Where last night split neatly into two halves of the loved and the not-loved by the judges, in the second half of the show there’s a lot more Shades Of Grey. Not the ones there will be when Iveta gets Thom to Movie Week and lets loose, but shades of grey all the same. Riding the middle of the Strictly wave are Sunetra (loose frame, lack of drama, overbearing medical theming, dancing to a Robert Palmer song that isn’t Addicted To Love WHY WOULD YOU?), Mark (better than you’d think, still kind of tacky and seaside stick of rock campy), and Thom (alright tender Week 1 Waltzes by Big Burly Rugby Blokes not really cutting it any more apparently). Still, Thom can soothe himself with the fact that he is BLOWING UP SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE WOW. According to Iveta. I think someone just got her first retweet. Almost rising out of the middle-mire are Steve and Allison who both struggle with their bulk, although for entirely different reasons. Allison gives it full on Lisa Riley camp to “I’m Every Woman” but can’t quite finish the routine off, getting out of puff two thirds of the way round. It’s Steve’s muscles on the other hand that are holding him back, as he’s too bulky to be properly ballroom. Still, to “Born To Be Wild”, it’s the best Ola Jordan Rock Tango…ever? So he’s got that in his favour.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t highs and lows, because there are. Particularly lows. Particularly Gregg Wallace. It’s like watching a man drowning via dad dancing, as he stumbles around his cha cha doing wedding moves to no particular end. Of course what makes it amazing is Aliona swanning around in a fancy hat with loads of shopping bags watching him slowly fall to bits. Watching her wiggle around smiling and waving at him from a distance as he goes under is truly my highlight of the week. Jennifer also isn’t very good, but she sucks entirely in the way you’d expect a woman of her age and storky build to suck at a Week 1 jive so it’s not particularly notable. Right at the other end, the pop stars own the night, Frankie with a very sweet waltz with prop umbrella to a version of “Someone Like You” that’s been crowbarred into waltz-time so ham-fistedly it just makes the singer sound drunk, and Simon with a casual-as-you-like jive that Kristina apparently let him choreograph some of himself. I bet it was just, like, the bit where he pretended to play the piano, but still, it shows faith.
Most exciting of all though is a pro dance with some AMBITION. Maybe a little too much ambition, but after last year’s “oh everyone’s a cake for some reason” vintage, I’ll take it.