Last week saw the first couple leave Strictly Come Dancing 2019, with Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Cracknell and his partner Luba Mushtuk losing the dance-off to David James.
The competition’s suddenly got very real and the pressure is now on for the remaining 14 couples.
This week the glitz and glamour of Hollywood arrived in the Strictly ballroom, with the return of Movie Week. It’s an audience favourite and has produced some spectacular routines in the past – could the cast of 2019 deliver another winning performance?
Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were there to oversee proceedings as always, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and head judge Shirley Ballas provided their advice to the contestants. There was also a stunning opening routine from Strictly’s professional dancers based around Disney Pixar films, including The Incredibles, Up and Toy Story.
Here’s how everyone got on…
Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice
Michelle and Giovanni are on a roll after last week’s score of 32 – could they beat it with their Quickstep to Cabaret by Liza Minelli? In training Michelle spoke about how excited she was to play Sally Bowles and her experience of meeting Liza, as well as wanting the routine to be a ‘showstopper’. She also talked about how much she loved the dance and the importance of balancing technique and performance, as well as helping Giovanni get into character as The MC.
The dance: Michelle opened the dance with a Cabaret-inspired solo section, which saw her getting fully into character with plenty of sass and shimmy. However, her Quickstep section was great too, with light, bright footwork, great movement across the floor and tons of personality. There were also some nice dramatic touches, including a spin midway through, and she had nice synchronisation with Giovanni throughout. I would have liked to see her finish off her hands and there was a little bit of gapping in hold, but it was an absolutely joyous, well-acted performance and a great start to the show.
The comments: Shirley said it was ‘absolutely magnifique’ and Michelle smashed it on every level, praising her scattered chassis, standing spin and frame. Bruno called it ‘divine decadence’ and loved how Michelle balanced the character and feel with a refined, polished Quickstep. Craig criticised the ‘superfluous’ backstep but said the rest was ‘a-ma-zing’. Motsi said Michelle never disappointed, had excellent footwork and that she ‘owned it’.
The scores: 8, 9, 9, 9 – 35 out of 40
Alex Scott and Neil Jones
Alex and Neil took on the first Rumba of the series this week, dancing to Au’il Cravalho’s How Far I’ll Go from Moana. In training Alex spoke about her excitement about playing the character but found the technique of the dance challenging. She and Neil also visited her niece to watch the film and perform the routine. Alex has spoken before about not being a natural performer – could she pull it off on the night?
The dance: Alex opened the dance with a solo section, which I thought she performed really well. There was a strength to the routine you don’t often see in Rumba, and I thought she had very good rumba walks and decent hip action. However I would have liked her to finish her lines a little more and something about performing barefoot meant the routine lost some of the elegance and sensuality that you expect from the dance. An improvement on last week, but I’m still hoping she’s due a major breakthrough soon.
The comments: Bruno said it was full of beauty and warmth, but wanted Alex to extend more and make her movements bigger. Craig liked the mix of contemporary and Rumba but felt it was a little bit stilted and criticised Alex’s timing at the beginning. Motsi wanted Alex to bring the softness of her upper body into her hip action, whilst Shirley also enjoyed the blend of styles and said Alex is beginning to find her inner strength and feeling.
The scores: 5, 6, 6, 6 – 23 out of 40
Chris Ramsay and Karen Hauer
Chris and Karen’s routine this week was a Foxtrot-based American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s Cheek To Cheek, from the film Top Hat. In training Chris spoke about the rollercoaster of emotions he experienced last week, as well as finding the dance difficult, particularly the technical feather step. Would he realise his true potential in Strictly Come Dancing with his first Ballroom routine?
The dance: This was a bit of a mixed bag from Chris. Whilst I loved the character he brought to the routine and thought his posture and frame were very good, his footwork was a little bit skippy and I’d have liked to see him finish his hands and point his feet more, particularly on the leaps and kicks. That said, he had great synchronisation with Karen in the side-by-side sections and it was really nice to see him having fun with the dance, as well as showing a different side to him. He’s definitely getting stronger as the weeks go on and it definitely made me smile, even if it wasn’t technically the strongest.
The comments: Craig criticised Chris’s lack of pointed toes and ‘basketball hands’, and wanted more swing and sway. Motsi said Chris has ‘a sparkle you can’t buy’, but wanted him to work on the dancing. Shirley thought Chris had come a long way and kept up with the music, but had some postural issues. Bruno said Chris had guts, and whilst it wasn’t perfect it ‘wasn’t a disaster’.
The scores: 4, 6, 6, 6 – 22 out of 40
Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden
After topping the leaderboard last week, could Karim and Amy keep up their momentum with their Samba to Karl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting from the film Kung Fu Panda? In training Karim spoke about the comments he received from the judges last week, but found the footwork and technical aspects of the dance a challenge. Could he do the movie and the routine justice?
The dance: Karim acted the routine well and you could tell he was having a lot of fun with it. I thought he had great synchronisation with Amy in the side-by-side sections but I wanted a little bit more of that Samba bounce, particularly in hold. A little bit over-enthusiastic and sloppy in places, but definitely a fun and entertaining routine that got a standing ovation from the audience and should see him safely back next week.
The comments: Motsi though Karim had all the right moves, praising his strong lines and precision in the solo parts, but wanted him to co-ordinate his upper and lower body. Shirley said the Samba parts lacked rhythm in the body and didn’t absorb through the standing leg, making it look jilted and stiff. Bruno called it ‘the cutest, cuddliest Samba ever’ and said Karim had no problem with isolations, but over-energised the routine and lost the softness on the bounce. Craig agreed – it needed natural bounce action and looked a bit spiky, but liked that Karim danced cleanly and with attack and praised his one-handed cartwheel.
The scores: 6, 7, 6, 7 – 26 out of 40
Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe
Catherine and Johannes were another couple dancing the Rumba this week, performing their routine to Shallow by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, from the film A Star Is Born. In training Catherine received a visit from her husband Tom and son Alfie, and showed them some of their routine.
The dance: This was a beautifully sensual Rumba, with the chemistry between Catherine and Johannes practically radiating off the screen. I also thought she had beautiful lines throughout and some great rumba walks, as well as acting the dance really well. Her hip action was very good and she handled the dramatic spins and drags well too. Overall the dance was full of emotion and I feel like this is definitely a breakthrough moment for her.
The comments: Shirley said it was ‘absolutely beautiful’ and praised Catherine’s execution of the simple steps. Bruno thought Catherine’s star is rising, particularly how each movement matched each intention and the fluidity and expression. Craig criticised the illegal lift midway through and wanted a bit more resistance, but said it was Catherine’s best dance and called it ‘stunning’. Motsi said it was ‘sensational’ – Catherine’s whole body came alive and she and Johannes reached another level emotionally.
The scores: 8, 8, 8, 8 – 32 out of 40
Will Bayley and Janette Manrara
Will established himself as a potential dark horse to lift the Strictly glitterball last week. Could he and Janette build on that with their Paso Doble to Gotta Catch ‘Em All from Pokemon? In training Will spoke about how much fun he had with the Salsa last week, as well as trying to get into the character of the Paso Doble and moving from fun dances to a more serious number.
The dance: I didn’t think anyone could make a Pokemon-themed Paso dramatic, but Will managed to pull it off. He had great shaping in his arms and back and plenty of drive across the floor, and really took control of the dance. Although the dance did run out of energy a little midway through, he definitely captured the feel of the Paso. Overall I thought it was another confident, strong performance that showed he’s definitely got potential to go all the way to the final.
The comments: Bruno said Will attacked the dance like a demon, but wanted him to link and stretch his shaping a bit more. Craig thought it was full of strength, intent and purpose. Motsi loved the tension in Will’s body and his ability to control and then release the power of the dance. Shirley thought it was very staccato and wanted to see continuous body movement and flow, but said it was a very good try.
The scores: 6, 6, 5, 6 – 23 out of 40
Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse
Kelvin and Oti had another good week last week, but could their Charleston to Trip A Little Light Fantastic from Mary Poppins Returns send them back to the top of the leaderboard? In training Kelvin found the amount of content in the routine frustrating, so Oti arranged for his family to come and visit him in training and show them some of the dance. He also spoke about wanting to make his daughter proud as it’s her favourite film.
The dance: Wow! Kelvin delivered an absolutely brilliant performance. He brought bags of personality and character to the routine and really captured the cheeky vibe of the Charleston, as well as handling acting with fire and some difficult lifts. I thought he synched up absolutely perfectly with Oti, particularly in the jumps, and had tons of energy as well. It was a standout routine and one that will surely be a highlight of Strictly Come Dancing 2019.
The comments: Craig simply said, ‘Fab-u-lous!’ Motsi liked Kelvin’s athleticism and charm and praised the tiny details. Shirley said Kelvin made a difficult routine look easy on the eye and called it ‘absolutely superb’. Bruno thought it was ‘as good as anything I’ve seen on the West End or Broadway’.
The scores: – 9, 9, 10, 10 – 38 out of 40
Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skornajec
Emma and Aljaz were back in Ballroom mode this week, with their Foxtrot to the Downton Abbey theme. In training Emma spoke about finding learning the routine challenging and her determination to get it right. Aljaz also invited Phyllis Logan, who plays Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey, to visit them in training and help Emma get into character for the dance.
The dance: I loved the romantic quality Emma brought to this dance and she put some serious effort in with her acting. She had beautiful flow across the floor and nice rise and fall too. Although her hold was a bit gappy and there was something a little stiff about her expression, this was definitely an improvement on last week’s Tango and showed that she’s still got potential to go a long way in this competition.
The comments: Motsi loved the softness of the dance, particularly the first part, but wanted Emma to stretch more in hold. Shirley praised Emma’s ‘beautiful’ timing as well as her feather step and heel turn. Bruno thought it was very pleasing but wanted Emma to work on her core in order to sustain her top line. Craig thought Emma wobbled a little in the spin but thought it was elegant and loved the concept.
The scores: 7, 7, 7, 7 – 28 out of 40
Anneka Rice and Kevin Clifton
This week Anneka and Kevin danced a Charleston to Woo Hoo by the 5,6,7,8s, from the movie Kill Bill. In training Anneka spoke about how much she enjoyed last week’s dance and feeling less self-conscious. As their routine included some sword-fighting moves, she and Kevin also went to learn kendo stick fighting.
The dance: Anneka definitely looked like she was having lots of fun with this routine, with a huge grin plastered on her face throughout. However, her technique left quite a bit to be desired – there was a lack of swivel and she looked quite flat-footed throughout. Although her acting was decent and she coped well with the lifts and props, for me it needed a lot more stamina and precision and I fear that she c3ould well find herself in the dance-off this week.
The comments: Shirley said Anneka coped with the speed but needs to work on her timing and shifting weight from foot to foot – it was all a bit frenetic. Bruno thought Anneka ‘slaughtered’ the Charleston. Craig thought it was stop-start and ‘not very good’, whilst Motsi liked Anneka’s energy.
The scores: 2, 3, 3, 3 – 11 out of 40
Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard
This week Saffron and AJ took on a Paso Doble to Lorde’s version of Everybody Wants To Rule The World from The Hunger Games. In training Saffron spoke about being disappointed with her score last week and wanting to get back out there. She and AJ also went to an archery range to practise target shooting and help Saffron get into the character of Katniss, as well as improving her posture. She also struggled with her balance – would it all come together on the night?
The dance: This was definitely a dramatic, powerful Paso, with some nice lines from Saffron and plenty of attack. However, I would have liked to see some more traditional Paso moves – at times it looked more like an Argentine Tango – and more shaping, particularly in her back and arms. It was a little bit skippy in places too. That said, she performed it well and it was good to see her more intense side coming out, so she should make it through to week four comfortably.
The comments: Bruno could see Saffron’s fighting spirit and a lot of content, but felt she lost the Spanish lines and wanted her hips to be more forward. Craig felt the footwork was haphazard but loved the reverse attitude turn and thought it was a strong, focused performance. Motsi liked Saffron’s intensity and power but warned her to breathe and fill in the movement in the slower songs. Shirley enjoyed it and said Saffron is doing extremely well performance-wise, but wanted her to secure her balance and strengthen her timing.
The scores: 7, 7, 7, 7 – 28 out of 40
Mike Bushell and Katya Jones
After their patchy American Smooth last week, this week Mike and Katya took on a Cha Cha to The Weather Girls’ classic It’s Raining Men, from the film Magic Mike (what else?). In training Mike struggled with nailing being sexy in the routine, so went to meet the cast of Magic Mike Live and pick up some tips on performing. Could he lose his inhibitions and deliver a knockout performance?
The dance: Mike descended from the ceiling on a fireman’s pole before getting into hold with Katya. Whilst his technique left a lot to be desired – it was a little bit marchy, there was very little hip action and a lot of it felt quite placed – you could tell he was definitely enjoying the more fun elements of the routine and getting into character. Sadly I’m not sure it’s going to be enough to save him from the dance-off though.
The comments: Craig said there was no hip action whatsoever but loved that Mike goes for broke. Motsi thought Mike had an ‘interesting’ interpretation of dancing but was so fun to watch. Shirley said it was better than last week and Mike was 100 per cent committed, praising his staccato feet, but agreed with Craig on the hip action. Bruno thought it was tragic not magic.
The scores: 3, 5, 5, 5 – 18 out of 40
David James and Nadiya Bychkova
After finding themselves in the dance-off last week, could David and Nadiya turn things around with their Viennese Waltz-based American Smooth to Seal’s Kiss From A Rose from Batman Forever? In training David spoke about struggling with showing personality and being in the dance-off, and he and Nadiya also took a ride in the Batmobile to help him get into character for the routine.
The dance: This was definitely an improvement from last week, with some stunning lifts and tricks that David handled very well. I also thought his frame was better and he actually really got the romantic feel of the dance, as well as some decent acting. There was perhaps a little too much rise and fall in places and still a bit of gapping in hold, but overall I thought he performed the dance pretty well and might have saved himself from the dance-off this week. I’d still like to see him do a proper Latin routine though…
The comments: Motsi said David came back fighting and had improved, particularly praising his softness and performance skills. Shirley thought David is on his own journey and liked how he framed Nadiya, as well as how easy he made the lifts and tricks look. Bruno said David had more movement and connection, but wanted him to be present with the music. Craig wanted more expression in David’s free arm and better hand shaping, but there was a modicum of improvement.
The scores: 4, 4, 4, 4 – 16 out of 40
Emma Barton and Anton du Beke
This week Emma and Anton performed a Salsa to Quincy Jones’s Soul Bossa Nova, from the Austin Powers series. In training Emma spoke about her nerves on the live show and the positive comments she received from the judges, as well as struggling with the speed of the routine and the lifts. Could she conquer her fear and have everything come together on the night?
The dance: Emma showed plenty of sass in her opening solo section before getting into hold with Anton. I thought she had good armography and definitely brought personality to the routine, as well as coping well with the tricks and capturing the 60s vibe. There was a nice sense of fun and playfulness about her performance too. I would have liked a bit more hip action and energy, but overall this was a good performance and I enjoyed seeing another side of her.
The comments: Shirley liked Emma’s rotation and thought she executed it with absolutely enjoyment. Bruno said Emma gave a wonderful 60s-flavoured Salsa with nice stylistic touches, but wanted her to sell it a bit more. Craig felt Emma underdanced it slightly, but loved the routine overall. Motsi liked Emma’s sensuality but wanted her to give more energy.
The scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27 out of 40
Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell
Dev and Dianne performed the first Couple’s Choice of the series to close the show, dancing a Street/Commercial routine to Will Smith’s version of Friend Like Me from Aladdin. In training Dev spoke about his childhood and the support he’s received from his three sisters throughout his life, dedicating his performance to them. He and Dianne also paid them a visit.
The dance: I loved Dev’s acting and sense of fun in this routine. He and Dianne had great synchronisation throughout and there was a great energy between them. I also thought he had very clean, precise moves throughout and liked the mixture of street/commercial moves along with other elements such as Charleston, and thought he handled the difficult lifts extremely well. Overall it was a lot of fun and a great end to the show, with a standing ovation from the audience as a reward for his efforts.
The comments: Bruno said it was ‘genius’, calling it original, fresh and exciting and praising Dev for delivering a believable character and storytelling. Craig absolutely loved it and thought Dev danced it brilliantly. Motsi called it ‘epic’ and loved Dev’s ease and natural talent. Shirley thought it was ‘stunning in every way’, singling out Dev’s footwork and timing in particular.
The scores: 9, 9, 9, 9 – 36 out of 40
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse – 38
Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell – 36
Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice – 35
Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe – 32
Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skornajec – 28
Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard – 28
Emma Barton and Anton du Beke – 27
Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden – 26
Alex Scott and Neil Jones – 23
Will Bayley and Janette Manrara – 23
Chris Ramsay and Karen Hauer – 22
Mike Bushell and Katya Jones – 18
David James and Nadiya Bychkova – 16
Anneka Rice and Kevin Clifton – 11
Strictly Come Dancing returns with this week’s results show on Sunday 6th October at 7.15 pm on BBC One.