Each week the judges commented on Stephenson’s speed and energy, so how would he handle a slow waltz? Pretty good, actually. It was by far his most controlled dance and, for once, there were no costumes or crazy distractions. Maybe it helped him focus on the fundamentals. But did that really justify such a hysteria of judgment?
Ballas said Stephenson had stunned her, while Erivo loved connection and grace, and Du Beke passed out at his best grip of the ballroom. Only Revel Horwood resisted, sighing “It wasn’t that good, honey.” He thought it was beautiful but technically flawed: lack of practice and swing, square and blocks. That meant a 7, compared to Ballas’ 10. It was too much for Stephenson, who started crying when he finished his dance, cried louder at 10, then even more while watching a video message from his grandparents. âStop it, Claudia! He yelled. Well, absolutely. Shouldn’t we keep the aqueduct for the final?
Tilly Ramsay is stalled by the samba
She scored a perfect 40 last week, but the notoriously tricky Latin dance saw Ramsay drop back down the rankings. She put in a good effort, working her rainbow bangs while hopping on Dua Lipa’s Levitating, but it lacked technical finesse in places and also required more abandonment. Yet we cried again: Daddy Gordon was in the audience and was overwhelmed by his performance. Or maybe it was the sight of his partner Nikita Kuzmin’s unbuttoned shirt.
Ballas said she performed good tricks but wasted time, while Du Beke noted that her feet were sometimes turned inward. this. She could try her luck: two 7s and two 8s put her at the bottom of the standings.
John Whaite makes a breakthrough in tango
The judges all urged Whaite to find a stronger performance – and that was it. Dancing Argentine tango to David Garrett’s thrilling version of Beethoven’s Fifth, there was a furious intensity between the black-clad Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe as well as magnificent ganchos (hanging between the legs) and powerful lifts. Supported by real flames, it was a scorching routine. And the icing on the cake was a message of support from former Bake Off judge Mary Berry, who told Whaite how proud she was of him.
Du Beke thought tango was as good as their pirate paso doble, Erivo said she was crazy about it, and Ballas stole Revel Horwood’s line: âFab-u-lous! Revel Horwood noted how fantastic it was to see the tango in its original form. Back in 19e– century from South America, there was an influx of young men from Europe looking for work and they outnumbered women by far, so they often learned and then practiced tango with each other – partly to perfect their movements for social dances, but also in a spirit of competition. Whaite and Radebe mentioned it brilliantly.
It’s a strictly starry Christmas
The festive ballroom special is always a merry affair, but not necessarily an A-list. But the Christmas 2021 lineup almost overshadows the main show. We have comedian and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc, associated with Neil Jones; Jay Blades of The Repair Shop, with Luba Mushtuk; Fred Sirieix of First Dates, with Dianne Buswell; singer Anne-Marie, with Graziano Di Prima; presenter Moira Stuart, with AljaÅ¾ Skorjanec; and presenter Adrian Chiles, with Jowita Przystal.
Surely it would be a mess to have a cast of this caliber just on the One-Time Christmas Show and not adorn the main series – so could this be a try for some, like Giedroyc? We can only hope. A mere glimpse of her and Jones on the sister show of Strictly It Takes Two demonstrated their couple’s excellent comedic potential. Anne-Marie, for her part, could surely be a future candidate. Well, for now, we can expect to criticize their every move while lying on the turkey-stuffed couch, the traditional way.