Strictly Come Dancing 10 – Week 6 Performance

So it’s a week without Bruce, where more or less everyone dances well, without a theme. Thank God people fell over, or I’d have nothing to write!

Last week on Strictly :

And that’s all that need be said. Also…

I know that the new producers are slavishly following everything Evil Moira Ross did, but there’s no need to actually throw the eliminated celebs into an incinerator.

This week : Bruce is away, reenergising in his Lazarus Pit, so it’s time for

shots of the female presenters bare legs whilst Sugababes 3.0 honk “HERE COME THE GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS GIRLS!” over the top. Lest the gender balance get TOO even. Yes, Claudia and Tess are presenting the show together this week, and they’re having a crisis conference in order to discuss how to carry out the most demanding, difficult, and technically exacting part of Bruce’s job : saying his stupid catchphrase. Really this is just an excuse for a series of

celebrity cameos, from people who’d quite like to keep their hand in with regards to doing the show in future, doing the line themselves. SO.

(Note to Matt Baker : I know The One Show necessitates being away from home for a long time, and over the phone is the only opportunity you get for…private time for with the wife. But maybe not whilst Alex is sat right there eh?)

(Note to Su Pollard : wash your hands you dirty birdy)


And to think, until this week’s salsa, this was the only recorded shot we had of Fern where she wasn’t hanging on either to her own skirt or Artem’s arse. SHE HAD SUCH A BREAKTHROUGH, PUBLIC! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!

Out to the studio floor and, if you were ever wondering what Claudia Winkleman’s showdance would look like if she’d ever caved and signed on the dotted line to be a contestant.

Here’s your answer. Just imagine the band singing “Gangnam Style” over the top, and you’re there. Sadly, those wondering the absence of Bruce might spur Tess on to experiment with her style…

you were right. But, somehow, not in a good way. Unless you’re a fan of bunny girls. And I’m sure at least two of my readers are. AT LEAST. And finally, visually speaking, we discover which iconic dance-move these two will add to the show’s repertoire of moves the hosts do together. What move could match the knee-grope, or the bunny punch, or that bit where Bruce grabs Tess by the tummy and sticks his crotch right up her bum? Yes it’s the

“Tess screams whilst Claudia clutches her head”. ICONIC!

Tess welcomes everyone, and Claudia peers around anxiously

mumbling “are you absolutely sure he’s not here?”. If you’re looking for Ronnie Corbett Claudia, you’re at more or less the right height. More or less. Happily, Bruce has run out of favours to call in from his golfing buddies, and Tarby’s been weary of the show anyway since Flavia gave him that heart attack, so it’s just the two ladies on their own this week. They just about manage to get Bruce’s dumb catchphrase out, then both strike iconic Brucie poses :

with Tess pulling the “Mighty Atom” bodybuilding pose, and Claudia just standing there, shaking, muttering to herself. ICONIC AGAIN! Claudia calls this moment “freakishly empowering”. Truly it is a moment in feminist history when a BBC Saturday Night reality show is entrusted to the hands of two women, and they even let them say MEN’S CATCHPHRASES AND EVERYTHING! They’ll be presenting in trousers next!

Tess tells us that we have now, officially, reached the halfway stage of the competition (YAY!) and that tonight, the remaining ten celebrities will be competing for the right to dance (/run around like they’re being displayed at Crufts) at WEMBLEY!

(BOOO!) Although at least we’ve had less obnoxious begging about it this year. I guess nobody’s auntie’s budgie’s gay best friend had their last Rolo in Wembley, or whatever. You know who DOES know all about performing before thousands of screaming fans at Wembley though?

Diet Barrowman. If you’d been there in 1998 you could have seen his Rum-Tum-Tugger. And he was in Cats.

And so it is, without pause for joke or anecdote or senile futzing, time to meet the

STARS OF OUR SHOW! It’s a far cry from the last time they did this isn’t it? When Tess wouldn’t even do the “KEEP DANCING!” bit with Claudia for fear of getting LESBIAN all over her. Anyway, yes, the STARS OF OUR SHOW!

They will be missed.

Once everybody’s out, Tess coos that their “Top 10 are dressed up to the 9s” but she personally is disappointed that Artem is wearing a shirt.

Not for long by the looks of it. You can see Fern undoing the buttons from here. And I’m not talking about just on his top either. *ping* there goes a boxer fly! Tess also compliments Brenda on the hat he’s wearing.

It’s not exactly Katya is it? (Apparently she and Pasha are touring again next year. Normally I wouldn’t go to the same tour of the same people two years running, but I can only imagine how BITCHY she’s going to be about everyone and everything still connected to the show, so I’m sorely tempted…)

Tess and Claudia explain between them how the show’s elimination works (the couples dance ; the judges mark them on a three point scale between 7 and 9, unless they’re on Controversy Duty this week ; the public vote based on how ANGRY THEY ARE ; the couples whose treatment arouse the least FURIOUS ANGER in the public are in the bottom two ; then Len throws a wobbly because a pretty girl’s there ; then one of the worse dancers goes home anyway and everyone wonders what the fuss was about) and those of us who want to hear how picked on all the poor male celebrities are get their instructions where to go.

Sadly you may have to pick around some crappy impersonations of David Blunkett to get there. Oh well.

Denise van Doble & James Jordan dancing the paso doble

Tess explains to us that James and Denise will be doing the paso doble, which is a dance that involves a lot of stamping your feet on the part of the man, like he’s having a tantrum. Surely with James that’s…all of the dances? Let’s face it, James could make a Charleston aggro. Anyway, Tess tells us that the one thing that James really didn’t want to do this week was damage his foot. LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENED! (I’m guessing…he damaged his foot?)

VT time now, and we’re reminded that Denise’s Viennese Waltz last week topped the leaderboard and received rave reviews and topped the leaderboard and that. Denise tells us that the second she finished dancing she hugged James, just because she was so glad that she’d done the routine properly. She made LOADS of mistakes in the dress rehearsal!

HONEST! One time the angle of spin she got with the arm hankies was four degrees too high! James yelled at her for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES!

Training now, and Denise tells us that she’s had a very difficult start to the week, as James is seriously injured. That’s right, he’s got MILD TOELASH! DUNN DUNN DURRRRRRRRRRRRN! So many of the pros have been sustaining injuries this year (and yet Artem remains sprain-free?!) that Evil Moira Ross’s imps were spurred by this latest calamity to institute a new programme to turn all the professional dancers into bots, but

James had just too much personality, and the Strictly Botifier rejected him. HE’S JUST TOO REAL TO BE A BOT! All this of course wasted a lot of time, because there’s still bits of Gavbot in there from when his conversion went…a bit wrong two years ago, so Denise has sadly been left in the lurch. Fortunately for her, the imps completely ignored the rule that they introduced last year about an injured pro being replaced by the last eliminated pro of the appropriate gender (who would have been Anton) and instead have drafted in

IAN WAITE. *hugs self*

Yes that’s Ian Waite, creator of the most fiercemazing paso doble in the history of the show. And that one where Zoe whined all week that it was to circus music and she wasn’t doing it. And Jodie’s. BUT STILL!

We play out a little vignette where Denise and Ian

get along like a house on fire, and she giggles that Ian is so handsome and dreamy and hunky and patient and funny and helpful whilst James sits at the side looking petulant and hurt whilst “Jealous Guy” plays on the soundtrack. I feel this segment is lacking in realism, in that I’m being fed the idea that James Jordan is willing to believe that any woman finds any other man more attractive than they do him. My suspension of disbelief is taking a battering that’s for sure. It all culminates in Denise walking in to training one day and stumbling upon

quite the situation. Whatever floats your boat James, whatever floats your boat.


Seriously, just imagine Anton staring the camera down like that. It’s just FUNNY isn’t it? I feel so deprived. James and Denise are dancing their paso to “Seven Nation Army”. Long-time Strictly viewers may remember its being used for a paso doble before…

b) That girl he’s with looks really lithe and muscular. I bet they were a REAL POWER COUPLE!
c) Arlene’s natural tv presence ❤ ❤ ❤
d) I can’t believe that Brenda & Karen were a partnership at one point an they both came out alive
e) Camilla’s legs – as terrifying as ever
f) That transition into Mission Impossible is SEEMLESS isn’t it?
g) I can’t believe that this is the sort of thing we used to get for Children In Need, yet these days we’re stuck with WIDDY VS RUSSELL LOLS!

Anyway, back to the present, and Denise’s paso, which is really rather good. She looks a bit shaky at a couple of points, but otherwise she’s dancing it strongly, and as is mandatory for a Strictly Sleb Paso, she’s overdoing the drama faces


It’s very passionate, very hammy, and very aggressive, to the extent that I can just about forgive a patented pointless Jordan knee-slide from James.

Just about.

DRAMA! Travel back in time 15 years, and it’s her ladette days all over again isn’t it? They’ve just photoshopped out the pool of vomit.

They stand up, and Tess tells them both to LOOK! BECAUSE THEY’RE GETTING A STANDING OVATION! Well, from everyone apart from two rows of JELUS HATAHs who are sat at the front but still, it’s better than last week, eh? Also joining in the festivities is

this one here. That’s right, her majesty Cheryl Cole is in attendance, so prepare for everything being all about her in 5…4…3…2…1…now. (I’ve actually seen people claim that her presence is why Kimberley was in the Bottom 2 which is so funny to me because…yes I’m sure that’s it) Tess asks James how his foot is holding up, and James says that it’s ok, and the doctor’s said that he can’t damage it any more than he already has, so he might as well just keep on going, fuelled on ever-increasing doses of painkillers. Can’t WAIT for their showdance. I bet Denise comes as a unicorn and they dance to “I’ve Never Been To Me” and it’s AMAZING.

Tess introduces the judges and

you can tell Craig’s gearing up for a “mean week” already can’t you? The panto face is already on. Len starts for the judges by saying “paso doble? I can barely pass a comment”.

Given all the thruppenny’s (apparently) jammed up his bum I can only imagine he’s having trouble passing several other things as well. Happily for Denise’s confusion, he means this in the good way. There was FLAIR in the character, CARE in the technique, and BEAR In The Big Blue Ho…oh, no my mistake. She moved well – it was terrific. In the audience meanwhile, Diet Barrowman

clearly thinks it wasn’t truthy enough. Where’s Sheila Hancock to judge these lightweights when you need her?

Bruno is of course

not really into it either. He only thought it had “the conquering power of a fire-storm” and “the ardent and vibrant beauty and flavour of Spain”. Given that she’s a female front-runner he’s pretty much just shrugging and saying “s’aight”. Craig follows, saying there was one balance issue in the side-by-sides but other than that he loved the drama and the passion and the shenae turns. (Fun Fact : Shenae Turns has been Minneapolis’ leading drag queen since 2005!). He jokes that training with Ian has clearly done her the world of good.


He vainly tries to stir with a suggestion that Denise should maybe consider swapping partners, which Denise bats away neatly by saying that she’s sticking with James. Like she has any choice in the matter. Darcey closes by saying that that was the most exciting role she’s ever seen Denise play. I can’t decide how much spin there was supposed to be on that comment. Is she saying that her Roxie was shit? To be fair, she DOES lack the theatrical mastery and ability to inhabit a psychologically complex role of, say, a Michelle Williams or an Ashlee Simpson. She also praises Denise’s shenae turns, and James makes sure to mug extra-hard that he led them. Thanks James!

Up to Claude 9 they wichita

where they find both Claudia and Ian waiting for them. Claudia gushes at Denise that it must have been SO HARD to have had to train with someone for the whole week, then have to perform on Saturday with someone else. It’d be even harder if it were Iveta, as she would have wound up booted, even with the dance-off in place. Somehow. Denise on the contrary says that she’s had a lovely time, and that Ian has been amazing. Is he ever anything else? *sigh* James jokes that if it had gone badly he was going to blame Ian. Well…it beats blaming a cage. Scores are in


Claudia highlight? Telling people that she’s going to be very strict on them if they try to vote before all the couples have danced. LOOK AT HER FACE!

That’s how serious.

Richard Arnold & Erin Boag dancing the Charleston

Erin doesn’t DO Charleston. You can just tell. Tess reminds us that last week, Richard’s “Big Spender” left him spent. All over the front of Erin’s dress by the looks of it. SO MUCH SEXUAL TENSION.

Indeed, in the VT we are reminded that Richard spent most of last week’s dance hunched up against Erin, huffing and puffing as she barked “GET OFF!” and “GO AWAY!” and similar instructions, before just laughing herself all the way round Erin Island and back again. Richard confesses to us that something happened to him midway through the dance. He felt terrified, numb, and like his whole life had been turned upside-down.

Wow. I think it finally happened. We saw the moment where Strictly turned a gay man straight. And Len was always worried it would happen the other way round. Shows what he knows.

Anyway, Richard tells us it was actually a real relief to be in the dance-off, because he got to show that he could do the routine, and he’s so glad to still be here, dancing in Week 6. I’ll say this – I never expected it. I sincerely doubt anybody could have done this except Erin.

To close, Richard frets that he thinks Erin is going to be really strict this week.

He doesn’t look…that bothered, it has to be said. If he asks you to walk up and down his spine in high heels Erin, just say no.

Sadly for Richard’s newly-forged libido, this week is Charleston Week for him and it’s very hard to be strict on Charleston technique :

I mean what can you say? “THAT PINKIE IS HIDEOUSLY CROOKED RICHARD, I FEEL LIKE CUTTING! IT! OFF!”. No. Richard tells us that he’s really glad he has this dance, as he gets to show off his real personality in this dance. He feels like he finally has the answer to the judges constantly asking to see the “real Richard”. This, apparently, will be it.

Do you mean he doesn’t really run around committing arson dressed as Simon Cowell? You do surprise me.

Richard simpers a little that he never believed that he’d ever be on the verge of dancing at Wembley (me either) and that to add an extra note of jeopardy this week, he’s going to be doing some lifts.

It’s just a festival of elegance isn’t it?

I’m guessing some elements of the straight experience are proving more difficult than others for the newly minted hetero Richard Arnold. Just do it missionary for a while Rich. Ease yourself in. Erin for her part says she’s really nervous about the lifts, and Richard ponders whether dropping Erin on her head is worse than forgetting the entire routine. Isn’t that how Life On Mars started?


I like that Erin Island has now expanded to include a hairdressers. The more she adds to her entertainment multiplex, the more tourists she can attract, and these are tough economic times. The idea of the dance is that Richard is Erin’s hairdresser, as apparently the show is trying to turn him back gay again so he can’t claim against them on his insurance. They’re dancing to “Pencil Full Of Lead” because even though there have only been about 20 of them, apparently the market for Charleston music is so limited we’re repeating numbers already. Who knew? The dance is…pretty much as you’d expect given the advertising

he’s catching flies in his mouth throughout and

the bum-bongos make a TRIUMPHANT RETURN.

The dancing is kind of muddy and heavy but it’s a Charleston, so what can you do? There’s no swivel or looseness, just a lot of gurning and awkwardness and Erin looking like she’d rather be dancing with a muppet again than doing this (but that’s enough about Rory Bremner, LOL). In the end

Richard offers to give her a scissors, but Erin’s not quite ready for that yet. Just cuddling for now.

Over to Tess the puff, as she hoots “Last week you were a gangster (he was?!) and this week you were a hairdresser, which suited you best?!”. Tess Daly – worst careers advisor EVER. Richard of course replies that being a hairdresser suits him most, but not as much as being a trolly dolly would, so JUST WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK!!! Oh Lord. I’m hoping for a full recreation of the Toxic video with Erin as Tyson Beckford, I don’t know about you.

Bruno starts for the judges by yelling that he just got HIGH OFF HAIRPSRAY (not for the first time) and it was like watching “Two Go Mad At Nicky Clarke’s”. One of Enid Blyton’s forgotten works there. He loved the bottom-slapping and felt the running at the end of the routine was reminiscent of Miranda Hart running for a bus. And in no other genre of “dance” on this show would that be said as a good thing. Unless possibly if Pamela Stephenson were doing it. Craig follows by calling the dance quirky, goofy, and eccentric, although he could have done without the spanky bottom. Nice truckin’ step though.

Language Craig! It’s still tea-time!

Darcey is next, and says that that was a fab charleston. But was it the fastest you’ve EVER SEEEEEEEN DARCEY? WAS IT?! Anyway, she tells Erin that she loved her choreography, but Richard needs to be careful of his flat feet. She suggests he go and build up his muscles on the stairs at home. I love how low-budget this show is now with its advice. Arlene would have sent him off to do an intensive muscle-building course and acting boot camp. With Darcey it’s “imagine you’re wearing a necklace” and “run up stairs”. Len closes by saying that it was less Nicky Clarke and more

“Teasey Weasey”. Len imitating a reductive homophobic stereotype from the 1950s is always fun isn’t it? Len then tells Richard he could cut his hair any time. He’d have to find it first…

Up to Claud 9 they snip, where Claudia welcomes them by calling them “clever cats” and congratulating them on doing their best dance yet. Richard says it’s so exciting to hear that halfway through, and he hopes he gets to impress his dad by dancing at Wembley, because clearly he was never going to get there with his sporting prowess. BECAUSE HE IS A GAY! Erin just looks pleased he didn’t crush her spine mid bum-bongos. Well yes, it wouldn’t be the MOST dignified of ways to go out it has to be said. Scores are in

29. Somehow.

Claudia highlight?

Saying he looks like an unwell otter. He really does.

Louis Smith & His Show Mum & His Real Mum dancing the waltz

Tess reminds us that last week Louis did the samba, but only three of the judges were in the party mood. Wasn’t it two? Didn’t Craig score him low and Darcey say she was “DISSAPOINTED!!!!”? Unless by “party mood” you mean “drunk” which…would explain Craig’s scoring at least.

VT time now, and it’s revealed that not only was Louis really unwell last week, so was Flavia, so it was a real triumph for them both just to get through the dance without pulling a Letitia Dean everywhere. Apparently Flavia told Louis that they should just “go out there and let rip, and we can die afterwards”.

I think she said a similar thing to Matt Di Angelo under…slightly different circumstances. Also, I’m not sure telling someone with a dodgy tummy to go out and “let rip” is good advice. Could have had…messy results.

We’re also reminded that Len complimented Louis on having so many recognisable samba moves in the routine, immediately after Bruno said it looked more like a salsa and Craig claimed it didn’t have the samba bounce. SALSAMBCHA ROCKS! We close with Louis trying to find anybody who agreed with Craig’s score of 6 for him last week.

Whilst you’re at it Louis, try and find anybody who likes your hair.

Training now, and Flavia says that Louis is “a little bit naughty” in training

Our Olympians eh? Such mature leaders of men. Fortunately, she’s found a way to make him behave.

Bring his mum in. His REAL mum. Again, it’s nice to see, just in case I try to get back to my ATHLETIC PEAK, the sort of diet regime that I’ll need to stick to in order to compete with the world elite in physical fitness. An entire tube of BBQ Pringles and some Dairylea sandwiches it is. Louis sighs that his mum is clearly only using the excuse of bringing lunch in in order to spy on his dancing, and then Mama Louis and Mama Flavia bond over what a pain in the bum Louis is.

Mama Louis suggests that she bring in a roll of sellotape from home to tie Louis thumb down. Yeah, I’m not sure Flavia needs bondage tips. Just saying.

Lots of shots of

“OH MUM!!!” pouting ensue, which I’m sure I’d find more entertaining if…we didn’t see them every week in Louis’ training footage as it was.


She loved this place. Mercifully, Flavia and Louis don’t actually try to dance around the swing, because they’re not mentals. Well…not in that sense anyway. They’re dancing to “Moon River” and what’s stuck in my head recently was Flavia very proudly saying on “It Takes Two” that she didn’t believe in theme weeks, because ALL of her dances for Louis were themed. I’m presuming the theme this week was

“Mum Bait”. I mean…IT’S MOON RIVER. It’s very sweet and elegant and sentimental, and he whirls, twirls and partners

beautifully. I do think the twinkly fairy lights could be kicked up a few more amps though, just to really drive the point home. I’m also quite amused to see that

they’ve given the moon Louis’ haircut, just for this dance. If I were to criticise, it would be the same old, same old with Louis, in that…I know the tango was well-received, but it doesn’t mean you have to play the zombie in every ballroom dance. To paraphrase A Chorus Line, it’s a bit Dance 10 Look 3, and

slightly tilted, as well. Maybe Flavia’s still ill and he doesn’t want to catch it back.

MUMLICIOUS, DAHLING. If she had a box of Malteasers on her lap they could be watching Downton.

It gets a standing ovation, and Tess grins that Louis must be OVER THE MOON WITH THAT!!! See, it’s not that she’s NOT making crap jokes like Bruce, it’s just that her delivery’s so…low-key you wouldn’t even notice. She congratulates them on their standing ovation, and then takes this opportunity to welcome

Streets Of Rage character Tommy Blaze, emogirl82, Lance Ellington, and Renee from Ally McBeal. It’s our SINGERS! And of course

these two. Couldn’t forget them.



OTHER JUDGES ARE MAD! Here’s a verbatim transcription

Craig : I didn’t like that Fouette turn at the top, it was very pedestrian…
Darcey : He didn’t even hop! He didn’t even hop!
Craig : If you’re going to do something like that you have to be REALLY good at it
Darcey : He didn’t even hop!
Len : *glowers like Craig just poured his pickled wawnuts down the sink*
Craig : Also I felt you were getting a little bit out of time in the middle of it…
Bruno : PURPLE MONKEY DISHWASHER! JABBA THE HUTT! *bounce bounce bounce*
Craig : There wasn’t a clear down beat!
Craig : There was a beautiful amount of rise and fall and I thought the pivots were good but your head needs to go to the left a lot more
Len : *coughs up phlegm*
Craig : Your free arm I thought was working very well! I’M TRYING TO FIND SOME POSITIVE HERE DAHLING!
Darcey : *cackles*
Craig : It was a little bit saccharine…
Darcey : Did I mention that I liked how you didn’t hop in that ballet bit Craig said about yah? The rhombus dong? I know about ballet yah?
Darcey : I still totally fancy you by the way Louis yah? Is that right? *checks earpiece for who she’s supposed to fancy this week* Yup, totes fancy you, yah?
Flavia : *giggles*
Len : WORRALOADOFBOLOGNAISE! Craig only says things for effect anyway!
Monkseal : *dies laughing*
Starship Karen : *explodes with pro-male-celeb RAGE*
Tess : *mute silence*
Ovary voters : *mashmashmashmashmash*
Maw Little Jaw :

Nice Orse, liyk.

I mean…Len says something else about the waltz being REALLY DIFFICULT FOR THE MAYUW CELEBRITIES TO DO because they have to wear clothes or something, but that should just about cover it.

Up to Claud 9 they cross in style, where Claudia congratulates them for causing the first proper judges squabble of the series. Yeah…erm…thanks for that guys. Really appreciate it. Claudia asks them what they think of the judges meltdown and Flavia replies

“I dunno” like it would be possible to have a proper opinion on that mess that didn’t involve just rolling your eyes. Louis says that he was thinking “ding ding Round 1!”. It’d be about Round 56 at this point wouldn’t it? He promises that he does take on board all the judges comments – good, bad, and utterly incoherent- and uses them to improve week by week. Flavia peeps up that she fixed his thumb (*silent*NOT THAT CRAIG BLOODY NOTICED*silent*). Scores are in

33. LOL troll harder Craig. I would have given it an 8, but we all know I’m mean, so really it ended up about where I thought it should.

Claudia highlight? Saying “FACT”.

Fern Britton & Artem Chigvintsev dancing the salsa

That role in the Dinnerladies musical looms ever closer doesn’t it? Incidentally Tess’ intro for this dance is reminiscent of one of Bruce’s last week in that

you could just about make out a bit of a tit hanging there in mid-air then as well. Tess tells us that last week, despite Artem losing his shirt, Fern still managed to struggle with the passionate paso. Yes, because I’m sure it wasn’t a total distraction for her or anything. We’re lucky she didn’t take her role as the bull more literally and try to inseminate him.

VT time, and Fern says that she thinks the masterstroke in her paso doble with Artem was him dancing “in his skin”. Can’t say she doesn’t know her target market as a contestant, I’ll give her that. As Tom Jones hit single “Sex Barn” starts up in the background, Artem wryly says that apparently his bare chest caused a lot of “distraction”. Except it sounds like “destruction”. It certainly did in my living room – I knocked a lamp over. And not with my arms either.

It’s so strange to see Bruno genuinely aroused, not just cartoon pretend aroused. Strange and uncomfortable.

We close with Fern reminding us that Bruno is obsessed with her “cleaning, polishing and dusting” in her routines, so she’s come up with a routine with Artem to “polish him off”. So Artem is DEFINITELY coming out in a thong then?

Training now, and Artem says he wants Fern to be thinking about the salsa all the time, so he’s

hired a band to follow her around the whole time, singing about it. If that’s how he goes about things it’s a wonder it took Kara so long to cave in. I would have been proposing marriage from the second chorus of Malaguena. Fern says that at first it was amusing and cute, but by the third time popping up unwanted, it got annoying. And yet these Comedy VTs continue…


Either she’s supposed to be dusting and polishing, or this show finally got ARTEMCAM to work. Press the blue button on your remote, and see everything from Artem’s perspective! If you’re lucky, in 3D! Feel his eyes widen as he gets yet another 10! Watch your screen fill with tears as he hurts his back again! Feel vaguely nauseous as he rolls his eyes, when told he’ll be dancing the Charleston again!

Anywho, Fern advances on the judges table, flicking her duster about with abandon then

shoots for that extra point from Len. Looks like she’s got it. Maybe two of them.

The salsa itself is really a triumph – not because it’s danced well (it’s not – her arms are heavy, the lifts are a bit clunky and most of the choreography just seems to be her wiggling her boobs about) but because she’s finally really GOING for it. Her hands are off her skirt, she’s not trying quite so hard to look correct and dignified, and it looks like a complete dance for the first time. Of course this is the week when the public finally gave up and drifted away but hey…I enjoyed it.

It gets not even a hint of a standing ovation, because people are just WRONG like that. Tess asks Darcey if she thinks Fern cleaned up in the salsa, and she replies that she certainly did! She can come and clean up around her children ANY TIME. Or water her begonias, you know, whatever. She tells Fern that this was truly HER PARTY.

I wonder what she was serving up for nibbles… Len follows by yelling that the track was called “PARTY TIME” and this was certainly a PARTY. Thanks Len. He goes on to say that it was her best dance so far, and it was fun. That fact alone would make it her best dance of the series, yes.

Bruno is next, yelling that Fern went from “casual duster” to “SAUCY SCRUMPET!”. She let it all hang out, and that’s what the salsa is all about – shaking your boobies and letting yourself go. Well certainly she let it all hang out. So much so that some of it was hanging out the back as well. Also, I’m not sure panning to

Bobby Ball showing his pervy approval at this point really did much for Fern’s ego. We all know that Cannon was the fit one.

Up to Claud 9 they yomp (no word from Craig, because even without Bruce this show still runs behind schedule), and Claud grins “that was SO your dance” and Fern beams that she loved it, because it didn’t involve refined elegance and poise, but instead just

swinging her titties in everyone’s faces. Well, everyone has a niche… Then the band from the Comedy VT come back, so let’s…skip over that shall we? Claudia asks Artem if he is happy with the response to Fern’s dance and he says he is

thrilled. Scores are in

27. Someone’s still used to Christmas Special scoring by the looks of it.

Claudia highlight? Her claiming that there are lights at Wembley in the shape of reindeer.

PENDLEDRAMA & The Bellhop Of The Damned dancing the quickstep

He really is only going to wear that hat when they force him to isn’t he? Tess tells us that the quickstep requires a lot of speed and stamina, and if there’s one thing that Victoria is good at it’s putting her foot on the peddle. And then driving straight off a cliff, killing a seagull on the way down.

VT time, and Victoria tells us that she was absolutely terrified standing up on the table dancing for the judges, especially of the idea that she might step off and land on one. She has faith that one of them would catch her though, right?

RIGHT? I think most people think they’re holding you up enough as it is… She reveals that really her samba was all about her just getting to the end, whilst hating every second of it. Don’t worry, Victoria, it didn’t show. Much. Still, Victoria beams that she’s glad that she has her Brenda, because he’s the sort of person who always sticks up for his partners to the judges…then slags them off in the press when the show’s finished. I think I can at this point basically make a ranking of how much Brendan likes his past partners, and you can’t say that for many pros. It goes like this :

1. Jo Wood
2. Lisa Snowdon
3. Kelly Brook
4. Michelle Williams
5. Kerplunk
6. Fiona Phillips
7. Claire King
8. Sarah Manners

Where Victoria will end up, I can only guess(/create a poll for)

Training now, and Victoria squeaks “THIS IS FUN ISN’T IT BRENDAN?!”

Don’t let this photo influence your vote in the above poll TOO much. Anyway, yes, it turns out that oddly enough, Victoria is happy to be back doing ballroom instead of Latin. Victoria tells us that actually, being from a sports background is a real disadvantage, because she’s moving from a very physical field where she has a lot of skills to one where she has none. I mean…I think that’s more “annoying” than an actual disadvantage. It’s not as though you’re Heather Mills-McCartney hopping in here is it?

Her disadvantage being her hilariously awful personality obviously. OBVIOUSLY

Victoria then goes on to tell us all that quickstep is one of Brenda’s favourite dances, so she feels like she owes it to him to go out there and get it right on Saturday, and also for all the public for keeping her in so far, despite “not being the best dancer”. She then makes fun of Brenda for sweating everywhere and he snarks back that it’s from carrying her arse around the dancefloor. Oh PENDLEDRAMA.


My she’s got a lot of baggage hasn’t she? The storyline of this dance (performed to “Luck Be A Lady”) is that Victoria is a glamorous heiress who is arriving at the Hotel Brenda who then…

does a quickstep. The storylining for these things always does fall down at the “…and then they dance” bit doesn’t it? Fortunately for Victoria the storyline doesn’t involve that taxi running her over, as I suspect it might have done at certain points in training. As quicksteps go it’s not the fastest the show’s ever seen – in fact Victoria seems to want it to be going faster than it is for most of it – but she’s reasonably solid and looks more confident than she does in the Latin. And of course they’ve dressed her up beautifully and she’s got a flattering theme. It’s a solid comeback from last week, although the best part is of course

when Brenda falls A over T into the orchestra pit and

still recovers in time to pull off the end-pose. Such a pro.

Victoria gives Brendan a little hug to soothe his bruised ego, whilst up on Mount Olympus

Louis wonders if Zeus got that paperwork through yet to strip Victoria of her OLYMPIC GOD status and make her a mortal again. Or at least one of those demi-gods that only exist because one of the gods got frisky with a platypus or something. I mean, what even was she supposed to be Goddess of in the first place? Other than drama? As they wander over to the judges, Victoria makes a little heart shape with her hands to someone in the audience (bless) (also, she is 31 years old) and Brendan tells Craig that he believes that a piece of the luggage belongs to him.

Oh, good, a comedy bit. Made all the better by the fact that Craig can’t get the damned thing open for a good 15-20 seconds. Darcey’s face of amusement at this cock-up is

quite something. Anyway, the bag contains a 10 paddle and it’s covered in cobwebs. Doesn’t that say more about the bag than the paddle? Not that I’m trying to make sense of this crap you understand. Tess crows that it’s certainly been a long time since we’ve seen THAT 10 PADDLE FROM CRAIG! Actually it’s the same amount of time as for all the other judges, and less time in the case of Darcey. Still CRAIG AM MEAN ONE WHO CERTAINLY NEVER GIVE TEN FOR UTTERLY FORGETTABLE DANCE and so on. Tess asks Brendan if he’s ok after his fall (clearly not, but he’s soldiering on anyway) and Victoria if she’s happy to be back in hold, to which Victoria replies that she is. So very glad.

Len starts for the judges, saying that he’d give Victoria a left home any time. Well I’m sure that’s a comfort to her. He goes on to say that that was a quickstep. It was quick and there were steps. THANKS LEN! He says that as far as he could see she hit all the steps correctly (as opposed to Brenda, who hit them with his face), well done her. Bruno follows, and basically says that it’s obvious that all Victoria needs is a strong man to push her around and she’s absolutely fine!

Either they don’t understand how back-handed that sounds, or they really are trying to ease her out the door. He tells her that sometimes when she’s on her own she gets lost. Tess then yells

“DON’T SAY THE S WORD!” Is this some sort of private game? What’s the S word? What happens if Bruno says it? Does Tess have to be spontaneous or something? Anyway, Victoria has to main this form, and deliver again next week, and not burn Wembley to the ground or anything like that. Cue a cut to

I’m guessing that’s her man in the audience? He seems…relatively scar-free.

Craig follows, criticising her shoulders and her frame but also saying that he thinks she moved around the floor with gusto. As nicknames for Brendan go, I’ve heard worse. Darcey closes by telling us that each week Victoria grows in confidence and also

in insanity. I may have added that last bit myself. She did need more control in her shoulders though, because they do creep up a bit. Just before Victoria hies off up to Claud 9, Tess reveals what the s word is. It’s “samba!”. I don’t think any of us were expecting that. I thought it might be “cycling” and Tess had just forgotten how to spell.

Up to Claud 9 they luck, where Claudia mostly, in her position as Strictly Den Mother, attends to Brenda’s injuries, and congratulates him on successfully carrying off a roly-poly. Vincent must be so jealous. Scores are in


Claudia highlight? Modestly thanking everyone for applauding her for “literally just reading out loud”.

Tracy Beaker & Vincent Simone dancing the tango

Tess tells us that, after two months of dancing with the Italian Stallion, Tracy is fast becoming the “dark horse” of the competition. As much as someone who quit a disco musical to be on the show can ever be a dark horse. I’m sure she mostly sat on a chair.

In her VT, Tracy tells us all that she was really happy to do the jive last week, as it is her favourite dance OF ALL TIME. What, above the Macarena? MADNESS! She it’s really great to get good comments from the judges, but even better when those good comments are matched with good marks. Ooof, is that a subtle dig at Darcey I detect there? Quite possibly. Keep it up Tracy! Or it might be that the “good comments” from Bruno mostly appear to have been “WHAT A GWEAT IKKLE JIVE FWON THE WIKKLE DANCING MUNCHKINS SO COOOOOT!” in which case…yes, I’d prefer the good scores as well, to be honest.

Training now, and Tracy reveals that the story of their tango is her discovering that Vincent is cheating on her and the

hilarious domestic violence/morris dancing that ensues. Vincent tells us that there is a mysterious attractive female dancer in his life, and he is considering replacing Tracy with her. Given that his chat up lines inclue the Joey Tribbiani classic “HEY, HOW YOU DO?”, I think she’s probably safe for a while yet.

Tracy reveals that ever since she’s been paired up with Vincent she’s thought “I have to do the tango with this man”. WOAH! SLOW DOWN BEAKER! He’s got a baby now! He’s a changed man! Oh. Right. An ACTUAL tango. The dance. Gotcha. Vincent says that people always have expectations of him when he dances tango (not after Felicity Kendall I don’t) but it takes two to tango. Or, in the case of when Flavia unleashes her tango, 15 people, three harnesses and something to hose yourself down with again afterwards.

We close with Tracy saying that she really wants to go to Wembley, because she’s never been before. The fact that it would involve staying in the competition is truly incidental, honest! She just wants to go and see the sights! The stadium! The arena! St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church!


Vincent really is the most inefficient love-rat ever isn’t he?

a) phoneboxes are expensive
b) always check behind you before phoning your fancy woman
c) always make sure the DOOR OF THE PHONEBOX IS SHUT before phoning your fancy woman
d) if you’re going to furtively cheat on your significant other, don’t wander around in full tango gear, it tends to draw the eye
e) don’t soundtrack your cheating with a popular Adele song about cheating. This is not subtle, and will be difficult to pass off as a double bluff. Maybe try tango’ing to “It Wasn’t Me” or “Stupid Mistake” for more leeway.

Anywho, caught out there, Vincent suffers a barrage of

truly puny pounds on his box by Tracy who is FURIOUS. Possibly at Wardrobe for having her do tango with her belly button hanging out. Also possibly for

not giving this staging the Rocky Horror Picture Tango treatment it so richly deserves. It’s only been two series since TIMEWARP, and I need my fix.

Their tango is very nimble, and sharp in its head-movements and full of drama but I’d still say she doesn’t look completely comfortable in hold. People who look better at latin than they do in ballroom are such a genuine rarity on this show that I always feel compelled to pick them out, even if it does feel a bit like I’m undermining their ballroom efforts in doing so. Tracy’s such a Strictly unicorn!

The End.

It gets a standing ovation but

I do sometimes wish they’d cut to some people looking ACTUALLY IMPRESSED rather than the dignitaries in the celebrity holding pen. Ramps saw Louisa Lytton’s tango, so he’s not going to go ape for that, Shane’s blatantly just waiting for Nicky, and Cheryl Cole’s not going to give them what they want unless they make the “SIMON’S GAY!” banner for her themselves. Tess jokes with Vincent that she hopes that Vincent wasn’t voting for himself at the beginning there, as the phonelines haven’t opened yet. Never stopped Christopher Maloney…

Bruno starts us off for the judges by telling Tracy her tango was

finger-licking good. Well I hope that’s one moment that Len’s Lens isn’t going to show us tomorrow. Leslie Grantham was frankly enough. Bruno says that it started with a strop, ended with a drop and had SO MUCH DRAMA in the middle. He then

molests Len, who looks more into it than usual. I guess there’s only so long you can feign surprise and disgust before you lose the will to carry on. Craig follows by telling Tracy that she is a lovely technician, and that the dance was clean and precise. Just such a shame that she finished well ahead of the music.

TRACY SULK-FACE RETURNS! Vincent jokes that the audience were clapping so loud that they couldn’t hear where they were supposed to be. Hey Vincent, it may ruin the routines, but doesn’t it add to the ATMOSPHERE to have clap along like someone frantically trying to turn on the light in a Californian pied a terre? Bruno then…

I dunno what he’s doing to be honest. It terrifies me to think that Bruce’s presence is actually normally shielding us from stuff like this and there is a point to him after all.

Darcey follows, and says she didn’t like the opening because Tracy acted more like a stroppy teeanger than a feisty woman, but once she got into hold it got better and better. And she liked the ending, so THERE. I guess Craig complaining about things running to time on this show is rather small beer. Len closes by saying that he’s never seen such a strop about getting into a phonebox. Obviously never had to go in there after Lex Luthor unleashed an evil robot whilst Clark Kent was on a works curry outing with The Daily Planet staff then. Anyway, what he really loved about the routine was the light and shade. Alright Carrie Grant.

Up to Claud 9 they rumour, where Vincent reveals that he had originally choreographed a kiss into the routine, but he then removed it, because he felt it was too much. Was it with the video wall Vincent? Were you clothed? WHY AM I IMAGINING THIS? Anyway Claudia asks Tracy if it was a big pressure for her dancing with the King Of Tango, and she says it was, but she really thinks the pressure was more on Vincent to come up with a great routine. Scores are in


Claudia Highlight? Telling us not to even make eye-contact with our phones, because the lines are not yet open.

Nicky & The No-No & Karen Hauer dancing the foxtrot

Tess tells us that Nicky is under added pressure this week, as he will be performing in front of not only 11 million people and the judges but also SHANE WESTLIFE!

Terrifying. I wonder if/when the rest of the gang are going to turn up. I have to admit that I am secretly enjoying this opportunity to find out more about the faces behind the beige. For example, before this series of Strictly, I always presumed the biggest penis in Westlife was Bryan.

VT time now, and it is revealed that most of Nicky’s rumba training last week in fact came

last minute, backstage, courtesy of Brendan and James. I can’t BELIEVE they told him the right things to do. Everything I’ve seen in their 15 combined series before this tells me that they should have told him to reach out sensually for Karen, then stick one hand behind his head, grab one ankle with the other, and pump vigorously. Nicky grins that he took their advice, went out and did a far better rumba than he normally does, and then still got criticised by the judges! I know, how very dare they! I’m also sure that Karen is LOVING the implications of that whole segment.

Training now and

it’s primal isn’t it? Nicky tells us that this week he will be dancing to a song called “The Best Is Yet To Come” by…”Michael Buble”. Give me strength. Is this like how Robbie Williams wrote Mack The Knife and Westlife wrote “Aint That A Kick In The Head” and if you actually investigate music history “The Lady Is A Tramp” is in fact a modified cover of “The Lady Is A Vamp”? Nicky says that he really has to come out and have a breakthrough this week, as he’s been far too close to the Bottom Two recently. Karen explains that the way she intends to win the public over is by using a prop. Yeah…that normally works. It’s

briefly awol at the moment, but it will in fact be a great big fake microphone stand. Or an invisible tennis racket.

Nicky OF COURSE immediately starts tooling around with the prop (for which various things seem to be playing substitute, including a broom) just to wind Karen up. Karen snaps, telling him that Craig CAN’T give them a 4 again because she really wants to dance in front of thousands at Wembley. Eh, you’ll be in a pro dance anyway Karen calm down. Nicky snarks at Karen that if she wants to go to Wembley so badly, she can always just catch the bus.



These new Daleks really have the crappest design yet don’t they? I know all the budget goes on CGI now but still… The music starts, Nicky starts clicking his fingers, and then his mic-stand starts becoming

well you can make your own jokes. I think I actually may have run out at this point. Anyway, this is the cue for Nicky to do lots of

cane related shenanigans with the mic-stand to the degree that I don’t quite understand why Karen didn’t just use a cane, but I guess he IS a singer so it makes a certain amount of sense. Mercifully the thing isn’t allowed to outstay its welcome, and Nicky gets into hold with Karen reasonably swiftly, from which point

well it’s a foxtrot isn’t it? Have fun. As if to best fit the joyless sheen that is foxtrot, Wardrobe have finally dressed him in such a way that hides the erm…third member of this team. His posture seems better, his knees seem less constantly crooked and Karen’s spine seems

more flexible than ever. Obviously she’s still not Natalie but…who is?


The dance gets a standing ovation from the entire studio audience, including the most FIERCE CRITIC OF THEM ALL

SHANE WESTLIFE! He is looking more and more like Louis Walsh as he ages isn’t he? I can’t wait for the surprise twist ending where it turns out Louis was in fact Shane From The Future all along.

Craig starts for the judges, and I want to make sure to get this half-wittedness down in full. Hang on.

Tess : Craig! Last week you gave Nicky a 4. Did you see any improvement tonight? PLEASE SAY YES!

Craig : No. I saw a VAST improvement.

Monkseal : WTF?

I’m just going to move on to Darcey because…yeah. She says she really liked the start of the routine and how Nicky set the mood and style. She missed the proper drive and dynamics of a foxtrot, but it was a fabulous performance. Len is next, and says that he’s written down that Nicky has to move more, and also he has to pick up a copy of The Sun and also something to do with a picture of the sun having a smily face shining down on Len having a BBQ with Nanette Newman. But he forgets what that’s all got to do with the foxtrot, which he says was Nicky’s best dance yet. Bruno closes by saying that Nicky really “rose to the occasion”. Lord preserve us on the day that actually happens – Karen will be “taking it on the chin” in an entirely new and yet still literal way. He needs more drive in hold, but he was great in the side-by-sides and it’s really wonderful to see his improvement.

Tess grins that Nicky just got his best comments from the judges and sends him off up to Claud 9, but I still feel that dance was missing something.

Not sure what though.

Up on Claud 9 itself, Nicky is clearly on a high, saying that comments like he just got are why he puts in all the hard work that he does. Claudia gushes to them both that they both looked SO NERVOUS WITH THEIR LIKKLE FACES waiting for the judges comments, but then they were nice, so it didn’t really matter. Claudia’s obsession with everybody’s IKKLE FACES never fails to amuse me. Anyway, scores are in


Claudia highlight? Tickling Nicky under the chin, then reprimanding herself for being “totally inappropriate”.

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev dancing the Viennese Waltz

Tess tells us that last week Kimberley impressed the judges by letting her hair down in a sexy salsa, but Tess wonders if she can do the same in a dainty and demure Viennese Waltz. Although I bet she doesn’t. I bet Tess ACTUALLY doesn’t really care. Does Kimberley have GUNZZZ? No, no she does not.

In her VT, Kimberley tells us that it was definitely a highlight of her Saturday Night to be lowered to the dancefloor in a hoop, and it really amused her to see how much the judges enjoyed her erotic gyrations.

Len’s boner is a hilarious sight to see I’m sure. Metaphorically speaking of course. She goes on to say that she was really excited to see the judges show their 8 paddles and then even more really excited when Bruno scored her 9. Thanks Kimbotley!

Training now, and Kimberley tells us that she’ll be dancing her Viennese Waltz to a really beautiful song from the new Twiglets movie by Christina Perri called “A Thousand Years”. Is that name a reference to how long it feels like each individual Twiglets movie lasts? No wonder Kristen Stewart seems so jaded – she was only 3 when the first one started filming. Well done to emogirl82 for getting her mate’s songs on the show again anyway. Speaking of which…

OK, let’s break this down

a) yes, people have promoted their day-job work on this show before, but nobody has, as far as I know, ever gone “I’VE BEEN REALLY BUSY PUTTING THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON MY SOLO ALBUM THIS WEEK!!!” especially when absolutely nobody knew they were releasing one in the first place

b) Kimberley

can’t act

c) Pasha

can’t act

d) I might have been more forgiving if this solo album were in fact some vaguely banging Xenomania dancey stuff, not a (*shudders*) album of musical theatre covers

e) I can believe that people were rehearsing on the set of Waterloo Road/Eastenders/Holby City in order to fill time. I don’t believe that this

was ever a situation where people trained.

It’s just all a bit…graspy, no?


Don’t she look pretty? I have to say, really, on a visceral level, this dance and Fern’s were my two favourites of the night, which just shows how much my thought processes mirror that of the general public with this show. I’m not saying they’re both technically the best (obviously in the case of Fern because…LOL) and Kimberley gets a bit hoppy and sticky occasionally, but what can I say?

I’m a sucker for this sort of stupid overblown romanticism. I’m pretty much sold from the second the stairs light up as she walks down them, like she’s on some sort of naff ITV gameshow. WERK IT GURL!

But we all know whose opinion REALLY matters here right?


Over to Tess they skip, with Tess beaming to Kimberley to look at everyone because they’re ON THEIR FEET! INCLUDING CHERYL! Yes, what an unexpected turn of events that is.

Darcey starts for the judges by saying that Kimberley really lived up to her expectations of her, and she thought that was SUCH an emotive Viennese Waltz. She particularly liked long, regal, elegant ne…

oh wait, what’s this? It’s her beautiful new necklace from the Bussell range, yours for only £39.99 from QVC! She does sympathise with Kimberley on the trouble she was having in her “attitude promenades”. Kimberley then rolls her eyes as if to say

“oh yeah, I know”. I just…you’ll look less like a ringer if you show recognition to things like “attitude promenades” Kimberley. Chelsee got all the way to Final Two by just yelling “yerr wha?” to everything. Watch and learn. Len’s next, and he tells Kimberley that from now on he’s going to call her

“KIMBERLEY WARTS!”. Well that’s not very…oh…wait…Kimberley Waltz. He’s going to call her Kimberley Waltz. Because he liked that waltz. Won’t be much help when she has a rumba will it? He liked her posture, and he thought her fleckerl was good. It was gentle, and whimsical, and he loved it.

Bruno follows by dribbling on about the romance, as he is wont to do, and describing the dance as being “near perfection” apart from the bit that Darcey mentioned. And then Len points out that her feet weren’t crossed properly at one point. And also her Eros turn was a bit jumpy. BUT OTHER THAN THAT, IT WAS ALMOST PERFECT. Craig follows by saying that her head was too high, and he thought her “snout” was pointing towards the ceiling.

ANIMAL IMAGERY! THE ANIMAL BEING A PIG! SO HELPFUL! Actually it might not be a pig. What else has a snout? A tapir? Maybe he was calling her a tapir? Other than looking like a pig though, it was a DELICIOUS Viennese. Did it come with crackling?

Up to Claud 9 they sparkle, where Claudia beams that she loved Kimberley’s long neck, and then Nicky wafts the mic stand around. There’s not a LOT of interviewing going on in these segments here, it has to be said. Scores are in


Claudia Highlight? Saying that Cheryl Cole’s presence was obviously lucky for Kimberley. D’OOPS.

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe dancing the salsa

Tess jokes that the good news for Michael is that he’s good at ballroom! He THRIVES in ballroom! He’s THE WORLD’S GREATEST BALLROOM DANCER! But unfortunately this week he has Latin.

Well… he has salsambcha anyway.

VT time, and Michael tells us that he felt a lot more nervous last Saturday than he had done the Saturday before, because this time he felt the weight of expectations on him, and the foxtrot was the hardest ballroom dance he’s done to date.

Also because someone told Natalie about Goughy and now she’s convinced she can win. OLD SHARK-EYES IS BACK. Or at least I hope so.

Training now, and

I feel like I could just leave that picture up there and have done with it. It’s your usual blokey cricketer Latin rehearsal, complete with choo-choo arms, spaghetti legs, and Natalie filling out the insurance forms for the lifts. Michael lists all the ways they’ve rehearsed – using the mirror, not using the mirror, shutting their eyes…(Natalie was mostly doing that last one, whilst crying). Finally Natalie cracks and tells him that he needs to find a

PERFORMANCE FACE! And yes she does jazz-hand herself as she says it. Needless to say, that there is Michael’s performance face, and Natalie doesn’t like it one little bit. So in order to help it’s time to visit that old Strictly staple…

THE SALSA CLUB! Which Michael has, as you can see, converted into a cricket club bar within a couple of bars of La Bamba. Some people are just too Yorkshire for such things. He says that he really fed off the other people there, their love of salsa, their knowledge and passion for its traditions, and also 5 pints of Snakebite & Black. He closes by saying that everybody expects him to be vulnerable in the salsa but he’s hoping he can surprise them.

Oh Michael, you didn’t surprise me one bit, and I’m so glad you didn’t.


He’s doing his salsa to “ABC” by The Jackson 5, and it’s started off with an

ALMIGHTY WINK from Natalie as if to say “yeah, this is ALL me”. And so it proves, as Michael wriggles around like so many before him, forgetting the routine, doing the locomotion, throwing Natalie around like she’s choking on a pound coin and he doesn’t know the Heimlich maneouvre, missing the beat, dropping steps, and being all around terrifying as Natalie

hurls herself at his face like it’s smeared with peanut butter and her bread needs a topping. The whole thing is so akin to some sort of tribalistic ritual that I’m surprised it doesn’t start pouring with rain in the studio halfway through. I can’t say he’s not progressing though, as now I don’t even need a THEME to find this hilarious.

It gets a standing ovation, by which I mean

Ramps stands up, and any dance that can get Ramps to smile like that automatically has my vote.

Once they’ve disentangled themselves, and found themselves over at Tess, who asks them how the lifts went. Did you not see them Tess? They erm…well they went. She then turns to Len and asks him if “Captain Ballroom finally cracked the latin”. He says that compared to some of his other Latin dances, it was a lot better. HA! He’s done TWO others, and one of them was THAT JIVE. Len was very disappointed to see, in the middle, a serious incident. I saw it as well. Natalie responded to it by adjusting her hair and hip-checking him away from her, which is why she is my favourite. Great content, excellent lifts, and he CAME AHT AND GIVVIT A PROPER GO!

Bruno follows, and tells Michael that he is now officially able to bat for both teams

The Latin Team, and the Ballroom Team. Thus deftly avoiding the question of whether he’d be a thrower or a catcher when things changed ends. So to speak. His timing wasn’t good, and there were still mistakes, but Bruno thinks that was a real breakthrough. Eh, even if he were “batting for the Latin Team” it’s be at about number 9.

Craig follows on by saying that it must be really difficult to salsa with Ramps in the audience. Oh Craig, you could have said that to Fern as well. Albeit for different reasons. Even now batting for the Latin team I doubt Michael was afflicted with the desire to run up and lick him. Craig goes on to explain that it must be difficult because Ramps was so great at salsa, and Michael’s kind of…not. It was mechanical and too thought out. It went horribly wrong, and Natalie got him out of it rather than him recovering. But, you know, he loved the lifts and the energy and that. Darcey closes by saying that she liked it and…

the producers are telling her in her earpiece that she fancies HIM now. Grr, phwoar, I’d be confident in your thighs if I was dancing with you, etc etc.

Oh Darcey, are there no depths…

Up to Claud 9 they BREAKTHROUGH, and Claudia asks them what the incident was, and Michael replies that it was when he lost the entire routine for a few seconds out there. Claudia then yells “NO YOU DIDN’T!”.

Well that’s them told. Claudia then goes on to wax rhapsodic about the lifts, and Michael says that he’s dropped many balls in his time, so he was worried Natalie wouldn’t feel safe with him. What’s he trying to say? I know Natalie is a strong, powerful muscular woman but… Anyway, Claudia promises that she’ll organise an opportunity for Michael to give Darcey a lift at the wrap party (can you imagine?) and the scores are in


Claudia highlight?

Telling people not to do this with their hands. Maybe tell the celebs that as well. Please?

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor dancing the foxtrot

It appears that some of the Tom Chambers clone army came out a little…half baked. Tess reminds us that Lisa has always got praise for her fast and furious routines (except once the judges got as bored with them as I did) but last week she prove she could do slow and serious (sort of). This week though, is all about the footwork, as she’s doing a foxtrot. Yes, when I saw those outfits, my first thoughts were “technical masterclass” is has to be said.

VT time now, and Lisa tells us that she thinks last week went really well, and she was really proud of the routine. Were you proud of the music choice Lisa? (PARP PARP PARP PARP PARP). She claims that the 7 she got from Darcey made her week, but she really wants to go out there tonight and do one better. She wants to hear from Darcey Bussell just how amazing her footwork is.

What a goal to have in life. Nobody seems to want Bruno’s approval ever do they? Poor Bruno. It’s hard to be the clown. (*sniff*)

Cue training and

lots of exciting shots of footwork. For Darcey. And…you know…fetishists. (COME ON GOOGLE HITS!). The music editors choose to play “Perfect 10” by The Beautiful South over this footage which…why not play “Fat Bottomed Girls” whilst you’re at it? Lisa tells us that she likes to call the foxtrot the “trot on”. Does this mean all her funny choreographical words are coming back? I kind of hope not. I think they worked best as a one-week storyline.

Happily, Robin is at least using proper ballroom terminology, as he says he and Lisa have been focusing on their heel turns. Which, as we all remember, Denise can’t do. DANCE WARS! Lisa tells us that to do a heel turn, you have to put all your weight on both heels at once, and for her, that’s a lot of weight, which makes it difficult.

Are you sure Lisa? Are you sure it’s not because you and Robin are the same height? Or something like that? We get a lot of focus on Lisa’s heel turns and whether she’ll pull them off, and it feels like we’re back in Series 3 or something. THIS IS A PROPER TRAINING VT AND A PROPER STORYLINE BASED AROUND TRAINING, THAT WILL BE RESOLVED ON THE DANCEFLOOR! WHAT’S GOING ON? SURELY THEY SHOULD BE DRESSED AS GLADIATORS AND SMACKING ONE ANOTHER WITH PGUIL STICKS WITH DARCEY’S FACE ON THEM OR SOMETHING?


See, this is much better. A pointless set-up and props that nobody will remember 5 seconds after the routine ends.

What a revoltin’ development (n’yyuk n’yuk n’yuk). Anyway they emerge,

kiss kiss, and then begin foxtrotting to “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole. Which is one of my favourite songs, especially since Dida Ritz slayed The Princess to it in a Lip Sync For Your Life on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Which isn’t just an obscure reference, it’s a handy lead-in to just how camp this dance is.

Seriously, tinsel-tits doesn’t even cover it. It’s exuberant, vaudeville, and as high NRG as you can imagine a foxtrot on this show ever being. Which is all goo for me, and if she’s getting her footwork right as well all the better, because it’s not as though I’d have a clue. Cheryl of course looks so effing bored throughout that

I have handily used Lisa’s head to cover up hers in this shot. Consider it a favour.


It gets a standing ovation, although Tess clearly doesn’t have Bruce’s stamina, as she stopped yelling “LOOK! LOOK! LOOKITY LOOK LOOK LOOK AT THEM!” about three dances back. Bruno starts for the judges, saying that at the start he thought she was going to do a Liza Minelli number.

Never fear Bruno, it was FAR gayer than that. He loved her energy and comments on just how much she got into it, so much so that she started to lead again.

Oops. Craig goes on to compliment Lisa for her impeccable timing, ferocious footwork, and “cyclonic rate of getting into it”. Up on Claud 9, the sisterhood

hoot their support. Oops, wait, no they don’t. Tracy looks bored, Karen examines her nails, and Kimberley chats away to Pasha about something else. I know it’s been almost 90 minutes now but PULL IT TOGETHER LADIES.

Darcey praises Lisa for working on her footwork and for producing the “fastest foxtrot that Darcey has ever seen”. Does Darcey neck an eccy every time Lisa performs or something? Anyway, she tells Lisa that that was her best ballroom dance yet, and Lisa creeps ever closer to going

full-Hamela. If she pulls out the prayer-hands, we are THROUGH. Len closes by complimenting Lisa on getting one of her heel turns correct, if not the other, but she shouldn’t worry about that, because for Len, Lisa doesn’t have the X Factor so much as the F Factor.


Yes, it’s the FUN Factor. Phew. Speaking of which

LOL! All the funnier because he almost does it right into the oldest dear in the audience. That’d be a vote-loser.

Up on Claud 9, Lisa talks about being a ballroom girl finally, everyone coos over Robin’s obvious embarrassment at just having fallen arse over tit, Vincent and scores are in


Final piece of Claudia madness?

Oh. It’s just revealing the final leaderboard of the night. How dry. Still, it all fits on one sheet now, which makes these polls extra handy…


33 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 10 – Week 6 Performance

    1. Penny

      Oh I hadn’t thought of that! I voted for Shane Ritchie because I thought that much as I like Miranda, the show’s presentation of her would be toe-curling (can you imagine Bruce saying “And now, funny-girl Miranda Hart” week after week?) But that would be a small price to pay for getting Ian back. I need to go back and change my vote immediately.

  1. Alli

    This is officially your best blog post ever! It had me in stitches.

    Sorry to see Artem’s chest go, but I’ll try and console myself with the thought that next year he’ll be back moodier and more shouts than ever.

    That’s not Victoria’s fiancé by the way :;

    1. monkseal Post author

      I vaguely remember him looking different but I wasn’t sure. Is he another cycle person? *knowledgable face*

  2. firefly

    I thought the SEAMLESS transition was into The Matrix rather than Mission Impossible, as that would also explain the capes being used to look like long flappy coats? Excellent blog as always, Monkseal.

  3. Left Feet

    I voted for Louis, Dani and Denise in both polls. I have misgivens about all three. Kimberley could also get there. The overall standard is pretty good although I think that Harry Judd is probably better then Louis by a small margin at this stage. None of the girls are an Alesha or Kara but Denise will probably get to a high standard.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think my interest in Harry was muddied at this point by Aliona’s routines still. I remember his waltz being a good sign of things to come, but he didn’t really *click* for me til the Argentine Tango.

  4. Carl

    Shit, I forgot to vote for Dani and Vincent on who I want in the final. No wonder I’m always surprised they’re safe.

    I sort of forgot Denise was in that paso at all but she coped with a high-energy, sultry dance far better than she did a few weeks ago. I keep waiting for that bottom two “shocker,” and I think (it’s in the trees) it’s coming, but she’s managing to navigate the hate a little more skillfully than I’d anticipated. She should send Victoria a Christmas card.

    I actually forgot who Pamela Stephenson was for a moment…

    I think Natalie could have gotten Richard to this point, but she’s the only other one. His journey is odd mostly because he’s been safe a few times I would have been sure he would have been in the bottom two. I’m not sure how many others have veered back and forth between safe and in danger as much as he does. I love having Erin on the show for such an extended period of time ,as there really is no one else like her and she represents the old school in a much more suitable way than Anton has in ages, so I guess I’m happy, until someone I like goes out instead.

    Speaking of Anton, the cape work in that video was awful. Hilarious we go from that to Anton mostly being on the show to literally carry Tess or to do backstage blather.

    Beyond power lesbian in 1983 TV drama I had no idea why Tess was wearing what she was wearing until I saw that early photo with Claudia. I don’t think she has the pizzazz to be the main host, but points for trying.

    Your Victoria screencaps always crack me up. The crazy just translates better to photos.

    Last series I noticed that Chelsee (who was sometimes a fantastic dancer) became more and more of “ickle Chelsee” on the show and to some viewers, with the dancing becoming less and less of a factor, but I don’t remember it happening as quickly as it has with Louis. I rarely hear talk of his dancing at all, and we keep hearing that he’s supposed to be one of the best.

    If you wanted pervs to drive up traffic you should have included that shot of Natalie’s bottom during the last lift.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Sometimes I imagine Ola with Richard, because she’s obviously been the one with the most form for seemlessly dragging duffers far up to this point, but I just don’t see it working somehow.

  5. Lucy

    On one hand, I want Michael to be in the final because I like him, it would be hilarious, and it would piss all of the Natalie-haters off. On the other hand, I just don’t think that he’s good enough yet and, judging by the look on his face on the results show, he’d be horrified any time the public saved him over one of the good ones.

    Not to mention the chance that he’d be stuck in the dance-off with Denise. Or…well, maybe not Louis. Kimberley? Lisa? Maybe Victoria, depending on her mood, which of them are currently doing Latin and the phase of the moon? They’d flatten him, and he’d look upset if he actually managed to beat them. Bit of a lose-lose situation there.

    …So I went for Lisa instead. Seemed safer.

    1. Carl

      I actually think Michael is sort of on a level with Lisa and Victoria, in terms of dancing. Natalie is also a much better choreographer and teacher than Robin so that’s a bonus.

      I don’t think Michael will make it that far but he’s verging on approaching my Jodie Kidd, “I can’t care about the purity of dance, I would like to see him in the final anyway,” role.

      1. Lucy

        …To be honest, if it doesn’t involve falling over/dancing with puppets/mistaking the show for Strictly Come Gymnastics/coming dressed in Bacofoil/getting hideously overmarked, then I would be totally fine with any showdance that Natalie has in mind for Michael. Up to and including a repeat of his Jive.

  6. Kate

    The screen shots you’ve chosen to show Richard turning straight are inspired. I think I almost prefer your re-cap to the real show. Oh and pity the poor woman in her best pink top who was positioned next to tiny Cheryl Cole.

  7. Poppy

    You’re inspired, Monkseal! So many belly laughs this week I lost count. Always glad to meet a fellow Ally McBeal fan

  8. Dancing Cake

    Thank you MS, hilarious as always.

    I am slightly worried by the prospect of being bored by a Strictly final (for the first time ever) because Denise and Louis seem so inevitable as the final two. I hate to have to use the J word but I want someone in the final who at least wasn’t obvious from day one. So I’m secretly hoping for Michael to be there and for the judges asking him to reprise the jive. Then we’ll all feel better and we won’t care about the dirty ringers.

    (Oh, and the S word, given that Brendan was stood right there, was obviously Showdance. And Snowdon. And Subtitles. Put these three together and you have the Youtube recipe for cheering up any November day, however crap.)

    1. Penny

      I also voted Team PENDLEDRAMA. Having seen what Brendan is capable of with a competent partner, I can only dream of what he might do with the help of Victoria.


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