Last week: been around the world, and ay, ay, ay. Our "whirlwind tour of the globe" (America twice, some bits of Europe, and isolated stop-offs in Asia and South America. Suck it, Oceania!) was all flash and no photograph, and Mark got his passport stamped in the dance-off for the second time, but was saved over Sunetra, who it turns out only had a one-way ticket. This week: we're one step away from the semi-final, which apparently means we need to see black-and-white footage of all the celebrities in jumpers and big coats, wiping their eyes like they're about to ask us to give just £2 a month to help them find a home in time for Christmas. As troublesome as theme weeks can be, at least they give the pre-titles VT some sort of purpose, rather than this half-arsed "ooh it's getting a bit near the end, better start talking about my nerves since it worked so well for Abbey Clancy" hogwash.
Titles! Simon's hair at the start of the series really was awful, wasn't it?
There's no opening pro-dance this week, so we're straight in to the arrival of Tess and Claudia. Daly Dresswatch: floor-length black gown with cross-my-heart straps. What Winkleman's Wearing: also black, but strapless and accentuated with gold lame around the edges and a weird gold exo-ribcage thing going on. That Tess appears to be more flatteringly dressed than Claudia is our first indicator that tonight is going to be a weird one, I suspect. Tess and Claud (I feel that we are friends now, I'm sure she won't mind) remind us that we have a waltzathon tonight to look forward to in addition to the regular dances. Remember that this means the pimp slot isn't such a great place to be in this week, because it means you have no time to get changed and you have to do the group dance while still knackered from your individual routine, although I suppose at least a waltz is less physically draining than the swing-a-ding was. At least, I assume so. The most energetic thing I did yesterday was carry my shopping home from the supermarket.
The judges trot on, and I'm pretty sure that none of them are putting any effort in to this bit any more, but they only have to do it twice more after tonight, and then hopefully we can consign it into the bins of Strictly history along with rock 'n' roll, the dance troupe and finals where everyone was given a clear finishing position [and Around the World week if there is a God - Rad]. And here are our Strictly stars: Jake and Janette, Pixie and Trent, Mark and Karen, Frankie and Kevin, Caroline and Pasha, and Simon and Kristina. I like how almost everyone has to run a little bit to hit their marks before the end of the music now there are so few of them left; in particular, Caroline and Pasha skipping the last few steps is adorable.
Claudia reminds us that everyone remaining has been in the top two spots on the leaderboard at some point, so this could be our closest final yet (except this was also true of the top six last year, and the year before, so maybe not). Up first tonight are Simon and Kristina, but before we see them dance, Tess asks Len what we need to see from our couples tonight to see them through to next week's semi-final. Len, true to his love of all things sport-related, says that it's like a football match in that it's a game of two halves. Not really, Len, because there are 40 points up for grabs in the first round, and only six in the second. It's more like a game of 20/23 and 3/23, but I appreciate that, while more mathematically sound, that doesn't make for such a catchy soundbite. Len declares that the waltzathon can change everything, while experience teaches us that it will probably change very little.
Simon was very pleased with how regional travel week went for him, and is now starting to get anxious because the final is in sight, but he could also go home any point. To be fair, Simon, we've all been thinking that latter point since week three, because with the best will in the world, it seems that you don't have masses of public support and need to be up the top of the leaderboard to stay out of danger. To prepare for their American smooth this week, Kristina takes Simon to the West End to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and afterwards they meet Robert Lindsay (and Dancing On Ice all-star Bonnie Langford, but she doesn't get much of a look in) on stage to ask how one learns to be debonaire. Robert tells him that "it's just something that I act" (helpful!) and then gives Simon some pointers on how to descend a staircase in a rakish fashion. [Robert Lindsay as the epitome of smooth was such a random VT storyline. #justicefornigelhavers - Rad]
I would like to open by pointing out how much I hate everything that Simon is wearing for this routine: a white blazer, black shirt, red bow tie and black trousers doesn't make you look devil-may-care, it makes you look like you're about to do magic tricks at my kid's birthday party. Still, at least Kristina looks stunning in her red va-va-voom dress, so that's something. They're dancing to the Michael Bublé (ugh) version of 'Heartache Tonight', and this routine feels like a bit of a step backwards for Simon, progress-wise. Whereas most of his recent dances have had a fluidness and a natural feel to them, this one feels a bit Ikea, like he's learnt the dance piecemeal and is slotting it together only to discover it doesn't fit quite as smoothly as the diagram indicates it should. Kristina, of course, is selling it like Black Friday, but even she's not immune to the troubles of this dance: she has trouble getting her leg up onto Simon's shoulder for the final lift and there's a bit of a flap while she tries to sort it out.
Len opens by calling them "the boy from Blue and the lady in red" and mentioning the "swing and sway" and "a nice mix of steps", which - as much as I love her - is the sort of critique that Alesha used to give, which sort of suggests that Len's heart isn't really in this series any more. Bruno says that they had "the wow factor" and that he "could open in Vegas" with that number. Open house, maybe - he's certainly dressed like he's about to sell you a timeshare. Bruno calls it "risky", because it went from showbiz to classic foxtrot, and it's very hard to get the transitions right, which is probably why there were all those moments where we saw Simon's expression change clunkily from one state to another. Bruno did spot the mistake in the panché and says that it was actually Kristina's fault. (Are we sure it wasn't the fault of Jake's backing dancer from last week? Might as well blame everything on her while we're at it.) Craig thinks Kristina gave Simon some clever choreography that allowed her to protect him from the trickier bits, but he thought Simon lost his frame when he went into hold - but he thinks Simon has come "an amazing long journey". Darcey thinks it had phenomenal footwork all the way through, but she thinks Simon could've been looser in the elbows.
They scoot up to the Clauditorium, where Claudia says that the judges have a tendency to get "pernickety" in the quarter-final, though (spoiler) we'll see later on just how un-pernickety they're prepared to be. Kristina says that it was great to be able to showcase what Simon is capable of. Scores are in: Craig 8, Darcey 9, Len 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35. Claudia asks if they're happy with that, and Simon starts on the whole "the points are just a bonus, I'm just here for the love of dance" nonsense.
On second, we have Caroline and Pasha. Caroline gushes that last week was her favourite moment from the whole series, and that Craig saying he could see her in the final has given her a massive confidence boost. Caroline says that being so close to the end would make it horrible to "leave right now", and I'm sure that's not the first time she's phrased it like that, which means they're either repeating bits in her VTs or she's got some sort of side-bet going on with Will Young about how often she can drop his song titles into the show. Caroline is experiencing a bit of a comedown going from the charleston to the Argentine tango, because she doesn't feel it plays to her natural strengths. Pasha decides to invite one of Caroline's friends along to lift her spirits. It's Olly Murs, and *fast-forwards*
(Sorry, but I have my limits, and recapping something with Olly Murs in it definitely exceeds them.)
They're dancing to 'La Cumparsita', both dressed entirely in shades of blue and purple, which is a very flattering colour for both of them, although I hate the way they've slicked Caroline's hair back. The dance gets off to a good start, although Caroline is perhaps slightly too light and delicate for this particular genre - that said, there's some nimble footwork and some impressive lifts. However, there's a bit around halfway in where Caroline looks like she might have forgotten what she's supposed to do next, because her face goes a bit pale and she starts staring at her feet in a manner that doesn't seem like it was part of the choreography. She recovers, and so does the routine, but then it goes into a leg-hooking segment that just looks really untidy to me. Pasha's mic is on at the end, so we hear Caroline wailing "I'm sorry!", so I would imagine at least a small part of that routine did not go according to plan.
Bruno tells Caroline that if she were a violin, she'd be a Stradivarius, because she's capable of magic when handed to an expert player. Bruno thinks the lifts were the best he's seen all series. Craig says that she lost balance twice, but it was a thrilling routine. Darcey thinks Caroline achieved the mood and intensity, and she never sees any effort in those lifts. Len gets a bit oleaginous about it so I don't really want to transcribe what he said. Let's just say he liked it and move straight on to the Clauditorium, where Pasha frantically covers that the emotional look on Caroline's face at the end was her being "so in character". Caroline says that Pasha told her for this routine that she'd have to love him, but also hate him, and Caroline found that difficult, though she doesn't specify which of the two was more problematic. Claudia liked it when Pasha stroked Caroline's face, because it inspired her next batch of fanfic. Scores: Craig 9, Darcey 10, Len 10, Bruno 10 for a total of 39.
Up next, we have Pixie and Trent. Pixie loved how elegant her Viennese waltz was last week (if you try not to look at Trent and his lederhosen friends doing the hokey cokey in the background). This week they've got the cha cha cha, but she's been struggling with some of the moves, so Trent decides to take her somewhere to remind her how far she's come. The UK Top 40 headquarters? No, wait, that would be how far she's fallen. Instead, he takes her back to her old primary school where the kids put on a little dance display for them, and then declare it "the best assembly ever", which is adorable.
Thus inspired by the life-giving energies of infants, Pixie and Trent perform their cha cha cha to [some sort of deconstructed version of some of the component parts of - Rad] 'Love Shack'. (Dear Strictly Music People, while we're on the subject of the B-52s, I am still waiting for my jive to 'Rock Lobster'. Sincerely, Steven.) My first thought is that Pixie could've maybe used a touch more hairspray for this, because her 60s hairdo kind of collapses as soon as she starts whirling her hair around. It's a typically fun Trent routine, but her legs are a little sluggish, and there are some very obvious lifts that shouldn't be there, if we're still pretending that there are actually rules. (Admittedly at least one of the lifts is accidental, because it looks like it was designed for Pixie to keep one foot in contact with the floor at all times and she doesn't quite manage it.)
Tess points out that nobody has danced a cha cha cha since week five (where the only person who danced it was Thom, and he got sent home, so I'd be tempted to say people were avoiding it if Simon and Pixie weren't the only ones still in the competition who hadn't done one by that point). Craig thinks it was spectacular, but he felt that her legs were a little bit too straight. Darcey agrees that "there was an inconsistency with the leg action - sometimes it was too straight, sometimes it was too bent", but there was brilliant detail, and the attitude was perfect. Len decides to offer a warning to all couples at this point that he's been "a little bit lenient" this year on the subject of lifts, which is a bit like saying that My Immortal is a little bit loose with the rules of spelling and grammar. Anyway, he wants us to know that he's going to crack down on illegal lifts definitely maybe next week possibly but not this one wheeeeee, which is about the wooliest warning I've ever heard. Len adds that Pixie and Trent did three lifts tonight in a routine that shouldn't have contained any (I saw maybe two, but whatever), but he's "letting it go, because that's the sort of guy I am."
Trent tries to style it out about being a bad boy who breaks the rules (oh, TRENT <3) and Len sniffs back that he's "more than happy to give you a six instead of a nine" (seriously, just ask Kara and Artem). In an attempt to actually offer useful criticism, Len points out that Pixie's legs have been too flexed for many weeks and Trent has been trying to fix that, and now they've probably gone too far in the other direction, so they need to sort that out for next week. Tess asks Trent if he's going to be breaking the rules next week, and Trent points out that they've drawn American smooth and salsa for next week, so he can basically do the entire routine in mid-air if he wants to. Bruno says that Pixie grabs attention and puts "so much diddle in your dances" (god, I hope he meant "detail") - he likes to see people push the boundaries, and Pixie always does that. Though he agrees about the legs.
They vamp up to the Clauditorium, where Claudia asks how it went considering all the training struggles they had with that one particular move, and Pixie says that she loved it and it was fun. So that's that. Scores: Craig 9, Darcey 9, Len 8 (looks like he decided to get picky after all) and Bruno 9 for a total of 35. Claudia points out that this is the first time since week seven that they've not had any 10s at all, and Pixie claims that she hadn't even noticed that. I know Pixie is kind of airy, but really?
Mid-episode Claudia Comedy Bit: she turns up next to Tess wearing a crash helmet in preparation for the waltzathon, then exits when she realises she's too early. It's not the best example of the genre, I'll be honest. (Although it kind of justifies itself when she immediately reappears brandishing the toaster she's bought for Mark's wedding present, so I'll allow it.)
Next up are Mark and Karen, who will be doing a foxtrot this week. Last week's subpar salsa landed him in the bottom two and reminded him how easily this could all be taken away from him. This week Mark has mostly been training in an eye-searing pair of orange tracksuit bottoms, and apparently he has been tense in rehearsals. Whether these two things are related is not discussed. Karen decides that the best way to cheer Mark up is for him to call Michelle Keegan, so the two of them Facetime each other to discuss how awful it is working in different places, and apparently that was all it took to fix Mark right up. I guess he's not exactly an emotionally complicated person. Mark says that Michelle will be in the audience on Saturday (seriously, when is Michelle not in the audience?) and he's going to do this for her because it's a big romantic routine. [My favourite bit was Michelle sighing that she thought Mark would leave in week three and then he said that had cheered him up. What a weird dynamic in that relationship - Rad]
And he's not kidding - Karen has layered the sucrose on with a trowel, because they're dancing to Nat King Cole's 'L-O-V-E' and there are giant letters spelling it out in the middle of the dancefloor. (Remember, "love" backwards is "evol". Just saying.) Mark's rictus grin danceface has returned for this performance, and again it feels like a lot of razzle-dazzle without a lot of substance beneath it. It could just be that I hate foxtrots and I'm not keen on Mark either, so this was probably never going to be a dance that appealed to me. Also there's a sub-Tom Chambers skipping-across-the-floor bit at the end which I think is best forgotten entirely, because it's not very good. [Fun fact! I was trying to remember all the male winners last night and forgot one of them, then I saw this and remembered it was Tom Fucking Chambers and then got mad at my brain for reminding me and mad at Mark for being a lot like him - Rad]
They walk over to the judges, and naturally Mark launches into an earnest speech about how meaningful this experience has been to him, because he is physically incapable of not doing that at this point, and it's all our fault for not stopping him when we had the chance. Let's face it, if you're not part of the solution, you're just part of the problem. Darcey loved the shaping of Mark's frame, and she thinks he's perfected his transitions in and out of hold. Len points out that "L, O, V, E" gives you SEVUHHHN points in Scrabble, and just for that I'm going to ignore everything else Len says for this dance, because I am not endorsing that kind of behaviour. Bruno calls Mark a charmer and says that he's never been smoother, and that the timing in this dance was superb, ending with "well done, mate!" Craig says that Mark is "beginning to really look like a dancer" and he loved all the explosions out of hold (ooer), but Mark is still a bit square when he's in hold.
Up in the Clauditorium, Mark blathers on about how he always knew he'd love the fast dances but never knew he'd end up falling in love with ballroom, and we've heard this story at least once a year from various different contestants so let's not waste any more time on it. Also, Karen is proud. Scores: Craig 8, Darcey "a smooth 9" (is that different from "A CRAZY 9!"? WE MUST BE TOLD!), Len 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35.
Jake and Janette are next, and Tess reminds us that Jake got a 5 from Craig last week. She announces that now it's the quarter-finals, Craig won't be needing that again, and proceeds to tear it up. Presumably this is what happened to Len's paddles 1-4 many years ago? Jake enjoyed last week's Greekentine tango and shrugs off the mid-routine crash in a very Jakesque way. He says that with not much time left in the competition, he just wants to enjoy whatever he has left. Jake brings Janette over to his house, ostensibly for a family meeting so that they can discuss what he needs to do to win over the judges, but mostly so Buster and Amber can be cute and appealing. Amber suggests making the charleston "more circusy", and she and Buster return dressed as clowns. Jake's wife (whose name I feel I should know, but I can't think of it - sorry, Jake's wife) says that they're all very proud of him as a family. [My favourite part was when Jake's daughter said he had to dance better if he wanted better scores. Better head judge Amber than head judge Len - Rad]
They're dancing to 'Entrance Of The Gladiators', with Jake as the ringmaster and Janette as the sexy acrobat. I feel at this point you can divide a Strictly charleston into one of two categories - it's either an Ellis-Bextor (classy, dignified, playful) or a Hollins (GURNING, OH THE GURNING), and this definitely falls into the latter category. It's like there's a little elf in Jake's ear, operating his facial expressions on a pullstring. It's not my favourite variety of charleston, but despite the forced wackniess, there's some good swivel action and some appropriately physics/biology/general science-defying lifts from Janette as standard. It's definitely rough around the edges, however, as demonstrated by the bit where Jake almost knocks Janette over as he tries to get her into a lift, although I'm sure that was the fault of that woman from last week as well. Still, I would consider operation Comeback Charleston officially accomplished.
Tess says it was like a showdance, and you know how sometimes someone can deliver an incisive critique without even meaning to? That was Tess right then. Len says that Jake's just taken a giant step into the semi-finals with that dance. Bruno calls it "a riot of surreal slapstick" and says it was totally involving, with a performance level that was out of this world. Craig informs Tess that he's repaired his 5 paddle, and sort-of-backhands Jake that he's a "character dancer" but calls the routine "fantastic". Darcey finishes by saying it was "perfectly goofy" and admiring the imagination behind those lifts.
In the Clauditorium, Janette says that Jake has got "a million faces", so she thought the circus theme would really suit him. She also gives a shout-out to Ryan Francois for the choreography, and Ryan was responsible for this, so suddenly it all falls into place. Scores: Craig (holds up the repaired 5 at which point some entirely overcaffeinated woman in the audience shrieks in outrage, before he chucks it away) 9, Darcey 9, Len 10, Bruno 10 for a total of 38. Jake claims to have a man-crush on Bruno, but doesn't really commit to the idea. I'd expect nothing less.
Our final solo couple of the night is Frankie and Kevin. Tess points out that they've topped the leaderboard four times, but it could all change tonight! I love that the jeopardy level for these two right now is "oh noes, they might only be second!" Last week Frankie had to contend with a jive on a surfboard, and this week she has to do the salsa with a very poorly Kevin. We approach woobie overload as Frankie explains that she and the rest of the Sats are off to the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Awards this week as they're nominated for...something (apparently it was the Ultimate #FabulousFriends Award In Assocation With Baileys, and no, I'm not really sure what that is either). Hilariously the rest of the Saturdays then interview that they're all together for the awards but they're missing Kevin, so I think he's officially the sixth Saturday at this point. I really wish he'd been in the video for 'Ego', that really would have been quite something. (This is in no way relating a desire to see Kevin in lycra or anything.)
They're dancing to 'Work (Freemasons Remix)' by Kelly Rowland (which is an instant 10 for song choice if you ask me), and Frankie is posing as a sexy metalworker at the beginning for some reason. Also, Kevin's trousers are a really weird fit this week because they're all sort of bunching at the top, which leads to a prominent bulge in the crotch area. Hey, I'm just here to report the facts. While I very much enjoy everything that Kevin brings to this series, I can't help feeling that his Latin choreography is his weak spot, because it tends to be flaily, loose and too fast, and this routine is a good example of that. Frankie can't quite keep up with it, and never quite manages to finish anything properly because she's too busy trying to get to the next bit. Also: there was a bit that they kept showing in the training footage in It Takes Two where Kevin lunges over Frankie with his right leg, she grabs it and does a backbend before pushing it back again and sending him back onto both feet. In all of that footage, it looked sloppy and weird, but I thought "okay, maybe I need to see it in context to make proper sense of it", but: no, it's just silly, and it makes no sense. Sorry. I tried, I really did.
Frankie tucks her boobs back into her top as they make their way over to the judges, having ended in an upside-down lift, and Bruno tells her that the salsa had more ingredients than a recipe on MasterChef, which is something that he likes, but she needs to watch that her mounts and dismounts are smooth when doing this sort of thing. Craig says it was "a little bit haphazard", but Frankie is an incredible dancer with obvious passion. Darcey liked the krumping and twerking (and clearly nobody on this show understands what twerking actually is, so can we please have a moratorium on mentioning it until they're up to speed?). Len thinks Frankie will never dance badly, but this wasn't as clean as it could have been. Kevin says that he likes his salsa rough around the edges. Possibly with bits of someone else's half-eaten Doritos floating in it.
Over to the Clauditorium, where Claudia reminds us that Kevin has been ill this week and Frankie deadpans "is he? He hasn't mentioned it!" It's a shame that Frankie's sense of humour doesn't come out more in her dancing, because I really enjoyed her on It Takes Two during the week, and if she could project the same personality in her performances, I think she'd be in with a good shot at the overall win. Kevin says that Frankie's been awesome in keeping his spirits up with her energy in training. Scores: Craig 8, Darcey 9, Len 8, Bruno 9 for a total of 34. Frankie looks a little deflated, but admits that it's more or less what she expected to score for that dance. Kevin's crotch threatens to escape and smother us all (what a way to go though, eh?) while Claudia reads out the numbers, and then Kevin and Frankie run off to do a quick change for the waltzathon. While they're doing that, let's see the pre-waltzathon leaderboard:
1. Caroline & Pasha - 39
2. Jake & Janette - 38
3=. Simon & Kristina - 35
3=. Pixie & Trent - 35
3=. Mark & Karen - 35
6. Frankie & Kevin - 34
So Frankie and Kevin are in a precarious position, and if these were the only scores scheduled to be awarded this week, I'd think they might be in real danger of going home, but of course we still have the waltzathon, where I'd imagine they'll probably pick up a few marks. It also means that Caroline & Pasha basically just have to beat Jake & Janette in the waltzathon and they're guaranteed to be at the top of the leaderboard (possibly tying with one of the couples currently in joint-third, but they'd still be top).
To give Frankie and Kevin a bit more time to attire themselves, here's Len with the rules of the waltzathon, as illustrated by Anton and Iveta:
1) Six couples compete, all dancing at the same time, from the beginning to the end, just like a real competition
2) Everyone's starting position is pre-determined by random selection to ensure fair play
3) You must dance anti-clockwise around the floor
4) The judges will be looking for correct waltz technique
5) DEFINITELY NO LIFTS, PROBABLY, WE MEAN IT THIS TIME (MAYBE)
So unlike the swingathon, everybody dances for the duration of the whole thing, but they'll still ultimately get ranked, and the winner gets six points, the runner-up gets five, and so on.
Back on the dance floor, Claudia asks Len if he has any final advice, and Len says the important thing is not to bash into any other couples, not that it stopped Ali & Brian from getting full marks when they did this with a Viennese waltz in series seven. Len encourages them to get around with as little trouble as possible. Darcey says she'll be looking for composure, travelling, gliding and a good frame.
The couples return to the floor, and the men have all got the name of that couple stapled to the back of their jackets. I get that it's meant to be a cute nod to the numbers used in real competitions, but at this point in the series it does just look like we still can't tell these people apart without assistance. They're dancing to 'The Last Waltz' by Engelbert Humperdinck, and to be perfectly honest it's hard to give much of a performance assessment for any of this because there are so many people all milling around, so it's difficult to focus on whether any one couple is doing well or poorly. What I can say is that Pixie and Trent are playing an aggressive form of chicken across the floor, repeatedly coming as close as they can to crashing into other couples but changing course at the last second, Jake looks quite stuttery, and Mark doesn't seem to be moving much at all. As for the other three: who knows?
Bruno thought they were all wonderful. Six points for everyone! He applauds them all for managing the space well and managing to make their performances feel unique. Darcey says that you don't often see them all do the same dance together, and this gave her a rare chance to see where the strengths and weaknesses were. Over to Len for the results: Jake and Janette are sixth, Mark and Karen are fifth, Caroline and Pasha are fourth, Simon and Kristina are third, Frankie and Kevin are second, leaving Pixie and Trent in first place. Pixie and Trent are ecstatic, Jake and Janette are phlegmatic - so much as you would expect, then.
1. Caroline & Pasha - 39 + 3 = 42
2. Pixie & Trent - 35 + 6 = 41
3=. Jake & Janette - 38 + 1 = 39
3=. Simon & Kristina - 35 + 4 = 39
3=. Frankie & Kevin - 34 + 5 = 39
6. Mark & Karen - 35 + 2 = 37
So we've gone from a three-way tie for third place to... a three-way tie for third-place! Pixie and Frankie are better off post-waltzathon, as expected, Jake and Mark are worse-off, as expected, and Caroline and Simon are in exactly the same position they were before. O my expectations, how they have been confounded, etc.
Claudia allows the judges to declare the vote open this week, and then we recap this week's performances - but before we get to that, can I just sidebar in here that I wasn't really that impressed by anyone this week? Certainly as far as all of the individual dances were concerned, I thought there were significant problems with all of them. I guess we're getting our BLACKPOOL! hangover week slightly later than usual, except this year it's manifested itself as Around The World jetlag week instead. Anyway, onward: Simon and Kristina's stilted American smooth (maybe we should call that "American uneven" or something?), Caroline's tentative Argentine tango, Pixie's sloppy and over-lifty cha cha cha, Mark's shallow foxtrot, Jake's face-chewing charleston, and Frankie's frantic salsa.
And there we have it for the shortest episode of the series - tomorrow we'll have OneRepublic and another couple booted, and then from here onwards it's double-down dancing. Egad.