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 a...no, 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.