After a couple of weeks of predictable exits, Sunday's Strictly Come Dancing served up the shock of the series so far. After receiving such encouraging comments from the judges, DJ Dev Griffin and pro dancer Dianne Buswell can't have expected to leave so soon. But as HELLO!'s columnist and Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas points out, you can't assume any couple is safe. Read on to find out what else she had to say about this weekend's shows, from the incredibly moving reason Saffron's dance had her in tears to why we shouldn't blame the judges for the result…
Talk about intrigue! Excitement, drama, tears, we've had it all this week. Never in a million years did I think Dev was going home because to me he was a potential finalist. I was surprised that Emma and Aljaz were in the dance-off as well. Going on past performances and marks I thought I would probably save Dev, but when he danced again, it just wasn't there. His rhythm was outstanding but with the Cha Cha, 85% of it should be moving from foot to foot and he had too much standing still. Emma pulled out all the stops, the music was great and she made no mistakes whereas Dev was a little bit off his feet in a couple of places.
People think that we want to send people home but we don't, it's heart-wrenching. You could see how upset Dev was and Dianne was crying uncontrollably to the point where her whole body was shaking, my heart went out to them. We all adore Dev but you've got to choose the best person to go through. Having said that, I don't know why people are shocked if they didn't vote. Normally you can predict who's going to go up to about week six but on this particular series, you don't know who's going. I was surprised when David got saved but this is a man who has grown from week to week and the public recognise that.
Why did Dev go home and not him? BECAUSE THE PUBLIC VOTED. I feel passionate about it because we do the best job that we can, we try to give constructive criticism, we try to add some humour but foremost we are there to give our opinion on the dancing and that is what we take seriously. Members of the public send me messages on Twitter and Instagram saying they'll never watch again if their favourite doesn't go through, but you can save anybody if you vote.
If anybody would have been in the bottom two, I thought it might be Alex and Neil and David and Nadiya, but David seems to be clicking with the audience now. Everybody lifted their game yesterday. Mike made me laugh early on, he was a bit of an Ed Balls character, more of an entertainer. But on Saturday, he gave me such a feeling of pride because he took it so seriously. That music was so fast, there were so many steps in there, you could see he worked his little socks off but he never lost his personality. I think Katya cried at the end because she was just so proud, she wears her emotions on her sleeve, it's absolutely lovely. Motsi gave Mike a nine and I can't speak on behalf of her but I know that she loves the entertainment factor, she loves energy, she loves someone that's an underdog and gets out there are and gives it 1000% from the heart and that's just as important as the technique. If it was all technique, how boring would that be?
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I don't think Catherine was over-marked, she's going from strength to strength. Her comments might not have been as enthusiastic as some of the others but what people watching don't realise is that you're only given 20 seconds and then someone else might take longer than that, so you've only got ten seconds or five seconds, and we have to balance what we want to say with what other people have said. When we get excited like we did about Kelvin, there will always be someone who says, 'show some decorum', but I say, 'that's not what the show is about!' He's a very masculine man with those scintillating and sensual hips, plus the the way he moved his wrists, arms, and hands, his sensitivity… He had more or less all advanced basic steps which was impressive and it's hard to lead. His timing was off the chart unbelievable, the only reason I didn't give it a ten was I would have liked a little more flow.
In the first few weeks, people have got to get to know each other, they get used to their partner and then the hard work sets in. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and these people have got to stay healthy and get their act together week in and week out. Saffron used to seem very nervous but this week she took the pressure and really held it together. She gave such a heartfelt performance for her nan, every single moment was clear and everyone was crying. I didn't want to say it on TV because I didn't want to take away from her moment but that was also the last piece of music that my brother sent me before he died. I think if people go back and listen to the lyrics of that song it will help anybody who is feeling low.
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I didn't get the chance to meet Jason Donovan on Saturday but I did take a picture with Keith Urban and he smashed it on the results show, as did the pros who danced to him. They're not just upping their game, they're in a space rocket going straight to the moon. My boyfriend Danny has never been a watcher of Strictly but he came with me this weekend and he's in love with it. He keeps saying 'Shirley, teach me to dance', and I say, 'When would you like to do that with our busy schedules?'
I love the British public, they're so passionate. I can imagine families all sitting at home screeching at each other because Dad wants to save Dev and the children like Mike, or whoever. Behind the scenes at the BBC, it's just incredible, everyone's heart is pumping a thousand miles an hour. There was such an electric atmosphere at the weekend, you almost didn't want to step on the floor because you might get electrocuted.
Find out who sizzles for Shirley next week!
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