It's the best night of the Strictly competition, and for all of you who play Strictly bingo, a slug of gin is compulsory every time:
Len says "that was no trick, that was a TREAT!" (and variations thereof)
Len makes reference to someone's dancing being so bad/good "it's scary"
Len shouting "that was devilishly good/bad!"
Len says "you haven't a ghost of a chance"
Anyway, we kicked off with a passable paso (see what I did there) from Anton and Katy. They danced to 'Phantom Of The Opera', a musical I saw decades ago and left half way through because I was so bored. The judges hated it but Anton said "well next week we're dancing a Quickstep and they'll love it!" Confidence, much?
Kirsty and Brendan danced the Charleston to 'Bad Romance' by Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox; it was pretty much as bad as anything I have seen on a dance floor, and I speak as a woman who learned Irish dancing with a boy called Adrian who had a club foot.
Jeremy and Karen danced the Salsa to 'Thriller' by (who else) Michael Jackson. It was a salsa in name only, as he hardly danced a step, and we had to endure Len sniping "It wasn't super and it wasn't natural" (drink everyone) but Jezza threw himself into it and it was hugely enjoyable nonetheless. Anita and Gleb danced the Waltz to the suitably odd 'Once Upon A Dream' by Lana Del Rey and it was boringly proficient. Gleb is very good at hogging the limelight which I don't mind because he's very easy on the eye, but I can imagine might annoy Anita somewhat. "Ar don't wanna be glib, Gleb," smirked Len, who practically expired with delight at his own cleverness, "but ar didn't know wot woz going on!"
Next up came Jamelia and Tristan, who danced the Jive to 'The Time Warp' from, obviously, the Rocky Horror Picture Show. She was as flat-footed as a duck with bunions and Len was on hand to deliver the line he'd been practising all week: "It was a bit rocky, burrit wozzent a HORROR!"
Jay and Aliona dancing the American Smooth to 'Lil Red Riding Hood' by Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs. It was unbelievably elegant and the judges loved it. Her off EastEnders danced the Paso to the Glee Cast version of 'Schools Out', with about five seconds of Hedwig's Theme by John Williams at the beginning to explain the sub-Harry Potter costumes. "Will they ENCHANT the judges?" enquired Tess, unable to suppress a shudder at the terrible lines she is forced to speak. When she's finished murdering her stylist she should head for the script writer. It was all a bit random and messy.
Carol and Pasha danced a Rumba to 'I Think I Love You' by The Partridge Family. It was as much like a Rumba as a bottle of port is like a trampoline, and because I like Carol the kindest thing I can do is to draw a veil over the whole proceedings. A very thick, very heavy veil.
Georgia and Giovanni the sweating Sicilian danced the Tango to Ghostbusters. Dressed like Mussolini's office staff for no apparent reason, they were terrific. The judges adored it; Giovanni's eyeliner ran down his face in gratitude whilst his partner bounced up and down and made a noise like a hamster in a blender.
Peter Andre and Janette danced the Foxtrot to 'Ghost' by Ella Henderson. Maintaining the dictator theme, Peter was dressed as Castro after a particularly vicious bar brawl; he gave a somewhat anodyne performance. "For me, performing is for life," he confided to Tess, worrying news for anyone who hoped he might retire.
Finally, it was Helen George and Aljaz, who danced the Samba to 'Take Your Mama' by Scissor Sisters. "Helen's in 'Call The Midwife', so she knows all about MUMMIES!" shrieked Tess, who at least had the grace to look embarrassed. Seriously, who writes this shit? Len (who else) pronounced Helen "a yummy mummy!" Oh, they were dressed as mummies, in case you hadn't realised.
Next week, get ready for all of them quacking on about wanting to get to Blackpool. Like anyone really wants to go there.
First published here