Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Week 12 Performance

Last week : Musicals Week drowned everyone under a sea of backing dancers, props, and the delusions of the producers that anybody, anywhere wants to hear Anton sing, even in a Universe where Bradley Walsh has an album out. The women and Danny got to the lifeboats first and it was left to Ore and Rindy to bob about indifferently in the dance-off, from which Ore was pulled to safety and Rinder left to be eaten by the sharks (/a giant begonia with the face of Chloe Hewitt).

This week :

As Celine Dion once said, it’s getting seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerious. All the journeymen, comedy contestants, lovable underdogs, ageing divas and Laura Whitmore have been whittled away and we’re left with a core of two ringers, a gymnast, and someone pre-scouted from Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief. Destiny and fate have got nothing on a Strictly producer with a storyboard and an armful of post-Its and string.


This is still baffling isn’t it? HUMANS DON’T HAVE AN ON SWITCH OKSANA.

The band strike up and Tess and Claudia emerge and

who knows which of the two outfits here they’d choose to reprise in the dance-off but you wouldn’t fancy their chances either way would you? They tell us that it’s the semi finals tonight, and as such all of our celebrities will be dancing twice. Unless they’re Matt Di Angelo, in which case they’ll be dancing once, then sitting on the stairs once, then telling Flavia backstage that they got so upset that oops their trousers and pants fell off. Once. From the audience

Hairy Dave cheers, somehow having got front row seats whilst actual champions Jill Halfpenny and Harry Judd have to sit three rows deep. Where’s the justice? Look at that lovely chunky knit Harry’s got on as well. What a waste.

Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the tango

Fun Fact : that curl in Louise’s hair is in fact a handy storage unit for exotic herbs and spices to enhance the flavour of any homecooked meal. Like parsley or…erm…well that’s about as exotic as Louise goes. She put coriander in something once and spent the next three days in the Burns Unit. Tess reminds us that last week there were only two points separating all four of the remaining contestants, so we could be in for a very competitive evening. Or it could be a sign that we’re at the end of the series and Len, Bruno and Darcey all only have two paddles left.

VT time and Louise and Kevin are sat discussing how she smashed it as Calamity Jane last week, stomping about the floor thigh-slapping and shooting all the cowboys down. Surprisingly enough, the word “quickstep” is not mentioned once.

Training now, and Louise says that the tango is very different from all the other ballroom dances she’s done, because it’s deliberately danced with flat feet, and without rise and fall. Well this is far too close to being useful content, so let’s have a bit where

Kevin whips his tablet out and lots of members of the general public(/mums and friends of the production team) tell Louise just how much they wub her. Apparently she is so pretty and much better at dancing than she thinks she is. Louise cries throughout. I presume in the second VT, for balance, Kevin is going to log Louise on to facebook so she can read a load of people calling her a wet beige wag who dresses like a nun, can’t sing, and only got this far coz she’s with a Clifton.


The theme of this dance is that Kevin and Louise are factory workers on the Strictly shopfloor overseeing all the glitterballs going past them. Personally I would have quite liked cameos from Abbey, Caroline, and Jay all walking past the end of the line, picking up a glitterball, and thumbing their nose at Kevin, but it’s probably too much to ask at such short notice. He and Louise do some sort of bizarre interpretive dance performance of

getting tired (I think) before ripping off their overalls and

marching around the end of the conveyor belt to start their tango, with Kevin almost getting a glitterball to his balls on the way round. A word should be said about Kevin’s trousers here I feel, as they are absolutely the most ball-crushing pair of pants I’ve ever seen on this show.

Those are practically leggings. On top of everything else it’s being danced to “Glad All Over”, which is really the last sort of mood you think of when you think tango isn’t it? Especially this series, where tango peaked with Laura Whitmore in Hallowe’en Week dressed like she was about to snatch someone’s smartphone outside a pub. Thematically it’s all a bit odd, with one minute Louise playing

the haughty and sulty grand dame of the Underworld floor, and then the next grinning her face off and doing that thing Kevin does a lot in ballroom to close the routine, skipping along pumping your knees and punching the air like you just got laid in an 80s movie. Her footwork is a little untidy, the routine looks more like quickstep minus the jumping in places and it all ends with Louise being plonked onto the conveyor belt for several counts before

plopping decorously into Kevin’s arms. Yeah that all made no sense I’m afraid.

From the audience

Jamie’s attempt to force out a smile looks even more forced than usual. One day, I’m sure, he will look remotely interested in anything his wife is doing. One day. Louise walks over to Tess who grins at her that she just got the first standing ovation of the evening, but it’s probably because they’re glad it’s all over. Or glad all over. One or the other, everyone’s being quite loud it’s hard to tell. She also introduces our singers including

NEW BLOOD! I’m always excited when this happens. His name’s Patrick. emogirl82 looks OVER THE MOON.

Len starts for the judges, saying that he loved the………………….

(*days pass, continental shelves shift*)

(*entire animal species die out, James Jordan finally gets over the fact that people like Kevin Clifton more than they like him*) CONVEYOR BELT! (RETIRE!) Anyway, Len liked the conveyor belt because it reminded him of the Generation Game and as Brucie himself used to say “why does it smell of toast all of a sudden?”. I mean “DIDN’T SHE DO WELL?”. Full of attack and attitude, but he did notice a serious mistake in one part of the routine. Bruno’s next and says that he’s pleasantly surprised, because he thought the gimmick at the start was stupid but then the routine itself was actually full of great content well delivered. He was wrong-footed! Well as was she, a few times. Bruno at this point recreates his face when he saw Kevin’s Conveyor Belt.

It takes more than that to impress Bruno I’ll tell you that much.

Craig’s to follow and

more terrifyingly, so is his panto beard. Which this year he appears to have paired with guyliner. The horrors never cease. With regards to Louise, he had problems with her frame and thought she was thrown off balance on occasion but otherwise it was dynamic and full of sharp, staccato content. Darcey closes by saying that it’s a shame that Louise lost it in the devloppes, because otherwise it was stunning. Louise : Lost In The Devloppes sounds like a BBC 4 documentary doesn’t it? One that involves a lot of her sat on beaches sipping pina coladas.

Up to Claud 9 they go, where the very first thing Kevin does is

to yank the front of his shirt down over his crotch so no-one can see his dangly bits. We’ve all been there. Claudia and Louise run through how she is TOO NICE TO TANGO (hence that whole thematic mess I guess) but guess what? It all turned out fine. Scores are in


Highlight of the Terms & Conditions nonsense this week?

Anton legging it out of shot as soon as it starts.

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the salsa

Sometimes, when he smiles particularly broadly, there’s a touch of the George From Rainbow about Danny isn’t there? Tess tells us that even though Danny’s dance tonight is a salsa, it will still be full of drama and tension because it’s a semi-final so EVERY dance will have us GRIPPING THE EDGES OF OUR SEAT. If it’s a particularly big poo, yes probably.

VT time, and Danny and Oti are chilling on the couch talking about just how nervewracking the routine was last week. A tango to a disco track! So fast! One wrong step could have spelled disaster and elimination(except there were many and it didn’t)! It’s all very negative for a dance that got the highest score ever for a tango by a man on this show. Particularly hilarious is the footage of Len and Craig both stentoriously criticising his footwork, immediately followed by a shot of the leaderboard with Danny clear at the top. The mixed messages here they are powerful. Danny tells Oti that he’s glad he was safe anyway, as he’s not sure if he had it in him to get through that routine again. Oh give over you big WET.

Training now, and Danny tells us that his first dance tonight is the salsa, and as his samba went down so well, they’re just going to do it again with a few lifts in and his shirt done up this time and hope nobody notices. Or words to that effect. Oti then gets the tablet out and it’s full of snuff footage of what she’s going to do to him if they lose, but the show manages to edit over the top of it with the public. The public and

Tom from Hollyoaks. Doesn’t he look grown up now? Danny tells Oti that it’s great that he’s hearing from people he’s never met before saying they want him to do really well. Back on Hollyoaks it was all people he’d never met before telling him they’d like to ride his dick, this is just overwhelming and NEW.


Danny’s trouser length here is amazing. It looks like someone’s folded him like you fold bank notes to make the Queen look like Frasier Crane. This is another Salsa De Platero and is being danced to a song by Marc Anthony, which is apparently a Propah Salsa track, but which sounds alarmingly like something that would be sung at the Eurovision by the son of the Belarussian Trade Secretary and finish 18th. And as usual with the salsas from Mr Oksana

it’s a lot of flash, delivered slightly awkwardly, and not a lot else. Oti’s legs fly around to their full potential, there’s lifts a plenty including one where

Danny looks like he’s examining Oti’s bumhole for worms, but that’s about it, other than people throwing their arms over the other person’s head over and over again. There’s not a lot of chemistry here and Danny’s hip action is weird. It’s like he actively wants it to look different from his samba, but he’s not too sure what specifically that should entail so he’s just wiggling his bum about in random patterns. As a start to the final so far this has all been a little underwhelming.

Oh well. It’s been worse

Once they reach Tess, Bruno starts for the judges and

ooh he’s up already. Yelling “LIVIN LA VIDA LOCA!” and swinging about crazily. I always enjoy watching the faces of the other judges as Bruno does his thing these days. By Week 12 it’s always gone past “pantomime delight” (or “feigned disgruntlement” in the case of Len and occasionally Craig) to active boredom. Anyway, Bruno loved the flash, flamboyance and flair and thinks that Oti got her body into places he never thought possible. Women’s anatomy never being Bruno’s specialist subjects. Legs and boobs and hair and ask him to name another part and he’s lost. Craig follows, and says he felt it was lacking the proper hip action, but that was really the only problem – he particularly loved how seemless the lifts were.

Darcey’s next and says that she loved the “three……..maybe four?” lifts. Jesus, does Darcey pay any attention to Danny’s routines beyond dribbling down her front? She tells Danny that her only problem was that she thinks it should have been more wild. By which she means she wanted to see his nips again. Anyway, apparently this is so outrageous a slur that Bruno goes off his chair. It takes him three goes to get all the way off. It’s a bit sad. Like a sad old horse going for the lowest of steeplechase jumps and then deciding at the last minute to just canter around it. Len closes by saying the dance was like porridge. This, like Louise being one of your 5-A-Day, is a compliment in the end – it was warm and satisfying with a bit of “oatey(/Oti) flavour”. (RETIRE).

Up to Claud 9 they go where they talk to Claudia about how it’s the semi-final, so naturally you want to leave it all out on the dance-floor, and Danny

plays with an itchy nipple the whole time. Those rhinestones must chafe. Hilariously, Brenda is yelling “UNDERMARKED” before the scores have even come in. Let’s keep him away from the judging panel please. Scores, when they come in

are, y’know, adequate. 37.

Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard dancing the rumba

Mmm purple. Tess tells us that last week Cloudia got her first 10 (REALLLLLLLLLLLLL? TELL ME MOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE) of the series but it’s not just the judges who love her dancing (/have given her the lowest average score of anyone remaining) – it’s also the public. Gosh, I wonder if this will be illustrated via the following VT…

The VT starts with AJ telling Cloudia that she got her first 10 last week (…) and Cloudia says that she couldn’t stop smiling and laughing the whole way through her comments. Yeah, don’t get used to that, to be honest. She thanks AJ for not dropping her in the final lift. Yes, it would have irreveocably damaged £3.69 worth of polystyrene prop, the final would have to be cancelled due to the hole in the budget.

Training, and Cloudia is finding rumba difficult, as it involves undoing 12 years worth of gymnastics training and learning how to move slowly and unshowily to music. Erm, Cloudia, based on everything we’ve seen so far, if you’ve had 12 years worth of gymnastics training then you’re saying you started four years before you were even born, get your maths straight before you come on this blog playing hard done by. Fortunately AJ has just the tonic

here’s a video of the girl who’s now replaced you on the GB Olympic team. Sorry, you snoozed, you lost, Strictly is all you have now, good luck.


Oh bugger, the fuse has blown. CHLOE! GET A LADDER! MUMMY MOIRA NEEDS YOU TO CLIMB UP AND FIX THE BULBS! OTHERWISE NO SUPPER FOR YOU! Once the lights are back on, “Bleeding Love” starts playing, and the first move of the routine is

this. Honestly, I don’t even know how you recover from that. I don’t think I’ve seen a dance become unsalvageable so quickly, especially at the semi-finals stage. She can do the rest of this like the lesbian lovechild of Rachel Stevens and Kara Tointon I’m never going to be able to get over her spreading her legs and bracing the chair like she’s about to do a massive fart and fire herself three feet into the air. None of this stuff with the chair should have made it in to be honest, it’s all a bit

“the children of Mitchell Brook Primary School re-enact a famous scene from the movies for the Big Fat Quiz Of The Year” with Basic Instinct as the theme. I’m a bit confused as to why AJ chose to work the chair so hard in the first place because really isn’t the point of using a chair that it can be used as mid-air support to show off the length of your contestants legs? Long legs being the one obvious physical advantage Cloudia doesn’t have? Anyway, once off the chair, it’s a little better, although there’s still

unnecessary gymnastics, just because, and the poses are

flat out weird in places. I know it’s hard not to do a melodramatic dance to “Bleeding Love”, but it’s all very thrashy and aggressive and stiff.

And so another woman goes down hard on rumba, and we still talk about how hard it is for the men.

Still, it gets a decent enough reception, in the midst of which I learn that

Oksana is one of those people who clap by banging their entirely flat palms together, which feels VERY Oksana (wouldn’t you agree Oksana?). Craig starts for the judges, saying that, to be honest, he thought it was a bit square. Not totally hep and groovy, like what he is. He found it stilted and lacking in chemistry but on the other hand he did love her devloppes. Darcey’s next, saying that she thought there were lovely moments, but she found it lacking the real intensity and emotional connection that can only come with life experience. On the one hand by the numbers, other than waltz and Argentine Tango, rumba is the dance where there’s the smallest negative correlation between age and score. On the other, Rachel Stevens done the bestest one, and I’m not convinced she had any life experience beyond “read off this script provided for you by your PA and if anybody tries to go off it yell “I DON’T KNOW YOU!” and run backstage”.

Len’s next, and tells Cloudia that she’s dressed as his favourite Quality Street, and that was a QUALITY rumba. (RETIRE) He thought it was neat, controlled, and well-balanced, but he would have preferred it if she’d done a bit less of that ballified cockin’ ‘er leg ahp and if there had been more hip action. Bruno finishes us off (possibly literally) by

getting up and showing her how she should have wiggled her hips, telling her she’s a very young girl (no she’s bloody not) and needed to play it at a more mature level. Lessons on maturity from a guy who 10 minutes ago was hurling himself into the front row for attention, how Bruno.

Up to Claud 9 now, where Claudia tells Cloudia that all the professional dancers up there couldn’t believe she got such harsh comments. Cloudia tells them all “thank you” like the nice well brought young lady that she is. Claudia then says that she really saw the connection between the two of them, and Cloudia pips up “I WAS LOOKING AT HIM THE WHOLE TIME!”. Not…quite the entire point there, but ok. Cloudia goes on to say that she tried really hard on that routine, so she’s a little disappointed. Everyone goes “awwww”

except Chloe who, if anything, looks faintly amused. Scores are in


Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the quickstep

Here’s Ore’s elderly, conservative looking parents.

Here’s their son, dressed as a leather daddy. Tess tells us all that getting to the final means everything to Ore, his lovely wife Portia and…his parents (lol at her not bothering to learn their names). Ore’s dad does not move throughout this entire intro by the way. I think he’s asleep.

VT time, and Ore is still parping on about how magical it was to pretend to be Willy Wonka for Musicals Week. He does think though, that he allowed the pressure of the quarter finals to get to him, leading to a few mistakes creeping into the routine. He then gets more than a little intense, saying that he’s ready to put everything on the line to make it to the final.

Everything. Well, if you’re offering… (*unzips*)

Training now, and Ore tells us that he wants everyone to watch his quickstep and then go “wow!”. I guess in the end, he got his wish, if you add “…that was overmarked!” on the end. We also in this segment get our final session of supportive messages from people at home, but as Ore as the OBVIOUS PRODUCERS FAVOURITE all of his messages are from celebrities including

Rita Ora, Kanye West

Margo Martindale, Clint Eastwood

Zayn Malik, and Princess Eugenie. SHAMELESS BBC BIAS, WE’RE ON TO YOU!


What a fat hog. Ore and Joanne are dancing their quickstep to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” by Jet, as previously assayed by Kara Tointon and Ashley Taylor Dawson, and whilst it’s not perfect on a number of levels (he stumbles a couple of times, including coming down the steps at the beginning ; some of it looks like so much running hugging ; there’s too much winking directly to camera ; he’s dancing from his arms ; the singer can’t do the high notes ; Joanne’s Authentic Biker Styling looks like it’s coming direct from Mad Max 2 and

she needs to stop doing this) it definitely at least feels like the first routine all evening where the participant is actually using it to try to argue for a place in the final, rather than using it to mark time before their better number comes along (or in the case of Louise…well I don’t know what Louise’s tango was for to be honest with you). It’s fast, intense, and lively, and he comes across as feeling his oats throughout, even through the frankly ludicrous final move of him bunny-hopping over the motorbike for no reason other than he can.

This is particularly cute in the light of Oti hurling herself from the rafters later. The sheer lack of ambition ❤

It gets a good reaction in the hall, as Ore’s wife and mother

shoulder-hug in the audience, and his dad claps politely and waits patiently until he can sit back down and go back to sleep.

Ore and Joanne walk over to Tess, and all three

feign over-the-top excitement in unison. It’s quite something. Tess in particular looks she just got her hair trapped in a swimming pool filter. Darcey starts for the judges, mooing that Ore came alive in that routine. Yes, because he’s normally so shy and retiring. Light, terrific footwork and he moved so fast across the floor it felt like he never got off the bike. Hey, that’s no way to talk about Joanne! Len’s next, and says that he doesn’t know if that motorbike at the beginning was a Triumph BUT THAT QUICKSTEP SURE WAS (RETIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRE!). He then goes on to say that Ore never once looked rushed or harried and then

gives him a solo standing ovation. Yes, Len’s Oreboner is not going to be subtle tonight. At all. Of course in the end he’s the only judge to mark Louise in clear last so…he giveth to one Clifton, and he taketh away from the other.

Bruno’s next, yelling that Ore was firing on all cylinders and blowing up his exhaust pipe. You wish hun. He then starts growling at Ore about how he looks in leathers and you can just see Ore nervously glancing at his parents in the audience bless him. Not with the mums and dads in please Bruno. He then also

gives Ore a Standing Ovation, as Len seethes thinking “I DUN IT FIRST, COPY!”. And he’s about to get even crankier, as Craig has ACTUAL CRITIQUE, saying that Ore’s frame slipped on occasion and there were parts that were out of sync. Len rolls around in his chair gnashing his teeth and shouting “YOU’RE MAKING IT UP!” whilst Joanne gives her best

“I hear your criticism and take it on board” face, when you know that by Thursday on It Takes Two she’s going to be all “I watched the tape back and have come to the conclusion that Craig was in fact chatting shite”.

Up to Claud 9 they rev, with all the pros bowing to him in unison as he enters, except Brenda, of course, who bows to no-one. Claudia runs through how Ore has NEVER DANCED BEFORE, NOT EVEN AT HIS OWN WEDDING, and then says she loves his parents. His dad in particular, who apparently was screaming throughout that number. Night terrors are a terrible thing. Scores are in

38 (anybody pushing the ORE WAS OVERMARKED buttons, I present to you Exhibit A : Natalie Lowe’s Face. That woman knows from quicksteps)

Next Up :

Claudia’s Surreal Prop Interlude, featuring a more convincing pratfall onto a crashmat than we’ve seen from Bruno in about 7 years.

Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the samba

Louise would like you to know that she also found that most tickling.

Our second VT of the evening, as usual on Semi-Finals night is

Judges Holodeck. I feel it’s kind of indicative that they’re running this segment through with a giant video-wall of Louise dancing, and none of the bloomin’ judges actually looking at it. Anywho, this VT is for telling us the official storyline Strengths and Weaknesses of the remaining celebrities at this point. And Louise’s according to the judges, are as follows :

Pros : Classy, consistent, lovely, lyrical, musical, makes nice vol-au-vents
Cons : Prone to plateauing, doesn’t push herself, can be dull, not a party animal, Kevin’s hair may become sentient and kill us all


Poor Louise. They’ve gone for Carmen Miranda, they’ve ended up with Daisy Duck In The Shower. She’s dancing her samba to “Brazil” aka the ITV Theme Tune for the 2014 World Cup. Between this and Glad All Over being the Crystal Palace theme toon, bless Kevin for working in a very subtle WAG football theme here for an audience likely to be 100% indifferent to it. As the music starts, Louise starts bobbing and ducking her hips and then Kevin wanders in

determined to make this whole routine look as Benny Hill as possible. Personally I don’t think he should be borrowing themes from Anton’s latin for Katie Derham but hey, it didn’t stop either pairing from making it to the final so what do I know? At least Katie brought a certain boozy libido to her dances mind, even if her technique was wobbly – Kevin’s trying to make Louise into a saucy Latin party temptress, grabbing him by the collar and leading him a merry dance around the floor, but I don’t think Louise does that sort of Party Latin

as this shot amply shows. When you’re giggle-cringing enough that even Kevin Clifton joins in, then you know we’ve got problems. Her hip action actually isn’t all that bad – there’s a certain lightness and ease to it that doesn’t come across as forced as some sambas do, but none of the routine feels committed to so much as endured and she clearly loses the choreography at least two or three times.

No fireworks gonna push this one over the edge.


it’s the most excited her Jamie’s looked all series, so at least it worked for somebody. Once everyone’s stopped hyperventilating with the thrill of it all, Len starts for the judges by saying that there was at least more content than there was in her quickstep last week. Backrolls, corte de jacas…Len even saw the maypole! And he’s never seen that on Strictly before. I’m fairly sure I saw it in their tango. I’m still recovering. Anyway, he’s glad that she’s performing the dances now, as opposed to earlier weeks when she hid inside her tent-dresses, but it felt like she was clinging to Kevin too much in the pivots. Bruno’s next, purring that it was all very “tutti frutti” but he too appreciated the sheer amount of content in there. He also saw the error in her pivots though.

Craig’s next, saying that he didn’t see enough resistance in the top half of her body (I was feeling resistance from all parts of her body, throughout, but that’s just me) and thought she needed to accentuate her bounce more. Louise moved from Bounce to Bold ages ago Craig, keep up. It keeps her Jamie’s kit smelling SPOTLESS. Still, he think it was very “vivacious” which is really one of those words that only ever gets applied to women over 40 isn’t it? Darcey closes by saying that she loved the joy on Louise’s face and how she held herself, but felt she lost energy towards the end. She did enjoy how she flirted with Kevin though. At this Kevin plays out a little “IT MEANS NOTHING, I SWEAR!” act in which we learn that

God, even Jamie Redknapp is a better actor than AJ.

Up to Claud 9 they sheen, where Claudia opens by saying that she is going to unapologetically say that Louise has been on a JURNEE because when she started she was all self-conscious and awkward and now here she is IN A FRUIT HAT! Oh God, is wearing a silly hat an official Journey Ending point on this show now? How far we have come. Louise says she can’t believe it, and keeps on catching sight of herself in the mirrors, WEIRDED OUT that she’d ever wear this hat. Again, do I need to show you what you were wearing in Movie Week hun? With your bumflaps hanging out? Coz that was Week 3. Scores are in


Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the American Smooth

Tess tells us that since Week 2, when he topped the leaderboard for the first time, Danny hasn’t looked back once. Well except last week, when he apparently spent the whole time he wasn’t training locked in a cupboard crying “IT’S GOING TO BE THE FOXTROT ALL OVER AGAIN, PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE THE FOXTROT AGAIN, I CAN’T DO IT!”. Fortunately he’s with Oti, so “the whole time he wasn’t training” was about five minutes. Whilst he was asleep. Well…one eye was closed.


Pros : Sexayness, showmanship, storytelling, powerful hips, precision, Oti has a black belt in every martial art on the face of the planet and will HUNT! YOU! DOWN!
Cons : Lacks intimacy with his partner, overcomplicates things, error-prone, pushes himself too hard, let’s face it, was in Hollyoaks


Jeez, we get enough end-of-the-pier routines from the Cliftons without you joining in Oti, give it a rest. She and Danny are dancing to Misty Blue, which I’ve always been a fan of, then became a stan of after this Hip-Hop routine on So You Think You Can Dance, and after this dance I’ve ascended to a WHOLE NOTHER LEVEL of appreciation. Still about two notches below Allison Hammond’s Wuthering Heights routine, but really what could ever? This though is just a really good routine, and unless someone comes along and does something I really like in their showdance (lol, I think we all know my opinion on showdances now right?) this will almost certainly stand as my Routine Of The Series.

It’s a real old school number that takes advantage of the fact that Danny has

matinee Idol Monty Clift good looks (ie a little wonky and better in black and white) and can carry off the jumper and Gene Kelly trousers look to a t. Oti has gone thoroughly cinematic with her cinematography as well

I mean look at this moment. That right there is the end of a knock-off Casablanca set on a rickety cheapo set from an alternative Old Hollywood where Oti would have been able to play anything other than a sassy maid. The dancing is beautiful as well, with each turn of the Viennese Waltz hitting the beats of the music perfectly and musically and every little hop

creating a perfect sillhouette. I think my most orgasmic moment personally me is when he goes for a little sloping handstand over Oti and

defies gravity, perfectly held, just for a moment, before sinking back down again. HOW DID PEOPLE NOT VOTE FOR THIS, I AM OUTRAGED! It all ends with Oti

taking a flyer off the end of the pier which, yes, hardly PURITY OF DAHNCE, but what a moment.

They go over to the judges, where Bruno starts, sighing that he was totally swept away on a wave of emotion (makes a change) and that he loved all the contemporary/jazz elements to the routine. Cut to Carley Stenson

losing it in the audience like she just lost an Oscar to Jennifer Love Hewitt. HAPPY TEARS THOUGH! HAPPY TEARS! Craig’s next, and you will be surprised to hear that between the swirling mists and the tight-arse trousers and the… occasionaly tangential brushing against ballroom technique, that was right up his street.

Darcey’s next, and she loved the smooth control that was obtained by Danny in that routine, the Viennese Waltz technique, and all the transitions into and out of lifts, although she thought one of said lifts looked a little of clumsy and “out of context”. Len closes by saying that, like Craig, that routine was right up his alley, even though the turns only went one way. Oh Len. Always happy to abandon the PURITY OF DAHNCE for any guy who looks like he might have played rugby once.

Up to Claud 9 they sweep, where Danny’s words to Claudia’s questions amount to “it really does, I mean, *shrug*”. God this final week of interviews is going to be painful isn’t it? Scores are in


Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard dancing the quickstep

I swear when I first glanced at that I thought he had a hairslide in. Kids today.


Pros : Powerful, committed, risk-taker, enthusiastic, excellent footwork, great big flick-flacks
Cons : Unexpressive, doesn’t tell a story via dance, little connection with her partner, has to take time off training to revise for her SATs.


Yes, Cloudia is starting the routine in full ermines. Fortunately she

throws them off before the Animal Rights brigade get hold of her, and proceeds to quickstep with AJ to “When You’re Smiling”. Very fast. Mercifully, this time, unlike the samba and the jive before it, Cloudia is perfectly capable of keeping up with this one, producing a quickstep that’s more technical, more refined and more authentically joyous than the already quite fun one that Ore produced before. There’s just something very charming about Cloudia tripping the light fantastic with AJ

skipping merrily about the floor, putting in lots of varied content. I think I had these two backwards in the week – it’s the quickstep that’s the polished battering ram routine that they wanted to take into the dance-off, and I’m fairly sure it at least would have taken out Louise, if push came to shove. My only problem is, as ever, the height difference means that AJ has to lean in and crouch a little at times to keep the gapping at bay, and it looks a little weird. Great routine though.

It gets a nice reaction from the audience, and once they reach the judges, Craig beams that THAT MADE HIM SMILE. Don’t become Len Craig. Don’t. Not just as he’s three-quarters of the way out the door, don’t hurt me like this. Anyway, he felt like Cloudia was dancing for her life, and he loved the ending (the ending featured AJ sliding Cloudia across the floor on her arse like a curling stone. Seems like Craig’s sort of deal, yes). Meanwhile in the audience

Papa Cloudia’s still not too sure about the start of that rumba. Not too sure at all. Darcey’s next, and says she loved the routine, particularly how Cloudia carved up the dancefloor with her changes of direction and speed. She felt there was a very generous topline on display (ooh-err) and the whole routine demonstrated that Cloudia is very fit (yes Darcey, she’s an Olympic gymnast, keep up) but she did detect gapping in places. Jeez, always with the gapping. The audience boo this, and then Darcey starts actually slapping the table and yelling at them to shit up. God, two articles of the Len vector passed on within one critique. All it needs now is for Bruno to go squishy over a hunky sportsma…I mean to just shout gobbledegoo…I mean…well it’d be hard to tell if Bruno went haywire really.

Len’s next, and tells Cloudia that she’s gone from GYMNASTIC to FANTASTIC. I’m sure her coaches will be glad to hear that when she’s back on the training bars next week. Sod the Olympics Cloudia, you just did a better shiny floor show quickstep than a Sports Reporter BIN IT, BIN IT ALL, RUN AWAY WITH AJ AND CHLOE INTO THE FOREST AND SAMBA FOREVER. Bruno finally closes by telling Cloudia that this dance really suited her – she had spring and sprint, she never missed a beat and best of all SHE PRODUCED TURNS WITH SWING IN! Whatever floats your boat I guess.

Up to Claud 9 they boing, where AJ immediately…barks (?) in Claudia’s face and says he’s so happy. He is an odd one. Claudia and Cloudia chat about how she’s had to unlearn all her gymnastics for Strictly (at the same time as she’s also learning gymnastics which yes, that must be tricky) and she gives credit to AJ for working her so hard. Scores are in


Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the Argentine Tango

Tess tells us that it’s been a topsy turvy series for Ore, with him topping the leaderboard one week and then finding himself in the dance-off the next. He’s gone from tears to tears to more tears. IT’S BEEN A ROLLERCOASTER!


Pros : His bond with Joanne, his performance skills, his passion, his emotional…openness
Cons : His lack of technique, his ugly feet, weak latin, his emotional…incontinence


Oh Christ, has someone just been forgetting to feed the meter at all this week? TURN THE BLAHDDY LIGHTS ON. The music starts and it’s a stringified version of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue, which is a choice I guess. Ore carries Joanne down onto the dancefloor and into this

the first figure, looking a bit like Joanne’s reaching for a secret fiver he’s got tucked into his shoe and is hoping he doesn’t notice. Sneaky cow. Actually a lot of the lifts here are

a bit questionable, which is why I find myself unsurprised that once again we’re witnessing a Joanthan Platero joint. Twice in one show, truly we are being spoiled. I’ve seen a lot of people say this routine was just a lot of walking about and posing but honestly I think people have had their perceptions warped by Danny Mac running around flicking his legs about like he’s trying to kick and entire gravelpath driveway of stones out of his shoes. This is what Bloke Argentine Rumbas are about. Go back and actually watch Ramps’ version. And Harry’s. It’s just walking about being ridiculously good-looking. And this is more of the same. He stumbles a bit, Joanne overeggs the pudding a bit, the lifts as I said, look silly, it doesn’t really deserve 39 in this universe or the next, but at least it doesn’t make me want to rub my skin with lye for half an hour like the Donobot’s did, it’s all fine.


It gets a decent but not overwhelming reaction that if the judges had any sense would possibly have them jamming at their scorepads yelling “UNDO UNDO” but it’s too late now. They wander over to the judges, where Darcey starts by calling it a Fast And Furious Argentine Tango. Well it definitely robbed Danny of his rightful place at the top of the leaderboard and made a speedy getaway yes. Darcey goes on to say that it must be so hard to express passion at that speed. Poor Mr Darcey. Len’s next, and launches into a slightly forced speech about how ORE HAS NEVER DANCED BEFORE AND SOME OF THE OTHER ‘AVE DONE GYMNASTICS AND MYEWWWWSICUW FEATUH AND CLAP CLAP VOTE HIM THROUGH TO THE FINAL GUYS. I’m not sure what’s depressing – that they’d be this heavy-handed, or that whenever Len does a big ranty speech like this people always listen.

Bruno’s next, and he calls Ore mesmerising, hissing that he could hardly breathe due to the mesmeric intensity of that dance. Also because he’s just popped a couple of OxyContin LET’S START THE AFTERSHOW PARTY RIGHT NOW! Craig closes by saying that it was definitely better than his quickstep, but he did trip in one of the lunges, what a shame.

Up to Claud 9 they stalk with

Joanne’s boobs half hanging out, where Claudia asks him if doing that dance lived up to expectations and he says that it more than did, because he doesn’t often get to show that side of himself very often. Your paso was only two weeks ago mate and it was the exact same bloody thing, calm down. Scores are in

39. “A desiring 10” is the worst thing Darcey has ever said by the way, other than the time she drawled “you were having a very sexy party” at Ali and Count Fortuna.




24 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Week 12 Performance

  1. ChaChaChavvy

    The only thing that got me through the ulcer-inducing scoring this week was Oksana’s face at everything. How one woman can convey so much without moving a single facial muscle I will never know.

  2. Gerry

    Darcey accusing Claudia and AJ of gapping in that quickstep makes me wonder what reality she’s in touch with — Claudia’s the best part of FOURTEEN INCHES shorter than AJ FFS woman! Just apparate into the Potterverse and have a fast quickstep with Hagrid why don’t you and maybe you might appreciate what can be involved in reducing gapping in a disparately sized partnership. At least Len seemed to comprehend at one point during the DO but there has been a singular lack of making allowances from any of the judges.

    I really despair at times!

    1. Gerry

      Or do I mean the DO? I know he did comment at one point at the weekend. I sometimes wish there was the possibility of editing one’s response on these pages.

      By the way, does anyone know how important gapping or the lack of it is in the QS? When I invested in about six moths of weekly ballroom dance lessons around 55 years ago the main comments I remember about gapping were more to do with the waltz and being close enough to one’s partner to keep a piece of paper between you from falling to the floor. I don’t remember gapping being deemed an issue for the QS

      1. monkseal Post author

        Although, crucially, not with Craig. I still cackle at the thought of him giving that ish a 7. Madam was not HAVING it.

      2. Gerry

        Thinking about it I guess the whole business that has been developed in competitive QS of emulating the effects of male halitosis — “flower in a vase”, anyone? — is to push the pelvic regions (naughty bits) together and elevate the QS into the realms of sexual scandal historically belonging to the waltz. This obviously has to reduce gapping but will never achieve the apparent aim of increased sexiness due to the aforesaid halitosial (?sic) upper separation and enforced impossibilty of osculation opportunity! 😛

      3. Gerry

        A further thought about why Claudia in particular wouldn’t want to reduce gapping too much is that her diddiness is such that her “naghty bits” must almost be at the same level as his knees — risky or what? Just the thought brings tears to one’s eyes. 😀

      4. monkseal Post author

        Gapping I think is one of those things that became a Big Issue generally on Strictly because it’s something that allows people to Play Along At Home with judging people, unlike, say looking at for heel leads, which means you’re staring at someone’s feet for the whole routine rather than enjoying it. Of course this leads to absurdity like I’ve seen this week where people complained there was gapping in Ore’s Argentine Tango…

  3. DJ Mikey

    Monkie – we don’t have to log into Facebook to call Louise a Wet, Beige WAG, we’re using YouTube to do that as well.

    Also Ore’s AT was seriously lacking in male content, as was Jay’s last year by the way, if you watch Harry’s AT again you’ll see that – although he’s not operating at a Danny Mac level – he still does more footwork than either of them.

      1. DJ Mikey

        “Aren’t dream casts just a list of celebrities people want to bang?”

        Monkie – How very dare you, I resemble that statement..

        Anyway I’m championing the cause for Tomasz Schafernaker yet again..

        And I’m adding Matthew Lewis to the list..

  4. TLawrence (@Meserach)

    You know what I’m really curious about? What was behind the production decision from series 8 onwards to switch down to doing just one week of “two new dances per couple” (the semi-final), and the consequent ability to “skip” one dance? Certainly I don’t feel the need to return to the idea of them also all doing the same genre in the same week so we can compare them properly, which seems so on-paper tedious I can’t quite believe I used to merrily sit through it all those years ago, but the idea of them skipping one nonetheless rankles. Anyone know anything?

    1. monkseal Post author

      I feel like the decision to skip a dance was separate from the decision when to start two-dance, and probably because of a sense of “fairness” over Kara having already done the samba for Children In Need. I think that was the first time they scouted someone from a Charity Special/Xmas Show. And then it stuck.

      I praise God that we didn’t have two-dance a week earlier in Series 8 anyway, because I couldn’t have stomached two Widdy routines in one show.

  5. Jojo

    It was nice to see Tess Is capable of behaving like an actual human when collapsing into giggles at Clawdias pratfall: unprofessional yes…. but nice to see

  6. Minxy

    What a way to wake up after sleeping for 28 hours 😀Thank you
    Yeah i didn’t, and never would have, got the football theming. Was it Kev or was it the blind, dart throwing music choosing monkey?

    And WOW at that misty blue link (i ended up watching a whole bunch of dances before coming back)

    1. monkseal Post author

      Every time I link to a SYTYCD routine I end up falling down a hole, I miss when that show was good so much.


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