If last week saw the first bubblings of this officially becoming the Year Of The Man, this week we went full boil. At this point all our scandal involves the men, the Official Frontrunners are both men, our beloved Comedy Contestants are both men, the injury porn was with the men… you wonder why any of the women turned up to be honest. Lesley (game old bird, gets a Musical Theatre Charleston that suits her Musical Theatre background, gets 8s, everyone’s hearts are warmed) and Laura (Bottom 2 Returnee overmarked up the wazoo for a frantic bouncy quickstep) are the closest we get to women filling a traditional story niche, and all the rest? Just kind of…there. I defy you to get excited over Naga doing a mediocre mermaid Charleston in a hideous Panda Pops Blue Raspberry wig, Louise (1960s housewife with remote controlled Kevin for a husband) and Cloudia (teenage romance at LGBT High School) doing decent foxtrots to wantonly inappropriate music and weird themes, Daisy doing a proper ropey rumba to Careless Whisper, or Anastacia doing a routine that is so clearly being angled as a Goodbye Dance they actually project her Strictly Best Bits onto the floor beneath her. You just can’t can you?
No, it’s ALL about the men this week. Firstly that Will has gone, goodbye, forever, for reasons unknown, in the most mysterious quit since John Sergeant gave about 5 different reasons for his departure in the space of a 10 minute press conference. In further sicknote news, Greg’s poorly wrist means that he can’t really do lifts in his salsa but he goes out and TRIES ANYWAY! What a trooper. It’s not great, but there’s something triumphant about him getting Natalie all the way up for the end pose, his dodgy arm quavering the whole time. It’s mostly that Natalie doesn’t end up dying to be fair, but that’s a kind of triumphant right? Judge Rinder doesn’t really deliver on the dancefloor in terms of comedy, with a Swiss Alps themed Viennese Waltz, (unless you count accidentally snogging a plastic cow as the height of hilarity) but off the floor his relationship with Oksana is still the most thrillingly weird thing currently happening on the show isn’t it Oksana?.
It’s at the top and tail of the leaderboard where the men really set the standards though. At the bottom, Ed does hands down the worst paso doble ever in the history of Strictly. Truly. A stupid theme, an awful costume, and a hideously slowed down arrangement of “Holding Out For A Hero” were never going to be a promising foundation, but in past weeks Ed has turned this sort of thing into gold. Not tonight, as he forgets the entire routine and just wings everything, flailing around aimlessly with Katya constantly miming and mugging him through it. He’s almost certainly built up enough goodwill at this point to not have to worry about being in the Bottom 2 too much, but it’s not an edifying display, and if he can’t get back on form Blackpool might be a difficult ask. At the top of the table? The beginning of FAN WARZ, as Danny (orchestra themed quickstep) and Ore (60s themed jive) both slay their routines, and bring the house down around them, with the judges now explicitly pitting them against one another as our Top Two. But even MORE exciting, the Fan Warz aren’t just confined to this series, as the judges immediately and officially plonk Ore in the pantheon of Holy Jives with a “MOVE OVER JAY!” and a Week 4 39. With a This? Isn’t going to be pretty. Don’t go on the Internet without a can of mace on hand guys, it’s going to be one of thise weeks. Again.