Strictly Come Dancing Week 9, The Judges Are Getting Tougher – as the series hit Week 9 and the post-Blackpool euphoria died away it seems the judges have decided to get tougher with the remaining celebrity dancers.
After last week’s flurry of maximum scores there was just one solitary sighting of a 10 this week, and ironically this came after a dance to the song ‘Where Have You Been”, a sentiment no doubt echoed by the celebrities and their professional dance partners.
As in many of the earlier weeks it was former Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede who topped the leaderboard, and unsurprisingly received that only 10 of the night from Bruno Tonioli.
In fact none of the dancers managed to produce a performance that received a higher score this week than their performance last week at Blackpool. It was only Ashley and Ola who managed to equal their previous week’s score with the 35 points they received for their Waltz, danced to Whitney Houston’s I Will Alway’s Love You. On the basis of the judges scoring tonight we would conservatively reckon that last week that same dance would have got them at least an extra 3 or 4 points.
Although the judges may have been asked to start getting a little stricter with their marking truth to tell this week’s show lacked a little sparkle compared to last week’s Blackpool spectacular. When the show goes all out like it did last week perhaps it is unfair to expect that same level every week.
Last week’s ‘belle of the ball’ was thought by most observers to be news presenter Susanna Reid with her partner the catchily named ‘Kevin from Grimsby.’ This week it was Susanna’s turn to open the show and they were the first pair to see that the judges were in a very different mood to last week. If the scores were down on last week’s then the level of criticism coming from the judges was even greater by comparison. If you had tuned in and just listened to the judge’s comments on Susanna’s performance tonight you might have thought you missed the Strictly version of a car crash.
In truth although Susanna’s dance tonight lacked the power and emotion of last week she is still one of the show’s best dancers. In fact if you look at the current odds a number of bookmakers have Susanna as the favourite to lift the glitterball trophy this year. Apart from her most die-hard fans most would agree that Susanna is probably not the best overall dancer which is and has consistently been Natalie, however it is Susanna’s personality and natural warmth which may well give her the edge with the public.
As we have said before it is not normally the best dancer who takes the Strictly title but it is quite often the dancer who has improved the most or in Strictly-speak has had the biggest ‘journey.’
In a week where the programme has moved up a gear in what it expects from those taking part it is Ben and Mark who find themselves struggling at the bottom of the pack.
Ben and Kristina’s Charleston to Blackstreet’s No Diggity scored just 27 points with Craig awarding Ben just 6 points which is clearly not good enough for Week 9. Good looks and muscles may have got the former England rugby star to the home of ballroom but they are looking unlikely to take him all the way to the final on current form.
After all those years of sharing a changing room with a load of hairy rugby players we wonder if Ben is still not able to believe his luck at his current dance partner. You can see in the look on his face in this still from tonight’s show that 2 things seem to be puzzling Ben!
Likewise Mark and Iveta’s Foxtrot to Michael Buble’s It’s A Beautiful Day eared them just 1 more point with a total of 28 from the judges. Again Craig thought it only worth 6 poInts but Darcey’s score of 8 was enough to give Mark a slender lead over Ben.
Our guess is like last week the public are likely to vote in a similar way to the judges and we will see Mark in the dance-off for the 2nd week running and he is likely to be joined by Ben. The decision as to who is to stay is likely to be a very close one and unlike many other weeks the judges are unlikely to know who they will pick until both celebrities have danced for a 2nd time.
As usual the Strictly Results Show is presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman on BBC1 with a start time this week of 7.20 p.m.