The Powers That Be at The Beeb decided that there would be no replacement or bringing back of booted out celebs so the remaining twelve squared up for Week Four - and it dozen get better than that.
Greg Rutherford kicked off proceedings with a (ginger) spicy salsa to Olly Murs tune Wrapped Up. Ironic, really, since his wrist was swathed in a bandage due to a training injury. He gave it a decent bash, bless him. There was some good rhythm and bounce, some swagger and shimmy and his bottom saw a lot of action - but he looked a little tight and self-conscious throughout the number, telegraphing lifts and losing the figure of eight rotation required. His energy flagged towards the end and he got a bit flat-footed. Even an impressive presse lift at the end couldn't nudge his score higher than a mid-table 28 out of 40.
Last week's dance off survivor Laura Whitmore came next with a quickstep to Ballroom Blitz. This dance was the bomb - fabulous fancy feet, tricky little steps and bags of content. Giovanni had thrown everything into the mix and Laura was fast as lightning as she capered across the floor. It was fun and frisky, but not terribly risky. There was a nice Charleston section, but then a weird head-banging bit that was a little out of place. The judges liked it, though, scoring Laura 33 out of 40.
Anastacia followed with a rumba to Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were. You know my opinion on this dance. Rumba? Rumboring, more like. It's all wiggle, walk, pout, wave your arm, stick your leg up, have a cuddle. Pffft. You could make it up as you went along and no-one would really know, to be honest. As long as you pulled the right faces. There were times during this dance when Brendan seemed to be picking Anastacia and putting her down somewhere else like she was a Billy Bookcase and he was deciding where she looked best. There didn't seem to be much fluidity or romantic connection between the pair. I've had more exciting leg waxes. The judges thought there was good content - which shows what I know. She still only got 27 out of 40.
Tiny teen tumbler Claudia Fragapane came next with a fab little foxtrot to I Really Like You. There was another high-school type theme (which is wearing a bit thin now, even for me. Yes, they're the youngest dancers. We get it!). It was a sweet, charming routine, though. Claudia was wonderfully graceful with great poise and presentation. Her strong top line was excellent throughout and she was dainty and light on her feet - including some lovely heel leads for Len. There was too much out of hold for old-school Len and Craig hated the choreography - which is AJ's fault, not Claudia's. The grumpy judges weren't too bothered though. Claudia was awarded 30 out of 40.
I then had an out-of-body experience - or maybe it was a fever dream. Oh, wait. No I didn't. It really *WAS* Ed Balls making a feeble attempt at a Paso Doble to a very slowed down version of Bonnie Tyler's Holding Out For A Hero. Oh. My. Word. This St George themed......effort....just seemed to drag-on. Not even the tame tempo could help Ed. He looked like a toddler having a tantrum as he clomped and stomped his way around the floor, waving his arms willy-nilly like a windmill in a hurricane. There was no rhythm, no attack, no power....no anything. He completely lost the plot about halfway through and seemed to just start making it up. Flabby, not fabby - this was more passe than Paso and I've seen more shaping in a jellyfish. He was dancing all the steps, just not necessarily in the right order. It just wasn't his knight. More matabore than matador, this bull earned just a 2 from Craig - and only 16 out of 40 in total.
Things didn't get much better as Naga Munchetty took the floor with a choppy Charleston to Minnie The Mermaid (no, I've never heard of it either). Dressed like the Oompa Loompa Willy Wonka never mentions, Naga seemed all at sea with this dance. There was very little swivel and cross and it was fairly low on content and difficulty. Naga still went wrong a couple of times and lost footing and timing. The lifts were a bit lumpy and sometimes she seemed to be waiting for Pasha to pick her up. She seemed to enjoy herself, though, and got into the character and spirit of the dance more than usual. More meh-maid than mermaid, I'm not shore if we'll wave goodbye to Naga after the panel scored her just 24 out of 40.
Lovely Louise Redknapp followed with a fancy foxtrot to Tears Dry On Their Own. It was a strange choice of tune for what was really a light-hearted and fun dance. This routine was definitely nothing to cry about. Louise really enjoyed this one and it showed. She was full of flair - sexy, smooth and stylish she
Danny Mac continues to deliver. This week was a simply astonishing quickstep to I Won't Dance. I would, if I had a partner as good as Danny! This week he was dressed as a conductor and he was certainly the maestro of this routine. He was slick, quick and didn't miss a trick. His footwork was sublime and his timing was immaculate. There was loads of style, grace and charm with dapper Danny completely mirroring partner Oti in both the side-by-side sections and the cross step parts that are the fundamentals of a quality quickstep. He was infinitely less wooden than his former Hollyoaks character with plenty of sway and swagger as he took the lead. Mac scored big - 36 out of 40.
And then there was another rumba, which kind of killed my mood. Okay, Daisy Lowe was better than Anastacia as she danced to Careless Whisper - but it was all still step, step wiggle, wave. Her open-mouthed 'sexy' pout was a bit off-putting and made her look a little dozy sometimes. There didn't seem to be much romance between her and partner Aljaz and more chemistry at Boots after closing - but as rumbas go it was OK, I suppose. There was enough tricky content to impress the judges who gave her 31 out of 40.
Gurning gavel basher Judge Rinder came next with a very weird Viennese Waltz to Lulu's Boom Bang A Bang. Bizarrely kitted out in lederhosen, the judge seemed a little ill at ease. The routine took ages to get going and there was more out of hold than in. When there was some Viennese content it was very nice - tight turns and spins, lovely hold and positioning and he showed some real flair for the footwork with some good rise and fall. The whole thing was a bit silly and slapstick, though, which was a shame as it detracted from what looks like some decent talent. Partner Oksana needs to drop the comedy routines - Judge Rinder needs to be less goofy, more hoofy to stand a chance of staying in the competition. A lowly (goat-herd) 27 out of 40 scored.
The continually surprising Lesley Joseph came out with a cracking little Charleston to Charleston With Me. Anton seems to be playing it canny bringing out the dances that play to Lesley's strengths early in the series. I really don't know where she gets her energy. Maybe Dorian has a DeLorean? This wasn't a safe, staid Charleston by any means. There was a great smorgasbord of steps - birdy flaps, monkey steps, knee slaps galore. Again, Lesley had bags of character throughout the dance and there was plenty of high jinx - not to mention high kicks. I'd need a new hip if I tried half the stuff Lesley can do. A high score for her of 31 out of 40.
Outstanding Ore Oduba provided a cracking closer to the show with a jaw-dropping jive to Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars. He was simply out of this world. Ore wowed the crowd with this sharp number. His feet were a blur through a series of tricky kicks and flicks that were absolutely bang on the money. It was an extremely high octane, fast-paced dance and Ore never flagged. His timing was spot on and he was tight, controlled and precise. The side-by-side sequences were in perfect harmony with partner JoanneAlsoFromGrimsbyClifton and the dance was packed with difficult content. The audience were on their feet at the end and who could blame them. Jay who? The panel reduced emotional Ore to tears with the first trio of 10s of the series - only Craig's score of 9 preventing a full house. 39 out of 40 in Week Four? Danny has competition - and his name is Ore.
And that was that. One less dancer with Will's departure meant a shorter show and Sunday was here before we knew it. Again. There was an absolutely spectacular James Brown themed opening number with some brilliant moves from a guy in a told suit. And some oddly hypnotic kinda dad-dancing from Anton in a purple velour number complete with hairy chest and medallion, which was fairly disturbing for a Sunday evening.
Original Nutty Boys Madness turned out too
Len and his amazing lens showed us a peek at what the judges are looking for - it even explained some of the technical bits
The usual dramatic tension, sighs of relief, red lights and hysterical hugs brought us to the dance-off denouement. The viewer votes were tallied and it was Anastacia and Naga that were in the bottom two. While it can't really be argued that Ed shouldn't have been there, at least these two were more deserving to be in the dance off than last week.
Routines were repeated. I had to sit through another rumba. I'm going to lobby the BBC next year that it should be replaced by something more entertaining - the Macarena or pogoing, maybe. Watching Anton twazz around the floor to The Sex Pistols has got to be more exciting, right?
After the ladies had both had another go at their frankly less than stellar performances the judges gave their unanimous verdict <dramatic drum roll please>.
NAGA was voted off the show. No alarms and no surprises there, as Thom Yorke might say if he was writing this. Still, at least she can go back to bed for kip after BBC Breakfast tomorrow now instead of having to flog back down to London for training. She could even watch Homes Under The Hammer, lucky girl. Pasha, of course, can go back to living a life of Riley.......
And that was Week Four in a nutshell. I'm off to lie down in a darkened room and try to forget the nightmare that was Ed Balls' Paso. Though I'm fairly sure hearing Bonnie Tyler will bring me out in cold sweats for years to come.
Until next time.............KEEP DANCING!!