Last week on Emergency Ward Strictly : Brendan got a chest infection, Laura knackered her ankle, Rinder produced some very dishonourable discharge, Katya almost got dropped on her face, Louise developed giganticism and blew up to the height of the Eiffel Tower, Greg came down with a nasty case of Jordan’s Starfishitis, Ore’s Chronic Overmarking Syndrome got worse, Cloudia’s samba had a really ugly case of the runs, Danny had the Blokerumbas (Jazz Fever Variation), and Daisy had to spend the entire episode in a nice dark room. And yet the one fit and healthy woman (no, honest, she is, she’ll tell you so at great length, she does yoga darling) went home! What were you people voting for?
This Week :
IT’S SPOOKY DRESS UP WEEK! I know that a lot of time and effort goes into the outfits for the mainshow, but I would have given a lare amount of money to have Cloudia do her American Smooth just with a bedsheet thrown over her head running around the floor giggling. If they’d used one of AJ’s bedsheets it probably would have been stiff enough to retain shape as well…
Quite terrifyingly smug from moment 1 wasn’t she?
We open on a shot of
Bruno signalling that he needs to come up for air? NO! It’s Len and Craig on the haunted dodgems! This is our Hallowe’en Opening Group number, always an excuse for wanton campy nonsense, and if there’s nothing this year quite on a par with Anton as King Of The Vampires doing mid-air somersaults to Meatloaf, then the very fact that the routine is being danced to “You Spin Me Round” is enough for this to score solidly on the Gaymazing Scale. The dodgem takes a most arthritic lurch over the balcony and “flies” down to the floor, like Back To The Future being played at half speed, whereupon it is immediately
set upon by our contestants and pros. If you’re wondering what our Loose End pros are dressed as this evening, Karen is some sort of spooky cat/bat/lingerie model, Anton is
a skeleton, Neil is a mummy, Gorka is a demon, Pasha is a disco zombie, Janette is an evil chambermaid, and Chloe, as per usual, is the Invisible Woman. There’s a lot of REACHING TO CAMERA and gurny nonsense and I swear Daisy has never had more fun on this show than being squashed into a dodgem of dance with Danny Mac, squealing her head off and singing “You Spin Me Round” at the top her lungs. If only she’d done that instead of an actual dance she might have stayed safe. We close on a shot of the scariest Hallowe’en sight of all
Bruno making out with Darcey.
And what spooky scary costumes have Claudia and Tess got out of their dressing-up boxes for Hallowe’en.
Oh. They’re just in black. Well, it appears Tess has only bothered to get one eyebrow threaded. That’s pretty scary. To start with they pay tribute to Pete Burns, who died this week of a heart attack, and who originally sang “You Spin Me Round”. Also in tribute to Pete Burns, they’re illegally skinned a gorilla, and Ore will be wearing it on his face later.
Tess and Claudia remind us that last week, poor old Lesley met her end in the dance-off, and this week, one more will fall via Attack Of The Killer Daisy, all presided over by our judges, who also all walk on in costume. Bruno is an aristocratic ghost, Craig is a cobwebby zombie, Darcey is a
ghostly maiden (it’s hilarious that Darcey actually manages to come down the stairs more elegantly as a shambling walking corpse than as prima ballerina Darcey Bussell. She only looks down at the floor once!) and Len is
an old man who’s been outside too long and has just had a nice blanky wrapped round to him next to the fireside. Now where’s his cocoa?!
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the Charleston
Tess tells us that Harley Quinn, who Louise is playing in this routine, is a supervillain from the Batman comic books. I love that they’re trying to pull Louise out of herself, but I do think “erotomaniac bisexual serial killer wielding a baseball bat” might have been a little bit of a giant leap. Why not start off with “kids party clown” or “kooky kitten”?
VT time, and Kevin tells Louise that last week was the proudest he’s been of her yet on the show. Louise’s reply? “Good”. Not the most effusive of souls is she? For her part she says that she was scared of the rumba to begin with, but it all turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. Didn’t it just? Apart from the “surprisingly” part. I’m not sure Louise could be unpleasant even if you gave her a free Digital Spy forum account and pushed her into a thread entitled “WHO’S THE FAKEST FAKE THAT EVER FAKED THEIR WAY THROUGH FAKEY COME FAKING?”. Kevin next reminds us all of Louise’s narrative – that despite having got 33, which is a great score (a great score that is lower than the average score for any of Kevin’s previous partners on the show ever) Louise needs to push herself and come out of her shell and spray the custard of dance halfway up the curtains.
Training, and as it’s Hallowe’en, if you’re expecting to see any actual training then good luck to you. Fortunately for Louise’s arc, Kevin tells her that she’s got the Charleston, and that it’s time to see the CRAZY SIDE OF LOUISE! Do you want to see the CRAZY SIDE OF LOUISE?
Terrifying isn’t it? Louise pokes her tongue out 2cm past the edge of her teeth and waggles her head 5 degrees off centre then thinks better of it, and hides her face whilst giggling and cringing. Oh Louise. Still, Kevin has a plan to extract the comedian from Louise
– noisily telling crap Christmas Cracker jokes right over the top of her every time she tries to speak! As every female comedian who’s ever been booked to appear on Mock The Week will tell you, it’s a surefire plan for success! Louise cringes out the rest of the VT, and closes by telling us that Kevin has the wrong end of the stick – The Joker is a bad guy, but the only bad thing about Kevin is his jokes. Don’t tempt me Louise. Not with that hat he’s been wearing to It Takes Two for the last two weeks solid…
TO THE FUNNY PAGES!
If you’re wondering what comic they’ve used as the backdrop there, a quick google suggests that it’s an old edition He-Man. Keep your Kevin Clifton jokes to yourself please
As the music strikes up, we see a most chilling sight
Kevin Clifton extending his full tongue right in Louise’s face. Presumably this is supposed to help her get into character and pep her up before the dance starts but not without your nerd glasses on Kev, not for me. They’re dancing to a 20sfied version of “Crazy In Love” and if Kevin was trying to push Louise into being a bad girl
she’s just landed on “Candice From Bake Off”. When she’s bad she’s pouting saucily, when she’s good she’s just letting her mouth hang open coquettishly, but a cartoonish schizoaffective cartoon superbitch? Not really. And of course Louise’s performance is being overshadowed at every turn by Kevin, who is running around the whole time like he’s ingested too much of whatever they’ve sprayed into his hair. Technically it seems ok, although she’s rushing the beginning and end of most of the sections, but if this was supposed to be Yet Another Breakthrough Charleston, then I don’t think it landed.
All a bit
if you ask me.
(Apparently that routine was choreographed by Matt Flint, who Louise judged when he was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. SPINNING WHEEL OF REALITY TV NONSENSE, OH HOW YOU TURN).
It gets a Standing Ovation (actually…just assume that everything gets a Standing Ovation from here on out, I’ll tell you if it doesn’t) and once they’re over at Tess, she introduces the singers, all of whom are in fancy dress.
And Davearch, who is similar, but he’s just a vampire, like he is every year, so I’m paying him no mind. I bet the Man In The Hat would have been something WELL inventive if you let him out of the cellar DAVE. Len starts for the judges, by just reeling off a load of comic book references (so ANIMATED, what a MARVEL, the routine was just DANDY, more fun than a BEANO, gave him a funny feeling in his BIGGLES and now he’s WHIZZER’D ALL OVER HIS CHIPS) and Bruno follows this by comparing Louise to Toni Basil walking out of a Roy Liechtenstein painting. I love when Bruno gets cultural.
Craig follows, saying it was all too controlled for him, but he gives Louise praise for how clean her lines were. That’s twice in a row Craig has back-handedly complimented Louise by calling her “clean” now, it’s getting to be a pattern. Darcey closes by telling Louise that she can tell she pulled out all the stops tonight. Good grief, if that was Louise pulling out all the stops then I’ve never seen an organ with as few controls on it since Russell Brand backstage at Big Brother.
Up to Claud 9 they grunt, where Claudia quickly runs through with them that their “the judges want more from Louise” storyline has now been resolved, just like her implicit “stop wearing fumigation tents” storyline was ended by her flashing her bumcheek in the cha cha. We also cover how in the audience Billy Connol…Peter Crouc…George Cloon…Rod Ste…no, hang on, it’s coming…
JAMIE REDKNAPP! THAT’S IT! Jamie Redknapp was pleased when she got nice comments from Len. Look at his little easily pleased face there. Mmm hmmm. Scores are in
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero dancing the paso doble
Tess tells us that with the help of Oksana, and the judges completely ignoring what an unholy fudge bomb he made out of his Charleston, Judge Rinder is the only contestant whose scores have improved every week. And the judges are hoping that this week playing a butterfly will let him spread his wings even further. Based on how gay his routines have been so far, at this stage I wouldn’t be surprised is that’s not all that’s going to be spreading wider…
Training now, and the Rinder/Oksana relationship reaches new levels of bizarreness, as she asks him to his face
how he thinks the routine went last week and he then
delivers his answer direct to camera like she’s not even there. What an odd couple. Anyway, he thinks his jive went great, and whilst you could never say that it was technically a good dance, he had fun with it, and that’s what he’s here to do. That and to hopefully get a boost up to BBC 1 daytime and a better class of defendant. White collar crime y’know, bit of mortgage fraud, maybe some Holby City level light domestic violence if he wants a Very Special Episode. Come on, someone has to fill the gap left by Tim Wonnacott getting fired for murdering someone on Bargain Hunt, why not ol’ Rindy?
VT time, and it’s time for Nature Notes With Oksana, as she tells Judge Rinder that this week for their paso doble he will be playing a moth, which is like a manly butterfly. Also a pony is a baby horse and a leopard is a spotty badger. To get Rinder in the mood she takes him to a butterfly farm and once in there, Judge Rinder and Oksana both stomp around doing their best to sell the segment, talking about how magical and mystical it all is, with Oksana going full “HA HA JUDGE RINDER THAT MOTH LOOKS JUST LIKE YOU HA HA”. Then we get our obligatory Hallowe’en angle where the butterfly farm sends Judge Rinder insane and he starts talking to the
inmates and noisily declaring himself
KING OF THE BUTTERFLIES!!! To be fair, a couple of weeks ago he had a full conversation with a picture of Fred Flintstone, so I’m thinking it’s just that Oksana isn’t, generally, the most stimulating of conversational partners (wouldn’t you agree Oksana?)
ENOUGH OF THIS BUFFOONERY, LET’S GET TO THE COCOONERY!
Oh wait, sorry
there we go. Judge Rinder is dancing this routine to “Born This Way”, because OF COURSE HE IS, and it begins with him floating dramatically down to the dancefloor, and then the show finding hands down the best distraction tactic they’ve ever used to disguise the fact a runner is currently detaching him from his harness.
Oksana repeatedly flailing about in a giant cocoon like she’s accidentally trapped herself in a giant rotating washing line. What a star. Once he’s free, the paso begins and lord a-mercy it is Mean Girls levels of camp on a Mean Girls 2 budget. Rinder is stomping around like his first time in drag the whole time, the pink laser lights are flaring all over the place, there’s lots of jumping about and clapping and knee slides and John Sergeant memorial paso drags and the whole thing is enhanced most of all by his flimsy shower curtain moth cape that at some points flares out beautifully and dramatically
and at some points just kind of bunches around his neck or up in an armpit. The whole performance perfectly hits that sweet spot where passion and earnestness meets amateurishness where proper camp is born and as such it’s easily one of my favourite routines of the night. I’m only sorry we didn’t get any of it danced to the bit where Gaga goes “DON’T BE A DRAG, JUST BE A QUEEN” over and over again.
Born this Wahey indeed.
They stomp over to Tess, where Judge Rinder hisses that he had SO MUCH FUN being butch. In fact he was channelling his inner Craig there. Such a good backhand on this one. Bruno starts for the judges, saying that Judge Rinder is “born to dazzle, in his own unique way”. Quite. Craig follows, saying that it was Judge Rinder’s best dance yet and he loved the shaping, Darcey says that it was admrably theatrical but he needs to control his mouth, and Len finishes us off by saying that Rinder wasn’t flitting about like a moth, he came out with POWER AND AGGRESSION. Unfortnately the assignment was to dance like a moth, so Len can only give it a 6. Meanwhile in the audience
Susanna Reid is being forced to wear a paper wristband like some sort of CIVILIAN what is this atrocity? SHE’S STRICTLY ROYALTY! Don’t stick her in with the hangers-on and the general public.
Up to Claud 9 they float with Oksana going “weeeeeeeeeeeeee!” with her wings cape the whole way up bless her. It’s then revealed that today is her birthday, but there’s no cake for her or anything. I bet if it was a Clifton there would have been a cake. Claudia then reminds us that so far Judge Rinder hasn’t gone down. In his scores. Yet.
And he isn’t about to now. In his scores. 32.
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard dancing the American Smooth
Tess introduces them by telling us that the story of the dance is that Cloudia is a teenage witch, who uses her powers to turn AJ from a frog into a prince. I have to say that I feel slightly cheated that I was told last week that AJ was going to play a frog and then he turns up just in a green suit looking the same as ever. If it were my Pasha playing a frog they’d have him double-dipped in pond-scum green, with webbed hands, diving flippers, and cut-in-half tennis balls stuck over his eyeballs.
VT time, and Cloudia is sat reminiscing about how she got 32 last week for her samba
and a little hologram projection of it happening appears before her. How very Black Mirror. She asks AJ if she really has improved as much since Week 1 as her scores would suggest and
I swear AJs face is so bovine throughout this entire VT I’m surprised chewed up grass didn’t fall out of his mouth at any point. He tells her that she has improved 100%, especially as she’s now starting to act the dances. If AJ can start acting the VTs as well, that’d be great.
Training now, and Tess tells us that Cloudia’s birthday coincides with Hallowe’en (it’s only October 24th, and so “coincides” with Hallowe’en about as much as Christmas coincides with my New Year’s Day hangover) and as such, AJ has brought her a present
IT’S THE BIG BOOK OF SPELLS FOR GETTING FAR ON STRICTLY. Sambadodgezam! Pimpslotiamus! ABRACAGIVEBRUNOABJ! Cloudia and AJ experiment with the book of spells, resulting in hilarious “special effects” like AJ’s head getting stuck on backwards, Cloudia’s feet being mangled and then setting on fire. If nothing else it gives Cloudia opportunity to give her best
Scream Queen audition, as there’s more squeals being emited here than have been heard on Strictly since that one time a moth got into Brenda’s dressing room. It all closes with Cloudia telling AJ they should just get on with training rather than fannying about with magic and…well, quite.
TO THE ENCHANTED WOOD!
What kind of afterschool computer club learning aids 1998 graphics realness? Cloudia waves her magical wand and Ian Waite appears and make a 3/10 innuend…oh no wait
AJ appears. Those toadstools are to scale by the way. In keeping with the magical theme, they’re dancing to “Black Magic” by Little Mix, yet another modern pop song which turns out is probably about cunnlingus. First “Like A Prayer” and now this. Mercifully, unlike last week, someone’s rearranged the tempo down a notch so the dance is manageable and considering the limitations, this is Cloudia’s best effort in ballroom yet. And much like with her best effort on latin
it’s all about those lifts and those aerial acrobatics. Her ballroom technique is improving, she’s learning to hide the height difference somewhat, and she’s actually
not giving a bad performance as a dirty-minded young witch (there’s a particularly cute eye-roll she gives as she hurls AJ’s crown at the audience) but Cloudia shines brightest when AJ’s swinging her around in the air and she’s using her magical gymnast powers to hold her body taut. A great effort, although she’s only got two more routines left with lifts between now and the showdance, so she might want to pace herself with the rest. And I’m not sure about this
endpose. I know it’s a Hallowe’en routine complete with £2.99 witches hat and fishing net skirt, but a little more elegance and a little less presenting your bare arse ladies please.
Once they’re over at Tess, she marvels at Cloudia’s core strength. Yes, Tess doesn’t exactly have the posture of a gymnast does she, that makes sense. Craig starts for the judges and says that he thought Cloudia had great footwork and body contact and that the whole dance was dynamic and fluid and so well done. Is Craig maybe a Little Mix stan, it would not surprise me. Darcey’s next, and she praises Cloudia for doing so well in and out of the lifts, even when she had that dress malfunction. Way to let the girl know she flashed her bum to the nation Darcey, she probably didn’t even know. Darcey also says that she’d just like Cloudia to improve her eyeline, because she noticed her looking at the floor a lot. Probably trying to avoid registering the fact that she’s an Olympic athlete doing a dance to Little Mix dressed as a witch with aubergine lipstick surrounded by giant fungus.
Len’s next, and he praises Cloudia for her lovely flow, and AJ for the fact that the lifts there were seemlessly worked into the routine and Bruno closes by telling Cloudia that this week she finally stopped displaying the angular poses and tricks of a gymnast and became a lyrical dancer.
Unfortunately for Cloudia she doesn’t register any of this, because the hot glue holding half of Claire’s Accessories to the side her face is starting to blister her skin.
Up to Claud 9 they hop, where Claudia reveals that Cloudia’s gymnastic coaches are in the audience.
Well hello there. Cloudia gives a little speech about how she wouldn’t be where she is now without them, and I’m sure she definitely doesn’t mean “if they were better teachers I would have got an Olympic medal and not had to resort to this shit to attract more sponsors”. Definitely not. Scores are in
Anastacia & Brendan Cole dancing the jive
Tess runs us through the medical travails of Brendan Cole, and reminds us all that Gorka stepped in last week for him as he nursed a chest infection. Mercifully the show has lured him back with the heady combination of Hallowe’en, Meatloaf, and getting to be a vampire. Twice. Three times if you count his larking around in the first group number in a cape. AND they’re using the music from his vampire paso with Sarah Manners for Greg’s rumba later and I guarantee you he was leaping and twirling all over the balcony pretending to bite…let’s say Neil in the neck for all of that as well.
VT time and of course we start with Brenda talking about how hard it was for him personally having to sit at home and watch Anastacia dance with another man. Never mind how difficult it was for Anastacia to adapt to a partner swap, Brenda’s the real victim here. He does tell her that she did it very well, and it was all magical, and Anastacia tells him she was only trying for those really high scores because she wanted Brendan back in her arms this week. Honest. It didn’t mean a thing. She was thinking of his sticky out bum and overwhelming smell of Tommy Man cologne the whole time.
Training now, and to get Anastacia in the mood to dance to “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meatloaf, Brenda has got a special training regime. He’s going to make her put on 150lbs, dress herself in the dark, and then get her to cry all over Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice. NOT REALLY HE’S GOING TO MAKE HER BE A BAT SO THEY
TRAIN IN THE DARK
HANG FROM THE CEILING
AND YELL AT ONE ANOTHER THROUGH MEGAPHONES, JUST LIKE BATS DO. Well…Brenda yells through a megaphone, Anastacia just talks at her usual volume. The effect is much the same.
TO THE GATES OF HELL!
I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard at this show in a long time as I did at Brenda swiftly zooming in from the back of shot through more dry ice than three Bonnie Tyler videos combined on a hoverboard. What a diva. Every year with Brendan now I find myself wondering if every routine will be his last, and if this is Brenda’s last Strictly hoorah then I can think of no more approriate way of going out then scooting about on a kids toy dressed as the undead. HE WAS KING OF THIS CASTLE ONCE YOU KNOW. Anastacia then clings to him as he rolls them both back towards the stage, and they start jiving. Ish. Honestly if last week was Anastacia and Gorka dancing together to a third party’s choreography, then this week feels like no less than Anastacia and Brenda dancing to a Jive Du Anton. Or at least Anastacia is. Just jigging about kicking about and swivelling her heels at random bless her. Maybe she’s just trying to kick the dry ice away so everyone can see her impeccable footwork (tee hee). Brenda meanwhile is having a high old time, whirling around getting his vampire on. Anastacia may just be stomping it out but at least what she’s doing looks like jive. Brenda looks like he’s part of some sort of unholy experiment to gene-splice Animal From The Muppets and Count Von Count from Sesame Street. I can’t remember the last time that it was so obvious before a dance was even halfway over that its originator was going home this week – I think it was the point where Anastacia
started playing Brenda’s arms like a piano that did it. Bless her.
But what an ending.
It gets no Standing Ovation (I think my favourite bit is
these two women actually checking to see if anyone else is going to. Trust me my loves, they ain’t) and after Anastacia extracts herself from the floor with a lot of rolling about and squawking “OH MY GOSH” (<3) they’re over to Tess, who makes everyone aware very quickly that Anastacia isn’t even out of breath after that routine. I think she means it as a “wow your stamina!” compliment but it comes over very “oh wow, were you even trying?”
Anastacia knows what’s up. Darcey says for the judges that she’s glad that Anastacia’s impeccable confidence has carried over from last week (BACKHAND) but there was no technique – she was lifting her knees up far too high and was flat-footed. Len’s next and says that performance was very much like a meatloaf – tasty bits but also elements you’re not sure about. Isn’t the point of a meatloaf that it’s pretty uniform the whole way through? I dunno, it’s mostly FORRIN and I guess that’s enough for Len not to trust it.
Bruno’s next, yelling “THAT WAS TOTALLY BATTY!” and praising Anastacia for throwing in the Proud Mary arms. And I do think that was Anastacia’s own invention because God knows what Brenda was doing at that moment. Anyway, the upshot is that Bruno thinks this was garbage but he’s going to give her bonus marks for Proud Mary arms, which makes him the judge I am most closely personally alligned with again. Craig closes by calling the whole thing laboured, leaden and flat-footed. Bless Arlene, she would have got that third “l” word there. It would have strained her so hard her eyeballs would have started to bleed, but she would have got there.
Up to Claud 9 they fly, where Brendan immediately starts babbling away about how this was a great strong routine that came together really early in the week and has been going super well, honest. Claudia then breaks in to give a little speech about how amazing Anastacia’s hair and make-up is, to which Brenda swoops back in all “CAN I JUST SAY…” to give his annual Hallowe’en speech (Brenda now being the only pro to have competed in every Strictly Hallowe’en Special) at which point ALL THE OTHER PROS AND CELEBS START WHOOPING CHEERING AND CLAPPING OVER THE TOP OF HIM TO SHUT HIM UP. Amazing. Anastacia tells Claudia that every single jewel on her face was glued there individually
whilst a runner just swung a paintbrush at Brenda’s face once. Scores are in
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the foxtrot
Great that they just did the annual “isn’t all the styling wonderful tonight?” speech, and then you cut to these two and their make-up’s only half done. It’s true what they say, the entire show’s out to get them.
Tess fluffs the intro joke for them as well. Although that might be a good thing.
VT starts with Danny telling Oti that he was in two minds about the rumba – he wanted to do it because he loves a challenge. That sounds like one mind Danny to me to be honest. Maybe we should just be glad of that. Anyway he says it went really well, and we’re reminded that Len went a bit dribbly for it. At no point is it mentioned by anybody that he had a massive zit on the end of his nose throughout, which would have been the piece of humanisation I needed to vote for him moving forwards.
Training now, and Oti tells Danny that he will be dancing a Hallowe’en foxtrot to “Take Me To Church”. This is because the theme of their dance is that he and Oti are two wicked creatures undergoing a Satanic wedding. They’re not going to be naughty vicars, although that would have been amazing. Oti whirling around demonically screaming satanically in a wimple whilst Danny rips off his dog-collar and starts grinding her. Into it. Anyway, to get him in the mood, Oti has arranged a special journey for him
Danny’s Hollyoaks scripts used to be written out for him much the same way I hear. Lot of glitterpens on that set. Cut to Oti cackling away that she’s going to use this as a chance to play mind games on Danny “because it’s Hallowe’en”. Mmm hmmm. Definitely not just because it’s fun and she can. Hallowe’en. Anyway, it’s impossible to tell what these mind games are from the VT because it’s that shoddily constructed, but rest assured they do happen.
Now this is a very high concept foxtrot (which I’m sure is what we all want from the foxtrot, the most hygge dance in the strictly compliment) where Oti and Danny are a nice couple
on the surface, but once they get married their dark halves emerge
but they find themselves
tied together by the sacred bond/their guts/a piece of bungee. I can see why you’d try to gussy up the dance for Hallowe’en, but it’s all a bit much, especially as the attachment ends up half garrotting them both at points. The “SURPRISE HALF OF OUR FACES ARE SATANIC” reveal would have worked much better if we hadn’t seen the full effect gurning away minutes ago. I feel at some point during training Jason Gilkison walked into the training room and said “guys, don’t you think it’d be a great idea if…” and a problem was born. As for the foxtrot it starts off well enough, but as is often the case this series with things going wrong, it’s just being done too fast, and bungles creep in all over the place. I’ll give him credit for being a professional and it not registering on his face much beyond his smile getting (more) rictus, but his feet are all over the shop. Oh and
this is Gleb’s move hun, and whilst you may be the hottest male ringer since records began, you ain’t no Gleb.
Nice end pose though. Very “reaching for the remote to change the channel mid shag”
After they’re done, Danny says sorry repeatedly and loudly to Oti, who doesn’t appear to say anything back. I guess swears in German and Zulu are still swears and she has to be careful. As soon as they reach Tess she’s all
oh it’s ok Danny we all make mistakes it’s a live show I still love you but you can tell murder’s a-brewing. Len starts for the judges, saying he was bewitched by the performance, bothered by the amount of mistakes in the footwork, and bewildered by the “elastic appendage”. I bet he was. Poor Mrs Len. Meanwhile in the audience, Strictly Kingmaker Carley Stenson thinks
“I’ll give you elastic appendage, it’s going over your exhaust pipe tonight hun”. Bruno’s next and praises Danny for the operatic high drama in the choreography and performance, but tut tuts at the operatic high drama in his footwork, particularly when he stamped on Oti’s foot. Ooooh, he’s going to pay for that one later.
Craig follow and says it’s a crying shame there were mistakes because he could have given that a 10. Sure you could Craig. Week 6, a foxtrot, you were definitely on the verge of going there. Sure.
Darcey finishes by saying that she appreciated that Danny stretches himself every week (TAKE THAT LOUISE) but he stretched himself too hard there to get long gliding steps, and it cost him his balance. And later, when he’s alone with Oti, possibly one of his testicles.
Up to Claud 9 they testify, and the whole thing is pretty much Claudia babbling at him that she’s so sorry and everyone here loved it and she knows that Danny was so looking forward to foxtrot and everyone makes mistakes and I know it’s Danny, so it wouldn’t have been anything interesting that was said, but bloody hell let the hamsters talk occasionally woman. Scores are in
Next Claudia’s Prop Interlude, which
features Alice Cooper this week. It’s a Claudia Winkleman Hallowe’en Tradition!
Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice dancing the tango
Tess reminds us that Laura had to miss last week’s show due to her ankle injury, but she’s coming back this week stronger than ever and ready to go. Mixed messages there slightly Tess but ok.
VT time, and Giovanni tells Laura that he missed her last week, as Laura tells him that she missed being there, sat at home as she was choking down sweet and sour chicken balls through her tears and punching her friend in the arm every time she talked about how pretty the other girls looked in their dresses. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HER DAMNIT! IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HER KNOCKING LESLEY OUT IN THE DANCE-OFF! SHE’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU DAISY, *SHE’S* THE SUPERFAN, *SHE* SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONE TO RETIRE ANTON FOREVER! HER! LAURA WHITMORE THE DRAGON SLAYER OF STRICTLY! NOW PASS ANOTHER PRAWN CRACKER!
Training now, and “everything’s going well until something very weird happens”.
I mean, that’s not that weird – Jimmy Tarbuck saw something very similar hovering over him during his last training session with Flavia. Anyway turns out it’s Anton. Sorry, I’m not padding this out more than is necessary. Make some sort of Georgia May Foote joke if you’d prefer.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
I love that Laura is going for legitimate slasher horror film where everyone else tonight is perfectly happy to play it goofy and campy. Work that complete lack of theme they’ve given you girl, I respect that. She and Giovanni are doing the tango to “Paint It Black” and for such a nice girl
Laura sure does go to the well of utter grot quite often. It’s not quite the filthy twin peaks of her salsa and her waltz (her WALTZ) but this is yet again her achieving memorability solely by being a dutty dancing sexpot and why not says I? I was hoping I was going to get this sort of thing from Daisy and Aljaz, but clearly he’s nearly a married man now and can’t get it up any more. Even his photoshoots with Janette for the glam-trash rags hav gone from their rolling around naked under a bearskin rug to this Thompsons Holiday realness. Giovanni on the other hand is clearly still ready and raring at all times to throw in suggesting shoulder wriggles and upper thighs strokes and knicker-flashing high kicks and
up close and personal moments. Laura’s footwork is a little light on the heel leads but her performance is
imperious and nasty to the bone in the best possible way and aren’t a lot of people this evening achieving personal bests via Hallowe’en silliness and overacting?
Once they’re over at Tess, Laura pants that she loved that and she’s glad to be back here and she loves everyone and please don’t Tiny Tina her for the love of God. Bruno starts for the judges (introduced by Tess as “Laura’s Biggest Fan” and ain’t that the truth) growling that Laura gave off enough sex in that routine to LEAD HIM TO DAMNATION! Oh Bruno. You’ve already got preferential parking set up down there, don’t kid yourself. Craig’s next, and he says that he loved it but (oh here we go) he had a problem with Laura’s thumb. It should have been in Giovanni’s armpit the entire time. Apparently. Based on some of the choreography I worry there was call for it to be stuck somewhere else…
Darcey follows up, saying she loved the attack, the focus, and the determination and then honks “IT’S SO GREAT TO SEE YOU ON THIS DANCEFLOOR BABE!”. Darcey calling someone “babe”
whilst dressed as a minor aristocrat on a friend’s hen-do is my new ringtone. Len finishes us off by telling Laura that she could have worked on her footwork a bit more, but it was sharp and passionate and he thinks it was her best dance yet.
Up to Claud 9 they schythe, with Giovanni jumping up and down and high-kicking and Laura
having to pat him on the arm to get him to stop it lest he rip her ankle out of joint again. Even as it is she’s noticably hobbling up the stairs. Get this girl a cortisone shot and fast! Bruno, you’ve got plenty back there, learn to share. Once she’s up there, Claudia tells Laura that she looks so happy that she might burst into tears. Please. For the cameras. If she’d be so kind. Laura tells us she’s no tears left to shed. We’ll see. Wait til the scores come in. Claudia empathises with her pain and Laura’s all “oh no, the pain helps”. Well this got 50 Shades very quickly. Scores are in
36. Laura weeps and Claudia’s all “see, told you so, I WILL MAKE YOU CRY WHITMORE”
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the Charleston
I love that to give Joanne “bad teeth” they have literally just scribbled on them with black marker pen. Impeccable work, make-up. Tess tells us that this week Joanne and Ore are playing grotesque sweet-shop owners and they’ve got REAL SWEETIES to throw out to the audience. Almost as though you’d need bribing to sit through the performance that’s about to happen. Tess then says that she’s rummaged around and found a gobstopper for Craig
He’s taken bigger than that love, try again.
VT time and Ore and Joanne agree that they both worked hard on his waltz, that it went well, and it all meant so much to him. This constant bland saccharine positivity is a lot easier to stomach in the light of him fucking up all over the place in about a minute’s time.
Training now and Joanne asks Ore what the first thing he thinks off when he hears “Hallowe’en” is. Ore says
“stupid irrelevant VTs”. And so it comes to pass.
The idea here is that to get Ore in the mood for Hallowe’en, Joanne has brought Ore to a pumpkin farm to practice. Remember when this happened with Matt and Aliona, but it was symptomatic of the fact that he had no time to train due to his hours on Countryfile, rather than because someone thought it was a laugh? Incidentally, the original plan was for Ore and Joanne to visit the Haribo factory, as preparation for their sweet shop theme, but then someone on production found out that Joanne has a lifetime ban from that one time she stripped off and threw herself naked into a giant vat of Starmix.
TO THE SWEET SHOP!
This theme is…interesting isn’t it? I don’t think the costumes are that bad – they’re very Roald Dahl – but the idea?
Feels very “Joanne wanted it, Joanne wanted it bad”. Bet those Barbra Streisand sleepovers with Russell Grant are nothing but mainlining sugar. They’re dancing to “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow and the whole thing is just a mess. No swivel, no precision, out of time often, flat-footed, weird posture, botched lifts including one that’s missed entirely, a lot of random flailing, too much farting around with props, one bit where he appears to
stick a lollipop down his pants that doesn’t bear thinking about, all topped off with a song choice that is IMO the worst of the entire evening and which robs the whole thing of any sort of Charleston flavour at all. It just feels like two bad out of work actors coming in and doing a ropey schools production.
Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad.
Once they’re over at Tess, she reminds him that he was top of the leaderboard two weeks running. Well that’s about to come to a crashing halt. Craig starts for the judges, saying that there was no swivel in Ore’s left foot at all and only occasionally in his right, which meant that it didn’t feel like a Charleston from the off. Well that and the fact they were dancing to Bow Wow Wow Craig yes. Still, he admired the placement of the dance. Particularly the part where Ore nerly placed Joanne down right on her arse. It is interesting to see Ore’s natural expressiveness at these comments
buried under £2 worth of wig, ginger merkin and sweet wrapper. Still the feeling shines through. Darcey follows this up by telling Ore to ignore Craig because it wasn’t that bad – in fact it was crisp, neat, cheeky and a great routine. She barely even noticed the part where they were completely out of sync!
Len follows up by saying that he was amazed by the intricacy of the steps and how well Ore did the Charleston segments. OK there wasn’t a lot of content and he botched a lift and he went out of time with Joanne but erm…TERRIFIC ROUTINE! Meanwhile the Strictly Mean Girl Runners-Up Club
all sit in the front row and think what scores they would have got if they’d botched a routine that badly. Or in the case of Chris Parker (clearly the Cady to Denise’s Regina, Kimberley’s Gretchen and Rachel’s Karen) done it that well. Bruno closes by squealing “WHO CARES I GOT SWEETIES!”. Or he does in my head anyway. He calls Ore the cuddliest monster he’s ever seen as Tess
goes for the grab and gets zapped by the amount of static coming off Ore’s pube-beard. Another one for the emergency ward nurse!
Up to Claud 9 they chew, where Ore spends most of his alloted time apologising to Joanne for messing up the lift whilst I am mostly distracted by Brenda
making walrus teeth out of discarded marshmallows and trying to pull focus. THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO CLAP ALL OVER HIS HALLOWE’EN SPEECH YOU UTTER BASTARDS. Also Ore says that he at least didn’t drop Joanne on her face, to which Kevin mutters something about how it would have made her look better arf arf. Oh big brother. Scores are in
32. Making the running total in this year’s BATTLE OF THE CLIFTONS a tie at 3 all.
Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe dancing the rumba
Tess tells us that Greg will be playing an Edwardian gentleman in this routine, pining for the return of his long lost love. Bruno’s all
I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP MR RUTHERFORD! NO, CLOSER! ALL OVER MY CHI[PUNCHLINE REDACTED]
Greg’s VT starts with Natalie Lowe saying that obviously last Saturday wasn’t perfect. I can only imagine how much pain it caused her to say that. Although I notice that she’s not actually on camera whilst saying it, so they easily could have spliced that line together from about seven different interviews. We then cut to her and Greg in the rehearsal room and I swear, Greg’s comic timing on “I wanted it to be good…
…and it was horrendous” is better than anything Tess has managed in 13 series.
Training time, and Tess tells us that for his rumba, Natalie wants Greg to play the role of a ghostly ghoul. WRONG. She wants him to play a ghoulish ghost. Get it right Daly. To achieve this, Natalie takes Greg to a spooky old house (here is a shot of Natalie looking excited
by a house) and tells him to pretend he’s a ghost.
Well he’s certainly putting the willies up m[PUNCHLINE REDACTED]. After a while (although not nearly long enough) of straining and grunting and panting
GREG BECOMES A GHOST. Wow, I haven’t seen anything that transparent on this show since Ore’s marks last week. Greg has fun as a ghost, scaring Natalie, walking through walls, and generally larking about, so Natalie tells him she’s changed her mind, and she’s going to be playing the ghost on Saturday Night so there. This attempt at portraying Natalie Lowe as some sort of joysucking funsponge is the most ludicrous thing that happens in these comedy VTs all night.
TO THE SPOOK HOUSE!
10! GIVE IT A 10! THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE TO MOVE! Honestly this here is what Hallowe’en Strictly is all about and I don’t begrudge Natalie one bit that after last week, when she meticulously effing ground out a terrible boring week 1 cha cha, that she now decided sod that, I’m flying in on a wire as a revenant ghost-bitch to Evanescence with constant wailing, flashing woo woo lights, copious use of a Scooby Doo spooky lantern,
melodramatic contempowaft reaching and
nearly-lifts that are so ridiculously close to being off the floor that I presume she’s being let off because her toenails were scraping the woodwork, a rap break,
panto faces in extremis and an end pose
that looks like the worst kind of bad student play, probably about drinking and driving. It barely looks like a rumba at all, and to be honest Greg isn’t actually *doing* a lot other than throwing melodramatic poses and flouncing about, but as a spectacular it works. If nothing else it provokes this face from Rachel Stevens during the Standing Ovation afterwards
and if you’ve broken the Rachbot’s circuitboards, you’re ok in my book.
They go over to Tess and she’s all “oooh RUMBA eh, difficult dance for the men ISN’T IT” and Greg says that yes he had been told that by people, but Natalie was positive and he enjoyed it. It’s almost as though rumba being a horrible dance is just confirmation bias isn’t it? Tess then doubles down on how Greg is the FIRST MALE CELEBRTY EVER IN STRICTLY EVER EVER EVER TO LOVE THE RUMBA. Danny Mac loved it just last week Tess.
Darcey starts for the judges, saying she’s glad to see Greg so confident and clearly enjoying the dances. Passionate, dramatic and lovely lines, especially when Natalie went in for that deep deep lunge. Bit personal there Darcey. She would have liked to have seen more (/any) rumba content, but what she saw she liked. Len’s next, and he praises Greg for sorting out his pigeon toes and CAHMIN AHT but also thinks that Greg sacrificed basic rumba technique for performance level to a degree, and didn’t wiggle his hips enough.
Bruno follows up, and says that Greg embraced the character, and it was like Heathcliff and Cathy being reunited. Erm, I liked it Bruno but
there’s only one Caffy on this show babes. Check yourself. Craig closes by saying that actually he disagrees with Len – he liked the very theatrical, almost showdance nature of the routine, because it worked with the music and the fact that it’s Hallowe’…oh no wait I’ve accidentally pulled out one of last year’s scripts for Craig. He actually didn’t like the theatrical, almost showdance nature of the dance. In fact he thinks he can’t even judge it as a rumba at all! You gave Will’s salsa an 8 hun, give it a rest. He tells Natalie off for protecting Greg by doing things the audience might enjoy and…that’s her job? Anyway he closes by huffing that if this was Showdance Week he’d give it a 10, but it’s not, so he can’t. A) of all Craig don’t raise the unholy possibility of “Showdance Week” I nearly evacuated my bowels in terror at the thought, and B) of all no you would not ever have given that a 10 ever, don’t even try it.
Up to Claud 9 they spook, with Natalie looking very subdued the whole time before riding the edge of tears rights into Claudia and a
big hug from Greg and I’m not saying she’s faking it but I can see why she would y’know? She wails that she feels like she’s let Greg down because he’s so brilliant and amoyzing and wonderful and perfect and…well it’s Natalie, you get the picture by now. Claudia reassures her that rumbas are boring anyway, so it’s good that she zhushed it up a little. Scores are in
26. Everyone rushes in to cuddle a weeping Natalie
but it’s ok, none of them’s a loud black woman so they won’t be eliminated for it.
Daisy Lowe & Aljaz Skorjanec dancing the paso doble
Tess reminds us all that Daisy was in the Bottom 2 last week, but is hoping this Day Of The Dead themed paso will bring her dancing career back to life. Really? Those outfits read very much “I’ll be off of here in two weeks time max if you still need me Mr Galliano” but ok.
VT time, and we’re still at the tinkly sad piano
“please like me” face stage of the cycle of the perennial Bottom 2 candidate. After a couple more we’ll be at the “sod it” stage, and if we’re lucky enough to witness her go Full Jamelia, she’ll be flicking vs, blowing raspberries, yelling the show is rigged for Danny Mac and bringing down an entire edition of It Takes Two about her head. Fingers crossed anyway.
Training, and Daisy is definitely a little mopey that she’s not a public favourite, and we get a dreaded appearance of BABY VOICE when she’s having a bit of a grizzle to Aljaz. I like you Daisy, but I get my fill of that from Tess on the Results Show, I don’t need it from you here. Still she’s got an idea to cheer herself up. As she and Aljaz will be wearing a lot of make-up for their routine this week (and only this week hem hem cough cough) she’s going to take him to the best make-up artist she knows via the medium of
BABY WARZ! This is Daisy’s little sister who is called Becky and is very cute and honest to God this segment is not subtle. Daisy is full on staring right down the camera grinning away all
“I have a cute kid sister I dare you to make her cry by voting me out I DARE you”. The best thing about this segment is that it begins with Aljaz and Daisy wandering through the woods to an isolated cosy cottage and I swore it was going to be some segment where they met a witch or a spooky face-painting ferret or something but no, Daisy’s sister just lives in a swish house no spooky business the end.
TO THE GRAVEYARD!
Daisy and Aljaz are performing their Day Of The Dead themed paso to “Please Don’t Let Me Misunderstood” in a version with lots of Spanish guitar and flamenco clapping and the ingredients are definitely there for a firey paso doble. There’s lots of skirt swishing and haughty stomping and Spanish lines and passion, but Daisy isn’t quite putting her full body into it. This is particularly obvious in a section where she’s supposed to be beating angrily with her fists on Aljaz’s chest, but it looks more like a little cartoon squirrel pounding to be let into its drey for the winter. She’s giving good reach
and good face, but there’s the perennial model problem on this show of looking like she spends most of her day lounging around a set having her make-up done and smoking a fag. Get her back in ballroom and give her a nice whirly Viennese Waltz or an elegant foxtrot, because between this and her rumba I’m not sure that she’s built in her bones for passsionate latin. It’s a good effort and she looks stunning but as roaring comebacks go, I’ve heard louder ones.
She and Aljaz have a little natter on the way over to Tess, and she squawks “ARE WE HAVING A CHAT? I DON’T LIKE TO BE LEFT OUT!!!”. Jesus Tess, you’re not their Geography teacher, they’re allowed to not tell you everything. She then flips roles from chiding teacher to
“woman trying to force pegs on you in the street”. Do you think Tess can tell when people don’t want to be touched? Ever? Len starts for the judges by saying that Daisy is the first female celebrity ever in the history of Strictly Come Dancing to do proper heel turns into her twist-turns section in the paso doble. And the people at home weren’t immediately on their mobile phones voting as soon as he said that? MADNESS. Tess then asks Bruno if she’ll be in the Bottom 2 this week, and he dodges the question neatly, saying he’s sure there’s plenty of life left in “these two fascinating creatures”. Indeed. He loved all the flamenco (doesn’t he always?) and the authentic flavour of the “Mexican Day Of The Day”. Personally I’m left wondering
what the key round his neck unlocks. Best not to ask isn’t it?
Craig loved all the details although felt that Daisy wasn’t always leading with the wrist (like he would be if he was allowed within a 5 metre radius of Aljaz) and Darcey rounds off the comments by telling that Daisy is bringing something new and exciting to her performances now. Desperation and terror and neediness?
Up to Claud 9 they scull, where Claudia goes right down the “I would have thought you were too NICE to do the paso doble!” line of questioning that’s always so fruitful, and Daisy grins that it was quite difficult. Claudia tells her that she’s normally so smiley, and Daisy says that she is, but she’s been scaring people when she smiles today, so she’s been holding it in. I mean…
Scores are in
33. Her scores so far again : 31 to 30 to 31 to 31 to 32 to 33. The slowest journey this side of the M25.
Ed Balls & Katya Jones dancing the cha cha
Looking at the goggles here I’ve got a funny feeling that they were one call to his agent away from being Minions.
VT time, and Ed complains good-naturedly that he enjoyed doing the American Smooth last week, but he’s sure that the only thing anyone will ever remember about it is the lift that went wrong. Well it was that or that bit where you swung a backpack round your head like it was a lasso, so count yourself lucky. We’re shown Ed joking with Katya that the only reason that she didn’t want to be in the dance-off was so that she didn’t do that lift again. I mean, good luck to her you’ll be doing it nightly on the tour.
Training, and we’re straight into the comedy with Ed, no faffing about, as the storyline is that he is a mad scientist
who has created a robot Craig to give him high scores. A robot Craig which unfortunately
breaks, leaving Ed at a loose end. Sadly the VT does not cover the part where he has a Plan B. For Bruno.
TO THE LAB!
Ed and Katya are dancing to Love Potion Number 9, which you may previously remember from its use in 2011, when it soundtracked the unfortunate incident in Chelsee’s tango where her boob nearly fell out of her dress. And here it is again being used for a malfunctioning tit, as Ed Balls takes on cha cha! The storyline is that Ed has brewed a potion for Katya to drink
/inhale like Alesha used to inhale the backstage buffet during the Judge Chat recap section they used to do, and it either makes her want to dance or fall in love with him or…something like that. She drinks it, they dance, you get the idea. And after two weeks of rubbish, the Ed Balls express is suddenly back on the tracks as this is
ballsy indeed. Cha Cha was always going to suit Ed at base because, let’s face it, it’s the minciest of all the dances in Strictly and Ed is certainly wiggling his bussy round here like the rent is due and he’s just seen some sailors on shore leave, all with his mouth constantly bopping open and shut like a confused goldfish. Still, it’s fun, and for the first time in three weeks he looks like he knows what he’s doing, which is a step in the right direction, even if the technique is still…erratic. It’s also the first time I can remember in a long time, if not ever, where you can hear the audience actually laughing during the routine. It’s basic slapstick laughs but…this airs on the same channel that has Mrs Browns Boys as its top rated comedy show, so it’s no surprise.
OOOH and indeed AHHH.
They wander over to Tess and, when prompted, Ed spanks his arse for her. Well everyone’s got to make a living. Bruno starts for the judges, although he already is mid standing ovation by the time Ed and Katya arrive, so we can all see where this is going. He thought it was FABULOUS. Craig is next and promises Ed that he’s definitely not getting a 2 paddle this week, that’s for sure. For one beautiful shining moment I thought he was going to get his 1 out again. It’s been too long. Also a 7 point gap between highest judge score and lowest judge score would be for the ages. Craig then starts constructing a washing machine metaphor and can’t even get through it, just dissolving in a fit of the giggles. It’s been one of those nights.
Darcey loved it, and Len hauls out his usual “it wasn’t super and it wasn’t natural” Hallowe’en comment but thinks it was Ed’s best dance yet anyway because it was SUCH FUN. We really have reached the stage where someone is actually going to have to curl one out in the middle of the floor for Len to go below a 7 aren’t we? Remember when he gave Danny Mac a 7 in week 1? This grading curve is BROKEN.
Up to Claud 9 they distill, where Claudia praises Ed for breaking Craig. It’s always the politicians isn’t it? Claudia asks him if he ever thought he’d be able to dance as well as that, and Ed neatly as usual avoids the question and just says that he loved it, and he’ll have loved it even if Craig gives him a 2. Again, such a politician. If he says “yes” it’s “oh so you love yourself then” and if he says “no” it’s “oh so you thought you danced that well then?”. Straight down the middle with a bland platitude, home and dry, take that Claudia Paxman, scores are in
Final Hallowe’en Leaderboard?
Obligatory Midway Polls?