THIRD AND FOURTH BOOTS!
The sad departure of a BBC Breakfast Presenter who danced so well you’d think she worked for GMTV
LET THE FAN WARZ BEGIN!
Two eliminations, but only one interview.
The show opens with a pro routine tribute to James Brown. Production makes one good decision in getting a professional hip-hop/soul dancer to lead everything up, rather than having one of the pros do it, then promptly undoes it all in a matter of seconds by having Anton be his second-in-command. ANTON. “Well it could have been worse” is only a suitable tribute to James Brown if you’re working from the angle that the man himself often turned up too mashed to perform. Aljaz and Janette also get a lot of focus but ANTON man, I don’t know.
Our special guest performers are Madness, singing a song about a grumpy old man who is big in the community and wishes life was like it was in the old days. But it’s NOT ABOUT LEN because this old man uses prostitutes regularly. I repeat NOT ABOUT LEN. Accompanying pros are Neil and Katya Jones. Slowly, surely, do they find work for our spare part pros. Slowly but surely. Len’s Lens meanwhile focuses on bigging up the Cliftons, with extensive segments devoted to zooming right in on their partners (Ore and Louise) footwork which of course is perfect. In the segments they choose to show. Also Darcey communicates what was wrong with Judge Ringer’s Viennese Waltz using only animalistic grunts. It’s quite something.
Our Bottom 2? Exactly what you thought it would be – Naga vs Anastacia. A question that was a little one-sided based on the night becomes even more so as Naga puts in one of the most phoned-in dance-off performances I’ve ever seen and gets summarily dispatched unanimously. Pasha then calls her his best student ever, because Natalie’s given him loan of her Ultimate Positivity gimmick for the week. In return, next week I’m going make a bunch of filthy sex jokes about her. You have been warned.
If last week saw the first bubblings of this officially becoming the Year Of The Man, this week we went full boil. At this point all our scandal involves the men, the Official Frontrunners are both men, our beloved Comedy Contestants are both men, the injury porn was with the men… you wonder why any of the women turned up to be honest. Lesley (game old bird, gets a Musical Theatre Charleston that suits her Musical Theatre background, gets 8s, everyone’s hearts are warmed) and Laura (Bottom 2 Returnee overmarked up the wazoo for a frantic bouncy quickstep) are the closest we get to women filling a traditional story niche, and all the rest? Just kind of…there. I defy you to get excited over Naga doing a mediocre mermaid Charleston in a hideous Panda Pops Blue Raspberry wig, Louise (1960s housewife with remote controlled Kevin for a husband) and Cloudia (teenage romance at LGBT High School) doing decent foxtrots to wantonly inappropriate music and weird themes, Daisy doing a proper ropey rumba to Careless Whisper, or Anastacia doing a routine that is so clearly being angled as a Goodbye Dance they actually project her Strictly Best Bits onto the floor beneath her. You just can’t can you?
No, it’s ALL about the men this week. Firstly that Will has gone, goodbye, forever, for reasons unknown, in the most mysterious quit since John Sergeant gave about 5 different reasons for his departure in the space of a 10 minute press conference. In further sicknote news, Greg’s poorly wrist means that he can’t really do lifts in his salsa but he goes out and TRIES ANYWAY! What a trooper. It’s not great, but there’s something triumphant about him getting Natalie all the way up for the end pose, his dodgy arm quavering the whole time. It’s mostly that Natalie doesn’t end up dying to be fair, but that’s a kind of triumphant right? Judge Rinder doesn’t really deliver on the dancefloor in terms of comedy, with a Swiss Alps themed Viennese Waltz, (unless you count accidentally snogging a plastic cow as the height of hilarity) but off the floor his relationship with Oksana is still the most thrillingly weird thing currently happening on the show isn’t it Oksana?.
It’s at the top and tail of the leaderboard where the men really set the standards though. At the bottom, Ed does hands down the worst paso doble ever in the history of Strictly. Truly. A stupid theme, an awful costume, and a hideously slowed down arrangement of “Holding Out For A Hero” were never going to be a promising foundation, but in past weeks Ed has turned this sort of thing into gold. Not tonight, as he forgets the entire routine and just wings everything, flailing around aimlessly with Katya constantly miming and mugging him through it. He’s almost certainly built up enough goodwill at this point to not have to worry about being in the Bottom 2 too much, but it’s not an edifying display, and if he can’t get back on form Blackpool might be a difficult ask. At the top of the table? The beginning of FAN WARZ, as Danny (orchestra themed quickstep) and Ore (60s themed jive) both slay their routines, and bring the house down around them, with the judges now explicitly pitting them against one another as our Top Two. But even MORE exciting, the Fan Warz aren’t just confined to this series, as the judges immediately and officially plonk Ore in the pantheon of Holy Jives with a “MOVE OVER JAY!” and a Week 4 39. With a This? Isn’t going to be pretty. Don’t go on the Internet without a can of mace on hand guys, it’s going to be one of thise weeks. Again.
As weeks themed around monarchic dynasties go, I guess it makes more sense than Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Week.
So long to Gorka and the Torka (pity as well about this week’s Worka).