A series that seemed so exciting, glitzy, campy, and fun in the run-up and in the first few weeks all of a sudden feels like it’s held together solely by silly string, spirit glue and hope doesn’t it? After Anastacia’s scar tissue tear and Will leaving for reasons unknown, we got two more additions to the casualties list tonight. Laura injured her ankle in training, prompting deployment of the dreaded bye, and Brendan Cole ACTUALLY DIED (/still had poorly lungs) and so was replaced by Gorka (yahs) for one week only, for Anastacia’s quickstep, which was her best ballroom dance yet, if you ignore the gapping. We also came extra close to a third bed being filled in A & E during the show, as Ed almost killed Katya dead in a lift in an American Smooth. What started off as a sweet good-natured “well he tries hard!” Comedy Contestant is slowly morphing into a week on week demonstration of exactly what can go horribly wrong in a Strictly Dance. Next week? BRING ON THE PUPPETS! (no, not you Ventriloquist Man hanging around the show all week for no reason, not you, ever again, I’m changing the locks).
If this thrill-ride on the edge of mortality feels like it’s too much for you, don’t worry, the producers in their wisdom this week gave our three frontrunners for the Strictly 2016 throne a rumba, a waltz, and…oh, wait, another rumba. AND TWO OF THEM TO WHITNEY HOUSTON SONGS! Danny’s is probably the best, Ore’s is probably the most public vote friendly, and Louise’s certainly the most hilarious because it involves her and Kevin whirling around the “Eiffel Tower”, like a cross between Legoland Windsor and that bit in Spinal Tap where they order Stonehenge 10 times too small. They remain, however, two rumbaSS and a waltz in a show that could have used a bit more quality pep generally, especially as we’ve already had a week this series where all the best dances were waltzes. Abetting this state of affairs unfortunately are Daisy (Charleston) and Cloudia (samba) both of whom struggle to keep up with fast routines, and with Daisy in particular dressed like something a 6 year olds has drawn that haunts their nightmares by throwing cheese rounds at them.
Our triers? Lesley balls up her tango royally, scrabbling all over a table to begin with and ending up completely stymied by her inability to get fully locked into any sort of ballroom hold, Greg produces a cha cha so dull and pointless I remember why it’s my least favourite latin dance all over again, and Judge Rinder and Oksana ping pong around the floor like two rejected characters from Street Fighter 2 in their jive, punching and kicking and shouting around an army set so vigorously I half expect Rindy to yell “HADOKEN!” and chin Oksana with a fireball.
Let’s hope Hallowe’en Week gets everything back on track, yes?