Strictly Come Dancing 2023, week 10 Results: Angela Scanlon goes out

Carlos Gu and Angela Scanlon have left the ballroom
Carlos Gu and Angela Scanlon have left the ballroom - Guy Levy/BBC

Another week, and another Angela exits the Strictly ballroom. Following Angela Rippon’s elimination at Blackpool, on Sunday night we saw Angela Scanlon bow out as well. Ironically, she was dancing her cha cha cha to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.

It was the first time in the dance-off for both Scanlon and Layton Williams, the latter doing a complicated American smooth that divided opinion. Shirley Ballas actually disagreed with the rest of the panel: she would rather have seen Williams go home. But he’s the one who survives for now and continues on to next week’s quarter-final.

Angela’s hips don’t lie

At various points, Scanlon – who has a background in Irish dancing – has looked like a real contender. Her Damn Yankees Charleston in Movie Week scored three 9s, and she also wowed with a Black Swan paso doble in Halloween Week and a blistering Argentine tango at Blackpool.

But she was inconsistent, which proved fatal among this impressive cast, and she drew the wrong dance at the worst possible time. On Saturday night, she failed to get her Latin hips wiggling during the unforgiving cha cha, although she did have fun with the disco styling of the routine. Getting 7s from Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse sealed her fate.

Angela Scanlon says farewell
Angela Scanlon says farewell - Guy Levy/BBC

Speaking to Tess Daly after their elimination, Scanlon said she was gutted to be out, but described her time on the show as incredible, adding of her partner Carlos Gu: “I have made the best friend in this man. He has supported me and picked me up and made me laugh so much.” Gu, in turn, praised her commitment, work ethic and sense of humour.

The judges are split again

Following weeks of easy, unanimous decisions, the dance-offs have become much more fraught. This week still saw a majority decision, but with a major dissenter in the form of our head judge.

This was probably the closest call yet. Scanlon and Williams had scored, respectively, 31 and 34 on Saturday night, with Ballas and Anton Du Beke both awarding them the same scores: an 8 versus a 9. Scanlon had had technical issues, while Williams’s routine sometimes felt more like a showdance than a true American smooth.

It was Layton Williams vs Angela Scanlon in the dance-off
It was Layton Williams vs Angela Scanlon in the dance-off - Guy Levy/BBC

Revel Horwood saved Williams on the basis of technique and what he called “the better dance of the night, and the dance I actually enjoyed the most”. Mabuse called it a “tough, tough dance-off”, but also saved Williams on the basis of “musicality and balance”.

Du Beke said it had been a tense dance-off, with neither couple “dancing as well as they can”. But he’d seen an error from one couple (presumably Scanlon and Gu), so he voted to keep Williams in.

Ballas’s vote didn’t count – but she voiced it firmly, stating that when it comes to ballroom and Latin, it’s important to stick to “the character of the dance, that it’s true to the dance”, and to deliver its “timing and quality”. Thus she would have saved Scanlon over Williams.

Layton Williams danced an American smooth to Bjork
Layton Williams danced an American smooth to Bjork - Guy Levy/BBC

Is Layton in trouble?

Ballas’s comments were probably more an indictment of Nikita Kuzmin’s choreography, but Williams has drawn criticism over the weeks (albeit more frequently from viewers than the judges) for dancing more as a freestyle soloist – drawing on his previous stage experience – than as part of a ballroom partnership.

Part of the fun of watching Strictly is seeing people trying something new and venturing outside of their comfort zone. We haven’t really had that with Williams. Next week, he and Kuzmin would be wise to dial back the tricks and theatrical flourishes, and really deliver on the fundamentals of that particular ballroom dance.

I’d also love to see them perform more with, and to, one another, instead of outwards to the audience. The magic of ballroom comes when two bodies move as one. At the moment, it’s more like two accomplished pros dancing side by side: impressive, yes, but lacking emotional connection.

Annabel Croft nailed the paso doble
Annabel Croft nailed the paso doble - Guy Levy/BBC

Annabel could go all the way

Might Croft actually reach the final? It seemed unthinkable early on. The tennis pundit was a nice natural mover, and had a strong pro partner in the popular Johannes Radebe, but surely the 57-year-old would bow out after a few weeks.

Yet Croft has quietly improved more than anyone this season, inching her way forward dance by dance. He emotional Couple’s Choice, dedicated to her late husband, seemed to unlock something; the following week saw her throw caution to the wind with a carefree samba.

The pair clearly have viewer support, and their paso doble this week had by far the biggest reaction from the studio audience. We love a tryer, and Croft exemplifies the Strictly “journey”. If she can just reach that next level and produce a more expressive performance, too, then she could potentially be a surprise finalist.

The pros dance a whodunit
The pros dance a whodunit - Guy Levy/BBC

It’s a mystery

Well, the bigger mystery is why the Strictly professionals never dance any ballroom – despite being highly trained ballroom dancers, on a show all about ballroom dancing – but clearly no one is listening to me on that, so…

This week’s missed opportunity/professional group dance saw Kai Widdrington play a PI and Nadiya Bychkova a Golden Age Hollywood starlet whose necklace goes missing. Gasp! A whodunit ensued, in case you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a film noir with no actual noir but plenty of jazz hands.

We also had musical entertainment from Scottish rockers Texas, performing their 2000 hit Inner Smile, accompanied by energetic contempowaft from Vito Coppola and Luba Mushtuk. (Somewhat dispelling the “Sunday show as live” conceit, since we had just cut from Coppola reducing Claudia Winkleman to hysterics with his views on tuna mayo pasta.)

Texas accompanied by Vito Coppola and Luba Mushtuk
Texas accompanied by Vito Coppola and Luba Mushtuk - Guy Levy/BBC

Music is everything

Not only did the unfortunate Scanlon draw the cha cha this week, she also had the mixed blessing of a disco track. It did help fuel a fun, camp performance, but it also muddled the rhythms and specific styling of the Latin dance.

Conversely, part of the reason why Annabel Croft’s paso doble went down a storm was its traditional framing, including the use of España Cañi. We’ve had a dismal number of “rock” paso dobles this season, which never quite capture the authentic flavour of the dance.

Angela Scanlon danced the cha cha cha on Saturday night
Angela Scanlon danced the cha cha cha on Saturday night - Guy Levy/BBC

The chaotic structure of Björk’s It’s Oh So Quiet undercut the smoothness of Williams’s American smooth (they could have choreographed and danced it differently too, but I don’t think it helped), whereas the rich emotions of This Woman’s Work added significantly to Bobby Brazier’s Couple’s Choice.

I must admit I was sceptical of how Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child could possibly work for an Argentine tango – and yet it turned out to be an inspired choice for Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola. However, perhaps it led them down that simmering, combative route, pitting one against the other, which didn’t seem to be to the taste of Craig Revel Horwood or Anton Du Beke. (For the record: they were wrong.)

The next show will be particularly crucial. It’s Musicals Week, which means those song choices define the whole performance. Will luck be a lady, or will our celebrities be les misérables? Join us again then, and in the meantime, keep dancing!

Do you think Layton Williams deserved to stay over Angela Scanlon? Let us know in the comments below!