Never let it be said that Joneses are not in the business of giving second chances. After dismissing SCD's Vincent Simone as a dwarfish cartoon lothario, over the last few days I have started to see him with… what…? could that be affection?
This curious turn of events began on Friday, when Claudia Winkelman was interviewing Vincenzo and Rachel on set at rehearsals. Vincent managed to participate in a whole interview without once being taken over by the Compulsive Sleaze Syndrome, and its accompanying gropey tics, that have previously seemed to overwhelm him, but was instead sweet and reassuring and vulnerable. Then, with six little words on Saturday night, he won me over good and proper. He was talking about Rachel's crippling nerves before their first dance two weeks ago, and said, 'She was shaking like a leaflet.' Is that a malaprop? No. I'm not sure what it is – at the very least, it's English not being your first language – apart from really cute. And anyway, on a windy day, leaflets do, sort of, almost certainly shake. Or at the least, flap about a bit.
Also, if he was the one who chose to quickstep to Little Green Bag, then props, as they probably say on Dancing With The Stars.
If you ask me – which you didn't, but that's what blogging's all about, right? – the fact that Rachel is pretty much off limits (what being engaged and all, and also completely out of Vincent's league), yet quite insecure and fragile, is bringing out a tender side to a man I might previously have imagined at home waxing his own chest to the strains of Shaggy singing 'Mr Lover Lover'. Perhaps we – or rather I - have completely misjudged him, and rather than being an oily little manslut, he is painfully starved of affection and trying to reassert some kind of masculinity after having his balls cut off (metaphorically speaking, of course) by Matt D'Angelo last series. D'Angelo, for Strictly-come-latelies, seduced Vincent's professional and romantic partner Flavia with his own hands-on, hands-all-over approach to steam-rollering a woman into submission.
Perhaps the 'journey' of this year's Strictly – for there is one every year, as sure as Arlene will alliterate – will not come from Mark Foster learning to move his hips or his facial features, or Christine Bleakley discovering her inner sex goddess (as opposed to bleating on about how much hotter the other girls are – zzzzzz), but the transformation of Vincent Simone from perv to prince.