
The comments: Darcey said Charles had nice control and sweeping lines, as well as extraordinary balance in his lifts. Shirley loved the open pieces of choreography but wanted Charles to understand where the quicks and slows were in the music. Bruno liked the sensitivity Charles brought to the routine and praised his arm movements, but Craig felt he had timing issues and the partnership wasn’t gelling despite liking Charles’ charisma.
The score: 6, 6, 6, 7 – 25 out of 40
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice
After wowing the judges last week with her dramatic Viennesse Waltz, Faye had another chance to show off her Ballroom skills as she and Giovanni performed a Quickstep to You’re The One That I Want from Grease. In training Faye spoke about her concern about maintaining her high performance standards, whilst Giovanni showed her how to get into the character of sassy Sandy for their routine.
The dance: Dressed in a slinky black leather outfit, Faye definitely brought out her feisty side in this routine. It was a super-speedy Quickstep, with her and Giovanni sprinting around the floor, and consequently she lost her frame a little bit at times. However, they had good co-ordination in the Charleston section and I liked the little references to the film in the choreography as well. It was a performance full of content which showed a different side of Faye and that she can handle anything Strictly throws at her.
The comments: Shirley said it was electrifying and liked how well Faye executed the chassis, saying it was one of the best Quicksteps she’s ever seen on Strictly. Bruno emerged from behind the desk to hug Faye, whilst Craig called it ‘fab-u-lous’. Darcey praised the challenging choreography and how Faye was gliding across the floor, and said it was ‘stunning’.
The score: 9, 9, 9, 9 – 36 out of 40
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden
This week Danny and Amy had the daunting task of not only closing the show, but also performing a Paso Doble to one of the most popular movie hits of the moment – The Greatest Show from the smash hit The Greatest Showman. In training Danny and Amy took a trip to the cinema to watch the film and spoke about the need for precision when using props in the routine, as well as delivering the character. No pressure then…
The dance: Danny showed off plenty of flair and flourish in his opening solo section, with good shaping in his arms and lots of drama and attack. He and Amy had great synchronisation throughout and I really liked his control with the cane as well. Although I found his hips a little bit stiff and there was one small mishap towards the end, he definitely delivered tons of showmanship and theatricality and it was a triumphant finale to the evening.
The comments: Bruno said Danny sold it and had great lines, but Craig thought it was a bit stiff and wanted more Spanish line, as well as for Danny to bring his chest and head down. Darcey, however, praised Danny’s shaping and flexibility, as well as how he used his back, but wanted him to hold back a bit when getting into hold. Shirley said there were moments where Danny and Amy collided and got a little bit lost, but loved his command and sophistication.
The score: 6, 7, 7, 8 – 28 out of 40
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice – 36
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev – 35
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton – 32
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse – 31
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones – 30
Kate Silverton and Aljaž Škorjanec – 29
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden – 28
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima – 27
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell – 26
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton – 25
Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez – 22
Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara – 20
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard – 20
Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova – 19
Strictly Come Dancing 2018 continues at 7.15pm on Sunday on BBC One. Take a look at all the couples in rehearsal earlier today in our gallery below…