Strictly goes to Blackpool: The top 10 highlights from the tower
PUBLISHED: 08:10 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:19 19 November 2018
Kate Silverton became the latest casualty of the ballroom, but Strictly Come Dancing’s trip to Blackpool delivered all the garish glamour it promised - and the first 40 of the series for Ashley Roberts.
Every year Strictly celebrates visiting the spiritual home of British ballroom dancing by turning every dial up to 11 and seeing what the couples can come up with. Apparently this meant every dance involving fire, fireworks or streamers as well.
As the celebrity gossip columns return to stretching, bending and ADDING capitalised WORDS to the truth, you can find out what really happened below:
Silverton Struck Out
Kate and Aljaz, the beams of sunshine that they are, lost in the dance-off to Graeme and Oti after their Foxtrot failed to impress the judges. The pair were second bottom of the leaderboard with 30 points, only ahead of Lauren and AJ.
Kate was slipping closer to danger for the last few weeks but it will be a shame to lose the pair of them. Now both Aljaz and Janette’s partners have been knocked out, the full force of their unbridled joy will only be witnessed in the group numbers.
First Gear Filler
A quick nod to the few negatives of the night. The video cutaways were the longest, gooiest and most tangential of the series. When we weren’t hearing gushing sentiment about the magic of Blackpool from celebs, pros and the public, we were treated to Lauren Steadman getting in a cage to look at some sharks.
Ashley Roberts served up fish and chips, Kate Silverton raised a flag.
Graeme gave us a two-minute biographic of his rags-to-wickets story and the long-awaited reveal of Joe’s nan was shoehorned into his video intro. Must we suffer for our entertainment?
A Ts and Cs cameo from generic man Paddy McGuinness was the final banana slice in the fruit salad - being picked as the new Top Gear host does not make you a new national treasure. No likey.
Postcard from Blackpool
The Blackpool Tower ballroom has been hyped to the nth degree for weeks, billed as the Taj Mahal of dance steppery by well-known android Tess Daly.
The show opened with a Gloria Estefan medley and bombastic group number with even more pro dancers than usual - a clear statement that the next 90 minutes were designed to leave viewers at home agog. And agog we were.
A couple of things change when in Blackpool: you can use more props and staging, you get access to an ensemble of dancers and Bruno is given one-time access to the fizzy pop the producers know makes him misbehave.
The stand-out winner although was unpartnered pro dancer and newcomer, South African Johannes Radebe. The man has more rhythm in his jowls than you or I have in our whole bodies and featured in over half the couples dances plus the opening number and Sunday night group number.
Charles In Charge
Johannes also featured as a third of Craig’s ‘plethora of abdominals’ - a display of Strictly’s finest washboard stomachs as Charles and Karen got a new high score of 38.
Charles Venn performed an open-shirted Samba, his glistening 10-pack somehow made more impressive by the Blackpool spotlights.
After weeks of middling scores for his huge effort, Charles was clearly made up at the improvement he was making - partner Karen Clifton even more so.
There was emotional reaction from a few people this week - Joe and Lauren looked to be fighting back tears - but Karen’s sprawling legs and rampant stamping won her the rosette for Biggest Overreaction of the Week.
Bruno will be gutted about being upstaged I’m sure.
For Whom The Bell Ding, Ding, Dings
Graeme Swann’s musical theatre Couple’s Choice routine landed him in a third dance-off. He and Charles have now survived three each and between them make up two-thirds of a cat.
His dance number looked exactly like your dad doing his best Dick Van Dyke impression.
It was a good watch with the extra dancers and umbrella choreography but wasn’t a patch in Faye Tozer’s Halloween Jazz creep - Couple’s Choice continues to be hit and miss.
The highlight of the whole routine was Graeme describing it as ‘the most fun 90 seconds of his life’. Poor Mrs Swann.
Serial struggler Graeme will be looking at Lauren Steadman as his most likely dance off opponent next week. Lauren and AJ’s Argentine Tango was a tale of two dances - brilliant choreography, badly executed.
After a successful high-tempo Jive and a popular Paso Doble, viewers would have been forgiven for expecting that storytelling and energy to come together for this week’s dance but the pair missed the mark.
With seven dancers left and Ashley, Faye, Stacey and Joe so consistently ahead, these two couples will be falling away in the next couple of weeks.
The Tablecloth Trick
Ashley and Pasha’s Jive to Shake Your Tailfeather scored the first 40 of the series - you need to go and watch it right now.
A blistering pace left the ensemble cast and chip shop theme shrinking in the distance. They only made their presence known when the couple, dancing on the tables in the restaurant, had the tablecloths whipped from under them without missing a beat.
Bruno described it as an iconic moment of Strictly - for once her was not exaggerating.
Stacey Dooley opened the show straddling a 20-foot long stick of rock. Whoever suggested that needs to be taken outside and beaten with the very same stick.
A jam-packed, eye-melting Salsa followed, with Dooley leading a whole ensemble and pulling off some incredible lifts, all while flinging her new curly mop of hair around. She also gave one of the dancers a hard kick by accident but they smiled through it the way only live television can make things not hurt.
Stacey dances the way you think you dance in Yates after a daiquiri - it’s all very impressive and high-energy but also relies heavily on hip-popping and body-rocking. Still a great start to the show and worth the 33 it scored though.
Grandma, We Love You
Phyllis was the real star of Joe Sugg’s Quickstep on Saturday night. His nan danced in Blackpool, now he’s danced in Blackpool, how we will talk about anything else is beyond me.
With his top hat, tails and super-slick hair, Joe looked like the nephew of Monopoly’s Uncle Moneybags, but his boyish cheek-squeezing charm will have endeared his to mothers up and down our fair isle. As best I can tell, he was also the only celebrity to thank every ensemble dancer on stage with him. He also danced well.
Tip Top Tozer
A score of 38 saw Faye’s Paso Doble get her safely through to next week. Flipped like a board by the extra men on stage and dominating as the cape to Giovanni’s matador, Faye still looks comfortable as a future finalist.
That’s Blackpool done and over half the dancer eliminated - it’s all getting very exciting!
Message me on Twitter @JJFoxford if you want to speak more Strictly.