'It was weird but it was wonderful' | Judges praise Susan Calman's Strictly debut

'It was weird but it was wonderful'

Judges praise Susan Calman's Strictly debut

Susan Calman offered a subtle rejoinder to those who criticised her for not dancing with a female partner on Strictly last night.

For she performed the Viennese waltz with professional Kevin Clifton to the song Mad About The Boy, as her wife Lee Cormack looked proudly on.

After the display on week one of the competition, presenter Tess Daly said: ‘You’re mad about the boy and the audience were mad about you.’

Judges praised the comedian’s entertaining routine, which started with her eating an oversized tub of popcorn as if in a cinema, before Clifton waltzed out of the screen and swept her off her feet. 

Excitable Bruno Tonioli gushed: ‘Was it a film noir? Was it a screwball comedy? Was it an action thriller or experimental art-house cinema? It was all of that it, it kept turning. It was weird but it was wonderful.  You played about 25,000 different characters but very, very funny.’

He said Calman needed to ‘iron her technique’ but added: ‘I actually loved it.’

New head judge  Shirley Ballas had some technical criticism but said: ‘I loved the cheeky character. What a great performance to turn in Susan, that was amazing.’

Craig Revel Horwood, the toughest judge to impress, criticised: ‘I thought it was a bit skippy. The turns were a bit like a jackhammer. The leg at the end sprung up like a mushroom, darling. You should put more work into the elegance but you did very, very well. ‘

Finally, Darcy Bussell said: ‘You did not seem to worry about spinning and turning, you put all that drama and storytelling, which is incredibly impressive. 

But she added: I would say that excitement when you got Kevin into your arms, try not to show it in the upper body. Tone that down, keep that calm.’

All four judges awarded the pair five points out of ten, leaving them joint ninth out of 15 couples. Former JLS star Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara topped the leaderboard with 31 points.

Calman gushed that it was ‘absolutely brilliant’ to perform on the show.

The comic went into the show as the 80-1 outsider to win – the longest odds of any of the 15 contestants.

However, since Strictly fans got to know more about her and Clifton on social media, the pair topped a poll of RadioTimes.com readers.

Responding to critics who said she was somehow betraying her sexuality by not dancing with a woman, she previously said: ‘I wanted to dance with a man. I am not being held hostage by the BBC. I'm still well gay and proud of it.’

Published: 24 Sep 2017

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