Hingis Lobbed From Strictly
Published September 21, 2009 03:25
LONDON, England - Despite earning respectable debut scores from the judges for both her waltz and her rumba, former world No.1 Martina Hingis was the first celebrity to depart the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing program on Saturday night.
On Friday's launch show Hingis and her professional dance partner Matthew Cutler had scored 22 out of a possible 40 points for their waltz, with Hingis complimented on looking "elegant" and "full of potential". That was enough to leave the pair in fourth place out of eight teams, with another eight teams still to make their first appearances next weekend.
On Saturday night, their rumba earned the pair 24 points, which was the fifth best. Although Hingis was praised for making beautiful shapes - one judge said her hands were "gorgeous", while another said "you have a lovely soft quality to your dancing" - the 28-year-old drew criticism for flat-footed transitions between the steps.
Entering the public vote in fifth place overall with 46 points - a dangerous place to be given most of her rivals are beamed into British households several times a week - Hingis and Cutler soon found themselves in the dreaded dance-off between the two teams with the lowest points.
After repeating their rumba, they were saved by the first two judges, Craig Revel Horwood and Alesha Dixon. But when Bruno Tonioli voted in favor of TV presenter Rav Wilding it was left to head judge Len Goodman to cast the deciding vote - which he gave to Wilding and his partner, Aliona Vilani.
"It was a great experience, I learned so much," said a gracious Hingis. "I wish it would continue but here we are." Turning to Cutler, she added: "Maybe I'll come back to London for more dance lessons."
Speaking on the BBC's Breakfast TV show on Monday morning, Revel Horwood said he was surprised by the outcome.
"In my personal opinion I thought Martina was better. At least she did dance, unlike Rav - he was just standing there posing," he said.
"I think a certain boxer (former world champion Joe Calzaghe) should have ended up in the dance off, but the audience are going to vote for their favorites. Now the audience have kept him in, I hope he works harder."
The following Monday evening Hingis and Cutler appeared on companion program Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two. Guests on the show also included retired Royal Ballet prima ballerina Darcey Bussell - who revealed she would have saved Martina.
Hingis is expected to appear on Strictly's season finale in December.