Strictly Come Dancing: Neil Jones returns to the floor after injury

Strictly Come Dancing: Neil Jones triumphantly RETURNS to the show with Alex Scott… as Motsi Mabuse compares her two week stint with Kevin Clifton to an AFFAIR

  • The British pro returned to the Strictly floor to dance a jive with Alex Scott, after being forced to miss two weeks with a calf injury
  • Alex danced with stand-in pro Kevin Clifton during Neils’ absence, and judge Oti Mabuse compared the switch in partners to ‘an affair’
  • The remaining eight couples took to the dancefloor in a bid to make it to Blackpool
  • Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard stormed to the top of the leaderboard with 39 points out of 40
  • Mike Bushell and Katya Jones were in last place with 25 points

Strictly Come Dancing pro Neil Jones finally made his return to the dancefloor on Saturday after being forced to miss two weeks with injury.

The British pro stormed the floor as he danced the jive with Alex Scott to Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker.

It came as the remaining eight couples took to the floor to earn enough votes to make it to the famed Tower Ballroom.

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He’s back! Strictly Come Dancing pro Neil Jones finally made his return to the dancefloor on Saturday after being forced to miss two weeks with injury

Alex and Neil completed their routine to a thunderous reception from the audience, including stand-in pro Kevin Clifton, who proudly cheered the pair from the balcony.

The couple also earned praise from the judging panel, which Motsi Mabuse comparing Alex’s change in partners to an ‘affair.’

She added: ‘I feel like we’re seeing a new couple that we knew but then somebody had an affair but now the light is back on. 

‘You guys feel fresh, young, jolly, you know what I mean so actually, I love the improvement in your body I felt it was very compact. No awkward moments you were always in the dance. It’s happening.’

Grand return: The British pro stormed the floor as he danced the jive with Alex Scott to Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker, after being given the go-ahead by physio to perform

Head judge Shirley Ballas added: ‘I thought you did very very well, Alex you had some really nice short connections you were light on your feet. 

‘You do look like you’re having the time of your life every single step you’re giving us reassurance that you need to stay in the competition.’

Alex and Neil’s routine was reflected with a respectable score of 31 points out of 40. 

Dynamic: For two weeks Alex danced with stand-in pro Kevin Clifton, who was proudly cheering on the pair during the live show

Cheeky: Noting Neil’s break from the show, Motsi said: ‘I feel like we’re seeing a new couple that we knew but then somebody had an affair but now the light is back on’

Strictly Week 8 – Leaderboard

Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard – Waltz, ‘Your Song’ by Ellie Goulding – 39 points out of 40

Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice – American Smooth, ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’ by Etta James – 36 points out of 40

Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse – Salsa, ‘Let’s Hear It for the Boy’ by Deniece Williams – 35 points out of 40

Emma Barton and Anton du Beke – Couples’ Choice (Theatre/Jazz), ‘Right Now’ by the Pussycat Dolls – 33 points out of 40 

Alex Scott and Neil Jones – Jive, ‘Let’s Twist Again’ by Chubby Checker – 31 points out of 40

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden – Viennese Waltz, ‘Give Me Love’ by Ed Sheeran – 30 points out of 40 

Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer – Tango, ‘Survivor’ by 2wei – 26 points out of 40 

Mike Bushell and Katya Jones – Paso Doble, ‘Tamacun’ by Rodrigo y Gabriela – 25 points out of 40

On Friday Neil confirmed that he would be returning to the Strictly dancefloor, after being given the go-ahead by the show’s physio.

Speaking on It Takes Two Alex said: ‘I now know who I’m dancing with. Are you ready? Shall we bring him in? It is … I am dancing with, my normal partner Neil Jones! He is back, yes.’

And Neil added: ‘It’s great to be back. She’s been doing so well every week, and Kevin I have to say thank you, because Kevin has been there all the way and he’s been great this week. We couldn’t had done it without him.’

Sweet: Alex and Neil’s chemistry was once again praised, as Motsi added that it felt like they were seeing a ‘new couple’ on the floor

Getting there: It was only a day earlier that Neil confirmed that he would be fit to dance, and to the delight of fans he made his return to the ballroom

Their appearance comes after Neil told a fan on Twitter that he wouldn’t know until Friday whether he is fit enough to perform with Alex during the live show. 

Replying to a follower on social media on Wednesday, Neil said: ‘Hey no it’s just with my injury I need to be 100% fit and I will only know this on Friday when back in with the physio but trust me I want to be back.’

On Monday, Neil told fans it’s looking ‘positive’ he will return to Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday to dance with his partner Alex.

Stunning: Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard proved that they were still one of the frontrunners, as they flew to the top of the leaderboard with a Waltz to Ellie Goulding’s Your Song

After a lacklustre few weeks, Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard certainly proved that they were still one of the frontrunners, as they flew to the top of the leaderboard with a Waltz to Ellie Goulding’s Your Song.

Craig praised the ‘clever little cherub’ AJ for his beautiful routine, while Motsi praised: ‘I have to say this is my first season and I just want to say for me that was the best dance I’ve seen my first strictly I have to say thank you guys that was beautiful.’

Bruno added: ‘I’m all starry eyed I was swept away in a ballroom dream it was a dance of the highest quality, I am sure this will guarantee you a first class ticket to Blackpool.’

The young duo certainly seemed to book their place in the Tower Ballroom next week, with a sensational score of 39 points out of 40.  

Delicate: The young duo certainly seemed to book their place in the Tower Ballroom next week, with a sensational score of 39 points out of 40

Sensual: Mike Bushell and Katya Jones were hoping to bounce back from the dance-off last week, with a traditional Paso Doble to Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela

Mike Bushell and Katya Jones were hoping to bounce back from the dance-off last week, with a traditional Paso Doble to Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Despite a sensual feel and clever footwork, the judges noted that the dance was ‘too rigid,’ with Bruno Tonioli saying the performance felt like ‘connecting the dots.’

Craig Revel-Horwood added: ‘The shaping at the top showed great promise it was when you started to walk it all went horribly wrong, it was rigid, too placed and absolutely no flow I’m afraid.’ 

The pair’s mixed reception earned them a score of just 25 points out of 40.

Disastrous: Despite a sensual feel and clever footwork, the judges noted that the dance was ‘too rigid,’ with Bruno Tonioli saying the performance felt like ‘connecting the dots’

Tragic: The pair’s mixed reception earned them a score of just 25 points out of 40

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden were hoping to replicate their success last week which saw them finish top of the leaderboard.

The pair took to the floor with a Viennese Waltz to Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran, but unfortunately the CBBC star made a slight blunder that left the pair entangled.

Shirley said: ‘When you got in hold unfortunately it looked a little bit uncomfortable, the footwork wasn’t great so it didn’t enhance the rest of the body, your frame you’re starting to maintain a little bit more, but come back next week even stronger.’

Elegant: Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden were hoping to replicate their success last week with a Viennese Waltz to Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran

Classy: The dance had an elegant finish, and the judges insisted that Karim was an incredibly talented dancer

Oh dear! Unfortunately the CBBC star made a slight mistake that left him in tears, as he told Claudia he was ‘gutted’ to have messed up the routine

Motsi added: ‘I was still impressed, you did right in front of us you had a spin and you stopped and picked up the time which is not easy at all.

‘The way you moved the arms, that were quite quite strong, for me you are still the one to beat in this competition. 

‘Don’t let the pressure get to you, you have a great great performance just a little bit nervous today.’

Sadly the fallout of his mistake left Karim on the brink of tears, as he told host Claudia Winkleman that he was ‘gutted’ to mess up one of the moves.

Regardless the pair still scored 30 points out of 40, with the hope that it would be enough to make it through to Blackpool. 

Supportive: Regardless the pair still scored 30 points out of 40, with the hope that it would be enough to make it through to Blackpool

On fire: Chris Ramsay and Karen Hauer were hoping to build on the stellar momentum from their Street performance last week, with a Tango to Survivor by 2wei

So bad: Despite the switch in tone, Craig insisted that the comic really needed to ‘up his game’ to progress further in the competition, and described the technicalities as ‘a disaster’

Chris Ramsay and Karen Hauer were hoping to build on the stellar momentum from their Street performance last week, with a Tango to Survivor by 2wei, which most recently featured in the 2018 reboot of Tomb Raider. 

Despite the switch in tone, Craig insisted that the comic really needed to ‘up his game’ to progress further in the competition, and described the technicalities as ‘a disaster.’

On a positive note Shirley said: ‘Chris you are such a funny character which we love about you, you came from Street last week which was such your thing, and the thing I admired there most was that focus.

‘I found the footwork to be fairly decent there wasn’t too much rise and fall and your frame is definitely going in the right direction so I thought all in all a very good effort.’

Despite Craig’s slating critique, Chris and Karen ensured that they were not going to be bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 26 points out of 40.


Not a disaster: Despite Craig’s slating critique, Chris and Karen ensured that they were not going to be bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 26 points out of 40

Attitude! Michelle Visage took to the floor with Giovanni Pernice to dance an American Smooth to Etta James’ I Just Want To Make Love To You

Michelle Visage was transformed into the role of the sassy American housewife, as she took to the floor with Giovanni Pernice to dance an American Smooth to Etta James’ I Just Want To Make Love To You.

The Drag Race star earned plenty of praise from the judges, with Bruno saying she deserved the Strictly Sassy Housewife Of The Year Award.

He added: ‘Everything you do is presented in a way that is so clear, all the little touches you give to the character while you’re dancing, tickling, delicious.’

Motsi added: ‘I loved it you guys sell it I buy it every time and you leave me wanting more… you guys manage to make dancing not about the technique I don’t want to see those technicalities, I loved it this is how dancing works.’

Michelle and Giovanni continued their consistent scoring, and finished second on the leaderboard with 36 points out of 40. 

 

Excellent: The Drag Race star earned plenty of praise from the judges, with Bruno saying she deserved the Strictly Sassy Housewife Of The Year Award


Jazz hands! Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke were determined to bounce back after finishing bottom of the leaderboard last week following a harsh critique from head judge Shirley

Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke were determined to bounce back after finishing bottom of the leaderboard last week following a harsh critique from head judge Shirley.

The pair took to the floor with the first Couples Choice Theatre/Jazz of the series, to Right Now by the Pussycat Dolls

This week the judges were full of compliments for Emma and Anton’s performance, with Shirley saying: ‘A nice peripheral vision out the side, nice use of music small details which I always appreciated and generally one of your better dances.’

Craig simply said: ‘Understated stylised, your dance my darling.’

Their performance resulted in an 11-point jump from last week, with a score of 33 points out of 40.

Brilliant: This week the judges were full of compliments for Emma and Anton’s performance, and they scored a solid 33 points out of 40

Sensational: It was also the long-awaited return of his jaw-dropping hips as Kelvin Fletcher danced the Salsa with Oti Mabuse to Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It for the Boy

It was also the long-awaited return of his jaw-dropping hips as Kelvin Fletcher danced the Salsa with Oti Mabuse to Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It for the Boy, in a routine inspired by his love of race car driving. 

The Emmerdale star left Motsi ‘screaming like a banshee’ (according to Craig) in a daring routine packed with death-defying lifts.

Bruno said: ‘That was a salsa in top gear, the thrust on those hips, the hips were turbo charge, you’re such a confidence performer, but at the same time you do it with ease, yet there was a slight on timing but you’re a great performer, fantastic.’

Shirley added: ‘You must feel extremely safe for you to throw him all over the place, I think we’re going to name you are Mr powerful musical hips, for me it was almost perfect. Generally a totally enjoyable performance well done.’

Kelvin and Oti’s performance scored them 35 points out of 40.  

Wow! The Emmerdale star left Motsi ‘screaming like a banshee’ (according to Craig) in a daring routine packed with death-defying lifts, and scored them 35 points out of 40

Host Tess Daly, 50, once again put on a leggy display in a bronzed sequinned one-shouldered mini dress with nude heels.

Meanwhile Claudia Winkleman opted for a classic black halterneck gown with a cream pearl-studded neckline.

This live show was the last before Strictly heads to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom next week, meaning the remaining eight couples were even more determined to make it through.

So far the series has been unpredictable to say the least, following the controversial elimination of front-runners such as Dev Griffin and Catherine Tyldesley. 

It remains to be seen which couple will fall at the final hurdle before Blackpool, and which seven couples will make it to the hallowed ballroom.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Results air on Sunday at 7:15pm on BBC One. 

Perfection: Host Tess Daly, 50, once again put on a leggy display in a bronzed sequinned one-shouldered mini dress, while Claudia Winkleman opted for a black halterneck gown

 

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