He’s one quarter of one of the UK’s hottest boy bands from the 2000s. And two weeks ago Eurovision 2011 contestant and Blue member Lee Ryan strutted onto the country’s television screens once again, but this time as part of the hit Ballroom and Latin dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.
Hopes were high for the “I Can” singer going into competition after fellow band member Simon Webbe finished as a runner-up on the show back in 2014.
Unfortunately, Lee wasn’t able to emulate that success, but rather did the complete opposite, becoming only the second celebrity to be eliminated during the show’s sixteenth series.
So where did things go wrong for the star? Let’s take a look back at his dances throughout the series.
Week 1 – Waltz
After appearing on the series’ launch show at the start of September and being partnered with Ukrainian professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova, Lee was given two weeks to prepare for his first routine – a waltz to the Eagles’ “Take It to the Limit”. Despite accidentally tripping on a gold star that hadn’t been cleaned up properly from the dance floor, Lee recovered quickly and was able to continue on with the routine like a pro.
Head judge, and former World Latin Dance Champion, Shirley Ballas said she could feel the chemistry between the two performers. Additionally, Italian choreographer and dancer Bruno Tonioli, who himself competed in the UK’s 1980 Eurovision national final A Song For Europe as part of the group Duke and The Aces with the song “Love Is Alive”, noted that he lead the dance and presented his partner confidently, even if there were a few timing and technique problems that needed a bit of work on.
In the end the couple were awarded 22 points, which placed them joint ninth on the leaderboard (out of 15 competing couples). But, as it was the first week there was no dance-off or elimination and Lee waltzed into the next round.
Week 2 – Jive
For week two, Lee channelled his inner Elvis Presley, dancing the Jive to “Blue Suede Shoes”. The “All Rise” hit maker came out kicking and flicking with an impressive routine despite a few mishaps and errors throughout.
Although all the judges picked up on the lack of consistency in his footwork and a few other minor details, famed ballerina Dame Darcey Bussell complimented the singer’s broom-ography, exclaiming “What an opening! My goodness, what did you do with that broom?!…All that styling; the energy”. Even regular sour-note Craig Revel Horwood had a few complimentary remarks to make. The Australian-British theatre director said that Lee had “a wonderful sense of musicality that shines right through”.
Improving on last week’s score, the partnership earned 26 points. Combined with last week’s score that gave them a total of 48, putting them a very respectable seventh on the overall leaderboard.
Unfortunately, the public viewing at home weren’t feeling the dance as much as the judges. When it came to the results show it was revealed that Lee and Nadiya were in the bottom two after combining the judges’ and public votes and would have to compete in the first dance-off of the series.
It was a shocking outcome to many after the couple had finished on the top half of the judges’ leaderboard (or the right-hand side if you want it in a relatable Eurovision format). But luckily when it came to the dance off the four judges unanimously voted to save the Eurovision alumni, and he was able to continue in the competition.
Week 3 – Cha-cha-chá
Feeling a bit down after falling into the dance-off, bandmate and fellow Eurovision contestant Duncan James provided Lee with a message of support in the training room to lift up his spirits and spur him on to the next dance. And with week three came movies week. Lee was given the task of performing the Cha-cha-chá to “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future. Dressing up as Marty McFly, the singer even started the routine by flying in on a hover board, in honour of the iconic scene from the franchises second instalment.
Unfortunately that seemed to be where the magic ended. Although fellow Blue member Antony Costa gave his friend a standing ovation from the audience, the judges were less impressed. Asked by host Tess Daly if he had come back fighting, Craig bluntly responded “No”. Clarifying further he added: “The basic wasn’t clean…it was for me just full of camp mincing around”. Shirley, who has been nicknamed ‘The Queen of Latin’ for her high skill of such dances, noted: “There were moments when you actually had some nice rhythm…but there was definitely not a deliverance of weight transference from foot to foot, which you need in all the dances”.
Sadly, the judges gave Lee and Nadiya a total of 19 points, his lowest score yet, and this put him at the bottom of the leaderboard for that week. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the couple found themselves in the bottom two for the second week in a row, and once again had to compete in the dance-off. Unfortunately, in spite of head judge Shirley throwing her support behind them, with the other three judges voting against them the partners weren’t able to survive for another week and Lee’s Strictly journey had to come to an end.
After Ireland’s 2016 Eurovision contestant Nicky Byrne finished sixth on the show in 2012, and UK 1969 winner Lulu placed tenth in 2011, in addition to Simon Webbe’s second place, Lee’s fourteenth place regrettably puts him last in terms of former Eurovision participants who have competed on the UK edition of the dancing show. But at least he can take solace in the fact that he wasn’t the first contestant eliminated (unlike another Eurovision alumni on their respective regional version earlier this year).
For the rest of 2018 though, it’s all up to Emmelie de Forest to carry the Eurovision flag on the Danish version of the show.
Jade Ewen makes a cameo appearance
Eagle-eyed Eurovision fans watching the show last Saturday though would have noticed that Lee and his bandmates weren’t the only former UK Eurovision representatives to appear. Indeed, 2009 contestant and fifth-place finisher Jade Ewen made a brief appearance during one of the pre-dance info videos.
To go along with the theme of movies week one of Lee’s competitors was asked to dance the Quickstep to “Prince Ali” from the Disney-classic Aladdin. In order to get some characterisation tips for their dance Dr. Ranj Singh and professional partner Janette Manrara went to meet the cast of the West End musical version of the film. With Jade currently playing Princess Jasmine in the production that of course meant that the “It’s My Time” singer was there to give her insight on how to portray the Disney couple on the dance floor.
Jade Ewen on Strictly Come Dancing 2018 (BBC)
Posting to Instagram following the Aladdin-themed performance, Jade congratulated the couple on their effort:
You made such a wonderful Aladdin and Jasmine and we had the best time showing you around Agrabah! 👳🏽♀️✨👸🏽 #strictlycomedancing #aladdin #princeali #movieweek
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see the Sugababes member getting her dancing shoes on and competing on the show herself.
So, what do you make of Lee Ryan’s performances on Strictly Come Dancing? Did you you think he had more to give and was eliminated too early? Which other former UK Eurovision representative do you want to see compete on the show? Sound off in the comments below!