We’ve made it to week eight of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 – and with just eight couples left the competition is getting even tougher.
Next week the competition returns to the legendary Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. It’s a big milestone on every Strictly contestant’s journey, and nobody wants to miss out!
Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman took us through all the action as usual, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas shared their thoughts on every single step, swivel and shimmy.
So who dazzled as bright as the illuminations on the Strictly dancefloor? In no particular order, here’s our top five routines of the week…
1: Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell – American Smooth to ‘Ghost Of You’ by 5 Seconds Of Summer
This was a very different take on the American Smooth, with plenty of passion alongside a soft, yearning quality. I thought Bobby really conveyed the mood of the routine very well and it had a heartfelt feeling that made it very easy to warm to him throughout. His synchronisation with Dianne in the side-by-side section was good and I really liked the shaping in his arms too, and by and large he coped well with the lifts (although the final one looked slightly clumsy to me). Loved the clever use of the stairs and the dramatic catch moment too! It feels like he could be on the verge of a big breakthrough and should see him safely on the way to Blackpool next week.
2: Nigel Harman and Katya Jones – Couple’s Choice to ‘Just The Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars
Oh I just adored this. With a smile that could have lit up Blackpool Tower, Nigel performed a gorgeous old Hollywood-style routine dedicated to his family. It had a really light, playful feeling and I loved seeing the sillier side of him as he leapt about the dancefloor with moves that looked like they were straight from a Gene Kelly film. He also had some gorgeous arm shaping and lovely synchronisation with Katya, leading her really well, and handled the lifts brilliantly particularly at the end. Overall it was an utter joy to watch and I’m really hoping we get to see this one again in the Strictly Come Dancing 2023 final! (And can we also please talk about *that* back bend from Katya?!)
3: Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola – Rumba to ‘True Colours’ by Cyndi Lauper
We haven’t seen much of Ellie’s softer side on the Strictly dancefloor yet and this Rumba gave her the perfect opportunity to show it off. She had great control and hip action throughout and I loved her little flourishes – her musicality is absolutely excellent. The lines in her arms and hands were beautiful and I thought she showed really nice balance as well, especially in tricky moves like the splits. You could really see the emotion of the routine on her face throughout and it was nice to see more diversity from her dancing – she’s shown she really can do it all and seems all but nailed on for the final at this stage.
4: Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu – Waltz to ‘With You I’m Born Again’ by Billy Preston and Syreeta
What a dream of a routine from Angela. In her angelic white gown, she absolutely floated across the floor and delivered a performance full of tenderness and passion. I loved the delicate feeling of the dance and it’s also really nice to see how much her ballroom hold is improved too. She had lovely rise and fall throughout, as well as some great heel leads, and that one legged spin was a fantastic finish. It feels like she’s really growing every week and I hope she can build on this further in Blackpool.
5: Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin – Argentine Tango to ‘Tattoo’ by Loreen
We know that Layton can consistently deliver on performance quality – and he absolutely did that again last night – but this was a great fresh spin on the Argentine Tango that showed he’s got the storytelling chops too. I loved the drama of the routine and thought he had great synchronisation with Nikita throughout, as well as fantastic control, great body shaping and a staccato, punchy quality to his steps that really brought out the intensity of the dance. He also drove across the floor really well in bursts of energy throughout, transitioning easily to the standing sections, and with some absolutely excellent ochos to boot. What a brilliant way to end the show!
The leaderboard for the evening was:
Layton and Nikita – 39 (9, 10, 10, 10)
Ellie and Vito – 35 (8, 9, 9, 9)
Nigel and Katya – 34 (8, 8, 9, 9)
Angela and Carlos – 33 (7, 9, 8, 9)
Bobby and Dianne – 32 (7, 8, 8, 9)
Angela and Kai – 32 (8, 8, 8, 8)
Annabel and Johannes – 31 (7, 8, 8, 8)
Krishnan and Lauren – 25 (5, 7, 6, 7)
Strictly Come Dancing 2023 will return with this week’s Results Show tonight (12th November 2023) at 7.20 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.