Now 100 per cent more AMOYZING.
Brian & Amy: The fundamental differences between these two were writ large in this exit interview with Brian forcibly attempting to lampoon the entire thing by snarking that Amy was a shit partner, that he’d never wanted to do the show in the first place and that people who cry about their elimination are giant whiny babies, while Amy, bless her, played it dead straight, earnestly insisted that Brian really had learned to dance because Shirley did that list of all the jive steps he’d managed, and no one would ever be able to take that away from him. I’m sure I can’t be alone in wanting Amy to get an absolute type-A ringertron next year and just wait for the madness to unfurl. Oh, and we got one last IT’S A PAHPET for the road. Now let’s never speak of this again.
Bonus Backstage Footage: Well, sure. I could tell you about the time that Anton didn’t manage to properly rip his trousers off during the dress rehearsal, or the part where Kevin caught Karen slow-dancing with Susan and briefly gave us a showmance for the ages, or the part where Alex gave us a tour of the dressing room and explained who Family is again, meaning that either she doesn’t remember going through that with us once already on last week’s results show or that this bit was filmed prior to that bit and the continuity person is asleep at the wheel, but I know what you’re all here for.
Absolutely shameless framing of Dianne interviewing Joe that just so happens to incorporate a shirtless Jonnie in the background. How appalling, I’m calling Ofcom. Oh, and
I’m glad that Debbie and Giovanni found a much better way to occupy their time while The Script were on.
Natalie’s Nhoreography Norner: She’s back! And she’s spent the morning wedding dress shopping, and let me tell you that I for one have got that issue of OK! magazine pre-ordered, I can’t wait. Natalie returned to pass judgement on the weekend’s routines and, being Natalie, was relentlessly positive about everyone because she thinks they’re all amazing. I miss her so much. She thought Debbie looked very comfortable in a high heel, that Jonnie had a gorgeous smile and really suited the quickstep, and she felt that she could empathise with Alex’s foot-turning-in issues because let me tell you Natalie Lowe has had some partners in the past who did not know which way their feet should be pointing even when they were just walking up the stairs. And, in the closest Natalie got to being critical of anyone, she requested less content and more finesse in Davood’s routines (YES GAWD) and more energy from Simon.
Ballroom Bingo: This year’s segment in which the pros all politely grouse about each other’s worst habits. There was disagreement over who had the worst fashion sense – the answer is obviously Neil but only Karen actually said it, with Dianne nominating Brenda (because he’s old lol, I knew I liked Dianne for a reason), Brenda and Katya nominating Anton for inappropriate wearing of a shirt and tie, and Neil attempting to blame Kevin for his own sartorial failings. There was a much broader consensus on which pro has the most energy (/is most annoying) with Gorka, Aljaž, Oti, AJ, Karen, Giovanni and Amy all suggesting that Katya might want to calm the fuck down sometimes.
Gemma & Aljaž: As you’ve probably picked up, Gemma didn’t enjoy the foxtrot at all and thought that she did it much better in the dress rehearsal than she ended up doing on the night. Aljaž made some vague attempts at supportive noises but was more interested in spending the entire interview looking out the corner of his eyes into the camera to see what hilarious pun they were going to put under his name this week, so when it finally happened
this felt more than justified. (Also has he ever looked more like Brock from the Pokémon anime than he does there, no he has not.) This week they’ve got the jive but they haven’t started training for it yet, and also apparently Aljaž is proper scared of Halloween. Maybe it’s because he’s spent 75% of his Halloween weeks on the show to date in the dance-off?
Simon & Karen :
Not really a lot I can add is there? After beating both Richard and Brian, Simon has now declared himself the winner of the “Lumbering Old Guy Glitterball”, previous iterations of which I feel have been swapping back and forth between Erin and Natalie’s attics over the years. This week he has a Viennese Waltz to Delilah, but he hasn’t started training yet because he seriously injured his leg when he stacked it in the dance-off. Karen still likes food.
Tunes On Tuesday : A bit of a deflating note to start Tunes On Tuesday on tonight, as we discovered that Debbie will be dancing a Charleston to “Frankie” by Sister Sledge, which feels a bit like they really wanted to get Giovanni to dress up as Frankenstein and worked backwards from there, and not very far at that. Elsewhere both female “Relatable Triers” will be dancing to Hallowe’en repeats, Susan to “Killer Queen” as danced to in Series 10 by Fern & Artem, and Ruth to “Bewitched”, as danced to in Series 9 by Jason & Kristina. It feels like Susan might have a better shot of measuring up there.
Pro Routine Preview : Apparently the Hallowe’en dances are now a serial in yearly installments, in which we’re supposed to keep track of characters, plot and motivation. I know, I could have done with a warning as well. Apparently after Brenda The Vampire took Karen as his demonic bridge by snatching her away from Kevin last year, this year she’s haunting his dreams with three sister revenants, and is going to send him insane as revenge. If you’re wondering who the other three nightmares are, they are called Shirley, Lulu, and Premature Ejaculation. I can’t wait!
The Blue Peter Special : After last year’s Olympian special, it has been revealed that this year’s Children In Need Strictly jaunt, that used to be used to audition stars for future series but which now is basically a warm up to ensure the eliminated pros don’t cramp up by the time it comes to the Christmas Special, will be Blue Peter themed. Tim Vincent will be with Dianne, Konnie Huq will be with Neil, Radzi (?) will be with Chloe, Diane Louise Jordan will be with Pasha, Mark Curry will be with Amy, and finally, and most importantly of all by a million miles, Brenda will be partnered with ANTHEA TURNER. If it were any more than 10 seconds of dancing I would say that this will not end well.
Natalie’s Nhoreography Norner : I think my favourite moment of tonight’s Nhoreography Norner was Natalie making it very clear that she was smiling all the way through Anton and Ruth’s samba, but definitely not laughing. Because, you know, that would have been disrespectful to the vibe Anton was going for with that routine. Elsewhere, Natalie agreed that Joe’s paso was the best of the series so far by a male celebrity ; said that she thinks that Gemma is just one of a field of potential dark horses for the title, by which she means she prefers Mollie ; thinks that Susan could just possibly include more technique in her dances, you know, if she feels like it ; and her discussion of Aston marked the point of the series where everyone got sick of that bloody “Demo Time” sting. Ah well, only eight more weeks of it happening three times an episode until Zoe takes a hatchet to the monitor.
Jonnie & Oti : A humanising interview from these two, as Jonnie talked about how nervous he gets waiting to perform every week (hey producers, maybe put him on a bit earlier in the running order, occasionally maybe?) and Oti revealed that she’d completely blanked on her own choreography in the dress run but IT DIDN’T HAPPEN ON THE MAIN SHOW AND IT NEVER HAS BEFORE AND IT NEVER WILL AGAIN, D’YOU HEAR? We also covered that Jonnie was really happy to get his first 9, really happy to have the support of Chizzy in the competition, and just also really loves smiling and being a cutie-pie! This week they have the cha cha, and it sounds like it has some sort of aquatic or piraticaly theme, but earlier in the week this was Greek Gods so…who knows that this point? The MAGIC OF HALLOWE’EN LADIES AND GENTS!
Ruth & Anton : It Takes Two found itself taking on the role of Len’s Glans this week with Ruth and Anton, as we watched their glorious costume reveal in slow motion, right down to the finest wrinkle of triumph in Anton’s face as he ripped his trousers off in front of 10 million people. Living the dream. Also it was revealed that upon seeing Ruth in full costume as a flight attendant for the first time from the audience, Eamonn kicked off, expleting to everyone who would listen that only Ruth would allow this show’s wardrobe to put her in such a hideous outfit with such an awful wig. Definitely his first year of watching isn’t it? Oh and if you’re looking for the difference between Brenda’s anti-Shirley shade, and Anton’s anti-Shirley shade, Anton very definitely said that he based his samba on what Shirley’s competitive routines would have been in 1976. When, according to her own bio, she would have been 15 years old. She says. Oh Anton. This week they have the quickstep and are dancing it to the Bewitched Theme Tune. Ruth can do the nose twitch. Anton cannot.
Waite’s Wednesday Warm Up An exceptionally critical Warm Up today, as Ian revealed that Gemma needs to be less flat footed in her jive, Davood needs to straighten his legs in his rumba, Debbie needs to get more wild and crazy in her Charleston (to FRANKIE by SISTER SLEDGE), Jonnie is doing a good job of coping (bless) and Joe needs to smooth his pivots out. In fairness they did all look pretty bad. Still, early days.
Aston & Janette We went further down the rabbit hole of Aston’s identity crisis in the waltz this week, in which you’ll recall he was supposed to be playing himself. Or a different side of himself. Although apparently his girlfriend was there and she could tell that he wasn’t being himself at all. Also this week they have the paso doble and he will be playing yet another personality. Or possibly himself again. Basically Aston is going to need a hefty amount of therapy after this series, and at this rate, so am I. This week they have the paso doble, and will become the first couple in Strictly history to dance to a Nirvana song, in this case Smells Like Teen Spirit. Janette tried to pretend that she knows many other Nirvana songs. She clearly does not. Oh and they’re going to ghosts, apparently. Vicky Gill is cutting eye holes in her bed sheets as we speak.
Alexandra & Gorka : OK, so everything in this interview was irrelevant in the shadow of Gorka trying to teach Alexandra how to roll her “r”s, Spanish style, and Alexandra instead making a noise like a kitten sneezing. It was ADORABLE. Almost as adorable as thought of Gorka rolling his “r”s in a very different way, phonetically speaking. Otherwise they talked about Alexandra’s need to tame the Beast within her, debated whether Gorka or Alexandra is the bigger screamer and groaner (…) and both agreed that they definitely have a much stronger connection now than they did at the start, and have in fact developed in in-depth language based on non-verbal communication. We really are reaching the halfway stage already aren’t we, they’re all locked in to one another now. Personally some years I’d like to have a follow-up special some time around the end of January, before the tour starts, to see how the most intensely bonded partnerships are coping not spending 10 hours a day every day pressed up against one another’s bodies, and in fact maybe sending a text once a week or so. I bet Natalie Gumede had gone BONKERS.
Davood & Nadiya : Much of today’s segment delved into Davood’s relationships backstage at Eastenders, where apparently Bonnie Langford is a VERY protective mother figure, Kellie Bright and Tameka Empson are sympathetic comrades in arms drinking with him in the Vic and sharing war stories, and June Brown clearly doesn’t know who Davood is, and doesn’t particularly care to know. But Davood would like her to. One day. Just hello in the corridor or something. Really is a nest of politics back there isn’t it? This week they will be dancing the rumba, with Davood getting to have the distinction of being the FIRST MALE this series to try it, and Nadiya getting therefore to be the first person to have the distinction of saying that the rumba is REALLY DIFFICULT FOR MEN TO DO, IN FACT THE HARDEST. When pressed on why, Nadiya stated that it’s because they have to be in control of everything out on the dance floor. Yeah, sounds legit. Davood will, at least, be donning more than he did for that Hallowe’en special of Eastenders when he wore nothing but a pumpkin. I imagine this is because when he did that June Brown walked past, raised an eyebrow and muttered “cold isn’t it…” before returning to her trailer.
Waite’s Thursday Thingummy : A much more pleasant Warm Up today, as Ian was in a much better mood.
Can’t think why. (The wig there is very…early series Erin isn’t it?) Aston and Alexandra were particular highlights, with the former’s strong paso shaping and the latter’s ferocity and sheer volume of choreography being praised. Simon, Ruth, and Mollie all got less praise, but still a sympathetic hearing. Simon needs to raise his elbows in hold, Ruth needs to maybe have a slightly less complicated routine, and Mollie needs to not have a Latin dance, but here we are.
Jason Gilkison Presents : This was a segment in which Jason Gilkison, king of Strictly choreography since about 2013, took us through the technical demands of the Viennese Waltz in depth. It did make me wonder why, if Jason is such an expert in fine ballroom technique, all the pro routines now feature them flinging bowling balls about and doing contemposalsa.
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill : This week Katya will be dressed as a spider.
Mollie & AJ : Tonight it was revealed that Mollie is QUEEN of Training Hours, regularly putting in 12 hour days which…doesn’t really sound like a sensible thing to be doing to be honest, but I’m not her. Maybe her body can take it, or maybe a lot of that is taken up with AJ
blankly staring at himself in the mirror whilst she’s talking to him. Nothing like an engaged teacher is there? Indeed, according to Mollie “the only praise I get is self praise”. So there goes all those showmance rumours, if she’s already having to take care of her needs by herself. Well I guess if you can’t praise yourself, how in the hell are you gonna praise anybody else, can I get an amen? This week they will be dancing the cha cha to “Better The Devil You Know”, a song also performed to in the Hallowe’en Special of Series 9 by Russell & Flavia. AJ apparently is hoping to feel Russell Grant enter him on Saturday Night mid dance. You know. In spirit.
Katya’s Worst Nightmare:
Yeah ours too hon.
Gethin’s Homoerotic Backstage Adventures: Despite something of a lull mid-episode when Gethin was commissioned to interview two senior figures in the art department, neither one of whom showed any discernible desire to ever be shown on television, Gethin did at least manage to find Pasha and Aljaž at the top of the episode, in a corridor wearing matching leather jackets like they were about to head off to the Ace Cafe and find themselves a couple of biker daddies. Transparently, however, the highlight came near the end when, during a chat with Jonnie, Gemma, and Simon, Gethin asked Jonnie how his Latin hips were coming along and Jonnie essentially said “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” and the two of them started hip-bumping each other. Too hot for TV.
Debbie & Giovanni: It can be hard to find enough narrative material to sustain you over an entire series, so if in doubt, just make fun of your partner’s accent! Giovanni came in for a bit of stick this week over his pronunciation of “charleston” (“sharleeston”) and “swivel” (“sweevel”), though he appears to also be working on his RP accent with…mixed results. They also discussed their excitement over the feedback for last week’s rumba, and Debbie’s inability to do the charleston choreography for Halloween without giggling. Giovanni refused to reveal much about this weekend’s routine other than he’ll be playing the role of Gio Stein. Didn’t he write the Goosebumps books?
Friday Panel: Consisting this week of Ed Balls, Katy Brand and Rev Richard Coles. I have nothing against Richard but I don’t think you should be allowed to serve on the Friday panel on the same series where you were a contestant. It should be a rule, alongside the one banning Rufus Hound and Marian Keyes from being on the Friday panel in any series at all. Richard revealed that he is now learning to dance Ceroc on Wednesday nights and that he calls Gorka “Gorks”, Katy revealed that she likes Halloween week even more than Blackpool week, and Ed was his usual magnetically charismatic self by saying absolutely nothing memorable or interesting until right at the end when he revealed that Jeremy Vine did a full frontal spray-tan. Because Jeremy Vine was on this show once. Just like Ed Balls was. You may have forgotten that. Oh and they all thought Simon was fucked this week.
Susan & Kevin: Susan, bless her, is somehow still pulling “I’m just happy to be here” in week six and somehow making it seem sincere. She also remarked that the reason she didn’t do the full splits in her cha cha cha was because she’s saving that for Blackpool, and then burst into hysterical laughter for a full minute. Honestly, that’s better than some of the legitimate “just get me to Blackpool” stories I’ve heard. The other big revelation of this week – other than Susan and Kevin majorly nerding out over their impending Game Of Thrones cosplay this weekend, which isn’t really a surprise to anyone – is that Kevin has been cultivating an uncanny Shirley Ballas impression in the training room. It’s always useful to have a spare, isn’t it?
Joe & Katya: I was mostly unable to focus on this interview due to Joe wearing possibly the ugliest jacket I have ever seen. It looked like something Clark Kent would have worn in the 80s – and I’m talking comic-book Clark Kent, not live-action. But I did pick up that for their foxtrot this weekend Katya will be playing “the ultimate man-eater”. How lovely, it’s been so long since Kristina was last on the show.
Shirley Ballas: Again! Isn’t it nice to have a head judge who’s actually around during the week to appear on this show? Having shown us how to do the samba last time, this week’s Ballas Breakdown (honestly would so much rather watch Ballas’s Beatdown, where she joins Willam from Drag Race to insult YouTubers) was an instructional on how to do the jive, complete with asssistance from Giovanni. That’s not a typo, he actually got his bum felt up as a thank you. Shirley also had time to answer some viewer questions, explaining that the nickname Queen of Latin actually comes from her hairdresser (that is…disappointing) and that if she could dance with anyone, it would be her son Backtat. I mean…he’s your son, Shirl? Why not just pick up the phone and ask him?
Clean Bandit: sang us out this week, meaning that they are somehow now on the same performance circuit as Shane Richie. They must serve as a cautionary tale to other bands: this is what happens when the fit one leaves.