It was a week chock full of injuries and emotion on Strictly Come Dancing, we got former winner Karen Hardy’s reaction to all the action.

Should Phil Tufnell and Ricky Groves have been in the bottom two?

“Yes, they should have been down there. It was very hard because technically Phil did a really, really nice dance but I’m not sure it would have appealed that much to the viewers. It didn’t have his cheeky side, he normally comes out with this amazing energy. This week technically he was really strong, but it just didn’t have that wow factor. People at home would have gone, ‘Oh that’s nice’ but it wasn’t a really memorable dance so it wasn’t, ‘Oh, that’s the one I’m going to vote for’.

“With Ricky he had a really difficult dance and it would have been really difficult to hide even slight weaknesses with any flashy choreography. With the Viennese Waltz you have about four or five options about what you can do and then that’s it. The only other person who could have possibly been in the bottom two was Laila who didn’t finish the dance – I guess there’s an argument there, but it’s a difficult one.”

It was a difficult decision for the judges to choose between Phil and Ricky – did they pick the right celeb to save?

“I think Phil was of a higher quality of dancer, but Ricky had the most amazing aura and he connects with the audience. I think viewers like what they see with Ricky and he brings an excitement to the dance floor. Maybe that’s what swayed the judges as well at the end because technically Phil was the better dancer, but Ricky had that appeal. A technically great dancer is not always the champion.”

Ronnie Corbett and Claudia Winkleman joined Tess because Brucie was ill with flu – how do you think they did?

“It would have been hard because I think it was probably very last minute. It brought a new dynamic to the show with a change of faces which is good, but everybody did seem a bit on edge! Bruce and Tess just work together so well so I think it would have been a challenge for anybody. I’m a big Brucie fan so I missed him there. I thought Tess was fantastic though and stood her ground, she was awesome!”

Jade Johnson couldn’t dance because of her knee injury and Laila had to cut her routine short because of her ankle – how do injuries like these effect contestants in Strictly?

“We all sustain injuries when we dance, but we’re power Trojans and it’s all about winning. Even if we get an injury, we will still dance on. Often in our business, even when we’ve occurred a break, we will just carry on and the adrenaline will get you through it. In our world you never ever let your opponents know that you’re injured. But on Strictly it’s quite the opposite, everybody wants to know if there’s an injury.

“It’s going to be hardest on Jade because of her career now. If it was me I would be out of the show and protecting my career. But it would all depend on how serious the injury is. If it is serious and going to affect her entire career than I’d be out. She’s made such a huge impact with what she’s doing, she’s brilliant! With Jade, we’ve got to be careful – she’s the future, she’s representing England!”

Len told Ricky Whittle that he’s got to ‘keep focused and keep this standard of dancing’. How do you think he’s doing as one of the top dancers in the competition?

“The jive is just such a dance to get all the foot patterns right, you need weeks to nail that one. It was an OK performance, lots of errors sadly but he’s still brilliant. He’s still a great dancer and he’s got that drive and conviction to take him through to the end. Even if he makes a mistake he still jumps out with that massive positive energy and you’re going ‘Oh, did he make a mistake?’ The audience at home probably wouldn’t even notice the errors as he’s so confident with what he does, and that’s half the battle in mastering his confidence.”

Len called Natalie Cassidy’s foxtrot with Vincent their ‘best dance’ to date, do you agree?

“It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful – very clever by Vincent! The foxtrot is normally designed to be long, sweeping, straight lines and they were circulating a lot so it just looked like a beautiful swirl of ice cream on top of a cone! It was very appealing, really strong and it just flowed from beginning to end. Vincent is very musical and very creative with his choreography and I just loved it! She’s the tortoise – just keep ticking away and she’ll cross that finish line.”

Alesha said that Ali had ‘come out of her shell more’, but Bruno said he wanted to see more attitude from her, telling her to be a ‘bad girl’. What do you think about her personality showing through when she dances?

“She’s growing, but I bet she’s got years of ballet training and it’s not about getting out there and getting the Cuban feel and the groove so you’re asking her to do something that’s completely out of her comfort zone. I think it is definitely improving, but if she’s going to keep up with Ricky she’s got to master that salesmanship that Ricky’s got.

“Technically she’s a lot stronger than Ricky, whereas Ricky wins in the conviction department. If she just keeps working on that you never know – it’s not a big thing to improve but she’s got to keep working on it. She’s an actress so she should be able to grow with this and take these characters on board.”

Karen has just launched a state-of-the-art dance studio in the heart of Chelsea. To find out more about expert tuition for all levels, visit Karen’s website

karen studios

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