Chizzy Akudolu becomes first celebrity sent home


  • Holby City actress Chizzy Akudolu is first celebrity eliminated from Strictly 2017
  • Loses to Brian Conley in first dance-off of series
  • Remaining 14 couples progress to next Saturday’s Movie Week special
  • Emeli Sandé sang on Sunday night’s results show

Here’s all the talking points and social media reaction from Sunday night’s results show… 

Chizzy’s elimination was a glitterball shocker

Well, that was an unexpected early exit. And tearful Chizzy Akudolu can consider herself very hard done by. The 43-year-old Holby City actress might have finished second from bottom on Saturday night but across the two weeks, she wasn’t even in the bottom five.

Last night’s foxtrot to I’m A Woman was lumpen and plodding, scoring just 16 points, five down on last week’s disco cha-cha. However, she’s shown more promise and entertainment value than several of her fellow celebrities. Chizzy’s had an unlucky Strictly stint, after her shoe got tangled in her skirt last Saturday – although she handled that minor wardrobe malfunction like a pro and didn’t miss a beat. 

Her surprise elimination also saw a revival of rumblings about possible viewer racism. The judges can only score the dances as they see them, then make a call on the dance-off. However, Chizzy must’ve got very few public votes to tumble four places into the bottom two. 

It’s the second consecutive series that a black contestant has been eliminated first, following DJ Melvin Odoom last year. Although it must be pointed out that Ore Oduba did go on to win the glitterball trophy.

Voter sexism, thankfully, isn’t an issue. This is just the fourth time in 15 Strictly series that a female celebrity has been sent home first, with Chizzy joining the rollcall of dancefloor disappointment alongside Siobhan Hayes (me neither), Martina Hingis and Edwina Currie. She breaks a run of five consecutive males being first out.

Pasha’s early exit also pooped the party

Chizzy’s departure also means a sad farewell to popular Siberian pro Pasha Kovalev. He won the glitterball trophy with Caroline Flack three years ago, having previously made it to final with both Kimberley Walsh and Chelsee Healey – but in the past three years, poor Pasha has been saddled with slightly duff celebrities in Carol Kirkwood, Naga Munchetty and, of course, Chizzy

“The Pashbot”, as he’s affectionately nicknamed, is the longest-serving male pro apart from original stalwarts Anton Du Beke and Brendan Cole, having now served for seven series. He’s surely earned a more promising partner next year. 

Brian Conley was lucky to survive

The 56-year-old “It’s a puppet!” jokester must’ve had a nervous sweat on beneath that sequin-spangled suit. He was joint bottom last week and fourth bottom last night, after a cha cha that owed more to novelty 70s disco moves than Cuban steps. Dad-dancing to Shake Your Groove Thing by Peaches and Herb, he was off-time and seriously lacked hip action. 

However, the judges – apart from dear old Craig Revel Horwood, ever contrary and frequently correct –  deemed that his routine had more dance content and a higher performance level. 

Cha-cha disaster Charlotte Hawkins and stompy chef Simon Rimmer can also count themselves very fortunate. Both need to raise their game next week or they’ll be in the danger zone again. 

Emeli Sandé was her usual snoozefest

What a rare treat to have Emeli Sandé on our screens, said precisely nobody. Sunday night’s musical guest became a running joke back in 2012, when she was more ubiquitous than Ant, Dec or oxygen – popping up at every televised event to croon tracks from her debut album, Our Version Of Events. 

Five years may have passed but it was still hard to get excited about her eminently forgettable new single Starlight. The choreographic accompaniment from ginger cult hero Neil Jones and wife Katya were far more interesting. 

Len’s Lens was replaced by, well, nothing

The regular results show feature, where the judges go up to the Clauditorium to dissect last night’s dances, was forced into a revamp following the departure of walnut-pickling head judge Len Goodman. It was duly dubbed “the Dance Debrief” – but without a proper introduction or title graphic, which was something of a damp squib.

We were hoping for Craig’s Close-Up. Or Darcey’s Details. Or Bruno’s Binoculars. Or Shirley Shome Mishtake. Bah humbug. Must do better, Beeb.

Welcome return for Strictly results show

Minor moans aside, it was still a treat to have the Sunday results show back in the weekend scedules. There were daft Claudia Winkleman gags. There were copious behind-the-scenes recaps. There was a tenpin bowling-themed jive from the professionals.

It was an irresistibly cosy sign that autumn has arrived and it’s all downhill until Christmas, comfort-fed on a diet of sequins and spray tans. 

This year’s third live show – the annual Movie Special – airs next Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One. Please join us back on the liveblog then to see who’s a ballroom box office smash and who’s a twinkle-toed turkey. And in the meantime, of course: keeeeeep dancing! 

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