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Strictly Come Dancing, week five: 5 talking points, from Seann Walsh's misstep to Danny John-Jules scoring the first 10 of the series

The new category 'Couple's Choice' made its debut as Alfonso Ribeiro stood in for Bruno

Emma Bullimore
Saturday 20 October 2018 20:31
BBC Strictly Come Dancing opening dance

Twelve anxious couples competed in this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing, but only eleven will make it through to next week’s Halloween spook-tacular, when the dance-floor will be covered in cobwebs, pumpkins and a criminal amount of face paint.

Tonight (20 October) we saw Danny John Jules nab the first ten of the series, Seann Walsh plummet towards the bottom of the leaderboard, and Charles Venn produce a surprise routine that had everyone in tears. Plus Bruno’s understudy Alfonso Ribeiro was fun for five minutes (and then we all started missing our favourite Italian). Here are the five biggest talking points.

Will Seann and Katya get the boot?

Last week Seann and Katya pulled an amazing Charleston out the bag, protecting themselves from the dance-off – their scores were so high and, with the audience vote only being half the story, it was mathematically difficult to get them off the show. This week is very different. They had a much tougher dance in the quickstep, which always sorts the men from the boys, and it was frenetic and clumsy, a far cry from some of the more polished quicksteps we’ve seen this year. They’re second from last on the leaderboard, so this will be the real test of their popularity – they’ll need a huge swell of public support to avoid the dance-off. Which seems a bit unlikely, given recent events.

Street dancing on Strictly? The jury’s still out.

The couple’s choice category was always going to be controversial. Strictly is a show that celebrates old-school partner dancing, why would it need to showcase commercial street dance and contemporary routines? Plus, how can they justify allowing West End dancers to compete when one of the options is to do a musical theatre performance? Of course, it’s all an attempt to appeal to younger viewers (just like casting Joe Sugg, who has actually proved to be a delight). Tonight was week one of the experiment and it was a mixed bag. Charles and Karen knocked it out of the park with an incredible street routine, which left him third on the leaderboard and surely safe from returning to the dance-off. But Lauren and AJ’s contemporary number was stiff, out of place and confusing to most of us. They are third from last now, and surely it’s a bit unfair to leave them in such a vulnerable position just because the producers wanted to mess around with the format?

We all hate the cha cha!

It used to be the rumba and the samba that the couples dreaded. Now it’s the cha cha, which nobody can seem to get right. Vick and Graziano fell foul of it this evening and ended up bottom of the leaderboard, which could easily land them in the dance-off. Strictly old-timers did enjoy Shirley transforming into Len for her critique as she criticised the faffing around at the start of the routine and then told them they needed to ‘give it some welly’. Classic LG.

Danny John-Jules gets the first ten

There’s always someone every year who seems to be consistently undermarked and can never quite win over the judges. That was Danny. Until tonight. His jive was sensational: Darcey gave him two standing ovations and the first ten of the series, and Craig said it was a dance that belonged in the final. Well done Danny and Amy!

Where’s Bruno? And what’s Carlton Banks doing there?

Don’t worry, Bruno hasn’t stormed off the show, or injured himself jumping from his chair (as far as we know). In recent years he’s been taking a week off to deal with the demands of flying backwards and forwards between London and LA to judge both Strictly and Dancing with the Stars. He’ll be back next week. This year it was Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro sitting in. We thought he’d be brilliant. He was just OK. But the professional dancers couldn’t hide their disdain at being critiqued by a man famous for one fun sitcom routine to a Tom Jones song. It was like the Alesha Dixon days all over again. Also, he didn’t do the Carlton dance, which is unforgivable.

Catch up on everything that happened minute by minute with our live-blog below.

Strictly Come Dancing results show airs Sunday at 6.45pm.


Hello and welcome to The Independent's Strictly Come Dancing live blog, bringing you all the latest developments from the ballroom.

j.shepherd20 October 2018 13:48

Before we launch into today's show, catch up on everything that happened last week when Katie Piper left. 

j.shepherd20 October 2018 13:50

Last week, Katie Piper ended up leaving. She said of her time on the series: “I have taken a lot from this experience and it has all been really positive, and I’ll never forget this journey.

"Charles was the better dancer out of us two and there are some brilliant dancers in this competition and sadly I don’t think I was one of them. But I have had a great experience you know and I feel really privileged to have been here and thanks for your advice and thank you [Gorka] for all the hours.”

j.shepherd20 October 2018 15:00

As we approach tonight's episode, we should note that having Fresh Prince of Bel Air legend Alfonso Ribeiro as guest judge is not an out-field choice: the actor previously won Dancing with the Stars

j.shepherd20 October 2018 17:18

Counting down the minutes till Strictly? I strongly recommend going onto youtube and reliving Oti and Danny Mac's routines from 2016. It's unbelievable they didn't win the glitterball - forget a second Brexit referendum, this is the vote that needs a recount! Watch this one right till the end... 


emmabullimore20 October 2018 18:04

Here's tonight's guest judge, Alfonso Ribeiro creating an iconic TV moment on The Graham Norton Show with his mate Will Smith. The best part is Bradley Cooper's baffled look throughout the whole thing...


emmabullimore20 October 2018 18:23

Darcey and Alfonso are ready. As always, we're just waiting on Xander and Richard to finish their game...

emmabullimore20 October 2018 18:36

By the way I'm definitely a swing voter on this Couple's Choice idea. Part of me is always up for seeing different styles of dancing on telly. But the thought of Ashley doing a street dance and still claiming she doesn't have an advantage is a bit tedious.

emmabullimore20 October 2018 18:40

Yay, it's Strictly time!! SO ready. Like to imagine Brrrrrruno is sitting on a beach with a martini watching on his phone. Sorry, ridiculous idea. Bruno never sits down.

emmabullimore20 October 2018 18:45

If you don't sing along to the theme tune at home there's something wrong with you. Seek help. Da da da da da da....

emmabullimore20 October 2018 18:47

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