Strictly Come Dancing: Neil Jones and Will Bayley pull out with injury

Strictly Come Dancing Halloween: Kevin Clifton REPLACES injured pro Neil Jones and reveals he had just 45 MINUTES to rehearse with Alex Scott… as Will Bayley also pulls out after horror fall

  • British pro Neil was forced to pull out of the show just hours before taking to the dancefloor, leaving Kevin just 45 minutes to learn the Street Dance routine to the GhostBusters theme tune
  • Kevin was eliminated from Strictly alongside his celebrity partner Anneka Rice after just three weeks in the show
  • Despite having such a short time to practice the dance, Alex and Kevin still earned a solid 34 points out of 40 
  • Paralympic star Will Bayley was also forced to pull out days earlier after suffering a knee injury as he rehearsed the jive with pro Janette Manrara
  • The remaining ten couples took to the dancefloor for the spooktacular Halloween special, with RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage earning the highest score of the series so far with 39 points 

Strictly Come Dancing’s Halloween Special began in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, as two stars were forced to pull out of the show with a knee injury.

Pro Neil Jones – who is paired with Alex Scott – was confirmed to be missing the show after suffering an injury earlier in the day, while Paralympic star Will Bayley has also pulled out with a knee injury during rehearsals.

Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman confirmed the shocking news at the start of the show, before revealing that Kevin Clifton had stepped into replace Neil, and both injured stars are expected to return next week.

Drama: Strictly Come Dancing’s Halloween Special began in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, as two stars were forced to pull out of the show with a knee injury

A representative for Strictly said: ‘Sadly, Will Bayley was injured during training and medics have said he cannot dance in the show this weekend.

‘Under the rules of Strictly Come Dancing, Will has been granted a bye to next week.

‘Separately, Alex Scott’s partner Neil Jones received an injury whilst training this morning. Kevin Clifton has stepped in to partner Alex in tonight’s show.’

I’m out! Neil also took to Twitter to confirm that he was missing the show after suffering an injury earlier in the day in rehearsals

At the start of the show, it was first hinted that all was not well with Neil, as Alex walked down the famous staircase with Kevin.

Hosts Tess and Claudia then explained that he had been forced to pull out of the show at the last minute, after confirming that Will was also absent from the lineup. 

Speaking later in the show, Kevin said: ‘I’ve got to get in the final one way or another! This is not about me it’s about Alex, she’s been amazing she’s been guiding me through the routine.’

Given the circumstances of their performance, Alex and Kevin were the last pair to take to the stage, as they danced a Couples Choice Street Dance to the iconic Ghostbusters Theme Song.

Suffering: Neil (pictured in the VT filmed before he suffered the injury) pulled out just hours ahead of the live show, but still took to Twitter to praise Alex’s performance

Sensational: Speaking later in the show, Kevin said: ‘I’ve got to get in the final one way or another! This is not about me it’s about Alex, she’s been amazing she’s been guiding me through the routine’


Amazing: Despite having just 45 minutes to learn the routine, Alex and Kevin still impressed with their Couple’s Choice dance to the Ghostbusters theme song

Strictly Halloween Week: The Leaderboard

Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice – Foxtrot – Addams Family by Vic Mizzy 39 points out of 40 

Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse – Tango – Bad Guy by Billie Eilish – 36 points out of 40 

Alex Scott and Kevin Clifton – Couples’ Choice (Street/Commercial) – Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr – 34 points out of 40

Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard – Jive – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police – 33 points out of 40

Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec  – Charleston – A Little Party Never Killed Nobody by Fergie feat. Q-Tip and GoonRock30 points out of 40

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden – Paso Doble – Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat – 29 points out of 40 

Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke – TangoToccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach – 28 points out of 40  

Mike Bushell and Katya Jones – Tango – What You Waiting For by Gwen Stefani – 26 points out of 40 

Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe – Cha Cha – Scared Of The Dark by Steps – 24 points out of 40 

Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer –Samba – Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) by Backstreet Boys – 23 points out of 40  

As the dance came to an end, Kevin proudly spoke out in support of Alex for handling the last-minute change so well.

He said to the audience and the judges: ‘It’s difficult enough having a routine in four days when you’ve never danced a step before, but then teaching a professional how to do it in about 45 minutes. People can see I got a few things wrong in that but Alex kept the whole thing going.’

Alex’s solid performance also earned a positive reception from the judging panel, who agreed that it was her best dance yet. 

Motsi gushed: ‘Alex I have to give it to you! I have to say I just watched you there, shouting at Kevin, changing a partner getting it on performing, really honestly that was a great performance for you. Your skills is just double what we’ve had since the beginning.’

Doing well: Despite the frantic change in partners, Alex still delivered with a respectable score of 34 points out of 40

Bruno added: ‘I’ve never had so much fun with ghosts ever, talk about delivering under pressure this was your best dance ever.’

Alex’s hard work paid off with a respectable 34 points out of 40, which also marked her highest score of the series so far.

At the same time was also announced that Will had pulled out of the show after suffering an injury during training for the jive with pro Janette Manrara, which was explained by the star in a VT.

He said: ‘I thought I broke my leg but I’d never felt anything like it before. I’ve got to come back even stronger next week.’

Tragic: At the same time was also announced that Will had pulled out of the show after suffering an injury during training for the jive with pro Janette Manrara, which was explained by the star in a VT

Sad: His professional partner Janette Manrara took to Instagram to pay tribute to him, and Strictly bosses later confirmed that he had been given a bye through to next week’s show

Later in the show, Claudia spoke to Will’s professional partner Janette Manrara who couldn’t hide her disappointment as he had been looking forward to dancing the Jive.

During the show she also took to Instagram to write: ‘I love you so much @willbayleytt …. I will truly miss dancing the jive w/ you tonight, but let’s hope for the BEST & that you get better ASAP so that we can dance once again next week! #WeGotThisChamp #YourMyLittleFighter #TeamPocketRacket.’ 

Neil also tweeted: ‘I’m gutted tonight I won’t be able to dance because I was injured earlier today but I know @AlexScott ill smash it tonight, she’s worked hard all week and she’s in safe hands with @kevinclifton #strictly #teamred.’ 

Viewers at home also struggled to contain their disappointment, with one even hinting the Halloween special must be cursed.

Oh dear! Fans of the show were saddened that two stars were forced to pull out, with some hinting the Halloween show must be cursed

Despite the injuries, it soon became clear that the show had to continue, with the other ten couples hoping to wow viewers with their latest performance.

It was Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice who were top of the leaderboard with 39 points at the end of the show, after earning three tens with their Addams Family-themed Foxtrot.

Supported by Giovanni’s girlfriend Ashley Roberts in the audience, the dancing were praised for the phenomenal dance, with Motsi saying: ‘That was sensational and for my my little dancing heart was very happy, I don’t need them all the time what I do need, puts the music out there put the love out there. I got what I wanted that was out of this world.’

Ever the critic, Craig struggled to find anything negative in the dance, but eventually said: ‘I was desperately looking for something wrong with it and I actually found one little thing – a little bit of gapping. I absolutely loved it. It was gorgeous.’


Sensational: Despite the injuries, Strictly’s Halloween Special continued as planned, and it was Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice who were top of the leaderboard with 39 points at the end of the show, after an Addams family-themed Foxtrot

Stunning: The pair were highly praised for their ‘phenomenal’ dance which earned them their first tens and the highest score of the series so far

First to take to the floor in Saturday’s special were Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke, who performed a hot and spicy Tango with a classical twist to Foccata and Fugue in D Minor by Bach.

Dressed as the Queen and King from a deck of cards, the pair impressed with the elegant routine, with Bruno Tonioli particularly praising the wacky concept.

He gushed: ‘It was like the dynastic marriages of convenience, great concept I love it was like Isabella, she just fight against him at the end she gets the throne, I love the concept.’


Sensational: Despite the injuries, it soon became clear that the show had to continue, with Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke being the first couple to take to the dance-floor

Strong: Dressed as the Queen and King from a deck of cards, the pair impressed with the elegant routine, with Bruno Tonioli particularly praising the wacky concept. They scored 28 points out of 40

Motsi Mabuse also suggested that Anton needs to push Emma with more and more challenging routines, saying: I was watching that I thought this choreography is very complicated, and you guys worked together the whole you only let go at the end and through all of that you kepy great posture. 

‘I just feel like I love that if you could just push it more just a little bit more energy than you would shut the competition down.’ 

The EastEnders star still earned a solid score with 28 points out of 40.


Energetic: Up next were Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec, who were taking inspiration from the iconic board game Cluedo with a funky flapper Charleston to A Little Party Never Killed Nobody by Fergie feat. Q-Tip and GoonRock

Struggling: After earning their highest score yet last week, Emma was told she needed to ‘let go’ more in such a slapstick-themed routine, but they still scored 30 points out of 40

Up next were Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec, who were taking inspiration from the iconic board game Cluedo with a funky flapper Charleston to A Little Party Never Killed Nobody by Fergie feat. Q-Tip and GoonRock.

After earning their highest score yet last week, Emma was told she needed to ‘let go’ more in such a slapstick-themed routine, with Craig Revel-Horwood saying: ‘I thought it was lacking in energy this dance is about being goofy, your step was lame darling, you really have to put ten times the energy into it.’

But Bruno – who returned to the show after a taking a break last week – hit back by saying: ‘You should do this in every library in the country books will fly off the shelves. A flapper for Tatler there’s nothing wrong with that!’

Emma and Aljaz’s solid performance was reflected with a score of 30 points out of 40.


Daring: Third to take to the floor were Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer, who were dressed as zombies to dance a Samba to the Backstreet Boys’ classic Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)

Strictly Horror Story: While Craig admitted Chris’ hips ‘needed some WD40,’ Bruno said that it was strangely enjoyable. They scored 23 points that left them at the bottom of the leaderboard

Third to take to the floor were Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer, who were dressed as zombies to dance a Samba to the Backstreet Boys’ classic Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).

Despite making it through the routine, Karen did suffer a hilarious blunder when her wig flew off at the end of the dance. 

While Craig admitted Chris’ hips ‘needed some WD40,’ Bruno said that it was strangely enjoyable.

He added: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so good in a horrible way ever before. Somehow the whole thing worked in a kooky way. But you have to remain constant, timing timing timing. You concentrate on the music listen to the music concentrate on the beat.’

The dance meant Chris and Karen ended the show with a score of 23 points that left them at the bottom of the leaderboard.

Non-stop: After topping the leaderboard last week, Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard were hoping to make lightning strike again, with a Sabrina-theme jive to Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police

Progress: The dance certainly cast a spell over the judges, who praised her consistent improvement and they scored 33 points out of 40

After topping the leaderboard last week, Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard were hoping to make lightning strike again, with a Sabrina-theme jive to Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police.

The pair proved that their skills were consistently improving, with Shirley praising: ‘Your magic is improving every single week, but let me give you a few pointers. 

‘You’re slightly in front of the music and as the competition develops we need you spot on the beat, I understand he’s a strong chappie you’ve got to tidy things up a little bit.’ 

Craig added: ‘That’s the first dance I’ve enjoyed it, it’s put a smile on my face darling.’ 

Saffron and AJ’s mystical spell over the judges proved to be a success, and they scored 33 points out of 40.

Down the dancing hole: Meanwhile Mike Bushell and Katya Jones were determined to bounce back from the dance-off last week, and the pair danced an Alice In Wonderland-themed Tango to What You Waiting For by Gwen Stefani

Mystical: The kooky dance surprised the judges with some solid steps, with the panel praising Mike for his relentless training after coming close to elimination last week. They scored 26 points out of 40

Meanwhile Mike Bushell and Katya Jones were determined to bounce back from the dance-off last week, and the pair danced an Alice In Wonderland-themed Tango to What You Waiting For by Gwen Stefani.

The kooky dance surprised the judges with some solid steps, with the panel praising Mike for his relentless training after coming close to elimination last week.

Bruno said: ‘I was pleasantly surprised I was expecting a bouncing march hare. You were really going for a proper Tango, with a lot of care and attention of the footwork, you were giving marching orders all the way though, you lost your footing a couple of times. A couple of things that didn’t work but you’re going in the right direction.’

Mike and Katya’s score was certainly an improvement on last week, and they received 26 points out of 40.

 

 

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