I don't know about the rest of you, but I did find myself wondering how they could possibly top the craziness of KRISTINA doing the KRISTINA in a giant cocktail glass last week. Well...how about a routine to a ballided-down version of 'Halo' where the girls are all done up in geisha-face and wearing kimonos, while the guys are all kitted out for a Saturday morning karate lesson? It's certainly one of the more eccentric concepts they've done, and I hate to be a bearded tree-hugging lefty about this, but I find the cultural appropriation questionable, to say the least. (Then again, on the same evening I watched the episode of Downton Abbey where the big twist was that
Back to the matter at hand: here are Tess and Claudia. Having done such good work last night, sadly Tess is right back to square one again in a purple dress that has inexplicable peach-coloured slashes across it. I can only assume that Nina Garcia was briefly let loose with a pair of scissors backstage but was restrained before she could cause any further damage. Claudia, meanwhile, is in a rose and burgundy tunic. It's nice to see her wearing some colour, obviously, but still: no. Claudia reminds us that one couple must leave tonight, and Tess reminds us that the results are imminent. Tonight's musical guests are Earth Wind & Fire, and for those of you who scoff at the BBC for hiring bands more in keeping with an older demographic, may I remind you that The X Factor has booked Nile Rodgers and Chic for next week.
Of course, the way to the Results Round-Up is as always blocked by the guardian known as "Recap Of Saturday's Show With Additional Backstage Footage". Obviously if you want to know what happened on Saturday you can just look here, but I am more than happy to collate the extra revelations for you: Len's dicking around in a golf cart, Abbey is giving us the backstage tour and has taken to trapping various members of the crew inside Pasha's cage (I wouldn't mind getting trapped inside Pasha's cage, etc), Deborah likes to hang out in the make-up room, Dave and Abbey argue over who makes the better fish pie, the BBC is still using the same warm-up guy that they use for everything ever, Natalie claims never to have been accused of being erotic before (given the sort of weirdo fanmail that most soap stars receive, I can only assume she never read hers), Alja thinks his and Abbey's foxtrot was a 10, Dave and Karen are bottom of the leaderboard but top of the world, Deborah's really pleased with her score of 27, Patrick is very grateful to Anya for all her work in a very difficult to week, Fiona and Anton still can't believe their scores, Rachel's glum about the reception for her paso, Ashley claims to have enjoyed dancing for the first time in his life, Susanna and Kevin are super-cute about scoring 32 and Ben is at least happy that he didn't make a mistake.
With that, we're back to Tess who has the results for the first half of the competitors. The following couples are safe and guaranteed a spot in next week's show: Fiona and Anton (surprised, gushing), Susanna and Kevin (grinning, hugging), Natalie and Artem (joyfully squirmy), Mark and Iveta (relieved) and Rachel and Pasha (surprised, triumphant). The first couple in danger, however, is...Deborah and Robin. Deborah closes her eyes, and Robin pinches the bridge of his nose.
Tess asks Len what they can do to improve. Len says he's in shock because he thought they'd be safe, and he thinks her Viennese waltz was as good as any dance she's done this series, so she just needs to trust in Robin and give it her all. Of course, trusting Robin when he was all "hey! Let's push a table around for no reason!" is kind of what got Deborah into this mess in the first place. Poor Deborah. She's clearly upset already - much like Rachel last week, she's a superfan who had rather hoped not to be leaving quite so early. She tells Tess she wants to put in a good performance to repay Robin for teaching her to dance. Oh, Deborah. You did the best with what you were given - I sincerely doubt that your performance is what landed you here.
Meanwhile, Claudia's up on the balcony with the five couples whose dancing dreams are safe for another week. Mark's still giddy from getting good comments from Craig, and Anton's still gleeful from being here and being in the top half of the leaderboard. Rachel confesses that she ran through her routine in her head "17,000 times", because she was convinced she'd be in the Dread Dance-Off again, though she didn't want to. "Thank you, British public!" she beeps meekly. Susanna does the whole "yes, I'm happy to be safe but WHY MUST WE LOSE PEOPLE? WHY MUST IT BE DEBORAH? TAKE ME INSTEAD, SHE HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG!" Seriously, Susanna, I love you and everything, but you're currently operating at "Lisa Snowdon" and we need you at more of a "Holly Valance" sort of level.
To distract from the sadness of people departing, we have Earth, we have Wind and we have Fire. (It's a good job we booked them in this early in the series, because energy prices are going up in November and after that point we'd have only been able to afford Earth and Wind. BOOM! TOPICAL HUMOUR!) Earth, Wind & Fire provide a medley of 'Let's Groove', 'My Promise' and 'Boogie Wonderland' while Brendan and Aliona (oh yes, she's still here) and James and Ola get their cha cha cha on around them. I'm disappointed that they don't go into 'September', but since I can't listen to that any more without drawing the movements from Elite Beat Agents in the air, it might be for the best.
Once they've finished, it's time for Len's Lens - this week with one fewer participant, as Craig is not capable of managing the stairs in the aftermath of his hip operation (either that or he has finally reached Mariah levels of divadom). This week Len's Lens is all about Anton's face during his quickstep (frankly, as long as we remain above the waistline, we can focus on Anton wherever we like), and the judges even admire Fiona's posture briefly in the process. Claudia then moves us on to "Ashley's splits", which isn't even close to the splits at all - it's just yer bog-standard leapfrog over Ola, but everyone's too polite to correct Claudia, and we must remember that Ashley has now not slept for 186 consecutive hours, so it's a miracle he got off the ground at all. Darcey is impressed that he didn't put any pressure on Ola, but notes that Ashley forgot to point his feet. Still, she says, the important thing is that he "pitched it forward". A bit like Anton during his cha cha cha. (SORRY.) Then we move on to the big news of the weekend - Natalie shattering Poor Artem's nose. Poor Artem. (Artem, being Artem, just keeps going.) We have another look at Patrick's one-handed lift, which really does not benefit from being viewed in slo-mo, and then we see Dave whipping his hair back and forth. "There was more movement in the hair than there was in the feet," says Bruno sagely. Finally, just in case we're worried that Craig's missing out on all the fun, Len's Lens cuts back to the judge's table, where Craig is being served cocktails by Alja. If there was ever an advert for smashing your own hips with an iron skillet, this is it right here. "Alja, turn round, be a love," snarks Claudia. I still haven't worked out if what she means by that is "prevent me from having to see your lovely face lest I become overpowered by lust" or "please allow me to objectify you some more by staring at your magnificent arse", but either way, I understand.
Now it's time to rejoin Tess and see which of the other remaining couples are safe. In no particular order, they are: Sophie and Brendan (exhaling for the first time in 20 minutes), Ashley and Ola (still praying for sleep), Abbey and Alja (muted squeals), Dave and Karen (obnoxiously loud celebration) and Ben and Kristina (shamed relief, seeing who they've left in their wake). That means Patrick and Anya will be joining Deborah and Robin in the Dread Dance-Off, which...I mean, Patrick took at least three weeks too long to develop a personality of any sort, so this is entirely understandable, but damn, Great British Public, making the guy with the injured wrist do a salsa again is just COLD. [Can we have a John Sargeant memorial panic about Dave yet? Because I don't want Deborah to go and there's not a hope in hell they're axing one of the two men who might vaguely be able to dance this early. Gah, why can't it be Fiona and Anton already? - Rad]
Tess: "Come and join me, nobody wants to." Sometimes she just makes this too easy, doesn't she? Tess asks Darcey what Patrick must do to save himself, and Darcey babbles in shock and eventually registers that Patrick is a natural dancer because he was able to adjust to all those last minute changes. Thanks Darce, big help. Patrick tells Tess he's just going to "do it again". He doesn't exactly look distraught at the prospect of elimination, it has to be said.
Up in Claudia's Counselling Circle, Claudia tells Dave that his reaction to being declared safe was "dreamy". I can think of a few other words for it. Abbey is pleased to be here for another week. Claudia tells Ashley that he's going to have t-shirts with "the busiest man on earth" printed on them, and congratulates him on the splits that never were. (This time Ola's around to LAUGH IN HER FACE, which is fun.) Ashley says he's glad to get through because this has been such a tough week. Claudia then does a passable Kristina impression (although it's not a patch on Kevin's Artem impression or Mark's Iveta impression), and Ben says it was a nerve-wracking experience and asks them not to leave him until last ever again. Heh. Sophie says she was convinced she was going to have to do that FUCKING CHA CHA CHA AGAIN (she expresses it in a slightly more polite fashion, obviously, but I think the sentiment is clear), so she's very glad to be safe.
Hey, you know what next week is? HALLOWE'EN WEEK! Looks like Len might have to wait an extra seven days for that 50% reduction in FAFFING ABAHT that he requested.
Claudia's with the two couples fighting for survival, and tells them she's sad to see both of them in this position. Deborah appears to be fairly certain she's going home, presumably because of who she's up against, and has got the air of a woman determined to maintain her poise all the way to the gallows. Sniff. Robin says that dancing with Deborah has been amazing and he doesn't want it to end. Choreograph less ridiculous routines for her, then. He and Deborah head to the dancefloor while Patrick continues to shrug about the prospect of not being here next week.
Deborah and Robin reprise that thing that was ostensibly a Viennese waltz. Deborah gives, I think, the best performance she's ever given on the show, and it's such a shame to have that bloody table obstructing so much of it. They're followed by Patrick and Anya, whose salsa is similarly improved the second time around, with Patrick making his upper body look less...undead than it did the first time. He's a little bit too wobbly in the hips and shoulders though, maybe. He chuckles when it's all over.
Time for the judges to make their decision, and I don't even have the words to describe the pain in Deborah's eyes at this point - she knows it's over. Craig wants to save the couple who did the best dancing in the Dread Dance-Off, and that's Patrick and Anya. Darcey wishes that "neither couple was even here" (so she wants a double elimination?) but ultimately opts to save Patrick and Anya. Bruno tells both pairs that they did a great job, but Patrick and Anya had the edge for him - and with three votes out of four, they're safe and through to next week. Len confirms that he would've agreed, but tells Deborah that she danced much better in the Dread Dance-Off, "and my heart goes out to you". Deborah looks crestfallen. I am heartbroken for her - she seems like such a lovely woman, and she was clearly having a fantastic time, and I'm gutted she didn't get to stick around for longer. [Me too. I LOVED her. - Rad]
Robin is sobbin' (as he should be), and Deborah thanks him for teaching her to dance, and says that she won't cry because she's a dragon. Robin sobs that he just wishes he could stay in for Deborah because she loves it so much. I'm furious that easily the most likeable of all Robin's partners since he joined the series ended up being the one that got eliminated the earliest. I BLAME THAT BLOODY TABLE AND ALSO BY EXTENSION ROBIN. Deborah says that she loved her dance tonight and also her quickstep, and while she's sad to be going, she's had a great time.
Deborah and Robin head over for their last dance as Claudia rejoins Tess, and the pair tease the Hallowe'en special one more time. Then Deborah and Robin spin around to Bon Jovi's 'Never Say Goodbye' as everyone comes over to hug them. Now if you'll excuse me, Ivegotsomethinginmyeye *runs off wailing*.