There was a lot going on with Strictly tonight, many things to discuss, but let us take a minute to discuss a rather special Tess Dress Mess - just what was that about? Comments on Twitter ranged from Christmas turkey to stretched glitterball, answers on a postcard please. Now, on with the show!
Greg and Natalie
Once I stopped harumph-ing at the death slot and Greg's floral blouse, I got into this, mainly because amid all the drama and the lifts it actually looked something like a salsa. Natalie is genius at putting together a routine that is a) entertaining b) full of content and c) suitable for her partner. Also, Greg hasn't lots any of his week 1 exuberance - shimmying away like demon and shaking that bum for all it's worth, but also a bit of progress in the hips.
I own that blouse. I picked it up in a charity shop in Southport.
Now I gave these two a vote, despite it being salsa-nothing-like-salsa-to-a-stupid-song because they had a death slot and totally deserve to stay. The music would have far better suited a cha cha cha. Our Twitter friend Marianka Dance Guru Swain is now calling for salsa to be ditched on Strictly because it has become so far removed from the dance it is utterly unrecognisable. I concur. #RIPSalsa
I refuse to believe that Natalie had anything to do with the choice of music. A dancer would not have picked that.
Laura and Giovanni
Those outfits were a bit Jane Norman circa 2005 for me. On the whole, it was a hot mess. The song choice was great, but it meant the whole thing had to go at breakneck speed and I was pretty impressed that Laura seemed to do all the steps - if one thing had gone wrong they could've easily come tumbling down (and burst into flames amid all those man-made fibres). I feel like I would've liked to have seen her do it in Blackpool with a bigger floor and a couple more week under her belt.
Great song. Forgettable dance. Hey no one has mentioned Blackpool for a few weeks. What's going on?
Anastacia and Brendan
In one of the very few nice dresses for this week, Anastacia gets the honour that no one really wants - the first rumba of the series. I actually thought this was quite good, very nice arms and lines from Anastacia. The song was lovely too and brought a nice atmosphere to it all, but as the judges said, it was missing a bit of technique. As with many rumbas, it didn't set the world alight, who knows if it will keep them in the show.
Brendan has choreographed some nice rumbas over the years and this wasn't bad. But Anastacia's execution of the steps wasn't great. Her knees were as bent as an iPhone 6 Plus that has been left in the back pocket of someone's Levis.
Claudia and AJ
This was so High School Musical I can only assume Jared Murillo choreographed it (which is why it didn't look like a foxtrot). They went straight back into my 'annoying category' with this one, with the pointless 'theme', hardly any hold and stupid song choice. I still don't connect with these two, although I will admit, the producers acting like they are 12 years old doesn't really help, I can only assume they will be dressed as Pokemon next week.
Their grins were so wide and large it would have been easy to mistake them for Plasticine figures modelled by Nick Park. The dance was completely disconnected from the music. They may as well have been swaying in silence. From top of the leaderboard to forgettable in one week.
Ed and Katya
After an underwhelming opening to the show, the combination of Bonnie Tyler and Ed Balls is what we all needed. Now, no lies, it was a complete shambles, but it was full-on fun and sheer teamwork from the two of them as Katya tried to keep him on track. I was slightly distracted by Ed's feet, it looked like he was wearing silver wellies. He needs to go through, he's been spot-on at remembering his routine's every week and should be given the chance to recover - the show would suffer if we went.
Thank goodness for Ed Balls, our new and unexpected national hero. I have been making the claim that Ed can actually dance in time but I have to admit this was, in the words of Malcolm Tucker, a [insert expletive here] omnishambles. Oh but I totally mean in a good way.
Naga and Pasha
I never really thought Naga and a Charleston was going to work, especially not when she's dressed like Rainbow Bite on acid. But actually, this worked for me more than any of her other dances, she looked like she was so much more comfortable in the routine. She looked athletic and confident, so well done to her, although the lifts were a total disaster.
How did this score less than her tango? Glad Naga decided finally to join us. She was enjoying it, showed some character and danced it well. OK, the costume looked as though it had been inspired by a pastel goth Pinterest board but definitely my favourite from her so far.
Louise and Kevin
Louise finally looking stunning in a proper ballroom dress, and amid all the frustrated-musical-theatre nonsense from Kevin, he actually managed to find the time to choreograph some proper foxtrot in there. As the judges said, her footwork was marvellous, but also enjoyed Darcey's thinly-viellled comment about her ringer-ness.
Yaaaas for the frock. She looked a delight all wrapped up in lovely. But I don't get the smiley-happy-cheesy foxtrot to an Amy Winehouse track. The song is quite clearly about a pretty dysfunctional relationship. There ain't no smiling about that.
Danny and Oti
I'm getting really annoyed with Danny saying he's struggling with a dance every week where there isn't a shred of evidence to suggest he is. yes, this quickstep was marvellous, and the routine Oti put together was fabulous. if I'd seen someone do it in the final I would've have been delighted, but it's week four and I simply don't care.
It was glorious. But we expected it to be. And therefore this is going to get pretty dull very soon.
Daisy and Aljaz
The trainng footage of this looked pretty promising, but we have always learned not to get our hopes too high for a rumba. This was a cracker though, a proper rumba with lots of content and dedication from Daisy. A bit stiff in the hip in places, but I can see her doing this again in the final and it being great. Not sure about that dress though, a sultry black would've been better than Carol Vorderman nude dress.
A fair amount of content, although a little posy for me. I like those traditional rumbas with lots of basics.I haven't got all that much to say other than I thew these guys a vote too because I thought this might get lost somewhere amidst the breadth of ringers and..,Ed.
Rinder and Oksana
Boom Bang-a Bang was actually the perfect song choice for a Rinder VW, a panto Bavarian theme not so much. There was enough waltz content from Oksana to bring it through, it's not like Rinder can't do it, but it would be good for him to have some more opportunities to work on it.
So they've definitely decided he's a dud comedy act then? What's actually interesting is it's possibly the first time we have seen dud comedy routines performed so well. He genuinely can dance but I do wonder whether Len's right and if he does go down the straight route he'll be out before Len can perform any type of fermentation on any sort of seed from the genus Juglans. #googleit #idid
Lesley and Anton
Anton gives good Charleston, he just does. This was a great routine, crammed full of fun steps and movement, without going crazy on the lifts. Although Anton doing a cartwheel and Lesley high-kicking up a storm makes me think I should really start doing more exercise. Ok, there could've been a bit more swivel from Lesley, but how can you say that to someone having such a good time?
Week in, week out, there is something captivating about these two. I have enjoyed watching them every week but this one was particularly special. Her costume did look a little as though she were on a student St Paddy's Day bar crawl, but hey, emerald green glitter? Bring it on any time.
Ore and Joanne
Now, when I was watching the training footage on ITT I was worried that Joanne was going to out-dance Ore in this, as pros can often do in the jive - but he kept up...just! This was easily my favourite routine from Ore, and speaking of the routine, I was unsure of the '60s theme' but it totally worked and the little touches complimented it rather than detracted from it.
But has he had prior dance training? Some say no, and some say he must have. If he's just had some lessons as a kid or student, it wouldn't put him in ringer territory for me. For me, a ringer has to have extensive full time training at a performing arts or dance school, not just happen to be really good. Does Ore just happen to be really good? I don't know but I do know I loved this jive. It didn't match Jay's for me - what I loved about that was its nonchalant cool - but this was darned close.