Strictly week 7 – the full report

It’s week seven of the Strictly competition – who is leaving this week ?  And who will make it to the Vegas of the North – Blackpool ?  

Strictly, BBC, dance

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly Photograph : BBC Pictures

We’re half-way through the show, and the couples can smell the greasepaint of the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool – and they all want to get through. 

It’s always interesting to see which celebrities manage the stairs at the top of the show with ease, and who clings to the rail on the way down, tremulously !  The stage is already looking a bit empty ! 

Pamela & James open the show, and let’s hope that she is less nervous than she was last week with the Foxtrot.  They head to Scotland to practice the Cha Cha Cha. 

Strictly, Pamela Stephenson, James Jordan, ballet, dance

Pamela Stephenson and James Jordan Photograph : BBC Pictures

So, will they get through to Blackpool ? They’ve been having a lot of fun in Scotland !  They begin, sat at a pair of glittering silver laptops; Pamela and James in glittery top hat and tails, though Pamela quickly & spectatularly loses her trousers and jacket to reveal a purple and gold fringed dress.  Pamela’s acting is great all the way through and she finishes with a high kick.  James looks happy !  Len found the start very exciting, but the dancing a tad careful.  Bruno says that Pamela is a precise dancer, and he’d like to see her take a little more risk.  James answers back when Craig asks Pamela to straighten her legs in the syncopated New Yorker’s – because straight legs are not required.  Craig concedes !  They score 32.

Michelle Williams takes to the floor next, with her dance partner Brendan Cole.  Paso Doble training looks tough; have they gone back a few weeks ?  The stage is set with the Stars and Stripes, and Michelle is dressed in dazzling white floor length ruffles and red lace.  They are dancing to American Woman, and Michelle struggles slightly with the steps but her acting looks strong.  Brendan is pulling her around a bit but then, this is the Paso and he uses her dress to great effect.  She also has a huge sparkling poppy on one shoulder.  What happened to the spangled poppies on It Takes Two this week ?  The judges said that she had the right energy, but she lost balance a few times and that affected the performance.  Craig called it ‘nodulistic.’  Michelle agreed with most of their comments and she scores a very low 24, to the evident dismay of the audience.

Patsy Kensit tackles the Viennese Waltz this week, and she looks nervous as she starts in a pink and sliver dress.  I’m not sure Len is going to like the long opening out of hold, but it’s well acted all the way through – and the audience are on their feet by the end.  Patsy looks emotional.  It’s a beautiful dance.  Bruno noticed her sophistication & elegance, with good timing and posture.  Only her feet need a bit more work.  Craig said it was classy and confident – but noticed the long start !  He thought it was delicious.  Len said that “tonight, like sparkling champagne, the bubbles have come to the top.”  Her score is 32, with a nine from Len, which shocks Patsy and Robin.

Gavin Henson looks nervous; he’s back in rugby training this week but he still has to dance !  He wants to get to Blackpool but the Quickstep stands in his way. His timing isn’t great, and he rushes up to kiss Bruno, leaving him prostrate on the judges desk.  Once in hold, it’s clear that Katya has worked hard during the week.  When he’s on the beat, his footwork is great – and the couple have a fun ending.  Again, the audience are on their feet, with Bruce telling Gavin that he’s scored a try !  Bruno has gone into a trance !   Craig notices that finally there is a quantum leap forward with his personality, though technically it’s a bit of a shambles.  Len thinks that Gavin should go to Blackpool, and Alesha loved his routine.  Bruno wants to do it all again – forever – because he says that Gavin can dance.  Gavin looks really flat though – and he says that he made so many mistakes, on a night when everyone is perfect.  Still, the judges given him a score of 33, with 2 9’s – predictably one of them from Bruno !  Easily Gavin’s personal best.

Ann Widdecombe is very popular, despite her struggle with the dancing.  Tonight she attempts the Foxtrot, dressed in fluffy fuschia.  It’s a little awkward, and probably difficult for Anton de Beke, the king of the ballroom.  But in hold, Ann follows his lead and where she forgets, Anton uses the ‘shove it’ approach he talked about in training.  Len says that Ann will be on the show for as long as the public want her to be – and she is entertaining.  There is a brief problem with the sound, and Bruno described Ann as a Pepto-Bismol bottle, because she wasn’t light enough.  Craig doesn’t want centrifugal force to get the better of her in the turns, because she loses balance.  She scores 20, which is an improvement.

Gavin is top of the leaderboard, half-way through the evening, with Ann and Anton at the bottom.  Things could change.

Kara Tointon was nervous last week, and found it quite a difficult week.  She’s had a very busy week with interviews and photoshoots, but she really wants to put in a big performance with the Argentine Tango.  She starts on her own, in a swimwear inspired purple and black dress.  It’s a beautiful, precise, passionate dance, recognised by the audience who are once again on their feet !  Alesha said she is the queen of technique.  Bruno found everything about it fantastic.  Craig says “A-ma-zing.”  What will they score ?  It’s 38 – with 2 10’s from Alesha and Bruno.  It’s good – but Scott is still to come with the jive.

Felicity Kendall is exhausted just thinking about the salsa; it’s a struggle this week.  Felicity has a lot of grandchildren, who come in to score her training – they are quite severe !  She has a bright pink dress with ruffles from the waist, dancing to Lionel Richie’s All Night Long, and begins with some complex armography, which gets them into a bit of a pickle later on.  It’s not their best dance – Felicty looked quite stuck through some of it and it looked awkward as a result.  Bruno noticed the tangle, and though there were some very good bits, the salsa needs flow and that was lost as the complex choreography took hold.  Craig said it was a minor disaster.  They score 26 for their ‘squashy salsa’.  Felicity looks adorable, and about 12 years old !

Matt Baker has also had a heavy workload, but tonight he has the rumba – a notoriously tricky dance for the male celebrities.  Aliona has been working him hard and they’ve thrown everything at it.  It looks raunchy in training !  They start off in close-up, Aliona in a female version of the Spartacus outfit with a curious black diamond of fabric on her rear.  Brave.  Matt gives it his all, acts it well, but he doesn’t have as much to do in the rumba which makes it very hard.  Craig found it slightly uncomfortable, the placing between the 4 and the 1 weren’t great, but said it was manful and honest.  Len loved his lines, but trying to get the hip action meant that some of the musicality was lost, though he is a great dancer. Bruno said that he danced a very difficult dance, beautifully.  Matt & Aliona score 35.

Scott and Natalie are dancing the jive.  A red door, framed in gold appears, quickly followed by our couple.  A fast, fiery, fun routine which the audience loved.  Blink and you miss it !  Natalie looks worn out !  The audience keep cheering.  Len loves it when Scott dances on the edge, when things can go wrong, but they don’t !  Bruno says Scott is ready to “take on Blackpool and the world !”  Craig found it “finger-licking good.”  Natalie says that she was crying behind the red door – but pulled it together.  It’s a great dance.  It’s going to be a fabulous score – and it is – 39 out of 40.  Craig’s 9 got booed!

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