Lights, camera, action – it’s Movie Week on Strictly Come Dancing 2023!
The first theme week of this year’s series has arrived and our 14 remaining celebrities and their professional partners hit the dancefloor last night to whisk us all off to Hollywood. Sadly Les Dennis wasn’t among them though, becoming the first contestant to be eliminated after he and his professional partner Nancy Xu lost the dance-off to Nikita Kanda and Gorka Marquez.
As usual presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were on hand to guide the celebrities, audience and viewers through their cinematic journey, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas stepped into their cinema critic role to rate every Charleston and Cha-Cha. We even saw the first 10 of the series for Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s Couple’s Choice! The show also included a fantastic routine from Strictly’s troupe of professional dancers celebrating 100 years of Disney.
So which five performances were worthy of a place in our highlight reel? In no particular order, find out who made the cut below…
1: Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley – Charleston to ‘Money Money’ from ‘Cabaret’
Krishnan has rapidly become a fan favourite on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing with his winning personality, but unfortunately the technique hasn’t quite matched up until now. He had fantastic characterisation throughout, as well as great timing, the right light and playful quality for the Charleston and plenty of swivel and swagger. I also thought he handled the lifts well and loved his little jump midway through! My only criticism is his hands are still a little throwaway sometimes but this is absolutely his best performance yet and I hope he can continue to build on that next week. Angela and Carlos may have beaten then score-wise (and I did love theirs too though for me it needed more swivel), but this was absolutely my favourite Charleston of the night.
2: Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe – Waltz to ‘Moon River’ from ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’
Oh my goodness. Annabel truly came into her own with this routine. It had a beautiful soft quality about it, with some lovely rise and fall, great footwork throughout and a gorgeous whisk step. She flowed smoothly across the floor and there was absolutely zero gapping between her and Johannes, as well as some beautiful arm lines and strong acting. Although she did have a very small wobble, this was a dreamy and romantic performance that actually made me a little bit emotional, and shows why she absolutely deserves to be here.
3: Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell – Samba to ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ from ‘Romeo + Juliet’
One word: wowza! Bobby said at the start of his Strictly Come Dancing journey that he liked the ‘hips and shoulders’ dances, and he absolutely gave it both barrels on this Samba – by far the best of the series so far. Whether it was getting the crowd going in the intro or almost taking the front row’s eyes out with his solo start, he had fantastic hip action throughout, brilliant characterisation and playful, more bounce than Tigger on a trampoline and excellent timing. If they ever revive the Saturday Night Fever musical I think they’ve found their Tony Manero already! His hands are still a little sloppy in places but overall another outstanding performance.
4: Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola – Viennese Waltz to ‘Waiting On A Miracle’ from ‘Encanto’
You know what you’re getting with Ellie at this stage of the competition – beautiful acting, great lines and body shapes in hold, as well as fantastic flow across the floor – and she absolutely delivered yet again. I loved the romantic quality of this routine and was impressed with her speed in handling the tricky choreography, as well as the Latin-influenced elements of the routine which added a lovely touch. She handled the tricks well and really drew out the character of the dance, and showed why she has absolutely cemented her place as a front-runner in this competition.
5: Layton Williams & Nikita Kuzmin – Viennese Waltz to ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’ from ‘Grease’
It was a very good night for Viennese waltzes, with Layton and Nikita flipping this number on its head in a way you’ve never seen it before. As usual his acting was absolutely brilliant, hitting just the right line between sass and vulnerability which made the whole performance completely believable and utterly drew you in. I loved his arm lines throughout and he executed the fleckerl with aplomb, as well as having great movement across the floor. And that ending was just stunning! A performance for the Strictly ages and one that will no doubt be talked about for years to come.
The leaderboard for this evening was:
Angela and Carlos – 35
Eddie and Karen – 34
Ellie and Vito – 33
Bobby and Dianne – 32
Amanda and Giovanni – 30
Annabel and Johannes – 30
Krishnan and Lauren – 30
Layton and Nikita – 28
Angela and Kai – 26
Adam and Luba – 26
Nigel and Katya – 25
Zara and Graziano – 25
Nikita and Gorka – 21
Jody and Jowita – 20
Tonight one more celebrity will be eliminated from the series – so tune into The Results Show to find out who’s going to be left on the cutting room floor. Plus there’s a spectacular group number from Strictly’s troupe of professional dancers that you won’t want to miss (one word: pink…)
Strictly Come Dancing: The Results will be broadcast live tonight (Sunday 8 October) at 7.20 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.