Hello one and hello all, I’m home, which means only one thing, the return of a full Strictly Saturday. I’m back in wintry Liverpool and therefore have no more Disney distractions, I’m in it full the full show. And do you know what else is back? BLACKPOOL. Yup, it’s already that time in the competition when all the contestants hop it up North and get to dance in THE BLACKPOOL TOWER BALLROOM. OOooooo, aahhhhhh. I always love Blackpool week, everyone gives it that bit more, we usually see more 10’s and often some cheeky 40’s. There are extra dancers a plenty and everything is so extra.
Last week was an absent week for Strictly Saturdays, which was a shame because there were some exciting dances and drama. That said, the rumours of bullying between Danny and Amy were rife, and those rumours ended with him leaving the competition. I didn’t like his dance and thought it was time, I’m not disappointed to see him leave either, harsh as that is. I think once Charles leaves the competition I will be happy with pretty much everyone left, loving some more than others. We’ll see.
Can you imagine a more extra way to open the show than having Gloria Estefan dancing and singing in the middle of white suited and neon orange dress clad pro dancers? No, me either, it was hilarious and epic, and you can watch it here now!. Not sure who was having more fun: Neil, Giovanni, or Gloria herself? They all looked like they were loving life! That ballroom is ready to hold an impressive evening to match the impressive dance floor.
Annnnnd here they are, the ladies of the hour, and can I say how Christmassy they have gone! I’m not so sure about the gold, one-shouldered number that Tess has opted for, but I am quite liking the red sparkle Claud is rocking (seriously, it looks like they could be filming to Christmas special right now!) The judges are dressed to impressive – Darcey is rocking a black taffeta number, and Shirley looks stunning in a gold sequinned thing. I love how the boys have coordinated their white suits!
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton Salsa to ‘Ooh Ahh (Just a Little Bit)’ (watch here)
I am not sure how I feel about these two doing a salsa but they always look like they’re having a great time and are in the party mood so maybe my concerns are misplaced? Stacey looks fierce, wow, I just think I would quite like to be her, y’know? And Kevin that is some patterned combo right there. I love how much he loves it here, he gets so pumped up. I think it’s so him to go for an all out BLACKPOOL routine. Oh bless Kevin, is there such thing as a ‘quiet night’ in Blackpool.
Oh wow she is actually riding a huge stick of rock. The back-up dancers are so extra, they’re so shiny and into it. I mean they look like they’re having fun but there are bits that look a tiny bit messy and sometimes a little hesitant, which seems like a contradiction with her face that looks like it is going for it. JESUS THAT LIFT SEQUENCE. She came out of it a little bit shakily but damn gurl! Wow, they’re getting bigger, how is Kevin able to lift like that, he isn’t big enough, I know there is nothing of her but….wow that was a party starter.
Craig: 7 Darcey: 8 Shirley: 9 Bruno: 9 Total: 33
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard Argentine Tango to ‘River’ (watch here)
I am worried about this. I don’t want to see him do the faces and the moves and I worry that she won’t be super into it and that this will be a bit off a shit show. I don’t want it to be, she looks great in the red, but I fear I’m not going to love it. She was really good last week, her dance was stunning and beautiful so maybe she will bring some of that quality. Why are they dancing with sharks, seriously why though?
P.S. Well done AJ, so pleased you beat the Hunters!
Oh I see what they’re doing with the graphic and material, underwater. I don’t like how close they are this is weird and I am not about this! It wasn’t sharp enough, the music was snappy enough, but there wasn’t enough attack and snap, which made it seem a bit flat and lost with the music and the size of the ballroom, which is a shame. There were some impressive lifts and hold though, it just wasn’t the Argentine Tango I want (I’m not sure they could ever do the Argentine Tango that I want).
Craig: 5 Darcey: 6 Shirley: 7 Bruno: 7 Total: 25
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse ‘Couple’s Choice’ Theatre and Jazz to ‘The Trolley Song’ (watch here)
I have a feeling that they’re really going to get into this style and really like it. There was a jazzy feel to the dance Oti did with Danny Mac too, the ballroom is definitely made for a theatrical show and he is a showman so I think this could be his stage and his moment. I love how these dances are now about sharing their history, it’s nice when you don’t know loads about them. Can we all just stop and love on Oti again because seriously, look at her.
I see what they’re doing here, Trolley Song arriving on a Trolley. And you can’t say he isn’t giving it beans, he is clearly loving it. It’s got a bit of a Mary Poppins vibe which I am strangely feeling. It was very sweet and adorable and definitely in keeping with the whole theatre element. He looked like he was having the best time, really enjoyed that!
Craig: 7 Darcey: 8 Shirley: 8 Bruno: 9 Total: 32
Faye Tozer Smith and Giovanni Pernice Paso Doble to ‘Unstoppable’ (watch here)
Faye and I share a birthday don’t you know, that’s why she was my favourite in Steps. They’ve had some weird press this week about a birthday lunch, I am hoping that they’re going to bring some fire to this Paso because this should be epic and I worry their slight lack of chemistry may dampen it. I have high hopes for this. They have some epic shoes to fill, there have been some special Paso’s at Blackpool over the years. I am living for Gio in the pink skirt, that was too funny.
FIRE. DANCERS. FIRE. PROPS. FIRE. DRUMS. FIIIIIIIRRRRRRE. The drama, the speed, the intensity, that was one powerful Paso. There was great shapes and skills and movements, brilliant use of the spare dancers. There was a false ending. Wow that woke everyone up and got pulses racing, that was INSANE. The heat in all senses of the word. *Fans self*
Craig: 9 Darcey: 9 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 38
Kate Silverton and Aljaz Sjorjanec American Smooth to ‘Everlasting Love’ (watch here)
Kate more so than anyone else looks like she is living her best life out there and I think this is going to be a good dance for her to have here. She looks stunning in ballroom dances and Aljaz is such a great ballroom dancer that I think this could be really quite good. I love how excited Aljaz gets in Blackpool, he really gets into the spirit. I hope she pulls off the lifts.
So cute and pink and adorable. It was all so candy floss like. I like my American Smooth’s a bit more action packed and the first bits a bit slow, but the lift in the middle mad eye smile so much that it made up for it a little bit, I think? It was a little broken into sections and not that seamless but the secants were pretty good, and I loved the spins at the end, they were really pretty. Aljaz’s northern accent though, oh he’s too cute.
Craig: 7 Darcey: 7 Shirley: 8 Bruno: 8 Total: 30
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton Samba to ‘La Bamba’ (watch here)
I really don’t think I want to see Charles dance a samba, because I fear this is going to compound all the fears I have about him being sleazy and leering. I kinda think he is going to be good at it as well, I think he will enjoy it and get into it and give it something which is when he is usually really good.
Annoyingly this was really food. He fit right in with the dancers at the beginning and looked like he was having a great time, even Darcey was fanning in her chair properly. He had the bounce and the hips and I hated that I actually found myself getting into it a little bit, his smile for once was infectious and not sleazy. I wish he had done his shirt up, and that really we just had Johannes who was definitely having the most fun of everyone. That didn’t stop, it kept going and going.
Then they ruin it with the screaming and the crazy and the jumping. Sigh. Oh well.
Craig: 9 Darcey: 9 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 38
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell Quickstep to ‘Dancin’ Fool’ (watch here)
I actually feel kinda proud of Joe because he wanted to get to Blackpool where his Nan (Oh Phyllis!!! So proud and cute!) danced and here he is, dancing a proper ballroom dance. I adore this dance style, so I hope he lives up to the size dance floor and flies. I feel like I could go from liking to loving him this week. He looks so cute in the tails, they’ve scrubbed him up and some how made him look even younger, like, how? I’m glad they got rid of the man bun though!
Dang Joe, that was quick and stylish and smooth and did I mention quick? His frame was goof, and the footwork so intricate and fast. He kept it moving and used the whole floor, he had sway and presence. I loved the bit in the middle wit the piano and the flicks, it was so good. He was really smooth, I know I’ve said that, but he looks a natural out there, like he belonged, he led it from start to finish. Shirley and Bruno standing in the background too! Absolutely loved that, by far my favourite dance this year so far, loved it, LOVED IT! His little face when he got the 10’s, oh I love them, oh bless him he is so emotional!
Craig: 8 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 38
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev Jive to ‘Shake Ya Tail Feather’ (watch here)
Let’s be honest, we’re all thinking it, have they put these last to close out the show and potentially get a 40 to end a Blackpool spectacular?! She is goofy and lively and she is going to have the skill and energy to pull this off. I love how he realises that she is a bit weird and full on and choreographs it all in and doesn’t just try to do something overtly sexy or full on. It’s all so her.
The leg action though, the snap and the speed, the flocks were breathtaking. She makes everything so big yet it all looks so effortless it’s impressive. The spin int he middle then straight back in, to have the bravery to dance and have the table cloth pulled. She owned that and really looked like one of the professionals., I just don’t cate that she is a proper dancer because she is an absolute joy to watch. I smell fish and chips and a 40. That will go down in Strictly history for sure, very memorable.
I love how nuts Darcey goes for a Craig 10.
Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 40
1. Ashley and Pasha – 40
2= Joe and Dianne – 38
2= Faye and Giovanni – 38
2= Charles and Karen – 38
5. Stacey and Kevin – 33
6. Graeme and Oti – 32
7. Kate and Aljaz – 30
8. Lauren and AJ – 25
10’s, 10’s, 10’s all around! Wow that was an incredible show, with some incredible dances, and a 40! I have to say that show was the best thing to come back to and a great way to get back into the Strictly Saturday feeling. The bar was most definitely raised a couple of notches eh? I have to say it was a bloody brilliant night, and I am going to be watching back some of the dances a few times this week for sure! I can’t believe how few couples are left in the show now, it felt so short and quick!
OK, we can’t ignore the big 40 that happened and let’s be real, it was both coming and deserved. She is phenomenal and definitely a class above the rest. But d’you know what, I want to focus on Joe and Dianne. At the beginning, I irrationally disliked him because I didn’t like some of his sister’s videos, I didn’t like her, and her voice was annoying. Then I watched a bit of him and really quite liked him. I love the vibe and connection he has with Dianne and he has been growing on me. I love a quickstep at the best and worst of times, and this was definitely the best because that was something special. I loved it and have already watched it back a few times (and probably will a few more times tonight!) I’m a bit concerned though that I might have found him a little bit attractive?! Moving on quickly then eh?
I sneaked in a vote, 2 for Graeme and 1 for Stacey, because I’m concerned about where they are. I liked their dances and I liked them, and now Lauren and Kate have made it to Blackpool I don’t really care if they don’t go much further. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just like the others more. Lauren was a real step behind the others tonight, and I didn’t think Kate was 5 marks better than her if I am honest, and as much as I’d prefer Charles to go, I am struggling to see it being anyone other than them in the dance off tomorrow. Until then…