Poor Strictly. Having to lead out of last week’s scandal with the one show mechanic that almost everyone calls rigged, the “-athon”. This year though, I come not to bury the Quickstepathon but to praise it. For once it actually was a glorious mess, fun to watch, delivered incidental comedy both before and after, and it both visited righteousness to the leaderbord in terms of correcting some earlier odd marking and also gave Jay fans something to whine about on a night otherwise devoid of it. And if they go for 24 hours without whining it gets like Gremlins up in there, so I hear. He wuzz robbed though. A little.
But the actual dancing? A great night for both Helen, who FINALLY breaks through, delivering a beautiful and dramatic Viennese Waltz to “At Last” at last, complete with the ham acting and perfect technique I always knew she could bring to ballroom, and Jay who nails the tango, producing a dance that’s up there with both Kimberley Walsh’s and Rachel Stevens’ performances in adjacent genres to the same song. Yes you can expect a poll. Not just matching Rachel Stevens but surpassing her though is Georgia, although admittedly Rachel Stevens’ paso doble, complete with binky hurling toddler strop, is a pretty low bar to clear. Both ladies danced paso to “The Final Countdown” and Georgia’s rockier effort (complete with Giovanni on drums and taking the piss out of Gleb by yelling “STAY!” at the end <3) comes out the winner, although for once her raggedness around the edge catches up with her in terms of her scores.
Speaking of Gleb, he is the latest to get a bull's rollocking regarding Inauthentic Rumba from Len and also for including a dreaded ILLEGAL LIFT in his contempowaft rumba for Anita. None of this is unexpected, let's face it. Although what is unexpected is that on this occasion Craig doesn't much care for it either, leaving Anita looking positively imperiled. Also in danger at the end of the evening appears to be Kellie who gets overmarked for a truly arthritic looking salsa that Kevin proclaims (repeatedly) as the HARDEST ROUTINE HE'S EVER DONE ON STRICTLY (it doesn't remotely look like it) but then gets it in the neck in the quickstepathon, finishing second to last as she and Kevin spend most of it hopping on the spot. Conversely, Katie finds deliverance in the dance-off after a slightly inebriated but otherwise impeccably dramatic and OTT Argentine Tango to Libertango gets hit by the judges.
Oh yeah, and Peter's still here. Although you can tell the show kind of wishes he wasn't as he very delicately gets nudged down to the bottom of the leaderboard both his being first out of the quickstepathon and indifferent marks for an American Smooth based around cupcakes. All kudos to Janette, because she's clearly put a lot of effort into trying to rebound from The Debacle but…it's time now isn't it? Isn't it?
Anyway, HOORAY FOR QUICKSTEPATHONS!