Welcome to Week 9!
Hello all, after missing last week's blog, I am back, and I am more than ready for Blackpool. The Tower Ballroom always brings out the best in the celebrities, and with a strong line-up this here, I'm hoping it'll do so again. We're just minutes away from finding out who will top the Blackpool leaderboard!
Who left last week?
It was a sad time last week on Strictly, as we had to wave goodbye to Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy. But we think the newsreader can be incredibly proud of himself as he really transformed into a dancer, and unlike other celebrities who have made it far in the past, he did so on merit as opposed to comedic dances. We also know that we're going to miss Claudia's teasing of his son Jay, as the teenager grew to accept his father as a ballroom dancer.
Nikita Kuzmin wins praise from fans ahead of show
Nikita Kuzmin didn't even have to step foot on the dancefloor this week before winning plaudits from fans. During the week, the popular dancer opened up about living with Type 1 diabetes. You can read more about his journey with the condition here.
Surprise Strictly return!
Many fabulous contestants have taken to the floor over the years, including the lovely Carol Kirkwood, who danced with Pasha Kovalev in the shows 13th series. 13 was not Carol's lucky number, as her routines earned a lot of criticism from the judges, especially one Craig Revel Horwood.
Earlier in the week, the BBC Breakfast presenter headed to the famous Tower Ballroom, where she reunited with former co-stars and even came face-to-face with Craig once again. Find out more about what happened here.
What an opener!
Blackpool is just bigger and better, and the pros have shown that with this tour-de-force of a dance that followed Johannes discovering his identity as a dancer, and of course, drag performer. We loved every second from the moves, to the tunes, to the celebs getting involved. Let's just hope they're not all tired out now!
Bobby needs no wake-up call after that!
Bobby always hits the high notes, even if he doesn't hit the highest scores, but tonight he finally made it past that 32 mark! The jive is well-suited to the bouncy floors of Blackpool, and Bobby looked like an 80s popstar with his bright blue suit and effortlessly smooth moves. He had been plateauing over the past few weeks, but now Bobby has put himself back into contention!
Judges' scores: 35 (8, 9, 9, 9) - their highest score ever!
Tea for two or dance-off for three?
Angela Rippon has been in the dance-off for the past two week, and is this the performance the one to save her? We're sadly not too sure, despite some compliments of "elegance", we thought Angela didn't give her best, and there were some noticeable mistakes. She was a Come Dancing icon, but she might be making an exit here at Blackpool.
Judges' scores: 28 (6, 7, 7, 8) - the couple's lowest scores for weeks, and four lower than last week.
Layton brings the house down with epic pole dance
After an emotional VT that had Layton's grandparents in tears, we are all prepared for Layton to finally score his perfect 40. The opening on the pole was legendary, the way Nikita and Layton connected and bounced off each other grabbed our attention, and we loved every second. Sadly, Craig spotted sync issues, meaning the pair were denied their first perfect score. But we know it'll happen soon!
Judges' scores: 39 (9, 10, 10, 10)
Motsi Mabuse prompts crowd chant
We love Motsi Mabuse to death, and it seems the Blackpool crowd do as well as they chanted her name as she swiped back at Craig following his criticism of Layton and Nikita's Couple's Choice (which was clearly flawless).
Annabel is as angelic as ever
Annabel Croft can really get in touch with the emotions when she dances, we're still in tears from her Couple's Choice routine, and she showed this once again. Annabel really slowed the competition with her American Smooth that again will not have left a dry eye in the house. Also, how beautiful did she look? That dress deserves a spot in a museum!
Judges' scores: 35 (8, 9, 9, 9) - the pair's joint-highest mark.
We're in love with Ellie and Vito!
We can't think of anyone who wouldn't want to win Vito at a fairground, so perhaps the theming was off, but that might be one of the most iconic routines in Strictly history, did Ellie stop at any point?! She came at it thick and fast, with Anton only ever finding fault with the pro, not Ellie! But, as ever, Craig managed to find it in him to find some criticism. We still have two dances left, but that perfect score continues to be elusive.
Judges' scores: 39 (9, 10, 10, 10)
Angela Scanlon is the tango queen we didn't know we needed!
Angela Scanlon's time on Strictly has been marked with inconsistency, but the former Robot Wars presenter totally smashed her Argentine Tango! The dance was a lot more contained than what we're used to, but Angela totally embodied the style of the dance and she brought every ounce of drama. And that rendition of Back to Black, we have goosbumps with how haunting it was!
Judges' scores: 38 (8, 10, 10, 10) - their highest score yet!
Nigel hits the big time!
Nigel Harman has been another dancer plagued with inconsistencies and perhaps this week was another one for Nigel, with Craig piling on the issues. You can't close Blackpool without a big band number and we're glad we got this, but with a very high-performing leaderboard, might this put Nigel at risk this week? And from how downhearted the actor was, you can tell he knows it!
Judges' scores: 29 (7, 8, 8, 8)
Thanks for joining us!
That rounds off another week of Strictly, and given how many couples have been struggling to improve this year, I feel this was the best episode yet. But who will be facing the deaded dance-off? Angela Rippon and Nigel are at the bottom, but might Annabel Croft and Bobby Brazier who placed in the middle be in danger? Only time will tell.
Check back tomorrow, where HELLO! will have all the news!