Top 14, Part 2: 2nd October 2010
"Last night," intones Tess, "the ballroom opened its doors on Strictly 2010." What, all by itself? Is it some kind of sentient being with power over its own doors, like Halliwell Manor? Perhaps it was the spirit of Shannen Doherty doing it telekinetically after her hugely disappointing early ouster on season ten of Dancing With The Stars? Alternatively, perhaps it was just a bit of rhetoric. Seven couples took to the floor, and for some (Pamela and James, Matt and Aliona) it was a night to remember, while for others (Goldie and Kristina, Paul and Ola) it was one they'd sooner forget. To be honest, I sincerely doubt Paul Daniels was particularly embarrassed or particularly cares. And let's be honest, Felicity Kendal and Patsy Kensit belonged in that second montage too, but were omitted because everyone's still secretly too in awe of Felicity to admit that she was a bit rubbish, and Patsy's self-esteem is rather fragile as it is, and mocking her in the pre-titles sequence would probably just about finish her off, the poor lamb. Tonight, seven more stars get their turn on their floor, and there will be more drama (shot of Anton apparently pinching Ann Widdecombe under the arm), more divas (Michelle and Tina being loud), and even more ballroom dancing. Or, alternatively, there will be the same amount of ballroom dancing, because we will see seven routines, just like last night. This! Is Strictly Come Dancing 2010!
After the less-new-than-they-were-last-night titles, there is a Bruce, and there is a Tess. They do their usual skit, and Bruce grabs Tess's leg during her kick-up a little too high up the thigh, and has to move his hand further down. Although perhaps this as all orchestrated in light of her husband's antics for Tess to prove that SHE HAS OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAY AWAY AS WELL, AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT. Bruce puts Tess down, and now that we can see her outfit from the front, it's time for Daly Dresswatch: it's a purple number that hangs over her right shoulder but not her left, which somehow makes her tits look really lopsided. After last night's relative triumph, this return to the costuming wilderness reassures me greatly.
Bruce welcomes the "ladies, gentlemen and children" (though I'm guessing the third group will need to switch off before Kara Tointon's routine at the end of the show) as it is nice to see us, to see us nice. Bruce does a gag about his stint on Who Do You Think You Are? and the revelation that one of his ancestors had two wives, which culminates in a "four fathers/forefathers" gag that would've worked better if Bruce hadn't said "two fives" instead of "two wives". Perhaps his ancestor was hoping to trade them both in for a ten? [NOT IN THIS GAME! Oops, wrong show. - Carrie]
Tess reminds us that seven couples have already danced and can relax tonight, but the peril is just beginning for the remainder. It's time to meet the couples: Scott and Natalie, Tina and Jared, Peter and Erin, Jimi and Flavia, Paul and Ola, Patsy and Robin, Goldie and Kristina, Matt and Aliona, Kara and Artem (dressed for S&M, so their routine is clearly going to be AMAZING), Pamela and James, Felicity and Vincent, Michelle and Brendan, Ann and Anton, and Gavin and Katya. Gavin Henson Erectionwatch: nothing yet. Everyone claps. Michelle whoops. I love Michelle.
Bruce reminds us that no one is going home tonight, so all the contestants will be here for another week. "And you know what that means: we'll all get to see Ann Widdecombe do the Latin." And I suspect there will be declension involved. Tess explains that the judges will still be scoring and those scores will carry over to next week. Michelle is ignoring Tess and waving to a pal in the audience instead. Did I mention I love Michelle? Bruce teases that Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow will be here later for more tedious quasi-homoeroticism, and then it's time for our first couple, Jimi and Flavia.
Bruce appears to have developed a new catchphrase for this year, to be delivered following an awful joke. "I didn't want to do it, they made me do it!" It'll never stand up in court, Bruce. Although it is fractionally preferable to "I am not doddery, doddery I am not", I suppose. In his VT, Jimi talks about appearing in Big Hollywood Movies. The editors illustrate this by showing us shots of film posters on which neither his face nor his name appear. Jimi declares that people are very excited about Strictly, which makes it a very different ballgame from Big Hollywood Blockbusters. He reveals that the Strictly studio smells like "Deep Heat and hair gel." And that's just Tess. He thinks Flavia is amazing, which is good, because she is. Flavia tells us that she's very excited to be returning, and reminds us that she made the final in 2007, which is why she's had a haircut. No, seriously: she's recreated her successful 'do from the Matt Di Angelo years as if there were some kind of Samson-like curse standing in her way in the two series since then. Perhaps Craig Kelly is sitting at home going "oh, so that's why I had no rhythm!" We see them training, and Jimi is very sweaty. He wrings his t-shirt out in the rehearsal room. Lovely. Bet that was fun for the cleaners. He just hopes the sweat is worth it.
They are dancing to 'Don't Upset The Rhythm' by the Noisettes, and the good news is that Jimi's clearly got rhythm, which puts him ahead of Flavia's last two partners. I am concerned, however, that his limbs appear to be made of spaghetti - they're just so loose and floppy. He dances like I do, and that can't be good. I think that's something he can sort out with a bit of practice, though - it's a level of precision that I'm sure Flavia can teach him over the next couple of weeks, now that we know he's got the basic steps and timing down. And as always, I'm envious of Flavia's elasticity - if I were even half as bendy as she is, my daily yoga practice would be a lot easier. Sigh.
Bruce welcomes the fabulous singers and the wonderful orchestra, and apologises for his expletive-laden outburst at the judges last night. He claims to have found the word that describes their contribution perfectly: "adequate". Len opens up by saying "there was nothing 'adequate' about that cha cha cha", which gets cheers from the audience even though it could've been criticism just as easily as it could've been praise. He thinks that it was high energy and great rhythm, but Jimi needs to watch out for his heel leads and sort his knees out. Alesha tells Jimi that he performed with energy and enthusiasm, but it was a bit wobbly and he occasionally lost his timing, and she would've appreciated more sharpness in general, but overall it was fantastic for a first dance. Bruno thinks Jimi can sell a dance, but he went wrong in the mid-section, and his performance level didn't quite recover after that. Craig thought it was "like watching the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz", which gets booed, but Craig claims this just proves that Jimi has "great isolation technique". I'm not necessarily sure it was on purpose, though. Craig tells Jimi he needs more control and definition, and to point his feet properly. However, Craig liked the energy, so it wasn't all bad.
Flavia scampers off to the Tess Circle, pulling Jimi behind her as he waves to the crowd. Tess is surprised that Jimi didn't seem nervous, and he explains that he was just full of energy and really enjoyed it. He's annoyed that he messed up some of the steps. "I didn't see it," Flavia tells him, to which Jimi responds that the judges did. Heh. Scores: Craig 6, Len 7, Alesha 6, Bruno 7 for a total of 26. I think Alesha's been reviewing last night's tapes - or possibly looking on the internet - as it looks like she's going to be a bit more restrained in her scoring tonight. Jimi and Flavia are happy with that start, though.
Up next are Peter and Erin, both of whom are displaying rigid grins that do not reach their eyes. I make a mental note to e-mail Tyra Banks and ask her what the opposite of "smize" is. Peter reminds us that he has a record number of caps, much like Ant McPartlin used to have before he found a haircut that he liked. He thinks he's made some great saves in his career, but the one that people always remember is the "hand of God" Maradona goal that he let in. Already this is far too much sporting talk for my liking, though I'm sure Len is fapping away under the desk. Peter says that he's used to criticism as a goalkeeper, but he is only interested in constructive criticism. Erin says that she's the only professional female left from series one, and I do hope that she is including Tess in that. Peter is also sweating in training, and Erin explains the dance to him in goalkeeping terms. Peter says he can feel the dance moving up his body, but it is currently around his kneecaps. But does he have a record number of kneecaps?
They're waltzing to 'Take It To The Limit' by the Eagles, and Peter is clearly not one of life's natural dancers, but he's giving it a good go. He has some decent signs of rise and fall, but the whole execution is rather tentative, and I can't help wondering if Erin is driving the whole thing from the back seat, as it were. It's not a bad attempt, but I think we're in for a treat next week when he has to salsa. Alesha tells him it was a bit of a rocky start, but he got through it, and while he has a lot of work to do, Erin is a fabulous teacher. Bruno is amused at how relieved Peter was at the end of it, and says that the routine was very wobbly, but now he knows what it's like, he can come back and do better at it. He found Peter's technique lacking, but is sure he can get better. Craig thinks it was cautious and careful and "a bit knobbly". He points out balance issues and the need to smooth out the rise and fall and the transitions, and it looked like Peter dropped Erin at the end rather than a deliberately choreographed move. "I've never dropped anything!" Peter heckles. Heh. Len says it wasn't quite premier league, but it was an "adequate" standard for week one. Is Len being paid per mention of the word "adequate" tonight? It lacked a bit of musicality, but Len thinks that was the nerves. He thinks Peter will grow in confidence now he's done it once.
Up in the Tess Circle, Peter admits to being "elated" that it's over. He said he lost it a couple of times, but the comments were fair and there is room for improvement. "It's a different ball game," he jokes. Erin is proud that he got through it. People keep saying that - were they expecting him to die or something? I mean, in seven series so far the only person who I can ever remember not actually managing to finish a routine was Matt Di Angelo, so I'm not sure that "getting through it" is really that difficult. Anyway, the scores are in: Craig 4, Len 6, Alesha 6, Bruno 5 for a total of 21. Erin: "Not bad. That's room for improvement!" I love Erin. It is at this point that I spot Jared sitting behind Tess, wearing a pink shirt, geek glasses, a bow tie, and plaid trousers. The gimmicks are out in force this year, aren't they? Then again, it does kind of suit him. He makes a good Hollywood Nerd.
Michelle and Brendan are next. Michelle whoops it up for the cameras once again. Bruce claims that Michelle is the most famous and talented singer with the surname Williams - "sorry Robbie". While that may be true, it's a shame she's not even the most famous person called Michelle Williams. But I love her anyway. Despite what is about to happen. Michelle's intro music for her VT is the "Michelle, can you handle this? / I don't think you can handle it" refrain from 'Bootylicious', which seems to be a clever bit of foreshadowing now I've seen her dancing. Michelle explains that she's not a classically trained dancer: "give me a microphone and I will sing for the Queen over tea and biscuits, but if you ask me to dance, I'm like 'gimme a day or two, then I'll be right back.'" I cannot even describe how much I want Michelle to come and sing for me over tea and biscuits. Do I count as a queen? Wait, don't answer that. We see some clips of Michelle signing autographs on the red carpet at the launch and shimmying her hips like a good'un. I hope you spotted that, because it will be important later. Michelle says that she wants tens, and nothing less than an eight. Oh Michelle. This is your first reality show, right? That is not how you win over an audience. Well, except me. She's surprised that Brendan is the bad boy of ballroom just for standing up for his partners. Brendan insists that there's only one boss of the training room, and that's him. Michelle says that the pressure is on because people have been calling them "the ones to watch". Michelle's getting frustrated in training because she's not getting the hang of it, and she wants to meet people's expectations.
They're dancing their cha cha cha to Paloma Faith's 'Stone Cold Sober', and Michelle's top appears to have been made from the leftover wrappers in the Strictly costume department's annual festive tin of Cadbury's Roses. Michelle's dancing, while not quite as hideous as it looked to me on the first go-round, is still not good - her arms are very flyaway, her legs are too bent, and her hip action is non-existent. And this is the bit that amazes me, because of the aforementioned red carpet clip - clearly, she can move her hips, so why doesn't she? Pressure? Nerves? A problem following established choreography rather than just vamping whenever Beyoncé stood out of the way long enough to let her? There's one out of hold section where Michelle seems very flaily and lost, and I wonder if perhaps the tempo is a problem for her - she seems more able to keep it together when she's in hold, but I think she just kind of panicked with the speed at which she needed to move when Brendan wasn't there to physically guide her. Much like with Felicity yesterday, maybe I'm just making excuses because one of my early favourites has disappointed me, but it is quite hard to make sense of. However, I don't think she's a write-off just yet, I just think that - despite her outward whooping and insistence on getting tens - she's not actually that confident in her ability yet, and maybe needs a bit of nurturing. And besides, Lisa Snowdon's first Latin routine was abysmal, and look what happened there! (Okay, maybe that's not the best example.) Anyway, all of those people who seem to inexplicably believe that "professional singer" and "professional dancer" are the same thing and thus screamed "RINGER!" when Michelle was cast are probably feeling a bit silly now.
Brendan and Bruce have a bit of trouble getting Michelle onto her mark, and then Bruce makes it worse by saying "Michelle, come on home to Brucie!" and Michelle screams "YEAH BABY!" and strides over to him. I love her crazy ass, but I fear she is not winning herself much support with the voting public right now. Bruno thinks that Michelle's legs go on forever, but she looked like she was dancing on stilts, because she was rather unsteady and needs to control her arms and legs. She needs to work on her core strength and spotting. "Yes, sir," Michelle responds breathlessly. Craig says that her balance was off a lot and her knees were flexed throughout, and her hips are very stiff, and which point Michelle pretends to struggle away from Brendan as if to walk up and lamp him. Hee. Len says that it was a fatal combination: "long legs, short skirt, and bad technique" - Michelle needs to work on strength on her legs which will produce a better hip action. Alesha loves Michelle's life and energy, and while she needs to get herself under control (and how!), but credits her for performing her routine so energetically. Michelle, who hasn't quite got the hang of the format yet, takes this opportunity to respond about how you have to take the criticism and not let it get you down: "I wouldn't have gotten this far in life without that." Bruce is all "that's nice, dear, now go to the Tess Circle. Please?"
Up in the Tess Circle, Michelle says that this is very different from being in Destiny's Child, and she's going to go off and strengthen her legs. Scores: Craig 5, Len 6, Alesha 7, Bruno 6 for a total of 24. So, not quite what she was hoping for. Michelle vows to go off and train until her legs are "as big and muscular as Gavin's". Heh.
Speaking of which, Gavin and Katya are next. And there's a joke that did make me chuckle, so I'll break habit for once and transcribe it. "Gavin shaves his legs every day. He was telling me earlier, 'it's such a chore to keep up. Have you any idea what it's like to shave an area this big?' I said, 'haven't you seen my chin?'" Don't judge me, I found it funny. In a nice bit of self-mockery, Gavin wonders in his VT if he missed his vocation in life, because he was in the changing room the other day with all the male dancers and they were all plucking their eyebrows and doing their hair. He's looking forward to spending time with the beautiful Katya, but is concerned at the good reputation that rugby players have on this show. Oddly enough, Kenny Logan is not mentioned. [But Kenny Logan BECAME A DANCER and was BETTER THAN HIS WIFE OMG DIDN'T YOU LISTEN TO THE NARRATIVE? - Carrie] Katya is very excited to have an excuse to look at a cute face for five hours a day. Gavin is finding it hard to keep up the romance side of the dance, and tells him "you have no speck of emotion, not in your body, not in your face, nothing." This is probably not the most helpful thing to say to someone whose marriage recently fell apart. However, they have a breakthrough as Katya discovers Gavin looks sexy when he relaxes. I bet he gets the acting coach in a few weeks, mind.
Their waltz is to 'You Light Up My Life', and in perhaps the biggest shocker of the series so far, Gavin is actually quite good. He looks far less awkward than he did in the launch show, and there's some nice rise and fall in his routine, and he moves gracefully. Who saw that coming? Nice work, Katya. She's thrilled when the routine finishes, as well she might be.
Craig found the routine simple and effective, but it lacked some of the movement and sway - which he admits is not something they really expect from a first dance, but is something for Gavin to work towards, and it was occasionally "cold" which was to do with Gavin's acting of it, because he kept concentrating on what came next, but overall Craig found it "a really brave and good attempt". Len says that "for a celebrity male" (sigh) in the first week, he thought Gavin did far better than he could have ever imagined. Alesha thinks Gavin is a diamond in the rough, and she felt the emotion of the dance. Bruno admits he thought Gavin would be awful, but he went for it the correct way, and he can't wait to see him in Latin. Which, I'm sure, will have nothing to do with the inevitable tight sparkly outfits.
Up in the Tess Circle, Katya giggles that Gavin said to her when they finished "you owe me", which no one else seems to get. Gavin says that it's not hard to show romance in a dance when you're with Katya. Scores: Craig 6, Len 8, Alesha 7, Bruno 7 for a total of 28. It's the top score of the evening so far. "Awesome," says Gavin.
Tina and Jared are next. Tina recalls going to her nana's when she was eight or nine to dance for all the old people in a big room. And now she's doing it again! (Rimshot.) She loves Jared and the fact that people think they're a cute couple. She says that if she falls flat on her face, someone will just have to pick her up and she'll just carry on. Or - and here's a revolutionary idea - you could pick yourself up. Emily Davison didn't hurl herself under a horse just so you could sit there and wait to be rescued, y'know. Jared looks terrified, as always, and is very excited because he has a gorgeous partner. Tina explains that they have to work closely together but they don't really know each other that well, so it's like a first date - and indeed the training footage reinforces this theory as they're all "oh dear, I brushed against your arm, how terribly forward of me". Tina admits to not being cool, and not really liking being the centre of attention. She wants to be confident and energetic on the night "because by then we'll be, like, five dates in." And still not so much as upstairs outsidies, I bet you.
Their gimmick, as expected, is for Jared to be the comedy nerd (reading a Strictly Physics book) while Tina is, I assume, the Lovable Libby. Their cha cha cha is to Katy Perry's hideous 'California Gurls', and the part where the singer spectacularly bails out on the pre-chorus "woah-oh-ooh-woah-oh-oh" is hilarious. The routine is not bad, but I think Jared's general nervous demeanour is not helping Tina out, because it means there isn't a confident presence anywhere on the dancefloor, and they both like kind of small and lost as a result. They're giving it a good go, though, and Tina has a decent level of hip action and a promising dancer's poise.
Len isn't sure if he liked it, it lost energy in places, and he thinks Jared could produce a stronger routine for someone of Tina's ability, but overall it was a good job. Alesha thinks Tina really performed it, but it didn't blow her away like she wanted it to. Bruno thinks the concept worked well, but she went wrong many times ("I know, I know I did!" Tina cringes) and that's what stopped her performing. He tells her not to stop if things go wrong and just to carry on, at which point Alesha asserts that Tina did carry on. "Yeah, but she didn't do it very well," Bruno retorts. Tina shrugs it off with a "whatever", which I'm sure was meant to be a joke and not nearly as dismissive as it came off, but then Bruno makes a scary face and Tina apologises meekly. Heh. Craig thinks the timing and rhythm were good and the leg and hip action were there, but it was too uneventful and had too much strutting. Tina says that her nerves probably got the better of her.
They walk off to the Tess Circle, and poor Jared has serious VPL. Tina says that once she went wrong it got stuck in her head, but she enjoyed it and she hopes to kill it next week. Tess tells Jared that she's a massive High School Musical fan (anyone shocked? No, me neither) and is very excited to have a principle dancer from it on the show. Jared? Looks nervous. I may have to write a macro for that to save myself time. Scores: Craig 5, Len 7, Alesha 6, Bruno 6 for a total of 24. Tina thinks it's a fair score, considering the amount of mistakes she made.
Oh, here we go, bitches: IT'S WIDDY TIME! Anton kisses her on the head, which is quite cute. Bruce is thrilled to have a politician on the show this year - they wanted the Miliband brothers, but they wanted to dance together and couldn't agree on who was going to lead. Oh, come on - by this show's standards that's actually quite a good gag. Ann says that as a politician she's used to saying what she thinks. Ann tells us that while some may consider the show undignified, she won't wear anything or dance in a way that she wouldn't do "in front of the Pope himself." OMIGOD, IS HE HERE? I can't wait to see his Paso Doble. She says that when people ask her if she can take Anton to the final, she just howls with laughter. Heh. "Poor old Anton." Oh good, I'm so pleased that "poor Anton" is canon again. Anton says that as long as Ann gets her steps right, she can boss him around as much as she wants. They do seem to be having fun in rehearsals, and Ann enjoys the fact that he is a gentleman with a sense of humour. Just ask Laila Rouass.
Their waltz is to Al Martino's 'My Cherie' and considering the restrictions she set down for herself, I think the costume and hair people have done a decent job with Ann, as she looks rather nice. Her dancing is fairly appalling and she clearly needs a lot of leading, so Pope help her for any dances when she isn't in hold, but she's not embarrassing herself the way most people thought she would, and you can see Anton whispering encouragements to her as they go around, which is rather nice. The applause and cheering when they finish are thunderous, and Ann finds the whole thing hilarious.
"Anton, you must have worked so hard!" says Bruce. "You've absolutely no idea," Anton replies. Snerk. [Ah, Anton is such a gentleman. - Carrie] Alesha tells Ann she looks lovely (of course), and congratulates Anton on a routine that she really enjoyed. Very diplomatic, Alesha. There's a future for you in the foreign office. "Ann, my darling," Bruno begins. "It was a disaster, I know!" Ann interjects, but Bruno begs to differ - he thought there was something "quite courageous and imposing" watching her, "it was like watching the Ark Royal taking on the stormiest of seas - the ride was bumpy but you made it into port!" Quite. Bruce turns to Craig, at which point Ann blurts out "the submarine, here he comes," which I didn't understand the first time because I'd not been paying attention during Bruno's seafaring analogy, but now it all makes sense. Well, sort of. "It was all a bit local authority, darling," crows Craig. "I was extremely concerned for Anton's health and safety when you started getting those kicks out." Hee. He tells Ann to remember to turn her palms downward, which she explains was her "clinging on for dear life". Craig congratulates her on getting through it, which Bruce tells Ann is "the best you're going to get from him." "Oh, I know," Ann replies. "And if you think that's bad, you should see the salsa." Hee! I mean, I do not care for her politics at all, but as a reality show contestant I'm finding her surprisingly enjoyable. Len finishes off: "the ann-ticipation of seeing you dance is greater than any celebrity I've ever seen, and it reminded me of my holidays - I always have great anticipation to go away, and then the realisation is not quite up to the standard that I thought." But he thought she kept him entertained throughout - "accidentally?" asks Ann - and he likes the way her leg went up - "it reminded me of Germany during the forties." And everyone cracks up, including Ann. Ann is, of course, Bruce's favourite.
They head off up to the Tess Circle, where Tess asks if she detected a flicker of enjoyment there. More than a flicker, Ann confirms - she'd heard them ripping people to shreds who were far better than her, so she decided to just have fun. And good for her. Scores are in: Craig 2, Len 5, Alesha 5, Bruno 5 for a total of 17. Everyone expresses their concern for next week's salsa.
Finally, we have Kara and Anton. Kara is very happy to have landed "the gorgeous, sexy, Russian-American" and tells us it's not going to be hard to get up in the morning. Isn't that what Gavin was worried about, pre-series? Kara talks about having done a press interview where a journalist said that she ends up with all her co-stars (stay classy, journalist!) and they're both single, so what's going to happen. Kara's concerned that this might have scared Artem off. Artem is excited to have a sexy partner with whom he has "natural chemistry". Kara reveals that if she's good in rehearsals, then Artem is a nice guy, but if she giggles, "Mr Terminator comes along". Unfortunately, when he gets angry, that makes Kara laugh even more. Kara checks off a list: she has to get her steps right, smile, not fall over and not giggle. Well, three out of four's not bad, is it?
So Kara's in a leopardprint dominatrix outfit with what appears to be a rubber choker around her neck, and Artem has a leather hood on. This is really not Saturday teatime entertainment, is it? They're dancing to Enrique Iglesias's 'I Like It', and Kara starts off well, as she has the precision of a natural dancer, though there's a faint hint of embarrassment on her face which I'm sure is 99% related to her attire. Her attire is about to cause another problem - as she twirls around Artem, she catches her heel in the flap of fabric that's dangling between her legs and topples over. All credit to Kara, she gets right back up and carries on, but for the rest of the routine, you can see on her face that she feels utterly, utterly humiliated. It's such a shame, because she's really good - she's sharp, slick and graceful, and this is, for my money, the best cha cha cha of the weekend, even with the fall. [I actually never even noticed she fell. If it was Tina she'd have been lying there till someone picked her back up. - Carrie] There's a turn at the end where Artem carries Kara in her arms and spins her around him (while she keeps one foot on the floor at all times, ensuring it doesn't count as a lift) which I think is of an absolutely phenomenal standard for a week one dance.
Bruce asks Kara if she's okay, and she responds with the self-effacing laughter of the recently-mortified that she "knew the dominatrix wasn't a good idea". I'm amazed they actually said "dominatrix" out loud. Bruno comments "miaow, Catwoman, come and take me!" He knows there was a mistake and a stumble, but she's a great dancer and he's sure she'll be back and amazing. "Thank you, Whiskas," says Bruce. Craig thinks it was a fabulous recovery from the fall, and there was a dodgy turn at the end, but it was very controlled and precise. Len says that anyone can catch their heel in their outfit, but she recovered well and turned out a great dance. Alesha thinks Kara and Artem are hot together, and even with the mistake, she thinks it was the best dance of the night.
They trot up to the Tess Circle, where Kara says "dominatrix" again and says that it's very embarrassing that she fell over. "Has anyone ever fallen over?" she asks. Oh, Kara, I wish there was a video I could link to, but nip down to the BBC archives later and ask for a copy of Zoe Ball's showdance where Ian Waite falls over, and then you'll feel a lot better. And then watch Lisa Snowdon's showdance and feel better still, because laughter is the best medicine. Tess thinks their chemistry sizzled, and welcomes Artem to the show, but does not give him a chance to speak. Scores: Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 8, Bruno 7 for a total of 30. And I know there was bitching on various forums about Kara apparently not being marked down for the fall, but I don't think this is in quite the same league as Bruno giving Kelly Brook's American smooth a 10 when it contained an illegal lift. Besides, how do we know she wouldn't have got eights and nines without the fall? Anyway, let's move on before I out myself as some kind of Kara Tointon fanboy.
Tess promises that we'll look at the leaderboard in a minute, but first we have a performance from Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams. Because that's really an incentive to return for the people who scrambled to find the remote control before having to listen to this tedious dirge or sit through any of the "look, we are acting a bit like gays" alleged 'comedy'. Fuck off, Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams. Come back when you are less like a terrifying vision of Horne and Corden: The 10 Year Reunion.
Video recap: Jimi and Flavia not upsetting the rhythm, Peter grimacing through his waltz, Michelle being as out of control on the dancefloor as she is away from it, Gavin not being nearly as cringeworthy as everyone was expecting, Tina and Jared chaperoning the year eight disco, the unsinkable Ann Widdecombe, and Kara finding her feet.
Overall leaderboard: Matt and Aliona still joint top with Pamela and James, then Kara and Artem in third, Scott and Natalie in fourth, Gavin and Katya fifth, Jimi and Flavia sixth, Michelle and Brendan tying for seventh with Tina and Jared, Felicity and Vincent in ninth, then Patsy and Robin in tenth, Peter and Erin in eleventh, Goldie and Kristina twelfth, Ann and Anton thirteenth, and Paul and Ola languishing at the bottom. Those scores will carry over to next week, when we will have our first phone vote and elimination. Next week: six salsas (eek!) and eight foxtrots (snore!). We'll be back on Friday with our weekly It Takes Two roundup and then on Sunday for the round-up of the first full night of competition. Join us then!