Twelve anxious couples competed in this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing, but only eleven will make it through to next week’s Halloween spook-tacular, when the dance-floor will be covered in cobwebs, pumpkins and a criminal amount of face paint.
Tonight (20 October) we saw Danny John Jules nab the first ten of the series, Seann Walsh plummet towards the bottom of the leaderboard, and Charles Venn produce a surprise routine that had everyone in tears. Plus Bruno’s understudy Alfonso Ribeiro was fun for five minutes (and then we all started missing our favourite Italian). Here are the five biggest talking points.
Will Seann and Katya get the boot?
Last week Seann and Katya pulled an amazing Charleston out the bag, protecting themselves from the dance-off – their scores were so high and, with the audience vote only being half the story, it was mathematically difficult to get them off the show. This week is very different. They had a much tougher dance in the quickstep, which always sorts the men from the boys, and it was frenetic and clumsy, a far cry from some of the more polished quicksteps we’ve seen this year. They’re second from last on the leaderboard, so this will be the real test of their popularity – they’ll need a huge swell of public support to avoid the dance-off. Which seems a bit unlikely, given recent events.
Street dancing on Strictly? The jury’s still out.
The couple’s choice category was always going to be controversial. Strictly is a show that celebrates old-school partner dancing, why would it need to showcase commercial street dance and contemporary routines? Plus, how can they justify allowing West End dancers to compete when one of the options is to do a musical theatre performance? Of course, it’s all an attempt to appeal to younger viewers (just like casting Joe Sugg, who has actually proved to be a delight). Tonight was week one of the experiment and it was a mixed bag. Charles and Karen knocked it out of the park with an incredible street routine, which left him third on the leaderboard and surely safe from returning to the dance-off. But Lauren and AJ’s contemporary number was stiff, out of place and confusing to most of us. They are third from last now, and surely it’s a bit unfair to leave them in such a vulnerable position just because the producers wanted to mess around with the format?
We all hate the cha cha!
It used to be the rumba and the samba that the couples dreaded. Now it’s the cha cha, which nobody can seem to get right. Vick and Graziano fell foul of it this evening and ended up bottom of the leaderboard, which could easily land them in the dance-off. Strictly old-timers did enjoy Shirley transforming into Len for her critique as she criticised the faffing around at the start of the routine and then told them they needed to ‘give it some welly’. Classic LG.
Danny John-Jules gets the first ten
There’s always someone every year who seems to be consistently undermarked and can never quite win over the judges. That was Danny. Until tonight. His jive was sensational: Darcey gave him two standing ovations and the first ten of the series, and Craig said it was a dance that belonged in the final. Well done Danny and Amy!
Where’s Bruno? And what’s Carlton Banks doing there?
Don’t worry, Bruno hasn’t stormed off the show, or injured himself jumping from his chair (as far as we know). In recent years he’s been taking a week off to deal with the demands of flying backwards and forwards between London and LA to judge both Strictly and Dancing with the Stars. He’ll be back next week. This year it was Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro sitting in. We thought he’d be brilliant. He was just OK. But the professional dancers couldn’t hide their disdain at being critiqued by a man famous for one fun sitcom routine to a Tom Jones song. It was like the Alesha Dixon days all over again. Also, he didn’t do the Carlton dance, which is unforgivable.
Catch up on everything that happened minute by minute with our live-blog below.
Strictly Come Dancing results show airs Sunday at 6.45pm.