The show begins with that big movie-themed pro dance they've been teasing all week on It Takes Two, starring The Clifton Dynasty and also Tristan for some reason. It begins with all of the other pros spread across the dancefloor, which has been styled as a drive-in movie (though very few of them seem to be in cars). They're watching a suspicously meta film in which Karen is sad that she hasn't yet found true love like Joanne and Tristan (who are married to each other in this universe), and Joanne tells her it will happen - just like it does in the movies! Then we cut back to the drive-in, where Kevin's striding across the floor with the look on his face of "this looks like a job for a lad from Grimsby" just as 'I Can't Help Myself' by the Four Tops starts up, and he jumps
Tess and Claudia then appear on the big screen as their names are announced, and then slide out of the screen and into the studio. (I take no pleasure in pointing out that Tess does by far the worst job of anyone tonight in timing her disappearance from one world with her reappearance in the other.) Tess's Dress Mess, Assessed: a straightforward black dress with a bit of a ra-ra skirt thing going on at the bottom, not terrible but a definite step down from last night. Claudia is in a similarly simple gold smock-dress that stops just above the knee. Tess reminds us of all of the action from last night, including our first 10 of the series - and it wasn't even a Donny 10 this time. The judges enter, and are still not doing The Strictly, even though it is *peers at notes* sweeping the nation. Tess promises us Andrea Bocelli later, while Claudia threatens us with Len's Lens.
First, a quick recap of the performance show with additional backstage footage, revealing the following details: Ola is lurking around backstage looking for something to do, Jamelia is hoping that she will not be the one to go home, Katie thinks the bar has been set quite high but fortunately that didn't stop her from climbing up and helping herself to a gin and tonic or three, Lovely Greg still has a beard, and Kellie and Kevin like larking around with lightsabres. As far as the main part of the show goes, Jeremy is shown as having done well, Daniel (and I keep calling him Danny in these recaps without realising, so maybe he's more convincing in the role than I thought?) is shown as having received some criticism but still mostly positive stuff about how enjoyable his routine was, and Kirsty is praised for her control. Carol, on the other hand, only gets the bad stuff shown, as do Ainsley, Katie and Anthony. Interestingly, Georgia's rumba is shown getting good feedback from Craig and Len's little tantrum is glossed over entirely. Peter and Janette say "arrrrrrr" a few more times, and even Jamelia somehow gets only positive comments shown in the highlights package. The recap shows the Gleb Special one more time, and Kellie and Helen are shown celebrating backstage after their triumphant performances. Of course, Jay gets the pimp slot here as well, and says that he doesn't like crying in front of people but he was very close to it tonight. Bless.
Back in the studio, Tess is holding the cue cards of destiny, so let's see who's safe in the first batch of couples. In no particular order (naturally): Kellie & Kevin, Jay & Aliona, Jeremy & Karen, Anita & Gleb, Carol & Pasha and Georgia & Giovanni. The first couple in the dance-off is... Ainsley & Natalie. Nooooooo! How could this have happened? Does this mean the great British public don't actually like penguins? WHAT SORT OF MONSTERS ARE YOU? [On the other hand, Natalie in safety-bounce-maximum-attention-grabbing-all-out-crazy mode next week? Yes please = Rad]
Ainsley and Natalie make their way over to Tess, who asks if they're shocked to be in the bottom two. Ainsley says he's shocked a little bit, yes, but he trusts the opinion of the judges and the public, and this way he gets to have another crack at getting it right. (I love how he casually said he actually was a bit shocked to be in the bottom two. Imagine the outrage if a woman had said that.) He vows to do his best the second time around. Tess asks Craig for some pointers, and Craig says that he needs to do some lovely, clean efficient footwork, but try not to let his fantastic personality get lost in the process. Ainsley says there were a couple of mistakes earlier and Natalie's been great with him, so he hopes they can deliver this time and stay around.
Claudia's with the safe couples, and Jay says that this has been the best Saturday (AND SUNDAY, JAY) in his living memory. Claudia congratulates Jeremy on getting three sevens, even if there was also a three from Craig. Jeremy frets that he's got the jive next week - "the dance that Jay nailed" - so he's probably just going to slow Jay's routine down to half-speed and do that. Carol is doing a paso next week and shows Claudia her paso face, which basically turns out to be a duckface fit for a selfie. Georgia giggles that it's overwhelming to be on this show at all, let alone have to worry about being eliminated.
Music now from Andrea Bocelli, who for reasons I can't quite fathom is singing 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' in Spanish. (I assumed it was Italian until a friend put me right on Twitter.) Like many things in life it is beautiful but rather pointless, but Aljaž and Janette come in and do a sort of wafty American smooth Viennese waltz to it which is very nice, and involves Janette getting whirled around and around and around yet again. Whatever motion sickness pills she's on, they must be very effective.
The judges then ascend to the Clauditorium for Len's Lens, where they begin by enthusiastically discussing Jay's jive. Unfortunately, seeing it in slow motion kind of shows up the spots where he wasn't as sharp as Aliona, or wasn't quite in time with her. I don't think Len's Lens is really suited to analysing jives. Slightly better served by the technology are Kellie and Kevin as Darcey highlights how well they work in the side-by-side section, even going so far as to call Kevin "the best partner ever", while Craig wants to discuss Peter's posture in the paso (there's a tongue twister for you) and demonstrates how it should have been done. Bruno reviews Jeremy's charleston and says it was a recognisable dance - which is news to me, because it wasn't until I watched it for the second time to write the recap that I was like "fucking hell, that was a charleston?!" And there endeth Len's Lens for one more week.
Back to Tess for the final reveal. The last six couples who are definitely safe are Helen & Aljaž, Peter & Janette, Kirsty & Brendan, Jamelia & Tristan, Katie & Anton and finally Daniel & Kristina, which of course leaves Anthony & Oti in the dance-off. Anthony and Oti are a long way up at the top of the stairs so it takes a while for them to get to Tess, but when they get there Anthony says that he was kind of expecting that, and he's going to give it one big last effort and hopefully that will be enough. Len tells him that dance is a balance, so he needs to try to refine what he's doing without going over the edge.
Up in the Clauditorium, Jamelia is (understandably) ecstatic to be safe this week. She says it's bittersweet, however, because one of her mates is going home, but she's still happy to be here. Claudia gently takes the piss out of Peter for his po-facedness, and Katie thanks the audience profusely for saving her when she was quite low on the leaderboard. Claudia asks Daniel if he could maybe keep a bit of Danny Zuko about him forever, and Daniel sighs that he might keep a bit, but the quiff will have to go - at which point the entire cast screams "NOOOOOOOO!!!!" and Brendan and Aljaž start chanting "save the quiff! Save the quiff!"
After a trailer for next week's It Takes Two, Tess and Claudia are standing by our couples in jeopardy. Anthony says it could be his last dance - but hopefully not - so he's just going to enjoy it. Oti says she told Anthony that he should listen to the judges - relax himself but let his passion for the dance show. As they head down to get ready, Tess reminds Ainsley and Natalie that there was just one point between the two couples on the leaderboard on Saturday (Natalie gasps at this, bless her) and Ainsley says that Natalie has been amazing, and he feels that sometimes he lets her down, to which Natalie instantly responds "no!", god love her. Ainsley says he does sometimes get his steps wrong, and he wants to hopefully put that right this time and do justice to all of her hard work. Natalie replies that Ainsley is "an angel" and she's loved every second, adding that she's very proud of him.
Anthony and Oti reprise their routine, and watching them I can't help thinking that Anthony hurt his arm during the first performance, because it's even more claw/flipper-like than usual, and he really does seem to be trying to avoid moving it at all costs. All credit to him for going out there and getting through this with a smile on his face, really. He does a decent job in spite of this - he definitely looks more focused than the first time out, and his shaping (free arm excepted) looks to have improved.
Then Ainsley and Natalie do their cha cha cha again. Ainsley makes a small mistake at the very beginning which throws him for a few seconds, but he recovers well after that and, I think, delivers better technique the second time out as requested, while still having plenty of personality in his performance. It's a passionately-fought dance-off on both sides, but if it were down to me I'd save Ainsley because I honestly think Anthony's shoulder isn't going to recover quickly enough for him to make any serious improvement in this competition. [No, they're best off cutting their losses with him - a shame, as I like Oti so far and would love to see what she could do with a celebrity who can actually move - Rad]
Over to the judges, then: Craig votes to save Ainsley and Natalie, while Darcey thinks both couples did a much better job, but votes to save Ainsley and Natalie. Bruno briefly forgets the name of the show that he's on, but votes to save Ainsley and Natalie, meaning that they survive for at least one more week, and Anthony and Oti are going home. Tess asks Len if he agrees, and Len says that he does.
Anthony says that it's been brilliant, and says that Oti has been wonderful - but he feels sorry for him because she got lumbered with him as a partner when he can't dance and has a knackered shoulder that means he can't even brush his teeth properly yet. He hugs her tightly and tells her she's done a wonderful job. Oti says that Anthony has been both a great partner and a good friend, and she hopes they'll be friends for a long time. Anthony and Oti have their last dance to 'So Long, Farewell' from The Sound Of Music, which does rather put me in mind of how they used to eliminate people on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? Post-show reactions include Jeremy feeling glum, Anita being cut off right in the middle of saying how much she's going to miss Anthony, Katie saying how supportive he's been, Ainsley saying he had to save his own bacon, Daniel being delighted to still be around, as are Kirsty and Peter, and Jay still can't quite get over his score. Carol has a lot of work to do, Jamelia's doing a charleston next week, Kellie's doing a foxtrot (Kevin suggests doing it with lightsabres) and Georgia's got a quickstep.
I don't normally go in much for the lengthy post-elimination analysis, but I will say this much: I feel a bit sorry for Anthony, who shouldn't really have been cast on this show in the first place. I'm sure everyone involved had the best of intentions and that they genuinely thought his shoulder would recover in time (and I'm very aware that if he weren't injured in the first place he wouldn't have been available to do it), but the fact remains that his shoulder injury made it impossible for him to do the dances properly and it became clear that it was going to be far more of a problem than anyone initially expected it would, but by that point it was too late to do anything about it. So it sucks for Anthony that this was his one and only chance to do the show and his chances were ruined before he even started by a gammy shoulder, but I suppose those are just the breaks sometimes. I don't think this is anyone's fault, particularly, but it should be a cautionary tale when it comes to casting next year: maybe stick to people who are match-fit, yeah?
And speaking of casting next year, I hope Oti gets another shot. She too had a raw deal of things this time around, given that she had to choreograph around a partner with a serious injury, but she took it on without complaining and, I think, produced some pretty great choreography under the circumstances. I'd love to see what she could do with someone who actually has the use of both arms.
Anyway, that's enough editorialising. Join Rad next week for non-gimmick week!