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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Judi James & Sam Elliott-Gibbs

Strictly's Ellie and Nikita were braced for dance-off before 'sobering' moment

Strictly Come Dancing star Ellie Simmonds' professional partner Nikita Kuzmin appears to have lost belief that they can go all the way, body language expert Judi James fears.

The 'sobering' moment when it took an age for the pro dancer and the former Paralympian swimmer to register they were safe on Saturday spoke volumes, Judi believes.

The behavioural specialist says there's a real friendship blossoming between the pair - but reckons the relief was there for all to see this weekend.

But she questioned Nikita's fight to go all the way after he decided to bite his lip.

Last week, the dancer barked back at icid-tongued judge Craig Revell Horwood after they came in for criticism.

The Paralympian danced with Nikita to the theme from Scooby Doo (BBC)

He delivered more cutting feedback for her foxtrot on Saturday evening and this time he stayed quiet as Ellie covered her ears.

Craig, dressed as a fabulous Morticia Addams, said the performance had lost ‘flow’ before brutally concluding: “It wasn't my favourite, I've got to be honest. It was slightly boring, I've got to admit.”

As the live audience erupted in boos as the comments, host Tess Daly told Ellie to close her ears, which Elie then did as she plugged her fingers and said: “I'm not listening. I'm not listening.”

Judi isn't sure Nikita now believes their stay will be a long one.

But the pro dancer this week held his tongue after Craig's comments (PA)

She told the Mirror: "Has Nikita lost his fight when it comes to winning?

"Last week he was arguing with Craig’s comments and refusing to back down but this week he appeared to do the body language equivalent of registering submission, as though sure they’d be performing in the dance-off.

"When they were told they were saved it seemed to take several seconds to sink in for Nikita, who paused, frozen in shock, before shaking his head in open disbelief.

Judi James says their reaction shows they were expecting to be in big trouble (Sky News)

"Getting a low place on the leader board had obviously been a sobering experience for Nikita and they were both keen to talk about their expectation of getting out there on the floor again for the dance-off.

"It obviously takes a lot to stop Ellie laughing and chatting excitedly but as she spoke to Claudia of her belief she’d be in the bottom two she managed to laugh and get tearful at the same time, which looked like a strong hint of exactly how upset she had been.

"Up until this week Ellie and Nikita were the only couple to have produced the ‘goosebumps’ response this series."

But does Nikita Kuzmin still believe they can win it? (BBC)

Judi added that the lack of sexual spark this series makes it a bit strange.

"This season of Strictly is oddly and sadly lacking in any sexual sizzle, electric chemistry or romance out there on the dancefloor and Ellie and Nikita did serve up a rather breathtakingly romantic routine in week 2," he told us.

"Their body language off the dancefloor is making them look like really close friends and tonight Nikita was showing his relief by burying his head in Ellie’s shoulder and they were still nudging heads after their interview which is a great sign of trust and empathy as well as their shared sense of humour.

'Hopefully they’ll be bringing some more romance back next week because their comedy Halloween routine left them looking vulnerable for the first time."

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