The onboard entertainment for the trip to Blackpool.
Daisy & Aljaz : A subdued but smiley Daisy today, who said that she was disappointed that she wasn’t going to get to dance at Blackpool, but she was looking forward to seeing all her friends smash it there instead. So she’s still invited to the aftershow party then. Otherwise she was just glad to get back to her normal Monday schedule of walking the dog for three hours across London and then having a boozy pub lunch with friends. It’s a wonder her life never connected with the British public at large via the show isn’t it? In seriousness, it was a lovely interview with Daisy, as she talked about how her doing the show gave her family something to focus on after her grandfather died on Week 1, and she’s glad that she went out on a dance where she felt like she knew what she was doing. She will be missed.
Karen’s Khoreography Korner : Let’s be clear, the most exciting thing about the KKK this week was a sighting of an authentic “WHEN I WAS ON WITH RAMPS!” from Karen, regarding one of Ed’s salsa moves. You’d never know she had three other partners would you? Of the salsa itself she was pretty damning, giving Ed a 10 for Gangnam and a 1 for technique. And that 10 for Gangnam is pretty generous to be honest. It was a picky Korner all round this week, as Claudia’s spotting was picked up on and explained in her Viennese Waltz, and Karen also complained that Danny had lost the authentic character of the Argentine Tango in his dance, and that if he’d done it later in the series he would have lost points for it. Because that’s how it works. The scores get lower as the series goes on.
Behind The Scenes Gossip : Joanne went around backstage playing pranks on everyone to try to put them all off, to diminish their chances of reaching Blackpool. I notice she didn’t try anything with Oti. Or Natalie. Or Oksana. Because they would all break her spine.
Celebrity Tweets : The producers would quite like Baldrick from The Blackadder to do the show soon please.
Greg & Natalie: Natalie’s indefatigability was on full display here, as she came back roaring from being in the bottom 2 by flirting outrageously with Greg, saying that he does best when he’s in uniform and telling him that of all the celebs she’s ever had on the show he’s been the best at performing nudge nudge wink wink. Maybe it’s a sex and death thing I don’t know. Greg meanwhile revealed that we all kind of already knew – that he made a complete mess of his paso in the main show and only really pulled it together in the dance-off. Well at least it happened one time I guess. His dance this week is the quickstep, which is apparently Natalie’s favourite dance and which she thinks Danny will be good at due to all the running and jumping what he does for his day job.
Claudia & AJ : Sad times for Claudia and AJ tonight, as after AJ promised her a weekend of debauchery and chips and frantic rides on the Wurlitzer in Blackpool, Zoe had to sadly inform her that at this time of year all the attractions in Blackpool are in fact closed, so the only fun times she’ll be having are those provided by the Comedy VT producers. So about £4.50 worth. She looked devastated. If the producers weren’t breathing down all the contestants in the wake of Will’s departure she probably would have quit. We also learnt in this routine that Claudia managed to get through the intensely romantic nature of her Viennese Waltz routine with AJ by pretending he was her baby nephew to stop her bursting out laughing. So if you thought the presenters were the only ones treating this ones like they’re younger than they are then think again, because they’re actively collaborating at this point. Their dance this week is the jive and
oh look here’s a picture of Chloe and AJ as kids. It’s always the girls who don’t look any different isn’t it?
The Booth Of Truth : A lovely Booth Of Truth of Lovely Love tonight, as everyone agreed that Aljaz and Janette are the nicest people on Strictly, as they both just wander around giving people hugs and cuddles and lots of love. Particularly Janette apparently. Aljaz was the only pro on record picking somebody different, as he suggested that Anton is the nicest, which just goes to show that Aljaz still hasn’t quite got the hang of British humour yet. Also Neil and Joanne both tell the worst jokes apparently, which I can *well* believe.
Karen’s Khoreography Korner : Karen was in a more positive mood tonight, as she brought entirely positive reviews for both Judge Rinder’s foxtrot and Ore’s rumba. The latter in fact apparently included the BEST RUMBA HIPS SHE’S EVER SEEN FROM A MALE CELEBRITY
INCLUDING WHEN SHE WON WITH RAMPS.
Louise’s American Smooth was similarly feted (although Karen did think she looked a little nervous up on the stage). Finally Greg had her yelling something about how everyone should dance the paso like they’ve got apples under their armpits which…go home Karen you’re drunk.
Tunes On Tuesday : It’s a wonder there was anything left to reveal for this section after Claudia’s spree on Sunday, but it was revealed that Greg will be dancing a quickstep to Born To Handjo…sorry, misheard there, Born To Handjive, Judge Rinder will be performing a salsa to Spice Up Your Life (BECAUSE HE IS GAY), and Ore will be dancing to “That’s Life”. Doing a Viennese Waltz. No that doesn’t work at all does it? (Also can the producers can not have the on-call contestants and pros running around touching their bits wearing celebrity face-masks for this bit it’s like a Community Theatre production of Eyes Wide Shut)
Pro Dance Rehearsals : This week for Blackpool we’re having a mass foxtrot off, but don’t worry about it being dull and that because everyone’s got massive great feather fans and top hats. Also MR OKSANA is going to be there, how exciting. Also if you’re wondering when the subtle hints that we should stop voting for Ed are going to start, he’s going to spend the whole thing sat down drinking tea because they don’t trust him to do any organised dancing. So that should go down well.
Ed & Katya : Alls I’ll say for this bit is that there’s a difference between “dance and art and silliness and fun can bring people together and help them get through when difficult things are happening in the real practical day-to-day world” and then there’s saying things like Ed doing a silly salsa is “filling the whole world with joy” and “saving 2016” and it’s that the former is true and the latter is a load of nigh-on Messianic bollocks that really overstates the importance of the show in the grand scheme of everything to a degree that makes everyone involved look a bit up their own cloistered Anglo meeja bums. Anyway their dance this week is the jive. WITH A FLYING PIANO.
Danny & Oti : Zoe decided to tempt fate this week by asking Danny what was going through his mind when he was dancing the Argentine Tango. Oh Zoe, Oti and Strictly Kingmaker Carley Stenson programmed all of that out ages ago. It’s all just static now. The cover story provided by Danny was “focus”. Lots of “focus”. Whatever that means. Actually Danny seems to have been through a tough week, for reasons probably related to his dad’s health, and was using the Argentine Tango as a means of escape, which at least gives him some emotional depth as a contestant beyond going “I’m really nervous about doing this thing I’m obviously going to be able to do fine”. Which this week is being applied to the Charleston, which they have at Blackpool. There was also talk about how all the eliminated contestants are still part of weekly group chats (bet Anastacia and Tameka have a lot to talk about) and how in dancing as a waiter in his routine next weekend, Danny is coming full circle, as his first job was as a dancer. Sorry WAITER, first job was as a waiter.
Waite’s Wednesday Warm Up : Tales of Ian’s childhood abound on tonight’s warm up as we learnt that as a child he longed to be Olivia Newton John and then as a young man to be Baby Spice. He must have been not at all jealous at the Series 4 pairings then. In Blackpool news though, Greg is currently looking a little flat-footed in his quickstep, Cloudia needs to be bouncier in her jive, Louise is working her dress magnificently in her paso doble and Judge Rinder is unleashing his CHENAIS SHIMMIES brilliantly in his salsa. Seriously Ian is so very ready for Judge Rinder’s salsa, it’s cute. Also Ian got a little too into remeniscing about Kevin’s tight trousers from his paso with Susanna Reid bless him. It was a sharing sort of episode for him I think.
Ian Goes To Blackpool : Ian this week also got to travel to the Winter Gardens to watch a ballroom dance competition so we could all soak in the atmosphere. Along the way he met the 4th placer finisher, called Francesca, an older lady who was competing in the over 65s category, and Ian’s old arch-nemesis PETER NASH. It all felt a bit like a set up for a Murder She Wrote and then nobody died.
Ore & Joanne : You can kind of tell at this point that Ore is longing to get through an interview with someone, anyone, without it being brought up that he cries all the time. Don’t be surprised if at some point he has some quicky surgery to seal his tear ducts up that ends up making him temporarily blind for a week and Joanne having to come up with some half-arsed Stevie Wonder gimmick. Maybe a samba to Superstition? Otherwise we discussed tonight the COMPLETE LACK OF CHEMISTRY BETWEEN HIM AND JOANNE DEFINITELY NOTHING THERE CAN YOU IMAGINE HA HA HA HA HA HA HA and also learnt that he has the joint highest rumba mark for the series so far, surpassing the efforts of other Strictly rumba titans Anastacia and Greg Rutherford. What an honour. Also apparently his mum rang up to harrangue him for his lack of hip action following his salsa which…imagine having that conversation. This week he is dancing the Viennese Waltz.
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill : Both Joanne and Natalie will be wearing pink dresses this weekend.
Judge Rinder & Oksana : It’s interesting that, as Judge Rinder’s pitch to win becomes more and more small-c conservative with appeals based around teachers and elders and World War 2 and music only from the first half of the 20th century, Oksana decides to turn up
in a nude catsuit complete with stick on S & M choker-effect gold studs, like some sort of Russian Britney Spears fresh off the stage from Vegas. I guess it only furthers the charm of their mismatched partnership. Rinder was in fine anti-authoritarian form tonight, as he came for Zoe (and sundry other show staff) for being so rude as to ask him how he feels about maybe being in the dance-off soon WHAT AN IMPERTINANCE, and coming for Alan Dedicoat for anouncing him as “Judge Rinder and his partner Oksana Platero” when in fact Oksana is not his partner (no shit) but HIS TEACHER. Meanwhile Oksana shared that loves clapping games and The Spice Girls and her hubby-bubby. We also found time to namecheck Berrybuck Cabbagebotch (who apparently helped Rinder with his paso dace) and Rinder’s grandparents and also for Zoe to break into singing Professional Widow by Tori Amos for no real reason. Their dance this week is the salsa.
Waite’s Thursday Thaw-Down On today’s Thaw Down we witnessed Ore going very very fast indeed for his Viennese Waltz to the extent that it’s buggering up his footwork, Ed looking very ploddy indeed in his jive but Ian principally being concerned with hitherto repressed memories of Jodie Kidd’s exit with him to the same song, and something flying around terrifyingly in Danny Mac’s grey training flannels as he geared up for his Charleston, which Ian is predicting will get our first 40 of the series.
Louise & Kevin Poor Kevin. He spent all week on the Internet for their American Smooth, pulling together bits of Liza Minelli and Cyd Charisse and Fosse and jazz (and “ball jazz” apparently) and then he asks Louise to come and snarl her way through her American Smooth like a femme fatale and all he got was a benign smile. You can kind of tell that maybe he’s wishing he had a performer who could take direction again rather than a technical wizz with only two or three faces on offer. Still Louise got something out of her American Smooth other than a Bruno-10 : she got to take those two feather fans home with her to…do whatever she and Jamie wanted to do with them. Her dance this week is the paso doble which apparently is Kevin’s favourite dance. I always thought it was the jive but I guess times change.
UB40 : I apparently forgot to mention that Shalamar did a decent (if slightly random) job of closing the show on Thursday, so it would be remiss of me to also failing to mention that UB40 (or at least some sort of hybrid variant with Ali Campbell up front and some randoms behind) both opened *and* closed tonight’s show. With renditions of Red Red Wine and I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. One agonising syllable at a time.
The Friday Panel : A special expanded Friday Panel this week, with four guests which normally I would object to on the grounds that each individual member doesn’t get to say enough with three people there, but given that two of those people were Joe Pasquale and Russell Watson at his most “BE MY FRIEND” I’m not complaining. The less they say the better, as evidenced by Joe Pasquale going on an extended riff about how Rinder dances LIKE HE NEEDS TO DUN A FART LOL. Our other two panel members were Tony Robinson, there to represent those people who are just not turning to Strictly after getting fed up with X Factor, and Sara Cox, who seemed more interested in winking to Zoe that they should just bin the show off and go off or another 90s style booze-up. She also called Danny out as a “bot” and so is clearly now my favourite person in the world. Otherwise the panel came to the agreement that Ed moves well for a fat old man (charming), that Ore would beat anyone other than Danny in the dance-off, that it’s not enough to infantilise Cloudia by calling her a child we need to go one step further and refer to her as a child’s TOY and that Louise is really lovely. Mostly I was outraged that when Zoe bigs up Blackpool pasos she only refers to Susanna and Anita. WHAT ABOUT PIXIE AS A GLADIATRIX? Oh and the panel agreed that a great slogan for Greg moving fowards would be “bum in, stay in”. I’m not disagreeing… When asked for their ultimate opinion they opted for Rinder leaving this week, and either Ed or Louise winning. One of those likelihoods feeds into the other I feel.
Gethin’s Homoerotic Backstage Adventures Gethin’s journey into the dark side inched closer and closer to completion this week, as we came
agonisingly close to actual live penetration. Not sure Ed Balls is the one I’d have picked but needs must. Oh and if you’re thinking the resolution’s a bit off there, then consider that
in the same section Louise and Kevin were shinier than I’ve ever seen any other human being be before. Something was going on here and it wasn’t just moisteuriser. Otherwise Judge Rinder was quite HILARIOUSLY rude to Gethin, giving him one word answers and a cold hard stare whilst Oksana giggled away obliviously at his side ; we learnt what birthday presents Greg and Ore got from their pros this week (aftershave and sausage rolls respectively) ; Jason Gilkison popped in and qutie revealingly said that this series was “the best he’s ever seen the pros churn out routines week after week” (mmm churn) ; everyone agreed that Cloudia’s going to top the leaderboard at the weekend ; and it became sadly clear that Natalie has now given up on winning this series. It had to happen, but it’s always sad to see. Oh and
Gorkin remained canon.
Blackpool Special Brendan and Anton turned up in their bathers (no there will be no picture) to take us through some great routines of Blackpools past. Jill’s Jive (hampered by the fact that the Blackpool version was the less good one, and obviously so from the footage), Harry’s Argentine Tango, Sophie’s Quickstep, Katie’s American Smooth, Widdy’s samba (…), Abbey’s quickstep (…….) and Chelsee’s jive all got revisited in glowing terms. Yes, nothing by a Clifton, I’m as surprised as you.
A Visit From Craig : Craig popped in to fill time tonight with another flying interview. When will we get Bruno, that’s what I want to know. I’m sure the final week will be a big weepy Lenfest but WHEN ARE WE GETTING BRUNO? Anyway Craig breezed in and sort of half-heartedly declared war on Ed Balls and then took it back again so what’s the bloody point? We also learnt what Craig’s favourite Blackpool moment was (it was himself, flying in on that guitar they meant for Jeremy Vine) and also that he’s not really planning on giving out any 10s this week. Oh and that all of the second-tier Olympians doing the Children In Need special were shite but he forced himself to be nice. The segment culminated in a series of videos from the pros and celebs asking Craig to read them for filth, the upshot of which is that Ed Balls saying “BUT WOULD YOU DO THAT FOR A CHARITY STUNT?” after literally anything happens finally paid off, and Craig is going to try his Amarillo Lift for Children In Need. At some point. Maybe.
Strictly Higher Or Lower : A game that was played with the Friday Panel that went *slightly* better than Pointless did, although did drag up the whole Jameliagate scandal again so it can nob off frankly. NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE.