Bwa-ha-ha-haaaaa. That’s proper, glitterball ghouls, it was time for the BBC dressing-up field to be raided for Strictly’s annual All Hallows’ Eve spooktacular.
Mercifully, there had been no Covid casualties or damage withdrawals this week. We had been again to full power with all 10 pro-celebrity pairs hitting the Elstree Studios dancefloor.
So who delivered choreographic treats? And who discovered themselves in hazard of the devilish dance-off? Here are the highest 10 talking factors from the supernatural sixth stay present…
1. Rose Ayling-Ellis scored first excellent 40 of the sequence
Italian professional Giovanni Pernice has an enviable file in relation to Strictly spooktaculars, having topped the leaderboard in each Halloween particular since 2015 – twice scoring a near-perfect 39 factors in the method. He saved up his profitable streak right here and even went one higher score-wise.
His twisted tango with EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, taking part in an imperious ice queen, was technically flawless and stuffed with fierce storytelling. It was one other routine the place the maintain meant Rose couldn’t have a look at Giovanni for counting cues, so needed to really feel it in her physique. You’d by no means have identified she couldn’t hear the music. The judges showered her in accolades comparable to “perfect”, “epic” and “amazing”, with Craig Revel Horwood signing that she “smashed it, darling”.
They danced to “Shivers” by Ed Sheeran and bought a video message from the person himself. Screen dad Danny Dyer additionally visited Rose in the coaching room for further cult-hero cool factors. They’re change into a dynamic, inspiring partnership and the earliest excellent 40 in Strictly history made for a magical second. Gio was weepy. Jubilant Rose leapt into his arms. The nation cheered.
Strictly’s first ever deaf contestant can be making a distinction off the dancefloor. After the pair integrated signal language into final week’s routine, Google searches for “how to learn sign language” went up ten-fold. “That’s the whole reason why I’m doing this,” stated a delighted Rose on spin-off present It Takes Two this week. She’s been wanting like a doubtless finalist. Now she’s certainly the glitterball favorite. Fab-ew-lous.
2. AJ Odudu’s Medusa waltz was mythic and magical
She’s been a constant presence in the higher echelons of the leaderboard and scored her first excellent 10 final week for an Argentine tango. Now TV presenter AJ Odudu slithered snakily into a Medusa-themed Viennese waltz and notched one other most.
Assertive AJ put a spell on professional accomplice Kai Widdrington, turning him into stone. She enchanted the judges too. The panel had been effusive in their reward for the dramatic, dynamic, creatively choreographed routine to “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande. A rating of 37 factors was AJ’s finest but. Just the odd technical element along with her footwork and head place prevented these three nines turning into 10s.
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There have been showmance rumours in regards to the pair, partly as a result of they’re each single. AJ’s cute nieces and nephews did their finest to gas gossip throughout their rehearsal VT, begging the couple to kiss. They didn’t oblige, in fact, however teased viewers simply sufficient. Canny. A finalist-in-waiting, certainly?
3. Halloween theme was flogged to loss of life
There was zero hazard of anybody at house forgetting this was Halloween Week. Strictly simply loves a themed present and the manufacturing duly went into over-the-top mode.
As nicely because the creepy costumes and spectral soundtrack, we had not one however two introductory montages which noticed Anton du Beke creeping round in a Scream masks and Craig Revel Horwood auditioning villains. This segued into a ghoulish group routine from the skilled troupe taking part in film baddies, together with a glittery Darth Vader, a camp Voldemort and a hip-shaking Hannibal Lecter.
Every coaching room VT had a tenuous Hallowtheme. Bandleader Dave Arch was in a Count Dracula costume. Even the judges had been fancy dressed and waving ghost-shaped scoring paddles. Everyone enjoys an autumnal celebration however there was no must whack viewers across the face with a soggy-bottomed slice of pumpkin pie.
Still, the wardrobe, hair and make-up departments did a very good job, conjuring up lavish mini-horror motion pictures on a restricted finances. They’ll now breathe a sigh of aid that it’s again to “normal” exhibits for the subsequent few weeks. Frankly, so will I.
4. Winter might be coming after Sara Davies’ Couple’s Choice
Entrepreneur and shock package deal Sara Davies has up to now been a ballroom woman, topping the leaderboard with a chic foxtrot and a conventional tango. Now she bought to unleash her critical facet with a Couple’s Choice routine – the primary ever for her accomplice Aljaž Škorjanec, regardless of this being the smiley Slovenian’s ninth sequence as a Strictly professional.
Sadly it was one thing of a dance dis-ah-ster. Set to rocky empowerment anthem “Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston, the paso doble-esque quantity riffed on her Dragon’s Den position by styling Davies as Daenerys from Game of Thrones, full with chains, hearth and dodgy CGI dragons. It was fierce and moody however badly lacked musicality. Sara spent far an excessive amount of time strolling round along with her arms outstretched.
Bottom of the scoreboard with 23 factors, Aljaž gallantly took the blame for his creaky choreography. Meanwhile, social media was lighting up with feedback about his S&M-styled outfit. Might this, together with Sara’s recognition, assist save them? After such a hoofing horror present, Westeros and crafting followers would possibly must mobilise.
5. Werewolf John Whaite was positive, not fangtastic
There might need been a dangerous moon rising for chef John Whaite however high-scoring paddles had been elevating too. Opening the present with a werewolf quickstep, he and professional accomplice Johannes Radebe had been gentle on their toes and stuffed with power, if not as clear and exact as their finest type.
The judges didn’t fairly howl on the moon as a lot as make approving woofs. Team John-hannes scored 33 factors, 5 down on final week and leaving them in the center on the leaderboard. There won’t have been An American Werewolf In London however there was undoubtedly a Lancastrian baker in Borehamwood.
Sadly, there was no reappearance from John’s native pub landlady by way of videolink this week. BBC bigwigs presumably bottled it for worry of her having too many Halloween punches and saying one thing unsuitable for pre-watershed. Spoilsports.
6. Dance-off survivor Rhys Stephenson got here out bullfighting
CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson made a shock look in final week’s dance-off, regardless of being the third highest scorer in the competition up to now. He wanted to bounce again and positively did so with a petrifying paso doble.
Alongside professional Nancy Xu, his War of the Worlds routine demonstrated a man on a mission. It had hearth and ferocity, stag leaps, knee walks and Spanish line, though a little an excessive amount of mincing about on tiptoes for my liking.
The judges had been divided. Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse beloved it. Anton du Beke stated it was stiff and jerky. Craig Revel Horwood thought it had an excessive amount of assault and lacked fluidity. Rhys’ scores ranged from seven to 9, leaving him mid-table on 33 factors. Nancy grew to become endearingly emotional about how a lot they needed to remain in the competition they usually undoubtedly need to. If Rhys is in the dance-off once more, it might be a big injustice.
7. Tilly Ramsay’s Frankenstein cha-cha wasn’t monstrous
Teen chef Tilly Ramsay was the topic of a body-shaming controversy in the build-up to last week’s show. She should’ve been relieved to go away all of the tabloid headlines behind and get again to dancing – even when she was caked in lime inexperienced Frankenstein face paint.
Her chilling cha cha cha to obscure Sixties tune “Spooky Movies” by Gary Paxton was full of sassy character and cleverly choreographed by professional accomplice Nikita Kuzmin. Poor Tilly’s face virtually turned from inexperienced to pink when her dad Gordon despatched a cringe-inducing video message. Still, three nines and third on the leaderboard did very properly certainly. In your face, Steve Allen from LBC.
8. Adam Peaty’s “derrière” did all of the work
Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty made the judges go “a bit twitchy” throughout final week’s samba together with his comfortable denims and pelvic-thrusting. The distinction couldn’t have been a lot better as he donned a Regency wig for a vicious Viennese waltz with professional accomplice Katya Jones.
Set to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (impressively performed on piano by Katya through the VT), their routine was intense and dramatic. It’s simply the dance particulars which had been missing, wanting laboured, low in the knees and missing movement.
However, as soon as once more Adam’s mid-section hogged a lot of the panel’s consideration. Head choose Shirley Ballas demonstrated how he ought to tuck in his “derrière”. Craig Revel Horwood concurred. Perhaps Peaty ought to put on Speedos subsequent week to actually give them one thing to have a look at.
9. Tom Fletcher’s tango was devilishly wobbly
Closing the present, McFly frontman Tom Fletcher and Welsh professional Amy Dowden had been on a “Highway to Hell” with their terrifying tango. Dressed as horned, red-faced devils, it had loads of conventional tango content material however was approach too wobbly on the topline.
Fletcher appeared cheesed off by the judges’ justified criticisms, which didn’t do him many favours, however was scored generously. Left fourth from backside, he’ll doubtless be secure for an additional fortnight. Amy received a Welsh BAFTA this week for her affectingly trustworthy documentary about her battle with Crohn’s illness. Shame she couldn’t proceed her sizzling streak.
10. Judi Love and Dan Walker in dance-off hazard
She was again from her sickbed, babes. Loose Women’s Judi Love examined optimistic for Covid-19 final week, which means she and Italian professional Graziano DiPrima missed a present whereas they had been self-isolating. Happily, Judi was totally recovered and returned to the ballroom, albeit with a mere two days of in-person coaching time.
To compensate, they had been allowed to carry out the routine they’d deliberate for final week: an 80s disco cha cha cha to “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, accessorised with legwarmers and leotards. They’d made it Halloweeny by including a gratuitous horror twist: a barely weird zombies-doing-aerobics theme. There’ve been grumblings that it’s unfair Judi didn’t need to study a new dance.
Her timing was sharp, her hips had movement and it was entertainingly put-together. However, she was flat-footed, stompy and there was a lingering sense that Judi’s race could be run. Before her week’s sick go away, she’d survived two consecutive dance-offs, efficiently seeing off Katie McGlynn and Greg Wise. It might be third time unfortunate.
BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker has been a textbook mid-ranking Strictly contestant – likeable, entertaining and enthusiastic. He’s working laborious and bettering week-on-week, falling in love with dance and happening that oft-used J-word (a journey™). However, Walker’s time could be up after a lobster jive which left them in sizzling water.
Alongside Ukrainian professional Nadiya Bychkova, his pincer-clad routine to “Rock Lobster” by the B-52s had comedy worth however lacked spring, velocity and retraction. The jive tends to be tough for tall, long-legged male celebrities and so it proved. Choreographically, this lanky crustacean was all at sea. At least Dan scored greater than a seven for the primary time. When Motsi Mabuse gave him an eight, he sprinted across the balcony in celebration.
Alongside Sara Davies, Dan and Judi look in most hazard. Tom Fletcher and Adam Peaty may additionally be wanting over their shoulders nervously tonight. Judges’ scores will now be mixed with the general public vote and at 7.15pm on Sunday, the underside two will face off. Someone will board the pumpkin-shaped carriage house.
The 9 survivors will hit the ground once more on the earlier time of 6.45pm subsequent Saturday, secure in the information that they’ve reached the halfway mark of this yr’s contest. Join me right here afterwards to run a sparkly rule over the routines. In the meantime, don’t neglect to place your clocks again tonight. And, in fact, keeeeeeep dancing.