So with 11 couples and an elimination to fit into the same time slot into which they’d previously presented 5 dances, the show hit warp thrusters this week, trimmed the fat, cut the length of each VT to about 20 seconds (eyes to Strictly producers), rattled through the judges comments, and fit the entire show into a neat 100 minutes. Of course there was still time for two length recaps of every performance but, well, they’re still a reality show let’s not expect miracles. As such, with such a brisk show, with no theme to hang everything on, combined with the fact that it took me longer than usual to find the episode this week (PLEASE DON’T DISAPPEAR ON ME, MYSTERIOUS UPLOADER) I’m splitting these performances into three groups, based on their overall scores based on their two performances so far.
The Frontrunners : Based on their scores so far, our frontrunners are Aobhin, Denise (the two of which I still can’t really tell apart), Dayl (pronounced “Jedward’s Cool Babysitter Who Works At The Library”), and Des B. Although with how Des C‘s scores have been inflated, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see him in this group before too long. I wonder what happened to Des A. Maybe they’re waiting to introduce him as a midseries twist? Of our front-runners, the two ladies both went up against the more lively ballroom genres, with Denise leaning on her partner Ryan “I’M THE BAD BOY, ME, RYAN MCSHANE, LOOK AT ME!” McShane mean and moody side to produce a tango to “El Tango De Roxanne”. Halfway through the dance a klaxon went off to celebrate that this was the 50th tango to “El Tango de Roxanne” ever performed on a version of Strictly, at which point the ceiling opened up like the swimming pool at Tracy Island and a whole load of balloons with “50!” on fell in. Still, it was an assured performance, enough to put our ringer-dinger 5 points clear at the top of the leaderboard. Fortunately the show’s production staff didn’t
make her look like a Sith Lord or anything, so I’m sure she won’t become unpopular. If Denise was ploughing a usual Strictly furrow then Aobhin & Vitali were going only marginally more novel, with a 50s housewife themed quickstep, albeit one to Cheryl Cole. The real twist came with the opening and the closing of the routine, with the ending being the opening done again, but in reverse, right down to a very odd “applying lipstick” mime. I’m not sure the effect landed, but at least Vitali is trying new things, which along with his very Pasha’esque gurning cements him as my favourite pro on the show on the male side. Admittedly Aobhin seemed a little put out she’d had to spend the entirity of training
with his balls in her face but…well I’ll step in if she gets tired. Elsewhere Dayl continued his war on Judge Brian (looking as ever like Herr Flick as styled by Herr Gruber) by incorporating a few hip hop moves into his One Direction scored tango, even after he was expressely told not to two weeks ago. This all seems like small potatoes in reality given that half the routines on this show seem to begin with some sort of advanced playground clapping game regardless of genre, but I guess a trumped up feud between the young rebel boyband member and the fusty old purity of dahnce judge is a staple on this show now that cannot be removed without ripping the spine. Des B meanwhile pulled himself up into the upper ends of the table with a salsa to Club Tropicana in which he wore
possibly the most hideous outfit I’ve ever seen on this show ever, and I’m including that time Erin Boag turned up as one of the rollers from a car wash. As you might expect from a Wham! salsa, the whole thing rang out as being particularly g-g-g-gay, although perhaps ironically, as his legs were strong, grounded, and slightly stompy and his arms were flyaway, free, and incredibly limp-wristed, his bottom half was giving me “top” and his top half was giving me “bottom”.
The Middle Of The Pack Although speaking of gay, Character Comedian Katherine went right for the homo jugular this week with a cha cha to “Express Yourself” complete with black velvet gloves, fascinator, feather boa, basque, 8 inch heels and an opening where she wrote her pro partner’s name on lipstick in the mirror on a
giant bum and dick. What filth. Suffice it to say that last week’s elegant and “feminine” (as pronounced by Katherine like the name of some recently discovered chemical element) violin was out and was being replaced by the bullhorn of camp. And hooray for that, quite frankly. It was up to Thalia, after her slightly awkward beginning last week, to strike back in the name of heterosexuality with a very smouldering rumba (yes, somehow someone smouldered to flipping Kodaline, I was very impressed) indeed, in which her partner Pritchard Minor visually referenced one of my very favourite and my very least favourite Strictly things
an undone bow-tie made out of Bacofoil. Thalia also apparently struck back in the name of heterosexuality this week by getting it on off-shoow with Denise’s pro, ol Aldi James Jordan himself Ryan. Well there’s no accounting for taste. Sadly this wasn’t quite enough to keep her out of the Bottom 3 (yes this show has a Bottom 3 apparently, the mysteries of the format just keep on expanding) but I’ve got a feeling she can move on upwards from here. Moving in the other direction meanwhile was our Gaelic footballer Aidan, who started off with strong scores this week but was pegged back in his quickstep, although I can’t help feeling the judges were befuddled by the story, in which Aidan and Valeria fought in an abandoned library (?) then crawled through a wardrobe (?) into a magical forest (???). Maybe it’s some sort of Narnia reference I dunno. Aidan was actually surprisingly light on his feet for such a big guy, but there was no hiding the fact that his and Valeria’s torsos seemed to be actually magnetically repelling one another throughout.
The Underdogs : Which just leaves Des C, Hughie, Dr Eva and Meme Goddess Teresa Mannion battling out to avoid being our First Boot. In fairness, having slagged Des off in my opening, his paso doble was certainly an…erm…spectacle, and the sort of thing that Ed Balls paso should have been in if it hadn’t got drowned in dragons and castles and sub 50 Shades Of Grey bondage. Enough of a spectacle that it got what I think was the first standing ovation of the series, just for the sheer drama of it all. I mean, he didn’t actually do much beyond stomp about, flick his cape about like it was about to flick some poor teammate in the butt in the showers, and of course do the old Kristina Rihanoff Memorial John Sergeant paso Winnie The Pooh floor drag, but it wasn’t the worst routine of the night, and he WAS doing it with a groin strain. Apparently. The honour of actual worst dance of the night goes to Teresa who, bless her, could not cha cha to save her life, even if she was thinking of her fight against breast cancer throughout. There was one move in particular that was supposed to look like an empowered fist of triumph and looked more like she was tossing salt over her shoulder. There were just major balance issues throughout and her face was an absolute frozen rictus. Get her back on the giant props and lip-sync’ing stat, I’m not sure the whole “dancing” bit is going to be her deal. Fortunately neither she or Des faced the boot though, as the other two members of our Bottom 3 were Dr Eva and Hughie. And for those of you wondering about Hughie’s face
yes they did try their level best to make him look as pale as possible to make up for last week. Both he and Dr Eva had Elegant Ballroom this week (foxtrot for Dr Eva, waltz for Hughie) and both did them tastefully and slightly dully but it turned out that Dr Eva had a secret weapon in her arsenal as, in her VT, she looked right down the camera and all but demanded that everybody that she’d ever helped lose weight dial in and vote for her, otherwise she would ENTER THEIR HOUSES WHILST THEY SLEPT AND FORCIBLY INSERT ALL THAT FAT BACK IN THEIR BODIES WITH A HOSE ha ha not really fun Dr Eva, she’s being FUN Dr Eva. At any rate it was Hughie that went home, with a hearty dollop of Schadenfreude on the side as he cackled during his judges comments that he was doing the Charleston next week so everybody better WATCH OUT. Well, turns out not. His pro-partner Emily was devastated bless her, although maybe she should have argued him out of spending all week calling the judges biased against him in an attempt to paper over Malteasergate. Oh well, I’m sure, as he’ll tell you himself, some people thought he should have won.
Next Week : MOVIE NIGHT. LET THE THEME WEEKS BEGIN!