Tess is back, Claudia’s back, all the judges are back and based on Helen, so is the divine.
We open by reminiscing about the Launch Show, more specifically the Porn Train and more specifically Anton yelling “WE’VE GOT A *TRAIN* NOW!” much in the same way he’d yell “THIS YEAR WE’RE DANCING THE HIP HOP HA HA MARVELLOUS!”. I guess if anyone’s learnt how to sell this show’s pointless twists and fripperies over the years it’s Anton. Since our celebrities rode that glorious engine of filth, they’ve had three weeks of training, unless they’re Iwan, in which case they’ve had three days of it before jetting off to Japan to film a segment about the history of wasabi for The One Show. Never mind Iwan
at least you get to be the Ho. (Iwan actually appears to yell “HEY!” during his introduction as this year’s ho, which only confirms to me that he’s not the sharpest sequin on the shirt)
We also get exclusive footage or what happened when Carol met Pasha’s last partner backstage at the Launch Show. And by “met” I mean
“got chased around the parking lot dodging machete blows from”.
SHE’LL ALWAYS BE HIS NUMBER ONE GIRL, WEATHER-WHORE! SHE’S THE ONLY CAROL IN HIS LIFE EVER, NOW AND FOREVER!
It’s time to start the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to get things started with
Tess and Claud tonight. Oops
sorry, my finger slipped.
Tess welcomes us all back into the warm loving “looks like it might fall out at any minute” bosom of Strictly, and Claudia asks us all if we’re ready for 15 brand new celebs to take to the floor and dance with their professional partners. The audience scream yes, I mutter “maybe”, and Claudia claims that she heard 15 “no”s backstage but she’s going to carry on anyway. Leave Gleb alone Claudia, don’t make me get HR on you (who is HR now? Is that what Hayley Holt!s doing?). To this Tess “jokes” that some of the celebs backstage are nervous, some are very nervous, and some are just plain petrified!
It’s going to be a long series isn’t it? Claudia tells us all that she knows the source of all the contestants’ darkest fears. Getting hit by the CURSE OF STRICTLY? Their new single only reaching number 67? Being partnered with Anton? NO! IT’S THE JUDGES!
You can see why. The show has appparently reached an uneasy compromise for all of us who greeted the introduction of the judges dancing into their seats like it was the worst thing since the introduction of Ask Len by having them just sort of mill on trying to look a bit sexy. Except, of course, Bruno, who stands there gyrating like it’s 2am in Heaven and he’s on his last chance.
HE’S READY FOR YOU BOYS! COME AND GET HIM! COME TO BRUNO! GUYS!…GUYS? (I hear from Dancing With The Stars that Bruno is playing the Mean Judge role there this year. That show just goes from weird to weirder doesn’t it?)
Judges introduced, it’s time for the STRICTLY STARS to wander down the stairs and
oooh I didn’t know Noddy Holder was doing the show this year. Incidentally, here is a compare and contrast. Both of these faces are happening as Claudia announces there will be no elimination in week 1.
Kellie Bright & Kevin Clifton dancing the tango
Tess tells us all, like the walking Daily Mail Weekend Magazine feature that she is, that Kellie’s life was already hectic enough with both a JOB and CHILDREN to juggle, so dare she try to have it all SQUARED by fitting in a stint on Strictly as well? It is a bit odd to think that, despite the choice swearwords I may have lobbed at Darren Gough on occasion, Abbey Clancy is the only mother ever to have won Strictly.
VT time, and Kellie tells us that she’s well aware that’s she just the latest in a long long long long tradition of Eastenders actors doing Strictly and will have to live up to the standard they’ve set. 17 by my count, although for the benefit of this show’s ADD audience, Kellie only brings up Jake Wood and his madly gyrating hips and
out-of-control Duck Face. She goes on to say that her mum sent her a list of the dancers she thought she should dance with, and Kevin was number 1. That’s meant to be flattering to Kevin but if you look at the actual list, which I personally fished out the bins backstage
it’s less so. Kevin himself tells us that he’s already getting on really well with Kellie, and he knows he can bring out the best in her. Hey Kevin, from Week 5 onwards she’s filming a plot where Linda Carter goes blind and she’ll have 3 hrs a week of training time all of which she’ll have to spend in character
Training now and Kellie tells us that she’s starting off the series with a tango. Just like Rav Wilding did in Series 7. (Oh yeah, the spreadsheets still got it). Glasses Kevin
(a welcome return) tells us all that it’s vitally important to get the authentic character of the tango down. Which is why he’ll be dancing it with Kellie to “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks. Anyway, Kellie has trouble getting into the character of the tango, so Glasses Kevin sits her on the floor like they’re about to play a hearty game of Zip Zap Boing to warm up for a community theatre runthrough of Look Back In Anger and tells her that he would like her to take on the character of Brenda – a suburban drab who dresses up as a 1960s It Girl of a weekend and calls herself Mimi.
I’m saying nothing.
To be honest, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Brendan wasn’t Kevin’s source of inspiration and information for this storyline as Brenda/Mimi
is giving more than a touch of the Bloody Lulus.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
That’s Kellie being seen as reflected in the wing mirror of a scooter there. Hasn’t this show got arty? Yes, Kevin is a mod and Kellie is Mimi-Brenda, the target of his not unsaucy 60s affections. The 60s setting means that we’re in for some ungodly faffing at the start.
When I envisioned what the first official dance-move of Strictly ’15 was going to be I never even considered The Swim. There’s this, some odd flamenco hand-clicks, some truly ill-advised hip-thrusts and
a back bend that’s remeniscent of when those removal men moved Joey’s ceramic dog out of the flat in Friends, before the actual tango starts, and even THEN I have to deal with
both of them mugging right down the camera lens. The dance itself is fine enough, especially as she’s on first in week 1 and it’s been a while since her stage school days (let’s try to forget the horrors of Letitia Dean’s Week 1 rumba) (or remember it and laugh) but obviously the intent here was to start with a tango that really showed off Kellie’s personality and acting skills and she spends the whole thing looking a little cross-eyed and pursed.
Still, nice end-pose, even if we had to sit through about 5 seconds of Kevin flopping her round like she woz a drunken rag doll (RIP Alesha in our hearts forever) to get to it.
Over to the judges, where Tess beams at them that it was “first dance of the series, first standing ovation!”. Way to lampshade how meaningless they are now. Tess asks Kellie how it felt to open the series, and Kellie pleads that she’s too out of breath after that to speak, so we move straight to welcoming our singers, Davearch, the wunnerful wunnerful orchestra and The Man In The Hat Under The Stairs.
Len starts for the judges, honking that it was JUST RIGHT, KELLIE BRIGHT. Apparently the dance was like a glass of Alka-Seltzer – fizzy, bubbly, and it really does you good. I mean, Alka-Seltzer always gets up my nose and makes me gag a little so that too I guess. He moves on to say she was a little loose in hold, and the audience boo and he yells at them to
STOP BEING SO ARSEY. So that’s “nonsensical comments just based on peoples names/the name of the song being danced to”, “tortured similes” and “popping off on the audience” we can officially no longer blame on jet lag, given that Len is no longer Atlantic-hopping ever week.. Bruno follows by purring “the swinging swingers swing into action”. Who knew Bruno was so into swingi…oh right, no, everyone could have guessed that.
Craig is next, and Tess tells him that Kellie’s “TV husband” Danny Dyer is in. Tess reminds us all of Danny’s pre-series threat to “iron Craig out” if he’s mean about his Kels, and Craig says that Danny Dyer can iron him out any time.
Let’s give these two some alone time shall we? The dance? Craig thought it was simply mahvelous, but he didn’t like the floppy rag-doll ending and she has a “curious wrist scenario”. That sounds like a Victorian euphemism if ever I heard one. Tess tries to get a response from Danny Dyer but he’s not micced up so sadly we can’t hear him, and then forgets that she’s supposed to talk to Darcey until Darcey actually starts LOUDLY MEOWING to draw attention to herself. Going well Tess, going well. Anyway, Darcey says it was amazing for a first dance and SO DARING and if you feel like gliding past Darcey’s contributions again in future Tess, don’t let me stop you.
Up to Claud 9 they mod, where we learn that no really
Joanne will be hovering over every scene of this series like the ghost at the feast. In Disney’s Hamlet. Which actually when you think about it makes her Mufasa. I wonder if this is what it takes to make me warm to her. Kellie beams to Claudia that that was the most she’s ever enjoyed doing that routine, but her technique went out the window as a result. Claudia then asks Kevin if he’s proud of Kellie, and he says that he is because it’s a big responsibility to open the entire series
Natalie looks like she does not necessarily agree. Scores are in
27. Claudia tells us that this is the highest score of the series so far. I’ve missed Claudia. She does then tell us to score all the routines using Strictly’s patented new twitter scorepaddle emojis though. Swings and roundabouts.
Anthony Ogogo and Oti Mabuse dancing the jive
I know half of the names of the Russian pros are bastardisations and nicknames rather than their birth names, but it does seem a bit sad they gave up on “Otlile” so quickly. As they’re dancing the jive and it’s been “over 9 months since we last saw a jive” (possibly longer if you take into account that the last “jive” we saw on this show was that thing Kevin and Frankie did on surfboards), Tess goes to Len for a reminder of what one is. Bright, light, flicks, kick, tricks, tramp-kicking, gurtcha, you all know the deal by now right?
In his VT, Tess reminds us that Anthony certainly packs a punch in the ring which, given his promise pre-series not to make any jokes about beating up Craig, lends this gesture
a whole new meaning. Are you ready Craig? Truly? Do some kegels at least to prepare yourself. Anthony tells us that in his last match as a boxer he dislocated his shoulder, so his only two choices were to sit on the sofa at home or learn a new skill. Or maybe proper medical rehabilitation rather than a show that has destroyed athletic careers maybe that no? ok. He says that he’s a really awful dancer so he needs a good teacher, which in turn means he was really glad when he was paired up with Oti. I’d ask how he’d know she’s a good teacher but would you imply on reord that she’s not? Oti tells us that Anthony her before the Launch Show if she’d be happy to have him (lol he so fancies her) and she replied by telling him that she didn’t think he’d be happy to have her, because she would officially ruin his world, little boy. Or words to that effect.
Training begins with Anthony
watching Oti through a window saying “she’s SO BENDY and I’m like a big stiff oak tree”. No, I can’t think of any sort of innuendo to make there, let’s move on.
Oti, after bending and stretching and pushing out her booty, then shows she truly knows how to ensnare a man, by telling us all how funny Anthony is and how much he makes her laugh. Although most exciting in this segment is the news that Oti has some proper
She’s All That geek glasses in her armory and also
leopardprint right out of the Iveta Lukosiute collection. If she has amazing Ascot Ladies Day hats and also Fierce Scarves she’ll be a walking wardrobe of Strictly Pros greatest clothing hits. The most pertinent fact about training is that Anthony is doing it mostly with his arm in a sling due to his injury. Thankfully, his physio comes in and clears him to dance, and Oti says that she’s really glad they got the jive first, because mostly it’s based on footwork and she can give his weaker arm a break. I’m sensing a LOT of kick-ball-changes coming up…
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Anthony is dancing the jive to “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, because it’s his name. Personally I was hoping for “Vacation” or “We Got The Beat” but I guess that’s too many degrees of punnage away to really work. Also I question whether his shoulder is the only part of his body suffering from serious damage due to his boxing because
psst, Athony, there’s no watch there. Unless he’s saying hello to his ladybird friend who has given him confidence to ask Oti out and also to burn things. And again
door is about a foot further ahead of you, mate. Still, Oti apparently has heard Anthony clattering around doing 20 kicks per second outside already, as she emerges from the doorway and they go off on their jive date. I hope it’s not their first date because whilst I’m not a Victorian
this is a bit much Oti, have some decency. Then again, Anthony spends most of the dance with his hand clenching his crotch area
so maybe that’s just how the kids do things these days. As a dance itself, it kind of fails the technical test, but clears a more important hurdle in that Anthony comes across as your son’s awkward over-enthusiastic gawky mate, which is always a big winner on this show. Oti’s obviously’s working towards highlighting what he can do, which is kick, bounce up down on his feet, and mug, and leave out everything else, which does leave the dance feeling a bit limited, but it’s playful and authentically cute right to the end.
I’m not sure if that pose means he went back to hers or not to be honest.
As they get over to the judges Anthony presents his arse
and just as I think the relationship between Craig and boxers really IS going to be redefined this series, it turns out he’s got a massive split right up the seat of his trousers. Oh good, another series of this again. GET LOOSER TROUSERS WARDROBE, I BEG YOU. Tess asks him Anthony his shoulder is and it turns out it’s still a bit crap. Oops.
Bruno starts for the judges, saying that Anthony nearly KOd in that jive. Keeled Over? Knobbed Oti? Anyway, he praises Anthony for his enthusiasm and pumping action but tells him that his timing was off, and he needs to point his toes more because at times it looked like a can-can. If they do Around The World week again, I would KILL for a can-can jive fusion. Craig follows by snarling that despite the sickled feet and pigeon toes and stompiness and awkwardness and left-arm-bias, Anthony’s still the best boxer they’ve ever had on Strictly. Is this a bit like how Edwina was the best dancing politician they’ve ever had?
Darcey follows by saying that it’s probably very difficult to have jive as your first dance because you need so much energy and enthusiasm. Surely that means better to get it now before week upon week of comedy VT dress-up destroys your soul? Darcey though says that Anthony’s energy was more than a match for the jive, particularly his facial expressions.
He’s got an expressive mouf, ok? Len closes by saying that he also liked the energy and attack and thinks the jive was always going to suit Anthony. Can I get a check on Anthony’s height please? Len does tell Anthony to make sure that he brings his gentler side to the waltz next week. I’d be more worried about his ability to raise his arm above ribcage height Len, but ok.
Up to Claud 9 they jitterbug, where Oti immediately heads to the wrong mark before Natalie gently but firmly tells her
“other side! other side!”. What a Mama Bear. You just know her backstage initiation rituals don’t involve anthing disgusting. The only dead pig’s head Natalie’s got any use for is the one she left on Craig’s pillow after he trashed her and Tim’s Charleston. Claudia asks Anthony if he’s disappointed, but he replies that that’s the thirteenth session he and Oti have had, and only the last three were without a sling. Shades of Matt and Flavia there.Claudia then reminds them they have the waltz next week and both look terrified, before Claudia asks Oti if she’s having the best time of her life on the show. She agrees she is. After ONE WEEK Claudia? Needy much? Scores are in
Helen George & Aljaz Skorjanec dancing the waltz
I’m so ready for this partnership. Helen George is the alky one from Call The Midwife, a fact which Tess references by looming into shot next to a woman with a lap full of towels.
When even Tess looks embarrassed by the jokes, you know something’s gone wrong.
In Helen’s VT, Claudia tells us that Helen started this series by receiving a truly special Strictly delivery, before Helen mutters dazedly that it was like nothing she’s ever felt before. Don’t worry Janette, she’s talking about the PORN TRAIN. Helen gushes that she can’t believe that she was partnered with Aljaz and she’s over the moon. Aljaz for his part beams that Helen is so special and has such a charming personality that he wants to give her the best Strictly experience she can possibly have. Aljaz – get a fistful of downers and keep it with you at all time Aljaz.
Training now, and Helen emerges from the back of a shiny new car to tell us all that this feels just like the first day at a new school and she’s really nervous.
God I hope Helen turned up for the first day of school dressed like that, and I mean Primary School. She enters the training room, Aljaz tells her that their first dance will be the waltz and
already, she’s this crazy. Over a waltz. Oh mama. Aljaz tells us that his waltz for Helen will be soft, dreamy, romantic and generally like a fairy tale. I love that already he’s aiming for exactly the same path to victory as Abbey had. I’ve got a feeling he might find Helen a slightly different proposition. Helen giggles at Aljaz that they’ll be just like Cinderella and Prince Charming and Aljaz, not unbitchily, replies “…but a princess closes her feet”. Yes it turns out a childhood full of ballet has left Helen’s feet permenantly turned out at second position. It’s probably left her with a pinkie toe embeded into the balls of her feet and hamstrings that are outside her actual legs as well, but small deformities first I guess. We close with Helen saying she has to retrain her whole body to make her brain work right.
I mean, I think it’ll take more than that Helen.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So the story of this dance is in fact not a fairytale but A Streetcar Named Desire, more specifically the part where Blanche DuBois throws all her furs on and starts making imaginary phonecalls to old suitors and pretending she’s on a cruise with them. Girl is LOOPED from second 1
and never lets up. (Oh wait that last one’s just a shot of Aljaz’s arse, how did that happen?) They’re dancing to “With You I’m Born Again”, which is probably the most tortuous of this week’s song-choice puns, and Helen certainly looks the part and invests the whole thing with plenty of drama. I can’t wait to see if this is just an “elegant princess ballroom” thing or if Helen’s going to give this much to every dance. It’s not perfect – there’s the customary Aljaz gapping (lest we forget how he somehow managed to contrive gapping in routines involving Alison Hammond’s girth) and at times the foot position Aljaz really should have been sorting out in training are the ones where her feet are actually on top of his – but it’s fine week 1 waltz. And also she’s menkle. I think my favourite part is the floor spin at the end, because it actually looks like she’s flapping her arms into it trying to take off.
What an elegant dying swan.
It gets a standing O, and when they arrive at Tess, Tess sighs “a star is born!”. Helen’s insincere middle-class laugh and awkward turn to Aljaz after this is my everything. It’s like Tess just turned up to her garden party selling magazine subscriptions. Helen tells Tess that it was like a dream…or a nightmare…a LOVELY NIGHTMARE! A HA HA HA HA
*goes to stroke Aljaz’s face and thinks better of it*.
Craig starts for the judges, saying that the dance had elegance, fluidity and romance
but she was gripping her fingers into Aljaz a bit too tightly. Aljaz is going to be covered in red marks by the end of this series I can tell. I don’t think this one is letting go too easily. Incidentally this is the first, but not the last, point at which Helen claims she’s going to faint. Darcey’s next, and even only after her telling Tess that Helen impressed her Helen squeals “I’M GONNA CRY!”. And this isn’t a idle threat either. Darcey mock chides Aljaz for making the routine so difficult and Helen
stares off into the middle distance yipping “yes, yes he did, yes he did”. I love when people on this show are so crazy all I have to do is just repeat them back out to the world.
Len follows by yelling “HOLD ME UPSIDE DOWN AND SMACK MY BOTTOM!”. No. Bruno closes by comparing Helen to Giselle (I fink it’s a ballet fing, I dunno, I ain’t got no learnins) and telling her that she went from midlife to high life. High camp maybe.
Up to Claud 9 and
more crying, more claims she’s about to faint, more Darcey worship, more HELENSANITY. Claudia tells Aljaz that the waltz is his favourite dance and he’s all “yeah, sure, if that’s what my website profile says this series, let’s go with it”. Scores are in
Carol Kirkwood & Pasha Kovalev dancing the cha cha
If someone can tell me what they think Wardrobe were going with with this look for Carol, I’d much appreciate it. Tess asks Darcey how difficult the cha cha is for a novice dancer and Darcey replies that people think cha cha is really easy because it’s danced in the first week of Strictly but IT’S NOT. No Darcey, people think it’s easy because you can literally just mince and point.
VT time and it really should have been a hint as to just how awakward she was going to be that the first shot of her trying to sexily work her necklace
leaves her looking more Isadora Duncan mid-throttle. Carol tells us that if she had to forecast her time on Strictly, she would predict a nice smooth journey with no dance-offs and raining glitter everywhere the whole time. Yeah, I can see why they took that contract off the Met Office now. Carol goes on to say that she can’t believe she got paired with the reigning champion, like the reigning champion being partnered with a comedy duffer isn’t established Strictly lore now. At least Pasha didn’t throw himself down the stairs to get out of it like some people (*cough cough*). Pasha himself says that “Carol Kirkwood is a national treasure in this country” (who wrote his citizenship test?) and that he’s going to spend the next couple of months looking after her. I know Pasha’s been living in English speaking countries for nigh on a decade now, but I still find it cute when he mixes up “weeks” and “months” like that. Carol closes by saying that she’s feeling a lot of pressure because in Pasha’s four series on Strictly he’s made three finals and got more 10s than any other pro in Strictly history and now he’s got her. Yeah, I’m sure his expectations are stratospheric.
Training now and
Carol’s top displays the same sort of subtle coded sexual message I would display on meeting Pasha for the first time. He tells her that their first dance is cha cha, and her response to being told her first dance designation is
slightly different from Helen’s. Indeed, after her first day’s rehearsals, despite Pasha’s best efforts, she tells us that she’s not falling in love with dance. And Pasha is trying oh so hard to show her a good time. When she asks him to show her where she should be banging the drum from he does this.
I would fall in love with dance on the sport right there. Still, as it’s Pasha, he goes one step further into the realm of bad acting to help demonstrate to Carol how to dance.
Not really enough cloud there for it to be a realistic representation of the UK is it? Pasha says, to camera, with a straight face “I hope this giant map will help Carol to work on size of Carol’s steps in a context I hope that she will understand”. Carol and Pasha dance around awkwardly on the map and Carol pretends this is in any way helping. She announes gleefully to Pasha that SHE’S DOING THE CHA CHA IN PORTSMOUTH! and you can tell Pasha kind of wishes that this were literally true.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Carol starts off her cha cha by giving a weather forecast, including her shrieking that she’s getting breaking news of a cold front approaching, at which point a loud thunderclap sounds and
I’d look frustrated as well, how on earth does a thunder storm following a cold front make any sort of sense? WHO WROTE THIS SCRIPT? Fortunately
Pasha is here to descend from the heavens with his shirt billowing open clutching a thunderbolt to at least have the madness be tempered with sexiness. Also, Pasha as a god of thunder makes a kind of sense, as I’ve always said that he could leave me Tho[PUNCHLINE REDACTED]. As usual in week 1 latin, happenings provoke random emotions, and Carol is ANGRY with Thunder God Pasha, mostly as an excuse for her to stand there with her hands on her hips not doing anything as he dances around her.
And when she starts to move, it’s not very good, really. The hands stay somewhere in the region of the hips throughout and there’s a lot of jigging on the spot like Riverdance in miniature as she
looks baffled at Pasha. When they’re closer together it looks a bit like she’s trying to drag the thing into ballroom hold which…I’d rather be doing a waltz if I were her as well but it’s no excuse. She doesn’t have the routine down, she looks awkward, it’s all a bit cringey but she can move her hips a bit so there’s that.
At least she got to be up close and personal with Pasha one time.
They meander over to Tess, where Carol frets about how nervous she feels and must have looked. Tess tells her that the audience were behind her and loved it. The audience noticably take a good few seconds to respond. Darcey starts for the judges, saying that it was a lovely surprise, because of how cheeky and smiley Carol was even with all the mistakes she made, which Darcey says she can empathise with Carol over because she too knows the shock of coming on the dancefloor for the first time. If you say so Darce. Len follows by comparing Carol to a summer day – bright spells with a little bit of cloud here and there. Honestly, hearing people talking to Carol if like watching people converse with a foreign who only understands the language of weather. She understands English guys, no need to interpret.
Bruno follows, saying that it was an unprecendted clash of two fronts. I don’t know about unprecedented Bruno, we all saw Oti in that jive. He says that there was a flood of errors and a total technical drought. But, y’know, well done on soldiering through. Craig closes by saying that Carol did not survive the cold front that blew through that dance.
I’m not sure I’m going to survive this array of weather metaphors, but I’ll try.
Up to Claud 9 they blow, where Iwan offers Carol some words of consolation (“cracking tits” probably, it IS Iwan) and Claudia talks to Carol about the connection between her and Pasha. Carol tries her best to extol her partner’s virtues, but has to cry off because of a dry mouth. And here was I thinking *I* was the thirsty one when it came to Pasha. Scores are in
Daniel O’Donnell & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the waltz
Genuinely unnerving. Tess tells us that Daniel will be dancing his waltz to “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”, a song that he’s sung a million times before. I do not doubt the literal truth of that statement.
Daniel’s VT starts with Claudia calling him a “pop patriarch”. Fairly sure that’s not a thing Claud, but nice try. Daniel tells us that he can’t put into words how it feels to be on Strictly and, as his face clearly isn’t going to tell us either
we’re going to be a bit stumped. He goes on to say that the most important qualities he can think of in a teacher are patience, determination, and an encouraging nature. And looking good in a bikini couldn’t hurt either. He is a bit worried that if he gets into trouble in the training room, then he won’t be able to sing his way out of trouble with Kristina. I love the image this conjures up of Daniel’s homelife. Peeing on the toilet seat and not cleaning it up? Doesn’t matter, I’ll just sing Jug Of Punch. Not fixed the wiring? Whiskey You’re The Devil. Had an affair? Life Is A Rollercoaster by Ronan Keating. Kristina for her part tells us that she’s really happy to be paired with Daniel.
NO, REALLY, SO SO SO SO HAPPY.
Training now, and Claudia cracks jokes in voiceover about how Daniel’s an old fuddy-duddy who probably won’t recognise half the songs danced to this series. I shudder to think how many I’m going to recognise, Daniel can come sit by me. Anyway, Kristina tells him that it’ll be “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and he
reacts as much as Daniel is ever going to react to anything I guess. He’s ecstatic, and tells Kristina that he’ll definitely be singing it as he dances. And he does, repeatedly. And then drags Kristina off to his own private bar complete with Casio keyboard where he sings it to her again. Probably 50 times.
The word “penance” springs to mind for some reason.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
They’re never going to top Judy Murray sat on a mossy tussock complete with bagpiper for Week 1 Celtic Sentiment but they can but try. The whole thing is very father of the bride
at a Mafia wedding. There’s something about the way that Daniel can be genuinely the most decent unassuming plain white bread and no butter man in the world whilst looking vaguely menacing that I find really entertaining, I’m sorry. He’s a little vacant, and a little ploddy, but it’s very sweet and he keeps up with Kristina’s distracty flouncing very well. God only knows why she decided to choreograph in a floor spin
at the end though, maybe she thinks if she and Anthony have matching shoulder injuries the producers will switch the partnerships up?
They saunter over to the judges, where Len starts by praising Kristina for getting Daniel right into a waltz with no MAHCKIN ABAHT. Yeah, I don’t think pre-dance vamping is really going to be Daniel’s strong suit anyway. Len tells him that his hold could have been a bit stronger, but his footwork was the best of the whole night so far, even better than the stage school and ballet ringah bitchez!
Daniel could not be less impressed, I love him. Also
he appears to have a hot son so…even more so. Bruno goes on to call Daniel’s dancing very proper and very collected and very placed. Daniel responds
by looking at Bruno like he’s about to have his boys drown Bruno in a pot of his own spaghetti and take over his restaurant. FOR LA FAMIGLIA O’DONNELL.
Tess follows up by asking Craig if that dance left any part of him smiling (…) and Craig says no, cause it was wew borin til the floor spin where Kristina nearly died. Darcey closes by telling Daniel that he dances like the perfect gentleman but he needs to look at Kristina more when he’s out of hold and sort his neck out. Darcey may be allowed to live. I think.
Up to Claud 9 they jig, where Claudia asks Daniel if he’s relieved that the dance went so well. Daniel replies that he’s relieved that it’s over. I can’t wait til he has to do latin. Cannot wait. Claudia asks him if he’s going to celebrate by doing tequilla shots on a bouncy castle and Claudia better watch that smart mouth of hers lest she find herself in the situation where a challenge on next year’s sewing bee will be to construct a neatly tailored body bag. Daniel just says that he’ll celebrate by getting excited. In fact he’s excited now Claudia. You just can’t tell yet.
SO ACCIDENTALLY SINISTER. DANIEL O DONNELL TO BE THE NEXT HANNIBAL LECTER PLEASE! Scores are in
Anita Rani & Gleb Savchenko dancing the cha cha
I feel the surprise of Anita being actually secretly quite good was spoiled for me slightly by her being given the new HOTTIE PRO and also the pimp slot. Although that might just me having got to know this show far far too well over the years. Anyway, in introduction Tess is all blah blah Anita will be distracted by Gleb’s dazzling beauty and accidentally dance into Kevin Clifton’s dad tee hee etc etc so lets take this opportunity to throw this up here.
VT time and Tess tells us that Anita thinks she has psychic powers because she had a dream about Gleb the night before she was paired up with him. And a dream the night after she was paired with him. The dreams were slightly different. She tells us that she feels like she’s landed the hottest boy in school and the first thing you notice about Gleb is his sexy sexy face of sex and that she’s super excited about starting to train with him.
Speaking of which
SO BOYBAND. He tells Anita that she’s got cha cha, and Anita sighs that she’s not a trained dancer, like Gleb, and she doesn’t ooze sex appeal, like Gleb, so she’s worried. She promises to try to embracce her inner Gleb, but in return he’s going to have to do the same in return. By which token, for Gleb’s birthday, Anita buys Gleb some wellies
and then takes him to the countryside so Gleb can play comedy dress-up and dance with her in the mud and muck.
Yes, literally that entire VT was about Gleb. GLEBMANIA WILL HAPPEN, EVIL MOIRA ROSS IN A RAINBOW WIG DECREES IT TO BE SO!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Anita is dancing to “No Place I’d Rather Be”. I love that they couldn’t think of one countryside themed song for a cha cha, so just went hell for leather with the cows and the haybales and the plastic mac. I’m surprised Gleb doesn’t wander on with a pitchfork and a sheepdog. Once we divest her of all the theming, get her down the stairs, and start really dancing though, there’s no hiding the fact that she might be a contender, at least for the quarter or semi final stages. She’s fast, limber, athletic, comitted, and best of all
sporting major bed-head from at least halfway through the routine. I also enjoy Gleb’s choreography, which manages to factor in literal representations for the word “heart” both times it comes up, first with Anita drawing on in the air, and the second with him clenching his fist over her booby like a beating heart. Here is a man who knows his cheeses.
She gets a little lost towards the end and vampy freestyles to make it up for it, and her arms are more energy over finesse, but definitely a good start.
It gets a standing ovation,
apart from this one guy. Once they’re over at Tess, she hoots “nobody expected you to pull THAT out from under your raincoat!!!”. Well quite. She also tells Anita she’s a very pretty lady which…thanks, I think we got enough of that on the Launch Show. Bruno starts for the judges, yelling that Anita is a BORN SHOWGIRL but she needs to iron out her mistakes and tighten her arms up. Craig follows by saying that he’s shocked that it was so good. Anita’s face says
“fuck you Craig”. Gleb’s says “goodness I’m handsome”.
Darcey and Tess hen-party some more about how much fun it must be to dance with Gleb, and Len closes by telling Anita that she gave that dance plenty of welly and then
looks far too pleased with himself. Far far too pleased.
Up to Claud 9 they hoof where Claudia immediately throws a cold bucket of water over the nation by introducing us all to the Glebwife.
Let’s face it, there was no need, that is exactly how she looked in all our heads, am I right? Apparently they also have a baby together, which I’m sure is all chubby cheeks and golden curls and cross looking eyes. Back on the mount, Anita thrashes about yelling that she made a mistake and where normally a seasoned Strictly would noisily protest that it didn’t happen, or nobody saw, or it was really their fault
Gleb has apparently caught sight of himself in a backstage mirror, so good luck with that. Scores are in
Here’s your leaderboard.
Now settle back, and get ready for Round 2.