Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Week 5 Performance

I thought Casualty was on at 9?

Last Week : Will Young pulled out of the competition because he realised he hadn’t got a dog walker booked for the weekend (or whatever), causing in one instant an entire series worth of interlocking and interweaving storylines, rivalries and one-upmanships to dissolve away like Claudia’s make-up in the rain, and in response the show panicked, headbutted the Big Red “Fan Warz” Button *hard*, said “Jay McGuiness” three times in front of the mirror after midnight, and threw a bunch of 10s at Ore before standing back and admiring their handiwork. From a safe distance. Of about 100 miles. In a bunker. Wearing a Hazmat suit. Under the sea.

This Week : The final 3 celebrities putter around wondering what they’re going to do at Christmas, when the final is due to be contested by minus 6 couples. Oh no wait, that’s next week’s script my mistake – Iveta hasn’t released the ebola virus into the studio through the vents just yet.


He’s going to be pretty smug when he’s the only contestant involved in this series, celeb or pro, to live to see 2017 isn’t he?

The music strikes up and Tess and Claudia emerge from the wings

and this feels very “Tess Daly and Friend show she’s totally fine as they attend TV BAFTAs after bitter split with hubby Vernon” with an escort agency scandal headline following a few days later. Once AJ’s run off to fetch her a Pisco Sour, Tess reminds us that last week we saw some great routines, including a great Charleston from Lesley, a wonderful quickstep from Danny and “That Jive” from Ore. I swear I am about to put That Brick through That Window, if That Tess does not stop putting That Conjunction before That Name of every That Dance that happans on this That Show every sodding That Week. After this That Judges comes down That Stairs and


Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero dancing That Jive

Tess tells us all that this week Judge Rinder will be playing the part of a GI, and that Oksana is hoping that her little soldier will get a salute from the judges and quick march through to next week. Yeah Peter Andre tried that tactic backstage last year as well. Bruno was not impressed.

VT time, and the sad tinkly piano music is playing, even though nothing much bad happened to Judge Rinder last week, especially compared to the ‘Nam that’s going on around him this series. He mopes to Oksana that he’s disappointed that he didn’t do his Viennese Waltz to his best potential, and really wants just one routine where he can say that he did a routine as well as he possibly could have done it. His plan this week? “Just go out and dance”. Yeah good luck, I haven’t seen a routine of Rinder’s yet that didn’t take longer to get into than a zone on the Crystal Maze. Just go out and dance after you’ve banged your gavel and frenched a plastic farm animal maybe.

Training now, or not, as filming has started up again on Judge Rinder : The TV Show, so he’s not got a huge amount of time to rehearse. And apparently the cases on Judge Rinder are SO complicated that it’s making it difficult to remember his steps. I find that hard to believe – every time I’ve watched Judge Rinder every single case has had the same structure :

You borrowed Β£5000 from your friend for (*Rent/Electricity/A Car/Take That Concert Tickets*) but instead spent in on (*Drugs/Clothes/Electronics/Take That Concert Tickets*) and have not yet paid your friend back, did your friend get an agreement to pay you back in writing : If YES go to YOU LOSE STUPID I CAN SMELL FARTS IN LIFTS AND SHH SHH SHH SHH TALKING THE COURT AWARDS YOUR FRIEND ALL THE MONEY, If NO go to YOU WIN BUT YOU’RE STILL ITV DAYTIME SCUM AND I DO NOT LIKE YOU BEGONE!

To help cram more rehearsal in, Oksana visits the set of Judge Rinder

clearly thinking “wow, this country’s legal system is even more fucked than Russia’s” the whole time. She tells us that it’s interesting to see Judge Rinder in a setting where everyone is intimidated by him, because she’s only ever seen him prancing comedically around the rehearsal room pulling faces like he’s having a gallstone removed, so she doesn’t get it. During a break in filming, Judge Rinder has a daydream that contains the line “Madam Oksana, you are charged with interfering with my legal brain and filling it full of dance, how do you plead?” which even on this show stands out as delirious fever fantasia levels of beautifully dumb. Madam Oksana indeed. In the end Dream Rinder sentences Oksana to 10 years in Strictly Jail, which is truly a travesty of justice, especially considering the fact that Janette got let off scot free after running over the jive last year. When he wakes up, Rinder and Oksana jive together in the courtroom and

is there still that vacancy on the US Supreme Court? I don’t think this American political season has been enough of a pantomime to be honest.


The idea here is that Oksana is a stern drill sergeant and Judge Rinder is the GI she’s putting through his paces. And if you’re thinking Oksana is looking a little overdressed to jive (/be on this show generally) then you’re right. Here’s Judge Rinder doing a

one-armed cartwheel to distract as she throws her coat out by the bins. Oh and if you’re expecting them to use that climbing frame at any point, then don’t, it’s just there as set dressing. I’m not sure if my dominant feeling is bafflement that they spent time and effort and money obtaining it and setting it up only for them to avoid it like Len avoids paella, or relief that they didn’t have him try to kick-ball-chain right over the top of it. It’s actually a fairly straight forward routine for Judge Rinder this week – sure there’s a lot of military vamping (salutes, bugling, at one point Oksana waterboards him until he tells her where he’s hidden her Garnier Nutrisse) but once he’s high-kneed it through the tyres, it’s mostly content! Admittedly sometimes slightly odd content

(I presume this is some sort of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reference?) but content all the same. And it’s quite powerfully delivered. So powerfully that the stomping gets so violent at points I think he’s trying to crack the floorboards open, and in the wobbly knee section he

spreads his legs wider than a local housewife during Fleet Week, but given the general mimsiness of dancing that’s about to happen this evening, it kind of works, in retrospect.


It gets a Standing Ovation, and once he’s over at Tess, Judge Rinder wheezes out praise for Oksana, saying she is beautiful, wonderful, and terrifying.

Also there’s something about this interview that

reminds me of how Bruce used to speak to Chelsee Healey half the time, but I can’t put my finger on it. Not quite. The judges comments get off to a smooth start, as Tess asks Len if Judge Rinder impressed him this evening and Len honks “I CAN’T HEAAR YA DARLIN SO I CAN’T EVEN ANSWER” like the judges comments have ever had anything to do with the questions Tess asks anyway. After she repeats herself, Len replies that Rinder DID impress him and in fact put the camp into “boot camp”. Because he’s gay. Len thinks the toe heel swivel could have been better, but overall it was “tighter than a bugle boy’s cheeks”. Not after Rinder’s finished with them. (Because he’s gay). Bruno’s next and tells Judge Rinder that he was bouncing around like Jiminy Cricket in camp camouflage. Because he’s gay.

Craig follows, saying that he likes that Judge Rinder dances with Tempestuous Abandon (is that Oksana’s stripper name?) but it was all a bit stompy and flat-footed, although he did like the one-armed cartwheel. Darcey closes by saying that she liked all the tricks and the energy, but at times it all got a bit wild and he was kicking far too high. Possibly because he is gay, I don’t even know at this point.

Up to Claud 9 they go, with Judge Rinder’s dogtag jiggling merrily in the wind the whole time, and rather sweetly Oksana tells him on the way up that that was the best he could have done it. Sometimes I think these two might occasionally interact on a real human level? Just not ever on camera obviously. Once up there, Claudia being ever the professional that Tess is not

stares him in the eyes the entire time, as the rest of us gaze on nip-slip after nip-slip after nip-slip. So wild this show tonight. He’s very happy he got all the steps right, he had so much fun, and he gives a shout-out to Mummy Rinder in the audience

I presume he’s not talking about Robin Windsor, although some names gay men call one another are stranger than others. Scores are in

29. Judge Rinder makes a joke here about Craig not being able to find a 7 under the judges table that I think ends up being a lot dirtier in Janette’s head than Judge Rinder meant it to be, based on her reaction.

There here follows a clear minute of ventriloquism from a Britain’s Got Talent finalist and oh my God within about 5 seconds

both Louise and Greg want to murder that puppet more than they’ve ever wanted to kill anybody in their life before, and Louise spent several years trapped in a band with the Bennett sisters.

Lesley Joseph & Anton du Beke dancing the That Tango

I guarantee you if we cut to Brenda in his hospital bed he would not look more unwell and corpselike than Anton does here.

VT time and both Anton and Lesley are sat by the piano, chatting about how great her Charleston felt last week. Anton praises Lesley for increasing in performance skill and energy every week. I praise her for

her hair, which is looking on point here. Very Charlie’s Angels Reunion Special.

Training now, and as Lesley will be playing a clairvoyant this week, she’s taking tips from Anton as to how to see the future, as he is a medium. Well, that’s not what it says on his Tinder profile Lesley, but ok…First off she asks him to read her tealeaves

These ones say “do not ask the researcher whose foot you accidentally run over to also make your tea, especially if she has a pet hamster with diarrhoea”. Secondly she asks him to turn over tarot cards to foretell her relationship with the judges. I see The Fool, The Devil, The Wheel Of Fortune (that’s Bruno’s scores) but sadly no Hung Man. (Yes I know it says “Hanged Man” in your deck, I have a different one). Finally we get the most accurate and uncanny prediction so far :

stupid comedy VTs and ugly outfits from here on out! (Actually this is less depressing than the actual prediction, which is that Anton

sees Blackpool in their future. *sniff*)


This new Lady Gaga album campaign really has jumped right off the track hasn’t it? Ahem. Lesley and Anton are dancing to “Whatever Lola Wants”, as previously used to good effect in Don & Lilia’s tango, one of Strictly’s forgotten classics. This one? Not so much. Remember the start of Katie’s tango last year, where she effortlessly and elegantly mounted and then swooned off the chaise longue into Anton’s arms as the music started gaining tempo?

Might have been an idea for Anton not to reuse the idea quite so quickly with a partner who isn’t *quite* as up to it. From there, they get into hold. And then another hold. And then another one. And then a succession of holds, each more awkward than the last.

It’s a miracle that she got through her quickstep more or less cleanly, because this is right back to her waltz in terms of not looking at all comfortable being in close with Anton. By the second half her footwork’s gone to pot as well, as she’s hobbling through pretty much every turn, and the exertion to try to keep the technique down shows as her performance levels disappear for a character (sinister gypsy woman) she should have excelled at. It all ends with Anton snatching up her crystal ball and dramatically smashing it on the ground.

So get ready for some more very brown tea leaves to read courtesy of the props department and the Strictly cleaners Anton.

It gets a standing ovation, because Lesley is still charming and you just would wouldn’t you? Bruno starts for the judges with Tess asking him what he sees in his crystal ball. If what you saw in your crystal ball was Bruno using the opportunity of a mystically themed routine to

pull a load of silly faces then well done, you are officially clairvoyant. Or you’ve ever watched this show before. And I mean ever. He loved the intensity, he loved the character, he thought the technique was a mess. Craig follows, saying that Lesley needed to be more one level, she wasn’t creating a V shape with her hold, she was skipping, and her shoulders were too raised.

Aw. (Can someone tell the make-up department that it’s called guyliner because it’s supposed to “line” something? That’s not a line, that’s MS Paint Spraycan function).

Darcey’s next, saying she loved that the routine was full of content, and that Lesley managed to do…a lot of it. The bits where she had to swivel her head about anyway. They were ok. Len closes us off by saying that the routine had everything, and he’s sure that any and all off the 100s of mistakes were entirely due to Anton.

Genuinely, are we sure that they didn’t do his Hallowe’en make-up a week early?

Up to Claud 9 they wander, with Lesley muttering about how she made mistakes didn’t she, and Anton telling her that she didn’t, it’s just that she’s different. Gosh, this suddenly feels a bit Lifetime Original Movie doesn’t it? Once up there Lesley tells Claudia it’s very difficult to be passionate and relaxed at the same time, and Claudia liberally makes fun of Anton’s eye make-up, as well she might. We close with Lesley saying she’s so looking forward to doing the jive next week. Oh well. Scores are in


Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe dancing the That Cha Cha

Tess tells us that Greg is doing consistantly well considering that he’s an athlete who’s never danced before.

VT time and Natalie and Greg reminisce about how his salsa went ok, despite his injury, he was fine with it, nobody died during the lifts, it’s great. I think my favourite part is the editing trickery that makes it look like

the judges are trying to get Greg’s attentions by waving their 7s and he’s not interested. Just like his DMs whenever he posts a thirst trap picture of himself in his pants on twitter I guess. He’s a married father now guys, lay off *lowers band of his obscenely tight underwear another half-inch*. Oh and of course there was more talk of his arse. Natalie pulled this face.


Training now, and Natalie tells us that this week they have the cha cha, which is going to be difficult because it revolves around a straightening of the knee, which is something that Greg has never done before. What, ever? Wow these athlete training regimes are tough man. Greg for his part tells us that he thinks he’s going to be very exposed in this routine. If only. To get him more comfortable, Natalie takes him to the London Olympic stadium, and they practice there. She then

presents him with “a piece of the track he won gold on”. I would have enjoyed this more if it had been her walking up to him and just dumping a load of sand on his shoes all “OH MY GOD GRIG, YOU JAHMPED ROIT IN ALL THIS SAAAAAND ITS AMOYZING, ITS THE BIST SAAAAND OI’VE EVER SIN! BITTER THIN IN MOIAMEEE!!!”.


On the one hand, I’m quite glad that Natalie is so determinedly eschewing silly themes and overpropping with Greg. All of his dances so far, even including Movie Week, have steered away from gimmickry and stage sets as much as possible. On the other hand, God but this was just watching someone do a Wk 1 cha cha badly to a piece of club music (“We Found Love In A Hopeless Place”) and I’ve done that enough times on this show to last me a lifetime and more. There’s a lot wrong with the new school of distractions, but on some level it’s always going to be more entertaining than the two mainstays being deployed here – sticking the male celebrity all in black on a mostly dark blue stage set so you can’t see the complete lack of hip or leg action, and having the female pro

thrash around all over the place like a sexy shark attack directly blocking the line of sight between the celeb and the camera. I love Natalie’s little winks I don’t need to see them five times a routine, including upside down whilst Greg quite frankly looks like he’s roughly penetrating her in a club toilet. I think the nadir comes when Natalie not only struts along the front row prompting the audience to raise the roof/clap but then also cups her hand to her ear indicating she can’t hear them. It’s not the Radio 1 Roadshow Nat. Anyway this was poor. Mostly it just looked like Greg walking about or forgetting what he was supposed to be doing.


It gets a Standing Ovation, giving Carley Stenson opportunity to get the proper angle to flash her eyes up to her Danny Mac on Claud 9 to let him know

she’s writing this one off, only the sports presenter and the WAG to knock off now and the glitterball is hers. I mean theirs. Theirs. His really. But on their mantlepiece. And on Instagram hiding her modesty in a semi-nude selfie to Ricky Whittle showing him what could have been his. Once they get over to Tess, Natalie hoots about how WEIRD it was to hear Davearch doing club music, like they don’t do it 3 times a week now. Craig starts for the judges, saying it was good that he danced so as to show Natalie off in the routine but otherwise it was all stiff, pigeon-toed and awkward. I doubt he had any choice Craig, she’d parked the bus between him and the viewing public and wasn’t budging. Darcey’s next, and she tells Greg that he should remember that he’s accomplished so much and that there will always be one dance for every celebrity that’s just not for them, and this was that dance for him. Let’s wait for the rumba. And the samba. Probably the Charleston. Maybe the quickstep…

Len’s next and again tells us that Greg is a non-dancer and that we should all remember that when casting our votes. I mean, Ore’s a non-dancer as well, as is Daisy. If I’m shopping around for “non-dancers” to give my votes to. Anyway he thought it was obvious that Greg didn’t like the dance and it showed in his performance. Of course he didn’t like it Len, it’s the cha cha. NOBODY likes the cha cha. Bruno closes with an erotic reverie about how Greg is like a strong muscular statue providing a frame for his partner to dance within, but as a result he sometimes stiffens up and becomes stompy.

Up to Claud 9 they shoot, where Claudia coos about how sweet it was that Greg finished that dance by turning to Natalie and saying “sorry”. Apparently he was getting it all right in rehearsals but it just didn’t come together on the night. Claudia tells him not to worry, Rihanna would have loved it. I think one of the reasons I like Rihanna is that I’m fairly sure she would have absolutely shredded it. Scores are in


Anastacia & Gorka Marquez dancing the That Quickstep

Tess tells us that sadly Brendan’s lung infection from last week has got worse, and he’s had to cede the floor to Gorka for this week. These sorts of things always seem to involve Brendan one way or the other don’t they? Swapping in for Artem and Robin, and swapping out for Gorka and Ian. Whatever, if it means Gorka is more likely to come back next series I’m all for it.

VT time, and Anastacia tells us all that she was very pleased with her performance last week, and she wishes her score from the judges had been higher. Yes love you did mention that. A few times. All over It Takes Two. She says that the reality of “her place in the competition” (ie “Bottom 2 Goddess”) is hitting home, and she just wants to stay in as long as she can. Remember the Launch Show when she was all “I’M GONNA WIN!”? Seems a long time ago now.

Training starts with Anastacia yelling “BRENDAN YOU LOOK DIFFERENT!” and Gorka being all

“yes I have tattoos and everything”. Imagine Brendan with tattoos. Probably just one big one of Patrick Swayze right in the middle of his back surrounded by stars and little highlights of Kelly Brook’s rumba and Sophie’s Charleston and TIME WARP all the way around in. Gorka fills Anastacia in that they are doing quickstep which is “one of the fastest numbers we are going to do in this show”. I wish he wouldn’t talk like he’s going to be doing this for more than one week, it’s only getting my hopes up. Anastacia for her part tells us it’ll be interesting to dance with a new person given that she’s been with Brenda so long. I love how jaded she is already and she’s only done four dances with the man. I’m feeling the “it wasn’t BETTER, just…different” the second he comes back. It seems like head position and posture is Gorka’s big thing, and not so much

cutting down on gapping. Gorka and Anastacia hope that they make Brenda proud tonight, clearly, in their heads in a bit of “so he doesn’t feel so bad about missing her elimination” sort of a way.


Oh God an invisible dog. Judy Murray’s legacy. They’re dancing to “My Kind Of Town” by Frank Sinatra and as a quickstep it all feels much better suited to selling Anastacia to a general audience than anything Brendan has given her so far, in that it’s full of breezy personality that feels very American and peppy without crossing over into brashness. It runs the whole gamut from

little meet-cutes to

razz-a-ma-tazz and jazz hands without tipping into OTT

mostly. It’s still Anastacia after all. Technique wise she’s clearly not at all comfortable moving backwards and there’s no attempt to minimise gapping – when it happens, it just happens, and so what – but after the weeks of raunch and injuries and overwrought Streisand and constant Bottom 2 appearances, it’s good to see Anastacia be light and breezy and the mix-up in the partnership only goes towards helping that. I can understand why she wasn’t paired with Gorka in the first place (she’s a little too tall for him, and I think in the long term her force of personality would wash him right out to an even greater degree than he already was with Tameka) but the fresh start here is doing wonders for her, and his

Agorkability certainly doesn’t hurt either the routine either.

In terms of Comeback Quicksteps, I feel this justified the narrative a little more than Laura’s did, to be honest.

It gets a Standing Ovation, and after the short walk to Tess, we get another outing for “Gorka The Corker” (I swear, even worse than “From Grimsby” already, and this is a guy was on the show for three weeks proper, how do they manage to get more obnoxious with how they pimp new pros with every passing year) and then Anastacia “corrects” Tess by telling her that Gorka makes her wanna

“WAWKA”. I don’t know exactly what that means but it sounds like a sex thing so let’s move on. Darcey starts for the judges, saying that she was impressed with how light on her feet Anastacia was, especially in the pedulum steps, and also felt she did a good job maintaining continuity through all the stops and starts in the dance. Ah yes, in the original practices those were the bits where Brendan had a cough/went to throw up in a wastepaper bin in the corner. But they kept them in and they worked! Len’s next and tells us that getting a new partner’s like getting a new pair of shoes – there’s occasionally a bit of bleeding initially for the first few days as you wear them in but eventually they get used to your dimensions. Or something like that. Poor Mrs Len. Anyway this is, apparently a compliment to how well Anastacia and Gorka have adapted and he closes by saying that he doesn’t want to upset Brendan (LIES, THAT’S ALL LEN WANTS OUT OF LIFE) but that was Anastacia’s best dance yet.

Bruno follows by saying that he loves the new lease of life that Anastacia has, but she should “mind the gap” – a theme Craig runs with by telling her that you could have felled a tree between her and Gorka during that dance. Well if they’re looking for volunteers to bring down a Spanish Oak with a single blow… Still, Craig thought it was very light and she fair flew across the floor so that was nice.

Up to Claud 9 they swing, where Anastacia says it’s been a privilege to dance with two Strictly pros, rather than just one, because they’re all fantastic. Well that’s a matter of opinion. Claudia then asks her to give a Get Well Soon message to Brendan right down the camera and

it’s very Anastacia. She yells “WE GOTS TO GO TO WORK NEXT WEEK!” in a muppet voice and everything, it’s great. Scores are in


Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the That Rumba

Tess tells us that tonight Louise and Kevin will be doing a tender rumba set in the most romantic city in the world. Is Legoland Windsor a city now? They’re just handing that status out willy nilly now aren’t they?

VT time and

sometimes I wonder what Kevin sees when he looks in the mirror before leaving the house. I’m starting to think he’s running through leftover training outfits that Will never got to use and thus let Karen take home with her. He and Louise are discussing her foxtrot, which turns out to have been her favourite dance so far, and this surprised her, because she’d got to thinking she preferred the latin to the ballroom. I’d start advancing theories as to why, but the only ballroom she did before the foxtrot was her Viennese Waltz and I’ll be buggered if I can remember anything about it. She did some nice balletic stuff in it I guess?

Training time, and because the dance they’re doing tonight is set in Paris, the BBC in their wisdom have decided to grant Kevin and Louise a jolly there in order to get them in the mood.

Guys, when every week your Scripted VTs contain within the actual scripts the celebrities pulling faces about how dumb and random they are, it might be time to reconsider.

So it is that Kevin and Louise go to Paris and practice their rumba walks at

Notre Dame de Paris

The Eiffel Tour and

the Arc du Triomphe, all whilst a bunch of Parisians mill around them looking bored. Do you think that Yannick Noah is possibly somewhere in Leicester Square right now doing exactly the same thing. Cultural exchange isn’t it? Maybe we should do it all on a grander scale, give them a host family and make them compete on Dancing With The Stars Benelux for a week like when Cameron went to Big Brother Africa.


I love that the VT was supposedly to make Louise feel authentically Parisian, but instead seeing the real mammoth Eiffel Tower only seconds before this opening to the dance makes the phony one they’ve got in here look even more piddly. Either that or the theme here actually is that Louise and Kevin are giants, having a bit of a sexy cuddle before Godzilla turns up and shoots laser death rays at them. They’re dancing to “You Were Always On My Mind” by Elvis/Willy Nelson/The Pet Shop Boys (delete as per this poll)

which of course is in a way ironic, because Louise is possibly one of the more forgettable celebrities this year, and I can’t see this dance going any way towards mitigating that. It’s a better rumba than either of the two that we saw last week (other than again a complete lack of hip action) but all very light and effortless and polite and safe. It’s one of those dances that, thematically, could end at any point from about 10 seconds in, because there’s no real climax or dynamic or drive to it – just Louise wafting around from the waist upwards and the knees downwards in a way that her boys and her Jamie will be fine with.

Sweet, but not lingering.

It gets a Standing Ovation as Tess actualy coos “oooh la la c’est magnifique!” across the floor at them, as from the audience

Frankie Bridge watches on and hopes she wasn’t quite that dull. Not quite Frankie, not quite. Len starts for the judges, saying that that was certainly a DANCE from FRANCE and the EIFFEL was DELIGHTFUL! He does warn her through that she’s on a plateau, and whilst other people are on a plateau, theirs is a little bit higher than Louise’s. Really selling this year’s competition to me there Len, well done. Will Louise’s deadening run of 31s, 32s and 33s beat Danny’s deadening run of 35s and 36s through sheer force of Megamum? FIND OUT IN THE THRILLING FINALE! Bruno’s comments begin with him singing “every little breeeeeeeeze seems to whisper Louise” and I’m sorry I don’t hear the rest of them because I’m laughing so hard. I would buy Bruno Sings The Hits Of Maurice Chevalier tomorrow.

Craig’s next and he all but sighs “bored now” before Darcey closes by calling it “one classy rumba”. And there’s the problem in a nutshell. I do think it’s interesting she got the “BE MORE EXCITING AND RISKY!” talk last week, right before getting a rumba to a song exclusively heard at funerals.

Up to Claud 9 they tastefully and inoffensively walk, where Claudia makes sure we start with a shout-out to Louise’s mother-in-law. If you’ve not seen the news, Harry Redknapp ran over her ankle whilst they were out shopping and she can’t be there this week to hold Louise’s mother’s arm for her. Louise then goes on to say that she found the rumba very hard because of how slow and exposing it all is. Claudia could not sound more bored with her at this point if she tried. “Yeah yeah” gets a thorough abusing for a start. Scores are in


Ed Balls & Katya Jones dancing the That American Smooth

In tribute to Louis Walsh, doesn’t he look like a little Ronnie Barker here? Tess starts by telling us that Ed and Katya will be playing the role of hitch-hikers in this dance and she hopes that Craig doesn’t find fault with his thumbs. There follows an extended piece of comedy involving Craig trying to correct Tess’ own sticky out thumb which is notable mostly for the fact that

Tess appears to be wearing a shock bracelet now. Evil Moira will find ever new ways to keep her staff in line I guess.

VT time, and Ed and Katya reminisce about how badly their paso doble went last week. It’s only a 30 second segment, so they can only cover about 15% of it, but lest we forget he forgot the routine, pinwheeled his arms around at random, and then worst of all CRAIG CALLED HIM MINCY! In the end, Katya reassures Ed that because they were at the bottom of the leaderboard, it can only get better. I can’t believe the show missed the chance for a “things can only get better” reference here. Either that or Katya can’t follow a script to save her life, which wouldn’t surprise me either. For those keeping track, and as a counterpoint to Danny cruising towards being one of the highest scoring contestants ever, after this week, Ed has now been bottom of the leaderboard five times. The all time record table currently stands at :

Ann Widdecombe : 7
Chris Parker/Dave Myers/Ed Balls/Judy Murray/Kate Garraway/Nancy Dell’Olio : 5
Carol Kirkwood/John Sergeant : 4

He’s coming for your crown Widdy, you’d better watch yourself.

Training now, and Katya tells us that Ed is determined to take the judges comments on board and get the dancing right this week. And that sounds good in theory but it turns out he should have focused more on the parts where he swings his partner round in the air whilst holding on to her leg. I don’t know, you improve one thing and something else goes flying out the window. Almost literally. After a bit of rehearsal, Ed and Katya sit down and discuss the fact that he has to just go out and dance properly this week, and not hide behind a “big character” as he has before. I love that stomping around dressed as Benny Hill Goes Camping to “Is This The Way To Amarillo?” counts as this show’s version of Purity Of Dahnce now. We’ve come a long way baby.


The story here is that Ed and Katya chance upon one another whilst they’re both hitch-hiking on the freeway to Amarillo which, appropriately enough, is the Windiest City in America. Which might explain the part where

Katya almost gets blown over in a lift. You can try to find other things to say about the routine – how misguided it was in the first place, how the foxtrot parts are all but non-existant (seriously, about 10-15 seconds worth, if that), how the whole routine

is being danced right in the middle of a motorway just asking to be run over by a haulage truck at any second, how Ed still doesn’t appear to understand that you’re supposed to do the moves in time with the music, how his deployment of his arms looks like someone’s mate trying unsuccesfully to intervene in a brewing fight outside a Wetherspoons at chucking out time(/John Prescott hauling off and punching Eggman in the face), even how the other lifts don’t actually go too badly if you don’t mind them taking longer to get out of than Heathrow Airport in high season. But let’s face it, nobody’s talking about anything other than those glorious 10 seconds where Ed Balls hauls Katya Jones up in the air by the leg and bobs her around like he’s gearing up to flapjack her caber toss style over his head into Davearch’s orchestra pit. Two weeks in a row the only thing that’s got me through Ed’s routine is Katya’s look of utter terror as her carefully choreographed routine (I’M GIVING HER THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT HERE OK!) goes disastrously wrong.

And I’m all about focusing on what counts.

It gets a Standing Ovation, because nobody died, and then Ed *immediately* does the lift that went wrong again, properly this time.

Why spoil a good thing by getting it right? Stop trampling on your own moment Ed! (Also Katya STILL didn’t look at all comfortable doing it). I think my favourite part is when Tess intervenes and says “it went so well in rehearsal………AND IT JUST WENT VERY WELL THEN AS WELL!”. Smoothly recovered Tess. Bruno starts for the judges and it’s hard not to read the entire comment as an attack on Katya, as he tells Ed to just focus on getting the basic ballroom dancing right and not add in a whole bunch of fripperies and Carlos Acosta styles lifts that he can’t do, because Bruno genuinely believes he can do it. Or at least has no wish to see Katya die live on tv. Craig follows and says the whole thing was the antithesis of smooth and Ed showed absolutely no style whatsoever, and that’s not even to talk about that one horrendous lift. Ed then offers to perform the lift on Craig in the bar after the show for charity. Because what this show needs is another person invalided out via injury.

Darcey follows and says it all started very well but it went wrong in the big lift and he didn’t do a great job of recovering. She then delivers the best accidental burn on this show in ages when she tells Ed to buckle up, focus and come back next year to try again. Yes that is how long it’d take to get his dance presentable I agree Darcey well done. Len closes with a 6/10 dad joke about how dodgy lifts are always a problem with hitch-hiking, but says that the foxtrot parts, such as they were, were well done. Such as they were.

Up to Claud 9 they charge, where Katya claims that they invented that dodgy lift themselves this week, and called it the “Glitterballs Special”. I’ve heard catchier names. Ed then says he was going to do the lift as a dedication to “Tony Curtis and Peter Kaye” but decided not to at the last minute. Ed, if you’re going to pay tribute to someone, at least make sure you get their name right first. Typical politician. Bet he was a big fan of our Queen Of Hearts, Princess Diana Vickers. So sad when she died in that helicopter crash in Prague, his thoughts go out to her children Lillian and Harvey. Scores are in


And now

Claudia’s Surreal Prop Interlude

Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton dancing the That Waltz

As part of their intro, Ore makes a big show of how sexy he thinks Joanne looks tonight, and Joanne makes a big show of

not buying it. Just big shows all round from these two isn’t it? Tess tells us that Ore will be starting tonight’s dance under a spotlight, but she doesn’t think that he’ll need it, because based on his jive, he’ll be lighting up the dancefloor with the PURITY OF HIS DAHNCE! That and the burning torches of the Jaypet Army, mingling with their pitchforks ready.

VT time and we’re reminded that last week Craig told him he was the one to beat and that Bruno said that a star was born and oddly enough Len’s comments aren’t included what a surprise, I bet someone’s finger slipped in the editing booth. Ore also makes fun of his habit of crying, and ends the segment by telling Joanne “let’s not talk, let’s just have a cuddle”.

Well this is how rumours get started and no mistake.

Training now, and Ore is finding the transition between the super fast jive and the refined and elegant waltz difficult to manage, even on Clifton waltz settings. Still, there’s no time for that, as AJ is super busy with his dayjob, and has to rush off and cover the Olympic Gold Medal Parade.

I swear Olympic team mascots were less terrifying in my day. That looks like a mid-dungeon boss in a Final Fantasy game. Ore rides the bus and interviews some Olympians, whilst Jo watches on forlornly in the rain at the side. At one point Ore starts jiving for the crowd and Joanne’s all “HE’S JIVING TO TRY TO SHOW ME HE CAN DO IT RIGHT, BUT WE’RE DOING THE WALTZ THIS WEEK!!!”. Oh hun, he’s not doing it for your benefit. Much like your brother in his first series, you have created a phenomenon/monster that is now entirely out of your control. (Seriously, so much about Ore clicked for me when I realised he was the Susanna of this series, it’s great). After the bus has been parked, Ore takes Joanne to meet some Olympic heroes.

Mostly the interaction is carried out with the lesser Brownlee so I’m guessing he’s the one we’re getting next year.


They’re waltzing to “I Will Always Love You”

and the start is really weird. The choreography has them both “waltzing” individually out of hold, but constantly eyeballing one another

and just missing one another, so it resembles nothing so much as two British people trying to pass one another on the same pavement at the same time and never quite co-ordinating it. It’s awkward and weird and not a great start, although it pales in comparison to the true horror of the week, which is them separating about three-quarters of the way through and then

sprinting like billy-oh towards one another for the power note “*boom* AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII” key-change. Which is naff at base but can work when you’re actually building towards a grand reality tv gesture a la this but it’s a waltz so they charge towards one another at 100mph, smash into one another and then…waltz a bit. It’s silly and I had missed how bad it was on first watch so I’m higlighting it here, Joanne’s run of actually well choreographed routines ending at 2 with a bump. The rest is just middling waltz – he’s hunched over, his footwork looks odd and his face

looks serene in the same sort of way someone trying to remember all the FA Cup winning captains from 1970-79 looks serene. Feh. It finishes and, much like with a lot of us when we try to negotiate our way past someone through a door or down a narrow street

they end up facing opposite to the way they started. #britishproblems.

It gets a Standing Ovation, with Karen woop-wooping her head off, before they get to Tess and she says that it was nice to get to see the softer side of Ore tonight. Yes, because that’s really been lacking so far. I miss the hard-nosed masculine butch days of when he pretended to squeal his head off at the sight of a plastic seagull. Craig starts for the judges, saying that Ore performed that dance extremely well and that he felt the orchestra did well converting a song in 4/4 time into 3/4 time so it could be waltzed to. Wouldn’t it be nice if they didn’t have to do that? Almost every week? Darcey’s next and says the Craig is right – she liked how calm and controlled and elegant it was, but she noticed his right shoulder “poppin up” on occasion. She says this in a little sing song voice and a suggestive shimmy. Oh Darcey.

Len’s next, and says Ore lockstep was sticky, but he liked it for the most part, especially when Ore just hovered. Len remembers his old dance teacher telling him the hardest thing to do is just to do nothing, and stay serene, elegant and still. Len went on to prove this with the entirity of the rest of his life gorrblimey where’s me walnuts MY SON. Bruno closes by saying that Ore and Joanne have a wonderful connection through movement and music and always surprise him, and then Tess realises that Ore got through all that without crying, so she pulls an onion out from between her boobs and rams it into his eyes shouting “DO YOUR GIMMICK OTHERWISE THE PUBLIC WON’T REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE DO IT FOR AUNTY TESS TESS”

Up to Claud 9 they sprint, where Ore interviews that what the judges don’t know is that he was so nervous before that dance his knees gave way, all because he was feeling the pressure of having to live up to last week’s performance. He then gushes that Joanne is his “main coach” and “better dancing half” as she

contemplates ever being able to get a word in ever again. What has she created? Scores are in

36. lol ok sure

Daise Lowe & Aljaz Skorjanec dancing the That Charleston

If it’s in a word
or if it’s in a book
you can’t rid of the BABADOOK!

I love that Zoe has been pimping the heck out of Daisy’s outfit all week and she turns up looking like she’s been backcombed by the blind. Tess says that Daisy and Aljaz will be starting their routine in the dark, which hopefully means the judges won’t be able to see any mistakes. To this Daisy honks out “OH THEY DEFINITELY WILL!” right down the camera lens (<3)

VT time, and Daisy tells Aljaz that she felt like their rumba was really special last week – like everything around them just melted away (possily because of the giant ring of flaming candles, who can say?) and that it was just her and Aljaz. This all sounds uncannily like what Laura said about her waltz before she landed in the Bottom 2. We’re obviously not, as an audience, here for women who’re pretending we aren’t here the whole time. Which is understandable.

Training, and Daisy grins that she’s dancing the Charleston this week to Happy Feet, and Aljaz explains to us the gimmicks of the routine – it’ll start with them all in black, with just their hands and feet illuminated in white, so we can focus on the footwork and the hand technique, just as everyone always claims they want to be able to do on this show. (LOL BOTTOM 2). So in order to prepare Daisy to have a black curtain wrapped round her head, he’s taking her to a place where you meet strangers and nosh in the dark.

IT’S A BLACKOUT RESTAURANT! Seriously, Louise gets to go to Paris for the day and Daisy’s stuck with this? Daisy and Aljaz have a giggle about how Daisy kept on accidentally wrapping her mouth around various parts of his body in the dark whilst trying to eat oopsie don’t tell Janette, and the meal ends with Aljaz forking Daisy in the mouth with a whole chicken breast, causing her to gag. Classy.


I know it’s easy to say after it did nothing for her in the public vote, but whilst I think this whole concept was a fun thing to attempt, it doesn’t really work, mostly because you’re focusing more on the technical gimmickry rather than anything Daisy’s actually doing. Also there’s a bit of a

LOOK AT HER MASSIVE MAN-HANDS YOU CAN’T EVEN TELL WHICH ONE IS WHICH implication to the whole thing which is a little unflattering. Once they’re out from the darkbox and dancing in the light, it’s quite a cute and bright routine, whilst at the same time being a little bit sinister in a

“Liza Minelli’s off her meds again” sort of way. Unsurprisingly, given what we’ve seen so far, Daisy doesn’t have the energy needed for full-tilt Charleston, and the sleepy nature of the vocals for the song only add to the impression that this is all being done at half-speed. There’s a couple of cute moments (I like in particular when she puts both hands on her waist and giggles her hips around in a circle, it’s very old school Disney short cartoon) but the whole thing falls between the two schools of Strictly Charleston – rampaging gurning and jazzy cool – without landing squarely on either.

It gets a Standing Ovation (how is tonight of all nights the first time everything’s getting a Standing Ovation?) and Darcey starts for the judges by praising Daisy for capturing the quirky playfulness of the silent movies. Hang on, is she supposed to be Charlie Chaplin?

Makes sense. Darcey goes on to talk about how Daisy did so well with handling the white gloves and shoes, saying they’re very revealing, whilst neglecting to mention that Daisy is wearing nothing on her bottom half but a pair of tights so shear you can tell the last time she got her bikini line done. Oh and she needs to tighten her core. Of course. Len follows by just saying HAPPY over and over because it’s in the name of the song (RETIRE).

Bruno is next, saying it was all like Betty Boop coming back to life, and then very quickly Craig says he loved how she danced on all the off-beats but thought she looked a little tired by the end. How are we short on time in a show that has two fewer couples competing than scheduled I find myself asking. BRING BACK BRUCIE, get this ship back under control.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where Daisy just has time to say that the outfit she’s got on is making her overheat horribly, before the scores come in

32. Meaning Daisy’s scores have gone 32-30-31-31-32. Never has anyone on this show done so many dances with such little change in their scores, although Louise isn’t far behind her and Rinder isn’t that far behind that. SEASON OF THE PLATEAU.

Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice dancing the That Injury Porn

Tess tells us that Laura was scheduled to perform here, but unfortunately an ankle injury means that she is unable to. LET’S FIND OUT MORE!

VT time and

I love the dungeon vibe already. Are the new pros off doing a little dance by an abandoned gold Mercedes just out of shot there? Laura really loved her quickstep, what a comeback, her best scores yet yadda yadda BRING ON THE X-RAYS!

Training, and Laura seems pleased to have the jive. It’s fast, it’s high energy, it’s bouncy, it’s Giovanni’s favourite dance, what could possibly go wrong?

OH NO! (psst Laura, that’s your knee, aim a little lower)

OH NO! Laura has picked up an injury to her ankle which means that she’s in an increasing amount of pain as the week goes on, until it reaches the point of

blurry painkiller cam anguish faces, and she has to go to see the physio. Cut to an ashen faced Laura and a mopey looking Giovanni, saying sadly “the physio’s just said that I can’t dance”. Bit harsh, she’s not *that* bad. Must be a Georgia fan. She has a bit of a weep about not being able to do the jive this week, as it’s one of her favourite dances, but concludes that she has to prioritise the wellbeing of her body over everything else. BOO! SLACKER! DO AN ANASTACIA! TEAR EVERYTHING OPEN! STRICTLY DEMANDS IT!

Back to the studio, where Tess clarifies that Laura is activiting her one week bye, and will automatically get through to next week by which point the doctors think she will have recovered enough to dance again. I love that at this point I have fully recapped Laura two weeks out of five. Tess then passes to Claudia, who is with Giovanni up on Claud 9, to give a brief statement about how Laura is recovering at home and we all wish her well, where it becomes obvious quite quickly from his glassy eyed panic

that whilst Giovanni’s English has come on leaps and bounds from last series, he’s not quite ready to anchor an entire serious interview by himself yet. Fortunately Anastacia is there to yell “MISS YOU HUN! YOU GO GIRL! WOOP WOOP! GET WELL SOON!” over his shoulder the entire time.

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the That Rumba

Tess tells us that Danny Mac will officially be the first man this series to tackle the rumba, which is a notoriously difficult dance for the male celebrities to master (NO! MAN! ELIMINATED! ON! RUMBA! SINCE! SERIES! 8! SMALLEST! DIFFERENCE! BETWEEN! AVERAGE! MALE! SCORE! AND! FEMALE! SCORE! OF! ANY! DANCE! OTHER! THAN! SALSA! LET! IT! GO!) but she’s sure if anyone can do it Dan can. Jay already did it! And Colin! And Matt Di Angelo! And Patrick Robinson! And Harry Judd and Matt Baker and even Ashley Taylor Dawson a bit. LET IT GO.

VT time, and the first voice we hear is Oti’s sighing that last weekend was amazing, and Danny agrees that it was the best, before we cut to here saying “the judges were pretty pleased with you” in the voice of a woman who is going stove somebody’s head in with a paperweight if she doesn’t get a 10 soon. Watch out Bruno.

Training now, and Danny tells us that the rumba is a dance that’s going to require a lot of focus, concentration, and dedicated rehearsal time becuase it’s so intricate and technical. To which the show says

HONK HONK WE’S SENDING YOU TO CLOWN COLLEGE! (Again, compare this to Louise GOING TO PARIS IN EARLY AUTUMN) The idea is that, to help Danny with his rumba walks, Oti has got a professional tightrope walker to teach him how to improve his balance.

You can tell that if Oti were truly in charge here this would be being done over a tank of water filled with piranhas, electric eels and great white sharks. COMPLY OR DIE DANNY MAC! Danny progressively gets better at walking the wire as he trains, and the whole segment is closed off with him making a pun about hoping his routine on Saturday isn’t ROPEY and this was Peter Andre’s gimmick as well so think on that.


They’re dancing their rumba to “How Will I Know?” by Whitney Houston. Is there a correlation between the generally “meh” nature of this week and the high volume of overplayed Whitney Houston songs, yes I think there might be. They’re dancing to a slowed down version of the song, fortunately, because the thought of someone flailing about rumba style full speed as Whitney wails away about how she TRIES TO PHONE BUT SHE’S TOO SHY (TOO SHY) is not a pleasant one. Unusually for a good male rumba this is jam-packed with content (normally the guy just comes out walks a bit and does a bum wiggle and Len goes YES! PURE BLOKERUMBA HAVE A 9!) and some of it even looks like rumba content. Some of it

less so. His arms are good, his hips are moving, and whilst he doesn’t keep a continuous motion going throughout, making the whole thing feel a little stop-starty and lurchy, it’s all very pleasant to watch and Oti

looks amazing and like she’s living her best life, as per usual. A bit like Louise though, I feel like the show is very slowly building up to one or the other of them hauling off and laying a potential KO blow on the competition, and that this is a stalling tactic.

For a blokerumba though? It will do.

It gets a Standing Ovation, although up on Claud 9 you can see that this is one of those dances where

Claudia was sat chatting to Greg The Floor Manager the whole time and not really paying much attention. But…erm…WE ALL LOVED IT UP HERE. In the audience though

Carley Stenson was loving it. It’s going to be an ALMIGHTY carve-up between her and Oti as to who gets the second glitterball trophy to take home in the car isn’t it? Once they’re over at Tess we’re on about NEHRVES again, as Danny tells her that his legs were shaking throughout the whole dance and he hopes the judges didn’t see. Tess is all “I bet a few ladies legs were shakin in the audience as well hurr hurr”

Utter filth.

Len starts for the judges, calling Danny “Dan The Man” and saying that he loved how masculine that whole routine was, none of your mincy pincy woofy poofy airy fairy Colin Jackson rumbas here no sir. Bit too aggressive and staccato at times, but he loves that Danny did the Sliding Doors. I love when Len just lists moves the celebrities did, rather than saying if they did them well. Bruno is next and he groans on about Danny’s hips, saying he did a great job of marrying up power, control, fluidity and subtlty.

And all with a bit of a break-out coming through on the end of his nose by the looks of it. What a man.

Craig’s next and he’s less keen – he thinks there was too much attack and power and it ended up looking like a jazz routine than a rumba. Almost as though he learnt jazz dancing at stage school etc etc and so on ad infinitum. Darcey closes by saying that she agrees with the boys – Danny’s hips were a little over the top but she admires the consistancy and the lack of inhibition. “Well that was very brave” being what everyone wants to hear after their showcase performance obviously.

Up to Claud 9 they waft, where Danny says he achieved his main goal – not falling over. Yes I’m sure that was your main goal there Danny definitely. Oti in particular looks unimpressed.

YOUR MAIN GOAL WAS 10S DANNY MAC AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT! Danny goes on to talk with Claudia about an argument he had with the wardrobe department over how much body he had to show. Apparently he talked them up to having one button done up. On his fly. We close with Danny wishing his Nan a happy 82nd birthday with Claudia giving him one of those looks where you can’t quite tell

whether she’s in love or utterly repulsed. Scores are in


Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard dancing the That Samba

Honestly, she’s so short it’s a wonder they even remember to get her in shot half the time. Tess tells us that Cloudia & AJ will be doing a disco themed routine under a giant mirrorball.

Look at AJ’s little face upon hearing the word “mirror”. It’s like he’s come home isn’t it?

VT time, and Cloudia talks with AJ about how she was so worried about the foxtrot during the week, but it all came together on the night and she loved it. AJ says that he’s very proud of her for getting a decent score, especially as it would have been so easy to get overawed in the presence of actual lockers on the dancefloor, because he’s been a professional dancer for THREE MONTHS now, and even he gets nervous around them. In fact the widow of the man who invented lockers got in touch via twitter the other day to tell him she absolutely loved the glossy rainbow paint finishes the show had put on the Danish B56 model with adjustable locking mechanisms, and it made him a little teary.

Training time, and AJ tells us that he’s not having much luck teaching Cloudia the ins and outs of the technique of the samba, and feels like it’s just going in one ear and out the other. This is accompanied with a shot of AJ doing a series of voltas halfway across the room whilst clearly staring at himself in the mirror, whilst Cloudia watches him with this face on her.

The best thing is that I don’t even think this is acting. The chief problem, other than AJs…AJness is that Cloudia’s background as an artistic gymnast means that she’s very inflexible in her torso and ribcage because she’s so used to holding it high and still, rather than whatever

tartified crotch thrusts and body wriggles AJ has in mind for her. Honestly, I know it’s the samba, and that’s one of the more fun latin dances to watch, but I am living for how utterly impressed Cloudia is with everything AJ is showing her here. Can’t she just do a sommersault of the Judges Table and then 18 backflips in a circle round the floor like Matt Baker did? It all ends with her yelling “TAKE ME BACK TO GYMNASTICS!” which…at this rate, maybe sooner than you think…


She’s dancing to “Young Hearts Run Free”, which manages to be a poor choice on an impressive number of levels. Firstly, I didn’t even like Matt Baker and he owns sambas to this song. Secondly they’ve sped it up so Cloudia’s spending the whole dance chasing the beat and failing. Thirdly for some reason they’ve added the baseline from “Blame It On The Boogie” underneath it for no reason I can determine and it sounds stupid. Fourthly because “Young Hearts Run Free” is about endorsing young people just shagging about willy nilly because monogamy is a curse and this means that Cloudia’s Dad is now going to murder AJ dead. Get ready to play Rent-A-Pro again Gorka, and this time bring a spade. The routine as a whole is just a misguided mess. Not only is there too much going on in the choreoraphy, but there’s lasers, smoke, and a

giant glitterball that just descends down into the middle of the dancefloor halfway through and just sits there, refusing to move. The thing with getting the Pimp Slot (and he must have known she was getting it this week, everyone else who’s any good bar Daisy has had a go and that Charleston was not closing anything out) is that you have to try and justify it, and the whole routine feels like AJ swinging for that particular home run for the first time ever as a Strictly pro and hitting himself in the face with the bat. Hard. It feels like someone playing a computer game on the hardest difficulty setting first time out, without reading the instruction manual, panicking, and dying within 10 seconds.

The routine lasted for 90.

It gets a Standing Ovation and yes, everything got one tonight, we’ve hit critical Uncritical mass. Speaking of which, Bruno starts for the judges by yellin that he loved it because there was a glitterball. Never change Bruno, never change. Craig follows by saying that she moved around the floor with so much speed and energy that she lost bounce at times, but all in all it was a “brilliant endeavour”. It was supposed to be a dance Craig, not a polar expedition.

Darcey’s next, and says that whilst Cloudia started well, she felt like AJ was pushing and shoving her around a lot, and the routine lacked finesse. I love how halfway through every series, when things start to get a little tougher, it becomes clear just how little time Darcey has for any woman shorter than 5ft 8 minimum. Len closes by saying that his favourite moment was when AJ did a little grin at him because he knew that he was doing a bit of choreography that Len likes. I think this was one of the points where Cloudia was hangin off him like a loose bit of toilet paper off someone’s high heel, but I’ll have to check. Anyway it turns out it was all for naught anyway, as Len criticises AJ for sacrificing precision in order to whack the tempo up for cheap thrills. Still, Len thinks she’s a great dancer and (*NAME OF THE SONG THEY DANCED TO GOES HERE*)

Up to Claud 9 now where AJ admits that he overloaded the routine, but only so he could show off Cloudia’s amazing skills. And his own. A bit. Let’s be honest. Claudia and Cloudia establish between them that the dynamic between Cloudia and AJ is that he’s the positive one and she’s the negative one, and Cloudia says this ends up working because he always makes her feel great about herself before she goes on to perform. Anton’s all

“HE DOES WHAT? Undermining and massive aggressive digs, that’s how I’m here 13 years on Sonny Jim, watch and learn”. Scores are in


Final Leaderboard?



21 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Week 5 Performance

  1. BryonceCastle

    Merci Chris. Cheered me up as usual. More entertaining than the show itself, which seemed to be channelling both the Parisians and Neneh Cherry in its bof alors stance πŸ˜‰ Kevin kissed Louise on the forehead in that rumba. On the forehead. Even Plato was facepalming.
    AJ’s meant to be playing a frog this week. Bet he doesn’t get to go to Paris.

    1. Lesley Rigg

      Watching on slightly ff on Sunday, I actually thought that the studio Eiffel Tower was a Christmas tree until I slowed it down to watch the dance… I thought I’d fallen through the rabbit hole and missed November!

  2. Carl

    I laughed harder than I have at anything in a while at your Laura injury porn recap. I guess they had to fill time but I wonder if they included that just for the injury porn fans.

    I didn’t notice the chest hair on Danny until your recap either. I know it’s not that unusual for Strictly but still I’m always pleased to see it (that sounds strange doesn’t it). And then seeing Steph Dean every week like it’s 2007 again.

    There was some talk in the Youtube comments section for that Claudia/AJ mess that it was the fault of Jason Gorkisomething (Gorkilson? Gorkison?) and that he ruined various dances this week, and so on. I don’t know who to blame, but it was just awful. You shouldn’t have to watch the celebrity looking confused, and that seems to be a common theme this year.

    I want Greg to do well but I haven’t seen anything quite like that since some of the early SCD dances where the men just walk around in a daze. Like Quentin Wilson. I still prefer this to overload of props, but not something worth remembering. He and Natalie are one of the few couples this year worth caring about but that’s not going to be enough soon.

    I’m starting to wonder if I would enjoy Daisy’s routines more if I took them as some sort of Kate Bush performance art piece circa 1979.

  3. wh-wcs

    Best thing about the giant glitterball? It meant that steadicam-man had no space to do his thing. Led to the best camera work of any of the dances.

  4. DJ Mikey

    Danny has hairy chest – so I feel vindicated in stanning him, it’s not even at threat of Oti’s vengeful wrath again. Officially the best Blokerumba, as if that means anything.

    Greg’s Cha Cha was painful – Natalie be dear and injure him during his Rumba Training.

    Thanks for pointing out that Joanne has created the monster which Ore has become, it’s was almost enough to make me start liking him.

    I had to vote against Gorka becoming Anastacia’s permanent partner, their Quickstep was cute and I loved it, but I fear that her brashness will over-shadow his quiet agorkableness and hamper his chances of becoming a permanent fixture.

    I think Gorka’s done enough to ensure his return, Oti managed it without even hinting at the Tyrannical Bitch (WE LOVE) that she’s actually capable of being.

  5. Neio

    I’d find Danny a lot less annoying if he dropped the fake ‘nerves’ and the the fake ‘I don’t want to get my (admittedly very nice) chest out (which I’ve probably had out in every Hollyoaks Hunks calendar since about 2011, and probably every episode of the show too)’.

    I don’t know what the judges were seeing in Ore’s Waltz, it just seemed like a mess to me. How much of the dance did they spend out of hold?

    Much as I love Greg and Natalie, that Cha Cha was abysmal. He just looked confused throughout.

    Louise bores me to tears. She and Laura are the ones I always forget are still in this.

  6. Minxy

    Thank you!
    Far more entertaining and informative than the actual show and judges!
    Can I have some more stats please? Like which dance actually is hardest for the men (via biggest difference in score between men and women’s, most eliminations) and ditto for the women. I love your stat attacks! Especially! When! You! Emphasise! Them! Like! This!

    Can we set up a go fund me to hire an assassin to shoot the music picking monkey/ies (damn I wish I could remember your lovely phrase for them)?
    What was Aliona’s secret there? Blackmail? Threats? No way that monkey knew about Sam Sham’s Little red riding hood.
    And another for whoever is doing Nat’s eye make up this year. Every week it is horrendous!

    Well Rinder proved he never watches Waite’s Wednesday Warm Up didn’t he? I had been hoping for one particular screen shot of his kicks and flicks but πŸ˜’
    Every year (every jive?) Ian demo’s how to lift ya bum so knees are kept under hips to enable the all important retraction. Rinder’s knees were thrown so far forward I don’t know how he stayed upright.
    Oksana’s “that was the best you could do it” was either a bigger lie than Pasha’s “you were the best student I ever had” or a damning assessment of his dancing ability and POTENTIAL.
    I love Rinder despite/because I hadn’t heard of him before and find his performances fun but his actual dancing don’t impress me much.

    Thanks again for being the highlight of my Strictly experience.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I haven’t actually split the dances by gender in terms of elimination rate yet. Something to do in the off-season there.

  7. Kim

    Ore’s thumbs, Craig. Ore’s thumbs. I don’t know about Ed, but Ore looked as if he was hitching a ride throughout That Waltz.

    1. shehasawildheart

      Ore’s fingers are ‘odd’ in most dances, wonder why the judges are choosing to ignore them.
      Louise, Daisy and Laura can all go. I’d rather watch Ed and Rinder because at least they’re fun, those three girls are magnolia.


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