Strictly Come Dancing week seven: Farewell, Anton

Now that we move into the second half of the competition, everyone starts performing different dances each week- and if you get one that doesn’t suit you, you can come crashing down from top of the leader board to the bottom two. Nonetheless, with the sympathy votes withering away, it becomes increasingly likely that the worst dancers can no longer cling onto the competition like limpets.

A different dance for every couple

  • Kelly and Brendan opened the evening with a jive- a dance Kelly was looking forward to since it suited her personality. Practically everyone seemed to love her dance (Arlene even went as far as to compare it with Jill Halfpenny’s legendary jive), but it didn’t quite do it for me- instead it was one of those technically generally good but lacking the magic that would put it over the top performances.
  • Letitia and Darren: Letitia suffered something of a setback last week with her unimpressive salsa, but she proved to be back on form with a lovely foxtrot that showcased how elegant she can be in the security of Darren’s arms. I hope that she can continue to flourish in the coming weeks.
  • Kenny and Ola performed the second worst cha cha I’ve seen on the show (the prize for the worst goes to Quentin Willson’s lumbering effort). Apart from a section of New Yorks (a move you can learn at your first dance lesson), the majority of the routine seemed to be more posing and walking around than actual cha cha content- and even moonwalking couldn’t save Kenny when Kieran Bracken had already used the same song (Billy Jean) in such an enjoyable Dancing on Ice routine. Apparently Kenny is entertaining, but I don’t see it myself.
  • Gethin and Camilla did a rumba that didn’t quite sit right with the judges- apparently Camilla had all of the passion, and seducer Gethin didn’t show enough. For someone not used to acting out a romantic relationship that doesn’t exist, I thought it was a good effort, although Gethin remains stronger in the ballroom than the Latin.
  • John and Nicole: with his prinny posture, ballroom is not John’s strong suit, and so he was unable to get the right frame for his tango with Nicole. Although the traditional style music helped, the acting and posture requirements for the dance meant that John couldn’t rely on his natural rhythm to carry him through, and so whilst it was probably his best ballroom dance so far, it was a solid effort rather than an outright good one.
  • Kate and Anton: Kate was determined to impress with her paso doble- so much so that she went all out in practice and hurt her back. With that in mind, much of the routine had to be simplified, and whilst she did try, the end result was that she looked like a wooden block, lost and unsure of what to do on the dance floor in between periods of being dragged around by Anton. I wish we could have at least seen the original routine.
  • Alesha and Matthew once again impressed with a beautiful waltz that left me wanting more- again, Alesha looked the part in a beautiful dress as she waltzed around the floor to perfection (I was especially excited to see the two whisks, a move I can actually do), and the whole effect was so tranquil and absorbing that I wanted it to go on forever.
  • Matt and Flavia were last to dance, and despite an unfortunate slip, Matt pulled off a complicated quickstep that impressed all the judges. If not quite as awe-inspiring as Helio and Julianne’s quickstep on DWTS, the routine was fast and energetic, although I wanted to see more (not a criticism, quite the opposite).

Results show

  • Pro foxtrot: Anton and Erin choreographed a routine for all seven pro couples that swept across the floor, picking up and dropping off dancers as it went. As another beautiful and addictive routine, I wanted it to last forever but had to make do with a few minutes. I love these group routines, but there are times when I want to see just one couple strut their stuff- let’s see even more pro dancing next year, BBC.
  • World Latin champions Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis stepped up to perform a routine that started as a rumba and finished as a samba; I feel it makes me inadequate somehow to say this, but again whilst it was technically good, I just couldn’t appreciate it from an enjoyment and entertainment point of view. I felt a little awkward during the costume changing moments due to how little Joanna was left wearing, although at least the samba routine was more to my tastes than the rumba.
  • Lee Mead, winner of Any Dream Will Do, performed ‘Paint it Black’, whilst Ian, Camilla, Matthew and Nicole accompanied with excellent paso doble.

Dance-off
It had to happen eventually- alongside John and Nicole on their third time in the bottom two, Kate and Anton had finally fallen from grace in the eyes of the voting public, and it was pretty obvious that the judges were going to jump on this chance. Although both couples tried to up their game, Kate was rightfully unanimously voted out- certainly the best decision given her lack of ability and ever-mounting list of injuries, but I openly admit that I will miss Anton.

This coming Saturday, I will be there to see the show for myself in person. Excuse me whilst I run around in excitement…

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