Tonight’s show was marked mostly by two absences, hovering over the whole show making it all a little gloomy. Firstly Natalie has fainted repeatedly in the dress rehearsal, meaning that she won’t be dancing the jive this evening. Secondly Natalie has fainted repeatedly in the dress rehearsal, meaning that HER HAIR won’t be dancing the jive this evening. It was teased out to its FULL POTENTIAL. She was dancing to TINA TURNER. This is a devastating blow. Get well soon, you magnificent afro.
Oh yeah, also, Bruce is off again.
In the absence of Our Beloved Ringah, it’s up to the rest of the front-runners to take advantage of the opportunity to seize the spotlight of the top of the leaderboard. They all make decent stabs at building momentum, apart possibly from Abbey. The best things I can really find to say about her Cabaret themed Charleston are that Aljaz is amazing, Aljaz’s arse is even more amazing, and Abbey makes a better job of it than Peter Shilton did in Series 8. Just about. It still scores 36 though because, you know, of the fact she’s coming off a ZOMGSHOCKBOTTOMTWO and that. Sophie’s Argentine Tango is better, whilst still fundementally just being an EPICMAZING opening pose that slowly deteriorates as the dance continues, and is at least a change of momentum after the last two weeks. What’s not a change of momentum is Brenda giving another speech, bless him. He just can’t stopped. It’s like he’s been cursed by a gypsy after-dinner speaker.
Somewhere in the middle of the pack of headline-grabbers is Ashley, who does a very energetic quickstep to Jet, which is only marred a little by another outbreak of slightly bland Olaography. Still it gets him his first non-Darcey 9s of the series, even though Ola seems to have spent most of the week trying to cop off with “The Cast Of Hollyoaks”. No, they don’t have individual names. Just one hivemind of oiled-up pecs and hair extensions. Almost certainly leading the charge for recognition though are Susanna and Kevin (who do an intensely acted and very classically glam waltz to “You Light Up My Life” which features Susanna flaring her nostrils with such ferocity I briefly worry she’s been overtaken by the ghost of Kenneth Williams) and Patrick and Anya, who do an American Smooth of almost Michael Vaughan proportions. It becomes the second 10-dance of the series, a feat that Patrick reacts to not at all. Such an inspiration to us all, showing that even still at the age of 50 with your joints creaking and your hair greying, you can STILL be a bot.
The business at the other end of the leaderboard? Very much as usual. Dave does a Scottish-themed stompy tango to The Proclaimers and launches Operation Backchat with ever great vigour. Ben continues his quest of becoming a faster dancer, if not necessarily a better one, in a jive featuring a backwards somersault off a trampolene. Fiona continues to be ever-so-slightly undermined by Anton in the Latin as he completely forgets the routine and doesn’t really bother to try to hide it. And Iveta possibly overeggs the comedy angle a little too much even for my Mark-loving tastes, as his Bond themed rumba hangs almost entirely on theming and very little on movement.
I’m not saying it’s a return to the bad old days of Ghostbusters. Except I kind of am. Will Mark survive to dance in Blackpool/Brighton/Bournemouth/Bridlington/Whatever Darcey Said just because he’s Northern? We shall see…