Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 12 Performance

Sweet or passionate? Romantic or raunchy? Contemporary or classical? If you’re interested in discussing in fine detail just what makes a rumba a rumba, have we got the episode for you!

Wait, where are you going?

Last week : Pixie left

This week : And now I have to endure THIS


Bring Judy back as well whilst you’re at it. She would have shown these kids a thing or two about what a REAL rumba looks like. 90 seconds of leaning up against a wall eating chips as Anton goes downstairs again. To Rod Stewart.

The band strikes up and so emerge

these two. Claudia in a negligee and Tess in a dress that looks a bit like a tube of toothpaste where someone’s squeezed it all to the bottom. I’m guessing that, after being forced to dress Caroline sensibly tonight, Wardrobe have had to find new people to pick on. Meanwhile in the audience

so are these two married now or what? Because they are all over one another all evening. I feel the nation deserves to know. Claudia first reminds us, as there are no other pressing matters to discuss, that last week Simon and Pixie faced off in the dance-off, and after an agonising decision making process for the judges, Pixie went home. Well…not home, she went straight to an awards show followed by three catwalks and a recording session because she’s just SO SO BUSY. But…off this show. Physically, if not in the spirit of everyone droning on about what a shock boot it is. ANYWAY, tonight is Two Dance Night. Who will rise to the challenge? Who will crumble like wet toilet paper?

Turns out everybody, oops.

And who will be deciding how well our contestants have coped with the rigours of learning the technical demands of two very different genres of dance…before chucking them in the bin in favour of donig a load of pseudo-contemporary twaddle instead? WHY IT’S OUR JUDGES OF COURSE.

Oh Len. It’s alright. McBusted aren’t coming back. You can give Bruce his broom back now.

The contestants emerge from the wings, and Tess tells us that as tonight is the semi-final all of the contestants will be pulling out the big guns.

I’ll say.

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the cha cha

Something in your eye Jake? Tess tells us that Jake’s cha cha will be set in the Queen Vic during Happy Hour. Claudia looks like

she’s ready to position herself directly under the pump, with her mouth open.

VT time now, and Jake tells us that he really genuinely enjoyed the Charleston, it was so much fun, and absolutely it was one of the highlights of his series. Personally I’m not sure why they had to air such a long clip of him talking because

the joy just radiates out of every pore of his face. Never have I seen a man so full of the PURITY OF DAHNCE. He goes on to say that he’s so excited to be in the semi-final and that he never expected to make it this far. This is one of those “I’m typing it the first time somebody says this, not every time” deals. Also included in this arrangement are “learning two dances in four days is so daunting”, “Pixie’s departure shows that nobody’s safe” and “HALFTIME BEEF ANYONE?”. Just assume everyone else is saying all of the above all evening.

Training now, and Jake tells us that in his cha cha, he’s really going to focus on strong technique, clean moves, and authentic steps as

he and Janette run around doing Saturday Night Fever arms. This does not…auger well. Maybe Janette has told him this is authentic cha cha technique, who can say?

Next up, a segment where all the remaining celebs

see videos of the public delivered to them via Skype and are all “wow I never realised all the support I had out there, it makes me feel really great to know that people are actually rooting for me” when ALL OF THESE CELEBS ARE ON TWITTER and hence live every day with permenant access to a constant stream of “wow that was so amazing the judges don’t know what they’re talking about you go Jake all the way to the final” if they so choose. And also probably pictures of fans boobies. They’re not excited by some people you’ve collared shopping in Westfields who just want to get on the telly, Moira.

Fortunately for variety, and this recap, each celebrity also receives a visit in the studio from a very special friend. In this case, BABS WINDSOR!

What is that look? Happiness? Excitement? Blank terror? Anger? My Jake Wood Little Pocket-Book Of Expressions is failing me at the last. Their touching reunion (although the other half tells me that their Eastenders characters shared pretty much no screentime) is marred slightly by the fact that

she has to keep on pushing her face back on. Obviously it’s just come out of the oven and it’s still a bit fragile. Barbara tells us that she is shocked still that Jake agreed to do the show, shocked that he can move his hips, and shocked that he’s made it this far, all because he’s such a shy boy really. Shy or hates all of humanity outside of his wife and kids. One or t’other. Anyway Barbara closes by saying that she can really see the joy of dance in Jake’s face every time she sees him on Strictly. Bloody hell, what does he look like normally? The VT finishes with Jake dancing ballroom with Barbara

and I couldn’t possibly comment on whether his frame looks better dancing with her than it does with Janette. I’ll leave it up to you.


Jake and Janette are dancing their cha cha to “Boogie Shoes” but a naff sped-up version that sounds even more like a sitcom theme-tune from the 70s. Apparently they half-inched it from Glee. It sounds like it. The idea is that Jake is quietly and happily supping a pint in “The Queen Stric” (no) and then Janette vamps in with

MAGICAL SHOES that make him into a cha cha dancer. Yes, I think magic probably is your best chance to get his technique up to the required standard now Janette well done. Jake “puts on the shoes” (does a quick costume change behind the bar) and


I guess the problem is that we have now seen Jake do this twice before (three times if you include the Charleston) and…the element of surprise has kind of worn off. And the nature of the cha cha means Janette is less able to ping pong around doing lifts and having her head used as a football to add excitement to basic Party Latin. He gurns, he wiggles, his

hernia pops out…I guess a winner these days needs a little more light and shade, who knew? At the end he

climbs up on a table, and the shoes explode. Feels symbolic. Shoddy Korean Magic Workmanship…

“The Queen Stric” though. I ask you.

They wend their way over to Tess “look at them, they’re on their feet in the studio, what an atmosphere, ladies and gents” Daly (did you ever notice that nothing kills an atmosphere quicker than Tess noticing it? She is the MEDUSA of light entertainment broadcasting) who introduces Davearch

who is officially having prop outfits put on him for the sake of it now. Unless the appearance of Babs has inspired him to do a very special tribute to her Eastenders paramour Frank Butcher here.

Len starts for the judges by saying the competition has suddenly got twice as difficult. Hem….one of the best dancers just left Len, whilst Mark Wright’s still here. No it didn’t. That though, he was light, bright and lively, with plenty of “funk in the trunk”.

Funk off Len. Funk right off. Bruno follows and

I hope we get in some better prepared camerapersons for the final, because this lot are falling behind his movements already. He yells that that was like being at a New Year’s Eve Party in the Queen Vic. Do they have New Year’s Eve Parties in the Queen Vic? I always presumed they were too busy burying everyone who got run over/bludgeoned with an ashtray/pushed off a roof-top on Christmas Day. He liked the enthusiasm, but he felt that the hips looked more like salsa hips than cha cha hips.

Craig follows and

good grief WHAT IS THAT ON HIS FACE? I’d ask if he was growing it for panto but he’s managed the last three months of this particular panto without it so… Anyway he tells Jake that that cha cha was a drunken mess, his hips were out of control, and it was all very forced, flat-footed, and lacking in finesse. Darcey closes by saying that she liked that Jake really went for it, but his leg action could have been a lot sharper.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia tells them not to worry, because in the semi-final the judges “get a bit strict”. I feel like Claudia has said “this is the week when the judges traditionally get a bit strict” every week since she came back. It might be that, you know, this year’s dancers just aren’t very good Claudia. Jake says that he thinks they were fair, because cha-cha is a very technically difficult dance and he’s struggled. Behind him, Pasha nods along solemnly, like there’s not footage that’s been aired on this show of him telling Caroline that cha-cha is the biggest piece of pish that ever pished. Scores are in

30. First 6 in a semi since Gavin Henson.

Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton dancing the rumba

Nice piping on the shoulders there Kevin, Mary Berry would approve. Tess tells us, like we haven’t already seen for ourselves, that in this routine Kevin will be a toy soldier and Frankie will be a beautiful ballerina. Tess then snorfles that this will pander to Darcey’s tastes – she loves a man in uniform. Even when Tess gets a good joke

the face kind of kills it, sadly.

VT time, and Frankie says sadly that she went out onto the dancefloor last week not feeling her best. This was of course compared to Kevin, who was perfectly chipper and not at all spraying fluid out both ends. Talk about a chunky salsa… Anyway, Kevin sighs that 34, which would normally be a good score, in this case left them at the bottom of the leaderboard.

The VT then leaps RIGHT from this to Frankie being declared safe and Kevin celebrating by hurling himself to the ground like Ian Waite in a Showdance without even mentioning that she was subsequently helped out substantially by the Rigathong FUNNY THAT.

Training now and

…oh ok, I’ll just leave you guys to it. Frankie says that she’s really worried about having the rumba, because the song’s really slow and it leaves her feeling quite exposed. Don’t worry Frankie, nobody’s going to be looking at you, not when you’re dancing with the Gay Nutcracker. Her Special Guest is

HER ADORABLE CHILD again. Oh and her husband. I guess. Frankie says that she’s really glad that Wayne and Parker could make it today, because she’s really been missing them. Also…quite handy for votes.


I suddenly have visions of the entire dance being done by these two toys, with Frankie and Kevin moving them round a table-top with their fingers, until Kristina swoops in with a plastic Godzilla and stomps on them yelling “GODZILLA SMASHES YOUR DREAMS, KRISTINA’S IN THE FINAL NOW BITCHEZ!”. Sadly, the toys “come to life” for Christmas although not before

Frankie doing dead-eyed acting enters my nightmares and haunts them forever.

Yes, Frankie and Kevin are doing a CONCEPTUAL rumba, wherein she is a toy so she is as stiff and blank as possible throughout. It’s like Camila & James’ Cabaret Tango from Series 3, except there we knew from experience that she could emote (…oh lord did we know that) AND IT WAS A TANGO. Frankie kind of needed to show romantic passion here and, to be fair, she’s shown it before so I’m not really sure what the point is in having her periodically

flopping around like a dead fish is. They’re dancing to Lily Allen’s version of “Somewhere Only We Know” which is SO last year. Clearly they should be rumba’ing dressed as toy penguins whilst someone wails “REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL LOVE, THIS IS REEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL LOVE, I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE RESTRAINING ORDER THIS IS REEEEEEEEEEEEEAL” or however that song goes. It all ends with Kevin

dragging Frankie back to the tree by her ankle. It’s hardly Toy Story is it?

Bruno starts for the judges, saying that he feels like love has been reawakened into a world full of wonders and fairy dust. Even Kevin is looking at him at this point as if to say

“I was only doing it so she didn’t have to dance like a slag twice in one evening Bruno, calm down”. He really loved the innocence and purity of the routine. Well…you should have been watching the tree – Mrs Potato Head And GI Joe were getting PROPER filthydirtyrumba. Anyway, in all of his years of Strictly, what he most likes is when someone shows him something he’s not seen before. I mean, I can think of several things I’ve never seen before on this show that I’d like to (PASHA) but none of them were that. Craig follows and

he didn’t like it. He thought it was sterile and heavy. Seriously Craig, nothing that involves having your arse dragged along the Strictly studio floor is sterile. She’s going to have to have injections now.

Darcey follows by saying that

HER OVARIES ARE ACTIVATED, WATCH OUT BOYS. Also Frankie’s rumba was magic, but it was more of a sweet love than the sort of lustful love we expect from a rumba. Len parps up “NO WE DON’T” like…who asked you Len? Although admittedly *I* no longer expect that, because every rumba now is trailed with “OH IT’S SO ROMANTIC AND LOVELY, NO EVIL SINFUL LUSTY FEELINGS AT ALL” that I’ve started to feel like Arlene Phillips’ing it, banging my shoe on the desk and barking I JUST WANT RAW SEX. Is that so wrong? Len closes by saying that that was the sort of rumba he likes, and Kevin was just choreographing to the music he was given. – sweet and soft and childlike. He has a point. There’s no getting filth into a routine based around a song that’s so conservative I was half expecting Iain Duncan Smith to wander on at one point.

Up to Claud 9 they float, where Claudia reiterates that Len and Bruno loved it. Particularly Bruno, for showing him something new. I can’t believe that Bruno has never started hallucinating dancing toys in the middle of a routine sorry, not with the volume of stuff he’s on. Kevin mithers that he couldn’t have been lustful towards Frankie anyway, not with Wayne and Karen and

Natalie Lowe all watching. No offence Kevin but…I don’t think the problems with believable lustful gazes would be happening in that direction. Frankie says that she and Kevin put a lot of work into that dance, and she hopes everyone enjoyed it. Scores are in

34. Just out of shot : Donny waving a Donny-11.

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dancing the Viennese Waltz


VT now and Mark tells us that he was under huge amounts of pressure last week, whilst wearing a

combination of a Tenerife Beach Holiday t-shirt and bobble hat that frankly defines “strong look”. He reminds us that he was in the dance-off the week before last and that as a result he really thought he’d be going home. But NO, HE WAS SAVED

and wore a look much like he does any time he does a tv show that isn’t cancelled before it’s even broadcast. He says that you never know, if he keeps improving he could go all the way. And really what a dream. Or as he put it on twitter, HATADREAM. #teamunderdog

Training now, and Mark says that his Viennese Waltz has to be the best dance he’s ever done otherwise he’s not going to get through. And yet it isn’t, and yet he does. Mark really does talk the purest % volume of reality tv twaddle-speak this show has ever seen doesn’t he? Mark’s special guests are his sisters.

He cries.

He does a speech. Mark’s sister give out about how Mark is the underdog who came into this show with all the odds stacked against him but yet somehow he is still here. HE IS A 27 YEAR OLD PHYSICALLY FIT ATTRACTIVE (apparently) YOUNG MAN WITH A HIGH PUBLIC PROFILE AND A HISTORY OF DOING WELL AT PRESENTING HIMSELF TO REALITY TV VOTERS, GIVE OVER, HE’S NOT FLIPPING TONY FLIPPING JACKLIN IS HE?

*deep breath* Lord this final’s going to be exhausting.


Mark and Karen are doing their Viennese Waltz to “I Got You Babe”. I don’t know anybody who sits out on their porch in full ballroom get-up, but then again the house on the video-wall behind them looks proper Amityville Horror, so they’re probably serial killers. Look at Karen’s face here

She’s killed before. The two of them lurch to their feet, mugging away like a

Bob Downe Christmas Special, and then do the Viennese Waltz (based American Smooth). It’s quite sweet, and charming, although Karen’s skirt is so flipping huge that at times it looks like Mark is dancing with a

giant pink sea anenome. Maybe that’s where they’ve buried the bodies? The choreography is a little less interesting than they’ve deployed in this genre before – it’s basically one set of waltzing out from the swing, then eventually one set right back again, with a load of faffing and Karen flouncing around a mostly stationary Mark but hey, it’s two dance week and (MONKSEAL BLOG EXCLUSIVE) he’s never ever ever ever danced ever before in his life ever, so let’s cut him some slack.


For those of you in the comments who were requesting a pained looking Trent tonight.

There he is. Craig starts for the judges, saying that he found the whole thing lacking in grace in the transitions between moves, particularly when he was moving into and out of hold. Again, as I said last week, I’m not sure as he was in hold enough for anyone to notice but…I guess that’s why Craig’s a judge. It wasn’t very smooth, and he loved how Mark has worked on his hands but they were starting to get a bit “over floral”. Craig, you’ve spent the whole series encouraging him to act like he’s about to nosh you off, don’t come down on it now. Darcey follows by saying that the whole dance really had a lovely quality from beginning to end, and Mark has definitely improved in his ballroom generally but she agrees with Craig that it wasn’t really smooth enough.

Len is next and says that he admires Mark so much, because he’s NEVER DANCED IN HIS LIFE BEFORE EVER EVER EVER NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT MARKY NO-MOVES BLAH BLAH BLAH ENOUGH. Bruno closes by saying that he personally he quite enjoyed Mark’s dainty wrist action.

Bruno trying to impersonate something camper than he is is…quite something. He does criticise Mark though for not producing “continuous flow” during the dance. Bruno, he’s only just stopped crying, don’t encourage him.

Up to Claud 9 they flit, where Claudia immediately starts prodding by telling Mark that he looked really disappointed with the judges comments. In response…Mark gives a speech about constructive criticism. Claudia follows by saying that

not being weird, but can he just cry again?

Claudia follows by telling Mark that his sisters are adorable and Mark is adorable and also his mum in the audience is adorable. Somebody get Claudia a thesaurus? Scores are in


Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the samba


In his VT, Simon says that last week he was convinced that his American Smooth was going to be his last dance, especially when he found himself in the dance-off against Pixie BUT THEN IT WASN’T. And so he

had a little sit down.

Training now and

good grief Kristina, even women from Newcastle are more subtle than that. Honest to God NEWCASTLE. This…erotic interlude is sadly curtailed, as guess what? Simon is finding learning two dances in one week really difficult. Just like everyone else. And just like everyone else, Kristina (very earnestly) tells Simon that she’s brought some of his friends to cheer him up. Simon’s face at this point reads

“please please please please God not Lee, anybody but Lee, he’ll spend half an hour asking me why I’m doing this ballroom dancing stuff when I could be out there saving dying elephants then try to sneakily stick his finger up Kristina’s bum”.

Oops. Ah well, at least we get to see the first recorded example of another member of Blue carrying Lee, talent wise. Simon tells us that he gets butterflies every time he sees Lee and Duncan, and that the love they have for one another is proper genuine. Not that twat Antony though. What, he couldn’t even be bothered to turn up for five minutes to do a Comedy VT? What, is he claiming he’s got other work on, do me a favour. What, am I blocking him from a really important opportunity to urinate on a cashpoint or something? Duncan then tells Simon to forget Anthony, man



Their samba is a jungle-themed dance to “I Like To Move It” – jungle themed because the song was notably used in the movie Madagascar. In the movie Madagascar, it was being sung by a crazed lemur potentate. On Strictly, it appears to be being sung by Bernard Matthews. OI LOYK TAR MEWV ET MEWV ET indeed. As the dance starts, the camera actually

flies back through Kristina’s legs, which produces about the most bizarre visual I’ve seen on this show outside of Snowdance. It starts with Simon doing a

rather awkward double cartwheel (you ain’t Matt Baker hun, don’t try it) and then proceeding…rather well for the first half of things at least, so long as you ignore the fact that it feels like they should be advertising frozen turkey bites (and with Kristina in that outfit in this weather, I don’t doubt that they are). There’s a nice pulse and bounce and attitude to it, and Kristina is vamping around something fierce. Unfortunately though, about half way round, he and Kristina

get into a tangle in a samba roll, and it never really recovers. It fact it…just seems to devolve into him running around a bit, twitching. Like roadkill.

Not nice.

Simon wanders over to the judges, smarming “I REALLY ENJOYED THAT” with all the conviction of a man who has just had a Pasha Kovalev style “DON’T SHOW EMOTION, THEY’LL NEVER KNOW!” intervention bellowed down his lug-hole. Sadly for him

Darcey noticed there were some WEENSY errors in there. She did enjoy his “solo work” though, particularly “No Worries” (CHOON). Len follows by saying that the first half and the second half were both fine, it was just the natural rolls that went horribly wrong. Were they…not in either half of the dance? Is this something Simon did backstage? Did he get Len the wrong sandwiches? HE WANTED UNNATURAL ROLLS DAMNIT! CHEESE AND STRAWBERRY! GET ON IT, KID! Manawhile in the audience,

Simon’s daughter is so bored as to be unreal. You can tell she’d rather be watching X Factor.

Bruno follows, saying that he thinks the problem is that Simon let the animal out of its cage and couldn’t control it. But that’s enough about Kristina. Once he made the mistake with the rolls, he couldn’t get the samba action back so…Bruno just suggests that we forget this dance ever happen. Just this one? Can I take out…a few of the others in the same memory wipe? Craig closes by saying that he admired how Simon recovered from his first blunder with the cartwheels but…not so much from the problem with the rolls. Darcey then leaps on him, all “IT WAS ONLY ONE LITTLE TINY SECTION!” and Craig’s all

“mmm hmm, you protect your woobie if you want sweetheart, some of us are judges”. Len separates them and tells Simon that, if he’s in the dance-off, he should do that samba again, and get it right. Kristina’s face says

“lolno we’re doing our foxtrot thx Len I’m not an idiot”.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where there’s a huge amount of supportive ruckus for them except from

Aliona, who just grins down the camera all “flipping children…”. Kristina blames everything on nerves, and Simon just grumbles “no excuses, we just went wrong”. Claudia highlights that his next dance is the foxtrot, which couldn’t be more different, so erm…that might help? Simon admits that he does prefer the ballroom, and seems ready to move forward. Meanwhile Anton’s face

appears finally to actually have stuck like that. Scores are in

30. Jesus wept Darcey…

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing the foxtrot

It truly does look like she’s photoshopped him into her own intro doesn’t it? Tess tells us that so far, Caroline has received more 10s than anybody else, but has also been in the dance-off. WHATTADICHOTOMY.

VT time now and

this also looks a bit…fanmade doesn’t it? To look like they’re kissing. Oh Caroline. Anyway, we’re reminded that Craig called their Argentine Tango thrilling, and then Caroline gives a very croaky, throaty, husky interview about how Pasha believes more in her than she believes in herself.


Training now, and Caroline informs us that her first dance this week is to be the foxtrot, but she’s finding it really difficult, because she’s not a ballroom girl. Yeah, we noticed. On the upside though

“Operation Get The Boys Out” appears to be working. SOLVE THESE TWO BIG ONES FROM THE TOP, NUMBERS BITCH!

Carolines special guests are

her sisters and nieces again. So only Mark Wright really has the limitless bucket of hangers-on such that he’s been able to call in fresh troops for the semis. That’s got to be a point in his favour right?

There are literally no shots of Pasha interacting with children so…I don’t care, let’s get to the dancing.


I know this is supposed to be a very dramatic starting pose but it does look a bit like he’s discretely breastfeeding her. I don’t blame her though, who hasn’t wanted to suckle at Pasha’s nipple until he produces mil[*PUNCHLINE AND INDEED ENTIRE BLOG AND MAYBE EVEN UNIVERSE IN WHICH ANYONE WANTS TO LIVE REDACTED*]. They’re dancing to “Diamonds” by Rihanna, which I think is probably my favourite Rihanna song (I know, such competition…) and yes I am singing “SHINE BRIGHT LIKE ANNE DIAMOND” throughout, because those are the words. To be honest I’m not really sure what to make of this dance. At times it looks like a rumba

or a tango

or a cha cha

or even, yes, a foxtrot (ish)

or sometimes just like she’s

pished, but it doesn’t really seem to work on the level of any of them. It’s Caroline, so she’s giving good drama and LIVING THE MUSIC but…it’s all a bit uncomfortable really. She’s very wobbly and sliding around in hold (whichever one it is she’s in at any given time) and generally lacking in elegance.

Still, nice graphics work show, well done.

Over to the judges they go, where Len starts by saying that that dance was indeed quite like a diamond. Plenty of sparkle but…not quite flawless – she stumbled in a feather step, and her frame could have been less hunched. Bruno follows and calls Caroline a special jewel, because he’s never seen someone give so much emotional intensity to a foxtrot. I presume he’s not including Kevin spasming around like a muppet on crack at the end of Frankie’s… He says that clearly Caroline is a Method Dancer.

No, me either Caroline, me either. Let’s just say it means “big ol’ ham”.

Craig is next, and absolutely bulldozes Caroline’s frame – her back wasn’t arched enough and her head was lolling about all over the place – before saying that everyone at home must have seen it when she and Pasha “crashed legs”. Not with this show’s camerawork Craig. Darcey closes by saying that there were probably lots of tiny little thngs wrong with it, but what bothered her most was how Caroline kept on looking at the floor. I think she was acting Darcey. LOOK AT THE FLOOR – YOU’LL SEEM A BIT SAD is very Hollyoaks Acting 101.

Up to Claud 9 they zoom, where Claudia asks her if it’s weird to feel like she’s put so much effort in and then get such a mediocre response. She does know that Caroline worked on X Factor yes? Anyway Caroline waffles on about trying really hard in rehearsal and coming out on the night and messing up and wasn’t it a beautiful song yadda yadda. I’m sorry to say it, but I’m starting to miss Zoe. Scores are in



HALF-TIME BEEF WITH CLAUDIA. The magic of her throwing popcorn down Tess’s cleavage feels like a long time ago now doesn’t it?

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the Viennese Waltz

Ooooh Janette does not suit pink eye-shadow, she looks like a very sleepy drag queen. Ahem anyway, now is the time in the series when we go to Judges Holodeck, in order for the judges to discuss the merits of the remaining contestants. Long-time viewers will remember that when Alesha was here this bit was fun, as she’d spent it smashed off her face, scarfing down nibbles and singing mid 90s R & B jams with Bruno. Instead though we’ve got Darcey, so I’ll just summarise their findings in each case.

Pros : Surprise Factor, Exciting Performer, Dem Hips, Twerking, Natural Rhythm
Cons : Crap Technique, Stiff Ballroom, Inconsistent, Inelegant


Jake is dancing his Viennese Waltz to “When A Man Loves A Woman”, which of course suits very much I would imagine the demographic of women who fancy him and spend their time giggling about what a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeird crush it is. For me…a little bit on the nose. Also Janette’s dress makes her look like an exploded lightbulb. Dancing wise, it’s better than that mess in the Waltzathong last week but his bum’s really sticking out, and it all feels a bit vague and inelegant and stiff.

I don’t think his natural resemblance to Grumpy Cat is really helping him with this one. Not bad, not brilliant, there are worse dances he could have gone out on.


Once they’re over at the judges, Bruno starts, by rambling on forever about stiff upper lips and nerves and how dashing Jake looks in tails before he finally gets to his point.

Jake had a stiff neck. Obviously Bruno is using up all his words now, before we get to the Final and everything just becomes noises. Craig follows by saying that he enjoyed that more than his cha cha, but ballroom remains Jake’s weak spot – if he’d been as good in the proper Viennese hold as he was in the “informal romantic hold” (I’m guessing that’s the one where they whirl around with somebody’s head resting on the other’s shoulders like teenagers at a 60s prom) then he really would have had something though.

Tess turns to Darcey next, and asks her if Jake’s standard in ballroom is now as high as it is in Latin.

Quite. Len closes by deploying the “FROM ALBERT SQUARE TO BERKELEY SQUARE!” line he certainly hasn’t used 5000 times before now or anything, and says that he can really empathise with what happened to Jake in that routine. He thinks that there was so much going on in Jake’s head that he just got

paralysed with overthought. This happens to Len every time he tries to use the Sky+ box.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia yells at him that he can finally relax now, and celebrate.

AND CELEBRATE HE DOES! I’ve never seen him look so relieved and excited, all at the same time. Claudia then asks him which he prefers out of the cha cha and the Viennese Waltz and Jake only says that that right there was a really beautiful dance than Janette choreographed and he really enjoyed it…in rehearsals.

Tee hee. We run through how Jake’s wife is there to watch him in person this evening (CURSE OF THE WIFE) and scores are in


Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton dancing the Argentine Tango

Tess reminds us that Frankie has topped the leaderboard four times so far this series, but she can’t afford to rest on her laurels. Well no, I guess if there’s one thing that isn’t resting on your laurels it’s “Polly-Sue The Psycho Ballerina Doll That Comes To Life And Strangles Children At Christmas”.

Pros : Len’s Favourite, Consistant, Ballroom Specialist, Nice Arms, Looks Good In Green
Cons : Boring Latin, No Performance Skills, No Connection With Kevin


Let’s face it, we all visually stereotype, and when we all saw Frankie at the start of the series, we all said “now she looks built to tango” in a way that we did not for the likes of Pixie or Alison. The hair, the skin-tone, the

obvious ability to transform her features into that of a haughty biatch seducing a poor sofa salesroom showman with a tilt of her dainty wrist if she so chose…The signs were there. And whilst the producers subverted that by slathering her in green and giving her a broomstick before, she is going for this one ALL IN.

To…erm…Beethoven’s 5th? But…an electrojazz version. This Universal Channel daytime programming advertising music choice makes the whole dance feel like a total telenovela of an Argentine Tango.
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Featuring Joanne Clifton as Gloria Del Fuegro, Disco Dancing Aerobics Instructor/Prostitute With A Heart Of Gold, Aljaz Skorjanec as Antonio St Antonio, the sexy priest with an hermaphrodite secret and Anton du Beke as Anton du Beke.

It gets a rapturous standing ovation and for a pro that normally seems so grounded

Kevin has started to get a touch of the Mad-Eyes. It really is just going to be Pasha going into this final not looking like they’d knife someone to get the glitterball isn’t it? Craig starts for the judges by saying that that certainly brought a bit of excitement and drama to proecedings, but her transitions weren’t good and her free leg sometimes wasn’t free enough. Whatever that means. Did she get it caught in her knicker elastic, enquiring minds need to know. Darcey’s next and

as a daytime soap devotee she was impressed. Darcey loves her stories.

Len follows by saying VAT WAS A NO ARGY-BARGY TANGO ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN WIBBLE ME WASHBOARD GURTCHA ALL VE WAY TO THE FINALS. Thanks Len. Bruno follows by talking about how hard it is to interpret physically a piece of music of such classical grandeur and power. If you want another example, please see his work in the video for “I’m Still Standing” now available on Youtube.

Up to Claud 9 now where

GLORIA DEL FUEGO KNOWS YOUR KIND CHIQUITA. HANDS OFF MY BROTHER OR I WILL CURSE YOU. Also Claudia talks about how Craig is being pernickety and how Frankie loves Bruno and Argentine Tango is the dance that her dad likes best. Claudia then asks Frankie if she’d like to be in the dance-off. Frankie says no. Scores are in


Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dance the rumba

Tess tells us that Mark has arguably developed the most as a dancer over the course of the series. Well yes “arguably”. “Arguably” Len is a fair and wise judge, Robin teaching a bunch of school teachers how to do the hustle is the greatest ITT segment of all time (although CALL ME, MR FRAME), and this mopey contempobollocks we’re about watch was a good idea. Arguably.

Pros : Nice guy, CAHMS AHT AN GIVES IT A GO, can swivel, confident, BIN ON A JURNEE
Cons : No sense of timing, overenthusiasm, inexpressive in his upper body


Good grief. Karen and Mark are obscenely proud of the fact that this is the first barefoot rumba ever seen on Strictly Come Dancing. I mean…can you imagine getting excited over that? Maybe if you’re that foot fetishist who was obsessed with Erin Boag who haunted my Google Hits once upon a time, but otherwise? But there again they’re also very pleased with the fact that it’s a very different unique sort of rumba, in that it’s a contemporary dance, and involves no movement in the hips whatsoever. Now (SYTYCD SIDEBAR imminent), when Karen was on SYTYCD, and a bit of a judges pet, they kept her away from having to do Contemporary. You’d think she’d have taken the hint. (Actually to be fair, the only Strictly SYTYCD alum ever to do Contemporary were Artem (passable) and Anya (this flipping trainwreck).

They’re dancing to “Fields Of Gold” and

no I’m sorry, I can’t, too busy vomming myself inside-out. Less a dance, more a series of poses from the front of Mills & Boon books. Also by the looks of it Mark has taken those socks and stuffed them right down the front of his trousers. His and Karen’s socks both. You ain’t fooling nobody bud we all saw you in that Superman outfit…


They wander over to the judges. Mark gives a speech. Darcey starts for the judges by calling the routine “unbelievably emotional” and saying that she loved what an earthy different contemporary dance it was. She would have liked to have seen some rumba in there though. Would have been nice. Len follows by saying that WE JUST SOLVED THE MYSTERY OF CROP CIRCLES with all the spinnin abaht going on. He says that it was a good effort, but there needed to be more recognisable rumba in there and for his hips to move, ever. But he knows that’s not Mark’s fault, because he didn’t do the choreography. *Karen starts jabbing herself in the eye with a pencil end surruptitiously*

Bruno follows by saying that that was a lovely roll in the hay (…) and as a big fan of contemporary dance, he loved it. But it wasn’t a rumba. Craig closes by saying that he loved it because it upset Len. Well there’s judging for you.

Up to Claud 9 they swirl, and it quickly devolves into Karen

having a weepy nervo over how she’s LET MARK DOWN and everyone fussing around her. I’ll be honest, I can’t hear the phrase “I’ve let you down” wept without immediately envisioning Neil & Christine Hamilton on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and her weeping uncontrollably and yelling “WE LET THE CHILDREN DOWN NEIL!!!!!!!!!!!” because she got a question about who won an Oscar for The Accidental Tourist wrong. Anyway, Kevin shouts “THAT CHOREOGRAPHY WAS BEAUTIFUL!” from the back of the Claud. Natalie claps a bit. None of the other pros say or do anything. Awkward. Mark gives a speech about how hard rumba is for men and how much he loved that dance. Scores are in


Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the foxtrot

No choking Kristina. How many times must you be told?

Pros : On a JURNEE, has a spark, confident, intense
Cons : Rough around the edges, lives in the dance-off, poor hip action, jerky in ballroom


If you’re not keeping count, there was the Movie Week Rumba, the Quickstep where he and Kristina were arriving at their film premiere, the salsa where Simon was a film star and Kristina was a (deranged stalker/)fan, the Waltz that was clearly a Sound Of Music movie tribute, the samba which was based around the film Madagascar, and now this. LIFE IS JUST ONE LONG MOVIE WEEK FOR KRISTINA, in which she is Marilyn. Mostly Monroe. Mostly. She and Simon are dancing their foxtrot to “My Guy” and it’s really rather good. Light, charming, elegant

a little sophisticated (would be more so if Kristina could keep her mouth from gaping open periodically,

juss sayin) and I think this might be me getting him in elegant ballroom in the same way everyone else did in his waltz. Certainly it’s a damn sight less robotic.

I do feel a bit sorry for him trying to have a dramatic moment to propel him into the final off the back of a FOXTROT immediately after the KAREN HAUER TEARS MEGA-TSUNAMI. But hey, apparently it worked.

Over to the judges they go, where Simon gives a little speech (oh Lord it’s catching) about how he never expected to prefer ballroom to latin coming in and he’s definitely going to keep it up after the show, definitely. I wonder if Kristina will give him free lessons…

Len starts for the judges, saying that it was smooth and elegant, and he loved the Reverse Wave. Kristina taking choreographical inspiration from the Kama Sutra as ever. As far as he’s concerned Simon’s just got a ticket to the final. So that’s Frankie and Simon he’s now told are going to the final. Such a Mafia Don. Bruno follows, saying that ballroom suits Simon like a tailor-made suit from Saville Row, but he thought he saw a slight hesitation towards the end.

DUCK AND COVER BRUNO, DUCK AND COVER. (A “HMPH” and a “HOH!” both from Kristina there.)

Craig follows by telling Simon that he’s officially back in the competition (for the 50th bloody time)

and Darcey closes with Darcey dribbling about how she doesn’t want to live in a world where Simon doesn’t make the final. It really does feel like we’re heading into an X Factor style four-person final where all of the judges have mentored and favoured one of the finalists. Craig with Mark (because he fancies him), Darcey with Simon (because she fances him), Len with Frankie (because she’s with a PROPER BRITISH FROM GRIMSBY) and Bruno with Caroline (because she has a vagina and dances with drag queen levels of over-emotion). If we can institute a duets round with past notable contestants I’m all for it.

Up to Claud 9 now, where Claudia congratulates Simon from coming back from his messy samba. Simon reveals that Kristina spent the interim

pointing and yelling at him to LET IT GO AND MOVE ON. Effing terrifying. Scores are in


Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing the salsa


Pros : Knows How To Sell A Dance, Fearless, Dat Charleston, Sex Appeal
Cons : Prone To Mistakes, Weak Ballroom, Hunchy Shoulders, Lack Of Extension



Caroline is dancing her salsa to “Maria” by Ricky Martin and it is a non-stop grinding joyous aggressive partying sexual frotfest from beginning

…to about three-quarters of the way through when she loses momentum a little bit. It might not have been technically amazing but good grief did I not quite realise until this dance happened how much this semi-final needed someone to do a dance where they made it clear that they were not here to fuck about. I’ve got a feeling that if the evening had started on this, the whole night might have been elevated a bit.


To the judges they go where that dance

just primed Bruno for the final. GET READY FOR SOME NOISES PEOPLE, HE’S GONNA GET LOUD. Craig follows by dead-panning that it was “very good”, so clearly prepping to get his 10 out he might as well have it welded to his face. Darcey follows by raving about Caroline’s sexy “upper-body isolations” (oh is that what we’re calling them now) and Len closes by telling Caroline that he’ll see her next week in the final. God I hope this doesn’t mean the public actually listen to Len, otherwise we’re all boned.

Up to Claud 9 they go where

I don’t know, but I feel it’d be rude to interrupt. Scores are in

40. Duh.

Final Leaderboard, featuring the worst set of semi-final scores since Series 3?


36 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 12 – Week 12 Performance

  1. BeyonceCastle

    Telephone telephone telephone telephone
    Yes I know it was Gaga only featuring Beyonce
    Sorry too heavily invested.
    Great recap, thanks muchly Xxx

  2. stevenperkins

    I’ve been staring at that intro picture for Frankie and Kevin’s Argentine Tango for five minutes trying to figure out who Kevin looked like, and then it suddenly hit me – Brock from the Pokémon anime.

  3. General Hogbuffer

    Amore en Grisby is a total classic – I can see that one run and run and run…

    And of course ‘single ladies’, with Caroline twisting her finger into Pasha’s ring…

  4. generalcatastrophe

    I like Caroline but … WTF was that thing masquerading as a foxtrot. The salsa though… I wonder if they decided running order after watching rehearsal footage and saved the best few for last. Though I’d have put Frankie’s Argentine Tango after Mark if that was the cast.

    Ugh, Mark. Mark, Mark, bloody Mark. So sick of him. Can he just go away and drop out this week?

    Scoring was on crack as usual , though Craig a bit more than usual . I’m intrigued as to what this lot are going to do for showdances. If Caroline & Pasha’s isn’t Latin or Charleston heavy, then they don’t deserve to win – if it has to be Beyonce (because Pasha… duh) then I’d suggest Freemason’s mixes of either Ring the Alarm or Beautiful Liar (yeah, I know, Shakira too), but I’d like to see something properly out there mental from them. I’m expecting a re-run of the Charleston, but what else?

    Talking of the Freemasons, has anyone ever danced to “Heartbreak (make me a dancer)”?

    Frankie… I’m not sure what to expect from them. I’d like to see the tango again, but without the themed green nonsense. Or the unwanted wig. Maybe they’ll bring back the quickstep too. As for their showdance, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. I can’t even remember Kevin and Susanna’s last year.

    Simon – hmm… possibly Charleston and his waltz again. Although the judges did go mad for his and Kristina’s AT, so that might get a look in. I’m expecting big and bonkers things from Kristina for the showdance too.

    I do like your idea about putting contestants with former contestants for a dance. I think we need to vote for most ludicrously entertaining pairs… part of me wants to suggest sticking Mark with Colin just to show him up for how good (or not) he really is. And the thought of Frankie with Sophie EB having a snooty popstar tango-off amuses me.

  5. Scott

    Mark’s sister looks enough like Michelle Keegan for me to feel uncomfortable.

    Did you see the shenanigans with Iveta and Aljaz on the Clauditorium? I think it was during Caroline and Pasha’s interview. Aljaz was left isolated in mid frame so the producer full on SHOVED her into shot, only for Aljaz to run off and refuse to come back. It was very cute, plus Iveta was Ivetamazing.

  6. Left Feet

    3 of the 4 pros in the final defiantly have Glitter ball fever and they are not celebs really so are behaving more like competitive dancers then supporting their amateur.
    Not there in the early days but Karen Hardy (who I love) probably started it, then Camilla in the series 6 semi, Artem cried a whole river after winning and even Flavia who had been grounded before got a bit of a face on. Winning this competition is huge for a pro, its the only dance show on TV so its big and can open a lot of doors.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Erin would have knifed someone to get Colin the win. Actual murder. That’s the earliest I remember someone going proper tonto (Ian was also quite…intense that series, which is hard to imagine now).

  7. Chris

    If Caroline wins, then it might put paid to the idea that every female winner has to be polished and graceful and the absolute best (okay, Alesha wasn’t super-polished, but rules don’t apply to her – and she could clearly do ballroom) which we all thought was going to happen last year because we thought Susanna would walk it, and then she didn’t. So feminism hooray.

    She’s definitely got a Kimberly Walsh trajectory at the moment though which might not help – mid-series bottom 2, getting a pretty good draw of crowd-pleasing lift-fest dances from then on (American Smooth, Charleston, Argentine, Salsa – Kimbo had similar dances plus that gaymazing fusion, also a lift-fest), then hoovering up all the 10s and the big scores in the endgame (Kimbo beat Denise to the 40 twice over, nobody else in this series has scored over 38 yet while Caroline’s done it three times now) – but she doesn’t have a Louis Smith equivalent standing in her way now that Jake’s gone, unless the Saturdays fanbase really is McFly-level strong. I guess it’s going to be a case of who does best on final night, and where all of Jake’s voters are going to flock to.

    Now just watch her finish 4th.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think Caroline is more charismatic than Kimberley, but Kimberley was the better dancer. On the whole. Although obv. the former is more important. She can still finish 4th. If Sophie can with that Charleston carrot being dangled then anyone can.

  8. Erik

    Just worth mentioning, on a positive note, that Darcey got through the whole evening without saying “the boys are right.”

  9. Perfect Custard

    Your screen caps are truly superb, they capture the insanity and seductive pleasure of Strictly in ways that nothing else could.
    I just want to point out that Mark’s bobble hat was inexcusable as well as inexplicable. When you’re rehearsing and getting all sweaty you don’t need a warm hat meant for skiing. True winter sports types just don’t wear bobble hats inside – major fashion faux pas.
    I’m hoping for Caroline and Pasha in the final but that Frankie Bridge can dance. I know it’s supposed to be a male winner but it seems the voting base isn’t on board with that.
    Finally, Monkseal I know you love historical tidbits (at least in GBBO), you should check out the Lucy Worsley/ Len Goodman documentary on the History of Dance. Len cannot do a minuet.

  10. Monaogg

    Looked to me like someone sent the Professionals a memo saying it was fusion week. Only didn’t tell Kristina & Pasha thought it only applied to one dance.

    Janette chose a Salsasambacha with no lifts followed by a Waltzskippytwirlabit with booze. Kevin a Waltzamericansmoothtweepasorumba followed by a BallroomTangobasedamericansmooth with added AT faces. Karen a Waltzskippytwirlabit followed by a Contemporaryposeabit with extra tears. Kristina decided to throw most of the training into their second dance and Pasha the Foxstrumbatangocha & a Salsa.

  11. Jan

    Personally, I found the theme of Frankie’s rumba sinister enough to take the edge off the twee, so I kind of liked it in its Twilight Zone way. I don’t know why the ballerina didn’t wake up completely and not flop around like you point out though; that was a plot hole that went unexplained.

    I bloody hated Mark’s unrumba. How he managed to get through against anyone other than a full-on 100% Joke Contestant with that I don’t know. I mean I know there will be reasons but I’ve no desire to disappear down the DS Conspiracy Theory rabbit hole so I’m not going to give it much thought, only grumble a bit.

    1. BeyonceCastle

      The tour the tour the tour the tour 😉 (not that I believe that seeing as they all end up doing the blardy thing one year or another…only Kim Emma Lesley Lisa and MattD have managed to swerve it the last eight years. Which means the remaining what – 17? – finalists/semifinalists have all been signed up at least once.
      As for Jake, Pixie and Sunetra…if any of the three in the next few years end up on a career break/blimp/i am leaving EE/casualty for better bigger things oh wait..or Pixie isn’t too busy lol, even as quarter finalists their agent will always be able to get them on a later tour or later all stars Xmas spend, Mark my words!

      1. Jan

        Ah. I’ve never paid attention to the tour, I assumed it was a “your own year or never” arrangement, I didn’t realise it was to Strictly stars what the convention circuit is to sci-fi actors. Which is all fair enough. It does make that particular theory sound even more out-there though.

      2. monkseal Post author

        This year’s is only people from this series. Whether that’s by design or they’ve just run out…

  12. John

    I think Karen got less encouragement following her genuine, no really, meltdown because as you can see in the picture- she’s surrounded by blokes. When a woman bursts into alarming random years the bloke reaction is always ‘erm, oh heck, someone should… Hug her or something I dunno?’

    Lol @ the Christine Hamilton reference. I remember that – the dictionary definition of ‘histrionic’. Daft!

    Being a betting man, that first 40 was music to me. Cha-Ching! :-))

  13. Huriye

    Cheers for my pic of Trent. ❤ ❤ ❤

    This whole business of Raunchy versus Romantic Rumbas. Both can work very well, I remember Cherie & James's beautifully danced version to Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird" in 2008, which was clearly a Rumba, but of the romantic kind, and still very soulful and emotional.

    I think some of the Pros have lost their way/have no confidence/enough experience in creating one for a celeb, and the dance has developed a bad reputation on Strictly, which is a crying shame in my view.

    Here's the ultimate Barefoot Blokey Raunchy Rumba that really works (though I'd have taken out the Contempo Lifts). Brian & Katrina from Danse Avec Le Stars

    Here's their more Romantic Rumba version in the Finale (danced in a crop circle to Johnny Hallyday, naturally).

  14. call_offcom

    Instead of having to sit through 2 sub-par dances and listen to them all moaning about it, i really do think they should just bring back a few of the nice, fun dancers who we all miss to fill out the time. Actually, when I lived in Italy they indeed had this ‘bring-back’ voting option. They also had those weird advertising interludes in which the presenter started waxing lyrical about vibrobeds or whatnot, so it wasn’t all good.


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