Last night! Our seven sizzling females (well, six plus Kate) [I hope you're not calling Kate a ladyboy. - Steve] danced, and now one of them is going to get kicked off despite the fact all of them are better than the men. Dramatic violins crescendo, cue titles and audience hand-clapping!
We're in London, but you'll notice Alan Dedicoat doesn't claim to be 'live' on Sunday night. Bruce has changed his suit. Tess is wearing something resembling a Roses wrapper. [And what the hell is up with that little flappy bit over what would otherwise be her cleavage? It's not even a crumb catcher; it just looks like the seamstress's hand slipped and she couldn't be bothered to fix it. - Steve] Bruce welcomes us, and promises us drama, tears, glamour and glittering frocks. Nobody laughs. He looks puzzled.
First up, the professionals dancing a routine combining a tango and a jive to the music of Chicago - 'The Cell Block Tango' and the Prologue seguing into 'All That Jazz'. The girls have really, really weird wigs on, which resemble Sally Bowles' black bob in Cabaret, which admittedly is also Fosse, Kander and Ebb, so I won't pick them up on that. [Well, usually in any given production of Chicago there's a couple of chorus girls with that hairdo, so it didn't bother me. I thought the girls looked hot, anyway. Had me questioning my sexuality, albeit briefly - Steve] It's a hideous arrangement of 'All That Jazz', though, which I will call them on, and remind them that should they ever feel the need to arrange the music properly so it makes sense and fits the routine and suits the vocalists' range, they can just give me a call.
We get a recap of yesterday's dances, going from lowest-ranked celeb to highest - Kate, Letitia, Stephanie ("I'm thrilled to have gone out there and pretended to be a dancing person." Hee! And aw, her grandson says he is proud of his grandma. And aw, Craig says she is much, much better than he thought she'd be), Gabby (who by all accounts threw a strop when she didn't get top marks) [wouldn't surprise me in the least - Steve] [And James says, "The middle is the most dangerous place to be," which is clearly bullshit. Imagine how furious he'd be if they had come bottom of the judges' leaderboard. - Georgi], Alesha (complete with caterwauling vocalist), Kelly and Penny (whose husband has an impressive shiner). It's basically interspersed with the judges' comments from yesterday, and the occasional one-liner from backstage. What a load of piffle and filler. Strictly is really letting us down this series.
Len says the standard of dancing from the ladies was the best ever. Bruce agrees with him, like we care what he thinks. Arlene says she thinks this series will wipe the ballroom floor clean, which makes little or no sense. She also has faith in the boys to turn up the heat. Kenny whoops backstage, and glares at his wife.
Tess is in the very red Green Room. [Strictly Slash Watch - Matt and Gethin are standing next to each other again. Awww. OTP! - Steve] Penny was happy, relieved and shocked to be top of the leaderboard. Kelly says she doesn't remember what the judges said. Gabby is seething with clenched teeth in the background. Tess asks Kate how she feels, and Penny pats her knee. Aww. Kate says her decision to dance obviously backfired, but at least she had a crack at it, and beat Fiona Phillips' first-round score of 11.
Claudia previews It Takes Two [Dressed a bit like a particularly glamorous Victorian schoolmarm - Georgi], which this week will feature Westlife, Tess, Len and whoever gets knocked out tonight. So that's something to look forward to.
More random vox-pops - Jan Ravens, the Westlife boys, Billy Zane, Zoe Tyler, mums and dads, and Rod Stewart AGAIN [But at least he apologises for his black eye, although he doesn't explain how he got it - Georgi]. Kate's husband wants to stamp on Craig's foot. [I want to stamp on Kate's husband's foot - didn't she imply yesterday that he doesn't appreciate her, the cad? Also: Ben Miller! I love him. - Steve]
Bruce says we don't want the boys to rest on their laurels, so they're going to show their group merengue again. Why, for Pete's sake? It sucked earlier, and it sucks now, so why do we have to watch it for a second time? [Wouldn't it make more sense just to show the group dance on the Sunday show, so it's not a complete waste of our viewing time? - Georgi]
Footage of training, and Stephanie pwning Vincent. He says, "She looks like someone who can sort me out." Aww. James is complaining that Gabby doesn't understand that the man has to be in control. Kate squawks at Anton not to shout at her, like Anton would ever shout at anyone. Kelly and Brendan bicker about who should run after whom in the routine. Brendan says, "I'm the choreographer." Kelly replies, "I'm the celebrity." Which: ugh. I love her, but that's just really wrong.
Whoop! There's a special routine from Westlife, who are performing their song Home. [Well, not so much theirs as it is Michael Bublé's. Jesus, enough with the covers already, you bastards. You're all as rich as Croesus by now; just retire and give us all a fucking break. - Steve] They don't have stools, so I'm presuming there's no key change, therefore I'm not interested [Which I also thought. However, more fool you - there's no such thing as a Westlife song without a key change. - Georgi]. Fast-forwarding this. Sorry. James and Ola are dancing, and do a lovely lift at the end. Ola is wearing less than Lilia usually does. I think they may compete to wear the least throughout this series. It'll be three milk-bottle tops by the end of the run. [If only any heterosexual men watched this series, that would be something for them to look forward to. - Georgi]
Nobody wants to leave the show. Penny would be "shattered and devastated"; Kate feels she hasn't had a chance to do her best yet, which is good, seeing as she can't stand up; Stephanie wants to stay in for her grandson's sake [I want her to stay in so I can make SeaQuest DSV references - Georgi]; the rest all mutter similar nonsensical waffle. Blah blah blah.
Bruce and Tess announce the couples that are through to next week - Penny and Ian; Alesha and Matt; Kelly and Brendan; Gabby and James; Kate and Anton. Sympathy vote, anyone? I love Anton, and I think he's been royally screwed over more than once with his partners, but there is no way on earth that Kate deserved to stay in over anyone else. [On the other hand, Kate must stay in until at least week four or otherwise Fiona Phillips will have something to feel superior about, and I'm not having that. - Steve]
So Letitia and Darren and Stephanie and Vincent have to dance off. Len advises Stephanie and Vincent to dance just as they did before, and maintain their elegance, with a note to Stephanie to allow Vincent to lead rather than overwhelming him; he tells Letitia to act the dance - "Don't think that you're dancing with Darren, imagine you're dancing with me!" [Ugh. - Georgi]
So they both dance again. And really, bitches, why can't the band's vocalists sing in tune? It makes my ears hurt. Stephanie is all Hollywood shiny and glam; Letitia, still in her horrible dress, emotes her way through the routine. [Stephanie is so checked out here - she clearly doesn't give a toss if she's there next week or not. - Steve]
It's over to the judges. I love the look Len gets on his face when Tess announces that in the event of a tie, he has the casting vote. [I'm not convinced that there's any point in the other judges. It's always going to be down to Head Judge Len. - Georgi] Craig says that he saw real improvement in Letitia and Darren; Arlene chooses Stephanie and Vincent to stay, and Vincent kisses Stephanie's shoulder, although she looks rather bored by the whole affair; Bruno says neither couple should have been in the bottom two, but Letitia and Darren were better in the dance-off; Len says that both couples up their game (Bruce interjects his agreement), but chooses Letitia and Darren to progress in the competition.
Stephanie looks relieved, saying, "It's been nothing but awful. I've adored watching this hard work with a cup of tea in my hand. I'm so grateful they've put me out of my misery." Tess tells us that Stephanie is outrageous behind the scenes, which: shocker. I've no doubt that Stephanie has found it hard work, and doesn't give a flying one either way whether she stays in or not, but this show will be poorer without her. [Word. And a classy exit from her, i thought. It's not easy to say "thank fuck for that, I hated every minute" and still sound gracious, but somehow she pulled it off. - Steve]
Next week - it's the mixed competition, with couples performing either a jive or a tango. I predict the bottom two will comprise two men. That's if the Strictly producers don't bugger around with the rules again. [There are rules? - Georgi]