It’s already week 4 of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 – this series is flying by!
Our 13 remaining celebrities and their professional partners all made it through Movie Week and were back on the dancefloor last night fighting for their place in the competition.
Sadly BBC Asian Network presenter Nikita Kanda missed out on being there after she and her professional partner Gorka Marquez lost last week’s dance off to Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima.
As usual we were guided through the evening’s routines by presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman. Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas were also on hand to share their thoughts on every step of the night. We even saw our highest score of the series yet, with Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin receiving a whopping 37 points for their Cha-Cha to Whitney Houston’s ‘Million Dollar Bill’.
So who wowed us this week? In no particular order, here’s our top five routines:
1: Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola – Samba to ‘Copacabana’ by Barry Manilow
Ellie is rapidly becoming one of the hot favourites to win Strictly Come Dancing 2023 and she delivered another strong performance with her Samba this weekend. I thought she had great arm lines throughout and some fierce facial expressions, as well as tons of energy and strong acting skills yet again. Her African walks were particularly good, as were the tricks early on in the routine, and I liked that we saw her sexy flirtatious side which we haven’t had much of yet. The only criticism is that it perhaps could have done with slightly more bounce and drive into the floor, but she’s been consistently good so far and it feels like she’s definitely going to be dancing into December.
2: Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk – Waltz to ‘I Wonder Why’ by Curtis Stigers
After spending the first part of the series in the middle of the leaderboard, Adam had something of a breakthrough with his Waltz this week. It had such a sweet, romantic quality to it and I thought he led Luba incredibly well throughout the routine, particularly in hold. On top of that, he had a strong frame, beautiful lines in his arms and hands, a lovely flow across the dancefloor and really high performance quality too. The whole thing was simple but very well executed and I really hope he can build on this in the coming weeks now.
3: Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley – Paso Doble to ‘By The Way’ by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
I don’t know if it’s the eyeliner but Krishnan’s performance level really seems to have taken off in the last couple of weeks on Strictly Come Dancing. His and Lauren’s Paso was full of drama and power, with great sharpness out of hold in particular and plenty of confidence when leading. I really liked his drive across the floor and the sense of control he had through the routine, as well as his timing and co-ordination with Lauren in the side-by-side sections. There are still things that could be improved such as his hand shape and he needs to exaggerate his shapes a bit more, but overall this was another good routine and it feels like he’s coming into his own.
4: Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima – Viennese Waltz to ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ by Brenda Lee
After finding herself in the dance off last week Zara needed a strong performance, and she absolutely delivered in this Viennese Waltz. I loved the drama and passion she brought to the routine and her storytelling was brilliant, as well as having some lovely lines in her arms and gorgeous leg extensions. She flowed beautifully across the floor, especially in the reverse turns, and her posture in hold was strong with a good fleckerl and a fantastic spin near the end! There was a slight wobble midway through but overall it was a beautiful routine and should hopefully see her through to next week.
5: Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington – Rumba to ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ by Conchita Wurst
Taking on the first Rumba of a Strictly Come Dancing series is no mean feat, yet Angela absolutely delivered. From the dramatic solo opening to the powerful finale, it was an utterly brilliant performance. She had fantastic confidence and a commanding presence throughout, as well as beautiful movement across the floor, nice hip action and great straight legs. However, what really wowed me were her tricks – whether it was her trademark leg extensions, the spin midway through or her incredible split drag. And the incredible flexibility of that back bend! It was a complete triumph and showed that she can hold her own in this competition just as much as the contestants that are a quarter of her age.
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Layton and Nikita – 37 (9, 10, 9, 9)
Nigel and Katya – 33 (8, 9, 8, 8)
Adam and Luba – 32 (8, 8, 8, 8)
Amanda and Giovanni – 31 (7, 8, 8, 8)
Angela and Kai – 31 (8, 7, 8, 8)
Bobby and Dianne – 30 (7, 7, 8, 8)
Annabel and Johannes – 29 (7, 7, 7, 8)
Ellie and Vito – 28 (7, 7, 7, 7)
Krishnan and Lauren – 28 (6, 7, 7, 8)
Zara and Graziano – 28 (7, 7, 7, 7)
Angela and Carlos – 28 (7, 7, 7, 7)
Eddie and Karen – 24 (4, 7, 6, 7)
Jody and Jowita – 19 (3, 5, 5, 6)
13 is about to be unlucky for someone – who won’t make it past tonight’s dance-off? We’ll find out later this evening…
Strictly Come Dancing: The Results Show will be broadcast on Sunday 15th October at 7.20 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.