Sunday, 20 December 2015

Finally, it has happened to we are, my little Christmas crackers. After thirteen long weeks that saw some sensational dances (and some downright dreadful ones) we have at long last arrived at the end of the line. Here we saw our final foxtrot fling, the last Latin legs and the ballroom blow-out. Saturday night was The Grand Glitterball Groove, The Sad Saturday Strictly Showdown, The Dreaded Dance Denouement.

Saturday's show actually all took place on the one night. Yes, no pretending it was Sunday. It was an evening split into two distinct halves - and each of the four remaining couples had to dance twice to decide who was going to be in the top three and in with a chance of lifting the glitterball trophy. First of all the panel picked the dance they wanted to see again - a dance they wanted to see improvement on from the first time around. A rejigged jig, if you will as they were allowed to make changes to core choreography.  The second routine would be the promised spectacular of a showdance where literally anything goes. Rules is for wimps in showdance land, my friends.

This week, the judges' scores were for 'guidance only' - everything rested on the viewer vote (I'm dreading my phone bill this month). So - what went on? Was it boogie brilliance - or murder on the dancefloor? Come with me, and we'll see.....

Jay McGuinness opened the show this time. The judges had asked him to perform his quickstep to My Generation again - the one that had seen his lowest ever score. This was a more accomplished outing, from an awesome turn sequence at the beginning that had more spins than the government, to a nippy, skippy promenade sequence that showed Jay's class. He was much more confident this time around in a dance that had a lot more speed and content. Jay remembered to bring his face to the party and he put in the heel leads and turns that had been missing the first time round. Performed with power and panache, but there were a couple of tiny wobbles and Aliona dropped a clanger that prevented perfection. Jay scored 36 out of 40 - an improvement of 11 on the first outing.

Georgia May Foote was up next. Her panel pick was the rumba from movie week. Dancing to The Writing's On The Wall, Joe Varney had made some major changes to his fundamentals (that's dance content you mucky lot) and put in a lot more traditional rumba moves to cheer up Len. Although Georgia started off rubbing herself all over like she was trying to get rid of a troublesome bogey, it was a much more settled performance. There were moments of drama and style, some passion and performance but it was a bit stiff, stilted and stop-start. Georgia's balance was off a little and she stumbled at the end, but she still scored a healthy 36 out of 40.

Kellie Bright had a corker of a night. She started off with another shot at her tango from the very first week. Boy, could you see her improvement and growth (I won't say journey, I won't say journey. Oh. Bugger, I just did). Dancing to You Really Got Me, there were absolutely no Kinks in this performance. Kellie was fizzing with confidence in a fun, cheeky take on a tango. There was clean footwork throughout, sharp staccato, rock-solid top line and great attack and attitude from start to finish. Kellie earned a 'fab-u-lous' from Craig - who also awarded KevinfromGrimsby the first ever ten from him. As did the rest of the judges. A super clean sweep of 40 out of 40 for Kellie.

Katie Derham finished the set with a rehash of her quickstep to 42nd Street. Unfortunately, hash was the operative as it all went wrong from the off with Katie messing up the opening hatography. While this time around was quicker and a little slicker, it still got away from her. Her feet were better but there was gapping, jumping and leaping and kicks lacking oomph. Katie seemed to go entirely her own way at one point and had to be rescued by Anton changing his steps to match hers. It was fast and furious, but she fluffed the finish and was so out of time she might as well have been in a DeLorean (thanks for that HOTH). Just 31 out of 40.

And so for the Showdances. These can be as spectacular as you like with any number of lifts, tricks, styles and content. Past years have seen some truly jaw-dropping performances. I even cried at Louis Smith's routine (although several large glasses of wine might have played a part in that). But this year? Well, this year all seemed a little......flat.

Jay danced to I Can't Feel My Face (surely Amanda Holden's theme tune?). Aliona had choreographed a clever little routine with snippets of all their previous numbers. You could play Spot The Dance as you watched. A little bit of rumba, a snippet of salsa, a chunk of Charleston and all. It all slotted together as easily as a Billy Bookcase and it fitted the music wonderfully. As usual, Jay and Aliona were perfectly together, spot on time and bang on the beat. But, apart from an upside down Spiderman-esque start, there wasn't a lot of wow. Technically very good, but as a showdance it was a bit tame. It lacked any real lifts and tricks to bring out the whoooo. The judges were a bit disappointed too and gave Jay 35 out of 40.

There was a bit more innovation from Georgia who was dancing to Fix You by Coldplay. The routine was a mix of free and easy Viennesey waltz with tastes of tango (the dance, not the fizzy drink). Georgia had been promising a 'dangerous surprise' in the pre-dance VT. It turns out that this was the fact she started the dance blindfolded. If that's her idea of a 'dangerous suprise' nobody better give her a Kinder egg then. She'd either explode or poop at the shock of a toy inside it. It was a nice enough dance, full of intense looks, face grabs and romance but the technique was a bit lacking. Georgia's flingy free arm raised its, her top line was all over the place and her shoulders became hunchy. The judges were more impressed than me though and gave Georgia 36 out of 40.

Kellie Bright came out kicking with a frantic Lindy Hop to Ding Dong Daddy. Well, she certainly went like the clappers. This full on dance was utter energy throughout - I was exhausted just watching her. This train based routine - including clever projection work from the crew - shunted Kelly to the top of the table, It was bang on time (which is more than can be said about the train I get) and packed full of kicks, flicks and tricks. There were jumps, spins, lifts and Charleston-esque moves in a dance that was fast, furious and frenetic but still under total control. This routine had pizzazz and all that jazz. It certainly put the show in showdance and earned Katie her second full house of the night. 40 out of 40.

The showdances concluded with Katie dancing to O, Fortuna. This tune gets a bad rep after being used to represent evil in The Omen, but it's actually a plea to The Fates to bestow good luck (see...funny and edumacational. I'm too good to you). Poor Katie needed all the luck she could muster. The dance had tangoey bits and quicksteppy bits, but it was all a bit messy and disjointed. It could have been so much more. The routine lacked any proper intent and purpose and the dramatic moves were all completely off the major beat. It was like the music totally overpowered Katie who was far too stiff and spent a lot of the routine being picked up and twizzed around. There was even a stage dive - with Anton nearly fumbling and dropping Katie on her bum. He recovered in time, but the dance didn't. The judges scored it just 31 out of 40.

The four couples had done all they could. There was an hour's break while the votes were tallied and the Beeb slipped in the festive edition of Casualty. Apparently Charlie Fairhead is still in it - and still has the same three facial expressions he's always used - sad, miffed and happy. Although they all seem to be a variation on 'constipated trout'.

After spending the equivalent of the National Debt on voting, it was time to find out who'd been axed. With the usual 'da da da' but very little fanfare we said ta ta to Katie. Not much of a shock. As Radiohead once sang.......Fake Plastic Trees. Sorry, I mean No Surprises. Once the goodbyes had been dealt with, the remaining three couples were left to do their own favourite routine from previous weeks.

Jay had decided to reprieve his Paso Doble to It's My Life.  Everyone had been expecting him to choose his sensational jive (that had earned him 39 in something like week two), but he felt there was no way he could ever do it as good again, let alone improve. It was still a damn good dance. If anything Jay piled on more power, more passion, more purpose - more performance. The whole routine was masterful, Jay had terrific strength and his connection with partner Aliona was near telepathic they were so together. The judges loved it and awarded him 39 out of 40 (boo, hiss Craig. Boo. Hiss).

Georgia dusted off her incredible Chicago Charleston. This was a simply stunning routine with every single trick and technique you could throw at it. Georgia was made for the fun, flirty, cheeky style and you could tell this was a routine she adored. She chucked her absolute all into it and, if possible, it was even better than the original. It was a dance that put a smile on your face - all Fosse, not fussy. Craig was so impressed he said he'd put Georgia into one of his shows any time. Poor lamb burst into tears and spent the rest of the marking with snot and mascara running down her face. There was no other score to give than a pitch perfect 40 out of 40.

Kellie brought the show - and the series - to the Endor the line with her Star Wars based Charleston. Was she hoping to cash in on the week's cinema release of The Force Awakens? Yoda thought so. Kevin was great, Ewok-ed his socks off to polish the performance. Kellie Leia'd it on the line with loads of content, swivel, cross and slapstick tricks. It's such a pity it suffered in comparison to Georgia's corker right before it. You've got to Han it to her, though - she really was a Force to be reckoned with and the side by side sequences were particularly pleasing. You could easily have put a Boba two on her winning. The panel weren't impressed enough to award another 40, and so Kellie got 39.

That was that. All dances done, all couples clearly cream-crackered. They looked like they were running on fumes and the promise of a large, cold beer after the show. There were some pro-dance routines, the inevitable return of the losers in the 'Class of 2015' dance and Ellie Goulding warbled her way through Love Me Like You Do while the next round of poverty inducing votes were counted. Another tense half-hour for the hopefuls and viewers alike.

A bit of the ba-bums as the finalists were forced to line up and face the glitterball trophy and then the announcement was made. The winner was.........


Jay, Jay went all the way. Hooray!

The poor lad looked utterly stunned at the news and Aliona appeared just as shocked. I honestly don't think they expected to win. Jay was so choked up he was near speechless and when he could talk he dedicated the win to Aliona, which just goes to show why he had found a place in the viewer's hearts. He's a sweet, genuine, all-round nice guy.

Approximately forty tons of glitter tape was dumped over the winning couple (I hope Strictly pay their cleaners a lot) and then that was that. The season is over for another year, apart from a Christmas Special for us all to look forward to - that was probably filmed in October with everyone forced into festivity. No wonder Daniel O'Donnell looked so confused.

This, of course, means that this is the last Strictly Round Up blog - unless I sober up enough to knock out a quick one for the Special. I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Until next year......................for Gods' sake don't keep dancing - you'll ruin your poor bloody feet.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

First of all, I'm happy to report that my time-travelling, space-hopping and general running around like a blue-bottomed fly went without a hitch on Saturday.  Festive food was consumed, SBOTH kicked, punched and kiai'd his way to his next karate belt and the evening do was both a perfect surprise and a triumph. Much praise and thanks to HOTH for driving duties who was his usual unflappable self. You don't hassle the HOTH!

It was a Double Dance Semi Final night on Strictly this week. After a paltry 60 minute show last time, we were back up to an hour and three quarters as the remaining five couples fought on the floor for a place in the Grand Final (not literally, but that could be a plan to keep things fresh for 2016). The glitterball is in touching distance now - which means it's very nearly Christmas as well. I don't know what's more stressful - the dance off announcements or deciding on what present to get the family. But back to my penultimate prattlings. Which of our four frolickers (fox)trotted their way into the Final and who fell at the final hurdle? Let's have a look through the glitterball shaped window................

Katie Derham kicked off with her first routine - a clunky Charleston to Too Darn Hot. Shame the dance wasn't. This was too 'swing' for a Charleston. It lacked content, swivel, sway and style. Katie seemed to stand around waving her arms in the air like she was warding off a swarm of wasps while her bottom half did its own thing. She telegraphed all the lifts and tricks by just standing still and holding her arms up, waiting to be hoisted like a tired toddler. There was trouble with the timing - at one point Anton changed his steps to match hers just to keep things on track - and there was no energy or dynamism. A Limp Kickzit of a Charleston, I'm afraid. Katie scored a poor 25 out of 40.

Baby llama Jay McGuinness (don't believe me? Look below) came next with a lovely Viennese waltz to Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman. There were some delightful contemporary moves in the opening sequence with lots out of hold. It could have been a risky decision to perform this for tradition-stickler Len. It took a little while to get going but when it did it was a routine full of style and grace with lovely frame and posture from Jay. It had flowing, fluid footwork and a charming romantic feel. Unfortunately, Jay had reverted to 'beige face' factory setting and he didn't close his feet enough for Len but he still scored a respectable 34 out of 40.

 Jay A baby llama

Following this was Georgia May Foote and partner Joe Varney. Poor Georgia was under the weather(field) in the week and ended up with only two days' rehearsal time to put together two routines. Her first crack was a Cha Cha Cha to I Will Survive. This disco-based routine was full of attitude, energy and sass, but she lost hip rotation through the straight legs and her arms got flingy again - at one point she looked like she was bowling for the boundary - Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff would have been proud of some of those moves. Georgia was at the mercy of the lurgy and her energy dipped towards the end of the routine and she looked to be flagging a wee bit. It's a shame because with more time to practise and polish this could have been a corker of a dance. The judges were generous, awarding her 33 out of 40.

Anita Rani's first dance was a slow foxtrot to New York, New York. Starting her routine atop a piano this wasn't Anita's most grand performance. While there was some nice footwork, lovely style, grace and heel turns, there were some issues with balance, legs weren't fully extended and the armography went a little awry. Gleb had chucked in heel turns, big twizzers and a floor spin, but Len wasn't happy saying this had started a slide into an American Smooth. This should be an issue with Gleb though - and Anita shouldn't be punished for his choreography as she doesn't get a say in the steps. Still, the panel gave her 32 out of 40.

Kellie closed the first section with a rumba to Songbird. Kevin and Kellie did rumba-y type things. It was probably lovely, if you like that kind of thing. For me, it was like watching the rinse cycle on the washing machine. Round a bit, spin a bit, pause, slow swoosh. Kellie overbalanced at one point and there wasn't really any romance. It was all a bit sterile and safe. Technically very good, but a bit........bland. Like a salad when you're expecting something spicy or tap-water instead of tequila. I'm going to suggest that next year the rumbas are performed to the Benny Hill music or the Archers theme. Perhaps a bit of Slipknot. It'd certainly liven the dance up for me. Kellie scored 34 out of 40.

Round two started with Katie dancing a waltz to O Mio Bambino Caro. I usually cry when I hear this music (certain notes make me inexplicably burst into tears. All of the ones by The Spice Girls, for instance). On Saturday it wasn't the composition that made me want to weep. There was so much smoke on the dancefloor when Katie started that you could barely see her feet. The judges certainly couldn't, but we saw some definite stutters early on. You couldn't help thinking this was a deliberate move from dentally-advantaged Anton. It was technically good but there were problems with her balance, frame and the arch of her back. Everything was a bit placed - dancing by numbers, if you will - and Katie didn't 'perform' the dance. This routine really split the judges between style and content and she was awarded 31 out of 40.

Up next was a sensational Jay dancing an absolute cracker of a Charleston to Dr Jazz. Did you spot that I'd lent him my Tardis? This mocktor Doctor Who routine had everything you could want from a Charleston including a cheeky regeneration / costume change opening that set the scene. This dance was a sonic success full of style, swivel, swing and sway. It was full on from start to finish with loads of energy - once again Jay and Aliona were spot on together, bang on the beat with fab footwork and on point moves. This was frenzied and frenetic, but in a good way. Only one messy lift that went a bit wrong stopped this from being a perfect performance (even though they tried to style it out by saying the drop was deliberate). Jay scored 37 out of 40.

Georgia's second dance was a Viennese Waltz to Run Away by The Corrs. This was quite a fast number for a Viennese, but was a lovely routine to watch. Giovanni had filled the dance with Len-pleasing traditional content, plenty of spins and turns gave it grace and it was obvious that this was the dance they'd spent most of their limited time on. Georgia had beautiful frame and arch and the footwork was fabulous. Twirly, whirly, girly - whimsical and gently romantic. Georgia's fella was up on his feet clapping like a clockwork monkey at the end. The judges loved it and gave Georgia 38 out of 40.

 Georgia's boyfriend approves of the Viennese Waltz

Anita finished her night with a salsa to Feel This Moment by someone called Pit Bull. Somehow I don't think that's what his mum shouts when she calls him in for his dinner. Unless he's got a litter of dog-themed siblings - if he has I feel sorry for their Cockerpoo...Anyway, a glistening Gleb led Anita through a funky hip hop salsa style dance. But it was salsa style - not salsa proper. On the plus side there was loads of attitude, attack and fire with plenty of armography, flips and tricks and really difficult lifts that nearly saw Darcey drop the F-bomb. On the downside? It was a bit too contemporary and was so fast & furious it flummoxed the footwork. There was little hip rotation and it lost some rhythm and fluidity towards the end. A crowd-pleaser, but not really a panel-pleaser. Anita ended up with 32 out of 40.

And so it was Kellie who closed the show and sealed the semi final with an amazing American Smooth to There May Be Trouble Ahead. This sublime routine was pure Hollywood glitz and glamour all the way through. There was fleet footwork, fabulous framing and sensational side-by-side steps. Kellie went smoothly in and out of hold and safely through the lifts. Kevin had played a blinder with the choreography - right from the opening 'little girl lost' opener to the fantastic flair-filled finish. This was a nod to Fred and Ginger that was all homage, no fromage. The judges agreed and scored Kellie a near-perfect 39 out of 40.

Sunday arrived quicker than my brother-in-law at the bar when it's our round. Honestly, he's like Usain Bolt when it comes to buffets and beer. Pipistrelle sized popster Kylie sang her new single Bingley Bingle Chrimble, or something like that. What? Oh, apparently it's called I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter.  Not in those hot pants you're not, chicken. Anyway, she was miming, sorry lip-synching. We only got one song as well, this week. Clearly Kylie blew the budget. Len got his lens out one more time (rejected ideas for this slot may or may not have included Goodman's Gawp, Have At Yer Aperture, Ogle Me Opening and Craig's Shutter The F**k Up). Then it was time to make the announcements we've all been waiting for.

The tension was even higher than usual as there was so much at stake. This is the dance off EVERYONE wants to avoid. Unfortunately, rules are rules. Two couples must dance again and only one can remain. This week's unfortunates were.......Katie and Anita.

You may be forgiven for thinking this was a foregone conclusion, given Anita's stellar raise from dance dunce to ballroom belle and Katie's rise / fall / plateau / fall performances. You may be forgiven, but you would be mistaken. In a cruel twist of fate, Anita's wee errors and non-traditional content weren't overlooked this time - and despite an utter mauling from the judges in the 'Saturday' show it was felt that Katie had improved her performance and done enough to deserve a place in the final with the sure-thang trio of Jay, Georgia and Kellie - even though it was split decision and the casting vote went to Len - who had already made his views perfectly clear about Gleb's choreography. In a gobsmacking turn of events it was adieu to Anita, goodbye to Gleb (sob).

If you ask me, that's an utter outrage. Never mind 'Aw, Anton's never been in the final since the very first series'. Anita was the better dancer. She always HAS been the better dancer. Any beef about 'traditional content' should be with Gleb, not with Anita who, as someone with NO dance training whatsoever coped with routines that would have had half the pros crying. Anton must have some juicy goss about someone he's threatening to spill unless he got a final spot. Surely common sense will prevail in the first half of next week's show and Katie will bow out gracefully before the show-dance showcases? One can only hope.

So the Final Four have been decided, however much some have been derided. Georgia, Katie, Kellie and Jay - which of these will have their day? Next week will see the triumph and fall - who will lift the glitterball? No sneak peeks or at spoiler threads glancing - until next week's final show............KEEP DANCING!!!

 Oh so near and yet so far, there's no glitterball trophy for Anitaaaaaaaaaa (sorry for all the rhymes. I automatically default to panto mode at this time of year. A big Bah Humbug to Len, Darcey & Bruno)

Sunday, 6 December 2015

It's Quarter Finals Week! Not long to go now before we know who'll be lifting the glitterball and our celebrities hang up their dancing shoes - unless they're going on the lucrative Strictly Come Dancing Tour. Have you seen the price of the tickets? For that kind of money I'd want a glitterball of my own AND a feel of Gleb's fleckerls!

This week was Musicals week which served up a very mixed bag of styles, dances and routines. It was also the shortest show of the season so far, running at just an hour. Which is just as well 'cos I watched it after coming in from the rugby club Christmas party. The things I do for you! Luckily I can mostly read my handwriting, so here we go.

Georgia May Foote kicked off the show with a slow foxtrot to Beauty and the Beast. That's a bit mean, really - I think she's very pretty. Oh, wait. Joe Varney was supposed to be the Beast! Gotcha. Georgia was the Belle of the ballroom last night with this beautiful, sweeping, graceful dance. Always safe with Giovanni's choreography, this was a monster, magical routine full of flair, fabulous footwork and lyrical lines. It may have lacked a little dynamic for some of the judges and she's still lifting her shoulder but overall this whimsical number was a crowd-pleaser. She Disney disappoint and scored a far from Grimm 36 our of 40.

Up next was Anita Rani dancing an Argentine Tango to Cell Block Tango from Chicago. Gleb put the Sarge in Argentine, dressed in a sleeveless mesh shirt as a prison guard. I could hardly take my eyes off his truncheon. If that's how the prison officers look in Strictly land lock me up now! I have an awful lot I can confess, your honour. Anyway, this dance had plenty of attack and intent, it was lovely to look at with some tricky footwork, bags of ganchos and good, strong characterisation. There was heat and passion between the pair and lots of drama, but occasionally Anita lost her footing and her toes needed to be more pointed for effect. There was some gapping too, which spoiled some of the lines. It was a decent enough attempt and she scored 31 out of 40.

Kellie Bright followed with a mockerney, cockerney knees up of a Viennese Waltz to Oom Pa Pa from Oliver! (That's their exclamation mark by the way - it's not that exciting a film - although Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes always made me a bit hot under the crinoline.) In a Twist Stevie Wonder could have seen coming, Kellie was portraying tart with a heart Nancy with KevinfromGrimsby got up as The Artful Dodger. It was a bit of an odd routine - the music a bit cheery for a Viennese waltz and there was far to much dancing on the table top. Give her her dues, though, Kellie portrayed a good character (even if it wasn't much of a stretch from her day job) and the routine had lots of sway, swagger and style. It all ended up actually working quite well and Kev's clever choreography made it an overall entertaining routine. The judges scored Kellie 36 out of 40.

Jay McGuinness was next to the floor with a rumba to Falling Slowly from Once. No, I've never heard of it either. Apparently it's based on that film about the busker and the girl who meet through a love of music? No, I've never heard of it either. Sooooo.....Jay's rumba was, well a rumba. Walk, wave, wiggle, pout, grasp partner's face, look yearning and wistful and romantic. The thing is, Jay did it very well. His rumba covered the floor like a roomba, full of the classic content that Len loves. There was lovely story-telling and romance, Jay played plenty of attention to partner Aliona and they were together throughout, moving as one. This was quite a moving, passionate number and Jay put in a lot of effort and hip action in a dance that's notoriously difficult for the male dancers. The judges commented on Jay's costume of jeans and check shirt (worn by the character in the film / musical) but that's not his choice! Everything else was enough to wow - and only Craig failed to whip out his 10. A whopping 39 out of 40.

Katie Derham was the penultimate dancer, providing us with a fab little foxtrot to Maybe This Time from Cabaret. When Katie dances well she Bowles us all over, and Saturday night was a good stab. Partner Anton might be cheesier than a bag of Wotsits in a Dairylea sponsored-fondue, but he's also known as the King of Foxtrot. His experience showed in a dance choreographed to show off Katie's finer points and mask the areas where she struggles. It took a little while to actually get going, but when it did it had some great lines and technical trickery. While it was full of class, Katie needed some sass and it was a tad safe. There were some problems with the footwork in places and it needed a little more heel and toe action, but she still scored a cracking 35 out of 40.

Glamorous Helen George closed the show with a Paso Doble to At The End Of The Day from Les Miserables. I'm sorry, but I was Miserable after this dance. For me it really didn't work. The music seemed to clash with the routine and moves and wasn't really dramatic enough. It had some zing and zip, but the Paso is about passion, heat, a bullfight - not a whinge about being broke and having nowt. And is it really wise to dance to a song that ends with the singers urging us to chuck the woman out? Helen tried really hard, pouring on the attack with some strong lines. She was fierce and feisty, but she started to lose lines, her timing was off and her balance went on more than one occasion. It was sharp and had staccato, but At The End Of The Day it wasn't her best. She scored 34 out of 40 from Len & Co.

Sunday popped up quicker than it usually does, as everyone played Let's Pretend
It's Tomorrow. Mind you, it often feels like the weekend's gone that quickly for me, too. There was an opening performance from the cast of The Lion King. (Now those are pricey tickets. Like, second mortgage pricey. It's not as if Elton John needs any more money, surely?) Californian choon crooner and professional nice guy Josh Groban sang  Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz - jolly nice it was too - and we had the usual pro dancing to stretch things out again. We had another peek through Len's Lens. I'm pretty sure that's where John Lewis have got their 'Man on the Moon' Christmas advert idea from - an old bloke with a telescope looking at the glitz and glamour here in the real world. See, direct lift. Tess Daly eked out the tension with her bum-bums (I mean the sound effects!) and the bottom two were revealed.

Astonishingly, indeed ludicrously, Georgia and Helen were in the dance off! This really was a shocker as two of the strongest ladies in the competition were forced to dance again. I mean, I know people were feeling sorry for Anton after years of weird Widdecombs and measly Murrays, but come on! Katie's a lovely lady and all - she's just not as good as Georgia or Helen. Or anyone else, to be honest. I'm not at all sure the public got it right this weekend.

The judges were in an awful position and faced with a very difficult dilemma. Both contestants had polished their performances and rectified the errors, but were clearly quite shaken by the situation. After a tough dance off, the judges reluctantly let Helen go, pointing out that neither couple deserved to be there. It's a terrible shame and hopefully the right people will be going home next week.

Next week is Semi-Finals week. It's also the week when I am so horrendously busy I will need to borrow Hermione's Time-Turner as well as the Tardis - and maybe H G Wells' time machine for good measure. I think there's one point on the Saturday where we have to be in two places almost simultaneously, forty miles apart. Wish me luck. The review may be a little later is appearing but come Hell, high water or a breakdown, it WILL be there.

Until then...............KEEP DANCING!!!!!!!!

 She's been to Helen back - but it's been no Midwife crisis for Trixie