Yes, I know - a week on, this is a bit late - and because I am off in a bit to the Strictly Roadshow in Edinburgh, it's going to be a bit short, but I wanted to at least get something down before this week's show. Unfortunately I won't be able to watch it live tonight as I'll be with my daughter at Doctor Who Live at the SECC. We had originally booked for Thursday night so as to avoid this sort of clash but the performance was cancelled so we had to rearrange.
Anyway, back to last week.Tess is back to the short dresses. This week it was greyish brown satin that was a bit like a bathrobe on back to front. If that doesn't sound very appealing, well, it wasn't. Sorry, Tess.
First to dance were Matt and Aliona with a wickedly filthy foxtrot that ended up with Aliona on top of Matt on the floor. It was very sexy, sultry and seductive, although the clash of Aliona's pink/red hair and her purple dress was a bit distracting. The bit at the end where Matt jumped on top of Aliona was really spectacular. On It Takes Two, it was pointed out that Aliona clearly trusted him because he was using his gymnastic skills to stop himself from hurting her. If that move had gone wrong, he would have landed on her with a hell of a force. Their 31 was well deserved.
Next up were Peter and Erin whose Salsa was as uncomfortable to watch as I expected it to be. Erin was doing a lot of the work with Peter looking clumsy and very laboured in places. I couldn't work out whether he was enjoying it or was embarrassed by what he was doing. He doesn't really seem to have found his hips, either. Craig was a bit mean by saying that it looked like he'd broken his ankle, but it couldn't really have been marked any higher than 17.
When Tina and Jared were shown just before their dance, Tina's fixed grin didn't fill me with confidence. She actually said to Tess later that she didn't know if it looked like a grimace or not - it had. However the dance was much more confident. The bits out of hold where they were shadowing each other were really pretty - and Len picked up on them so I must have been right. They ended up with 26.
One of the biggest surprise of the night was Patsy Kensit. Gone was the nervous, needy lady from last week and she rocked! Apparently she and Robin had had only a few hours' training because she was filming her final scenes in Holby. It looked great superficially and I enjoyed her dance because she did, but despite the sultriness, beneath the surface thee wasn't that much in the way of Salsa content, her arm placement wasn't very good. The gimmicks and drop at the end were very eye catching, though. I felt that their 28 for it was a bit over generous, but I loved it.
Paul and Ola's foxtrot was much better than I thought it was going to be. Again, the 21 was a bit more than it should have got, but Paul did well for someone who really doesn't get rhythm and beat, which you really need in a Foxtrot. It was quite pleasant and it was very funny when he put in earplugs at the end so he couldn't hear the judges' comments. I creased up when Bruno asked him why he couldn't do it well all the way through and Paul replied "because I can't remember it".
From sweet ballroom to another cracking salsa from Scott and Natalie. They looked very hot in their checked shirts and Nat's glittery skin tight trousers. However, I'm not sure that Scott's vest was strictly necessary. I mean, it can't have been so cold in the studio that he needed a vest and a shirt open to his navel, surely? This was sexy, energetic and fun and I loved the start on the mezzanine. Those two have a fantastic connection and chemistry. I felt it lost momentum for a wee bit in the middle but it thoroughly deserved 32. As the song they danced to says, "Let's hear it for the boy....."
Michelle to be honest sat on her backside on the park bench they'd brought in for too long while Brendan did all the pizzazzy bits like sliding down the banister. They also danced to It has to be you which, and this is not their fault, was used by Anton and Patsy Palmer for their American Smooth the week they went out so it makes me cry. It was much better with their Cha Cha Cha once it got going though with some fast footwork.
Goldie & Kristina's foxtrot had a kind of sleazy smokiness to it, which wasn't a bad thing. Their hold wasn't fabulous, with loads of gapping and it was quite patchy with some bits being nailed and others not being so good. Craig loved the choreography and commended Goldie for trying to go off on his heels.
Pamela and James would any other night have been my absolute favourite dance of the night, but they have to share the top billing with Ann and Anton, but more of that later.Their pre dance training clip showed more very funny banter between them about who was in control. The routine started with James lying on the judges' desk and Pamela approaching in a doctor's coat - which she soon ripped off to reveal a fabulous full scarlet salsa dress split to the thigh which was incredibly well designed. Their dance was so good and they really conveyed the party spirit. I want to go to a carnival in Rio with that woman. She did some complicated stuff - floor slides, great hips, beautiful arm placement and spins. One move nearly ended in disaster. She'd spun round, on the floor and when she got up it looked like she was going to fall over. Undaunted, even though she was teetering and trying to regain her balance, she shimmied and smiled and managed stay upright. That will be one of the classic moments of this series and was much laughed about on Monday's ITT. All the people who thought that she was going to be a ballroom girl and her Latin would be rubbish were crying into their beer. I actually want to see her win this series with the promise and spirit she's shown so far. Their 32 propelled them into the overall lead for the two dances.
Felicity and Vincent's foxtrot wasn't as convincing as the Cha Cha Cha. It was a bit walky in places but still very cute. I just love them even though they only managed 25.
And now for the moment of all 8 series of Strictly and possibly the tv moment of the year if not the decade - Ann and Anton's Salsa. The clip of Anton saying to Ann "I'd like you to take out the heaving if you could" to Ann in training had me in fits of giggles before they even started dancing. Their song, Mambo Italiano, slowed down a bit seemed out of place with Ann in a long blue dress and shoes with a very low heel. I had been disappointed earlier that Anton's shirt was buttoned up to the neck as I thought he'd have gone for as much gratuitous chest flashing as possible. He did rip open his shirt and then Ann gave him a searing look of disapproval, wagged her finger, and did it up again. She did, however, get to touch it. That alone makes me jealous of her.
You could see them talking and laughing together all the way through. At times Ann looked a bit like a child, and Anton looked like he was encouraging her through. They seemed to lose what little momentum they had at the end, though, which we found out much later that they'd missed a great load out. The routine ended with Anton spinning Ann round several times - a risky manoeuvre given that they could hardly afford to lose the points.
The whole thing was hilarious and bless Anton for his talented choreography. That man knows how to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. Ann came out fighting to the judges "Don't bother, you haven't got a zero, just give us 1 and be done with it" she said to Craig, who actually laughed. He replied that he couldn't find one single word in the English language which described what 10 million people had just seen.
Ann wanted to do a salsa that Queen Victoria would have watched without blushing - but I think she'd have needed smelling salts for a different reason. Their 12 was a fair mark for the dancing but it deserved a 40 for the entertainment value.
Following that, was a brilliant foxtrot from Kara and Artem. She made heel turns look easy and she and Artem have a gorgeous chemistry. They deserved their 32.
The less said about Gavin and Katya's salsa the better. His comment "I hate the salsa" in the training footage set the scene. His hips looked set in concrete and the whole thing was so lacklustre that not even Katya's barely there pink dress and flashing his abs could rescue it. I so want him to go. That is a minute and a half of my life I am not going to get back.
The show ended with Jimi and Flavia dancing to Fever. This was much hotter than Henson's and believably sexy. I wonder if Flavia is sexing things up to match Natalie and Aliona. If so, more power to her elbow. It looked great, lots of fast footwork, it matched the music well and was well acted, earning them 30.
It was a great show - and I am wondering if this could shape up to be the best series ever.