Titles, clapping, not live, in London - you know the drill. While we're waiting, I had the oddest dream about Brian Fortuna last night. It was very sweet, and I think it was triggered by his general gentlemanly conduct and lovely dancing; he's rapidly becoming one of my favourites, especially since his articulate appearance on ITT earlier in the week. [I loved when he told Craig off. "Seriously, did you give John a 1 last week?" Hee. - Georgi] Anyway, just thought I'd share.
Fucking hell, what is Tess wearing? I know I've been complaining that I miss last year's Strictly, but going back to Tess's old-school stylings is not the best way to please me. In one way, there is not enough material, because it's short and her boobs are falling out; in another, there is too much, because the material is frankly disgusting (some kind of Brillo affair) and ANY material of this description is too much.
Bruce has had a raffle to decide which of the pros will be joining him in a song-and-dance number later, and I think we all know who it's going to be, don't we? It is not Kristina, nor Camilla, nor Erin. Of course, it is Anton. Bruce mugs that he is disappointed. He and Tess give us a heads-up on what is going to happen in the show - pro dancing, Tom Jones, blah, results.
Recap - John and Kristina were bottom of the leaderboard, but were not roundly slated, and Patrick Kielty applauds his machismo, while Tony Blackburn says his timing forces the band to go along with him. Backstage, Arlene is guzzling wine. Lisa and Brendan caused a ruckus among the judges and Brendan is pissed off; Head Judge Len tells Craig off, asking him, "Have you ever attempted those samba rolls?" Craig looks puzzled and says, "Yes, I have!" [Head Judge Len and his "pulling rank" can fuck right off. - Steve] James Jordan looked bloody gorgeous and did air guitar on Cherie's leg. Gethin Jones thinks this was a good thing (the air guitar, not the gorgeousness, though who knows?). Jodie and Ian WERE TALL, which IS DIFFICULT. Ian whooped at getting two 9s. Christine and Matthew were praised by the judges; Matthew hugs Christine but pats her on the back, rather than stroking her hair as he always did with Alesha. Tom wanted to get the audience going; Robert Powell, who IS JESUS, thought Tom was worth four 10s because he was stunning. Craig admired Austin and Erin's storytelling; Austin is desperate to do well; Head Judge Len implies that none of the previous male celebrities were as good as Austin at ballroom. Rachel and Vincent's lewd and indecent rumba was adored by Craig, and made Arlene feel like a proud mum. [Really, wouldn't you be worried if your mum was proud about a filthy dance like that? - Georgi] [If my mym was Arlene, I'd probably be inured to that sort of thing by this point. - Steve]Gary Lineker says if he was Rachel's boyfriend, he'd be worried; Rachel's actual boyfriend isn't worried at all cos it's just dancing. Finally, the judges drank a lot of wine. As did we.
Bruce congratulates Len and Bruno on signing to star in a remake of a television classic - Pinky and Perky. Bruno is highly amused; nobody else is. Head Judge Len thinks if he was at home and there was a prospect of John Sergeant doing a salsa, he'd vote - "I understand it, I really do!" This is because he is a MAN OF THE PEOPLE. Bruno is worried for Lisa, Cherie and Jodie, and PRAYS FOR THEM. This is because he is a GOOD ITALIAN BOY. Craig says this is the strongest line-up we have ever had at this stage of the competition - there are eight couples left, seven of whom are good, and one which keeps making it through anyway. Arlene says this week was a breakthrough for Rachel, and suggests that she bottles what she used in the rumba this week, we'll be seeing her every week. Not Arlene's most articulate moments. [That would make for a very short compilation, wouldn't it? - Steve]
The pros cha-cha to 'Kiss'. It's Ola and James, Brian and Kristina, Vincent and Flavia, and three chairs, which as we know are very difficult to work with. [So I am guessing Len hates this routine, because he Does Not Like Props. - Georgi] Flavia and Ola are wearing rags, which must be quite annoying. Kristina has chosen just to cut off anything resembling a skirt. Then they move the chairs out of the way and the music changes to R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Ola makes that growly face that she always does. Back in the House of Tesstosterone, Tess teases John about maybe doing that routine next week, snarf snarf. Then she talks to Rachel, who is happy. Lisa is worried, disappointed, and has her fingers crossed that the public have voted for her.
Tess lies that this year's Strictly has captured the imagination of the public. Cue tedious VT. Cheerleaders like Austin, Rachel and Jodie. Synchronised swimmers like Jodie. Street dancers like Cherie. Ballet dancers like John, and suggest a Strictly Come Ballet Dancing, and take the piss out of Head Judge Len. Bellydancers like John because he has a belly. Irish dancers like Tom and Rachel. Linedancers like Austin and Bruno, despite him not competing. Bollywood dancers like Christine. Morris dancers like John because he probably drinks lots of beer. What a fucking waste of time.
As a "special Strictly treat", we welcome Bruce and Anton. Bruce trots on, and he is followed by a beaming Anton. They do a little soft-shoe shuffle, and sing Me and My Shadow - "Not so close, I'm the star!" snarls Bruce. Anton wanders off after the chorus, and Bruce tells him off - "Now listen, Ant and Dec!", calls him a "little worm", and challenges Anton to a tap-off. (Why is Teddy Sheringham in the audience?) Anton chooses not to tap and does some lovely ballet - "I didn't know you'd had lessons!" "Barcy Dussell. Taught me everything he knows." Anyway, they finish the song, take their bows, and aww, that was cute! [It probably depends on your level of Anton-tolerance, but I found it excruciating. - Steve]
Tess patronises Bruce a bit and her breasts fall out a bit while she reads from her cue-cards. She asks Christine if she feels like a contender now, and Christine tediously says it's a marathon, not a sprint, the cliche-ridden bint. John says it takes time to get the judges sorted out, but he's pleased he has done that now. His schtick is so dull now.
Last week on ITT, Craig and Brian bickered; Brendan slated his previous partners ["Controversial!" - Georgi]; John suggested the judges quit. This week on ITT...nothing, it would seem. Ah well. Join Claudia anyway!
Bruce introduces Tom Jones, who says he has been in showbiz for 45 years. Bruce has been in showbiz for 66 years, and always tries to encourage younger performers. Like Tom, do you see? They do a bit of reminiscing about Sunday Night at the London Palladium and the kitchen at Elstree, and it's lovely, but not very amusing. Bruce does some gyrating and it's horrid. "Tell me, Tom, have I still got it?" Tom glances at him and replies, "Well, yes, but it looks a little worn out to me." Snigger.
Jones the Voice sings his new song If He Should Ever Leave You; Darren and Lilia and Ian and Camilla dance, including a slightly strange bit where Darren stands on one leg. Still, a routine with Lilia in is always better than a routine with no Lilia in.
Our votes have been counted and verified and added to the judges' scores, and now we're at the Moment Of Truth. In no particular order, the six couples who are safe: Rachel and Vincent; Austin and Erin; Tom and Camilla; John and Kristina (who shouts, "NO WAY! That is UNBELIEVABLE!" Too fucking right, love); Jodie and Ian (who cheers and then picks Jodie up); Christine and Matthew.
So the dance-off is between Lisa and Brendan and Cherie and James. Cherie and Lisa hold hands briefly. Head Judge Len says it is a ludicrous situation and only one of them should be there, and apologises to them both for being in this predicament, despite the fact that he is a MAN OF THE PEOPLE and understands WHAT THE PUBLIC WANT.
Lisa and Brendan dance first [much better than they did "last" "night", I thought - Georgi], and James (who is SMOULDERING) applauds them as they take to the floor, and everyone claps along. When they finish, she wraps her legs around Brendan and he carries her off. Then they clap James and Cherie, who are both hamming this up magnificently. In fact, Lisa is dancing along up on the stage, which is cute. If it was up to me, I'd put Lisa and Brendan through because of a) her progress and b) the fact she can carry off a natural-looking ballroom AND Latin, whereas I think Cherie has to rely on James too much. [And c) because you kind of hate Cherie, don't you? I'm just sayin'. - Steve] [Well, she's not my favourite, but I love James an inordinate amount so that balances it out. And I genuinely think Lisa is better. - Carrie]
Decision time. Craig says that it has to be about the dance-off and the dance-off only, and the couple that improved and flew through the routine was Lisa and Brendan. Lisa is biting her lip. James is looking pissed off. Arlene says both couples improved and forgot she was watching a dance-off, she thought she was watching the final; but Lisa and Brendan rocked her boat. Oh, Arlene. Lisa mutters, "Oh my God", which may or may not be a reference to Arlene's awful pun. Bruno opts to save Cherie and James.
So Len has the deciding vote. [I was seriously worried for Lisa and Brendan at this point, because I was sure Len was going to vote for Cherie. It almost made me feel bad for not bothering to vote. - Georgi] "I feel I'm kicking someone off the show!" he whines. Because you ARE. Twat. He says the couple that edged it were Lisa and Brendan, and Lisa starts to cry, and apologises. Cherie says it's been a wonderful experience; and James tells the public off for NOT VOTING FOR THE DANCING, so STOP BEING FUCKING IDIOTS AND RINGING UP FOR JOHN.
Cherie and James do their final dance to Just The Way You Are. Lisa is still crying. Cherie blows kisses to the band, for some unknown reason, when it would be more appropriate to punch them. The judges are looking surly. [Is it just me, or did it seem like the other dancers weren't exactly rushing on to the dancefloor to hug them like they usually do? - Georgi] Oh, it's another excellent week on Strictly. Till next time, keep dancing!