We’re over a month in to Strictly Come Dancing 2023, and now the competition is definitely starting to get serious.
Last night our 12 remaining celebrities and their professional partners were back in the Strictly ballroom, with the aim of getting to Halloween week – one of the major milestones of the show and somewhere every couple wants to get to.
Sadly Paralympian Jody Cundy CBE missed out on a place in the lineup after he and professional partner Jowita Przystal were eliminated in last week’s dance-off, where they faced Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. Amanda Abbington and her partner Giovanni Pernice were also absent this week due to illness.
As always presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman took us through every moment of the dancefloor action, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas shared their views on each step, spin and swivel of the evening.
So which performances were frighteningly good enough to make it to Halloween night? It was a very strong evening and unfortunately there were a few great routines that didn’t make the cut – particularly Krishnan and Lauren’s quickstep and Adam and Luba’s Backstreet Boys-themed couples’ choice. But in no particular order, here’s our five favourites…
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu – American Smooth to ‘Cherish’ by Madonna
This was a routine straight from a classic Disney movie, with Angela starting the dance on a bridge before running into Carlos’ arms. I loved the light, bright feel of the dance, which I thought she acted really nicely, and she had some beautiful lines in her arms as well as a leg extension to rival Angela Rippon! Her movement across the floor was lovely, she handled the lifts and the footwork well, and I feel like her frame in hold has improved a lot too. It was an utterly joyful performance and should see her safely through to next week.
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola – Paso Doble to ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless
One word: wow! I loved the dramatic, sultry feeling Ellie brought to this Paso Doble. She had amazing strength and confidence throughout, especially in her solo sections – the skirtography in the opening at the top of the stairs was a particular highlight – and great control too. I also thought she had excellent drive across the floor in hold and very good shaping in her arms and body too. It all added up to another brilliant performance and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this dance again in the final.
Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin – Salsa to ‘Quimbara’ by Johnny Pacheco and Celia Cruz
There’s absolutely no doubt Layton is a brilliant dancer, but whilst he’s delivered excellent routines over the past few weeks on Strictly Come Dancing 2023, for me I haven’t felt quite as much of a connection with him as much as I have with other contestants. This, however, was different. I liked that he and Nikita seemed to bounce off each other more, sharing the tricks between them and having excellent synchronisation throughout (including that jump!), and it felt more like a partnership than some of his more recent routines. He also coped really well with the lifts and had great swagger and hip action, which was rewarded with the highest score of the series so far!
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell – Viennese Waltz to ‘Golden Hour’ by JVKE
Is there anything Bobby can’t do? Back in Ballroom mode this week, he and Dianne gave us a sweet, delicate dream of a Viennese Waltz, with a lovely calm and relaxed feel. I particularly liked his armography at the start of the dance and felt his leading skills have improved a lot, as well as his posture in hold and control in the spins – you can absolutely tell he’s taken the judges’ advice from previous weeks on board. The only slight distraction was his open mouth throughout, but the strong storytelling and romantic, moving feel of the routine should see him make it to Halloween comfortably.
Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington – Argentine Tango to ‘Tanguera’ by Sexteto Mayor
Another first dance style of the series for Angela this week, and once again she absolutely delivered. I loved her sharpness and precision throughout the routine and thought she had the perfect energy level for the Argentine Tango, as well as great musicality and a sensual feeling we haven’t necessarily seen from her yet. The footwork was clean and she had great speed across the floor, as well as dealing well with the spin and lifts. And of course, it wouldn’t be an Angela Rippon routine without yet another leg extension! She really is becoming one of the highlights of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 and I personally can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next week.
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Layton and Nikita – 39 (9, 10, 10, 10)
Ellie and Vito – 37 (9, 10, 9, 9)
Angela and Kai – 34 (8, 9, 8, 9)
Bobby and Dianne – 32 (7, 8, 8, 9)
Adam and Luba – 32 (7, 8, 8, 9)
Krishnan and Lauren – 30 (6, 8, 8, 8)
Nigel and Katya – 29 (7, 7, 7, 8)
Angela and Carlos – 28 (6, 7, 7, 8)
Zara and Graziano – 28 (7, 7, 7, 7)
Annabel and Johannes – 27 (5, 7, 7, 8)
Eddie and Karen – 24 (5, 6, 6, 7)
But who is about to face the final curtain and miss out on a place in next week’s show? You’ll have to watch the results show later to find out…
Strictly Come Dancing: The Results is live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer tomorrow (Sunday 22nd October) at 7.15 PM