In a bittersweet turn of events, Krishnan Guru-Murthy bids farewell to the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom after an incredibly heartwarming journey. Despite defying expectations and immersing himself in the world of ballroom, Guru-Murthy's samba fell short on the technical front, placing him adrift on the leaderboard. Although his absence from Blackpool is regrettable, it feels like a fair outcome for a contestant who, alongside his dance partner Lauren Oakley, has become an unexpected advocate for the joy of dance.
Guru-Murthy's transformation throughout the competition is notable, from the cha cha cha to Boom Shack-A-Lak in the first week to a Halloween monster and a hip-shaking samba king named "Juan." His Cabaret-themed Charleston showcased his inner performer, the paso doble revealed his strength as a leader, and the quickstep concluded with a note of sheer bliss. More than just a dancer, Guru-Murthy endeared himself to the nation by openly expressing the happiness dance brought him, surprising even his own family with this newfound version of Krishnan.
In his farewell speech, Guru-Murthy labeled the experience "life-changing" and expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the show. He credited Lauren Oakley as the "real Strictly star" and predicted a bright future for her. In response, Oakley praised Guru-Murthy as the embodiment of what Strictly is about and acknowledged him as a dream first partner. As the dance-offs intensify each week, the decision between Angela Rippon and Guru-Murthy in this round was notably contentious. While both delivered commendable performances, the closeness of the competition added an extra layer of complexity to the decision-making process.
In the crucial dance-off, Angela Rippon and Krishnan Guru-Murthy faced off, each delivering noteworthy performances with their unique strengths and challenges. Rippon encountered a noticeable error in her paso doble, nearly slipping during a big kick, a move that had troubled her on Saturday as well. Despite the hiccup, she skillfully recovered on both occasions. On the other side, Guru-Murthy elevated his performance but missed a connection, narrowing the gap between them. Originally seven points apart on the leaderboard, the closer contest complicated the judges' decision.
Craig Revel Horwood praised Guru-Murthy's improvement, labeling him "magnificent." However, he acknowledged Rippon's near mishap and ultimately chose to send her through. Motsi Mabuse expressed her indecision, emphasizing the challenge of the decision-making process. Ultimately, she voted for "fundamentals and technical level," favoring Rippon. Anton Du Beke commended both couples for a "super" dance-off and concurred with Mabuse, declaring Rippon the winner in terms of "cleaner technique."
Interestingly, head judge Shirley Ballas, although her vote did not count due to the majority decision, revealed that she would have saved Guru-Murthy. Her rationale focused on his being "more grounded on [his] feet, without any technical errors." This marked the second consecutive dance-off for Rippon, prompting speculation about her trajectory in the competition.
While Rippon has received consistent praise from the judges, some viewers question whether she has been judged leniently, possibly due to her age or her esteemed status as the original Come Dancing host. Despite this, she has showcased the essence of her mission: proving that dancing is ageless, benefiting senior citizens both physically and mentally. Blackpool might mark a fitting swansong for Rippon, who has undoubtedly earned her place on the floor through a brilliant run in the competition.
Remembrance Sunday on Strictly Come Dancing took a poignant turn as the professionals paid tribute to servicemen and women, past and present. Kai Widdrington portrayed a naval officer departing for war, leaving his sweetheart, played by Lauren Oakley. This moving lyrical performance, set to "Heaven Is A Place On Earth," seamlessly blended studio and pre-recorded segments, providing a heartfelt moment on the dance floor.
The evening also featured a breathtaking rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" by special guests Andrea Bocelli, who also played the guitar, and his poised 11-year-old daughter, Virginia. Giovanni Pernice and Dianne Buswell accompanied the performance with elegant dance moves, showcasing their artistry, albeit with a notable emphasis on spins.
However, the scoring dynamics raised eyebrows, with head judge Shirley Ballas opting to withhold a perfect 10 for certain standout performances. Despite Anton Du Beke expressing an inability to find faults in Ellie Leach's rumba, the judges awarded it a 9. Layton Williams received enthusiastic praise for his Argentine tango, with Craig Revel Horwood describing it as "A-maze-ing," yet he refrained from presenting a 10.
The mystery surrounding the sparing use of the perfect score led to speculation, with some suspecting that Revel Horwood might be reserving the coveted 10 for a significant Blackpool moment. However, the perceived arbitrariness of the scoring raised questions about consistency and the need to recognize exceptional performances more readily, even if the preference is generally to withhold perfect scores until later in the competition.
In the world of Strictly, where subjective judgments abound, the call for more 10s stems from the desire to duly acknowledge outstanding performances, ensuring that exceptional moments receive the recognition they deserve, even from the discerning judges.
In conclusion, Remembrance Sunday brought a poignant and moving tribute on Strictly Come Dancing as the professionals honored servicemen and women through a heartfelt performance. The evening showcased not only the dance artistry of the contestants but also featured a soul-stirring rendition of "Hallelujah" by special guests Andrea Bocelli and his daughter Virginia.
However, the scoring dynamics, particularly the sparing use of perfect 10s by head judge Craig Revel Horwood, sparked intrigue and speculation. The discrepancy between enthusiastic praise for performances and the hesitancy to award a perfect score raised questions about consistency and the criteria for reserving such high marks.
While the mystery behind the selective use of 10s may suggest an anticipation for a significant Blackpool moment, the call for more liberal use of perfect scores emphasizes the desire to recognize outstanding performances promptly. Striking a balance between preserving the prestige of perfect scores and acknowledging exceptional moments earlier in the competition is a subjective challenge for the judges. As the Strictly journey continues, the debate over scoring nuances adds an additional layer of excitement and discussion among viewers and fans.