Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Michael Hogan

Strictly Come Dancing: week five results – as it happened

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s samba.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s samba. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA

Halloween hoofing next weekend

Thanks for watching along with me, sequin-spangled squad. Our pairings now progress to the sixth live show - the annual feast of fright which is the Halloween spooktacular. It airs next Saturday at 6.40pm on BBC1. Bwa ha and, if you will, ha.

Hopefully Amanda Abbington will recover in time to return alongside her pro partner Giovanni Pernice. She’s built in a lab for some supernatural characterisation.

Meet you back here to rate the Latin tricks and ballroom treats. In the meantime, your motto for the week is, of course, keeeeeeep dancing! Goodnight.

girlpanic says: “Ooh, has anyone previously got a 10 so early and then left shortly afterwards? Eddie seems like a fun person and I’m sorry to see him go but his dancing didn’t improve as much as I thought it would at the start.”

And finally, cuban0104 adds: “Poor Eddie, the samba is brutal and he definitely did more actual dancing than Zara. Lovely guy, I shall miss him.”

Of the dance-off, emilyscatnaps says: “Well done to both couples there. I think Zara did seem more comfortable, so if she goes out she’s done really well and should be very proud of herself.”

pretentiouspenguin adds: “I was shocked by that, I thought it would be closer. I thought Eddie was better in the dance off. Some of Zara and Graziano’s lifts looked awkward.”

owbeck says: “The right decision, but I fear Zara doesn’t have many more weeks left.”

tomatopincushion says: “Lovely, lovely Bastille. Very moving. We are working through an A-Z of songs at my choir. My friend and I are desperate for P to be Pompeii!”

neko99 says of the group dance: “It’s all a bit Austin Powers, no?”

Lauren Oakley and Kai Widdrington dance to Bastille.
Lauren Oakley and Kai Widdrington dance to Bastille. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Readers’ verdicts

A short but sweet vox pop of your comments. neko99 says: “Will the Planet Earth III-themed group dance show Neil and JoJo stranded on a fake rock, trying to jive their way out of almost certain death?’”

avenueman adds: “Half expected ginger Neil to come on dressed as a flamingo during the Bastille/Planet Earth interval.”

MssssMiddlechop says: “What do we think of Claud’s ‘Whatever happened to Baby Jane’ tribute dress? Loved the Fosse opening number.”

The Strictly professionals’ opening dance.
The Strictly professionals’ opening dance. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Tonight’s other TV highlights

Viewers can now flip to Lenny Henry’s lovely new Windrush drama Three Little Birds on ITV1, Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker on Channel 4, wildlife series Big Little Journeys on BBC2 or stay tuned to BBC1 for Antiques Roadshow from Ebrington Square in Derry. Catch yourself on, Fiona Bruce.

At 9pm, it’s the finale of chef drama Boiling Point on BBC1 or new police thriller Six Four on ITV1.

Films of the night? You’re spoilt for choice at 9pm with The Babadook on BBC3, Love Actually on 5Star or Carrie on Sky Sci-Fi. Too soon for Halloween horror?


Karen’s curse of Halloween

Venezuelan-born firecracker Karen Hauer might be Strictly’s longest-serving pro but her record in recent years leaves a little to be desired. She hasn’t stayed in until the Halloween special since 2020, when she reached the final with Jamie Laing.

Karen has now finished 12th for three years in a row - with Greg Wise, Jayde Adams and now Eddie Kadi. The fault of her celebrity partners, or her teaching skills and choreography? A mix, probably. She’s a much-loved member of the Strictly family but Karen will pray for a more promising partner next year.

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Eddie went from perfect 10 to exit door

It’s been a rollercoaster contest for comedian Eddie Kadi. He went from scoring this year’s first 10 just a fortnight ago - even if that was a brain-freeze from head judge Shirley Ballas - to two consecutive dance-offs and ultimately, elimination. The samba, Strictly’s dance of death which accounts for more than 20% of eliminations, claimed its second victim of the series.

That surprise 34-point streetdance aside, Eddie’s scores had become stuck in the early 20s. In a high-class field who are clocking up 8s, 9s and the odd 10, that’s relegation form. Shirley was reduced to complimenting his smile in slightly patronising style.

Yet he’s also justified in wondering what might have been. He’s more of a natural dancer than Zara McDermott, who still looks timid and tentative more than a month into the contest.

Ultimately, Eddie’s dances were simply too samey - high on hips, musicality and performance value, low on proper technique. The judges lost patience and Eddie lacked the fame factor to secure sufficient public backing. However, he’s been a highly likeable presence and done his profile no harm at all these past five weeks. Stay rocksteady, Eddie.

Eddie Kadi says his goodbyes.
Eddie Kadi says his goodbyes. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Sighs of relief for Annabel and Angela S

It was a nervy night for Annabel Croft especially. She was left second bottom of the scoreboard after her stylish but underpowered and error-strewn Charleston. However, the elegant ex-tennis player is clearly popular enough to be lifted clear of the bottom two by public votes.

It probably didn’t hurt that she’s paired with much-loved pro Johannes Radebe. However, Annabel needs to raise her glittery game next week. In a high-quality field, anyone who scores sub-30 points will be in danger from now on.

Angela Scanlon also had a narrow escape, having scored the same as Zara McDermott. Since her showstopping Movie Week Charleston, Angela has flatlined at 28 points. Time to start nailing those technical details.

Eddie and Karen’s last dance

As the K-team take their last turn around the ballroom floor to What Becomes Of The Broken-Hearted? by Jimmy Ruffin, the credits roll and their castmates crowd around to commiserate. Please stay with us for analysis and reaction.

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s last dance.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s last dance. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Cometh the Hauer

His dance partner Karen Hauer returns the compliment: “You are a treasure. I’m going to miss you. We’re going to take up Congolese dancing. Thank you so much for being so positive and bringing such light and smiling. You’ve just been a beauty to all of us. You’re an amazing human.” Well said, Hotlips.

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Eddie’s exit speech

In his farewell interview, Eddie Kadi thanks his “maintenance engineers” (the judges) and his “whole new family” (his Strictly castmates).

He tells Tess: “I’ve really enjoyed this, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I love dancing. This has been the highest moment of my career, the happiest I’ve ever been, but not just for me. My little baby girl is at home doing the Men in Black hands. More importantly, this little African boy just wanted his culture to shine. Everything I stand for, when it comes to my comedy or my presenting, is based on my culture and upbringing. Me and this wonderful queen wanted to entertain. I believe that God has brought this to me and this gem of a lady here has kept me happy. I love you so much. God bless you.” Sweetly said, sir.

Eddie Kadi pays tribute to Karen Hauer.
Eddie Kadi pays tribute to Karen Hauer. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Head judge Shirley Ballas agrees

The Queen of Latin confirm that she would also have saved Zara, so it’s unanimous. Still no split decision this series.

Eddie Kadi is eliminated

Which means the comedian becomes this year’s fourth celebrity to depart the dancefloor.

Anton Du Beke choose to save…

Zara and Graziano, “for a slightly cleaner technique”.

Motsi Mabuse chooses to save…

Zara and Graziano, saying “it was extremely close but came down to details”.

Craig Revel Horwood chooses to save…

Zara and Graziano, saying “their quality of dance was far superior”.

Verdict time

Did Eddie do enough to close that four-point gap? Did Zara do enough to maintain it? Let’s consult the four people whose decision counts.

The dance-off couples.
The dance-off couples. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Zara takes her turn

Culotte-clad Zara McDermott and her dance partner Graziano Di Prima now reprise their American smooth to Can’t Fight the Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes.

The judges praised the lifts last night but said it was stiff and she needed to stride out across the floor. She scored all the sevens for 28 points, four more than Eddie. If she completes the number without any major mistakes, surely she’ll edge out Eddie.

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima.
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Eddie goes first in dance-off

Eddie Kadi and his pro partner Karen Hauer have another go at their samba, set to smash Afrobeats hit Calm Down by Rema featuring Selena Gomez.

The judges said last night that it was sloppy, stop-start and mistake-littered, awarding it just 24 points. Can he improve to close the gap on Zara?

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Krishnan presented Channel 4 News in his dancing shoes

Good to know. It also rhymes, handily. He explains how partner Lauren Oakley makes him practise with his eyes closed.

Annabel Croft is relieved and grateful to go through. Angela Scanlon admits she “looked like a terrified deer” and tells a cute story about her daughter. Angela Rippon confesses that she doesn’t feel in control. Claudia insists that she doesn’t either. Dont go changing, La Winkle.


Eddie Kadi in dreaded dance-off

The British-Congolese comedian and Radio 1Xtra DJ is consigned to the dance-off for the second week running and will hoof for survival against Zara McDermott. Voting viewers came to the rescue of Annabel Croft, who was sandwiched between this pair on the leaderboard.

Angela Rippon is safe

And rightly so. So are Bobby Brazier (thermal), Krishnan Guru-Murthy (hi Jay!) and Angela Scanlon (phew). Which means it’s Eddie Kadi or Annabel Croft in the dance-off.

Make-or-break time again

The dancing red light of doom is back to do its dastardly thing.

Anton hails Bobby Brazier’s maturity and sophistication. Motsi says she detected nerves in many of the mid-table couples and they need to adopt a competition mindset.

Shirley Ballas explains a fregolina, somewhat more succinctly than Vito Corelone did, bless his bare-chested heart.


Dance debrief

The judges squeeze onto the Clauditorium banquette for a closer look at last night’s hoofing. Craig admits he “went a bit week five” and got picky. He also admires Angela Rippon’s Argentine tango.

Lovely to see the pros performing ballroom. They’re pretty good at this stuff. Who knew?


Kai Widdrington and Lauren Oakley provide the high-class hoofing accompaniment.

Bastille performing while Lauren Oakley and Kai Widdrington dance.
Bastille performing while Lauren Oakley and Kai Widdrington dance. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Bastille go wild

Musical performance now from London electro-pop quartet Bastille - so-named because founding member and frontman Dan Smith’s birthday falls on 14 July, Bastille Day.

They’re playing their signature hit Pompeii, which reached number two in 2013, with Planet Earth III-themed backdrop visuals.

Bastille perform in the ballroom.
Bastille perform in the ballroom. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Nigel Harman tells an amusing story about athletic supports. Enduring image.


Adam Thomas back to ballroom next week

He’s going from the Backstreet Boys to back in hold. Ellie Leach also said something or other while the nation looked at Vito’s chest.

Zara McDermott in the dance-off

As predicted by bookies, the Love Island alumna is consigned to the dance-off for the second time. But who will she be up against?

Ellie Leach is safe

Rightly so but in no particular order, obv. So are Adam Thomas (overmarked), Nigel Harman (undermarked) and Layton Williams (wigged).

Red light spells danger

Buckle up, buttercups, it’s time for tension-building… lengthy… pauses, followed by grateful hugs and mouthed thank-yous down the camera.

Last night’s live show recapped

A rewind of Saturday’s action on-screen now. Nigel Harman’s nifty 50s foxtrot! Adam Thomas’ Backstreet Boys streetdance! Angela Rippon’s levitating leg! Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s Hollywood quickstep! (Hi to his teenage son Jay if he’s reading.)


Here’s our presenting pair, so time for our traditional tale of the sartorial tape. Tess Daly is sporting a black long-sleeved sequinned number with keyhole chest. Claudia Winkleman is working a white sparkly puff-sleeved affair. Claud wins.


Pros wreak revenge on love rat

We kick off with a Bob Fosse-inspired number from the professional troupe. Luba Mushtuk, Karen Hauer and Nancy Xu are the female leads, teaming up to teach womanising Carlos Gu a lesson. He arrives at a neon-lit nightclub to find all his lovers are there, confronting him for cheating on them.

It’s 1960s jazz style with monochrome outfits, lots of chair-ography and high-level partnering, set to 1972 soul song I Gotcha by Joe Tex. Quirky, stylised and spicy.

The Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers.
The Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Three minutes late by my watch but as it’s Attenborough, we’ll let him off.

The pros open the show.
The pros open the show. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


And we’re off!

Roll clap-along credits. Wish the absent Amanda Abbington a speedy recovery as she twirls past.

But which of these smiling couples will soon be saying their weepy farewells?

Pour yourself a warming libation. We’re about to return to the Elstree Studios ballroom…

“Every turtle is precious.” Put that on a mug or tea towel.

Five minutes until we go from turtles to tangos…

Wonder how Sir David would’ve fared if Strictly had been around, say, 40 years ago? A finalist, I reckon. Ballroom specialist. Possibly paired with a young Shirley Ballas, who would’ve whipped his Latin into shape.

Sorry, welly-wearers and Schafernaker fans, but this beats Countryfile. Stunning nature series Planet Earth III on BBC1 right now, presented by the mighty David Attenborough - still the best in the business at the grand old age of 97.

Between Sir Dave and 79-year-old Angela Rippon’s Argentine tango, it’s an inspiring reminder that oldies can be goldies.

Just ten minutes until we swap wildlife for waltzes…

Unlucky Ellie eclipsed by Layton

It was another record-breaking Saturday night for Layton Williams, whose sizzling tropicana-style salsa notched a near-perfect 39 points - the highest score of the series and Strictly’s earliest 39-pointer for 13 years.

Poor Ellie Leach, who scored her first 10 (plus three nines) for her power-packed paso doble, can count herself unfortunate to be pipped to top spot.

It’s a quarter to sequin o’clock…

Strictly storms the Bastille

Tonight’s musical guests are indie-poppers Bastille, with a special Planet Earth III-themed performance.

Hopefully it won’t involve those terrifying sharks. Twenty minutes until we’re back in the ballroom…

Eddie and Zara fear a double dance-off

Coming into this weekend, bookmakers’ favourites for elimination were Eddie Kadi and Zara McDermott, both of who have already survived one dance-off apiece. Eddie duly finished bottom of the standings with 24 points.

Annabel Croft was second from bottom with 27, a point below Zara and Angela Scanlon. Will viewer votes come to this quartet’s rescue? And might we see our first shock result of the series?

It’s 25 minutes until the clock strikes dance…

Who won’t make it to Halloween?

Somebody won’t get to raid the Strictly fancy dress box. Good evening and welcome to the fourth results show of Strictly Come Dancing 2023. I’m Michael, your Sunday night cyber-dance partner. Please watch along with me as the fourth celebrity falls agonisingly short of next weekend’s Halloween spooktacular.

Following last night’s high-scoring live show, our 11 pro-celebrity couples - a dancefloor dozen, minus the off-sick Amanda Abbington, who misses this weekend and gets a bye - will become a twinkle-toed 10. The judges’ scores have been combined with the public vote. Tonight, the bottom two pairings will dance off for survival. So who’s at risk?

Well, Eddie Kadi was left propping up the leaderboard after falling victim to the dreaded samba, with Annabel Croft second from bottom. But will the public vote agree with the judges’ scores? If not, the likes of Zara McDermott, Angela Scanlon and even Nigel Harman could be under threat.

It’s showtime at 7.15pm on BBC One. I’ll be liveblogging from 6.45pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, analysis, reaction and cheeks from the cheap seats. So take a break from watching South Africa beat England at various sports and see you on the sofa.

As always, I’d love to hear from you too. You can tweet me @michaelhogan, email me at and the comments section below is open for ballroom bantz. I’ll matador knee-walk down there occasionally to gauge your reaction and report on your comments.

Nearly time to staaaaaart spooky eliminating!

Thank you and a glittery goodnight

That wraps up Saturday’s liveblog but the weekend’s choreographic capers aren’t over. Meet you back here for the results show, which airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC1. I’ll boot up the blog at 6.45pm for build-up, so please rejoin me then.

In the meantime, I’m @michaelhogan on Twitter, so do waltz past and wave hi. Thanks for watching along with me and sharing all your wit and wisdom. See you tomorrow but in the meantime, it’s the usual drill: keeeeeep dancing! Goodnight, gang.

Random pairing from tonight’s studio audience: Filch from Harry Potter and Paul Chuckle. To me, to you are a wizard now Harry.

From glitterballs to oval balls

TV viewers can flip to ITV1 now for the second half of England vs South Africa in the Rugby World Cup semi-final. They couldn’t, could they?

Elsewhere, it’s Fleetwood Mac night on BBC2. French drama Dark Hearts starts at 9pm on BBC4. At 10.30pm, Take That are among the attractions on Later With Jools Holland on BBC2.

Film-wise, tonight’s pick is Martin Scorsese’s The Departed at 9pm on Film4.


jagadox says: “Sweet and romantic from Bobby there. Although why costume had to put him in a thermal vest I’ve no idea.”

shazza2704 says: “For the love of Len , can we please consign Couples Choice to the Seven Bins of Sunak?”

Owbeck says: “Really hope lots of folks vote for Adam, I really don’t want to see that again tomorrow.”

Pancake01 says of Zara McDermott: “Oh dear, it’s the culottes of death. Every single culotte-wearer has been eliminated. It’s a Strictly fact (according to me).”

And TallulahBankhead concludes: “I do worry that at some point this series, Anton is going to go full Rowley Birkin.”


fihema says: “Ellie and Vito - wow - the standard just shot up and the evening has begun! Love these two together, and that was so watchable.”

emilyscatnaps says: “I think Vito should be allowed to have 2 minutes every week just to share his stream of consciousness - fragolina time!”

Somersetlass says: “So much content in that salsa from Layton and Nikita. Full of joie de vivre. They are an amazing partnership.”

Gardener Maidhc says: “Layton salsa in a terrible wig but otherwise this was insane. LOVED it. Before someone says ringer again, just enjoy how good he is. Nikita seems to be having the best time actually dancing.”

MikeMoonlight, however, adds: Well, I enjoyed that showdance from the professional dancers. Anyone know what time the contestants get to dance?”


When it comes to tonight’s judging, LazyMillenial says: “So glad Grumpy Craig is back. It’s not the same show without him.”

stolencar says: “Craig is definitely the traitor, the other three judges are faithfuls.”

garyh001 says: “These days Craig and Motsi are like an old married couple.

diamondcat says: “Craig, you simply cannot blame Angela Scanlon for ‘running out of ideas’ at the end - she’s not the choreographer!”

Audreyshandbag adds: “In a startling reversal of opinion, I love Anton! Hated him with a passion as a dancer - thought he ritually humiliated his partners, but as a judge he is kind, fair and gentle. There! I’ve said it!”


Readers’ verdicts

A quick straw poll of your comments. emilyscatnaps says of Krishnan’s VT: “I LOVE THIS VT! Lauren’s Yes Bab tshirt. Krishnan’s family, including superstar Jay. And a little dog? TOO MUCH!”

mcculloch29 says: “Sambarmageddon was avoided but Eddie may have to hope that others continue to make errors. Shame.”

Eddie and Zara in dance-off danger

So Layton Williams tops the scoreboard for the second week running with a near-perfect 39 points – a mere Craig quibble away from perfection and the earliest 39-pointer since Scott Maslen and Natalie Lowe’s Halloween Viennese waltz way back in series eight.

Ellie Leach can consider herself unfortunate to finish in second place. Angela Rippon Argentine tangoed into the bronze medal position.

The judges’ scores will now be combined with the public vote and the bottom two couples dance-off for survival on Sunday evening. Bottom-placed Eddie Kadi will surely be fearing that red light of doom again.

Annabel Croft was second from bottom, with Zara McDermott and Angela Scanlon a point above. Zara and Eddie feel most at risk, both having been in the bottom two before.


It’s the Golden Glitterballs!

A mantelpiece feels frankly naked without them. Here are this week’s gong-getters…

Best dance: Ellie’s fiery, fierce paso doble for me, even though it was outscored by Layton’s salsa.

Worst dance: Eddie’s samba or Zara’s American not-very-smooth. We might well see them both again on Sunday night.

Best music choice: Lots of traditional tunes tonight, which made a welcome change, but I also had a soft spot for the stripped-back rendition of Insomnia by Faithless.

Worst music choice: It has to be that Backstreet Boys Megamix. The segues clanked like Jive Bunny and it wasn’t even their best tunes.

Best outfit: A three-way dead heat between Motsi’s hot pink besequinned frock, Angela Scanlon’s floaty pink chiffon skirt (v Doris Day) and Lauren Oakley’s forest green quickstep gown.

Worst outfit: Bobby Brazier’s bizarre V-neck jumper. A cross between a thermal vest and Michael Douglas in the Basic Instinct disco scene *crosses legs*.

Best judges’ comment: Anton’s rambling riff to Layton: “Watching you reminded me of a weekend Craig and I spent away together. We were in Wigan, it was wet and windy and we didn’t know what to do. So I said to him, why don’t we try that lift? So he came at me and I said, shouldn’t you put some clothes on? I managed to get him halfway up, then we collapsed into a heap. The only reason I’m telling you this is because I’ve got nothing to say about this dance. It was pretty much perfect.”

Worst VT: Bobby and Dianne’s faux-profound “spiritual meditation” session. However, kudos to Jojo’s Charleston explainer, Krishnan’s family cute-athon and Adam’s affecting tribute to his brothers.

Best Claudia quip: Her sweet teasing of Krishnan’s son Jay continues to delight but it’s got to be her blank look at Vito’s footwork debrief, followed by “Literally no idea”.


Credits roll

“Keeeeeep dancing,” say the swaying Tess ’n’ Winkle, with a strange bow from a sheepish Claud. Let’s go with it indeed.

As everyone takes off their Spanx and dancing shoes with a groan of relief, please stay with us for analysis, reaction and a round-up of your comments.

Phew. As they recap on-screen, what do we think? Some overscoring, obviously, but Layton, Ellie and Angela R were superb. Zara and Eddie in dance-off danger?

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington.
Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Vote is now… open!

Even Craig looks happy for a change! Maybe it’s the sparkly captain’s cap.

Judges’ comments for Angela R and Kai: Craig says “put the rip in Rippon, brilliant”. Motsi says “control, legs, feet, your dance, well done”. Shirley says “chemistry off the charts, amazing”. Anton concludes “worth the wait, brilliant job Kai, immaculate lines, whoosh, leg goes up, wham”. Tony Beak turned into Bruno again. Eight and nines?

Judges’ scores: 8, 9, 8, 9 for a total of 34 points. Her highest yet. Ever-gentlemanly, Kai passes on the compliments about the choreography to the specialists. He played her leg like a violin, apparently. Fiddly.

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington’s Argentine tango.
Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington’s Argentine tango. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Angela R and Kai’s Argentine tango

Conchita Wurst messaged them one word after their rumba to Rise Like A Phoenix last week: “Wow”. Now they’re dancing the first Argentine tango of the series - one of the dances La Rippon was most looking forward to learning. She’s wearing a short black velvet frock to show off her kicks and flicks. Moonlit set, imperious mood. Drama, intensity and passion. Sharp footwork. Lunging legs and the couple’s first lifts. Lacking a little sizzle, perhaps understandably, and Angela’s faster steps look frantic at times but strong with a spectacular finish.

Song: Tanguera by Sexteto Mayor. The traditional music by the Argentine orchestral group is something of a Strictly favourite. Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer tangoed to it three years ago. It also soundtracked Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton’s Argentine tango in 2016. Both couples went on to reach the final. An omen?

Judges’ comments for Zara and Graziano: Anton says “nice effort, gorgeous lifts, frame improving ever so slightly but you need to move across the floor”. Craig says “the wonderful lifts saved it, very brave especially in silk”. Motsi says “start trusting yourself, too stiff and robotic, let go”. Shirley concludes “lovely core, tricky lifts, you’re starting to believe, loving your progress but stride out”. Sixes? Judges being kind but Zara takes the criticism very well.

Judges’ scores: 7, 7, 7, 7 for a total of 28 points. Generous for me but same as last week. Joint third bottom so far.

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima’s American smooth.
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima’s American smooth. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Zara and Graziano’s American smooth

Love Island alumna and dance-off survivor Zara McDermott was much improved last week, scoring a personal best of 28 points. In fact, her scores have crept up every week. She needs to keep conquering her nerves and building her confidence. They’re the tallest couple in the contest, so their long legs look elegant. It’s a foxtrot-style number. Her footwork falters but excellent lifts. No wonder he kept her in the air so long, her footwork is very shaky at times. Messy dismount.

Song: Can’t Fight the Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes. The Trevor Horn-produced theme song to cult 2000 film Coyote Ugly - named, of course, after the slang term for waking up after a one-night stand with your arm trapped underneath someone who’s so unattractive in daylight, you’d gladly chew your own limb off to escape, like a coyote stuck in a trap. We’ve all been there.


Judges’ comments for Adam and Luba: Adam says “you’re making me emotional, team blending well, over-relied on Luba, take control but cool attitude”. Anton says “easily your best dance, synchronicity and timing magnificent”. Craig says “needed to be grounded and more groove but energy fantastic, did your brothers proud”. Motsi concludes “your best performance level, clear isolations, you were watching Luba but great work”.

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 8, 9 for a total of 32 points. Joint third. Generous.

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk’s Couple’s Choice.
Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk’s Couple’s Choice. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Adam and Luba’s Couple’s Choice

Actor Adam Thomas has been suffering with flu this week. A shame because he was on a high after last week’s breakthrough waltz scored a personal best of 32 points and took him to the dizzy heights of third on the leaderboard. This is the furthest that his pro partner Luba has been in the contest and her first streetdance. It’s the first time we’ve seen Adam doing this much side-by-side stuff but he’s got groove and hip-hop swagger. White-clad, properly boyband choreography but out of sync and lacking sharpness at times. Neat chair-ography. More like a 90s pop video than a Strictly dance, so lord knows how the judges will score this. Probably over-generously.

Song: Backstreet Boys Medley. The Florida fivesome are the best-selling boyband of all time, slightly depressingly, and the only boy band to top the US album chart in three different decades. Backstreet’s back… alright!

Judges’ comments for Bobby and Dianne: Motsi says “that suited you more than last week, soft, romantic, beautiful feet, frame has improved but you let it go at the end, the right direction, glad you’re back”. Shirley says “lovely footwork and details, got lost on the fleckerl, otherwise delighted”. Anton says “your best dance yet, delightful, confident stride swept around the floor, super-duper”. Craig concludes “I’d put it in a film but it wasn’t technical, yet I bought it”. Eights and nines ahoy?

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 8, 9 for a total of 32 points. Third as it stands.

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell’s Viennese waltz.
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell’s Viennese waltz. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Bobby and Dianne’s Viennese waltz

After last week’s tango, the EastEnder is back in hold. Bobby Brazier loves the song and says this is his favourite dance so far. With his long limbs, he does look like a natural ballroom boy. Dianne’s in a champagne-and-rose glowing gown and he’s in matching skinny knit. Sweet acapella opening but took way too long to get into hold for me. The couple’s height difference is apparent again and there’s gapping but romantic rotation as they spin and twirl around the floor. Magical mood and storytelling, mind you.

Song: Golden Hour by JVKE. The viral hit is a pop ballad with semi-rapped verses and a crooned chorus. Rhode Island youngster Jacob Lawson joined TikTok during Covid lockdown, started creating videos for his own songs and this became his first hit.


Judges’ comments for Layton and Nikita: Craig says “I wanted a pointed toe (boo!) but a-may-zing”. Motsi says “worthy of Club Tropicana, incredible”. Shirley says “a magical team, you look like twins, A-star, well done”. Anton concludes “it reminded me of a weekend with Craig in Wigan”. Me too, babes. Nines and 10s again?

Judges’ scores: 9, 10, 10, 10 for a total of 39 points. Highest score of the series is reclaimed. The first 39 in week five for 13 years.

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin’s salsa.
Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin’s salsa. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Layton and Nikita’s salsa

Last week, Layton Williams scored the earliest 10 for a cha cha in Strictly history and the highest score of series with a total of 37 points. Now he’s trying to [rove he has’t peaked too soon with another Latin party dance. He’s being flung around for his first lifts in this tropical-style salsa. They’re daring each other, swapping the lead and both wearing knee pads beneath those pastel slacks, so we can expect sliding and knee-spins. Enough spicy sauce? A bit balletic rather than Latin in places but side-by-side is amazing. Cartwheels and fun, maybe flagged a bit towards the end but pretty spectacular again.

Song: Quimbara by Johnny Pacheco and Celia Cruz. The 1974 duet between the Cuban diva and the Dominican pachanga king is a textbook traditional salsa song. It’s been covered by both Gloria Estefan and J-Lo.


Judges’ comments for Ellie and Vito: Anton says “it all came together and everything was just right”. Craig says “Vito, you’ve excelled with choreography, this partnership is on fire”. Motsi says “this was on a whole different level, attack, control and connection, best dance of the series for me, loved it”. Shirley concludes “I saw difficult steps in there and you did it with flair and style”. Nines a-coming? Maybe a 10?

Judges’ scores: 9, 10, 9, 9 for a total of 37 points. Joint highest score of the series. Vito is breathlessly thrilled with Shirley recognising his steps. Claudia looks amusingly baffled. Ellie accidentally bashes Vito in the teeth with sheer excitement.

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola’s paso doble.
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola’s paso doble. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Ellie and Vito’s paso doble

Coronation Street actor Ellie Leach slipped out of the top three for the first time last week after her samba notched her lowest score yet. Can she bounce back with another Latin number? It’s set to a stripped-back rearrangement of the Nineties rave anthem (22-year-old Ellie wasn’t even born when the original was released, frighteningly). She’s got her serious face on and is wearing a sapphire blue chevron dress, which looks striking against the black-and-red backdrop. Passion, power, intensity. Swishing skirt-ography. Vito’s got his pecs out, she’s hitting some lovely shapes and lines. Maybe lacking a little resistance and curve but this is bangingly dramatic and magnificently moody. Enjoyed that but will those pesky judges?

Song: Insomnia by Faithless. Written about insomnia but adopted as an anthem by drug-pepped clubbers. Late rapper Maxi Jazz once said: “If I had a quid for every time someone’s come up going, ‘I can’t get no sleep’, I’d be living on the space station.” altogether now: “Making mad love to my girl on the heath, tearing off tights with my teeth.” Ooh, matron.

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola.
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Judges’ comments for Angela S and Carlos: Shirley says “delightful to watch but need more detail, lots of potential but don’t panic, take things with ease”. Anton says “clear narrative, so much to offer but needs softness”. Craig says “the clue’s in the name, smooth it wasn’t, lacked grace, felt like it had run out of ideas at the end, not your best”. Motsi concludes “allow your body to relax, breathe and it’ll be more flexible and expressive but keep the joy”. Harsh comments. Craig particularly grumpy this week. Sixes and sevens?

Judges’ scores: 6, 7, 7, 8 for a total of 28 points. Same as last week. Angela admits she gets a bit stiff and “climbed Carlos like a tree”. Ahem.

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu’s American smooth.
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu’s American smooth. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Angela S and Carlos’ American smooth

They took a dip last week, with their lowest score since week one, but here’s a chance for Angela Scanlon to address the judges’ constructive criticism of her ballroom footwork and frame. A good week to be dancing to Madonna, too, after her sold out run of dates at London’s O2. Foxtrot steps. Upbeat, playful mood. Sweet skipping steps, spins and decent lifts. Gorgeous mood and movement around the floor. Solo section amid the falling blossom. Angela singing along, which his nibs might not like. Flat ending to a lovely routine.

Song: Cherish by Madonna. The queen of pop’s tribute to pastry chef and Bake Off Professionals judge Cherish Finden. Only kidding. Its her doowop-style 1989 hit, inspired by Romeo & Juliet and with a Herb Ritts-directed black-and-white mermaid video.

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu.
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Claud manages to mention Dave Arch too. It’s a twofer!

Claudia’s in a “Hello, Jay!” T-shirt, the naughty elf. He’s replaced Dave Arch as her running gag and we’re here for it.

Judges’ comments for Krishnan and Lauren: Motsi says “lovely nostalgic feeling, counting through your smile, I love to see it, yes Krishnan!” Shirley says “fabulous energy and solo work but a rattling right hand and drooping arms”. Anton says “forget the top half, the bottom half was immaculate”. Craig concludes “messy, loose, like a stroll in the park, not for me, sorry”.

Judges’ scores: 6, 8, 8, 8 for a total of 30 points. Top of the leaderboard… for now.

Lauren Oakley and Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s quickstep.
Lauren Oakley and Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s quickstep. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Krishnan and Lauren’s quickstep

Krishnan is probably on this year’s biggest journey (the j-word - drink!), falling in love with dance and embracing the entire Strictly experience. His wife Lisa says she’s never seen him happier in 35 years. His teenage son Jay pops up in the VT too. Drink again! A contrast to last week’s guyliner-sporting paso doble as Krishnan channels golden age Hollywood style. He’s playing the entertainer at a red carpet film premiere, escorting his date Lauren. He’s been using resistance bands in training to perfect his frame. Suave style, fluid flow but he’s counting aloud again, which Craig won’t like. A bit lumpen in the promenades but nice Charleston kicks. Fabulous fun and a razzle-dazzle finish. Not perfect but joyous to watch.

Song: The Lady Is A Tramp by Frank Sinatra. The jazzy 1937 showtune became a signature song for Ole Blue Eyes. The late Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded it as a duet in 2011.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s big finish.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s big finish. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Judges’ comments for Eddie and Karen: Craig says “sloppy and stop-start”. Motsi says “disappointing footwork, concentrate on details”. Shirley says “a 10 for your smile, infectious energy, gave it a go but a few mistakes”. Anton concludes “musicality and performance great, side-by-side and hip action brilliant, don’t lose that freedom”. Sixes, do we reckon?

Judges’ scores: 5, 6, 6, 7 for a total of 24 points. Bottom at this stage. Aton continuing his habit of going one louder than the rest.

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s samba.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer’s samba. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Eddie and Karen’s samba

British-Congolese comic Eddie Kadi has had a rollercoaster couple of weeks, going from the first 10 of the series to the dance-off. The samba is notoriously difficult for celebrity males and is Strictly’s “dance of death”, accounting for 20.6% of eliminations - including Les Dennis this year. Eddie’s delighted to pay homage to his culture with this colourful carnival dance. Full-on hips but he needs to control them and nail the bounce action. A bit sedate and awkward. Karen’s leading him through this but buckets of charisma and confidence.

Song: Calm Down by Rema ft. Selena Gomez. A huge Nigerian hit that’s right in Eddie’s wheelhouse as the host of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Afrobeats Chart Show. It’s the biggest African song ever to hit the US chart, spending an entire year on the Billboard Hot 100, and the most streamed Afrobeats song on both Spotify and YouTube. Is that enough stats?

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer.
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Doctor in the house

Actor David Bradley, who has inherited William Hartnell’s role as the first Timelord, is on the front row watching his pal Nigel.


Judges’ comments for Nigel and Katya: Anton says “lots of good stuff but you kicked her foot and went a bit wrong, otherwise so much to like”. Craig says “footwork problematic, fingers splayed but wonderful musicality and style”. Motsi says “atmospheric opening and sizzle but everyone’s making mistakes today”. Shirley concludes “West End-worthy beginning but get your mind right”. Sevens again?

Judges’ scores: 7, 7, 7, 8 for a total of 29 points. Two more than Annabel. Nigel is pleasantly surprised and says he should go wrong more often.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’ foxtrot.
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’ foxtrot. Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Nigel and Katya’s foxtrot

Nigel Harman was back in the game last week after his salsa reminded the judges of Sir Patrick Of Swayze. Now he’s back to ballroom for the first time in three weeks. He’s been working hard to improve his topline, head placement and footwork. Set in a smoky 1950s speakeasy. A spot of hatography and some messin’ abaht on the bar, then into hold. His frame has improved to my mind but there’s some stumbling footwork and tension on his face. Lots of swagger and jazzy style, though. Grows in confidence as it goes on.

Song: I Just Want To Make Love To You by Etta James. The 1954 classic was originally released by the blues legend as the B-side to At Last. It was only released as a single in its own right three decades later after soundtracking that “Diet Coke break” advert with the shirtless construction worker. Form an orderly queue, ladies.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’s foxtrot.
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’s foxtrot. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Alan Carr on the Ts & Cs

Just when we thought we’d escaped, the Picture Slam host reads out the voting small print. That’s Numberwang.

Judges’ comments for Annabel and Jojo: Shirley says “sparkle and energy but had a few hiccups, otherwise delighted”. Anton says “clean as a whistle, more smiley, marks would’ve been sky high without the mistakes”. Craig says “No swivel to speak of, sadly, got out of time, too neat but terribly chic”. Motsi concludes “a banger, lots of sass, then oops, calm the nerves next week and get on with it”. Sevens?

Judges’ scores: 5 (boo!), 7, 7, 8 for a total of 27 points. About her usual level but is that enough?

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe’s Charleston.
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe’s Charleston. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Annabel and Jojo’s Charleston

They’ve been consistently in the middle of the leaderboard and Johannes has never scored below 30 for a Charleston. Can Annabel show her silly side? First dance tonight, she’s in a short fringed silvery dress and flapper girl headband. It’s lively, quirky and characterful with some powder-puff and mirror-orgaphy to start. Jazz hands and facial expressions but is she nailing that all-important swivel? Cartwheel good but a little mistake and hesitation mid-routine. Lost timing a bit but splits, decent stamina and really rather god.

Song: Ladies Night by Kool & The Gang. The 1979 disco-funk hit was covered by girlband Atomic Kitten in 2003 and peaked at number eight in the UK singles chart - one place higher than the New Jersey band’s original reached.

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe.
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe. Photograph: Guy Levy/PA


Our Strictly stars™

Our 13 couples are announced and emerge for a wave. Layton’s in an Afro wig. Annabel’s in a flapper girl headband. Vito’s got his chest out again

Judges ahoy

The paddle-raising quartet of Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas dance into view. Slinky frocks and smart tuxes are the dress code.


Here come our hosts, so let’s gamify their gowns. Tess Daly is in a rose gold long sparkly strapless asymmetric frock. Claudia Winkleman is in a white bodice and black knee-length split skirt. She joked earlier today that she’s “dressing as Steve Davis”, just needing to accessorise with a snooker cue and blue chalk, but Claud wins.


Cue clap-along title sequence

Aww, remember Les, Nikita and Jody? Halcyon days. Who’ll be next to join them in the glittery graveyard?

And we’re off!

Roll the traditional VT to crank up the drama. Enjoy it while it lasts. Next week’s will be overly themed, spooky-style.

Top up your beverages, crisp bowls and charcuterie boards. We’re about to go live to Elstree Studios…

Alan Carr’s Numberwang just wrapping up on BBC1. Say what you see. It’s good but it’s not right. Say goodbye, Mr Chips. He’s waving.

Join me in some gentle stretches. Glutes and calves, darlings. Just five minutes to wait now…

Running time tonight is 105 minutes, finishing at 8.25pm - just in time to flip to ITV1 for most of the Rugby World Cup semi-final, if that’s your bag.

First lifts for two couples

Both Angela Rippon and Layton Williams will be performing their first lifts tonight. Just the half-century between them but who’ll pull them off best?

Ten minutes until we get our first choreographic clues…

Last week’s show in summary

A quick reminder of last week’s action. Layton Williams scored a series high of 37 points for his “million dollar” cha cha cha, topping the leaderboard by a four-point margin. He was followed by Nigel Harman and Adam Thomas in an all-male top three.

Eddie Kadi’s rollercoaster contest continued as he went from scoring a perfect 10 to appearing in the dreaded dance-off. However, it was Jody Cundy (and reigning pro champion Jowita Przystal) who departed.

Now we’ve done our revision, it’s 15 minutes until the sparkly curtain comes up….

Glittery game on, it’s week four bingo

Cross them off when you spot them on-screen! Take a drink for each! Make a right old show of yourself and wake up full of shame! Here’s your 10-strong spotter’s guide for tonight:

  • Judge says “it’s week five, so we’re looking for technical detail”

  • Claudia makes mischievous mention of Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s teenage son Jay

  • Talk of “gapping” or “head placement” during a critique of ballroom dance

  • Shirley or Craig get snappy with the studio audience

  • Mention of Motsi’s home nation on “Super Saffa Sporting Saturday”

  • Tess Daly makes the first of many Halloween puns, fully 10 days early

  • Distracting audience member pulls faces behind the judges or screams in the VIP seats

  • Camera cuts to hilariously deadpan Craig Revel Horwood during the “voting is open” mayhem

  • Slightly weepy VT before Adam Thomas’ Couple’s Choice routine

  • Anton refers to some of his less twinkle-toed celebrity partners (he mainly means Ann Widdecombe, obv)

On your dance cards tonight

We’ve got another Couple’s Choice, this one a streetdance from Adam Thomas, set to a Backstreet Boys medley. Listen carefully and you might hear dear old Len Goodman turning in his grave.

We’ll also see American smooths from both Zara McDermott and Angela Scanlon. Most excitingly, Angela Rippon dances the first Argentine tango of the series. Not long now until curtain up…


Fourth elimination hoves into view

One of our 11 fit-and-well pairs will miss out on the competitiont’s next landmark: next Saturday’s Halloween special. Eddie Kadi and Zara McDermott are the bookies’ tip for the bottom two, both having survived a dance-off already.

But will it go according to form? Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Adam Thomas have a lower average score than Eddie, so might be in danger too. It’s 20 minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune…

Amanda isn’t the only patient in the Strictly sickbay

Adam Thomas has also been suffering with the flu and has been told to miss rehearsals, so as not to spread the bug. Producers are reportedly being extra careful, fearing the winter flu virus could sweep through the cast. Adam is well enough to dance tonight, fortunately. It’s 35 minutes until glittery go-time…

Amanda Abbington missing show “for medical reasons”

The big ballroom news is that we’re one couple short tonight. Janette Manrara announced on last night’s It Takes Two: “Unfortunately, due to medical reasons, Amanda will not be taking part this weekend. Strictly protocols mean that all being well, Amanda and Giovanni will return the following week.”

She gets a bye through to next weekend but if she has to miss another show, Strictly rules say she’ll be eliminated.

It also means tonight’s show has been shortened by five minutes, with the start time bumped back from 6.35pm to 6.40pm. Amanda and her pro partner Giovanni Pernice were due to dance a cha cha cha to Jamiroquai tonight. Get well soon, Amanda.

Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington, who miss this week’s show.
Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington, who miss this week’s show. Photograph: Ray Burniston/BBC/PA


Week five goes live

It might be soggy outside but it’s sparkly indoors. Good evening and welcome to the fifth weekend of Strictly Come Dancing 2023. I’m Michael, your digital dance partner for another non-themed show. You’re cordially invited to watch along with me as the BBC’s ballroom behemoth laces up its dancing shoes once again.

Last weekend, pace-setter Layton Williams notched the highest score of the series so far and Jody Cundy salsa-shimmied his way home, his yellow shirt still gaping open. Now our surviving pro-celebrity pairs take to the Elstree Studios dancefloor again, bidding to get through to the feast of fancy dress which is the annual Halloween spooktacular.

Tonight’s scores will be combined with viewer votes and the bottom two pairings will dance for survival on Sunday night. Who’ll become the fourth couple to bow out of the ballroom?

It’s showtime at 6.40pm on BBC One (five minutes later than advertised, for reasons I’ll explain shortly). I’ll be liveblogging from 6.10pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, analysis, reaction and puerile gags. So stay in the dry, pour yourself a warming drink and see you on the sofa.

As always, I’d love to hear from you too. You can tweet me @michaelhogan, email me and the comments section below is yours to enjoy. I’ll foxtrot down there from time-to-time to report on your opinions.

Somebody won’t clinch a place in the pumpkin-shaped special. Nearly time to staaaaaart dancing!

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.