Wednesday, 28 November 2007

This week on It Takes Two, we have learnt...

- Kate is perfectly willing to make herself look daft even after being booted off the show, by spending her day on Saturday's show as the ITT guide pretending that she didn't realise she'd been kicked off, and yelling things like "YOU CAN'T DO THE SHOW WITHOUT ME! I AM THE SHOW!" whenever another contestant or judge walked past. Kate is kind of awesome.

- Brendan doesn't think the judges can criticise him, because he's "seen your dancing on It Takes Two and it's not up to much." Sometimes Brendan makes even less sense than Arlene does.

- The Fonz dreamt about green feathers on Saturday night. And is in panto. In Woking.

- The Fonz is a huge fan of Len and Bruno (but not those other two). And is in panto. In Woking.

- The Fonz knows about the power of repetition. And is in panto. In Woking.

- Anton takes old ladies out for the day, because he's nice like that. And he's far less patronising about it than Karen is, too.

- Len explained that his reason for the infamous 10 awarded to John Barnes was that he'd already given Gethin a 9 that night, and that John's dance was better, so what else could he do? Our answer: stop overmarking everyone, Len. It can't have escaped your notice that the other judges don't suffer from this problem.

- Claudia demonstrated her wide sporting knowledge by introducing a VT about Kenny thus: "Kenny used to be a very good Wasp."

- On being inducted into the Wasps Hall of Fame, Kenny was asked, "Was it always your ambition to marry above yourself?" Kenny blustered something or other, and concluded, "I'm a better dancer than her, though." Gabby's rictus grin was something to behold. They're a charming and endearing couple, aren't they?

-Alesha and Matthew have trained for 35 hours this week (10 more than any other couple) and are "unbelievably tired".

-Head Judge Len described Gethin as "like a hedgehog that's been in hibernation".

-Head Judge Len thinks Letitia is struggling with the foxtrot because her heels are too high.

-Justin Lee Collins reckons Matt can go "all the way... and beyond!" (With Gethin?)

-According to '90s pop star Gabrielle (what do you mean she's got a new album out?), "Music is important, especially when you're doing a dance routine." Thanks for that.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Closing the Barnes door

Top 7 results: 25th November 2007

Our seven remaining contestants fought it out on the dancefloor. Kenny was massively improved! Kelly was underused! Brendan wanted to cut a bitch! And there were tens aplenty for Matt and Alesha. This is Strictly Come Dancing! I hope your clapping hands are warmed up. [*claps* - Carrie]

The celebs and their partners head to the dancefloor. Matthew Cutler appears to pat Gethin on the arm as he walks past, which makes me think I've been slashing the wrong Matt with Gethin. Bruce and Tess are back, and Tess's functional wardrobe of yesterday appears to have been a one-time only special offer, as "today" she's in some sort of big poofy aqua blue thing. Bruce warns us of the impending elimination, as if we didn't know why we're here, and Tess trails a Dirty Dancing tribute later. We get another look at the leaderboard, and Tess clarifies that Kenny and Ola got three points, not four as was published yesterday, lest the BBC get embroiled in another phone-in scandal.

Recap! John Barnes was not beloved of the judges. Lisa Snowdon thought he was great, but Craig was deeply disappointed by John completely looking at the floor. Backstage, John admits that Nicole's been telling him off for that all week and he shouldn't have done it. In a surprising sixth place are Kelly and Brendan, and Brendan's heated defence of Kelly is actually pretty offensive. Kelly doesn't like being at the bottom, but thinks the shock has been good for her because she realises how complacent she's got. Arlene thinks they should be ashamed of themselves. Brendan basically tells the judges to say their piece, but not be rude and obnoxious, or he'll smack you down. He then calls them "old idiots". And that sentence passed through my rude-and-obnoxious detector without triggering any alarm bells, naturally. [What the hell is wrong with Brendan? Sexual frustration, maybe? - Carrie]

The judges were very impressed with Kenny, as we saw, but backstage Kenny is in shock over it all. Gabby thinks this will be a brilliant boost to his confidence. Kenny is amazed that he's higher than Kelly and John, and he's probably not the only one feeling that way. Letitia's Viennese Waltz was quite pretty if not technically perfect, and she cops to being an emotional wreck backstage. Brian Capron (remember him?) thinks she's grown in confidence and is the dark horse. [I actually didn't recognise him. - Carrie] Len wants Gethin to bring his lovely personality onto the floor, and Bruno thinks Gethin needs to raise the bar because it's week eight. Backstage, Gethin punches the wall. Really gently. Hee. You can take the boy out of Blue Peter... Craig thinks Gethin needs to commit to the dance more. Camilla agrees. "Do you know what?" says Gethin. "I hate it when the judges are right. You know what I hate more? When you agree with them." Hee.

Matt is variously bringing sexy back, the Spice Boy, and the new Mark Ramprakash, and screen mum Linda Henry was very excited about it, growling for emphasis. Bruno appears to have some sort of stroke while watching Alesha dance, and she gets three 10s, which she is understandably excited about. Then, bless her, she says they have to thank Matt and Flavia, because watching them dance beforehand got them in the mood. Linda Robson thinks that every week you think Alesha has to have a bad week sometime, but she never does. Henry Winkler - yes, the Fonz! [the FONZ! WHO IS IN PANTO IN THE UK! - Carrie] - thinks Alesha is amazing. So do we. Len thinks she's one of the most talented dancers they've ever had on the show.

Bruce passes to the judges, and Len thinks this has been an unbelievable week, since Kenny is above John and Kelly. Arlene gave two tens, and loves Matt because he championed his dance tonight. She's excited that he's so passionate about it, and Bruce makes the obligatory joke about Arlene wanting to shag the attractive young male dancers.

Next up, a medley of two dances: the Charleston and the Quickstep. Brucie does a bit of Charleston for us, and then remembers that he's not performing it, yelling "WHY?!" backstage, which is kind of funny. It may be a bit philistinic of me, but I sort of don't care when I'm watching dancing that doesn't involve the celebrities or the show's pros, which the Charleston routine does not. The people who dance it are very good, but they're not the reason I switched on my telly. Sorry, folks. [Heh, heh, that's exactly what I was thinking when the troupe piled on to the floor, but wasn't going to admit to it! - Carrie] Thankfully then Anton and Erin bounce in with a quickstep, involving a very cute little skit where Anton drops Erin on the judges' table and does an adorable little solo dance, which Erin then promptly scores with a "1" paddle. Hee. Those two are great together. [I love Anton and Erin, and she was looking lovely with her full Goth make-up. - Carrie]

Backstage in the House of Tesstosterone. Kenny got 30 this week, which no one can believe (some more kindly than others). Kenny is happy to have given the judges something nice to say. Tess thinks he may be another Matt Dawson. PLEASE GOD NO. Also, in doing this she accidentally pokes Kelly in the eye. Hee. Kelly says that it's not her night, once again exposing the LIE that is the Sunday ["Sunday" - Carrie] results show. Kelly thinks she messed up her timing and couldn't get to grips with the dance this week. [Perhaps because she ONLY BLOODY TRAINED FOR SEVEN HOURS. - Carrie] Matt's enjoyed the training for the two dances, and said that the experience was filthy. I don't doubt him.

Training footage from the Dirty Dancing rehearsals. Unlike the footage we saw on It Takes Two earlier in the week, Gethin is actually present for this. Alesha and Kelly talk about how every girl loves the film. In a sequence that I'm absolutely positive is a shout-out to me, Gethin starts dancing seductively with Matt, and then the two of them talk about having a night in where they'll watch the film, paint each other's toenails and discuss what they'll wear on Saturday night. Awesome. They're like my favourite couple ever, and I love them both and also this show for indulging my personal fantasy. There will be THE LIFT, of course, and everyone wants to do that bit. Matt and Flavia and Alesha and Matthew make abortive attempts, as do John and Nicole. Kelly and Brendan's looks passable [because Brendan has been perfecting his Swayze impression for the last 20 years - Carrie], Kenny and Ola do a good one [because Kenny's only talent lies in his strength - Carrie], and then Letitia either steps on Darren's foot or knees him in the face - it's quite hard to tell [I thought she'd smashed him in the face with her bosom - Carrie]. Kenny derides Gethin's lack of strength in his arms (which I'm sure will be a scene in a Gethin/Kenny slashfic somewhere on the internet before the week is out - and don't try to tell us such things don't exist, because we do check the search engine stats that bring people here, y'know), and Matt and Flavia don't quite manage it once again.

And now: the Dirty Dancing tribute. I have never seen this film, so it's pretty much wasted on me. My flatmate has attempted to make me sit through it on numerous occasions, but I always get so bored after about half an hour that I just wander off and never come back. [And you call yourself a gay. They'll throw you out, y'know. - Carrie] This version, however, is lots of fun. Letitia looks like she's having, if you'll excuse the pun, the time of her life. Alesha is amazing, as always. Kelly is much better in this than she was during her Samba "last night". Unsurprisingly, Kenny does the infamous lift with Ola, because lifting is totally his thing, and he has already signed up for the Strictly Come Lifting live tour.

We go to the judges, and Bruno thinks it was a brilliant job from everyone, but singles out Alesha for praise. Bruce asks Craig if anyone disappointed, and Craig grumps that he always has to get the negative. Hee. Thankfully, he says no one disappointed, and it was the cleanest group dance they've had. Anyone wonder if that's because Kate wasn't in it? Craig adds that you can see the work that went into it. [You'll also note that anything remotely complicated had John and Kenny shoved on the stage at the back, tapping their toes while the others did the dancing. Also, Kenny and Ola were singing the lyrics at each other again, providing more evidence for my theory that that's the way Ola's getting him to step at something like the right time. Also also, I noticed how incredibly good Matt's posture is. In conclusion, well done all. - Carrie]

Before the results, we have the Sugababes. I'm not a massive fan of their new album from what I've heard so far, but since Carrie had to recap Westlife on The X Factor yesterday, I'm counting my blessings. Amelle seems to have metamorphosed into an entirely different person - possibly Jessie Spano - since joining the band. Unless she left and has been replaced by someone else, which is entirely possible, let's face it. Keisha's rocking a Charleston tribute hairstyle of her own, by the way. During the second verse, we get the obligatory interruption from the pro dancers - this week it's Darren and Lilia. There's an amazing move where Darren whirls Lilia around by her hands just above the floor, while she tucks one foot behind his neck. Damn, Lilia is flexible. I got a twinge in my hip just watching that. The Sugas are sounding a little scrappy tonight, to be honest. But still: not Westlife. Mustn't forget that.

Little VT of the celebrities. Kenny only expected to last two weeks. Letitia thinks that working hard really pays off. Matt thinks it's gruelling and terrifying, but he loves it. Gethin knows lots of people dying to have a go (me! me!), and feels lucky that he can. Alesha thinks it's a great release. Kelly can't believe how obssesed she is with the show. John wants to go as far as he can. Essentially, no one wants to leave, and I can't blame them. Kelly treats every week like the final (except this week, apparently). Alesha is terrified of having to stop dancing. Awww.

Returners announced in random order: Kenny and Ola! They're indestructible! [For FUCK'S SAKE. He did two good lifts but he CAN'T DANCE. - Carrie] Alesha and Matthew! Hooray! Matt and Flavia! Whee! Gethin and Camilla! Squee! Only one couple left who is definitely safe, and that couple is...Letitia and Darren! So the bottom two is Kelly and Brendan and John and Nicole, which I'm really not surprised by at all. Len advises John to keep his head up, and advises Kelly to bring more sparkle and more magic.

John and Nicole dance first, and to his credit John doesn't appear to be staring at his feet this time. His footwork, however, is looking quite ropey still. It's lacking a bit of energy, but I think that's because John knows his days are numbered. Not that I think Kelly and Brendan are definitely safe (I'd be very surprised if they go, but anything can happen in this show), but it's clear John just lacks "populist support", as Gabby might have put it. Kelly and Brendan dance again, and Kelly's clearly trying to make her routine livelier, but the choreography is rather hampering her attempts. They're still in an entirely different class to John and Nicole, though. But then, Kelly isn't a SPORTSMAN with BIG HANDS who has had a JOURNEY and dances LIKE A FELLA, so who knows?

And now it's decision time for the judges' decision. Nicole looks resigned. Brendan looks miserable. Kelly looks nervous. John looks...pretty stoic, actually. Craig says that he has to vote for the best dancer, and votes to save Kelly and Brendan. Arlene thinks that a lesson has been learned, and votes for Kelly and Brendan. Bruno says it's getting harder every week, but since it's a dance competition, he has to vote for the best dancer, the one who will provide more in the future, so he votes to save Kelly. John and Nicole are out. Bruce asks for Len's opinion, and he says that he saw a small mistake from Kelly but would've put them through anyway. He apologises to John, who says it was the right decision. John jokes that the one time he kept his head up, he got his steps wrong anyway. Heh. Nicole says he's humble and a gentleman.

Next week, each couple will have to perform a ballroom AND a Latin dance. John and Nicole's final dance is to 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out'. It looks like John goes to pick Nicole up and she shakes her head and tells him not to. Heh. The other contestants descend on John to hug him goodbye, and it looks like they were all very fond of him. Awww. [Well, it was the right decision from the judges, but it's going to be tricky from now on in. I don't want anyone to go now APART FROM KENNY. Can't they all just stay forever? - Carrie]

Saturday, 24 November 2007


It's WEEK 8! There are seven couples left in. Last week, "some raised the bar" (Matt and Flavia) "while others dropped it" (Kenny). Kate went out. Anton was angry. Grrr! [Phwoar. - Carrie] EVERYONE in being DESPERATE for a PLACE in the FINAL SHOCKER! Titles! [*claps in time* - Carrie]

Here come your hosts, Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly. Tess's costumiers have finally realised that a plunging neckline is quite flattering on large breasts, rather than just covering them up with fabric. In fact, Tess may have the nicest dress in the ballroom this week. What's going on? Bruce says a Strictly insider told him that 90% of the phone votes last week were for Anton du Beke. Tess: "Who told you that?" Bruce: "Anton du Beke." Ha!

Time to welcome the remaining couples back to the dancefloor. They are: Matt and Flavia; Kelly and Brendan; Letitia and Darren; Gethin and Camilla; Alesha and Matthew; Kenny and Ola; John and Nicole. I am desperately hoping that this is the week when Kenny's luck will run out. The standard now is too high for him still to be there. Tess informs us that this week the couples will all have to dance either... a Latin or a ballroom dance. I think we know that by now, Tess. Tess reminds us of the phone details, so you can vote for your favourite before you see them dance. I don't have much that's nice to say about The X Factor in general, but at least they don't open their lines until you've seen all the performances.

Gethin and Camilla are first out. Last week the judges found their rumba cold. Gethin was disappointed, because he thought he had connected with Camilla on the dancefloor. Apparently that entitles him to treat her like a horse when rehearsing for the quickstep: "And trot on!" Hee. The WHOLE OF WALES has been voting for Gethin, so they went off to Cardiff just to make sure. No sheep were canvassed in the making of this VT. They visit the Millennium Centre - watch out for the Barrowman, Gethin, I think he hangs out around there. Gethin's dad is there to embarrass him. Hee.

Anyway, let's get on with the dancing. Gethin and Camilla are quickstepping to Cole Porter's 'You're The Top'. Camilla is the ruler of all things PINK AND SPARKLEEEE this week, while Gethin has his acting face on. They cover the floor well, and Gethin is quite light on his feet. I'm not that impressed by Camilla's choreography though; it's a bit dull. Expect good marks from the judges though.

Bruce welcomes the "wonderful singers" [who? what? where? - Carrie] and points out that it's Bruno's birthday tomorrow. 21 again? Len tells Gethin he did a "very, very good job" and his "footwork was right on the money", but it lacked personality and needed more gaiety, fun and spontaneity. Bruno says there was "nothing wrong but you failed to ignite", and since it is WEEK 8, "you have to raise the bar". Boo! Craig disagrees: "The performance level was fantastic", although he adds a few niggly criticisms about Gethin's right foot being pigeon-toed when he's going backwards and that sort of thing. Gethin is Arlene's favourite, methinks. "Flight officer Gethin is back" with "a spring in your step", but "the occasional trolley dolley". Could someone please explain to me what she's on about? [Nup, sorry. - Carrie] [I think it maybe involves some kind of slashfic that she's writing? - Steve] Backstage, the other contestants reckon it was Gethin's best dance yet. Gethin says he "didn't have to force the smile", and Camilla whines that, "Starting the show with a quickstep isn't easy." Blah, blah. The judges' scores: 8s from Craig and Bruno, 9s from Arlene and Len, for a not-at-all-shabby total of 34.

Next up, John and Nicole. The Racialist British Public have been desperately trying to vote John out for weeks now and the judges keep saving him (or as John puts it, in the requisite football metaphor, he has "escaped relegation" three times). Ola thinks the samba will suit his (club) dancing style, and he'll be able to show off his hip action. They're dancing to Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. Is it just me, or do all John's Latin costumes look the same? The dance isn't bad, but sometimes John seems to be looking at Nicole for guidance [all the bloody time. It's very annoying. They complained about Kate relying on Anton too much, and just because John can stand up, they don't bother commenting on the fact that he's got no idea what he's doing. - Carrie], and his footwork is rushed in places. Mainly it looks as though John is concentrating too much on his footwork to do anything much with his arms. They have managed to evoke the party atmosphere of the samba though.

Bruce checks to make sure John has not literally danced his butt off. Dirty old man. The judges, who obviously were expecting a lot from John and his Natural Sense of Rhythm in the samba, are uniformly disappointed. Bruno says that "Instead of being a riot, it was a murmur", and that it looked like they had rehearsed in the corridor! Craig says they did have "an enormous amount of energy", but John looks down at the floor too much and needs to look up. Also, there was "not enough bounce", but his "timing was fantastic". Racialist. Arlene complains that John was "having a love affair with the floor", not with Nicole, although "everything from the waist down works brilliantly." Steady on! [Heh. I laughed. - Carrie] [Interestingly, I was listening to Philip Jackson on the interactive commentary, and he and Anton said precisely the opposite: that from the waist up John was fine, but his footwork was terrible. I suppose the judging really is very subjective. - Steve] Len says he was disappointed after the great salsa that he gave John and Nicole a 10 for. I think you'll find, Head Judge Len, that's because you grossly overrated the salsa. Anyway. He accuses John of "not putting in the work to fine-tune" the dance, and isn't sure John is up to learning two dances next week. Backstage, John vehemently denies that he isn't training hard enough and couldn't learn two dances, pointing out that they have been learning group dances in addition to their own. [This was a bit disingenous of him. He said that he is training hard when he manages to train, but he has been very busy this week. Ergo, by default, Head Judge Len is right - John isn't putting the time in. - Carrie] The scores are in: 6 from Arlene (a bit mean, I feel), 7s from everyone else, for a total of 27. Tess says, "It's WEEK 8 and the scores are going higher", although I'm not sure how she can possibly know that after two dances.

Still to come! Letitia is shaken (aww), Kelly is rattled, and the good times roll for Kenny. Do you see what they did there? [Not until you just pointed it out, actually. Sometimes I'm even slower than Brucie. - Steve]

Letitia and Darren are next to take to the floor, and you'd think Letitia would have more confidence after her best dance yet last week. But no, she's still piling the pressure on herself: "It can't just be good, it has to be great." Darren thinks they're "back in the running". They will be Viennese waltzing to Billy Joel's 'She's Always A Woman To Me', Letitia in a rather ugly brown dress. The intro is quite long - and just as well, because the rest of the Viennese waltz is pretty boring. Spin this way, spin that way, spin on the spot. They're quite a sweet couple though.

Prompted by Bruce, Letitia admits she had never imagined she could dance like that. Craig heaps on the praise: "Fantastic. I loved the intro. There was a great amount of rotation, great hand movements"... but says that when Letita was going backwards, her feet weren't closing. Arlene says, "I don't want to see one more VT of you worrying" - I second that - "because you're a beautiful woman and a beautiful dancer. Your arms have improved out of all proportion." Len says Letitia has mastered her top but has "problems down below". I thought this was supposed to be good, clean family entertainment? He proceeds to pick holes in her footwork - "no heel leads", "a mess-up on the change step", but concedes that she did the fleckle, which must be my favourite dance-step name ever. Bruce wonders if it will be "last orders for the Queen Vic landlady?" Which is a pretend-occupation-related pun, so - drink!

Backstage, Tess asks if Letitia is the dark horse of the competition, and Darren thinks she is, pointing out that in the VT we see her frustration about trying to learn the steps, but he has seen a lot of improvement in rehearsals. Awww. Back to the judges for their scores: 8 from Craig, 8 from Arlene, 7 from Len and 9 from Bruno, which he prefaces with a little justification: "Most improved dancer, I liked it very much!" [Hee. Sometimes Bruno is adorable. - Carrie] Total: 32.

Next up, Kelly and Brendan. It was Kelly's birthday yesterday. [You'd think she'd have dragged hers out for a fortnight. It seems a little unfair that only Letitia is allowed to do that. - Steve] Bruce makes a gag about Brendan wrapping himself up as a birthday parcel and Kelly refusing to sign for it. At least it wasn't a "birthday suit" joke. Kelly and Brendan are under pressure after their great jive last week, and they're getting up at 6 o'clock to rehearse. Brendan is pushing her hard and there's a bit of tension in rehearsals, so he throws her a surprise birthday party. These are the people who have been whinging about not having enough time to rehearse. Kelly's nan is there, but isn't as great as Alesha's nans. Kelly's mum Sandra wants her to win. Shocker! Kelly and Brendan will be samba-ing to Staying Alive. It's difficult to do a good cover of a Bee Gees song, and the band do a surprisingly good job. Their routine is okay, but nothing spectacular. I'd give Brendan extra marks for his waistcoat.

Arlene says her "high expectations have fallen flat... You should have stormed through the ballroom but you didn't." She thinks Brendan was sharp but Kelly wasn't, but Len disagrees - he doesn't even think Brendan did very well, criticising his choreography as "not a good enough standard of routine for a girl of her standard". He also says Kelly should "listen to Brendan and get on with it". And also get back in the kitchen and make him some pie. Probably. [That comment was beyond the pale, I thought. Especially since this week Kelly was actually making me like her by taking the judges' criticism with what I thought was good grace. - Steve] Bruno makes some kind of remark about their dance being like "Judi Dench reading the Yellow Pages". Brendan gets all mouthy about how they've only had eight hours to rehearse the samba because of the group dance. Wait a second, isn't everyone doing the group dance? If a celebrity signs up for Strictly, shouldn't they make sure they can fit it into their busy schedule? Brendan says the judges should "stop expecting Kelly to be the world's best dancer, because she's not", which is a fairer comment. Surely they should be judging the dance itself, rather than how well they think the celebrity in question could potentially have done it? [Yeah, but then Brendan treads on his point by saying that they did the best they could with the time they had available, which: tough shit. If you're not putting the time in, then don't expect to improve or garner good marks. - Carrie] Bruce remembers that Craig hasn't had a say, but he doesn't have much to add at this point, just that it was "technically not brilliant". Bruce tells Kelly and Brendan they're his favourites. Kelly says, "Does that mean we're going home?" LULZ. Backstage, Brendan is angry! Grr! He is fed up of all the negativity. And probably bored of not causing any controversy for a few weeks. The judges' scores aren't that bad, anyway: 8 from Bruno, 7s from everyone else, for a total of 29.

Bruce introduces Kenny (cue much cheering - clearly the audience are not dance-lovers) and Ola with comments about how he can't understand anything Kenny says when he gets excited. Racialist! Kenny hopes he can turn the corner this week. Ola thinks the American smooth will be a good dance for Kenny because he can do lifts that no one else can. I suspect not steps, however. "A bit more graceful!" Ola instructs him in rehearsals, possibly fighting a losing battle. Kenny says he wants to "give the judges something to cheer about". They're dancing to 'How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)', and I can't help but feel something a bit more swing would have been a better choice. In places they look awkward because Ola seems to be ready to move but is waiting for Kenny to lead her. Kenny is singing along, bless. [Ola is too, at odd points, and I think that this is deliberate because Kenny still can't hear the beat, so he's working out when to step according to what words are being sung. Watch it again - you'll see them both mouthing, "Stop!" at the "Stop! and thank you baby" bit. But of course he is dyslexic OMGZ!?1 so that's why he can't hear music. - Carrie] They do two lifts that cover about five different positions, including a one-handed overhead drape. (I'm not sure if that's the correct terminology, but it sounds good.) Okay, yes, Kenny has improved this week but I'm afraid he's never going to reach the standard of the other dancers. Let's see what the judges have to say.

Bruno says it was a "monumental effort", and for a moment I'm not sure if he's damning them with faint praise. He calls Kenny a "tower of strength... You've worked hard and it shows." Craig says it was "a lot more like it", although Kenny "could have smiled through the lifts - it's supposed to look effortless", and Kenny's knees were too bent. Arlene, in a bit of a non-sequitur, says Kenny has "caused more controversy than Heather Mills McCartney's interview with Fiona Phillips. Everyone's talking about you - but I'm talking about the improvement. You've taken a giant step." [Before I heard Arlene say "interview", I was really hoping she was referring to some kind of controversy involving Heather Mills and Fiona Phillips both being really bad dancers. Booo. - Steve] Head Judge Len wasn't struck with the lifts - "They weren't in keeping with the dance", which is supposed to be floaty and gliding, and "This isn't Strictly Come Weightlifting" - but he thought the actual dancing was much better. [He's right about the lifts. They're spectacular, but a bit...not smooth. Nor, indeed, American. - Carrie] [But I would totally watch Strictly Come Weightlifting, just for the record. - Steve] Backstage, Tess tells us that even the professionals can't do a one-armed overhead lift. Ha, that's nothing. They should try doing it On Ice, like another rugby player I could mention. The scores are in: a very realistic 6 from Craig (boo from the audience, hooray from me), an 8 from Arlene "for sheer improvement" - srsly, don't get me started [Fuck off, Arlene! - Carrie] - and 8s from Len and Bruno, for a total of 30. Sorry? What. The. Fuck? This isn't playschool, for crying out loud.

Matt and Flavia are doing the salsa this week, which Flavia says is "the most sexy dance". Isn't that the rumba? I'm confused. Matt was on form last week, after scraping through the dance-off the week before. He says it is "wide open, and I'm not going down without a fight." I think he was talking about the competition, although it might have been some kind of secret message to Gethin. [Heh! Filth! - Carrie] Flavia's having trouble getting Matt to move his hips, but once she gets him shimmying, she reckons he looks hot. Matt's trying to let himself go this week. Flavia's dress is rather demure, but they are dancing to decent samba music with a great Latin beat. Flavia's choreography has been good this series and this is another example, packed with content and risky moves like Matt kicking his leg over Flavia's head and holding her just off the floor with one hand. Don't drop her! As we learned on It Takes Two, it could break her neck. It's okay, though, it doesn't.

Bruce goes to Arlene first to make sure she's feeling alright. She certainly is - "The Ramps returns! It was hot, hot, hot! You sizzled like sausages on a barbecue!" Len simply states that it was "absolutely fantastic". Bruno enthuses, "You're bringing sexy back! You're the Spice Boy of the competition!" I think he might be confused. Bruce observes that Craig is "smiling and looks satisfied", and Craig is all like, "OMG, I am tOtAlLy LUVin ur wOrK!!!!111!!!1! It was brilliant!" Backstage, Tess calls Matt a "sexy beast". The scores are good: 9s from Craig and Len (although, again, what could they have done better to deserve 10s?) and 10s from Arlene and Bruno, for a total of 38.

The final couple is Alesha and Matthew. Last week, Alesha was "the belle of the ball" and they got two 10s. Alesha had "a brilliant time", but now she feels the pressure to be great every time she and Matthew are "stepping out". Hee! In rehearsals, Matthew says she has to "feel the cha-cha-cha flowing through your veins". Alesha wants to prove that she can do Latin as well as ballroom, because she gets too excited and her technique suffers. Control is the "cha-cha-challenge". Alesha is fabulous. She's wearing the scantiest dress this week as well. They're dancing to Beyonce's 'Crazy In Love', which is a bit of an odd choice because you can't really feel the cha-cha-cha beat, but it's a great routine, even though putting the sort-of-splits in at the end just emphasises that Alesha doesn't have the flexibility to actually do the splits (unlike Gabby, who is dead out of the competition).

Head Judge Len says it was Alesha's best dance. Bruno camps it up - "My pulse is racing! My heart is beating! It's DIVA TIME!" Craig describes it as "totally amazing. You are FAB-YU-LUSS." Arlene comes up with the rather unflattering metaphor, "This is a two-horse competition and you're one of them." Bruce reckons there might be more 10s on the cards. Do ya think? There's not much time for backstage banter. The scores are in: 9 from Craig, 10s from all the other judges (and a punch into the air from Bruno - drink!), for a nearly perfect total of 39, the highest score of the series so far. [And for what it's worth, I think that score was too high. I love Alesha to bits, obviously, and it was a brilliant routine to watch, but I'm not sure it had the technical perfection to deserve three 10s. And now I'm worried that this will trigger the as-yet-unrealised Alesha backlash. Sigh. - Steve]

The show is drawing to a close, but there's just time for a final look at the leaderboard. Obviously Alesha and Matthew are at the top, closely followed by Matt and Flavia, while John and Nicole are languishing at the bottom with 27, along with Kelly and Brendan, who have 29. Kenny and Ola have finished triumphantly third from bottom. There's a bit of a tradition of bad dancers getting voted off the week they give their best performance though, so anything could happen in the results show tomorrow.

Also in the results show, the couples will be performing a group Charleston, the Sugababes will be performing, and the professionals will be treating us to a Dirty Dancing medley. Yayz! Steve will be here to guide you through the mayhem of the WEEK 8 results!

Monday, 19 November 2007

This week on It Takes Two, we have learnt...

- Often, radio mics go inside bra cups.

- Anton is still quite cross about the way the judges treated Kate. Carrie loves Anton.

- When Claudia asked Kate if she ever fantasised about not appearing on a Monday It Takes Two, Anton interrupted and said, "Fantasise? Yes, often, but that's another show altogether." Kate and Anton lounged on the couch holding hands and cuddling, until the end of the interview when he leapt on her again. AHAHAHAHAH!

- Len thinks the judges' job is to encourage, not criticise, and sent his love to Kate and Anton. He likened the weaker contestants to water buffalo.

- Anton is not supporting anybody now.

- Arlene will miss Kate's smile. She made no mention of Kate's dancing, surprisingly enough.

- Craig did not think Alesha and Matthew's waltz was worthy of a 10 because of a moment where Alesha started moving before Matthew did.

- Matt di Angelo is very grumpy on Mondays, and has now started wearing t-shirts to prove it.

- There is a LOVE TRIANGLE between Arlene, Matt and Gethin.

- Flavia is genuinely appalled that Matt has not seen Dirty Dancing.

- Carrie kind of wants Karen to be on the judging panel, because she speaks sense. Except for when she said, entirely seriously, "John and Nicole have what we in dance call 'a height difference'."

- Letitia Dean is ridiculously hard on herself. (In fairness, we could've guessed that, but all the same: Dear God woman, give yourself a chance!)

- In terms of physical fitness, James is better than Brendan and Vincent. Brendan won at running (and James runs like a girl) and rowing, James won at cycling and reactions, and Vincent didn't appear to win at anything. Apparently this was because he was letting them win.

- Gabby wants Kenny to win, Penny wants Alesha to win, and Stephanie wants Matt. And Gethin. Er, to win, I mean.

- Kenny does a hilarious impression of Gabby. "James! That wasn't good enough! Do it again! James! No, go back there and start again! James!" Hee hee hee. Gabby pretended she was amused by it, but it was a smile through gritted teeth.

- Darren bribes Letitia with cash to dance well.

- Head Judge Len gave his half-term report, and the grades were as follows: Alesha: A+, Kelly: A, Gethin: A, Matt: A-, Letitia B+, Kenny: B, John: B-.

- Kenny was so convinced he would be in the dance-off this week, he didn't even hear his name called out. Ola only registered that they were through when Gabby leapt to her feet and started clapping.

- Kenny would like to be in a show called Strictly Come Lifting.

- Alesha was on Thursday It Takes Two, with Matthew, her mum Beverley, and HER DOG ROXIE. Alesha is awesome.

- Alesha likes to cha-cha-cha. It is a challenge, a cha-cha-cha-challenge.

- AAAAAAARGH BARROWMAN ALERT!!!!!11111!!1oMGZ?! He says that sometimes Len does not make sense. He also suggested that Gethin would benefit from hip-moving classes with him. And Claudia.

- On Friday, Gethin called Claudia "snuggles".

- Kelly and Brendan have only trained for seven hours this week. Gasp! Brendan said that he and Karen don't get on, and Kelly isn't going to worry about her comments. AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH FOUR POOFS AND A PIANO!!!!!!111111111111111!!?!12 sang Happy Birthday to her.

- Len gave Claudia a medal for being the Saturday Night Fever Queen of the Ballroom. Whatever that might be.

- Ben Shepherd was on the panel on Friday. He has showered with John.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

What Katy did

Our eight remaining couples have battled it out on the dancefloor! Some elated the judges! Others deflated them! Now, one couple must LEAVE THE COMPETITION FOR GOOD! Cue titles!

We're not live from London, obviously, and the celebrities and their partners take to the floor, followed by Bruce and Tess. Tess is wearing a black dress with a silver sash, making it look like she's won some sort of beauty pageant prior to coming to the studio. [But: best she's looked in weeks, if you ask me. I think somebody bought a round of drinks for the wardrobe department between shows, eh Tess? - Steve]

It's nice to see us, to see us nice, and Bruce begins to witter about football, apologising to Kenny about the Scotland result, and inviting the audience to cheer for the lifeline thrown to England by the Israel-Russia result, and setting up an unfunny joke with John Barnes. [What is this "foot-ball" of which you speak? Is there dancing in it? - Steve] Tess tries to get the show back on track, and is called "matron" by Bruce, indicating that the rest of the week, he spends his time in a nursing establishment receiving the specialist care he really needs.

We recap last night's performances. Kate and Anton were bottom of the leaderboard, and Arlene used incomprehensible metaphors, while Len relived his childhood, and Anton was angry. Kate's horrible husband appears to have had a haircut. Kenny and Ola were just as bad, but as Kenny has a Y-chromosome and is a sportsman, he got more marks. Kenny talks, I've no idea what he says. Bruno says that Kenny makes him smile, and though he isn't very good, you want to see him back anyway. Bruno, I hope you're not forgetting that this IS A DANCE COMPETITION. John and Nicole failed to capitalise on John's Natural Sense Of Rhythm, but he hopes that he will get the ballroom sorted out soon. Now there's an idea. Gethin and Camilla were caught midtable, and Stephanie Beacham is angry with the judges' comments. She also says, "I want him as my son-in-law so badly." Heh. [I didn't know she was Matt's mum. - Steve] Matt and Flavia pleased the judges with their complex choreography. Flavia is proud of Matt. Drink! Letitia, WHO IS 40, was reborn to the ballroom with her stylish routine with Darren. She shares her tips on improving her posture - to stand like a meerkat. Kelly and Brendan were PINK AND SPARKLEEEEE YAAAAAAAAAAAY in their jive. Kelly's friends have flown in from America to support her. Alesha and Matthew were best, hooray! After receiving two tens, Alesha goes backstage to dance round Matthew, and then breaks into an impromptu rendition of Rewind ("We're lovin' it, lovin' it, lovin' it, we're lovin' it like thiiiiiiis"). Hee!

Bruce welcomes back the judges and tells them he appreciates the difficult decisions they have to make. That's what they're bloody paid for, idiot. Len likes Kelly and Alesha best, but that's not a great surprise, the dirty old man. Arlene gave her first ten of the series after watching "a hip-hop queen turn into the belle of the ball". [Were Mis-Teeq hip-hop? I thought they were R'n'B. Or possibly pop. - Georgi] She explains that what makes the difference between a nine and a ten is the emotional reaction to it.

The professional dancers perform a group foxtrot, starting off with James and Ola (WHO ARE MARRIED), Darren and Lilia (WHO ARE MARRIED) and Matthew and Nicole (WHO WERE ONCE MARRIED BUT ARE NOT ANY MORE), before the others join them. Anyway, it's all very lovely, finishing with Karen sitting on Craig's lap and kissing him vigorously, so well done all.

In the House of Tesstosterone, Alesha and Kenny are bickering between themselves in an affectionate fashion, so Tess decides to give up talking to them and turns to Kate instead. Kate knows that if she's in the dance-off, she'll be out of here, and she seems fairly resigned to that. Poor Kate. [At this stage, surely it's putting her out of her misery? It can't be any fun dancing when you're injured all the time. That would be a real sympathy vote. - Georgi]

This week! On It Takes Two! John Barrowman! [Jesus Christ. - Steve][No, Captain Jack - but he does seem to get resurrected more often than the Messiah. - Georgi] Head Judge Len's half-term report! The male professional dancers go to the University of East London to prove their fitness.

Jenny Powell and June Brown love Letitia. Viv off Emmerdale loves Alesha, as does Gloria Hunniford. Stirling Moss and Sally Gunnell like Kelly. Some man from BBC Sport slags off Kate for not pulling out of the competition. Gabby Logan is oddly old-fashioned and cute, saying that Gethin did very well to dance with any kind of romance with Camilla, because they are not married. [I love that she called it a "blinkin' great effort". I wasn't a fan of her on the show, but I'd be happy to watch Gabby the Dance Pundit every week. - Steve]

Bruce announces that we have a treat in store - the number one Latin couple in the world. I can't spell their names, but I can inform you that the lady is petite with cropped blonde hair and an odd dress, which transmogrifies in a Bucks Fizz moment to become a leotard, then again into a tasselly salsa dress. The gentleman is in black trousers and an open white shirt throughout, which is very unadventurous of him. Anyway, it's all very good.

It's time to garner Craig's opinions on last night's performances. He admires Kate and Kenny's courage, but urges us to remember that it is A DANCE COMPETITION. Bruno agrees with Craig, and says that Kelly and Alesha are jewels, with Matt barking at their heels, complete with barking dog hand gestures.

But! Before the results, we get to see West End Leading Man LEE MEAD, who is SINGING PAINT IT BLACK, all the better to please Georgi [if she was watching - Georgi]. [And to fill Steve with rage. - Steve] Ian and Matt strut on doing their caping, and Nicole and Camilla join them and paso doble all over the place, doing partner-swapping and everything, and it turns into a weird jive at the end for some reason. West End Leading Man Lee Mead claps the dancers. Bless his heart. [And HA, I knew they would paso to it. /smug - Georgi]

Ooh, results. I'm actually nervous. It's not even like this is live, and I still get a stomach-flip and butterflies. The moment of truth - dancing again next week will be: Alesha and Matthew (of course); Kelly and Brendan (of course); Gethin and Camilla (hooray!); Letitia and Darren (who are on the Strictly live tour, lest we forget); Matt and Flavia; Kenny and Ola. For FUCK'S SAKE. Bad Scotland.

So it's Kate and Anton versus John and Nicole in the dance-off, and I think we all know what way this is going to go. John and Nicole go first, Kate and Anton are second, and it's all much like it was "last" "night", except with added aggression from Angry Anton [Grrrr! Hee! - Georgi]. As they await the judges' decision, Anton has his arm firmly round Kate's shoulder, and she's clinging on to his hand. Aw.

Craig says he has a responsibility to choose the best dancer, and saves John and Nicole. Arlene saves John and Nicole. Anton whispers to Kate, and kisses her hair. Bruno says both couples upped the ante, and saves John. Everyone hugs. Kate looks relieved. Len says that he too would have saved John and Nicole. Kate thanks Anton and gives him a cuddle, announcing that everyone is great and that she would like to thank everyone who voted for her, because she's had a good run and she's really enjoyed herself. Which: good work, Kate. Dignified and classy and self-effacing. Yes, she was the worst dancer from week one, but she knows it. [Absolutely - I thought that was one hell of a classy exit. Good for her. - Steve] They have their last dance, and Anton picks her up and whirls her around. The camera cuts to Kate's horrible husband. TAKE THAT! AHAHAHA!

Right, if we're genuinely voting in a dance contest now, Great British Public, Kenny to go next week, yes? Join us again next Saturday!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Everybody was jive talkin’…

Last week! Emotions ran high! There were tears, 10s and more tears! What happened to the good old British stiff upper lip? Stop bawling, for goodness' sake! Tonight! The drama continues and - surprise, surprise - nobody wants to leave. Ba-ba-ba-ba ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba BA BA!

Here are Bruce and Tess. Tess's long red dress is quite elegant below the waistband, but the top half makes it look like she has a couple of melons stuffed down the front. Perhaps her stylists aren't used to dressing buxom women. Penny was voted out last week, and Bruce jokes that he offered to get something to wipe away her tears - a ladder. Then, as if it wasn't painful enough to experience it last week, he breaks into 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy'. Then calls Penny's husband Rob. Please make it stop.

Fortunately this isn't The Bruce Forsyth Show and he has to stop eventually so the couples can be introduced. They are: Matt and Flavia; Kate and Anton; Kelly and Brendan; Letitia and Darren; Gethin and Camilla; Alesha and Matthew; Kenny and Ola (who seems to be wearing nothing but a few strategically placed tassels [good old Ola. She knows how to garner good marks from Head Judge Len - Carrie]); John and Nicole. Everyone is dancing a different dance tonight. Well, hopefully the celebs will be dancing the same dance as their partners or we'll be in trouble, but you know what I mean. [With Kate and Anton, you just never know. - Steve]

Kelly and Brendan are opening the show this week, which probably means the producers are expecting something special from their jive. Kelly has been going on all week about how the jive is the first time she'll be able to show her personality and how much she loves it. Presumably to emphasise the point, she keeps showing up at rehearsals dressed like an extra from Grease. I am fascinated to learn Kelly has a "jive face", but Brendan doesn't like it because she has her mouth open all the time. Insert your own dirty joke here. I expect Kelly is thrilled with her costume this week, which is PINK AND SPARKLEEEEEE YAY! They're dancing to Johnny B Goode, and their jive is so fast and furious I feel exhausted just watching it. Or that might be because I went to the gym earlier. Kelly's footwork is great, their syncopation is good... but where are the illegal lifts and showboating? I'm not convinced Brendan choreographed this. Kudos to Kelly for being thrown in the air and landing on her heels.

Bruce points out that Brendan's shoes match Kelly's dress, which I hadn't noticed - they are PINK AND SPARKLEEEEEEE YAY! He seems quite pleased with them. [But he is not gay, remember. Because he LIKES GIRLS. - Carrie] Yet again, introducing the panel, Bruce mocks Craig. I'm getting a bit annoyed - Craig seems to talk more sense than Head Judge Len "10" Goodman this series. Leave him alone, Forsyth! Len says Kelly is "very talented", and emphasises that Brendan doesn't need to do controversial choreography to get into the final. Where's the fun in that? Bruno says Kelly was "electrifying, like pink lightning". Craig says it was "bright, lively, clean - everything the jive is about", and compliments Kelly on her "clean punctuation" and "impeccable timing". When Craig doesn't have anything bad to say, you know you've done pretty well. Arlene says it was "Kelly B Goode", and the closest thing yet to Jill and Darren's "legendary" jive in season 2. [FUCK OFF, ARLENE! Drink! - Carrie] Backstage, Tess loves Brendan's shoes and Kelly witters on again about how she was able to be herself and have fun. The judges give them 9s across the board, for a total of 36. Fair enough, it wasn't as good as Jill and Darren's jive, but since the judges only heaped them with praise, it's not really clear what they could have done better to earn 10s. [Presumably where Bruno's concerned, an illegal lift would've swung it. - Steve]

Letitia and Darren are up next, and Darren is looking pleased - probably because his jive hasn't been outdone. No need to be smug about it, Darren. Letitia was shocked when they got through last week, and this week she's dancing the complicated foxtrot. Darren takes her to visit what looks like an old folks' home to practise, and pick up tips like "No gain without pain" and "Dance like you're in the clouds" [and I'm sure one of the old people calls her Sharon. Hee! - Carrie]. Letitia has a bit of a Dirty Dancing moment - "I just have to keep my shoulders down, my head back... keep my posture good, glide across the floor..." Letitia's dress is much more flattering this week, and their foxtrot to 'Call Me Irresponsible' is pretty good - to be honest, I can't think of much to say about it, so let's go straight to the judges. Not before Bruce has mentioned Letitia's birthday again, though, in case you didn't realise SHE IS 40. Letitia says it was "a camp old day". With Darren? You shock me.

Craig says it was a "sweet, stylish routine". Letitia managed to keep her shoulders down, there was detail in the footwork and it was "very classy". Arlene says Letitia's posture was "much improved" and it was her best acting performance, but wanted more drive. Len says it's difficult to compare the jive to the foxtrot - in which case, I would suggest, don't - but it was "as good in its own way as the jive we've just seen". Bruno effuses, "Letitia - to the ballroom reborn!" and says it was unhurried, had control and retained grace, all essentials for the foxtrot. Backstage, Letitia doesn't seem in danger of bursting into tears this week. Darren reckons their training is getting better and better. Well, he has experience with older women after Gloria Hunniford a couple of years ago. [Yeah, Letitia, Gloria Hunniford, they're of an age, aren't they? - Carrie] The scores are in: 8s from Craig and Arlene, 9s from Len and Bruno, for a total of 34.

Still to come! Kenny and Ola head for the Highlands [because Kenny is SCOTTISH AND FROM SCOTLAND - Carrie], Gethin and Camilla are desperate for some romance, and the nightmare is back for Kate and Anton!

Kenny and Ola have been shamelessly chasing Scotland's vote this week, jetting off to the Highlands to visit his family [who are FROM SCOTLAND - Carrie]. Obviously, it is soundtracked by the Proclaimers. Ola seems to be struggling to understand anything said to her in a Scottish accent. They're going to be dancing the cha-cha-cha to 'Billie Jean'. And yes, Kenny is going to moonwalk. Last time I checked, neither the moonwalk nor the pelvic thrust had very much to do with the cha-cha-cha. It's quite painful to watch. I mean, the moonwalk was about the best part of it - whenever they do proper dance steps, it's pretty poor, and Kenny is clearly struggling with the timing.

Arlene opens with, "This is the seventh week and that was the standard of a seven-year-old." Boo! "That moonwalk was insulting to Michael Jackson." Steady on, Arlene. I'm sure MJ has other things to worry about. Also, it was a bit risky making that remark in such close juxtaposition to a comment about seven-year-olds... eek. To conclude, it had "no content" and was "out of time". I have to agree there, but Head Judge Len jumps in: "That's an untruth. The odd moment was out of time..." and then harps on about how Kenny doesn't have a dance background. That's sort of the point of this competition, and true of everyone, isn't it? So - shut up. It was rubbish. [Aaarg. I'm really getting sick of Head Judge Len telling everyone else they don't know what they're talking about, especially when he's the one bloody overmarking all the time. I'm beginning to think they should make Craig or Arlene the head of the panel instead. I'd be far more likely to trust them to pick the right contestant to save in a dance-off rather than a SPORTSMAN with a JOURNEY who DANCES LIKE A FELLA. - Steve] Arlene says she thought this was a dance competition. I reckon she's thinking of Dance X again. Bruno says Kenny is "built like a rock" and he dances "like a lump of granite" but "the humping was in time". LULZ. Craig says it was "full of posticulation", which I'm not convinced is a real word, "just posing. I was bored." He also throws in that Kenny's arms weren't great, and Len tells him to give them a chance. We have, and he's still shit. Vote him out! Backstage, Tess says Kenny is this series's transformation story. No, he was shit, and he's still shit. Where's the transformation? [Now people know who he is and WHERE HE IS FROM? - Carrie] Judges' scores: 4 from Craig, 5 from Arlene, 7 from Len (who is starting to try my patience) [absolute nonsense. Bad Head Judge Len - Carrie] and 6 from Bruno, for a total of 22. Backstage again, Kenny says this has been their hardest week. Yes, well, perhaps if you had been rehearsing instead of jetsetting to Scotland and back, it would have been less tiring. Probably not any better, though.

Gethin and Camilla are next, and they're still having problems with passion, which is a big problem when you're rumba-ing, which is supposed to be passionate and romantic. Camilla's solution is a night out drinking champagne in the London Eye, followed by a romantic meal on a boat on the Thames and a rehearsal in front of the other diners. Let's hope it works because Gethin's out of his comfort zone this week and the rumba is a "massive challenge". I'm a fan of the undone-bowtie look modelled by Gethin - for a change it's not actually sewn on to his shirt, which I hate. It has an "I know it's late, but do you fancy a nightcap in my swanky hotel room?" look about it - perfect for the rumba. [Are you leading a secret double life as seducer of rich tuxedoed men, Georgina? - Carrie] The rumba can be quite dull, but their dance has quite a lot of drama - although it's mainly coming from Camilla. We're saved from boredom as they pick up pace for the chorus. It's pretty fast for a rumba. Anyone watching It Takes Two will know that the dance had dual endings - if Camilla is pleased with the way Gethin has danced, she'll turn back towards him at the end; otherwise he will lose her 4 EVA [o noez! - Carrie]. It's all part of the story, or something. She turns back, of course.

Bruno says the dance was "well executed, everything was there", but it "lacked the ladykiller instinct, the animal magnetism"; otherwise it was "an accomplished rumba". Craig agrees that something was missing - "the heat between you. You told the story but the spark was missing." Arlene says the build of the song was "a river of romance, a stream of love". All three judges so far have commented that Gethin needs to use his hips more. Len says that all the romance came from Camilla, not Gethin, and that he needed to respond to her. It's not his fault he only has eyes for Matt Di Angelo. Backstage, Tess claims to have been able to "feel the fire", and Camilla complains that the rumba is all about showing off the lady and the men don't have much to do, and says she is proud of Gethin. Drink! Craig gets booed for giving them a 7; the rest of the judges give them 8s, for a total of 31. [And if I understood Claudia on ITT this week correctly, that's the highest score a rumba's ever got on this show. I would double check on Wikipedia, but the elimination is probably already up there by now and I don't want to get spoiled. - Steve]

Next up are John and Nicole, which is Bruce's cue to wibble on about football (specifically the Euro 2008 qualifiers) while Bruno looks puzzled. John was "man of the match last week", ho ho. John says he "can't get complacent", like when Liverpool won the championship, or some such tenuous footballing comparison. John is getting some help this week from West End star Claire Sweeney [who is FROM LIVERPOOL - Carrie]. I hope he's not planning to do a Miss Adelaide-style striptease. Apparently she's advising him on the performance aspects, and tells him off for smiling during the tango. Nicole says this week he needs to be "Juanos Buarnos". Or Juan, even? Anyway. When the music starts, I think it might be traditional tango music, but it turns into a song called 'Dance With Me', which is a bit disappointing. It's not as good as last week, but then John's Natural Sense of Rhythm [drink! - Carrie] serves him better in Latin than ballroom. When they finish, we get a shot of Dominic Littlewood in the audience (who went out in the dance-off against John two weeks ago), as if in case he might be looking angry and booing.

Over to the judges. Len says John's strength is in Latin dances (racialist!) but says it is his best ballroom attempt. Bruno says John's strength is his personality, and "when you try too hard, it's like you're not here... I felt nothing." Boo! "You have to live the dance!" Someone sedate him, quickly. Bruce retaliates with, "You weren't dancing with him!" and Bruno looks eager to have a go. Craig says the rhythm was there (racialist!) but it "lacked style and drama". Arlene says, "You needed to dig deep into your soul." (Racialist!) "It looked like you had a row the night before and were forced to dance together... It's a shame, because it could have been hot." Boo! Backstage, Tess says John isn't an actor, he's a footballer, and it's a "whole new ball game", ho ho. John says he couldn't concentrate on the performance because he was scared of the dance and was too busy trying to get the steps right. Scores: 6 from Craig (boo!), 7 from Arlene (yay!), 8 from Len (what?) and 7 from Bruno (at which the crowd felt nothing, it seems), for a total of 28. John wants to get through so he can impress us with his Natural Sense of Rhythm in the samba next week.

Now the moment you've all been waiting for - Kate and Anton's paso doble. Just how long can the public sympathy vote hold out? Unfortunately it looks like another week because Kate injured her back and is going to be strapped up and in pain this evening. Anyone else think they did it deliberately? Anton says the paso will give Kate "the opportunity to come out of herself. I just hope it's not a load of bull." Ha ha! Kate isn't sure why the public are still voting for her. The public mainly seem to be voting for Anton and his chest hair. Kate's dress is disgusting. They're dancing to Somebody Told Me by The Killers. I used to think Anton could be relied on to dance to sensible music - surely he wouldn't choose to choreograph a paso to this? Also, I wish they would choose songs the singers can actually sing. Or singers who can actually sing the songs they choose. Either would do. They dance in hold a lot, because Anton has learned from experience that Kate isn't to be trusted on her own. There's no drive and no drama though, except from Anton.

Craig says Kate did "the best you could do", but it was "plankish" and "lacked any attack". Arlene, always one for the ridiculous simile, says Kate was "less like a cape, more like a shag carpet", and describes it as "plunky". Len says when he was younger, he used to go to the cinema every Saturday and see a serial called "The Perils of Pauline" where every week she would get into a perilous situation and have to be rescued. Bruce seems to know what he's talking about, but nobody else does - even Arlene. He says he liked the steps but they "lacked fire". Bruno says he understands that it's hard, "but Tutankhamun in a frock would have done better". I'm struggling to see the link there. He says her footwork was "mummified". Kate and Anton are Bruce's favourites, which they seem to be every week. Backstage, Kate is fighting back tears. They had to change their routine at the last minute because of her injuries. Anton gets quite angry with the judges, saying they weren't harsh, it was just "nonsense! They don't know what they're talking about. It was as good as the foxtrot." Gallant, Anton, but you're fighting a losing battle. The scores are in: 4 from Craig, 5 from Arlene, with a "Bored now!" for good measure, 7 from Len, at which Bruno looks rightfully shocked, and 5 from Bruno himself, for a total of 21. Backstage, Anton demands to know why the public don't just vote and forget about the judges. Because it's a DANCING COMPETITION! [I have many, many thoughts on this. I love Anton anyway, obviously, but I felt really sorry for Kate tonight, as her training hasn't looked too bad. As someone who's had a pretty serious shoulder/upper back injury, I can only imagine how much pain Kate must have been in doing that initial throw and slide. You need the arms for the paso, and if you're biting back tears of agony, it's not going to help you infuse it with drama. And there were obviously gaps in the routine where they've had to take chunks out because of her injury. Admittedly her feet still aren't the greatest, but I suspect if she'd been able to sell it more with her upper body, it might have distracted the critics. And Arlene was just fucking rude. I enjoyed Kate planting a big kiss on Anton's lips after his spirited attack on the judges, though. TAKE THAT, KATE'S HORRIBLE HUSBAND! - Carrie]

Alesha and Matthew are doing the waltz this week. Matt is back in his ballroom shoes, and although Alesha says it was "nice to let go" in the salsa last week, she actually likes ballroom more than Latin. Alesha's nans are going into overdrive with their "Vote for Alesha" campaign, mobilising bingo halls and community centres all over the country (probably). [Hooray! Go Alesha's nans! - Carrie] Alesha says dancing has taken over her life, and her nans' lives, and she doesn't want to let them down. They're dancing to the theme from Romeo and Juliet (Zeffirelli, not Luhrmann) [which is crucified by the vocalist - Carrie] and it is, as you would expect, sophisticated and romantic, and Alesha is very light on her feet. [The romance is such I ALMOST think Alesha and Matthew are a couple. - Carrie] The audience love it - but what about the judges?

Bruno was "swept away in the sea of love". Craig says, "It actually gave me goosebumps." ["I actually felt something," he adds - Carrie] Arlene says it was "floaty, fluid, flawless. I was carried away... in a dream - with you two." Which is actually a little bit creepy. Len says it was a "delightful performance" and tries to talk his way into Alesha's dressing room, the old codger. [He actually tries to lure Alesha to his room on the pretext of offering dance advice. Bruno shouts, "It's a TRICK!" - Carrie] Bruce calls him a "naughty old man", and rightly so. Backstage, Tess says Alesha looks like a princess, and asks how she makes it look easy. Alesha says she "tries to fall in love with the dance", which is a bit pretentious but I'll let her off. It will be CRIMINAL if Alesha and Matthew aren't in the final. The judges' scores: 9s from Craig and Len, 10s from Arlene and Bruno, for a total of 38 - the highest score of the series so far. [Hooray! GO TEAM ALESHA! - Carrie] [I'm beginning to think that Alesha's only chance of getting a 10 from Head Judge Len is if she has a sex change and takes up professional rugby. - Steve]

Matt and Flavia's quickstep is the final dance of the evening. Matt was shocked to find himself in the dance-off last week, and doesn't think he could take being in the bottom two again. Even when he got through, he felt bad for knocking Penny out. Awww. Flavia is working him harder this week, but Matt is downhearted that people didn't vote for him. He says the show is "very intense... like a family" and "to be kicked out would be heartbreaking". They're dancing to 'Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby', and it's a performance with energy and lots of good footwork - except when Matt almost loses his balance and falls over. Whoops! It's a catalogue of steps though, and I suspect the judges will be impressed.

Arlene says Flavia is "wicked" and that it was "the most difficult and complex choreography we've ever seen... you've won a place in my heart again." Len says that the secret of Strictly is to "forget a bad performance and come back stronger", which is exactly what they've done. Hooray! Bruno [whose birthday it is NEXT WEEK - Carrie] says Matt is "like Mr Sheen on the dancefloor... sparkling!" Craig says they put in a lot of different moves and Matt danced well - it was a shame about the trip, which Flavia says was her fault. What they don't want is to be in the mid-table danger zone again this week. The scores are in: 8s from Craig and Len, 9s from Bruno and Arlene, for a total of 34.

Let's take a look at the final leaderboard! Alesha is at the top with 38, followed by Kelly, while Kenny and Kate are at the bottom again, with 22 and 21 respectively. Look, we're halfway through the competition - it must be time for a Kenny v Kate dance-off, mustn't it?

Join Carrie tomorrow for the results show, when the number 1 Latin couple IN THE WORLD!!!!!!11!!111! will be here. Is that the boy from Footloose who was Bruno's adviser on Dance X and his sister who is in Dancing With The Stars? I hope so, but we'll have to wait and see. Also! West End Leading Man Lee Mead! [Hooray! - Carrie] [Boo! - Steve] I hope he sings 'Paint It Black' with accompanying paso doble, and there are no children's choirs in sight. [You can hope, but I suspect he'll be doing his very best David Essex impersonation. - Carrie] Don't miss it!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

This week on It Takes Two, we have learnt...

- Anton says that the male celebrities are not getting better. It is all hype. They are still a bit rubbish.

- Whatever you try to do with Kenny's hair, it just spikes up like a hedgehog.

- The women all do rehearsals on Saturday morning with their hair in curlers, like they're attending some kind of Hilda Ogden fan convention.

- Craig FINALLY admitted this week that the public are entitled to vote for whoever they want. Whoop!

- Nobody besides Head Judge Len thought John's Salsa deserved a 10. Not Claudia, not Zoe Ball, not Craig, not Arlene. Not the family forming this week's alternative judging panel. Not the editor of Heat. Not John's mate Alan Hansen. And not us.

- Claudia accused Arlene of dropping a pen or receiving a text during Alesha and Matthew's salsa and not paying attention.

- Dancing is like brussel sprouts, according to Head Judge Len. You can like it, and be right, and you can hate it, and still also be right. Because it's all about taste, or something.

- Thank goodness for Craig, who taught John Barrowman the dance routine for Saturday's bizarre performance of Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic. Craig, lest we forget, has a BACKGROUND IN THEATRE. If you're missing West End Leading Man John Barrowman, don't fear, he'll be on It Takes Two next week.

- Camilla is like Gethin's mum, his wife and his friend, all in one.

- Claudia and Camilla want Gethin to wear uniform every week. Claudia also asked Gethin if he would go round to her house in his uniform. All of Claudia's friends want Gethin for Christmas. They will have to form an orderly queue behind Steve.

- The editor of Heat thinks that Alesha and Matthew will get knocked out in the semi-final. He thinks the final two will be Kelly and Brendan and Gethin and Camilla. In all fairness, however, he also thinks that anyone gives a toss about Chanelle and Ziggy from Big Brother, and he wasn't right about that either.

- On a Mastermind sketch, Alesha gave her occupation as "aspiring world Latin and ballroom champion".

- Darren has a twin brother.

- Letitia is still the birthday girl, WHO IS 40. How many days was this woman born over?

- Gethin and Camilla went to visit a school and the pupils were visibly gobsmacked at their appearance. Cute! Gethin promised to take their advice on board. Drink!

- Kenny is threatening to moonwalk in the cha-cha. James and Ola both told him that he is not allowed to.

- Kate feels a special bond with Kenny, and even if she didn't, she'd say she did because she's afraid he might punch her. She is hoping for a "Special K final" between them.

- Vincent told Karen and Erin to look like they fancy him on the It Takes Two couch.

- Claudia has a cough.

- If Flavia can sing, she should get cast as Roxie in Chicago.

- Gethin and Matt were set a challenge to raise lots of money for Children in Need by offering dance tuition to passers-by at Westminster tube station. They did lots of "wrestling". Matt declared, "This is getting physical." Matt raised £126.95. Gethin made £88, upon which Matt said, "That's not even worth getting out of bed for."

- Some people with lots of money paid £21,000 to dance with Anton and Erin. Bargain!

- Claudia presented John Barnes with an England shirt, resplendent with glittery name and number on the back.

- Head Judge Len refused to have body contact with Claudia in his masterclass because of her lingering malady.

- Kate and Anton are doing the paso doble, and Kate is being "the caped crusader", according to Head Judge Len.

- By the end of the series, Head Judge Len will do a lift with Claudia, after the magnificence of her pendulum. No innuendo intended.

- Ew! Kenny is thrusting. Ew! EW!

- Spoony says that Kate's body in her paso dress is worth five points from each judge alone.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Expend a Penny

Top 9 Results: 11th November 2007

Our nine remaining couples have taken to the dancefloor, and some of them were flops (Kate and Anton) while others pulled out all the stops (John and Nicole, Gethin and Camilla, Kelly and Brendan). One more couple is about to leave the competition for good, and I've got a loose scart connection so all of my colours are wonky. This is Strictly Come Dancing! We welcome back the dancers, the judges, and Bruce and Tess. Thankfully Tess's hideous dress from yesterday has been consigned to wardrobe hell, and she's wearing some kind of strapless green number (I originally thought it was silver, but it was just my wonky telly) which is not too bad, or at least would be fine if it didn't have a big strange bow around her midriff. [Also, her hair is mysteriously about six inches shorter than it was "last" "night". - Carrie]

Tess tells us that John Barrowman will be giving us a special performance later (too many jokes!) and Bruce tells us that he's just become a great-grandfather for the second time - a little girl, called Poppy. Awww. [Congratulations, Bruce! - Carrie] Time for a recap of "last night": Kate and Anton were not good, but Len applauded her for trying. Sophie Raworth commends Kate for smiling through all of her comments. Letitia's dance was as "Latin as a bag of frocks on the market stall" (sorry, commenter from yesterday, but she definitely says "frocks" and not "frogs"). Letitia cries backstage. John Barrowman thinks it's uncool to be so mean to someone as to make them cry. Didn't they do that to Lewis on Any Dream Will Do every week? [But he should have taken it like a man. Also he was shit and he deserved it. - Georgi] Bobby Davro thought she was good. Penny and Ian's Salsa was hectic and a bit lumpen. Kenny and Ola's Scottish Viennese Waltz was the most virile one Arlene has ever seen, and Len thinks it was their best dance yet. Gabby was so impressed that she thought they could dance together afterwards. Heh. Matt regrets dedicating the Viennese Waltz to his mum and would like to retrospectively dedicate the American Smooth to her instead, when they got three nines. Babs Windsor calls him "a little dreamboat". Alesha and Matthew got very fit doing their Salsa, and Alesha's as hyper as ever backstage. They don't show Arlene's criticism, interestingly, but Craig calls her "a natural talent" in what appears to be a post-show interview. Kelly and Brendan are back from Capegate with a Viennese Waltz that gets the judges' hearts aflutter. Bruno tells them that when they're good, they're very very good. Presumably when she's bad, though, she's horrid. Susie Amy is proud of her, which must be nice. [Do we know who the two other people with Susie Amy were? Anyway, they said they'd have given Kelly 10s. - Carrie] John and Nicole's Salsa was the best dance of this whole series (still not seeing that, Head Judge Len, sorry) and he got a ten from Len. John was unsurprisingly very happy with that. Gethin was gallant and got rave reviews from the judges, and he and Camilla jumped for joy outside and were very cute. Gethin's sister Meredid apparently bears him no ill will for making fun of her in front of eight million viewers last night and thinks he did brilliantly. [Also, Adrian saw Gethin in Blackfriars today! With a girl! Who I'm predicting is Meredid! - Carrie]

Bruce tells us that the judges have just got back from the bar, and makes a "joke" relating to what they all drink, with Craig as the punchline: "a bitter lemon". [The drugs have worn off, and Bruce's jokes aren't funny any more. Shame. - Carrie] Bruce asks Len if he would've expected to give his first ten to someone who's been in the bottom two twice, and Len says that a few weeks ago he would never have thought he'd give John a ten. [I would have thought that this week too, but then I am not Head Judge Len. - Georgi] Len has apparently forgotten that he thinks sportsmen are the best thing ever, but he's not fooling me. But he says that everything came together with John's dance to create "a little bit of Strictly Come Dancing magic." Bruno thinks that this year is very competitive, and every week something happens to change the perspective. Because the scores - both from the judges and the viewers - have been so unpredictable, he thinks no one can rest on their laurel.

The professional dancers dance a jive to 'Rebel Yell', and I never really know what to say during these segments because it's pretty hard to criticise them. It's all very fast-paced and excellent, anyway, and it's lovely to see the likes of Erin, Lilia and even James back on our screens. In particular, I am very happy to see James's arms again. Mmmrow.

Backstage in the House of Tesstosterone, the men are all in uniform in honour of it being Remembrance Sunday [least. appropriate. tribute. ever - Carrie], and also because they're doing a group jitterbug shortly. Indeed, Tess draws our attention to the "sexy men in uniform" and Gethin pantomimes a "where? where?" and then goes "oh!" when he looks at Matt. I'm not even making this up, I swear. Gethin gives special props to Camilla for all of her hard work this week, which he credits for getting them to the top of the leaderboard. He says that Camilla being happy was the most important thing. Everyone "awww"s, and Gethin says he didn't mean for it to be an "awwww" moment, and everyone "awwww"s again for the lulz, and Matt, standing behind him, chucks Gethin's cheek. I'M SAYING NOTHING. It was a very emotional night for Letitia, who tried really hard and it got to her when she couldn't get it right. Alesha and Kenny are being very chummy on the other side of Tess, and to absolutely no one's surprise, spent the whole of the jitterbug rehearsals giggling.

Jitterbug rehearsals. The men are all soldiers, and the girls are all their girlfriends, as we are pre-women's lib here. [Alesha goes all lulz and says: "Our boyfriendz is soldiers." Heh. - Carrie] Matthew slides Alesha between his legs so hard that she almost pulls him over, and starts cackling on the floor. Hee. Matt wants to do the macarena instead. Kenny tries to climb out of the window, and is pulled back in by Ian. Kate doesn't think she was meant for rubber legs, and Anton responds: "I don't even have to ask you for rubber legs sometimes and I get them." Hee! Group jitterbug! It starts with Kelly, Alesha and Gethin at the front, doing pretty well as far as I can see. Kelly in particular looks as though she's having a fantastic time, but then Kelly usually does. As much as I find her gigglishness quite annoying at times, I do like that she's enjoying herself so much. It's nice to see. Then Kenny, John and Penny come to the front, and John's NATURAL SENSE OF RHYTHM doesn't seem to be serving him quite so well here. Then Letitia, Kate and Matt, and Kate is doing better than her salsa but still not very well, and my screen's gone all green again. Damn you, loose scart socket! The men (celebrity and professional) all dance together to 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy' and Gethin's grinning like mad, heh. [Kenny still struggles to get any synchronised or syncopated movements in the right place. - Carrie] Then they're all rejoined by their ladies for the spectacular ending. Matt lifts Flavia way up in the air and walks around with her even though he clearly can't see where he's going. Pretty brave of both of them. That was great fun, I have to say.

Bruce asks the judges to compare them to five weeks ago. Len says they're "like the Royal Ballet" now and singles out "Flight Officer Gethin" for special praise. Bruno says that Kate is like London in the Blitz - however many times you knock her down, she keeps going. Kate, bless her, finds this hilarious. [Kate seems to take all the criticism she gets with very good humour. It is endearing her to me. - Georgi] Bruce asks Craig who captured the essence of jitterbug. Craig thinks they all did, and singles out Kate for praise for her fabulous "chicken neck" move. I think that was a compliment. Kate's happy with it, anyway. Arlene tells Letitia she's back on her stride.

Before we can get to such trivialities as the results, we have the obligatory performance; this time from West End star John Barrowman [West End LEADING MAN John Barrowman - Carrie], singing 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'. It's so nice to see him getting on the telly, because he's so underexposed normally, isn't he? [But thankfully there are no random jokes about Torchwood which nobody gets. - Georgi] John busts out a few moves of his own during the instrumental breaks, but the stage is totally stolen by James and Ola and Darren and Lilia putting on a heck of a show. Perhaps it's treachery to say such things of West End Star John Barrowman, but I don't think this song really suits him [because it is not from a West End Musical, amongst other things. - Georgi]. It's not a bad performance, but it's not a brilliant one either. Then Karen comes out to dance with John near the end of the song, because well, why not, eh? [Karen is DANCING WITH JOHN BARROWMAN! It is surreal. Also, kids, he has an album out, so make sure you buy it. - Carrie]

Results time! Eeep. Mood lighting, and the couples who are safe are announced in random order: Gethin and Camilla, John and Nicole, Alesha and Matthew, Kelly and Brendan (Kelly still doing the "ohhhh!" noise of relief, which I can forgive her for because given the erratic nature of the voting this series, no matter how high up the leaderboard you are, you can never assume your guaranteed safety I suppose), Kenny and Ola, Kate and Anton (Kate very sincerely thanking the viewers, God love her) and the final couple is...Letitia and Darren! Which leaves Penny and Ian and Matt and Flavia in the bottom two. I am very surprised by this result. [Me - not so much. We all know the middle of the table is the most dangerous place to be [Drink! - Georgi], and much as I like Penny, she still doesn't have a natural fanbase out there voting to keep her in. - Carrie] Len advises Penny and Ian to keep loose and rhythmic and not to tense up under pressure, and Matt should focus on his footwork and give it their best shot.

Penny and Ian dance first. Their dance is much the same as it was the first time: in hold they're pretty good, out of hold Penny's a bit awkward, but it does seem to be a little tighter this time around. Then Matt and Flavia Flav take to the floor again, and their routine still isn't very interesting. Matt looks a bit crestfallen throughout the whole thing, the poor bloke. The male singer's voice completely gives up on one of the high notes, as well. Then it's all over and it's down to the judges to decide whose future in the ballroom is assured for another week: Craig is the first to cast his vote, and he thinks it's a criminal result [which would have been a great pun had Matt and Flavia been in the dance-off last week - Georgi], and votes on this performance alone to save Matt and Flavia. Arlene is impressed by the improvement of both couples since the first time, but votes to save Penny and Ian. Bruno similarly applauds both of them, but thought the Viennese Waltz had more polish and votes to save Matt and Flavia. So it's over to Head Judge Len and his casting vote. Head Judge Len is not pleased to be putting one couple out of a show that they don't deserve to go out of. [Blah blah fucking blah. Shut up, Head Judge Len. - Carrie] He can only judge it on what he's just seen, etc etc, and votes to save Matt and Flavia, so it's the end of the road for Penny and Ian. Matt hugs Flavia tightly and wishes she were Gethin. Penny breaks down and says this was the best time of her life, and thanks Ian, saying she couldn't have done anything without Ian. Ian tells everyone he couldn't have asked for a better partner. Penny wouldn't have changed a thing, apart from obviously being allowed to stay in might've been quite nice. My flatmate makes the entirely correct point that Penny is fortunate enough to still look like a human being when she cries, and not like an alien snot monster like the rest of us. They get a standing ovation from the judges and the studio audience, and head off for their last dance together to 'Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time'. Apparently not, since they're gone and everything. See you next week!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Live from London - it's a Strictly liveblog!

Evening, campers, and welcome to a true innovation - we're liveblogging tonight's Strictly Come Dancing. Carrie and Steve are here to take you through the glamour and excitement.

Of course, the problem with livebitching is that Strictly and The X-Factor overlap by 15 minutes, so we'll be starting a little late with ITV1's Saturday night live "entertainment", but the wonder of Sky+ means that we'll be fast-forwarding through the ads and we'll catch up. At least, that's the theory.

Aw, Lilia's doing the expert red-button interactive commentary this week.

Last week! It was a night of surprises! Kate wasn't shit! Kelly did caping! This week! We're halfway through! Brendan purports to be always right! Kelly wants to win! Cue titles!

Yes, we're live from London, this is Strictly Come Dancing, and here are Brucie and Tess. Tess-dress-watch - a black satiny sheath thing, with puff sleeves, and a...and, really, I can't work out what's going on with it. No, hang on, the dress doesn't fit her, they've shoved in a brooch to keep the chest bit together, and her breasts are threatening to fall out through the middle of the dress, despite the neckline being quite demure. Oh dear.

Meet the couples - Matt and Flavia; Kate and Anton - bloody hell, Kate looks amazing [and a bit like she's wearing some kind of futuristic armour - Georgi]; Kelly and Brendan; Letitia and Darren; Gethin and Camilla; Alesha and Matthew; Kenny and Ola; John and Nicole; Penny and Ian. Bruce compliments on their lack of clothing, the old perv, and Tess reminds us that tonight they'll either be doing a Viennese Waltz or a Salsa. Ai ai aiiiiiii! (Last Latin stereotype of the recap, I promise.)

First up are Gethin and Camilla. Bruce extends the Prince of Wales metaphor by pointing out that Gethin's partner is called Camilla, and then wonders where he will find a queen. The studio, predictably, erupts into laughter. Craig points at himself and Bruno yells "take your pick!" Hee! We see Gethin and Camilla's rehearsal footage, and Gethin keeps getting dizzy and falling over, so Camilla gives him a very Blue Peter cure by making him roll down a hill in a giant plastic ball [which is obviously really good training for the Viennese waltz. Are my taxes paying for this? - Georgi]. They have a bit of a rehearsal afterwards to see if its helped, and Gethin totally borks in his mouth. Heh. They're dancing to 'Fallin'' by Alicia Keys, and it's all rather smouldering. The song works pretty well, general ineptness of the band notwithstanding. It looks pretty good to my untrained eye, and as Carrie points out, Gethin hasn't thrown up yet, which can only be a positive. It's quite dramatic and theatrical in the middle. There's a very fancy bit at the end where he sort of holds her by the back of the neck and manages to support her like that while whirling her around, and she doesn't fall over, which is quite impressive.

Bruce thanks the lovely singers (okay), and we go to the judges. Head Judge Len is first, of course, telling us that the key is rotation. Duh. It needs good hold and nice posture, and he tells Gethin it's his best dance by far. Bruno tells Gethin he's in "orbit", and was going around Camilla "like a planet". Obviously Arlene's given the nonsense ball to Bruno this week. Nevertheless, Bruno compliments Gethin for making it look easy and interesting. Craig - get this - absolutely loved it! I'll pick myself up off the floor, and he tells Gethin he did "amazingly well". Arlene calls him "Gethin the gallant" and says that Camilla was "melting in his arms like whipped cream on a coffee". Arlene's clearly saving her good similes for later. Right? In the House of Tesstosterone, Gethin's grinning like a Cheshire Cat and Gethin gives a shoutout to his sister, who's in the audience and is his biggest fan, and then he makes fun of her a little bit. Aw, sibling rivalry. The scores are in! Nines all round for a total of 36. Hooray!

Next up are Penny and Ian. OH MY GOD BRUCE IS SINGING DO YA THINK I'M SEXY!!!111OMGZ!!!1!! Who the hell is writing his scripts this week? [The same idiots as usual? - Georgi] Anyway. Penny bemoans the evil of Latin dances, but is hoping that the salsa will be better. Ian pecks Penny on the cheek before they take to the floor. He's wearing a weird black sequinned baggy shirt with a black vest and trousers. Penny looks a bit like Big Bird, and also that she might fall over. She's shimmying her way round the floor, thrusting her bosom at the judges, which is probably not going to get her any additional points.

Head Judge Len says that salsa should be fun, but this dance was too hectic, and that he "does not lie". Bruce reminds us that salsa is difficult, especially for tall people. Yawn. [Is it just me, or do all dances seem to be difficult for tall people? - Georgi] Craig admires their energy, but wasn't a fan of the dance in general. Arlene says it was "like the canary and the crow, flying in with a salsa from Stansted." [What the fuck is she talking about? Shut up, Arlene. - Georgi] Zoe Ball is booing in the audience. Bruce says that he thinks Penny has the legs to survive in the competition. Scores - Craig 6 (boo!), Arlene 6 (boo!), Len 7 (yay!), Bruno 6 (boo!). [I think the audience has lost perspective. Surely it's only scores of less that 6 that get booed? I'm confused. - Georgi] 25 out of 40. Tess judges it unfavourably.

Next are Matt and Flavia Flav, who will be dancing a Viennese Waltz, unless they've just turned up completely ineptly costumed for the Samba. Bruce cracks a "joke" about Matt needing help from a "stud" to keep the women away and for a second I really hope this is a Matt/Gethin OTP joke, but the stud in question turns out to be Anton. And no, I'm not going to slash Matt/Anton. EVER. [Because Anton LIKES GIRLS! - Georgi] In rehearsals, Matt is struggling with the dance and his mum and sister come along to cheer him up. "My three favourite women in the world!" says Matt. "All I need is Arlene to complete the bunch." In the studio, Tess seethes. Probably. They'll be dancing to 'When A Man Loves A Woman', God save us all. Their dance is a bit slower and less dramatic than Gethin and Camilla's, but seems to be fairly technically accurate. I'm just a bit bored watching it, though. They do a bit of a smoochy moment at the end and Matt smoulders into the camera. Shame the rest of it wasn't that good. [The trouble with the Viennese waltz is it's just dull. At least it's a proper dance though, unlike the salsa, which is actually a method of dating. - Georgi]

Craig calls it "beautiful", but thinks that Matt's "fall", as in "rise and fall" was a bit lumpy. Bruce tells him he's just being picky. Arlene thinks Matt looked a bit "vacant" and asks if Matt was worried about what was coming next. She tells him it should "bubble like a glass of champagne" whereas that was "corked". "Coming from you that HURTS!" says Matt. Hee. Len thinks he did well, but it wasn't as good as some of Matt's other dances. He also warns Matt that if he's thinking about what he's doing next, he won't be thinking what he's doing at that moment, which is fair enough, I suppose. Bruno says they have an "angelic" quality and that this was a blip. Bruce tells Flavia that Jimmy Tarbuck sends his love, a bit randomly. I don't know why that happened. [Perhaps they played golf this week? - Georgi] Bruce makes a "joke" about a "Matt finish", and well, I laughed. Backstage in the House of Tesstosterone, Matt and Flavia think the comments were fair. Tess points out that they trained very hard. But they were still shit. She didn't actually say that last bit. Scores! 8 from Craig, 6 from Arlene (boo!), 7 from Len and 8 from Bruno for a total of 29. Arlene tells Matt she didn't mean to hurt him. Gosh. DRAMA!

Ooh, it's Kate looking gorgeous (take THAT, Kate's horrible husband!) and Anton has his chest out again! Bruce makes a Fiona Phillips joke. Kate said that last week she felt like she was in the gang at last, not in the corner with a dunce's cap on. Anton says that it's difficult to get the sexiness out of Kate. Kate's horrible husband and her cute little girl turn up at rehearsal. Kate's horrible husband says that he finds her phenomenally sexy. Why don't you tell her then, the poor woman? Kate makes all sorts of claims for how she is going to rip up the dance-floor and so on. Anton says, "Get you, tiger!" and sounds remarkably camp.

Oh dear, this is dismal. Poor Kate. They look like they're having fun, but she does seem to be struggling to stay on her feet. There are a few nice lifts and poses, but the routine doesn't end in the right place, and everyone laughs. Except Craig, who looks pained. Bruno says that the nightmare is back. He has never seen less convincing sexiness, and concludes his comments with "no, no good." Kate looks shocked, and says, "But he got his chest out and everything!" Craig rips it to shreds, and Len interrupts with an "Oh, give over." Arlene says, "Truth?" Anton replies, "No, lie!" and proceeds to shout all through her comments. [I love Anton - Georgi] Then she claims it to be "as sexy as a coconut and as sensual as a peanut." I'm not sure what that means. Len says he thinks it was a good effort. Hooray! Len tells her he liked "the thing with one leg". Len, Heather Mills was on your other show. He says she's out of her comfort zone, and it was brave to come out and just perform it. Kate kisses him. And take THAT as well, Kate's horrible husband! Len tells Anton "get that Brillo pad off your chest, I don't want to look at that any more". Well, some of us may.

Tess tells Kate that she's gorgeous. Kate shakes her head. Anton says, "I'm strangely aroused even in these trousers." Hee. Craig 3, Arlene 4 (boo!), Len 6 with a "good luck next week!", Bruno 5. Kate pleads for votes with a, "Do it for queen, country and Anton du Beke." Kate and Anton cuddle. Tess threatens to strap Anton down. Goodness. It's steamy!

Letitia and Darren are next. Darren has been to the Anton du Beke store for Chest-Exposing Shirts. Letitia's hoping to continue her upward journey. Drink! In rehearsals, Letitia says "I'm thinking four 10s this week" in her best grande dame of the theatre voice. Darren organises her a surprise birthday party. Awww! Letitia's dress looks like something from the Queen of Hearts's summer evening gown collection [and seems to be designed to disguise the fact that Letitia has hips, which may explain why the judges couldn't see them - Georgi]. There are a few tangled-up moments in their Salsa, but it's not too bad, generally. It's very energetic, anyway, and they look like they're having fun. Afterwards Letitia tells Bruce a screw fell off her plastic hip. Arlene tells Letitia it was about as Latin as "a bag of frocks on the market". Okaaaaaaay. Len tells her her hips didn't work at all, and she needs to move on from good performances to great performances. Bruno thinks her hips were refusing to move. Len and Arlene have a little fight, and then Craig tells her to be more "generous" with her body movements. Letitia looks tearful. But then Craig compliments her for coping so well with the fast rhythms.

Backstage, Letitia is a bit upset that the last dance of her thirties didn't go so well. Darren thinks she did really well. Letitia cries a bit. Tess tells her she looks more lovely every week (because THAT's important) and her confidence just grows. "Not any more!" Letitia replies. Sixes from everyone except Len, who gives them a 7. Total of 25, which Darren tells Letitia is good for a Latin dance, bless him.

Now it's Kenny and Ola, and the audience whoop. Bruce makes a joke about kilts and pants, and I'm not even going to go there. Bruce wanders off camera muttering, "I'm in a funny mood tonight." Kenny mumbles his way through his training footage; Matt Dawson who also PLAYS RUGBY turns up to rehearsals to show him how to be A RUGBY PLAYER and ALSO DANCE. Ola looks lovely, Kenny looks awkward, and they waltz to Flower of Scotland. Kenny looks slightly lighter on his feet this week, but his upper body looks boxy. They finish with Kenny presenting Ola with a thistle. Fuck's sake.

Bruno says, "In the beginning it was like you were floating in the Highland mist. When you took hold, it was like the Loch Ness monster." Craig says there was too much rise and fall, and not enough heel leads. Len says there were no toe leads, and they were all heel leads. [Well, they can't both be right. Get it together, judges. - Georgi] Arlene says it was the most virile Viennese waltz she has ever seen. Is that good? Len congratulates Kenny's work ethic, and says it was their best dance so far. Bruce attempts a Scottish accent to throw back to Tess, who patronises Kenny. Scores - Craig 5, Arlene 7, Len 8, Bruno 6. Arlene and Len are talking NONSENSE.

Next up are John and Nicole. He's been in the bottom two twice, says Bruce, but does not want a hat trick. Last week John and Nicole were rubbish, and were justly in the bottom two. This week, John will be dancing Salsa thanks to his (hot) son Jordan, who's a big fan and takes him to a Salsa club. John is wearing white trousers at the club, which is clearly against the rules and merits a two point deduction (but still a ten from Bruno). Jordan tells John he's done really well. We'll see, shall we? Personally I think it looks a bit clumpy and awkward, but I'm sure the judges will disagree with me because they always do. There's quite a bit of hip action, but it looks a bit stilted. Nicole appears to be the one doing most of the actual dancing, anyway.

"The hips!" says Bruce. Arlene was "bathing in the ocean of that Cuban motion!" She tells John to work on his upper body because he's going to be gorgeous. Len disagrees, of course. Len calls it the best dance of the whole series so far, which: NOT. Sorry but no way. Fuck right off, Head Judge Len. Bruno make a "ferret in your pants" joke. Bruno admires John' arm action. Craig only has one word: "Ruh-spect." Seriously, what the fuck is up with this programme tonight? I think they're starved of oxygen in the studio. Tess goes back to Len's comment about the best dance of the series, which was bollocks, and I don't even want to listen. [Srsly. The judges seem to have decided that John has natural rhythm and will be good at the salsa, and neglected to take any notice of his wooden dancing, which was worth a 7 at best. - Georgi] Scores: eight from Craig, nine from Arlene, ten from Len (what?) and nine from Bruno. Total of 36. I'm speechless.

Kelly and Brendan are next. Recap of Kelly's caping from last week, and Brendan now feels as though the pressure is on. Kelly is struggling with the Viennese waltz. Brendan says, "I am right, you're always wrong." Also, he calls her "sweetie" and "babe", which: inappropriate. Go on, Billy Zane, chase him round TV Centre with a handgun! Kelly looks like a yellow meringue, in a good way. They're dancing to Delilah, which is good, except for the wailing emanating from the band. Also, all the smiling is a bit odd for a song which is about a murder. Crashing on, this is quite entertaining, and it has some drama, which is nice. [And I say, "I bet someone will commend the storytelling," which Craig then does. - Georgi]

Len says it is easy to make the salsa entertaining, and Kelly and Brendan have done well to make this entertaining too. Bruno calls it first class and "a ride on the Love Express", whatever that might mean. Craig starts to do his judging, and Kelly interrupts, like any of us care what she thinks at this point. Arlene says, "Beauty and the Beast have danced right back into the fairytale again. And Brendan, you get more magic out of three steps than any other man I know." Kelly tucks herself back into her dress, and witters on at Tess, claiming, "Brendan hasn't given me any love all week." Tess replies, "I'm sure he'd love to." Heh. Scores - Craig 9, Arlene 9, Len 9, Bruno 9.

Alesha and Matthew! Matthew is wearing a pink sparkly tie, which I seriously covet. Bruce cracks a joke about Alesha's magic feet which makes fun of Kate, so I can't approve of it. Alesha was worried last week, but turned out to be ace. Alesha's nan Clem loved it. We love Clem! In rehearsals, Alesha is very enthusiastic about Salsa. Matthew says that they're going to "unleash Alesha". Alesha says the show has taken over her life and she needs her mum to come around and do the shopping and walk the dog and stuff. They're dancing to 'Wanna Be Starting Something' (performed in ear-disturbing fashion as always) and Alesha is getting into it, pulling all of her fierce MC faces from being in Mis-Teeq. Seriously, that was fucking amazing.

Craig loved it, and thinks their timing is "so good". Arlene is going to be a little bit critical (boo!) and tells Alesha she needs to move her feet more to get proper hip action. Bruno objects, and they have a scrap. Arlene says she thought she would be blown away and she wasn't. Len tells her she's been the one to beat, and it's a lot of pressure on her, but it's another great performance. Don't tease, Head Judge Len! Bruno says she has Latin American going through her blood. Bruno takes his jacket off and thrashes around like a landed eel, for reasons best known to himself.

Backstage, Alesha tells Tess that everyone should do Salsa as exercise. Tess calls Alesha Britain's answer to Beyonce, which is the curse of death as everyone knows. Nines from everyone except an eight from Arlene, which leaves Alesha outside the top three for the first time ever. Eeep! Kate and Anton are at the bottom of the leaderboard again, oh dear.

That's it! Bruce does his usual Robin Hood trail, complete with sound effects, and the camera switches to Len, with an "arrow" "through" his head. Dear me, Len, have you no dignity? Join Steve tomorrow for the results.