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Strictly Come Dancing: Bruce Is Ill, Sophie Ellis-Bextor Shines Whilst Tony Jacklin Fizzles

The stars fight for their place in next week's show

If the celebrities thought last week’s Strictly Come Dancing brought fear, then no-one can imagine how they must’ve felt this week! Although Bruce was unfortunately not on hand to lift tensions with his jokes (due to flu- get well soon Brucie!), the lovely Claudia Winkleman was on hand with hugs and energy to cheer up any low-scorers. So did the show meet the high standards set last week?

There was the very good: Susanna Reid had the honour of being first, dancing the tango with “fire, flair and attack” according to Bruno. The dance (and her envy-worthy hairdo) scored an impressive 31 points, beaten only two dances later by Natalie Gumede, Artem Chigvintsev, their waltz and the first nines of the series, bringing their score to a huge 34. Patrick Robinson also met high expectations set by last week’s dance, bringing drama and attack to his Michael Jackson-inspired tango to score him 27. Abbey Clancy fell just short of her previous week’s score with her Cha Cha - “Fast, furious and fabulous,” said Tess, “loud and proud” said Len, 30 points said their score paddles. However, Ashley Taylor-Dawson improved on his previous week, putting the "ooh in (American) smooth" (says Len) to receive a huge nine points from Darcey and an impressive 32 overall. THEN, out of nowhere, came Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her near perfect Charleston, which left the audience with jaws wide open and gave her a full set of nines- the best score this series. Hurrah!

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Natalie Gumede and Abbey Clancy are the ones to beat (BBC Pictures)

Then there was the bad, starting with Tony Jacklin donning a sparkling golf jumper for the Charleston. Sadly, it was labelled as “limp, lame and lacklustre” by Craig and scored a lowly 13 points. Everybody’s favourite Hairy Biker Dave Myers attempted the American Smooth to Karen Hauer’s improvised counting – “lamb cous cous.” Sadly, the counting did nothing to butter up the judges, with Len describing it as “a bit like a budget airline: uncomfortable, bumpy but you landed safely,” and a score of 17 overall. Sparkling king Julien Macdonald’s Cha Cha Cha was “more of a Wimpy than a Big Mac” (thanks for that Len) and he too scored a rather disappointing low score of just 18. Countdown queen Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev attempted a spicy salsa, but unfortunately only scored a measly 20 points, with Rachel described as “wriggling around like a slug in salt” by Craig.

And finally, there was the average. Deborah Meaden tried her hand at the Cha Cha Cha and, brushing over Craig comparing her to a drag queen, it was encouragingly described as “bubbly, feisty and frivolous” by Bruno, scoring the same 24 points as last week. Vanessa Feltz performed a rather emotional waltz, characterised by lots of tears and an average score of 23. Bond Girl Fiona Fullerton would have received a high score for her impressive Cha Cha had she not delivered a shin-kick to Anton, bringing her score down to 22. The same score was received by Mark Benton’s psychedelic haze of a salsa, labelled as “a ray of sunshine” and a “joy to watch” by Len. Lastly, Big Ben (Cohen) Ding Dong danced the waltz, and protruding rugby butt aside (cheers Craig), received 25 points. Still, a better score than last week.

Best Moment: Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her back-flipping, fast-paced Charleston. She came out of nowhere this week and blew us all away. Go girl!

Random Moment: Mark Benton’s attempt at sexy faces for the salsa. Cringeworthy, hilarious but entertaining overall. The Austin Powers theme was err.. rather interesting too!

Verdict: There were definite highs and lows this week, and now that everyone’s tried their hand at Ballroom and Latin, the favourites really stand out. This could be a very surprising series!

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