Monday, 30 November 2015

Heaven and Helen

Week 10: Top 7 Perform (Blackpool hangover week) - 28 November 2015.

Last week! Blackpool! Jamelia entered her fifth dance off, danced way better than Peter and was dumped, thus making not only the dance off seem even more redundant than usual, but provoking mild media outrage at the same time. Who would have thought that the British public was so keen to see somebody who’d been in the dance off five times go through the same process again? Perhaps Bruno was right when he said that people put her in the dance off so often because they like seeing her dance? Anyway, she left and Peter lives to fight another day whilst she gets to mouth off in the press, so in some ways, everyone’s a winner.

We open with a pre-credits VT going on about how ‘all that matters this week is training’ and the ‘only story in town is a pro, a celebrity and a training room’. Let’s see how far into the show we can get before the VTs start to break away from this promise, shall we? They also tease us with the stars performing two dances, and for a moment, I didn’t understand, because I was sure it wasn’t two dance week yet. However, the second dance is just the quickstep-athon.

Cue credits! I see Ola is still here and has not been erased from history. Yet. [By my reckoning she's got about another 24 hours. - Steve]

Tess and Claudia enter, accompanied by Aljaž and Kevin. Daly dresswatch: white, strapless, not a bad colour, but the texture is reminiscent of quilted toilet roll. What Winkleman’s wearing: a black dress with black and white stripes at the bottom. They remind us that this is Blackpool hangover week, so everyone’s going to feel a bit hung over, someone will vomit down their dress, the judges will be randomly grouchy and everyone’s lives will feel that little bit more meaningless now that Blackpool is over. So, everyone’s favourite week of the year, yes?

The judges Strictly on. Len is now suitably recovered enough to join in this nonsense.

Our contestants enter: Kellie and Kevin; Anita and Gleb; Katie and Anton; Helen and Aljaz; Georgia and Giovanni; Peter and Janette; Jay and Aliona. For those keeping track of the jigging: Jay, Peter and Anita have pretty much given up, but the others are still putting in a decent show. Tess notes that everyone left has received either a nine or ten, so could all potentially be winners. Maybe. At least these final contestants do feel a little bit more closely matched than the final seven in some series.

The first couple of the evening are Kellie and Kevin and their VT shows Kellie wearing a Fifties ra-ra skirt to practice a salsa which is a bit random, and Kevin doing lots of flipping her over her arm and basically causing her whiplash, causing her to record loads of Blair Witch style moans to camera. However, in one of these, she appears to be lying in bed, but is wearing bright red lipstick, so I call shenanigans. Either that, or she is too tired to take her make up off, which wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility given her schedule. [I wouldn't want to be washing her pillowcases. - Steve] Kevin very excitedly says that if they get a millimetre wrong, she could have a broken nose. I know this is perhaps not your most exciting partnership to date yet Kevin, but try and be a little bit less hostile to your celeb. You could have had a duffer, you know.

They are dancing their salsa to ‘I Want You Back’ (Jackson Five version). It opens with a horrible graphic involving text messaging and emoji/emojii/emojis (anyone know the correct plural form?) where Kevin says he’s ‘Sorry Kellie Babes’. Should you be sending texts like that to her when your wife is a dancer on this show and her husband is Danny Dyer? (At least according to what this show has me believe.) The routine is really fun and energetic, but Kevin has packed it so full of lifts, twists and random drags along the floor, that the overall result is a bit of a mess. How much of it is pure salsa, I’m not entirely sure, but there were at least some of the moves in there, so it’s better than their last Latin at any rate. I enjoyed watching that, but it was sloppy as all hell.

Len says he’s going to put his response in text talk and says ‘G R 8’ and then Kellie and Kevin take several moments to calculate that in their heads and realise he means great. As they and I are of a similar generation, I sympathise. I freaking hate text speak and it takes much longer to decipher than normal words. He also tells Kellie that she has a bionic bum, and I’m not sure a man of his age should be ogling a child actress in this post Yewtree world. (As we have already established, she is still that girl from T-Bag/The Upper Hand to us). Bruno says the first of the ‘magnificent seven’ (sigh. Every year.) have started beautifully this evening and he thought they were like two courting fireflies all over the place.  He notes it was really fast and difficult, but there were some dismounts that looked clumsy. Craig says he liked the Joan Collins-style stroppy opening, whereby Kellie threw a glass of glitter all over Kevin and he did really like the look, although there were a few problems in the lifts. Darcey says that she thinks the problem with the lifts was that Kellie was trying to do too much work, rather than letting Kevin lift her, which actually seems like a vaguely sensible comment from Darcey, somewhat worryingly. Tess tells Kellie to take her bionic bum upstairs. Honestly Tess, you’ve gone full on Prisoner Cell Block H this series. Well, I suppose with the lack of male guns to lust over, you have to have some target for your affections.

In the Clauditorium, Kellie says this has been the most exhausting week so, and she was really struggling to find a lift that worked for them. Scores: eight, eight, nine, nine for a total of 34. Kellie says she is happy and Claudia points out that it’s three marks lower than what they got last week. God, Blackpool hangover week, what a downer.

Claudia then reminds us that the quickstep-athon is coming up and has a group rendition of the terms and conditions. The best parts of this are: a) Gleb wandering in late and then bobbing about trying to get his face noticed and cheerfully joining in, which I kind of love, because you know that somebody like Artem would never have done this b) Peter Andre arriving late to the party and barely getting in shot c) Aliona clearly keeping her way out of this nonsense d) Oti having complete hysterics over the whole thing and laughing into Jay’s chest e) the bit at the end where everyone says ‘thanks. Tess’ and it sounds like they are actually thanking Tess for writing the terms and conditions.

Second on are Katie and Anton. She has some very elaborate work going on with her hair extensions this week and proper Argentine Tango make up: all deep burgundy lips and smoky eyes, despite wearing a turquoise a green dress with a love heart on, which diminishes the mood, looking like a doll’s party dress up outfit rather than something sultry and moody. Tess says the AT is all about looking at someone's legs, but people always look at Katie's. What was I just saying about Tess tonight? Their VT focuses on Anton being delirious about their scores last week and the kicks going a bit wrong in rehearsals, causing Katie to need an ice pack on her foot. We also get footage of her practising at home, where it looks like she’s had an Ikea delivery that she hasn’t built and has left hanging about in a corner. Me too, Katie. Let’s see is either of us can get our furniture built before the series is over.

Their Argentine Tango is to ‘Libertango’. Anton is in deep green and Katie in the turquoise-green, which looked really glaring as they were prepping, but with the red lights and the Argentine Tango music, the colours don’t look as jarring as I expected, especially as the horrible heart shape on her chest is obscured when she’s in hold. You can tell Anton didn’t choreograph this dance, because as Anton Latin goes, it’s actually something that plausibly resembles the genre it’s supposed to. The dance is generally quite good-the lifts, in particular, work better than I expected these two could manage in this dance. Some of the legwork is a little bit sloppy from both of them and at a couple of points they get stuck on each other, but they recover very quickly and the final lift and turn works really nicely. Overall, I think they acquitted themselves well with that one. It isn’t up there perhaps with last week’s high point, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Bruno calls it ‘drop dead gorgeous’ but he said her kicks did need a bit more action and retraction. Craig says when she’s coming out of the ganchos, she needs to balance more off Anton’s thighs. I’m sorry, going to have to go to the kitchen for a bit, I feel an urgent need to get out the brain bleach and liberally dose myself with it.…

Okay, back now. Have I missed anything important? Craig says she was reacting a little bit late to Anton’s leads and wobbled somewhat in the spins, but apart from the mistakes it was wonderful. Darcey opens with the fact that Katie is beautiful. She is, Darcey, but it’s a bit annoying that that has to be your opening gambit on a dance show. She says there were moments where Darcey’s legs were shaking, but she can see the intensity and the amount of work that had gone in stop Len says it was a fantastic dance that had a lot of work on Internet, but it didn’t always give a sense of an act, or transporting him to a place. At this, the audience all awww, and he gets really snarky and says he should have brought a hard hat. So this one is clearly suffering the effects of post-Blackpool come down, at least. You can tell he’s going to be fun tonight.

In the Clauditorium, we learn that Katie joined the show in order to do this dance. What a weirdo. Everyone else wants to do the Charleston. Or, the less ambitious ones, a lovely waltz. She says it is everything that she wanted to be and that she had a great week learning it. Claudia asks Anton if he ever thought he would stay in long enough to do an Argentine Tango. Hohoho, you’ve made it about as far as Ann Widdecombe, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Scores: seven, eight, eight, nine for a total of 34. Anton says he doesn’t understand why he keeps getting 30s.

The next couple are Helen and Aljaž. Their VT mostly features Helen trying to take the woobie crown off Jay (can women be woobies? Let’s say, in the spirit of equal opportunities, that they can) all being upset about last week’s mean comments from mean judges and struggling in rehearsals, and about letting Aljaž down.

Their Viennese waltz opens in sepia tones as ‘At Last’ kicks in – and the singers, can I just note, have generally been much better this series – perhaps the whole sucking thing was them sabotaging the show until they got name-checked as they now do. The story is that Helen is a wistful lady sat at her gramophone, when a beautiful man enters the room and takes her for a beautiful dance. Fortunately, that’s about as much theming as this thing needs, and for the rest of the time, it sells itself by being a very nice Viennese waltz. Helen has lots of lace in her skirt that works really well with the spins and it’s somewhat less frenetic than some of the vomit inducing Viennese waltzes we’ve had this year so far, but it is still very accomplished. They cover lots of the floor, the spins work really well, and there are some nice contemporary touches that even I, who ignores the narratives of dances quite a lot, would recognise as good storytelling in which they touch each other’s faces lovingly. The whole thing is endearingly sweet and Helen clearly knows that they’ve done well as she ends with an enormous, satisfied grin on her face.

Tess said it looks pretty perfect from where she was standing and Helen is all ‘LOL Tess you know about as much of these things as Bruce did, hold your horses’. Craig says the storytelling was excellent and the dance worked really well both in and out of hold and it sounds like she’s going to give his first 10. Darcey says it was like being in Helen’s dream - which, for Darcey, is probably a bit like Being John Malkovich given Helen’s scary devotion. When Darcey calls the dance perfection, you can see in Helen’s face that she is about to lose it, and I know Steve, for one, was dying for this to happen. Len asks her to tickle his bum and call him Donald. I don’t really care if the Donald he is referring to is Trump, Duck, or Where’s Me Troosers, that is way too much about Len’s particular fetishes then I have ever wished to know thank you. Bruno says everything came together perfectly and Helen is crying at this point. He says the lightness of the footwork made it look weightless, and Helen looks like she’s about to explode. Bruno calls it her breakthrough dance. Yes, because she’s really been struggling to get those high scores so far, hasn’t she?

Aljaž cheers and fist pumps as they bound up to the Clauditorium and Helen says she is about to faint, so Aljaž puts his hands all the way round her waist. I’d tell Aljaž I’d like to faint if… etc. Helen then gets full on emotional about wanting to do well for him and everybody and has little cry again and I can’t wait until semi-finals week, surely by then she will be touching the divine? (If she’s still here, of course)

Scores: 9, 10, 10, 10 for a total of 39. I did think that might be the first 40 of the series going on Craig’s comments, but I guess we will see what random dance receives that accolade next week. I mean, it might not happen next week, but…

Claudia says that if you don’t want to see Helen in the dance off, which will be after seeing the gramophone from her dance on the Antiques Roadshow, then vote. Claudia, love, the Antiques Roadshow is on after Strictly tomorrow night. Get a Radio Times.

We then have a VT of what’s coming up, including Peter Andre trying to make his ‘turn an Australian rough into an American smooth’ joke, which was bad enough when he attempted it on It Takes Two. Tess says she’s really looking forward to the quickstep-athon and Claudia says she has a way to make it more exciting. Tess asks what that will be, and Claudia produces a big bag of marbles. I actually giggled and would also kind of enjoy seeing that, especially if it was only Andre that they took out. Tess keeps going, as Claudia starts to throw marbles at the dance floor. Unfortunately, Jay and Aliona next, and you just know his fan base will be looking for any excuse as to why he is not on top, and the marbles dunnit would be a natural choice for blame.

Their VT sees both of them wearing fairly hideously patterned shirts to train. Has he been loaning her his to make them more in sync with one another? For those of you interested in the progression of Jay’s hair, it is still growing all over the place. Oh, and the VT message? Jay learns from Aliona and he enjoys it. There is nothing to see here people. Maybe we should watch what we wish for with only desiring training VTs.

They are dancing the tango to ‘When Doves Cry’. She is wearing blood red, he burgundy and black, with blue lighting effects and torches flaming around the stage. It looks great and Aliona, in particular, is really selling it. She can do the vamp thing really well, as we know. Jay’s tango face looks a little bit like somebody has mildly irritated him, but he does a pretty respectable job of the moves. He does look more comfortable when they are moving around the floor than when he is having to support Aliona in posing, though. His kicks are good, as we would have expected from his jive and it ends with him catching Aliona’s head on one of his arms. Overall, a decent attempt with music that actually suited the tango for a change.

Tess says that the intensity between these two is like there was no one else in the room and then she does a little ‘roar’ noise. Oh Tess, do you really want to fan the flames of showmance with these two? I know you love that kind of thing, but given that she is married and that the papers have already been speculating on this one, I am not sure you are helping matters exactly. However, no sooner has Tess said this than Darcey goes all swooning fangirl over the pairing, declaring that they are basically one and hearing the music together. All right, Darcey, take it to An Archive Of Our Own. Len says they missed a couple of heel leads and he gets booed again, but this time just says I look at the feet, rather than having a full on snit fit. However, it is yet another mango of a Tango, so all is well for Aliona and J. Bruno calls him the ‘macho’ on a mission. Macho. Jay. Mmmkay then. Craig adores that Jay hears the music and thoughts the dance was clean and staccato, he wasn’t keen on some of the kicks, but overall adored it. As this happens, I am mesmerised by Jay’s hair line. It looks like something is going on to keep his hair in place and I can’t figure out if it’s a hairnet, band, hairpiece or what.

Up in the Clauditorium, Claudia asks Aliona about how she doesn’t use music for the first days, as mentioned on it takes two. Aliona clarifies that this is mainly just the first day and then they get really into music. OMG, call Ofcom, more BBC LIEZ! Scores: nine, ten, nine, ten for a total of 38 and their highest score so far.

Peter and Janette are next up and Tess pronounces Janette’s name with a real emphasis on the ‘rah rah’. I guess if Ola isn’t here, Tess still has to mangle somebody’s name. Peter reminds us in his VT that he sucked last week, but e’s ever so umble guvna and we now have our first VT that deviates from training room footage - of course that would be Peter - but after some random chat in the greasy spoon that they pretend is a bakery, we do actually get to the training room and to be honest, it all looks a bit sloppy, so let’s hope the dancing is better than the training footage.

They are dancing the American smooth to ‘I Get the Sweetest Feeling'. It starts with Peter grabbing a cupcake from the stand to give to Janette and then they prance about cuddling the cupcake for ages and ages and it looks as if it’s going to be there throughout the whole dance, which is somewhat cumbersome, however, not as cumbersome as the moment where Janette gives to Peter and he slopes over to the table to put it back on and it all just looks a right mess. Peter really does have the kind of cheesy performance face that an American smooth desires and I had thought that this dance would totally suit him because of this, but whilst he gets the spirit of the dance, he is fairly ungainly in a lot of the movement. His frame is really undefined and his steps are quite stuttery in places. There is a decent lift and the chemistry between the two of them in this particular dance is quite sweet, but a return to form it isn’t. Well, I say form, but besides his Charleston, I can’t remember a single one of his dances that was scored well. What I do remember are his car crash Pirates of the Caribbean dance and last week’s disaster of a jive.

As they bound over to Tess, Peter and Tess get covered in frosting so people, get writing fic if that so pleases you. Len picks up on there being quite a number of stumbles and problems, but says he loves watching the pair of them dumped and it was a great performance. Bruno said it was so sweet that he got a sugar rush and they really got into the story. He thinks Peter was really good interpreting the theme but the name of the dance is a clue-it requires smooth movement, which was lacking as Peter was fairly stuttery throughout.  Craig says he would prefer stronger lines, especially in moments like putting the cupcake on the table. Darcey gets really annoyed this Craig says he could still have danced over to do that, and she huffs. I'm team Craig on this one. If you're going to use props in your dance, then make them part of the, well, dancing. (To be fair, I suppose they don’t really get much time to rehearse in the correct size space with the props, but Janette or whoever was involved in the theming for this dance should really have considered that.) Darcey says he did well to come back from a dance off (and being the British public’s latest reality scandal hate figure) with real confidence and she thought the one-handed lift was really impressive. She says it looked careful in places and he was holding back, but it was an impressive performance.

Up to the Clauditorium they bound, still holding the cupcake and Tess tells them that Claudia has a sweet tooth, so Janette gives it to her, whilst Claudia hands Peter a tissue. Peter says this was the most nervous he’d been and he knew he needed to work hard. She says Janette pushed him really hard and Janette says it’s a difficult line with the pros to discipline them yet still have fun and that beta works really hard. Scores: seven (at which Darcey massively side eyes Craig), eight (lol Darcey like your eight and Craig’s seven aren’t the same score in effect), eight, eight for a total of 31.

We now come to Anita and Gleb, and fanfiction Tess hasn’t stopped yet, as she goes on and on about how Gleb is a hard task master and kept making Anita practice romantic moves and how Tess would basically like to be in her place. All right, EL James. To be fair on Tess, I don’t really perceive Vernon Kay as being much of a dominant type.

Anita’s VT focuses on she was overwhelmed to get a 10, which feels a little bit like a journey coming to the end story, only I hope not, as I feel like there’s a lot more to come from these two and obviously they’re my favourites. There is then a lot of Gleb getting all Patrick Swayze on Anita and her saying she finds the rumba quite an uncomfortable dance and she’s not sure what to do with her hips and knees. 

They open with Gleb standing in front and Anita standing behind a screen containing a page of fiction. I am informed by people on Twitter that this is an extract from Persuasion, so if that’s wrong, blame them. [It was definitely Persuasion. Such a bizarre choice! - Steve] They are dancing to Read All About It and are both in whites, Anita with a dress that has an enormous arm hanky going all the way down to her ankle on one side and a leotard on the other side. I am not sure whether I was excited or nervous for a Gleb rumba, given the Gleb special, but he refrains from deploying that in this particular dance. Instead, he fairly unsurprisingly opts for quite a lot of contemporary dance wafting and some of that is really lovely, but clearly not one for the purity of dance crowd. Anita is trying really hard with the performance side of this, although sometimes you can see that she doesn’t really believe it. There are one or two clumsy drags and an awkward bit where he shoves her through his legs, but it has a nice vibe and gets one of the loudest responses from the audience of the evening.

Tess says it was so gorgeous and romantic that she didn’t know where to look. My God, what is with her tonight? Bruno says he could see the love unfolding in front of his eyes and it was so soft and rounded and that they were using their bodies in a way that spoke to one another and he says that Anita was really angular at the start of the competition and that’s gone now. He said sometimes her hip action could have been more pronounced, but it was a beautiful dance. Craig says he has a fairly opposite perspective as he thought it was a bit spiky with a bit too much attack. The audience resoundingly boo at this. Craig says he loves the contemporary feel and it could have done with more pressure on the ball of her foot and a straighter leg in places, but she’s turned into a really fine actress. [SHADE. - Steve] Darcey says it’s very difficult but Anita gave a very polished performance and she believes in her is that Gleb is working her well, at which Tess gets incredibly excited. Darcey says if using is missing technically, as the boys said (drink), there were some parts where when she was turning should be more careful about her placement. Random purity of dance Len moments of the week: he didn’t enjoy it and he can only tell the truth (loll). He moans that there was a lift in it when there shouldn’t be and the audience boo, at which he snaps they did a lift what you want me to say. And what was all that through the leg business, throwing her through your legs question where is all the lovely basic rumba and he hates all the contemporary dance wafting. The audience boo him loudly and he points to his dicky bow and says ‘I’m a senior citizen, respect your elders’. This is pretty much the only time I wish Brucie was still here, as being older than Len, he could have shot that comment down in flames. Or, you know, snitted a little bit.

Tess reiterates that it was hot and sends them back up to the Clauditorium, where the camera gives a nice lingering shot of Gleb’s chest peeking out through his fairly see-through shirt. Claudia says that everyone in the Clauditorium thought this was the best rumba and Anita said Gleb knew he was taking a risk with the choreography, but she enjoyed it and she feels that dancing is giving her a voice she never knew she had. Or. Scores: seven, eight, seven (Len gets booed loudly for this), and an ‘I thought this was brilliant’ nine, for a total of 31. That got the same mark as Peter? Seems a bit harsh given that the judges’ comments were much more positive towards Anita than Peter (Len aside). Oh well, looks like all my three votes are going to them this week, rather than my usual practice of giving them two and somebody else one. Claudia says if you like the routine, recreating your kitchen first and then phone to save them. But obviously make sure you do that before the vote closes so that they don’t end up in the dance off, thanks. Claudia asks Gleb if he just did the box splits and he says he tried to, and then he has another go and holds his hands out begging for votes. Gleb <3

The final couple of the evening are Georgia and Giovanni and we are reminded that last weekend they topped the leaderboard via recycling the moon from Over the Rainbow. Their VT talks about them dancing to 'The Final Countdown' and Georgia says it’s a great title, because it’s the countdown to the final. I like the way she says ‘great title’, which implies she doesn’t actually know the song. Oh, children.

Their Paso Doble opens with the floor bearing a giant GG logo, Giovanni sitting behind a GG drum kit, and Georgia sitting on a speaker. The opening few bars, Giovanni stays behind the drum kit, leaving Georgia to do some solo work, shimmying her skirts, acting as the cape and grimacing down the camera in her vaguely menacing way. The way her hair and make-up has been done tonight makes her look exactly like Kristen Stewart. This dance has a lot of roar in it, it’s all overblown and very rock opera. It’s quite fun, but lacking a little bit in precision in places. There’s also a slightly unfortunate moment where it looks like she’s going to give him a blow job, but fortunately that doesn’t last too long. It ends with him looking like he's strangling her and then dropping her to the floor. Not sure what that particular bit was about. Overall, a very enjoyable routine, if a little bit untidy in places. The audience really love this one as well and give it a massive standing ovation.

Craig says he missed some of the full Spanish lines and her shoulders weren’t back enough, but otherwise it was a really dynamic routine and thought it was fantastic. Darcey says had plenty of drama and energy and she does think she takes too much into her shoulders and her arms do get a little bit soft rather than the fixed lines the Paso needs, but it had fabulous energy is a great performance. Len said there was too much stress wafting. She was the cape, Len. He said it was a bit too aggressive in places, but it was a lovely performance overall. Bruno calls her a little pocket rocket and said the dance was like Mad Max, but her shoulders were tense and that meant the Spanish lines didn’t come across very well.

As they go to the Clauditorium, Natalie and Kristina hold a little arch for them to come through, and there isn’t time for them to talk to Claudia. Scores: eight, eight, eight, nine for a total of 33. So, Blackpool hangover week strikes again, with only really Helen and Aljaž and Jay and Aliona coming out triumphant and everybody else falling a little bit flat, despite none of the dances being entirely terrible (Peter’s was the worst, obviously). Half-time leaderboard?

Helen and Aljaž 39
Jay and Aliona 38
Kellie and Kevin 34
Georgia and Giovanni 33
Katie and Anton 32
Anita and Gleb 31
Peter and Janette 31.

There’s quite a gap there between second and third place, for this stage of the competition.

Claudia reminds us that the night is not over yet and there’s the quickstep-athon to come. Len explains this, via footage of Karen and Pasha as Natalie and Tristan dancing. The rules of the quickstep-athon are that the couples must stay on the dancefloor and in hold the whole time, and their starting positions have been determined by picking numbers from a. He says they will be penalised if there is poor technique or floorcraft. He says they have to keep going round the floor anticlockwise and not push and shove each other. The weakest couple will get one mark, in this VT that honour goes to Karen and Pasha, whilst the top couple, in this instance Natalie and Tristan, will get seven.

Tess says there was a lot of information to take in there, save go to the website and watch that VT again, if you really really care about the nitty-gritty of the rules of the rigathon. Claudia asks Len for advice and he says you get a direct comparison as the couples of all dancing together and there won’t be any ties. I am not sure where the advice to the contestants was in that particular comment.

Given that this is meant to be a quickstep (to ‘Sing Sing’), a lot of them are going incredibly slowly around the floor, particularly Peter and Janette and Georgia and Giovanni. It’s difficult to tell exactly who is doing what’s with there being seven couples, but Peter and Janette look pretty dull; Kellie and Kevin starts quite well, but then they get to a point where they sort of stop and Kevin basically just hops up and down for an eternity; Anton and Katie almost have the opposite problem just kind of skipping around the floor without much nuance in their dancing; Helen grins her head off throughout and the camera mainly focuses on this rather than her footwork, which is good tactics from her; Jay and Aliona seem pretty polished; there isn't much focus on Anita and Gleb or Georgia and Giovanni, but they seem to acquit themselves reasonably from what we do see. Sadly, no one crashes into one another, but there are moments where several couples cluster in different places. Unlike other dance-athons, all of the couples danced the whole routine, rather than the judges sending them off at various points. The judges then crowd over the table like the X Factor judges after Boot Camp and Claudia and Tess try to get them to talk to them instead of deliberating, which doesn’t really work all that well, although Bruno acquiesces and says that they will be looking at the frame when there are any mistakes, the timing, whether it was smooth and so on. It looks like he doesn’t get to have much say in the decision. He says they can’t rush the decision, and Claudia says ‘we are live and kind of have to rush’ and then she asks Craig if he can say something and he says the couples did an amazing job and he doesn’t think he could go through what they’re going through. This series really does seem to have seen the mantle of MEEN JUDGE pass from Craig to Len doesn’t it?

Peter and Janette are declared seventh; Kellie and Kevin sixth (which she doesn’t look impressed about); fifth Jay and Aliona; Anita and Gleb coming fourth (which they seem quite happy about); Katie and Anton third; Georgia and Giovanni second, with Helen and Aljaž the winners and Helen looking ecstatic.

Darcey says the dance is about having a lightness of spirit and it needs to be composed and the dances need to not be affected by anyone else, and Helen and Aljaž did that. Craig says this was the first time Peter had to really lead (?!) and it’s hard to do that FOR MEN.

So let’s have a look at what that’s done to the leaderboard:

Helen and Aljaz 39+7 = 46
Jay and Aliona 38+3 = 41
Georgia and Giovanni 33+6 = 39
Katie and Anton 32+5 = 37
Kellie and Kevin 34+2 = 36
Anita and Gleb 31+4 = 35
Peter and Janette 31+1= 32

So that hasn’t done an awful lot to the scores, beside breaking up some ties - Kellie and Kevin look like the most affected.

And that’s it for our performance show. Tomorrow night the results and someone will be going home. Will it be Peter, or will we lose one of the women again (or J, but let’s be honest, probably not)? Also Il Divo are performing because the universe hates me.  Tess tells Claudia to ‘snuggle in’ and keeeeep dancing.  Join me tomorrow to see who leaves!

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