Sunday 19 November 2017

Strictly's Halloween night smashes X Factor with 10.6 million viewers

Ed Balls and Katya Jones
Ed Balls and Katya Jones
X Factor Fright Night. Picture: ITV
Laura Whitmore with dance partner Giovanni Pernice
Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton in their Harley Quinn and Joker costumes

Strictly Come Dancing's spooky Halloween special was the most-watched programme in the UK as it smashed X Factor in the ratings again.

An average of almost 10 million tuned in as former shadow chancellor Ed Balls conjured a magic dance potion that saw him score his best place on the judge's leader board so far.

The BBC One show on Saturday had a peak audience of 10.6 million and an average of 9.8 million, giving it a 44.8% audience share.

Over on ITV1, X Factor's Fright Night show was watched by an average 5.7 million viewers, with a peak of 6.5 and an audience share of 28%.

X Factor Fright Night. Picture: ITV
X Factor Fright Night. Picture: ITV

Dressed as a mad scientist ex-Labour MP Balls was awarded 26 points for his cha cha cha with partner Katya Jones to Hansel Martinez's version of Love Potion No. 9.

Full of pelvic thrusts and crotch-grabbing, the dance wooed the judges with Bruno Tonioli deeming it "toxic, addictive and horribly fabulous".

Craig Revel Horwood, who has awarded the pair two points for their last two performances, was hysterically laughing as he admitted the dance was "on time" .

Head judge Len Goodman called it Balls's "best dance yet".

Laura Whitmore with dance partner Giovanni Pernice
Laura Whitmore with dance partner Giovanni Pernice

For the first time since week two the pair were not bottom of the leaderboard as singer Anastacia and partner Brendan Cole collected just 25 points for their jive to Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf.

Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford became tearful after his rumba to Evanescence's Bring Me To Life with partner Natalie Lowe, scoring just 26 points putting them level with Balls and Jones.

At the top of the leaderboard was Laura Whitmore who missed last week's show with an ankle injury.

The TV presenter returned with partner Giovanni Pernice and danced a tango to Rolling Stones' Paint It Black which judges scored them a new high of 36.

Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton in their Harley Quinn and Joker costumes
Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton in their Harley Quinn and Joker costumes

They were joined by Olympian gymnast Claudia Fragapane and partner AJ Pritchard who also earned 36 for their American Smooth to Little Mix's Black Magic.

First to perform on fright night were Louise Redknapp and professional partner Kevin Clifton, who danced the charleston to the Emeli Sande version of Crazy In Love.

Clifton transformed into Batman's nemesis The Joker with Redknapp, whose husband and ex-footballer Jamie Redknapp was in the audience, playing sidekick Harley Quinn.

The pair were handed 35 points from the judges with Len Goodman calling the performance a "dandy, marvel and more fun than a Beano".

Sports presenter Ore Oduba who has topped the leaderboard for the past two weeks collected 32 points for his charleston to the Bow Wow Wow version of I Want Candy.

Donning a werewolf costume Oduba was marked down by Revel-Horwood for lacking swivel.

The Halloween special opened with a tribute to Pete Burns who died last week after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The weekly group dance was performed to the former Dead Or Alive frontman's biggest hit, You Spin Me Round (Like A Record).

Show bosses revealed the routine had been in the planning for months, adding: "We couldn't think of a better way to honour his name - and this brilliant track - than to make it the most spectacular Halloween Special group dance in the show's history."

Burns co-wrote the hit track which went to number one in the UK in 1985.

Following the dance, host Tess Daly said: "We send our love to his family and friends."

After finishing bottom of the leaderboard Anastacia became the favourite to leave the competition on Sunday's show.

"The betting suggests Anastacia could be in for a nasty surprise this Halloween as she is odds-on to depart this weekend following the latest show in the series," said Coral's John Hill.

Press Association

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