Ah, Blackpool. It’s become a cliche that all the celebs taking part in Strictly say that this is the week they’re aiming for. We know it’s a blatant lie- they’re all desperate for the final (although, a thought… do they get paid more the longer they’re in the competition? Do they get a bonus for winning?) I am ambivalent about Blackpool. As a kid, I remember my parents loading us up in the car to look at the Illuminations and rides on despondent donkeys on days that felt like they were freezing. Even in July. That’s Lancashire for you.
Anyway, apparently this is the mecca of dancing and everyone who’s ever danced has wanted to dance at the tower. Unfortunately, Jeremy won’t be there; Jamelia was quite lucky that he was finally knocked out last week, although I confidently predict that this week is her last in the competition. Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Jay and Aliona- Salsa (Cuba)
I’m hoping that, after a strong start, Jay doesn’t start going downhill and gets knocked out before the final. His little face every time he feels like he’s done badly and gets negative feedback makes my Twitter timeline go all a-flutter and I’m not sure that all of those women feel maternal about him. Tut tut. Anyway, the salsa is a BEAST of a dance and I was admittedly nervous; Jay hasn’t really repeated his excellent performance in the jive- although he’s always good- and I didn’t know how this one would go. Thankfully, despite the fact that he was the living embodiment of George Michael in the Club Tropicana video, this was back up there with Jay’s jive (although I’m not sure it was AS good, but hey, splitting hairs.) Thank goodness- and long may it continue.
SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-9 TOTAL:36
Jamelia and Tristan- Quickstep (I’m A Believer)
This is one of my all-time favourite songs (shut up, I loved The Monkees TV show as a kid. It used to be the last programme on Nickelodeon), so of course I was waiting to see how the band would lovingly murder it.
Actually, when I thought about it, it’s a good fit for a quickstep. Tristan looks like a fella who’s expecting to go every week and delighted the week after that he’s still there- hence the reason he keeps hold of Jamelia so tightly. Plus she’s a bit all over the place when left to her own devices. Thankfully, Jamelia was in hold most of the time and looked OK, even in the side by sides- she’s definitely improved. I loved her dress, too. But I don’t think it will be enough to save her from her FIFTH dance-off. It’s tricky at this point. And, Len, word of advice: never compare a woman to a tram, even if you’re trying to be nice.
SCORES: Craig-7 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 TOTAL: 31
Anita and Gleb- Paso Doble (Malaguena)
I always have high expectations of these two, but always with a slight cringe of ‘oh, PLEASE don’t do something wacky!’ The paso is always a great dance to see on the Blackpool floor, as the setting fits the high drama demanded of the dance. This was definitely dramatic- and passionate and sexy, too. I wasn’t keen on all the extra dudes (but then, I’m not a fan of all the extra dancers anyway) and the weird body stocking-ness of their trousers, but I appreciate that they highlighted Anita’s brilliance. A fantastic paso.
SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey- 10 Len-9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL:37
Katie and Anton- American Smooth (Ain’t That A Kick In The Head)
Anton’s back on familiar territory here and it’s the first time he’s made it to Blackpool with a decent partner in YEARS, so I was expecting him to make the most of it. It was nice to Erin Boag too! I was predisposed to love this, as I love all the Golden Age of Hollywood glamour and this was beautiful, properly classy and just like something out of a musical. And you can’t go wrong with a bit of Dean Martin, can you?
SCORES: Craig- 8 Darcey- 9 Len- 9 Bruno-9 TOTAL:35
Peter and Janette- Jive (River Deep, Mountain High)
DING DING DING! This week’s odd music choice goes to this one. I mean, a JIVE to River Deep, Mountain High? What? It’s a brilliant song, but hardly ‘jaunty’. Mind you, Peter’s been having a bit of a renaissance of late and so I have thought he’s back in the game. I was thinking wrongly. This was OK, although I worried that Peter was spasming at one point, but then I realised it was part of the dance and maybe he was just meant to be looking a bit sexy? Who knows. And let’s not get started on his mouth hanging open with the tongue out, like a labrador who’s just rolled in fox poo. Also, it’s nice to see Tweety Pie as a sartorial influence.
SCORES: Craig-6 Darcey- 7 Len- 8 Bruno- 8 TOTAL: 29
Georgia and Giovanni- American Smooth (I Have Nothing)
Well, last week Georgia knocked the socks off the judges with that Charleston and I wondered how they would respond this week- would she be the golden girl, or would they be super picky? I get the impression that she’s not one of the judges favourites (oh, hi, Helen and Kellie!), so I wasn’t sure. Plus we’ve seen couples tumble from top of the table to mid-table obscurity before. Benn will be so proud I’ve managed to shoehorn a football reference into this. I’d just like to add that these two have grown on me- Georgia’s “‘Ave ya finished?” to Giovanni in the kareoke booth was great. The dance was beautiful, but I found it tricky to concentrate with all the other dancers on the floor.
SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-10 Bruno-10 TOTAL: 38
Helen and Aljaž- Charleston (Anything Goes)
Helen is a beautiful dancer, but she’s a bit like Peter, I think. I worried that she wouldn’t be able to let it go (Ha! Another Helen/Elsa reference. I’m here til the bitter end of this competition, kids! But if wardrobe will insist on dressing her in pale blue…) enough to give the Charleston the relaxed feel it needs. This was light and fun, with elements of screwball comedy. Benn was a bit underwhelmed and I wonder if Helen really was as relaxed as she seemed. I don’t think this is Helen’s best dance and I think that, in a year of strong Charlestons, it wasn’t the best.
SCORES: Craig- 8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 TOTAL:34
Kellie and Kevin- Quickstep (Nine To Five)
OK, I get the pairing and the music- and we all expect Good Things every week from these two. I just… wish they didn’t rely on props so much. This wasn’t prop-heavy, but did take a while to get cracking. Oncec it did start though, a lot of it felt… static and I’m not sure the extra dancers added anything apart from that bit dragging Kellie across the floor that ended in a lift. The steps were good and clean though and the judges loved it. They’re charismatic and everyone loves them, so they’re guaranteed to be forgiven.
SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-10 TOTAL:37
So to end- GEORGIA is at the top of the leader board again and PETER is at the bottom. I reckon Jamelia and Peter will be in the bottom two- but will Jamelia live to see another day? Who knows? I’ve given up trying to work out what’s going on in my own life, let alone a bonkers celebrity talent contest. See you next week!