And here we are again. Another week, another round of dancers. No theme this time (they'll be saving it for the Hallowe'en special in a fortnight, I reckon) so it was just a show chock-full of razzle, dazzle and dance. It's Week 4 - who will be shown the door?
This time the show was opened by Anita Rani, dancing a steamy salsa to 'Hips Don't Lie' by Shakira. There was definitely plenty of shake 'ere. Lots of wiggle and jiggle, swing and isolation. This is apparently being able to wiggle your bum while keeping your top half still. If this is the case I've doing this for years after a few vodkas. Mainly while trying to walk in a pair of heels. It was all going pretty well until Anita got wrong-footed and everything went a bit stop / start until she got her rhythm back. Gorgeous Gleb got his gear off, at which point my glasses steamed up and I nearly choked on my Werthers. Anita have another look at this dance. Just for research purposes, you understand. The judges were happy enough, scoring 27 out of 40.
Dragging the mood down came dance dunce Daniel O'Donnell. Doleful Dan brought us an alleged American Smooth with foxtrot base to Fly Me To The Moon. I wish someone would (but not bother with the 'and back' bit). This dire dance barely took off with O'Donnell dressed as a pilot. He couldn't even wing his way through the simple routine which was far more budget economy than first class entertainment. Dan was less animated than Otto the Autopilot from Airplane - and was certainly less entertaining. There was no swing or sway, no style and limp lifts. I've had more fun stuck in airport departure lounges. This was an aeroflop of a dance and Dan is nowhere near the top flight of stars. Surely he must be nearing the end of the runway? The judges gave him 23 out of 40.
Tracy's Spot The Difference puzzles are getting more difficult!
Up next was sporty sheila Kirsty Gallacher plodding her way through a prim Paso Doble to Beautiful Day by U2. It's a Bono of contention whether Kirsty has The Edge to stay in much longer. This poor Paso had no passion or poise, no attitude or attack and all the shaping of a sack of spuds. Yet again Brendan had to drag Kirsty round into position and mould her on the floor. I'm afraid this Paso cape-r was a load of bull. Maybe it's time to show Kirsty the mat-a-door? Only 21 out of 40 from Craig and co.
Georgia May put her best Foote forward with an accomplished quickstep to Reach by S Club 7. It's fair to say that HOTH and I are emotionally scarred by this song, having been forced to perform it at the end of not one, but two, pantos - each with word-specific actions and manic grin plastered to our faces. Fourteen performances of that and you know where madness lies......where was I? Oh yes. Georgia May and her partner 'Joe Varney' (his mum and the rest of the world call him Giovanni) gave us a skippy, clippy, quality performance full of difficult content. She lost her neckline a couple of times and tired at the end, but it was a very quick....erm....quickstep. No-one's going to burst this soap star's bubble any time soon. A mighty 31 out of 40, with a nine from Len for technical content.
Disastrous DJ Jeremy Vine had a hard act to follow, with a jerky jive to Splish Splash. Poor Jeremy was well out of his depth with this routine. He just couldn't scrub up to take on the technical difficulties of the dance. With no rhythm, no kicks, no flicks, no tricks and a weirdly stuck out bottom, Jezza looked like a rubber duck with a puncture - especially when he lay on the floor and writhed around in a circle. Totally quackers. I'm not sure if this was part of the routine or if he'd got his spangles caught in his spats. This dance started off bad and went downhill from there. Jeremy needs to improve or someone will pull the plug and send him for an early bath. Just 20 out of 40.
Kellie Bright was alright on the night with a beautiful flowing foxtrot to Dream A Little Dream Of Me. Definitely not a nightmare, this was a lovely dance with a story behind it - Kellie's grandparents met and danced to this many years ago - and it showed in her commitment. Beautifully choreographed by the KFG, this was a joy to watch, full of style and grace as they floated across the dancefloor. Kellie may play Linda Carter in Eastenders, but she was Wonderwoman tonight. A very impressive 32 out of 40 (which would end up being one of four with this score).
Following this was Jamelia who gave us a cracking little Charleston to Paula Abdul's Straight Up. An amazing arrangement by the band really suited a polished performance full of personality. It has all the Charleston content - flicks, kicks, birdy flaps and all the swivel you could shake a stick at. She may take two steps forward with this routine. It was a bit flat-footed at times and the stamina went, but we'll the songstress again. She managed to attract 32 points out of 40.
Poor Jay McGuinness was under so much expectation to repeat his performance from last week. It's the last thing he Wanted. The pressure badly got to our boy band buddy and his quickstep to My Generation by The Who was full of errors and at one point he nearly fell over. I Can't Explain what went wrong, It was such a shame as the dance showed so much promise and he was visibly very upset by the end. Let's hope he doesn't Moon over it too much - he Won't Get Fooled Again and will be able to Substitute this performance for a better one. He was well down the leaderboard with his lowest score ever - just 25 out of 40.
Carol Kirkwood came out with a much improved forecast this week and a passable Paso performance to a traditional Toreador tune. Carol gave it a good go with a little bit of passion, an attempt at attack and a smatter of attitude. It was a simple routine, and there were times she was stiffer than force 10 gale. But Pasha's choreography played to her (few) strengths and it sort of worked - and he danced enough for the two of them anyway. She danced up a storm compared to previous weeks and it was certainly better than Kirsty's effort. The judges didn't rain too badly on her parade, either, giving her 22 out of 40.
Next on the menu was cheesy chef Ainsley Harriott with a wistful waltz to What A Wonderful World. Partner Natalie Lowe came up with a novel way to keep his Armstrong throughout the routine - wearing a set of bicycle handlebars in training (I'm making no jokes about his Chopper). It almost worked, but Ainsley still ended up hunching his shoulders like Ram Man with whiplash towards the end. There was some rise and fall, fair footwork and there was no dancing to the beat of his own drum this week. A couple of mistakes - a missed hand-hold and his free arm gets a bit flappy, but otherwise a nice, safe performance. The judges gave it a fair 26 out of 40.
By George, up after this was gorgeous Helen George bringing a spicy, sexy salsa to our Saturday, dancing to Dr Beat by Gloria Estefan. Hello, Nurse! Helen will need to be reported to the NMC for this routine (that's the Nice Moves Council). This hot routine was full of sauce as Helen wiggled and jiggled, shook and shimmied across the dancefloor. This naughty sortie had a couple of really risky lifts, plenty of sass n' sparkle and the party mood definitely got the audience going. The temperature may be rising, but there's no need to call a doctor (or a Midwife). The diagnosis is dynamite dancing. My prognosis? Helen will be around to treat us for a while yet. Another of the night's 32 out of 40 scores for Ms George.
Peter Andre was our penultimate performer with a gambling based routine. The tanned tunester turned out a terrific tango to Blue Monday by New Order. Partner Janette Bananarama played her cards right choreographing to Peter's strengths with a dance full of passion, pizzazz, poise and other words beginning with p. The Antipodean Artist had attack and attitude throughout with lots of strength and style, but he was still lifting his knees just a little too high and his feet were too far off the floor in some of the promenades. Still, this was an ace dance and Peter was flush with success. He certainly won't be Blue this Monday - more likely to be in the Joy Division. The judges liked it and gave him the other 32 out of 40 of the night.
Closing the show was perky proms princess Katie Derham dancing a vivacious Viennese Waltz to If I Can Dream by Elvis. Anton du Beck must surely think he's dreaming with this peach of a partner - and he's not going to want to wake up. Taking on board the judge's comments from last week, Anton had devised a lovely routine, full of lots of difficult content for Katie. There was more spin in this dance than an entire Tory party conference. It was twizzy, dizzy and had me all in a tizzy. Katie was like a beautiful swan - all grace up top while her feet flew through fleckerls, pattered through pivots and twirled through turns. This was an elegant performance and Anton must have felt like the King as the rightly impressed judges gave them an amazing 33 out of 40 - probably Anton's highest score of his career and only the second time he's been at the top of the leaderboard in the twelve year history of Strictly. A-ma-zing Dahling!
And so it was 'Sunday' again. A quick change of clothes for the judges, Claudia and Tess, redo the tutty (that's make-up to you lot) and back before the cameras for the results. There was the usual chat about what happened 'last night' and a peek through Len's Lens into what the judges saw. Meanwhile chinny grinner Will Young belted out his new number Joy while the pro dancers lolloped around the dancefloor for those who were hard of concentration.
Several 'ba-bums' and eleven relieved celebrities later, we were left with Calamitous Kirsty Gallacher and Daffy Daniel O'Donnell in the bottom two. At least the viewers were showing some sense this week as both couples were deserving of the dance off. A reprise of both routines showed us why it was these two fighting for survival and a place in next week's show. But only one couple could stay and the judges' decision was final, indeed unanimous. Common sense prevailed again - it was adieu Daniel O'Donnell, you've massacred your last merengue, tortured your last tango, chopped up your last Charleston and......well, your foxtrot is safe now as well.
It dozen matter, twelve dancers remain - what will Week 5 bring us? Only one way to find out..........Keep Dancing!!!