Only 2 weeks left in the competition after this weekend. The stakes are getting higher but also it is now becoming harder and harder to choose between the excellent standard being delivered by the couples in these later stages!
The really exciting part about the competition this year is the change in the leaderboard every week! No front runner has yet emerged, which makes it even more exciting watching the couples jostle every week for the top spot.
The judges clearly have a very important job in shaping the outcome of the competition as well as influencing the public vote. How much did our pro's at RISE agree with the judges this week? Over to Rosie to find out.
Rhys & Nancy - Argentine Tango
Another Argentine tango at the top of the leaderboard! This style seems to be incredibly popular with the public but also I think the couples. It is a very enjoyable style to dance and perform and I think this helps bring out the best in the couples.
Rhys and Nancy's performance really impressed me this week. Actually I think it is my favourite performance from the series so far. I loved whole concept, from the staging and lighting, costumes, music and how the choreography and conviction to the dance brought all of these elements together. I always feel that danced well this style should bring a feeling of tension and bring the audience to the edge of their seats and I felt they did this!
I thought technically the dance was impeccably delivered with some wonderful lifts, with fantastic transitions. But for me I loved the musicality and the sharp accented movements which matched perfectly with the percussion highlights in the music. Cleverly choreographed and perfectly danced, and not easy to do with a live orchestra!
Amazing work from Rhys and Nancy!!
Rose & Giovanni - American Smooth
A lovely, sweet, feel good routine from Rose & Giovanni. Fantastic to see that they incorporated so much content into the Foxtrot element of the choreography, with plenty of time in hold rather than relying on gimmicks. I feel this should always be rewarded as it requires a lot of hard work to produce a routine as they did that looks clean, polished and well rehearsed. You can see the work ethic in this couple which I love.
I thought Roses' frame and position in hold was great, well maintained and she showed some lovely body lines through quite difficult choreography. I would say occasionally she ends up slightly backweighted, especially in the pivots. Though these are a very tough figure to execute and credit needs to be given for attempting these well! If Rose can accentuate her headline more through her poise this will only serve to further show her grace and elegance on the floor!
John & Johannes - Salsa
I was slightly disappointed by this performance tonight. Perhaps because we have come to expect such a high standard from them or more likely the dance just didn't suit them as a team.
I've mentioned in earlier weeks how they look best in side by side performance based choreography, however the salsa requires more time in hold and is a more intricate style. I feel they struggled to deliver this as well. I also think this dance showed one of John's main weaknesses which is the stiffness and lack of fluidity of movement in his torso and back. The Salsa requires a constant fluid movement that blends from one step into the next, tonight John looked out of his depth compared to Johannes and I think that is a shame for them.
Nevertheless they still always give 100% in energy and commitment and are always entertaining to watch. I particularly loved how Johannes covered up the failed landing of the last lift, a true competitor right there!
Dan & Nadiya - Tango
I feel watching Dan in this dance is like watching a dancer of two halves. His footwork and leg actions is massively better than his upper body position, frame and poise.
I would say some of his steps, particularly when syncopated, are far too skippy for the tango and his is missing the connection of his weight to the floor. But credit can not be taken away from his footwork which shows clear articulation and a great leg position.
Unfortunately his upper body let him down, more strength was needed through his posture and poise and his back was not able to support the shape needed for the couple. This left him slightly lacking in showing the dominance required from the leader in a Tango and the staccato action to compliment the figures!
Saying that I actually quite enjoyed the dance as I felt he gave great commitment to the role and was enjoyable to watch.
AJ & Kai - Salsa
A brave entrance from AJ, a solo start to the performance which should always be applauded rather than always relying on a pro! AJ has so much energy and personality and I feel this shone through all the way through. She does have a natural stage presence which I think always make her enjoyable to watch.
I feel again like John the suppleness and fluidity required in a Salsa just wasn't there, and some of her arm and leg lines require more finesse in the finishing, which again made her look a bit stiff.
Despite this she is a wonderful natural dancer and deserves credit for her consistency across all styles. She definitely deserved to stay in the competition!