Saturday, 26 September 2015

The GLEB!, the bad, and the ugly

Week 1: Six Couples Perform - 25 September 2015

Three weeks ago: the government's privatisation of the rail network reached a new low as the BBC was forced to buy its own train just to get everybody to Elstree for the launch show (and, since she's not getting a celebrity partner this year, poor Joanne had to clean all the suspicious white stains off the seats). Our 2015 celebrities were united with their professional partners and began training, while the rest of us followed the official Twitter account and watched all the early training footage in the hope that we could scream "DIRTY RINGAH!" at some of them. Tonight, the first six couples hit the dancefloor the first time, so let's just hope the dancefloor doesn't hit them back. This! Is Strictly Come Dancing 2015! Live!

Let's begin with our first proper look at the 2015 opening titles, then: compared to the last couple of years, they're a little bit subdued. Where we once had an variety of styles in which the celebs and their partners interacted, the template this year seems to be "the woman does a twirl then they hit an end pose and grin at the camera". There are a few variations on this, though: Aljaž grabs Helen's leg and she giggles, Oti stands on one leg and sort of...drops onto Anthony and lets him catch her, Carol flaps her skirt a bit, Kellie flaps her skirt around while Kevin does Latin hips beside her, Gleb literally runs on behind Anita from off-camera like his taxi was late, Ola doesn't bother with the twirl (not that I'm suggesting Ola's approach these days is "just turn up and anything beyond that is a bonus" or anything) [After seeing her dance tonight... - Rad], Peter flexes his guns while Janette grabs his chest, and - bizarrely - it ends with an overhead shot of Joanne twirling around. I mean, I'm pleased for her that she gets to be a part of it, but now I'm starting to wonder if there was in fact anything to the rumours that she was actually meant to have a celebrity partner who fell through at the last minute and was given the It Takes Two job as a sort of apology/fulfilment of her contractual obligation. Anyway, if you have a favourite conspiracy theory, share it with us in the comments! (Nothing libellous please, we can't afford lawyers.) [Given the rumours about Gemma Collins today my headcanon is that they would have been the series' first same-sex pairing, possibly so that the 'traditionalists' could use it as a reason to never do it again - Rad]

We cut to the studio, and Brendan and Anton are on hand to escort Tess and Claudia respectively down the stairs. The Tess Dress Mess, Assessed: a blush-red dress with a sort of star-shaped cutout around the neckline, which gives her the appearance of a freshly-beheaded strawberry. What Winkleman's Wearing: a black slip dress with a champagne-coloured overlay across the top and cascading down her left arm. (Yes, you'll notice I haven't got any better at writing about fashion in the last nine months, sorry 'bout it.) Claudia welcomes the judges to the stage, and much as you'd expect by this point, Bruno is hip-popping everywhere before he and Craig spin their way to the desk while Len and Darcey can't really be arsed and just promenade for a bit until it's time to hit their mark. Never change, you guys.

Claudia asks Tess if Gleb is here, and there's a whoop from the audience, so I guess they're definitely trying to make Gleb a thing this year. That's fine by me because he's by far the most psychologically interesting of the new pros, although from a sheer conventional-attractiveness perspective I would have thought it would make more sense to go with Giovanni. Anyway, shall we meet our Strictly stars? EastEnders actress Kellie Bright and her partner Kevin Clifton, Olympic medal-winning boxer Anthony Ogogo and his partner Oti Mabuse, TV presenter Anita Rani and OH MY GOD IT'S THE ONE AND ONLY GLEB SAVCHENKO!, singer and entertainer Daniel O'Donnell and his partner Kristina Rihanoff, BBC Proms and Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham and her partner Anton Du Beke, celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott and his partner Natalie Lowe, star of Call The Midwife Helen George and her partner Aljaž Skorjanec, sports commentator and Olympic medallist Iwan Thomas and his partner Ola Jordan, actress Georgia May Foote and her partner Giovanni Pernice, BBC broadcaster and journalist Jeremy Vine and his partner Karen Clifton, singer and Loose Women Starch Amelia and her partner Tristan MacManus, pop star and TV personality Peter Andre and his partner Janette Manrara (getting the loudest cheers of anyone, for those of you keeping score), BBC weather reporter Carol Kirkwood and her partner Pasha Kovalev, from The Wanted, pop star Jay McGuiness and his partner Aliona Vilani, and finally Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher and her partner Brendan Cole. Not to be unsporting, but the sooner we start eliminating people the better because my typing fingers are showing the warning signs of thoracic outlet syndrome already.

Claudia and Tess remind the couples that there will be no public vote and no elimination this weekend, but they will still be scored by the judges, and those scores will be carried over to next weekend to form part of their overall total. The couple with the honour of opening the series this year are Kellie and Kevin, who'll be doing a tango. Kellie opens her VT by acknowledging the long and proud history of EastEnders cast members on the show, though whether she specifically means their tendency to start out well but flame out by the semi-final is unclear. She adds that her mum sent her a list of the dancers that she thought Kellie should dance with, and Kevin was at the top. However, I can only assume given the way this evening is going that everyone's mum's list next year will be "GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB". Yes, even the men's mums. Kevin interviews that he's already getting on so well with Kellie (which, in my experience, usually means that by week five they'll have developed so many in-jokes as to be borderline incoherent to anyone else). Kellie, however, tells us that she can be be quite strong-willed and stubborn and bossy (just ask T-Shirt) and Kevin does his best "oh noes" face in response.

Kellie informs us that they'll be tangoing to 'You Really Got Me' by The Kinks, and that she's doing fine - until the music comes on. Kevin's notes are essentially that Kellie has the steps and the hold, but that she hasn't quite got the character down, so because Kellie is An Actress they invent the role of "Mimi" - an it-girl fresh from Carnaby Street who was probably spotted last week with Mick Jagger. Because, of course, an association with a Rolling Stone is an absolute guarantee of success on this show. Just ask Jo Wood. Or Jerry Hall, who scored 18 points for every one of the three dances she lasted long enough to perform. Kellie decides that "Mimi" (who Kevin suggests is probably really called "Brenda") is a natural at the tango, and proceeds to Act her way through rehearsals (staying in character through lunch), expressing her hope that the character will help her through the routine on the night.

As far as the performance itself is concerned, Kevin has choreographed some opening faff that seems more paso than tango and which Kellie doesn't look 100 per cent comfortable doing, but once they get into hold and start doing some proper tango steps (oh god, I sound like Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells) things improve. I'm not sure if it's Kellie or Mimi that I should be addressing this to, but her facial expression is a bit wrong for the tango, I think; it's kind of a forced grin whereas I think a flatter expression would have worked better. Not necessarily a grimace or a scowl, but something a bit more unreadable. Also, they're both playing up to the camera more than I would like, but I'm hoping that's mostly first-night excitement and they'll calm down a bit once the series properly gets underway. There's some sharp and tidy footwork from Kellie that looks promising, but she could do with maybe tightening the top half of her body a little bit more. At the end, Kevin throws her about a bit (and again, she's too floppy for a tango here) and then Mimi/Kellie strides off because she's just too cool for this scene, daddio. Or something. It's a good start, basically: not perfect, but signs of decent technique and plenty of promise for the future.

Tess congratulates Mimi on a strong start and on the first standing ovation of the series, which suggests it's going to be a looooooong series. After welcoming the singers and the band, Tess turns to Len for feedback and Len declares it "just right, Kellie Bright", likening it to a glass of Alka Seltzer: "bubbly, fizzy and really does you good." Hang on, Alka Seltzer only does you good in certain scenarios, right? It's not something you drink every day as part of your overall health regime, is it? Mind you, at Len's age...anyway, where were we? Oh, right: Len tells her that she didn't always have the action-and-reaction when in hold, but overall it was fantastic. Bruno shouts about "swinging swingers" (standard) and says that his spine popped just watching it (standard). He liked that they went for the staccato movement, but thinks they need to be more careful about linking everything together. Tess takes this opportunity to point out that Danny Dyer, Kellie's TV husband, is sitting in the audience and has said he will "iron Craig out" if he's rude about Kellie. Craig's response is that "Danny Dyer could iron me out any time" but he won't have to because he thought it was marvellous. There were a few issues: some peculiar wrist action, the need to pull up her chest more, and the "ragdoll" moment at the end, but Craig admits these are small points. Tess shouts across the floor to ask Danny if he's happy with that, but Danny's not miced up so we can't hear his response. Nice one, Tess. [I hope Dyer isn't this series' Billy Connolly/Brian May/Peter Crouch - Rad] Tess is all set to send them up to the Clauditorium until Kevin and Kellie point out that Darcey (who Tess has her back to) has her hand in the air because she hasn't given her comments. I mean, come on Tess, how else are we supposed to know if the boys are right? Darcey says it was a very daring tango, and an amazing first dance for the series.

Kellie and Kevin screech their way up to the Clauditorium, where Kellie says that this was the most she'd enjoyed that dance, but she suspects most of her technique ended up going out of the window. Kevin says it's a huge responsibility to open the whole series, and he's very proud of her. Claudia suggests that Craig's use of the word "marvellous" suggests he had a very good summer. Scores: Craig 6, Darcey 7, Len 7, Bruno 7 for a total of 27. The same score Caroline got for opening the series last year, for those of you keeping track. Personally, I'm just going to bask in the joy of this being the part of the series where Craig scoring something a 6 still gets a cheer from the audience. Claudia congratulates them on getting "officially the highest score of the series", and then promotes the hashflags/"tweet Strictly paddle" things that are going on on Twitter this year.

Tonight's second couple are Anthony and Oti, prompting Tess to remark "Ogogo and Mabuse, they're very exotic", and I'm just not going to touch that one with a ten-foot pole if it's all the same to you guys. They'll be dancing our first jive of 2015, so Tess asks Len to tell us what we should be looking out for. Len says it needs to be sharp and crisp, with high energy, bright and light, gurtcha cahmonmyson pickuw me wawnuts. Thanks Len!

Anthony reminds us in his VT he dislocated his shoulder in his last boxing match and, rather than sit at home reading the complete works of David Foster Wallace while he was recuperating, he decided to Strictly instead. He's pleased to have Oti as his teacher because he claims not to be able to dance at all, and Oti promises that she's going to push him very hard, but also that she's actually very nice and will take care of him. It's probably not the best of openings to their training footage to see Anthony watching Oti doing her warm-up stretches while talking about how stiff he is, but never mind. Oti says that Anthony is very funny and a hard worker, and she thinks they're lucky to be starting with the jive because it's mostly kicks and flicks, so they can avoid Anthony having to do too much with his injured arm. Anthony's physio confirms that his shoulder is "nice and stable", and shouldn't be a problem. Let's see!

They're dancing to 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' (DO YOU SEE?) by Wham!, and I'm pleased to report that the Big Prop Door makes its first appearance in this routine, because it revolves around Anthony picking Oti up for a date, carrying a bouquet of his flowers with the hand of his injured arm. For a week one jive from a tall person, it's not too bad - it's a little bit mechanical and springy in places, and the placing of his injured free arm over the crotch of his trousers for large parts of the routine is...unfortunate, but he's committed and enthusiastic and his rhythm is decent. He needs to point his toes when he kicks though, because he's not really doing that at all and it's making his kicks look very messy. That said, it's a cute routine danced with energy and generally not bad for someone whose injury was always going to be reasonably difficult to work around.

Anthony and Oti walk over to Tess, where Anthony reports a massive split in his trousers (phrasing), and Tess advises him to walk out sideways. Like a crab? Tess asks him how the shoulder is going, and Anthony says it's "getting there" and he hopes it'll get better "week by week". Well, yes, that's generally how these things work. Oti giggles that she's so proud that Anthony carried on despite the wardrobe malfunction. Bruno says that Anthony "nearly KOed the jive", which gets booed even though he apparently intended it as a compliment. It's quite impressive that we're already reaching Peak Bruno and we're only two dances in. He liked the enthusiasm and the energy, and says that Anthony tried to get the pumping action going, though he noticed a few timing issues and says that Anthony must remember to point his feet to stop it looking like a can-can. Craig remarks on Anthony's "pigeon-toes" and "sickle feet", and says it was a lesson in "20 ways to use your left arm", but calls Anthony "the best boxer we've ever had on Strictly", in much the same way that Andrew Castle was the GMTV presenter with the most rhythm. Darcey says the jive is a difficult first dance, but Anthony kept up the bounce and the energy throughout, and she particularly liked all of his facial movements. Len says it had plenty of attack and attitude, and it's the sort of dance that will suit him - however, he cautions Anthony that next week he has the waltz so he'll need to harness and control that energy and show us his gentler side. And also try not to completely obliterate his shoulder by maintaining a ballroom hold, I'm guessing.

Anthony and Oti head up to the Clauditorium where the first thing he does is hide his face, and he tells Claudia that this was only the third time he'd done the dance without a sling on, so he thinks that comparatively it was a decent effort. Oti says she's having the time of her life on the show. Scores: Craig 4, Darcey 5, Len 6, Bruno 6 for a total of 21. Claudia tells Anthony that this is fine for a week one score because it gives him lots of room for improvement, and to see how happy Oti was with those scores as proof of this.

Helen and Aljaž are next with their waltz, and Tess says she's got hot water and towels on standby, presumably so she can spill the water on Aljaž, mop it up and then encourage him to get out of those wet clothes. Or something baby-related, idk. In her VT, Helen tells us that she's over the moon to have been partnered with Aljaž, and Aljaž in turn vows to give her the best experience on the show that she can imagine, so I assume he'll be ensuring he's always got a mirror behind him so she can get an eyeful of dat ass. That's how I interpreted it, anyway. Helen arrives for her first day of training, very keen to hear what her first dance will be, and is ecstatic that she's got the waltz. Well, it takes all sorts, I suppose. They're discussing the fairytale aspect of the dance and Helen suggests it's all a bit "Prince Charming and Cinderella" to which Aljaž, clearly staking his claim for most awkward segue of 2015, responds by saying "yes, but the princess closes her feet". What I initially took for a bizarre form of slut-shaming turns out to be a reference to Helen's previous ballet training, where she always had to stand with her toes pointing out, as opposed to ballroom where your feet must be fully closed. Aljaž tells her it's a muscle-memory thing that she just needs to be conscious of, which Helen interprets as "retraining my whole body to make my brain make me feet do that". I mean, that's an extreme way of looking at it, but it's essentially the same point, I suppose. Helen's goals for her first dance are getting her steps right and not falling over, which seems reasonable.

They're dancing to 'With You, I'm Born Again' which is a little bit overused on this show (this is its fourth appearance), but it's such an absolute corker of a song that I can't really object. Helen's face throughout is fixed in a slightly manic expression of bliss (and again, I'm going to chalk this sort of thing up to the excess adrenaline of the first night) and there are a few gapping issues, but it's a soft, lyrical and well-executed routine with some nice flourishes that suggest Helen has the ability to go far in this competition. Also, the Aljass always looks best during a waltz, that's just a fact.

Helen tells Tess that it felt like a "lovely nightmare", and Craig says that the routine had elegance, romance, fluidity and movement around the floor "in buckets" and, apart from Helen gripping Aljaž's shoulder too tightly during the standing spin, it showed tremendous potential. Obviously, we're all here to find out what Helen's lifelong idol Darcey has to say about it, so let's delay no further: Darcey says Helen gave the dance real grace and feeling, and she had great control and balance and she saw glimmers of Ginger Rogers in there. Judging from the look on her face, I think Helen's actually having an out-of-body experience right now. Darcey has one piece of constructive advice: she advises Helen to keep her shoulders down. Len: "Hold me upside down and smack my bottom!" That's quite enough of that. Bruno calls it "from midwife to high life", and likens it to Giselle, which the Royal Opera House informs me is "the greatest of all romantic ballets", and they've clearly got no reason to lie about that.

They scamper up to the Clauditorium, although I'm not sure that an increased altitude is what Helen needs at this exact moment because she tells Claudia that she's going to faint in a minute because "it's all a bit much". Aljaž takes over and smoothly declares that "it was like a dream, I was born again". Oh, you. Scores: Craig 7, Darcey 7, Len 7, Bruno 8 for a total of 27.

Carol and Pasha are next, with the first cha cha cha of the series. Tess asks Darcey how difficult this dance is for a novice, and the answer is "not especially, because it's always been a week one dance". Although Darcey claims that we shouldn't think that at all. Nah, you're all right thanks Darce. She says it's an awkward and fast dance, and you have to be cheeky with it. Carol embraces all of the schtick in her VT by saying that if she had to forecast her time on the show, she'd want a nice smooth journey, with no dance-offs and raining glitter everywhere. She never believed in her wildest dreams she'd get partnered with the raining - sorry, reigning - champion and remarks upon his lovely smile. Pasha says that Carol is a "national treasure" that he'll be looking after "for the next few months". Even if he'd said "weeks", I'd still have thought he was being a bit optimistic, but that's Pasha and his sunny disposition for you. Carol admits she's feeling the pressure because Pasha's been in the final three times and has been awarded more 10s than anyone else.

In her rehearsal footage, Carol admits to finding the cha cha cha difficult and frustrating, but it does allow her to ask Pasha things like "if I go here, where would I be banging from?", which is a question I've pondered in relation to Pasha many times myself. We get some vintage Pasha VT acting as he prepares Carol a surprise to help her with training - a big weather map on the floor so she can use it to map her progress and remember that she's supposed to be standing over, say, Portsmouth at any given moment. Carol hopes it doesn't all go south on the night.

They're dancing to 'Thunder In My Heart' by Leo Sayer, though the routine opens with Carol giving an impromptu "weather forecast" warning us of a cold front approaching from the East, which turns out to be Pasha being lowered from the ceiling with his shirt open which clinging on to a giant glittery bolt of lightning. It probably won't surprise you to learn that I've had dreams that went a bit like this. Carol's acting is almost as terrible as Pasha's, by the way, so I hope she at least lasts long enough for them to do a couple of suitably excruciating comedy VTs together. Carol's hair has also been blow-dried and backcombed so violently that she looks like she should be about to sing an 80s power-ballad. As you probably expected from Pasha's shirt being at DEFCON 3 this early in the competition, Carol's dancing is not great: for large chunks of the routine she isn't even required to move much, and in the faster sections she gets lost pretty quickly. It's still kind of charming, though - what she lacks in technique she makes up for in the enthusiasm and unflappability of someone who cut her teeth on live television, and while there's not a lot of hip movement, there is at least some in there, so she's not a complete lost cause.

Aliona looks down from the Clauditorium, apparently a little adrift from not being the obvious first boot this year, as Carol and Pasha make their way over to Tess. Carol tells Tess that she was petrified, but Tess assures her that the audience loved it. The audience, after pausing for slightly longer than would be ideal, affirm this with a cheer. Darcey tells Carol that even with the mistakes she made, she had a great connection with Pasha and delivered the cheek of the dance and it was fun to see her giggling her head off. Len said there were "bright spells and a little bit of cloud here and there", but Carol needs to be sharper and eliminate a few of those mistakes. Bruno says there was a "flood of errors" and a "total technical drought", but Carol soldiered on and "the sun will come out next week". Craig pulls his best panto face and tells Carol that she did not survive the cold front. Carol giggles, and tells Tess that she had fun even if the judges didn't like it.

Carol and Pasha ascend to the Clauditorium where Carol says that Pasha is a dream to dance with, and then says that her mouth is so dry after that performance. Odd, if I were pressed up against Pasha the absolute last thing I would be is dry. Scores: Craig 2, Darcey 5, Len 5, Bruno 4 for a total of 16. I think the 2 was a bit harsh, but at least Carol's looking forward to holding on to Pasha when she gets to do ballroom next week, and Claudia suggests that they can all do that at the wrap party. Is it too late to get a job on this series? I'll do anything, up to and including pickling Len's walnuts.

Daniel and Kristina are our penultimate couple tonight, and honestly looking at Daniel I haven't seen anyone so mentally checked-out this early in the competition since...well, it's normally Aliona, let's put it that way. Tess tells us that they will be waltzing to 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling', because of course they will. Daniel's VT describes him as a "pop patriarch", which is baffling on all kinds of levels, but the end is in sight so let's just get our heads down and keep going. Daniel says he needs a partner with patience who's encouraging but also willing to push him, and he thinks Kristina is the perfect woman for the job. Daniel's hoping to learn enough to sweep his wife off her feet "again", which is an idea I think he's basically just borrowed wholesale from Tim Wonnacott last year. Since Daniel's so familiar with the song, he sings it while they're practising, and then takes Kristina off to a hotel bar with a pianist, I think (Saturday's presumed MailOnline headline: STRICTLY SIREN KRISTINA IN BOOZY HOTEL RENDEZVOUS WITH DEVOTED DANIEL), so he can sing it to her properly. I hope he does this every week, especially when he has to do a samba to 'Problem' by Ariana Grande.

The performance is entirely uneventful in the way that a week one waltz to 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling' will inevitably be, but Daniel's actually pretty competent - it's a bit bumpy in places, but the steps are all there and he looks like he knows what he's doing. And, on an entirely personal level, I thoroughly enjoy how much he has resting smirkface for the whole routine.

Tess calls him an "absolute gentleman" and Kristina says on Daniel's behalf that he gets "so nervous". Len thinks there was "no messing about" and we all know how much Len appreciates that. He thinks Daniel's hold could be stronger, but his footwork was the best Len's seen. Len doesn't place any particular qualifiers on this sentence, so it's the best footwork he's seen...ever? Sure, let's go with "ever". Bruno calls it "prim", "proper", "placed" and "pleasing". Craig agrees with me that it was uneventful - at least until the point where Daniel used the wrong grip on the floorspin and ended up almost yanking Kristina's arm out of its socket. Darcey tells Daniel that he danced like the perfect gentleman, and counsels him to relax his neck and look at Kristina as much as he can when he's out of hold. But not too much, otherwise Ben Cohen will have to HAVE WORDS or something.

Daniel and his unmoving face and Kristina proceed to the Clauditorium, where Daniel says he's happy that it's done. Claudia asks him how he celebrates, and Daniel deadpans that "I'm excited now, but you can't tell." Heh. We cut to Daniel's wife Majella in the audience who looks suitably moved, and Kristina says that Daniel is a great student. Scores: Craig 4, Darcey 6, Len 7, Bruno 7 for a total of 24.

In the inaugural pimp slot of the series (is it still a pimp slot when there's no public vote?), we have Anita and GLEB!. In her VT (underscored with 'Timber', yassss), Anita tells us that she had a dream the night before the launch show that GLEB! would be her partner, and she's quite chuffed to have landed such a sexy partner. GLEB! in turn says that Anita has "a great personality, she's lots of fun", which is pretty much the worst thing you can say to someone who's just been rhapsodising about your sexiness, but I don't think GLEB! realised that. Anita's first dance is the cha cha cha, and she tells us that she isn't a trained dancer like GLEB! and doesn't have GLEB!'s inherent sex appeal, so she's finding it all a bit cringeworthy to start with. GLEB!'s birthday happens, and Anita buys him some wellies as a present so he can come with her on location for Countryfile and they can train in fields. Sure enough, they travel to...somewhere green, and Anita makes GLEB! put waders on, which he says makes him feel like he's wearing a "massive diaper" (as we all know, GLEB! prefers his underwear a little on the skimpier side). However, Anita's hopes that this will all help her dancing for unspecified reasons are dashed when her feet get stuck in a swamp, which to be fair probably still puts her well ahead of Carol Kirkwood.

Anita and GLEB! are dancing to 'Rather Be' by Clean Bandit featuring Rad's favourite singer of the moment Jess Glynne (seriously, has she got a pay-or-play contract with this show or something?) [the one time I preferred the Strictly singers - Rad] and it gives me great joy to report that, given that Rad and I both listed Anita as a pre-contest favourite of ours in the launch show, she's actually really good. The routine opens on the non-Clauditorium balcony with Anita dancing in a bright yellow mac before GLEB! removes it. Starting up there means she has to dance down the stairs to get to the floor, which she manages with aplomb, and there's a great natural fluidity to Anita's movements, especially for the very beginning of the competition. It's great to see someone in perfect synchronicity with her partner so early on, and Anita manages to keep time with GLEB! even when she has her back to him. Her footwork looks very accurate too, so all in all I'm very impressed. It's just a shame that they bring her mic up so early that we hear her say "I messed up!" to GLEB! as she's getting up at the end.

Tess, presented without comment: "Nobody expected you to pull that out from under your raincoat." Bruno calls her "saucy" and says that she was alive and vibrant. He says that there were a couple of mistakes, but she brought the energy that this dance needs. Craig says he was shocked that it was so good, and it was a really confident performance. Darcey says it's wonderful to see her having a great time with GLEB!, and she was clean and tidy, but she just needs to work on her free arm. Len says it was another terrific dance, and tells Anita she gave it "plenty of welly". Groan.

Up in the Clauditorium, it all goes a bit weird as Claudia asks us all to say hello to GLEB!'s beautiful wife Elena. Basically the show's just spent an hour actively encouraging us to perv all over him and is now going "HANDS OFF THOUGH HE'S MARRIED AND HAS A KID!" Very strange. Anita cringes that she messed up her routine, and Claudia assures her that nobody noticed. Apart from the judges who, y'know, mentioned it in their critiques. Scores: Craig 6, Darcey 7, Len 7, Bruno 7 for a total of 27. GLEB! is very happy with that, although I personally think it was undermarked.

So let's have a look at our first night leaderboard:
1. Helen & Aljaž - 29
2=. Kellie & Kevin - 27
2=. Anita & GLEB! - 27
4. Daniel & Kristina - 24
5. Anthony & Oti - 21
6. Carol & Pasha - 16

Looking at that leaderboard, I'm doubling-down on my opinion that Anita was undermarked, because I'd have definitely ranked her above Kellie. Claudia talks to those who will be performing tomorrow night and Jeremy says that they're all "quietly getting ready". We get a glimpse of their training footage in their VTs, wherein we discover that Jeremy is learning to dance with his face, Georgia is finding "the spinny bits" hard, Iwan is finding it all tough, Kirsty's feet are already covered in scabs, Peter isn't used to walking in heels, Katie is learning to be floppy in her arms, Jay's struggling with trying to play a character, Jamelia is surprised by how much she's sweating, and Ainsley is knackered.

And there we have it. Nine more couples will be performing tomorrow, and I'll be back to recap it all.


F a t i m a said...

Pasha's been enjoying his food

Steven said...

Re the above: can we not with this sort of thing, please?