The evening began with a seamless American smooth by Simon and Kristina, who had gone for full on glamour (not that we’d expected any less!) and really delivered the ‘wow-factor’, according to Bruno. Traditionalist Len was happy with the mixture of steps on display, while Bruno felt they could open a show in Las Vegas. The judges awarded a strong 35, in what was to be a week of high scores.
Caroline Flack has apparently been dealing with heartbreak this week after the break up of her relationship, but watching her slick, sexy Argentine tango we’d never have known. She’s becoming a real force to be reckoned with in this contest, and the judges placed her at the top of the leaderboard with 39 – high praise indeed in such a good line up. Craig noted that she’d lost her balance on occasion, but before the audience booing could take over, swiftly added it was one of the most thrilling Argentine tangos he’d seen.
A very pink pairing was next, with Pixie and Trent in some of the brightest costumes of the series for a chacha. Behind the scenes footage revealed that the popstar had been struggling with the routine, and while it was still a stellar performance, it was definitely not her best. The judges picked up on a leg issue (which to be frank had completely passed us by!) and worried she needed to relax them a little, while Len used the opportunity to reinforce his strict rules on illegal lifts – their routine had used three. No more Mr Nice Judge. Still, she was given a respectable score of 35.
Next was poor old Mark Wright, who was having a bit of a wobble during foxtrot training. Luckily, the romantic, fun dance really suited him, and he seemed confident and in control on the floor. Darcey was delighted that he’d improved his transitions into hold, and Len loved it, giving it a total of 35. Bonus points from us for Karen’s exquisite dress.
The Charleston is always an excuse for a wacky routine, and Jake’s circus-themed dance was no exception. Len felt (accurately) that he’d taken a giant step into the semi finals, while Bruno felt it was a riot of surreal slapstick. Even Craig was happy, and they earned a whopping 38. We particularly loved the moment he and Janette pretended to be balancing on balls, aided by Strictly’s fabulous lighting department. Also, when you consider that the couples have to listen to one particular song in rehearsals all week long, well done to J and J for not losing their minds hearing the circus theme tune back-to-back. Impressive stamina all round.
Finally Frankie and a very poorly Kevin brought an action-packed salsa to the floor. The judges worried that so many moves (“more ingredients than Masterchef” – Bruno) might be taking the polish from Frankie’s transitions and lifts, but all admired her bravery and energy. Craig even called her an ‘incredible dancer’.
The show ended with a ‘waltzathon’ – the first time the couples had all danced together. It looked very pretty, but as TV viewers we found it impossible to say who was the best. That’s why the judges are there, of course, and they deemed that Jake was bottom of the pile, and Pixie the dancing queen.
Still, unfortunately for Pixie, sweeping her way to success in the waltz was unable to keep her from the dreaded dance off, where she found herself pitted against Simon. This was the Blue singer’s third time in the bottom two, and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he’d be going home…But this is why we love Strictly! It was tense up until the end, with Craig saving Pixie, Darcey saving Simon, and Bruno plumping for Pixie. This meant head judge Len had the deciding vote…and saved Simon. There were tears all over the shop – and Simon even fell to the ground in shock – and we were gobsmacked to see one of the series’ favourites going home.
What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below.
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