Two eliminations, but only one interview.
Naga & Pasha : Naga started her exit interview by laying down the gauntlet for Zoe with a challenge no spin-off show host could resist – saying that whilst she was both heartbroken and gutted to have been eliminated, she hadn’t yet cried over it. Sadly Zoe failed her mission, mostly because she only had (again!) a couple of randoms from social media to waft around under her nose like raw onions. She was onto a loser from the start really. Naga was happy to go out on a high which…yes I guess that Charleston will have to count as a high, it’s been a lean run for Naga hasn’t it? When asked, she said she wanted everyone to win, which I’m sure Ore will just be thrilled about. HE THOUGHT THEY WERE PALS! HE COVERED FOR HER THAT ONE TIME SHE CALLED IN SICK WHEN IN FACT SHE’D BEEN OUT ALL NIGHT CLUBBING WITH PRINCE! NEVER AGAIN!
Backstage Gossip : Oksana and Judge Rinder have a secret handshake. It involves two hand claps and a boob bump and Rinder clearly thinks it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever been involved in. And he’s JUDGE RINDER, so that’s saying something.
Daisy & Aljaz : A little bit further down the rabbit hole of Strictly insanity for these two, as she talked about getting triggered by the Bottom 2 Reveal music, he claimed not to even know when the music stopped during their INTENSELY EROTIC RUMBA, and we went a little too far into a debate about whether nerves make Daisy a better or worse dancer, week to week. On the other hand it was quite cute to see Zoe ask Daisy if she thought she’d ever make it back to the heights of top place on the leaderboard, as she held in Week 1 and Daisy basically reply “lol no”. Their dance this week is the Charleston.
Chloe’s Choreography Chorner (featuring Neil) : Yes, it turns out that Karen left her Korner in the kapable hands of Chloe and Neil, this year’s Spare Part pros. And given their respective on-show personas so far (“Katya’s snarky husband” and “AJ’s little sister who annoys him in front of girls he likes”) it was surprising that it was Neil playing the Good Cop (/incoherent cop babbling on about how Chloe is a caravan) and Chloe who was Bad Cop. Lesley (wrong head position), Anastacia (crap legs) and even ORE (crummy finishing on his moves) got fed into her shredder. CHLOE! ORE SCORED 39! THIS IS NOT WHAT KAREN’S KHOREOGRAPHY KORNER IS FOR! SAY IT’S AMAZING AND SO CLEVER OR GET REPROGRAMMED! As well as bigging up Danny Mac’s abilities as a lead, Neil also said that he found Cloudia’s foxtrot “modern and fun”. So…more Chloe please.
Laura & Giovanni : A lot of this interview was spent talking about shoes and dogs, both of which are somewhere near the bottom of my list of interests it has to be said, so sorry this is brief. Giovanni told us that he was determined to come back swinging with their quickstep, and through so much into it that he ended up ramming Laura repeately into the wall in rehearsals. I’d suggest it would have been fun to see video evidence, but let’s face it, it only would have been used to create dodgy shipper videos on Youtube. Their dance this week is the jive.
Claudia & AJ : This interview was kind of sad for me, because it became slowly obvious over the course of the thing just how rattled Claudia was by Craig giving her a 6. I think it might have been easier on Claudia to be in this situation with a more seasoned pro than AJ, because whilst he took the most obvious and straightford factual route to trying to cheer Claudia up (Craig’s judging was technically wrong) I think it helps more in these circumstances to have someone who’s been around Craig’s block a few more times so to speak, and put him in his proper context. I was also most distracted by AJ’s
massive fuck off watch that he was flashing about for the entire interview which looks like it came free with a dodgy internship somewhere organised by his uncle. Possibly it’s this show. Their dance this week is the samba.
Chloe’s Choreography Chorner (feat. Neil) The SAVAGERY continued from Chloe tonight as she continued to shade celebrities non-stop, left and right. Ed? Trying to be manly was too much effort for him and brought his paso down (also an extended metaphor about paso shaping involving a beachball, which might have had a secondary meaning). Louise? Lovely lady but Chloe would have liked it if she’d used her heels and her toes (ie her feet) better. Rinder? SPATULA HANDS and coming across as the Comedy Act even though he doesn’t mean to be. Neil meanwhile just bigged up Laura’s topline, Daisy’s legs and even tried to pass off Greg’s ropey salsa as being due to “regional differences in technique”. The big soft apeth. Those of you who have enjoyed Chloe’s reign of baby-faced terror over the Choreography Corner will be sad to learn that this unfortunately is it, and next week we’ve got Camilla Dallerup on. I’ve never been less excited.
Tunes On Tuesday : In which we learnt that Ed Balls (American Smooth) has “Is This The Way To Amarillo?” (Jared Murillo cameo plz thanks), Louise Redknapp (rumba) is dancing to “You Were Always On My Mind” (sadly not the Pet Shop Boys version), Greg Rutherford (cha cha) is dancing to “We Found Love In A Hopeless Place”, and also that Neil should nver ever do his Elvis impersonation ever again because it makes me feel a bit ill.
The Booth Of Truth : A new segment, which I swear is working at a ration of 95% theme tune to 5% content, in which our pros are asked questions which they have to answer honestly. insights provided this week include the fact that Oti would gladly jump Aljaz’s bones given half the chance, both Giovanni and Oti think they are the pro who most loves shoes, and also that the most recent time that Pasha told a white lie was when he told Naga that she was the best student he ev…no, wait, sorry something about telling someone a dress looked good on them when it didn’t. Poor Numbers Bitch.
Anastacia & Brendan : So let’s get to the most important thing first – Brenda is still not well, so Anastacia may well be dancing with Gorka this week! HOORAY! No offence to Brenda, but anything that makes Gorka more likely to stick around is good with me, and based on the last two weeks, being the one to finally ease Anastacia out the door, in the most elegant and tasteful way possible, might be it. In “Anastacia Wins More Fans” news, she talked about how hard it was to eliminate a fellow artist (it was Naga Munchetty luv) and also got involved in a lengthy discussion of how she thought her rumba marks were too harsh. Yeah that should do it. Also Brenda revealed that he loves being in the dance-off. Certainly he’s had enough experience of it. Their dance this week is the quickstep.
Ore & Joanne : I think it’s probable that, if you don’t want people to think you’re over-invested in a Saturday Night gameshow, you might not pause *quite* so much when asked if getting 39 judgey judge points for a jive was better than your wedding day. You should wait for the final Ore, if you make it that far. These days, in the final, 39 points means you failed. Ore was otherwise on his best beahviour, making sure to get in that he was so excited to be placed in the “Holy Trinity” (“The Mother, The Son, And The Holy Crap Someone’s Just Sent Me A Death Threat Over Twitter”) of jives, because jive is his favourite Strictly dance and he’s always respected Jill and Jay sooooooooo much honest, he loves them especially Jay don’t hit him. He also won a fan in me personally by passive-aggressive’ing that it’s such a compliment when people say he must have had secret dance training, when he’s clearly referring to the Jordans stumping up a “BURN THE SECRET RINGAH, DO NOT BELIEVE HIS LIES!” campaign against him on twitter to get at the Cliftons. Ore’s dance this week is the waltz
Waite’s Wednesday Warm-Up Ian started this week’s show with a reference to Krystal Carrington. And there was a time this show tried to pass him off as straight. Today’s Warm Up covered Daisy (charleston) and her ongoing attempts to master Charleston basics like “That Bird Thing You Do With The Penguin Arms, You Know What I Mean Zoe” (and looking less awful than I feared) ; Ed (American Smooth) and the fact that his American Smooth features pretty much no foxtrot whatsoever as yet, Laura (jive) and Giovanni’s ever growing tattoo coverage ; Danny (rumba) and his need to make his rumba less “eggy” (?) by creating more resistance in his body and arms ; Greg (cha cha) and his ACTUALLY STRAIGHT LEGS HOORAH, FINALLY IN THE LAST CHA CHA OF THE SERIES (because let’s face it, whatever Ed ends up doing in it won’t count) SOMEONE MANAGES IT ; and Lesley (tango) and the frankly terrifying level of speed and content Anton appears to be intent on burying her under this week. Pray for her, her Maltese holiday is ovah.
Danny & Oti : Yes, they put Danny and Ore on the same episode of It Takes Two in the week their Big Rivalry began. More seasoned Strictly viewers will remember this set-up from the halcyon days of Matt vs Gethin and Tom vs Austin. Maybe this series we’ll even get Greg to join in for a threeway one time. Another Danny and Oti interview somewhat dominated by Oti here, as she clapped manically when Zoe mentioned the possibility of getting a 10, before clarifying that she’s not here for the judges approval (SHE’S HERE FOR THE GLITTERBALL) and finally closing the interview off by admitting that the mistake that Bruno saw that caused him to knock a mark off was her just doing “different choreography” from Danny, before making very clear AGAIN that Danny’s screwed up all the other routines so far on the night so don’t think he now has bragging rights over her because he really does not. Oti is scary this series. Their dance this week is the rumba. (Also there was a Stat Attack about how Hollyoaks stars have done in series past, but they added it up wrong so I’m not acknowledging it)
Ask The Pros : The fruits of the show’s request for viewer questions for the pros were seen here, with today’s guest pros…talking about their favourite food to eat before dancing. Jo’s is sausage and mash, Ian’s is fish (no smirking at the back) and Oti’s is chocolate. Joanne and Oti also covered how their celebs training week works (Joanne – learn the steps on Monday, polish the technique on Tuesday, then endless repetition of the routine for the rest of the week ; Oti – walking in the style of the dance to different music on Monday, technique and steps from Tuesday onwards) and someone asked if the pros and celebs took time to rehearse their farewell dance to do last thing on the Results Show if they get eliminated. Whoever asked that, and no offence lady, but that is the dumbest question I have ever heard on this show and I sat through several iterations of Ask Widdy. Finally, most importantly, Oti became the first person ever to use the term “shade!” on the show, which, in the forthcoming two month long Danny vs Ore war, is another point in Danny’s favour.
Waite’s Thursday Thaw Down : Ian dealt with five more couples tonight, and got more technical as he did so, particularly with Cloudia (samba) and Louise (rumba) both of whose footage prompted him to demonstrate with Zoe the appropriate latin action that both ladies were missing. He also caused Cloudia & AJ a CUTE COUPLE WITH BAGSA TALENT which made him sound uncannily like Hughie Green on Opportunity Knocks for a moment there. Ore (waltz) needs to stop staring at Joanne, Anastacia (quickstep) needs to eliminate gapping in her quickstep, and Ian needs to fix his time machine if he thinks a “40s rock and roll jive” is a thing that exists (Rinder & Oksana)
Vote For What Ian Wears For Hallowe’en : Two different types of drag or Beetlejuice. Options abound.
Greg & Natalie : The saga of Greg’s injury rolled on for another week, as Zoe requested a “wrist update” from Greg. I’d give him a wrist update etc etc etc. It turns out that Greg’s salsa went through more transformations than Cher’s face as they kept on taking out, reinserting and changing up lifts right up to the last minute, and she’s quite keen to pick them out again for future dances that might require lifts like…A SHOWDANCE?!?! (Oh Natalie). Natalie and Greg’s taste in music continued to be questionable later in the interview, as they both got very excited over having met Phil Collins, although Natalie did make sure to make very clear she LIKES OLLY MURS MORE, PLEASE GIVE HER OLLY MURS NEXT YEAR PRODUCERS NOT PHIL COLLINS. Oh and there was very subtle Natalie shade about the dance draw she and Greg have been given so far. Nice when Nat gets a bit nippy. Their dance this week is the cha cha, so you can see what she means.
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill : This weekend Anastacia will be wearing an apricot dress.
Get The Ballroom Look : Another make-up segment this week, with Mrs Ant showing us all on Chloe’s face how to get a “Hollywood Glamour” look. It looked to me like they just put too much lipstick on her but I am but a man.
Ed & Katya : The lurgy that has hit this cast, seemingly entering via Natalie, and last week achieving full bloom in Brenda’s lungs, has now hit Katya, as she spent most of the interview alternating wildly between croaking, miming, and scribbling stuff down on her notepad. Discussion of their paso skirted quite closely to, but not quite hitting, him admitting he forgot the entire thing, although there was much fun over how camp it all was. There were, sadly (or not) the first signs creeping in that EdBallsMania is winding down, as his celebrity endorsement today came not from the Prime Minister or any of the great offices of state or an international statesman, but Lorraine Kelly. The rot, it is setting in. Their dance this week is the American Smooth, which apparently Ed is helping choreograph himself.
A Medical Update : The show opened with Zoe informing us that Brendan Cole is dead (/still not well) and his place this weekend with Anastacia will be taken by Gorka. Gorka The Corka count : 2, which given this segment was approximately 20 seconds long, is quite something.
Gethin’s Homoerotic Backstage Adventures : Gethin this week lurked in the shadows watching Ore’s waltz rehearsals saying that he was definitely going to cry again this week (use lube guys, seriously), got
up close and personal with Greg in the changing room, talking about his “peachy bum” and how as an athlete he always delivers, and then prompted homoeroticism in others, as he sat and chatted with Janette and Karen and the former talked about the latter’s perfect body and amazing metabolism. Janette also revealed what she’s been doing since being eliminated (catching up with her old partners, still sounding slightly more excited about Julien than anybody who was actually bearable) and Karen talked about how she was rooting for everyone because everyone is her mate, and then listed off all the people who are in the Mean Girl Favouritism Clique everyone imagines she’s in.
Louise & Kevin : Kevin is still inserting that one move from the Naked video somewhere into every interview, like the Where’s Wally? of crummy 90s pop music video choreography. Maybe he should mix it up and throw a bit of the I Want It That Way video as well, that was always the girls favourite at my school. He also spent the interview wearing a 90s boyband hat (and possibly a wig sewn into it)
which means at least the Kevin Clifton 20th Century Time Machine has landed him at the right end this week. Otherwise? Such a lovely night, so proud of Louise for dragging her feet in the appropriate manner, little anecdote about Louise burping in Kevin’s face, and a Strictly Stat Attack that added up that Louise has the highest overall score of any of the women so far this series, although it didn’t mention that this is only because of Craig. Oh and with Ore’s Excellent Weekend the Clifton Sibling Rivalry is looming on the horizon, joy of joys. Their dance this week is the rumba.
Pro-Routine Rehearsals : The theme this week is some sort of combination of The Roaring 20s, Department Stores, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and tap, with Janette getting to play Millie herself. Which is odd given that Joanne Clifton is playing her in actual life on tour, but here we are. Anton is holding the tap part down, which makes a lot more sense than whatever happened last weekend that we dont like to talk about round these parts.
The Friday Panel : The panel this week consisted of Helen Skeleton from Blue Peter/Not Knowing Much About Swimming, Aled Jones, and Su Pollard
who was dressed as demurely as ever. They all agreed as a basic premise that this year had the best standard of dance evah, particularly the men (two whole good ones! YEAR OF THE MAN!) and then proceded to stage a sit-on refusing to leave until it could be guaranteed that Ed Balls wasn’t eliminated. All about high standards. Helen went into the psychology of Danny not getting a 10 for his quickstep meaning that the public will get behind him now, because his journey now has highs and lows (the low of getting 36 points in wk 4). Meanwhile Su yelled “ORE IS A BISCUIT, I WOULD BITE HIM WITHOUT TEA!”. Whose contribution was more valuable, I ask you now? Aled, as the best male of Series 2 (think on that for a minute) and Helen as…someone who turned up and thrashed about on a Christmas Special were both asked to bring their experience to bear when discussing the celebs, with Aled advising their forget their routine and improvise, and Helen mostly using it as an excuse to have a dig at Artem for having been completely humourless. And she didn’t even try to stick him in a onesie.
Judge Rinder & Oksana : It became slowly apparent over the course of this interview that it’s possible that Judge Rinder has taken over interviewing Oksana (Wouldn’t you say so Oksana?) because Zoe doesn’t really know how to do it. Not to take anything away from Zoe as a professional obviously. I think my favourite part was when they put up a graphic of Oksana in various types of legging, Zoe asked her if the print was reflective of her mood and she just said “yes”. Then she muttered some sort of punchline about Rinder having borrowed them and not given them back, and Rinder had to prompt her about three times to say it again so the people at home can hear you Oksana. Bless them. We also witnessed Judge Rinder claiming his facial expressions are entirely unforced and natural (…) and him doing 20 push ups, including jumping variations, as prep for his dance this week, which is an army themed jive and for which he has only trained two days. Good luck.
Janette Goes Back To School : A filler segment in which Janette takes all outside of the world of ballroom and latin (and charleston and salsa and Argentine Tango and whatever the hell American Smooth is supposed to be these days) and learns the basics of a number of other disciplines. To be honest, they should just run some tapes of her time on So You Think You Can Dance, it’d have about the same effect. This week she learnt flamenco and in particular learnt that it takes the emotional maturity that only comes with age to dance it truly soulfully. (*cough*ANTONDDUBEKE*cough*)
Lesley & Anton : Another Friday session from Lesley and Anton, as she talked about how special and exciting it was to do the Charleston, and do it so well, as her own mother had been a flapper in the 1920s. Or at least I think that’s what she said. They also talked about how all her routines have been full of content, and the problems of balancing rehearsals with filming the Birds Of A Feather Christmas Special, this week in the slightly less glamorous and sunny surroundings of Pinewood Studios. Good luck topping up your tan there. Their Stat Attack revealed that she is the only contestant who has improved her score with every passing week. You can see why they’re getting that one in now can’t you? Her dance this week is the tango, with a clairvoyant theme. It’s sadly not being danced to “Dark Lady” by Cher, as would be my dream. For every dance. Ever.