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The biggest talking points as Strictly 2023 reaches midway mark

Strictly 2023 has officially reached the halfway point, with new favourites emerging as the competition intensifies.

Hot off the heels of last week’s Halloween episode, which saw Zara McDermott sent home by the judges, week seven of the BBC show saw a smorgasbord of dances ranging from an intense Argentine Tango to an elegant Waltz.

Emotions ran high as a number of celebrities struggled to crack the top half of the leaderboard, while one star, who was considered an underdog in the first half of the series, has become a firm favourite to win the show.

Here’s a roundup of the biggest talking points from week seven.

Craig Revel Horwood at odds with the other judges

Craig wasn’t impressed with Nigel Harman and Katya Jones’s Tango to “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Robson and Miley Cyrus, and criticised his footwork. Shirley Ballas disagreed by his comment comparing his feet to “flippers”, and was happy to let him know. “I don’t know what you were watching,” she told Revel Horwood, before telling Harman his performance was a return to form after he slipped down the leaderboard last week.

Annabel Croft melts hearts with tribute to husband

Annabel Croft paid tribute to her late husband, Mel, who died earlier this year months after being diagnosed with cancer. In the VT ahead of her performance – the Couple’s Choice to “Wings” by Birdy – she showed her dance partner Johannes Radebe a bench they used to regularly sit on together near their home. This bench was incorporated into their rendition and, at the end, Croft could be seen blowing a kiss to the skies. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Bobby Brazier fails to break through

Despite being one of this year’s favourites, Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell yet to top the leaderboard – and they were hoping to change that with his Argentinian Tango to “Sail” by AWOLNATION. No such luck; the EastEnders actor received middling comments from the judges, with Revel Horwood calling the dance “too aggressive”, adding that it felt too “choreographed”. Still, thanks to generous scores, they finished the episode fifth on the leaderboard out of nine.

‘Strictly’s Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell on the latest episode


Ellie Leach establishes herself as the firm favourite

In the last two weeks, Coronation Street and TikTok star Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola have come from the outside to become an underdog. Well, after topping the leaderboard for the second week on the trot, Leach is no longer an underdog; she’s the firm favourite to win the entire series. In fact, judge Motsbi Mabuse said she got “finale vibes” from their dance. Leach, who said she felt “like a million dollars”, couldn’t hide her excitement as she landed a score of 39.

Find out who got eliminated in Sunday night’s results show here.

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