Tuesday 20 August 2019

Strictly’s trip to Blackpool sparks Spice Girls reunion and ballroom rave

Alexandra Burke topped the leaderboard on Blackpool week.

Debbie McGee
Debbie McGee

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

James Bond, the rave scene and even a Spice Girls reunion were transported to Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom on Saturday night’s Strictly.

The eight remaining couples took to the world famous venue for week nine of the competition, with Alexandra Burke and partner Gorka Marquez topping the leaderboard for a second week running after scoring 39 for their arcade-themed quickstep.

But it was fellow favourite Debbie McGee who brought “girl power to the tower”, according to judge Bruno Tonioli, as she channelled her inner Geri Halliwell for a samba to a medley from the Spice Girls, which included a mock reunion with four backing dancers taking on the roles of the rest of the pop group.

She and partner Giovanni Pernice collected 33 points for the performance which Tonioli labelled a “great tribute to pop icons”.

They were watched by a star-studded audience which included Sir Lenny Henry, Peter Kay, JK Rowling and Graham Norton.

Rowling was in attendance to cheer on Scottish comedian Susan Calman, who ended the night at the bottom of the leaderboard with 25 points after a paso doble with partner Kevin Clifton based on the final dance of film Strictly Ballroom.

Soap star Gemma Atkinson collected 38, her highest total to date, with partner Aljaž Skorjanec for their American smooth to Petula Clark’s Downtown – which left them in second place on the leaderboard before the public vote.

EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami had a “licence to thrill” according to Tonioli, as he descended from the roof in a parachute harness in a portrayal of James Bond.

His paso doble with partner Nadiya Bychkova to Paul McCartney and Wings’ Live And Let Die scored 35 points, leaving the duo just ahead of Holby City’s Joe McFadden and partner Katya Jones – who brought the rave to Blackpool with a salsa to dancefloor anthem Ride On Time.

The Saturdays’ Mollie King opened the show with a charleston to Little Mix’s Wings, which featured several lifts and was lauded by Shirley Ballas.

They picked up 29 points, with head judge Ballas telling King – who has twice been in the dance-off – she had “finally found your wings”.

“What a way to open the show,” Ballas added.

Paralympian Jonnie Peacock, who was in last week’s dance-off, and partner Oti Mabuse scored 26 points for a tango to Sweet Dreams.

:: Strictly Come Dancing’s results show airs at 7.15pm on BBC One.

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