It was all about the lifts in this eventful quarter-final. Four routines featured our celebrities lifting or being lifted, though it didn’t quite go to plan for some. John Whaite and AJ Odudu’s otherwise strong salsas were marred by botched final lifts, while Rhys Stephenson and Rose Ayling-Ellis finished joint top of the leaderboard after their impressive tricks hit. Still, you have to take risks at this stage. Dan Walker’s tango, which was decent but flawed, was the exception – but will his fanbase come to the rescue again? Join us for the results show at 7:20pm on Sunday night on BBC One to find out.
John Whaite has a crash landing
Dancing the first of the night’s two salsas, Whaite and Johannes Radebe definitely got the party started. Wearing sparkly shirts and backed by pyrotechnics, their disco-styled number to Sister Sledge’s We Are Family was sharp, rhythmic and bags of fun. Whaite has definitely overcome his initial shyness about expressing himself. Unfortunately, the last of their ambitious lifts came unstuck: Rabebe gave his partner the wrong hand going into it, meaning Whaite had to snatch at him to get the lift in the air – and then dropped him at the end of it like a sack of bricks. Whoops.
The judges were fairly kind, praising the bulk of the dance. Shirley Ballas liked that Whaite had taken their note about adding different content and found it entertaining, while Anton Du Beke loved the disco framing – though, weirdly, seemed to think it was a new concept rather than what we now see with nearly every Latin routine on Strictly. Craig Revel Horwood praised Whaite’s hip action, though wanted more dynamics, while Motsi Mabuse said they needed to take risks like that to reach the next level. The risk didn’t quite pay off on this occasion, with a mixed lot of scores from 7 to 9.