Strictly Come Dancing talking factors, week 9: Tilly Ramsay tops leaderboard with perfect rating, Tom and Dan joint bottom


Who’d obtain rave evaluations? Who’d be a field workplace flop? And who may discover the curtain coming down on their Strictly story? Here are the highest 10 talking factors from this 12 months’s ninth stay present…

Tilly Ramsay was overmarked however nonetheless terrific

Social media starlet Tilly Ramsay has survived two dance-offs in a row, managing to defeat an Olympic champion (swimmer Adam Peaty) and slay a Dragon (entrepreneur Sara Davies). Desperate to keep away from a hat-trick, she now tackled a Couple’s Choice to “Revolting Children” from Matilda – Tilly’s favorite music from her favorite musical. She didn’t a lot break her dance-off curse as shatter it into tiny items.

Dressed in class uniform, she and professional accomplice Nikita Kuzmin started a ram-packed routine sitting at classroom desks earlier than leaping into motion. Their high-energy choreography was quick, feisty and baggage of enjoyable. They threw every part in there: hip-hop strikes, Charleston thrives, lifts, drops, cartwheels and streetdance particulars. Tilly has change into adept at bringing a special character to every dance and right here she was filled with cheeky, difficult angle.

A clear sweep of 10s was an excessive amount of, nevertheless. She was flat-footed at instances and the judges appeared to be scoring her rollercoaster journey, quite than pure dance high quality. However, no one would resent Ramsay topping the standings and staying one other week or two. A Michelin-starred efficiency, albeit not a flawless one. Yes, chef?

Guest decide Cynthia Erivo was a smash hit

Strictly has a chequered historical past with visitor judges. Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer Grey was unrecognisable. Alfonso Ribeiro was higher obtained, whereas Donny Osmond’s scoring was so extensively derided, it’s now accepted {that a} 10 from Donny “didn’t count”.

Well, actor and singer Cynthia Erivo turned probably the most profitable stand-in but. With Craig Revel Horwood lacking his first present in 19 sequence after a constructive Covid check (we hope he’s feeling fab-ew-lous once more quickly) Erivo saved his seat heat, picked up his scoring paddles and stuffed in for one evening solely.

The 34-year-old definitely had the requisite credentials. The Rada-trained south Londoner has an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony on her mantelpiece, as nicely two Oscar nominations. She made her title on Broadway earlier than shifting into films. She’s quickly to star within the eagerly awaited movie adaptation of Wicked, alongside Ariana Grande. A perfect match for Musicals Week all-round.

The massively likeable Erivo was totally unphased by stay TV. She saved her feedback concise, sage and supportive. Tabloids reported that she’d been given an in-depth “cheat sheet” as a result of she didn’t know any of the contestants’ names. She’d clearly studied it onerous as a result of she didn’t skip a beat.

Her presence was additionally a landmark second for TV variety. With Erivo sitting subsequent to Motsi Mabuse, it’s certainly the primary time we’ve ever seen two Black ladies on the judging panel of a primetime expertise contest. Yes, we missed Craig’s waspish feedback, deadpan faces and the way in which he provides some sanity to the scoring. However, Cynthia’s contemporary method and admirably anti-Donny marking fashion meant the loss was minimal. Thanks for coming and good luck with the green-faced witchcraft.

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AJ Odudu bounced again with ballroom magnificence

Strictly’s AJ and Kai put together for his or her efficiency to The Sound Of Music

TV presenter AJ Odudu had been one of many early pace-setters however got a shock last week. She plummeted from high to bottom as a consequence of her wobbly paso doble. Saved by viewer votes, AJ needed to show the general public she was value it. She definitely succeeded.

Alongside professional accomplice Kai Widdrington, she opened the present with a wondrous waltz to “Edelweiss” from The Sound Of Music. The elegant ballroom quantity boasted lovely strains, seamless transitions and understated storytelling. It was stripped-back, swirling, sweetly romantic and filled with feeling. Snow fell. AJ’s lip wobbled. The pair teased the tabloids as soon as once more by almost kissing twice.

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?” mentioned Cynthia Eviro. “You cast AJ.” High reward certainly. A rating of 38 factors took her to second on the leaderboard. If Tilly Ramsay hadn’t been overmarked, AJ would’ve been high. She’s again on observe for the ultimate.

Rose Ayling-Ellis saved her cool with Frozen quickstep

Giovanni and Rose on Strictly


Silence spoke volumes for Rose Ayling-Ellis final week when her emotive Couple’s Choice routine – full with music-free interlude – moved the judges to tears and notched a near-perfect rating. Now she was again to ballroom, donning a Scandi-style frock for a Frozen quickstep to “Love Is An Open Door”. Following her ice queen tango on Halloween, she’s clearly a fan of enjoying it cool. An endorsement deal with Iceland grocery store beckons.

Ballroom has been Rose’s power all through the competition and this was no exception. In a routine packed with steps, easy class and jazzy fashion, Rose managed to keep up synchronisation at excessive velocity. The storytelling was lovely, the temper was joyous. Only a late mistake let her down however professional accomplice Giovanni Pernice gallantly took the blame for that.

It was the EastEnders actor’s twenty seventh birthday this week. She celebrated in fashion by getting a 10 from guest judge Cynthia Erivo, who communicated her reward in signal language – an aesthetic contact. Rose was left in third place, nonetheless the sturdy favorite to elevate the glitterball. Or ought to that be snowball?

Musicals theme was milked for all its value

We have been definitely in no hazard of forgetting this was Musicals Week. The theatrical theme was flogged to inside an inch of its life, with costumes and props a-go-go. The present opened with a West End montage and tweaked title sequence. Every coaching room VT had a musicals angle. Even the voting phrases and situations have been learn out by the Phantom Of The Opera.

However, there have been appreciable upsides. As nicely because the seven {couples}’ routines, we have been additionally handled to a razzle-dazzle group dance from the skilled troupe. The high-kicking Cabaret quantity up to date Bob Fosse’s choreography with sharp modern swagger. It was clear, crisp, stylish and darkly dramatic, led by two of the most effective execs – Oti Mabuse as Sally Bowles and Giovanni Pernice as Master of Ceremonies. We’ll tip a shiny black bowler hat to that.

Details let down Rhys Stephenson’s jive

CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson topped the leaderboard for the primary time final week after notching a perfect rating for his brilliantly bouncy boating-themed Charleston. He saved up the hectic tempo and excessive power for his Footloose jive with professional accomplice Nancy Xu. Unfortunately, his toes have been a tad too free.

He’d had a tricky week in coaching, sporting knee helps, struggling with leg ache and calling it “a bootcamp of a dance”. Rhys misplaced his timing mid-routine, his approach was flawed and his higher physique was messy at instances. However, his efficiency ranges have been excessive and it was a joyous 90 seconds of jitterbugging, lindy hopping motion.

They got here down from Cloud 10 and scored a clear sweep of eights. Rhys was left third from bottom of the leaderboard. He’s been within the dance-off earlier than. He may not be secure this time.

John Whaite’s waltz didn’t fairly work


John Whaite went from baker to chimney sweep for a Mary Poppins-themed Viennese Waltz. Back to ballroom after two weeks of Latin, he and accomplice Johannes Radebe have been waistcoated, flat-capped and floaty as they channelled Bert – fortunately with out Dick Van Dyke’s hate crime of a Cockney accent.

The distinction with final week’s hip-shaking, shimmying samba couldn’t have been a lot starker however they’d glide, connection and concord. They even swapped the lead mid-fleckerl. John had been taking motion-sickness tablets in coaching this week for dizziness from the infinite rotation. It was definitely worth the queasiness as they spun and twirled across the dancefloor.

His “broom-ography” was good, a few of his footwork and high quality much less so. John was left joint third from bottom – his lowest leaderboard place but. As the joint highest scorer within the sequence, he doesn’t need to be in peril. Get voting, viewers.

Dan Walker continued his upward curve

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker delivered his greatest dance final week and duly acquired a beneficiant 9 from decide Anton Du Beke. He improved on it tonight and broke the magical 30-point barrier for the primary time.

Alongside professional accomplice Nadiya Bychkova, he danced a cheeky, cheery Charleston to “Good Morning” from Singin’ In The Rain. It had interval fashion, smiley character and loads of that all-important swivel. Stepping into Gene Kelly’s spats, Dan raised his efficiency ranges, pushed himself and was infectiously enjoyable to observe. In a nod to his day job on BBC Breakfast, there was even a spot of sofa-ography.

Anton Du Beke mentioned steadily progressing Dan was “on the best journey in the competition”, but he was arguably under-marked and left joint bottom on 31 factors, stage with Tom Fletcher. He is likely to be the lowest-scoring surviving superstar however public help means Dan The Man has to date dodged the dance-off. He’s been bookies’ favorite for elimination for the previous 4 weeks. Can he carry on defying the percentages?

Tom Fletcher deserves to be in hassle


McFly frontman Tom Fletcher had at all times focused Musicals Week because the mark he needed to achieve. He’s stage school-trained and began out in musical theatre. It’s in Tom’s blood, with his sister Carrie presently starring within the West End manufacturing of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella. Well, he would possibly find yourself bowing out at this milestone.

Performing a up to date Couple’s Choice to “On My Own” from Les Misérables, Fletcher and Welsh professional Amy Dowden didn’t nail it. He was weepy with emotion earlier than and after the dance however the motion itself lacked feeling and circulate. The judges saved telling him to let his feelings go. “I’ve spent many evenings on the Strictly floor internally sobbing,” quipped decide Anton du Beke. Which of his superstar companions may Tony Beak presumably have been referring to?

Tom acquired a quite random, rambling video message from Russell Crowe after the dance. This one way or the other turned a metaphor for his efficiency – seemingly spectacular however finally anti-climactic. His bandmate Harry Judd – who lifted the glitterball trophy 10 years in the past, after all – was watching from the studio viewers. No strain. Couple’s Choice wasn’t a class in Judd’s day. Two of them tonight, and on a themed week as nicely, felt like an excessive amount of. Another Latin quantity would have been higher.

All 4 male celebs in dance-off hazard

A rating of 31 factors left Tom Fletcher joint bottom with Dan Walker. If justice is finished, these two will dance for survival tomorrow. And as an ever-improving novice versus somebody who ought to by-rights be a lot better than he’s, Dan would deserve to remain.

However, don’t rule out one other shock. At this stage of the competitors, the center of the leaderboard turns into a harmful place and upsets can occur. John Whaite and Rhys Stephenson may even be chewing their nails tonight.

The outcomes present airs at 7.15pm on Sunday, when one couple will take their ultimate bow. The remaining half-dozen hoofers take to the ground once more at 6.55pm subsequent Saturday. Join me again right here afterwards for an additional dance debrief. Until then, the standard applies: keeeeeeep dancing.

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