Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 4 Performance

Word to Iveta.

Last week : LOVE WEEK. In which we found out that Patrick has a dad, Sophie has a husband, Julien has a dog, Mark’s son has a new suit, Dave has a motorbike, Natalie has friends yes she does she’s just like you, and Ashley has a new baby DID HE MENTION IT? Sadly, Vanessa slobbering all over her hot black boyfriend who is half her age for some reason didn’t endear her to the show’s voting demographic of purse-clutching spinsters in Tumbridge Wells and she went home

It was James’ earliest exit yet. I’m sure he was devastated.

This week! In the absence of a Theme Week to tie everything together, superstition has swept the training rooms, as everyone has notice simultaneously noticed that there are only 13 couples left! As such the pros are falling back on the old ways to save their celebs from destruction. Robin is

preventing Deborah from walking under ladders

Janette’s got the horseshoes in

Iveta is protecting Mark from stepping on pavement cracks whilst clearly

stomping all over them herself, bless her

Kevin is reminding Susanna of the importance of

gurning at all your props (remember what happened to poor Fern with her umbrella in her Mary Poppins dance? No gurning, no points)

Pasha is

I don’t know, but I’m enjoying it

and Kristina is beating them all, by deploying the best superstitious defence against elimination in Strictly lore

getting your celeb to get their tits out.


Like I said, I’m sure he was devastated.

To the studio where Tess is dressed for Love Week more than she was during Love Week itself. I’m hoping this means that Wardrobe are on a permanent one week delay with Tess and she turns up for the week after Hallowe’en Week dressed as a marauding Bride Of Frankenstein. Then again, given Tess and Wardrobe generally…wouldn’t necessarily take a delay would it?

The audience seem particularly game this evening, whooping, cheering and applauding for a good minute or so at the start of the programme and all yelling “NICE!” with gusto at Brucie’s catchphrase. It’s almost as though you don’t need to rig the studio like a game on Fun House to get everyone into the spirit of things. Both Bruce and Tess reminisce about Love Week, with Bruce saying there’s been a national rise in couples having candlelit dinners. Tess gushes out loud, bugging her eyes out and fanning her hands,


Tess Daly is 44.

Bruce then explains that no, it’s just because of the energy crisis.

BAD’UM CHA FREEZING TO DEATH! Bruce then starts hooting that we should all VOTE FOR BRUCIE! and then mumbling about how it feels like it won’t be long now until he’s called up. At least it’s a nicer thought than when he normally starts muttering along those lines…

After we get the usual “the celebrities are waiting nervously backstage to discover which of them will get to knock Julien out in the dreaded dance-off” spiel, and just before the couples come out, Tess yells that it’s TIME TO START WORSHIPPING IN THE TEMPLE OF DAHNCE! Just what Artem says before his Wednesday Night Bunk-Up with Kara.

Once all the couples are out, Bruce tells us all that we may have read in the press that Craig is going in for a hip operation this week. Aw. I hope it’s like when Lady Gaga had her hip operation, and she came out with massive new boobies. Ask Robin’s surgeon Craig, I’m sure he’ll sort you out. Bruce warns everyone not to make fun because they’ll get a low score for it. Rachel gurns away innocently

Pasha does not. Bless that they’ve tried to make her look like Bonnie Parker though. Seriously Wardrobe, Faye Dunaway wore a beret, not a deck quoit.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Brenda Cole dancing the foxtrot

We open with Bruce telling us that Sophie’s foxtrot is going to have a 1920s theme. Wot? Not spaceship themed? Not Adam & Eve in the Garden Of Eden themed? Not a very special emotional routine based on the historical event of Joan Rivers calling Russell Crowe a piece of shit live on Loose Women? I thought this was SERIES 11? GET IT TOGETHER BRENDA! Anywho, Bruce tells us all he was born in the 1920s. BC?

VT now, and Sophie reveals that she was a jumble of nerves before her samba because she’s worried about bringing out her “cha cha” side in the Latin dances.

I love the idea that Sophie has a “cha cha side” in there somewhere. Like it we dig hard enough she’ll suddenly emerge as one of the chola Sharks from West Side Story. She’s just three weeks of training and “Strictlification” away from eating tamales and picking her teeth with a knife.

Training now and Brenda tells us

very calmly, that every dance has its own character and dancing it well is all about getting into this character. I love how low-key, sensible and subdued Brenda is this series. It’s like you can hear the constant monologue behind his eyes. “You might win this year Brenda, no Snowdance, no illegal lifts, no claiming there’s a judging conspiracy against you, no driving your partner to a nervous breakdown, no vampire pasos to Evanescence, no shagging this one the public probably won’t find it as cute, THIS COULD BE IT, DON’T BLOW IT, GET IT TOGETHER, YOU CAN DO IT BRENDA!”. On that note

Sophie corners him and suggests that maybe she could bum off training and go try on pretty frocks whilst he watches.

Old Brenda would have told Sophie that there is NO TIME FOR SLACKING because there are EVIL MALE CELEBRITIES to beat. New Brenda

sits around a vintage shop in Camden as Sophie tries on flapper dresses, imagining in his head that he’s off recreating scenes from Top Gun with James Jordan.


Well this goes to show that what I’ve always suspected is true. There is no cameraman. They just stick it on top of a rollerskate, give it a push, and hope for the best. Sophie & Brendan are dancing their foxtrot to “Cheek To Cheek” and

again she suits 1920s styling better than anybody else on this show…possibly ever? Even with the tattoo. It’s all in the cheekbones, I guess. It’s a very nice foxtrot, which I think is as nice as I ever get about a foxtrot, so eat it in whilst you can. She’s also gone some distance to

sorting out her posture so it no longer looks like Brenda is a piece of soggy washing she’s trying to peg out to dry.

Very glamorous, very old-fashioned, very romantic.

Well done. He’s blatantly imagining she’s the glitterball there isn’t he? BLATANTLY.

It gets a standing ovation, including from Sophie’s Nan, who is apparently here. Not crying though. Janet will be having words. After Sophie and Brenda have arrived at the judges station, Bruce introduces them, and tells us all to wish Craig the best of luck for his hip operation…by yelling “HIP HIP HOORAY!” at him.

Juss sayin.

Len starts for the judges, saying that he liked it, because there was no FAFFIN ABAHT (*drink*) at the beginning. He loved the dancing, he loved the music, and he loved the routine. Bruno follows by saying that Sophie looks like a star from Hollywood’s Golden Age, and that he really liked her musicality, particularly in her turns. He still doesn’t really like her top line though.

Bruce then decides to explain to Sophie that this is obviously Sophie bringing all her technique as a singer onto the dancefloor. I don’t know about that Bruce – I didn’t see her trying to dance down her nose once.

Craig is next, and he says that he didn’t think much to her top-line either, but he did see that she had very clean pivots throughout.

God loves a girl who keeps her pivots clean. Darcey closes by lasciviously saying that Brendan gave Sophie a very hard foxtrot and then advises her to not let her shoulders rise up quite so much in her standing spins. Sophie’s face as she takes this advice on is

so earnest that even Monica Geller herself would tell her to stop being such a Teacher’s Pet. Such a nerd. Love her.

Up to the Tessanine they trot, where Sophie mutters her embarrassment to a yomping Tess. Tess yells at her

NOT TO BE EMBARRASSED! SHE GOT A STANDING OVATION! BRUNO SAID SHE LOOKED LIKE A HOLLYWOOD STAR! THESE ARE DEFINITELY NOT THINGS THAT HAPPEN EVERY 5 MINUTES! To be honest Tess, I think it might suit Sophie well to go on as she is. Brenda having been partnered with more than a few celebs who…could have done with being a bit more embarrassed. On occasion. Tess asks Sophie if she’s fallen in love with ballroom dancing, and she says no, she’s just finding it really difficult. BAD SOPHIE! LESS HONESTY! YOU’RE REALLY ENJOYING YOUR GINGER ROGERS JOURNEY AND FALLING IN LOVE WITH DANCE! Clearly put-out, Tess gets Brendan to talk about how effortless Sophie makes dancing feel and then asks everyone to give big-ups to Sophie’s 84 year old granny in the audience. Sophie’s 84 year old granny

visibly rolls her eyes. I think maybe the sentimentality genes in that family skip generations. Scores are in

35. When Sophie gets her 9 from Len, she actually says “golly gosh, I can’t cope”. This nerd is STRAIGHT OUT OF MALLORY TOWERS.

The Grins dancing the rumba

I’m not saying the stylists doing her up as Jan Ravens this week contributed to her sudden outbreak of anti-judgery but…I can’t imagine it helped. Bruce reminds us that Fiona (says she) used to be a Bond Girl. Also there’s a bloke works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis. Anyway, Bruce was watching a Bond Film last night and got…feelings towards one of the Bond Girls, but had to stop himself because she was too young. It was Judi Dench.

Yes Bruce, that’s the only thing holding you back from landing Judi Dench. It’s because she’s TOO YOUNG. Fiona’s joke face?

It’s like she’s scared to look directly at the joke, isn’t it? (Incidentally I guess that answers the question of all of those wondering if they’d used up their entire supply of James Bond jokes on Colin Salmon last year. Yes, yes they have)

VT time, and Fiona says that she was looking forward to the waltz, because Anton is King Of Ballroom and she knew she’d be in safe hands with him. After the cha-cha Fiona, it’s not his hands I’d be worrying about. (Yes I can keep jokes about Anton’s boner going for the entirety of her stay – it was all I ever had to say about Nicky Byrne as well and he lasted for flipping ages). Anton then does some special patented Anton maths and says that their score of 28 last week was more than he’s got in the last three series added together. Anton’s actual score over the last three series added together? 294. Sometimes I wish that Anton had been partnered with Rachel, just for the MATHS CARNAGE. Fiona closes by saying, wild-eyed, that she’s feeling the pressure to keep improving, but she doesn’t know whether her scores will improve or not.

I would love it if Fiona turned out to be this series’ Conspiracy Nut. Them judges be out to get her.

Training now and it’s an excuse to delve ever further into Fiona’s status as this year’s SUPERFAN. Presumably so we are spared moments of training room elegance like

this. Squint a bit and it could be the 25 year reunion of Snowdance. Fiona tells us that ever since her father died, she, her mother and her daughter all get together every weekend and watch Strictly together.

Fiona with a tighter death-grip on that box of chocolates than Alesha had on her nibbles there. FIONA DOESN’T SHARE FOOD. (She also never explains what happens the rest of the year. Presumably her mother knocks at the door and Fiona and her daughter dive behind the sofa) (Clutching a box of chocolates).

Anyway, as a special treat, Fiona has arranged for Anton to pop round…in…the middle of them watching Stri…actually don’t think about the timeline here too much. As soon as Anton arrives

Fiona’s mother leaps to her feet and they have a bit of a waltz around her living room. Fiona’s daughter on the other hand aint getting up for anything less than Aljaz.

Anyway Anton buggers off and

you might think this is the family Fullerton doing the “Keep Dancing” bit, but actually Fiona’s mother just made a grab for her Turkish Delights and Fiona’s SHUTTING IT DOWN!

To the dancefloor

and how I wish this was the first time I’d looked at a female celeb performing a rumba on this show and thought “yup, I can see Uranus”

The space theme is because they’re doing their rumba to “World Of Our Own” by Westlife. There’s no part of that sentence that’s explicable is there? A theme that continues throughout their dance. Anton appears to have tried to choreograph a Party Rumba.

I can’t imagine this is a thing that will ever be happening again. Most of the end of the routine gets lost in Fiona’s head somewhere by the looks of it. It doesn’t really make it much less watchable.

(You may detect some bias in the choices there)

Up on the Tessanine

Aliona realises that the true extent of her punishment from the Strictly producers went way beyond being partnered with Tony. LET HER GO PRODUCERS! DON’T MAKE HER SIT THROUGH ANTON’S WESTLIFE PARTY RUMBA JUST BECAUSE SHE SAID THE SHOW WAS A BIT RIGGED! THIS IS JUST CRUEL. Fiona wanders over to Bruce who asks her what went wrong at the end there. Fiona blissfully ignores him and then, when Bruce asks her what it was like bringing Anton home to meet the family, she snits that she didn’t see the VT because she was busy rehearsing. MADAM IS NOT HERE FOR THIS TONIGHT.

At this point Bruce thanks whoever it is who presses play on the tape recorder. *shrug*

Bruno starts for the judges by calling Fiona

sweetheart, with the most disingenuous poo-eating grin you can imagine. So you can tell this is going to end well. He thinks Fiona was dressed up nice, but the dance was a mess. It was really jerky and there were balance issues throughout. He tells her that she definitely has “it”, but she needs to concentrate. Fiona protests that she is,

then pulls a face. Not a happy one.

Craig follows by calling Fiona’s hips both clonky and plunky (name ideas for Erin there if she has twins – Plunky Boag sounds like a dancer doesn’t it?) and Fiona responds to this by wriggling sensually at him, a bit sadly. Darcey follows by saying that Fiona definitely has a “slinky lady effect” (by Remmington) but she needs to make it less obvious that she was making mistakes. Darcey then manages to smack irony right in the face by telling Fiona to never lose focus and then

blanking out herself and forgetting what she was going to say next. Never change, Darce.

Len closes (oh here we go) by saying that the rumba is a lot like Len’s Lens. In that I’d happily never see it ever again? NO! It’s like Len’s Lens in that it magnifies all your faults. You can’t just hop on to the next bit – every mistake gets magnified, and in that routine you could see every part where Fiona messed up. Fiona then

gets a face on her and says she thought there was only one mistake! Even Anton’s face, so used to grinning his way through such dance luminaries as Widdy and Esther Rantzen

can’t quite paper over that one. Len then does my favourite Len thing

which is to sigh and then reel off every single part of the routine where she was less than perfect. Which was a lot. Seriously Fiona, never poke Len. EVER.

Up to the Tessanine they roll, where Fiona protests to Tess that she’s concentrating like mad every week so she’s not really sure where she went wrong, but she knows her balance is an issue. She thinks it must be her USP – going wrong every week. As an SP on this show, it’s hardly U it has to be said. Tess asks Anton what he thought and he says that he kind of agrees with Len but DON’T WORRY FIONA, HE STILL LOVES YOU AND YOU STILL LOOK FABULOUS.

Scores are in, before she can kill him


Mark Benton & Iveta Lukosiute dancing the cha cha

I can’t believe that we live in such times that Anton Westlife Party Rumba is not the most bizarre thing to happen to the world of Latin dance in a given week. Such exalted times.

Bruce tells us they are dancing to an “urban rap hip-hop song” (by MC Hammer). He then does this.

Mark is dressed as Liberace. All of this hurts my head.

VT time, and Mark says he really enjoyed his dance last weekend, but he was sad that his hands got criticised again. It’s alright Mark, literally nobody other than Craig cares about hands. Ever.

In training, Mark tells us that Iveta

wearing training gear from the Mel B leopardprint dayware collection, has choreographed in some cool hip hop moves for his cha cha and he’s really excited, because he knows he can “throw shapes”. Iveta of course then barks down the camera that


THIS IS COOL! (Apparently cool is “extra from Pretty Woman”) Iveta then throws a load of props out of a bag at Mark and these make him finally cool enough to do Iveta’s salsambchop dance something something Comedy VT something.


(Pre-Dance Sidebar : Before Iveta finally got onto the So You Think You Can Dance USA live shows she auditioned twice, and both times she sailed through the audition and boot camp stages easily…until she had to do hip-hop, at which point everyone always recoiled in horror at how awful it was, and she got cut. (Then she did this and suddenly hip-hop didn’t matter any more how odd). I am taking this whole routine as Iveta’s hip-hop revenge on the world. SHE SHOW YOU WHAT HIP-HOP IS MR NIGEL!).

It’s that.

I love Iveta. (Have I mention that this series?). There are bits that are recognisably cha-cha, there are bits that are recognisably hip-hop, there are bits that are recognisably nothing on this earth but have me laughing so high-pitched that I briefly get drafted into the US Navy’s Dolphin Squad. I don’t think I’ve been as giddy at a piece of choreography on this show as when they ACTUALLY DO THE HAMMER DANCE IN THE BREAKDOWN since Jade actually did the Independent Women question finger. A close second is when Iveta throws in some slow-motion for no reason

just so she can show how much control she has over her leg, as Mark pulls

derp face. My only complaint is that whole sections are blatantly just lifted straight out his salsa and plonked in a new dance. You have such talent for batshit, Iveta, it feels a waste to only give us 75% of a new routine each time.


It gets a standing ovation, including from noted hip-hop cool street urban gangsta hip hop rap expert

Sophie’s Nan. Bruce now says that he finally knows what urban rap and hip-hop are. MMM HMM. Craig starts for the judges by telling the audience off for liking the dance, because what cha cha he did dance (somewhere in the middle there, a bit buried) was danced very badly.

(This is the only time I will say this this series, because making comparisons based on weight is onerous, but if L**a Ri*ey had ever come out and done that dance Craig would have jizzed 10s at it in a manner that Annabel Chong would have baulked at).

Darcey practically hurls herself over the desk to disagree. She thought that was BRILLIANT! She loved the leg action, and thinks Mark has worked really hard on the details of his dancing. Len follows by mugging that Mark is full of talent, and Craig is full of SOMETHING ELSE.

It’s Bruno’s face that makes it really, isn’t it? Len then reels off all the basic steps that Mark did in the routine. Whether he did them WELL is not recorded. The list also includes a fan and a hockey stick, so I think Len’s accidentally started reading off the props department’s shopping list for next week. The best that Bruno can do is to say it was “different”. It certainly was.

Up to the Tessanine they hop, where Mark immediately pays respect to

the one woman on the show more gangsta than he is. Tess makes him repeat her favourite move, and then asks Mark if he’s “found his funky Latin side”. Mark says he has. Tess then asks Iveta if Mark works hard in training and Iveta gets all


Scores are in

26. Yes that is Iveta kissing her teeth at Craig. Yes it is. Ghettofabulous.

Ashley Jordan Taylor and Ola Dawson dancing the Viennese Waltz

I love that they’ve sent out a waltz to die immediately after the batshit comedy routine of the week two times running now. Nice scheduling. Bruce tells us that Ashley is OFFICIALLY one of the hardest working celebrities they’ve ever had on the show. Whatever Bruce, he’s clearly not nearly as hard-working as Tom Chambers. He had a whole WEDDING to organise.

In his VT, Ashley says that he was really excited before his samba, because it was a fast-paced and exciting routine, and when he finished it, the comments were the best thing he’s heard in years.

Psst. Ashley. Your gimmick is that you just had a baby. Think on.

In training, Ashley is having serious problems getting romantic with Ola, as every time he looks her in the eye, he starts giggling. Hey, maybe she can wear Kevin’s Glasses? (Don’t ask me about the logic, just go with it, if they can work on him, the power can work on anyone). Sadly, instead of this cast-iron plan, Ola decides she’s going to take Ashley to the cinema to teach him how to be romantic.


Not really, she’s looped up a reel of all Ashley’s many many kisses from his years on Hollyoaks and stuck them on a projector. Who knows what this is supposed to teach anybody, but you can tell from the giant bags under his eyes and his ever more greying skin that he’s got plenty of free time to fritter away on comedy VTs, so why not? Anyway, Ola’s reaction to Hollyoaks is about the usual for someone’s first exposure.

In that she laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs.


Oh hang on, there’s a door in the way.

There we go. Ashley and Ola are doing their Viennese Waltz to “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. It’s not a bad effort, although it’s a little flouncy.

I don’t mind Ashley as a dancer but everything’s a little light and thrown away. He also varies between staring intently at Ola and staring intently at one of the lights in the ceiling. I’m not convinced that he blinks once. I’m more convinced than ever that

the poor guy just needs some sleep. He might become the first celebrity ever to go into hibernation during his farewell speech.

No standing ovation, and as they walk over to Bruce,

Bruce starts pulling at Ashley’s clothes and snarling about how AWFUL it is that he’s wearing a vest. This, incidentally, is happening one dance after Mark went out onto the dancefloor wearing a GIANT GOLD TENT, FAKE JEWELLERY AND A COWLICK. But yes Bruce, a vest is offensive. Is he auditioning to take over Julien’s fashion slot? That I would watch, I have to admit. No godets, no crystals, no ruffles, just nice normal dresses like they wore when Bruce was a lad.

Darcey starts for the judges, saying the routine was too safe and placed and boring for her.

Again, I feel her perception may have been warped from just watching someone do the Hammer Dance in a cha cha. Len follows by saying that the routine had romance and elegance, and his footwork was much improved but it was too wafty for Len, and needed more GURT’CHA. Not everyone can be a SPORTSMAN! Len. We’re not all born full of gurtcha. Bruno meanwhile says that he actually approved of all the wafting.

Oh God, it’s Colin Jackson all over again isn’t it? Ben vs Ashley – rufty-tuffty vs woofty-poofty.

Craig closes by saying that the only thing he didn’t like about the routine were Ashley’s arms out of hold – he doesn’t think they were nearly as “flowy” as Bruno made out. In fact Craig thought they were rather stiff. Bruno appeals to Darcey for back-up and they have a

handshake of solidarity. It is truly at times like these I miss him and Alesha dry-humping one another in mutual appreciation. This is far too dainty. And also about waftiness vs stiffness vs “flowiness” and therefore boring as balls.

Bruce then sends them off up to the Tessanine, whining about the vest the whole time. Oh Bruce.

Once up there, Tess asks Ashley how that felt for him, and he replies that he felt a bit stiff, but it was probably the nerves. From somewhere on the dancefloor a voice hollers up “NO, IT WAS THE VEST! SO RESTRICTING AND UGLY! BURN IT!”. Ashley says that the public reaction to him has been overwhelming (/an old lady winked at him in a shop once) and the scores are in


Julien MacDonald & Ronette Ranrara dancing the salsa

Having given reference to Janette squawking like Mr Cadbury’s Parrot, these two now appear to have come dressed as them. It’s not quite inspiring ERIN ISLAND, but I’ll take it. Bruce tells us that their salsa this week will be a tribute to herbs and spices danced to “Spice Up Your Life”. It takes me far too long to work out he’s not being serious. He says that Julien hopes to CUT THE MUSTARD and KEEP IN THYME whilst Janette takes off all her CLOVES/CLOTHES DO YOU SEE?

Julien joke face?


Julien’s VT is basically him saying OH NOES I WAS IN THE DANCE-OFF on a loop. Poor Julien. You know, ish.

Training now, and Julien says he’s really pleased to be dancing to a Spice Girls track, because he’s dressed all of them at one point or another. Oh Julien, getting Geri into her jimjams after a night on the tequilla slammers does not count as “dressing her”. To prove their enduring devotion to him he gets

Melb to give him a blurry Skype from LA. Whatever Julien, she’s like the worst one. (LOL jk, Melc will always be the worst one now and forever)

Anyway, Julien tells Janette that he’s really glad to be dancing her favourite dance to his favourite song by his favourite band but he can’t remember any of the steps. To help with this, Janette apparently has put together

The Generation Game end-game for him to help him remember them all. I’m not sure what step Geri’s Brit Awards dress is supposed to represent. I’m sure it involves a lot of stamping. Anyway of the 10 items Julien is shown, SOME OF WHICH HE DESIGNED HIMSELF, he remembers only 5. I don’t really see Only Connect in his future any time soon.


I know people complain about the costumes on this show often, but never before have they looked quite much like they were designed by a competition winner. An 8 year old competition winner.

The competition being to design a new Dr Who monster. I have to admit, all I really wanted out of Janette after hearing she’d signed up for Strictly was to see her salsa again. I just wasn’t aware at the time that it would end up looking like this :

Bless Julien, he is getting better. He’s strengthened his muscles and he’s not quite as slack and uncomfortable as when he started. It’s probably the only time he’s successfully married his natural energy (/yelling) to an actual routine he can hold together all the way through. It still looks a bit like

a demented Roman Emperor killing his wife so he can marry his horse, but then…that’s Julien I guess. Also, good job on being outcamped by your pro-partner on the

“LOL, NO, YOU’RE A DANCING QUEEN!!!” bit. You’re a disgrace to the species Julien.

No standing ovation, but Bruce’s natural urge to wang him round the head with a frying pan has subsided to a level where he’s happy to pat him on the arm so…that’s *a* victory I guess. Len starts for the judges, saying that he liked that Julien CAME AHHHHHHHT but it needed more control, and to be less “wild and wacky”. Bruno follows by saying that it looked like Julien was trying to be all the Spice Girls at once, including Bruno’s favourite :

Spicy Spice. Oh Bruno. Anyway, the result is that it was a little forced and his timing was out again. Janette plaintively sighs that Julien dances really well in rehearsal but just freaks out on the night. As if to prove this Julien starts shouting again, this time about how it’s SO DIFFICULT.


Craig follows up by saying that Julien had no rotation whatsoever in the hip department and then Julien starts

yelling about that as well. And people were trying to sell him to as having “got quieter”, I ask you. Darcey closes by saying that the dance “had dynamics” and was Julien’s best performance yet. Even Bruce cackles that that’s not exactly saying much. EVEN BRUCE. BRUCE “YOU’RE MY FAVOURITES” FORSYTHE.

Up to the Tessanine they slam, where Julien, having graduated with a degree in Maths from Anton University, yells that he’s giving it 400% and wearing 2000 crystals

Aliona’s WTF face justifies her unnecessary placement in the Tessanine on its own. Tess asks him if he’s done enough to avoid the dance-off. Oh don’t be mean to the man Tess. Giving people false hope is so cruel. Julien, clearly at the end of his tether, says he has no idea what more he can do to stay in the competition. Maybe STOP EFFING SHOUTING EVERYTHING FOR NO REASON? MAYBE? Scores are in


Rachel Riley & Pasha Kovalev dancing the quickstep

Bruce tells us that this week, Rachel and Pasha are going to be a pair of ruthless murdering gangsters.

Bruce does a weak joke about a girl he used to date who worked in a bank, and when he only gets cautious laughter starts yelling


In her VT, Rachel reminds us that she was really nervous doing a cha cha so hot on the heels of her rubbish salsa, but in the end it seemed to work out fine. She’s now convinced she can only get better from here. OOPSNO.

Training now, and this year’s cinema verite

“let’s film everything through cracks in doorframes, like we’re having a SNEAK PEAK into the FORBIDDEN HIDDEN WORLD OF STRICTLY” style of VT continues. Pasha tells Rachel that quickstep is about speed, stamina, and quick reflexes. So


Is it just me or do the training methods make no sense at all this year? When I suggested to It Takes Two that Pasha teach me how to dance whilst his balls flew at my face, this isn’t what I meant. (Monkseal : stealing jokes from the movie Clueless since 2007). Rachel’s clearly a little bit confused by thus, but gamely says that this has definitely helped her anticipate what moves she’s going to have to do on the night. Sure it did Rachel. Sure it did.


I mean, I can appreciate what they’re aiming for – Bonnie Parker-esque suburban girl is seduced into a life of crime but…Pasha never seduced anybody into a life of anything other than cuddling on the sofa watching Pixar films and eating ice-cream and Rachel looks less like a badass gangster’s moll wannabe than

some preppy girl in a Nickelodeon kids show investigating the theft of her sister’s diary (turns out it was comedy Russian spies for some reason). I mean…it’s partly (/mostly) the costume but let’s say it’s no surprise that the girl who flips the letter cards over and does basic maths on Countdown can’t match up to Faye Dunaway.

The routine itself is very athletic and sporty and bouncy and sassy and I think Rachel’s up to it physically, just maybe not mentally or in terms of her performance. Yet. She doesn’t seem to be able quite to match the moves up to the music – she falls behind in bits and gets dragged, she gets ahead in parts and has to wait for the song to catch up. Poor Pasha’s shins get an absolute hammering as well.

In the end it turns out what the bank vault contains is

the glitterball. Suddenly the banking sector collapses again, as the public realise what flimsy trinkets are being used for collateral.

No standing ovation, which is a bit sad when Pasha turns around to the audience at the end with a big Pasha grin on his face, clearly expecting at least something. I won’t do a picture, it’s too painful. Bruce coos to Rachel that that was a very fast dance. Rachel agrees. A lot. As she coughs up a lung.

Bruno starts for the judges by yelling at Rachel that she’s a TRICKY GIRL but he thinks that she just about got away with that mess.

Turns out not, as it happens, but ok Bruno. He thinks she lost control of her body a lot, which is why there were so many mistakes. Craig says that he thinks what went wrong was her topline – she was being flung about and it made her lose her balance. Also she apparently needs to tighten her bumcheeks

which I can’t imagine being easy, because I know every time I see Pasha my bumcheeks automatically relax in ant[JOKE REDACTED]. Also, hopefully Rachel makes it to Hallowe’en Night, because on the basis of that face she’ll be a cracking Rocky Horror Magenta. (Apparently they’re planning a Time Warp Group Dance. I may die)

Darcey follows by telling Rachel not to grip on to Pasha so tightly and also to…wait for it…STRENGTHEN HER CORE. Len closes by cackling that, never mind Rachel, Craig will be tightening his bumcheeks when the surgeons go in to “dig his hip out” (does he think it’s got lost in there?). Bruno then

hurls himself off his chair like Vanessa at a strip-club lurching to stick a fiver in someone’s g-string. If he’s not careful there’ll be two hip operations going on tomorrow. Oh who am I kidding, there’s probably a crash mat under there.

Oh yeah, erm, focus on your posture Rachel, are you still standing there? Hie off with ye.

Up to the Tessanine they boom boom, where Tess giggles that Bruno’s off his rocker. If only Bruno did have a rocking chair. Might lull him into sanity. She goes on to ask Rachel if she thinks she found her feet in that routine, and Rachel says that she did, but then she lost them, then she found them, then at the end she thinks she just about had one left. Nobody reacts. Ah, mathematicians trying to tell jokes. Don’t you just love them? Scores are in

26. In fairness the actual scoring seems to get lost under Bruno laughing his head off and yelling “SHIT!”.

Ben Cohen & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the salsa

Oh wait, sorry, Bruce is just dealing with the staff.

There we go. Of course, having snapped at the help that he’s NOT STUPID, YOU KNOW! he then immediately tells us that in their routine Ben & Kristina are “going to be a sort of life-sized car”. Unless Kristina’s actually a robot in disguise, karma just got delivered even more swiftly than a pie full of poo.

In his VT, Ben tells us that in his rumba last week he felt better than he’s ever felt before on the Strictly dancefloor

I wonder why. He says he was so pleased that he got great scores, and says it was ENTIRELY SPONTANEOUS when he went up and snogged Craig. About as spontaneous as when Bruno fell off his chair at least.

Training now and

Kristina has actually had a sofa installed he’s that immobile. They both go on about how hard it is to transition from being a rugby player to being a ballroom dancer (so hard that no rugby player ever finished lower than 5th on this show) and then Matt Dawson appears and




The story is that Kristina’s car has broken down and then she shoves her bazooms in Ben’s face and he stops her oil leaking, if you know what I’m saying. The dance? She gets out the car

they do a bit of salsa, and then he takes his shirt off and she starts

hurling herself around like she’s just fell into a food processor. His dancing looks very clubby and it’s not awful to watch but a lot of the time it does feel like Kristina’s plugging her own range of lingerie (£12.99 in Agent Provocateur) to all the ladies in the front row. Oh and there’s also

sexy choking in there because…Kristina, I guess.


I’ve not seen her grin like that since the early days of DONOVANMANIA. You can tell she’s already planning the showdance.

It gets a standing ovation (far louder and more raucous than the one Dave got last week, to my ears, if we’re playing) and Bruce tells Ben he could tell that Ben was a rugby player from the way he kicked Kristina in the head. I mean…most of the rugby players I knew at Uni weren’t exactly drowning in respect for women but…ahem.

Craig starts for the judges by groaning that Ben was a dirty oiled mechanic and he loved it.

God, even Arlene at least used to pretend to be critiquing the dances. It was a thin veneer, but I was always grateful. Darcey goes on to say that Ben handled Kristina with ease and confidence and she likes how he’s come out of his shirt.

SHELL. SORRY. COME OUT OF HIS SHELL! Ben then entirely spontaneously runs up and kisses Darcey. Len warns Ben off doing it to him next. Bruno doesn’t. Bruno in fact sits there wriggling his suit off.

Len follows by yelling about GUNZ AND AMMOONITION and Bruno demands that Ben take his shirt off next week because he wants to see more of him. I mean…sometimes there is a line.

Even up on the Tessanine, the

CLAW is out in force. Tess asks Ben about coming out of his shell, and Ben says that he’s a lot more at home out there now that he can throw someone around the room. Tess tells Kristina that it must take a lot of trust to let a greased up hunk in his underwear throw her around the room in her skivvies. At this point in her life Tess, I think she’s over the initial fear, let’s be honest. Scores are in


Fucks Bizz do the jive

We start with Bruce whinging that Deborah has the jive this week. Why haven’t they given her the cokey-cokey?

Because Julien’s got it all?

In her VT, Deborah says that she really enjoyed her quickstep last week, and she’s so proud that she got a standing ovation. We see her

and Robin having a moment of mutual appreciation backstage, before she announces that she’s hanging on the judges’ every word, because what she wants more than anything else is to keep on getting better. Hopefully she’s only pulling from her own critiques, lest we find her turning up next week dressed as a dirty oily mechanic. Nobody wants to see that. (Or maybe they do…)

Training now, and Deborah is dancing her jive to “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz. Deborah is

not terribly happy about the fact that she is dancing her jive to “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz. Particularly the part where she has to hilariously rip her skirt off. Because everything with Robin is a race to the bottom, specifically the campest bottom he can find. Affronted that Deborah isn’t feeling the Eurovision Vibe, Robin

locks her in his Eurovision cupboard until she agrees that she loves it all and she’ll definitely watch Melodiefestivalen this year, she promises. Yeah…we all know a gay like that don’t we?


They start by doing the hand-jive on the judges desk, before Robin dismounts and updates the “Making Your Mind Up” dance for the 21st century by

ripping his trousers off to reveal…more trousers underneath. After Ben’s audition for Magic Mike 2 earlier, it does all seem a bit anti-climactic. Once they start jiving Deborah doesn’t bounce so much as she bobbles and the choreography looks more like a series of playground games than it does anything else. I know Deborah’s natural vibe is “woman who gets up a wedding and tries to get everyone onto the dancefloor and instead sends them scurrying to the free bar because they can’t compete with her “energy” ” but when she finishes I am 100% surprised she doesn’t yell “NOW DO OOPS UPSIDE YOUR HEAD!” at Davearch. Oh yeah and

the skirt comes off. God only knows how anybody was supposed to try to jive in that thing. It looks like she could bend her knees a maximum of 10 degrees before the thing would split and reveal her Dragon’s Den.

It gets a standing ovation from Peter Jones, who is tall enough to count for a good 50% of the audience, let’s be honest, but the rest remain seated. Deborah fumbles over to Bruce wheezing “don’t talk to me”. Don’t give your tricks away Deborah, they’ll all be at it next week. Darcey is first up for the judges and says that it was too soft and she missed Deborah’s usual confidence. It just wasn’t her dance. I do love that the stairs still being there makes it look like

the judges are addressing the world from a spaceship they can’t quite be arsed to clamber out of. Len follows by saying that there was plenty of FIZZ but Deborah needs to BUCK her feet up. Do you see what he did there? It’s very subtle.

Like Robin’s wig.

And Bruno, who follows by saying he enjoyed the light-hearted Eurovision campery of it but there was obviously no technique there at all. He knows she’ll be better next week though. Craig closes by savaging her legs in general and Deborah just nods along happily that she was pants. Well, better than Fiona’ing it I guess.

Up to the Tessanine they spill, with Janette grabbing at Robin’s wig as he goes past. Tess giggles openly at Robin’s awful, awful hair, and then asks Deborah, when she was sat in Dragon’s Den, she’d ever be getting her skirt whipped off in front of millions of viewers.

I dunno Tess, some of the weirdos you get on there flogging stakes in their hamster daycare centre franchises, you always have to be careful. Deborah says that she’s actually considering changing things up on Dragon’s Den from now on *wink wink*. It’d be the first time in 8 series. (Following a frenetic jive, there’s excitement in the Den as Deborah Meaden reveals to Tess Daly that she’s considering making some changes to the format of the long running show, involving potentially removing her skirt, but WHAT WILL PETER JONES make of his fellow dragon’s dealing?). She goes on to say that she was looking forwards to the jive because she loves fast dances, but she could tell she was making a hash of it as she went along. Ah well, scores are in


Natalie Gumede & Artem Chigvintsev dancing the quickstep

Bruce tells us that tragically, Natalie suffered a back injury this week that prevented her from filming comedy VTs for TWO WHOLE DAYS. Let’s see if they can still be as HILARIOUS as ever with limited rehearsal time. I have to say I don’t hold out much hope.

In her VT, Natalie says she was so happy to receive such great feedback from the audience and the judges last week and it was all so emotional and she doesn’t want it to end just yet and YADDA YADDA, GET TO THE INJURY PORN.

SHE’S PREGERNANT! Oh ok, not really, she’s having problems with a bulging disk in her back. Unlike Fiona in her cha-cha when she was having problems with a bulging di[JOKE REDCATED]. Natalie tells us that she was really worried that she’d have to pull out of the competition, but what do you know, Evil Moira Ross found a HUGE BOTTLE OF PAINKILLERS in her handbag, so now she doesn’t have to! Hooray!

Now…a lot of people have been claiming that Natalie has been faking her injury or milking it for sympathy votes or drama or what have you, and to answer all questions about this I have a statement from Natalie’s chief media cheerleader, Denise van Outen.

“OMG you are all such haters, it’s like when I got no sympathy when I suffered the horror of mild whiplash, you stay strong Natalie and be a hero, just like I was when all those people hated me for being better than them, it’s not our fault we’re so great and that being perfect is a curse!”

So that’s settled then. TO THE DANCEFLOOR!

As a sidenote, is anyone as sick of the constant visual and sonic references to that shitty Gatsby adapation on BBC reality shows as I am? Obviously I should be saving some of this up for the Results Show but…yeesh. It’s not even as though anybody really went to see it. Anyway, Natalie and Artem are dancing to a “jazz” version of “Yeah!” by Usher, and Natalie is

working a very jazzy vibe throughout the dance. Finger-snapping, cane-tapping, head-rolling, lip-syncing, shoulder-shrugging…the works. I mean, it’s occasionally quite hard to watch given the fact that she’s got a back injury (although I guess she DOES have a cane to fall back on if things so seriously awry) but she moves across the floor with ease and energy and panache. It’s a very fun, lively, routine but for all that he’s definitely one of the shows top-drawer choreographers when he has a talented partner, something about Artem’s quicksteps has always failed to click with me.


It gets a standing ovation (for all she’s allegedly an unpopular contestant I notice she never struggles for them) but of course the mood is soured slightly by Len having one of his annual choreographic strops.

TOO MUCH FAFFIN ABAHHHHHHHHHT. There was only a little bit in hold and suddenly randomly Len cares about technicalities, having given Mark’s salsambchop and Kristina trying to find her car-keys down the back of Ben’s shirt 8s both already this evening without even passing comment. OH LEN. Bruno follows by saying that he can’t believe she’s done such a great quickstep on such little training (she missed a couple of days Bruno, it’s not as though she Louisa Lytton’d it).

Craig follows by saying that he loved the fusion of quickstep and jazz (aka quazz) and that he thought Natalie was stunning, and then Darcey launches into an impassioned plea to Natalie to stop trying so hard to do so much with a bad back before she kills herself.


Natalie just worries that all Darcey’s shouting is

going to wake up the sheep currently sat on her forehead. And then it’ll probably wee itself and then where will we be?

Up to the Tessanine they quazz, where Tess starts by asking her how her back’s feeling. Natalie says she’s feeling really great and gives a shout-out to the medical care she got from the show. Tess grins wolfishly and says that it looked like Natalie wasn’t in any pain at all! Yeah, alright, don’t you start. Natalie just replies that yes, she wasn’t in any pain because she’s off her face on drugs. HOORAY! THE NANCY METHOD! Scores are in :

35. After they get the scores, Artem lifts Natalie with his arms wrapped round her back, and Brenda mutters conspiratorially with James in the background. OH, HERE WE GO.

Patrick Robotson & Anya Garnis dancing the cha cha

Bruce jokes that he’s glad Patrick is here so Bruce isn’t the only one operating on his level of excitement and panache. You said it Bruce, not me.

In Patrick’s VT he says that he gets really nervous before he dances, but then there’s an excitement and freedom about being out there on the dancefloor. Thanks Patrick.

In training, Patrick tells us that he’s doing a cha cha this week, and that the combination of all his dance training and the commitments of his work on Casulaty is starting to

frazzle his circuits a little bit. So Anya has agreed to compromise by coming to visit him on the set and watch him work and maybe do a bit of training there. Mostly this serves as an opportunity to remind ourselves of Anya’s capacity for limitless excitement over the most mundane things, as she grins with glee and excitement

over a scene that basically looks like Patrick commiserating with someone over an ingrowing toenail. Seriously, I was at least expecting blood spurting out of a pancreas or something. Anya then goons around with a fake stethoscope laughing her face off before Charlie

grumps in saying Patrick needs to point his feet more. Alright Charlie, you’ll get your turn. The Ginger Nurse Who Is A Bit Useless But Has The Power Of Empathy (*roll eyes*) also provides some support and then


And that’s the last time Patrick will take Anya into work with him.


They’re dancing to “Mercy” by Duffy and oh look, Anya hasn’t drowned the routine in theming and it’s his best one yet! Who knew? For a man pushing 50 it’s a really good attempt at cha cha – lots of energy, lots of hip movement, lots of enthusiasm. My only real problem is that he’s set his face to

GURN O CLOCK the whole way through. There’s points where I swear if you just walked in at this point in the series you’d have to ask if it wasn’t Ainsley Harriott out there. Then again, if this is how we’re going to winkle his personality out – with dynamite – then I’m all for it.

It gets a standing ovation from, like, three women tucked away at the back of the studio, but that’s still three more than he’s got in any other dance to this point so…PROGRESS! Bruno starts for the judges by growling that Patrick does a MEAN CHA CHA. He particularly liked the bit where Anya got spanked on the arse. So if you’re looking for replacements for Charlie Hunnam, 50 Shades producers, Bruno Tonioli’s your man. Craig follows by saying that it was absolutely brilliant.

Bless Anya. Such a simple soul. Bruce snorts at Patrick not to kiss Craig, because it’s already been done. Bruce telling someone not to do something because it’d be repetitive is…erm…I’m not sure “Ironic” even begins to cover it but let’s settle on that.

Darcey’s next and tells Patrick off for sticking his chin in when he looks at Anya, and saying he definitely looks a lot more comfortable out of hold than in but…he has an INNER GROOVE so she likes him. Len closes by producing his best “compliment that doesn’t sound like a compliment” yet by telling Patrick that his dance was STEAMING.

He means it in a good way, he swears.

Up to the Tessanine they go, with Bruce whittering away about PANACKY, whatever that’s supposed to be. Bruce is so off his game this week, honestly. On the way up, Anya exchanges a little


She then goes for a high-five with Patrick that he completely ignores, and then YANKS his top open. Oh Anya. Tess gets Patrick to say that this was his favourite dance yet, and asks what the cast of Casualty think about him being on Strictly. He says that they’re all very supportive, although Suzanne Packer told him he was supposed to ask Erin about whether she’s proud of what she did with those puppets, but…there doesn’t seem to be anybody called Erin here so…scores are in


Abbey Clancey & Aljaz Skorjanec dancing the tango

Bruce tells us all that Abbey’s been a really good sport for us this week by agreeing to take part in a muddy assault course to prepare for her tango and he closes by saying “well done darling!” entirely sincerely and it is amongst the most patronising things I’ve ever witnessed, well done show.

In her VT, Abbey says she’s really glad to have got cha-cha and jive out the way, because they’re fast dances and she doesn’t like fast dances. Fortunately for Abbey, the only fast dances she has left now are the Charleston, the Paso Doble, the Quickstep, the Salsa, the Samba, the Viennese Waltz, the FUSION and the Showdance. Should she make it that far. ALL PLAIN SAILING.

In fact in training, Aljaz tells us that as far as he’s concerned, tango is a fast dance. So Abbey needs to up her stamina so that she can manage it. How is a young lady to build up her stamina in the training room with Aljaz you might ask? Calm down JELUS PETAH. It’s only that

assault course Bruce was mentioning earlier. Abbey swings on, like, three monkey bars, squeals a bit, then falls off and the whole thing is so transparently just an excuse to dress Aljaz up as the audience’s

dirty army fantasy. I think my favourite part is when Abbey is flailing and squealing through 6 inches of muddy water and Aljaz yells “USE YOUR CORE!”. I’m sure Darcey will be impressed.


DRAMA! Abbey is doing her tango to “Spectrum” by Florence And The Washing Machine and


Oh alright, I see you’ve noticed. She does look pretty stunning. On America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks would call her “editorial”. Then probably yell at her in a random French accent and make her do a pop video commercial for fried chicken containing the lyrics “POT LEDOM”, “BOOTY TOUCH YOUR SMIZE” and “BUY TYRA’S NOVEL, IT’S SHIT!”. Not to fall into show-approved cliché or anything, but she’s definitely a ballroom girl. She’s building up a lot of chemistry with Aljaz and moves around the floor with real purpose. She basically just looks like she knows what she’s doing, which hasn’t really happened for her in latin yet. She also gives

great tango kick. Tango head…not so much, but we can’t all have Natalie Gumede’s flexible wrecked spine can we? I’m also not sure about the giant video-wall volcano behind her, which keeps on exploding, making the whole thing feel a bit like a 90s commercial for cheap aftershave.


It doesn’t get a standing ovation which does make it seem like the ZOMG SHOCKBOOT needle might be starting to tick over in her direction but…we shall see. Craig starts for the judges by telling Abbey that she made great use of the floor and of the accents in the music and that the whole routine was UH-MAY-ZING and Darcey follows by saying that it was a very sexy cool tango and she wasn’t expecting that sort of thing from Abbey.

Len follows by saying that Abbey is going to prove hard to beat in ballroom and that that was a terrific tango. Bruno closes by throwing himself around talking about the passion and the chemistry and the WHIP-CRACKING DRAMA of it all. Again, it looked like a magazine photospread, so Bruno loved it. The equation is not complex.

Up to the Tessanine they bounce, where Tess gasps that everyone is really stepping it up a gear tonight. Yes, except Deborah. And Fiona. And Rachel. But other than that…FESTIVAL OF DAHNCE. Tess asks Abbey how she’s feeling after that dance and she says she’s fine. We then move on to discuss Aljaz’s Bootcamp, as he gamely tries to pretend it was ALL FOR REAL, saying that he thinks it really strengthened Abbey’s core and overall stamina. Tess then hurls the cat out of the bag by smirking that it must have really been hell

“mud-wrestling with Aljaz”. Oh the scandal. I love that Tess’ idea of “mud-wrestling” is splashing around in shit-brown water up to your waist dressed like Eagle-Eyes Action Man and Private Benjamin. She’s been watching all the wrong porn clearly. Scores are in

35. Again.

Hairy Dave & Karen Hauer dancing the waltz

Oddly enough we don’t see a shot of Dave and Karen gurning to the camera before the dance. We also haven’t seen them all evening in the Tessanine. I hope he hasn’t gone the Full Widdy and demanded a separate wing of the studio to be kept in, as Official Comedy Star Of The Show, from which he is required to emerge only for his dance, after which he goes back in and eats caviar whilst getting mani’d and pedi’d by Jared Murillo and Hayley Holt aka The Cupboard People.

Feel free to spread the rumour if you want.

The VT may add fuel to the rumour, beginning as it does with Dave monologuing

“I was ecstatic with my performance on Saturday Night, when I walked off the dancefloor to what I believe was one of the biggest standing ovations in Strictly history”.

Save it for the memoirs Dave. He goes on to plaintively complain that Craig’s mean comments are deflating him. He’s trying his hardest to get all the steps right, and get the performance right. WHAT ELSE CAN HE POSSIBLY DO?

Such a martyr.

Training now, and Dave says that he can’t quite believe how caught up he’s got in the world of fake tans and sequins and casual sodomy and blah blah blah that is Strictly Come Dancing. Although not nearly enough for Karen’s liking, who has decided that he needs a makeover to tame that

wild mane of his. Given what’s about to happen to Susanna in Karen’s husband’s routine in about 8 minutes time, this all seems grimly ironic. Anyway, Karen takes Dave to the STRICTLIFICATION SALON

/A Toni & Guy’s and he gets his hair cut. This is the result.

It’s like that scene in She’s All That isn’t it?


I know Karen has grown on everyone this series, but if you don’t hope that Natalie Lowe bursts through that door jiving like a Maenad then…I’m not sure this blog is for you, I’m sorry. The story of this waltz (to “Take It To The Limit” as though memories of my favourite departed female pros wasn’t piqued enough) (Erin did a waltz to it) (it was with Peter Shilton, no reason you’d remember it) is that Dave is going on a date with Karen. A date that involves him going to her door, giving her flowers, and then kicking the floor so a

red carpet unfurls. Unfortunately the sudden streak of red flying across the floor brings to mind less a romantic stroll, more the Prom Scene from Carrie.

Sadly, instead of killing everyone with her telekinetic powers, Karen just takes Dave into hold for a waltz

It’s not great, but I appreciate the effort after last week’s carnival extravaganza of nonsense. He’s very halting and plodding and the dance doesn’t really GO anywhere other than round and round on the same old patch of carpet but there’s a sweetness to it. Then Karen pecks him on the cheek and sprints off back behind the door

the bloody tease. Still

it’s enough for Dave.

No, sorry, I still want Natalie to come barrelling out of that door, then throw a suitcase at him, then drag round the floor by his tie. It’s the nostalgist in me.

It doesn’t get a standing ovation, so expect his salsa next week to be him running around squirting condiments at everyone, in a fright wig, just to get him back in the game. Once he’s over at Bruce, Dave good-naturedly chortles that Karen has “buffed him up to oblivion”. Well, Karen and the army of trained helper monkeys in tuxedos he has demanded as STRICTLY’S COMEDY STAR! Darcey starts for the judges by saying that she’s loving Dave’s makeover, but she thinks his knees are too soft and he doesn’t move around too much. Her advice?

Go do a ballet class.

Sorry Darcey, Ben already did that one. We’ve got “boxing training”, “zorbing” “acting coach who isn’t Iveta” (although why would you bother?) and “Jive Bunny” left in the box. Pick one of those. Len follows by saying that on Strictly the only failure is the failure to try. Wow, some jokes are both too easy AND too mean. (Psst, the punchline was “Edwina Currie”)

Bruno follows by telling Dave that he looks really handsome having had his makeover. But unfortunately not so much that Bruno wants to lick him, so no 8s from him, he’s sorry. Craig closes by saying that it was all too placed and he didn’t think that Dave was really listening to the music. Well, let’s be honest, ever since they moved The Man In The Hat who’d want to listen to them? Rubbish. It’s ruined the whole set-up. Anyway, Craig thinks it was nice to see “The Serious Dave”. You know, flarting around with a bouquet and spraying his throat with spritzer and boinking up and down hugging him because he got a peck on the cheek. It was practically Andre Gide.

Up to the Tessanine they go, and Tess asks him if Dave thinks a permanent change of image will be on the cards. He grins that

HE THINKS IT MIGHT BE, TESS! Oh. He’s stopped calling her “Tessa”. That was my favourite bit. Shame. He then gives a little speech about how he really respects the dancing and Karen and he’s not deliberately trying to be bad, it just happens, he is full of the PURITY OF DAHNCE. Honest. Scores are in


Susanna Reid & Indiana Kevin dancing the samba

Don’t think that wearing your glasses is going to distract me from the demolition job wardrobe have done your partner Kevin. Poor Susanna. Never mind a bush, she looks like she’s been dragged through the whole jungle backwards. Susanna apparently told Bruce that she practices her routines in her sleep. Based on this one, Kevin’s been choreographing them in his sleep as well. After eating a lot of cheese.

In her VT, Susanna tells us that it felt lovely to dance the Viennese Waltz last week, and actually was surprisingly emotional.

I mean…not weeping over the guy who dumped you when you were 15/having the menopause/your unborn granddaughter/the memory of John Lennon being shot/whatever Vanessa was on about, but still. Emotional.

Training now, and Susanna tells us that dancing the samba is making her feel a little self-conscious. Says the women whose first impression on the show was a sloppy cartwheel where she flashed her knickers to the nation (<3). So in order to make her feel less awkward, she’s going to

BRING THE KIDS IN! BABY WARZ MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER! The flimsy excuse is that Susanna’s kids always set up a judging panel at home on the living room table every week in front of the telly with their teddys, who give the scores. I do the same with bottles of booze. Well…kegs in the case of Bruno. At any rate, I like how Pudsey is the “Bruno”, presumably bandaged up after one too many cases of spontaneously falling down.

In they come and

I can’t help thinking she probably should have paid a bit more attention to the one in the middle. She scores 26 out of a possible 30. It’s like we’re on Dancing With The Stars all of a sudden. Or one of the Alesha series if you were a Daily Mail reader yelling “ETHNIC QUOTAS ETHNIC QUOTAS BLAH BLAH ETHNIC QUOTAS AWFUL GRAMMAR” over everything she said.


And Susanna yelling “KEVIN! HELP!”. Oh Christ, her bra-strap’s broken. OK, not really, a whole different type of

rampaging boulder has been unleashed. Kevin yells “I’LL SAVE YOU!” and

flings himself across the imaginary precipice, despite the fact the lever to save Susanna is literally 8 feet in front of her face, the lazy moo. She stands there wiggling her bum whilst he does it as well. And yet she’s STILL less hapless and annoying than any (non-evil) woman in an actual Indiana Jones movie.

Anyway, pulling the lever is apparently the signal for her to go absolutely poo-flinging mental, doing some quality shower dancing

and then

just flinging her boobs around wantonly to dry off again. There’s absolutely no control or style to any of it,but it’s kind of a laugh. It’s almost as though Kevin hasn’t inherited the MORTAL SAMBA DREAD that keeps half the other male pros awake at night. The dance equivalent of yelling Macbeth in the theatre. And then shaking your titties. The end is basically her standing on the spot and shaking her weave like

she’s got nits in it, whilst Kevin nips off down t’jungle pharmacist to get a condom.


It gets a standing ovation, but Len is not amused. He think that Susanna should be ASHAMED of herself, as a figure of probity from the Breakfast news coming out all “bounce, bum and bongos”.

Clearly he’s forgotten Bill Turnbull. He was worse. Dirty birdy. Anyway, Len thinks it had plenty of attack but got a bit messy. Bruno follows by flinging his head around and screaming. It’s that time of the evening really isn’t it? He too loved the energy, but found it all a bit shambolic.

Craig follows, wincingly, saying that he found it a bit muddy. No Craig, that’s just fake tan. I know they’ve applied it with a paint roller, but it’s definitely tan. Anyway he thinks that Susanna and Kevin weren’t working together, and it looked too combative and disjointed. Darcey closes by saying pretty much the same as everyone else – fun, but messy.

Up to the Tessanine they shake their ra-ras and on the way Susanna literally

bulldozes Kristina out of the way with her tits. She never saw it coming. Tess asks Susanna if it was nervewracking going out and shaking her thing (just the one?) in front of millions and she says that it was, but her kids told her that she’s only going to be on Strictly once, so she shouldn’t waste her opportunity by being self-conscious, Or by dressing appropriately. Anyway, Susanna and Tess then stand there

telling one another how amazing they are and what role models they are to all women everywhere and Jesus Christ enough of this already. Save it for the Sunday Supplements. Finally Kevin gets his woobie on by talking about how both his parents are former world champions and his sister is currently a world champion and here he is

stuck on this chickenshit gig. In a way, he says, he is the black sheep of his family. Oh? I thought that was the thing stuck on Natalie’s head? The scores are in



17 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 4 Performance

  1. rmdbutler

    I actually much prefer Natalie to Denise. Whilst Van Outen was all “I CAN’T REALLY DANCE, CHICAGO IS MOSTLY SITTING DOWN, I’M SO NORMAL AND RELATABLE ME, REALLY! #BANTERO’CLOCK!!!1!” Natalie is more “LOL, I’m better than all of you and I don’t give a shit, check out my hair”.

    1. Monaogg

      Natalie’s hair should definitely get bonus points.

      Love her “couldn’t give a monkeys about what people think, I just wanna dance” attitude.

    2. monkseal Post author

      I like to imagine the dynamic of Denise leaping around Natalie and boinging out “OH MY GOD, THIS ALL HAPPENED TO ME, FEEL MY PAIN!” whilst Natalie just…stares at her.

  2. Neio

    And if I didn’t love already love Kevin thanks to the glasses, now we have the chest hair too. Oof!

    After Love Week last week, between Ben as the sexy mechanic and Aljaz as the hot soldier boy, this was seeming a little like Gay Porn Week. Not that I’m complaining.

  3. pootle

    The best part of the last scores was James mouthing “Six? Six?!” behind Kevin. He’s decided to turn his early boot into a chance to cause trouble and will hopefully end up arguing with the judges on someone else’s behalf.

  4. A Frog at Large

    well, I nearly wet myself watching Mark so from that point of view, it was a good evening. On the other hand it’s only the second year I watch Strictly (I know, I KNOW) and I thought Bruce loosing it with ‘the staff’ was an appalling display and it is high time he was sacked and Claudia replaced him permanently.

  5. Michelle Daniels

    Kevin, you mentalist, I love you even more. Samba is an effing stoopid dance (second only to the rumba) but that was genius. Brucie, have you run out of your medication, because I have never seen anything tahe piss-poor….

  6. Missfrankiecat

    I love KFG more with every passing day. The whole premise and execution of that Samba suggests he has a view of the dance which makes Anton look like a devoted Latin acolyte. Also, though I don’t share the DS hostility to Susannah (having never set eyes on her before Strictly) I am enjoying her beady look of dawning comprehension that this is all about Kevin and to do anything about it would be akin to clubbing a seal cub to death on Breakfast Time.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Has a pro ever so COMPLETELY overshadowed their celeb in Strictly history? Apparently they’re filming at his parents dance studio this week. It took us about three series to find out that Darren & Lilia had a house.


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