How wonderful it was to start our training for week 5 high on the scores of our Viennese waltz! To have scored three nines was beyond our wildest dreams and placing third on the leaderboard was the icing on the cake. That sweet treat was, however, sadly short-lived as the judges didn’t warm to our Paso in quite the same way. Their comments weren’t ones to savour… one, in fact, was somewhat starchy indeed!
This was no easy week, and no easy routine either. With Emma’s Eastenders schedule commanding the early part of the week, we were on the back foot time-wise – and given there’s no real carry-over from Waltz to Paso to fast-track our training, we had a lot of ground to cover!
Nevertheless, still buoyed-up by our recent success, we embraced the challenge of the Paso Doble head on – and with Emma’s clear talent for dance, I saw no reason to go light on the choreography. Emma has a remarkable ability to absorb and master the steps, and it’s thrilling to craft a routine which packs them in!
By the end of the week, Emma had the routine under her belt having worked tirelessly and with such dedication: I thought she was able to get into the character so convincingly and had such a natural ability with the shaping, the posture and the intensity of this dance. I was very excited to perform with her and felt for sure we were on track to keep our high ranking on the leaderboard!
As we took our places on the podium by the band, it felt electrifying. The lighting, the costumes, the hair and make-up (I’d even had a facial spray tan to complete my look!)… and the driving pulse of the music to come – the stage was well and truly set with a wonderfully authentic feel.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) October 19, 2019
We began with a sequence of dramatic shaping, leading to a breathtaking back-bend from Emma, then interlocking arms and stepping down to the dance floor. And my word did we cover the floor in this routine. The pace and momentum seemed to lengthen and magnify all our movements – to great effect, I thought, this being a dance requiring strong gestures made with a driving sense of urgency.
High drama, passion, fire, attack, precision, and incredible timing – the tension between was palpable us as we powered through the dance – it was truly exhilarating! I was overjoyed with Emma’s performance – and those in the know could tell as I was quick to get us over to the judges – no need to shilly-shally on the dance floor to eat into their comment time!
We professionals generally know whether a dance has gone well or not – the steps, the timing, the overall sense of the performance. I thought this was a winner! Which is why the judges’ comments did come as something of a surprise…
Alfonso – our guest judge, standing in for Bruno this week – said we gave it our all, but that he wanted more passion. Ah, that wasn’t the start I’d hoped for. Craig, to my dismay, concurred, going on say that Emma’s free arm was ‘haphazard’, and finishing by comparing Emma to a bag of potatoes at the end. Well, I declare – and barely a fortnight after taking a dig at my teeth! Motsi was quite rightly wowed by Emma’s strength and flexibility in the opening section, and commended her energy and character throughout. But then Shirley was in agreement with the boys and said it lacked passion, fire and detail in the arms. Granted, she liked the shaping and said Emma was a great dancer with great potential, but felt there was something lacking between us in this dance.
It became clear that our reduced rehearsal time, whilst not overly compromising the dance ‘technically’ perhaps didn’t allow the ‘performance’ element to fully develop. The scores certainly suggested something was amiss, and came as something of a blow after the highs of last week. 5 from Craig and 7s from the others for a total of 26.
Certainly a downgrade, not least as it placed us 4th from bottom on the leaderboard – dangerous dance-off territory!
The Results Show got underway with a particularly memorable pro dance as all the professional dancers’ inner divas came to the fore and delivered a catwalk show unlike any other! I do like to pop up on the red carpet!…
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) October 20, 2019
Excitement aside, it’s no wonder Emma and I we were on tenterhooks for the scores to be announced, and it came as such a very great relief to make it though. Thank you, again, for your appreciation and generosity in voting!
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) October 20, 2019
As always, two couples weren’t so lucky: this week, it was Mike & Katya and David & Nadiya who were plunged into the red light to face each other in the dance-off. Even being no strangers to the dance-off didn’t offer any advantage to David & Nadiya, as this weekend, their third was to become their final dance duel and their Strictly journey very sadly came to its end.
The competition is getting tighter now, and with another big weekend ahead: the Halloween special, the stakes are even higher! It’s going to be another incredible evening of dance, tricks and treats as the BBC will no doubt pull out all the stops… on which note, we’ll be performing a Tango to Bach’s masterpiece for organ: his Toccata & Fugue in D minor. The introduction alone is enough to give you chills!
And so, my loves, here’s to Halloween! We’re thoroughly enjoying our training and I’ve every confidence we’re going to resurrect our previous good scores. Our spirits certainly aren’t dampened – we’ll swap those potatoes for pumpkins and treat everyone – judges included – to a terrifyingly good Tango!