Strictly Come Dancing 2013: Mark Benton stars on a night of strange judges' scores

Lydia Starbuck
Yahoo Contributor Network
Strictly Come Dancing 2013: Mark Benton stars on a night of strange judges' scores
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Mark Benton does MC Hammer. Fab-u-lous.

I loved Mark Benton's cha, cha to MC Hammer on this week's Strictly Come Dancing but then things got really strange. Craig hated it and gave it a three which was ridiculously low. Darcey and Len loved it and both scored it eight. Which was ridiculously high. And from then on, the judges' scores became increasingly bizarre on an all round strange and surprising evening on Strictly.

The best move of the programme was off the dancefloor when Bruno fell off his chair in spectacular fashion. Craig had just told Rachel Riley that clenching her bum would help her dancing and Len's one liner in response made Bruno laugh so much he ended up in a heap on the floor. Bruce, who was great last night, had to tidy things up. But the incident didn't stop Bruno from joining in the strange marks being given out all round. On to the dancing.

Biggest surprises

The biggest surprise of the night was Deborah Meaden's jive. She was aiming to recreate Bucks Fizz at Eurovision but ended up running around looking slightly frightened. She and partner, Robin, saved the skirt moment until the end which was a good move as the rest of the dance was so awful we needed something to look forward to. I'm guessing wardrobe ran out of sequins (surely a crime in Strictly world) which is why the flat shoes Deborah needed to get through the dance looked like her school plimsolls. And let's hope Robin never wears that eighties wig again. Ever. Total, twenty three.

I was surprised to see Fiona Fullerton at the bottom of the leaderboard after steady improvement over the first three weeks. But her rumba was bordering on the really bad - not helped by having to dance to Westlife's 'World of Our Own', surely the strangest rumba song choice in SCD history. The judges were more than kind with a total of twenty two but she was still stuck at the bottom of the scoring ladder.

But good surprises from Ben Cohen who after sleeping through the first two weeks is waking up at just the right moment. And taking his shirt off. The Mr Quiet of the Strictly dancefloor suddenly went all out for our attention and got it, doing most of his salsa in a vest. He was great, winning a well deserved standing ovation and a thirty one from the judges in one of their few non controversial scoring sessions of the evening.

Confusing scores

Maybe the fab four were feeling a bit left out and needed some attention but their marking was all over the place. Julien McDonald gave us a salsa which, compared to some of the dances Julien has given us, was almost alright. As Bruce said, it was his best but he didn't have much to choose from. Len gave it a seven as Julien gathered twenty three even though he was worse than Fiona. Odd.

But even more strangely, Craig marked him higher than he did Mark Benton. I know Mark's MC Hammer homage wasn't the best cha, cha we've ever seen but there was plenty of dancing in there and he pulled the whole thing off with far more style than Julien. Yet Craig gave him a three, his lowest score of the night. Just when we thought it couldn't get more bizarre, Darcey offered an eight. Even Bruno looked surprised as Len followed suit. I really didn't understand that set of scores at all. Total, twenty six.

More strange marking for Rachel Riley who also ended up on twenty six but how is a mystery after her quickstep disintergrated in front of our eyes. She managed a few good moments before being dragged around by her partner, Pasha, and then just jumping while he seemed to be pointing to show her where to go next. I fear Rachel is taking up permanent residence in the bottom half of the leaderboard.

Stuck in the middle

Susanna Reid looked fabulous as she stepped out to do a samba to Shakira but ended up looking like she was dancing at an office Christmas party. There was lots of shaking and grinning but where the dance was, no one knew at the end. A total of twenty nine put her middle of the leaderboard.

I think I watched Ashley Taylor Dawson's Viennese Waltz but it was one of those Strictly dances that wafts by in a haze of semi dullness. It was pretty, I think, and quite well danced, I imagine, but it just didn't hold my interest. His total of thirty one keeps him near enough the leaders.

No such problems for Patrick Robinson who I thought was great this week with his non stop cha, cha. He gave it plenty of welly, as Len loves to say, and while the weird scoring may have been slightly over generous, his thirty three marked him out as another unexpected challenger for the title.

Three amazing performances

Except it's going to take something really special to stop Natalie Gumede and Sophie Ellis Bextor fighting it out in the final for that glitterball trophy. I want everything that Sophie wears on Strictly so seeing her going vintage clothes shopping ahead of her foxtrot was like an early Christmas present for me. Her dance was no let down after all those fab clothes and her thirty five led to another well deserved top spot.

She had to share the honours with Natalie Gumede who performed a fabulous quickstep despite struggling all week with horrible back problems. She's had very little time to train and still looked effortlessly good and if she can manage that amazing performance after the week she's had then she really is the one to beat. Another thirty-five.

But Abbey Clancy saved a major surprise until the end of the night. Abbey has been slowly creeping down the leaderboard the past few weeks but her tango was amazing. I hated her outfit and loved her dance and until she started wobbling towards the end, I was convinced we were headed for our first ten of the series. She deserved her thirty five.

Dave, Dave, Dave

I was worried about Dave Myers going into week four. He had the waltz which doesn't give much opportunity for the hilarious routines we've grown to love from Dave in the last month. Many a Strictly underdog has fallen, unxpectedly, when landed with a dance that can be dull. I needn't have worried. Dave surprised us all by tidying himself up and actually doing some of the moves he was meant to do. The total of twenty three was his highest by far.

Who's dancing off?

It's too close to call this week but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Julien McDonald back in the bottom two offering us another chance, unfortunately, to see that salsa again. But there are four or five other contenders for the second place in the dreaded dance off with Fiona and Deborah leading the pack. It would be a shame to see either go but on their performances this week, they will have to work extra hard if they do survive to keep dancing.

Judges' leaderboard, week four

Abbey, 35; Natalie; 35; Sophie, 35; Patrick, 33; Ashley, 31; Ben, 31; Susanna, 29

Mark, 26; Rachel, 26; Dave, 23; Deborah, 23; Julien, 23; Fiona, 22.

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