Neither celebrity was a stranger to the red light: both Ramsay and Stephenson had appeared in two previous dance-offs. And they were closely matched in many ways, since both had nabbed perfect scores in the past but also had some troubled dances. In another week, with different styles, their fortunes could easily have been reversed, but a gulf of five points, with Ballas awarding Stephenson a 10 for his waltz on Saturday, meant that Ramsay was unlikely to overhaul him. Even if partner Nikita Kuzman did his level best to get their samba party started by ripping off his shirt mid-dance.
In a heartfelt exit speech, Ramsay thanked her partner and the Strictly team for giving her such a positive experience on the show, calling it an extraordinary time and saying she’d learned a lot about herself and what she could accomplish. Kuzman, in turn, expressed his gratitude to Ramsay and the programme. The flamboyant professional dancer made a strong debut, providing some memorable routines and bringing Ramsay out of her shell. He will surely return next season. If not, Magic Mike Live is calling.
As for Ramsay, she surprised viewers with her chameleonic performances and fierce commitment. She should be proud of making it this far in a very strong season. At least dad Gordon can now build up his hard man reputation once again after being caught sobbing in the ballroom.
Strictly’s contrary quartet actually agree on something
Though Stephenson’s victory was pretty certain, Craig Revel Horwood might actually have saved Ramsay. He’d scored both of them a 7 on Saturday, so disagreed with his fellow judges that the difference was that great, and he said that he saw improvement in both dance-off performances. However, despite the distractions of the “flashy and semi-naked” samba, as he put it, he ultimately went with Stephenson.
Cynthia Erivo did too, basing her decision on details like the finishing of the footwork, while Anton Du Beke praised Ramsay for her great performance and fighting spirit, but was swayed by Stephenson’s better technique and quality. For once, Shirley Ballas – whose vote wasn’t needed since it was another majority decision – was in line with her fellow judges: she too would have saved Stephenson, she confirmed. It’s an early Christmas miracle.
Is our CBBC boy heading for the exit?
Poor Stephenson landed in yet another dance-off, even though he had something of a breakthrough with his nicely controlled waltz. That means it’ll take an almighty performance next week – and, crucially, a top score – to keep him in the competition, since he clearly doesn’t have the same public support as his castmates. He came into the competition blazing with talent but, other than in the freestyle numbers, hasn’t quite converted it into Strictly success.
In contrast Walker – who finished second from bottom on Saturday but was again rescued by voters – seemed like obvious cannon fodder, but has hung on with grim determination. Could he, or should he, actually make the final? With just three rather than four finalists this year, following Robert Webb’s withdrawal, it’s a tough ask, and would arguably mean losing a more deserving candidate. But stranger things have happened on Strictly. We’ve seen the likes of Jamie Laing, Christopher Parker and Mark Wright make it all the way, and Walker’s colleague Chris Hollins even lifted the glitterball trophy.