We start on a shot of
how Elton John looks in his own head, sat at the piano, waiting for the band to begin playing so he can start miming. Then, as I remember happening so many times in Elton John’s career
a black South African ballroom dancer in her late 20s sprawls out onto the thing from out of nowhere, as the first few lines of “Tiny Dancer” ring out. And I know Oti’s the BBC’s golden girl at the minute, and so has to be at the front of everything, but how do you have Aljaz sat right there, in this song, and not have it be Janette? Get it together! SHE’S HIS TINY DANCER! Once they’re away from the piano, a bunch of stairs appear along with a load of surplus pro dancers running up and down them, including
the chap who partnered Courtney Act to second place on Strictly Australia (also some model to some much less auspicious placement the series before). They come from AROUND THE WORLD to bobble around at the back on Strictly, what an honour.
There’s then a short jive segment to Crocodile Rock, but nobody’s dressed as an actual crocodile, so no pictures, what’s the point, if AJs not bopping around in the Pontins mascot outfit, I’m not interested, and then we close on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, with a dance mostly consisting of Graziano standing there whilst Nadiya
spins around so fast her head enters the fifth dimension. Then
we’re done. I do enjoy a bit of Elton John, but this does feel like a very filler pro dance indeed. Like someone hit Spotify shuffle and did the best with what came out.
The band play everyone off, and then play our hosts back on again with Tess ready for Remembrance Sunday
and also the oven. Claudia thanks our pro dancers for bringing the greatest hits of Elton John to life, and also to Christopher Scott for choreographing it. I didn’t see him on So You Think You Can Dance this year, I hope he’s doing alright. Tess then says that Saturday night had soooooo many highlights, but can only come up with yet another “ZOMG CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, REDEFINING DANCE FOREVER” Couples Choice, from Chris, who smashed his best score to pieces. Fun Fact – everyone so far who’s danced Couples Choice has smashed their best score to pieces with it, what a magical thing it is. Alongside the ongoing campaign to convince the audience they’d rather be watching anything other than ballroom dancing on a ballroom dancing show, we also tonight will be experiencing Emile Sande, some gays, the Dance Debrief, a dance-off, another deep dive into the dreams of our male contestants and
Your Week In Greg.
And after that, as usual
these. And after that, our first couple in danger.
Katya doing a FULL eye-roll and pissy little shrug there, Gorka’s legacy lives on even after he’s gone. They very swiftly march over to Tess, who makes sure to extra-special rub their predicament in by reminding them that this is their third time in a row in the dance-off. Nobody’s ever survived four in a row, we could be in for MAGIC next week guys. Strictly history in the making, part four, so crazy right now. Mike says that he loves doing the dances again, and if he manages to tidy up the edges (/not stand there on the spot pumping his one leg round over and over for 6 seconds solid because he’s lost the thread) who knows what will happen. Tess
looks like she wasn’t ready to be quite this close to this waistcoat. Craig is asked his opinion, and he says that he loves Mike’s Charleston, because just like the man himself, it’s “compact, energetic and goofy”. Certainly a euphemism and a half for “overbearing irritating shortarse” there, Craig’s words, not mine. Sort of. He advises Mike to not make any mistakes, like whatever one Emma Weymouth apparently made this week to get samba in the death slot. Maybe she brought in salmon again, who knows?
Up to Claud 9 now
looking like an advert for a mortgage adviser who wants to show off all the MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF COUPLE they help out, where Karim is talking about how much he loves big band music (another strike) and thanking everyone for voting for him. Claudia then runs through Karim journey into discovering he’s a ballroom boy rather than a latin…lad (?), with Viennese Waltz tee’d up already for next week, and Karim says he does indeed love ballroom, and then goes on a bit about it, and he seems to be delivering this speech half to Anton instead of Claudia, which is quite sweet. Amy then lurches across
reeking of Vicks, croaking “GEMMIE TO BLACKPOOL!”. Thanks Amy.
Emma B is then reminded that she was bottom of the leaderboard and received every inch of Shirley’s 5 paddle into her tightest orifice and then asked what she has to say to
the people at home. Ask them what they have to say to Shirley, Claudia, don’t be a wuss. Remember when Brenda and Craig used to have screaming rows with one another sat 5 inches apart, with Craig screaming “YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISQUALIFIED, IF I HAD MY WAY THEY’D NEVER LET YOU TAINT AMERICAN SMOOTH WITH YOUR FILTHY LIFTS EVER AGAIN?!”. This show’s so anodyne now. Emma just says thank you and that she can’t find the words to express how happy she is and bliddy bliddy bling blah get her and Shirley in a paddling pool full of mud come on, she’ll be gone in three weeks, don’t waste this opportunity. Get some feelings out. Emma then reveals she has Theatre/Jazz next week and PLENTY of time to train in for a change, and suddenly the fleeting image of Emma being some sort of reverse Scott Maslen, stumbling zombie-eyed through the first half of the competition then suddenly popping 39s every other week in the back half then winning, flies across my mind.
But it seems unlikely.
We close on Claudia telling Chris that whatever intern runs Ant & Dec’s twitter account expressed their support online, and Chris says it blows his mind, and his 8 year old self, jigging around his kitchen to “U Krazy Kats” wouldn’t believe it. Yes, that Ant & Dec, always seemed so aloof and distant.
GAY RIGHTS! Oh wait, sorry, not yet…
GAY RIGH…no, that’s Luba and Aljaz…erm…hang on…
GAY RIGHTS! There we are. This is of course, a momentous moment of dance beauty that changes Strictly forever, bringing it into the 21st century, once and for all silencing all the homophobes against same-sex partnerships and ushering in the Age Of Aquarius. Definitely not the show taking frit at Dancing On Ice announcing that they’re doing things properly and suddenly deciding to massively over-egg the bare minimum they’ve done about five or six times now. Johannes and Graziano bibble around like an advert for a blissed-out doomsday cult for about 20 seconds and then
BISEXUAL RIGHTS! (I notice all the judges have buggered off for this bit, biphobia is a disease that affects all communities)
THE END! I was a little underwhelmed but I do thank this routine for bringing me deeper into the world of the incredibly dorky and earnest friendship between Graziano and Johannes, and also for showing me what massive feet Aljaz has.
Dance Debrief next and
I’ve started noticing that Bruno does now routinely spend quite a lot of this segment checking his jimmy-jangles aren’t on full display, I hope we haven’t broken him. Motsi starts the crits, and let’s just say they’re not helping her transition her judging style in a more technical and informative direction by having her talk about Chris’ Street Commercial.
Look at him, he’s living it, dancing on his own, erm, he’s having a ball, he’s a dancer now, he’s performing, he’s so much fun, he makes you feel great, he’s not a toothache, he living his best life, you go gir…boy, yes, fierce. And so on. After that, it’s Shirley turn to have a pop at Saffron’s turned in feet in her salsa
THE HORROR, THE HORROR. Here’s how they’re supposed to look.
I know. Once you’ve seen it, you can never go back. Shirley also says that Saffron needs to learn to move her shoulders and her hips independently of one another, because on Saturday, she was just moving as one big block. See how EASY it is to give technical critique when some MAN isn’t chuntering away over you Claudia, now Shirley’s not suggesting anyone get sacked, this isn’t 1am on twitter, but something to think about.
Craig then gender polices Michelle and says she wasn’t femme enough in the opening of her paso so there wasn’t as much impact when she became BUTCH for the second half of the routine (again, maybe if you hadn’t dressed her up the killer dwarf from Don’t Look Now) and then we close with Bruno explaining why he gave Karim a 10 – apparently the perfection lay in the small details. Bruno was standing up for the entire routine, peering over his desk to watch the footwork, and nothing went wrong. Can we get these guys lifeguard chairs or something to sit in, clearly the judges desk isn’t fit for purpose any more.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! Let’s celebrate Dave Arch getting an honorary degree from the Guildhall School Of Music & Drama.
He looks so pleased to be mentioned! This is then used as an excuse to show us all some exclusive footage of him
puttering away in his Davearch Cave in the middle of Mike’s Charleston. Compelling stuff.
After we emerge from Davearch’s nether regions it’s time for three more of these
The montage of Oti hitting that one face over and over again in a variety of pretty dresses is going to be quite something come series end huh? This leaves our Bottom 2 before the Bottom 2 as Saffron vs Emma W and, well, I always dare to dream but
the dream has to end sometime. Saffron indifferently picking out an eye-bogie as the news comes down really is true to form as well.
Emma and Aljaz wander over to the judges, and when Tess asks her how she’s feeling, she puts on her best little girl voice and sadly says “…shaky”. Yeah, no charging into this one like you’re liberating the Iranian Embassy eh? Aljaz says he’s here to soothe Emma’s nerves, and I too would appreciate Aljaz’s firm hand in my hour of need, but can’t we get this woman an emotional support elephant or something? I WANT MORE ANIMALS, WE ONLY GOT ONE TRIP TO THE GIRAFFES WHO WERE EMMA’S ONLY FRIENDS UNTIL ALJAZ CAME INTO HER LIFE! Tess asks Emma if having been in the dance-off before makes this easier and Emma says “no, I’m scared” and pulls a full
moue. I love when the trauma of this show makes the celebs emotionally regress. If she’d survived to do a third she’d be full on crawling around Tess’s ankles going “goo goo ga ga”. PULL IT TOGETHER WOMAN! YOUR HUSBAND’S ANCESTORS DIDN’T SUBJUGATE THE PEASANTRY OF WILTSHIRE FOR THIS! Shirley is asked her advice, and she tells Emma to improve her posture. Again, if it hasn’t happened at any point in the last seven weeks…
Back to Claud 9 now,
where Claudia is asking Saffron if she’s alright, y’know, emotionally. Saffron tells her it was hard waiting til last, but she’ll get through it somehow. Oh also she has a nephew now, and his name is Lake. Lake Barker. No word on if he offers speedboat facilities. Michelle next, and we cover how Giovanni yells “THANK YOU!” three times every time he’s called safe, like that’s not reliably been the worst thing about Giovanni’s partnerships for the last however many series. Personally I think he should yell it one time for every week he’s in, so by the semis it’s a full twelve “THANK YOU!”s, clear Anton’ing right over the top of whoever’s called safe next. We then do the usual “lol Giovanni thinks he can sing” bit and
as usual he’s not bad enough for it to be funny, the exact amount of which was “Iveta”, and I can’t imagine RuPaul’s untreated studio vocals don’t sound much much worse.
Alex next, and Claudia gives her a little probing about her massive celebrity fans. Alex is all “tee hee, yeah, big up to all the UK Lionesses I love you girls!” and Claudia bats right back all “no, I mean which member of One Direction is in your DMs trying to shag you?”. Alex fully whacks her on the arm and tells her that’s a secret and…I bet it’s Liam. We close on Kelvin admitting that he has a fantasy that one day Craig will stand up and join in the other judges’ giving him a standing ovation. Don’t worry Kelvin, I’m sure it’s storyboarded in. After Karim.
After the usual advert for social meeds it’s time for the dance-off and
jesus, you didn’t have to make it unanimous. Emma’s just beginning a proper Ralph Wiggum “and here’s the moment her heart breaks directly in half” crumple as the cameras pull away from her as well. And look, I know the Dance-Off is supposedly done to preserve the PURITY OF DAHNCE, but we all know that really it’s there to allow the producers greater ability to micromanage the order of elimination, and in the last week we’ve lost Catherine & Johannes, Will & Janette, and now Emma & Aljaz, three couples who all genuinely got on, were really enjoying the competition, were enthusiastic, and were providing interesting dance content at roughly a 30-45% rate and trust me, I’ve watched this show for 16 years, that’s decent. And what we’re left with, in the mid-card, is the Bataan Death March Of Desperation with Mike & Katya, the charisma black hole of Saffron & AJ, and whatever the fuck is going on with Emma & Anton. MAKE BETTER CHOICES! JUDGES AND VOTERS! THE POWER IS YOURS!
Anyway, Emma is proper devo’d and still doing a croaky little voice and says she’s had so much fun and learnt so much and wants to be friends with Aljaz forever and
is Aljaz imagining a whole fleet of rich lady socialite friends of Emma he can charge perfectly reasonable prices that reflect his market value for dance lessons? He’s not not. He tells her that she’s always surprised him every weekend on the dancefloor, and never let him down, and he’s proud to say that he’s the only Strictly pro ever to dance with a proper Lady on the show before. Which brings back memories of Craig shoulder-barging everyone else out the way to crab Camilla Parker-Bowles for that one It Takes Two charity bit. Then leaking a story to the press about how Brenda tried to get in first but the Duchess was horrified and everyone was embarrassed for him. Goodness, the last days of Brenda were special.
Anyway, the Viscountess