You can definitely see that this is designed to be a higher budget show, amazing what a difference it makes when you’re charging people for tickets (although hopefully a large chunk is going to Children in Need).
Bruce’s intro is just painful for us tonight but (4 repeats of ‘nice to see you’ later) it thankfully moves on to the ‘stars of our show’…oh dear it’s not over yet – cue en masse Gangnam Style.
Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor – Samba
No idea what the start was all about really. Lisa’s shoulder ‘shimmy’ is a little lacklustre but she’s given her all to the rest, unfortunately it all starts to go a bit wrong once they actually start dancing.
Her feet are all over the place during her stationery samba walks and there’s a few missed moves it appears, or just a few very strange choreography choices. I really with the pros wouldn’t put in Bachacatas if their celeb can’t do them, as it just looks awful when Lisa looks to be shuffling back whilst Robin is given them his all.
A few more mistakes and the Samba rolls look messy, and the final split just looks painful.
No-one can fault Lisa for effort but I think the Samba was just too much for her tonight, I’m only giving them a 6 I’m afraid.
Craig: 8 “It was big, bold & beautiful…however you lost a little bit of timing after the bachacatas”
Darcey: 8 “You gave a groove to the Samba that I’ve never seen before…energy was perfect…use the bend in the knees to create more bounce & spring”
Len: 8 “Would like a little bit more polish in your technique…performance level is great…bit more finesse”
Bruno: 8 “You were funky, frisky & frothy…personality shines through the whole performance…public loved it and so did I”
Total = 32, I’m sorry but I just can’t agree with that, obviously the judges are just too far away from the action!
Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer – Jive
I can’t tell but there drunken sailors look out of time. The song choice is very fast and is really to the detriment of their technique, and Nicky completely forgets about his free arm when it hasn’t been choreographed into the routine.
By no means a Michael Vaughan disaster but a complete mess in my eyes, just a 6 for me, I really didn’t like it.
Craig: 6 “Flat footed…appear stompy…no retraction in any of your flicks…need to straighten your legs [in a jump]…loved the energy and the character”
Darcy: 8 “Great Jive, style, energy…you don’t get a fully straight leg [in a kick]…I think it’s tight hamstrings”
Len: 8 “It was quick, it was slick, there was plenty of kicks & tricks…it was rock n roll which has a different leg action”
Bruno: 8 “You rocked and you rolled…stylistically it was absolutely wonderful rock n roll…kicks & flicks have to be more accurate”
Total = 30
Denise Van Outen & James Jordan – Charleston
Some impressive lifts and really not much I can fault them on. I think I might have to give them a 10 just because I have nothing I can criticise. I didn’t like it personally, but I can’t fault it.
Craig: 9 “That is the best Charleston I’ve ever seen on Strictly”
Darcy: 10 “That was such a polished performance, you had everything in it…achieved every move”
Len: 10 “The dance of the series so far”
Bruno: 10 “A treasure of a Charleston”
Total = 39, so our first 10s of the series, and almost a full house! Wish Craig had given them some reasoning behind his score though, how can you say it’s the best then not explain why it’s only worth a 9?
Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace – American Smooth
His frame’s a little disconnected from his body in the initial sways but his running section is good, until he finishes too early and it starts to look a little slow and laboured.
They break into a little bit of a modern twist including Louis doing a little of his gymnastics. For me though very underwhelming and a big drop down from what I expected. It didn’t wow me at all and I don’t feel Louis rose to the occasion on this one. A 7 for me, would have given them a 6 but I think Lisa’s routine was worse.
Craig: 7 “I thought it was refreshing…nice to not always be Fred & Ginge”
Darcey: 8 “That was a different style of an American Smooth…one tiny mistake but I’m going to forget that…lifts very well”
Len: 8 “I’m a little bit bewildered, it was a Quickstep with lifts and tricks but I didn’t get the Smooth part”
Bruno: 7 “Your tricks are always impressive but I’m actually surprised…you can do beautiful things and you didn’t do it in this…I was kind of disappointed…a cop out…wasn’t bad but you know you can do better”
Total = 30
Richard Arnold & Erin Boag – Salsa
Can’t say I’m a fan of the outfits, and whilst I think Charleston was Richard’s dance, I’m really not sure Salsa will be quite as good. Though they way they’ve made the stage look like a beach is good.
I must say I’m actually quite impressed at how this is looking, a bit mincey at times (hardly surprising) but he has a nice hip action and he seems to be enjoying it. Some well executed lifts and drops.
Our hearts were in our mouths when he pushed Erin off of the stage…thankfully onto a mat…and it’s a humorous ending with him then going back to the scantily clad beach boys (though I wish he had kept the arms straight).
A decent attempt at a Salsa and I think I’ll give him a 7.
Craig: 5 “It was littered with timing issues…very stompy & flat footed…need more figure 8 hip rotation…but I rather liked the three boys there, a very good addition”
Len: 7 “It was fun in the sun…it was a proper party and I thought it was good”
Bruno: 6 “I’m surprised you kept dancing till the end…lots and lots of fun…sometimes the technique was a bit sketchy”
Total = 24
Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole – Paso Doble
What do you do when you’re celeb isn’t performing as well as you’d like…oh that’s right bring in the props – in this case the wires…oh and did we mention that Victoria is an Olympic Gold Medallist cycler…yes it truly is that pointless and to follow it up Brendan gets caught in his cape swirling.
I would have preferred a punchier track for them to dance to, this routine just felt like it lacked any real bite. But Victoria actually performed the choreography quite well…though I feared she was going to break an ankle in those heels with all that jumping.
A passable Paso and a 7 from me.
Craig: 5 “Your arms do need shaping…your shoulders always start creeping up, got to keep them down…that dance wasn’t good I’m afraid”
Darcy: 6 “You started so well…lose focus…I can see you have worked very hard”
Len: 7 “The jumpy things were a tad repetitious…the first part I thought you were a great sport…sometimes your arms were very placed…I thought it was pretty good so don’t listen [to the other judges]”
Bruno: 6 “The bike didn’t quite make it to Spain…all the shaping has to be absolutely right in the Paso Doble and it really wasn’t quite so…difficult to keep the balance…too ambitious”
Total = 24
Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone – Quickstep
Some fast and intricate footwork and they must dance almost twice around that massive floor. I feel she just lacks a little bit of crispness in her kicks but there’s not much to fault here. A 9 for me.
Craig: 9 “Fast, efficient, fearless, I loved it”
Darcey: 9 “For a petite couple wow you can eat up that dance floor…it was light, it was clean, fast, I loved it”
Len: 9 “Quickstep is about quality and quantity…the quantity of steps was there, the quality of movement…little miss dynamite you were fabulous”
Bruno: 9 “My gorgeous little smurf…loved the touches of Motown…never lost the style of a classic Quickstep”
Total = 36
Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev – Samba
There’s lots of booty shaking mixed in with some actual Samba steps. A few slip ups here and there, and the arms are a little bit flung out at times, but much better bachacatas then the ones we saw earlier.
Would have liked to have seen a lot more Samba, and fewer mistakes, but I think I’ll give her an 8.
Craig: 8 “Full of challenging rhythms and thought you coped with that brilliantly…I just hope there are people out there voting for you”
Darcey: 8 “You can certainly shake that toosh…nice Samba rolls and isolations…hold onto that core, that’s the only thing that’s weak”
Len: 9 “If you’re in the dance-off I’ll pickle my walnuts”
Bruno: 9 “I love it when you flash it and flaunt it…you have to get everyone going [and you definitely did that]”
Total = 34
Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe – American Smooth
The transitions in and out of the lifts are clean but his posture still concerns me at times and the flung arms spoil it slightly. Finishes earlier than Natalie, and therefore misses the final ‘bang’ but not bad at all. Think I’ll give him an 8.
Craig: 9 “Someone’s been working hard darling…it shows clearly…what an improvement…from the dance gutters darling to that!”
Darcy: 9 “You gave me the glamour…impressed me with those lifts”
Len: 9 “You put the ‘oo’ in Smooth…lovely transitions in and out of hold…justified being the last dance of the evening”
Bruno: 8 “You really lived up to the incredible production value of the thing…[there were a couple of times] I thought you were going to drop her”
Total = 35, there highest score (though I think a little overmarked I’m afraid).
So the leader board (my score in brackets) stands at:
1. 39 – Denise & James 
2. 36 – Dani & Vincent 
3. 35 – Michael & Natalie 
4. 34 – Kimberley & Pasha 
5. 32 – Lisa & Robin 
6. 30 – Louis & Flavia 
6. 30 – Nicky & Karen 
8. 24 – Victoria & Brendan 
8. 24 – Richard & Erin 
The second week where I reckon our bottom two will be our bottom two (though I was proved wrong last week) but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Lisa was in the bottom two!
The Results Show
The first couples safe were as follows:
Dani & Vincent
Michael & Natalie
Lisa & Robin
Denise & James
First couple in the dance off are Richard & Erin
Talk with the Judges
The dance floor is 6 times the size of the usual studio floor!
- Bruno competitively driving towards the girls in his bumper car
- Louis’ American Smooth – not quite what Len was expecting…Louis rehearsing, not the actual routine though
- Relief on Michael’s face after the lift
- Michael flinging his arms back
- Denise’s ‘birdy’ flap arms [followed by some argument surrounding Craig’s 9]
- The various wire-work set pieces
- Craig looking very relaxed during his wire rehearsal…Bruno not quite so [then complaining that the angle has made him look fat “I’M THIN”]
Other couples safe are:
Victoria & Brendan
Louis & Flavia
That leaves Kimberley & Pasha (again), or Nicky & Karen as the final couple in the bottom two. Joining Richard & Erin in the dance off is Nicky & Karen.
This could be a close call, for me I’d keep Richard in, but I fear they might keep Nicky in.
Richard & Erin – Salsa
I think there’s still some timing issues, but better than his earlier performance.
Nicky & Karen – Jive
Pretty much the same as earlier, though Nicky does almost manage to kick down the jail bars!
Craig: Nicky “For sheer exuberance and energy”
Darcey: Nicky “Both performed very well…content & energy”
Len: Nicky “I did agree”
Bruno: Nicky “Both highly entertaining”
Going Home: Richard Arnold
Richard: “I always thought I’d miss the wardrobe most…I will miss Erin Boag…I’ve never danced a step before”