Strictly Come Dancing, Halloween Episode Liveblog!

by Gerard McGarry

It could be argued that any episode of Strictly Come Dancing which stars Bruce Forsythe and Tess Daly is Fright Night. Which would be all of them basically! Hell, even the judges are in on the act tonight with a touch of finger snapping for the Adamms Family inspired intro routine. I’m just a little bit disappointed that they missed the opportunity to drape Doddery Bruce in cobwebs!

Anyway, welcome to another Strictly Liveblog! Tonight’s episode was punctuated by Brucie telling a joke that was actually funny. And it had a little poke at ITV at the same time! Strictly’s getting confident! And Craig Revell Horwood swooping in on a broomstick? Classic!

Russell Grant

Russell looks like the campest devil ever in this routine, dancing to Better The Devil You Know. Satan never looked this gay! To give him his dues, Russell isn’t the most technically proficient dancer on the show, but his Latin-inspired movements were still a lot of fun to watch. And Flavia always makes up for her partner’s more clunky dance skills.

Judges: Len tells Russell “Don’t worry about the X Factor, you’ve got the feel-good factor!” Alesha Dixon congratulates him on a job well done, while Bruno says “you turned Hell into a camp Heaven”. Craig says “you are one wig away from being Mystic Meg”. Craig’s got a lot of criticism for Russell’s dancing skills tonight which did let him down.

Scores: Craig: 4, Len: 6, Alesha:6, Bruno:6 Total: 22

Chelsee Healy

Pasha conjures Chelsee out of a cauldron for this routine. We’re assuming that the song’s called Love Potion, though we’ve never heard it before! Chelsee’s decked out in a sexy vampish costume and she seems to flow well through the routine this week, although it lacks a little chemistry for my money… Oh…she had a little weep at the end because of a wardrobe malfunction.

Judges: Alesha tells her that she covered it so well, it didn’t distract from the dance. Bruno calls her a wicked little dancer and praises her feel for performance. Craig says that he would have prefered it to be more grounded, although notes that it was a mess toward the end. He brings it back by calling the overall routine feisty. Len must be feeling hungry, because he compares Chelsee to a Lancashire hotpot. Huh?

Scores: Craig: 7, Len: 8, Alesha: 9, Bruno:8 Total: 32

Audley Harrison

Audley comes out fighting on this bouncy and fun version of Little Shop Of Horrors. I get the impression his moves are actually a tad sloppy and it’s a technical nightmare. But like Russell Grant, there’s something entertaining about this man-giant loping about the dancefloor with a sexy dancer. Great fun.

Judges: Bruno says “great smile, terrible footwork” and tells him that the jive is all about the precision. Craig calls it a gallant effort, but notes that Audley is completely physically unsuited to this kind of dancing. But even grumpy Craig sees the entertainment value. Len’s a lot more forgiving, commending the timing and fun factor yet again. Alesha loves the concept and the idea of the dance, but thought the jive was outside of Audley’s comfort zone.

Scores: Craig: 3, Len: 6, Alesha: 6, Bruno: 5 Total: 20

Alex Jones

Shockingly, the BBC slipped in an Evanescense track for this routine! Alex is immaculately dressed in a flouncey white ballgown and James is dressed as Dracula. It’s actually quite an exciting, dramatic routine. Great musical choice and a brilliant routine.

Judges: Craig loved the concept and said “it was the complete antihesis” and he almost found it erotic. Yikes! That may be the scariest comment on TV this week! Len loved the “intensity” of the performance and said overall it was well done. Alesha praises Alex’s comeback, especially the bravery of starting the routine solo. Bruno’s voice has started to sound slightly Transylvanian this week, so I didn’t understand a word, but I’m sure it was complete nonsense anyway.

Scores: Craig: 7, Len: 8, Alesha: 8, Bruno: 8 Total: 31

Holly Valance

Ready for a very bizarre American Smooth/Swan Lake crossover? Here’s Holly and Artem. Holly’s decked out in a slinky black number which I thoroughly approve of. The routine? It feels too short, but it’s dramatic and romantic. And the audience gives a standing ovation for the couple.

Judges: Len wants to set the clocks back and see the whole routine again. Alesha tells them both that they look incredible and it’s her favourite concept of the night so far. Bruno congratulates Holly on taking a risk and praises her “exquisite top lines”. We didn’t think Bruno was into that kind of thing, but we’re pleased he noticed. Craig even has praise for the daring choices Holly made for this routine!

Scores: Craig: 8, Len: 9, Alesha: 9, Bruno: 9 Total: 35

Nancy Dell’Olio

Having finally convinced Nancy to start the routine in a closed coffin, Anton appears out of the ground…in silver trousers! Nancy certainly looks appropriately vampish, but there’s little in the routine to get us excited. Well, apart from that leg raising lift towards the end. There’s a bit of gentle comedy at the end, but I’m still not really warming to Nancy.

Judges: Alesha tells Nancy that she’s a sexy woman but questions why her legs have to be so far apart. Yikes! Bruno tells her she dances like the walking dead. He believes she’s not listening enough to the music. Craig told Nancy it all went horribly wrong from the moment Nancy stepped out of the coffin and he also aims some criticism at Anton’s repetitive choreography. Len says it had moments of Mills & Boon and moments of Meals On Wheels.

Scores: Craig: 2, Len: 5, Alesha: 3, Bruno: 4 Total: 14

Harry Judd

Harry Judd is always going to be one of the technical highlights of the evening. He’s got a very good partnership with Aliona, excellent posture and he travels well across the dancefloor. Definitely a few Machiavellian moves thrown in there, especially toward the end where he bites Aliona’s neck then throws her away! Brilliant!

Judges: Bruno raves about him being intense, hypnotic and erotic while Craig loves that the routine was full of intent and purpose but nitpicks that he’d have liked to see more in-hold dancing. Len agrees with this. He wants to see more in-hold work, although he praises the technical work. Alesha loves Harry’s beautiful piece of dance, calling the couple the King and Queen of Tango tonight.

Scores: Craig: 8, Len: 7, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 9 Total: 34

Robbie Savage

Unless Robbie’s playing this routine in character as a zombie, this is the most lethargic dance routine of the night. He just looks unexcited throughout the whole thing. Though he does finish by leaping onto the judges’ desk and almost colliding with Craig Revell Horwood’s face. Craig – as Brucie points out – wasn’t sure where to look…

Judges: Craig notes that it needed more drive and that his hands were like soup-ladels. Though he says “apart from all that, it was amazing”. Len wasn’t impressed by all the thrusting and comes to the conclusion that Robbie’s better at ballroom work. Alesha tells him to keep thrusting, while Bruno…well, who knows what Bruno said.

Scores: Craig: 4, Len: 7, Alesha: 8, Bruno: 7 Total: 26

Anita Dobson

Anita draws a tango this week, to Devil Woman no less. She’s had a change in fortunes in the last week or so, and it looks like she’s got renewed confidence on the dancefloor. She’s certainly throwing herself into the horror theme too, all claws, teeth and snarls. The actual dance content isn’t as exciting as I’d have liked it to be, but like last week’s dance, it was fun to watch.

Judges: Len’s got good things to say, but does nitpick at some of the postural and timing errors that Anita made. Alesha praises Anita’s acting skills, but again tells her to master her hold. Bruno raves about the acting, and agrees with Alesha’s ideas about posture. Craig spares the criticism and tells her he loved the routine.

Scores: Craig: 7, Len: 8, Alesha: 8, Bruno: 8 Total: 31

Lulu

Lulu makes an aerial entrance to AC/DCs Highway To Hell. Both she and Brendan Cole are decked out as bats. I’ve gotta be fair to the two of them, there’s a lot of energy in this dance. There seem to be a few bumps in the music though – did anyone else think Brendan was waiting for the singer to catch up at one point? Anyway, the routine ends with Lulu making a flying exit onto the balcony. Great stuff! Another standing ovation.

Judges: Bruno says that Lulu didn’t go wrong once tonight, calling her strong and powerful. Craig loved the concept and gives rare praise to Brendan’s choreography, but says there was a battle for supremacy between the two when they were in hold. Len complains that Lulu’s too soft in the body, but loved the entertainment value. Alesha Dixon loved Lulu’s amazing entrance. And yes, I knew how that would read before I typed it up! Haha!

Scores: Craig: 6, Len: 7, Alesha: 8, Bruno: 8 Total: 29

Jason Donovan

Dancing to Bewitched, Jason Donovan becomes voodoo doll to Kristina Rhianoff. After the initial gimmicky start, the couple lock into some smooth dancing. TThere are quite a few Jason Donovan haters out there, but I love his presence and his acting skills are always put to good use. Such a fun routine.

Judges: Craig does another awful Australian accent, but essentially he’s a fan of the routine. Len loves the makeup, hair and costume people and even squeezes a little bit of a compliment in for Jason. Alesha calls it a charming and interesting routine while Bruno goes all aliterated with a “brilliantly barmy” comment.

Scores: Craig: 9, Len: 9, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 9 Total: 37

And that’s it for this Halloween-themed episode of Strictly – do let us know what your favourite performance was in our comments section!

Gerard McGarry is a jet-setting, world-renowned Reality TV critic. In real life, Gerard works with web and social media strategy. His personal blog is at GerardMcGarry.com or follow him on Twitter @gerrybot