Week two! Is it? I have no idea. I have not had a fun weekend, and I am weary, so I will be following the same couple-by-couple format as last time and the Strictly Come Dancing Monologues will not be making their debut this week, although they are coming and they will BLOW YOUR MINDS*
Tonight the dances are the quickstep and the rumba. See how they give with one hand and take away with the other. The quickstep lifts my heart. In a good way. The rumba makes me think of embarrassing interpretive dances I have witnessed at regional talent shows throughout the 80s.
Kara and Artem They are totally At It. But the Strictly shagbirds should heed the lesson of Brian Fortuna and Ali Bastian, and by this I mean go round to Brian's house and peer through the windows at him slow-dancing with a enormous framed photo of Ali's face and weeping, as Chicago ballads leech from the stereo. Brian and Ali have split up, is what I am saying. Anyway, Kara and Artem's flapper-esque routine is brilliant, but apparently she makes some mistakes. I don't notice. This blog was praised last week for its lack of insight into, you know, the actual dancing, so I am going to pursue this as my Strictly blog USP. 'Why Miss Jones - the Strictly blog with no credible knowledge of dancing.'
Felicity and Vincent Dear BBC, you know how you have all that spare money at the moment? Oh. Well, anyway, could you please commission a sitcom starring Felicity Kendal and Vincent Simone. Maybe they could be flatmates with sexual tension, or Felicity could be Vincent's landlady who slinks around in a satin dressing gown and mules. Felicity's catchphrase could be her dirty laugh. Is it still a catchphrase if it has no words in it? Meanwhile, Vincent's comedy calling card is a turn directly to the camera and a waggle of one eyebrow, while some kind of 'Oh behave!' musical sound effect is played. Anyway, Felicity will have no time for making sitcoms after Strictly is over. She'll be too busy making yoga videos and endorsing cod liver oil. That woman is hella bendy. Their rumba is pretty good, as rumbas go.
Patsy and Robin I love Patsy, but they are dancing a bizarre, Western-themed line-dancing quickstep which is like putting baked beans on a pizza, ie ILLEGAL and WRONG. It is the 5,6,7,8 of quickstep. Thank you, but no, Patsy and Robin. Let's never speak of this again.
Gavin and Katya In their rehearsal footage, Katya is infuriated at Gavin, who cannot express his feelings. Gavin mumbles slowly and makes rueful faces. I feel suddenly as though I have an insight into the dying days of the Church-Henson relationship. Katya wants Gavin to get sensuous with her. He strokes her cheek with all the sensitivity of a grizzly bear clubbing a man about the head with a giant paw. Their rumba isn't half as embarrassing as you might think. I manage to watch the whole thing without having to look away once. The marks are mixed. 'I am tryin',' Gavin says sadly. Yes, thinks Katya, yes you are.
Tina and Jared Tina is ill. Her and Jared are not dancing. Oh well.
Scott and Natalie I'm not sure Natalie is quite as obsessed with Scott Maslen as she was with Ricky Whittle last year, but on a brief It Takes Two clip that I saw mid-week, she did say 'We just laugh together ALL THE TIME.' This is how it starts. I bet if you looked in the back of her choreography notebook you would find written 'Natalie Maslen. Mrs Scott Maslen. Natalie Maslen-Lowe. Natalie Lowe-Maslen.' She must be gutted there are no i's or j's in 'Scott Maslen' for her to dot with tiny hand-drawn hearts. Their dance is amazing. I am going to have to concede that Natalie is quite good at her job.
I pity the poor person who has to follow that. Oh, it's Michelle and Brendan. Sorry Michelle. She has been feeling glum this week, and Brendan has been nice to her. Brendan is all about the nice now he's married. Her dancing is a bit... angular. The judges are kinder this week, and encourage strength through the legs. How can Michelle have strength through the legs? Hers are just two slender drinking straws holding up her whole body.
Peter and Erin Peter is wearing a terrifying mask of thick orange make-up, but it's clearly not as heavy as it looks because he manages to dance quite a fleet-footed quickstep. Erin is utterly delighted when they are awarded a 7. This is Peter and Erin's FA Cup final. That is one of my favourite football commentary cliches ever. I also like 'Meat and drink'. I'm going to use that next week. Peter says being in the bottom two last week was one of the worst moments of his life. Really, Peter? You have had a good life. But not The Good Life. That's Felicity. Hahaha. Oh god. I am really tired.
Matt and Aliona They are well narky with each other in practice. This is the dark side of Matt Baker. I knew it was there. He's not the Mr Wholesome Harvest Festival everyone thinks he is. I bet when Blue Peter was about to go live, he would break heinous nervous wind in the studio and blame it on Meg the dog. His dance with Aliona is brill though. I like the bits when they are dancing on their own but in time. Naturally I don't know what you call this.
Jimi and Flavia Jimi's mum calls him James. Aww. I wonder who decided to spell the abbreviation Jimi. Perhaps it was Natalie Lowe, who would be able to draw a heart over the first i and a star over the second. Jimi is dancing the rumba. Even before the music starts he is acting and he is acting HARD. Maybe that's why his body does weird things.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Widders! With Anton! She looks lovely this evening. In the training VT, Ann is singing 'Clumpy clumpy clumpy' to herself, which is the sort of thing I would do. Anton drags her around the floor at high speed, and she is clearly exhausted at the end. Not too exhausted to ask Bruce if she's still his favourite. Hang on... is Ann FLIRTING with Bruce Forsyth? Later she ticks off Tess for talking too much. I am on some kind of terrifying wavelength with Widders this evening. Ann is very quick to embrace Anton after the scores are shown. Anton tells Ann 'You make me laugh! I do love you. I can't help it, I do.' Do I smell a July to September romance? Please don't think about what a July to September romance would smell like. It will destroy you.
Pamela and James If I was Tyra Banks I would be calling Pamela fierce about now. She is awesome. Pamela fails to make me give a tiny fraction of a shit about the rumba, but she's a 60-year-old psychologist and dancing dynamo, she's not actually a miracle worker. Maybe by week 8. I hope it has not escaped the BBC's notice that a 60-year-old women (and a 63-year-old one, in the form of Ann) has become the darling of Strictly Come Dancing, and one of the best things ever to happen to the show. You have to feel for poor old Arlene sitting on her sofa, weeping bitterly into her glass of Dubonnet**, dropped peanuts nestling in her cleavage.
Paul and Ola Now. God loves a tryer. But I can't help thinking that when God sees Paul Daniels with his hands behind his head, swivelling his hips, he lifts up his long white beard and uses it to cover his eyes, while howling to himself 'What have I created?' Paul chastises Ola for putting too much comedy in the routine, and the British public, who love Ola more than Jesus (God doesn't - but that's just because Jesus is family), react by voting him out and sparing her the pain of having pensioner pelvis ground in her direction for any longer. It's the kindest thing all round.
Next week, the Charleston and the Tango. In the words of Craig: A-may-zing.
* May not actually blow your minds.
** I don't know what Dubonnet actually is. It just sounded like the kind of tipple Arlene might favour.
38. QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK, LONDON
11 months ago