Strictly 2023: The stars hit Blackpool but 40 points is still out of reach

Strictly Come Dancing heads to Blackpool this weekend - we follow all the action from the Tower Ballroom.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023,11-11-2023,TX8 - LIVE SHOW, Katya Jones and Nigel Harman,LIVE SHOW,BBC,Guy Levy
Strictly Come Dancing heads to Blackpool for the weekend. (BBC) (BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly Come Dancing has reached a pivotal part of the 2023 series as the remaining dancers headed to Blackpool.

The cast hit the legendary Blackpool Tower Ballroom, a venue very familiar to former Come Dancing host Angela Rippon.

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin gave us one of the most incredible Couple's Choice routines ever seen on Strictly, but Craig Revel Horwood still refused to budge from nine points, leaving them still chasing a perfect 40.

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola also impressed with an identical score for their Blackpool-themed Charleston, but who will find themselves in the dance off this time?

Here's all the action as it happened from Blackpool.

Live coverage is over
  • Katie Archer

    Voting is open

    That's it for another week - get voting now to keep your favourites out of the dance off.

    Who will make it back down to London for next Saturday? Keep watching for Sunday's results show.

    Craig and Motsi sum up the vibe of the night

  • Katie Archer

    Nigel and Katya close the show on a high

    It's back to the upbeat numbers for the final routine of the night, for Nigel Harman and Katya Jones' Quickstep.

    This dance seemed right up Nigel's street as he conducted the band in a white tails suit and bow tie.

    Upbeat, but with some mistakes

    Craig agreed it was right up his street, too - but unfortunately said "the footwork went wrong quite a bit".

    Motsi said that despite the mistake, it was "some of the best dancing we've seen today".

    Anton added: "You're such a leading man - we could see you on any West End stage," but agreed with the others that there were lots of mistakes tonight.

    Those mistakes took their toll on the scores and left Nigel looking disappointed as he got 7, 8, 8 and 8 - 31 points.

  • Katie Archer

    Angela and Carlos change the pace

    Not everyone can go for the fun Blackpool vibe, so it was a tough call for Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu with the Argentine Tango, which is always going to struggle to take up enough of that giant ballroom.

    But with some clever lighting and an unashamedly intense routine, they managed to make it work.

    Anton's favourite dance of the night

    Anton thought they pulled it off, saying: "Your legs are beautiful, you have immaculate legs, darling. There's been some great dances tonight - this has been my favourite."

    However, Craig thought Angela's legs were "a little stiff" but praised their partnership and storytelling.

    Motsi told Angela: "This was your best number...incredible," while Shirley added: "I'm so overwhelmed with that performance. I absolutely adored it."

    Craig was in disagreement with the others as he scored an 8 while the others gave 10s - 38 points.

  • Katie Archer

    Ellie and Vito's Blackpool-tastic Charleston

    Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola have been topping the scores of late, but they're clearly not slacking off now as they threw every bit of energy into their fast paced Charleston.

    Their routine to Girls Aloud's Love Machine took a Blackpool arcade theme and included some nerve-jangling lifts for Ellie.

    Craig's favourite ever swivel

    Shirley said: "A partnership built on trust. Those lifts...we were very, very nervous."

    Craig told them: "My goodness, that has to be one of the hardest Charlestons we've ever seen. Also, the best cross swivel I've seen ever."

    And Motsi added: "For me to describe that Charleston, the only word left is perfect."

    They matched Layton's score exactly - 9 and three 10s, making 39 points.

  • Katie Archer

    Annabel and Johannes give goosebumps

    Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe brought us the second American Smooth of the night, but with a very different and more romantic vibe.

    Tonight, Annabel went for all the lifts and a dizzying amount of spins in a graceful blue silk gown with a very flashy collar.

    Annabel and Johannes danced a graceful number

    Shirley said the dance almost brought her to tears, while Anton said: "Your line is the best line in the whole competition."

    Craig added: "You have come such a long, long way from the beginning. This is incredible, gorgeous."

    Annabel and Johannes scored 8, 9, 9 and 9, making a total of 35 points.

  • Katie Archer

    Layton and Nikita's Couple's Choice

    It was an emotional start for Layton Williams tonight as he caught up with his family who are close by to Blackpool and they tearfully shared how proud they are of him.

    If anyone was going to smash a Couple's Choice it was Layton and Nikita, who turned up in sequinned corsets and threw everything at it, including pole dancing and back flips.

    It's another 39 points for Layton and Nikita

    Craig got one of the biggest boos of the series as he said: "This is a little bit of a dilemma for me because I loved it but it wasn't entirely in sync."

    But Motsi told him: "Babes you rocked it, there's no question about that."

    Shirley added: "It takes a lot to impress me but this really is creative genius."

    Still a 9 from Craig, but 10s from everyone else - another 39 points for Layton and Nikita, as the rest of the cast chanted "40, 40, 40" in support.

  • Katie Archer

    Angela Rippon finally gets to dance at Blackpool

    Angela Rippon knows a little more about the Tower Ballroom than most as a former host of Come Dancing - so it's particularly special for her that she gets to dance on tonight's visit.

    She and Kai Widdrington had an American Smooth with Angela in a classic ballroom feathered gown.

    Angela's back at the Tower Ballroom after 40 years away

    The pair hit headlines this week for their controversial save in last week's dance off and Craig Revel Horwood pointed out some mistakes again tonight, as did Motsi.

    Head judge Shirley Ballas reminisced about seeing Angela host Come Dancing, saying: "It's a bit nostalgic for me, I'm getting quite emotional. One tiny little hiccup, but the whole performance, you can just be so proud of yourself."

    Some disappointing scores for Angela and Kai - 6, 7, 7 and 8, making 28 points.

  • Katie Archer

    Kelvin's back in the ballroom...

    ...but only for the terms and conditions.

    Former winner Kelvin Fletcher assured us his whole family are still avid Strictly fans, and had all that handy voting info, too.

  • Katie Archer

    Bobby and Dianne are up first

    Who isn't championing Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell? The pair are clearly having so much fun, so a Wham! themed Jive is just perfect for them.

    Anton Du Beke was a huge fan, saying: "It was just epic. I absolutely loved it."

    Bobby and Dianne get things started

    Motsi Mabuse agreed: "That's how you open a show, I think that was your personal best."

    Bobby told Claudia Winkleman that it "feels like one big party" and was thrilled with his scores - 8, 9, 9 and 9, his highest total of 35 points.

  • Katie Archer

    The show is on

    Wow, what an opening number!

    Blackpool's back

    Clearly, it isn't just the celebrities who are thrilled to be at the Tower Ballroom - the pro cast look so excited too.

    That opening dance also brought back together a fan favourite pro pairing with Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima.

Strictly Blackpool Song and Dance List

Angela R and Kai - American Smooth to Tea for Two by Ella Fitzgerald

Angela S and Carlos - Argentine Tango to Back To Black by Amy Winehouse

Annabel and Johannes - American Smooth to Unchained Melody by Benedetta Caretta

Bobby and Dianne - Jive to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham!

Ellie and Vito - Charleston to Love Machine by Girls Aloud

Layton and Nikita - Couple’s Choice to Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera

Nigel and Katya - Quickstep to It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing by Duke Ellington