Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 4 Performance

FINALLY, MOVIE WEEK IS OVER (feat. the Soundtracks from Grease, Beetlejuice, There’s Something About Mary, Cocktail and Urban Legend)

(The part in Urban Legend where Bonnie Tyler is singing “TURN AROUND” over a shot of the killer lurking in the back seat clutching an axe is the greatest moment in the history of cinema tyvm)

Last week : Simon Webbe was a tall, black Tom Cruise, Alison Hammond was a middle-aged obese black Drew Barrymore, Sunetra Sarker was an Indian Scouse Ginger Rogers, Steve Backshall was a marginally less hirsute King Louis, Judy Murray was a Funny (peculiar) Girl, Trent Whiddon was a candlestick and Mark Wright was………SUPERGRAN! Donny Osmond was also here.

This week :

Oh just get a rib removed Steve, it’ll be easier. Yes the pros have got their celebs in hardcore training this week as there’s ONLY THIRTEEN COUPLES LEFT so the competition is REALLY HOTTING UP (lol). But if they push themselves, take the strain, feel the burn, and really really really put the hours in and try

they might be able to squeeze a tear out at the appropriate time.


Can someone Photoshop that so it looks like Caroline’s swooshing hair is in fact a great big wizard’s beard please? Thanks in advance.

The band strike up and Pasha and Anton escort our beloved hosts down the stairs to the dancefloor.

And if Claudia behaves this week (lol good luck), Mummy Tess will let her have a go on the hoopla after everyone else has left the studio. (Actually that sounds a bit slash-ficcy doesn’t it never mind…) Tess welcomes us all to the ballroom and tells us that the celeb’s week of hardcore training (/filming comedy VTs/being so busy presenting Bargain Hunt that they couldn’t start actually training til Thursday) all comes down to TONIGHT. After that, tomorrow will see a live performance from Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, truly the Bruce Forsythe & Claudia Winkleman of the pop music world. At the mention of Lady Gaga from Tess the cameramen cut right to

Robin, like they’re expecting him to be jumping up and down in his seat shouting “YAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSS MAMA GAGA SLAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!”. Such stereotyping. Incidentally I’ve heard that that lady sat next to him is Mrs Whiddon. So you know look out Trent, no lady is safe when Robin Windsor is in t oh wait sorry just reading from the Series 8 press release there my mistake.

As is now sadly usual, Tess and Claudia introduce “our paddlekeepers” (maybe in Game Of Thrones Week?) the judges via the medium of dahnce.

It looks a bit like a nice middle-class Daily Mail reader accidentally wandered into the middle of a Pride Parade.

And wasn’t too keen on what she found.

Frankie Saturday & Kevin Grimsby dancing the cha cha

Tess tells us that this week it was Kevin’s birthday and it was “train train train” and AFTER THAT AND A REPLACEMENT BUS SERVICE THEY FINALLY GOT HOME TO CELEBRATE HIS BIRTHDAY IN GRIMSBY

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! GRIMSBY!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA HA HA!

In her VT, we’re reminded of last week’s “all swishing, all the time” paso doble from Frankie, as she tells us that getting a 10 from Donny Osmond was amazing, and she has no idea where the character she played in the dance came from. I think we all know where the character Kevin played in the dance came from. (GRIMSBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

In training Kevin tells Frankie that they will be dancing their cha cha to “Call Me Maybe”, and that they’ve really got to convey a sense on rehearsed, spontaneous

Thompson Family Holiday advert wholesome FUN. To help Frankie express her inner grinning loon, Kevin tells her that he’s organised a fun day out for her…

IN GRIMSBY (!!!!!!!!). Although I am reliably informed that this day out was in fact in Cleethorps. And (whisper it quietly) Kevin isn’t even from Grimsby anyway. But still. GRIMSBY (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Once Frankie is done grinning insanely at clapped-out old railways and helter-skelters clogged up with used condoms, she and Kevin meet his parents on the pier for fish n chips and birthday cake

and video messages from Joanne, who basically cackles in Kevin’s face that he’s going bald now just like their dad. Ah siblings. Once they’ve scoffed the cake, Frankie sighs that she hopes she has as much fun on Saturday night as she did in Grimsby(!!!!!!)/NotGrimsby. Shouldn’t be too much trouble.

(Please note : it’s Joanne’s birthday this week. Brace yourselves).


IN GRIMSBY (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Anyway, despite what the overload on mentions of Britain’s exotic north-east might lead you to expect, this is the first dance that Frankie’s done so far this series that hasn’t leant heavily on prop-work or overarching theming or charming umbrellas. It’s just a straight cha-cha that she’s dancing without gimmicks or a specific role to ape or flashy costumes to distract the eye and as a result… it’s a bit dull. I’m not sure if this is because at the core of her dancing Frankie isn’t very charismatic in and as of herself, or if I have been literally rendered insensate to “normal” dancing by this show’s near-constant raiding of the props cupboard. She’s performing it moderately well, her dancing’s not bad (although she’s totally rocking the

Alesha Dixon “never straighten your legs ever” school of Latin) and there’s nothing actively offensive about it. It’s just…a bit of a void. First on cha-chas are supposed to get the party started. This one already feels a bit like we’re hiding out in the kitchen to avoid the tit in the living room dancing aggressively to a cd they brought in themselves and talking about Katie Hopkins non-stop.


It gets a Standing Ovation, a fact that’s not lost on Tess, who has taken on Bruce’s role of Audio Description For The Not-Blind. Len starts for the judges, praising Frankie for CAHMIN AHT, but also criticising her for loose feet. Whatever that means. The audience boo him, a tiny amount, and apparently this sort of thing now prompts a

mock-Shakespearian monologue from Len about how if we prick him (disagree with him even slightly) does he not bleed? I really had Len down more as a King Lear than a Shylock but ok.

Bruno follows, saying that he loved the cheek in the routine (which one? Given the tightness of the men’s trousers this year you can clearly see both of Kevin’s every week) but he thinks Frankie needed to press down into the floor a bit more in order to get a better hip action. Craig is next, saying he loved Frankie’s expressive hands, but not her misplaced arms or bent legs, and Darcey closes by saying that she loved how Frankie used the music, but THE BOYS ARE RIGHT and she needed to straighten her legs more.

Up to Claud 9 Frankie skitters, where Claudia asks how it feels to open the show, with Frankie gasping that it’s HORRIBLE. Claudia says that she was watching It Takes Two this week, where she saw Alison say much the same thing. So that’s another good thing about Claudia – she’s actually invested in parts of the show that don’t involve her. I’m not sure Tess even knows what an It Takes Two is. Claudia then asks Frankie if she understood the judges criticism about her legs and feet and Frankie replies that she does, and had been struggling with it in training all week. Again, up on Tess who would have just screeched “WE DIDN’T NOTICE DID WE, MEAN OLD CRAIG, WE LOVED IT DIDN’T WE GUYS YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS WE DID SCORES ARE IN”. Claudia closes by telling Frankie that she wants to eat her eyes which…there’s no real Tess equivalent for but let’s agree that it’s amazing anyway. Scores are in


As if to compound her amazingness, Claudia goes on an extended riff about how the 10 Frankie got from Donny last week doesn’t mean anything and he probably isn’t even watching tonight anyway. ❤

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dancing the quickstep

Tess tells us that after last week’s macho (?) paso doble, Mark is going to go back to doing what he does best. Nicking his mates’ girlfriends and presenting shows that get cancelled before they even reach the air? NO! “Being a great big pussy cat!” The tiny gap Tess leaves before “cat” is positively tantalising.

In his VT Mark tells us that he had an “out-of-body experience” in his paso doble.

Would that we all were so lucky. My brain was stubbornly trying to leap out the window but nope, nothing. He attributes this to the presence of his beloved nan in the front row, which apparently put him off his stride. So from now on, he’s banning all appearance from his relatives on this show at all times, because it’s ruining his focus and detracting from the purity of his dahnce, and making him look “a bit of a wussy”. Yes Mark, it’s your love of family that’s making you look like a “wussy”, not being choreographed to flounce your arms around in a pretend garden dressed like an off-duty boyband member to Jason Mraz.

Oh and in training

that ban lasted for a long time didn’t it? Nanny Pat is here to watch Mark training for his quickstep and to chip in from the sidelines all “KEEP IN TUNE!” and “YOU MADE A MISTAKE!” and “WHY’D THEY HAVE TO GO AND SACK THAT ARTEM FOR, HE WAS AN AVANT GARDE GENIUS AND LOOKED LIKE A RIGHT GOER TELL EM TO GET IM BACK, YOUR UNCLE MICK AD A PROBLEM WIV IS VISA BUT YOU CAN GET ONE FOR FIFTY QUID DAHN CHIGWELL MARKET!”. The best and most incidentally disturbing thing about Nanny Pat’s appearance, other than introducing the exotic Karen Hauer to the delights of a proper British sausagemeat plait, is that for reasons of branding there is a

massive blur over Mark’s crotch the entire time, as he yells at his nan about how IT’S REALLY HARD, LEAVE ME ALONE. Like she’s just brought a cup of tea up to his adolescent bedroom at the wrong time. And given how I imagine the adolescent Mark Wright was, I’m sure “the wrong time” was “most of the time”. Anywho the upshot of all of this is that Mark is now used to having his Nanny Pat there when he dances so he’s not going to get distracted by her so the ban is lifted hooray. Like anything would be capable of keeping Nanny Pat out the studio of a Saturday Night. I don’t think even Brucie’s patented Anti-McFly Broom could stop her.


The neon tiger stripes are because Mark is dancing to “Tiger Feet” by Mud. And also probably for reasons of general bad taste, let’s face it. I was really excited by this choice for a quickstep, just because I always appreciate a good 70s glam stomp ballroom (please see : this, from last series, a lot) but this whole dance was just really really bad. He falls right into the trap that a lot of the worst quicksteps fall into of just jogging, skipping and side-stepping exaggeratedly around the floor with no real heed to footwork or the music. When he’s not running his posture’s really

weird and Karen’s having to shift her weight onto him to correct it quite frequently, and to be honest a lot of the routine is taken up with him standing still and doing Charleston/Jazz stuff, not very well either. I mean it’s still very exuberant and fun and he’s still very likable on the dance-floor but…this was a big ol mess.

Karen screams “YES!” when it finishes, although thinking about it, it might just have been because she was finaly free of a dance in which I’m sure in training he was mashing her toes flatter than the Netherlands. Once they’re over at Tess, Mark tells her that that was the most nervous he’s ever been (what, again?) because he kept on forgetting the steps in training. At this Karen starts crying and saying how proud she is of him. Oh Karen.

Bruno starts for the judges, yelling that Mark is his

BRIGHT WHITE WRIGHT KNIGHT taking FLIGHT TONIGHT and that dance was QUITE SHI…good. He liked how Mark took the dance at full gallop. “Gallop” being the operative word. He did think he was leaning in too much though. Craig follows, saying that he liked Mark’s sweet arabesque (beg pardon) but his top-line was poor and his hands were too flat. Darcey is next and says the BOYS ARE SORT OF RIGHT – his topline is poor, but it is improving. She also thought he kept in sync with Karen throughout. Len finishes off by saying there was all far too much trotting going on and he didn’t like it, because it was

MINCIFIED! Nothing worse than having the mincey trots. The audience boo and Len yells “I’M A PENSIONER! STOP PICKING ON AN OLD MAN!”. Oh God they’re now scripting these little “Len bites back!” segments in now aren’t they? Hold me.

Up to Claud 9 they trot, where Claudia tells him he most be so relieved, and Mark reveals that yet again he had a major panic attack before taking to the floor. Sounds like someone needs the services of a hypnotherapist to calm them down. I’ve got a good one I can recommend.

We then talk some more about how Mark’s family scare the dance-wiggings out of him, and Claudia reveals that Mark’s “Other Grandma” is here tonight.

Poor “Other Grandma”. Maybe she and Jamie Murray can have a chat. Scores are in.


Sexual Fireball Judy Murray & Anton du Beke dancing the tango

Tess tells us that it normally takes two to tango, but Judy has called in some extra help. Oh God this means Andy is finally going to appear right? I’m so excited.

In her VT, Judy says that she did feel much more comfortable dancing the quickstep than she did either of her first two dances, and she particularly loved the lift at the end. You’re in luck Jude, Anton’s got loads more where that came from. We’re reminded that Craig accused her of having rigor morits, and Judy fusses that she’s not sure where to go from there, but she knows it involves loosening up. Don’t bother Judy – just wait for Hallowe’en and it’ll become thematically appropriate to dance like a corpse.

In training and

the joy I get from Judy’s movement is just…I can’t describe it. Judy tells us that Anton has left her body a ruin (I’ll bet) so this week instead of training she’s going to lounge on the sofa, eat some Malteasers, and get on the Skype to her famous sons who are playing in MAJOR TENNIS TOURNAMENTS IN EUROPE.

So effing glamorous I love her. Son B is first

and after Judy tells him she’s got a sore back he jokes that he thinks Craig was right about her having rigor mortis ho ho. I think my favourite part of this segment is that it doesn’t look so much like Judy’s skyping as

giving herself a pelvic examination with a mirror. Anyway, nobody cares about Jamie (sorry Jamie, but it’s true), let’s get to the main event.


Andy : “Hello mother!”
Judy : “This week I’m doing the tango”
Andy : “Which one’s that?”
Andy :

Judy : “Night Andy, have a good sleep imagining me doing the tango with Anton!”
Andy : “I’ll probably just watch your quickstep from last week, that’ll put me right to sleep!”

Judy then promises that if she makes it through one more week then one of her kids will get to come and watch her in the actual studio. It was at this point that I loaded all my votes for the episode onto the Judy Murray Express and didn’t look back.


The dance begins with Anton

snacking on a random audience member. It *may* be Fiona Fullerton come back for a random cameo and let’s face it, nobody would have a clue if it wasn’t so let’s say it was. Judy in response to this provocation does the most amazing

fake laugh you’ve ever seen to drive Anton wild with jealousy over her finding a guy that she finds more amusing than him (CAN YOU IMAGINE?) and then they tango. By which I mean

Anton throws her at the audience like he’s trying to assassinate someone in the front row. Maybe he’s trying to keep Robin away from coming back and nicking his beloved old dears off him. ONLY ANTON GETS THE OLD BIDDIES WINDSOR, BACK OFF! The rest of the dance is actually…not bad, by Judy’s standards. It plays to her natural stiffness obviously, but she also seems to be remembering most of the steps and isn’t being dragged around quite as much as usual. She even keeps character for most of it, barring one massive grin near the beginning, but that was just after Anton contrived to flash her knickers to the nation so…I can forgive her. There are still some moments where her

Judyness shines through, but I was really pleasantly surprised by this. Particularly the moment at the end where she launches herself at him like she’s

The Matrix.

It gets a standing ovation, Judy’s first of the series. Such a triumphant moment. Craig starts for the judges, saying once again that the two illegal lifts were his favourite bits. I mean…mine too, but why pick out highlights when the whole thing was such a rich smorgasbord? He tells her that she looked lobotomised throughout, but he felt her natural stiffness came in really handy and he really liked when Anton hurled her across the floor like a bowling ball.

I think Judy enjoyed that very much also. So much of that dance I wanted a little Andy-Cam on Red Button for. NEXT WEEK, PLEASE.

Darcey follows saying that she liked the beginning and the end, and all the attack Judy was giving, but she would really like Judy to try to make the top of her body into the shape of a vase.

Helpful as ever Darcey. Len follows and jokes that that dance had “PLENTY OF PUNCH…JUDY!”. He goes on to say that the tango probably suited her because when she watches the tennis she’s used to snapping her head from one side to the other. Like Judy does anything at a tennis match other than stare at the arse of whichever player she fancies most. He closes by telling Anton not to worry – he’s not going to dock marks for the illegal lifts. Well, I guess I’m glad that they’re not even pretending to have rules any more. Bruno closes by congratulating Judy on giving a performance and recovering from the “slide” that Anton put into the routine.

Up to Claud 9 they stalk, where Judy tells Claudia that she is as surprised as anyone that that dance went as well as it did. Claudia then decides to replay for Judy what her face was doing as she was watching Judy hurl herself into that final lift.

Odd, that was exactly what my face was doing at…that famous point in her cha cha. Judy jokes that Anton told her that if she did the dance badly he wouldn’t bother catching her. Natalie’s face is

as ever, a delight at moments like these. It’s alright Nat, I don’t think he meant it. Scores are in


Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the Charleston

In his VT, Simon tells us that he tried to impress the judges with his rumba, but something about it just didn’t work. We’re reminded that he was in the bottom 2 and he reminded us of his options – allow his nerves to take over and destroy him or…DANCE LIKE HE HAD NEVER DANCED BEFORE. I mean from my memory of the dance-off (fast forwarding through it and/or using it as a piss break) he did neither but…narratives are as narratives must I guess.

Training now, and Kristina tells us that this week’s Charleston is all about London, and she’s brought some friends along to help Simon get into the character of the dance. That’s right Kristina Rihanoff (born : Siberia) is about to teach Simon Webbe (born : in this country) about how to be a true Cockney. With the help of her friends

these two. HER BEST FRIENDS. They tell Simon that the “London character” comes with a bit of a strut, a bit of cheek and a bit of sticking yer thumbs up. To be honest, most of the segment is Kristina trying to get “her friend”

to stop staring at Simon with naked lust and pay attention to her and the actual script.

WATCH WHERE THAT HAND’S GOING SIMON, I’M TELLING YOU. Really I think Kristina just invited this friend of hers in so that the articles about Simon being stuck with a voracious man-eater would focus on someone else for a change.


Simon and Kristina are dancing to “My Old Man Said Follow The Van”, which is always funnier when you learnt the Arsenal version first. Sadly the Strictly band are doing the clean, family-friendly tea-time version, so it’s all a bit

undiluted gorblimey where’s yer trousers for me. There’s a lot of

brace-tugging and knee-slapping and finger wagging and aggressive cheerfulness and whilst this is obviously the right thing for him to be doing after the morose flippering of his rumba last week I need a bit more salt and a bit less sugar to get me really excited. Can someone do me a count of how many times the Charleston has been used to spark a comeback by numbers?

It gets a standing ovation, and a quick pan up to Claud 9 reveals that, despite being eliminated, the producers still want

Tristan’s face front-and-centre as much as possible, as he’s right there clapping along. Aliona you will notice, is not.

Darcey starts for the judges, grinning that that dance justified her belief that there was a star dancer in Simon all along.

Goodness, add a little “ting!” to his teeth, why don’t you? Len follows by just repeating the lyrics of the song to Simon, but saying that he DIDN’T dilly and DIDN’T dally and DIDN’T lose the van and DIDN’T etc etc. Oh and if Simon is in the Bottom 2 this week, Len will pickle his walnuts. Given that Len now gets to score all of the other couples, I’m calling “conflict of interest” walnut-wise. Bruno follows and says that this week Simon was truly involved in the dahnce, not like bad old last week. Simon turns to Tess and tells her that he really took on board everything everyone said last week and applied it. Personally I think the biggest improvement here is that he

shaved that cone off his head. Craig closes by applauding Simon for “finally showing some personality”, like that’s something that he’s ever criticised him for before. COMEBACK ARC!

Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia beams that he looks like a new man this week (again – it’s the hair). Simon tells her that this is because Charleston is really his true personality. Under the super-cool Mr Sexy facade, he’s really just a big old goofball.

PUT IT BACK! PUT IT BACK! Claudia asks him if all that waffle Bruno spouted last week about being a PARTICIPANT in the dance not just a BYSTANDER or whatever made sense and Simon’s all “yeah sure, if it means I score over 30 for a change why not?” Scores are in

31. No Kristina, you can’t enter that for Safety Sex-Faces retroactively, tough luck.

Beyonce Hammond & Aljaz Rowland dancing the samba

Tess tells us that this week Alison will be dancing to “Bootylicious” and so has spent all week mimicing her idol Beyonce. Same clothes, same moves, same husband, same monomaniacal desire to rule the world that can only be sated via blood sacrifice…

In her VT, Alison says that she spent most of her jive worried that she wasn’t going to fit all her moves into the dance, but she ended up loving it. But then being devastated when Craig scored her a 4. Such a rollercoaster of emotions. Personally I would have been more insulted that Darcey thought I was only worth as much as Scott when I’d managed to kick clear higher than my head, but I’m not Alison. Aljaz promises that he is going to this week combine Alison’s personality with better technique, and hope the judges see it.

And/or lounge around in jeans and a white t-shirt looking foxy and play right to the public vote. Whichever works.

Aljaz tells Alison that they’ll be dancing to Bootylicious and Alison squawks “IS THAT THAT ONE THAT’S SUNG BY BEYONCE?”. Somewhere Michelle Williams puts another pin into another voodoo doll. (Kelly Rowland doesn’t bother because she’s too sick *cough* *cough*). Aljaz says “yes” and tells her that she really has to channel Beyonce for this week. To achieve this end

Alison brings in a cardboard cut-out of Jay-Z and gyrates against it. Then Aljaz comes in and kung-fu kicks him in the face in a lift and Alison spends the next 3 episodes insisting that EVERYTHING’S FINE AND THESE THINGS HAPPEN IN FAMILIES Y’ALL! Not really, instead Aljaz is required to

act sad-eyed and jealous over a cardboard cutout man with no personality whose with a woman he’s not even that sexually interested in anyway. Much like…oh do your own punchline, it’s a long episode.


Well, Aljaz can sit on my lips any ti[JOKE REDACTED FAR TOO LATE, AS USUAL]. The best thing about this dance? The singers actually running through “CRAIG, CAN YOU HANDLE THIS? DARCEY, CAN YOU HANDLE THIS?” at the top of the number, as they should. The worst? This

sad piece of flesh-coloured material covering Alison’s natural splendour. FREE THE HAMMOND TWO! The rest? Eh. I think we may now have been to the well of Alison Hammond – Big Fat Diva one too many times too early, because I spend most of it longing for something new. I appreciate that it is a SAMBA to BEYONCE but far too much of this dance is being done with her

actual tits. And if we can’t even see them because they’re under tarp, what’s the point? I do however give bonus points to Aljaz for at least pretending he’s going to try to achieve a samba roll, considering Alison’s bulk, if not so many of them for

how they end up looking, which is a bit like an orgasmic Heimlich Manoeuvre. I’m always here for a bit of Hammond magic, but here’s hoping that for however many more weeks she lasts she can bring something different to the table.

It gets a standing ovation though, so obviously there’s still a lot of love in the room for her. Either that or the floor manager’s being chased by a wasp and the audience have misread their cue. Len starts for the judges, yelling that the dance was full of FAHN and RHYTHM and PLENNYOFENERGEEE but her footwork was “a bit suspect”. He does think however that this week she got her mojo back. Tess moos “MOJO! BAAAAACK!” at this like one of the three-eyed aliens from Toy Story. Nobody pays her the blindest. Bruno follows and, as someone just danced to Beyonce, he’s naught but a blur of limbs and gibbering.

Let’s move on. He’ll be like that for next half an hour.

Craig follows, and says it put him in the party mood, but the footwork is definitely starting to let her down a bit. Aljaz

tries to cover her ears, but good luck finding them in that mass of wig. It ends up looking a bit like he’s in the SAS (SLOVENIAN AND SEXY, AM I RITE LADIES?) and about to break her neck. Craig goes on to question the wisdom of Alison attempting the batucadas, so naturally she has to

have another go. Darcey closes by literally just reading

“well done alison you certainly got it back this week much better well done great natural rhythm grin say the boys are right end comments” off a cue card. Jeez, the Come Back Arcs really are being finely etched in this year aren’t they?

Up to Claud 9 they bound, just a glimpse at the

madness below peeking through. How high have they got those things hoiked? Her cleavage is almost reaching her throat! Claudia asks her if she could feel her mojo coming back and Alison replies that yeah, she definitely could. Claudia then goes on to ask if Alison knew that Beyonce is in London RIGHT NOW and Alsion asks her out for a dance later down the camera-lens. Meanwhile

someone prods Aliona into shot, with an actual tazer probably. Scores are in


Afterwards Claudia reveals that Alison has the tango next week, and asks her to do tango face down the camera.

Lord knows I’m ready.

Scott Mills & Joanne Clifton dancing the American Horror Story

Tess tells us that Scott has spent the last three weeks calling in famous friends to help him out – Robbie Williams, Nick Grimshaw, David Hassellhoff…who could possibly be next? Based on that downward spiral I’m guessing Lauren Goodger or an actual tramp. But let’s find out!

In his VT, Scott tells us that he’s throwing caution to the wind. After all, once you’ve dressed up as a crab and danced like a ninny in front of millions of people, what have you got to lose?

I feel like this is all being said to a therapist/hostage negotiation team. You’ve pushed this man to the edge Strictly Come Dancing, well done. He tells us all that he’s now achieved what he set out to do in this competition. Really? REALLY? Was this on-camera sis or was it just seeing Aljaz in the backstage showers because I know this mission : accomplished has not happened on my tv. Aim higher.

Training now, and time to find out which friend Scott has helping him this week. Here’s a fun quiz. One of these pictures is Scott being jumped on by his 7 year old niece, and one of them is him being jumped on by Joanne Clifton.

Answers on a postcard please.


OK, so what’s happened here is that Scott and Joanne have been landed with a bad taste song, with a notoriously bad taste video, the set of which has been recreated here, and a genre of dance with a lot of wiggle-room for deliberately bad taste choreography/arm waftage. The end result possibly could have been a lot like Caroline & Pasha’s semi-topless power ballad bacofoil-done-right rumba last week – a delicious slice of gooey cheese. Unfortunately…Scott is still Scott, so if you give him deliberately “bad” choreography, with body spasms and fist clenches and

ugly suits that pinch too tightly around the waist and the same dumb faces he was pulling in his tango so he looks botoxed and moments where he

TURNS AROUND when the music says TURN AROUND and lifts that look like this

and this bit

which looks like you’re parodying Bonnie Tyler maybe for an advert for car insurance or something…it’s too much. Too many layers and the whole pudding collapses. This is a guy who dances badly already, deliberately dancing a different type of “badly” (ie tacky) and it doesn’t work. If Jake was performing this same routine, or hey, even Steve, I would find it hilarious but this…no.

I swear, one week they are just going to let him dance and we’re all going to be so amazed that nobody dies that he wins the whole show. Maybe that’s the plan.

Scott wanders over to Tess all “HURR HURR I DONE AN AIR GRAB LIKE I WAS IN WESTLIFE!” and yeah I think we all got the joke sufficiently that we didn’t need it explaining further Scott. Tess asks Bruno how Scott coped with all that…ness and Bruno replies that he has absolutely no idea. He says it was bizarre, that Scott went wrong countless times, and that none of it fit together remotely. Scott’s all

kinds of over this show I think. Do you know how Pixie feels like she’s not really part of the show at one end? This is like the other end. Craig is next, and Scott tells him that he’s his favourite and then Craig replies with a gloriously bitchy little sucking in of breath that really should have just been his comment entirely for this week, that little “oh dear”, but then he spoils it all by saying something stupid like Scott is living proof that some people just can’t be taught to dance and HERE COME DA SYMPATHY VOTES.

Darcey follows by saying that she was having an out-of-body experience throughout, so don’t ask her. Darcey, Alesha was off her tree most weeks on white wine and pretzels but you didn’t see her just give in. THINK OF SOMETHING TO SAY! ANYTHING! She says that Scott should go and watch the male professional dancers and just copy what they do. Yeah Scott, just sit at the side and watch Trent in the routine after next, once you’ve come down off the hairpsray high you’re on and do that next time. Piece of piss. Len closes by saying that Scott’s problem is that it all looks very “taught”. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally? OK Len. I don’t think we’re quite at that level yet to be honest. It looks like he’s being taught maybe. On the dancefloor. And not necessarily dancing. Tess hoots “NEVER MIND, WE LOVED IT DIDN’T WE EVERYONE YES WE DID!” and Scott looks at her like

he’s genuinely considering putting a hit out on her.

Up to Claud 9 they swirl, where Claudia tells him that everyone up there loved it and asked if he could hear them cheering for him on the dancefloor. She also congratulates him on dancing to the greatest song ever written and an AMEN TO THAT Claudia. She asks Scott if he enjoyed that life experience he just had and he’s all “………….yes” so let’s move on to the scores being in

15. Scott can thank Bruno liking him a smidge more than he liked Widdy for that not being the worst American Smooth score ever, because it’s the lowest Len’s ever gone. In terms of scores that is.

Steve Of The Jungle & Ola Jordan dancing the salsa

Look at that chest. Look at it. Think what they might have been aiming for, and think how far of it they have fallen. Also this pre-VT intro gives us all a chance to see Steve’s “Tess-Joke” face.


VT time and Steve tells us that he was bubbling with excitement for last week’s dance and it made him want to sprint around the dancefloor like a complete loon. And it was a theme week, so that was very much allowed/encouraged. Ola meanwhile reminds us that Darcey was a big ol’ perve about Steve’s arms and also Donny told her to take him out clubbing. Now…Ola said on It Takes Two this week that she didn’t have time to do this.

Oops. Someone got the thumbscrews put on them.

This was their training – going to a salsa bar so Steve could practice his shimmies to a crowd of appreciative Cubans. Steve told Ola that all of the times that he’s been to South America he’s never been allowed to join in the dancing, because he didn’t have the moves, but now HE DOES. THIS IS JUST LIKE DANCING IN HAVANA WOULD BE! HE’S INSPIRED! DONNY’S ADVICE HAS SORT OF HELPED! (The “sort of” is all his by the way). Ola’s just all “Oh shut up and do the starfish”.


Is it just me, or does Ola’s face read “how many more years can I feasibly get away with dressing like this?” a little more with every dance?

So anyway, the idea of the dance is that

Steve has great big muscles, and we already had a salsambcha two weeks ago, so why bother WITH THE DANCING? JUST DO THE LIFTS, GORILLA MAN. The basic stuff is a little dull, he’s doing choo-choo arms and taking massive back-steps and his hips aren’t really moving at all but who cares, he did a running backwards splits through Ola’s legs. In a series where all the male salsas are now inevitably going to be competing for attention with Jake’s you have to go as big as possible on the pyrotechnic stuff, and on that level it works.

It gets a standing ovation and, up on Claud 9, it looks like Alison has a dance-related question for Tristan, but he’s all

“madam, I’m just here to look pretty, move along”.

Once Steve’s over at Tess he tells her that in rehearsals he was so high on adrenalin that he almost threw Ola out of the studio. Did he throw her into a wardrobe department instead? Covered in glue? Craig starts for the judges, saying that he didn’t really get any Latin flavour off that dance, because of the lack of hip action. Ladies don’t care bout no hip action if you can chuck ’em about a bit Craig, watch and learn. Ola giggles that she tried to find hip action in Steve, but to be honest it’s just not there, sorry. She tried. Tess mews at Darcey that Steve did that routine just for her and Darcey blushes and says that her husband’s in the audience and really she’d rather if we didn’t. I mean…Steve’s wife if there every week Darcey, and Ola’s husband is watching it all and saying FACT a lot on twitter so…bit late to get all coy now. She says that she can see that Steve worked very hard and the lifts were amazing but she agreed with Craig about the hips. THE CRAIG IS RIGHT.

Len follows saying that yes, most of the dancing was being done with the shoulders rather than the legs or hips but he loved the tricks, especially the splitsy thing and Bruno closes by saying that he can only repeat what everyone else said – the hips weren’t there.

And Lord knows he was looking. Probably to avoid contemplating the disaster zone on his chest. DEFORESTATION KILLS 100S OF SPECIES EVERY DAY.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia congratulates Steve on having “the most infection” and a positive attitude. I hope he didn’t bring anything back from the jungle. I don’t want every routine done in surgical gloves and masks, not until Medical Week at the end of November. Steve gives a brief tribute to the fitness of all the professional dancers, and the scores are in


Pixie Lott & Trent Whiddon dancing the rumba

If anyone can tell me the specific Simpsons character Trent looks like here, then I’d be very grateful. And

no, I’ve no idea either.

In her VT, Pixie tells us that she really loved last week’s show, and her quickstep would have been her best dance EVAH if she hadn’t been a bit late for one jump oh darn. She goes on to say that she was so pleased to get 9s because she never expected it (*looks up sleeve surreptitiously*). We’re also treated to one last shot of Trent shouting “MAG NIFF EEK!”. Can’t believe you all voted me out of being allowed to recap that. SHAME ON YOU.

In training, Pixie says that she’s going to be dancing the rumba with Trent, but people say that they look like brother and sister, so they might find this dance a bit creepy. And what better way to remedy that perception than having Trent

MEET PIXIE’S FAMILY. All wedged into one corner of her sister’s kitchen. Huddling a lot of booze to them. This is such a weird situation because Trent is married and Pixie has a boyfriend but they’re trying to make this seem like a “bringing the boyfriend home” VT by proxy, like Kara and Artem had. But not LITERALLY. It does feel like they’re saying “can’t you pretend you think we’re shagging instead of thinking we’re related, but JUST PRETEND, DON’T ACTUALLY THINK IT”. My favourite bit is when Pixie’s sister gets the EMBARASSING PHOTOS (literally just some headshots of Pixie looking 6 years old and cute, not nude on a trampolene covered in chickenpox LIKE MY PARENTS ALWAYS USED TO BRING OUT THANKS A LOT GUYS) out and she and Pixie are laughing and fighting over them and Trent’s all

“oh ha the old embarassing photos routine…” and wondering if he can sneak off into the back garden with a bottle. It also features her sister cackling “THAT’S FROM ONE OF OUR FIRST SKIING HOLIDAYS!!!” which I’m sure will endear Pixie to the wider audience. Oh and there’s ALSO (sorry but this VT will not stop giving) a transparently set up shot of Trent leaving his dinner plate for Pixie to wash up for him. Transparently set up because he appears to have eaten more than 50% of what was on the plate and we all know that’s not likely, the skinny wee puppy.


So Pixie’s just hanging out, in a rumba dress, on her bed covered in fairy lights, reminiscing over

happier times with her Trent by looking at a screenshot of their waltz. Which she’s had framed. She then imagines Trent flying in through the window (not literally, although that would have been amazing) and then her advancing on him, clutching her clothes with a frankly

deranged look of pure lust on her face. This is all being danced to “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith which is about how some gay guys get a bit clingy after one night stands. So anyway, the net effect is a story in which Pixie and Trent boffed two weeks ago and now she’s turned into a stalker. It’s very well danced and she can still

do things with her legs, oh yes she can, but it’s all a little LASER-EYED

I WILL FORCE THIS CHEMISTRY PEOPLE SAY WE DON’T HAVE IF IT KILLS ME for my liking. Like, imagine Vorderumba but being done by someone who could dance. There’s also that bit where the guy leans in for a snog and the girl goes

“WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” through his legs. Is that an actual rumba move or just…business? Because it always looks silly whenever it happens.


OR IS IT? Yes, as if that didn’t feel pushed through an emotional sieve hard enough, Pixie wanders back to the bed and has a

full on nervo, scrunching her face up and pushing out tears, right as Tess is yelling “WOW! WELL DONE PIXIE! THAT WAS GREAT! WHAT? WHY YOU CRYING LOVE? YOU ON THE BLOB? WE’VE GOT A SHOW TO DO, GET A MOVE ON!”. Once Pixie has gathered herself and kind of shrugged Trent’s brotherly hug off, she reaches Tess who asks her what’s wrong and she shrugs “I DUNNO! IT WAS REALLY BEAUTIFUL!”.

Pro-tip Pixie : when Susanna acted overwhelmed by a dance she made sure her face was covered at all times. If you need tears, just stick your leg with a safety pin through your dress. Of course these histrionics are slightly undercut by the judges…not really liking the dance all that much. Darcey thought Pixie needed more tension through her body, Len didn’t think it had enough basic rumba steps in it, Bruno didn’t think her hips moved at all right, and Craig thought her rumba walks needed a lot more pressure into the floor to come off. I mean it’s all couched in “you’re a very pretty lady, what a lovely mood” but they’re kind of undermining Pixie’s TOUCHING OF THE DIVINE there on the floor. Although it means I got to see Trent’s inane gritten teeth

“fuck off Len” smile, for which I am grateful.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia

has a tissue for her. Oh Claud, if she ever had them they’re gone now. Claudia asks her what that was all about then, and Pixie says that she was just SO INTO THE CHARACTER that she got lost. Sure you did hun. Claudia then emotionally blackmails her into smiling for her, and then scores are in


Tim Wonnacott & Natalie Lowe dancing the paso doble

Tess reminds us that last week Tim was bottom of the leaderboard, and scored only a 2 from Craig. But it’s alright, she’s come up with a way to TAME HIM.

The very suggestion that the judges could give out scores without really looking at the dances properly Daly it’s…it’s…UNTHINKABLE.

In his VT, Tim says that last weekend was certainly…an experience. Mostly because he found himself on the Thumping Bottom for the very first time. Now Tim, that’s no way to talk about Bruno.

Training now and

I have to say, the one thing I’ve found difficult to take to about Tim is this whole “LOOK AT ALL THE BIZARRE HATS HE WEARS!!!” thing. It feels like a bit of a reach when there’s enough to enjoy here as it is. Tim mugs that HE thinks he’s the best but nobody seems to agree with him. Well this week he’s dancing to “SIMPLY THE BEST!” by Tina Turner, so that will show them. I can’t imagine a dance circumstance where I’m *less* likely to be looking at the celebrity than Natalie Lowe dancing the paso doble to “Simply The Best” unless it involved the words “Pasha” and “nudity” and “his first time with a 7 inch vibr[JOKE REDACTED]. But we’ll see. This all leads to a great moment of Natalie Lowe acting :

Tim : “Some times I drift off yes…”
Tim : “I’m just going off into a little fantasy world…”

Well that doesn’t sound creepy at all. Anyway in Tim’s fantasy world he’s a great dancer and Natalie gives him much praise and so on and so on. Frankly if I’m interested in any celebrity’s secret fantasy life being broadcast on tv, it’s Judy Murray’s, and then only if you an guarantee that Andy would be watching.


So basically this routine is one big therapy session for Natalie to work off the energy of last week, when she felt the first genuine negative emotion she’s ever felt in her life.

Imagine she’s working a fan at such a speed that you expect her to take off. Imagine

caping and shaping so limp-wristed and flamboyant that Tim could only feasibly be serving as a Craig Revel-Horwood substitute here. Imagine the

ANGRIEST FACE YOU’VE EVER SEEN. Imagine skirt-swishing, foot-stomping, air-chewing, high-kicking, sex-dragging

madness that’s acting like flamethrowers are constantly spurting fire at the sky whether they are or not. Imagine Tim is there as well, in a silly hat, if you must.

Looking a bit like Mickey Mouse.


Sadly it doesn’t get a Standing Ovation, meaning that Tim will be our last celebrity to leave the competition without ever having got one. Bastards. Len starts by saying that he said last week that he was looking forward to Tim’s paso doble and now…he’s realised that some times you should be careful what you wish for. Bruno follows by yelling “TOO MUCH DUST ON THOSE SHEETS! TOO MUCH DUST ON THOSE SHEETS!” and telling Tim that he looked less Raging Bull more Mildly Irritated Goat. Movie Week was last week Bruno, do try to keep up. To this Natalie adds, somewhat wistfully “…I like goats”. Please let her get a ringah next year guys. Please.

Craig is next and

doing a face he’s not done since he walked in on Widdy that one time backstage in panto. He says it was all limp, lame, and lacklustre and frankly a little bizarre. Darcey closes by saying that it was SUCH AN IMPROVEMENT from last week, much cleaner, and she liked the cape work. But she missed his pelvic undertuck.


Up to Claud 9 now, and we’re running behind now so after a quick “tell him he’s great Natalie” from Claudia, scores are in


Sunetra Sarker & Brendan Rolls dancing the salsa

Not really Brenda, I’m sure it was the trousers.

In her VT Sunetra reminisces about her, little old her, Sunetra Sarker, dancing the American Smooth in a beautiful red dress on Strictly Come Dancing and getting a 9 for it. Her! Amazing.

Training now and Brenda

has his bongos out. Every time Brenda gets his hands on a musical instrument it all turns into a Christian Youth Group meeting doesn’t it? Or even just when he sings.

This all progresses into a bizarre VT wherein Brenda becomes obsessed with his bongos like Gollum in Lord Of The Rings and then Sunetra calls in a full salsa band and none of it makes a lick of sense. Comedy VTs everyone. I can’t wait for Hallowe’en!


They really were an accident waiting to happen weren’t they? Sunetra and Brenda are doing their salsa to “Turn The Beat Around” and again it all feels a little “I am woman, hear me roar”. It’s really interesting to see Brenda deal with someone for the first time who’s self-confident, approaching middle-age, won’t put up with his nonsense, and will (and deserves to) finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, because I don’t think he quite knows to handle it. It all feels a bit autopilot apart from the lifts and tricks

which are very much…erm…piloted. Possibly by a pilot who took a slightly lounger liquid lunchbreak than strictly allowed by regulations. Sunetra’s doing her usual slightly elevated Latin mum-dancing and having a whale of a time although she

needs to get a bit more spray off her bongos. The MOST important thing to mention of course is that the crotch of Brendan’s trousers splits mightily at some point, leaving much material flapping in the breeze.


Brendan slides over to Tess on his knees, and when Tess asks what on Earth’s going on, Brenda decides to

give the audience an eyeful. Tess snarks “nothing to see there” which I hope was on purpose and then we move to Bruno who clearly has been told to speed up to keep to time, so he just says that Sunetra’s lucky that she’s got a big personality to perform with, because she went wrong many many times. Sunetra’s all

“NO I NEVER!” but Brenda absolutely refuses to back her up, just joshing her and saying “oh well, we had a party”. Craig follows and tells Sunetra that she’s too floppy in the lifts – she needs to imagine channelling Judy and be much stiffer. I think Brendan was imagining channelling Judy Craig.

And that’s why his trousers split.

Darcey follows, saying that she liked Sunetra’s hips and arms, but the steps she was taking were too large, and Len closes with a joke about seeing Brenda’s bongos and saying that that was neither her best nor her worst dance. WOO.

Up to Claud 9 they patter, where Sunetra is IMMEDIATELY concerned that everyone saw her knickers in the lifts. Claudia reassures her that we saw nothing, honest, and Sunetra then talks a lot about being lifted for the first time and how it made her feel. Claudia then goes on to say that she’s heard that Sunetra really likes it when Brenda says that he’s proud of her and Brenda’s all “WHAT, ME? I NEVER SAID THAT!”. You can tell that he just wants to make even more of a production number about how no trousers can contain his MIGHTY CROTCH or whatever and is a bit peeved that Claudia is even bothering to talk to Sunetra. Scores are in


Tham Efans & Iveta Lukosiute dancing the foxtrot

He honestly looks like he’s been Super-Colorized. Tess is sat in the audience with Thom’s brother Max. Here he is :

Oh wait, never mind, sorry, wrong picture again. Here he is

In his VT, Thom tells us that his Charleston was the first time he’d ever felt fully at home on the dance-floor. Possibly because it was the dance in which he was dressed closest to porn theming. Rest assured that he is having the time of his life, and he doesn’t want to go home. No, he wants to go to LA. To become an actor. Lord help us all.

In training, apparently the theme this week is that Iveta was extra harsh on Thom in learning the foxtrot, because now that he’s showing signs of improvement and that he might make…well the semi-finals maybe, at best, the GAME IS ON and NO MORE NICE IVETA. After a hard day of training, Thom tells Iveta that it’s only fair, if she’s going to teach him something he’s never done before, that he teaches her something she’s never done before. Iveta’s face says

“there’s nothing I haven’t tried before my little golubchik, trust me, but try me.” This of course leads to :



That is some solid pun work there Props Department well done. The idea of the dance, because they’re dancing to “Build Me Up Buttercup”, is that Thom runs a flower-stall and Iveta is a beautiful lady who he falls in love with

/whose breasts give him severe heartburn, and then they foxtrot. The whole dance is a real sign of how far he’s come since his waltz. Where that was stiff and awkward and pushing a little too far for what he could do in Week 1, this is more relaxed, more charming, and…well, more of a dance. He’s still not great in hold, a fact Iveta works around by doing as little of the dance in it as possible, but if we’re having to start putting our cards on the table now, of the mid-table men I’m now fairly solidly Teams Steve and Thom. And I’m not normally one for muscles. The dance closes with Thom giving Iveta the violet from his lapel and

her face is a picture. I don’t think it’s just the robot who’s learning to emote. THE COLD HARD LITHUANIAN WOMAN IS THAWING.


Craig starts for the judges, with a long long long long list of technical flaws, but closing by saying that he enjoyed the performance and found the whole dance sweet, without being saccharine. Mmm hmm…. Tess then reminds us that Darcey told Thom last week to “man up” or some such reductive garbage and Darcey says that he DEFINITELY MANAGED IT THIS WEEK. I have literally no idea how that was any more masculine at all, other than him going “GORR BLIMEY” over Iveta’s tits at the start, if anything it seemed camper. But ok Darcey, you just read your card. Len follows and just says a load of flower puns (woo), and Bruno closes by

being a pervert, telling Thom that he can arrange his bouquet any day. Careful Bruno – given the size of Thom’s peonies you could end up with a severely mangled aspidistra and a torn tulip.

Up to Claud 9 they bloom where Thom

immediately presents Claudia with his flower. Even though she just saw him do exactly the same thing to Iveta not three minute ago, Claudia is visibly touched. Women, eh? She tells Thom to wait for the series wrap party, at which she will violate him in ways he can only imagine. Thom, because he’s on Claud 9 and hasn’t thanked anybody for…oooh…the last 10 seconds, turns to Iveta

and thanks her for working so hard with him. Who will be next? WHO WILL THOM THANK NEXT WEEK? I’m on the edge of my seat. Scores are in


Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the jive

Tess tells us all that Jake tonight will be jiving to an Elvis song, and wonders aloud if dancing to THE KING will get Jake the STRICTLY CROWN. Ramps danced to Elvis once actually. It did not end well.

In his VT, Jake tells us that he was really nervous before his dance last week, but afterwards Donny Osmond told him he was cool, so it was all fine. It’s this sort of thing that makes me love Jake because I really can’t tell if he’s being sincere. It’s a bit like Nelson Muntz being really really into Andy Williams.

In training, Janette tells Jake that his jive will need to contain lots of kicks and flicks but Jake’s all “can I just wiggle my hips around again so everyone just stares at my arse and ignores everything else?”. Janette tells him that sure he can because this week he’s going to be playing…

well this is “Elvis Presley” apparently. Remind me never to play charades with Janette. Did you know that Janette’s favourite film is Ace Ventura incidentally? Between this and Karen Hauer’s love of The Mask, I bet backstage at Bum The Floor was a POSITIVE JIM CARREY RIOT (during which I would have worn earplugs at all time). Actually here’s the entire list of most of everyone else on the show’s favourite films, as transcribed by a Digital Spy Mental from Janette’s backstage videos (which have the production values of a cable access channel BUT which did once feature Thom Evans telling her to fuck off so…) :

Alison – Dirty Dancing, Terminator 2
Aljaz – The Departed
Anton – The Band Wagon
Caroline – The Color Purple
Frankie – Walk the Line
Iveta – Lethal Weapon
Janette – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Elizabeth
Jennifer – Love Actually
Joanne – Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Sister Act 2, Kindergarten Cop
Judy – Ghost
Karen – Dirty Dancing
Kevin – Strictly Ballroom
Mark – Con Air
Pasha – Meet Joe Black, The Matrix
Pixie – Factory Girl, The Football Factory, Chicago
Simon – Once Upon a Time in America
Steve – The Jungle Book
Sunetra – Life is Beautiful
Thom – The Shawshank Redemption
Tim – Cabaret
Tristan – Willow

See, when you’re useful, I can be nice! Learning that Iveta’s favourite film is Lethal Weapon is my favourite thing that happened all week. Also Joanne’s taste in films…explains so much.

Anyway, back to the show – Janette tells us that Elvis was “one of” the coolest and sexiest men of his era and she’s going to now try to do the same for Max Branning from Eastenders. Good luck with that. Janette’s first idea to get Jake cool points is to have him sing

Hound Dog, badly, in the BBC canteen, in a bad wig, to about 5 people. Well…even Elvis started somewhere…


It’s really odd – there’s a whole stage at the back where they could do this whole “Jake is elevated and lit by spotlights and looking iconic (*drink*)” thing and if they’d done it there they WOULDN’T have the problem of a great big podium in the middle of the dancefloor getting in the way the whole time. Really, really poor staging here, not to get on my high horse, but it’s going to be even worse in the next routine, so why not warm up now?

He’s dancing to “All Shook Up” in an awful version where the guitars clang far too loudly in the mix and really that sums up my problem with the dance. It’s clangy and aggressive and sloppy, particularly his arms which just look like they’re flailing about randomly. Elvis may have had too many cheeseburgers on occasion but he was always, always smooth. I mean

Jake can swing his hips for sure and he’s getting quite incredible height on his knees, but it’s all a bit flaily and desperate and uncontrolled. And

nobody needs to see a woman played like a musical instrument ever on this show ever again. I love him, I like his dancing generally, I thought this routine was a bit of a state.


Still if I was in the predicting game still, which obviously I am not, I would point out that his standing ovations are getting to about 0.8 Louis Smith levels of hysteria.

Even if they are Shane Ritchie assisted. Darcey starts for the judges shouting that Jake certainly SHOOK HER UP. She loved his knees and the fact that he showed no fear. Len however, is not going to let his free arm go, and says that it spent the whole dance just hanging there like a loose bit of knicker elastic. Audience boo, Len shouts “I’M OLD, FUCK OFF!”,

Audience go quiet, you know the drill by now.

Bruno follows, telling Jake that he admires his aggression and vitality but he needs to work on getting his top half to be as sharp as his bottom. So to speak. Craig closes by saying that Jake’s free arm looked awkward, but he admired the energy and performance. Not one of them mention the part where Jake stumbled getting around the podium, and slipped halfway across the room, which he only just got out of without falling over. Bloody podium.

Up to Claud 9 they jog, where Jake grins that he loved the jive, and Claudia moos a bit over the fact that his wife is in the audience. Such a sap. Scores are in

33. Darcey prefaces her score by saying “YOU CAN TELL I LIKED IT!”. Yes Darcey. That’s what the paddles are for.

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing the quickstep

Tess starts by saying that when Pasha asked Caroline to dance an intimate rumba last week she was all for it, but when he asked her to do the quickstep…SHE RAN A MILE. Well done Daly. I have no idea if that was supposed to be a joke or not. You have officially broken humour.

In her VT, soundtracked by ONE DIRECTION SINGING STEAL MY GIRL, HINT HINT Caroline says that doing the rumba last week was one of the greatest experiences of her life. In fact she tells us that she found it so emotional that she started

welling up a bit. Yeah, shirtless spaceman Pasha certainly made me a little moist in my tender parts as well. You’ll notice Pixie, that she “welled up”, she didn’t “sit there on the bed for 5 minutes poking herself in the eye”. Some people have got it, and some people aint.

In training, we cover, for the 750th time in this show history, well done, have a banana, just how QUICK the QUICKSTEP is. It’s QUITE QUICK. The idea is that Pasha has laid out a load of exercises for Caroline to do to make her quicker, but unfortunately Pasha’s acting is so bad that the only usable footage they get is basically just shots of feet and


LOOK AT THE ACTING! Maybe he can go to LA with Tahm and they can be the new Pacino and DeNiro. Of…a different genre of films.


So they’re dancing to “We Go Together Like Ship Woppa A Dee Whip Whip Woo Woo” from Grease. I knew it was too good to be true, getting away from Movie Week without having to suffer through a number from it. KNEW IT. Sadly Pasha and Caroline are not dressed as Danny and Slutty Sandy but

like a couple of good wholesome teens in lavender slacks. The dance starts well………for all of five seconds, by which point Caroline is too late to get to her hoopla station, so she just kind of drops one of the hoops on the floor and then Pasha gives her a giant teddy and

oh this all should have been better thought out. Mercifully Pasha is not Erin Boag, so Caroline doesn’t actually dance the whole routine with the thing (sorry Erin). Instead it just gets plonked on a carousel horse to utterly dominate the dance-floor and all our thoughts throughout. Like, it is literally impossible to focus on what Caroline is doing because there is a GIANT TEDDY in the middle of the floor sat on a horse. I swear, it’s like it’s

watching them, the whole time. My favourite part is that as soon as Caroline is away from it she gives a look right down camera as if to say

“WELL THAT WENT WELL, DIDN’T IT?”. The actual quickstep doesn’t seem too bad – a bit skippy, and a bit flat behind the eyes – but I think this may well have been a breakthrough if the hoopla hadn’t thrown her at the beginning.


It gets a Standing Ovation, and Len starts for the judges, calling her Sweet Caroline again and telling her that good times never came so good.

Not the words Len. Anyway, he loved the energy and thought that was the best dance of the night. Caroline and Pasha’s responses to this are

quite something. You were on last loves, and not (just) because you had the most baroque staging. It always had to be a possibility. Bruno follows by calling her the “sugar-coated sweet ingenue with a twinkle in your eyes” which, I’m sorry, made me laugh far more raucously and far more meanly than it should have. I’m fairly sure the last time Caroline got a twinkle in her eye she had to spend the next half hour washing it out with Optrex. Craig closes by calling her out on a couple of incidents, but saying that the whole thing was GAWJUSS. As he is wont to do.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where she is instantly obliterated by Pasha

gooning around with the teddy. This means that Claudia has no time to interview her, a fact which causes Pasha to pull an adorable

guilty face. Scores are in


Final leaderboard?

Standing Ovation Count?

Caroline, Frankie : 4
Alison, Jake, Pixie, Simon, Sunetra : 3
Mark, Steve, Thom : 2
Judy, Scott : 1
Tim : 0

Final poll to bring the mood down?



38 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 4 Performance

  1. Jan

    What’s going on with Trent? All the time he’s not dancing he gives off a kind of wearied “oh GOD” vibe. I quite like it, I’m just wondering if it’s how he’s feeling or a sense of humour I’m not understanding.

  2. Chris

    Not gonna lie, when you suggested Mark ought to talk to a therapist, I was so hoping that next picture was of Dr Pamela with the horrifying eyes.

    Comeback Charlestons – Patsy from her godawful quickstep, Chelsee from the nipslip tango, Richard from the foxtrot he flat out forgot, Nicky from the bottom two, Louis and his journey, Abbey from the bottom two, Natalie from her sick week, and Simon from the bottom two. (Thank you Ultimate Strictly, I have truly no idea why I spent my time looking that up) – add that to your spreadsheet.

    Is Jake Wood basically Mark Ramprakash: Sylvia Young Edition? Diffident and retiring man who comes alive when dancing, everyone loses their shit over his salsa, he looks a bit bemused by it all, and Janette isn’t averse to gurning…

    1. monkseal Post author

      He could be, but I don’t dislike any of the other contestants enough to be the Matt Dawson. Or the Bunton.

  3. JB

    I came to the conclusion that Tess’s quickstep “run a mile” comment wasn’t a joke, but only because Tess usually flags up a joke as subtly as Michael Bay does explosions, and then laughs by herself at her own hilarity to a backdrop of total silence.

    On the other hand, I suppose it might have been intended to be a joke, and no one told her.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think it was a reference to Caroline on the treadmill. Which hadn’t happened yet and wasn’t particularly notable when it did. Tess violating many of the laws of comedy at once there.

  4. Min

    Why was a dance to ‘Build me up buttercup’ danced over a floor of projected daffodils? Get the impression Staging had skived off last week and just left the radio on for burglars or something.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Oh it’s very real. I didn’t even use the shot of Thom sat next to Max actually fluffing himself up.

  5. Matt Clemson

    In Simpsons terms, I think I’m getting a bit of a “Blonde Sideshow Luke Perry” out of Trent.

    Now, about that photo you’ve selected for Aljaz sitting on his own during training. His hands, specifically. Did you, er, pick that photo for any *particular* reason?

  6. Neio

    If Tristan wants to continue keeping his face front and centre, I have no objections. Or if he wants to put it anywhere else…

    I did enjoy Mark’s Quickstep, although it didn’t really bear close inspection. I think the Aljaz effect of those white trousers helped though, if I’m honest.

    There’s something so likeable about Caroline, I’d say she’s my favourite. The props in her routine were ridiculous though. I’d missed that look straight down the camera on the night, but that’s priceless!

  7. Jenny

    Love how the Murray conversation was so damn perfect you printed it verbatim. Judy is the new Gavin Henson.

    Trent is a dessicated Craig McLachlan.

  8. Catherine

    Surely Trent is Barty Ziff (Marge and Arty Ziff) in the Simpsons or one of the young Flanders?

    Also, I am loving Judy, who appears to be having a ball even if she can’t dance.

  9. Marcela

    Hi, Monkseal!
    Thanks for the recap, as good as ever! I’m always careful to read your blog only at home because having fits of laughter in public it’s not a good look. Ahem. Like when Tristan said to Alison “madam, I’m just here to look pretty, move along” <3.

    I can’t live without Iveta’s Social Media Corner anymore, or at least until the end of December. Strangely, I liked Tham’s dance this week, I think it was the first week that he showed some sort of improvement and also a bit of personality which made me connect with him (no pun intended).

    Scott is in a very strange situation. He looks totally annoyed at being made the comedy contestant and I think he really hoped that doing Strictly he would learn to dance and would be judged fairly – something that, the minute the producers realized he wouldn’t learn to dance in a million years therefore deciding to make him dress as crab obviously didn’t happen. As a result he looks like a wounded animal and according I read somewhere (if true), he’s firing on all cylinders on Twitter in order to garner the sympathy vote. But not like Kate Garroway Nice Lady sympathy vote, he seems to be slowly entering Jan Ravens/Craig Kelly territory which is never, ever good. Unless he answers back to the judges a la James Jordan and causes a backlash, he’ll probably see off most contestants from the mid leaderboard like Sunetra, Simon, Steve and Thom. I honestly hope I’m wrong.

  10. Marie

    I thought that picture of Max and Thom was some kind of bizarre fan art until the comments above. I’d say there’s been some very awkward silences at their family gatherings over the past couple of years.

  11. Muggsy

    You know those times when you get the giggles and you just can’t stop? The description of Bruno as “naught but a blur of limbs and gibbering” caused one of those.

  12. missfrankiecat

    You are very unlikely to see Andy this Saturday, MS. Somewhat disobligingly he has suddenly started getting to finals and winning tournaments – if he carries on this way he will be in Spain on Saturday and Judy will have to tease us for another week.

  13. stevenperkins

    Going to LA to act has been part of THAAM’s plan for a while – he was on the cover of Attitude (I only bought it for the articles, honest) a few months back where they did an extensive LA-based interview with him about it, despite the fact that he hadn’t actually done anything yet. They just talked about all the theoretical roles he might get, and what they might be like. And then they took 1000 pictures of him in his pants, which was clearly the point of the whole thing in the first place so I don’t know why they felt they had to actually justify it with words.

    And then about a week after it went off sale Thom announced he was doing Strictly, and made that whole article look a bit silly. Tee hee hee.

  14. Tom

    Love the picture of Pixie in the Clauditorium. Somehow if you did a face meld of Kevin and Mark, that would sum up my feelings about Pixie’s “crying”.


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