Strictly Come Dancing 2010: it's Blackpool week!
The eight remaining contestants in Strictly Come Dancing 2010 have taken to the dancefloor in this year's Blackpool edition of the show. This week saw the couples perform either a samba or an American Smooth in a bid to remain in the competition - and once again fortunes were mixed. It was an especially good night for Matt Baker and Pamela Stephenson, who scored their first 10s of the series from the judges, and found themselves in first and second place on the scoreboard. Matt won particular praise for his samba with partner Aliona Vilani - a routine which he rounded off with a string of somersaults across the floor. "That was the best Brazilian to date," Bruno Tonioli told Matt before enthusiastically giving him a 10. But Len Goodman wasn't quite so sure. "Those flip flops at the end had nothing to do with the routine," he complained. "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you've got to put it in there." Nonetheless the TV presenter found himself at the top of the judges' scoreboard with an impressive 38 out of 40. Pamela Stephenson also won praise for her American Smooth with partner James Jordan, which featured several complex lifts. "I wanted hanky panky and I got it," Bruno said of the routine. "It was American frisky!" The comedienne eventually scored 37 out of 40 to finish in second place. It was also a good week for Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev, who notched up another pair of 10s from the judges for a dramatic American Smooth which had elements of paso doble. Bruno described the performance as "truly inspired and inspiring", while Craig Revel Horwood said it was "dramatic" and "fabulous". The pair managed to complete the routine despite Artem suffering a painful neck injury in rehearsals which threatened to put paid to him taking part in the show at all. Scott and Natalie, meanwhile, failed to improve upon their jive from last weekend which saw them drop just one point out of a possible 40. This week the pair scored 32 from the judges after receiving a mixed response for their samba. "I believe you've tried hard, but without success," Craig said, although Alesha Dixon was kinder. "You can see you've worked so hard to master those steps," she remarked, "that was right up there with the rest of them." Felicity Kendal also had a better week after finding herself in the bottom two for the second time last weekend - her American Smooth won her 30 points out of 40 and scored some decent reviews from the judges. "I actually think you did a really good job," Alesha told the actress, "that was your best dance." And Gavin Henson and Patsy Kensit found themselves near the bottom of the scoreboard as the competition became increasingly fierce. Patsy kicked the show off with a samba which Alesha said was "stunning" but Craig complained lacked "hip action", while Gavin's American Smooth failed to impress the notorious hard to please judge. "It was lame and lacklustre," he said, while Bruno had his own issues. "You're so powerful," he said, "why do you get so nervous?" Ann Widdecombe, meanwhile, rounded off the show performing a comical samba with partner Anton du Beke. The former MP, clad in a voluminous yellow dress, gave it her all as she was thrown and dragged across the dancefloor - but the unimpressed judges gave her just 13 points, her lowest score yet. "You're like haemorrhoids, Ann," Len Goodman complained. "You go away, come back and each week is more painful than the last. This must be where crop circles come from - it's where you're rehearsing." The results will be revealed on Sunday evening's show as the remaining eight couples become seven.
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.