It’s going to take some time to get over our excitement at being in the actual, live recording of Strictly Come Dancing, but while we breathe into a paper bag, here’s what we learnt:
1. The studio is surprisingly tiny. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to get seats (and even the celebs only get two tickets per week) – and the way it appears larger on the screen must be down to camera trickery.
2. Zoe and Tess are incredibly tall. The opposite of the studio, these two beautiful blondes are larger in life (although very slim).
3. Filming is over in a flash. When you’re told you can’t move from your seat for between two and three hours, you start to panic (What if I need the loo?!) but it was completely fine. The energy and excitement of the live show takes your mind off your dead legs and full bladder, and the whole thing was over before we knew it.
The evening kicked off with a dazzling quickstep from Simon, which was fast-paced, elegant and suggested many hours of rehearsal time. It was great to see the singer coming out of his shell, and the judges agreed, giving him a high score that saw him second from the top of the leaderboard.
Caroline was exploring her feminine side this week, with a romantic waltz. We were rather swept away in the studio by her careful, expressive movements, and the judges enjoyed it too – although Len wanted more rise and fall.
Next up was Jake (one of our favourites – is he yours?) with a rumba to Strangers in the Night – a fabulous song in anyone’s book. It was a boat-themed dance, with Jake a handsome captain. Sadly though, it was yet another week when the judges were left a little cold by the Eastenders star (perhaps he should have held back in the earlier weeks!) with Craig finding the whole dance a bit ‘safe’.
Judy got to play dress up, wearing a judge-ensemble alongside Anton, who starred as a most unlikely criminal. They performed a law and order themed paso with some fun lifts, and some rather less fun moments in hold. We’re still not convinced by Judy – although obviously she’s popular, having never been in the dance off – and neither are the judges. Len, who felt if ‘stiffness was a crime, she’d get life’, wished her well for getting to Blackpool next week…but only to annoy Craig.
Sunetra definitely won the award for best dress of the evening – working a sparkling, mint green number and looking like a princess. Her foxtrot was pretty too, although not a patch on her glorious American smooth. The judges felt there were a few mistakes, but it had worked overall.
Next were Alison and Aljaz, performing a Charleston to Friend Like Me from Aladdin. They looked super smart in their top hats, and we were especially impressed with Alison’s stamina – as was Darcey. From an audience perspective, it was probably our favourite dance of the night – bringing so much energy and excitement to the room. Not to mention fireworks!
They were followed by Mark and Karen, and it’s a real pleasure each week to see how much his dancing is coming on. This Saturday he impressed with a sweet waltz, packed with romance. The judges noticed minor issues, but overall loved the mood and were impressed by his footwork.
Frankie was back after her high scoring tango to deliver a saucy samba with Kevin (and a donkey, inexplicably). While their partnership has worked well until now, it was felt that Kevin had pushed her a little too far this week, with a fast and furious routine. The popstar was left struggling at certain points, and was tearful in the green room afterwards. Poor Frankie. Still, a healthy score of 32 is nothing to sob over.
Pixie and Trent performed a charming foxtrot with a nostalgic, 1940’s feel. We loved the set for this – top marks for the mangle! The dancing, as always with Pixie, was technically brilliant, and she earned a 10 from Darcey.
Finally were Steve and Ola with a slightly bonkers paso. We think Ola told Steve to channel his aggressive side, and he certainly did! There was powerful shaping, moody faces and rather a lot of flesh on display. It was certainly a dynamic end to the show. The judges liked the enthusiasm, but found it a bit OTT.
As for Sunday’s dance off, there was quite a surprise in store, as Alison and Caroline found themselves going head to head. We felt it was a bit unfair, having really enjoyed both of their performances (AND it was Caroline’s birthday on Saturday, poor thing), and it was clear they were both upset, especially as they’re good friends. Rather sweetly, Alison hoped Caroline would stay – and she did. It seemed the fair choice out of the two, but we felt a bit deflated to be losing one of the show’s best characters.
What did you think? And who are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments section.
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