Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 10 Performance Summary

It’s MOVIE NIGHT on Strictly Come Dancing. I mean…the programme information on my PVR says “Musicals Night” but there are routines being done to songs from Aladdin and Saturday Night Fever so I’m presuming it’s just a press-pack error, like when “Nauseating Pink Sap Week” was accidentally called “Love Week”. It all kicks off with a routine to the song “Anything Goes(This Series)” performed by the male pro dancers dressed up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I presume it’s a tribute to Ghostbusters. Certainly Anton spends most of it looking pretty busted.

As we get near to the end of the series, it’s looking more and more like the battlelines in the war between the top women are being drawn between Tradition and Novelty. The fact that even in a Fancy Dress week of all weeks this is obvious should tell you just how tendentious things are. Squaring up on the side of history and propriety are Brenda and Kevin From Grimsby. (Why yes, the fact that after the last 10 series BRENDA of all people is a bastion of The Rules is delicious to me, why do you ask?). Sophie does a very prim and proper (and slightly twee) Viennese Waltz to “My Favourite Things” from The Sound Of Music which is very deliberately almost entirely in hold and very simply choreographed. Kevin meanwhile aims for old school razzamatazz to the max with his Quickstep to “Good Mornin” from “Singin’ In The Rain” but Susanna falls off the train halfway round the track and gets sucked up under the wheels. The effect, as the music swells ever bigger and the choreography gets ever more overblown and her feet get ever more lost is a little terrifying.

Novelty is OF COURSE represented by Artem, who does a gaymazing American Smooth to a song from Dreamgirls that finally I think completely ignores the need to be in hold for the dance, like you can tell he’s always wanted to, prompting a patented Len Goodman snit. I kind of love it, but mostly because Natalie’s over-acting has finally found its home in Musical Theatre week. New-boy Aljaz meanwhile tweaks the nose of propriety by completely ignoring the genre he’s been given even notionally, throwing a flat out Hustle out there instead of a salsa, for Abbey to dance mostly like she’s just out in the club having a laugh. Of course, because Len gives no shits about Latin, it gets the first Perfect 40 of the series. How sad that we can say “the first” with such certainty that there will be many more. But here we are. Craig always finally jumps off the ledge for the oddest dances doesn’t he?

The increasingly irrelevant looking men? Patrick does a very very flaily Charleston to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but hauls in 3 10s and a whole lot of “ZOMG, THAT WAS THE DANCE OF THE SERIES!”s. Admittedly most of them are from Anton, who may well be straight-up trolling at this point, but at least he can feel like he’s topped his American Smooth and at no point does Anya’s underwear try to murder her so it’s a triumph all round. Ashley meanwhile is stuck on Bloke Rumba duty, to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, descending to the studio floor on a flying carpet, with his nipples out, and Ola looking like an angry transvestite male stripper in an ugly ugly wig. It’s like “Parents Night” at Disneyworld gone badly wrong. Remember all those urban myths about the porn secretly inserted into Disney Films? This was basically that.

Mark? I’ll just copy and paste a thread I started at Digital Spy, because I’m lazy like that.

“Yes I know it was technically the worst. Yes I know that the backing dancers in skintight zebraprint slacks were an atrocity. Yes I know that Iveta cracking her legs open like she’s about to fire a ping-pong ball out her fanny got old weeks ago.

But amidst all the mud-slinging and overmarking and disco latin and freeform contemporary and farting cars, I enjoyed Mark’s dance the most. So sue me. Getting the most impossible of impossible genres, getting samba bounce despite his knees, and properly marrying the comedic nature of the choreography with an attempt to capture the physical spirit of the dance (loved that they were dancing a samba with an African vibe to it, even an ersatz Disney one).

He’s going home tonight. He should go home tonight. I certainly hope he goes home tonight. But whatever happens I think Mark will always be my favourite contestant of this series (as much as I love everyone left). When he choked up afterwards after the judges were universally nice to him and showed they appreciated his efforts, it genuinely moved me in a way the increasingly plastic nature of the show hasn’t in a while.”

Sail on Mark, sail on. Will the public be cruel enough to put you through to next week, apparently featuring the unholy return of the Swingathon? I can’t imagine it.


32 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 10 Performance Summary

  1. Scott

    I’ve watched the Ivetamazing Bom Bom dance so many times I think I could do it myself. Much as I appreciate Susanna’s gurns, they’re artificial; Mark is putting himself into dance, chucking himself about at no doubt great personal danger (but without Injury Porn) and having a shitload of fun. He seems like a lovely guy and his samba was just plain fun. Patrick’s charleston was humourless and flat but it was way higher; technically correct, but I’ll miss Mark next week when we have a bunch of bots getting undeserved 10s.

  2. katy

    If memory serves – isn’t that the first ever perfect 40 for a female “salsa”? I hesitate to call it a salsa, for it really wasn’t.
    What happened to “don’t forget to move your feet even when you’re on the spot” that was being pulled out in the early weeks?
    Not. A. Salsa.


    I’m finding these pro-routines more and more ridiculous. This is the third one that’s reduced me to tears of laughter.
    Would never have happened on Darren and Lilia’s watch…

    I notice Darcey changed her phrasing for you. “only one thing” rather than “just one thing”
    She must be following you…

  3. Miss E

    Mark was a joy tonight. As soon as I saw the costumes, I was just very pleased and at peace with the fact it’d probably be his swansong.

  4. Chris

    Had a bit of a rollercoaster with Susanna this week. Spent most of the week expecting it to be shite based on all the footage, then the pimpslotting (for the third time so I figured they’d have a good reason at least) and the song choice got me wondering. And then the dance happened, and based on choreography alone it could’ve been one of my faves this series (Singin’ in the Rain! Stair jumpy stuff! The sofa walkover thing!) but Susanna wasn’t really up to the job. Shame.

    I wasn’t expecting much from Natalie either, because I kept hearing ‘lyrical’ and ’emotional’ and I anticipated something more contemporary than Smooth (I hate contemporary with the fire of a thousand suns). And that’s kind of what it was, but weirdly enough it was the first dance of Natalie’s I’ve actually really liked (song choice was left-field but worked, that dress was fab, her hair was the best it’s been since quickstep maybe, and there was an okay amount of hold)

    As for the rest – somehow it was Mark who did the best samba all series, I was kind of baffled by all the 10s for Patrick, didn’t mind Abbey’s not-a-salsa (mainly due to some excellent skirt-wafting which I’m a sucker for), I’m drawing a blank over Ashley’s rumba, and Sophie is creeping back up again (finally) but I think a wimple might’ve disguised the whole neck issue (I thought it was going to snap right off)

    1. monkseal Post author

      Re : sambas, I can’t quite decide between Ashley’s and Mark’s. I appreciate that in this I am a dirty ambassador for evil Theme Weeks, but there we are.

      I too expected Susanna based on the Pimp-Slotting, although you’d think I would have learnt by now given this series’ track record in putting exactly the wrong dance there.

  5. conners1979

    Presuming he does go, then Mark seems to have gotten as much out of a Strictly experience as anyone I can remember. His relationship with Iveta has been a complete joy to behold and his dancing often really quite good. I agree, his show of emotion in the Tessanine was genuine and lovely, although somewhat trampled over by Tess predictably giving it the tactless “you big softy” treatment.

    Also, did you notice ‘woman in blue next to Sophie Raworth’ looking almost physically pained by Bruce’s beauty and the beast gag in the opening? Tough crowd.

  6. Missfrankiecat

    I’m afraid I’m actually getting angry at Emperor Artem and his New Clothes Choreography. That was pretentious, overwrought flailing about to music with a couple of decent lifts thrown in. And I simply don’t buy the idea of his devotion to artistic principle – the man choreographs the Cbeebies pantomime for goodness sakes – it’s just plain cheating. No wonder Brenda looks so sour when his one extra lift in an otherwise orthodox AS all those years ago provoked markdown mayhem. Although actually watching Brenda’s battle to stay smiling as the Charlston of the series comments were bandied about was pretty amusing. As was Sophie’s Heidi hairdo and buttoned up embarrassment at her standing ovation. I can’t help but like her. Poor KFG – he looked so crestfallen at their marks. Stop sticking in all those steps lad and just get her to disco!

    1. monkseal Post author

      I do wish they still cared about lifts and rules in general. As I get more and more weary of the judges marking, and things like Abbey’s Perfect Disco Salsa getting perfect scores provokes an eye-roll rather than a hissy meltdown, it occurs to me that marking controversy often makes a dance. Bruno yelling “CAN’T HELP MYSELF! 10!” as Craig and Len screech their disapproval made that American Smooth with Kelly for me, and cemented her as the greatest villain Strictly has ever known. This era of Len muttering that he’s going to do something soon and then giving things a 9 anyway just DOESN’T CUT IT.

  7. minxy

    Thank you Monkseal! you said what I felt about Mark
    Fuck You judges – you mealy mouthed arseholes. Especially you Len with your bitchy You always bring the fun (gotta try and look like I aint hating on ya but I am – did you do good technique? meh who cares. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out)
    Mark did do the best samba bounce this series.
    And those twats couldn’t even bear to acknowledge he actually did it. Who else has?

    Loved Artem n Nat’s charleston, last week was appalling, this week loved the outfits, loved the hair, could see it was beautifully danced but meh it left me cold. So cold that I would rather have watched anyone of Julian’s dances. Not a thing I would ever have dreamt I would ever have said!

    Tess’s dress! wtf???

      1. minxy

        what is really horrific (to me too) is that I wasn’t joking … tho please note well I said dance – not speak/shriek/appear in any other capacity than 90 seconds of moving while music plays

        Artem Artem Artem wtf?

  8. Stormy

    Poor, poor Mark. It looked like everyone down to the costume department was trying to humiliate the poor bastard. It was a good dance, but I couldn’t get over the goofy face paint and outfit. It’s like they thought “Oh, the fat guy, let’s just put him in what looks like a giant child’s onesie and let him try to Samba in that.”

    He did such a good job, but yeah…he’s going this week. I’ll miss him, though. He’s been a bright, happy presence in the show, and Iveta has been great as his pro partner.

    1. monkseal Post author

      As soon as I saw him the fateful words of Vicky Gill that “it’s important not to just look like fancy dress” rang through my ears. I mean…REALLY?

  9. Charlotte

    I’m no dancer so normally even if I think I’ve spotted a flub, I wait to see if the judges confirm it. However, this week, Susanna’s repeated inability to pick the correct foot/do the correct action with it RIGHT in front of the camera doing a long shot was just bloody unequivocal! But apparently not to Len, who is only militant about sticking to the rules not the steps (is this the same man who spoke of breaking eggs re: Lulu’s illegal rumba lift?)
    Also, not to pile the misery onto Sus (who I do like) but she got TKO’d in BabyWarz – pff, her kids are so old they don’t need subtitles! What’s cute about that?!

    1. monkseal Post author

      Lulu’s lift was in latin. Len is not scripted to care about Latin, except people occasionally needing to GIVE IT MORE WELLY GURTCHA.

  10. Dancing Cake

    I’ve been a Monkseal lurker this series and not added my appreciation (until now) but it’s time to come out and say how much I love your Strictly blogs (I do every year, but this series I’ve enjoyed them far, far more than the actual show). You always put everything into perspective and make me snort with laughter at the same time.
    I’m assuming Mark will definitely go tonight – and I want him to, for the sake of his poor knees – but in a lacklustre series, I’m going to miss him so much. I was welling up along with him last night … now all there is left is Sophie’s inevitable departure (thanks judges. The sequel: *AustinandSophiewererobbed*, coming soon to a TV near you) and watching Susanna’s fakeity fake expressions on the Tessanine. (Honestly, watch them! Week after week!) But at least I know you’ll make it all hilarious, even if you can’t make it ok. So thank you.

  11. Kate

    “and Ola looking like an angry transvestite male stripper in an ugly ugly wig. It’s like “Parents Night” at Disneyworld gone badly wrong. Remember all those urban myths about the porn secretly inserted into Disney Films? This was basically that”.

    Thank you, Monkseal, oh how that taxed my stomach muscles this morning.

    What is it with the repeated overmarking of Abbey? Not a Salsa movement in there – all flouncily danced disco, with awkward jerky hip movements, camouflaged by lots of extra eye candy – and she gets a 40????? Is her public vote so low that the judges/ producers/ Moira Ross returned with rainbow wig, are having to award top marks to keep her in? What’s going on? Glad to see the judges favouring random skirt flapping above the technical niceties of the PURITY OF DAHNCE..
    And, (yes I know, a crap way to start a sentence) Natalie being fairly, if comparatively undermarked for a technically perfect if cold AS Foxtrot. Has she fallen out of favour? Glad to see “Operation Waterworks” still in danger of rivalling a leak in the Hoover Dam.
    Thought the Ola/ Ashley rumba was hilariously tacky, particularly the kneeling dry hump in the corner, and all that time spent “FAFFIN’ ABAHT” on that magic carpet.
    Poor old Susanna – the wheels seem to be flying off that particular bus – the “Working Mum/ Woman just like you/ BABYWARZ” campaign is going to need to work overtime to keep her in. Either that, or KFG needs even bigger glasses..
    Enjoyed Patrick’s Charleston, though a little sloppy in places.
    As for Sophie, sweet, tweely in character but utterly underwhelming, Brenda is going to need to do better than that to keep her out of the dance off.
    Loved, loved, loved Mark. Such a joy to behold, and the warmest, most enjoyable Samba of the series, no matter how technically shite and stampy it was. Such a shame if he goes home, and I can’t see that a 4th week in the dance off against a potential CONTENDAH is going to yield any other result. But who will he face? Susanna is the obvious choice based on the last 2 weeks performances, but I suspect not.
    The plot thickens….
    Keep it coming, Monkseal, your recaps better the broadcasts any day..

    1. monkseal Post author

      The thing with Abbey is that with Mark still being here, I’m not convinced that anybody in the cast needed overmarking at all to save them this week, unless they’re worried that being in a bottom 2 again is going to tarnish their presence irretrievably. It seems like they actually thought that dance was a spectacle that the public might buy into. Or they were interested in making Natalie (who got dinged for rule-breaking) or Sophie (current avatar of “Doing Fings Properly”) look hard-done by in comparison.

      Of course this is the fun thing with conspiracy theories. We could go all day…

  12. pootle

    I’m starting to realise that Susanna can’t quite cut it as well as I’d like, and I’ll have to see poor precious KFG(WG) and his sad little loser face soon.
    Mark’s samba was excellent and not at all worth the patronising ‘joke contestant’ remarks. The judges are often too fixated on the right shape/size of body for a show about random amateurs. Not just him, but the muscly man/tall people/short people ‘rules’.
    I’m happier with the remaining people this year than last year, but they all have problems in supporting. Natalie has Pretentious Artem, Susanna has Awful Footwork, Abbey has Botness (for me) and Sophie has I Never Want To See Brendan’s Winning Face.
    Oh and Ashley. Blessim. And Patrick. Blessim too. They’ve really done a good job of turning this into a Girls’ Year because I keep forgetting them.

    1. Missfrankiecat

      I don’t think I can bear to see KFG’s sad little loser face either. Surely if Artem is allowed to just dance any old number, Kevin should be allowed to dance on his own? Or he and Brendan could do swapsies so that Sophie never does have to see That face.

      1. Penny

        That’s genius missfrankie!

        How can we do it? Sophie gets a cat and Brenda turns out to have a terrible fur allergy and then Kevin does his back in and Suzanna has a run of lift-y dances but Sophie’s used all hers up, so they have to swap?

        Or Brendan and Suzanna are both sick with the lurgy in the final week as are all the eliminated pro males so only Kevin can stand in to dance with Sophie.

      2. monkseal Post author

        I don’t think Kevin and Sophie would work. At all. I don’t think she could rise to his level of…ness.

  13. Huriye

    Oh, thank you, Monkseal. That was a beautiful review, and I was 🙂 and 😦 in equal measure with your truly lyrical (not Artem stylee) comments about lovely Mark and Iveta. Definitely my fave couple of this series too! Thank Gawd they were invited. I shall miss them dreadfully if this was their last week, as they were a highlight last night. How Mark managed to overcome Vicky Gill’s eville handiwork and still look good was amazing. I take my hat off to him! *bows*

    “Natalie being fairly, if comparatively undermarked for a technically perfect if cold AS Foxtrot.”
    Sorry, Kate, that was not a technically perfect AS Foxtrot. There was no Foxtrot. Artem has truly lost the plot, and Natalie’s performances just don’t shine anymore. A combination of poor music, poor choreo, and Artem being overwhelmed by expectation that he has to create *something* instead of just sticking with the basic patterns of a dance. AS consists of 40% in hold, not 3 seconds.

    Whilst Sophie’s VW was lovely, yet again, Wardrobe did her no favours with that girly plain Wendy nightie and schoolgirl platted hair. Kelly Brooks’ VW to Delilah was dramatic and sexy! Technically correct in hold needn’t mean devoid of excitement and dreaminess.

    I thought the VT recap people were so cruel to include Susanna’s Footwork disaster, but then there was very little good Footwork to include in her routine sadly. 10 for KFG though. It could’ve been wonderful, and presumably she had danced it properly in training or else surely he would’ve simplified it? Susanna’s star is definitely on the wane.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Apparently we will be seeing Abbey trying to Viennese Waltz to Delilah this week. I think this has turned me against her far more than any unwarranted could. YOU AINT NEVER GONNA BE KELLY, ABBEY.

  14. kassieq

    Don’t know which is worse humble Brenda or angry Brenda. That quickstep was a mess not helped by random furniture warz. Salsa, where???, Abbey’s latin dances seem to break down into catwalk sashaying with added skirt wafting. And please quit with the random extra dancers they are annoying and no they don’t cover mistakes and the fact that Smugsanna totally ran out of steam. Oh and Ashley and Ola, point and snigger.

    1. monkseal Post author

      At least she remembered all of the routine this week. I think. At least the bits she was actually on camera.

  15. mellem

    Did you notice that Artem’s choreography for his AS with Natalie was almost entirely a rehash of the choreography for his AS with Kara? It was practically the same dance, although Len was more generous in his marking for Natalie’s AS than he was for Kara’s.


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