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

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Key events

Judges’ comments for Angela S and Carlos: Motsi, surprised to be first, says “loved the lines and personality, your weight was back and lost balance but your positions softened well”. Shirley says “liked the atmosphere, soft knees, chemistry and energy but not solid or rounded enough and your arms need a home”. Anton says “great knees, lots to like but watch your weight poisition”. Craig concludes “I felt like you’d been in a magic act and chopped in half, a bit in-coordinated but incredible energy and brilliant performance”. Sixes and sevens?

Judges’ scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 for a total of 27 points. Lowest score so far. Both Angelas could be in dance-off danger.

Angela Scanlon’s samba.
Angela Scanlon’s samba. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC

Angela S and Carlos’ samba

It’s Ms Scanlon’s first dance with hip action, which seems strange this far into the contest. She joked this week that “I might be too Irish for a samba”. She should have the necessary high energy but needs to channel it, embrace the sexiness and nail the notoriously tricky technique. Flamenco, almost paso doble vibes to begin and lots of walking around. Skirt-swishing and body ripples but lacks bounce. Lots of sass but enough sauce?

Song: Ain’t It Funny by Jennifer Lopez. The Latin disco banger was originally written for J-Lo’s 2001 romcom The Wedding Planner. It reached the UK and is often compared to La Isla Bonita by Madonna. Altogether now: “Young girl with eyes like potatoes…”

Judges’ comments for Nigel and Katya: Craig says “you’re picking your feet up too much (boo!), they were like flippers, too stop-start but you’re wonderful to watch”. Motsi says “Christmas has come, we’d been waiting, so much drama she fainted mid-dance, control and drive”. Shirley says “you focused and bought your A-game, great choreography and fabulous footwork, exactly what I want to see at the halfway mark”. Anton concludes “do this every week, please, bottom half was the best its been but smarten up your top half”. Blimey. Those scores could range from six to nine. It’s anyone’s guess.

Judges’ scores: 7, 9, 9, 8 for a total of 33 points. Mid-table at the moment.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’s tango.
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’s tango. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC

Nigel and Katya’s tango

He’s undoubtedly a superb, stylish dancer but actor Nigel Harman has made too many mistakes in recent weeks, slipping into the lower half of the leaderboard. Can he get it right this time? They’re telling the story of a couple trying to recover from an affair. Not that Katya would know anything about that. Ahem. Moodily minimal staging and lyrical choreography. Took too long to get into hold but once it does, plenty of power, drive, passion and drama. That had real intensity and storytelling. A contemporary take which Craig might love but will the other judges?

Song: Nothing Breaks Like a Heart by Mark Ronson feat Miley Cyrus. The 2018 disco-pop banger had a video filmed in Kyiv, with scenes on the Ukraine capital’s New Darnytskyi Bridge. Fun fat: remember Kendall Roy’s love interest Naomi Pierce from Succession? She was played by Mark Ronson’s half-sister, Brit actress Annabelle Dexter-Jones. These are not serious people.

Judges’ comments for Angela R and Kai: Anton says “beautifully elegant but side steps need to be wider and more flow”. Craig says “footwork wobbly, my darling, and frame a little loose, needs smoothing out and pivots on the heel but stylish and elegant”. Motsi says “classical, complete, ease of movement but could we have pushed it more and not played safe?”. Shirley concludes “lovely stretch in the topline but you need parallel, closed feet”. Eights, do we think?

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 6 (boo!), 7 for a total of 28 points. Surprisingly low. Dance-off danger?

Angela Rippon CBE and Kai Widdrington’s waltz.
Angela Rippon CBE and Kai Widdrington’s waltz. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC

Angela R and Kai’s waltz

The contest’s third highest-scoring couple now, behind Ellie and Layton. The waltz was the first ballroom dance that La Rippon learned to do, standing on her father’s feet in the 1950s. Aww. It’s the slowest dance they’ve done and four weeks since they’ve been in ballroom hold. The concept is a couple on romantic date in Paris, waltzing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop. Flowing elegantly around the floor, with smooth rise and fall. Gorgeous spins. Frame and footwork wobbling in places. Sweet finish.

Song: Fascination by Nat King Cole. A fittingly romantic classic track, written way back in 1905. It has featured prominently on film soundtracks including Gigi, Love In The Afternoon and, ahem, The Karate Kid and Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo. Wax on, wax off, Lovebug.

Sindhu Vee on the Ts & Cs

The excellent comedian is this week’s Clauditorium guest, reading out the voting smallprint. She’s wearing sparkles. Correct.

Judges’ comments for Layton and Nikita: Shirley says “it had precision and lovely swing, absolutely outstanding”. Anton says “jive kicks were a bit loose and got a little heavy but performance magnificent”. Craig says “splashy touches, great retraction, aerial cartwheel but force those toes out with Latin, my darling, you’ve got everything else”. Motsi concludes “one helluva jive, you put it on-point, exceptional”. Judgely disagreement already. Two nines and two eights, do we reckon?

Judges’ scores: 8, 10, 10, 8 for a total of 36 points. Same as last week. Steady on with those 10s.

Layton and Nikita’s jive

We open with another high-energy dance for Layton, who’s already conquered the samba and quickstep. He needs speed and stamina without losing the jive’s technique, timing or synchronicity. He’s been working hard on his footwork after it became the judges’ main (and often only) criticism in recent weeks. Flicks, kicks, great attack and bounce action. Great swinging arms and a theatrical feel. He promised us a “sex jive” and he’s delivering but is it sharp enough? A cartwheel and an impressive pirouette to finish. Great as always but not quite jivey enugh for me.

Song: Shake Ur Body by Shy FX feat. T Power and Di. The drum ’n’ bass DJ’s 2002 breakthrough rave track, with vocals from Dianne Joseph, formerly of 90s girl group Truce.

Our Strictly stars™

The nine couples emerge to wave hello. A merciful lack of fancy dress this week. Although Angela Scanlon seems to be a flamenco dancer and Krishnan Guru-Murthy is in neon pink pyjamas.

Hola, the judges

The paddle-raising quartet swan down the steps. Motsi Mabuse is in sparkly purple, Shirley Ballas has come dressed as a disco wookie.


Here come our presenting pair, so let’s rate their outfits. Tess Daly is in a black sequinned dress with waist cut-outs and mesh sleeves. Claudia Winkleman is in a black trouser suit with sequinned bodice. Claud wins.

Roll clap-along titles

Wave goodbye to the six couples we’ve lost. Bet you’ve forgotten at least two of them already.

Aaaaand we’re off!

Cue the traditional tension-building montage. Hey, at least it’s not Halloween-themed this time.

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