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Strictly Come Dancing 2020, week five live: Blackpool tribute show marks midway mark of series 

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7:14PM

Take your sofa seats and charge your glasses  

And perhaps pop on a kiss-me-quick hat, if there happens to be one lying around.

We’re about to go over live to the Elstree Studios ballroom…

7:10PM

Word from the training rooms  

Bill Bailey’s been looking good once again – and training in a top hat, perhaps significantly. 

HRVY has been wearing a harness to perfect his tango hold. Maisie Smith has some spectacular lifts in their salsa. 

JJ Chalmers is bookies’ favourite to go home this week but his quickstep looks pretty promising. 

A mere five minutes left on the glittery countdown…

7:07PM

Judge Anton presiding on panel  

Stalwart pro Anton Du Beke was a hit last week when he stood in for Motsi Mabuse on the judging panel. Motsi’s still in her 14-day quarantine, so the K.O.B (king of ballroom) will be keeping her seat warm once again. Let’s just hope he’s clamped down on the excitable over-scoring.

Seven minutes until showtime…

7:04PM

What’s on the dance menu tonight?  

We’ll see this year’s first Argentine tango – always a fan favourite – as newsreader Ranvir Singh tries to recapture her form with a passionate, dramatic routine. 

The latest Couple’s Choice comes from the fast-improving Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer, who will bust moves in a synchronised streetdance. 

Other highlights to look forward to are Bill Bailey’s swinging American smooth and Caroline Quentin tackling the dreaded cha cha. 

Ten minutes until choreographic kick-off…

6:59PM

Kiss me quick, it’s a Blackpool tribute   

Strictly’s usual pilgrimage to Blackpool isn’t happening this year, of course. However, the contest’s usual milestone will instead be marked by a special celebration at Elstree Studios tonight. From the pros’ group dance to the costumes and props, Blackpool will be written right through the show like a stick of rock.

Fifteen minutes until curtain up…

6:53PM

Last week’s high-scoring action recapped  

Last Saturday saw the first 10s of the series. In fact, there was a flurry of them. HRVY’s spicy salsa and Bill Bailey’s prop-heavy hip-hop streetdance both prompted head judge Shirley Ballas to raise her maximum paddle, leaving this pair joint second on the leaderboard. 

Both boys were eclipsed, however, by Clara Amfo, whose Charleston notched two 10s for a near-perfect 29 points – the highest score of the series so far. Sweetly, Clara was as surprised as anyone to suddenly find herself top of the pile. Could it prove to be her breakthrough dance and turn the Radio 1 DJ into a true glitterball contender?

Struck down the bottom of the standings was JJ Chalmers after his wartime jive but a message of support from his mate Prince Harry helped viewer votes lift him clear of the bottom two – making it the first time this series that the bottom scorer didn’t go home. Instead the dreaded dance-off was between Max George and Maisie Smith. Max and his pro partner Dianne Buswell were sent home but early pace-setter Maisie’s near-miss sent shockwaves through the field. It served a stark reminder that nobody is safe. 

Twenty minutes until that familiar ba-ba-daa theme tune…

6:43PM

If Strictly can’t go to Blackpool…

… Then Blackpool must come to Strictly. The pandemic might have put paid to the annual trip north up the M6 but this week’s show will still pay homage to the historic Tower Ballroom

The professionals’ group number will be a spectacular seaside special, taking in all the sights and sounds of the Pleasure Beach. It should provide a welcome dose of sand, sunshine and sparkle on a chilly autumn evening. The eight pro-celebrity couples’ routines, props and costumes will also bring a touch of Blackpool magic to our screens.

Good evening. I’m Michael, your virtual dance partner for tonight’s live show – the midway mark of this shortened nine-week series. It’s showtime at 7.15pm on BBC One. I’ll be liveblogging from 6.45pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, social media reaction and mildly sarky asides. 

Please join me – and join in, too. You can email me on [email protected],  tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I’ll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here. 

Can Clara Amfo continue her leaderboard-topping form? Will Ranvir Singh nail this year’s first Argentine tango? Can Maisie Smith bounce back from her dance-off shock last week? And what dance delights does surprise bookies’ favourite (and Telegraph columnist) Bill Bailey have up his sequin-spangled sleeves for us this week?

Knot a hankie on your head and grapple with a deckchair. It’s nearly time to staaaaaaart sort-of-seaside dancing!

Source: The Telegraph Travels

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