The Hosting:We know the drill: Tess in a rotten dress. This week’s offering was a flesh-coloured number with an applique bodice that made me feel a bit queasy every time she appeared on-screen. However, it didn't do anything odd to her boobs. In Strictlyland this is A Result.
Also: Bruce doddering around the place of a Saturday, clumsily backtracking when someone he’d previously insulted turned up. This week it was Nancy Dell’Olio. He didn’t look sorry, she didn’t look sober. Same old, same old.
The Judging:The standard of dance this week has generally improved to the point where the judges were forced to either get really critical again, or be rather nice to everyone who deserved it. On this occasion Bruno and Darcy opted to be nice, with Len erring on the side of fairness.
And, is it me, or is the usual panto-villain, Craig Revel Horwood, really making an effort to be fairer these days? I have no idea how to react to this turn of events.
The Dancing:I should preface this week’s recap by saying (OK, ranting) that I don’t particularly enjoy dance fusion routines, and was not happy to hear they were being introduced to the British show.
First up were Denise van Outen and James Jordan, who’d opted to fuse together a Jive and Quickstep to the delightful strains of Jackie Wilson’s classic Reet Petite. A delightfully lively routine set to a fucking brilliant song.
However, the judges were right - Denise’s Jive did massively outshine her quickstep. Also – and this could have been the hangover – I found the glittery pattern on her dress distracting. Like someone had covered the patterns on my nanna’s curtains in glitter, then sewn them into a particularly gruesome party dress.
Yay, then, for Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor, who both looked gorgeous in glittery blue numbers, before Lisa whipped off the bottom half of hers to reveal a skirt made of silver fringing, all the better to burn the disco down to the sounds of Abba’s Voulez-Vous in.
They’re my favourite couple ever to have appeared on Strictly but I do still think that as we get to the final, Lisa’s enthusiasm is less than matched by her ability. In terms of sheer speed, it seemed like she was struggling to keep up with super-fast Robin this week.
Nicky Byrne and Karen Hauer were up next, having apparently combined Troublemaker by Olly Murs with something by Flo-Rida to perform an American Smooth/Samba fusion.
It was about as good as that probably sounds, which is a shame ‘cos Nicky seems like a dude, and I’d really warmed to his presence as the series went on.
Of everyone, this couple most resembled a newly-wed couple in a Youtube video who’d decided to surprise their wedding guests by performing an awkwardly choreographed mash-up of a dance routine, instead of awkwardly waltzing through their first dance. That’s as un-snarky as I can possibly be about it.
Following them were titchy troopers Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone. They danced a “Quick-ston” (a fusion of the Quickstep and the Charleston) to Happy Feet. Dani - whose confidence has rightly grown over the course of the show - looked absolutely marvellous.
Their renderings of the dances were seamlessly choreographed into a very speedy and impressive performance indeed that Darcy rightly deemed, “Extraordinary!” and Bruno called, “Perfection.”
It was my favourite routine of the night and I actually applauded the television when it ended. I really thought she deserved that standing ovation and those 10s from Bruno and Darcy (Len and Craig each gave ‘em 9).
It was never going to be easy to follow a performance like that, especially since Louis Smith, who doesn’t rate himself as much of a catch, had been asked to perform a combo of two of the sexier dances on the spectrum, the Tango and the Rumba.
He’s not my type but if Olympic Gold for gymnastics doesn’t make a boy turn player, I don’t know what will.
The routine was gorgeous and made excellent use of a much over-played song (don’t pretend Ross from Friends didn’t kill U2’s With Or Without You because that is just how it is) and managed to imply a bond between them that I don’t think really exists.
Nice work, Flav. Still don’t fancy him, though.
Last up were Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev, dancing a stunning Cha Cha/ Tango fusion to hen party anthem It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls. Christ, I love these two. They’re so well-matched and, like Dani, Kimberly’s technical abilities improve all the time.
According to Bruno, this was “the dance of the season so far!” It even got a standing ovation from Head Judge Len, before going on to score top marks from all four judges. Dislike Kimberley Walsh if you must, but do not deny her.
Favourites:Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev. Let’s not mess around. They are the best pair to grace the dancefloor since Aleesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler way back when.
Lisa Riley, even though I think she’ll probably only be with us for another week. Has any competitor ever looked so consistently happy while appearing? I want the BBC to bottle her attitude so I can drink it instead of Rosé.
In the interest of full disclosure, absolutely no readers may like to know that her pro partner Robin is now my imaginary gay boyfriend. We give each other advice on shoes and then pay each other lots of compliments. It’s quite fabulous.
Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone. Such a great performance from Dani this week.
Least Favourites:Nicky and Karen were the show’s weakest competitors this week, which made me a bit sad ‘cos they’re a likeable pair.
The Dance Off:Denise versus Nicky…
The Results:Nicky, who’s performance really was that bad, is the latest celeb to leave in a blaze of glory puff of second rate magician’s smoke. Well, yeah…
Quotes of the Week:“The climax at the end. Oh yes, you’re masterful.” Judge Bruno to Louis Smith after his tango-rumba.
“Your arms were delicious.” Judge Darcy, also to Louis.
I’ve only picked these for the pervery.
Are you still watching the show? Fancying any of the competitors?
Alisande is tweeting about her imaginary friendships with the pro-dancers @AlisandeF.