Just so long as everyone's clear on that.
The graphics department have gone to town on a special Strictly logo thing, which includes an Illuminations-style effigy of Bruce Forsyth that moves a clenched fist up and down. It is tempting to speculate on how much more animated it is than the real thing.
We begin with Robin and Patsy. One of my viewing companions for the evening expresses some concern about Patsy's emotional stability. This hadn't really occurred to me. I'm usually transfixed by how much of her face can move – and the good news is: most of it. But on reflection, there may be something Patsy needs to work through, with her near-constant stream of: 'Well, I'll probably get everything WRONG. A contender? I don't THINK so. I'm wearing a leotard and NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT.' But this evening, her mood seems to have swung the other way because everything is BRILLIANT and AMAZING and I LOVE BLACKPOOL. Her samba is not quite worthy of the same superlatives - I'm going to say it's a bit skippy and her face says 'desperate concentration' rather than 'party time'. But she's still my favourite of the celebrities who are not quite the best ones.
Although you may think Patsy should stay single for a while, I'm wondering if a nice, down-to-earth man could provide a stabilising influence. But who? And where to find him? I am still pondering this five minutes later when we are reintroduced to Dave Arch and his band. Dave Arch! Dave Arch and Patsy! Aww, Dave looks so nice and cuddly. I bet he would like to put on a cosy jumper and a sensible coat and take you out for a lovely country walk and a pub lunch. And he's in the music business, which seems to be Patsy's main criteria for a partner.
Over in Kara and Artem's corner, Artem has sustained an injury earlier in the day, while practising a tricky lift. There is high drama! There is ominous music! There is Artem wincing under the hands of a medic! Kara feels responsible and is crying, ruining her
When it gets to show time, you can tell Artem is feeling out of sorts because he can't even manage to put a trilby on. They are brilliant, as always, but Len is furious that their American Smooth wasn't a proper foxtrot, so how can he judge it? Erm, maybe as an American Smooth, Len. Not, like, as a foxtrot. You will remember, at this point, that I know nothing about dancing. Still, Len has quite the episode about this. At point one he stands up to address the crowd, and I hope he is going to launch into a brilliant loose-cannon speech about the state of ballroom dancing and television today, like Judd Hirsch in the first episode of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, only that is not about ballroom dancing. But he doesn't. He just sits down again. Maybe next week.
There is much discussion in the room about the fancyability of Matt Baker. Verdict: pretty fanciable, especially after we witness his quite spectacular range of lower body movement during the samba. It's best not to dwell on his 'samba face'. Matt finally gets his first 10s, but they come from Alesha and Bruno, so I'm not sure that's any indication of quality. But if I ever meet Matt – and I am increasingly entertaining fantasies of this happening – I would tell him that the least Strictly-obsessed of our number is unsure whether he or Aliona is the professional dancer tonight.
Felicity and Vincent must be nervous this evening. They are dancing the American Smooth, which starts with a celebrity/paparazzi theme, and then goes into a lot of what I call strolling about, with Felicity looking slightly disorientated, as though Vincent is showing her around the gardens of a sheltered housing development. But then they move into a conventional hold and things pick up no end and it's elegant and sweet. Bruce says 'That's your kind of dance.' And by that, Bruce, do you basically mean an old one? The judges have mixed feelings. I'm transfixed by the marshmallow-pink, PVC-effect bodice of Felicity's dress.
Grab a cushion to hide behind, it's time for Gavin and Katya. Katya is wearing a crazy hat, which makes me think of Kim Cattrall in Mannequin. I'm hoping for a full-on tribute to the film, danced to Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, although it would be confusing as to which of them was impersonating the shop dummy. Ahahahahahaha. Sorry Gavin. When it becomes clear from their training VT that Gavin is going to attempt a death-defying, Kenny Logan-style one-armed lift, I wonder if Katya's hat is an elaborately disguised crash helmet, but no, she discards it early on in the routine.
Their dance starts with Gavin playing a rock star, miming along to the singers. You just know that what's running through his little orange head is : 'Yes! I'm Peter Andre!' When they attempt The Lift, it is very shaky, and you sense that Katya's life is flashing before her eyes, and she is wondering why she wasted so much of it trying to teach Gavin Henson to dance.
Now it's time for Scott and Nata... oh.
Oh no. Please no.
I think we all knew that this was going to happen tonight, but none of us wanted to face up to it.
Bruce starts dancing.
Some of the comments in the room where I am watching include:
'THAT'S NOT DANCING, THAT'S JUST SHUFFLING!'
'YOU CAN SEE THAT IN ANY OLD PEOPLE'S HOME UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY.'
It is a mercifully short performance, though, and there is no singing.
Come on, everyone. It's over now. We're all OK. A little shaken up, but we've lived to tell the tale. This will only make us stronger.
And here are Scott and Natalie, with their samba. Despite impressive chest-shimmying (technical term), Scott is just not as bendy as the Baker. Scott is not bendy enough to bend over and lace up Matt Baker's bendy boots. It is disappointing, but Alesha and Bruno still give them a 9. CHRIST.
Pamela and James dance a cheeky come-hither American Smooth to Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps. Will the people who regularly sing karaoke with me in small rooms in Soho remind me to try this next time? Thanks. It's great, but there's a bit of ungainly pre-lift action, so we're slightly surprised that they get a couple of 10s. Less surprised that they're from Alesha and Bruno, obviously. James is stoked, though, and it's hard to begrudge him and Pamela their scores. Obviously I'll have a good try though.
Ann and Anton close the show. Normally, you are only forced to turn away from the screen when they actually start dancing. But this week, well, their costumes are something else. Ann is wearing a shade of yellow I can only describe as furious. Anton is wearing gold trousers that I can only describe as gold. In their VT, as Ann's feistiness is highlighted, the backing music is Bigmouth Strikes Again by The Smiths. I'm distracted by the idea of Ann and Anton waltzing to the maudlin strains of Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me? Or, perhaps, a cha-cha-cha to Girlfriend In A Coma?
I can't really say much about Ann and Anton's samba, other than it ends with Ann sprawled on the floor, canary-yellow undercarriage centre-stage and camera-wards. I will merely report the words of the male faction of our party, spoken with the terrible eyes of a haunted man: 'I have seen up Ann Widdecombe's skirt.'
None of us, now, can ever go back.
So that is this week's Saturday night show. In other Strictly news, though, let us pay tribute to Harry from McFly's Children In Need paso with Ola Jordan. Harry is my second favourite member of McFly after Tom. Tom is the brains of the outfit. I like brains.
Let us also rejoice in news of the Strictly Christmas special – not so much in the line-up (still no Madeley, though booking June Brown is genius) but specifically the return of homoerotic overlord (see November 2nd's write-up) Matthew Cutler. Let joy be unconfined. And, like, ding-dong merrily on high.