Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sometimes cheesy guys do finish first

Week 4: Top 13 Perform - 18 October 2015

Last week! That jive! (No, not that one. Or that one.) Also, the first of our theme weeks (but unlikely to be the last) as everyone went to the movies and Anthony and Oti were kicked out for throwing popcorn everywhere (/having a bad shoulder).

Tonight! They still haven’t let ‘the Strictly’ die, at least going by the continuity announcer. It’s almost as if what a couple of strangers bitch about on the Internet doesn’t matter to these people, isn’t it?

We then have a very random pre-credits VT about how all the celebrities are wanted for crimes against dance or something, yet Anton is nowhere to be seen, so presumably he’s gotten away with it yet again. [Presumably due to an absence of pesky kids. - Steve] Cue credits! Jay really did look different before he morphed into Bri/yan McFadden and Michael Ball’s love child didn’t he?

Tess and Claudia arrive on the arms of Kevin and Aljaž. Daly Dresswatch: black, with some odd slips cut through it and patched up with lace. Put it this way, if you presented that on the Sewing Bee, you’d be in danger of going home, unless the judges were having one of their random weeks where they praise things that are clearly awful for being ‘genius’. What Winkleman’s wearing: a nice enough black/navy all in one, would slightly uncomfortable shoulder pads in the capped sleeves that make it slightly strange. Oh well, they’d been doing great for a couple of weeks, they can have one bad one. The judges then enter, doing the stupid thing which we will not dignify by giving it a name. I heard it’s a bit like Poltergeist and if you say it in the mirror three times…

We welcome our stars: Kellie and Kevin; Anita and Gleb; Daniel and Kristina; Katie and Anton; Ainsley and Natalie; Helen and Aljaž; Georgia and Giovanni; Jamelia and Tristan; Peter and Janette; Carol and Pasha; Jay and Aliona; Brendan and Kirsty. Still a fair bit of bopping to the theme tune, well done everyone. I’m intrigued by some of the outfits we’ve got on display for a non-themed week: Daniel and Kristina as flight attendants, Helen as a naughty nurse, Pasha as a Matador, Jamelia without the electric shock hair that they’ve been doing for her.

The first couple of the evening are Anita and Gleb. We relive the ‘Gleb Special’ from last week and he seems very pleased with it, despite its entirely random nature. This week, we are reminded of the Children in Need roots of the show as they go to a fund raising event, full of people wearing Pudsey bear hats. This week it’s Countryfile that Anita is the presenter of, and the sponsored event is some sort of walk around the park and then they try and teach everyone the samba, but fail.

They are dancing to 'Hips Don’t Lie', and we open with Anita standing above a big speaker, whilst Gleb acts as a DJ. Then there’s quite an exciting jump into his arms, which they both just about pull off and Anita does a decent job of shimmying the samba. However, have what I can only describe as a reverse Gleb special, where he does some weird crablike movement on his back, before he stops pissing about and start actually doing the dance. God knows what’s going on with him, but I can see more spats with the judges. Oh how exciting I can’t wait. Overall, this is quite a fun routine once Gleb stops mucking about. It has a lot of sass and sexiness, and although Anita sometimes is pulling funny faces, it kind of fits with the mood of the dance and it’s not too off-putting. She could probably go a little bit further with hip wiggles, and there were a couple of places where it looks like they fumbled, but she’s clearly a capable mover and she looks nice with the hair extensions they’ve given her. In a move for more populism, Gleb opens his shirt as well.

Tess thanks the singers, naming them each again, and then Dave Arch as an afterthought. Someone’s contract renegotiations went better than someone else’s.

Len says that it took some getting started, but once they got going they coped well. He says she could have been a bit sharper in her feet and there was one bit where she went wrong, but overall it was a good dance. Tess asks if it’s a party he’d like Bruno would like to gatecrash and he says he usually likes to come late to the party (why are we not surprised?), and it was starting to warm up, but there were some places where she got a bit tangled and it stilted the dance a little bit, so it ended a bit on and off. Anita says she was having the time of her life. Craig says he can see what Bruno was saying and she did need more spotting technique, but her isolation was excellent and he loves that she just comes out and goes for it. Darcey says her determination and focus really show and she’s worked very hard on the isolations. She says they are missing a flow but she was distracted by Gleb (oh, Darcey).

In the Clauditorium, Claudia has covered up with a silky blue shirt like Gleb. To be honest, it’s better than the shoulder pad thing she had going on earlier. Scores: six, seven, seven, seven for a total of 27. Anita calls that a solid score. Claudia then rips her shirt open to read the terms and conditions, mocking Gleb, before he returns the mocking by ripping his own fully off and dragging Claudia into a three-way sandwich with him and Anita. Not wanting to miss any of the action, Brendan turns up with a pile of sausages. God I thought that this week’s Apprentice was full of filth.

Daniel and Kristina are next and Tess makes some comment about them being an air steward and pilot, and then offering cashew nuts to the two women sitting either side of her. I think that was meant to be some kind of a joke? Who knows, Tess humour is a surreal beast at best.

The VT, replete with random Tess commentary exclaiming "I can’t wait to see what Daniel is going to fly", sees him flying in a plane simulator. That looks like a hell of a lot of fun. I mean, it does nothing for dance preparation, but it was probably still more useful VT than 50% of them.

There are dancing an American Smooth to 'Fly Me To The Moon'. I can’t believe that they chose this song and only had them dressing as airline crew, not astronauts. Strictly costumers, what were you thinking? The aeroplane theme is fairly brief, really just their costumes and them arriving with suitcases, the rest of the time it’s a fairly lovely old school number, and Daniel even manages a half smile throughout, which suggests that he is probably absolutely loving it, as am I, well, a bit. Although it might not be the most ambitiously choreographed routine ever, Kristina always brings it in her American Smooths, because she really has that Hollywood glamour thing down pat, and so she sells it by virtue of her performance and movements, that more than makes up for any deficiencies in Daniel’s footwork (he does a much better job than I would have imagined he could) although, I have to admit I was watching her rather than him, which is probably not the point. Still, she's Ms Charisma [Kharisma? - Steve] and he's... Daniel. There are even a few lifts that he manages to pull off successfully. Again, not extravagant lifts, but a decent job.

Bruno says it had some mid routine turbulence, although I didn’t really see that. It was perhaps a little unspectacular, but it kept going. His next comment makes more sense, in that he calls it premium economy, i.e. it was solid, but didn’t contain many surprises or much sparkle. Craig says that Daniel has great musicality, but he needs to take more risks and put more swing and sway into his movements as there are a little straightforward. Tess prompts him to acknowledge that the lifts were great and he says that’s true. Darcey says it was seamless in terms of the lifts and they all worked, but he could use the music more to calm his nerves and feel what’s going on with it. Len says Daniel is too worried that he might go wrong and he needs to go through it a bit more, rather than holding back, but he loves watching him because he has a charm about him. Ah, I thought it was quite sweet, given how well blokes of a certain age do (or not) on the show.

In the Clauditorium, Kristina talks about how Daniel can do it and how much she is proud of him. I am actually weirdly loving this pairing. I thought she might have not built into it as much as she does with younger partners, but she seems pretty happy overall. Perhaps she’s just heard about the size of his fan base. Scores: five, six, six, six for a total of 23. Daniel says he was happy and even if he goes home, he’s proud - plus he knows how to fly home now. Bless. Claudia then makes a very surreal joke about a Georgia dancing with a guitar with no handle turning out to be a harp. Who knows?

Kirsty and Brendan are the third couple of the evening. Last week, they drew the short straw and had to dress up as dogs, so pretty much anything they do this week will be more dignified. As they are dancing the paso doble this week, their VT centres around Brendan forcing Kirsty to make him paella. I think that’s bordering on domestic abuse, but I suppose it’s still better than James Jordan and Georgia.

There are dancing to U2's 'Beautiful Day', which is pretty much the least appropriate paso music I’ve heard on this show in a long time (almost as ridiculous as the tango music they used last year). Because of the music choice, the dance doesn’t really look that much like a Paso either. There just isn’t enough staccato in it and instead it’s a bit of a parade of whirling and gurning. Some of the jumps and turns look quite good, although for much of the dance, Kirsty is looking at Brendan desperately to make sure that they’re doing it right. It ends with a very strange pose in which she curls herself around his ankle. Brendan gives one of his ‘good girl’s at the end, in full dog training mode, so I guess it went at least partly to plan. I blame the song choosers for that as much as anything, though, because it was just weird. [Brendan has since admitted on Twitter he chose the song himself. OH BRENDAN. - Steve]

Craig says it had as much shape as a broomstick. When she was in his arms, the shaping appeared, but disappeared when they danced on their own. He says he can see that she was really trying though and he appreciates it. Darcey says her increased confidence are showing and there was a physical physicality to this stance. Oh, Darcey. Len says it was like a paella, tasty in places but with some 'funny bits floating abaht'. Bruno says there wasn’t enough shaping, which is true, but the music didn’t lend itself to that, so she was always on to a losing streak with it. Kirsty also points out how inappropriate the song was, although by saying it’s not an aggressive song, rather than the fact that it’s a completely stupid choice for Paso, which it was.

In the Clauditorium, Claudia points out that it’s a difficult balance because it requires you to be aggressive and soft in different places. Brendan says she had the right energy and focus on her head, which was a massive improvement. Kirsty says she is enjoying it more and it isn’t as hard as it was at the beginning. Scores: four, six, six, five for a total of 21. Kirsty says it’s the same as last week. Brendan says no, sadly not. I love how invested she is in her scores! In the background, Jeremy looks sad. Such a camera whore.

Georgia and Giovanni are next. Last week they managed to dance to that god-awful new Bond theme and that, in itself, is probably a cause for celebration. This week, Giovanni decides that Georgia needs to put more bounce in her step, so he takes her trampolining. Unsurprisingly, she is super excited at this, and the place he takes her to is so flipping bizarre-looking. It’s like this whole sea of trampolines rising up to the wall. I guess this is the thing, but I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. (Look, I come from Grimsby, I’m culturally backwards, okay?)

Their quickstep is to ‘Reach’, and, for some reason unbeknownst to anyone, they are angels or something. She starts sitting on a cloud with a harp, before he Gabriels his way over to her to take her for a dance. No, no idea. It takes a while for the dance to get into proper quickstep, starting out as just a generic ballroom twirling, but once it does it’s quite fun. Then Georgia starts to lose the rhythm and it starts to look really messy and uncomfortable, although they never stop, which is at least something. After the side-by-side bit, which is okay, they return to hold and it’s more coordinated, but I think the song is probably just a little bit too fast for somebody at this stage of the competition to cope with, and it showed in her lack of precision - although she did really well to keep up with it and not let the mistakes show too much overall. Then somebody opens party poppers all over the stage and they get practically strangled by them.

Darcey says she is a dream to watch and the dance was sweet, crisp and light and really suited them. She says she’s pleased that Georgia was working on making sure she didn’t break her neck. I would hope so, Darcey. She says she gave an incredibly impressive performance. Len says she did lose her neck near the end, but he brings out from drab to fab comments, which I’m guessing is referring to the song choice more than anything else. He’s pleased that she kept the contact throughout and enjoyed some of the moves between different steps. In the audience, Jake Wood stares at them with a look that I can’t understand, but probably means, ‘wait until your Greekentine tango’. Or ‘I know you really killed Lucy’. Or something. So inscrutable. Bruno says she has to maintain performance, energy and steps all the way through, but it was still a good performance. Craig praises her for flying around the floor but says her top line could have been quieter and that she should smile in the dance because she had a face of thunder throughout it [someone accidentally picked up the script he was supposed to use for Carol - Steve], but he liked it very very much.

They arrive on the Clauditorium full of glee, and Giovanni says he just wanted to do a basic thing to please Len. Scores: seven, seven, nine, eight for a total of 31.

The next couple of the evening are Jeremy and Karen. Last week, they did Charleston-thingy and it was kind of well-received, except by Craig, of course. And Steve, who couldn’t fathom what it was meant to be. Cue a comedy VT in their prep for the jive, as Karen takes Jeremy to a swimming pool in Victorian bathing gear to prepare for their 1930s routine and makes him kick underwater. No, I have no idea what that was all about. However, Karen looked just like Andy Pandy, so that’s… something? [Say what you like about this show but no fetish is too niche to go uncatered-for. - Steve]

They are dancing to ‘Splish Splash’ by Bobby Darin. And we open with Karen pulling open the shower curtain to reveal a fully closed Jeremy showering in invisible water. It still makes more sense narratively than that library themed thing they did last week. He clearly has enthusiasm, but is lacking a great deal in the precision of the movement. However, as we all know, jive is hard for tall people, so we shouldn’t be surprised, should we? It kind of does its thing for a while and there is then some very ill-advised floor movement/breakdancing/I don’t know what. They get up again, for some ill-advised air guitar and some scary pelvic thrusts and it’s obviously not great, but he does have an okay sense of rhythm, despite his kindliness and general and coordination. Quite fun music for the jive, though, I’ll give it that.

Len says he’s consistently not the best dancer, but he is the most fun to watch. In the audience, Dave Myers glares daggers at him for stealing his shtick. Bruno calls him an artist of questionable technique he manages to put things together in an unusual way to make him up there with Tracey Emlyn. Has she got a contract with all this year’s reality shows or something? Craig says it was like watching a stork that had been struck by lightning, and this causes Karen to break out into hysterics. Darcey says she finds it quite inspiring and this makes Karen even more hysterical. She says he makes a dance his own, and the whole audience laugh at this. She reminds us it’s difficult with his legs and his feet were sloppy, but he was entertaining. In the Clauditorium, Jeremy says he’s never appeared on TV in a shower cap before. Karen says she loves that he makes her smile. Scores: three, six, six, five for a total of 20.

Kellie and Kevin are next, and it appears that neither Tess nor the scriptwriters have ever seen an episode of EastEnders, because they make a joke about the routine being based on Kellie’s grandparents’ wedding, and how this is nothing like an EastEnders wedding, because in an EastEnders wedding, the bride runs off with the best man and there’s a punch-up in the car park. I have been watching EastEnders for a large part of its 30 years on air and I don’t recall ever seeing a car park in the vicinity of Albert square - and whilst many a wedding has ended in disaster, I’m struggling to put my finger on one where the bride has run off with the best man. BBC in-house promotions, huh? [All EastEnders weddings now end with the entire bridal party getting shivved by Bobby Beale, fact. - Steve] Speaking of in-house promotions, I paused my DVR at the stills of them in the credits, to notice that they are surrounded by what looked to be Weeping Angels. Brrr.

Last week, they did a hilarious charleston with a Star Wars theme, which is one of the weirdest, but most fun dances I’ve seen on this show. This week they have the foxtrot and Kellie says the song Dream A Little Dream reminds her of her grandparents, who met at a dance. She then shows Kevin cine footage of her grandparents. Hey, it’s a new take on baby wars at any rate.

It has a very sweet opening, all coyness and hesitancy, and well controlled. I’m not sure the super rolled up hair does much for Kelly, and Kevin’s waistcoat is way too tight [his trousers, however, are not too tight because they never can be - Steve], both of which slightly detract from proceedings, but the tone of the dance is generally quite sweet. Her skirt covers her knees, but it looks to me as though they’re not bending quite as sharply as they could be, and the choreography is possibly a little simple in places, although I suppose for the first dance theme that makes sense. Overall, it was a sweet little thing, but probably not that memorable or spectacular. I liked it though.

Tess said she made the foxtrot look really easy, which is true, that or the choreography. Bruno said it had a really retro feel and it was like watching a BBC Four documentary. Okay, Bruno. Craig says he loved her finger placement and thought it was confident, clean and smooth. Darcey again compliments the confidence, but reminds her to extend her neck. Len says it was lovely. Tess congratulates them on being on a bit of a roll, and they scoot up to the Clauditorium, where Kellie promptly loses her shit, which is quite funny after watching a very restrained dance. Scores: eight, eight, eight, eight for a total of 32, which Kellie can’t quite believe. Kevin unbuttons his waistcoat, to reveal that his shirt and trousers are similarly tight.

Jamelia and Tristan are next and dancing to a song by Paula Abdul, who, Tess tells us, is Jamelia’s all-time favourite singer. That… reveals quite a lot about her persona. They are dancing the charleston to 'Straight Up'. I can’t imagine. However, they do get a lovely video call from Paula and her dog hoping that Jamelia is the strong and confident woman Paula knows she is (i.e., she has no idea). Paula Abdul for Strictly 2016, anyone? The rehearsal footage doesn’t show a great deal of promise, so they could be goners this week unless the performance is a lot better.

They open by playing on a Test Your Love machine, where they’re not receiving a hot result. The arrangement of the music to fit charleston rhythm is quite weird, but in a way works. The execution of the dance is much better than the rehearsal footage led me to believe, as Jamelia (wearing a black bobbed wig, rather than the electrified hair she had the last two weeks) seems to be really enjoying herself in the performance and the lack of precision needed suits her more than some of the other dances. There’s a decent backward roll over Tristan as well. The choreography isn’t the most exciting we’ve ever seen in Charleston, mainly relying on a few moves, rather than using a range. However, what it lacked in ambition it made up for in competence, as it was easily her best dance of the series. [Also the first one that wasn't choreographed by Tristan. *sips tea* - Steve]

Craig said he liked the Josephine Baker birdy flap step and her swivel action and thought she’d come into her own with that dance. Darcey says her stamina has really improved and it was really stylish. Len says it was her best to dance (with knobs on, because his mind is a place of nothing but filth). Bruno compliments her for improving so much. Claudia tells Paula Abdul that her dog looks like a gremlin. Guessing dark Lord (our Claud) is a cat person? Scores: eight, eight, eight, eight for a total of 32. Now, I enjoyed that, don’t get me wrong, but it got 32 and Anita and Gleb’s much more ambitious charleston routine didn’t come close to that (even with the mistakes, it had a lot more going on).  Hey ho, such as the way of Strictly, and I’m really pleased for Jamelia that she did well, so I’ll let it slide.

We then cut to a random skit where Aljaž pretends to be a doctor checking Claudia’s chest and Tess says he’s not really a doctor to which Claudia says she’s not really a patient. Somewhere, some men’s rights activists are up in arms about this, I’m sure. [On the DS forums, probably, they were already fumin' over that thing with Gleb and the handcuffs the other week. - Steve]

Next: Jay and Aliona. We are reminded of last week, where they danced the best dance ever (that doesn’t get 40). This week, Aliona is taking him to his old school where he is welcomed by a bunch of girls with a single A4 paper sign saying "welcome Jay and Aliona". Nice pushing out of the boat there, school. They then speak to a very small number of children in an assembly hall. For some reason, a handful of them aren’t wearing school uniform. I hope they all got detention.

Their quickstep is to 'My Generation' and opens with them both as sexy graduates taking a selfie. There’s no colour on the robes, I guess Strictly University hasn’t got a very good contract with Ede and Ravenscroft. The dance starts out of hold for a while, and the side-by-side bits look quite fun. Jay’s hair has grown massively yet again, by next week it’s going to be back to its week one length at this rate. However, once they get into hold, the dance loses a little something. Jay tends to veer into just running around in a circle for parts of it, rather than really concentrating on the steps. Then there’s a slip, although he manages to recover from it okay. Going on this and last week’s evidence, I suspect he is probably one of those dancers who feels more comfortable out of hold than in it, which is going to prove very interesting when they do the rumba. Good song choice though.

Darcey said it was a shame that he made a mistake and Jay nods. She says she got really excited when he started off because she thought this would be his dance again like last week, but the mistakes were sad, although he did compose himself when he made them. She says Aliona did give him a very challenging piece of choreography and he thinks he’ll come back stronger next week. Len says again that it was a shame, but these things happen and it was a fast dance. However, he thought his feet tried to do more than his brain could handle. Ouch. He says if he’s going to do ballroom again (if?) he needs to watch his placement. Bruno says in theory it should have been a barnstormer, but there were issues, including his bum and his take off, because it comes out like he’s like a gazelle in flight, but then crash lands. Craig says there were just too many mistakes, sadly.

As they arrive in the Clauditorium, his hair looks like it’s about to mutate into an overflowing forest. Aliona looks up at it and scowls. I think he might be a reverse Samson. Aliona says he had it down in rehearsals, it was just one of those things that it went wrong on the day. Scores: five, seven, six, seven for a total of 25. Claudia says he seemed pretty happy with those scores and asks if he thought it would be worse. He says yes, even five seemed solid and he couldn’t believe he got seven. There’s a lot of hugging and kissing between him and Aliona. Start those Digital Spy threads now! (Who am I kidding, they probably started before the show even began)

Carol and Pasha now. Pasha is dressed as a Matador, whilst Carol has a black doily slapped all over her head, making her look a little bit like Servalan from Blake’s 7. Last week, Carol was excited to be opening the show, but then they got the judges’ comments. She just wants the judges to say she’s made an improvement. Oh Carol, don’t you know that’s how your reality storyline is going to go? You will make an improvement and then have a dignified exit. Such is the way of dancers with your narrative arc. In preparation for their paso, Pasha takes her to a flamenco club and he does his best comedy VT face as she goes missing from him to get up and dance with the dance on stage. The best part is when he tries to tell her that she did an amazing job. Pasha’s commitment to comedy VTs remains adorable.

They’ve gone with more traditional Paso music this week (sadly, though, it’s Espana Cani yet again-the fifth time it’s been used). Pasha is in traditional Matador garb, with Carol in a black dress with gold fringing, that suits her. She does a reasonable job at keeping the mood of the dance in her face, although her shaping is somewhat imprecise and not strong enough for the dance. However, her movements and pace are much improved. I think part of the problem is that it’s difficult to take her seriously as a Paso dancer when she’s that smiley whether woman off the telly. Overall, I think she acquitted herself quite well. Who would have thought that Paso would be her breakthrough dance? [If you'd told me at the start of the series that Carol Kirkwood would do a better paso than Kirsty Gallacher, I'd have told you to get out of town, but here we are. - Steve]

Tess is stunned that Carol actually did well. Len says her personality is a bit too sunny for the Paso, but she got out there and into character and went for it, so well done. Bruno says it needs more passion and aggression, and her face looks more like it had a toothache. To Carol, that’s basically her 'the world is caving in' face, I would expect. Bruno says she needs to be more sexy and make it clear that she wants Pasha and she’s going to get him. Poor Rachel Riley. Craig says it’s the first time he’s seen her body really engaging in dance and it showed a different side to her. He thought there were tensions in her body where there needed to be but she needs to work on her hands and put more shaping incident, however well done. Darcey really enjoyed it and said her storytelling was clear. There is times where she needs to shape and empower her body more, but more dancing will give a stronger core she needs.

Claudia says that when Len was being critical, Gleb shouted "no, that’s not right". Bless. In the background, Oti sees the cameras on her so claps for it. Scores: five, six, six, five for a total of 22. I probably would have given that sixes all round (yes, I know that’s not how judging works), but a decent showing for them.

Ainsley and Natalie next. Last week they had a disco penguin cha cha and ended up in the bottom two, as well you might if you had something that bizarre. Ainsley said he was glad to be in the dance off because he had another opportunity to put his dance right, and he’s excited to be doing the waltz because it’s another part of the journey. In training, Natalie puts a device on him that looks a bit like bike handlebars, to get his frame correct. This makes for a comedy VT, in which he can’t eat or get through doors, so has to rely on Natalie force-feeding him berries. Ainsley decides he wants the frame sewing into his jacket on Saturday. Heh.

They are dancing to 'What A Wonderful World', and that the lighting is all pink and flowery and romantic, to aid the mood. This appears to be the night for quite sweet and romantic dances, because this is another of those. At one point, a load of glitter foil flows around them like the silver and gold tokens on The Crystal Maze, but that doesn’t faze them and they keep going. Probably for the best, if they’d caught the tokens, the best they could have hoped for would have been a paragliding weekend or something.

Bruno says he could really see the concentration in Ainsley’s footwork but he has to be careful not to look like he’s directing traffic and make sure that he has a real flow in his lines. Craig said his frame was really good at the start, although it went a bit towards the end as they termed, but he enjoyed it overall. Darcey says she enjoyed it as well and he has a real charm that showed he thought about complementing Natalie. The boys are right (drink) that he needs to relax and shoulders and neck. Len says when you get fearful you can shrugging your shoulders, so he needs to concentrate on dealing with that, and that’s to hold never changes no matter what dance you’re doing, so you need to keep on it. However, he thinks the waltz eliminates any mistakes, and didn’t see any. In the Clauditorium, they’re both very happy. Scores: six, seven, seven, six for a total of 26.

Helen and Aljaž are next, even though I was sure this show should be over by now. They are both dressed in naughty doctors and nurses outfits-you know, the kind that looked nothing like the outfits real doctors or nurses were. [Helen looks like she is cosplaying Sexy Nurse Joy From The Pokémon Anime and I LIVE for it. - Steve] Their VT focuses on Helen’s fear of lifts, so he decides to take up The Shard (insert pun here). He greets her at the top of the lift with a sign saying she faced the biggest lift in Britain and she says that’s not the kind of lift she’s scared of. Oh God, comedy VTs. [Seriously. That wouldn't have been worth it even if Aljaž had been shirtless. - Steve]

They open in a very similar position to the medical themed Charleston Louis and Flavia did, with one by a screen and one on a desk. They’re dancing the salsa to 'Dr Beat' and soon Helen removes her nursey hat and Aljaž his doctor coat, so that’s the end of the theme. She just doesn’t look sexy enough to pull off this dance, as she has quite a cute grin throughout. However, her frame isn’t bad at all, and they attempt some interesting lifts. It’s all slightly undermined by her face saying less ‘look at the good party time I’m having’ and more ‘how ridiculous do I look?’ Still, she has a point. And then they end with a very impressive move where Aljaž flips over his arm and catches her under it that seems to defy the laws of physics somehow.

Craig says he’d like to see her earth the grind a little bit more. Keep your kinks to yourself, Revel Horwood. However, he thinks is an incredible dancer. She looks like she’s about to have a full-scale panic attack at this. Darcey says well done on the last left and its fab to see a naughty side to Helen. She says if Helen wants more confidence in lifts, she has to get more plié and bend near her knees. Len tells us he’s having a knee op, but he wants to go to their hospital so that Aljaž can fling him around and he will be back next week, but we will be seeing his crutch. Eww. Bruno loved it, because of course he did.

In the Clauditorium, Claudia points out that Helen is covered in bruises. Glamorous. Helen says they’ve laughed all the way through the week and it’s been her favourite week so far. Apparently they play characters each week: Aljaž is always called Roger, whilst Helen’s changes each week – Lolita (erm…… #familyfriendly #postyewtree), Marilyn... Scores: eight, eight, eight, eight for a total of 32. I see Katie behind them and realise that, not only have we got one more dance to go, there must be more than that, otherwise Katie and Anton would be getting ready to dance. Bugger.

For some reason, when I forget a couple, it’s always these two: Peter and Janette. Tess reminds us that Peter has been at the top of the leaderboard a lot, but last time Jay beat him. Year of the man! Last week they did a ridiculous pirate paso so pretty much anything this week is going to be an improvement. Hey you guys, guess what? Peter’s been busy! Oh how I love that narrative. His wife comes to training because it’s the only way she’ll get to see him. Boring VT is boring.

What isn’t boring is that they’re dancing the Tango to 'Blue Monday'. I’m not sure how appropriate the music is for the dance, but I still like the fact that this song is being used for something. I’m sure Steve will pop up here to remind me of some obscure week three dance by a long forgotten contender that used this music. [Nope, I got nothin'. - Steve] There is some fun with a table and playing cards at the start and halfway through, which is one of the best uses of a prop table in a few years (no, I don’t count Robin and Deborah’s prop table as being used well) but other than that, Peter doesn’t really seem to have this dance down. His movements are a bit sloppy and his face is over-earnest (of course it is, it’s Peter Andre), and he seems to make a few mistakes. I mean, it’s more competent than, say, Jeremy could manage, but it feels quite sloppy and under-rehearsed overall.

Tess says 'Blue Monday' is her and Claudia’s favourite song of all time. Romantic! Darcey says the beginning was brilliant and that Janette uses him to his best in the choreography. She liked the staccato and thinks his eyes really sell the dance. Len said it had plenty of snapping it which he uses as upon to relate to the cards they were playing, rather than a comment on the dance. He says sometimes Peter has a tendency to over dance, but he didn’t do that tonight.  He says Peter had a couple of dodgy weeks, but is back. Bruno says although there were some mistakes, he still liked the drive that Peter has. Craig says it was sharp, there was great staccato and it was everything they wanted. I guess, like with a few dances this series, I’m just missing something here. I genuinely loved the bits at the table, but the rest of it I could take or leave.

In the Clauditorium, Peter shouts out his beautiful wife and his brother, who’s wearing a hat, presumably in tribute to The Man in the Hat, whom he slightly resembles. Scores: eight, eight, eight, eight for a total of 32. That’s a lot of 32s tonight. Claudia tells in their joint top of the leaderboard with some other couples. Peter gives her a hug and then he says he forgot she doesn't like hugs, to which Claudia replies that no, she just doesn't like humans. Seems legit.

Claudia tells us that, finally, we have one couple left to dance. It’s Anton and Katie, and his attire suggests it’s ballroom, so that’s presumably going to go well for them unlike Latin. Katie says she hopes their cha cha last week was their blip. Oh, Katie, have you never seen Anton’s Latin? If you think a cha-cha was bad, just wait until you get a samba or a salsa. This week she brings her daughters to training. Her older daughter confirms that she has embarrassed them, but she says it’s exciting to watch them on TV every week. She says they looked quite stiff in their rehearsals. Katie’s older daughter then dances with Anton and Katie and her younger daughter give them both tens. Anton says that’s the first 10 he’s had in strictly. The older daughter looks at him witheringly and says ‘tragic’. Katie’s elder daughter for head judge please.

They are dancing the Viennese waltz to 'If I Can Dream', and it's actually kind of insane in its whirliness. We don’t get to see much of Katie’s footwork to tell how she’s doing, although I would feel remarkably sick if I would being spun round at that pace. By the spins at the end, she looks like it’s a bit too much for her as well. However, I think it was a brave choice and then to go for something that fast and I think she did a good job, from what the camera would let me see.

Len says he didn’t think should be able to pull it off because there was so much in it, and he watches the hands so much, because sometimes they cling, but she kept it light and it was a lot better than last week. Bruno says the ladies definitely made for turning. He says it’s an incredible turnaround from last week. What, a master ballroom dancer who sucks at Latin pulls out a terrible cha-cha but a good waltz? Colour me shocked. Craig says she did really well to manage such a demanding dance in just a week, and Darcey says it was incredible.

In the Clauditorium, Katie says it’s the nicest set of comments ever. Scores: eight, nine, eight, eight for a total of 33. Is this the first time Anton has ever topped the leaderboard? [Nope - he last topped the leaderboard in week four with Laila Rouass in series 7, and he topped it previously with Lesley and Patsy as well. - Steve] It may well be the last. I still don’t think he has a chance of winning, because: Latin, but if he does, at least it will put that god-awful will Anton ever win storyline to bed and kill it for ever and ever. And maybe he will retire.  Also: I miss Erin.

Shall we have a leaderboard?

Katie and Anton 33
Kellie and Kevin 32
Jamelia and Tristan 32
Helen and Aljaž 32
Peter and Janette 32
Georgia and Giovanni 31
Anita and Gleb 27
Ainsley and Natalie 26
Jay and Aliona 25
Daniel and Kristina 23
Carol and Pasha 22
Kirsty and Brendan 21
Jeremy and Karen 20

So, that’s an interesting turn of events, with a few people’s scores being turned completely on their heads and a four-way pile up to second place. I think it’s going to be difficult to call the bottom two this week, but I’d be very surprised if Kirsty and Brendan weren’t in it. There’s a recap, and we still have far too many couples in the game to be recapping the recaps.  See you tomorrow for Will Young and someone going home!

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