Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 8 Performance Summary

For one night only, Strictly is LIVE from the home of ballroom dancing. Where the greats have come for years before, leaving a little trail of glitterball sparkle behind them, and a shimmering sequined haze fills the air. Where legends have been made and broken, all in the same night. That’s right, tonight, Strictly was beamed to us LIVE from the rarefied air of Evil Moira Ross (in a rainbow wig)’s Strictly Props Cupboard. It turns out that she’s stuffed a whole load of backing dancers in here as well. Try to look surprised. We open with a whole dancefloor of them, of all ages, with the celebrities in giant carnival outfits and pushed around on trollies, as the singers yell “SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE” like a marketing agency came up with it in a slightly hungover brainstorming session. It doesn’t have something for everyone guys, what about those people looking for niche Erin Boag foot pornography? Where do THEY end up? OH WAIT, IN MY GOOGLE HITS THAT’S WHERE.


The general explosion of themeography (yes, I invented a word, get over it, it makes as much sense as “armography” does) spreads to almost all the dances, as Patrick’s Copacabana Samba is really the only one which doesn’t have any real theme or propwork, and doesn’t have massive stage-pieces scattered everywhere like the frigging Batcave. So OF COURSE it’s the only one where an actual snafu happens, as Patrick gets tangled up in Anya’s dress and the dance never really recovers. That’s what you get for trying to be CLASSY Anya (whilst of course still dancing in your pants). As for the rest? Awards are given out as follows :

Most baffling use of prop (singular) : The giant bucket & spade in Abbey’s seaside themed quickstep. It’s both out of scale (twice the side of the deckchairs that are also used in the routine) and awkward to dance around. Also easy to confuse for a giant mop and Sanibucket if you’re not looking closely enough. Also the only really interesting part of kind of a dull dance for Abbey.

Most baffling use of props (plural) : The judges scoring paddles. And how

Most generous use of backing dancers : Obviously is awarded to Kristina, who gets the boys to do most of Ben’s American Smooth for him, whilst he walks around them all like he’s examining an installation art piece in a pretentious Euro gallery. The bits she lets him do, he does well. I think. Peering in around the fog.

Routine most choked by overtheming : The decision to set Natalie’s dance in a dive-bar, full of backing dancers, and props, to be performed to Bang Bang by William, as performed by the Strictly band, with the camera flailing at all times to try to fit everything in seems an odd one. In Artem we trust, I guess.

Most phoned in routine : “Yeah you’re a posh bird and I’m a pilot and there’s some luggage and a giant Arrivals board and something and whatever, you don’t even really need to learn the routine because I’m ANTON DU BEKE and this is the American Smooth damnit. Just hold on and enjoy the ride and bring a sick-bag for the lifts”

Routine most benefiting from inspiration from the choreography of other pros: Susanna’s paso, in which Kevin looks at Erin’s burning down of the studio with Richard Arnold set to classical music with Richard last year, and takes it to the NEXT. EFFING. LEVEL.

Routine most benefiting from inspiration from the choreography of exactly the same pro: Sophie’s quickstep, in which Brendan looks at his own quickstep with Victoria from last series, and thinks “I’ll do this again but with someone who can dance without crying more than a winning Olympic female gymnastics team, and with more tables”.

Best Cowboy Gay Bar themed paso doble in the history of Strictly Come Dancing: Ashley Taylor Dawson’s paso doble. FINALLY AN OLA JORDAN ROCK THEMED TANGO/PASO WORKS, SORT OF!

Best Use Of The Dinosaur: Mark & Iveta’s jive which basically feels like a free-form v-flicking to whoever on the production staff forced the dance on them, their third latin in a row, on his dodgy knees. It’s basically him doing his day-job routine from Hairspray with added Dinosaur. I feel like this is the end. It probably should be the end. I kind of hope it isn’t.


60 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 8 Performance Summary

  1. Monaogg

    Therefore the most forgettable routine is Ben & Kristina. 😉

    My eyes are still burning from the awful shoes and socks of KFG. They were so distracting Ben could have streaked passed nekkid & I would’ve missed him.

    1. Daphne_Moon

      Yay for the dinosaur! Mark should get through as compensation for Bruce being so damn rude – his head dropping when Bruce mentioned (again) how he he was so large made me Aww outloud. I think I’d rather Fiona left this week – Bruno was on the nail about her ‘where’s my handbag’ moments. Kevin and Susanna have been my favourite couple – and after tonight I love them a whole lot more. (This despite me thinking I didn’t like her before this show).

      1. Neio

        That was an awful moment from Bruce, almost as bad as him grabbing Mark’s belly the other week. Poor Mark looked mortified.

      2. Kate

        I so agree. I wish Bruce would stop making digs about Mark’s size. (Even worse, with Mark’s teenage son in the room, watching his Dad cringing with embarrassment). After all, Mark has the class not to respond, “Great joke. Will you do it better once you’ve been dug up?” or other such remarks about Bruce’s general decrepitude and shite jokes.

  2. Ferny

    When I saw the dinosaur I nearly cheered..Go Mark!
    I love them as a couple and really don’t want them to go, especially with a rumba-jive evil double whammy 😦 especially on his birthday dammit.

    Kevin totally owned the show

  3. Missfrankiecat

    Where can I get a paso Kevin for Christmas? (Ideally I’d like a waltz Kevin and even a Harry Potter for ITT Kevin too)

  4. Louise

    I actually really enjoyed Mark’s dance (and thought Iveta gave a masterclass in dancing to the level of your pro so you don’t show up their weaknesses). Kevin and Susanna’s paso was batshit insane in kind of an awesome way (and only improves through additional watchings on Youtube… it’s like Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice amped up to 11 with extra castanets! You can practically smell the sawdust! 🙂 )

    Special mention this week goes to the Strictly Music Elves for soundtracking Fiona’s VT with the instrumental bit from that Lily Allen song about being completely over the hill by the time you hit 30… bwahahahaha!!! (so evil)

    1. Louise

      Obviously I meant the pro dancing to the level of their partner… d’oh!

      Time to stop drinking and go to bed, methinks… 🙂

  5. Beyonce Castle

    Monkseal, from Ben’s peering in around the fog to Jesus, Mary and Joseph how big is that bucket? you have as usual summed up beautifully what sane people were all thinking. Thank you, your blog cheers me up immensely (shameless sucking up 😉 but thank you nonetheless.

    I liked Ashley’s Paso and Sophie’s Quickstep tonight. Abbey overmarked as was Natalie.
    DWTS Derek and Amber’s Charleston to Dick.You.Is ‘s* ‘Bang Bang’ far far superior. *Ta muchly Mr.Brooker

    1. monkseal Post author

      I was expecting (and hoping) for something of that order. Sometimes I wish the band would just let them “play the tape” for a song that’s so far outside what they’re set up to do.

  6. Carl

    I haven’t had a chance to watch most of this year (I’m trying to get caught up), but few things amuse me more than the saga of Artem rictus-grinning his way through a dance, often wildly out of sync with his partner, and this being praised as daring and shocking and simply too brilliant for the plebians to understand. How incredibly au courant to showcase his artistic genius on a show where the main presenter still doesn’t bother to pronounce most of the names correctly. It’s just so giving of him.

    Every year this seems to happen (aside from Fern), and every year it’s giving someone a flower crown for self-indulgent, ponderous choreography.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I feel like the jive that got cancelled was unfortunately a missing bridge week where Artem choreographed like a normal person and kept the pairing grounded, so we lurched straight from the Viennese Waltz that wasn’t to that mess tonight. I like Artem’s choreography generally, but I think he might be struggling with the weight of expectation on Natalie (which he should just ignore, because she’s not and never was going to win) and in terms of memorable dances a couple of other pros are outdoing him with less obviously workable raw materials.

      1. Carl

        I think Kara was the main one who could sell this type of dance (mostly), but that only happens with certain people. I liked the charleston he choreographed for Holly, or I do when I watch it back. This one just didn’t feel like any particular dance at all.

        The salad dressing theme paso with Kevin and Susanna worked for me because they went so OTT in committing to the dance, right down to her cheek-sucking. She seemed more tentative than he did, but then again, who wouldn’t be I do wish his face hadn’t been the same color as his trousers.

        Ashley Taylor Dawson being paired with Ola reminds me of one of his old Hollyoaks comedy stories (the ones where he’d pursue someone and it would end with a drink to the face)…I guess if the show did that type of story now, he would be bullied into driving a tram into the dance floor. Anyway, I thought his paso wasn’t bad at all – the kneel-walking (I am terrible at terms) was good.

        I thought I saw Lily Savage at the start of Mark’s dance.

        I felt so sorry for Anya. I kept waiting for Karen Hardy to storm the stage and say they needed to do it again.

        Some of the lackluster singing still drags some of the dances down for me (Walking on Sunshine, Lady is a Tramp).

      2. monkseal Post author

        I thought he choreographed Holly fairly straight, apart from the swanny American Smooth (which I don’t think Artem could choreograph straight if he tried) and the semi-final, when her lack of fitness caught up with her and he had to compensate. Even Kara’s choreography was more traditional than this – it’s started to feel like every week needs a “hook”, which is I guess a thing with recent series generally.

  7. tal27

    Susanna standing on the spot swishing her skirt and sucking on a lemon while Kevin did his best Kristina chip packet impersonation was ridiculously overmarked. Evil Moira Ross has all judges on message that a BBC personality needs to win again. I seem to be getting a different dance beamed to my telly! And Craig giving Mark an extra point on his jive compared to Ben ‘s last week is baffling…

      1. dave

        It’s almost like he’s trying to be harsh so he doesn’t get criticism for overmarking due to fancying Ben.

      2. monkseal Post author

        But then the next week gives him an 8 for a dance where Kristina gets tag-teamed by three guys whilst Ben watches…

    1. tal27

      And what was with the costumes this week – Ola with her large beige spanx showing through the midriff, Ashley wearing Tony Jacklin’s golf shoes, Susanna with her frilly knickers and Sophie in her school uniform? Not to mention Abbey doing her best trot of shame along the beach in last night’s party frock, Patrick in his mothers sparkly cardigan, and Natalie wearing a Mr Spock wig?

      1. Monaogg

        Ashley’s shoes looked a lot better than the rehearsal picture, which had tiny Latin shoes at the end of huge flappy trousers.

    2. Genevieve

      Her face was surely a high rating on the Emma Bunton scale but on the Susanna Reid scale pretty restrained. She’s the reverse of most dancers with that and with her “cahming aht” and doing latin.

  8. Left Feet

    Fun show, judges got a bit carried away because it was Blackpool but I think it may have seen the Gamechanger Dance by Susanna Reid or mostly Kevin. People who work for the BBC often do well anyway and she is way better then previous winners Kerplunk and the Hobbit. Think she may may the final and possibly win now because that dance has made a huge impact. Natalie is the best dancer but despite the score it was way overshadowed by the Paso. I think it may be between those two couples now and as I said Susanna has the advantages of not been on the “journey”, has a better friendship with her pro and is maybe more relatabale to the people who vote. All this of course may be total crap and change in a couple of weeks.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think the Waltz last week was probably the Game-Changer, this just continued in the same vein, but a little more…bombastic because it was a paso.

    2. Missfrankiecat

      I think Susanna herself is pretty irrelevant now in the battle for the glitterball as long as she turns up and does what KFG tells her – her allegedly slightly ‘toxic’ image has largely been neutralised by the charm offensive from you know where. If she wins there’s no doubt he’s won it for her. That said, I admire her plucky commitment in entering into the spirit of all this. Can you imagine how it sounds when he pitches the dance to her on Monday each week? “This week, Susanna, you will begin by teetering down the stairs in a swimsuit and skirt slashed to your nether regions, pulling a grimace that would make Victoria Beckham look naturally cheerful and, at the sight of me wearing more eyeliner than Freedie Mercury, sparkly skintight pants and wooly socks, your reaction will be to fall to your knees and press your face to my crotch. No one will laugh.” It takes faith.

      1. monkseal Post author

        Irrelevant NOW? This has always been Kevin Clifton’s series, the rest of us are just living in it.

  9. Kelly

    I think the fact Susanna apparently watched Strictly Ballroom this week (per her twitter) showed. Natalie’s dance didn’t seem to connect with the Blackpool audience at all, the applause seemed very muted and there was a sense of “did the judges watch what we did?”. Weird music choice killed the atmosphere at the very end of the show, i think.

  10. Pewter

    Bruce just makes me furious the way he talks to Mark. I wanted to throw something at the tv at that point. Can’t we keep Claudia and her random raccoon eyes instead, she’s much less rude but way more randomly entertaining…

    1. Creepy

      Yes! Absolutely outrageous comments from Bruce, with the constant needling and dismissive gestures at his body… I can’t believe how gracious Mark is about it all. It’s descended to Little Britain esque levels of offensiveness… Can you imagine if Mark was a female contestant?

      What will it take for Claudia to take over?

  11. pootle

    When KFG was going on about dancing in Blackpool as a child, I nearly told him to keep quiet and stop revealing his RINGER past. Until I remembered that he’s not the contestant. And then forgot again during that dance.

    1. tal27

      Very very true – that paso showcased only one person (Kevin, who is undeniabiy talented), whilst the other one hid her inability to form paso shapes out of hold by swishing her skirt – hmmm, have we seen that before somewhere? 🙂

  12. Huriye

    I’m very disappointed you did not include the sentence, “The Tower Ballroom, architecturally designed by the great Frank Matcham” in your review. 😦 Sorry to be picky. But good read, nonetheless, cheers! 😉

  13. AWench

    Most baffling use of props indeed! I’m not particularly a fan of Sophie but she danced first so was my benchmark for what followed. I spent the whole evening howling “you’re not telling me that that was worth the same as/1point/2points/3points more than Sophie ….”. Aargh.

  14. Neio

    Me and my boyfriend spent a lot of Natalie’s Charleston wondering why she was styled as Vod from Fresh Meat. It was wildly overmarked too – not a patch on Sophie’s Charleston (or Kara’s hugely under-marked one). I don’t think Natalie’s would even make my top five of Charlestons ever.

    1. stevenperkins

      I was just thinking earlier who, at this stage, has done a dance I will end up rewatching on YouTube after the series is over, which is usually my benchmark for how good a contestant actually was. So far: Mark yes, Sophie yes, Susanna yes, but that’s about it. Natalie’s always good, but her dances just lack that must-rewatch value for me.

    2. monkseal Post author

      I thought Natalie was really amazingly possibly greatest ever good technically to begin with, then it went to shit. Best 5 Charlestons ever for me, sentimentally :

      1. Denise van Outen
      2. Sophie Ellis Bextor
      3. Goddess Kara
      4. Matt Baker
      5. Ali Bastian

      1. Rad

        I agree on the top 3 of those Charlestons and I liked Ali’s too but I can never have Matt Baker in a list of best anything ever. I keep expecting Natalie to retire with one injury too many, which would be a shame.

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