Strictly‘s Nicola Adams and Katya Jones dazzled with an energetic boxing-inspired routine on Saturday night’s second live show – which left some viewers ‘with tears in their eyes’.
Taking to the dance floor after host Tess Daly opened the show on what she called a ‘tough night’ as a new national lockdown was announced, the fab duo wowed the judges with their moves and received an impressive score of 24.
The hit performance also came amid concerns the show would be postponed due to the Prime Minister’s delayed speech – with there only being seconds to spare before BBC news cut off and the sparkling dancing competition started.
Wow! Nicola Adams and Katya Jones dazzled with the first couple’s choice of the season on Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing
Ahead of showing off their moves, Nicola was seen going back to her old boxing club in London and explaining how she got into the sport after growing up on a council estate in Leeds.
The star candidly revealed that she became a boxer ‘by accident’ after her mum couldn’t get a baby sitter took her and her brother to a boxing club.
Determined to show her story through their routine, Nicola and Katya looked every inch the dancing duo as they wowed with the first couple’s choice of the season to Shine by Years & Years.
Dressed in white and purple, Katya and Nicola flaunted the efforts of their intense rehearsals and performed a range of boxing-inspired moves in tight formation.
Personal: The pair performed a boxing-inspired routine which aimed to tell the story of Nicola’s career
After the performance, head judge Shirley Ballas said: ‘The choreography was some of best I’ve seen.
‘I loved it when you were picking up the silks, it’s not easy to keep up with a pro dancer but you did so well. And I love the awareness you had as a dancer of where Katya was.’
While Motsi Mabuse added: ‘I enjoyed watching you enjoy that! That felt so sincere. Last week you were a tiny bit tense and today you let go when the music picked up.
‘For the beginning I feel you could be a little bit softer to get bigger contrast.. but that smile. Nothing can kill that smile!
Having fun: Nicola could not stop smiling as she aced every synchronised move
Dazzling: Katya rocked a floating purple skirt while Nicola opted for white trousers and a flowing shirt
Thoughtful: The routine started with Nicola and Katya sitting on the floor with each resting a hand on their knees
Completing the trio of compliments, Craig added: ‘I have to agree, this dance truly suits you. It was earthy and into the ground. I love the story, the celebration and determination. It was like seeing someone’s life in 1 min 30. Well done, really!’
Strictly fans were also impressed by Nicola and Katya’s couples’ choice performance, with many saying it made them emotional.
One person tweeted: ‘The best dance of the night for me from Nicola and Katya. Authentic inspirational and very uplifting. I loved the story.
‘The blend of street and contemporary was stupendous . I loved the mix. Katya’s choreography was great again. Another fantastic week for Nicola.’
Powerful: Strictly fans quickly took to Twitter to praise Nicola and Katya’s emotional routine, with some saying it brought a tear to their eyes
Strictly Come Dancing Week Two – The Scores
Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez – Samba to Midnight Sky by Miley Cyrus 25
Nicola Adams and Katya Jones – Couple’s Choice to Shine by Years & Years 24
Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse – Quickstep to Talk To The Animals by Bobby Darin 24
HRVY and Janette Manrara – Viennese Waltz to Stuck With U by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber 24
Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice – Quickstep to You Are The Sunshine Of My Life by Stevie Wonder 21
Caroline Quentin and Johannes Radebe – Paso Doble to El Gato Montes by Ramon Cortez 21
Max George and Dianne Buswell – Jive to I’m A Believer by The Monkees 20
Jason Bell and Luba Mushtuk – Salsa to Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers 18
Clara Amfo and Aljaž Škorjanec – Viennese Waltz to You Don’t Own Me by SAYGRACE 17
Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer – American Smooth to Night and Day by Frank Sinatra 17
JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden – Paso Doble to Believer by Imagine Dragons 16
Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke – Tango to Help Yourself by Tom Jones 12
And someone else wrote: ‘I have tears in my eyes and I have a feeling I will every time Nicola & Katya dance’.
Meanwhile, Max George and Dianne Buswell kicked off Strictly‘s second live show on Saturday with a fast-paced jive to I’m A Believer by The Monkees.
Shirley told the pair: ‘You’ve come back this week and definitely improved. I want you to believe in your talent… that jive was tight and precise. Next week keep working on coordination and be confident!’
While Motsi added: ‘I’m so happy you’ve jumped out of your shell, the first time you danced I thought you looked lonely, but you can feel the energy in the room now… it’s very nice to see rhythmical changes in the dance.
‘When you take control Max George I think your dangerous!’
And even Craig Revel Horwood was impressed, telling Max: ‘For me, you were a little too into the ground like you’d dance a commercial street dance.
‘There was no retraction. I’d like you to be a little lighter on your feet but the energy and timing was spectacular!’
The duo appeared happy with the comments – and a score of 20 – with Diane saying in the post performance interview: ‘I worked him incredibly hard this week and you’ve delivered!’
Saturday’s show came amid concerns it could be delayed due to the Prime Minister’s delayed lockdown speech.
Some fans also shared their thoughts earlier in the evening ahead of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation, which was delayed from its original start time of 5pm.
‘Boris better not hold up Strictly. I’m already livid that they’re not doing Halloween week,’ wrote one dancing fan.
And another said: ‘You can take away jobs, close businesses and keep us away from our family, but don’t you DARE delay Strictly on Halloween Week you absolute MONSTER!’
BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson even tweeted that Number 10 was aware of Strictly’s impending start time ahead of the show.
He tweeted: ‘Insiders insist there’s been no trouble. PM had to squeeze three days prep – calls, briefings, writing – for the big announcement into a few hours thanks to last night’s National lockdown leak. No 10 well aware that @Strictly is on at 7.15 pm.’
Luckily the show did manage to start at 7.15pm with many people joking about how close it came to being pushed back.
However there was a slight change from usual format, with no professional group number opening the show. As the show ended, Tess and Claudia revealed this it would instead happen on Sunday’s results show.
Impressive: Max George and Diane Buswell also impressed the judges on Saturday night with their energetic jive which opened the show
Work it! The dancing duo were praised for how hard they had worked and improved over the past week, with an impresed Motsi telling Max he’s ‘dangerous’
Unimpressed: Other Twitter users expressed their worry that the Prime Minister’s address to the nation running late may impact on Strictly’s start time ahead of the episode airing
After Max’s impressive performance, it was Clara Amfo and Aljaž Škorjanec’s turn to showcase their dancing talents as they performed a Viennese Waltz to You Don’t Own Me by SAYGRACE.
Although scoring 17 points in the end, Clara was hit by a wardrobe malfunction when her dress became caught in her shoe. Referencing the moment, host Tess Daly said the radio star ‘carried on like a pro’.
The judges were also pleased with Clara and Aljaz’s routine, with Motsi telling them: ‘First, thanks for bringing a bit of halloween! When I watch you guys you have a certain energy, I love that.
‘I thought you struggled a little with posture a bit, but if you continue with energy I’m certain improvement is coming.’
Craig then added: ‘The frame was very loose for me, your left shoulder was raising up and half way through we lost your neck entirely, it was very tense. But I loved the choreography and drama you brought.’
Shirley also had some constructive criticism: ‘I thought that was lovely, there was some beautiful footwork. But on the pivot you rose up on your toes and needed to press down on your heel.’
What a relief: BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson even tweeted that Number 10 was aware of Strictly’s impending start time ahead of the show’s 7.15pm scheduled start
Get a move on! The PM’s speech came dangerously close to eating into Strictly’s air time
She even demonstrated to Clara what she meant, standing up from her podium and raising her hands as if to do the move.
Elsewhere in the show Bill Bailey impressed with his Quickstep to Talk To The Animals by Bobby Darin. The star managed to scoop a score of 24 from the judges.
Craig was particularly taken with the animal-themed performance, telling Bill and pro Oti Mabuse: ‘I’m not sure about Doctor Doolittle, it was more Doctor Do-a-lot in that my darling! I thought it was absolutely fantastic! Brilliant.’
Motsi also shared the sentiment, telling Bill that she ‘loved every minute’ of the dance.
Stars: Clara Amfo and Aljaž Škorjanec took to the dance floor with a Viennese Waltz to You Don’t Own Me by SAYGRACE
Like a pro: The radio DJ managed to keep on dancing despite a slight wardrobe malfunction when her foot got stuck in her dress
JJ Chalmers was next to appear before the judges, with him ended up with a score of 16 points for his Paso Doble to Believer by Imagine Dragons alongside his dancing partner Amy Dowden.
Speaking ahead of their dance, former military man JJ said that he’s in ‘no additional pain’ during rehearsals but does feel a slight twinge ‘when caping’.
However he put this down to new ‘muscle building’ adding that ‘in the long term I’ll be better off for it… I’m not going to let this thing defeat me’.
As for JJ and Amy’s feedback, Shirley said: ‘I would continue to work from your standing foot to shift your weight so your a little more powerful’
While Motsi added: ‘What I loved was you understood the character of the dance. You had intention and focus, built up energy… but after building up you let go a little, you need to work on keeping that energy up.’
Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer also received a mixed bag of comments for their American Smooth to Night and Day by Frank Sinatra, with the duo scoring 17 overall.
Move it! Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse wowed with their Quickstep to Talk To The Animals by Bobby Darin
Smooth: The comedian and Oti looked fantastic as they glided around the dance floor
Impressive: Craig told Bill his performance was ‘absolutely fantastic! Brilliant’
Motsi, who gave them a 6, said: ‘I have to say before you started dancing I knew it would be better because last week, even when the music was not on you had a panic attack and today you’re concentrating! You brought some Hollywood feelings, I loved the lines and the fingers… very nice. The ballroom hold was a bit upside down, but I won’t talk about it, Craig will do that!’
Taking the bait, Craig said: ‘It was definitely a dance of two halves – the ballroom bit was really bad actually, your bottom was sticking out, and you were creeping round like the Grinch on your tippie-toes. The footwork was really poor. But after all that, I loved the opening sections and Fred Astaire lines.
Shirley was also more positive, and also gave Jamie a tip for improving his posture, saying: ‘Lets remind the audience you’re a dancer with zero experience. You have enthusiasm by abundance! This week, or when you get the ballroom again, get a piece of tissue and put it on your side and dance with your partner.. don’t let it drop.’
Full of passion! JJ Chalmers ended up with a score of 16 points for his Paso Doble to Believer by Imagine Dragons alongside his dancing partner Amy Dowden
Sizzling: They looked fantastic as they completely committed to the routine and worked the dance floor
Maisie Smith also managed to follow up on her impressive performance from last week, bagging herself a score of 25 points alongside Gorka Marquez- one more than on their debut.
Craig, who awarded her an 8, said: ‘The pivots need to be on the heel, you lost balance and footing right at last minute but I’ve got to say you’re an exceptional dancer! That was full of staccato moments, I loved it.’
Shirley was also happy with the performance, giving Maisie and 9 and saying: ‘I thought you were very well poised.. it’s week two! Beautiful footwork, you kept postural position very well. You’re definitely a force to be reckoned with!’
And Motsi also flooded the EastEnders star with praise as she said: ‘Maisie has the power and more! To do a ballroom dance from the beginning and be in hold almost entirely, that takes it a nudge up. Stay in your level – very well done.’
Confident Maisie told Claudia after the performance that she’s not the biggest fan of the shower routines, as she struggles not smiling. However she added that she was ‘pleased’ the judges liked her routine.
Interesting: Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer received a mixed bag of comments for their American Smooth to Night and Day by Frank Sinatra, with the duo scoring 17 overall
Classic Craig: In his comments, the judge said Jamie looked like ‘you were creeping round like the Grinch on your tippie-toes’
However Craig was less impressed with former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and her partner Anton Du Beke’s tango to Help Yourself by Tom Jones.
The judge only gave the duo a score of 2, saying: ‘I thought you’d actually severed your Achilles Tendon through that darling, limping around like you’re at a party drunk.. It was a very good idea Anton to get her on that swing is all I have to say.’
After only receiving a low score from Anton, Jacqui and Anton also received two 5s from Shirley and Motsi leaving them at the lower end of the score board.
Singer HRVY also showed off his impressive moves scoring 24 points after performing a Viennese Waltz to Stuck With U by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber with professional dancer Janette Manrara.
Motsi gave the couple a 9, saying: ‘You’re still there [at that nine from last week] but you came with a different energy, a gentleman. You’re a diamond in the sky, I’m enjoying everything you’re doing in the show! Keep it up.’
Star in the making: Shirley had high praise for Maisie Smith, telling her she’s a ‘force to be reckoned with’ and awarding the actress a sensational 9 points
Incredible: Maisie wowed with her routine and looked incredible in a black ballgown
Craig added: ‘Sometimes it’s a little erratic, head placement was questionable. For me full of a few hard edges but wow, the spotting through the standing spin was absolutely on it!’
And Shirley finished up the comments by saying: ‘The potential in this partnership is to the moon and back! I agree with Craig a little about the frame… keep working on details with your feet as I believe you could end up looking like a professional ballroom dancer if you work hard.’
Following HRVY, who received a heart-warming support message from his nan Joyce after dancing, was Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice.
On the show they danced a Quickstep to You Are The Sunshine Of My Life by Stevie Wonder and managed to bag 21 points from the judges for their upbeat routine.
Ouch: Craig was not impressed with Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke’s routine, giving the former Home Secretary a 2
Moves: Jacqui and Anton danced a tango to Help Yourself by Tom Jones
Craig told them: ‘The first section went a little awry. The pendulum timing was a bit out as well.. but this partnership really works well. I love what you have together and adore the storytelling.’
Shirley, who scored them a 7, added: ‘I don’t know what’s in the strictly water but we’ve got some frames and your’s was superb.’
While Motsi said: ‘When you do a show like this you have to open up, like a butterfly, see a whole different woman in front of us here. Just work on the stamina to keep it up.. thank you for opening up. you look beautiful!’
The penultimate performance of the night was Caroline Quentin and Johannes Radebe’s Paso Doble to El Gato Montes by Ramon Cortez.
Motsi told the duo, who scored 21 overall, she was impressed and said: ‘I love the way you use your hands, my favourite part was when you took your dress. Such class in every movement. I felt today it was a little careful, no reason to be careful! It’s within you this gorgeousness and class.
Favourite: Singer HRVY also showed off his impressive moves scoring 24 points after performing a Viennese Waltz to Stuck With U by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber with professional dancer Janette Manrara
High hopes: Shirley finished up the comments by saying ‘the potential in this partnership is to the moon and back!’
Craig said: ‘Definitely needed more shape through the body, little too placed and polite. In this dance you need to really attack it. You have every facility there my darling! Next time come out and kill it!’
And Shirley finished by saying: ‘I thought to intermediate Paso Doble you played it a little safe but expression was really quite nice. But moving forward you’re never never going to look bad no matter what you do! You’re graceful and charming but you do need to come out of your comfort zone. There’s a wild fire in your tummy but you’re a little worried about what people will think.. go for it darling!’
Jason Bell and and Luba Mushtuk closed the show with their performance of a Salsa to Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.
Craig told them the dance was: ‘Very, square, it lacked the essential fluidity that this needs. The energy and performance was absolutely brilliant though.’
Not bad: Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice managed to bag 21 points from the judges for their upbeat quickstep
Joyful: They appeared to be having fun as they danced on a bench
Shirley added: ‘You just slipped at the end Luba and covered it up very well. The dance did lack a little fluidity but you made up for it in energy.’
And Motsi said: ‘Jason I can clearly see which part of the steps you love! The difference in energy, the little tiny parts where you have to lead you need to get the music in you’.
Although not having the celebrities and their partners don their best scary garb for Saturday’s show, a few of the celebs did try and channel Halloween spirit with their costumes.
And as Saturday’s episode ended, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman promised Sunday’s results show would include a group performance which would be ‘other worldly’.
Executive producer Sarah James previously explained why there isn’t a Halloween special this year during an interview with the Radio Times in September.
She revealed: ‘We are having a launch followed by a nine-week live run.. We will have movie week and we will have musicals week, but we won’t have Halloween this year.
Almost over: The penultimate performance of the night was Caroline Quentin and Johannes Radebe’s Paso Doble to El Gato Montes by Ramon Cortez
Professional: Luba Mushtuk and Jason Bell closed Saturday’s show, with Luba slightly slipping towards the end of the routine
‘Instead we have done a Halloween group number, but Halloween actually falls on the second week this year so we thought that might be a bit too early for a themed week.’
Not having a Halloween special is just one of the changes Strictly has had to make in order to still stage the show during the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 situation has also meant that this couples have formed their own separate ‘bubbles’ to allow them to train and perform, and are being regularly tested to avoid a virus outbreak during filming.
The show will continue to have a live audience, though members of the public will be seated in their separate households or ‘bubbles’ and will wear a mask throughout filming.
Gutted: Dozens of fans took to Twitter to share their disappointment at there not being a Halloween special this year
While judge Bruno Tonioli was unable to travel back to the UK from his home in LA for the filming due to the crisis and his work commitments on Dancing With The Stars.
Dozens of other fans also took to Twitter to express their disappointment in not having the much-loved special on Saturday night.
One person wrote: ‘I can’t believe they’ve cancelled Halloween Week on Strictly! It’s the best week of the whole show’
And another disappointed viewer added: ‘Today is f*****g s**t, the imposing lockdown and (more importantly) no halloween special theme on Strictly tonight, which is absolutely devastating.’