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I TALK Strictly Come Dancing (Series 13)

This year, over 4 million people have applied for tickets to one of the hottest shows in town, Strictly Come Dancing, and last night I was lucky to be invited into the ballroom for the fourth week of the competition.


And what a series it has been so far. The standard has been exceptionally high this year with Anton Du Beke standing a real chance with Katie Derham, Jay McGuiness wowing everyone with his almost perfect jive and Peter Andre delivering week after week.

Oh and how could you not love Ainsley Harriot and Jeremy Vine? Granted, their dance skills may not be as great as some of the others, but when it comes to entertainment they’re definitely up there at the top.

My favourites going into week 4 were Peter Andre, Anita Rani, Jay McGuiness and Ainsley Harriott, however last night’s show, which was watched by 9.7 million people, threw up some surprises.

Not least of all Jamelia, who has somewhat slipped under the radar in the past few weeks, and in fact was in the bottom two a fortnight ago.

Last night was undoubtedly her night, and that’s all thanks to the Charleston which suited her perfectly. She was confident, full of character and it was clear that she had put the work in.

And it seemed as though the judges agreed as the routine saw her and Tristan MacManus score a 32 from the judges, making her joint second on the leaderboard!

Also scoring 32, were Peter Andre and Janette Manrara, Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton and Helen George and Aljaz Skorjanec, who each danced brilliantly and scored an 8 from each of the judges. Right up until the final dance of the evening, it looked like the top of the leaderboard was going to be a four-way tie.

But then Anton Du Beke and Katie Derham performed, and blew us all away with an elegant, effortless Viennese Waltz. The routine saw Anton top the leaderboard for only the second time in 12 years, scoring 33 from the judges, with Darcy taking them to the top with her score of 9.

For years now Anton has been seen as the pro who always gets the, shall we say “entertainment value” celebrities. Last year he was partnered with Judy Murray and who could forget the time he danced with Ann Widecombe?!

It’s a tag I’ve always felt is a bit unfair. Just because he likes to have a laugh on the dance floor and inject a personality, doesn’t mean he’s any less qualified than the other professional dancers and I’m really pleased that this year he’s been able to show off his amazing skills and turn his misfortunes around.

Ever since the first week it’s been said that Katie Derham is his first real chance at lifting the glitterball trophy, and after last night's wonderful Viennese Waltz, I couldn’t agree more and absolutely wouldn’t rule it out.

Since this year’s series started, I’ve always been a fan of Ainsley Harriott, but I’ve always been the first to admit that his dancing technique isn’t always up to scratch. That was until last night’s Waltz which received a standing ovation from the audience in the studio and a 26 from the judges, his highest score since week 2.

He was described as “prim and proper” by Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman pointed out that there were “no mistakes”. Not a bad bit of feedback considering that we’re still only in week four. If he continues the way he is I can see him going very far in the competition. What’s clear with Ainslie is that he puts the work in and he’s enjoying every single second of it.

Last week Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani performed an almost perfect Jive, scoring 37 from the judges and even secured the first 10 of the series! Last night however, it was a very different story as the couple made a few unfortunate mistakes during their foxtrot, scoring a rather low 25 from the judges.

Everyone has a bad week, and unfortunately this week was Jay’s. When the series began, I almost couldn’t watch Jay due to his nerves, but in recent weeks he seems to have conquered those nerves and I only hope that last night’s performance doesn’t knock him back into his old ways.

As always, holding it all together were hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman. I must admit, I enjoy watching Claudia a lot more than I do Tess, as you never quite know what to expect from her. Even when she’s reading jokes from the autocue, her delivery is natural and you can’t help but laugh.

I don’t want to give anything away about tonight’s result show, but all I’m going to say is that Claudia definitely takes one for the team! And if it’s even possible, I love Claudia more for it!

Before the show went live, we were treated to a live performance from Will Young of his new single Joy, accompanied by some of the professional dancers, and he even had a go himself, dancing with Aliona Vilani, Oti Mabuse and Karen Clifton.

Sadly one couple had to go and after the judges’ scores were combined with the results of the viewers’ votes, it was revealed that Daniel O'Donnell and Kristina Rihanoff, and Kirsty Gallacher and Brendan Cole would be facing the dance-off. Both couples performed their routines again and then it was up to the judges to deliver their verdicts.

Craig Revel-Horwood saved Kirsty and Brendan, as did Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli which meant that the couple going home this week was unfortunately Daniel and Kristina.

All in all it was an excellent show, and a real treat to experience live. The atmosphere in the studio was electric, and what’s nice was that when the cameras weren't rolling, the celebrities and their professional partners would engage with he audience and make everyone feel very welcome. Something I can’t see happening on other rival Saturday night entertainment shows. Naming no names.

Strictly Come Dancing is exactly what Saturday night television needs. It’s camp, it’s fun, it’s thoroughly entertaining and long may the UK's biggest Saturday night show continue.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday at 6:35pm on BBC One


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