Jake & Janette : …and suddenly the judges are interested in technique with Jake, as his 70s disco cha-cha (to Boogie Shoes, featuring actual magical boogie shoes) and Viennese Waltz (to When A Man Loves A Woman and deeply deeply chintzy) are slammed technically, and he finds himself adrift at the bottom of the leaderboard. Gone are the days when he could get 36 for standing still, clicking his fingers, and occasionally remembering to catch Janette. His total score? Two higher than Gavbot at the same stage in the competition. OUCH.
Frankie & Kevin : Frankie starts off weakly with a truly bizarre and stiff toybox themed rumba to “Somewhere Only We Know” where someone’s pinched Kevin’s cheeks so hard they’ve bust a capillary. Somehow this gets caught up in the eternal battle between Craig and Len as to WHAT THE RUMBA IS (Len thinks this is a rumba, Craig thinks it is not) Fortunately for her she comes back with her first performance containing any real passio since…the paso doble(?) in her Argentine Tango to Beethoven’s 5th (??) where she flings her legs around like a good’un. She ends up in second.
Mark & Karen : In his Viennese Waltz (set on a porch somewhere in the American Mid-West) Mark outdooes Jake in terms of dancing and frame although also in terms of being utterly nauseatingly twee so it’s kind of a wash. The real drama though comes after his barefoot on the beach bargain basement contemporary rumba, which somehow ALSO falls into the eternal battle between Craig and Len as to what a rumba is (in this case Craig thinks it is, but Len thinks it’s not). Unlike Kevin though, who deals with the judge-fighting stoically, Karen bursts into big blowsy tears and wails that she’s LET MARK DOWN up on Claud 9. Mark then gives a speech. They finish fourth.
Simon & Kristina : Simon and Kristina also start weakly, with a samba to “I Like To Move It” that starts off…well not strongly, because he completely screws up his cartwheel, but more strongly that what it turns into, which is an absolute mess featuring the worst samba rolls I’ve ever seen. Fortunately he too comes back strongly in the second round with Kristina’s seventeenth Movies themed routine of the series, a foxtrot to My Guy. Still though…it’s a foxtrot, and it kind of gets lost in the maelstrom of Karen’s tears. They finish third.
Caroline & Pasha : Also ALSO start weakly (good lord but this was not a good semi-final on the whole) with a really sloppy foxtrot to “Diamonds” by Rihanna. At points it looks like a foxtrot, but more often it looks like a rumba or even a tango. Finally we’ve reached crisis point where the celebs are so confused about genres that they lose track of what they’re supposed to be dancing repeatedly mid-routine. Fortunately she comes right back at the end and OWNS THE NIGHT with a salsa where she grinds and frots and wiggles and flashes to Ricky Martin at a quite terrifying rate of knots. It gets the first 40 of the series, kind of because they’d promised something was going to get one before the final, but also because this night needed livening up with something other than EARNEST AND AGONISED DEBATE OVER WHAT CONSITUTES A RUMBA. She finishes first.
ALSO : whatever happens with the result I can reveal the first set of Monkie Nominees for the series. Up for Strictly Bullet-Dodger of the year are – Judy Murray, Mark Wright, Scott Mills, and Simon Webbe. The winner will receive their trophy from Fiona Fullerton at the end of the series.
ALSO : the most skippable set of VTs yet featuring Judges Holodeck and also several montages of the public going “WOO WE LOVE YOU PIXIE!” because nobody bothered to edit it out. I might recap them…I might not. I’ve got four episodes of this show and three of The Apprentice to do this week alone, cut me some slack.