Strictly week 5: Everyone loves Carlton, but Seann and Katya are still the centre of attention

Michael Moran
Contributor
Two weeks in, and Neil’s Death Stare is in full effect

It’s Strictly night! And shifting the focus, at least temporarily, from Seann and Katya we had a guest judge tonight.

Viewers were one hundred per cent DELIGHTED to see Alfonso Ribiero – best known as Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – as a guest judge while Bruno was away. If one person tweeted a GIF of that dance, then a thousand did. Everyone was so happy to see him. Especially when he did his dead-on Bruno Tonioli impression.

Or at least they were… until he told us about his Dancing With The Stars success for the nine millionth time.

The other special element in tonight’s show was a new category: Couple’s Choice. That introduced a wild card element to the dance styles that definitely helped Casualty star Charles Venn play to his strengths and avoid his third week in the bottom two.

This is a week, too, when the eventual line-up of the final really emerged. Danny John-Jules smashed it with his jive. Ashley Roberts delivered a coldly professional rumba. But the real breakout star of this series is surely Stacey Dooley with her expressive samba.

Let’s relive tonight’s very special show:

Dr Ranj and Janette Manrara

Dance: American Smooth – Wouldn’t it be nice by The Beach Boys

What we thought: The routine seemed a bit corny, actually, with that little run downstage at the end, but Ranj is is clearly enjoying himself so much you’d need a heart of stone not to warm to him. It was a bit distracting that the arrangement of the Beach Boys classic was at least a couple of tones too hight for the singer…

What the judges thought: While Craig though the routine was ‘lumpy’ he still ‘loved loved loved’ it and Darcey was enchanted by the lifts. ”

The scores:

Craig: 5

Darcey: 6

Shirley: 7

Alfonso: 7

Total: 25

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard

Dance: Couple’s Choice (Contemporary)– Runnin’ (lose it all) by Naughty Boy & Beyoncé

What we thought: Lauren got a chance to show an emotional side of her personality that she thought might have not been seen before with this expressive routine. And at least 50% of the Strictly demographic loved AJ’s décolletage.

There were some weird mannequin-like moments though and while it was expressively balletic the piece had a strangely anticlimactic ending.

What the judges thought: Antonio loved the story that the choreography told but was distracted by another anecdote about how brilliant he was on Dancing With The Stars.

The scores:
Craig: 4

Darcey: 6

Shirley: 7

Alfonso: 7

Total: 24

Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse

Dance: Tango – Roxanne by The Police

What we thought: Great song choice, great arrangement, and an intense, sexy Parisian Apache approach to the Tango.

What the judges thought: Craig missed the passion, but Darcey pronounced the routine ‘not-bad-at-all.’ Given that Shirley liked it too we can call this a win.

Craig: 6

Darcey: 8

Shirley: 8

Alfonso: 8

Total: 29

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev

Dance: American Smooth – Something about the way you look tonight by Elton John

What we thought: It didn’t seem like much of an authentic rumba, but it was certainly great fun. And people missing Darcey’s knicker-flash would be adequately recompensed by Ashley’s high kicks.

What the judges thought: The judges loved it – “oh yes” said Darcey, the trust is building.

Darcey and Shirley were happy to use all the technical dance terms in their assessment, knowing that Ashley – being a proper dancer – would understand them all,

The scores:
Craig: 9

Darcey: 9

Shirley: 9

Alfonso: 9

Total: 36

More than one viewer felt that Ashley was a bit too professional to be in the competition at all…

Seann Walsh and Katya Jones

Seann wants ‘to go back to enjoying it all.’ Good luck with that Seann. Like it or not, you’re the story of the series.

Dance: Quickstep – Lightning Bolt by Jake Bugg

What we thought: There was some innovative use of a guitar. Was it intended to keep the controversial couple apart?

What the judges thought: Shirley didn’t like it much. Carlton was too busy talking about himself to discuss it. The important thing, though, was Neil’s DEATH STARE, which is still in full effect.

The scores:

Craig: 5

Darcey: 6

Shirley: 6

Alfonso: 7

Total: 24

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

Dance: Samba – Tequila by The Champs

What we thought: Stacey has already won this. Sure, Ashley and Danny are better dancers but they had a running start. Stacey is an investigative journalist with no dance training and she has really blossomed in this competition. She totally channelled Kylie with her amazing showgirl-inspired routine.

What the judges thought: Craig wants ‘to book her for his next party.’ There is no higher praise than that.

Craig: 8

Darcey: 7

Shirley: 9

Alfonso: 9

Total: 33

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell

Dance: Waltz – Rainbow Connection by Gwen Stefani

What we thought: Dianne, with her Ariel hairdo, makes every week movie week. And this week Joe was 100% Peaky Blinders. There was no shortage of chemistry between the two. Do we still call it The Curse of Strictly if a pair is so obviously well-suited?

What the judges thought: Darcey was full of praise for Joe, who she thought was ’taking control of the dance.’ Craig was less impressed, comparing poor Joe to the log they sat on in the opening moments of the number.

Craig: 6

Darcey: 7

Shirley: 8

Alfonso: 8

Total: 29

Another example of Alfonso giving the same marks as Shirley. People are starting to notice…

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima

Dance:Cha-cha-cha to More Than Friends by James Hype

What we thought: Vick looked like she was born to dancing, The only complaint we have was that the song felt too short.

What the judges thought: Shirley was scathing, saying it took ’16 bars before you did anything recognisable as a cha-cha-cha.’

Craig didn’t think much of the couple’s technique either. Bottom of the leaderboard for poor Vick.

Craig: 4

Darcey: 6

Shirley: 4

Alfonso: 6

Total: 20

Kate Silverton and Aljaz Skorjanec

What we thought: In a week of innovation and invention, here was a lovely example of old-fashioned ballroom dancing.

What the judges thought: The judges liked the old-school number too. Darcey and Shirley used the routine as an example of their ‘famous position.’
Craig: 6
Darcey: 6
Shirley: 6
Alfonso: 8

Total: 26

Let’s take a break to remember that it’s live TV, and thge subtitles are marginal at best:

Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden

Dance: Jive to Flip, flop & fly by Big Joe Turner

What we thought: Danny was pure ‘Cat’ this week. This is why Red Dwarf fans love him.

What the judges thought: They loved it. Craig said ‘this is a dance for the final.’ We don’t even know what Shirley meant by ‘you broke the seal this week’ but it sounded positive.

Craig: 9

Darcey: 10

Shirley: 9

Alfonso: 9

Total: 37

Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice

What we thought: In a week when the competition is starting to get serious, this was an amazing bit of work.

What the judges thought: Darcey LOVED it – she told Faye ‘ you have an amazing natural quality.’

Craig: 8

Darcey: 9

Shirley: 8

Alfonso: 8

Total: 33

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton

What we thought: The Couple’s Choice innovation gave Charles a chance to propel himself  out of the relegation zone with a seriously amazing street dance exhibition.

What the judges thought: This number was so good, Alfonso forgot to talk about himself for a moment, telling Charles : ‘Boy, you were JAMMIN’ ”

Craig: 9

Darcey: 9

Shirley: 9

Alfonso: 9

Total: 36

All in all, a vintage episode. What we’ll all remember, though, when the fake tan fades and the body glitter’s washed away, is is that Neil’s look of absolute thunder hasn’t faded, two weeks after Smoochgate.