The Olympic athletic stand-up performer was blindsided after losing the numbers, meaning he and Blue Eyed Boy were sent home from their “Strictly” dance-off challenge.
After scoring zero for his dance, he was back in rehearsals with his pro partner, Nadiya Bychkova, this week. She’s even better on screen. Their performance of the cha cha was exciting and tense, and Dan quipped: “It was comfortable.”
We saw the tension building with the tension building with the performance and that moment right before the knockout round showed my level of disappointment in the judges. Dan didn’t do anything wrong. All the footwork was there and they’re as professional as they can be. He’s probably the best student in the “Strictly” history.
But the judges went off script, spinning in Dan’s direction. “It’s your fault,” started Bruno Tonioli. “You were meant to be in a precarious position. You need to understand what you must do… My impression is that you looked like a boy with a great chance of winning. What you do is not technique. If you want to be the world champion, you have to learn the hardest dance that is required.”
“You’re a performer,” he continued. “Your brain is in the right place. It’s all about arm movement… You’re used to having control… Your footwork, your delivery is there… You have to work on your face. You look like a scared little boy… I feel sorry for you. You need to take it like a man and be able to handle it. You’ve got to do better. It’s an uphill battle.”
Craig Revel Horwood added: “You went completely from a sport guy to a boy!”
Len Goodman chimed in: “You had the skill. You had the technique. But when you dance, that’s the start. If it’s the end of the piece, the end of the dance, it’s not good enough.”
Dan stood as he tried to keep it together, seeming to fade into the background as Nadiya focused on her business at hand. He couldn’t even see her as she leapt up and said: “I just broke down! I just broke down.”
“When you dance, you’re looking at the floor,” Len elaborated. “You’re looking for technique. That’s where you let yourself down.”
But Nadiya continued to grasp the moment, assured: “We were just dancing.”
And then came Bruno, who may have been disappointed in his team, but he had a comeback for Len: “When there’s stiff competition, some people feel they have to compete, like footballers feel they have to fight. You don’t like losing, but you’re not going to win.”
Ken Starr, performing a “Strictly” style handstand for Len Goodman at the end of his act and things just seemed to go downhill from there.
When Nadiya got her cue, the “Strictly” winner of the night offered consolation. “It was too bad we didn’t win.” She added: “I hope you went off with the understanding that you could do it. This experience has been wonderful.”
“Thank you Nadiya. This has been a very memorable week.”