Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 11 Performance

Another Swingathon and nobody even so much as loses a limb. What’s the bloody point?

Last week : Picky Week dissolved like a urinal cake around closing time as Abbey, Natalie and Patrick picked up perfect scores in the new Strictly genres of Disco, Freestyle Wafting, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the show only having experimented with the more basic “Chitty Bang Bang” before, and that was only seen if you were near that cupboard they found Kristina and Vincent in on tour). Everyone else had to make do with AWFUL AWFUL SUBSTANDARD POINTLESS 9s, apart from Mark, who only managed to top out at an 8 (can you imagine?) and therefore probably quit out of humiliation.

This Week : Not so much Picky Week as Pricky Week (HI LEN!)


Looking back he already seemed kind of pissed-off even as they filmed the opening credits didn’t he?

To the studio we go and as it’s time for our shortest show of the series (THANK CHRIST), barely coming in at an hour long, there’s no pro dance, no dinosaur impersonations, no opening monologue about the price of beans or how Bruce was born in 1777. Just

two ladies pointing at one another then getting on with it. Yes, Bruce is off snorting his dried frog pills up through a bat’s intestine to keep him going for another series so Tess gets yet another chance to

be the man. It feels kind of appropriate in this YEAR OF THE WOMAN that things are slowly getting more…Sapphic between Claudia and her Tess-Tess (remember when they first presented together and Claudia asked Tess to dance and she said no and everyone called her homophobic? Ah the stupid half-scandals of series past…). I’m half expecting all the male pros to mysteriously disappear the week before our all-female final, to be replaced by an all-star line-up of Aliona Vilani (representing women who are seen as disposable in the workplace), Natalie Lowe (representing female triumph over physical adversity), Pregnant Erin Boag (representing feminine fertility) and Hayley Holt! (representing Hayley Holt!).

Tess welcomes everyone to this, the quarter-final, as the camera pans to

two murderers and Heidi Range. Although they are murderers in HOLLYOAKS, where everyone’s killed at least three other people, even if just by accident/sexing them to death, and Heidi Range certainly did her damndest to seriously mutilate Sylvain Schlongchambon when she partnered him on Dancing On Ice so…it all balances out. Tess reminds us that in last week’s dance-off Mark & Iveta were no match for Ashley & Ohhlaaa’s “Aladdin inspired rumba”. Although what could be? Anyway, this leaves us with only 6 couples left as we hit the two-dance stage. Well…one dance and a swingamajig. Might have benefited Matt Di Angelo in his series. Everybody in the studio applauds the return of the Swingathon. I applaud the death of Fusion Week.

Opening preamble over with, it’s time for Claudia to

jam her face into Tess’ boobies with a Leslie Phillips grin on her face. As they turn to promenade off she actually sticks her face in there and makes a grizzling noise. Sensual.

After everyone’s emerged, Tess tells us all at home to not let the DAZZLING SMILES and SHOWBIZ CHARISMA

fool us, all of these people are very tired and desperate. Thanks Tess. Really got me in the mood there. Claudia says that as recompense, she and Tess have decided to give them all a present. They’ll be doing two dances (/one dance and the swingathong) tonight! LOL!

I can’t decide if I prefer Claudia’s “I JUST MADE A JOKE!” face or Tess’s.

The heavy lifting for the evening done, Claudia grumbles that she’d quite like the dances to start now so she can go and “have a lie down in Tess’ Area”. She said it.

Taylor Taylor-Taylor & Jordan-Jordan dancing the salsa-cha-cha-samba

Tess reminds us that last week Ashley and Ola “flew through the dance-off” on their magic carpet. Then Ashley set fire to it, with a hell of a lot of petrol. I imagine as soon as he’s eliminated he’s off to the Magic Kingdom with a molotov cocktail. WATCH OUT ABU! Tess also reminds us that Ashley was dinged for lack of hip action, and points out that this week’s salsa might be a chance to rectify that with the judges. Ashley’s face reads

“yeah I’m sure that’ll happen”.

In his VT, Ashley says that for him Musicals Week was a bit of a rollercoaster

in that it made him want to throw up. He very very politely and politically says that it would be very nice if the judges in their infinite wisdom and with their years of experience saw fit, with bounteous mercy to give him more than 35 points if it would be at all FUCKING possible. He goes on to say that having that famous red light turn on over his head was a horrible feeling. Hey, you’re in Hollyoaks Ashley. Once you leave, working under a red light is going to be a very real possibility.

Training now, and salsa practice sees Ashley

openly turning up in an Anarchist t-shirt and a vest

calling for revolution. I don’t think anyone has ever turned against the show quite so quickly in living memory. He tells us that the salsa is full on. Fast hands, fast feet, fast Hypnoboobs. But the most important thing is that he gets his hips moving, so those judges can GET OFF HIS CASE, MAN. Ola tells him not to worry – she’s got something that’ll make his hips go crazy.

It doesn’t look like it’s working.

Ola tells Ashley to dance around the podiums, knocking the items off with his hips. Ashley looks like he thinks this is the stupidest effing thing he’s ever seen. He stomps around the room clattering things over with his arse.

INTENSE STRICTLY TRAINING IN 2013, PEOPLE! ZOE BALL WAS A SLACKER IN COMPARISON! Ashley’s hips now officially sorted forever, Ola decides to bring in a whole load of other clattering arses.

THE CAST OF HOLLYOAKS! I quite like the one in the yellow and orange plaid. For future reference producers, just in case you want another Hollyoaks Hunk in, guaranteed to lose in another YEAR OF THE WOMAN/BREAKFAST PRESENTERS. Ashley and Ola recommence training and Ashley says it’s really weird having all your friends sat right in front of you watching you dance with

silly expressions on their faces. To be fair Ashley, that might just have been all the twinkly lights.

We close with the Hollyoaks cast giving Ashley his scores

ANONYMOUS HOLLYOAKS BIRD FOR HEAD JUDGE 2014 PLZ! I can’t wait for the storyline of someone being really upset because it’s week 9 and they’ve not got their first Smiley Face yet.

Yup, definitely yellow and orange plaid.


I have to say, I was really expecting more of a view of Ola’s bongos than thi…

oh there we are.

When he’s finished pounding away, Ashley points to the camera and yells

“OLE!” like what all Latiny people do before they do anything. Dance, eat, mow the lawn, take a piss…it’s orfentic innit? Although of course even then Ashley has to

pull a face to show that he thinks this is a bit stupid, really. Can’t damage that Hollyoaks Cred, man. Once out on the floor, Ashley does his best to come back from last week’s rumba disaster fighting, as he fair hurls himself into the salsa, taking great big massive steps with his legs, wriggling his hips like he’s trying to shake himself out of a sleeping bag and just generally flinging his arms around any old how. It looks completely out of control and a bit random. It all culminates in this glorious moment when

Ashley up-ends all those rules about whose crotch gets flung at whose face in the latin dances. Such a rebellious gender pioneer. Even if it does wind up ending up looking like Ola might have her head wedged

somewhere slightly unfortunate (or fortunate, depending what Ashley’s into). The other big lift is slightly more traditional

if not any tidier.

As a salsa it’s undeniably fun and rabble-rousing but in terms of Ashley’s big storylines – getting over 35 and getting a 10 – I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed this didn’t manage either. Mostly because Ashley’s increasing frustration over being stuck in limbo is becoming the most likable and interesting thing about him.


It gets a big standing ovation as Ashley carries Ola over to the judges on his shoulder. Such a gentleman. As is apparently now customary, Tess hands over a glass of water for them both to share. A bit like the BBC staff Christmas party.


Tess introduces the judges, and commiserates with Darcey about having to sit next to Craig. Yes, this week it’d be Craig I was worried about sitting next to. Len indeed starts for the judges by yelling that

THAT’S HOW YOU GET THE PARTY STARTED. Poor Mrs Len. I can’t imagine that if she had a say that that’s how their weekly Bridge Nights would start. Len does think there were some mistakes but given how fast the routine was, Ashley’s “entitled to them” – Len’s main concern was that he still needed more hip action. He tells Ashley to stick his fingers in his ears before he says this, to avoid being hurt. The rest of us don’t need the hint at this stage – we’ve been collecting wax since he opened his gob. Bruno follows by yelling “BONGA BONGA ASHLEY!”.

Well quite.

Craig is next and says that the dance put a smile on his face, and he has to disagree with Len. He thinks Ashley did have hip action – the problem was that it was all going side-to-side. Craig would rather he swang both ways. Take it up with Tom Daley, Craig. He rounds of his comments by saying it was all very ambitious, but a bit frenetic and try-hard. Darcey closes by saying that the boys are right. Then she gives them all cookies and giggles.

Up to Claud 9 they boogie, where Claudia tells them that everyone was going nuts for the dance up on the Claud, and asks Ashley if that was his favourite routine. He says that it was, by a long way. At LEAST one point more worth of fun than any other dance he’s done for sure *twitch twitch*. Claudia then asks Ola if it wasn’t a little too ambitious, and Ola just grins that she’s glad she’s still alive. Honestly, I think she’s a bit melodramatic. The worst that could have happened is decapitation and in that instance the Hypnoboobs would probably keep her running on their own for another 15 years at least. The Calender Sales would probably go a bit more niche though… Scores are in


Ashley’s looks of disgruntlement as it becomes entirely obvious that he is caught in Strictly Groundhog Day are easily my favourite moments of the whole episode. Supplementary points also go to Erin, for telling James Jordan to “keep his knickers on” on twitter in the middle of his rage-fit over it.

Natalie Gumede & Artem Chigvintsev dancing the wafto doble

Tess reminds us that Natalie is the judges favourite, having topped the leaderboard no less than SIX TIMES (seven if you count the combined Week 2 leaderboard). And she wasn’t even here one week. BUT, says Tess, past performance means nothing on Strictly – it’s all about how you perform this week (sure it is Tess, sure it is). This week it’s all about getting passionate in the paso doble. Here is Artem getting passionate in the paso doble.

Poor Kara. No wonder he wore a mask both times he did it before. (Properly – Fern Britton doesn’t count).

In her VT, Natalie wearing

quite the most bizarre non-fancy-dress outfit I’ve seen all series, gushes that last weekend was the GREATEST MOMENT OF HER LIFE. She doesn’t pick out a particular one just…the whole thing. The whole…momenty momentness of it. Even Len pointing out that Artem’s choreography was a little bit lazy and a little bit of a retread couldn’t keep her down. She closes by saying that she would count herself very lucky to reach the semi-final and…I am fairly appreciative of Natalie’s eccentricities and even I have to question if she really believes that.

To training now and

swishy swishy let’s get busy. Natalie tells us that she knows that Artem will be upping the ante and there will be a lot for her to take in. Write your own innuendos.

Over coffee Artem tells Natalie that he’s really trying to impress Len this week (WHY? WHY WOULD ANY HUMAN BEING DO THAT?) so he’s going to keep Natalie’s paso as traditional as possible. With this in mind, he’s going to take Natalie to an authentic flamenco performance so she can learn from the best. As they queue up outside, Artem tells her that she’s going to be like a sponge. I think her spine’s already ahead of you on that score Artem. Also can

someone check to see if there’s greater glare coming off that streetlight or off Artem’s teef?

As soon as they’re inside Natalie starts complaining that this is a waste of time and she should be in the training room (LOL tell it to the producers love) and Artem tells her that they’re hear to take notes, and then they’ll put those notes into practice in the training room. Natalie’s all


rushes the stage and forces herself into the show. Once she’s peeled off the floorboards and stapled into her seat, they sit and watch the flamenco, but it’s not the same mad woman who screamed at Fern Britton last series, so I don’t care.


Seriously, she looks so fierce and commanding and just READY to start with and then…nothing much of any interest happens. It’s quite as much of a limp fart as her tango was, but I’ve spent THE WHOLE SERIES building myself up for these dances and I’ve just opened up my present box to discover half a Lego man and some Family Guy themed socks. There’s a lot of stomping about and swishing and sudden changes of impetus but there’s no real drama or tension to any of it and

good grief but I wish she’d stop with the chewing gum faces, because it makes her look so so dumb.

Really it’s just a series of nice

bits and pieces linked together by her twizzling her skirts, looking a bit pained, and coquettishly stippling her feet around Artem like they’re playing the world’s most melodramatic game of Kiss Chase.


They stomp over to the judges as Tess hoots “VIVA LA NATALIE” and Anton goes

batty for it as Iveta looks at him as if to say “WHATEVER, HAIRY MAN! MARK BENTON DISCO PASO BETTER THAN THAT BORING SACK OF PIZDA! AT LEAST THAT HAVE IVETAMAZING PUSSY-POPPING ACTION!”. It gets no standing ovation, and who could be surprised? As they arrive, Tess calls for more water. None is forthcoming. Seriously, one glass per episode – that’s your limit.

Bruno starts for the judges saying that the routine contained the undiluted essence of Spain and then

throws up the ovary-voters sign again, just to make sure. I guess the Transfixatits WERE there, but only partially revealed. Bruno says it was a shame she slipped so often but he’s sure that as a series of pictures the dance looked amazing. Bruno…kind of right there I think? Craig is next and he says he agrees – it was classy, clean and precise but almost…too slick. There was no sense of jeopardy or danger. A bit like if she’d trained as a dancer for about 7 or 8 years in her teens or something.

Bit like that. He can’t quite put his finger on it EXACTLY though. Just a vibe he got. But you know, other than that, just amazing and too much and it gave him the shivers and it was beautiful and all that.

Darcey follows by saying that the dance was glorious and “as the boys said” it was classic and pure choreography danced impeccably well. She just wants a stronger story to the routine and a greater connection with Artem. Tess steps in at this point to round things off by telling Len that Artem kept it traditional tonight to keep Len happy, and then Len snorts “NO, HE DIDN’T”. Tess all but goes

“mmm hmmm” with her neck like a sassy cartoon owl.

This is followed by Len

launching into even more of a splenetic rant than last week about how Natalie is nothing but a SWOOSHER and Artem is TEASING HIM ON PURPOSE and there was too much FAFFIN ABAHT, and Natalie is now officially IN JEOPARDY, getting more and more irate with every passing second. The whole effect is a little undermined by Natalie laughing her head off throughout.

What a star.

Up to Claud 9 they swish, where Claudia gasps that they must be really shocked, because Len just used the word “jeopardy”. I know. A whole three syllables. How is it that Artem tried to impress Len, but it all went so horribly wrong? Meanwhile Brenda grumps around

wondering how he’s supposed to get the “ZOMG TEH JUDGES ARE SOOOOOO MEANNNNN!” votes, that are normally the preserve of his beloved little girl now. Artem’s reply? “We’re wearing traditional costumes!”. Amazing. Natalie says that she loves being fierce and feisty and all those other f words, and the scores are in


Patrick Robotson & Anya Garnis dancing the rumba

Tess tells us that we’re about to witness Patrick and Anya cosying up for an intimate rumba.


In his VT, Patrick tells us that the Charleston was a really physical dance and requires a lot of effort and energy and it was really great to get a standing ovation and he’d really like to be in the semi-finals but he’s taking things one dance at a time.

Thanks Patrick.

Training now, and Patrick tells us he has rumba. Anya bugs her eyes out at this news and says that she’s worried, because rumba is one of the hardest dances for the male celebrities to do. One series in, and she’s already brainwashed. Although maybe if she’d arrived in a series where the flower of male rumbahood wasn’t being defended by Magic Carpet Porno Aladdin and Dr No… We then amusingly move to Patrick just shaking his head at Anya’s rumbaness and sighing “…it’s just so random”.

That it is Patrick. And the judges scoring of it as well. He goes into full scale meltdown, roaming around the training room yelling that there’s NOTHING HE CAN GET HOLD OF and it JUST ISN’T HAPPENING. This leads Anya to stick a tranq dart in his neck, lower him to the floor, then pull full

“annoying animal sidekick in an early Disney movie” face at him and tell him to remember that his family will always be there to support him. She then sings a song about being your own hero surrounded by little twittering bluebirds.

She then

corrals his children into turning up to support him by telling him that it’s great that someone so VERY OLD is competing against people in their 20s and he’s so surpassed their expectations of him as an OLD OLD MAN, and isn’t he in fact the OLDEST HUMAN MALE EVER to make it this far in the competition? We definitely are going to put off putting you in a home a little bit longer. Probably. Patrick’s all “yeah, thanks kids, that really helped”.


Patrick and Anya are dancing their rumba to “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars, which means we are in for a very emo rumba indeed.

It starts with some poor runner having to very slowly pour rose-petals over the camera lens. Good grief. Then Patrick

LOOKS CONFUSED because he never appreciated Anya whilst he had the chance, and now she’s up and gone. Anyone want to speculate on how many times Anya accidentally called Patrick “Pasha” this week in training? I’ll give you over/under odds on “12”. The dance itself is a lot of Anya walking away from Patrick and him yanking her back to him like she’s getting air-locked in Battlestar Galactica, but it’s alright and not creepy because

SHE LIKES IT, OH HOW SHE LIKES IT. I’m not kidding – this is the most pornographic array of faces I’ve ever seen on this show…maybe ever? Anya has gone Full Filth Five, which is all the more amusing as Patrick looks utterly aloof and superior throughout. I’m starting to get the impression that Anya is a difficult woman to dump… Anyway, Patrick is an adequate support to keep Anya from hurting herself/squirting all over the floor but in the end, Anya has got what she needed from him (his dick) and leaves Pasha alone with his heartac

sorry, PATRICK alone. She leaves PATRICK alone. Damn these typos.

It gets no standing ovation, but Craig beams that he’s feeling the love tonight and liked how Patrick was there to catch Anya. But on the other hand he did find it a bit desperate and aggressive. Patrick sasses back that

THAT’S CALLED PASSION LOVE, YOU MIGHT WANNA TRY IT. Or words to that effect. I do love that the last remaining paltry XYs aren’t shuffling out of the YEAR OF THE WOMAN without a fight. Darcey follows by wiggling in her seat and squirming ecstatically about how Patrick was really in control of his lady there. I think Darcey might be taking some screenshots of that dance later and c&p’ing her own face over Anya’s. Just a guess. She says that she’s really glad she got to see a whole other side to Patrick tonight. Somewhere behind Anya flinging herself around like Orgasmic Pazuzu admittedly, but it was there.

Len follows, by saying that he liked the attempts at light and shade in the dance, but occasionally he found it a little too “intense”. And by “intense” he means “filthy”. This is a BALLROOM, not a BEDROOM, and he wanted to see a story of developing romance, not the floor show at the Bang Bang club in Phuket. Bruno of course, as lover of a good raunchy rumba, swoops in to defend the “passion” and suggests that Len and Craig(/”anybody who doesn’t like passion”) maybe shoot themselves. He compares the routine to a movie, and says it had great light and shade. Len then yells

“I SAID IT HAD LIGHT AND SHADE, PRICK UP YOUR EARS!” and Bruno ruffles his feathers and snorts that that’s not very nice. Patrick’s reaction to this poorly-scripted confusing mess is

amazing. I’m telling you now, this isn’t even a top 20 episode in terms of dancing, but in terms of the contestants reaction to the judges, it’s a definite A*.

Up to Claud 9 they slink, and Patrick giggles about how he made the judges fight and says that he really loved the

PASSION between them all. Ha! Sarcy git. Claudia smirks that he certainly seems to have perked up, given that he normally has nothing to say to her, and Patrick replies that he was a lot less tired after that dance than he normally is. HA again. “Hardest dance” my eye. Scores are in

36. First 10 ever for a male rumba there and, more momentously, first 10 ever that Patrick Robotson has reacted to. Ever.

Susanna Reid & Clifton Prime dancing the Argentine Tango

Let’s hold back the Argentine Tango for the last few weeks so it can be really special they said. Let’s leave it until the celebrities are REALLY GOOD before attempting it they said. MMMM HMMMMM. Tess tells us that not only is Argentine Tango new for Susanna, Kevin has also never performed it before. Sorry, I refuse to believe there is any form of dance not inculcated in Cliftons from birth. That has to be a lie.

VT time, and Susanna says that the quickstep they did on Saturday Night wasn’t the one they planned. She doesn’t specify how. Maybe the original had meerkats in, I wouldn’t put anything past this series. Glasses Kevin looks pained

and says that he could tell that he and Susanna were sliding out of sync but he just couldn’t stop it. Poor Glasses Kevin. Susanna reminisces further that it was so difficult getting 33 and finding herself at the bottom of the leaderboard, because it meant she was in the Danger Zone. We then recall how she was left til last to be saved, which was indeed a pity, because say what you will about Susanna’s dances, she always put her all into her Safety Sex-Faces.

Training now, and Kevin reiterates that he’s having to learn a new dance this week, as Argentine Tango is outside the remit of TEN-DANCE, where he is from. Poor Glasses Kevin. So far from home. I hope he and Susanna don’t get lumbered with salsa next week, otherwise he might pass out. Susanna meanwhile is FEARLESS

as she reckons that Argentine Tango is all about DANGER and RISK and that’s what she’s here for. It’s alright for her to talk, given that the DANGER and RISK mostly seem to be of the male dancer getting kicked in the nads.

We then, rather hilariously, in the space of about 5 seconds, run through

“oh yeah and we’re dancing to Kevin’s favourite Michael Jackson song so he has to incorporate some of Michael Jackson’s moves into the routine and to get in the mood we brought in some of the cast of Thriller from the West End to show us”.

Jesus, alright. Let us catch our breaths and take it all in. That was like one of the datablasts at the end of Bad Influence.


I think it was

somewhere around the point where Susanna started stroking her legs like she was trying to work out where the ladder in her tights was, that I realised that this was not going to be a vintage Argentine Tango. This display of stocking-hoiking is followed by Kevin

rubbing his foot round the floor like Champion The Horny Wonder-Horse and doing the robot

as jets of steam shoot out the ground and no, sorry, I’m having fits of the giggles already. Why? Why is any of this happening? Why is Susanna

carrying her lower parts around like she’s got a bowling girl stuck up her hoo hoo? Why is the singer actively aping a third-string muppet with his falsetto? Why has Susanna got

ear-ache (actually, these two facts may be connected)? Why must Susanna

point at the fecking judges in EVERY SINGLE DANCE? Why is there a whole segment of about 10 seconds (IN AN ARGENTINE TANGO) of Susanna just walking round in a circle, rubbing her arse and thighs like the after-shot of a Jane Fonda workout video? WHY

THIS? AND WHY DID IT NEED A SPECIAL MAT? Why did anybody think a Michael Jackson Argentine Tango would be appropriate or that KEVIN FROM GRIMSBY was the appropriate vessel amongst the male pros for the King Of Pop? Why is every week now a theme week? Why has Susanna suddenly become just a bit crap, overall, after half a series of doing really well? It’s inexplicable.


Do you know what the most inexplicable thing is? It gets a MASSIVE Standing Ovation. There’s “different in the studio” and there’s “different in the studio in that they’re pumping nuclear quantities of PCP through the air-vents”. Once they’re over at the judges we get this exchange, which I imagine sounded less bitchy in Darcey’s head.

Tess : “Darcey, did Susanna and Kevin steal the show?”

Darcey : “…please”.

She goes on to say that the Argentine Tango is all about intense eye-contact and she gave that throughout (she didn’t – by nature of the choreography I think that was the Argentine Tango with the least personal interplay we’ve ever seen on the show) and Darcey really liked the bit where their foreheads were stuck together like thy’d had an unfortunate accident with the Superglue. She felt like Susanna could have had a deeper and crisper lunge though. Bit personal there, Darce. She also thinks it was passionate, but not steamy enough.

I mean…I saw great big jets of the stuff spurting out the ground every 5 seconds, but ok. Len follows by complaining that he wasn’t transported to a smoky bar in Buenos Aires. I would have preferred that to watching that dance as well to be honest, and my lungs are very sensitive. He thinks the steps were there, but it lacked mood and attitude. This makes Kevin grumpy.

Grumpy Kevin looks like something out of a Super Mario game that might throw a spanner at you for disturbing its burrow.

Bruno follows saying that it felt like Susanna was left alone to “strut her stuff” a bit too much and it left her exposed and the dance disconnected. Again I find myself agreeing with Bruno, oddly. A lot of the routine felt like those bits in routines when someone runs distraction tactics to camera whilst someone prepares for a big stunt off camera but instead of a magic carpet or a cannon or bungee, we cut to…Kevin leaning. Tess then turns to Craig and actively tells him to disagree with the other judges, and he says that he does. He thought it was bad for different reasons. The bit where she stroked her legs was a bit off-putting, and her legs were too tight in her ganchos. But he loved the routine and thought she did a great job. Generic praise is generic. Try harder Craig.

Up to Claud 9 they stalk, where Susanna starts hooting that she was in a very different dance from the one the judges saw APPARENTLY. SHE FELT THE PASSION! KEVIN FELT THE PASSION! THAT IS ALL THEY HAVE TO SAY! And on that note, scores are in


Abbey Clancy & Her Sexy Frankenstein dancing the Viennese Waltz

Tess tells us that last week Abbey and Aljaz topped the leaderboard and scored the first Perfect 40 of the series. She then sighs sadly that they’re not going to improve on that (…actually I wouldn’t put it past the judges) but they’ll just have to struggle on somehow. The poor dears.

VT now, and as if last week’s Disco Mayhem couldn’t get more absurd, we have to relive it

in slow-motion, with effing Hoppipolla playing over the top, building to a crescendo during the

cunniliftus. It’s just…bizarre. Abbey goes on about what a transcendent blissful moment of nirvana it all was as though she was ascending through the seventh level of inner peace. How DARE she enjoy dancing something I didn’t enjoy watching? I DEMAND A REFUND!

In training, Abbey reveals that she’s dancing to Delilah by Tom Jones, which “coincidentally” is the anthem for Stoke City, which “coincidentally” is the team her husband plays for. Yes, what a coincidence.



Aljaz tells Abbey that he’s going to take her to hear the song live, and Abbey beams that she hopes that this means she’s going to a Tom Jones concert and Aljaz is all “ugh, no thanks, it’ll probably end up as a VT on THE VOICE, and I refuse to demean myself by showing my face on that sinking ship”. So instead they go to

Britannia Stadium, where Abbey is also treated to other songs in the Stoke City arsenal, including “Alex Ferguson Is A Paedophile”, “Steve Bruce Is A Wanker With A Big Fat Fucking Head”, and “Abbey Clancy, Abbey Clancy, Does She Take It Up The Arse?”. Maybe she can dance to one of them next week?


What I like about this routine is that Abbey is completely ready for and happy to play an evil ho.

The thing with Kelly is that, as much as she generally embraced her own villainy, and as much as her Viennese Waltz to this song was also amazing, she still ended the dance hugging with Brenda and being adored, because she was occasionally a bit odd like that (unlike, say, in her tango where she smacked him from one end of the dancefloor to the other). Abbey does the whole dance through to its natural conclusion, and she gets proper murdered at the end. I’m not sure the dance as a whole works better than Kelly’s, but it’s definitely my favourite routine of the night. She’s in tight, she’s got a nice frame, her hair’s working harder than any hair has all series (apart from Sophie’s in the quickstep and Natalie’s in that MYTHIC JIVE THAT NEVER WAS) and there’s a lot of drama to the whole thing. I’m just saying, if this had got 40…I might have understood it a bit more.


It gets a Standing Ovation, and they wander over to the judges, where Len starts by saying that he loved that there were NO GIMMICKS and it was a PROPAH VIENNESE WALTZ but their one or two issues which he doesn’t have time to go into now, but which he’ll explain to her in full if she comes to his dressing room later. Oh, ew. No 10 would be worth that. Bruno follows by hooting that Abbey DANCES LIKE A MOVIE STAR AND LOOKS LIKE A GODDESS. Or the other way around. Does it matter?

Tess asks Craig if “The A Team” (SEXY FRANKENSTEIN AINT GETTIN IN NO PLANE, FOO!) have done it again, and Craig says yes. He thinks she’s the biggest surprise of the entire competition. Yes, to me too. I thought she would have been in the dance-off at least twice by now. Darcey closes by sighing that it was perfection. But not quite as much perfection as Patrick glowering at Anya simulating orgasm SHE’S SORRY, IT’S ONLY A 9 FROM HER.

Up to the Tessanine they sprint, after Tess tells her that Stoke City beat Chelsea today and that “her hubby” (barf) scored a goal. Woo.

She feels it deeply, you can tell. Once she’s up with Claudia, she’s asked if she feels any pressure because it’s the song for her husband’s football team and Abbey just grins and says that she loved it because she loves all the ballroom dances because they are lovely and twirly. Not even Claudia can save this Hindenberg of an interview so she throws right to the scores.


Sophie Ellis-Bextor & Brenda Cole dancing the tango

Careful Sophie, I think a Blade Runner’s coming for you. Anyway, Tess tells us that this week, Sophie will be pretending to be a shop-window mannequin for her tango. I feel like we’ve been here before. Tess grins that Sophie will definitely be able to pull the role off, because she’s NO DUMMY! A HA HA HA HA HA! She then explains that the previous joke came from Bruce himself from his cryochamber, meaning that this

is officially our first Brucie-Joke-Face by proxy.

In her VT, Sophie reiterates that she loved Musicals Week. She can just feel herself back there now, the whizz of the studio lights whizzing past, the audience’s applause, the PURE and INNOCENT dress protecting her girlish modesty, and feeling like she was having a moment.

Not as much of a moment as that festive knitwear’s giving me. I hope it reappears for her showdance.

Training now, and Sophie echoes Tess (except without the joke, sadly, no, really, imagine Sophie telling a joke, wouldn’t it be great, I bet it’d be a truly naff pun) by telling us that she will be playing the role of a shop-dummy for her tango. Sophie practices her best mannequin expression in

yet another truly gorgeous neon-knit, but worries that she might get a fit of the giggles. What, like you did during your rumba? Twice? At least? Never mind though, Brenda has a plan.

The plan is to do it in Oxford Street.

All of the people walking past agree that their grey little lives have been livened up by getting to see Sophie Ellis-Bextor standing in a shop window.

Whatever, I saw Susie Blake from “Victoria Wood : As Seen On TV” bra-shopping once, but you don’t hear me BANGING on about it.


I’ve noticed a lot of Sophie’s dances begin with her sat or stood alone and being approached by Brenda. Feel free to psychoanalyse at will. Lord knows after 11 series, Brenda is fertile ground for analysis. Anyway, yes, as you can see, Sophie is a mannequin, modelling umbrellas. Brenda is a businessman, just strolling by. Then “Material Girl” by Madonna strikes up

and she BECOMES EXCITED. I do love that this shop has one ultra-glamorous mannequin, and then two that look a bit like the girl from The Ring. I’m guessing Sophie is the lure, pulling in men for the other two to eat.

Safe to say that Sophie’s PASSIONATE journey ending performance of fierceness is being saved for her paso (I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT IT’S NOT HAPPENING) because this is very much Sophie in her comfort zone of playing a poppy ice-queen. Even with the occasional

girlish squeal and

couture pout, it’s not quite enough to be an entirely new persona. The tango itself is quite good, although she does look like she’s being shoved about a bit more than she’s being led. It’s all very gaymazing and cute but ultimately…not quite the dance I was looking for. THANKS A LOT, THEMERS! I do like that it ends with Brendan doing a blatant lift

just because. And a wink.

Got to love a wink.

It gets cheers and a few whistles, but no standing ovation. Ooft. Bruno starts for the judges by saying that it was great to see Sophie performing at full steam but really of course his greatest praise is reserved for Brenda’s choreography, lest he strop off again. It was so camp! It was so quirky! It was so unexpected! Brenda, you’ve DONE IT AGAIN! Oh yeah and Sophie stumbled a few times.


Phew, false alarm. Craig too says that technically it was a bit pants because she didn’t have the proper tango V-Frame, but he LOVED THE CHOREOGRAPHY. He really has got them running scared hasn’t he?

Darcey is next, and she says that she loved Sophie’s attack but like Craig she wanted to see

“a bit more v”. Didn’t we cover this after the rumba Darcey? You ain’t seeing her V. She’s a good girl. Len closes by saying that it was good, but he didn’t think that Sophie was quite matching Brenda’s levels of GURT’CHA. Brendan smugs it up that he’s really very strong and it’s not his fault that Sophie isn’t quite woman enough to match him, because what woman ever could be


Up to Claud 9, where Claudia asks Sophie if she’s happy with the judges comments and she says she’s really thrilled. You know, with how they universally slated her technique, but followed it up with “nice performance though AND ZOMG BRENDA, BEST CHOREOGRAPHY EVER WE LOVE YOU, PLEASE DON’T QUIT”. Brenda then calls Sophie “this girl” twice and says that all the choreography is down to her, because she is his muse and inspiration.



Final Leaderboard?



Oh shit. I’d forgotten we were doing this. Yes, the SWINGATHON IS BACK. As you can see from Len’s board, it is a mixture of lifts, lifts, lifts, and whatever bits of your old jive choreography you can remember. There are no rules, except “Don’t Be Interesting In Any Way”. Bonus points will be awarded for pretending that there’s a real chance people could get physically violent, even though there’s more chance of fisticuffs at a Hare Krishna Picnic and also for grabbing the cameraman and giving him an extra spin, just so no-one has a clue what’s going on.

All these rules are delivered to the cast with them all dressed as overgrown school-children and of course the only one paying attention is

this one. It’s hard out here for a geek.


All of the couples line up to start,

the music plays, and they all begin to danc…

oh, over already? Natalie wins, Patrick places second despite just doing all the dad-dancing bits of his jive again in the most dad-dancey way possible, with Sophie taking the bronze medal and the rest filling out the losers positions, getting ever less sweary and indignant as the eliminations go on. If you’re looking for my opinion on events, then I will tell you that I have now watched this dance 7 times, in slow motion, with intense focus, and I can confirm that every time Len went to pick up the paddle to eliminate Patrick, Darcey definitely stabbed his hand with a fork. Interestingly though :

Natalie (1st) : 39 (charleston) + ?? (jive) – 39 average
Patrick (2nd) : 38 (charleston) + 28 (jive) – 33 average
Sophie (3rd) : 36 (charleston) + 28 (jive) – 32 average
Abbey (4th) : 36 (charleston) + 28 (jive) – 32 average
Ashley (5th) : ?? (charleston) + 31 (jive) – 31 average
Susanna (6th) : 34 (charleston) + 28 (jive) – 31 average

Interesting, no? Also…haven’t there been a lot of mediocre jives this series? All this really did was make me miss Natalie’s even harder. I don’t remember there being nearly this level of sadness we never got to see Tiny Tina’s rumba to Leona Lewis.

As champions, Natalie and Artem wheeze over to the judges where Artem near vomits whilst Natalie

makes sure to still keep the judges within eyeballing distance. Tess asks Bruno what Natalie & Artem had that the other couples didn’t. A half-hour rest over most of them? Ahem. Bruno says that the pair of them were stylistically authentic, and kept their transitions neat and tidy. Claudia next asks why Susanna and Kevin were out first and Len FULL ON cops out and says that the other three judges were screaming over him and it was all so confusing and he didn’t really know what was going to be honest and it all happened so QUICKLY and before he knew it he was eliminating Susanna & Kevin.

Well there’s an explanation that leaves everyone satisfied. From the sidelines Kevin plaintively wails “BUT WHHHHHHHHYYYYY?”, as Evil Moira Ross (in a rainbow wig) gets one of her minions to up his dose of obedience pills. DO NOT QUESTION THE WISDOM OF THE SWINGATHON. IT IS FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY THAT WE ALL VERY MUCH ENJOY.

REAL final leaderboard?

GOOD NIGHT! (for real this time)


21 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Week 11 Performance

  1. katy

    That was a special Michael Jackson leany mat. With nails in.
    Kevin would’ve been wearing special Michael Jackson leany shoes with holes in the heels.

    You learn something new with every mj documentary…

      1. katy

        And now I have an image of Evil Moira Ross (in a rainbow wig) nailing Kevin’s feet to the mat…
        Explains the routine though.

  2. DeltaBlues

    Monkseal, your screen grabs are all over the place at the beginning – Undercover Agent Ashley appears to have infiltrated your, ahem, backstage area…

  3. General Hogbuffer

    Guess which popular review blog I was thinking of when Bruno said Natalie’s dance would look good as a series of pictures… Blatant Monkseal shoutout right there, Mr Tonioli !

  4. Soph (@dexychik)

    I got the impression that Kevin heard that he was dancing to Smooth Criminal, and immediately ordered special-leaning shoes (you have seen the video right? RIGHT MONKSEAL?) Just as his paso was all for him, as was this. He moonwalked and EVERYTHING.
    Then I remember Jason’s shoe punching AT again…and pissed myself laughing…again…

  5. dgreeny85

    I need Sophie’s pink jumper in my life. Does anybody know where I can get one?

    Also, I wasn’t paying attention after the swingathon and so I thought you were joking when you said Kevin wailed ‘but whyyyy.’ When I watched again I was slightly taken aback by the cuteness.

  6. Jenny

    Haha. One glass of water all night 🙂

    As you used to say more a lot last series, “just get a Porno Darcey”. Seriously, a 10 for that.

    Not the greatest show for dancing, but the general “last day before the holidays” mischief going on was worth tuning in for. They all seem to have more fun when Bruce isn’t there (except Len).

    1. Dancing Cake

      I’d happily see Bruce AND Len replaced next season tbh (but not if it means the return of the alliterative Arlene).

      One of the great things about reading your Strictly blogs is always finding something new to be silly about afterwards – for the last week or so I’ve been shouting disdainful Lithuanivetian SPITs all over the place (trick is to lose the I and go heavy on the P – as it were) and now I’m happily trying to turn my neck like Tess’s to look like a sassy cartoon owl. Or Roy Hodgson, he’s close enough.

      Hours of fun, thanks, Monkseal.

  7. Missfrankiecat

    God love Iveta – she looks like a beautiful, knowing alien amongst doomed mortals in your screen caps. The screen cap of Nartem outside the club also reveals that he has threaded eyebrows more groomed than many a male model as well as fluorescent teeth and permatan – with that level of personal grooming it’s no wonder he can only teach wafting to music. Very funny recap. The standard of dancing is so low that I actually enjoy laughing at the hysterical monstrosities like that alleged AT and Ashley’s revenge more than that vaguely competent but soulless Paso (Natalie never looked prettier though) and Abbey’s badly styled Deliilah (crosser mannequin look even than Sophie, and for all the plaudits for her top frame a left elbow poked in the air for good half of the dance). Loved Tess and Claud.

  8. durnovarian

    “Len follows by complaining that he wasn’t transported to a smoky bar in Buenos Aires. I would have preferred that to watching that dance as well to be honest.” Oh dear, I knew I should have done my pelvic floor exercises more often….

    And that video of Sophie’s has cleared up two mysteries. (Since you ask, the one about why on Earth Sophie lets them do such weird eye make-up week after week; and the one about why there’s been a noticeable lack of arm-hankies this year.)


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