Disclaimer. I have toothache and my comments are thus likely influenced by my drug addled state.
Susanna and Kevin
I'm sure Holly Valance wore that dress about three years ago, but I forgot about that the second she went into Karen Hardy Face Overdrive. Susanna was saying all week she wasn't getting on with the cha cha and I have to say I agree with her. It just didn't work, Kevin did a good routine and like Len said, it was acceptable, but I did have the odd cringe and could have seen more hip action. Everyone has a bad week, this is the first time she's actually had one!
There's always a dance that doesn't suit a contestant. To be fair, it's not usually the cha cha cha, but you can't really knock Susanna for having one bad week. You can knock her for having a face like Carol-does-rumba, which was a little more Debbie-does-Dallas than one cares to remember. I would suggest she tone it down next week but perhaps knowing her technique wasn't quite on the money this time, she merely took Frankie's advice of 'EYES AND TEETH! EYES AND TEETH!' And that can be forgiven.
Ashley and Ola
Gosh, there's a lot of facework going on this week, Ashley looking like a cocker spaniel who's just been shouted at. Lovely routine, cheese-tastic song, wafty dress - this is what you expect from a SCD waltz. I think he's quietly getting better, bit more polished, less frantic. Speaking of dresses, did they not have time to finish Ola's? Maybe they were messing around in a shark tank for too long...
What was going on with the music? You could barely hear the beat. Waltz goes ONE two three ONE to three and the beautiful rise and fall comes from dancing to the music. If the music does not rise and fall, then how can the contestant be expected to? This show is treating the music like frippery. Like meaningless decoration. Like it doesn't really matter, like costumes, and props. Oh my. My point is, Ashley did a fine job. Considering. Note to those in control: dancing is not random movement where music happens to be in the background; dancing is moving TO the music. To deny suitable music is to do the celebrities and their partners a disservice.
Natalie and Artem
More bloody Rhianna, does the BBC keep using her dross to pretend they're down with the kids? This was a technically great tango as expected, but for the millionth time soulless synths mean there's no tension in the atmosphere at all. I'm sick of writing this four or five times a series.
Contrary to what you might think, I'm not a complete purist. I don't expect every single couple to dance to La Cumparsita. That would be as dull as a bowl of dishwater being forced to watch paint dry. When the Strictly band arranged Nelly Furtado's Maneater for a tango, I thought it was marvellous. It just worked. The mood, tempo, marchiness. This track, however, having no mood and very little marchiness ruined what could have been an epic dance for Natalie. There are some dances, such as cha cha, where a pop song often just works. But some other dances, and tango is one, where there needs to be a certain mood. The track needs to be dark, staccato and brooding. And this was about as staccato as a marshmellow.
Mark and Iveta
Iveta looks like a fabulous doll, but she wouldn't have it any other way. Mark finally gets some more ballroom, but then they gave him the worst of the trots. I also found it hilarious the BBC must have spent so much money on that massive bed prop for it to be used for all of three seconds. It was alright, not as good as his waltz though, could Marks days be numbered?
Mark has musicality. He's not dancing to numbers; he's listening to the music. This is why, despite major Twitter uproar, I actually agree with the judges' decision to keep him over Ben. He has another week in him. Then it's anyone's game.
Sophie and Brendan
Nothing like a Victorian-inspired nightie to get you in the mood for a rumba. Thankfully they actually had a decent music choice, which is something to appreciate on a night like this. I liked the pretty, fragile nature of it and the ballet lines. Also liked Sophie's random range of facial expressions from serenity to frantic grinning to shy to nervous laugh all in the space of 30 seconds!
Not sure about the frock. It looked as though someone tied her up like a favour at a goth wedding. I agree that the judges should have found fault - it wasn't perfect - but they narked at the wrong thing. Her body movement wasn't rumbary enough, and she was a tad of-the-wobble. But to say it's not raunchy enough? Well. Why judges do you comment on the mood of a rumba, yet be perfectly fine with an un-tangoey tango? Still hoping she can do another great dance. But what's left for her to perfect?
Ben and Kristina
This could have gone either way, we were expecting either a million lifts or a great routine. It ended up somewhere in the middle, there were a lot more steps in it than I was expecting, the only problem was that it showed up that he wasn't very good at them. Cute song choice though.
He did dance. But he looked oh so uncomfortable whilst doing so. It was the right decision for him to go but I'm sure we will all miss
Abbey and Aljaz
Abbey putting in a great performance and working really hard, despite everyone being a bit knackered and grumpy this week. It says a lot that this wasn't the worst song choice and she also somehow managed to bag the nicest dress once again - only issue was the ponytail of doom smacking her in the face!. Aljaz might not be the liveliest jazz-handy of pros but he certainly knows how to put a great routine together.
For my thoughts about Abbey's paso, please see my rant above about Natalie's tango. That.
Patrick and Anya
This was a VW so there was a danger of them falling into the chasm of dullness yet again, and I think they were teetering on the edge of it. Hardly any waltz steps and the clumsy, clumsy ending just made this a odd dance. It seemed slightly inspired by the paaain and emoootion of contemporary dance, which has no place anywhere, let alone a VW.
I liked this. Though I do wish they wouldn't keep using the womenfolk to sweep the floor.