Saturday Live Show
It’s time for some Halloween fun on Strictly this week, which opens with a very homerotic pro paso – lovely, sweet Matthew Cutler is even wearing guyliner! Pamela and James are up first, with their jive. Dressed as red devils and dancing to Devilgate Drive the routine starts well, and I’m impressed with the dancing down the stairs bit. However Pamela’s kicks are a tad ‘flaily’, and the ending’s pretty flat. Not their best effort (but still by no means bad). Len thinks it was a solid performance with a fantastic pivot section but he noticed that Pamela got into a pickle at one point, and Alesha says there were good basic steps but it was a little messy. I agree with Bruno when he says that Pamela was having so much fun she wasn’t as sharp as usual. Craig commends the musicality but calls Pamela’s kicks and flicks ‘laboured’. They score 27, which is their lowest so far (and, unsurprisingly, James thinks is harsh).
The first Argentine tango of the night is from Tina and Jared. In their training VT Tina is embarrassed about having to be ‘sexy’, and, despite her sporting a skintight pleather catsuit (very ‘bad Sandy in Grease’), there’s not a lot that’s sexy about their performance. Though, to be fair, I am distracted by my Dad moaning about the tempo of their music. The routine’s a bit stilted in places, although I love the lift at the end. Alesha tells Tina she acted it well but it was a bit lukewarm, Bruno calls her a ‘kinky kitten’ but says her performance needed more drive, and Craig says he was bored. Brucie interrupts to tell him off – he’s starting to do this more and more this season, which is really pissing me off. Harrumph. Len’s a bit more positive, praising the lifts and telling Tina he can see a dancer emerging. Their score is 28.
Kara and Artem have had a bit of a lovers tiff in their training for the paso doble, so they take an evening off to go and see Phantom of the Opera. And, lo! They’re dancing to Phantom of the Opera – Artem’s wearing the mask and everything. It’s a cracking routine, full of drama and passion and the ‘welly’ that was missing last week. The judges think it was fab too, and they get the first ten of the season (ok, it’s from Alesha, but still) and a total score of 37.
Next up it’s Patsy and Robin, jiving to Monster Mash. In a tight green t-shirt and black eye makeup Robin looks like a cross between the Incredible Hulk and the Riddler. He’s put Patsy through a ‘ballroom bootcamp’ in training to improve her stamina (she keeps sneaking off for little naps. I love Patsy), and she does manage to keep the pace better this week. As usual I enjoy her performance, it’s just the right side of silly and her technique’s improving. Craig loves the camp choreography, Len says Patsy’s kicks and flicks were sharp and the routine was balanced, Alesha tells Patsy she has a natural swing to the way she dances and Bruno loves it when she’s camp. Three eights and a seven (from Craig, obv) give them their highest score so far with 31.
Felicity’s finding the Viennese waltz tricky, with all the spinning making her dizzy, so Vincent takes her (and his little boy Luca – so cute!) to ‘acclimatise’ on a kid’s roundabout. I laugh out loud when he says “I need her. Otherwise I can’t get through on Saturday night”. I like the way they start the routine up on the platform above the band, wearing capes and holding Venetian masks in front of their faces, but then it takes them AAAAAGES to get onto the floor and the routine’s rather dull. Like Patsy in training I indulge in a little nap. The judges comments are all a bit bland too, and they get 26. I have a feeling they are candidates for the bottom two….
Jimi’s wearing scary contact lenses for his paso, and is excited about dancing to Thriller as Michael Jackson was his idol. His cape work is rubbish, but I do like the bit where he spins Flavia round with the cape. Bruno thinks he dances better as the living dead and Alesha says the routine had great drama and passion. Len likes the shaping but the cape work got on his wick. With a score of 30 I do hope Jimi’s not going to whinge about being told off in front of the nation again next week.
Brendan is back! And, alarmingly, dressed as Riff Raff from Rocky Horror. It’s quite…..something. Michelle hurt her ankle in training and they lost two days while she rested it, so my hopes are not high. However, their jive (to The Timewarp) is actually pretty good. She’s still a little gangly but for the first time she really looks like she’s enjoying herself. Alesha, Craig and Bruno love it but Len is “bitterly disappointed” – he loved the first half but says the second half was “too timewarp”, with not enough jive content. Brendan starts to defend his choreography, only for Len to tell him to “turn up, keep up and shut up”. To which Brendan retorts “you ought to not bother turning up at all, mate”. He’s got a point – Grumpy Len gets right on my wick. Still, Michelle’s happy as they get their best score yet with 29.
This week in training for the paso Katya brought someone in to give Gavin some acting tips. Quite why Charles Collingwood was chosen for this I have no idea – he plays Brian in the Archers! Of course Gavin is bare chested – Katya knows how to keep those votes coming in. It’s better than the tango – but it’s still not good. He’s just blank. Even the bit where he rips Katya’s white dress off to reveal a skimpy red number underneath is dull. They get a standing ovation – WHY? Before the judges give their comments Brucie tells Gavin to cover up, but says Katya can stay as she is. FFS. Lecherous old git. Craig criticises Gavin’s hand shaping but says there was finally a hint of personality (er?), while Len praises the knee walks but says it lacked passion. Alesha disagrees, saying it was passionate and sexy. She’s clearly just looking at Gavin’s chest. They score 26.
I am excited about Scott and Natalie’s Viennese waltz, even though he’s been ill with man flu. It starts with Natalie stirring a steaming cauldron, bewitching Scott (who looks like he’s lost a fight with a tin of talcum powder) into falling under her power. They’re quickly in hold, and it’s a beautiful routine with gorgeous musicality. It gives me the proper shivers. Bruno treats us to his now trademark “Ssscccoooooottttt!” and says he created dance magic, and the other judges agree. Craig gives them a nine and I just know there are tens coming…and there are three! Wooo!
And now, bringing us crashing back down to earth, we have Widdy and Anton’s paso (apparently she has lived to dance this). There are no words for what follows. No, really, I didn’t make any notes. I remember a lot of stomping, then Anton spinning Widdy in the air before dragging her on the floor, like a mop. Alesha’s only criticism is that Widdy needs to stop counting the steps out loud, and she was walking around without much conviction before Anton dragged her around like a hoover (that’s actually three criticisms, Alesha). Bruno doesn’t think he’ll ever recover, while Craig can only say O. M. G. Len’s (pretty accurate) observation is that it was like going down the motorway when there’s been an accident – you don’t really want to look but you can’t help yourself. They get 16 points, which is about 12 too many in my opinion.
Matt and Aliona give us a vampire-themed Argentine tango (to Bat Out of Hell), which I really like – it’s intense and there are some great lifts. I even think Matt looks sexier with a little guyliner – perhaps he should sport this look all the time? It would certainly liven up Countryfile 😉 Craig and Alesha both think Matt was nervous but are otherwise complimentary, but Len doesn’t think the last two lifts were in keeping with the rest of the routine. Two eights and two nines leave them with 34. That’s it for the live show, which I’ve absolutely loved. I’m not normally a fan of Halloween, or of gimmicky routines, but I think the show’s been really fun.
Sunday Results Show
The spookiness continues with a Ghostbusters-themed pro dance, with Erin as Sigourney Weaver, Anton as Bill Murray and assorted dancers dressed in Slimer green. Mike thinks it’s the wrong side of silly, but I’ve had wine so I rather enjoy it. This week Len thinks that Pamela was lacklustre, and Alesha believes that seeing Kara and Scott get tens made Matt nervous. Len, unbelieveably, says he liked Brendan having a go back at him. Hmmm.
The first couple safe are Michelle and Brendan (cue look of extreme relief on Michelle’s face), followed by Scott and Natalie, Widdy and Anton *even wearier sigh than last week*, Kara and Artem and Matt and Aliona. First into the bottom two are Tina and Jared. I’m sad about this – even though this week I wasn’t that thrilled by their routine I do think Tina has potential. Also I loved the little VT from last week’s It Take Two about her love for bananas. But they were in the scary middle of the table zone, so it’s no big shock.
Before the next lot of results are revealed the Strictly show dancers perform a Viennese waltz, which is perfectly nice but I can’t get used to Darren not dancing with Lilia *pouts*. Then we discover that Patsy and Robin (yay!), Jimi and Flavia, Gavin and Katya (not yay) and Pamela and James are through to next week, leaving Felicity and Vincent in the bottom two with Tina and Jared. After Alice Cooper creaks through a rendition of Poison it’s revealed that Tina and Jared are the unlucky ones leaving the show this week. I’m actually a bit surprised at this – I really felt that Felicity’s time was up, but I guess maybe Vincent’s popularity is pulling them through?