Strictly Come Dancing 2017, Blackpool, week 9, Sunday results: Debbie McGee survives, but was Jonnie Peacock 'cheated' in the dance-off?

Rebecca Hawkes
Debbie McGee and Jonnie Peacock went head to head in tonight's dance off  - PA

  • Paralympian Jonnie Peacock left the show after a dance-off with Debbie McGee, who was previously one of the favourites to win the competition
  • The professionals opened with a Northern Soul tribute, while Tears for Fears performed their 1980s hit Everybody Wants To Rule the World
  • Michael Ball and Alfie Boe also performed a duet together, ahead of the dance-off

We're sad to see Jonnie Peacock go - but let's face it, that wasn't the most suspenseful dance-off of all time

Okay, so the fact that she was in the dance-off in the first place was a bit of a shock. But we all knew that Debbie McGee, one of the favourites to win overall, would likely be saved by the judges - and, as expected, her performance tonight secured her place in next week's show. Cries of "favouritism" are out of place, though: Jonnie was an inspiring and entertaining dancer, but we think McGee had the technical edge. She deserves to stay in the show, and her brush with danger will doubtless spur her fans into voting for her again. She'll probably need to regain her former flair and up her place on the leaderboard in the next few weeks if she wants to stay out of trouble, however.

Tess Daly with Jonnie Peacock and Oti Mabuse

But not everyone is on board with this

The judges have made their decision. But, despite this, some viewers are certain that they spotted mistakes in McGee's dance-off tonight, and that Jonnie was cheated out of his rightful place on next week's show. 

The outrage follows on from allegations made by former Strictly professional James Jordan, who previously claimed on Twitter that McGee was being marked far too leniently by the judges.

Oh, and just to add fuel to the glittery fire? Some people have decided that comments made by judge Bruno Tonioli tonight have provided further evidence of the alleged favouritism. 

"Let me say, they both did great jobs, great performances, very different, very effective but I have to save the couple who I think overall is much stronger and for that reason I save Debbie and Giovanni," he said, when making his decision. 

Peacock fans are claiming that Tonioli's reference to the couple being much stronger "overall" shows that, contrary to protocol, he was not basing his choice on the dance-off alone.

The paralympian's 'thank you' to the judges was moving and important

"I think it's been an absolute honour to be the first disabled person [on Strictly] and I just want to thank each and every one of you for judging me as an equal," Peacock told the four judges, after his departure from the show was confirmed tonight. "That's what I want. You can criticise me; I want that criticism. I think that's fantastic and hopefully it's paved the way for more people to come through - and I think they may be able to tuck their bum under a little bit better than me."

The athlete's light-hearted allusion to his posterior, and its habit of sticking out during his dances, may also silence those who felt that the judges were wrong to repeatedly highlight this problem. Some claimed that, as the issue may have been related to the contestant's prosthetic leg and the way he balances overall, it was wrong of the judges to single it out. Peacock's words tonight, however, made it clear that he wasn't interested in having any concessions made on his behalf. We're sad to see him go - and delighted he made it all the way to Blackpool week.

Susan Calman survives another week, despite being bottom of the leaderboard

The likable comedian, who achieved a combined score of 25 after her Saturday night Paso Doble, has managed to survive the show's traditional Blackpool turning point, and dance on for one more week. "Bottom of the leaderboard but top of the happiness charts. If you want us to keep dancing then please vote!" she previously told fans on Twitter - and her plea seems to have paid off.

Susan Calman and dance partner Kevin Clifton

 

8:00PM

No more sweet dreams for Jonnie Peacock as he leaves the competition - and thanks panel for judging him 'as an equal'

Craig and Darcey both opted to save Debbie and Giovanni and the final deciding vote fell to Bruno, who also opted to save McGee - meaning that it was time to say goodbye to poor Peacock and his partner Oti Mabuse.

Movingly - and importantly - the athlete and amputee thanked the panel for judging him "as an equal" throughout the competition.

"I think it's been an absolute honour to be the first disabled person, and I just want to thank each and every one of you for judging me as an equal," he told the four judges. "That's what I want. You can criticise me; I want that criticism. I think that's fantastic and hopefully it's paved the way for more people to come through - and I think they may be able to tuck their bum under a little bit better than me."

Jonnie Peacock was voted off after tonight's dance-off, after the judges opted to save Debbie McGee

 

7:45PM

Debbie McGee and Jonnie Peacock will compete in this week's dance-off

Jonnie we were perhaps expecting - but Debbie's fall from grace (no doubt a consequence of her literal fall from grace and lower-than-anticipated score) remains the big surprise of the night.

The two couples ahead of tonight's dance-off

"It's a horrible experience... but I am a performer, so I'll give it my best," she said ahead of her dance-off performance.

 

7:43PM

"Nothing ever lasts forever..."

And, as Tears for Fears just sang, everybody wants to rule the world - and, more importantly, claim the Glitterball trophy for themselves. But tonight's unexpected result suggests that Debbie's streak of luck could be over.

Fans are reacting with shock - but let this be a reminder. If you don't vote for your favourites, they won't get through - no matter how "safe" you might think they are.

 

7:30PM

Debbie McGee will be in the dance-off

The first results are in, and Gemma and Aljaz, Susan and Kevin and Davood and Nadiya are all safe. But - shock twist! - Debbie McGee will be in the dance-off for the first time.

 

7:21PM

The Northern Soul tribute goes down a storm

That opening medley from the professionals received a rapturous reaction from the Blackpool audience, and from viewers at home - with "Northern Twitter" proving especially appreciative.

 

7:18PM

And here we go...

Just in case tonight's dancing isn't up to scratch (unlikely, when the ever-impressive professionals are involved) BBC viewers have been promised a "jellyfish ballet" at 8pm, when Blue Planet II starts. So that's something.

7:08PM

Last night's scores: a quick reminder

While we wait for the fun to begin - we've been promised a tribute to Northern Soul from our professionals,  music from Tears for Fears, and a duet from Alfie Boe and Michael Ball - here's a quick reminder of last night's scoreboard:

Alexandra and Gorka - combined total of 39/40

Gemma and Aljaz - 38/40

Davood and Nadiya - 35/40

Joe and Katya - 34/40

Debbie and Giovanni - 33/40

Mollie and AJ - 29/40

Jonnie and Oti - 26/40

Susan and Kevin - 25/40

7:02PM

So who's in trouble?

Bookmakers' odds tends to vary as the competition rolls on, but right now things are still looking good for the fearsomely flexible Debbie McGee. The 59-year-old remains the overall favourite to win, despite her slide to fifth place last night. If she survives this week - assuming fans still vote for her - then let's hope that her diminished scores were just a temporary blip. 

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice, who are still the favourites to win, perform on Saturday night

The favourite for elimination, meanwhile, is poor Jonnie Peacock - but expect some controversy if he does leave. He was criticised by the judges for sticking out his behind too much during his routine, but his fans have been quick to point out that a) this is something the paralympian may need to do, to compensate for issues caused by his prosthetic leg and b) that they're actually big fans of the Peacock Posterior, thank you very much.

 

6:22PM

Welcome to the Strictly Blackpool results show

Good evening, and welcome to our Strictly results show live blog.

Last night, the remaining eight couples (plus one stray plastic seagull) treated us to an action-packed, backing dancer-packed extravaganza at Blackpool's historic Tower Ballroom. Voters' favourite Debbie McGee did her very best Ginger Spice impression, but failed to achieve the same high scores as recent weeks, while Alexandra Burke and her Quickstep finished top of the leaderboard with an almost-perfect total of 39. Joe McFadden ( a respectable fourth place) got into the "Ride On Time" spirit by riding a clock.

Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez received an almost-perfect 39

Bottom of the leaderboard, alas, was Susan Calman and dance partner Kevin, who received a combined score of just 25 from the judges - and had their dance compared to "a Paso Doble that had shrunk in the wash", courtesy of Bruno. They could be in trouble tonight, as could Jonnie Peacock and Oti, who were just one point above them with a score of 26.

The all-important results show kicks off on BBC One at 7.15pm tonight - and we'll be here to cover all the action, including the dance off, and the sad-but-inevitable elimination itself, from 7pm.