Strictly Come Dancing: week four – live | Strictly Come Dancing

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Key events

Judges’ comments for Layton and Nikita: Shirley says “partnering skills and teamwork, you are back in the game”. Anton says “for goodness sake, just brilliant”. Craig says “Million Dollar Bill, million dollar dance”. Motsi concludes “everyone was going ooh, soft but strong, you add different flavour, I could watch you day and night”. Nines ahoy?

Judges’ scores: 9, 10 (second of the series), 9, 9 for a total of 37 points. Highest score of the serie and the earliest 10 for a cha cha in Strictly history. Wowsers. Well deserved.

Layton and Nikita’s cha cha cha

He’s relieved to be out of hold for the first time in the three weeks and a Latin disco number should suit him. After the judges repeatedly picked up on his footwork, Layton has been working hard on his technique, partnering skills and leg action. Fabulous fringed sparkly jumpsuit. Lots of sass and energy, beautiful arms but the judges will be busy peering at those feet. He does the whisk move then a straddle jump into the splits. Was it a pure cha cha cha? It was certainly fantastic. Three bottom-slaps of congratulation from Nikita.

Song: Million Dollar Bill by Whitney Houston. ”One of her last bops”, according to Layton. The 2009 single was written by Alicia Keys and samples house diva Loleatta Holloway (of Black Box’s Ride On Time fame)

Judges’ comments for Eddie and Karen: Motsi says “you’ve got style, side-by-side strong but in hold lowers in level”. Shirley says “light on your feet, stylish in solo but flat feet and a dance dis-ah-ster in hold”. She gets booed but I agree. Anton says “jazzy, you partner Karen well but ballroom hold needs a lot of work”. Craig concludes “freestyle magnificent but disaster in hold”. Fives and sixes? Certainly no 10s.

Judges’ scores: 4, 7, 6, 7 for a total of 24 points. Those sevens were generous. He’s doing X Factor-style phone-hands on the balcony. Memories of Eoghan Quigg.

Eddie and Karen’s American Smooth

British-Congolese comic Eddie Kadi scored the first 10 of the series for his Men In Black Couple’s Choice routine. And yes, it was too early, Shirley. His pro partner Karen Hauer went “what?” when score came in. The last time she notched a maximum was also a streetdance, with Jamie Laing. Double bass-ography to start. Jazzy, swaying and soulful, foxtrot style with a slower tempo. Quick-quick-slow timing, nice mood and lifts but frame and footwork leave a little to be desired. Hunched shoulders and gapping galore. Much better out of hold where he’s got real panache. A mixed bag for me.

Song: Sex Bomb by Tom Jones. A laidback, swing-style version of the 1999 hit written and produced by German-Turkish DJ Mousse T.

Judges’ comments for Annabel and Jojo: Craig says “I thought you’d struggle but you proved me wrong, upper body needs more energy but you gave it some welly, loved the chicken walks”. Motsi says “neat and elegant but you held back, give us some spice”. Shirley says “all the basics, go outside your box, shift your energy and be more expressive”. Anton concludes “just great, precise and beautiful”.

Judges’ scores: 7, 7, 7, 8 for a total of 29 points. Still no jive in the 30s this year but she’s third at the midway point.

Johannes Radebe and Annabel Croft’s jive.
Johannes Radebe and Annabel Croft’s jive. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA

Annabel and Jojo’s jive

After their lovely Breakfast At Tiffanys waltz last week, it’s a starkly contrasting number. No jive has scored in the 30s yet this series. Can Annabel change that? Monochrome outfits, slow opening on the stage before the jive content starts. Fun, fast and frantic with a 60s vibe but she’s almost too elegant, lacking retraction and sharpness in the kicks and flicks. A bit ploddy perhaps but a fabulous cartwheel to finish and so stylishly danced.

Song: Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man. The Alaskan activist rock band’s 2017 sleeper hit borrows the melody from the Marvelettes’ Please Mr Postman and reached number three in the UK singles chart.

Judges’ comments for Zara and Graziano: Anton says “gorgeous beginning, lovely flekerl and reverse turn, frame not bad, lots to like but head position too turned”. Craig says “too Skippy the kangaroo but loved it”. Motsi says “sensual, soft, you’ve improved so much in performance but got tight in hold, breathe, let go and trust Graziano”. Shirley concludes “fly flat but lovely contra-check, your best dance so far, extra tick for coming from the bottom two”. Sevens, do we reckon?

Judges’ scores: 7, 7, 7, 7 for a total of 28 points. Her best yet. Deserved to be safe but will she be? Zara is sweetly tearful.

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima.
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA

Zara and Graziano’s Viennese waltz

Love Island alumna and dance-off survivor Zara McDermott took a knock to her confidence after last week’s not-so-purrfect Puss In Boots paso. Can being back in hold help her bounce back? She’s been working hard on her pivots and conquering her dizziness in training. Hot and dramatic opening. Takes to long to get into hold and dry ice hiding a multitude of footwork sins but spinning, romantic and rather lovely.

Song: You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Brenda Lee. Dusty Springfield’s 1966 hit was originally an Italian song but the English lyrics were written by Simon Napier-Bell, who later managed Wham!. He gave the same title to his 1960s memoir. Unhappy with the sound booth’s acoustics, Dusty recorded her vocals in the studio stairwell.

Judges’ comments for Krishnan and Lauren: Shirley says “sharp and crisp but need more flow, you look magnificent”. Anton says “amazing” and makes a series of undignified noises. Craig says “not a fan of open counting, you hit the positions but live through them, you presented really well”. Motsi concludes “showed us a different side, intention on point, well done”. Sevens and an overexcited eight from Anton?

Judges’ scores: 6, 7, 7, 8 (told you!) for a total of 28 points. Likely to be mid-table again.

Krishnan and Lauren’s paso doble

He donned make-up for a Cabaret Charleston last week. Now the Channel 4 newsreader must strut proudly for a matador number. Chin up, chest out, Krish. A spicy song for a spicy dance and some pyrotechnic percussion for added drama. He’s playing a macho character called Juan to help his embody the mood. Nice intent but too much walking around and lacks banana shape. Handclaps, knee walks and strong finish.

Song: By The Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers – the first time they’ve ever been played on Strictly, surprisingly. The 2002 single got to number two here in the UK. Its taxi kidnapping-themed video was based on Mexican cult film Amores Perros. Olé!

Judges’ comments for Amanda and Gio: Motsi says “you two never disappoint, beautiful but feet slightly turned out, the floor is your best friend”. Shirley says “fabulous topline and head position but ballet feet, how lovely”. Anton says “perfect head position but you stopped breathing and got tense”. Craig concludes “felt like dressage, your feet were coming up too much but beauitful musicality and gaw-jus frame”. Will they fall into that 29-32 point range again?

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 8, 8 for a total of 31 points, bang in their consistent scoring zone.

Amanda and Gio’s foxtrot

She conquered the notoriously tricky rumba last week. Now actress Amanda Abbington is back to ballroom for the first time since week one. She and Giovanni Pernice are a very consistent partnership, scoring 29 to 32 points each week so far. The judges will be looking for a well-maintained frame and impeccable footwork. All white outfits, sweet mood and storytelling but frame wobbles in a couple of spots. Impressive run of fleckerls and cheeky side-by-side section to end.

Song: Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac. A number four single off their classic 80s album Tango In The Night, written by Christie McVie, who performs lead vocals. When she sadly passed away last year, bandmate Stevie Nicks said McVie had been her “best friend in the whole world”. Sob.

Judges’ comments for Jody and Jowita: Craig says “lumpy and lacked fluidity but loved the lifts”. Motsi says “ripped the shirt off, then got all shy about it, gotta get jiggy with it, wanted more rhythm”. Shirley says “happy birthday, lifts executed well but didn’t keep it going”. Anton concludes “pectoral timing was immaculate, you were admiring Jowita but well done”. Fives and sixes, are we saying?

Judges’ scores: 3 (boo!), 5, 5, 6 for a total of 19 points. Dance-off danger. He gets a birthday cake and song in the Clauditorium to compensate.

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