Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 9 Performance

Anybody got any Anadin?


This week : blorb.

Anyway, we’re officially at the point where the VTs all pretend that the contestants are super-sneaky saboteurs, out to wreck their competitors chances because of their own overwhelming lust for the glitterball. This would all be more convincing if the cast this year didn’t feature Ben Cohen, a man who automatically drags the “giving a shit” average for the whole field down into minus numbers, even despite Susanna being one of the most ambitious people in the history of the world evah evah evah (seriously, that article is a MASTERCLASS in stanning, undermining literally every other contestant other than Fiona’s Chosen One, in the nicest way possible, because of course Fiona is far too well brought up and too polite to call Abbey a tactless dipstick, until she goes MENKLE and calls Sophie’s Charleston the greatest dance ever to happen on Strictly ever) (I miss her more than I expected, it has to be said). Here’s some pictures of the celebrities going SHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Here’s Ben

getting rid of the outfit Kristina had picked out for him for this week.

<img src="” alt=”” />
I notice she was training in LA again these last few weeks. Someone really did get Evil Moira Ross (in a rainbow wig) over a barrel with that last minute contract didn’t she? Janette had her suitcases all packed and ready to go as well…

The music plays, and out onto the floor come Bruce and Tess. They’ve actually got Tess looking decent tonight, a fact which she of course shows off

in the most elegant way possible. You can tell she used to be a model can’t you? Seriously, it’s

like something out of America’s Next Top Model. I dub this “smunging” – smiling with your tongue. Tyra would be so proud. Whilst she’s trapped, Bruce whitters on to her about how he did a new variation on the Velociraptor Dance as he came out. Tess snarks that it looked an awful lot like the same old routine to her. She then has to feed him his intro to his first joke twice, because he didn’t quite get it the first time.

I feel like Tess is ready for Bruce to take another week (/series) off.

Said joke incidentally is that Bruce has been asked to do one of those voice recordings for SatNav, like Mr T or Tom Baker or someone doing a bad impersonation of Margaret Thatcher. The Brucie SatNav comes with a number of unique features, like randomly breaking down, skipping entire journies because it’s “got the flu”, yelling “BACK OFF! BACK OFF!” to other cars, directing its gaze to the headlamps of cars with female drivers, and exploding if it sees a place name that looks a bit foreign (Ashby de la Zouch? BOOM).

We’re next reminded that Blackpool was the GREATEST NIGHT IN STRICTLY HISTORY EVAH and so on, but unfortunately they had to leave Fiona behind. In the North. She’s probably still sat there with a hand-sanitiser hoping nothing touches her. Tess sighs that we’ll all just have to struggle on without her, as there are still 8 couples left and 4 weeks to go. She then asks Bruce if she should get them out.

He says that he can’t see why not. (Like I said, right at the headlamps).

The couples descend the stairs and

oh joy. An undone bow tie. My favourite. Once they’re all out, Bruce hoots that there’s getting to be a few spaces now.

You might think he’s referring to the ones between Abbey and SEXY FRANKENSTEIN’S ears. I couldn’t possibly comment. He goes on to say that, whilst he recognises how hard the celebrities work, but really it all has to be easier than going into the jungle, eating insects, and having to get dragged into a “who can act like the biggest pretend moron?” competition (“I CAN’T TELL THE TIME!” “I CAN’T READ!” “OH YEAH, WELL I JUST WET MYSELF LOL WHAT’S A TOILET?”). So good luck Vincent. Hopefully you won’t nearly die on Day 1 because you have negative body mass, like happened to Camilla.

Finally, as we go through the usual “judges leaderboard, public vote” spiel Bruce dries up and can’t read the autocue, so just stands there twitching and spluttering awkwardly. The range of Faces Of Hatred Tess pulls in response are

quite something. Once everyone’s had a good laugh at his ongoing mental disintegration, he turns to Susanna and yells “YOU’VE DONE THAT A FEW TIMES HAVEN’T YOU SUSANNA?”

What, had a stroke? And she’s never mentioned it as part of an Injury Porn VT? What a trooper.

Stroke Survivor, Mum Of Three & All-Round Perma-Tanned Inspiration Susanna Reid & Kevin Clifton dancing the cha cha

Bruce says that Susanna came up to him last week and bragged to him that she’s the first Breakfast Presenter ever to score 39 for a dance. Bruce however told her that that wasn’t true.

As if you added together all of Fiona Phillips scores over the month she was on the show, she would have got 39 as well. (If you added up all of Fiona’s scores you’d get 60) (Chris Hollins scored 39 for his samba) (That little noise you can hear if Strictly Nerd Sophie Ellis-Bextor doing tiny wee jumps with her hand stuck in their and her chin sticking out muttering “sir! sir!” under her breath). Some of the audience boo in umbrage on behalf of Fiona Phillips. It takes all kinds.

In her VT, Susanna talks about her wonderful paso

in which you could definitely occasionally see her around the flames and the spectacle and Kevin auditioning for Carry On Caping. Susanna sighs that she really thinks she’s never ever going to have a moment like that on Strictly ever again. So many dancers miserably labouring in the shadows of their greatest hits this series. Sophie’s Charleston, Patrick’s American Smooth, and now this.

She sighs that she never thought she was a 10s sort of person, but when she was lying there on the floor at the end of the dance

she really felt everyone’s reactions. In which case I apologise for giggling “oh get up you soft shite” and throwing pretzel sticks at her. They might have pinged a bit.

Training now, and Susanna is having problems with her cha cha walks. Kevin’s Glasses sigh that she really has to

nail it, and I come over all unnecessary briefly. In a week containing Pasha’s Cha Cha masterclass I think I might be slowly gaining an appreciation for the lamest of the Latin dances. Susanna meanwhile stumbles awkwardly around the floor, and demands that the inventor of cha cha be brought to her IMMEDIATELY. Given the shows presentation of his family, I half expect Kevin to wheel Granny Clifton in with an oxygen tank. In a break, where she lounges around in

a denim fantasia, she sighs to Kevin that she can easily run a marathon, but is finding walking really difficult. LOL, nice backdoor bragging there Su.

Luckily though, Kevin has a plan

sod the dance, let’s appeal to foot fetishists! Both of them take their trainers off (Kevin incidentally has the tiniest winkiest little toesies I’ve ever seen. In terms of scaling they make James Jordan’s nipples look like pepperonis) and Susanna marches up and down a balance beam a bit and then “she” does a comedy backflip off and Kevin pulls a face like he’s just been caught by Karen tugging off the Invisible Man

and her cha cha problems are solved, let’s get on with it.


Oooh look, Andre Rieu’s back. Anyway, Kevin’s all flirting with Darcey and Darcey’s all “please God don’t make me act or do or say anything other than ‘the one thing is’ or ‘the boys are right’ because I literally can’t” and then Susanna screams “KEVVVVVINNNNNNNNNN!” like it feels like she does at the start of every Party Latin (the one thing that would have made her paso more SPECTACULAR would have been her yelling it in a Spanish accent yes/no?) and then we start to cha-cha and seriously

her face is absolutely out-of-control. I swear to God, if you zoom in close enough, you can see a little tiny Steven Segal in the lining of her wig, fighting terrorists who are trying to drive her gurning face directly into the Pentagon.

It’s definitely a triumph of (sort of) style over substance, as honestly, who’s even looking at the technique? From what I can tell her legs are all over the shop and her hips likewise, but your eyes are drawn every time to that ever-changing and gawping face. They’re dancing to “Hound Dog” which…not to start in on this evening’s music choices too early, is the jiviest of all jive songs, and it’s all a bit of a momentum drag after last week’s spectacle.

I mean, Kevin barely gets a look in.

It gets a decent amount of applause, but no standing ovation as Brenda

watches on, ready to MAKE HIS VOICE HEARD later on. Bruce sighs at Susanna that he never knew she could shimmy like that, and Susanna grins back that there’s not much call for it on the Breakfast Sofa. Like there’s much call for those faces she was pulling either. Can you imagine? Bill Turnbull talks about Darfur and the Bedroom Tax whilst Susanna sits there on the verge of yomping her mouth hard enough to get a jaw cramp.

The judges are introduced next, and Bruce tells us what happened after Blackpool. Bruno went out with the professional dancers, Darcey went out with the female celebrities, and Len went out with the male celebrities. Until he followed Ben to the urinals one too many times and they politely asked him to leave. Also Craig sat in his room alone eating room service rotisserie chicken because Craig’s got no friends and is gay etc etc

Poor Craig.

Len starts for the judges with a little speech about how they’re all going to be EXTRA PICKY this week, because it’s getting near the end now and we really want only the best dancers to make the final. So really Craig’s error wasn’t being inherently evil, it was just starting judging properly one or two weeks before Len was ready. Anyway, whilst Len liked the timing and the content, Susanna’s legs were a mess.

HARSH LEN. Of course Harsh Len then gets booed and takes the hump and…you know the score by now. Bruno follows by telling Susanna that she house-trained Kevin very well (I don’t know – I thought I spotted at least one bit where he went off for a widdle by the drum-kit whilst Susanna boggled around like a Community Theatre Blanche Dubois) but she didn’t have the hip action required for the cha cha. All that balance beam work for NOTHING. Susanna snorfles to Bruce that she and cha cha have found it difficult to “make friends” during the week. Maybe if you hadn’t called cha cha’s mother a slag Susanna, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Craig is next and says he loved the vampy beginning (yes I can just see Theda Bara screeching “KEVVVVVINNNNNN!” and advancing towards Rudolph Valentino gurning away like Les Dawson in drag) and that Susanna always provides plenty of personality, but the dance did not “pop” or “zing”. He could see she was trying hard but it was all a bit mumsy. Darcey closes by saying that the boys are right and the technique wasn’t really there. She mourns that it’s such a shame that the ballroom glamour of Blackpool has now worn off, and they have to “get picky” and not, say, give 10s for a dance where Lisa Riley could run through the middle of a ballroom frame and do the splits.

They hare off up the stairs, with Susanna blowing kisses to the judges as she goes, right into Tess who announces that

AS A MOTHER she was personally offended by what Craig said about Susanna being mumsy. She doesn’t think Susanna was “mumsy”, she thinks she was in fact a “sassy mama”. Susanna then protests that AS A MOTHER she doesn’t see what’s so wrong with being mumsy when you’ve given birth three times. Please can we stop this before they start talking about penis beakers? Susanna then goes on to say that she didn’t know that fact about no breakfast presenters ever having scored 39 before. Probably because it was a load of bollocks Susanna. Just a guess. She and Kevin reminisce about their paso some more and then scores are in


Jordan Taylor Taylor & Ola Dawson dancing the Waltz

Bruce introduces him by saying “it’s one of those celebrities with three names”. Never sounded more invested in a contestant has he? Apparently Ashley told Bruce that he thinks having three names sounds really elegant and sophisticated, because Anton told him so. Anton’s three names of course being “Anton du Beke”, “Tony Beak” and “The Phantom Flasher Of Folkestone”.

In his VT, Ashley says that performing at Blackpool was great and his standing ovation was marvellous and yadda yadda yadda but HE WANTS 10S DAMNIT AND HE WANTS THEM NOW. Ah, another male celebrity infected with Tom Chambers Syndrome. It’s always tragic. We then see him calling Ola his

“ITTLE POLISH ANGEL MONSTER!”. So whatever discipline he ends up getting his first 10s for, it won’t be nicknaming.

Training now, and Ashley has the waltz, which is effing boring so

LET’S GO GAWP AT SHARKS INSTEAD. In fact, the waltz is so boring, that Ola even decides that she’s willing to go swimming with them, which is a double terror for her. Partly because it’s swimming with sharks, and partly because it means that

the Hypnoboobs have to go under deep cover. Her stranglehold on the calender market might even be broken. (BUY OLA JORDAN : SQUINTIN AND SPREADIN THEM ROUND THE WORLD 2014 IN ALL GOOD NEWSAGENTS NOW! THAT BITCH KRISTINA MUST NOT PREVAIL!). Ola lies that the aim of this is to get Ashley feeling weightless and floaty “like a little fish”

with a couple of stones of SCUBA equipment sat on him. Woo. Good job Ashley has so much time to waste filming comedy VTs isn’t it?


This waltz is being danced to “I Will Always Love You”, so maybe the VT was there to prepare us for the wetness of it all? Obviously in the wake of Ola complaining about having the cowboy theme foisted upon her they’ve made it up to her with letting her have free choice of the Magic FM daytime playlist. Actually it’s a very Magic FM sort of performance all round, full of

cartoonishly romantic faces and

swirling face-touching and exaggerated cheesy melancholy. It’s nothing particularly exciting or special, although I do love Ola for choreographing in a whole load of pivots at the key change. It’s not quite when Kevin threw in about 50 of them all in a row, but Lord knows I do love a good pivotfest when it’s over the top and obvious to the point of silliness. If this were a Westlife song, the pivots would be the moment when they all stand up off their stools.


It gets a really loud crowd reaction, but no standing ovation oddly enough, and Bruce whitters on about the emotion and how GREAT it all was. When Bruno starts for the judges, he calls it beautiful and Bruce yells “OH GOOD!” over the top. So obviously Bruce likes the slushy ones (Poor Wilnelia). Bruno goes on to say that that was a really tricky piece of music to dance to (join the club this week) and Ashley glided through it with ease. Bruce then gibbers on to Ashley about how great his posture was whilst Ashley

looks a little baffled. Bless, Bruce has a crush.

Craig is next, and says that he agrees with Bruno that Ashely handled the music well and that the dance was well performed, but Ashley’s head is driving him mad.

That’s Craig for you – there’s nothing that irritates him more than bad head. Except maybe an inadequate finger. Bruce snorts loudly that he didn’t notice because he was too caught up in his emotions. Yes Bruce, we had noticed. Darcey follows by saying that Ashley was slick and rose to the occasion (f’nar) and really glided across the dancefloor. Bruce starts sighing away about the rise and fall and how the head thing is “just a little tilt” at this point and seriously, SHUT IT BRUCE. This level of chit-chat over the judges would be annoying on Starship Karen, let alone something we can’t Red Button into silence.

Len closes by saying that ATD should stand for Attention To Detail, not Ashley Taylor-Dawson, because the footwork in that routine was really precise, and it all had light and shade. He then snits that people think waltz is an easy dance when it’s NOT. Maybe people think that because you’ve spent the last 10 series implying that you give people the waltz to do week 1 because it’s the most basic of the dances, LEN. But whatever, everything’s hard now I guess. At this point I’m imagining Len stomping round kids birthday parties giving everyone a pat on the pack because IT’S EASY TO FORGET JUST HOW HARD THE MACARENA IS FOR NON-PROFESSIONALS.

Up to the Tessanine they go, and Tess obviously takes Craig’s comments about Ashley’s poor head-giving skills as an excuse to

start stroking his face. Maybe Ashley should ask Ben about being a co-signatory on that lawsuit at the end of the series? Tess asks him if he’s gagging for a 10 and Ashley says he thinks it would be rude to say that he wasn’t. Also more interesting. Tess follows up reminding us that there’s only a month to go til the final, and asks Ola if the atmosphere backstage has changed. Ola grins conspiratorially that it’s all got

very quiet. Don’t worry Ola, I’ve got a feeling that Brenda’s going to change all that… Scores are in


THE EVILLEST OF EVEL RINGAHS & Artem Chigvintsev dancing the tango

Of all the ways that this tango disappointed me, I think Wardrobe’s styling her like someone barely clinging on to the edge of an X Factor girlband is the worst. Bruce tells us, so that we can prepare ourselves, that this week Natalie and Artem went to a local school. Bruce tells us that he personally didn’t go to school because he spent most of his time entertaining the troops.

God, those GIs really got desperate didn’t they?

In her VT, Natalie tells us that she got so much energy from the Blackpool audience last week, and it was spine-chilling. Oh Christ not her back again… She then starts randomly

tearing up and choking at how much everyone has told her they’ve loved what she’s done and NURSE, I THINK YOU’VE GOT THE DOSE WRONG AGAIN.

Training next, and Natalie tells us that this week she’s got the tango, which involves a lot of jerking your head around, a fact illustrated further with the help of Artem’s

gentle and considerate teaching technique, as he yanks her round by the hair. Natalie, maybe a bit tired of the yoinking, sits down with Artem and says that what she really enjoyed at Blackpool was the great big group dance at the beginning, so why not re-engage with the most satisfying part of that? Spinning round on a roundabout dressed as a Colorforms blancmange? NO! THE CHILDREN!


AND THEY LOVE HER! See? She’s definitely not evil. Natalie and Artem dance for the little children and they all agree that it was just so wonderful and like being in a dream and they all definitely almost came down with Stendhal Syndrome.

Yeah, looks like it. Natalie grins that seeing the way the kids engage with dancing has given her fresh inspiration for her routine this weekend.

Next week : Natalie visits a kitten farm, and the tiny little cats teach her all about the grace needed for the American Smooth, whilst bumbling adorably around her feet.


They are dancing to “Where Have You Been All My Life?” by Rihanna which stands out as a truly baffling music choice even in this series. It instantly robs the dance of any sort of drama, just replacing it with a load of shrill synths and, as usual when somebody underestimates a Rihanna song, some pretty ear-splitting singing. I have to say, after a whole series of waiting for Natalie to come out and dominate the floor with some intense tango faces directed at Artem, she seems to mostly

be chewing gum directly down the camera again. Surely if there’s any dance you don’t dance “out” it’s the tango? Her head’s really jerky and whilst she’s moving gingerly around the floor, there’s just not any intensity or drama between the two of them. I hope she’s not come back from her injury properly broken, but this is the first dance where I’ve felt like Natalie’s just not been up to it.

Ah well.

It still gets a standing ovation, as Natalie fiddles with her dress the whole way over to the judges. Bruce introduces the band and

if you squint, you can see The Man In The Hat doffing. It’s still not enough though. I will not be mollified until I get the true star of the show back full time. Harrumph. Tonight, of all nights, he was needed.

Craig starts, and as it is PICKY WEEK and he is being PICKY, he takes exception to her hand placement, her hopping in one step, and her complete lack of drama. Still (SPOILERS) worth a 9 though, because Picky Week isn’t that picky. Bruno screeches “WHAT?”, stumbles around clutching his chest like he’s having a heart attack, and then accuses Craig of being “like a pantomime”. Sometimes you actually couldn’t make it up. Then Bruno falls off his chair (not really). Darcey follows by saying that she loved that classic tango (to a Rihanna dance track) and really felt the intensity from Natalie. There was…however…just one thing

she wasn’t cartoonishly craning away from Artem enough for Darcey’s liking.

Len follows by saying that she looks like his favourite Quality Street and that was a truly quality performance

but she could have kept her head up in the links. PICKY WEEK. A week that Bruno has apparently got ADD bored of three dances in, as he yells that Natalie

TOOK OFF LIKE THE TANGO EXPRESS! DESTINATION – THE FINAL! When the themes don’t involve dressing up like a fancy dress party he really can’t be chuffed can he?

Natalie and Artem stomp off to the Tessanine where Tess grins that that was QUALITY, and Natalie

holds up her dress and humorously grizzles that the same can’t be said for her dress. Ooooh, Wardrobe are going to COME for her next week. In a Theme Week as well. This could be spectacular. Can’t wait for the musical she draws out of the hat to be The Lion King with her as Pumbaa. Although Artem would make a very fetching meerkat I think. Tess asks Natalie how it feels to always get a standing ovation every week and Natalie

goes into raptures. It’s mindblowing and she’s so grateful and how sweet it is to be loved, and so on. Scores are in


Mark Benton & Iveta Lukeosiute : Grape Thief dancing the foxtrot

Apparently Mark and Bruce were talking about their experiences with fortune tellers this week, for some reason. Apparently Bruce’s followed his life line from one palm, all the way across his back to the other, because it’s so long.

I think it’s more likely that Poor Wilnelia had left a crease in him to remember which bit she’d got to, but I’m no palmist.

VT time, and Mark says that he was really excited before last week’s show, because Blackpool Tower Ballroom is such a wonderful place to dance (and also tit around with a giant hairdryer). He goes on to say that only Len really gets him and what he’s about – entertaining the public

by doing star shapes and pulling funny faces. We’re not quite at “Dave Myers And The Biggest Ever Standing Ovation” levels yet but…I’m just naturally suspicious of anyone who sees Len Goodman as their spirit animal I guess. Also anyone who starts talking about “what they’re about” as a game-show contestant. Nobody ever waffled on about their personal Blankety Blank ethos. He sighs that he knew he was going to be in the dance-off, and Iveta grins that

her second time in the bottom wasn’t as scary as the first. And I think she speaks for us all there.

Training now, and Mark tells us all that he’s on foxtrot duty this week. Bring some cocoa. Iveta, looking

particularly COLD HARD LITHUANIAN WOMAN here, snorts that Mark has been criticised for his lack of technique, which is a worry for the foxtrot. We then see her staring him down and telling him that she thinks he’s given up on her after being in the bottom 2, and she’s NOT GOING TO HAVE IT. AS INCENTIVE, IF MARK DO ADEQUATE FOXTROT HE CAN HAVE VISIT FROM MARK WIFE.


Mark’s wife tells us that Mark is really a very shy person, and she thinks that doing Strictly has for him been about showing the public the real human being behind the character actor facade. Iveta then throws a shoe at her and tells her to BE QUIET. (Not really). We close with Mark saying that he wants to dedicate his foxtrot to his wife, for all the support she’s given him, and for all those times she stitched up those lacerations Iveta left.


In yet another fit of Iveta brand randomography, the bed has nothing to do with either the song or the routine or…really anything. The generic Buble starts playing, and Mark immediately leaps out and rips off his pyjamas to reveal a

standard ballroom suit. It’s not quite when they spent the entirety of the end of his American Smooth opening and closing doors over and over again, but it’s close. If nothing else for the sight of them both trying to exude classical glamour with

a great big bed and a video-wall of sunflowers behind them at all times. A very cheesy cheese dream all round.

Anyway, it’s all a nice try and there are quite a few nice moments of

old-school cameraderie and warmth but a lot of the time he just looks a bit baffled.

Maybe that’s Mark’s concentration face, as he’s clearly putting his all into trying to get the steps and the feeling of the dance right in his body but all in all I think it has the least personality of all of Mark’s dances so far. I appreciate in some cases the “character” was not something you’d particularly want to watch (eg : constipated human golfball in a Communist jumpsuit) but like many foxtrots it falls a bit into the trap of blandness and strolling.


It gets polite applause, and Darcey starts for the judges by telling Mark that, whilst the dance didn’t necessarily flow or travel across the dancefloor enough, she thinks he’s very charming and likeable and that his topline is much improved. Mark’s wife applauds loudly from the side, lest Iveta turn the hose on her again. Len follows by saying that Mark has been TRAINED, but never TAMED. Yes, he is a wild one. Len liked how Mark gave him a few cheeky touches (…) but really he moved across the floor like a Dalek. All smooth in a straight line, with no swing and sway. I guess we should be grateful that it took us a whole 38 minutes into the episode before the first desperately shoe-horned in Dr Who reference. I was expecting at least one poor sap to be forced to do a routine dressed as a Cyberman. Although I guess it might have made Ben a bit less stiff…

Bruno follows and reaches levels of patronising not seen since he started speaking to Tracey Beaker like she was actually 3, by saying that obviously Mark had a difficult time leading that dance but he’s

always “jolly” and always pleasant. Well yes, now I’m sure he feels much better now that he knows he’s jolly. Craig closes by saying that all the main elements of foxtrot were missing – there was no flow, swing, or sway. Yes Craig, but there was a GIANT BED FOR NO REASON so how can you complain? He closes by saying that there was too much “side-by-side”. LOL at Craig complaining about too much side-by-side after spending last series wedged up the tuchus of Lisa Ri…


Nothing, Lisa, nothing. Tum ti tum.

Over to the Tessanine they thud, where Tess sighs that Craig wasn’t keen, but hey, at least Len liked it! Yeah Tess, the part where he called him a Dalek was really classic praise Mark can take with him to his grave. Tess then reminds Mark that he’s been in the last two dance-offs and Mark looks

really grateful for the reminder thanks very much. Tess asks what it would mean to avoid it, and Mark replies that to be honest he’s looking forward to it, and then guffaws at her. Tess huffs, all “OH DO YOU WANT TO BE IN THE DANCE-OFF THEN?” and Mark replies that he doesn’t, barely capable of keeping a straight face whilst doing so. Bless him but he wants to go home. Tess asks Iveta if Mark has more to give, and she replies that he

BLOODY BETTER (/does). Scores are in


Treasurer of the School Chastity Club Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Brendan Cole dancing the Amish rumba

Hey, not EVERYONE wants to be a slut, ok? Bruce tells us that Sophie’s rumba will be set in the most romantic city in the world – Venice. And truly, it will add SO MUCH to the routine. Without even seeing Sophie’s Grand Canal, you’ll still feel the atmosphere.

In her VT, Sophie says that Blackpool was a very special experience for her, and she was so glad to get to perform her quickstep there. Brenda meanwhile in his

V-Neck of Despond, says that HE thinks that Sophie really upped her game in terms of her performance (AND THAT CRAIG CAN TAKE THAT 7, TURN IT SIDEWAYS, AND INTRODUCE IT DIRECTLY INTO HIS REVEL-HORWOOD). Sophie meanwhile just mutters that she’s glad that Len liked it, because Mr Goodman really knows all about ballroom, and she just wants him to know how she feels

ABOUT DANCING! ABOUT DANCING! NOTHING ELSE! Bless. Schoolgirl crushes on the teachers always take the oddest form don’t they?

Training now, and Sophie says that she’s felt the rumba looming on the horizon over her for the entire series and now it’s finally here and she’s terrified of it.

Don’t worry about it Sophie. Honestly, it’ll go better if you just let go of your nerves. I’m sure Brendan feels the performance anxiety just as much as you do, but he’s done it A WHOLE TEN TIMES before, so he’ll be there to guide you through the worst of it. Seriously, once you’ve done it once, you’ll wonder why you were ever worried. It’s a natural thing, just go with it, and soon you’ll be able to rumba with the lights on! Next, Brendan dead-pans down the camera that

for him, it’s not just about sexy thrusting. Rumba is totally meaningless to him unless there’s real feelings and emotions involved. He TOTALLY calls the girl afterwards and everything. If only to make sure she can still walk straight *wink*.

(I’m just saying, if they wanted this dance to NOT be about sex, then maybe don’t talk about it like you’re actually preparing to bone).

Anyway, this somehow leads to Sophie

doing a half-hearted plug for her forthcoming album whilst Brendan’s head looms far too large and creepily in shot. It’s a bit like when Kimberley randomly plugged her album of musical theatre standards last series, but without Pasha Kovalev brand “acting” so it’s not nearly as fun. (Yes, I am jibing Sophie for being a bit insipid whilst openly pining for Pasha and Fiona Fullerton, why do you ask?). Anyway, here’s Sophie showing her passion for music

by shaking a tambourine a bit like she’s at a Christian Union meeting.


Sophie and Brenda are performing their rumba of emotion and compassion and honesty and above the waist feelings to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”. Again, if your angle is that your rumba is not about sex, TRY NOT TO DANCE IT TO A SONG THAT IS QUITE LITERALLY ABOUT SEX. Brenda advances on Sophie, touches her and she immediately

freezes up. Like he’s just put the moves on her in the back of a Ford Cortina. To be honest, for the whole dance she alternates between being really into it and making nice romantic figures

and just sort of gawping at Brendan all

“am I doing it right?” with an awkward grin on her face. I don’t actually mind it all that much, and if I was a proper Sophie stan I’m sure I could fanwank it into being a lovely and haltingly sweet tale of love slowly given, but her hips aren’t really moving at all and dear God, don’t tell me you’re doing a clean family friendly rumba and then choreograph in a move where Sophie slowly and sensuously descends your body whilst you wiggle her hips around until she’s

bordering on crotch height, because I’M NOT HAVING IT, SIS.

Anyway, they manage to boink and still be friends afterwards, hooray, and it gets a Standing Ovation, including from her husband.

(That woman looking at him all “DO YOU MIND?” ❤ ❤ <3). Brendan whispers to her that the earth moved for him, and they wander over to the judges, where Brenda Artems her so hard he’s halfway out the studio. Bruce sighs at them that he thought they were going to melt into the floor. I think Brendan actually maybe did, a little.

Len starts for the judges, saying that it was a very very pretty dance, with good lines and transitions. He just thinks it was lacking in flair.

OH, GET READY. Bruno follows by saying that he agrees with Len – it was really pretty and balletic and elegant, but he personally likes his rumba a bit raunchier. Brendan snits “I DON’T!” like we didn’t all see him in Series 4 porning it up with Claire King. HE thinks that rumba is a beautiful story about intimacy

(intimacy in some cases with Brenda’s crotch) and if Bruno isn’t sufficiently EDUCATED ABOUT RUMBA to know that then so be it. Bruce chortles that it was obviously too upmarket for Bruno. (LOL).

Craig follows, saying that he liked Sophie’s double spin into reverse attitude but he does think it was maybe a bit cold, and he didn’t like how the smile seemed to drift on and off Sophie’s face. Brendan huffs and snorts away that he doesn’t think he’s ever going to get full recognition from the judges. Darcey closes by telling Sophie to

gurn more. Be more intense. Proper act her face off. Bruce tells Sophie that he liked it anyway as Brenda

adds more revenge fantasies to his ever-growing bonfire.

Up to the Tessanine they float, with Sophie thanking everyone for their kind words individually as she walks in and they pat her on the back (Her “thanks Susanna has kind of an edge to it if you ask me, which you obviously didn’t). Such a Head Girl. Tess tells her that they DEFINITELY FELT THE INTIMACY ON THE TESSANINE. Sophie smiles that she felt it on the dancefloor as well – to her, Brenda was the only person in the room. Presumably she was imagining herself off on a beach somewhere. Tess reminds her that Bruno wanted a raunchier rumba (Brenda mutters something under his breath at this point and if you can discern what it is I will pay you FIVE (imaginary) POUNDS) but Sophie’s husband seemed to appreciate it. Sophie sighs that she’s so confused (as you would be having to try to come up with a thought to answer that) but it’s alright, because Brenda has another speech prepared.

“We tell stories out there. It’s about creating a piece of choreography that you can touch with. I don’t know! I DON’T WANT TO GIVE FILTHY DIRTY RUMBAS! I DON’T WANT TO GIVE FILTHY DIRTY ARGENTINE TANGOS! I just want to do a beautiful clean classic rumba and this girl delivered that. Sorry if I’ve offended anybody with that.”

To this, Sophie giggles about her husband and plays with her hair.

I love them so much together. Scores are in

31. Brenda declares that he is OVER! IT! (This endgame is going to be spectacular)

Big Ben Cohen & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the Charleston

I feel Kristina unwittingly pointing to his wedding band there may well have been what caused his demise.

Bruce tells us that for his routine, Ben will be a weightlifter. Makes a change from every other week then…

In his VT, Ben tells us that Blackpool was spectacular and he loved every moment of it. Kristina says that the lifts were spectacular

and Ben wasn’t too bad either. Ben closes by saying that he really does think he’s improving. He knows it’s only a tiny bit each week, but he knows it’s happening. It comes to something when you think a celebrity has a slightly more informed and accurate view of their own dance standards than their “ANYTHING LESS THAN A 9 IS UNDERMARKING!” pro does.

Training now and Ben has the Charleston. Kristina tells us that the hardest part for Ben is going to be being animated. Ben’s all

“yup”. Then lies down on the floor to have a kip. Of course this isn’t enough for Kristina, who demands that Ben show her “one of his facial expressions”.

Oh Ben. You can’t do an entire Charleston with Brucie Joke Face.

To remedy Ben’s natural…oaky sheen, Kristina calls in help from an acting co…NO SORRY, WE’VE ALREADY DONE THAT VT IT’S A MIME ARTIST VERY DIFFERENT.

See? Mime! Ben is currently acting out a situation where he’s trapped and not allowed to have his voice heard, and from which is he is desperate to escape. He’s also being taught mime. Anyway, Ben is made to act out a number of mimes – eating an apple, being hungry (I wonder if these were Ben’s own suggestions?) and finding out that you’re pregnant.

I know. There goes all that photoshoot money. No woman’s gonna love you with stretch-marks Benny boy. The whole exercise though sadly falls apart when Kristina is asked to mime her reaction to getting a 3 from Craig.

Not nearly enough stabbing.


Yup, the guns are out again. Although is anyone really impressed by Ben’s guns now that we’ve seen his nukes? His jizzy jizzy nukes? I came in numb to the full range of his weaponry, so I’m genuinely asking. They’re dancing their Charleston to a retrofied version of “No Diggity”, chosen I would imagine because the beat is heavy enough for Ben to be able to hear it consistently, even through his hearing loss. Acting wise he

is trying, bless him. To be honest, I think I should have made “bless him he’s trying” a macro with Ben a long time ago to save on typing time. In summary though, I think Kristina

probably took more away from the mime lessons than he did. As with his jive, it’s a “Latin” dance in miniature. All the steps are there, but they’re so teensy-tiny it feels like you need a microscope to see them. Obviously on a man of his bulk, certain things are inevitably going to look smaller by comparison, and that’s ok (whilst a little disappointing). And hey, his bulk allowed Kristina to live out her fantasy of

literally being used as a bar-bell so there’s that.


It gets a Standing Ovation, which means, after Deborah also got eliminated on one, that they are officially meaningless this year. Maybe I should let go of the spreadsheet (LOL NOT REALLY, I WOULD NEVER LET A SPREADSHEET GO). Bruno starts for the judges by bellowing

“I’M THE STRONGEST MAN ON EARTH!”. Bryan Singer really missed a trick by going for the safe and predictable choice of Michael Shannon for his General Zod didn’t he? Anyway, Bruno though that Ben’s timing was good, but his feet could have been sharper.

We have now attained Kristina-Level 1. Craig follows by sneering that it wasn’t exactly the most electrifying Charleston he’s ever seen.

We have now attained Kristina-Level 2. Ben good-naturedly chuckles that the dance has been incredibly hard for him, and Craig rolls his eyes and sighs “my heart bleeds for you, darling”.

Darcey follows, praising Ben for his storytelling (Kristina yells “THANK YOU!”) but the dance just looked a bit careful to her THAT’S THE ONLY THING. She just thinks he needs to look like he’s concentrating less. Len closes by yelling that Ben is a TIME LORD because he was RIGHT ON TIME in that dance. Thanks Len. I’m now imagining Kristina as a companion.

To the Tessanine they diggity, where Tess immediately yells “SHOW US YER GUNZZZZZZZZ!”. Ben sighs “do I have to?”

then obliges. Just think of the lawsuit Ben. Think of the lovely lovely lawsuit. He then prompts Kristina to show hers, grabs them

and says to her “now this is what happens when you’re the one leading someone round the dancefloor”. I feel like Ben is trying his level best to be subtle enough to actively ask to go home without actually doing it, lest he feels the force of Kristina-Level 5

Tess then dribbles that the weights Ben was lifting in the routine were REAL WEIGHTS

and has a bit of a moment. Ben’s all “yes Tess, they weighed about 5kg each, REAL WEIGHTS”. Scores are in

27. And Kristina-Level 3 has been attained.

Abbey “ME NERVES” Clancy & Sexy Frankenstein dancing the paso doble

Bruce starts by telling us that he’d just like to remind us that Abbey is married to the footballer Peter Crouch, and then makes a joke about the footballer Peter Crouch.

In her VT, Abbey sighs that Blackpool was beautiful and to get to perform there was amazing. The chances of someone saying that Blackpool was a shit-heap and they saw three different sets of people having fights between the coach and the Tower Ballroom diminish ever further with every second. Aljaz says that he was the proudest teacher ever when Abbey got 10s. The 7 from Craig does not get mentioned.

Training now, and Abbey grunts that she’s getting really frustrated with the paso doble. So frustrated in fact that we see her telling SEXY FRANKENSTEIN something that no woman has ever told him before – “this can’t go into my head”. Mortified and embarrassed, he sends her home to do some extra work involving

brushing her teeth and

stomping around on her balcony like she’s a toddler that’s pooped itself. I’m starting to think those unwarranted 10s were Aljaz’s proudest moment as a teacher because…he doesn’t get called upon to teach often.

Abbey tells us that Aljaz’s amazing teaching technique is such that he promised her a reward for doing her homework (I bet he did).

NAN KLAXON! She’s 96. Abbey is doing so well, and she’s A1 in her little heart. Obviously she’s voting for Ben cause he’s WEW FIT and reminds her of some of the dirty rides she had during the war. But Abbey looks pretty in her dresses and that.


They’re performing their very model-beautiful paso doble to “You Got The Love” by Florence & The Machine, which I object to on a couple of grounds – a) it’s awful paso doble music and b) it’s awful music. Candy Statton got straight up insulted with that nonsense.

Other than that, I actually quite like it. Certainly it’s the first time I’ve felt any sort of complete performance by Abbey in the latin. I’ve not begged and pleaded for the last few series for decent straight-faced pasos just to chuck one in the bin because it’s to a crap song. Who could ever truly hate a paso where Aljaz’s

Tiny Nipple pops out to say hello? She’s got a nice arch to her back, and her movements are very passionate and aggressive and poised. Unfortunately towards the end she gets her

plait wedged in her gob, and the less said about her attempts to do flamenco hands the better but all in all, I’ll take what I can get this week.


It gets about half a standing ovation, and Bruce yells at Abbey that HER NANA LOVED IT. Bit personal there Bruce. Craig starts for the judges and as it’s PICKY WEEK he complains that her free arm was too loose and he wanted more body tension from her, and it was all a little bit cutesy. Darcey follows by saying that she personally would have liked a harder, stronger woman.

Take it to Findhrr Darcey. Anyway, Darcey is bored of the same old model-pouting every week, and wants to see something more authentically dramatic from her. How lucky that there’s Musical Theatre next week eh?

Len follows by saying that he loved the shapes that Abbey made with her skirt, but he felt she was sliding around the floor a bit too much. Abbey giggles that it was a bad skiddy out there. Makes you wonder how many times the judges comments made Kristina spit following that Charleston. Bruno carries on, telling Abbey that some of the things that she did AS A NON-DANCER were really impressive. Seriously, I used to read that as a general dig at Natalie (like when Darcey used to call Denise a “professional” then all but go “tee hee hee” up her sleeve) but the longer we go on I feel like it’s something more Abbey-specific, but I can’t put my finger on what.

Anyway, they scoot over to the Tessanine and Tess asks Abbey if she wants to stay in and Abbey starts squealing and squirping and chirping and

grabbing Aljaz by the waist as everyone tries not to look directly at it. Jeez, I almost preferred it when she just whined about her nerves. Almost. Scores are in


Patrick Robotson & Anya Garnis dancing the Viennese Waltz

Bruce plugs Dr Who some more, but he does it using one of my favourite “doctor doctor” jokes, so I don’t even care.

“Doctor Doctor, every time I drink a cup of tea I get a stabbing pain in my eye”
“Take the spoon out”

Actual, genuine classic.

VT time now, and guess what? Patrick also enjoyed dancing in Blackpool, and Anya thought it was an amazing show. Woo. Anya sighs that she really feels like she’s letting Patrick down by not successfully negotiating her own costumes more often.

I love that this is Anya’s pro-gimmick. We’ve got feisty and noisy latina Janette, Slavic sex-pot Aljaz, milk-bottle pale Kevin From Grimsby, COLD HARD LITHUANIAN WOMAN Iveta, and “The Woman Who Is Hated By Clothes”.

Training now and Patrick sighs that he’s been given the romantic and elegant Viennese Waltz. Anya interviews that Patrick needs to reflect on all the romantic roles he’s played in the past and Patrick, not a little smugly, says that indeed there has been quite a few leads he’s played. There’s Romeo and…erm…ok, let’s focus on that one.

In order to get back into the spirit of playing Romeo, Patrick takes Anya to the stage at the RSC. Scene of many of my school trips. Anya’s face of cross-eyed glee at being told that she gets to stand on Juliet’s balcony and pretend to be her is

quite something. I’ve never seen someone so genuinely invested in a pointless VT.

Look at her. Truly she is the female Pasha.


Good grief, the wind machine. They’re dancing to Celine Dion (“A New Day Has Come”) so it’s kind of mandatory, but seriously, given the prop and gimmick heavy nature of the series I half expect the camera to pan back to reveal Patrick emerging from a helicopter. As for the dance, it just feels really rushed. I know we’ve got to the part of the show where everything starts to be cut for time, but I’ve never seen it so much with an actual celeb dance. It’s like he’s trying to cram 3 minutes of content into 2 minutes of routine. He doesn’t look like he’s leading Anya so much as dragging her like someone rushing a toddler towards the Tube without making it cry. It’s a shame because there are some

nice moments and shapes (if you block out the UNDONE BLOODY BOW TIE at least) but it’s too fidgety and accelerated and inconsistent to be a classic Viennese Waltz. Also, I’ve loved Anya’s choreography recently but

can we not with the sexy choking? It’s more Othello than Romeo.


It gets no Standing Ovation, and I observe at this point that former England Manager Graham Taylor has been in the audience the whole time, without any close-ups. Honestly it’s like they WANTED the show to be as drab as possible isn’t it? Just think how much more lively it would have been with a shot of England’s most beloved turnip? All that glamour in one place and they didn’t use it? For shame.

Darcey starts for the judges saying that Viennese Waltz is a HARD DANCE, and that Patrick just didn’t look comfortable.

Does he ever? Truly? Anyway, Darcey expects so much from him than that, and she’s being picky now because she wants him to be in the final. Well…at least she’s admitting it I guess. Len is next, and says that the routine was all about the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the wind machine). Good movement, bad standing spins, and ugly rushed ending (it was Anya doing a floor spin then the splits, then the hand-holding). Not Patrick’s best dance, and not his worst.

Bruno closes by saying that he loved most of the dance, but hated the ending and Craig’s decided that the ending was so bad that it was in fact a lift so he’s taking points off.

POINTS OFF FOR PICKY WEEK! Bruce huffs that the judges really are being picky now, as we’re facing the “Fatal Four Weeks”. I hope that’s not an attempt at a gimmick name. Although…actually part of me hopes it is, because it’s so lame. The FATAL FOUR WEEKS! THE MURDEROUS MONTH! THE TOTALLY TERRIFYING TWELFTH OF A YEAR!

Over to the Tessanine they spin, where Patrick says that he didn’t catch Craig’s comment, and Anya clarifies to him that he said that her feet came off the floor. Ola slurs

“NOOOOOOOO! RUBBBBBBBBISHHHHHH” really noisily from behind Tess, whilst Iveta holds her up. Ola taking over her husband’s role as Den Mother is kind of adorable. Tess then rather hilariously clarifies that it was ANYA’S feet that allegedly came off the floor making it a lift, like somehow the suggestion is that she was somehow bearing up PATRICK’S weight whilst swiffering the floor with her skirt. Thanks Tess. She goes on to remind us that it’s PICKY WEEK, and reminds Patrick that he is the best male celebrity according to Craig and King Of Latin and all that, and Patrick says he tries not to think about it. The only opinion he cares about is Anya’s. Bless. Scores are in


Final Leaderboard?

You can tell we’re getting near the end when you can get it all in one screencap.

22 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 9 Performance

  1. Ferny

    I am impressed that you spotted Brendan simmering last week, ready to burst. I have to say I did laugh out loud when Brendan got stuck on his ‘dirty, filthy’ rant. I don’t think the others (especially Sophie) knew where to look.

  2. Jane

    Hmm, Abbey should go back to the nerve-whining…The way Janette’s looking at her hugging Aljaz is unsettling. Just sayin’

  3. Jenni the Elephant

    Who told you about the kitten farm?! I demand to know. Someone on the team has been talking. I am Evil Moira Ross and heads WILL ROLL.

    Memo to staff: Cancel the kitten farm. Can our people speak to William’s people? Natalie cradles Prince George? The Queen of Dance and the…the.. Prince of Whatever?? Would that fly?

  4. Kate

    Fantastic, Monkseal. So many vintage moments I barely know where to start.
    Ironic that Abbey finally got a realistic mark in the week where she actually danced her best dahhhhnce..
    I always felt that Kristina (adored those screensaves of her 3 stage Disney Character does Rage putty faced meltdown) was way more invested in her relationship with Big Ben than he with her. I more than slightly got the sense, as she clung onto him for his Goodbye speech (and sobbed all over him in ITT) that his stance was “There, there, dear, really not a big deal, I couldn’t really have given a shit either way, (and actually it’s a relief to get away from you)”, which made her barely contained histrionics all the more amusing. Poor Dear. With all the work/ make up she trowels on, she’s just a nip and tuck away from the Bride of Wildenstein. Not that I don’t admire her devotion to duty, it just leaves a huge amount of room for comedy..
    I’m amazed Anya didn’t boke over the balcony at Patrick’s hamming up of Romeo. It was certainly my reaction. I swear they actually greased up the lens to capture the true rose hued misty eyed sentimentality of the moment. SUCH FUN.
    Keep up the masterpieces. So greatly appreciated.

  5. clare

    Another amazing recap. Will never not laugh at L– R– HUN! 🙂
    (and as it’s PICKY WEEK I’ll point out that Patrick & Anya were at Wales Millennium Centre not RSC..)

      1. Kate

        The producers really are doing their best to oust him, aren’t they? Leaving no stone unturned to give him one of the many dances of doom in his most vulnerable week..
        I am looking forward to whatever lunacy the wardrobe department and Iveta (Didn’t you just love her parallel universe rant on ITT last night?) between them can conspire to chuck at the poor man in his, surely, exit dance for the competition? I can’t remember what choice of musical Mark has been saddled with…. whatever it is, the Grape Thief will make sure they go out with a bang… Perhaps she’ll even come dressed as a grape.

  6. Kate

    How come on your poll my Quality Street choices are not that popular but in real life they always get snaffled? Some parallel Strictly universe of chocolate? Hmmm.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I was thinking that. I am not familiar with this universe where the orange cremes aren’t all left til the end.

  7. Miss E

    Even at this point, I’m struggling to fully get into this series (too many people I ‘like’, not a single one that I love, and there’s a very big Natalie Lowe-shaped whole), but various pros becoming increasingly unhinged as the final gets closer is a joy to watch. Particularly Brenda.

    P.S. Lisa’s appearances in your blogs are cracking me up, and I never thought I’d say that about that woman.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Last year it was really just Flavia wasn’t it? Kristina clearly just went, Brendan’s going, and I think Anya has soft-spoken weepy madness buried under there somewhere. Artem crying over being safe from top of the leaderboard was also a…moment.

      1. Kate

        I look forward to Brenda collapsing in a wailing, fist pounding heap on the floor when Sophie hits a dance off/ gets danced out of the semi final. “It’s not fair, waaaaaahhhhh, nobody appreciates my (I mean this little girl’s) genius. Everyone’s been against us from the beginning…All you rotters want is filthy, dirty filth..I am a reformed rake, I have a wife, a child, a halo and am a regular on the mumsnet forums” etc, etc. Still sniggering uncharitably at the indignant pink shade of his hot little ears at last week’s lack of adoration for that somewhat careful rhumba. In fact, I look forward to this almost as much as the spectacle of weeping that will accompany Dirty Ringah Natalie not quite winning the Glitterball.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s