Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 1 Performance (1)

Fun Fact : Judy Murray is from Scotland.

We begin the series proper with, as usual, the lumpen proletariat of District 12 being told that their beloved Strictly Games are back :

This woman loves Mark Wright but her grandson, blasted orange from years of working down the Cheesy Wotsit mines, is in love with Steve Backshall. Those muscles could sweep him off to a life of luxury in the Capitol any day.

These four nightclub chanteuseses are really excited that their best friend Frankie has been chosen to compete (lol at the Saturdays demanding that their band name be spelled out in balloons in their dressing room but only being able to afford 44% of it) (either that or the one on the left just passed her Key Stage 2s)

This rugby team

are all looking at Thom Evans’ nudes let’s not disturb them.

This nurse has been frozen in this position for the last 9 years, since seeing her brother dancing with a dummy live on national tv. Tragic really. Sometimes the council come round and cut her hair.

and Blue are

you know…still like that. Also that’s not the first time Lee’s been at one end of a fanny and Duncan’s been at the other AM I RITE?


So I’ve not seen as much speculation about who the HO in the opening credits is going to be this year which makes me sad, because it’s always one of the more entertaining parts of my pre-Strictly warm-up. That and updating my spreadsheets. This years HO contenders are Tim and Scott. In order to guide your decision I will point out that Tim

does a little kick to his HO, whereas Scott

has his mouth wrapped around his. MAKE YOUR MINDS UP…NOW.

The band strikes up, Len lights up (did you hear about that interview where he talked about being a pot fiend in the 60s? I laughed – so that’s Len on marijuana, Bruno on coke, Darcey addicted to flu medication and Craig on Angel Dust 24/7), and Tess and Claudia emerge from the wings. The entrance has been rejigged a bit from the velociraptor dance days of yesterseries, as ironically enough it’s now that Bruce has LEFT that we’ve decided

the hosts need help getting up and down the stairs. It’s also all-change on the fashion front as Tess looks quite stylish for once whilst Claudia

looks she just got out the shower at Trent and Pixie’s Dream House.

In absence of a catchphrase to do or a corny joke to make (God recapping these bits is going to be duller now, WE MISS YOU BRUCE) Tess and Claudia yell at the audience to yell back if they ARE READY and HAVING A GOOD TIME and WANT TO SEE THE NEW CELEBRITIES TAKE TO THE FLOOR FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME (in which case they should have watched the Launch Show). Scott Maslen is

all of those things. Beverley Knight

less so.

Claudia takes us through the business – after three weeks of us waiting and three weeks of their training (unless they’re a DIRTY RINGAH in which case they got five minutes round the back of the bins before the show started) it’s time for our celebrities to begin competing. Six of them will dance tonight, and nine of them tomorrow. Mrs Fooks of the Clean Up Bake Off campaign immediately gets on the phone to OFCOM at this point about the subliminal 69ing in this programme making it utterly unsuitable for her poor darling children (/cats that she dresses up and makes re-enact the Battle Of Bosworth Field). Tess jokes (ohgodherewego) that after all the training, the celebs knees may be knocking but AT LEAST THEY’RE KNOCKING IN TIME!!!

Not one laugh. Also it’s a bit early to start speculating whose knees are knocking backstage ALREADY isn’t it? Oh, wait, this is Tess “I’LL BUY A HAT!” Daly we’re talking about carry on.

Also in new introduction news, instead of just panning to them sat at the table, this year all the judges do a little dance to come on. Clearly this is just another way to try to give Darcey a purpose, but by far the best part is when Bruno comes on last and he does

VERY SLOW PIROUETTES for about 6 or 7 minutes, looking to camera constantly to try to work out when he can stop. HEATHCLIFF! OH NO, IT’S BRUNO, HE’S COME HOME NOW! SO COOOOOLD, LET HIM INTO YOUR [*punchline redacted*] Once they’re out, Claudia sighs “what point is there of judges with no talent to judge?”. Why not turn over to X Factor and FIND OUT! Ahem. We close with it being time to meet the stars of our show and Tess’s

look of utter bliss that she’s doing this bit without having some old geezer’s hand on her left tit is such that I almost don’t begrudge her the next three months of insincere yelling. Almost.

Everyone tromps down the stairs, with Anton swishing his kily particularly seductively as he does so. But we’ll get to that. Once everyone’s in place, Claudia merrily announces that there’s great news! NOBODY’S LEAVING THIS WEEK!

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing the cha cha

Here is Tess’ intro for Caroline. Verbatim.

“As well as her dance moves, Caroline has been perfecting her dance face *points to face*. Her cha cha face is coming along very nicely. But at the end of the routine is she going to have…a HAPPY FACE! *points to face again* *waits for laugh*”


VT time and Tess reveals that Caroline has laid down the law regarding “nerves”. Is it that Abbey Clancy is never allowed near the studio ever again please say yes? (Apparently no, it’s that she won’t allow her relatives to come and watch her until she’s got really good, which seems a bit mean. How is your mum going to APPRECIATE YOUR JOURNEY Caroline?). She goes on to say that she’s not just saying this, but when they pulled back the curtain at Giant Lady’s Car Crash Group Dance Academy, and the pros saw the celebs for the very first time, there was something about Pasha that just “stood out”. Yeah, yeah, don’t flatter yourself love. She relates to us how when she was told she was with him for realsies she let out a “little squeal”. Flashback footage shows that it sounded more like the Wilhelm Scream. Combined with the Tarzan yell. Combined with that noise Darth Vader made at the end of Revenge Of The Sith.

As if to make Caroline and Pasha’s relationship more deep and more tragic than you could ever think it would be one episode in, Caroline then says it’s really hard to tell what Pasha’s thinking. Here’s his serious face

here’s his nervous face

and here’s his happy face.

No Caroline, HERE’S his happy face.



Pasha goes on to say that Caroline is really fun and really passionate and can really shake her hips so he thinks they might go a long way. Maybe even…win?!?! Good lord when Pasha becomes the first pro to reach three finals without winning I’m going to have some feelings. Never mind, at least his hair doesn’t look like a collapsed lasagne this year.

Training now and Pasha

trying so hard to disappear down the side of that sofa that his bum probably now looks a bit like it’s been bulldog-clipped, explains to Caroline that cha-cha is a fun dance. And, you know, real fun, not X Factor fun. Don’t just throw a glass of water in his face and call him a peedyofile half way through. Once they hit the floor though, Caroline struggles to express her inner frolic, and eventually breaks down and asks Pasha is this is hardest dance on the ENTIRE SHOW and he replies that no, it is in fact the easiest one.

Oh Caroline. Should have asked Len. He would have told you that Cha Cha was the hardest. He would have told you that anything you like is the hardest. Pasha then reveals that the secret to cha cha is just to pull a big dopey grinning face and it’ll all work out fine and then Caroline does a lot of

Fun Time Denise Van Outen In Training Memorial Faces and many laughs were had by all.


I feel like every series has started with a cha cha like this. Disco soundtrack that’s supposed to be a portent of exciting things beginning (in this case “Can You Feel It?” by The Jackson Five), lots of fringing, a bit of

sexy self-touching, a bit of sexy

partner-touching, a bit of

unnecessary judge-self-touching, a bit of

looking down the camera lens trying not to think too much about the fact that you’re on the telly wiggling your bum about dressed as a human golden shower. It’s the sort of routine that tells you that yes someone’s good but they’re only really going to get interesting good in about a month or so. But keep an eye on them though. Her upper body’s a bit clunky and the part where she stomps down the judges stairs mouthing “CAN YOU FEEL IT?” is a bit regional sales conference motivational speaker but all in all…you know, it was very much that routine.

It gets a standing ovation (*starts new page of spreadsheet*) and Tess asks Caroline how it feels. She says that it feels good. What a shame we’re going to miss these incisive interviews now she’s been brought out of the Tessanine. This is of course the time when we introduce our singers

(oh boo, emogirl82 grew out of it after all) and

Davarch and The Man In The Hat’s hand.

Len starts for the judges saying that it’s always nice to start the night with a glass of champagne, and that dance was sparkly, fizzy and effervescent. Apparently it’s also always nice to start the night with a thesaurus. At this compliment Caroline and Pasha both start

playing with her dress, and I start playing with the idea of spaghetti carbonara for dinner this evening.Len closes by saying that despite one mistake, that was SWEET CAROLINE. Well, that’s Neil Diamond Week sorted. I hope Judy dances to “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon”. Bruno goes on to play with her name even more, calling her CAROLINE FLASH and then ironically pulling a face like

Ming The Merciless. He loved her arms, but she did mess up an underarm pass and he thinks she could have moved her hips a bit more. Sunetra’s already looking right at the camera as if to say

“…bloody ringers, eh?”.

Craig is next and says that Caroline had great musicality and got into a fantastic groove. Hey, if I was partnered with Pasha I’d try and insert myself into his fantastic groov[*punchline redacted*]. On the other hand he thought she didn’t finish her lines properly and she didn’t move her hips enough. Darcey finishes by mumbling something inaudible and incoherent with her mic down too low. I’d say TURN IT UP but…you know, don’t be in any hurry Greg.

Up to Claud 9 they shimmer where I immediately feel more

genuine warmth than I have done at any point in the last 11 series. Claudia and Caroline reminisce about how Caroline told Claudia that she’d be fine as long as she wasn’t on first (lol) and then Caroline goes on to suck up to the audience and Pasha for being SO AMAZING. Pasha tells Caroline that she was also SO AMAZING and tells us all that starting the show is a very difficult thing to do. As Bruce used to demonstrate most weeks. Scores are in


Tim Wonnacott & Natalie Lowe dancing the cha cha

Oh how I’ve missed that winker. Tess opens by saying that the show producers are so kind that for Tim’s first week they’ve given him TLC…A TOUGH LATIN CHA CHA!!!

Make it stop.

VT Time, and Claudia tells us that we might describe Tim Wonnacott as a tv presenter and an auctioneer (I can…think of some other things), but she wonders how Tim would describe himself.

“Amusing, a bit eccentric, and a snappy dresser”. I feel like Tim’s entire stay is going to be one extended instance of that guy at the office Christmas party. Get ready for five minute monologues about the wife and that time they tried to build a loft extension and it all went wrong. He tells us all that even though he’s the oldest contestant this year, it doesn’t mean he can’t show these WHIPPERSNAPPERS a thing or two. I mean…the last Oldest Contestant who wasn’t first boot was Lynda Bellingham in 2009 so…good luck Tim.

Here comes his pro now and

I did not know how much I needed a shot of Natalie Lowe marching towards the camera to Disco Inferno pulling THAT FACE until now. Tim dribbles on about how sexy Natalie is and pulls faces like this

and STILL he’s not the one who comes across so sleazy that Digital Spy Posters have started a petition demanding that the BBC monitor his underwear situation at all times (GREGG). Natalie full on lies that she was praying to get Tim and that she thinks of him as a piece of unpolished silverware that just needs a bit of buffing up.


Training now and

a training room where Natalie has apparently written her sex mantra on the wall. Attagirl. Tim tells us that Natalie’s method of teaching is to break the dance down into lots of little steps…all of which she does herself, whilst leading him around by the elbow. Hey, do you know what else Natalie thinks is AMOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYZING?

Tim’s Bargain Hunt Kick. I have to say I’m pretty in awe myself. Who would have thought there was a dance move in the world that could make Natalie Lowe look graceless? Actually Natalie loves it so much she actually goes on Bargain Hunt and finds Arlene Phillips selling for £4.99 at a car boot sale in Cheam.


To the auction-house!

Yes, it’s already time for props and staging as Tim is an auctioneer selling sparkly shoes to Natalie who is sat in the audience

wafting a 10 paddle to bid. It has to be a 10 paddle, otherwise Hayley Holt! would swoop in and outbid her and then they’d have to let her be a pro again. Them’s the rules. Natalie then does a sex face

to indicate that she is in fact intending to buy TIM as some sort of GIGOLO, not the shoes at ALL, the HUSSY. (Storytelling on this show, oh my)

They’re doing their cha cha to “Shop Around” and Natalie has indeed choreographed in the official

Bargain Hunt Kick, except that in the context of the concept of the routine it looks like the sort of perverted sex twitch that Vic Reeves used to do on Shooting Stars. At least I’ve learnt now that there is such a thing as the Official Bargain Hunt Kick. Whoever said that this show isn’t educational? Most of the dance in the end is Natalie leading Tim around by the arm whilst she’s flaunting her curves and swishing her skirt, which is understandable, but Tim’s sexy commanding Latin face just looks really really grumpy and combative, so it’s like she’s taking her ol’ dad with Alzheimers out to Sainsburys for his weekly shop whilst at the same time trying to pick up the guy working at the deli counter.


My favourite part is when she slips on a spillage in Aisle 5

and does herself a mischief.

It’s sweet enough and he’s trying hard and happily at the end, because she’s a 21st century modern liberated woman who can make choices, Natalie

gets her man AND the shoes hooray.

Up on the balcony Joanne thinks

“…oh is that what a cha cha is? I only did Ballroom at the Clifton Academy! We are so so screwed…”. Once Tim is over to the judges, Tess tells him that he is a CHA-CHA-CHARMER. Does she also choo-choo-choose him? Does she have a picture of a train on her? She goes on to warn the judges that she will smack them with her gavel if they’re mean about Tim.

Such a card.

Bruno starts by congratulating Tim for embracing the madness, the campness, and the entertainment. And the other judge as well. He said that it was so funny it made him cry

especially if he poked himself in the eye extra-hard (to be fair we are grading funniness this evening on a cruve grounded in Tess’ hosting (and my blogging) so…). He goes on to say that Tim’s technique is difficult to define. And, indeed, discern. Craig is next and says that he didn’t enjoy it at all really.

Natalie’s attempts to do a woobie-face sustain me. Craig goes on to say that Tim had a really wide gait and it made him look like he was dancing wearing soiled nappies. FECES IMAGERY! He didn’t like Tim’s knees, he didn’t like Tim’s legs, he thought Tim’s free arm was “a bit Julian Clary” (erm Julian Clary made the final Craig HDU)… In the middle of this Tess marches up to the desk, bangs the gavel

and yells “ORDER ORDER!”. Everyone ignores her entirely.

Darcey’s next and waffles on about how dance is about entertainment and she is here to judge “your ability and your self” and that was really entertaining. Did someone not feed enough coins into the Darcey Meter before the series? Was that Bruce’s job? Nothing she says makes any sense this evening. Let’s just all reflect on the fact that Tim’s son is kind of cute in a

“I’d hope I got his booth if I was waiting in line at the bank” kind of way. Len closes by hammering Tim for his constant heel leads which are Bad In Latin. But, you know, he came aht so all is forgiven.

Up to Claud 9 they canter, to a chorus of the other celebs chanting his name, which I’m guessing is going to serve as a new “you’re my favourites”. Speaking of which, Tim tells Claudia that Darcey is HIS favourite which I guess is fair as she’s definitely to judging what Bruce’s favourites always were to dancing. He goes on to joke that he thought Craig’s “soiled nappies” comment was a bit below the belt.

That joke hit Claudia like a wrecking ball. Scores are in


Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the tango

It’s so odd to be looking at Janette without my earplugs in I can’t even tell you.

VT time now and Tess reminds us that Jake plays Bad Boy Max Branning. He tells us that he’s been told by his on screen wife that he has a “Granddad Dance” which involves his

sticking his bum out. That is…erm…quite the shelf. He goes on to say that really he is nothing like his soap character because he’s happily married with a beautiful wife and two lovely children and he’s never been buried alive or had his car lot blown up – the only thing he and Max share is a barber.

I guess Bruce’s jokes had to find a landing place somewhere.

Jake goes on to say that he really wanted a partner who was no-nonsense, and then Janette breaks in to tell us that, indeed, she doesn’t like to fluff around a lot. What not even around Aljaz’s Belokranjska povitica? (it’s a Slovenian sweet loaf – watch Bake Off you perverts!). She grins that she’s noticed that Jake has really loose hips already


Training now, and in a coffee break, Janette tells Jake that the tango is aman’s dance – strong, powerful, dominant. Or at least that’s what they taught her last week down at the poly in these classes she’s been taking. Then some old guy started talking about sweaty pampers but she stopped taking notes then. She then lays out a storyline in which she comes home and finds lipstick on Jake’s collar and goes mad because it SMELLS LIKE THAT BITCH ABBEY CLANCY etc etc. She closes by telling him just to pretend he’s Max and Max is all “Oh great, yeah, I’m really branching out and learning things here woo hoo”.

I love him.


I do love that they couldn’t make the lipstick show up properly on his shirt, so they’ve just stuck it ON HIS FACE. It looks a bit like a hickey or a facial disfigurement or one of the memory worms from Dr Who. Janette has clearly choreographed this routine for

maximum telenovela drama for herself and I love it. I feel like Joey, Ross, Chandler and Phoebe should all be sat at the side chanting “PUSH HER DOWN THE STAIRS! PUSH HER DOWN THE STAIRS!”. Jake isn’t quite so high drama, but then Eastenders Bad Boy acting is basically just dropping your lower lip a bit and looking put out, so he’ll learn. He’s very strong, and very commanding and his frame seems quite sturdy. It’s a bit skippy and a bit fast (although maybe I’m just comparing it to the last time “Toxic” was used on this show, for Gavin Henson’s tango in which he BARELY MOVED) and I am mildly disappointed the band don’t try the “N’YAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHAHHHHHHHHHHAHHHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” noise that Britney makes in the song’s breakdown but I am ALSO pleasantly surprised that I’m just as interested in Jake on the floor as I am off it.

In a non-sexual way be quiet.

It gets a standing ovation, which Tess calls “the first of the series” (?) as we cut to Scott Maslen in the audience giving his fictional brother a hand, which reminds me of just how much I was hoping throughout the entire routine that Natalie was going to come jiving through that door as the Other Woman.

Craig starts for the judges saying that he was actually quite impressed.

Jake’s “well yes, I *was* pretty amazing” face only makes me love him more. Craig liked the control and intent and purpose and all the other words Craig says about tangos. Darcey follows by saying that the whole dance was very cool and Jake really transported her into the story. Oh, was it her lipstick?

Can we get a CSI check on that shade of lipstick? Try to resist the urge to investigate her hair instead.

Len is next and says that that was much better than he was expecting and that Janette really put a LOT of choreography in there

Maybe she saved up some steps from Julien’s tango last year which was pretty much him walking around on top of a table wearing a chandelier. Bruno closes on some sort of sexual fantasy wherein Jake takes him roughly round the back of Beale’s Plaice.

Please don’t let this turn into a SUCCCCCCCCCCOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT situation. Please.

Up to Claud 9 they stalk where Iveta is already all

YEAR OF THE MAN IS YEAR OF IVETA BITCH, BACK OFF. Claudia brings up that she thought Jake looked really bewildered when he got raves from the judges, and he says that to be honest he forgot that there were going to be comments afterwards. Sometimes I wish I could as well Jake… Janette goes on to say that she’s really happy Len was so nice about her choreography but she thinks Jake should get all the credit, because he’s the best student ANYBODY COULD EVER HAVE based on the two she’s had so far in her life one of whom was Julien MacDonald. We also learn that Jake’s other child is called Amber. Amber Wood. Very Jurassic Park. Scores are in


Judy Murray & Anton du Beke dancing the waltz

Tess tells us that as a top tennis coach, Judy is not used to being told what to do. Except by her son on twitter. “What to do” mostly being “MUM, SHUTTTT UPPPPPPP YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME IN FRONT OF MY TENNIS FRIEEEEENDS!”. (My favourite Andy Murray thing this week has been how people tried to guilt him over expressing a very mild political opinion about the Scottish Referendum, claiming it had ruined his mum’s chances of winning Strictly and he replied that lolno she was never going to win anyway because she’s crap).

Judy’s VT starts with the words “Sporting Matriarch Judy Murray”. That’s it, series over, she’s won, nothing will beat that, let’s all go home. Judy tells us that it was only at the Red Carpet Launch, as the giant plastic glitterball spaceship rose up and she was whisked out of it by a bored looking boyband member

that she realised what she was getting herself into. And that it was too late to renege on the contract. She says that she wants three things from her dance partner – Iron Bru, Tunnocks Teacakes, and a secret nude shot of DELICIANO LOPEZ GET HIM IN MAH BED RIGHT NOO. But instead she got

Anton. Oh well She goes on to say that she never knew that he was so funny. Yes I can see how you wouldn’t have got that impression watching him on the show for the last decade. She closes by cackling that the other dancers are already calling them Sir Anton and Lady Judy.

I’m so sad that I’ve never seen Judy laugh before now. It’s transcendent.

Training now,

and we’re in Scotland, at the castle Judy was eyeing up in case Scotland *did* vote for Independence and she *did* depose Alex Salmond in a bloody coup and set up the People’s Republic Of Murrayvia as she was planning. Stupid No Voters. Anton’s all “want to desperately pander to Scottish Nationalism anyway?” and Judy’s all “why not?”.

Anton then takes Judy through what he calls the “slow waltz”. Oh Anton. When your partners do them, they’re ALL slow waltzes. He goes on to say that the slow waltz is defined by rise and fall and Judy’s not so keen on doing that, but hey ho, let’s plough on anyway. Then it’s Judy’s birthday and Anton has

made a cake/got Erin to make a cake/bought a cake. He present it to Judy, who seems quite happy to stop training and just eat cake. This was a very ADD VT let’s get to the

…Teletubbyland? Judy better be careful she doesn’t end up sat on Anton’s Tinky Winky.

Remember when Kenny turned up in a kilt one week and everyone got the hump because it was a desperate move for the Scottish vote? Yeah, that’s nothing on this dance. There is heather and Anton in a kilt and lots and lots of tartan and mossy tussocks and ruined castles on the video wall and MULL OF KINTYRE and reeling and an

effing bagpiper. It’s amazing. Sometimes Anton taking it all the way out and pushing it out into a cartoon really works for me and this is one of those times. Judy bless her is

trying very hard to remember the steps and feel the music which, when combined, results in a lot of looking up at the ceiling and hoping for the best. Considering she’s not a performer and has no training and is a TENNIS PLAYER and is in her 50s it’s not actually a bad effort, until the end when she forgets it all and has be shoved around until the patented Anton du Beke

“pick em up and swirl em round”. And Judy as well.

Once they’re done, Anton moons the audience, and Tess thanks the bagpiper

Fun Fact : Karen Hardy is sat up inside there doing Red Button commentary with Alvin Stardust.

Darcey starts for the judges with a minute long monologue about nerves and how difficult it is to dance a waltz and dance for the first time and just dance generally and basically spends a lot of time circuitously saying that Judy was horrendous without really saying why. She then says that she hopes Judy really shows us what she’s capable of next time. Next time, in Anton Latin. Len follows cackling that he DONE SAW ANTON’S BONNIE PRINCE CHARLEY UNDER HIS KILT WHEN HE DONE DAH TWIRL. Was Anton’s thingummy also escaping dressed as an Irish maid? We’ll never know. Or speak of it again. Len continues by saying that Judy’s footwork was Mull Of Kintyre but her posture was more muligatawny.


Bruno is next, and he tells Judy that she looks very beautiful and then Tess

touches her bum, because this is life. Poor Judy. With Anton’s thingy on the loose under there surely she’s had enough sexual harassment for one week? Bruno follows by saying that the whole dance was Judy’s beautiful maiden flight on Strictly that got hit by turbulence halfway through. I am apt to blame the bagpiping actually, as it looked like she got a small fit of the giggles when it started, but then I am always apt to blame bagpiping. Craig finishes by saying that he was on the edge of his seat throughout, because it felt like Anton was dragging her about constantly, and her arms needed a lot of finessing when she was out of hold. Oh and she had bad posture. But well done on giving it a go.

Does Craig’s vaguely patronising “I’m going to end on a positive even if it is utterly meaningless” ever not make things worse?

Upstairs they jig, and Claudia pulls out a trick from Tess’s old bag by telling Judy that everyone up on Claud 9 loved it. Aliona was muttering something at the back, but she’s sure it was only good things! Judy self-deprecatingly putters that she’s glad somebody was able to enjoy it and Anton parps up that HE really loved it. Yes Anton, because you were in a kilt. I guarantee you Anton would like to live his entire life in some manner of man’s skirt if he could, periodically rubbing his chest-weave at passers by. Scores are in


Scott Mills & Joanne Clifton dancing the cha cha

Tess opens by saying that Scott is dancing to a Robbie Williams “classic” (a Robbie Williams classic that he is on record as hating) (a Robbie Williams classic that ISN’T RUDEBOX, PLEASE SOMEBODY TRY TO DANCE TO RUDEBOX) and has someone very special in his corner to help him out. My finger is already poised over the Fast Forward button in case it’s Fearne Cotton, let’s find out.

To open his VT, Scott says that pretty much everything about being on Strictly scares him.

Except the pay-cheque. And how it might keep him relevant and away from the Wastelands of Radio 2 for a couple more years (you’re already doing Eurovision coverage Scott, EMBRACE THE CHANGE OF LIFE). He goes on to say that his boyfriend has never seen him dance, which means that his boyfriend didn’t watch him on Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief which means I am a bit jealous of Scott’s boyfriend. If you’ve not seen Scott on Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief watch this and ponder on the fact that the choreography is if anything a bit better than what Joanne’s about to serve up. (A man on reality tv in 2014 casually talking about his relationship with his boyfriend really shouldn’t feel like this much of a victory should it oh well ho hum).

Scott tells us that when it was down to the last two female pros on the Launch Show he was really hoping to be partnered with Joanne, and then he was! (Poor Karen).

Training now and, as much as Joanne is being sold as a sweet bubbly down-to-earth Northern Girl with a heart of gold who’d let you eat her chips and not steal your boyfriend

this picture really makes me hope Scott lasts long enough for her to play an UTTER BITCH in a routine because I think she’d wear it well. Tragically within 5 seconds she’s back to grinning headily about how


Robbie then turns up via iPad to leave Scott a message but he’s not drunk or high or drunk and high so who cares?


Remember when Dave Myers’ first routine last series was basically this, except it was DAVE MYERS so you were kind of expecting it? Actually at least that felt choreographed, this feels a bit like those cutesy bits on It Takes Two where a couple of 8 year olds have filmed themselves doing the routines along with the telly, live. Here are the three seconds I can tell it’s a cha cha

here are the 87 seconds I can’t tell what the hell’s going on or why I’m laughing so much or why they’re doing Rock DJ at Alvin & The Chipmunks speed or where my keys are what day it is


It gets a standing ovation, which just goes to show the power of the Radio 1 audience/Clifton name. Needless to say it GAVE LEN A BLEEDIN ‘EADACHE.

The footwork and hip action were poor and there was no rhythm or fun. Still like that other Robbie Williams song said we certainly LET HIM ENTERTAIN US or something. Did Len just basically admit to liking a routine ironically there, given that he said that there was no fun? Is Len becoming post-modern? Is he going to start wearing a cloche? Is it the dope? Anyway, I’m guessing that is Scott’s boyfriend

weighing up his options. Bruno follows by praising Scott for getting the club vibe going. Yes, as blogging’s most famous seal I did feel the club vibe alright. Right on the back of my head. Bruno says it was manic, euphoric, robotic and tipsy but…none of that travelled down to Scott’s feet. I don’t know Bruno, his feet looked pretty wasted to me.

Craig follows, saying that a Zimmer frame has more movement than Scott just showed.

Well at least he’s got a sense of humour about it. Or doesn’t know what a Zimmer Frame is. Maybe being a hot new young fresh with-it Radio 1 dj he think it’s the hot new grime act straight out of Hoxton. Darcey closes by saying that she really liked the Cheeky Connection that was going on between Scott and Joanne. I mean, that did feel very much like a routine The Cheeky Girls would have done yes. And better.

Up to the comforting arms and chants of Claud 9 now, where Claudia asks Scott if he found the judges comments hideous and he replies that he just found the whole thing really stressful. Claudia pats him and tells him that his mum and his boyfriend Brad probably enjoyed it (why, did Scott forget their anniversary or something?) and the scores are in

16 (Iveta’s face <3)

At this point Claudia directs us all to the website, and if you look very closely in the background you can just see

Gregg and Aliona making eye contact for the very first time since they met. I think it’s an accident.

Pixie Lott & Trent Whiddon dancing the jive

I do like Trent’s hair. Just putting that out there. And how he frantically gags “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO LOOK!” at Pixie through his gritted teeth. Tess tells us all that Trent is not only new to Strictly, he’s also never been to London before, so Pixie is going to show him the sights. You can tell James is gone, because this would normally be his job, and then he’d wake up next morning naked tied a lamp-post with his ding-dong masking-taped to his bumhole with a splitting hangover. BANTER! Brian Fortuna was never the same again.

VT Time now and Pixie tells us that she’s used to performing in front of millions of people with her singing and her music but Dancing On Ice : The Results Show has been cancelled now, so she’s had to find a new venue to showcase her art.

She goes on to say that she’s used to just bopping away behind her mic but on Strictly there are going to be strict routines where you can’t afford to put a step wrong, and she hopes Trent will be able to help her with that. Trent…does not seem like the strict disciplinarian type to me, but ok. He languidly says that a lot of people have been saying that he and Pixie look alike with

“the whole hair and teeth thing we both have going on”. You certainly do both have hair and teeth Trent, you certainly do. Pixie agrees and says they definitely have a brother-sister resemblance. I guess that’s one way to discourage people from showmance rumours. Make them feel a bit incesty.

Trent goes on to say that he’s really concerned that Pixie’s busy pop career and Fashion Week commitments might impede their training. Yeah, no, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

We open training with Trent

just sat looking lazily out the window waiting for Pixie to turn up. Are they going to be rehearsing in his bedroom? I think I love Trent a little. It feels like he’s kind of drifted in at the last minute on a cloud of vaguely sweet smelling dust to spread some Zen to the show. Maybe it’s just that both Joanne and Tristan seem to have arrived having injected a handful of uppers and half a helium balloon, but I quite like that we’ve got a new pro who seems on the verge of just falling asleep half the time.


Anyway Trent says that the story of the dance is that he is a photographer and she is a model and…that’s kind of as far as he got before he got distracted by this really cool jam he heard on the radio but he’s sure it’ll work. For “research” Pixie takes him to Fashion Week

dressed like this. Trent buzzes softly that he’s taking so much inspiration from all the photographers and, like, what angles they’re using. He’s definitely going to incorporate them into the routine, once he’s had some Twiglets and a catnap.


They’re dancing to that awful new Taylor Swift song about how haters are going to hate and players are going to play and fingers are going to fing and so on. I mean, I like Taylor Swift but there’s only so many half-ideas you can pad out with a satirically snotty spoken word bit. She’s…not bad, although better at the bits that look like pop dancing

than which look like jive dancing,

which I guess is what you’d expect. There’s also the fact that jive is I think the dance in which the pro most commonly accidentally outdances their celebrity, and Trent is just so much lighter on his feet than Pixie that she looks a bit joyless. Also…her skirt is too short. It just is.

(Admittedly I guarantee it’s not too short at all for some people, but you go read a blog by a straight man if that’s what you want to read) And there’s the whole

hoe-down moment, which is less obvious to me on second viewing but is still definitely there. It’s a good first job, but she’s going to have to be more memorable in future offset the whole…personality thing. It all ends with her

ripping the film out of Trent’s camera and orgasmically holding it up to the light. Because of course it does. Oh Trent, I’ve got a feeling your choreography is going to be endlessly fascinating to me.

It gets a standing ovation, and Bruno is first to start for the judges.

Attractive young female pop star? BRUNO’S GETTING IN ON THIS GIG AT THE GROUND FLOOR. He says it looked like “Lolita does the jive” which, yes, let’s make it UNDERAGE and incest’y. Even on the Internet surely people can’t write sexfic about tha…I probably shouldn’t end that thought should I? Craig says that he also enjoyed it – he just thought she needed to work into the floor a bit more. And he noticed the hoe-down moment.

Darcey follows, saying that she loved the armography, but felt that Pixie’s bottom half was less exciting. She wanted more leg action, and more bounce. Len closes by saying that he also thought it was terrific.

Up to Claud 9 now, where Claudia asks Pixie if she loved it. She replies that she did love it. Scores are in


Oh yeah, and here’s that floor manager.



29 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 1 Performance (1)

  1. Chris

    I’m fine with Tess doing Humour so long as it’s the remorselessly bad puns we got on the second show. I like her best when she takes her corniness and owns it.

    I’m wondering if, despite being a world champion (or something), Joanne is a Pro Who Just Doesn’t Care About Latin. It feels so long since we got a new one of those.

    ‘Anton taking it all the way out and pushing it out’ is not the phrase I wanted to read in relation to that dance. It’s wrong.

    And congrats – I feel like on its own, ‘Dancing On Ice: The Results Show’ is a magnificent burn. It only gets better when it’s true.

    (About tonight’s show – I love that after all that tedious Abbey/Aljaz/Janette drama, Alison just nakedly lusts over Aljaz in the VT. Or it’s a mean piece of editing about how Alison’s no threat)

    1. monkseal Post author

      Apparently Joanne doesn’t like any dance in which she has to be sexy. Which is pretty much every dance on this show.

  2. Dancing Cake

    Monkseal, thanks so much for doing this first blog so quickly – just what I need after the first two nights of Strictly. I love the polls (never stop the polls), love Natalie’s wondrously expressive face, love the sequence of Aliona’s close ups (is she really crying?) and you’ve even managed to make me see Trent in a less queasily Midwitch way.

      1. Monaogg

        More like she happily sees an early exit so she can be in control of all the professional group dances. Sill earning the money without the hassle and/or secretly hoping for Ola, Kristina or Jeanette to get injured.

  3. Radleykitten

    I want to know why the 2 audience members sitting next to Natalie are staring so intently at her norks? Is she as unfettered as Gregg? *Barfs*

  4. kikishua

    I am still twitching over Jake’s green tie, that clashed with BOTH of the green’s in Janette’s dress. Still twitching just looking at these stills. Charmed by his tango but never watch EE so other references well over my head.

    Loved that Scott casually said “my boyfriend” (I’m pretty sure that’s a first for Strictly) without a huge klaxon going off.

    Joanne out gurns EVERYONE. Scarily.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Not only that he said it, the programme showed him in the audience and Claudia mentioned him by name! And Scott hasn’t even been ordered to be camp once yet! Progress.

  5. Minxy

    Brilliant blog, not only did I laugh and guffaw but I also snorted! I lost it at the zooming close ups of Aliona’s tears lol. Sheer genius

    I would so hate to watch the show without having you to highlight the best bits. You make the colder,dark months all warm, fuzzy and cozy 🙂 gush gush

    I think we may need to start up a Tess watch to see if she starts grabbing Claud’s boob. She seems to be getting awfully close

    So they did go with the “spat tennis champs out her fanny” title/intro after all then – even if they did posh it up a bit (seems the Beeb hasn’t quite lost all standards lol). Judmoo did laugh openly at herself in the launch show – I fell a little in love with her then, mainly cos she reminded me of my aunt Nellie. I love how you add in outside stuff that make me google – she sure loves Yoko huh

    I wonder if Gregg offered to make Aliona some custard?

    Is Iveta doing a Jason. How fast did she change positions to get more on camera?

    Thanks for the shot of the floor manager x

    And yes Pixie’s dress was too short for anything other than a static photo op and Bruno.

  6. pootle

    Stepford Claudia must be banished forever. People who believe in ‘tasteful’ and ‘appropriate’ makeovers have clearly never watched ‘The Breakfast Club’ with fashion-minded people.

  7. Jan

    I’m a bit in love with Jake Wood now. He not only has a constant air of not giving a shit, but it turns out that he’s good enough not to have to anyway. As I said before, I am aware that the way he comes across could be nerves or just unrepresentative of what he’s feeling, but I still do not care, it’s hilarious. I hope he wins, and responds to being handed The Glitterball with nothing more than a raise of his eyebrows and a look off to the right as if it’s just occurred to him that he might make it to the pub before last orders.

    Judy Murray seems rather sweet and looked gorgeous in that dress. She deserves a better shot at this than she’s probably going to get.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think the gap between Jake’s reaction to winning the show and Janette’s reaction would eclipse even the legendary Ola/Chris, Karen/Mark, Tomzilla chasms of legend. (Just think – Aljaz and Janette could be the new Darren and Lilia. How times have changed).

  8. Min

    After last night, I felt sorry for the Friday night starter pack. Friday just felt like something added in last minute, last night felt like the start proper.

    I did wonder if the unprecedented mention and name check of Scott’s boyfriend was Claudia and Tesstess Snuggles trolling Bruce through the tele.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I’ve never quite got the 6 – 9 split but I guess they have to fit what the schedule allows. Looking at the figures they probably would have been better running Sat-Sun this time because the Launch Show held up much better ratings wise against X Factor than this Friday Show did.

  9. MorticiaA

    Thank you for the hilarious recap as ever. Poor Scott. I really felt for him, as JFG danced around him like an over Haribo-d toddler having a tantrum, while he looked baffled. He may stay in longer than he wants to given his Radio 1 fanbase.
    I am wondering who is going to be the inadvertent comedy contestant that pisses off all the DS ments by cruelly casually culling their favourites? Scott? Tim? Surely Gregg has got to be a week 1 boot??

    1. monkseal Post author

      I’m not really sure any of the comedy ha-ha contestants will take this series. The midpack all look they might be quite popular. Either that or we’re going to see a lot of leaderboard plunges.

  10. Lorelei Lee

    I reckon Scott’s odds of first boot just zoomed above Judy’s if only to spare us any more of JFG. Jokes about Popbots aside (yes YOU Pixie and Frankie), I’m absolutely convinced that Joanne is an Austin Powers-style Fembot complete with machine-gun tits, which she’s planning to use on Len the second he slags her ballroom choreography.

    Plus, obviously, Scott is crap. Not endearingly crap (Tim). Not oh-god-my-eyes crap (Gregg). Not crap-but-just-maybe-there’s-one-good-routine-in-there-maybe (Judy). Forgettable crap. Bye Scott.


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