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The Hosting:While it is always nice to see Tess in a frock that doesn’t (ahem) “hug” her midriff, I can’t help but think that Saturday’s blue number would have been better if it actually fitted on the bust. Those in-built cups are supposed to emphasise a décolletage, not undermine it, dear. Le sigh.
Sunday’s salmon-inspired number merely made her look like a salmon. It was the sequins as scales that did it, but at least it distracted me from her increasingly frantic gurning for a few minutes.
Winkleman, you may have noticed, almost always plays it safe in monochrome. Her personality is colourful enough, and I mean that as the highest form of praise. Not keen on the hair though.
Oh, and Brucie was there on Saturday too. Yep, the BBC once again saw fit to resurrect Britain’s most irritating cadaver, begging the questions:
1) What does he have on them?
2) Who did he sleep with then blackmail at the BBC?
3) And, most importantly, is there a way for us all to join forces to undo the hex this foul necromancer has put upon British television?
I have the tea lights if you have the spell book.
The Judging:Having not seen the show for a few weeks I’m forced to ask, has Craig had more plastic surgery? Were there bandages and scarring during the weeks I was tv-blind? It looks like he’s been at something a bit more serious than the Touche Eclat this time.
I do like that, in spite of much criticism and apparently not enjoying being a judge much at all, Darcey’s still trying to remain constructive. I especially like that she can’t help being a bit filthy about it when it comes to judging the male contestants: Nicky needs to be a bit more lustful?
Bruno meanwhile continues to be the most energetic and eccentric presence on the panel, throwing himself around in the style of a man who would once have only have been able to find gainful employment in the circus.
This leaves us with head judge Len, a consistent source of both fairness and irritability. Word on the street (studio floor) suggests he’s still sneaking pickled walnuts between performances. That’d make anyone a bit grumpy.
The Dancing:If ever a woman was built to dance the jive dressed as a forties-style Vargas-glamour-cutie, Kimberly Walsh was. The costume team must adore her because week-in-week-out, she looks gorgeous.
Her jumping jive, performed with Pasha Kovalev, to Sha-na-na-na-nah (which Mr. F tells me is actually called Land of a Thousand Dances, which is far less catchy) was energetic and exuberant. The lively number was perfect to open the show with, even though I think Pasha will regret that bloody hair cut in a few years’ time.
Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone were next up, dancing the Viennese Waltz to That’s Amore, a song that perfectly embodied Vinnie’s inveterate cheesiness. Happily, Dani’s frock - a frothy pink confection - totally distracted me from it.
Their waltz was a pretty enough rendering of what is traditionally a fairly boring dance but I think Dani’s feet let her down when it came to kicks.
I still haven’t entirely warmed to the show’s tiniest dynamo, and feel that a teeny bit more grace wouldn’t go amiss but have to applaud the hard work she’s putting in to continually improve her high-scoring performances.
Michael Vaughan and his partner, lovely blonde Australian Natalie Lowe followed. Their Samba was to Tequila. I’d tell you more but his shirt was really distracting. Not in a good way, in an ugly ironic-stag-party-wear type of way. That, combined with his ungainly hip swivelling, put me off a bit.
Moving on, Nicky Byrne and Karen Hauer appeared to defend their reputation as “alright, actually” after last week’s Charleston. The Argentine Tango (Nicky’s north-Dublinese pronunciation of ‘Argentine Tango’ was priceless, btw) is never an easy dance, and Karen’s decision to choreograph their number to Skyfall by Adele had me holding me breath to see if they could pull it off because it doesn’t sound that easy a song to dance to.
Thank God then that Karen Hauer’s in charge of their moves, not me. The boy done good, even if he is still a wee bit clumsy, and as Craig put it, “stompy”. Never the best at emoting, Nicky really has done his best to improve on his storytelling and technique. Not convinced he’ll make it to the final, though.
Extra marks to the costume department too, because the couple looked amazing. I’ve never seen a more glamorous outfit than Karen’s outside of a Bond film.
Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor were up next with a quick-step to Bring Me Sunshine (the theme to Morecambe and Wise). I loathe that song and worried that after the couple’s poor show last week, this be the un-doing of them.
But, aw, what a joyful performance! I swear to God, the government should pay this pair to appear on TV for ten minutes every week day morning. Depression rates amongst the general population would DROP.
She’s not technically the best, and this far into the competition it’s starting to tell but, fuck it, I. Love. Them.
The couple most obviously destined to be in the final, Denise van Outen, and James Jordan, were up next Salsa-ing to The Rhythm of the Night by Gloria Estefan. I got confused for about ten seconds cos, for some reason, I thought it was Mr. Vane by Culture Beat and got a little over-excited.
Following that, everything seems like a letdown but it has to be said, Denise is technically very, very skilled even when it comes to lifts.
I’m surprised that she made a few mistakes during the number because I had thought the Salsa would be her spirit dance. Nice of James to admit that some of the error was on his side.
The final couple of the evening was Louis Smith and Flavia Caccace, whose Charleston I've been waiting for. As physically talented a performer as Louis is always going to make interesting viewing when it comes to a dance like this.
Extra points to Flavia for finally taking on board Tory’s observation that Louis usually looks like a “Lord sniffing a turd” when he dances, and hiring an acting coach to work on his facial expressions. The boy can dance but God knows he needed one.
Favourites:Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor fo’ life.
Least Favourites:I’m actually a bit sick of Denise shouting, “I’ve never had any traaaaaiiiining!” then spinning like a top when she hits the dancefloor.
The Dance Off:An all-boys dance off this week, with an ungainly Michael Vaughan coming up against an equally clumsy Nicky Byrne.
The Results:And it’s Michael and his alarming hip movements’ time to go. Guaranteed, I won’t even remember he appeared at all by this time next week.
Quote of the Week:Bruce: “It’s three weeks to the final!” Eeeeek!
Follow Alisande on Twitter - @alisandef.