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!