Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 9 Performance

Claudia’s back and nothing else matters.

Last week : BLACKPOOL! Sunetra was on a hen night, Jake was in a bar fight, Kevin’s hair went up in height, the Charleston was done by Mark Wright, Kristina put on the red light, Steve lifted Ola with all his might, Pixie became a vicious sprite(/bitch queen Roman alien goddess princess from outer space), Pasha was a clairvoyant with second sight and Judy Murray went and flew a kite.

This week : As the show’s efforts to remind us HOW HARD EVERYTHING IS FOR MEN have paid off, we’re back at even genders again.

Just in time for a cheesy BATTLE OF THE SEXES DANCE-OFF. Fortunately this isn’t Dancing With The Stars so there’s not actually a group routine face-off worth 50 points to be won by the members of whatever gender Derek Hough decides he is. Caroline battles with Mark, Frankie tangles with Steve, Jake gets into a brawl with Sunetra, Pixie and Simon both flap around one another all “LOOK AT ME JUST HAVING FUN WITH IT, WE’RE NOT RINGERS!”, Frankie calls Caroline “Cazza” (lol) and then a double masquerading as Aljaz does a hip-hop backflip into shot before resolving out into

the man himself. HE IS THE REIGNING CHAMPION, SO THIS GLITTERBALL IS STILL HIS FOR FOUR WEEKS. I think maybe when you’re having to get stunt doubles for your actual dancers it’s time to reconsider what this show might be about, dance-wise.


Gone, but not forgotten *sniff*

The band strikes up and look who’s back

and sporting her favourite look! Kudos to Tess for going with dazzling white to highlight Claudia’s natural Claudianess on tonight of all nights. She gets a mighty roar from the crowd and to borrow a Claudiasm.

LOOK AT HER ICKLE FACE. She says it’s good to be back and thanks Zoe for stepping in for her. She then further thanks Tess for her present from Blackpool, at which point an almighty throaty braying noise sounds from backstage. Has Alison just smacked Aljaz in the face with an arm-hankie again, I find myself asking.

No, apparently Tess has got Claudia a donkey. Claudia has called her donkey Brian. In my head, my donkey’s called Greg.

Claudia reminds us that there are now four men, four women, and only four weeks until the final. Really? Hasn’t time flown? (lol no). Deciding who makes it through to next week will be the producers, via a mixture of performance slots, costuming, song-choice and giving somebody the jive when they’ve got a fused ankle. BUT ALSO THEORETICALLY THE JUDGES

It’s alright Len, Craig’s stopped dancing, you can open your eyes now. Once the judges have finished wiggling their woo-woos, Tess gushes that it’s an incredibly open series, as moving into the top 8, over half of our contestants have topped the leaderboard. So here’s a STRICTLY STATS INTERLUDE for you.

Remaining dancers who had topped the leaderboard going into Final 8

Series 1 : Nobody – the series started with 8 couples and also, lest we forget, does not really exist as anything other than a collective national folie a deux delusion.
Series 2 : 2 – Denise and Jill
Series 3 : 3 – Colin, Patsy, and Zoe
Series 4 : 4 – Emma, Louisa, Mark, and Ray
Series 5 : 5 – Alesha, Gethin, Kelly, John, and Matt
Series 6 : 4 – Austin, Cherie, Lisa, and Tom
Series 7 : 4 – Ali, Chris, Laila, and Ricky Nipple
Series 8 : 4 – Kara, Matt, Pamela, and Scott
Series 9 : 4 – Alex, Chelsee, Harry, and Jason
Series 10 : 3 – Denise, Lisa, and Louis
Series 11 : 5 – Abbey, Natalie, Patrick, Sophie, and Susanna
Series 12 : 5 – Caroline, Frankie, Jake, Pixie, and Simon

These stats aren’t supposed to illustrate anything – I’m just trying to put off watching Steve’s jive again.

Steve Backshall and Ola Jordan dancing the jive

Oh well, needs must. Tess starts by reminding us all that last week Craig had a go at Steve’s sticky-up thumbs, because there’s nothing Craig hates more than sticky-up thumbs. Not what I’ve heard.

Don’t bother trying to get an in Steve, I think Mark’s already filled that slot. So to speak.

In his VT, Steve says that last week was the highlight of his Strictly Experience, and it was just magical.

I mean…we’ll await the results of your Monkies Preliminary Poll with bated breath Steve, but I don’t think an indifferent weightlifting display covered up by muslin to flippin A-dull was anybody else’s highlight of your Strictly experience. I think Steve has now been thoroughly infected with Strictlyitis wherein EVERYTHING IS THE MOST EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER EVERYTHING’D UNTIL THE NEXT EVERYTHING YOU DO WHICH THEN OUT-EVERYTHING’S IT. At least this makes me hold out hope that “Use Somebody” is not in fact his FAVOURITE’ST SONG EVER. He’s not completely lost to me as a human yet. Ola tells us that she was really worried that Steve was going to mess up the lifts

in an interview that could have come from literally every week since week 1, and probably did. What a journey he’s been on – from kids tv presenter and herpetologist to human forklift.

Training now, and Ola tells Steve that he’s got the jive, which is fast and bouncy, with a theme of American Footballer and cheerleader. It’s hard to capture the exact tone in which Ola says “American Footballer and cheerleader” but imagine the level of contempt that Craig used to reserve for every time he spoke to Jo Wood and multiply it by 10. Steve interviews that to be honest, after 12 weeks straight of dancing he can’t be arsed any more, so he needs some inspiration.

The same sort of inspiration the 5th year boys at my school always used to get hanging round the netball courts at lunchtime on a Friday. TYPICAL BLOKE, AM I RITE LADIES.

Steve and Ola do their jive for the cheerleaders whilst

Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig scuttles round the back under a cloak whispering “hey, do you want to be a pro next year? We’re firing this one, don’t worry. I’LL MAKE YOU THE BIGGEST STAR SINCE HAYLEY HOLT!!”. They then brainstorm with the cheerleaders as to how to do ever more spectacular lifts and aerial antics to get through this week and

he’s not the first kids tv presenter to advance his career via a guy hanging on to his ankles, I’ll bet.


With Steve about to recreate that famous scene from American Pie by the looks of it.

NOT REALLY, IT’S A GLITTERY AMERICAN FOOTBALL GRR MANLY GRR. Steve lines it up to punt it for a 2-pointer but then conspicuously Charlie Browns it, because apparently this show’s health and safety rules will cover hoisting Judy Murray up 15 feet in the air but can’t handle a football. He and Ola are dancing their jive to “Little Bitty Pretty One”, which always in my head is resolved to “Itty Bitty Titty Committee”. And erm

well he tried. The bulk that made him capable of doing spectacular lifts and lent his ballroom at its best a sense of tenderness…means he sure as hell can’t jive. There’s no lightness or bounciness or spring and his legs are swinging round like clock pendulums. Also Ola’s pinballing and cartwheeling off him so often that it’s really more of a swing than a jive. Not that the laws of DAHNCE are going to be adhered to overmuch this evening…


It gets a Standing Ovation, but literally everything does this evening because the audience are officially higher than Trent and Bruno at the series afterparty. Tess welcomes Davearch And His Wunnerful Wunnerful Orchestra, now featuring


Len starts for the judges, saying that he was surprised how well Steve did with that jive.

Steve looks surprised that Len was surprised. I look surprised that Steve is surprised that Len was surprised. Ola looks bored.

Len carries on saying that it’s a hard dance for bulky chaps (*cough*AUSTIN*cough*) and Steve put in a great effort, albeit with quite a few suspect moments. Tess asks Bruno his opinion next as “Strictly’s Very Own Cheerleader” and yes, in those trousers, we can see his pom-poms every week on Len’s Glans. Bruno

dun a face. He says that he liked the inventive original theme, but Steve seemed to be dancing on American Time – about 8 hours behind Ola.

Craig follows, calling the dance stompy, flat-footed and stiff, with atrocious timing. Tess then gets the audience to disagree, calling them “ladies and gents” as she does so. I aint no gent Tess, ‘specially where you’re concerned. Darcey closes by saying that the costume really suits him (…) and that he played the part well and he does have the natural ability to get the jive right, but the boys are right (*fast forward*)

Up in Claud 9, Janette pats Steve on the back and grabs his helmet.

These Latins, eh? Steve tells Claudia that he loved the jive and it all went by in a flash and says that he’s spent 6 or 7 hours a day bouncing up and down practising. Claudia then yaps “DO YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE OLA? YOUR FACE!”

Well you can’t say she’s easing herself back in tentatively… Scores are in


Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev dancing the American Smooth

Tess tells us that this week Pasha has been teaching Caroline the American Smooth. Elegant, stylish, sophisticated, but THAT’S ENOUGH ABOUT PASHA, WHAT ABOUT THE DANCE?!?!??! (I’m only including this lamery because of Pasha’s “OMG ME?!” face which is

adorbs in excelsis)

In her VT, Caroline says that Blackpool was amazing, but tells Len off for promising to dive off the end of Blackpool Pier naked if she hit the Bottom Two again

because apparently there are some people who want to see it.

Caroline closes by saying that being joint second on the leaderboard felt really really good. (Do you want to tell her that she was joint 3rd? Anybody? No?)

Training now, and apparently Pasha has requested Caroline’s attendance at the Savoy, and she doesn’t know why. Once there she finds him

playing a suave bartender. Ah Pasha, the man of 1 voices. And 100 different roles to apply it to. He tells Caroline to imagine the “Golden Airer” of Hollywood. I think Frances Farmer kept her towels there. His fantasy (you can tell it’s not Caroline’s, because, you know, wearing clothes) continues and

I’m not sure what Old Hollywood looks like in Pasha’s head, but in my head it’s a bit less like someone having a 1am fumble in a Yates Wine Bar in Doncaster. I have to admit that at this point I’ve lost track of the last time that Caroline and Pasha were actually being themselves in a VT. I think maybe something happened with some kids a few weeks ago but when I try to remember it I just enter a swoon so…


I know that I said I like it when people run giddily up and down stairs in an American Smooth, but I think it might be time to stop somewhere around the time the stage starts to resemble an MC Escher painting. Pasha and Caroline are dancing their American Smooth to “Mack The Knife” and


conspires to almost send her arse-over-tit about 10 seconds in, lest she ever think she can ever escape the CURSE OF WARDROBE MWAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. (Except maybe how the last escapee managed it, by creating her own imaginary island in her head to escape to and drink cocktails…) Sadly I think this throws Caroline off for most of the routine, as she’s a bit sloppy and a little

inelegant throughout, especially with her arms. It all feels very similar to Kelly’s American Smooth from Series 5, but performed as though Caroline’s been at the sauce. I’ll give her this, she’s very good at flinging her head and legs about though.

I’m still looking at those pictures and scratching my head as to how either of them are possible. I think what this dance really needed was Karen Hardy to yell “IT WENT WRONG, WE’RE STARTING AGAIN, DON’T TRY AND STOP ME BRUCE OR I WILL STAB YOU” or whatever happened with Ramps’ salsa. It all ends with a very impressive and elaborate drop and spin which is impressive but in structure doesn’t do much to dispel the impression of Pasha trying to bundle an unco-operative drunk into the back of a taxi.


Let’s hope they make her reprise it in the final, should she make it that far rather than being the victim of either Pixie or Simon in the semi-final dance-off, which is the fate that currently seems most likely to my mind. Once it’s all over she recovers herself and

apologises profusely to a very sympathetic looking Pasha. Imagine Sunetra in that same situation. It’d be greeted with a “yep, you were crap, oh well, we’ll probably be here for another two weeks so try not to whinge too much eh?”. I think my favourite part of Caroline’s mini-meltdown was when she arrived at Tess, and Tess yelled “DID YOU HAVE A LITTLE STUMBLE?” in her face and then followed this up with “oh well, the judges didn’t notice”. Tess, if YOU noticed it then it was clearly the biggest mistake since commissioning a second series of Atlantits.

Bruno starts with

his face doing this and purring that the lady is a VAMP (she’s a vixen not a tramp, she’s a DA DA DA DA DA DA DA!) (sorry, force of habit). He adored the choreography and thought Caroline oozed sex appeal. He loved the contemporary influence (IN AN AMERICAN SMOOTH? ON THIS SHOW?) and would really like to see the routine again, without the obvious stumble. Craig follows by saying that he loved how Caroline used the stairs, and he thinks she recovered well from the stumble.

Darcey follows, and swoons a little over how reliable and strong Pasha was for Caroline in that routine and Caroline

ponders whether to cut her brakes with a pair of scissors or with a Swiss Army Knife. HANDS OFF HER PASH PASH. Darcey goes on to praise Caroline’s ability to cope with choreography, but she thinks she could have had longer extensions in her arms generally, and in her legs in that high-kick lift. Really? In that lift? I think those legs were doing all a human’s legs can do Darcey. Len closes by saying that Caroline drifted across the floor like smoke through a keyhole, smooth as a butter-knife, mixed as a metaphor. He would have liked a bit more in hold though. Oh, we’re still pretending that’s a rule are we, ok.

Up to Claud 9 they go, with Caroline whining “you can see my pants!” to Pasha all the way up. Not sure if that’s a complaint or an offer. Once they’re up there Caroline apologises to the woman in the audience she nearly fell on. Pasha snorfles “THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD FOR TV!” noisily. Yes Pasha. Yes it would. *pats head* He goes on to say that he felt that, with the genre and the music combined, he had to go big for that choreography. Oh Pasha. You can go big for me regardle[JOKE REDACTED]. Scores are in

33. Apparently Anton was shouting “UNDERMARKED” throughout the scoring there. Personally I think it’s good of him to even be here what with his

urgent interview for a job at the Nationwide Building Society that he’s clearly due to rush to straight afterwards.

Pixie Lott and Trent Whiddon dancing the Charleston

Tess makes a big deal about how this is the first dance in which Pixie will be doing lifts. I find that hard to believe. Hasn’t everyone been doing lifts in every single dance every single week? It certainly feels like it.

In her VT, Pixie opens by saying that she feels really nervous before every single dance.

I wonder if Trent has any way of helping her out with that. I mean really though, imagine being nervous around that guy, dressed like

that. I couldn’t feel nerves for giggling. Pixie reminds us all that she got 38 for her paso – her best mark yet. She’s hoping to “make up” those final 2 points this week. Well, you can’t say as she’s not ambitious. I’m reminded of that It Takes Two segment where she basically said “oh I didn’t think I’d get my first 10 for a foxtrot.

Training now and guess what? PIXIE’S BUSY AGAIN! SO SO SO BUSY! She’s singing a couple of songs at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh, and would like to know if Trent would like to come and “join in the antics”.


Pixie is performing at a local radio awards show for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence and really making a difference in your community. Look!

Here she is! Really defining “all fur coat and no knickers” there isn’t she? Trent’s role in “the antics” appears to be “stand at the side and watch”, Pixie’s attitude to sharing the stage apparently much the same as Annie Lennox’s. Afterwards, Trent gets to go backstage with BUSY BUSY PIXIE and meet some of the award winners, and teach them how to dance a little.

Trent is maybe…less of a natural with children than Pasha is. I can relate. Anyway, let’s leave Pixie and Trent to be BUSY and maybe ponder on the irony of

Pixie performing at the “Forth Awards”.


Pixie and Trent are dancing their Charleston to Sparkling Diamonds from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, and when I say “Pixie and Trent”, I mean “Pixie”.

Because it feels like Trent is about as integral to proceedings as Janette’s Backing Bruisers were last week (I’ve come to the conclusion that with the appropriate costume changes – ie, a pointy cowl and Janette as Catwoman, that American Smooth last week could have passed for the fight scene from the 60s Batman tv show). I’m of two minds about this whole routine to be honest. On the one hand, Pixie’s selling it loads, it doesn’t feel much like a regular Charleston (good thing) and there’s a lot of pizzazz and glamour but on the other hand

JESUS CHRIST LOVE, ARE THE LADIES TOILETS FULL, it’s all a bit overly aggressive and I guess I watch this show more for a partnership growing and performing together than for just one woman running around touching herself to a Nicole Kidman joint.


The Standing Ovation it gets is spearheaded as

resentfully as possible by Anthony Costa. He is, as we will discover, not here for anyone other than Simon. Craig starts for the judges, talking about her precision and exactitude. Between that and last week’s “invincible” Craig’s really taken his evening class in “how to talk about ringers so nobody wants to vote for them” hasn’t he? Darcey follows by saying that she’s never seen so many steps in one dance before, and that she nearly outshone Trent. Well yes, it’s easy for the Sun to outshine Proxima Centauri when they spend the entire dance in separate solar systems. She does think the lifts were a bit cautious though.

Len follows by saying that he got out of breath watching it. Well I’d hate to speculate on why that might be… Bruno follows

with a face, and tells Pixie that she was like a fireworks display, and that bombshells don’t come more explosive than Pixie Lott!!! That’s true. World War 2 did end when they dropped Pixie Lott on Hiroshima singing “MAMA DO THE UH OH UH OH!” after all.

Up to Claud 9 they sparkle where Trent is officially

so bloodshot and bleary of eye that I actually start wondering if he didn’t nip off for a quick spark-up midway through the routine whilst Pixie was stroking her own face and waggling her legs like she was trying to shake her own knees off. Claudia gushes that that routine was SO AMAZING THAT BRUNO STOOD UP FOR IT and even Pixie’s like “…I have watched this show before, that is not a rare event”. Pixie goes on to talk about how she loves Charleston because it’s a real Showgirls dance. If only we saw a real Showgirls dance from Team Trixie. It’d start off with electric-jacuzzi sex and end up with her shoving him down the stairs. Scores are in

37. Bruno’s really not subtle about when he’s about to pull out a 10 is he?

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dancing the tango

This hat is to signify the announcement that next week is Round The World Week. This, along with the confirmation of a “Waltzathon” (good grief) at Final 6 means that this is officially the last week this series without a gimmick. Mourn it, stroke it. Tess tells us that every dance in Around The World week will represent a different yo-yo trick. Pity the poor couple who get stuck with “Walk The Dog” if they’ve got the same ones Judy had…


The theme will in fact mean that each couple’s routine will be choreographed by a different country from AROUND THE WORLD. Although the options that Tess gives (Greece, Turkey (?), Holland (?!) sound a little…outre.

Oh yeah, Mark Wright. He’s in Tenerife for Take Me Out : The Clap Clinic, or whatever the spin-off’s called, something something tweeting from the Canaries ha ha let’s move on.

In his VT, Mark says that Blackpool was definitely more nervewracking than other weeks, and the whole place just had an aura about it. He was like

“wow, some of the best dancers in the world have danced here”. Watching Mark try to process….anything is quite something isn’t it? He reminds us that Craig told him last week that he was starting to fall in love with him, and Mark thinks that means he must be doing something right. I suspect the thing is “looking a bit like Craig’s boyfriend”.

Training now and

we’re back in the med. There really never has been a more ITV2 series of this show has there? We’re here because, as Tess mentioned, Mark has work to do

important reading an autocue and squinting and trying to cop off with a contestant work. He and Karen rehearse tango around the pool and…that’s more or less it for this VT. It’s no Aliona doing a jive in the middle of a Countryfile cabbage patch.


Mark and Karen are doing their tango to “When The Love Runs Out” by One Republic, and it does feel a lot like a dance that was done on very little rehearsal time, in that it doesn’t feel like there’s an awful lot of content. Although it is a relief to see him performing something for which he’s giving me a face other than “please like me even though I’ve just pooped my diaper”. It’s very melodramatic and aggressive

and he seems to have the technique more or less down (although with odd added rise and fall in places) but a lot of it feels like vamping to no particular end or purpose other than to look slightly like an advert warning of the dangers of domestic violence. It’s decent enough, but for the last tango of the series I was hoping for a bit more. Also the last phrase

where he just jumps on Karen’s prone body is really bizarre. Maybe with Kevin hun, maybe with Kevin. Mark hasn’t got the same, erm, spring.

Once it’s over, he saunters over to Tess and does the standard “it’s really hard for me to pretend to be angry because I’m such a happy person” line. Yes, that’s what I hear about his time on TOWIE. Constantly upbeat, generous to his fellow man and cheerful to a fault. Darcey starts

a couple of comb-strokes away from Donald Trump and dribbles about how commanding and strong and serious he just was. She gets Mark to repeat his frowny face

aka his “algebra face”. She does think though that Mark tired himself out in the second half. The half with the actual dancing in. Len follows, saying that he doesn’t want to compliment Mark too much in case he runs over and snogs him like he did Craig. It’s alright Len, he’s desperate, but he’s not that desperate. He goes on to say that he was happy overall with the performance, particularly the intensity, but it did get too wild by the end and he thinks he detected problems in the near corner.

Bruno follows

becoming more vampiric as the evening wends on, purrs that he thought Mark was such a nice boy. Really? Based on what? Anyway Bruno liked that, he thought it was a proper tango, but he spotted footwork errors and the performance got a little bit like Cesar from Planet Of The Apes for Bruno’s liking. Craig closes by saying that Mark finished that dance by leaping on Karen like he was a feral dog with rabies but he liked the focus and the tension throughout.

Over to Claud 9 they chimp, where Claudia congratulates them on doing that dance on “8 seconds training”, and Mark chortles that he might have managed 9 seconds. Poor Michelle. Mark then reiterates that he is too nice to do tango face and then Claudia asks him to prove it.

He does. After a fashion. Scores are in


Frankie Bridge and Little Richard dancing the Viennese Waltz

That hair just keeps lifting and higher every week doesn’t it. UP TO MEET JESUS, UP WITH GOD. Anyway, here’s a conversation that will go down in the annals of tv awkwardness.

Tess : “This week Frankie is serving up a Viennese. DON’T WORRY MARY, IT’S A WALTZ, NOT A BISCUIT!”
Mary : “…”
Mary : “It’s about the only dance I do.”
Tess : “IS IT MARY?”
Mary : “Not very well”
Mary : “…”
Tess : “Let’s hope that this Viennese is light, crisp, and there won’t be a soggy bottom”
Mary : “That’s just as it should be!”
*VT runs*
*Mary gets mobile phone out*
Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig : “…yello?”
Mary : “You know how I said I’d do the show next year if I could have Pasha? Forget it, I’m not being spoken to like I’m a fucking incontinent every week. Melon Sue treat me with respect! I’M MARY BERRY DAMNIT”

VT time, and Frankie says that getting to dance at Blackpool was amazing for her, especially after she’d messed up her samba the week before. It was really great to get her first two 10s for the quickstep. Remember when people were just excited to get their first 10 and then shut up about it? Now it’s all “woo our first dance to get two 10s with neither of them being a Donny 10!” and “I WONDER WHEN I’LL GET MY FIRST 40!”. Show a bit of decorum.

Training now, and Kevin tells us that he and Frankie this week will be dancing a Viennese Waltz to “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones. As usual with the Viennese Waltz, the theme is that all the spinning is making the celebrity dizzy, particularly in the “fleckerl”, a dance move Frankie pronounces as though it’s a skin complaint she’d rather not talk about. Frankie sits Kevin down and tells him that unless things change quickly, she will vomit on the live show. YES! AFTER 10 SERIES OF WAITING IT’S FINALLY GOING TO HAPPEN!

Sadly Kevin, the big spoilsport, has a solution. Or at least…he thinks he does. He tells her to close her eyes – it doesn’t work. He tells her to keep a very blank look on her face like there’s nothing going on (I’M SAYING NOTHING) – it doesn’t work. He makes her wear an onion in her belt – it doesn’t work. Nothing works. Every time Frankie ends up

on all fours heaving and retching like she’s just had a dodgy kebab. YES! COME ON! LET’S RIDE THAT VOMIT COMET RIGHT TO ROUND THE WORLD WEEK! Frankie closes by saying that she hopes she doesn’t vomit in front of the judges. I agree Frankie. ON the judges. Vomit ON the judges.


I hope Artem knows that Kevin’s nicked his lamp-posts whilst he’s off in America. I think Frankie actually really suits the idea of a cutesy dance to “What’s New Pussycat?” because her whole look is very Mod, but I’m not sure about the arrangement of the song that they’re using, which features a lot of hurdy-gurdy and clattering noises like one of Professor Brainstawm’s machines just conked out. I can’t help but think the dance might have been better played straight because there’s some

pleasing moments (ok, maybe not her legs in that last bit but still) amidst all the clattering and plate-smashing noises but the whole thing jars and grinds to the extent that it all becomes a bit tedious. It’s odd – people have mentioned bad music choices a lot this week, but I think this is the one where it was most done in by the aural experience for me, and nobody else has mentioned it. Ah well.

CUTE. Points off for not vomiting though.

Once she arrives she asks Tess for a suck bucket. Sorry Frankenstein, Mary Berry’s still got it after her “interview”. Len starts for the judges by bellowing that he SAW A FLECKERL. He says that he liked Frankie’s hand placement, and she’s one pussycat who won’t be put out tonight. Bruno’s face has reached

“toothache” in its preparations for the gurning ahead, and tells Frankie that that was “purrrrrrrrrrrrfect”. He thinks she made it look easy and effortless despite the difficulty of the routine, and then bellows across to Craig that he’ll have to go into meltdown because there was NOTHING WRONG WITH HER HANDS AND FINGERS THERE, EH! Like Craig’s ever criticised a woman for her hands ever ever ever.

Craig follows by saying that the Bruno is right (*fast forward*) (you’re not missing anything – Craig, Bruno, Tess and Frankie all gabble incoherently over one another for the next 30 seconds) and then Darcey closes by saying that she was beautiful and didn’t make one mistake. Apart from the mistakes she made in sickling her foot. Twice. Len and Bruno meanwhile

discuss who they’re going to vote for on I’m A Celebrity. Bruno likes that Jake Quackenfresh from The X Factor whilst Len’s really more of a fan of Vicki Michelle. Darcey closes by telling Frankie that she’s only being so picky because Frankie’s beautiful. What a JELUS HATAH.

Up to Claud 9 they scamper, where Frankie giggles that she likes making the judges argue. Claudia then reveals that Frankie and Kevin spend the time in between the main show and the results practising backstage, just in case they’re in the dance-off. What, all 22 HOURS CLAUDIA? DON’T BE SILLY, THEY HAVE TO SLEEP SOMETIME! Scores are in


Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the samba

Tess tries to get everyone excited on the grounds that Jake’s samba will feature his hips.

Yeah we all sat through that rumba Tess, I’m reserving judgement.

In his VT, Jake says that he was really confident going into Blackpool because he knew that Janette had choreographed a great routine. They show 7 clips from the routine. In them he takes a sum total of two steps around the floor. WORRANUMBER.

Training now, and Jake says that, as he’s spent so long enmeshed in Janette’s World Of Dance (sounds like an outlet shopping mall), it’d be nice for him to show her his day job and take her to the Eastenders set. Once there, they discuss the legend of Ian Beale and bump into

Danny FAHCKIN Dyer just sat casually on the swings learning his lines. Jake asks him for tips for his samba. Danny says to make sure there’s some FAHCKIN samba rolls in it coz he likes his samba rolls coz they is propah nawty. Or words to that effect. Janette and Jake then wander off until a

WILD SONYA APPEARS! Jakes mutters something about having heard she did the show once and Sonya’s all “YEAH, IN 2009!” apparently thinking better of uttering the cursed words “Series 7”. For reference’s sake, Sonya finished in about the same place in Series 7 as Caroline Flack is going to in this one. Ah, Series 7. Jake tells her that he’s doing the samba next and Sonya wails that was one of her worst dances (Fun Fact : Sonya’s samba is one of the few dances to bear the distinction of having been awarded its lowest individual score by Bruno). She asks Jake to demonstrate and

I feel like photoshopping that face onto every audience member during Jake’s performance but I simply don’t have the time.


OK, so let’s get the whinges out the way first – there’s no natural samba bounce at all, he’s always a little bit behind the choreography, his face is bizarre and borderline grotesque throughout, and the samba rolls look like what I would imagine is frequently the end result of doing things with your body just because Danny Dyer wants you to – an uncomfortable gooey mess. On the other hand

it was gay-as-tits and I loved it. Let’s ponder on the fact that last series Janette had JULIEN MCDONALD and all of their routines combined didn’t add up to something as noisily flamboyantly homo as this. They even manage to work a bit of the Macarena into the routine, which I am always in favour of. Sometimes with Strictly you just have to let go of all the many many years of in-depth dance knowledge you learnt from Len Goodman telling Claudia about his nobbly bits, and just enjoy something. This was one of those times. Gawd bless you Jake Wood, and your duck-face. It doesn’t even end with an end-pose, just an end

mid air beej. No wonder Janette was so popular on Bum The Floor.


The audience reactions to him have now reached Louis Smith levels by the way. In case you were still in the “predicting the winner” game, which I, of course, am not. Bruno starts for the judges by yelling that Jake was

“JACKO WACKO THE TWERKY WONDER!” albeit with sticky samba rolls. See, even when yelling random crap Bruno manages to impart more useful information than Darcey. Craig follows by saying that he agrees about the rolls – they were far too static and he thinks the bounce was too forced, but he loved the shimmies and Jake’s bottom went OFF LICK A JACKHAMMER. At this, Janette goes for

what feels like the fifteenth aborted high-five this series. GET IT TOGETHER GUYS.

Next up Darcey, with

a quite embarrassing phony gasping HAHA I CAN’T CONTROL MY OVARIIESmeltdown I won’t dignify with a response except to say, Adele-style, that “SHE AIN’T AN ACTRESS!” and Len closes by telling Jake that that was a WHAMBA of a samba and that what it lacked in technique it made up for in great dancing. Which for a start doesn’t really make sense and secondly makes a mockery of the 10 he’s about to give it. Sort of. To be clear, I’m not objecting to Len giving it a 10, because on the Len Scale of what gets a 10 it fits perfectly. Just keep schtum on the criticism, because there is no 11 paddle. Like, I don’t think it suits the show’s narrative to be going “COME BACK IN THE FINAL AND DO IT BETTER AND GET A 10 AGAIN BUT WITH AN IMAGINARY STAR ON THE END”.

Up to Claud 9 they twerk where, if I’m honest, I was hoping for a full line-up of the male pros twerking in tribute not

this drabness. Anton is basically the Antitwerk. Claudia asks Jake if he was nervous and he says no. Which is a nice change from last year’s winner I guess. Scores are in

38. Pixie’s tight little smile here is

a delight.

Sunetra Sarker & Brendan Cole dancing the waltz

“Oh great we’re following that”. Is I believe how a Body Language Expert would read those faces. Tess tells us that their routine will be set at a railway station. I see they’ve built the Erin Tunnel then. What a feat of underwater engineering.

In her VT, Sunetra who

appears to be very much at that stage of the series where she’d like to get off here now please, says that it was a real achievement to get to Blackpool and that it was a rollercoaster of a night and being in the bottom two was a real eye-opener and that she feels like the judges really threw her a lifeline. Sunetra appears to have a different variant of the disease Steve got from being on Strictly too long – the Cliche Spew.

Training now, and as Sunetra’s edit staggers around punch-drunk like Rocky at the end of the movie that was also called Rocky, she yells “BRING IN THE CHILDREN!”

“BRING IN ALL OF THE CHILDREN!”. She’s visiting her son Noah’s school, because she credits her son Noah with convincing her to do Strictly. Not aired : Brenda giving Noah a very surreptitious clip round the ear and hissing “THANKS A LOT, I COULD HAVE DANCED WITH A MODEL AGAIN YOU SELFISH LITTLE BASTARD” at him. The idea here is that Sunetra’s son’s school has set up an assembly to resemble the Strictly studio, and they watch Brenda and Sunetra dance their waltz and score it

40. Brendan then turns to Sunetra and asks what the bloody hell they’re going to do for a VT next week and she shrugs and says “I’m all out of ideas” so Brenda thanks the kids for having them and calls Evil Moira Ross to ask if they can’t just run this tape again next week, because literally nobody will notice.


Any speculation that Brenda nicked this theme wholesale from Aliona after it got Tony sent packing last year is entirely your own.

They’re dancing their waltz to “Last Request” by either Thingy Morrison or Paula Neutrino or whatever, 70 seconds of mumbling than a chorus whoever it’s by, and

it’s Sunetra in ballroom so it’s elegant and a little bit lovely but also her shoulders are still a bit hunchy and transparently there’s a gaping void where their chemistry used to be

It feels less like one last grand goodbye than someone nipping out first thing with a shrug and an “oh well” and an awkward kiss on the forehead. I presume next week represents when Brenda realises he’s forgotten his car keys and has to gingerly rap on the door to be asked back in for a rummage round the sofa cushions.


It gets a Standing Ovation, and Tess asks Sunetra how that feels. She avoids saying “they haven’t bloody sat down all evening Tess, it’s not exactly an achievement” in favour of complimenting the band. Always a safe option. Craig starts for the judges, saying that it was a big improvement on last week, and she obviously felt a lot safer in Brendan’s arms again, but she was gripping on to him like she was near death. Darcey follows by saying that she also thinks it was a vast improvement (*gets in time machine* *goes to Darcey’s score for this dance* *comes back* *gives her the eyebrow*) and she liked her “beautiful lady charm”. She also says “it’s right” and gestures at Craig which makes me laugh a lot because I can’t imagine it was on purpose.

Len follows and says that it reminded him of a scene from “Brief Encounters” – he liked the ronde, and he liked the PIVITS – but he thinks he detected a little incident.

Oh Brenda. Never did I think I’d see the day when your grand defence of your partner would be nothing but a quizzical Sherlock shrug. Bruno finishes and even his face

belies the lack of effort going into this couple generally. He tells Sunetra she was very elegant but her tits are a bit too big to do the dance properly.


Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia tells her that she looks beautiful and asks if she enjoyed that and Sunetra replies that it was

JUST LIKE A MAGICAL…TRAIN JOURNEY! Oh, but she is struggling. Claudia then asks Brenda about the incident Len mentioned, which Brenda then promptly inflates to two incidents, which he handwaves away with “if you didn’t have stumbles it’d all look too easy wouldn’t it?”. NOT.EVEN.TRYING. Scores are in


Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the salsa

In his VT Simon says that Blackpool last week was bliss. Kristina follows by saying that she can’t believe

that she and Simon got the first “three tens” of the series. By which she means “first dance to receive three tens”. Can we get these people a more coherent scriptwriter please?

Training now, and Kristina tells Simon that in this routine he’s going to be playing a big movie star. Didn’t we already do this theme? With his quickstep? Is Kristina now so locked into the Madonna-Whore complex that she has to play either Marilyn Monroe or an actual hooker in every dance? Anyway, not this week, as Kristina will be playing Simon’s “number 1 fan”. Sadly this doesn’t mean a Misery themed salsa wherein she chases him around the dancefloor with a sledgehammer and Darcey goes under a lawnmower, but it DOES mean

a Comedy VT outlining “Salsa : The Movie” wherein Kristina drops her leg-warmers (imagine something Kristina is less likely to wear, and no, you can’t just say “clothes”) in the park and Simon picks them up and they meet-cute and she teaches him to salsa for…some reason. Makes more sense than any of the Step-Up movies anyway.


For being in the presnce of such a big movie star, Bruno doesn’t seem to be terribly interested. Although I guess after being in that Elton John video 30 years ago (DID HE MENTION IT?) Bruno is well used to handling megastars. Anyway Kristina

skips in, with her copy of Glamour with Simon The Film Star on the front, before Simon salsas on, fist-pumping and hip-wiggling and SHOWS HER THE REAL DEAL. And then they salsa. It’s a lot of fun and high-energy and twisted armography and whilst he doesn’t quite have Jake’s hips or Steve’s facility with lifts or Mark’s erm…simple delight in the joy of dance or whatever his stupid grin is supposed to represent ,he’s giving it a good old go. To be honest, I’m mostly here for Kristina’s

deranged groupie routine. Some of the routine is a little bit Office Christmas Party, although I guess that’s always going to happen when you’re dancing to “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” and I think honestly? Simon has now clicked for me.

A bit like Kristina’s spine here.

It gets a Standing Ovation led by Anthony Costa

who seems to have perked up a bit. Tess tells Darcey that after last week we know that Simon is a contender (because Craig said so) and asks her if that’s still the case. Darcey brays that Simon looked scarily comfortable in that routine and that he was both incredibly relaxed but also…occasionally over-excited. Thanks Darce. Len follows by yelling that the CURSE OF THE BLACKPOOL HANGOVER HAS BEEN DISPELLED FOREVERMORE, and Bruno has

officially run out of faces. Craig closes by saying that the armography was incredible

but he needs bigger hip action.

On Claud 9, she gushes that after last week Simon must have felt like just going out there and having a sit-down BUT THEN HE CAME OUT AND DID THAT. Simon replies that he thinks that was even better than his Argentine Tango (…it wasn’t Simon, but ok) and then Claudia reminds us all that Craig has never scored Simon higher than an 8 before. Scores are in


Final Leaderboard?

Kristina throwing her arms around Claudia and telling her that she missed her, prompting a cracked-voice watery-eyed meltdown from Claudia that lasts the rest of the show?

NIGHT! (Good to have her back)


27 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 9 Performance

  1. Kelly

    Ha, Forth is my local radio station and I never bother with competitions for tickets to the awards precisely because they have people like Pixie Lott as the “star” performers.

    I’m struggling to get into this series; judy was the bright spot.

    1. SJ

      I didn’t catch it on the night but guessed it would be Radio Forth. It blew my mind when I discovered -this year- that Grant Stott is the brother of John Leslie of 90s infamy. Obvious in hindsight.

  2. Martin

    The producers have already picked Sunetra’s ‘last dance’ – they’re dancing a Rhumba in Rio!

    Not sure if Brenda would have sworn or cheered… 😉

  3. Malar

    Great recap, as usual, Monkseal! Loved the rhyming at the start – genius. 😀

    Did you notice the camera kept focusing on that Hairy Biker all the time, after most of the routines? Is he launching a new BBC show or something? I know he took part last year, but it was a bit over the top to me. Big love and hugs, anyway – thank you! x

  4. JJB

    I still cant get the idea that Trent is more like Pixies gay best friend during the dances and the dance she did this time just seems to want to cement that idea even moreso into my head XP

    1. monkseal Post author

      Nobody would ever leave their GBF so far in back of shot in a MOULIN ROUGE routine. He was more Ryan to her Sharpay.

  5. ichsi

    “Ah Pasha, the man of 1 voices. And 100 different roles to apply it to.”
    Ahahahah, I nearly peed myself laughing at this. So true though! Gorgeous baby.

  6. Perfect Custard

    Wonderful recap as always, you’re so adept at reading the body language/subtext of the show. Sunetra is as ready to leave as Brendan, all she wants to do is leave as gracefully as possible.
    Does Jake really have to win? I don’t love Frankie but the girl does give good value, and delivers week in week out. Also I would love plucky Caroline to hang in and come close.
    All her wardrobe troubles have endeared her to me – she gives off that good sport vibe.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Jake might theoretically not win I guess. It seems unlikely though, especially with the unsubtle JAKE = PERFORMANCE FRANKIE = TECHNIQUE branding they had going on this week on ITT. We all know how that usually ends.

  7. phoebefair

    Great work, as ever.
    If Mark wants to improve his fierce Tango Face all he has to do is look at Joanne behind him in your screencap.

    Where can Kevin’s hair go from here? I’m expecting a full Marie Antoinette/Madame Pompadour next, complete with miniature galleon.

  8. catherinehirst

    This may have been your funniest recap EVER. The jokes about Anton killed me.

    Agree with Custard above: I want Frankie and Caroline in the final. I still do like Jake a lot but the show hype is actually turning me off to him. Stop shoving it down our throats; we either like him or we don’t! Cannot seem to warm to Pixie one little bit – I find her personality incredibly off-putting. Would be pleased if she went out Forth…erm, fourth.

  9. Agrippina

    I interpreted Bruno’s “too much luggage in the carriage” remark as meaning he thinks Sunetra is too fat, and spent the remainder of the episode feeling outraged on her behalf. I didn’t even think about the possibility that he was just being Bruno and staring at her tits.

    I am a little over Jake now – it’s not his fault, but I agree with catherinehirst that the hype from the judges is offputting. It’s like they’re desperate to have a man in the final at any costs so they’re shamelessly overmarking all three of them and slightly undermarking Caroline, who I love. I am very nearly at war with a friend of mine who hates her, apparently for the reason that she’s attractive and confident and is trying to steal Pasha from the lovely, wholesome maths woman…

  10. Min

    Brendan’s waltz for Sunetra reminded me of his Quickstep with Pendledrama. Same sort of dialled in Brendan ballroom feel, similar dance story, similar colour dresses. The cynical could wonder if he was pinning his hopes on a similar stumble and fall at the end but with a slight flesh wound as the outcome this time.

  11. Jan

    Sorry. Got overexcited.

    I don’t know whether I want Sunetra to stay because I like her or if she’d like to go and therefore I’d happily see her leave. This is my practical problem with the obligation the celebs are under to be “loving every minute of it”, since I don’t want to vote for someone who doesn’t want to be there; most weeks I sit trying to figure out how they all *really feel* and then panic and don’t vote at all.

  12. Huriye

    Thanks Monkseal, loved it! 😀

    We had the “What’s New Pussycat?” single from the 60s (my Mum was a big Tom Jones Fan) and remember hearing it often, and it wasn’t just our primitive record player, it really did start with the sound of breaking crockery, and had a fuzzy noise going all the way through. I assumed it was taken straight from the film soundtrack, and included all the incidental noise. But I was surprised that Dave Arch kept his arrangement exactly like the single, with no variation, not even the hectic speed.

    Just think, you’re a contestant on Strictly, and you’re doing the VW to a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song……..bliss…….oh gawd, it’s “What’s New Pussycat?” 😦

    1. Gusty Gusset

      Hmmm… just think, you could be rumba-ing to The Look of Love with Aljaz., but you find yourself doing the salsambcha to Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head with Anton insread.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.