Claudia’s still back, and that’s all that matters.
We open with our pro routine for the evening, centred around dogged policemen and a particularly villanous female robber.
JUSTICE FOR AUSTIN! LOCK HER UP! Oh ok, not really :
Iveta, Natalie, Aliona and a fleetingly returned Anya are a nefarious band of sexy criminals and Anton, Aljaz, Robin and Tristan are a bunch of dopey cops. As Boss Cop Anton is
wielding a truncheon. He doesn’t, and Thank God, use it half as suggestively as Iveta did, in that routine that I will not link to because you’ve all seen it 5 million times before. The evil lady criminals escape via
biting and then do some latin titting around “getting the better of the cops” and if you want a pithy summary of just how amazing this pro dance is not, then ponder on the fact that Joanne is also a sexy criminal, and the sum total of her role, as World Ballroom Showdance Champion, is to stick her head out the bins and
clang Anton round the head with a dustbin lid. Expertise well used there. There’s also been a lot in the press this week about how this routine features STRICTLY’S FIRST EVER SAME SEX COUPLES so of course
we get 5 seconds of entirely family friendly comedy “oops I appear to be dancing with a man by mistake guv’nor how embarrassing” that has no sort of real homosexual bearing whatsoever unless you consider it was probably the excuse that policeman used re : George Michael. Not quite the BOLD STEP TOWARDS FUTURE EQUALITY that launched a thousand Independent Online think-pieces then.
(I am now shipping Natalie and Iveta though)
(Oh and I can’t fit this Natalie Lowe face anywhere into the above write-up but it
NEEDS TO BE SEEN)
Once the set-dressing has been removed, Tess and Claudia emerge, and thank Robin for coming back. Anya on the other hand is apparently chopped liver. Claudia then reminds us that last night 8 dancers performed their hearts out to stay in the competition. Given some of the faces on some of them, I think that’s celebrities and pros combined. Deciding who of them will stay, and who of them will go, on the basis of technicality ability, performance chops and apparently who it’s nicest to imagine swiffering them up onto a horse and riding off into the sunset with them are
THESE BUGGERS. I think it’s safe to say that if this segment ever had choreography, it’s gone now. After they’ve finished flouncing about like some hick wannabe model who’s about to get a right shoeing from Miss Jay about their runway walk, the camera cuts back to Claudia
a little too quickly, telling us all exactly via her face that she’d forgotten they did that. Also this evening, Len’s Glans and
TWO WHOLE PERFORMANCES FROM BARRY MANILOW ZOMG.
But first : Your Week In Pictures Of Pasha Looking Supportive Because There Was No Greg.
Once that’s over with it’s time for the return of
“That’s Claudia!” now with Claudia Winkleman again. My favourite part of this week’s “That’s Claudia!” is how she utterly ignores Anthony Costa at all times. She asks Mary Berry who her favourite on Saturday night was, and Mary replies that it was Frankie because she looked so beautiful.
Kevin meanwhile is slowly morphing into The Head from Art Attack. Dave Myers meanwhile is asked whether he’s jealous over “his beloved Karen” dancing with Mark this year etc etc whilst I mostly focus on wondering
where Richard has stuck his pencil. Maybe Dave borrowed it to curl the ends of that stupid moustache around? And that was “That’s Claudia!”
Time again now for Safety Sex-Faces :
and our first couple in danger are :
these two. Is this going to happen every series now? Some more Mark Benton esque couple in the dance-off week after week until the judges finally let them go. Anyway, as a bonus, as the Safety Sex-Faces are dwindling, have a
Safety Smug-Face from Pixie. I feel like I should be photoshopping in Tweety Pie feathers into the corners of her mouth or something.
They wander over to Tess, who asks her if she feels sad to be in the dance-off again, and she shrugs that she’s been here before and she quite likes this waltz, so she’s fine with it. Let’s hope you’re fine with it next week, when you get eliminated dressed as Carmen Miranda doing a rumba to “I Go To Rio”. Tess goes to Craig for advice, presumably because if she asked Bruno he’d just tell her to nip round the back to Dr Hammie’s Discount Surgery And Life Coachnig and get a tit-reduction. Craig tells her she’s a beautiful dancer and the waltz really suits her and erm…well good luck!
Up to Claud 9 now where
THEY’RE HAVING A PARTY! I notice that putative Blue-Saturdays-Pixie hook-up that was mentioned at Blackpool doesn’t appear to have ever been mentioned again incidentally. Claudia asks Jake how he felt to get his first 10s on Saturday and he says that he was
*checks Jake-to-human facial expressions handbook* pleased. He goes on to reveal that next week, for Funny Forins Week, he will be dancing the Argentine Tango to Zorba The Greek complete with smashing plates. Presumably to drown out the sound of all the DAHNCE PURISTS sticking their feet through the tv. I have to say, there were better first dances to reveal to get be hyped up. Or at least I bloody hope there were. Claudia then asks Pixie, in a not all backhanded way, if she’s really smart enough to keep on learning new dances. Pixie’s all
EVERY TIME I LEARN A NEW FING IT PUSHES SOME OF THE OLD STUFF OUT OF MY BRAIN! IT’S GREAT! THIS WEEK I LEARNT SWIVEL AND I FORGOT HOW TO READ!.
As if the fun of Round The World Week had not been signposted enough, Claudia reveals that next week Simon will be doing the waltz in the Austrian hills. If it’s to fricking Edelweiss I’m getting a guest blogger in, I swear. STEVE! STEVEN!
Next up :
BARRY MANILOW! Apologies for the quality of the picture the…oh no, wait, that’s what he looks like now. For Round 1, he’s speak-singing Copacabana in the manner of an old Jewish lady recalling a dust-up at her hairdressers. Kevin and Karen provide physical accompaniment but the most beautiful moment of dancing comes when Barry
grabs an audience member, and forces his participation upon her. If you want to imagine the dancing in motion, visually, remember when Brucie puttered around with that runner who sprinted on to get Ramps’ mic unhitched from Karen during their salsa. It’s like that. But less so.
Kevin and Karen doing the horizontal mambo in the corner just can’t compete.
This Latin flair prompts a display of flagrant maraca-shaking from Len
as an opening to Len’s Glans with Darcey…being even more English than usual next to him. Claudia suggests that they eschew looking at slowed-down footage of not very interesting things entirely andd just all sing Copacabana and dance for 5 minutes. I would be all for this. There are not enough impromptu dance parties on tv these days. Please include Greg, The Man In The Hat, HAHT CAHP Iveta, Sophie’s Awkward Husband, Vicky Gill, Nancy Dell’Olio, Jared Murillo, Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig, The Blindfolded Dart-throwing Song Monkey, Gavin’s adorable kids and Frankie’s adorable kid, Alesha’s Nans, Dr Hamela’s husband Mayor McCheese, that Mummy I fancied in Series 9 Hallowe’en Week and Jive Bunny.
Instead we start, as we must, with Jake twerking
everybody twerking. The only thing that cheers me up re : all this twerking is that it’s happening in a series without Bruce. You just know he would have joined in. Len then justifies giving Jake’s samba a 10 despite it not being perfect by just saying “well it was better than Caroline, so what are you gonna do?”. Mark properly? As a suggestion.
Darcey is next called upon to play Bad Cop and explain why she only gave Frankie’s Viennese Waltz a platry 9. It was because of this :
appparently, when your toe turns in, you need to fish it and lift. Thanks for that Darcey. Len of course then gets a grump on about how VAT ROOTEEN WAS SO AMAZIN YOU SHOULD HAVE GIVEN IT A 10 DARCEY YOU RUDE CAHHH and Darcey so briefly but so perfectly
morphs into Sally Smedley that it quite takes my breath away. Darcey protests that when she sees something wrong, she just has to say so (*cough*AS LONG AS IT’S A GIRL*cough*)
Craig is up to discuss Simon’s “armography” next which looks much the same as any Spaghetti Junction interlude in any salsa ever did in slow motion, and we all remenisce about how Simon has been in the Bottom 2 twice and what a journey he’s been on since then. Craig beams that he got qutie carried away and gave him a 9 for the first time and Bruno grabs him and yells
“CRAIG’S GETTING A SOFTIE!”. Well he probably is now Bruno, yes. Finally we close on Bruno reliving Caroline’s slip in slow-motion and basically highlighting some more than when she does it in the final he’s giving it an 11 because the elements of contemporary it contained (UNLIKE EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN SMOOTH SINCE NATALIE LOWE INCORPORATED ACTUAL BIRD FLAPPING INTO SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW) made it really innovative and edgy. OK Bruno.
Time now for two more Safety Sex-Faces :
And there they go. I wish Kevin would stop jumping up and down so much. It’s almost as though he doesn’t want to participate. Anyway, yes, Mark is yet again on the verge of a crying jag
so let’s put him out of his misery
there we go. Never have two people looked quite so much like those little faces you make with your clenched fist and googly eyes and a bit of make-up. Just me?
Once Steve and Ola are over at Tess, Steve grins that there’s no shame in being the dance-off for the first time in Week 9. LOL take that Mark, Simon, Sunetra and Caroline. He’s in the REAL Top 4. He tells Tess that he spends every week cheering on Pixie, Jake and Frankie from Claud 9 then panicking because he realises that’s his competition. Tess asks Len if he thinks Steve can do better in the dance-off than that mess he made on Saturday Night, and Len replies that OF COURSE HE CAN TESS. Bit early for a Christmas Miracle isn’t it?
We zip up to Claud 9 now where we catch Frankie, Caroline, Pasha and Kevin mid-discussion. Almost as though
nobody wants to risk setting Mark off isn’t it? Claudia wades in, all “YOUR ICKLE FACE!” like she’s stepping into an Angolan minefield sweeping for tear-bombs. Mark says that he is estatic and he wouldn’t wish the feeling you get when you’re left last to be picked on anyone. He then says that this makes being called out the best feeling in the wrld. Claudia undercuts this by asking if he thinks it’s a better feeling than when his girlfriend said yes to his marriage proposal and Mark’s all
“NO OF COURSE NOT HA HA, WE GOT WEW GOOD RATINGS FOR THAT ON ITV 2, IT WAS MEGA, HOLLY WILLOUGHBY CRIED AND EVERFYIN!”. Frankie confirms next that she and everyone else really do practice all the time between shows in case they’re in the dance-off BECAUSE THE MOST RANDOM PEOPLE HAVE BEEN IN THE DANCE-OFF AND YOU NEVER KNOW. Well I think Sunetra might have a fair idea now. We close on Caroline giving notice that
she is going to have PTSD from that stumble and knicker-flash forever and ever PashAmen.
Next up :
Thingy-Face oes a grave-robbing duet with Louis Armstrong so profoundly distressing that I’m not going to recap it. Well done Barry, you finally broke me. Here’s Shirley again.
Much better. It’s all so distressing that even the Comedy Around The World Week preview VT with the contestants “hilariously” mangling foreign tongues
seems comparatively harmless (also – the thought of Steve having to dance in clogs tee hee). Once we arrive back on the pre-dance-off Claud 9, Tess tells us that sadly only one of these couples will make it to Round The World Week.
Oh no! It was always Steve’s dream to get to dance an Argentine Tango to “The Little Mouse With Clogs On”. He tells Claudia that last week in Blackpool, Jake put his arm around Steve and told him to enjoy what was about to happen to him, because it was only going to happen once in his lifetime. Then he put his cigarette out and reached for the lub…oh wait, sorry. Thought I was on tumblr : strictlyslashfic then. Sunetra then follows by saying that if is her last waltz, then it’s a good one to go out on. Well yeah, I doubt you’ll be doing a waltzing reprise in the final hun, no offence.
Still, one more week eh?
As they leave, and 1000 prop tulips get dumped in a skip, Steve thanks Ola for getting him to week 9, and Ola thanks Steve for putting so much effort in despite his injuries. I have to say, if this really was Ola’s last ever Strictly routine, the fact that she went out dressed as a naughty cheerleader will be as appropriate in its own way as Erin actually leaving via Erin Island, Lilia’s last ever recorded words on the show being “I’M NEVER COMING BACK”, Artem departing on a wafty divine-touching freeform American Smooth par excellence and Ian rounding off his Strictly stint with a TALL PERSON SORT OF DOING JIVE WELL.
Steve then closes by saying that the most magical part of Strictly was watching all his new friends do dances that meant so much to them – Mark’s Charleston! Jake’s salsa! Sunetra’s American Smooth! Judy’s foxtrot!
Judy never did a foxtrot Steve, go home, you’re drunk.