The show opener always need to be lively and dynamic, so it was no surprise that Alison finally got her turn. Her jive was everything we’ve come to expect from the buxom Brummie, although the judges felt it lacked sharpness. We warmed to her even more when she joked she felt like she was having a heart attack – we’re not surprised after that energetic routine.
Next up was lovely Steve Backshall, looking beefy in leopard print, and dancing to a Jungle Book theme, with lots of monkey impressions. It was a speedy quickstep, and Ola had worked him hard, resulting in a generous 8 from Bruno, and even Craig admitted he was ‘back in the competition’. What we’d like next is to see a different side to the presenter – top hat, tails and gliding his partner across the floor.
Fans of Mama Mia would definitely recognise Jennifer Gibley’s tribute to the hit film (and of course, stage musical). This came in the form of a foxtrot, and was the most relaxed and confident we’d seen the actress – who was a ringer for Meryl Streep in her denim dress. Unfortunately there were still issues with her posture, but it was nice to see her actually enjoying a performance. Or at least, she was enjoying it, before her uncharitable 3 from Craig.
Jennifer was followed by a sultry rumba from Simon and Kristina, based on the film Top Gun. We – and the judges – were expecting a little more from the boyband star. His physique, stage experience and chemistry with his partner should make for an explosive combination, but while he’s by no means the weakest member of the pack, he’s not at the top of his game either. We think he’ll be doing some soul-searching this week…
Judy Murray brought out the natural showman in Anton this week – we do love seeing him done up a la Fred Astaire – for a glamorous quickstep. While she looked the part, her dancing demons were still out in force – she made a mistake and was unable to come back from it. As Bruno said, she was rigid like ‘Nelson’s Column’ from that point on. Still, as her sons have pointed out to her, it’s never a good idea to peak too soon in the competition, so maybe she’s got something up her sleeve for next week!
Tim and Natalie were up next with a quirky character-led Charleston based on the song Money from Cabaret. The costume and staging department had done a wonderful job setting the scene, but the dance content wasn’t quite there. Natalie defended Tim to the judges, saying an issue with a tangled necklace prop had tripped him up, and his timing had been better during rehearsals. Sadly her loyalty couldn’t protect him from Craig’s score paddle – which landed him with a crushing 2.
Caroline Flack has really stepped her performances up a notch over the week as, while she’s always been good, her rumba was really rather beautiful. Darcey felt it displayed impressive conviction, while Bruno thought it was “almost perfect”. Guest judge Donny loved it too, scoring it a 9.
It’s hard to explain what happened next – you really need to see it for yourself – but it involved DJ Scott Mills dressed as a giant crab, trying desperately to swivel his hips. It was quite a thing to behold. His samba – which was Little Mermaid-themed – left something to be desired, especially with the memory of Jake’s fantastic effort from last week still fresh in the mind. But what it lacked in skill it (almost) made up for in effort, not least by the costume department! Donny was a fan of it’s wacky vibe, but the others found it a bit awkward.
We’ve always had a soft spot for West Side Story, and Frankie and Kevin made our wildest dreams come true with a wonderful paso. Cleverly combining the attitude of the musical with the necessary paso steps, Kevin’s choreography coupled with Frankie’s skill made for a spirited combination. Donny was equally impressed – dishing out the first 10 of the series. The other judges loved it too, scoring her a whopping total of 45 and leaving her top of the leaderboard.
Jake Wood was left feeling the pressure after the success of last week’s samba (which we’re still in love with!) but his moody waltz looked pretty good to us. There was some debate about whether it mattered that it had an Argentine tango feel to it (to fit with the Godfather theme), with traditionalist Len wanting more swooping, flowing movements, while the others liked the unusual twist.
Pixie Lott’s quickstep was based on another Disney classic – Beauty and the Beast – and was high quality with lots of detail, leading to a fabulous score of 43.
Thom was up next and determined to inject more of his personality into his moves, with a fun Charleston to New York, New York. He’d upped his game from the opening weeks, and we were quite impressed with this fun routine.
Sunetra sparkled in her American smooth – a dance which could have been made for her. The actress looked stunning in her red dress, and there was definitely a touch of movie magic in her routine, earning her a well-deserved 40.
Finally Mark Wright and Karen performed an, um, unusual paso with a Superman theme. He looked the part in his red cape, and they’d had fun with staging, but it was just a bit strange, and left the judges in fits of giggles. Darcey found it “weirdly enjoyable”, while Donny scored it a 9 (much too high in our opinion).
When it came to the dance off, it wasn’t a shock to see Jennifer there for a second week – but we were left open-mouthed by Simon’s inclusion! We were certain it would be between Judy, Tim and Scott. Unsurprisingly the judges voted to save him – let’s hope he ups his game next week – leaving Jennifer to waltz off into the sunset.