Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 6 Performance

WoooooooooooOOOOOoooooOOOOOoooooo and stuff.

Having Claudia taken from us is one cruelty.

Having her ghastly temporary Malibu Claudia persona pop up before the episode to tell me not to vote, because it’s just for fun, another.

Last week :

You shook your tits, or you hit the bricks, as the two best received routines of the night hinged on wanton whirling of one’s wobblies. Sure Steve, Frankie and Jake all did some nice enough ballroom, but the night belonged to SAMBA for the first time in Strictly history (yes, even when they used to do Samba Week).

This week :

Yes, it’s Hallowe’en Week – the one week of the year when the shambling slack-faced mouldering undead haul themselves up out of their crypts and go “oh no not another theme week why can’t it be like in the old days when they had appropriate music and all the men dressed in tails like gentlemen I hate it stupid props I hope Karen complains about this on Choreography Corner”.


Erin Island, drinks are free
Rum and vodka, there’s enough for everyone
All that’s missing is the glitterball

(Well, it sort of scans. Maybe Brenda could bring his Christian Youth Group musical stylings to the place and improve the lyrics…)

As it’s Hallowe’en we’re due a massively OTT opening pro/celeb co-dance and this one

is opened with Alison dressed as a gospel singer knocking at the door of a spooky mansion in the middle of the night. Sadly this does not lead to TIME WARP. Frankly, if I had my way, it would be mandatory to crowbar at least one TIME WARP into every Hallowe’en Special but if we can’t have that, then we can have the next-best Meatloaf related thing – Bat Out Of Hell.

That’s Ola under there by the way. The full skeleton make-up and draft excluder on her head wasn’t enough, so they’ve stuck a bat-mask on her. Makes sense.

In this particular scenario the Bat is

Anton as Dracula. Presumably the hell is backstage dog-wrangling. All the pros jive around him as his (grand)children of the night until the man himself

takes to the wires and flies about and does somersaults and so on. I can’t decide if it’s more surprising that Anton has been roped into doing the gimmicky wirework or that his hair manages to stay on whilst he does so. The celebs involvement as you might expect is pretty much limited to them

standing there waving their arms about with the mouths wide open. Apparently even this tiny bit of extra homework was enough to cause a good third of them to forget their proper routines so…

I do like this as a closing image though. When this show is cancelled, and Anton inevitably wins the final series, I want this image to be what takes us into a cold hard post-Strictly world where I have to try to grub for blog hits off The Great British Interior Design Challenge.

The band strikes up and down the stairs, accompanied by mummies, are

oh. Tess explains that Claudia can’t be with us tonight as one of her children is ill so Zoe will be stepping into the void, as an experienced presenter of live tv, host of It Takes Two, and a past Strictly contestant.

This is a SISTERLY hug. She is definitely not suggesting that if Zoe tries to take her job she will stick her face in a deep fat fryer. Those fingernails are definitely not digging into anyone’s sides.

Zoe waves awkwardly, apologises to everyone for their having to put up with her this evening, and bigs up the opening pro routine. Tess asks everyone if they’re ready for some FRIGHTENINGLY good routines tonight and everyone goes “YES!” except this woman

who stares right down the camera-lens going “no seriously, where’s Claudia?” with her face. Or maybe…she’s a ghoooooooostttt. Zoe reminds us that last week saw the closest dance-off so far this series, as Thom and Simon faced off in a battle to be the second-least relevant hunk this series, a battle won by Simon hooray. This decision was presided over by our judges, who take this as their queue to dance on

I’ve given Darcey some stick over this bit in past so I’ll just say she’s the only one getting the Thriller arms right. Lord only knows what Bruno is doing.

The Countess Of Shroudshire & The Thing Under The Bed dancing the jive

Tess tells Brendan that unfortunately he won’t be able to get a drink at the bar after the show because…THEY DON’T SERVE SPIRITS!

Oh Tess. On current evidence I don’t think he’ll be waiting until after the show to hit the bottle.

In her VT, Sunetra says that everything came together for her in her Viennese Waltz – the costumes, the choreography, the performance the

Brenda doin’ a clap at the side like a proud daddy. She felt it was the best version of that dance that she could have done. Personally I could have done without the Cilla hair myself but there we are.

Training now and

this week’s jive training appears to be going slightly less well. Sunetra tells us that she will be dancing to “Tainted Love” – the original version. And to my mind the best version, aand I can’t imagine getting much traction on that but let’s do a poll anyway :

Sunetra goes on to say that as a long-time viewer of Strictly it’s a real honour to make it to Hallowe’en Week, just like past Strictly legends Tina O’Brien, Audley Harrison and Sid Owen. Brendan tells her that she should use some of her experience from Casualty being surrounded by human gore, guts, gloop and glop to help her get into the Hallowe’en spirit and then Sunetra very earnestly

explains that they don’t really use actual human entrails on Casualty, because it’s all pretend. This is news to Brenda, which rather suggests his partnership with Sarah Manners wasn’t characterised by them sitting around making small talk WHAT A SURPRISE.

This all culminates in a Comedy VT bit where Brenda walks in on Sunetra doing an operation in the training room and being all NOOO SUNETRA YOU’RE NOT A REAL DOCTOR and then it turns out that Sunetra was just playing Operation THE BOARD GAME and all the blood on the floor was just ketchup from the bacon sandwich she’d made for Brenda the end.



First time Brenda’s been under a female celebrity’s bed since he left that present in a Tuppperware box under Bloody Lulu’s floorboards. Here he is : the ghostly sex-pea under Princess Sunetra’s mattress, which she detects immediately, waking her up with a

fright, her having apparently gone to bed in a full corset and make-up. BEAUTY STANDARDS, EH, AM I RITE LADIES? There then follows some

bedography, because what in this world is more spooky than a furniture removal man? All jokes aside, I do like the theming here, Sunetra is giving it great

flailing Scream Queen, and it is noticeable that of all the female celebrities she is being dressed in the most flattering fashion overall this year, the occasional damp bum-crack sequin stain aside. The jive however was never going to be her dance, as most of Sunetra’s strengths lie in wafting her arms and being romantic and the jive is a dance of kicking and sliding and pumping (like a fat old spaniel going downstairs), none of which are really her thing. She’s great fun, but she’s getting less air off her kicks than Aljaz could get lifting Alison, and it’s kind of noticeable that most her power is coming from her elbows.


Fun Fact : Brenda is the only pro now who has attended every Strictly Hallowe’en Special, and this is his third time now trying to cover up his female celebrity’s natural jive deficiencies via theming. This one I think falls somewhere in the middle of TIME WARP and Sophie The Female Lobster Vampire Dentist From Uranus on the success scale.

Tess uses this opportunity to welcome the band, including Davarch who has come in full Hallowe’en Costume as

Colin From Accounts. Len starts for the judges, saying that Sunetra started well but became a little careful and lost some of the flair of the dance as she went on. The audience boo this and Len says that he’s just being FRANK SUNETRA (good grief…) and besides anyone who wakes up with Brendan Cole under their bed deserves to have a good jive. (FUN FACT : jive was the dance Kerplunk was in the Bottom Two on I’m saying nothing). Bruno follows, saying that Sunetra must have been exhausted from shagging Brenda and then moving the furniture around, so it’s no wonder the dance turned into a rumba in the middle. It says something that a rumba to Tainted Love wouldn’t even be in the top three most bizarre music choices this evening.

Craig follows, saying that the dance was laboured, and lacked punch and energy, but she’s a natural mover and did the dance justice. Tess cackles that at the moment she’s a NATURAL HEAVY BREATHER when

it’s Brenda who looks more in need of an inhaler to be honest. Darcey closes by marvelling that only Sunetra could find a way to make the jive look elegant, but she agrees with the boys that *fast forward*.

Up to the Ball Pit they loom, after Brenda asks Tess if they can just do ballroom dances for the rest of the series (way to sell your partner there Brends) where

Tristan lurks with his mouth sewn on and what looks like a rasher of bacon under his nose. Zoe empathises with Sunetra about how hard jive is from WHEN SHE WAS HERE AND SHE DONE IT (miss you alesha), before reaching at her corset to

fiddle with the laces. Sunetra points out to her that if she does that, then her tits will fall out so Zoe falls back on the show’s most eternal safety-net – asking Brenda how proud he is of HIS GIRL. However even that doesn’t work overmuch any more as Brenda pretty much just says “…well she was ok”. He doesn’t even give a big speech about how wonderful the entire production of Hallowe’en Week is. Seriously, I’m starting to wonder if I might have to rename the place Brenda Island. Scores are in


Catherine Earnshaw & Heathcliffe dancing the American Smooth

Alison’s full dramatic range in two pictures there. I will say this – I am not one for guyliner but Aljaz is absurdly pretty of the face tonight. Tess tells us that Alison is about to put the “high” into Wuthering Heights. Or more accurately, the “HI BABES!”.

VT Time, and Alsion says that she was really nervous before starting her tango, because she was about to show the audience a whole new side to her. One which she’s glad that Bruno appreciated, even if no-one else did. She tells us that the reason her tango might have lacked aggression is that she’s just not naturally an aggressive person babes. That and

they’d dressed her up as a 2-for-1 Sainsbury’s Christmas Pudding.

In training now, Aljaz tells us that Alison will be dancing an American Smooth, and that she will be playing Cathy and he will be playing Heathcliffe from the book Wuthering Heights. I do try to avoid Funny Foreign jokes (outside of recapping Iveta) (and Natalie) (and Brian when he was here) (oh alright, I don’t avoid trying to do Funny Foreign jokes at all) but the way Aljaz says the name Heathcliffe makes me think he’s probably thinking of the cartoon cat.

He’s lucky he’s pretty.

Fortunately Alison is here to teach Aljaz that the story of Wuthering Heights is about Cathy and how she “went a bit crazy on the moors” which she then helpfully

illustrates thusly, as Alison whirls around swishing a tea-towel about, demanding MORE SMOKE BABES. All of this is soundtracked by Kate Bush (“Running Up That Hill” and “Army Dreamers” specifically) which makes me long for more misguided attempts to make Kate Bush happen on this show.


It all starts with Alison on a giant swing,

and pulling the most demented faces as the plinky-plonky piano that signals the start of Wuthering Heights plays. LOOK AT THAT FACE! This is not “Gothic yearning passionate ghost returning to claim the soul and life of her former gypsy orphan lover” – this is “OMG BABES THERE’S A SALE ON AT TK MAXX, LET ME HAVE IT, LET ME GRAB YOUR CUT PRICE LEGGINGS!”. I know I went on a lot about bad taste choreography and how to do it right during Scott’s American Smooth but…it’s this. Exactly this. I should have just said “wait for Alison in two weeks time and you’ll see” because this is delirious and hilarious and the highest of high camp. She looks like she’s come straight out of Jim Henson’s Workshop. She looks like a parade float centrepiece. She looks like Grimace. She’s whirling around the floor, flinging her arms above her head with gay abandon and an absolute delight in movement I haven’t seen on this show since Flavia Cacace sprinted into the Blackpool Tower Ballroom car-park after Craig Kelly got eliminated, threw her entire body through the open driver’s side passenger window and yelled “LET’S ROLL!”

I mean, I’m sure you can’t fully appreciate the joy I got from this routine unless you had my childhood, which doing the routine from the video for Wuthering Heights formed a central plank of, in the gardens of friends houses at parties insisting they join in as well, on pain of restarting the record all over again, but for me it’s what Hallowe’en Week on Strictly is all about. Great big campy whirling froth. My favourite part is how her arm hankies are so voluminous and flappy that when she whirls them they look like the loosened strait-jacket flaps of an escaped mental patient.

Easily the greatest Hallowe’en Moment since Time Warp and

if you don’t think this specific image should be featured on the front of all copies of Wuthering Heights from now on then frankly I don’t understand you.

Or maybe this one.

Meanwhile, up on the Ballcony Frankie

applauds in the most tepid manner possible. Kids today. Once they’re over at Tess, Alison hoots that she loved that dance, and Tess grins that she really must be falling in love with ballroom. Alison gives her notice that it…was pretty much just that she was dancing to Wuthering Heights but if Tess wants to put that spin on it, then that’s fine. Bruno starts for the judges by swinging his arms around and deploying a weather simile so tortuous (“you descended from the skies like a fairweather cloud then turned into a hurricane of emotions”) that

even the This Morning presenter can’t quite visualise it. He liked her commitment but her footwork in hold was sketchy. Alison laughs that she “FELT LIKE SHE SMASHED IT!”

clearly not being at all serious. You can tell it’s a genuine joke because she hasn’t added “babes” to the end BABES. Craig follows by saying that Alison had one of the campest entrances he’s ever seen (and he’s seen plenty of camp entrances in his time) but her feet were far too turned out and he thought the wafty arms were “a bit too much”. NEVER CRAIG. NEVER COULD THEY BE TOO MUCH.

Darcey follows, saying that it was great seeing Alison enjoying every second of the dance but she did feel, as the boys were saying *fast forward*. Len closes by saying that as far as he’s concerned you can’t waft enough (*cough*KARA’S AMERICAN SMOOTH*cough*) and he loved how masculine Aljaz was. The whole thing made him smile.

Up to the Ballcony they apparate, where Alison and Zoe (correctly) spend about 5 minutes waxing lyrical about how amazing Wuthering Heights is and about 5 seconds

waving hello to Alison’s mum. HI ALISON’S MUM! There does seem to be a bit of a curse of the mums going on this series actually. Natalie’s mum being here the week she did that Charleston, Thom’s mum last week, and now Alison being Bottom 2 and Scott eliminated this week when their mums are here…Maybe Caroline had a point banning hers from the show. Zoe jokes that her mummy is here as well this week

A HA HA HA HA! Made more of an impact on the competition than your dad did Zoe. Scores are in


A Bluebottle and a Black Widow dancing the paso doble

Tess tells us that this week is going to be difficult for Simon because the PASO DOBLE IS A VERY HARD DANCE FOR THE MALE CELEBRITIES WHAT ARE SCARED OF SPIDERS TO DO. Makes as much logical sense as most of the other assertions of its type I guess.

In his VT Simon, not all defensive from the off, says that he thinks his Viennese Waltz went very well and that 28 was a very respectable score. But hey ho they were in the deadly middle of the leaderboard so obviously they were going to be in danger. (Elimination leaderboard positions thus far : 13th= of 15, 12th= of 14, 12th of 13, 9th of 12, 10th of 11). Simon tells us he was very sad to be up against his mate Thom in the dance-off – so sad that it pushed him to the brink of tears.

Sadly nobody noticed as Mark Wright had sunk to his knees clawing at his face and screaming like the end of Planet Of The Apes.

Training now, and Kristina tells Simon that as it’s Hallowe’en (and he isn’t Ann Widdecombe and hence allowed to refuse fun of all kinds) they’re going to have to theme their paso doble in a spooky way. Kristina has decided that she’s going to be a big evil spider. Simon baulks at this, because he is afraid of spiders. Kristina probably should have explained at this point that “big evil spider” just means “I’ll be in a skintight catsuit” just like “magician’s cat” meant “I’ll be in a skintight catsuit” and “it’s Tuesday” means “I’ll be in a skintight catsuit”. Still, it fills a Hallowe’en VT so Kristina brings in some outside assistance, and after much cajoling, Simon

finally puts his hand on her big hairy tarantula. Just like [*name removed on advice of lawyers*]


Poor Simon is trapped, as the start of “Poison” by Alice Cooper plays (<3) and Kristina advances on him demonically.

Is anyone getting “spider” from that? Anyone? Kristina grabs Simon and bites his wrist as he gives amazing

WTF? face and then he is unhitched and they paso doble. He’s a little ginger and mechanical and he doesn’t really finish any of his lines but like Sunetra he’s pulled up by the theming and campness of the whole thing and the level of power he’s having to bring to match up with just how demented Kristina’s Black Widow routine is. Seriously, she gnashing her teeth at him more than I was at semi-shirtless spaceman Pasha. Simon goes full blast to keep up until… the end of the routine when

he stands there like a big lemon for ages, then throws Kristina through his legs then does a pointless cartwheel

back into the webbing again. Not the first time a male celebrity has wound up sticky after a prematurely completed routine with Kristina’s spider etc etc

It gets a very fleeting standing ovation, but you can tell from Simon’s lip-chewing that he feels he could have done it better. Craig starts for the judges, saying that the whole routine was very strong and ferocious on Simon’s part but he needed to accentuate his lines more to produce more authentic paso shaping and obviously he went “a bit haywire” at the end. Darcey follows by saying that Simon should add poison to his routine every week because that was great. Critique straight out of the Len Goodman “just say the name of the song that they were dancing to” School Of Advanced Critique there.

Len is next, and asked by Tess if Simon has done enough to avoid a third dance-off.

Simon really doesn’t look like he needed the reminder there Tess. Len is non-committal, saying that he shouldn’t have been in either of his first two either, so he doesn’t know. He liked the power and the attack but felt the routine lacked finesse. BUT IF YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT CAHMIN AHT AND GOIN AHT AND GETTIN AHT THERE AND GIVIN IT PLENNY then Simon definitely did that. Well…I don’t want to talk about that Len, because it’s all you ever talk about these days but ok. Bruno closes by saying that Simon CAME BACK STRONG and PROVED EVERYONE WRONG…apart from the part where he was so captivated by Kristina’s beauty that he couldn’t dance.

Up into the Zo-zone they scuttle, where Kristina is very effusive in her support for Simon, and Zoe asks him if things really did go wrong. Simon gives good mock “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT WINK WINK” as I am

briefly captivated by Scott and Jake in this same shot at the same time. It’s like a Mitchell Brothers musical theatre reunion. Zoe congratulates Kristina on getting into her cat-suit, and Simon on having a daughter turning 18 today. Zoe beams “you’d never know to look at him, would you?” which…I don’t think that’s helping his middle-England vote Zoe even if it ever existed. Simon blows kisses to his daughter – his daughter wonders when X Factor’s going to start. Scores are in

29. I’d get annoyed at Darcey for her “ZOMG CRAIG IS SCORING A MEAN!!!!” routine, but her pumpkin paddles are just the cutest this week, so I’ll let her off.

Ling Ling The Panda And His Skeleton Bride dancing the Charleston

Seriously, I just don’t think Steve, with his constant upbeat demeanour, is really a Hallowe’en person. They’ve dressed up as the blighted undead – he looks like he’s just had a nummy mouthful of bamboo. Tess tells us that, as it’s a special Strictly occasion, Bruce is back for one of his promised cameos.

(Not really it’s just some joke about how Craig is a big old meanie ho hum)

In his VT, Steve tells us that the waltz for him was about finding out if he could do something refined and romantic. As much as a routine being done around a kiddie’s paddling pool with a cheap water feature from Homebase plonked in it could ever be romantic and refined. He was pleased that it went so well, and that it allowed him to break the (non-Donny) 30 barrier.

Training now, and Steve tells us that he’ll be doing his Charleston dressed as a skeleton, which is great, because skeletons are one of his true passions.

Not so much one of Ola’s, by the looks of it. He tells her that to share with her his love of bones, he’s going to take her to spend the night att the Natural History Museum. Then he

does a weird laugh and she looks scared, which just about sums up Hallowe’en Week VTs really doesn’t it? “We’re doing a thing!” “Why?” “BECAUSE IT’S SPOOKY!” “How is that conceivably spooky?” “Erm…MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that’s how” “Oh ok”.

Anyway, Steve takes Ola around the Natural History Museum at night and teaches her about long-departed beasts of the past and Ola’s all “yeah I know, he tweets along with the show every week” and then

there’s a scary dinosaur and something I dunno.


The routine starts

perkily enough, unless you’re enough of a pedant to be wondering why it’s not mummies coming out of those sarcophagi, and I think the choice of “Dem Bones” is a good one – it’s cute and jazzy and upbeat and old-fashioned and

for a while the routine sort of works. But very quickly it becomes apparent that he hasn’t really got the (*ahem*) bones of the routine itself down pat. He loses his place quite a few times and has to check with Ola to mirror what she’s doing, he gets really stiff and heavy and baffled-looking, and generally it all just seems a bit under-rehearsed. It feels like they’ve approached the actual meat of the routine as inconvenient padding for when he can do the big lifts which

we already know he can do, and he’s done better before. Indeed it all closes on a

one-armed lift that doesn’t feel like dancing so much as weightlifting in bizarre costumes. Which I’d watch at a piss-around like the Olympics but on a serious dance show like this it feels a bit out of place.

Once they’re over at the judges, Darcey gives thanks that it was just the boring bits of the routine that went wrong rather than the lifts otherwise we’d be trying to extract half of Ola from up Steve’s nose. She says that she’s sorry that he missed so much of the routine, because it really took away from the whole performance. Len follows by joking that Steve needed GUTS to do that but unfortunately he kept on going wrong. He liked the lifts – the rest was a bit of a mess. Bruno is next, and says that Steve and Ola were goofy and chirpy (the forgotten dwarves) and no-one can take away from their charm, but he thought that routine was over-ambitious for him and that all the tricks got the better of him and held his performance back.

Craig closes by saying that it felt more like a study in osteology than a dance

(drawn on skeleton-mouth will make anyone look camper than usual won’t it?) and the lifts were messy. Darcey baas “noooooo” and then Craig snits that they were messy actually Darcey and she’ll realise it when she watches the show back. Hands up who thinks Darcey ever watches the show back? Thought so.

Up to the Ball-Room they clink, where Zoe does her best to get him hyped up over the fact that he did a one-armed lift but Steve is inconsolable, grizzling about how he got all the tricky stuff right but the basics went wrong.

Somehow the skeleton onesie makes the soul-shaking moment of self-doubt more pathetic (in the classical sense of the word). Zoe does the usual “none of us noticed a single thing going wrong” routine which sets off a very mean (and hilarious) fit of the giggles from Natalie.

Zoe then asks Steve about how he has a house full of bones, and Steve clarifies that they are animal bones not human bones and then realises that this…still sounds kind of weird. Don’t worry Steve, I’m sure there’s plenty in the audience for whom “Steve Backshall’s House Of Bones” sounds positively enticing. Scores are in


Madame du Pompadour and her Demon Barber dancing the tango

Tess does a very weak joke about how Pixie is an absolute SCREAM and then offers her Gummies to the guy sitting next to her who

looks a bit bored of being the set-up for mummy-related shenanigans to be quite honest with you. I guess it’s not my own personal Hallowe’en Dream, the sexy mummy of several Hallowe’ens ago so it’s understandable. Where did you go, my bandaged Egyptian undead dream man? *sigh*

In her VT, Pixie says that she had so much fun last week, but the routine was so fast-moving that she barely had time to savour it. We’re reminded of Len telling her she made him want to get his maracas out, and Pixie grins that that’s the sort of line she wants to be hearing from Len. I think I can safely speak for us all when I say she’s alone on that one. She says that’s really enjoying performing live every Saturday Night on Strictly Come Dancing. As opposed to performing live every Sunday Night on the Dancing On Ice Results Show.

Training now and Pixie says that as it’s Hallowe’en Week, their tango is going to have to be really spooky. To help get her in the mood, Trent decides to take her to see the scariest sight in all Westminster.

Out-of-work actors doing improv work in bad Cockney accents in some disused warehouse masquerading as the JACK THE RIPPER EXPERIENCE for six months of the year before its being converted into a pop-up bistro for the spring/summer markets. This guy gets Pixie to put her hand in his box (…) and then Trent feels her up through it (…) and then
Pixie runs off as Scooby Doo noises play (…) and then Trent

does a feeble attempt at an evil laugh and then deadpans “it’s just me!” like every moment of him maybe regretting giving up a plum gig as Bum The Floor Dance Captain for this can be heard in that one sentence and then

this happens. Sweet Zombie Jesus and all the orphans.


I have no idea who came up with the idea of a creepy hairdressers, but like Michael Vaughan’s undead magician it’s one of those left-field Hallowe’en ideas that just works.

Mostly for the hair, although Trent as a psychotic crimper is by far the most personality he’s shown so far as well. Seriously, this is the greatest Strictly Hair Moment since Alesha shaking out her weave at the beginning of Crazy In Love. Being given big hair has also granted Pixie with

orgasmic electric-shock powers, because of course it has, just like it did Sarah Jessica Parker in the 80s. This all ties in with the fact that they’re dancing their tango to “Danger! High Voltage!” by Electric Six. The only thing that would make this more perfect is if they were both sporting the light-up codpieces from the video. It’s an incredibly dramatic, campy and fun tango and honestly it truly is the wig that sets it all off. Every time Pixie snaps her head to one side it flourishes behind her and accentuates the drama. Huge kudos to her for wearing it so well and also Trent

for not ever sneezing once, as far as I can tell, despite the fact that he must have been picking bits of fluff out of his nose for hours afterwards. Kudos also to him for the choreography which is incredibly 80s and soft rock with lots of

power-grasps and Billy Idol sneers and is deliciously ludicrous.

In the end Pixie murders Trent for screwing up her hair because of course she does everything about this routine is just right.

Except for the audience, or at least the front two rows of it, who remain resolutely on their seats. Well if Hallowe’en is doing nothing else it’s pegging back my Standing Ovations spreadsheet to a more realistic level. Len starts for the judges, saying that the dance was both SHOCKING and HAIR-RAISING, and a great routine, but Pixie has a queer right elbow. To be fair Len

her left elbow’s looking pretty queer for Trent right now. He’s not a hitching post dear, lay off the poor chap. Meanwhile up on Zoe’s Zenith

Mark and Karen watch on with some serious hair envy. I mean…Karen’s hairs been teased out but…no competition. Bruno follows up from Len, saying that Pixie delivered an amazing tango and there was a lot of characterisation in there, which Craig also praises in his critique. Darcey closes by saying that personally she thought there were too many fussy little bits of detail to the point that it all started to get a bit messy, but she loved Pixie’s attitude and attack.

Up to Zoe’s Zenith they style and Natalie

immediately plunges both of her arms in there and doesn’t let up. This picture is also notable for a very sad Steve-Panda stood at the back clutching an orange lolly. B’aww. Zoe tells Pixie that that dance was so good it made her go cross-eyed and that all the pros up on her Zenith were saying how good it was. Pixie replies that she really enjoyed getting to be angry for once, because she doesn’t normally get the opportunity, and I briefly ponder excitedly that Pixie might have deep dark rage issues that might explode when she’s inevitably in a Shock Bottom Two fingers crossed but then

Zoe too gets sucked into Pixie’s hair. By the end of the show I think it’s going to have its own eco-system. Scores are in


Cruella De Vil and Jasper dancing the American Smooth

Tess tells us that normally the American Smooth is a dance where the man is in charge, but this week Judy has been “taking the lead”.

This conjures up so many unfortunate images in my mind and I want all of them projected onto a video wall directly in front of Andy Murray.

VT time, and Judy says that she loved the Charleston, particularly all the swimming and the kicking. Oh…Charlestons. Anton for his part says that he was really thrilled that the judges praised Judy for upping her performance levels. Still marked her lower than Scott though #JUSTICEFORJUDY. Judy closes her VT by grinning that she’s finally found her feet on the dancefloor.

Mostly via Anton taking them off it as often as possible.

Training now, and Judy tells us all that her American Smooth is being themed around Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, which is apparently Judy’s favourite movie (this week). Well it won’t be the first time that Judy’s dancing is a little spotty.

Anton clues Judy in that Hallowe’en Week is all about spookiness, fancy dress and

pointless self-abasement. Judy cackles “WHAT IS THAT?” as Anton enters the room, as the rest of us have been doing for a decade now. The sad thing is that the routine would have gone so much better with Anton dressed like that. Of course this alone is not enough for a Hallowe’en VT so Judy

turns into a witch and magics Anton into being an actual dog yadda yadda and then they dance.


The show begins with Judy descending gracefully from the rafters in a flying car, just like Cruella De Vil did, screaming “BRING ME THOSE PUPPIES!” at the top of her lungs in a thick Scottish accent. Of course as you might expect

the actual dogs are having none of this, much to Anton’s chagrin. Maybe they had a fight backstage? It wouldn’t be the first time on this show that there’s been a problem with puppies falling out on Hallowe’en EH CHELSEE? Once Judy’s got out the car and the dogs have run off safely backstage, she starts doing the American Smooth and…I think whatever performance breakthrough happened in her Charleston has broke back in a bit, as she’s back to alternating between a rictus grin and a look of intense concentration again. The thought of Judy Murray as a tyranical dog-skinning fashionista obviously is enough camp appeal to carry the whole dance without her having to actually…you know, dance but it does feel like she just

wants to be lifted at this point. Which is a shame because her foxtrot moves about the floor faster than she seemed capable of even a few weeks ago and she’s not as stiff as she was. Needless to say the bits of shoulder-shrugging, finger-clicking jazzy flair that mark the dance out as American Smooth are…not Judy’s forte, and about as casual and smooth as Dom Littlewood in a singles bar.


Once they’re over at Tess, Anton is guffawing it up about how he blames Judy entirely for the doggy mishap. I guess he does himself have ample experience guiding dogs around the dancefloor from when he was partnered with (*insert your own punchline here I’m far too much of a gentleman for that*). Speaking of gentlemen, Bruno starts for the judges saying that Judy was more like a rescue dog out on the floor than a greyhound but she is at least consistant in delivering every week what is expected of her – absolutely nothing. Bruno confirming there that doing absolutely nothing on this show will still get you at least 5 points from most of the judges. Craig follows by saying that the dogs had more grace and style than Judy did

But on the other hand much less of a sense of humour, based on their sniffy refusal to perform. You have to give Judy that.

Darcey follows by saying that it was a real shame that Judy went out of character so often during the routine and Len closes by saying that the routine had a lot of content and he thought Judy made a decent attempt at the character. I think what she really needed was Andy and Jamie as Horace and Jasper. That would have made it. Poo on them for going around actually winning at tennis and stuff and spoiling everything.

PS : imagine Anton doing TURBO ANTON BANTER over the top of all that, almost as though he’s realised that him almost garotting a dalmatian on live tv might not have gone down so well…

Up to the Ballustrade they scamper, where Zoe (after a quick Cary Grant reference) tells Judy that she looks amazing and that Zoe looks forward to seeing her dance every week. I actually find this whole schtick more sincere seeming from Zoe than either Tess or Claudia, but also I maybe actually prefer that Claudia all but winks to the camera whilst saying it. I shall ponder… She asks Judy if she enjoyed being Cruella and she says that she did. In fact she wanted to shout more at the beginning but Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig wouldn’t allow her to. Briefly the image of Judy yelling “BRING ME THOSE FUCKING PUPPIES YA WEE SHITE!” enters my head and I am complete. Anton briefly jokes about how he was worried about the dogs “going on the floor”. Looking at Judy’s face throughout, it wouldn’t be the dogs continence that I’d be trying to safeguard. Finally, Zoe reveals that the real Sharon Stone is now following Judy’s progress and rooting for her on Strictly, following her comments of last week. The attendees on the Ballustrade do a variety of “…..SURE she is Zoe” faces but

Aliona’s is my favo. Scores are in


The Headless Horseman But With A Head and…A Sexy Ant? dancing the paso doble

Sorry, I don’t get those costumes on any level. Apparently this routine is a tribute to Sleepy Hollow. In reality it feels like Ashley’s tango last year or Jimi’s paso doble from way back. “WE’VE OUT OF THEMES LOVE, JUST STICK HIM IN SOME COLOURED CONTACTS AND SAY HE’S A SPOOKY JOCKEY OR A POSSESSED LAUNDRY BASKET OR SOMETHING.”

In his VT, Jake repeats what an honour and privilege it was to be chosen to open the show last week and to get to set the bar for what was to follow. Jake is an odd mixture of laid-back cool and incredible seriousness isn’t he? I’m still amused by Craig saying on It Takes Two that before his dance every week he sits backstage in a little Cone Of Concentration and refuses to speak to anybody else. I hope he dresses up like The Karate Kid to do it.

Training now, and as Janette tells Jake it’s Hallowe’en Week this week he gives a half-hearted cheer and says it’s one of the best weeks of the show. I dunno, I’m a big fan of Week 9 myself. Janette then waxes lyrical about what a great spooky headless horseman theme she’s got lined up for Jake and he’s all

yeah super smashing spooky thumbs up woo. Frustrated,

Janette abandons him in some spooky woods or something. According to Jake’s address card he’s in “The Spooky Woods, W666” which…I’m not familiar with because I try not to go out beyond Ruislip too often if I can avoid it. Jake wanders around the spooky misty haunted woods calling out for Janette and wondering aloud “what would Max Branning do?” (LOL) before he stumbles across Janette

riding a horse. Which, if the rumours about Pasha are true, she did every night backstage at Bum The Floor *wink*. (There are no rumours, calm down)


Maybe she’s a witch? Is there a witch in Sleepy Hollow? I’m starting to come to the conclusion that following the Dalmatian Fiasco, Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig had Jake’s planned horseback entrance melted down and made into glue, leaving this all feeling a bit hollow – all they’ve got is a flaming horse way back on the video wall that just reminds me of Pokemon (yes a Pokemon themed Hallowe’en dancce would be amazing thanks for asking). They are dancing their paso doble to noted equestrian classic “Black Betty” (Fun Fact : Black Betty is a musket) and Jake is actually suitably

unsettling, although the sinister effect is ruined immediately by

naff CGI bats flying out of his cloak when he starts wafting it. If they’re going for the full crummy 70s horror experience we probably should have all been given a scratch’n’sniff card with the authentic smells of damp, blood, and BBC canteen sauerkraut. I don’t know if it’s this undercutting the whole routine that did it, but the whole thing did feel a little underpowered to me. It’s like the underplaying yin to Simon’s frantic yang. Everything feels a bit walked through and paced and the less said about the bizarre air-guitar flamenco hands the better. For someone who’s turned the personality on on the floor every week so far, this is a bit of a disappointment.

Ickybod indeed.

It gets a standing ovation, and Tess chats a little with Jake about how this was the first week that Jake really had trouble learning the steps. Tess simpers “well you’d never know” before turning to Craig and asking him if Jake brought out the big guns (don’t start Tess, I’m warning you) this week, to which Craig replies “Errrrrrrrrrrrm no”, like all the bestest most snottiest Internet forum posts.

Jake is ready to hear your concerns Revels. (Tess squawks “REALLY?!??!” at this so loudly that actual panto performers would tell her to dial it down a notch) Anywho, Craig thought the caping was poor and that the whole routine was stilted and didn’t flow. Some woman in the audience boos like she is genuinely in pain. Darcey follows saying that she wasn’t a huge fan either – he didn’t create the necessary arch in his back and hence the paso was lost a little.

Len follows, saying that he doesn’t agree and Jake and Janette both cheer. Well Jake

looks mildly pleased which is what passes for cheering in Jakeworld. He won’t be happy for long though, as Len then spends the next…5 hours I think talking and yelling about

JAKE’S TIGHT BUTTOCKS PHWOAR GURTCHA GET IN THERE IF LEN HAD HIS WAY IT WOULDN’T BE A SLEEPY HOLLOW I’M TELLING YOU GURTCHA PHWOOOOOOOOOOOARRRRRRRRRR. Bruno closes out this…frankly unsettling round of judges comments by talking a load of Method-waffle about how Jake was INTERNALISING the role rather than EXTERNALISING it.

Well hark at Lee Strasberg here. Jake, if he offers to take you inside the actors studio just say no.

Up to Zoe’s Zoo they gallop where Zoe demands that Jake show off his fake teeth

Very Steptoe. They should tell Janette to call him a DIRTY OWD MAN and watch the look of utter confusion spread across her face. Classic British Sitcom Week would be carnage wouldn’t it?

Zoe asks Janette how she got her leg up as high as she did, and Janette replies “lots of practice Zoe”. I’m saying nowt. Scores are in


Gore-ia Gaynor & Tony Manerot dancing the samba

I wish I’d been there backstage when Pixie and Caroline compared wigs for the first time. Pixie with her giant glorious Gothic electric weave and Caroline with beetroot pubes.

In her VT, Caroline tells us that in her paso last week she’d felt like she was possessed. It felt like there was someone else INSIDE HER BODY.

There’s no way that editing is a coincidence right? I love it when snarky gits get their hands on the editing suite. She says that normally she’s full of self-doubt, so she’s always shocked when she gets good scores. Given that she’s got them for 5 weeks in a row now, you’d think the message would sink in, but apparently not.

Training now, and Caroline tells us that she’s about to throw a surprise party for Pasha.

Oooh look, they edited a t-shirt onto her in Photoshop. That takes skill. Caroline squeals at Pasha that this is a VERY SPECIAL HALLOWE’EN PARTY AND SHE IS GONNA PICK OUT HIS OUTFIT AND DO HIS MAKE-UP

AND THEY’RE GONNA HAVE SO MUCH FUN. I am seriously worried that Caroline might break Pasha before the end of the series by squeezing him too hard and popping a lung. After much preening the end-result of Caroline’s Hallowe’en Party makeover is

this. Please note that Caroline has hacked up Pasha’s clothes with scissors JUST LIKE SHE WILL IF HE EVER LEAVES HER. They use their new personas to scare off a runner.

Caroline then literally remembers at the very last possible second to say that they’re doing the samba this week. Phew. Thought we might actually get through a training VT there without any actual hint that any training of any kind had taken place, even of the “let’s go look at some penguins to teach us the spirit of the Viennese Waltz” kind. I’d say that would have been a first but…probably wouldn’t.


The one dance that might have benefited from being over-explained by its VT and nothing. Make up your own backstory as to why Caroline and Pasha are disco zombies (in Pasha’s case, risen from the corpse of Barry Grant) dancing the samba to “Le Freak”. I hope it wasn’t just for the image of Caroline accidentally yanking Pasha’s arm off.

She really does love him too much doesn’t she?

Once Pasha’s out of his crypt and has reattached his arm, they do the samba, quite well. I’m so happy we’re in a series of decent sambas. When’s the last time that happened? Is it ever? There’s a nice fun, cheeky, light disco vibe to the whole thing whilst still recognisably being a samba, although I do admit part of me does wonder

what Caroline did to Wardrobe? Or at least that one intern who keeps on running her dresses through the paper shredder before they give them to her to wear. Is it a Harry Styles fangirl, I’m saying yes. Of all the latin dances on the show I think disco best suits samba, just because there’s a natural bounce and bob and pulse to both of them that the other two-thirds of the salsambcha lack.


It gets a Standing Ovation from everyone bar the front row, who are being exceptionally stingy this evening. I guess this is the problem once you start overloading on the Standing Os from Week 1. Once you start them, you can’t really stop them without it feeling like people are losing interest. Speaking of losing interest, Darcey starts off the judging, grinning that she loved the mad hairstyles.

Pasha with a jerry curl is…quite something, no? That something being a mugshot from 1986. She also loved how clean and controlled the dancing was. But…less than she loves the hair, you can tell. Len says that he’s with Darcey – it wasn’t Caroline’s best or her worst, and well done. Bruno follows by

doing a bit of a disco-wriggle and calling her an inferno. I think Bruno’s starting to creak a bit in his old age. In the old days Len would have had to have been leaning right back, lest Bruno’s gyrations get the gay on him. Now he can just sit there quite sedately.

Craig closes by saying that it was both too frenetic and too clean, before saying that he knows that sounds weird. That it does Craig. And also not possible. Unless he’s expressing a desire to see Pasha doing it slow and dirty which [PUNCHLINE REDACTED]

Up to the Ball Room they shuffle, where everyone goes “WHOOP WHOOP!”, apart from Simon, who appears to be giving a full dissertation to her as to her performances and the positives and negatives therein as she walks past him quickly. It’s a bit like this but in reverse. This makes me like Simon more, I’ve no idea why, I may just be grasping at straws to be honest. Zoe gets everyone to cheer Caroline on and then grabs Pasha’s face and yells

“SPENCER! I’M GOING TO CALL YOU SPENCER! YOU LOOK LIKE LEO SAYER!”. Are we sure she isn’t being operated remotely by Claudia? Possibly via ESPN or something, it is Hallowe’en. Scores are in


Uncle Fester & Morticia Addams dancing the foxtrot

Excuse me I’m off to be unreasonably pissed off over them giving Morticia Addams a widow’s peak.

In his VT, Scott tells us that his aim last week in his Charleston was just to let all the nerves go, and leave them behind him. This was also his approach to Joanne in the lifts apparently. We’re reminded that Craig was still mean to Scott afterwards, but Scott tells us that he doesn’t mind, because he just ignores the stuff he doesn’t want to hear and on that basis he really thinks Craig is coming round to him.

And it’s Alison people are calling delusional. Ok babes.

Training now, and Joanne tells Scott that they will be doing the foxtrot this week to The Addams Family theme tune and Scott’s all “I HAVE A FAMILY LET’S DO A THING!”

Let’s do a thing indeed.


Ok so the thing that I’ve found to like about this routine is that Thing there is quivering and crossing his fingers before they start dancing. That made me laugh. That really is about it. The first third is Scott

deliberately dancing badly with a hunched back and shuffling feet in order to waste time. Then they do a straight line of foxtrot to the other corner, where Joanna does her very special tribute to

The Exorcist spider-walk accompanied by Scott running round in a circle doing duck-quacks and pulling

faces. Then the last third is them foxtrotting, not…horrifically, and this is supposed to be a breakthrough but I remember Scott doing more tango than this proportionately in that routine and doing it about as well so…*shrug*. Then he

falls on his arse. Woo. These routines really are getting a little bit of the “End Days Of Widdy” about them, as it feels like Joanne is slowly whittling down little by little to what Scott can actually do and then finding that the dance has actually disappeared entirely and she’s just sliced off her thumb.


Once they’ve over at the judges, Len says that routine was supposed to be supernatural, but in the end was neither super nor natural. BUT it was fun and Scott CAME AHT and Joanne did a super job with the choreography. Mmm hmm. He tells Scott that it was “probably his best” which Tess immediately makes sound more insincere afterwards by yell-repeating it afterwards, as she has a habit of doing. “THAT WAS PROBABLY YOUR BEST!” is not the world’ most convincingly exultant phrase there Tess. Bruno follows by saying that Scott has created his own artform and that he’d win “Strictly No Dancing” hands down. He then follows up this straight-forward slap to the face with a backhander, saying that the fact that Scott clearly doesn’t care how good he is really elevated the panto elements of the routine.


Craig backs him up, saying that Scott really does care and practices all the time…and it’s just a shame it clearly doesn’t make any difference. Meow. To finally bury Scott under the last surges of this avalanche, Darcey says that he’s the perfect Uncle Fester.

“Uncle Fester is incorrigible and except for the good nature of the family and the ignorance of the police, would ordinarily be under lock and key…the eyes are pig-like and deeply embedded…his one costume…summer and winter…is a black great coat with an enormous collar…he is fat with pudgy little hands and feet.” – Charles Addams

Up to the ZO-M-G (the MG stands for Mass Gathering) they lurch, where Zoe tells him that it makes her heart burst with joy every time she watches Scott dance. I’ve been noticing that I’ve been getting chest pains during his routines as well Zoe let’s chat. It is also at this point that Zoe takes it upon herself to thank hair and make-up as Brendan apparently isn’t going to bother. If he doesn’t even get drunk for the Christmas Special then…I’m not sure how I’ll cope with this scary new world. Zoe waves to Scott’s mum and he says that yet again this was his favourite dance yet and scores are in


Down on the floor Tess asks Thing what he would have scored that dance, and then Thing waves a 10 and then Tess is all

LOL, IT’S DONNY OSMOND LADIES AND GENTS! The Donny Osmond shade will never get old for me, not ever.

Xander Harris & Anyanka dancing the jive

When in doubt go for a Buffy reference? They ran the Magic Shop right? Maybe? Anyway, Tess tells us that Mark has been hearing voices all week, but that might just be the JIVE TALKING. Tess is on a roll! Or she would be if she’d noticed that the second one was supposed to be a joke and delivered it accordingly.

In his VT, Mark says that last week he felt a lot of pressure because he’d been in the dance-off the week before. Or was that Simon? I lose track to be honest. Anyway Mark recounts that he was left right until the end before being revealed as safe

giving his best manly look of pain as the seconds ticked by. Then he was revealed as safe and cried and cried and cried and cried and gasped and wheezed and no sorry Claudia I can’t talk right now gasp wheeze weep clutch chest heart attack mini-stroke weep weep weep weep THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR VOTING FOR ME IT MEANS SO MUCH.

Something along those lines.

Training now, and Mark tells us that he’s dancing the jive, which is a really hard dance. So hard that he’s resorting to a

Ricky Nipple Memorial Abs Flash For Votes. Mark goes on to say that Strictly is now such a large part of his life that it’s haunting him at his day-job. Mark has a day job? That hasn’t been cancelled before it reached the air? This is news to me. Apparently he is a DJ on Heart FM. To be honest, the very thought of Heart FM would have been horrifying enough on its own to fill a Hallowe’en VT for me. TRAPPED FOREVER IN A NEVER ENDING LOOP OF JOHN LEGEND A-DULL AND MICHAEL BUBLE THE HORROR THE HORROR. The comedy in this VT is provided by the idea that Mark is receiving threatening messages over the air and then he follows the Scooby Clues and discovers it’s

Karen. Her motive? To scare him out of the studio and into the training room. Mark then explains that

whilst Karen might have felt like she needed to scare him into the training room that really isn’t necessary because he’s just loving his Strictly journey that much. Because heaven forbid even a comedy VT might not end with Mark being incredibly flipping earnest. This feels like Snarf used to pop up at the end of Thundercats to tell kids that crack is wack, yo.


The idea here is that Mark is a young innocent wandering into Karen’s Parlour Of The Bizarre. And also there is a clown with a moustache on on the video wall for some reason.

I seriously don’t think any pro on this show has looked more like an actual Muppet, not even when Erin wore that giant fringe explosion for Ricky Groves’ tango. They’re jiving to “Little Shop Of Horrors” but without a giant man-eating plant on hand so what’s the point? The only spookiness really is being provided by

Mark’s ever present “PLEASE LIKE ME!” grin. The song makes for a very skippity, light, end-of term show sort of jive. It’s fun, not over-complicated, pretty well-performed and he gets good air off his

butterfly kicks and

show-offy handstand move.

I am slightly baffled I must admit as to how it ends up getting 9s.

It gets a Standing Ovation, which Tess makes a big-ass deal of so of course the cameramen cut right to

the most bored looking people in the audience. Karen gives a little speech about how hard Mark works every single day and Mark pulls humble-face something chronic as Tess sighs that it’s hard to believe that Mark was a novice up until a few weeks ago. Bruno then yells that it was AMAZING

and his BEST DANCE EVER, Craig gives him his own personal ovation (not standing, even with a new bionic hip he has to be careful about this weather), Darcey oozes praise about how natural and springy he was, and Len closes by beaming that that was a SWEET SHOP FULL OF TASTY TREATS!

So really what I think is happening here is that the show is running long and they’re having to be extra-nice to Mark because if he cries and does the whole Shawshank Redemption Crying In The Rain bit again they’ll never get him up the bloody stairs in time to clip Frankie into her witch-harness. Sadly they should have known this wouldn’t work, as he gives a little speech right there on the dance-floor about how he never expects such great comments and it’s always so nice and every week is a blessing and yadda yadda yadda. There is no stopping him guys, so don’t even try. A lot of people have been saying this week that Mark is the new Abbey but…he feels a bit closer to the new Susanna for me. In both good and bad ways.

Up to the BALL POOL they jiggle where Zoe tells him that that was his BEST DANCE YET. Eh, I still preferred the samba. (#SEASONOFTHESAMBA) Mark replies that his dance last week was so much better than he even thought he was capable of so he can only IMAGINE how amazing that was and please somebody ring the scores up before I deafen them out by yelling “DO YOU WANT SOME CHEESE WITH THAT MASSIVE TRANCHE OF HAM MARK?”

35. There we go. Mark starts crying again. I think.

Elphaba and Fiyero dancing the tango

People have been debating who Frankie looks like in the wig, with guesses ranging from Kelly Brook to Catherine Zeta Jones. I’m getting Rose Byrne myself, but feel free to continue the debate, because it’ll distract me from trying to still itch out which G-tier Simpsons character Trent is.

In her VT, Frankie says that she really enjoyed her foxtrot, mostly because of her dress which was

twirlariffic. The brief return of

GLASSES KEVIN, SQUEEEEEE *ahem* tells us that he’s so proud of Frankie because foxtrot is a really hard dance to make look good(/in any way interesting) and she managed it (sort of). I can’t help thinking that the 20 seconds of choreographed “running around and fist pumping” might have jazzed it a bit as well Kev.

Training now and

Kevin bursts in yelling “WOO YEAH TEAM FRANKENSTEIN HALLOWE’EN WEEK, YEAH!”. “Frankenstein” is, for me, becoming a little bit the new “ISN’T TIM WEARING A FUNNY HAT EVERYBODY?” if you know what I mean. Frankie asks Kevin how he got into the studio and he says that he flew in on his broomstick. Frankie asks if she can have a go, and Kevin replies that it’s not allowed, because she is not professionally qualified in it like what he is. OH! Suddenly that graffiti I saw in the BBC toilets saying “Kevin is a professional broomstick rider FACT” makes more sense…

Anyway, they rehearse their tango and Frankie’s all “I WANNA TOUCH YOUR BROOM KEVIN!” and he’s all “no Frankie, you can’t, it’s forbidden” and Frankie’s all “but it’s so inviting” and Kevins all “NO, KAREN WOULD NEVER FORGIVE ME” until it reaches a zenith of un-take-backable subtext and then Frankie touches the broom and

CANNOT HANDLE ITS POWER and that’s how babies are made or something.


They’re dancing their tango to “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Yes, you heard me. A tango to Defying Gravity. And it’s testamony to Kevin that this seemingly “Westlife Party Rumba” sized Mission Impossible is almost pulled off entirely. Frankie’s “I am feeling great power surging within me” face is more like

“I’ve just remembered I’ve left the kettle on” and you’re still spending most of the dance struggling against the song choice and she’s actually kind of floopy but somehow it a) actually looks like a tango and b) actually looks like a GOOD tango.

Will wonders never cease? (PS : if you’re a fan of the musical Wicked and you wish to watch this routine again, probably you should mute the last 30 seconds or so) And then she


If I were an actual 8 year old this would be my favourite episode of Strictly ever I think.

It gets a Standing Ovation and Tess’s first question, after Frankie’s just done a tango to a wantonly unsuitable song as one of the more convolut…I mean complex female characters in modern Musical Theatre, and then had to hook herself into a one-handed harness and be raised several feet above the studio floor? “How did you cope with all that hair?”. They replaced Paxman with the wrong guy didn’t they?

Craig starts for the judges, with the first “FAB-U-LOUS” of the series and Darcey follows by telling Frankie that she’s so beautiful that she just shivered down her back.

Maybe if you didn’t turn up for work in a doiley Bussell, this wouldn’t happen?

Len follows by randomly calling Kevin out for overacting (it’s WICKED Len, not the subtle musical delights of Steven Sondheim) and telling Frankie she was spectacular, before Bruno closes by lurching to his feet

clutching at his chest, wheezing about how perfectly she captured that number. Seriously, all these years we were worried that Bruce was going to do a Tommy Cooper on the show, and now I’m starting to worry it might be Bruno.

To the Zoe-roastrian Temple Of Worship they fly

where Zoe immediately asks how far the green goes in terms of body-painting and Frankie snarks “you don’t wanna know” whilst tossing her hair seductively (LOL). Kevin gives a big long speech about how much Frankie’s improved in her ballroom dancing and then apparently Brendan yells from the back of the Zoe-roastrian Temple Of Worship that he is JEALOUS OF KEVIN and Caroline hugs Sunetra as if to say

“what a dick”. Scores are in

37. Imagine greeting a Bruno 10 by talking about how much MORE VALUABLE it is than a 10 from a nother judge. Imagine. Oh Donny, what hath thou wrought? Anyway Final Leaderboard :

Notice of your most recent Standing Ovation Count Update :

Caroline/Frankie : 6
Jake : 5
Mark/Pixie/Simon/Sunetra : 4
Alison/Steve : 3
Judy : 2
Scott : 1

And finally, as we’re now halfway through…these :


28 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 6 Performance

  1. Martin

    The “I Would Take” poll…

    Was that was about presenting the show? Oh….

    It’s just my dirty mind has made me vote a whole different way…lol

  2. Luke

    I nominate Zoeme Sweet Zoeme for Zoe’s area, even if it doesn’t make sense. It’s what an absence of Claudia does to you.

    (also, are you *sure* that Trent isn’t Lyle Lanley? Because he’s totally Lyle Lanley)

    1. monkseal Post author

      It would have mostly been me rolling my eyes at the absurdly grandiose BBC coverage that seemed to feature a new epic poem o’ bullshit every 5 seconds.

  3. Pops

    The nearest Simpsons match I can come up with for Trent is the environmental activist who inspires Lisa to go live in a tree. I had to Google ‘Simpsons pocket mulch’ to come up with his name.

    On a dancing-related note, I think Frankie deserved that 10 just for making a tango to Defying Gravity sort of work.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Maybe they should start adding a multiplier for “degree of difficulty as caused by the blindfolded dart-throwing Song Choice Monkey”?

  4. missfrankiecat

    Admittedly I have had two glasses of Sauvignon on an empty stomach after a very rough day, but this had me in hysterics. Ling Ling and Cathee were particular highlights. Fabulous.

  5. peeve

    Such a brilliant review almost (note, ALMOST) made me enjoy bloody Halloween Strictly. Thank you. I know Joanne’s Morticia hair-style was exaggerated, but Carolyn Jones in the 1960s TV version had a definite widow’s peak and so it was authentic enough for me.

  6. Jan

    I don’t think Alison gets enough credit for self-awareness from some people. She’s never seemed genuinely put-out to me, when she gets criticised or given a low score, more like she’s just taking the piss and making the best of things. Being a total reality-television snob I was prejudiced against her to start with but I really like her now.

    I am glad it wasn’t just me who was confused by what was going on with Jake’s theme. Though to be fair, having never read it, I had to google Sleepy Hollow to find out if there was a sexy ant in it and the original story is quite… well it’s more of a murdery thing than a ghosty thing. So I don’t know what a real tribute to it would look like and I’m not sure I want to.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Calling any and everybody who’s a bad dancer “delusional” is just part of the ongoing quest to make being bad at dancing a personality flaw in and as of itself. I thought it was overstated even with Craig Kelly but it’s officially out of control now. Judy’s having to say “I’M CRAP, I’M THE WORST ONE, I ONLY WANT TO DO LIFTS, I CAN’T DANCE!” every 5 second to ward it off, with Anton going “YOU’RE CRAP, YOU’RE THE WORST ONE, YOU CAN ONLY DO LIFTS, YOU CAN’T DANCE!” every other 5 seconds as a top-up.

  7. breppo

    Thanks again Monkseal for a side-splitting recap. The attention to detail is magnificent. There’s no one who exposes the Strictly tropes and other bullshit the way you do. Never stop recapping please.

    The look on Zoe’s face after the Spirits joke! As if she just heard Tess tell the classic “women are like condoms” joke.

    Perhaps it was the make-up or the dresses, or my new mega-monster curved tv that allows me to see much more detail, but Sunetra, Frankie and Joanne looked absolutely stunning. Yes, even Joanne with the widow’s peak, although it probably would have been better on Frankie as a naughty Romulan (a new branch of Trekkie fanfic is born). Admittedly that wouldn’t have fit the theming, but there were so many oddities (Sleepy Hollow ant WTF?!?!), it would have gone unnoticed anyway.

    Sunetra is indeed blessed by V. and her minions. Can’t wait for next Saturday to see what the costume department has come up with.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I can sense a joke about something mega-monster and curved somewhere in my brain but it just won’t come…

  8. Agrippina

    I am now going to have to spend all of the time that Mark is on screen with my fingers jammed into my ears, my eyes shut, yelling “LALALALA”. I’m not sure what it is about him that I object to so much, I only know I want him gone. Sadly, I think he might be bound for the final.

    The idea of Judy yelling “YA WEE SHITE” at Anton has genuinely made my day. It surely must have happened in the training room, even if we’ll never be allowed to see it?

  9. Laura

    Trent is Wendell, presumably? But yes, agree there are shades of Lyle Lanley – in fact if they do that weird mash-up week again he and Pixie have to do a foxtrot/charleston to The Monorail Song.

    Also, was anyone else slightly disappointed that on Frankie’s VT Kevin didn’t answer the phone with ‘Oh hi Karen…’?

  10. AWench

    It has to be Ball Park, as in “give me a ball park figure”, “hitting it out the ballpark”, or simply a place for gentlemen dancers to rest on their laurels.


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