It’s all about the Waltzes, Viennese and Bor…I mean Standard tonight, as they give us our 4 highest scoring dances of the evening. King And Queen Of The Ringahs Danny and Louise both do Viennese Waltzes, both to big crowd-pleasing Radio 2 numbers (Never Tear Us Apart and Hallelujah), both get four 8s, and both are still clearly the strongest two dancers so far, and both still have the same faults they had last week, presentation wise. Either of them could win, but he still needs to calm down and let his routines breathe a little, and she needs to stop dancing everything like her end-goal isn’t the glitterball but a weekly lifestyle column in You Magazine, Free With The Daily Mail. Raunch it up a bit hun. Your kids will live. Also scoring well with their waltzes are Cloudia (although she still does everything a bit too much like a gymnast) and Laura, who is delivered leaderboard wise from the midtable mediocrity of her cha cha, by pouring on the romance (again) with Giovanni.
Elsewhere in the ballroom half of the draw, it’s not a great night for the tango, as both Greg and Melvin suffer manfully with wantonly inappropriate tango choices (“Jump” and “Moving On Up”), with not much degree of success. Greg comes off the better of the two, mostly because Natalie hasn’t overthemed her routine up the wazoo (Janette) and also because all criticism of Greg slowly gets sucked in, like Odysseus towards Charybdis, to a discussion of his arse, complete with him stood there and touching it and rubbing it and presenting it to camera, to the extent that I think we can also say we forgot the discussion was even preceded by a dance at all. The only other ballroom dance? Judge Rinder, terrifyingly trying to come across as HUMAN, rather than as a supernatural force of queeny quippery, hauling out his grandparents and asking us to believe he feels warmth within that reptillian countenance. His American Smooth is mostly played straight as well, and goes down a treat, except for the fact he’s still wearing exactly the same face as in his cha cha.
Things on the latin side generally go less well. Anastacia is carrying a vague “injury” from rehearsals which apparently has prompted Brenda to throw their entire routine in the bin this morning and start again. It looks even more improvised than that to be honest, and its low scores inch her towards genuine danger, along with Naga, who is trying but clearly not feeling her cha cha steps or the godawful 80s glam wig they’ve got her in. The sooner this show realises Naga wants to look like Naga, not a princess or an Indiana Jones heroine, the better. Tameka for a second week running meanwhile relies mostly on personality to pull her through a sloppy performance – in this case a beach themed Charleston featuring Gorka in a…distracting onesie – which I find kind of inexplicable given that her personality so far seems to be laughing constantly at how funny she finds herself and nothing else. Ore also has a bit of a disaster with overtheming for the second week in a row, with a firefighter themed cha cha to Hot Stuff featuring the most anaemic pole dancing I’ve ever seen, and whilst Daisy is less bad, going for elegance and low energy and sensuousness in an early weeks cha cha probably isn’t going to win her any new fans. Finally for our “Good Dancers”, Will’s jive is lacking a little in enthusiasm, bounce and excitement, but he does provide us all with a classic Strictly moment as he jokes to Tess post dance that he pulled a muscle and needs a doctor, causing Tess to actually call for a medic and refuse to accept otherwise for a good minute or two. I hope they rib her good at the wrap party about that one.
This leaves the floor clear for Lesley and Ed to mop up any loose Latin points. They’re neither of them much good, but their pros use theming in memorable ways (Ed gets “barn dance”, Lesley gets “Lesley is a slag”) and both of them exceed expectations based on their age and their…being Ed Balls, such that I can’t really see either of them leaving tonight.
Oh and Bruno said “bollocks”. Did this make the running time of this show being nigh on 7 hours worth it? Probably not, but it’s always good for a laugh no?