Strictly: Craig Kelly is out!

Craig Kelly has become the latest casualty of Strictly Come Dancing, losing out to Ricky Groves in the dance-off in this week’s show from Blackpool.

The Coronation Street star – who had been the bookies’ favourite to go – had been lucky in recent weeks, winning through on the public vote despite proving unpopular with the judges.

However this week he found himself in the bottom two following his cha cha cha with dance partner Flavia Cacace.

And after both he and EastEnders‘ Groves had reprised their routines, the judges voted unanimously to save Groves.

Kelly – who made no secret of his desire to make it to the show in his home town of Blackpool, said it was “great” he had made it this far.

“Any other week would have been a massive Brucie bonus,” he joked, “and I got to dance with the best dancer in the world.”

Earlier in the show Kelly had been slated by the judges for his performance, which rounded off the show – and he finished adrift at the bottom of the scoreboard.

Craig Revel Horwood said that Kelly “reminded me of a Thunderbird puppet” while Len Goodman added, “I’m glad you’ve made it to Blackpool – but in fairness to the other couples yours was the weakest performance.”

It was also a rough night for Groves, surviving his first brush with the bottom two – the judges were not too keen on his salsa with dance partner Erin Boag.

“Crowd pleaser yes,” Alesha Dixon told him, “salsa boy no.” Bruno Tonioli, meanwhile, told him the night had gone “from the sublime to the ridiculous”.

But there was better news for some of the other celebrities. Chris Hollins received some of his best reviews for weeks for his foxtrot, with Bruno calling it his “smoothest dance to date”, while Jade Johnson was praised for her jive and Ricky Whittle wowed the panel with his tango. Natalie Cassidy and Phil Tufnell also fared well.

However the biggest praise of the night was reserved for Ali Bastian, who narrowly escaped elimination after landing in the bottom two last weekend. This week, she scored the first full marks – 40 out of 40 – of the series with a Viennese waltz that had the judges in raptures.

“That was the dance of this series,” Len told her. “A magic venue and an enchanting dance,” added Bruno.