Halloween week marks another iconic moment in the Strictly calendar, with legendary dances that will leave you shaking in your bones. Halloween week is also a brilliant chance to highlight the production team’s work, especially the hair and makeup department. It isn’t easy to turn Tom Fletcher into the devil and transform Innocent Gorka into Hannibal Lector. However, they didn’t need to use too much makeup for Craig. He’s scary enough.
AJ stunned the judges
AJ and partner Kai have been clear front runners of the competition. However, they haven’t been at that top spot on the leaderboard for the past few weeks. So, the couple we’re hoping to wow the judges with their medusa inspired Viennese waltz to Ariana Grande, Dangerous Women. The Viennese waltz is a notoriously tricky dance with the constant turning in hold, which can even make a pro reach for the sick bucket.
However, AJ had an extra trick in training last week as her little nieces and nephews went to rehearsals in trick or treat attire to cheer her on. Apart from adding a necessary cute factor, her nephews were also teasing the pair, saying they should kiss already, followed by very awkward prolonged laughter. Her nephews aren’t the only ones noticing the chemistry between these two, as the public has suspected that the Strictly curse may strike again for the two dancers.
The couple’s chemistry was a much needed asset in this dance; it was jam-packed with technical moves and showed AJ’s natural musicality. The judges agreed; she had Shirley and Motis on their feet. Even Craig had to nitpick to find the slightest thing wrong with her feet turned out on one complex turn, which is an outstanding achievement.
Especially with this intricate choreography which turned a classical, more mundane dance into a dynamic and modern performance. The judges awarded them with a well-deserved 37.
Rhys climbing the leaderboard again
After last week, the disappointment of being in the bottom two, which the audience and head judge Shirley were shocked by as he has been a sure-fire candidate for the leading man position of this competition.
This week, Nancy and Rhys are coming back with a vengeance, with their War of the Worlds inspired Paso doble. Nancy has earned her title as the taskmaster of the professionals cutting Rhys no slack and filling the routine with classic and complex moves that will impress the traditionalist, Shirley.
Rhys has been putting in the effort in rehearsals to stay out of the bottom two. His usually hyperactive demeanour is substituted by a serious yet powerful and collected manner perfect for the Paso. In addition, he has made a conscious effort to slow down and control his movements which he has struggled with in the past.
Motis praised Rhys for his power and technique as he tackled complex Paso moves requiring immense skills, such as knee crawls where the dancer glides along the floor on their knees, which is highly effective when done correctly, it looks like a child throwing a tantrum. However, you can’t please everyone because Craig disagreed with Motis, stating he tried too hard and the performance looked forced.
The conflicting feedback lead to slipt scoring, with Craig giving Rhys a seven with the girls awarding him a nine- and Anton playing devil’s advocate in the middle with an eight. Nevertheless, a score of 33 is nothing to sneer at, but the fierce competition this year makes him more vulnerable.
Rose gets the first 40 of the year.
Rose and Giovanni have been going from strength to strength in recent weeks, impressing the judges and wowing audiences alike. So it’s no surprise they’re the bookies favourite, with Rose’ acting ability coupled with Giovanni modern skill of choreography that captures the audience’s attention. But, of course, she wanted to keep this momentum going with her ice queen inspired Tango to Ed Sheeran’s Shivers.
Rose got a special visit in rehearsal from her friends and on-screen dad, Danny Dyer. This was the boost that Rose needed in training as there is a lot of pressure on her to get this technical dance right; as well as the fact Eastenders have a long history with Strictly, with stars such as Kellie Bright and Emma Barton, who both made it to the final. So, could Rose join her castmates in the Strictly hall of fame?
The performance itself was breathtaking and showed just how powerful Rose is as a dancer and highlighting her trademark sassy attitude that makes it clear that she is in charge. The couple papable chemistry carried the intense narrative of the dance, coupled with her impeccable technique. One of the trickiest elements is key body contact while executing intricate footwork, which is completed flawlessly.
Her performance stunned the judges, and her fellow contestants were all up on their feet, celebrating for her. Anton congratulated her and said she gave a perfect performance. While Motis said, it was one of the best performances she has seen in her three years of judging Strictly Come Dancing. The only people who were surprised when Craig dished out his 10 paddle was Rose, as they were deservedly awarded the first 40 of the series. Fun fact for any Strictly fanatic, this will continue Giovanni reign of being the King of Halloween, as he has been top of the leader every Halloween special since he arrived on the show.
Dance off: Waving goodbye to a fan favourite
The dance-off is never a nice place to be, especially when it’s a close call decision that has to be made after a great Saturday Night. Unfortunately, this saw Adam Peaty and partner Kayta Jones at risk of elimination after a haunted house inspired Viennese Waltz, failing to impress the judges. Motis expressed that his dance started well but lost steam at the end; it wasn’t the usual standard of showmanship they had expected from him.
Sadly, fan favourite Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima joined Adam in the dance-off. Despite Judi always giving her all into the routines and never failing to put a smile on our faces, she isn’t a stranger to the bottom two as her technic doesn’t always meet the standard the judges hoped for.
After a somewhat disappointing dance-off with both couples losing energy and some could say fight. It was a unanimous decision to save Adam and Kayta. So, we sadly waved goodbye to Judi and Graziano, who had an emotional send off as the pair had arguably gotten the closest this season.
Featured Image Credit: The Scotsman