Top 9: 7th November 2009
Tonight, Strictly Come Dancing is live from Blackpool - the home of ballroom dancing. Wow, I'd have done something to celebrate if only they'd warned us this was coming up, but since it caught me so utterly by surprise, I guess we'll have to make do with a bog-standard recap. Honestly, you'd think they'd have mentioned it at least once. Tess's VO reminds us that last week was a white knuckle ride, and now everyone's shitting themselves at the thought of having to perform in BLACKPOOL, the Mecca of dance. Titles!
So, we are in BLACKPOOL, and damn, that is one enormous dance hall. Everything feels a lot echoier (is that a word?) tonight as a result. Mark Foster is sitting next to Rav Wilding in the audience, and Rav is still gurning like his life depends on it. We have Bruce and Tess, of course. Daly Dresswatch: a two-tone pink and purple number with a diagonal shoulder strap, which shouldn't really work, and yet sort of does. Also, her hair looks lovely. Tess reminds us that last week was a shocker, with the Ali vs Zoe danceoff. Bruce is very excited about the crystal chandeliers and the velvet curtains and the plush seating - it reminds him of an MP's second home. Oh, all right - heh. When Bruce and Tess get in hold for the "let's meet the stars of our show" thing, he practically pulls her off her feet, but luckily she recovers.
It's a bit odd that there aren't two grand stairwells for the couples to enter by - just doorways at either side of the stage. Ricky and Erin are here (she wearing nothing but a bit of swan skin), as are Chris and Ola, Natalie and Vincent (she's come dressed as Liza Minnelli again), Jade and Ian (looking fabulous as promised last week), Craig and Flavia (who have MADE IT TO BLACKPOOL, just to reiterate), Ricky and Natalie, Phil and Katya, Ali and Brian, and Laila and Anton, wearing what would be the most ridiculous poppies you've ever seen if it weren't for those weird beret-like ones the contestants are wearing over on The X Factor.
Bruce soaks up the atmosphere of BLACKPOOL, and takes the first of what I'm sure will be many opportunities tonight to do a northern accent. Oh God, just slip me a sedative now.
The first couple to dance in BLACKPOOL are Ricky and Natalie. Last week he delivered the best dance of series seven, and got 39/40 for his trouble. Ricky says that the best part of it all was seeing Natalie so happy. Me too - I love it when she does the faces. This week they are to tango, and Natalie promises it will be very fiery. All of this talk about the intense chemistry they have between them is possibly a bit ill-timed considering he just broke up with his girlfriend, but okay. He says that training with Natalie is the best part of his day, and she says that she gets texts from him all the time saying that he can't wait to start training, and I don't know about you, but suddenly I'm not finding myself wondering why Ricky and Carley broke up any more. He says that she is amazing and the whole package and that they've grown very close. I think they should slather this on a bit thicker, just so we're sure to understand how well Ricky and Natalie get on. Also, could they maybe tell us which town they're in this week? Because I'm not sure.
Their routine is to 'You Really Got Me', and the opening seems a little off-beat to me, but I'm not really an expert in this field. The speed of the routine is impressive, but it's a little stumbly in places for my liking, and I think it needs a bit more aggression - the haughtiness is there, but he just seems a bit too twinkle-toed. Also, their end position is kind of ugly until the very last second - though I suppose we weren't really supposed to dwell too much on the transition.
For the second week running, Bruce pauses in the right places when introducing the singers, Dave Arch, and the orchestra. Len is the first to comment on the dance, calling Ricky "the most consistent of all of our couples". He says that he's not going to talk about "you know what", because someone else will talk about that. Exactly how did this man become Head Judge again? Delegation is all well and good, but if he keeps all the positive comments for himself and makes the underlings pick up the critical slack, I'd categorise that as an abuse of power. Anyway, Len says that he came out and attacked it with passion, blah blah blah. How helpful. Alesha thought it was an amazing opening to the show, and that Ricky remained strong and in character with great body contact, and then spoils it all by saying "it doesn't matter about the mistake". Et tu, Alesha? Bruno rises from his chair calling Ricky strong, dramatic and powerful, and then my heart sinks as I can see how things are going to go tonight when Bruno says "there was a mistake but Len said absolutely the right thing". Len said NOTHING, Bruno. He wilfully refused to comment on a fault, and now everyone else is following suit. Jesus Christ, we're ten minutes in and already I want to throw my slipper at the telly. Let's hope Craig turns it around - he says he can see the disappointment in his eyes when he "blew it entirely", at which point Natalie valiantly steps in and tries to take the blame, but suddenly Len's critical faculties kick in and he and Craig both vehemently point out that Ricky messed up his twist turns. Oh, thank GOD for that. Finally, some actual judging. Craig says that despite the mistakes, Ricky had a lot of control and that he was really leading the dance, and he's just sorry that it went wrong. Clearly, Bruce is PISSED OFF that actual faults have been pointed out, and makes some veiled muttering about how Craig will be sorry if Len hits him later, referring to last week's bust-up, and considering Len (a) was clearly deputising Craig to take care of the actual criticism for this dance and (b) actually joined in to clarify the mistakes, I suspect that Bruce's righteous fury is somewhat misplaced. Natalie thanks the crowd for their support and they scamper backstage to...
Tess's BLACKPOOL Illumination Parlour, a temporary name in the absence of the real House of Tesstosterone. Ricky and Natalie say in unison that the crowd is amazing out there. Ricky then explains that he was behind in the music and rushed the slide move at the end, and lost Natalie's hand, and Natalie admits that she got caught up in the crowd. Tactful Tess asks newly-single Ricky what it's like to dance such a passionate dance with Natalie, and he neatly sidesteps having to give a real answer. Scores: Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35. Eh. Overmarked. [Young men get bonus points for fucking up routines, Steve, you KNOW that. - Carrie] And then Tess calls Ricky their "soap dish" and I just want them to move on to the next couple AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE PLEASE.
Ah, thanks - it's Natalie and Vincent, who will be doing a quickstep. Natalie was on top of the world after getting 30, but was devastated when Zöe got eliminated because apparently they were BFFs, and seriously, Zöe's departure has been made all about Natalie about six times this week on It Takes Two, and I am so over that angle now. Anyway, Natalie spouts some bollocks about how she can actually be competitive now that her mate's gone, and no, I don't understand that either. Apparently Vincent showed the choreography to the other pros, who thought Natalie wouldn't be able to do it. For some reason, he tells Natalie this, which I'm sure does wonders for her confidence. Natalie wonders if they've been a bit lazy thus far (with all that footage of you sleeping during rehearsals? Surely not!) because she realises she can be good when Vincent really pushes her.
Actually, their quickstep isn't too bad. Her footwork's kind of sloppy, but she's bounding around the room with a lot of energy. Her face gives away the fact that she's concentrating very hard, and they do finish the dance a second or two behind the music, but I thought that was quite good. Bruno calls her a "bella bambina" and says that the quickstep was like a ride on the big dipper, with plenty of highs but a few lows, such as a lack of body contact at times, but he thought it was fun after all. Craig thought it could've been lighter at the beginning, and she needed to keep her feet together during the Charleston section, and the idiotic audience boo all of this even though Natalie is nodding and saying that it's fair enough and she'll take it on board, and then he finishes by complimenting her energy and exuberance. Len says it was a smiley sort of dance with lots of energy - she lost her posture at times and he wasn't keen on the jive section in the middle, but it had a lovely start and end. Alesha thought it really suited her and had a lot of interesting content, and she thinks Natalie is still a contender. As one of only two females yet to hit the bottom two, I would hope so.
In TBIP, Tess criticises Natalie for stealing her patented kick move from the start of the show. And since it is literally the only bit of dancing Tess does nowadays, you can see why she'd be protective over it. Natalie says her new aim is 31 now she's achieved 30. Scores: Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 31. Natalie sing-songs "moving up the leaderboard", which I'm sure will endear her to thousands. [Except...not moving up the leaderboard so much, just getting better scores, which won't move you up the leaderboard if everyone else does even better than that... - Carrie]
The third couple tonight are Jade and Ian. Her VT flashes back to last week when she got 35 and was temporarily top until Ricky got 39, which was apparently "a smack in the face", but she's pleased that the public are supporting her again. Her VT shows the two of them going back to her old school, where her former headteacher Mrs Peacock says that she was not a perfect student, and was in fact in danger of going off the rails. Nonetheless, there are six "life-size Jade Johnsons" on the wall outside. She meets some of the current pupils, one of whom is shoved in front of the cameras and forced to read from a card about how inspiring Jade is. Mrs Peacock says that Jade is now a fantastic role model, and some of the kids say how she's made them believe that they can be anybody they want to be. Awww. No mention is made in the VT of the alleged massive fight Jade and Ian had this week, which is probably just as well.
Their jive routine is cheeky, which seems fitting, and looks fantastic, which is a relief, because I kind of thought that they'd be in trouble this week, since we all know the jive is HARD FOR A TALL PERSON. Her legs are a little behind Ian's at times, but she delivers the drills very well, and Ian's choreography is a good mixture of precise steps and crowd-pleasing showmanship. And, brilliantly, it ends with Ian hugging her vagina, as all dances should. [Well, not ACTUALLY her vagina. Her vulva, maybe. Tsk the gays. - Carrie]
They hustle over to the judges, and Jade keeps pulling her dress down to make sure it's covering her buttocks, and going "whoop!" every time she does so. Hee! Craig says it's the girliest "you've ever danced", and I'm sure he's talking to Jade, because we all know Ian's danced girlier than that on countless occasions. He says it was wonderful to watch with lovely kicks, but warns her not to look at the floor and to remember to point her feet. Len says that as they bounced he could feel it through his chair because of the sprung floor, and he felt it in his bottom (ew). He liked the swing and lindyhop elements, and he thought Jade did well FOR A TALL PERSON. Alesha tells Jade her legs are amazing, and that the routine was cool and quirky. She thought the flicks and clicks were great, and that Jade has been "Miss Consistency" and that she's the dark horse of the competition. RACISM! Oh, wait, never mind. Bruno tells her she moves "like a whippet", but she needs to point her feet. Ian rides to her defence pointing out that athletes have been trained to flex their feet, and Bruno says that he knows that, but he still has to point it out. Bruce makes sure everyone's aware that the whole floor was going up and down like a trampoline, and they rush back to TBIP.
Jade loved dancing in front of a huge crowd, and they tease their tango for next week, which Ian hasn't done since Zoë Ball and really wants another stab at, so he really hopes they get through. Scores: Craig 8, Len 8, Alesha 9, Bruno 8 for a total of 33. Tess tells Jade that if there's a competition for best legs, she's won it already. "Thank you," replies Ian, and starts prancing around. I heart Ian so much.
Ali And Her Partner Brian are next. Her VT recalls the pain and horror of The Stubbed Toe, and she struggled through and got 33 for her efforts, and was feeling quite happy until she ended up in the danceoff, and had to dance on her bad foot again. We don't see her falling over about six times, but they got saved, and Ali says that she would've been devastated if that had been her last dance. They're doing a Viennese waltz this week, which Brian thinks is perfect for Ali because she's so elegant. They're pawing each other in rehearsals and talking about how fantastically they get on, like we haven't had enough of that from Ricky and Natalie. Ali really doesn't want to go home.
Their routine starts with a lot of arm swirling before they take hold and start twirling around the floor, and it all looks like something out of a music box, which sounds like it shouldn't be a compliment, but actually is, I promise. There's a lovely little solo section near the end, and then they take each other's hands again and bow to everyone and it's lovely.
After some random blathering from Bruce about how he prefers Brian in tails because he's a traditionalist (Brian is all "...thanks?"), Len says that this has overtaken Ricky's routine from last week as the best dance of the series. Alesha says it was very romantic and beautifully danced, and that there was nothing else she would want from a Viennese waltz. Bruno waxes philosophical about how dance has the power to lift our hearts and make us dream, which is what Ali did tonight, and...okay. Everyone's expecting Craig to spoil the love-in at this point and he plays up to it by saying he's very disappointed, insert ellipsis for dramatic effect, that he couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. The audience are caught mid-boo and suddenly have to start clapping and cheering. Heh.
Over in TBIP, Ali is a bit overawed. The scores come in quickly: 40/40. That's surely the earliest in any series that Craig's busted out his 10 paddle, isn't it? I bet there will be some raised eyebrows over that. Tess feels the need to clarify that it is the highest score for a Viennese waltz in the show's history (thanks for that!), breaking Alesha's previous record of 38. Ali doesn't quite know what to do with that.
Ricky and Erin are next. His Bond-themed rumba last week was not a hit with the judges, particularly Bruno, who said Daniel Craig had nothing to worry about (this is followed by a heavily sardonic insert from Ricky pointing out that he wasn't actually auditioning for the role of James Bond). Erin says they don't want to be at the bottom this week, and calls in Austin Healey to help with their salsa training. Austin says that Ricky's been his favourite throughout, and stomps his feet about the fact that he never got the chance to dance at Blackpool. It turns out that Austin is kind of a disruptive influence on rehearsals, causing Erin to lean into the camera and state that if they get a two at the weekend, it's all Austin's fault. Heh. Austin predicts a score of 33, and Ricky hopes he can get a good score and remain in the competition.
Their salsa is very much being played to the back row, but it's all a bit odd - there's a bit where Ricky leaps into the air for no reason, and then does the move where under normal circumstances he'd be juggling Erin's skirt through his hands while she twirls around, but she's not actually wearing enough skirt for him to do this, so he's just...kneeling and waving his hands. Hmmm. There's a lack of hip action too. Then Erin launches herself around his waist and he steps over her and does an ILLEGAL LIFT, and then there's some posturing for the judges, and then...that's it. It didn't even make sense as a coherent routine, much less as a salsa.
Alesha says, "Crowd pleaser yes, salsa boy no" and says that Ricky's hips are just not there, and that he wasn't good enough this week. Bruno says that they went from the sublime to the ridiculous - all that's needed for the salsa is rhythm and smooth hip movements, and Ricky didn't really manage either. Craig says Ricky's hands bother him as they become "poodle paws" when he's by himself, and the pelvic thrusts were uncomfortable, but he didn't mind the routine and the verve. Len likes that Ricky comes out and gives it his all - he thinks he's a rough diamond who just needs a bit more polishing.
In TBIP, Ricky says he puts the E in entertainment, but doesn't take the P out of the professionals. I wonder how long he's been rehearsing that one? Probably longer than he spent rehearsing that salsa. Scores: Craig 6, Len 7, Alesha 6, Bruno 6 for a total of 25. Erin wails that the other scores are all so high. Heh.
Laila and Anton are next, all decked out for their paso doble. Her Viennese waltz got rave reviews last week, and Laila was thrilled to learn she was going to BLACKPOOL, but dismayed that Zöe wouldn't be joining her (shot of Craig Kelly over her shoulder looking a bit sheepish). Laila's very excited about the paso because she loves the drama, and is pleased that she has the opportunity to boss Anton around.
Their paso doble, as has already been discussed on It Takes Two, is to Eric Clapton's 'Layla', and starts off wonderfully severe, with lots of skirt swooshing that serves to disguise Anton's dodgy Latin dancing behind her. It's a nicely dramatic paso, though I would've preferred a bit more caping from Laila since it's a bit wishy-washy at times, and I'd like to see her more authoritative, since Anton was still very obviously leading her around and at the very least they should be tussling for power in this routine. Bruno thought that Laila was a "smouldering, Spanish beauty", though he thought Laila lost a bit of impact at the end. Bruce calls Craig "Bruno", and Craig says that it was confident but lacked a connection between them, and he was rather surprised by the ILLEGAL LIFT at the beginning, which the judges are apparently just noticing now after all these weeks of ignoring them. Anton claims that he was just excited to be in BLACKPOOL. Len says that it would've been their best dance, but he has to knock a point off for the lift, or possibly two. Alesha thought it was mesmerising and a very confident attempt.
Back in the TBIP, Laila exclaims that she loves the paso doble. That's it! Scores: Craig 7, Len 7, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 30. That's Laila's highest Latin score to date. Anton ruins the moment as always by suggesting that they'll get a 40 if they're still on air in February. Shut up, Anton.
Phil and Katya are next. Last week's tango was well-received. Phil thinks that Katya deserves a medal for still smiling after dancing for so long with him. They are dancing a rumba this week, and Phil's lack of romance in his soul may be a problem. Katya says that Phil is in transition into his manhood. That sounds painful.
Phil's got his chest hair out and is looking a little bit meek. Katya appears to be wearing a piece of pink chiffon over a silver leotard, which looks more like a piece of half-finished GCSE Textiles coursework than an actual outfit. Phil isn't really doing an awful lot in this dance, and keeps sticking his tongue out, which is unfortunate for something that should be a sexy dance. Katya's choreography for herself is pretty impressive, but Phil really is not doing much at all. Len says that Phil did lovely lines throughout, but it was more like a snog in the back of a banger than an actual romance, and thinks it was Phil's best Latin dance. Alesha tells Phil to watch his hands because they get a bit claw-like and to strengthen his core, but she liked his soft approach to the dance. Bruno says it was simple and effective, but it lacked hip action, and agrees with Alesha that Phil needs to keep his centre strong. Craig thought it was the same step repeated over and over again. Bruce's throwline for Phil retreating to TBIP is "has The Cat done his business?" Ew.
Phil says that it was nerve-wracking, and they want to be here next week because Katya's mother is coming, all the way from Canada. Scores: Craig 6, Len 8, Alesha 7, Bruno 7 for a total of 28. Phil cackles at the idea of his rumba being raunchy.
Chris and Ola are next. Bruce pretends that we're sorry that Ola's husband James is no longer in the competition. Chris says that his mind went blank when he saw Ola in her red catsuit last week, but Ola was happy with him nonetheless. He's determined to get up to scratch with his foxtrot. Ola delivers more tough love (/nipple tweaking), and gaffer-tapes Chris's mouth as per Alesha's instructions last week. At the end of the VT, rehearsals seem to be going well.
Their foxtrot, to 'I Could Have Danced All Night', involves Chris doing The Faces again, and I catch him moving his lips to count at least once, but on the whole, I think it looks good, with some simple but classy choreography, and it goes so well that Ola doesn't even wait for the band to finish playing before squealing and grabbing Chris's face. Alesha tells Chris that he's growing in confidence, he's got his mouth under control, and he's upped his game. Bruno says that the foxtrot is probably the hardest ballroom dance, but it was Chris's best one to date, "and only a couple of fish-face!" Heh. Craig thinks the gaffer tape worked, and he thinks Chris's acting has improved - now he just needs to keep a long neck. Len says that it's Chris's best dance to date, and he expects that quality from here onwards.
In TBIP, Chris calls that dance the best thing he's ever done, and compliments Ola for being a brilliant dancer and a fantastic teacher, calling her "a smasher". Score: Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 8 for a total of 34 - Chris's highest score to date, and putting him third on the leaderboard. "I've got a nosebleed!" Chris exclaims. Quite.
Next up is "local boy" Craig Kelly (born in Lytham St Annes, about 8 miles away), who actually got some good comments last week for his waltz, although Bruno said he didn't think he could dance. Craig says that it was a shame Bruno said that, but he doesn't believe him. And this is no doubt what makes some people think he's got a bit of an ego on him, although I've always taken it for dry humour, myself. He's thrilled, anyway: "I'm going to Blackpool. I'm going home." True on all counts (spoiler!). Craig's mum Sue is pleased he's made it to Blackpool, and his family will be there to support him on the night.
They're dancing a cha cha cha to 'Easy Lover', and sadly, what little progress was made last week appears to have receded entirely. He's all kind of hunched over awkwardly, which is quite unpleasant to watch, and his hip action is sort of stabby and jerky. A fair bit of the routine involves him standing still while Flavia dances around him, which is probably a blessing, all things considered. It ends, and Craig gets a standing ovation from his dad. Judge Craig says it wasn't good at all - clunky and stompy and reminded him of a Thunderbird. Len says that he's glad for Craig that he achieved his goal of making it to Blackpool, but having seen all the couples, Craig's performance was the weakest. Craig concedes that they were all brilliant performances, and Len's all "I don't like being nasty", which I'm sure is news to Kelly Brook. Craig Kelly says that he thought it went well, but then he always done. Alesha then says with surprising venom that she's happy Craig got to BLACKPOOL, "but I can't believe Zöe's gone and I had to endure THAT." Oooh, BURN. She tells him he's not as good as he thinks he is - his cha cha walks looked feminine, and he looked like he was tiptoeing on hot coals. She says that last week there was a glimmer of hope, but this week "Dad's back". God, when even Alesha's going in for the kill, you know you've got problems. [I wish Alesha would be Fierce Fun Alesha more often rather than I Just Want To Be Liked Alesha. - Carrie] Bruno enjoyed the beginning when Craig stood still because he could watch Flavia, but then "the nightmare began" - it wasn't good enough. Craig attempts to banter in a cod-Italian accent (that sounds a bit like Vincent) going, "Bruno, why you do-a this to me? I was amazing in training!"
In TBIP, Craig says he thought it went well, and everyone cracks up, and that he was doing the dance thinking "this'll show 'em!" and that it felt good. He makes the mistake of adding a "didn't it?" on the end for Flavia, and Flavia is clearly lying when she replies in the affirmative, which makes Chris Hollins erupt laughing all over again. Craig is philosophical about the experience and really enjoyed it - he'd love to stay, but isn't convinced he will be. Scores: Craig 3, Len 5, Alesha 4, Bruno 5 for a total of 17. It's his lowest score so far. Craig's all "that's disgraceful! I can't believe that!" And again, the look on his face says to me that his tongue is in his cheek somewhere, but I think I'm in the minority in thinking that.
Final leaderboard: Ali and Brian are top, obviously, followed by Ricky and Natalie, then Chris and Ola, then Jade and Ian, then Natalie and Vincent, then Laila and Anton, then Phil and Katya, then Ricky and Erin, and Craig and Flavia at the bottom. No ties this week for a change. The phone lines open! I rush to the phone to cast a few votes for Ian and Jade and to text my boyfriend who wasn't able to watch live this weekend, but also wanted to be able to vote for Jade and Ian when the lines opened. Not that we're both rather sad individuals or anything. [I should point out here that Steve was AT A PARTY when this show was on, which makes his eagerness to vote even sadder, and I had to text him Jade and Ian's number so that he could vote WITHOUT EVEN SEEING THE DANCES. - Carrie]
After a performance recap, it's filler time. First there's a VT of the contestants all getting the coach up to Blackpool, including Chris and Phil playing Battleships. It is raining, of course, because we are IN THE NORTH. Everyone is suitably awestruck when they arrive in the Tower Ballroom, then Future Head Judge Karen Hardy leads some people in a BLACKPOOL Strictly experience, whatever one of those is, where Bruce plays the role of Craig Revel-Horwood.
In TBIP, Ali says she can still feel her heartbeat in her ears, while Craig thought the judges were a bit harsh on him, and he thought he deserved better marks than that. Chris has apparently already had a post-dance debriefing from Ola with a list of his mistakes. Heh.
Bruce is up in the gods, where it is very echoey, introducing the professionals doing a Viennese waltz on the magnificent and vast floor of the ballroom. There are giant chandeliers everywhere! That's a health and safety risk, surely? It's a bewitching routine that I loved every minute of.
The celebs are doing a group swing dance in honour of Remembrance Sunday, and apparently Catterick Garrisons has organised Soldier Come Dancing for charity. The couples all turn up to lead a jive masterclass (I pity whoever was taught by Craig Kelly), and some of the girls get very excited about all the soldier totty. Chris is embarrassed that some of the soldiers are giving him dancing advice. Kristina is in line to be the next Forces' Sweetheart. Laila says that coming in to visit the soldiers has been her highlight of the series so far.
After that, the celebs and their partners take part in a group swing dance, joined by Jill Halfpenny (dancing with Darren, natch, leaving Lilia to dance with Brendan). Laila and Craig are obviously entirely lost for most of it, Jade and Ian are having a whale of a time, Phil doesn't really seem to know what he's doing, and then Bruce comes on at the end of it and sings 'Almost Like Being In Love'. Damn, I was enjoying that until that bit.
Jill is ushered over to talk to Tess, and she says that she's feeling really nostaglic for her win the last time she was here. There's just time for a quick plug for Legally Blonde: The Musical which Jill is in, and which Carrie and I are going to see next month, [Merry Christmas! - Carrie & Yellow JLS] and then we cut over to Bruce, who is introducing Rod Stewart, the beginning of whose performance is interrupted by someone (possibly Bruce) talking on a microphone that hasn't been turned down in time. He's singing 'It's The Same Old Song', and Rod's wife and Strictly alumnus comes out to dance a cha cha cha with Matthew Cutler. Shame it couldn't have been Ian, but I guess he did have rather a lot on his plate this week. Those pecs won't wax themselves, after all.
Bruce thanks Penny for bringing Rod with her tonight (heh), and before we get the results, it's time for the obligatory "I don't want to go home, Mum" VT. Chris would miss Ola if he went. Laila wants her daughter to go into nursery on Monday and say "Mummy's still in!" She doesn't want her daughter to not see her on Saturday. Surely you would see more of your daughter on Saturdays if you weren't on this show? Unless she was planning to lock herself in a cupboard or something if she gets eliminated. Jade thinks that Ian has put so much work into teaching her and doesn't want to let him down. Ali has realised how much the contest means to her. Ricky G doesn't like the idea of not being here any more. Natalie can't believe her luck that she's here, and will miss Bruce if she goes. Ricky W doesn't want to be eliminated Blackpool because it would leave him with bad memories of an amazing place. Craig Kelly doesn't want to go home in Blackpool - the local boy wants one more dance. Well, then you should have begged to get PAST BLACKPOOL rather than TO BLACKPOOL, shouldn't you?
Right, time for those all-important results. The following couples are safe in no particular order: Ali and Brian, Chris and Ola, Jade and Ian (both of whom look absolutely flabbergasted), Ricky and Natalie, Natalie and Vincent, Phil and Katya, and Laila and Anton. Bruce says "Craig and Flavia, you are in the dance-off!" and doesn't mention Ricky and Erin at all. Not that this is a foregone conclusion or anything.
Ricky and Erin go first - their routine is a little better than the first time around, though obviously the major choreographical issues haven't been resolved. Craig and Flavia reprise their cha cha cha, and they clearly both know this is it for them, and I wish I could say it's improved, but...well, I can't. At least they finish on the beat this time, so that's something.
It's decision time: Craig votes to save Ricky and Erin, Alesha tells Craig he's been very sweet, but she has to save Ricky and Erin. Bruno also saves Ricky and Erin, so Craig and Flavia are out. There's a moment of confusion where Craig and Flavia wander off, and Bruce and Tess have to holler across the ballroom to get them to come back. Len states for the record that he agreed with his colleagues. Craig feels amazing to have got this far, and loved dancing with "the best dancer in the world". Aww. Everyone's on their feet for Craig and Flavia, and next week we're back in BORING SMELLY OLD LONDON as usual. See you there!