Fifteen couples, you guys. Fifteen couples. No wonder we’re all so exhausted this week, am I right? I watched all the bloody dances, but I basically fast-forwarded through everything else, so I only have the tiniest idea about what the VTs were like, though I am guessing Jordan was annoying, Ashley Wassisname went on about his baby and Natalie and Artem pretended she wasn’t a massive ringer some more forever please don’t hate me just because I’m amazing. Let’s get down to business. What follows is a bit stream-of-consciousness because there are too many bloody couples and I wrote down a load of nonsense as I watched, so a load of nonsense is what you’re going to get.
Once again we are taunted with the perfect world of a Bruce-less Strictly, and lo it was good. I think if there is one thing we have all learned in eleven (ELEVEN) series of Strictly, it is that Tess hasn’t got a natural unrehearsed bone in her body. Therefore she is about eighty times as good when she’s doing all the scripted bits. And she keeps a show running on time, which is a lot harder than it looks (I am guessing – I mean, it’s not like I’m a host of live TV, which does seem a crying shame now I come to think of it) and Claudia is ALL natural unrehearsed bones, so this is a good combo, and let’s just stick with it, ok BBC?
Let’s all just say a big NO to Matt Goss remixing Bros songs and wearing a hat, shall we?
And did anyone else think that pro dance looked weirdly under-rehearsed? Possibly it just seemed that way to me because I wasn’t really watching it – I spent the first three-quarters looking to see which of the fifteen pros was missing and then I realised that of course it was Anton. It is always Anton.
Susanna & Kevin - Tango
Let’s just get this out of the way – PLEASE stop giving us VTs of EARLY MORNING WOES for breakfast presenters, ‘kay? I mean, I get it, it’s a gruelling schedule, blah blah blah, but they did after all choose to do the show. It’s not our fault they’ve got breakfast jobs as well. Having said all of which, I do hope Susanna copes with the schedule better than poor Andrew Castle did – he looked like a sweaty, hollowed-out shell of a man by week three. I liked this, though. Floppy frame and some wobbly moments, but she had to do the jive and the tango first up, and didn’t screw it up, and I reckon that is HARD CORE. Susanna is steely. I wouldn’t want to get in her way.
Tony & Aliona – Charleston (I suppose)
BYE ALIONA IT’S BEEN REALLY FUN SORRY IT’S OVER SO QUICKLY BYEEEEEE.
Poor Tony. Why did he do this show? I imagine he will console himself with his pots of cash and Florida mansion, mind you. That would help me get over elimination pretty damn quickly. Len got to say SPORTSMAN! though, so it wasn’t all for nothing.
Natalie & Artem - Waltz
I am so disappointed to learn that you pronounce her surname Goo-med-eee, and not Goo-mead. It makes me like her less. Beyond that, what is there to say? She’s insanely good, and to call her a ringer is to malign the ringers of previous years. She is the Muhammad Ali to their club boxers. Artem’s biggest challenge this week was getting his arm over her enormous hair do during the underarm turns. I will enjoy watching her dance, but where is the journey, producers? WHERE IS THE JOURNEY?
(Quick aside – how mental is Artem going to make their American Smooth, given that she can do literally anything (even Crazy Natalie Lowe headspins)? Could be epic.)
Hairy Biker and Karen – American Smooth
He’s terrible. He’s absolutely terrible. But I’m weirdly charmed by it. I KNOW! WHO HAVE I BECOME? New York has changed me, you guys.
Patrick & Anya – Tango
For God’s sake, Show, do NOT give this band a Michael Jackson song to sing. Have we learned nothing from Dirty Diana? I liked this though! The dance, not the singing! Attitude! Not perfect! Shitloads of mistakes! But attitude!
Deborah & Robin – Cha cha
This was completely by the numbers, but I smiled all the way through it. Why? WHY? Robin magic? Aretha magic? SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME!
Rachel & Pasha – Salsa
Oh dear. Standard polite, chilly posh girl salsa (see Snowdon, Bastian). No amount of fringing on the dress and pouting at the camera is going to cloak the fact that she is too embarrassed to move her hips. Acting coach, my friends. Acting coach.
Feltz & Jordan – Waltz
Echoes of Pamela Stephenson here with the hamming and the styling, I thought, except with basically no dancing. Say what you like about Pammy (and I could say plenty) but she did actually dance. No monologue, thank God, but the crying OH GOD the crying. Loved it when Bruno said, “There were some technical issues to work on.” Oh really, Bruno? Like what? The footwork, maybe? The frame? The lines? THE DANCING? And just when I thought Jordan couldn’t annoy me more, I was reminded of how unbelievably annoying his resigned-to-the-dance-off-even-though-we-don’t-deserve-to-be-there face is. SHUT UP JORDAN.
Julien & Janette – Tango
Forgive me for this, everyone. Forgive me. But all I can say about this is that Julien danced the whole thing as if he had done a massive poo in his pants and he had to bend his legs and keep his feet apart to stop it falling out and hitting the floor. I have nothing further to say about it.
CHRIST THIS IS A BASTARD LONG SHOW.
Fiona & Anton – Cha cha
Nice posture, and Holy Dance-Face, Batman! Other than that, it’s an Anton and Older Lady Latin, so who cares, really? Starts well, goes madly wrong, pose a bit, Anton cracks a joke about it all being part of the choreography, the end.
Mark & Iveta – Salsa
Iveta is well clever and I love her. There was absolutely nothing happening dance-wise from Mark in this salsa, but somehow it was still a super-fun time. Arse bongos, though. NO, Iveta. No. If I wouldn’t put up with it from Queen Erin Boag, did you think I would put up with it from you? Should be an automatic point deduction, but there weren’t a lot of points to deduct…
Sophie & Brendan – Charleston
Well, this was awesome. Tons of soloing, amazing attitude, great dance faces, her and Brendan’s crazy long legs in perfect sync. Loved it. This sort of choreography is why Brendan has always been one of my favourites (echoes of Bruce, there. Sorry.) Not sure I agree with Claud that this was his best ever dance on Strictly, though. What about this? Definitely not this, though.
Ben & Kristina – Waltz
Look, it’s an early week waltz, ‘kay? What else can we say? Perfectly fine. But Ben, pleeeease make a facial expression. Anything will do. I really think he needed a taller partner, though, right? Like ERIN WHERE IS ERIN I MISS ERIN.
By this point, I was literally just going dance-to-dance. I skipped Claudia. I love Claudia. WHY IS THIS SHOW SO LONG?
Abbey & Aljaz – Cha cha
Footwork, on occasion, but no hips. None. How on earth did it get 30? Is it so it vaguely looks as though someone MIGHT be in the same league as Goo-Mead? And Abbey needs lower heels. I know she’s a model and stuff and totally used to high heels, but they threw her balance off. I think. By this point, I’m delusional with tiredness and possibly, POSSIBLY boredom, so what the hell do I know?
Ashley & Ola – American Smooth
Oh good the baby has been born oh god the baby is on the telly oh this is going to be so tiresome. Nice side-by-side sections, some patented Ola vote-getting spins and some nice lifts. He needs more drive though, lots of leaning back, which makes it look as though he’s not leading. I mean, he’s NOT leading, but at least fake it, Ashley.
(Quick aside – this dance led to the most amazing Tess moment of the night. “Ashley – they’re on their feet! (Pause) On this side!”)
In conclusion, Goo-Mead is a ringer, Abbey was overscored, Rachel continued to be dull, Sophie was a revelation, Ashley was the only male celeb who has a hope of making the quarters, there is SO MUCH CHAFF, and Aliona Redux was mercifully short-lived. Join me next week to see if I can manage to get to the end of a two-hour show two weeks in a row and maintain any semblance of sanity. I have my doubts, you guys. I have my doubts.