Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show


Strictly Come Dancing returned to screens on Saturday evening for it’s ninth live show, as the show returned to Blackpool Tower for the first time in three years for the programme’s iconic annual trip to the coastal town.

The show opened with a performance from the show’s professional dancers, as they were surrounded by neon signs which read: Blackpool is Back’ – before judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke took to the stage to join in on the dance.

Hamza Yassin was the first to perform at the iconic ballroom with his partner Jowita Przystal, as the pair took on an American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s iconic 1979 hit New York, New York.

While Tyler West and Dianne Buswell returned to the stage after escaping elimination last week, as they ended up in the dance-off against Tony Adams… who left the show due to injury before they could compete, saving Tyler. 

Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show with an American Smooth as stars RETURN to iconic Tower ballroom for the first time in three years

And it was an impressive start for the pair, as Shirley dubbed the wildlife photographer the ‘one to beat’ as he stepped out in a tailcoat and bowtie ensemble.

‘Hamza, you shone brighter than all the baubles and beads and bangles in the world. You give Blackpool such respect, your footwork, you have dedicated yourself to tiny details. Even though it’s Blackpool, you’re as cool as a cucumber. You’re the one to beat for me,’ said the head judge.

While Anton was ready to jump on stage with them, as he said: ‘People ask if I miss the dancing, that’s the dance that I would’ve wanted to have done. Welcome to Blackpool everyone, outstanding.’

And while Craig typically had some critics, he did dub it ‘spectacular’, sharing: ‘I wasn’t fond of your solo jazz section, but the timing, the footwork and the moves was absolutely spectacular.’

‘It doesn’t matter what they throw at you, you perform with excellence, It shows that you are in complete control fo yourseld, your partner and this ballroom,’ echoed Motsi.

Opening the show: And it was an impressive start for the pair, as Shirley dubbed the wildlife photographer the 'one to beat' as he stepped out in a tailcoat and bowtie ensemble

Opening the show: And it was an impressive start for the pair, as Shirley dubbed the wildlife photographer the ‘one to beat’ as he stepped out in a tailcoat and bowtie ensemble

Looking smart: Jowita looked gorgeous in a feather lined baby blue gown, while Hamze spun her around the stage in a tailcoat

Looking smart: Jowita looked gorgeous in a feather lined baby blue gown, while Hamze spun her around the stage in a tailcoat

Looking smart: Jowita looked gorgeous in a feather lined baby blue gown, while Hamze spun her around the stage in a tailcoat

Impressive: Hamza managed to bag a score of 38 as both Craig and Motsi awarded nine points, while Shirley and Anton gave ten

Impressive: Hamza managed to bag a score of 38 as both Craig and Motsi awarded nine points, while Shirley and Anton gave ten

And after Hamza described the performance as ‘an absolute honour’, he managed to bag a score of 38 as both Craig and Motsi awarded nine points, while Shirley and Anton gave ten. 

Molly Rainford and partner Carlos Gu were next to the dancefloor with a Jive to American Bandstand (Bandstand Boogie), as Claudia said they ‘nailed it’.

Anton was quick to agree: ‘Absolutely tremendous. It’s clean, it’s perfectly timed. Keep going like that, great dance – well done.’

‘It needs to be a little bit lighter, obviously you’re dancing next to a professional. But what I love about you is that you absolutely sell the dance,’ said Craig.

Time for a jive: Molly Rainford and partner Carlos Gu were next to the dancefloor with a Jive to American Bandstand (Bandstand Boogie), as Claudia said they 'nailed it'

Time for a jive: Molly Rainford and partner Carlos Gu were next to the dancefloor with a Jive to American Bandstand (Bandstand Boogie), as Claudia said they ‘nailed it’

Bright: The pair were dressed in matching bright pink ensembles, as it was both of their first times performing at the Blackpool show

Bright: The pair were dressed in matching bright pink ensembles, as it was both of their first times performing at the Blackpool show

Positive comments: 'Absolutely tremendous. It's clean, it's perfectly timed. Keep going like that, great dance - well done,' said Anton

Positive comments: 'Absolutely tremendous. It's clean, it's perfectly timed. Keep going like that, great dance - well done,' said Anton (right)

Positive comments: ‘Absolutely tremendous. It’s clean, it’s perfectly timed. Keep going like that, great dance – well done,’ said Anton (right)

Motsi and Shirley also had positive comments for the pair, with the latter sharing: ‘I hope that we all appreciate just how well done that jive was.’

Backstage after the dance, Molly told Tess: ‘We go to Elstree every week and it feels like a TV show, but here it just feels like we’re meant to dance,’ said the star, who is the youngest contestant in the competition, while partner Carlos dubbed the performance a highlight of my life’.

Craig awarded Molly an 8, while she bagged nine points from each of the other judges – putting her behind Hamza with 35 points.

Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima then took on a Paso Doble to a cover of Rihanna’s We Found Love, with the soap star stunning in a bright purple gown as the stage was filled with confetti falling down.

The dance saw the actress have a solo moment at the top of a set of stairs, after dancing with multiple male dancers on the stage in addition to Graziano.

Powerful performance: Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima then took on a Paso Doble to a cover of Rihanna's We Found Love, with the soap star stunning in a bright purple gown

Powerful performance: Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima then took on a Paso Doble to a cover of Rihanna’s We Found Love, with the soap star stunning in a bright purple gown

Time to shine: The dance saw the actress have a solo moment at the top of a set of stairs

Time to shine: The dance saw the actress have a solo moment at the top of a set of stairs

Time to shine: The dance saw the actress have a solo moment at the top of a set of stairs

Light: 'When you were alone you were so powerful, you brought power, you brought light. There's a transformation that's happening,' Kym was told by judge Motsi Mabuse

Light: ‘When you were alone you were so powerful, you brought power, you brought light. There’s a transformation that’s happening,’ Kym was told by judge Motsi Mabuse

Craig kicked off the comments with some critique, telliong Kym :’I thought you could’ve stepped it up more, your right shoulder keeps popping out a little bit. But the way you danced from man to man to man, I really loved it, well done.’

While Motsi said: ‘When you were alone you were so powerful, you brought power, you brought light. There’s a transformation that’s happening.’

‘I felt like you were in warrior mode. But when you’re in frame, everything should be behind the arms. Going forward, keep working on your posture,’ suggested Shirley.

Agreeing with her was Anton, who told the star: ‘I love your dancing because it’s so dynamic and you set such a good dynamic and keep it through the dance. The ladies are absolutely right and it comes from tension, so work on tension because you are brilliant.’

The pair scored eight from Craig, Motsi and Shirley – bagging a nine from Anton as they ended with a score of 33, with Graziano saying he was on ‘cloud nine’ following the dance.

As usual, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman put on a glamorous display, with Claudia donning a feather bust jumpsuit while co-presenter Tess opted for a bright green, fitted dress.

Motown twist: Tyler West and Dianne Buswell were next to take to the dancefloor with a salsa to KC and The Sunshine Band's That's the Way (I Like It), with the radio presenter sporting an afro wig for the performance

Motown twist: Tyler West and Dianne Buswell were next to take to the dancefloor with a salsa to KC and The Sunshine Band’s That’s the Way (I Like It), with the radio presenter sporting an afro wig for the performance

Difficult: Their dance featured a slew of difficult lifts, with Shirley jesting for viewers 'not to try this at home'

Difficult: Their dance featured a slew of difficult lifts, with Shirley jesting for viewers ‘not to try this at home’

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell were next to take to the dancefloor with a salsa to KC and The Sunshine Band’s That’s the Way (I Like It), with the radio presenter sporting a motown style ensemble and afro wig for the performance.

Motsi described the dance, which featured a slew of big lifts, as ‘beautiful and excellent’.

While Shirley was quick to applaud the difficult lifts, jesting for the oublic not to try them at home. The head judge added a tip for the radio DJ as she explained: ‘Keeping working on those transitions, because you are a star’. 

But despite the other judges praising his movement, Craig said he wanted to see ‘more movements in the hip’, to the diagreement of his fellow panel. 

With an eight from Craig and a nine from the other judges, Tyler bagged 35 points out of 40 – putting him on par with fellow contestant Molly.

Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe were next up with an American Smooth to Cilla Black’s You’re My World, looking ultra elegant in a cream dress with diamanté detailing.

The romantic dance ended with Ellie lookup over the stage from above in a moving ring, before being lowered back down to hear comments from the judges.

Elegant: Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe were next up with an American Smooth to Cilla Black's You¿re My World

Elegant: Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe were next up with an American Smooth to Cilla Black’s You’re My World

All the way above: The romantic dance ended with Ellie lookup over the stage from above in a moving ring, before being lowered back down to hear comments from the judges

All the way above: The romantic dance ended with Ellie lookup over the stage from above in a moving ring, before being lowered back down to hear comments from the judges

Beauty: Ellie looked ultra elegant in a cream dress with diamanté detailing

Beauty: Ellie looked ultra elegant in a cream dress with diamanté detailing

 Beauty: Ellie looked ultra elegant in a cream dress with diamanté detailing

Both Motsi and Shirley agreed that the comedian needed to put some more emotion into her performances, with the latter explaining: ‘I would like to see just a little bit more heart. So what you do is you place everything and it’s beautifully placed, but I want to see more soul.’

Anton described her as ‘the belle of the ball’, but advised the star to adjust her head position while dancing, before Craig said her arms were ‘barbie doll like and needed more movement.’

Ellie failed to top Hamza’s so far running lead, scoring a seven from Craig and an eight from the other judges, resulting in 31 out of 40 points. 

Helen Skelton was over the moon to be in Blackpool, sharing that she often takes her children to the seaside town, which brings ‘amazing childhood memories’. 

Taking to the stage to dance a quickstep to Amy Winehouse’s Valerie with partner Gorka Marquez, she looked sensational in a tartan puffed-out gown.

And bagging a standing ovation from both the audience and judges Motsi and Shirley, with Anton saying: ‘That is why we come to Blackpool, for that reaction.’

But as Craig gave some critique, Shirley got out of her seat to dispute the comments, with her judge saying ‘Shirley sit down’, as she replied: ‘Not at all’.

Craig brought his comments back with a positive spit as he dubbed Helen’s footwork as ‘perfect’, while Shirley admitted that she was left ‘speechless’ by the performance. 

Talkng backstage, her partner Gorka kept rubbing his eyes as Helen jested: ‘It’s not that emotional’, while the pro replied: ‘No, it’s sweat’.

And the quickstep catapulted the Countryfile presenter to the top of the leaderboard with 39 out of 40 points, bagging a ten from every judge except Craig, who gave a nine.

It comes after Fleur East and partner Vito Coppola topped the leaderboard last week with 39 out of a possible 40 points.

STRICTLY COME DANCING: WEEK 9 SCOREBOARD 

Helen Skelton and Gorka Márquez dancing a Quickstep: 39 out of 40 points 

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystał dancing an American Smooth: 38 out of 40 points 

Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu dancing a Jive: 35 out of 40 points

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell dancing a Salsa: 35 out of 40 points 

Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima dancing a Paso Doble: 33 out of 40 points 

Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe dancing an American Smooth: 31 out of 40 points.

Fleur East and Vito Coppola:

Will Mellor and Nancy Xu:

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