The run-up to Hallowe’en
Lesley & Anton : Well you can’t say she didn’t go down swinging. In her last televised performance Lesley Joseph hurled abuse at Ed Balls across the studio about his inability to do lifts, joked that she’d only been hired to be the “token old woman who gets pushed and shoved about and leaves after a couple of weeks” but had shown everyone she was so much more than that, and then spent the last minute or so of the interview repeatedly punching Anton and yelling at him to shut up. All exit interviews should be so eventful. Anton seemed on the verge of calling out the show’s horrific tango music choices as well, but relented, probably because he can do so much more damage from the Head Judge chair if he ends up being the chosen one. We also add another mark for Ore on the Who Do People Want To Win Ometer which, along with Sam & Mark, means he’s really picking up the pace.
Backstage Gossip : The CLEAR highlight here was Danny droning on about his nerves or something or other and Oti openly admitting that she hadn’t listened to a word of it because it was so bloody boring. Oti ❤
Celebrity Tweeting Corner : A brief thank you to this segment (it’ll be the only time) for reminding me that Anastacia’s partner this week was Tameka’s old partner, the Tameka who’s still being passive-aggressive in the press about how Anastacia dodged the dance-off. Beautiful.
Camilla’s Choreography Corner : I knew we were on a stick wicket here as Zoe started the segment with a reminder montage of why we all love Camilla, and it was just her outdancing all her partners with her mouth aape the whole time. Also I didn’t need reminding that she is a life coach now. Somehow. It was a fairly brief stint today, possibly because Lesley was still sitting in the corner of the studio shouting “AND ANOTHER THING” with Anton in a headlock, but Camilla came for Daisy’s outfit, liked that Oti mixed up Danny’s rumba with a lot of non-rumba choreography to keep it interesting, dismissed Greg’s cha cha out of hand, and praised Ore’s standing spin. No doubt her appearance here will prompt a lot of people to suggest her for the vacant Head Judge chair but lest I remind you she once gave Robbie Savage a 10 for one of his dances on twitter, she deserves NOTHING.
The Booth Of Truth : In today’s Booth Of Truth we learnt that it’s Kevin and Natalie amongst the pros who most love fake tan (apparently Kevin stains all the sheets at home) (not like that) (hopefully) and that AJ is the most vain. Tune in next week to find out which male pro is the most well hung and which female pro is the most racist!
Ed & Katya : Today Ed recounted in detail the experience of his first spray tan. Apparently it was “cold and tingly”. Also apparently Jeremy Vine was really really encouraging to go completely nude and have his whole body done, even though he did the whole dance in trousers and a shirt. Jeremy Vine gets weirder and weirder the more I hear about him I don’t like it. There was also, of course, a lot of talk about his botched lift at the weekend, and it became sadly apparent that he thinks he recovered from it well (he did not) and that it went absolutely perfectly in rehearsals (it did not). The d word is a hard one to put back in the bottle with the Comedy Contestants once you uncork it, but I am starting to worry. His dance this week is the cha cha.
Daisy & Aljaz : Daisy very much had a air of someone who’d faced her worst fears on this show (being unpopular, sending home a woman she liked, having her hair styled like an old man’s armpits) andd come through the other side without too much damage done to her psyche. It didn’t make the interview too interesting outside of Daisy’s basic likability unfortunately. There was a brief celebration that Daisy got her highest score (32) for her Charleston, which as we’ve covered elsewhere doesn’t mean an awful lot when your lowest mark is 30, and Aljaz talked about how hard it is to do Charleston in the dance-off, because you can’t just haul your partner hither and yon to cover the errors. Which is an odd thing to say, because the only other time he’s been Bottom 2 with a Charleston was with Alison, and I doubt there was much dragging her hither and yon regardless of the genre she pulled. Their dance this week is the paso doble.
Tunes On Tuesday : My favourite part of Hallowe’en Week is always finding out what the songs and themes are. It’s the part where you imagine Judy Murray as Cruella DeVil without having to face the reality of the dalmatians getting loose and shitting all over the dancefloor before running off. So join me in ecstacy at the prospect of Anastacia & Brendan doing a jive to Bat Out Of Hell and Judge Rinder doin a paso doble to Born This Way, and…thinking Cloudia will make a cute witch whilst questioning the hell out of how Black Magic by Little Mix is supposed to be an American Smooth.
Children In Need Special Cast Reveal : Tonight Zoe revealed the cast for this year’s Children In Need special, in years gone by a springboard for the winner to eventually appear on the main show and do rather well. This year’s auditionees are Lutalo Muhammad, Joe Clarke, Hollie Webb and Helen Glover. All Olympians, all medallists, to be paired up with Karen Clifton, Janette, Neil, and Pasha respectively. Poor Chloe, the girl just can’t catch a break.
Camilla’s Choreography Corner : Camilla’s stint on the sofa finished today, with her praising Ed for doing some of his lifts less badly than the one he did really badly, praising Kevin for doing a soft and romantic rumba, rather than any flash trash, criticising Rinder for his spread legs and Cloudia for getting “steppy and runny” in her samba, and deciding that Anastacia probably had lots of gapping in her quickstep because she was too worried about getting up in Gorka’s personal space. Given Anastacia’s general demeanour, that seems unlikely. Camilla also recounted how Gethin used to get giggly and coy and awkward when asked to press up close to her. Based on his appearances on Friday’s show backstage, I can think of at least one possible reason why…
Greg & Natalie : Today, after their fairly disastrous weekend, was an object lesson in Natalie Lowe positivity (“If Greg just had two more days it would have been perfect, he was getting so good in rehearsals!”) and attendant self-help word salad (“there was nothing there that I didn’t feel like you could enable me to do to make the dance work”). Greg meanwhile was less happy, punning that his cha cha truly was a hopeless place and sympathising with Zoe over the dances she hated in her series (cha cha and paso, the latter chiefly because of the STUPID CIRCUS MUSIC SHE HATED IT SHE DID). Still onwards and upwards. Their dance this weekend is the rumba, which apparently has a “man and woman” theme, and features Natalie showing us all her special opening. Sounds like a hell of a dance.
Judge Rinder & Oksana : Tonight’s interview was very much about celebrating the Judge’s “sparkly eruption” of last weekend, which is apparently what we’re calling his jive now. I think that could do as a permenant replacement name for the dance for everyone to be honest. Rinder put down on record here that his official goal, as it was for Carol Smillie all those years ago, is to break the 30 point barrier, which shouldn’t be too difficult if he clings on for a couple more weeks. We also learnt some new and exciting backstage gossip from Judge Rinder this week, as he told us, in hushed tones, that the pro dancers choreograph the routines. I am shook. I thought Tess did them all. Their dance this week is the paso doble, which Judge Rinder tells us will be an excuse to bring out his inner “butch” (YOU JUST DID A ROUTINE WHERE YOU WERE A SOLDIER, IF IT DIDN’T HAPPEN THEN, IT AIN’T HAPPENING NOW!), and Oksana informed us has a “moth and butterfly” theme. A moth being a male butterfly. Says Oksana. Bless.
Waite’s Wednesday Warm-Up : No costume for Ian yet, as apparently Hallowe’en only officially starts on It Takes Two tomorrow. I hope we all voted wisely (zombie streisand zombie streisand zombie streisand). Six couples faced Ian’s wand this week, and for once it was Danny Mac (foxtrot) who came off hardest in the first analysis, with his hold and footwork being savaged. At the other end of the scale Ian put in an early prediction that Louise (Charleston) is going to top the leaderboard, as the training footage looked like she’s been dancing like this all her life (WINK BLOODY WINK) as befits her “hip hop street jazz” background (?). Somewhere in the middle were Greg (rumba) who has good lines but keeps on forgetting to dance and doing heel leads, Anastacia (jive) who is giving it good energy but spreading her legs too wide, and Daisy (paso doble) who submitted 10 seconds worth of training footage so Ian mostly talked about how nice her training space is. It was also confirmed that Ore’s Charleston is basically going to be his jive again, just in case you haven’t recovered from last time.
Zoe’s Dance Card : A new filler section wherein one of the pros comes in and teaches Zoe about one of the dances. In this case, Pasha told her that the paso doble is in fact from France, not Spain, and we learnt that true paso is all about farting about with your dress, a cape, and a fan, and actual technique is restricted to just walking about looking pissy. Obviously I’m always glad to see more of Pasha, but could this segment have just been some clips from Series 3 instead? Yes it could.
Laura & Giovanni : Today was mostly dedicated to Laura recounting the trauma of missing her dance last week. Facts in evidence :
- Anastacia doing the jive in a training clip set Laura off
- Laura cried and cried and cried when told she couldn’t dance until there were no tears left
- She emotionally blackmailed a friend who she’d got tickets to the live show to instead watch it at Laura’s house with her while she cried into a Chinese takeaway
So it’s not been Laura’s most fun week on the show really. The interview also featured a cameo appearance by Judge Rinder in spirit as Laura recounted how he’d made fun of her orthopaedic shoes for being off-trend. That’s our Rindy. Their dance this week is the tango, and Laura only started training today, and is still favouring her ankle so…good luck with those pity votes girl if you end up needing them.
Danny & Oti : I’m not sayin that Danny’s “somehow the underdog despite getting higher scores than any man in the history of Strictly Come Dancing” is starting to feel a bit forced and empty, but a large proportion of this interview was given over to a discussion of Zoe asking him if he was upset this week to score 35 this week, instead of 36 like he normally does. Never did I think that 35 was going to be treated like a crap score in Week 5 of this show but here we are. Rest assured that Danny is not about to open a vein over getting only the third highest ever score for a rumba by a man. Also, Oti is still scary, in case we all missed that plot point. Their dance this week is a foxtrot, with a “corpse wedding” theme.
Waite’s Thursday Thaw Down : So apparently you all voted for Ian to turn up dressed as Black Swan rather than Zombie Streisand like I asked. So rude. Although given how much Ian was feeling his fantasy in his tutu and Iveta-voice he probably spammed the vote lines himself. Only four couples tonight, as Ian rather pissily pouted over how Cloudia (American Smooth) had a massive advantage having done foxtrot so recently, called out Laura (tango) for a lack of heel leads in her rehearsal before reflecting that this may be because her ankle’s fucked (do you think?), mostly praised Rinder (paso doble) but told him to stop looking at the floor, and made a game effort to pretend there’s anything left to say to Ed (cha cha) other than to just stop it.
Strictly Make-Up Secrets With Chloe : Today Mrs Ant showed us all how to get the look everyone’s gagging for this Hallowe’en
Kung Fu Panda.
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill : This weekend, Daisy will be wearing a red dress.
Louise & Kevin : Whoever keeps on scheduling Louise and Danny on the same day needs to have a word with themselves I felt like I was slipping into a coma by the end of this episode. The segment was briefly envlived by a game of Trick Or Treat where Louise revealed a barely sublimated desire to smash Joanne Clifton into the dirt, but really the only things keeping me awake through this interview of “our rumba was really lovely and we decided it should be a lovely rumba rather than a sexy rumba because who doesn’t like lovely things and it’s lovely to be top of the leaderboard but do you know what Zoe, sometimes it’s lovely to just compete with yourself?” Rachel Stevens levels of banality were Kevin’s increasingly unfortunate hat and hair choices. Scarier than anything that we’ll see this Hallowe’en I guarantee it. Their dance this week is the Charleston and their theme is I dunno but it’s probably just lovely.
Gethin’s Homoerotic Backstage Adventures
It just gets sexier and sexier doesn’t it? This was Gorka (twice) grabbing Gethin’s microphone to “audition” to be backstage host given that he’s got nothing better to do. It didn’t hurt that he called Gethin “The Beautiful One” either, or that Gethin followed this up by calling Pasha the sexiest Frankenstein he’d ever seen. Chloe meanwhile just got to sit there in her hat talking sadly about how Hallowe’en is the week she looked forwards to most when she signed up for the show, because that’s when you get to dress up the most special. And now, if she’s lucky, she might get to be a ghost somewhere towards the back of a group routine. Poor Chloe. Gethin also chatted with Daisy and Aljaz this week, and we learnt that Daisy’s nan pulled a Widdy and refused to let her granddaughter do the show if they were going to pair her with That Brenda, because That Brenda does illegal lifts. Can we get Daisy’s Nan on The Friday Panel please? I want to hear her STRONG OPINIONS on things more than I do flipping Elaine Paige’s.
Cloudia & AJ : Trenchent insight winkled out by Zoe here, as Cloudia started the interview by revealing that her primary concern when standing on the Judges Table at the start of her samba last week was not farting on Len Goodman’s face. Given that AJ already accidentally creamed all over his notebook (teenage boys eh?) it seems a valid one. And in further AJ adjacent news
he really needs to stop trying for that beard. It’s not happening AJ. It’s just not. Shave it off, wait five years, try again. In a rare moment of actual interrogation on It Takes Two, Zoe also asked him to defend his samba choreography from accusations by Len that it was too fast. His defence? There was a slow bit in there. Honest. Just for Len. Somewhere. Sounds legit. Their dance this week is the American Smooth, with a “witch and frog” theme, and it sounds like there’s going to be a whole lot of lifting going on.
The Friday Panel : I’m starting to think they should have at least one week this series where nobody on the Friday Panel has competed on Strictly before. On the one hand you get amazing moments like Zoe Ball bringing up Snowdance
(look at Elaine Paige’s face here, she knows what’s up) but on the other those moments are all too easily drowned out with a sea of irrelevent remenisces like “it’s hard to dance with an injury, I remember from when I danced with an injury” and “WE NEVER GOT TO CHARLESTON IN OUR SERIES DID WE ZOE, LET’S DO IT NOW, LET’S GRAB BRENDAN AND FORCE HIM TO TEACH US IT’LL BE LIKE THAT TIME I CAME BACK AND DANCED WITH RACHEL IN THE SERIES 7 FINAL DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT A GLAMOROUS MOMENT THAT WAS FOR ME, NOW THERE’S NOTHING, NO STRICTLY ANY MORE, JUST THIS!”. It did feel like the, y’know, couples that are actually on the show right now got a bit lost in the plot. Also Russell Grant has emnity towards Ed Balls that is a little inexplicable to put it mildly.
Anastacia & Brendan : As you might expect, much of this interview was given over to teasing Brendan about how much better Anastacia did with Gorka than she did with him. Frank Sinatra! 30 points! Not in the dance off! As fun as it was seeing Brendan relentlessly teased and Brendan doing his best pretend strops over it, I think my favourite remeniscence over Anastacia’s quickstep was when she implied that the invisible dog collar she’d been given to use by the Props Department was in fact a sex toy. Other than the teasing over last week though, we got the first signs of HALLOWE’EN BRENDA coming out, which is my favourite Brenda of all the Brendas. Rushing back even though he’s clearly not well because he’s slated to be a vampire in the pro dance! Giving his little speech thanking hair and make-up and costume and the cleaners and everybody before it’s even happened! Playing a brief game where we look back over his costumes of Hallowe’en past, proclaiming TIME WARP one of his favourite dances ever in Strictly (me too!) and also feigning not to even remember the routine he did with Sunetra! Their dance this week is a jive with a bat theme.
Craig Visits : Time for a mid-series flying visit from Craig, to deliver his wisdom and insight. Remember in Week 1 when he said that Danny was really going to struggle with a lot of the dances and wasn’t as good as he initially appeared to be? Insight like that. Fortunately this time he mostly stuck to chatting about his favourite costumes of Hallowe’en Episodes past, particularly Frankie Bridge’s witch outfit, to which he said he’d never seen anybody else in his life actually look good painted green. SO WHY DO YOU KEEP ON TRYING IT WITH MY PASHA THEN? Even then though he still though managed to say that he missed Tameka (no) and that Ann Widdecombe was determined and worked hard (NO) so…
Ore & Joanne : High times for these two as they celebrated topping the leaderboard for the second week in a row (whilst Zoe bit her tongue and held back from mentioning that she managed four weeks in a row in Series 3), and chatted away about their natural chemistry and how they knew from the moment they both did a stupid dance towards one another on the Launch Show that they’d be BEST OF FRIENDS. Joanne of course is Best Of Friends with all of her partners, and still has Barbra Streisand sleepovers with Russell Grant even though they only partnered one another for a Christmas Special. What fun that sounds. And if you’re worried that this cameraderie and good natured banter might get a little cloying, rest assured that when JoJo Disney got informed that so far this series she’s scored hiher than her brother
the edge came out. Terrifying, quite frankly. Their dance this week is the Charleston, with a sweetshop theme. A DEMONIC SWEETSHOP THEME.
Karen Clifton’s Spooky Selection : This was Karen Clifton’s guide to the greatest dances of Strictly past. I know I say a lot of things on this show are decided by somone shutting their eyes and pointing but really? Helen’s samba? Lulu’s paso doble? KELLIE BRIGHT’S Paso Doble? Scott Mills’ foxtrot?! Where’s Kara’s paso? Scott’s Viennese Waltz? Pixie doing an electrified tango with a massive fright wig? JASON DONOVAN’S QUICKSTEP? I’m not one to parp on about Clifton-Bias but this felt like one of those occasions where they were trying to crowbar in an appearance for all of them, when only Karen’s Thriller salsa with Jeremy Vine was worth remembering the day after.
The Overtones : The week ended with a performance of “The Monster Mash” by The Overtones. What more can you say really?