Monday, 28 November 2011

This week on It Takes Two, we have learnt...

- When she first started training, Anita fell over every time she turned around, apparently. This is why she never attempted the maze at Hampton Court Palace - she'd have been there for hours.
- Rent-A-Pro is looking to partner either Jason or Harry in the final. HARRY PLZ, THX.
- Craig thinks Harry has a chance of getting a 10 from him in the next few weeks. As long as he sorts his dodgy left foot and sticky-up thumb out.
- 'Sayonara' is another word that Craig says with a very odd inflection.
- Craig has advised Jason not to do any more kicks in his routines because they're just clearly not working out for him.
- The decision to kick Robbie out of the swingathon first was unanimous amongst the judges.
- This year's pro dancer challenge is to see who can do the most botafogos in 30 seconds, to see if any of them can break the world record. Natalie went first, and managed 63 (with no disqualifications), Aliona got 64 (with 5 of her original total being disallowed for not being fully into the floor - always a rule-breaker, that Aliona), Erin got 51 (no confirmation given on whether she had any disqualifications or not), Ola got 64 (with no disqualifications)
- James thinks people voted for Alex's charleston because they thought it definitely didn't deserve a six. I personally didn't vote, but I can understand that train of thought: personally I thought it deserved a five at the most.
- Pretty Woman is not James's favourite movie. Neither is Ghost.
- Hats are a nemesis to any dancer, according to Karen. She should get together with Gareth Gates and form some sort of anti-hat league.
- All the couples had a say in what they wore for the swingathon.
- "Just because something is released recently doesn't mean it's new." Actually, Artem, it sort of does.
- The phrase "B Movie" means something very different where Holly comes from.
- Holly can't handle any more of Artem's pole. FNAR.
- Ian has had lots of smaller partners in the past. FNAR AGAIN.
- No male celebrity in the history of the show has ever got a 10 for the rumba. (Unless we're counting Christmas specials, in which case Matt Di Angelo got three.)
- The cameras didn't actually catch Jason's "disahhhhhstrous" kick section during his charleston.
- Ola can't say Reservoir Dogs.
- Robbie thinks that if he made the final, then Ola would be the first female pro to make it to the final twice. Poor Erin and Lilia - so much for their legacy. :(
- Holly's been looking forward to the paso doble since the beginning of the competition. Could we have finally found the one thing she's actually invested in?
- Aliona was not nodding when Craig said that Harry had a lazy left foot; she was convulsing with laughter.
- Harry feels a compulsion to sing and/or drum along to 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)'.
- Harry first started to go to "black-tie events" around the age of 12. SO VERY MIDDLE CLASS.
- Zoe wants to do Celebrity Wife Swap with Tom from McFly.
- Chris Hollins rehearsed his paso doble so much that he got cape burn.
- Audley, Dan, Jason and Rory all asked Chris what it takes to win Strictly. He gave them his advice. Only one of them is still in the competition.
- Holly thinks she and Craig share a similar dry, sarcastic sense of humour. GIVE THESE TWO A SITCOM NOW.
- Watching James and Artem recreate the "swimming" part of Chris and Ola's charleston is disappointly unerotic.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Dob be gone to me

Top 7: 26th November 2011

Last week: BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY! It was the biggest ever Strictly on record and raised lots of money for charity, which is of course to be applauded, but it was also kind of epically rubbish and involved almost everyone getting a bit dwarfed by their surroundings, to the point where Alex Jones managed to top the leaderboard. Alex Jones! I mean, I like her and everything, but that's just madness. Meanwhile, in the greatest result of the series so far, people finally tired of Russell Grant's aggressive humility and obnoxious need to be the centre of attention at all times, and invited him to climb back into that fucking cannon and fire himself right out of the competition. Hooray British public! Incidentally, the music editors - excelling themselves as always - choose to soundtrack this turn of event with Cee-Lo Green's 'Forget You', showing Russell peeking through Flavia's legs on "forget you" and the upside down Flavia on "forget her too". I laugh at this for two solid minutes, and make a mental note to send them a Christmas present this year to thank them for all the joy they've given me.

This week: the Duchess of Cornwall turned up and apparently knew stuff about the show, which is lovely, and now "the magnificent seven" (oh dear) are coming out with "all guns blazing". They've got two dances this week, except one of them is the swing-a-thon, so it's more like one-and-a-half, if that. Shots of rehearsal footage (hey, remember that?) are shown to illustrate how excited/scared everyone is of the impending high-octane dance-off, and as always, Holly looks like she couldn't give less of a shit if she were constipated. Hooray for Holly!

Titles! Can we cut Russell Grant out of these as well please?

We're back in Television Centre, thank GOD, and we have a Bruce and also a Tess. Daly Dresswatch: bizarre, quite frankly. There's a pink halter top that just about reaches the underside of her boobs, and then the rest of her is covered up in a navy blue floor-length skirt accessorised with a gold belt. None of these things are particularly offensive in their own right, but as an ensemble it doesn't work in the slightest. Bruce barks at the audience to be seated, so that he can insist they all get up again at the end of every performance later. Tess opines that Wembley was "great", and Bruce cracks a laboured and unfunny joke. It's nice that things are back to normal, isn't it?

Bruce and Tess remind us that each couple dances twice tonight, and Tess giggles excitedly as she predicts that it "could be carnage". This is about the most invested in the show Tess has ever sounded, and it happens at a time when she's hoping for disaster and injury. I think this is a side of Tess I could get on board with, you know. Time to meet the stars of our show, then: Chelsee and Pasha, the latter of whom is in a velvet smoking jacket and doing funny things to me already; Holly and Artem, in another red-and-black colour scheme which could be an attempt to recapture the glory days of their jive; Harry and Aliona, in a light-blue/dark-blue/red colour scheme that does neither of them any favours, to be honest; Anita and Rent-A-Pro Brendan Cole; Robbie and Ola's Boobs (seriously, they are ready to take someone's eye out tonight); Alex and James, dressed as pistachio-flavour ice-cream; and Jason and Kristina, giving me new and fertile ground on which to test my "never trust a man dressed in white" theory.

As Bruce and Tess read out the rules once more, I'm struck by the idea that Tess's styling, in both the hair and costume areas, is intended to suggest Beyoncé this week. Maybe it's just the way she's standing. Either way, I don't think it quite works, but it's nice that they had a go, at least. Tess informs us that Karen Hardy is joined by Sara Cox this week. Typical - the one week I'd actually be quite interested to hear the guest commenter's opinions (what? I love Sara Cox, sue me) is the week I wasn't actually at home to watch the show live. Life can be so cruel.

Our first couple for the week is Anita and Brendan. Bruce explains that Robin is injured and that is why Brendan's here, before running through a long and complicated explanation of Brendan's history of coupling on the show this year, which would've been funnier if he hadn't been quite so obviously peering at the autocue throughout. In her VT, Anita recalls how joyous it was to have 6000 people cheering her on last week at WEMBLEY, and how she thought "you're never going to get this opportunity again", perhaps sharing the opinion of many viewers that she was likely to have been eliminated last week. However, like Elton John, St Jill of Halfpenny, Harry Judd, Our Fabulous Singers Dave Arch, And His Wonderful Orchestra, she's still standing, better than she ever did. Whether she's dancing better than she ever did, on the other hand, we're yet to discover. This week, Robin's dead or ill or something, and that's cue for a comic-style section in which Professional Dancer and Superhero Brendan Cole is summoned to the rescue of poor desperate Anita so that she may continue to dance. He rehearses in a suit of armour, which leads me to suspect that it's not actually Brendan at all, but that Russell Grant secretly poisoned Robin's foot and staged this whole thing just so he could sneak back onto the show in disguise. Give it up, Russell, you know you'll just give yourself away the second you insist on thanking THE WONDERFUL MAKE-UP TEAM WHO HAVE JUST BEEN SO WONDERFUL AND SUPPORTIVE TO LITTLE OLD ME. Meanwhile, Anita reminds us that the Duchess of Cornwall came to visit and called her an inspiration to older women. Apparently the DoC (that's what I'm calling her now) scored everyone's rehearsals, and gave them all nines. Somewhere in the USA, Jennifer Grey is clearly not watching any of this, but no doubt internally cackling at the idea that she's somehow managed to be the more discerning guest judge of the series. Anita vows to do her best for Robin, and sends him get well soon wishes.

She and Brendan are dancing the cha-cha-cha to 'Uptown Girl'. Rhythmically it's good, but there's not a lot of bounce in Anita's footwork. It may be for this reason that the whole dance just feels a little bit lifeless - the energy is lacking, and frequently the top half of Anita's body feels like a bit of an afterthought, there's not enough definition in her free arm, and while Brendan is giving it a suitable amount of Brendanity, the whole thing just comes off a bit muddled. Obviously I appreciate that it's hard to dance with a new partner, and probably even harder for Anita than it was for Holly, because I think Anita was probably far more invested in (a) the competition and (b) her partner than Holly ever was, but all the same, this is a let-down, sadly. Brendan's microphone is live at the end, so we hear him screaming "well done you!" the second it ends, which is sweet.

A woman behind Bruce steadfastly refuses to participate in the standing ovation, which amuses me. Bruce welcomes the fabulous singers and orchestra, as well as the judges. Bruce reminds us that last week we witnessed Len dancing with Craig, and tells Len it was very funny, before pulling out a card and reading to Craig that "you need to work on your heel leads and your arm placement, darling." Somehow the use of the card made that at least twice as funny. Len commends Brendan on coming to Anita's rescue, and says that he loved the routine and that it was full of content, saying that she coped well with the solo actions, but she needs to straighten her legs more in order to get better hip action. Alesha, whose hair is looking excellent this week, though the abundance of purple eyeshadow is making her look kind of sleepy, says that she has similar issues with this routine to those she had last week: it was a bit messy in places, and she's still not sure if Anita's embodying the spirit of it all through her body rather than her face, but it was "pleasant" and had "lots of basic steps". That's Alesha-speak for "I loathed it", isn't it? GIVE IT A TWO, ALESHA, YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO! Bruno liked the liveliness of it and the abundance of content, as well as the chemistry of Brendan. "Brendan goes with everything," he purrs, as though he's wondering how well Brendan might go with Bruno later. He agrees that she needs to stretch the back of her legs in order to get more precision. Craig thinks it lacked pressure on the balls of the feet and a lack of sharpness in her finishes, as well as no true dynamic, but he thought she had fantastic turns. Bruno disagrees with the critical parts of this and starts chatting to someone behind him, asking what they think. Oh Bruno, you adorable weirdo. Bruce tells Brendan that he's "irreplaceable", and dispatches them up to the Tess Circle. Which, incidentally, is located to the left, to the left.

Anita says it's been an amazing week, and thanks Brendan for helping out. She gives us a Robin Status Update, saying that he's much better, but just frustrated not to be here. Tess asks Brendan about tactics for the swingathon, and Brendan says that anything goes. Scores: Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 7, Bruno 8 for a total of 30. Tess reads out a "message" (i.e. tweet) from Robin: "I'm so overwhelmingly proud of Anita, that was FABULOUS, it's so hard being this side of the TV." I notice that Erin, Anton, Natalie and Katya are all visible in the background. Intriguing.

Next are Holly and Artem. Bruce tells a terrible joke, Holly rolls her eyes and shakes her head at it. British public, I despair of you: how could you let this woman be in the bottom two? We NEED HER. In possibly the finest work the music editors have done all year, Holly's VT is soundtracked with Transvision Vamp's 'Baby I Don't Care'. [This was amazing. - Carrie] She needs to cover that for her alleged upcoming third studio album. Hey, it worked for Jennifer Ellison. Holly says that hearing about her lack of commitment every week is getting frustrating (credit to her for saying this without laughing out loud) and that being in the bottom two last week made it "an exciting night". Artem says that she needs to get over trying to be safe, and in training, tells her to "go full-out this time, please." Holly, groaning: "That was my full-out." Heeheehee. Holly wonders why she can't let go. I'm surprised they don't get eminent psychologist Dr Pamela Stephenson in to help her through this...oh no, wait, I'm totally not. Obviously, this VT has been far too focused on actual rehearsal, and we can't have that, so it's LOLZ TIME! Holly pretends to have been very hurt by "this time in high school" (committing to "internal anguish" about as much as she committed to "devastated to being in the bottom two") and we flash back to a school disco where Holly was a nerd who danced crazily, and Artem (in school uniform, looking attractive in an entirely inappropriate way) refused to dance with her for that reason. Then we go back to rehearsals, impressively quickly, and Holly expresses her "hope" that the judges see her committing to the foxtrot this week.

They're dancing to 'Mamma Knows Best' by overexposed annoyance Jessie J, and making the vampiest entrance in the show's history. It's lovely, but the problem is that it is the build-up to a foxtrot, and foxtrots are boring. Artem's done his best to make it choreographically interesting, with a partial neck-drop that leads into a kick section and stuff like that, but it's still a foxtrot. Still, Holly has actually delivered on her promise to look like she actually remembers where she is this week - who knew? Afterwards, Bruce asks Artem how he is, and Artem says he's great, with Holly adding "he's doing really well", which makes it sound like she's the one teaching him to dance and cracks me up all over again.

Alesha thought it was seductive, demure and alluring, and while she wasn't sure the song would work with this style of dance, but Holly owned it. Bruce calls her a "sassy teaser", and loved that she went from vamping to restrained intensity in the routine, giving him everything he wanted to see. Craig was concerned by the music too, finding it detrimental, but he thought the routine was fantastic. Len says "there was a time that I was a bit of a funketeer" (LOL NO) and that the bit of foxtrot she did was good, but what your eyes were seeing and what your ears were hearing didn't really match up. I love that the feedback for this dance was largely "I liked it, but please don't let Jessie J ruin our show ever again." I must admit, as much as I'm hoping The Voice UK will break the BBC's poor track record with adapted formats (Fame Academy, So You Think You Can Dance, etc), knowing that she'll be there throughout going "MORE ATTENTION? DON'T MIND IF I DO! (IT LIKE A MAN DEM MAN DEM ETC)" all the way through is worrying me a lot. [I have no idea who Jessie J is. I'm middle-aged and proud of it. - Carrie]

Up in the Tess Circle, Tess asks Holly if she felt she had a point to prove after last week's trip to the bottom two. That was pretty much the whole point of her VT, Tess. Pay attention. Holly says that she just wanted to let go and do as she was told for once, and she thinks she did; Artem concurs. Scores: Craig 8, Len 8, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 34. Holly is very happy with that. Tess brings up the whole "seven people left" thing again and asks who feels lucky tonight, gesturing behind her. No one responds, and Holly finds this hilarious.

Next, we have Alex and James - on in the first half of the show again. Actually-quite-good Brucie joke ahoy: "Alex is desperate to get through to next week. I said, 'is that because you want to be one step nearer the final?' She said, 'no, it'll be my turn to dance with Brendan.'" Alex found Wembley nerve-wracking but a great experience, and was amazed by the comments she got from Craig, and when the nines started coming out, she thought she was going to pass out. This week, she's got the charleston, which she's been keen to do ever since signing up for the competition, but training does not seem to be going brilliantly. "The dream dance is turning into a bit of a nightmare," admits Alex. She explains that her arms and legs are (unintentionally) moving in different directions, and that it's a bit like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time - and to prove her point, she attempts to do just that and fails. Oh, Alex. You're hopeless, but darn it if you haven't completely won me over on this show. The VT ends, without a comedy skit in sight. Blimey.

They're dancing to 'Me And My Baby' from Chicago. There's a lot of business involving bowler hats at the beginning. The actual dancing is interesting, because while the charleston is obviously supposed to be all about the rubber limbs, Alex's Olive Oyl-style flailing somehow manages to still not quite be precise enough to look good. James suggests that his bag of charleston choreography tricks is rather limited by pulling out a lift remarkably similar to one that he did with Pamela Stephenson last year, where Alex goes over his shoulders and holds onto his back, upside-down, with her legs in the air. Dismounting from this proves to be a particular challenge for Alex. Then, bizarrely, she and James put on new hats from nearby hatstands, at which point Hat No. 2 possesses Alex and makes her really quite good at the charleston. I don't entirely understand it. Unfortunately, after about thirty seconds, this hat is discarded too and swapped for a top hat, at which point Alex loses all of her skills again. Is there a number I can call to vote for Hat No. 2? I think it's earned a next place in next week's competition.

Bruno thinks it had a goofy, vaudevillian feel to it, though he thought Alex lost timing on her swivel. Saucy. Craig felt Alex took a step backwards tonight, because her precision and finishes went out the window. He doesn't think she properly understood the dance and the way that everything needs to be exaggerated. Len thought it was fun and entertaining with a lot going on, though he agrees that it was lacking in detail. Alesha loved the quirkiness of it and thinks the charleston could've been made for a personality like Alex's. She adds that she's loving the partnership that Alex and James have developed.

They skip up to the Tess Circle, where Alex says that she loved it and would happily do it all over again. James pulls a positively Len-worthy face in response to Craig's criticism of it as "mediocre" and bitches about how everyone else likes them, so it's obviously just Craig who needs to get a sense of humour. *IRONY KLAXON SOUNDS* Scores: Craig 6, Len 7, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 29. James thinks it was better than the score it got, because obviously he's entirely impartial in this scenario, and reminds us that he's "a very honest person". I must be further estranged from the truth than Rebekah Brooks (POLITICAL SATIRE!) then, because if anything I thought the judges were being generous. That routine was about one-third of a good charleston, at the absolute most.

Next we have Robbie and Ola. Another half-way decent Brucie joke: Robbie's considering doing Who Do You Think You Are?, because I likes the idea of a whole show devoted to looking at his roots. Hey, I promised that I'd only recap the gags if they were funny, and I think the scriptwriters were on form tonight, so I'm just being a man of my word. I'm like James Jordan; I can't help being real. Last week, Robbie felt like Robbie Williams (by which I assume he means bloated, prone to embarrassing himself on stage, and inexplicably keen on Jonathan Wilkes). He gave his performance last week everything, and says that his next target is BLACKPOOL. Good grief, are we BLACKPOOL-ing already? When just last week you were telling WEMBLEY that it was the one? You are such a player, Robert William Savage. This week, rather than training, Robbie and Ola went to visit his parents, because his father is ill so they can't make it down to the show every week. Robbie's mum is over the moon to see him dancing, and says that she was quite the dancer in her day, but not so much any more. It is established that Robbie's relationship with his mum is one in which he is a sarky git and she slaps his arm every time he gives her cheek. Sounds familiar.

They're dancing the samba to 'You Sexy Thing'. We get a very early indication that this routine is not going to be very good when it opens with Robbie standing in one place, vaguely wafting his arms and hips about while Ola cavorts around him. That's how you know Ola's inspiration for this routine was "will this do?" [Honestly, I hadn't listened to much of the VT and it took me a good 45 seconds to work out this was supposed to be a samba. - Carrie] His grasp of the rhythm of the routine is pretty good, but the dancing itself is pretty feeble - arm placement is poor, bounce is minimal, hips are static. The highlight of the routine by far is during one of the running promenades where Robbie grabs Ola's boob instead of her hip, and without batting an eyelid or missing a beat, she removes his hand and places it firmly where it is supposed to be. For a second I wondered if it was intentional, given the song they're dancing to, but somehow I imagine it would've been played far more obviously for laughs if that had been the case. It all goes downhill from there, as Robbie pulls off his trousers to reveal a pair of football shorts. Laaaaaaaame. [Oh, Ola and her gimmicks. - Carrie]

They wander over to Bruce, and Robbie hollers something to the effect of "I GRABBED YOUR BOOB!" into Ola's ear, thinking he's being far quieter than he actually is. Bruce - paying attention for once - asks what he said, and Ola is all "NOTHING, HE SAID NOTHING" very very quickly. Heeeeee. Craig is not looking impressed, and says that the bounce was way too exaggerated but at least it was there. He says that Robbie's fingers still look like they belong in a ten-pin bowling hall (Craig is from the 1950s, apparently) and that the ending was insane and served no purpose. Len calls it a "shamba" - there was a lot of good samba content in there, but they had to ruin it with all the faffing at the end. Up in the Tess Circle, Aliona prepares to launch herself at him until she realises that, on this occasion, he's directing that criticism at someone else. Alesha likes that Robbie is relaxed and having fun, and there were some nice moments in the dance and he was entertaining. Bruno makes sordid underwear comments, and says that it was a rather heavy samba, and suggests that Robbie makes a better stripper than dancer.

They run up to the Tess Circle where Robbie readjusts his shorts. On live, primetime BBC1. Robbie attempts to crack a joke about Ola deserving better scores than the judges gave her - clearly an attempt to riff on James's whining earlier, but since no scores have been given out yet, and Robbie's comic timing is about as subtle as his performing, it falls completely flat. Scores: Craig 5, Len 7, Alesha 7, Bruno 6 for a total of 25. "Oh dear," says Ola. Tess, in a rare display of skilled deadpan, says, "Someone behind me just said 'great hand placement' - don't know what they're talking about." Then she ruins it by honking "NO, YOU MOVED IT AWAY OLA, WELL DONE!" Oh, Tess. You were doing so well.

Chelsee and PASHA! are next. Pasha waves to us with one eyebrow. Brucie joke: refers to his ability to get an erection, and therefore is DEFINITELY not getting recapped. Chelsee was joint-top last week at Wembley (with Alex, but still...) and doesn't think she deserved to be there, but is happy to accept it if that's what the judges are offering. This week they've got the Argentine Tango, which Chelsee fears is "cheesy" and not her at all. Pasha worries that she sees him more brotherly, and not "that hot guy that she's lusting after". This would make Chelsee the only straight woman in the country who feels this way, if it were true. Chelsee assures us that it's not Pasha's fault, she's just not a passionate person. Clearly reading my mind, she attempts to console Pasha: "I'm probably the only girl that don't want you though, Pash, if that makes you feel any better." Heh. Then, hideous VT in which Pasha attempts to become the man of her dreams. It demeans us all, so I'm going to gloss right over it.

Wikipedia informs me that they are dancing to 'Una Musica Brutal'. Their set is an odd combo of Scott Maslen's jive door and one of Holly Valance's Viennese waltz lampposts. It's a bit of a disappointing performance, actually - Chelsee's balance seems a little off in several places, and some of the ganchos are a bit limp. There are some nice pivots, though, and some decent footwork. Shame that Chelsee's looking at her feet through so much of it.

Brucie calls her a "little gem" and invites Len to give her some feedback. Len thinks it was good, but wonders why someone who purports to be an actress struggles so much to generate passion for the purposes of a routine - "you don't have to elope with the guy." Chelsee does not know that this word means. "You don't have to marry him," Alesha supplies, helpfully. Len is a douche about Chelsee not knowing what elope means, but says that it was the best dance of the night, but he wanted to see more intensity. Alesha thinks it was technically strong and sharp, but she wants her to lose her inhibitions, because she thinks that will take Chelsee to the next level. Bruno calls her "a goody goody little girl", and likes her precision and shaping, but he wants her to be "badder" and demonstrates on poor Alesha once again, who has taken to actively pulling away from him when he starts doing this. After finishing his critique of Chelsee, he apologises to Alesha, and she says she's used to it. Craig says that the A-frame was missing, but it was a difficult routine and Chelsee coped brilliantly.

Up in the Tess Circle, Tess asks Chelsee if she's got it in her to badder. Chelsee: "Of course I can be badder, I just don't know if I could do it on telly." HAHAHAHAHA! Amazing. Scores: Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35. She and Pasha crack up about what she just said, and it's adorable.

Our penultimate couple of the evening are Jason and Kristina. Brucie joke: not worth transcribing (we were doing so well, too). Last week: Jason's intended Halfpenny-beating jive didn't quite come off and he ended up on the wrong leg. He's gutted about letting the side down. His training VT opens with him breathing on the camera and sketching a J into it. Can I be the first to say "EW"? He explains that the charleston is all about smiling and getting the facial expressions right. Oh God, this means we're on a non-stop train to Gurning Junction, aren't we? Kristina says that Jason really needs to sell the dance, which segues into our Obnoxious Jason Comedy VT Of The Week, where he's playing a cheese home-shopping salesman trying to...sell the charleston. This might be the worst VT ever. I think it actually gave me the clap.

They're dancing to 'Yes Sir, That's My Baby''s not good. Kristina appears to be doing pretty much all the charleston parts of it, and Jason just gurns in the background and joins in occasionally. In the midst of all this, the two of them are pulling some of the most terrifying faces this side of NOT TAKE MIRROR! It just feels like Kristina choreographed two separate charlestons, and they're doing one each - there's nothing particularly wrong with either of them, but they don't work side by side. Mind you, I'm always a harsh judge on the charleston, because I always rate it in comparison to the greatest charleston ever (and if you think that is a link to Chris Hollins, you don't know me at all), and inevitably most other routines are found wanting.

Bruno found it high energy and exuberant, and he was impressed with the expressions - "nobody can accuse you of using Botox" - though there was a tiny mistake. Bruce, apparently getting a bit confused: "Okay, Jason? ...And Kristina. Now, then: Craig?" Craig was willing it to be perfect but then there was "that disastrous kick section". He thought it was a real charleston, though. Len has nothing to add that Craig and Bruno haven't already said. Alesha loved the character and energy, and compliments Jason on all of his hard work paying off.

Up in the Tess Circle, Jason says that he really enjoyed it. Tess hilariously refers to the routine as "character acting" and Jason gets all thespian about how that's the greatest place to start. Yeah, I'm sure that served him well on Echo Beach. Tess asks what they have up their sleeves for movie week, and the answer is "MOAR CHARACTERISATION." Dear God. Scores are in: nines all round for a total of 36.

Our final couple of the evening are Harry and Aliona. Last week, Wembley was scary and exhilarating, but now he thinks they'll have to pull out all the stops to succeed with only seven couples left. In training, Harry points out that the quickstep has lots of different rhythms, and how it's hard to get back together if you lose your place. In order to test his footwork and rhythm, Aliona takes him to play on one of those giant electronic piano keyboards that you jump around on. See, it's little things like this which make me warm to her, because I would LOVE THAT. They start out with 'Chopsticks', and then Aliona challenges him to play their song for this week, 'Don't Get Me Wrong' by the Pretenders. Harry decides instead to just tit around and do acrobatics, as you would in this scenario. Then we see him drumming with his feet. My hatred of feet is well-documented, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find this quite impressive.

The good news is that Aliona has delivered on her promise from It Takes Two this week to give Harry a solid quickstep entirely in hold (apart from the last five seconds, but I'll allow her that much) with no weird gimmicks. Hooray! They cover the floor impressively, there are lots of complicated, intricate steps, and the whole thing is both well-controlled and natural-looking. Harry's gritting his teeth a bit too much, but apart from that, it's pretty flawless. This one might just be a game-changer.

There's what appears to be a unanimous standing ovation, and Craig opens for the judges by saying that Harry has a lazy left foot (Bruno does an epic facepalm at this), saying that it's strangely sickled and pigeon-toed, but that's the only thing he could find wrong with it. Len loved the sway of it, and says that he thinks that the highest mark he's given Harry all series is an eight, but he might just get a nine tonight. Alesha says that her favourite moment as a judge is being able to just sit back and enjoy the show, which is what Harry gave her tonight. Bruno loved the assurance, polish and detail, and he loved the sway. Bruce compliments Aliona for her work, and on this occasion I think it's richly deserved.

Up in the Tess Circle, Tess asks if he's picturing the glitterball trophy, and Harry does the very diplomatic "not at all, taking it week-by-week, everyone else is so good, just happy to be here" answer. Tess asks if they've got enough energy left for the swingathon. Harry, panting: "Hopefully. It's in a few minutes, isn't it?" Heh. This is the night where it really doesn't pay to be on last, I suppose. Scores are in: Craig 9, Len: "Sorry Harry, no 9. It's a 10 from me!" (Aliona screams, as well she might), Alesha 10, Bruno 10 for a total of 39. It's the highest score of the series, and Harry says that Aliona's amazing. James Jordan, Official Score Adjudicator, says that it's a "deserved" score. THANKS FOR THAT, JAMES, GLAD YOU APPROVE. Tess ushers Harry and Aliona off to get changed for the swingathon. James tackles Robbie, apparently a little over-keen.

Pre-Swingathon-VT: Len explains that swing is basically a fast energetic jive with a bit of lindyhop and jitterbug mixed in. They'll be looking for couples who can give a real high-energy performance and maintain it from the start to the end. He confirms that there are no rules (like anyone apart from Craig would bother enforcing them even if there were) and they just need to go out there and wow the judges. Alex points out that if you have no rhythm, you can just push someone over. The first couple kicked off will get an extra 1 point, the second couple will get 2, and so on until the last couple standing get an extra 7 points. James and Brendan vow to double-team the others.

Bruce and Tess run through the scores again, and Len advises the couples to get into their own areas and really focus, keeping the energy high throughout. Tess explains that she's filling because Harry and Aliona aren't quite ready (professional!) and asks Bruno how hard it is to maintain the intensity with 14 people on the floor. Bruno says that it's like a catfight, and you can't allow yourself to get distracted and lose your timing. "You have to stand out for the right reasons - it's ruthless!" he assures us.

Everyone heads out onto the floor to dance to 'Chattanooga Choo Choo', and these things are always hell to recap, but I'll do my best. Early signs: Holly is already not caring in the slightest, Jason has already fallen out of sync with Kristina, Alex and James and Robbie and Ola are preferring to rely on lifts and showboating. The first couple kicked out is...Robbie and Ola. Anita does a handstand into a lift, which is quite impressive, Holly and Artem seem to be sticking to a fairly repetitive set of moves, Aliona is peering through Harry's legs but not singing "mashed potato" as far as I can tell. The second couple kicked out is Anita and Brendan. Holly's just laughing at this point. The third couple kicked off is Holly and Artem. Jason and Kristina seem to be getting muddled, Chelsee does a lift, Harry does some sort of backflip. Jason and Kristina are kicked off in fourth position. Harry and Aliona are leaping all over the place, Alex looks as though she's getting a bit tired, and Alex and James are the next couple to leave, so it's between Chelsee and Pasha and Harry and Aliona for the top spot. Both are giving it a damn good go, but Harry and Aliona choose this moment to unleash some pretty nice jive steps, so Chelsee and Pasha are booted off, and Harry and Aliona win. They celebrate with an air cartwheel, an assisted backflip and a regular cartwheel. Aliona is very excited, Harry is very exhausted, bless him.

Craig says that they had impressive stamina and athleticism that impressed the judges. Alesha says that it wasn't so much that there was anything wrong with Robbie and Ola that caused them to go out first, but that everyone was doing so well and not everyone can stand out.

Shall we look at the leaderboard, then? It looks a little bit (actually, a lot) like this:

First place: Harry and Aliona (39 + 7 = 46)
Second place: Chelsee and Pasha (35 + 6 =41)
Third place: Jason and Kristina (36+ 4 = 40)
Fourth place: Holly and Artem (34 + 3 = 37)
Fifth place: Alex and James (29 + 5 = 34)
Sixth place: Anita and Brendan (30 + 2 = 32)
Seventh place: Robbie and Ola (25 + 1 = 26)

Well, at least this year it actually made a difference to some of the rankings. Unlike last year.

The phone lines are now open! Recap: Anita being a girl who will soon be going uptown, that being the general direction of home, Jessie J ruining everyone's life during Holly's quickstep, Hat No. 2 providing sterling support to Alex's charleston, Robbie's Samba of Wandering Hands, Chelsee getting both a dance lesson and a vocabulary lesson, Jason and Kristina instructing us to NOT TAKE MIRROR!, and Harry and Aliona finally winning Len over.

Bruce trips over his words while reminding us that next Saturday will be Movie Night, but not everyone will get that far. Someone's going home tomorrow, but who will it be?

Results: 27th November 2011

We open with a pro dance, naturally, to Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep', otherwise known as her only bearable song, and even then only when it's anyone other than Adele singing it. It involves Pasha and Katya (in white) and Brendan and Natalie (in black), doing something that's a mix between an American smooth and a tango as best I can tell, and basically being filthy with each other. I swear at one point Pasha actually licks Natalie's cheek. Anyway, it's highly enjoyable.

Tess arrives in a dark sequinned dress that's a little on the mumsy side and reminds us that there was a swingathon last night in addition to everything else that happened. She introduces the judges, as well as Claudia, who reminds us that we have Len's Lens to look forward to, as well as Cee-Lo Green and a Viennese waltz from Anton and Erin.

Time for a recap, to the strains of 'Moog-Like Jagger'. Anita and Brendan gave us their cha-cha-cha and seemed fairly chuffed with how it went backstage. Anita thinks Brendan is her knight in shining armour, though the armour is probably getting less shiny every time he gets it out, to be honest. Holly got good notes for her foxtrot if we don't count the music, and Len admits that he was determined not to like it because Jessie J is hideous, but he couldn't help him. James stropped out after Craig's comments, claiming that Craig is WRONG about her taking a giant step back and Alex insists she didn't make any mistakes. No, you just didn't do it very well, dear. Len doesn't understand why Robbie had to take his trousers off. Len thinks Chelsee could've easily been a 10, though Chelsee seems happy enough to have been given 9s. Pasha asks Chelsee if she wants to go and practise passion. I WILL IF SHE DOESN'T WANT TO, PASHA. Jason sings 'The One And Only' after his comments from the judges, and paws at the camera like a mad thing. Len thinks Harry was brilliant, and Aliona is chuffed to have earned the first 39 of the series, while Harry is too pooped to speak. Then there was the swingathon, in which seven couples danced and no one could see much of what was going on, but it was fun enough and Harry and Aliona won it.

Tess has got the results in her hands, so it's time to reveal who is safe this week. In no particular order, those couples are: Harry and Aliona, Chelsee and Pasha and Jason and Kristina. The first couple landing in this week's bottom two is...Holly and Artem. "AGAIN?" hoots Holly. Hee.

Tess asks Bruno if he's disappointed to see her in the bottom two again. "BITTERLY!" spits Bruno. He says that it was one of the best performances she's ever given, and she had to put sequences into it (probably not personally) that were very difficult because it was not a traditional song. He points out that she did what they asked for, and what more can you ask for? Indeed.

Claudia is joined by the three safe couples. First she would like to discuss the swingathon with Harry, and asks him how difficult it was. Harry says it was exhausting, but a lot of fun, and he thinks everyone will agree. Probably not Robbie and Ola, Harry. He says that "last night" was an amazing night, and he hopes that he and Aliona can continue it. Claudia asks Chelsee what they've got for movie week, and they've got Shrek, which she has never seen before, so Claudia insists that Chelsee come round to her house and they'll get the DVD out. Claudia warns her that Shrek's wife has a green face and funny ears, but Chelsee says that as long as she's still a princess, she doesn't mind. Heh. Then we turn to Jason and he earnests about the JOURNEY and Claudia cuts him off, having presumably sensed the viewing audience falling asleep at the very mention of the word. This is why Claudia earns the big bucks.

Time for a musical performance: it's Cee-Lo Green, singing 'Anyway'. Is this an actual single that's out? I know he caused all manner of confusion when he went on The X Factor a month or so ago and sang a song that wasn't his new single. Wikipedia says that this is indeed his new single. Phew! Confusion averted! Anyway (lol pun not intended), this is of limited interest since he's brought his own dancers, so there's not very much about it that's particularly Strictly Come Dancing, so I vote we just move on. All in favour? Jolly good.

Once that's over, it's time for...yes, you've guessed it, Len's Lens. We always hope they'll forget, but to no avail. We begin with further talk of Rent-A-Pro Brendan Cole, who was singing along to the chorus of 'Uptown Girl'. Not that badly, under the circumstances, but the judges hoot anyway. Len, inspired by this, gives us a little chorus of "I'm just wild about Harry" and says that Harry kept his hold and beautiful posture throughout the dance and created lovely lines. He thinks it was a fast, full-on quickstep with great control, and it definitely deserved a 10...Craig. I think we all saw that coming, didn't we? Like Len's scoring is entirely above reproach and never ever based on petty personal idiosyncrasies. Talk then turns to Holly, and Alesha is dismayed to see her in the bottom two, because she thinks Holly raised her game this week and actually listened to the judges, so she doesn't deserve to be in the danger zone. Craig wants to discuss Chelsee, and he says that her ganchos were beautiful, but the A-frame that was the problem. He thinks she needs to throw caution to the wind and allow her legs to have more freedom. Bruno and Alesha protest that, bearing all of this in mind, it was still one of the best routines. Bruno's looking at Alex's dance, and he thinks she had a great time, likening the swimming section of the routine to Finding Nemo. I think Alex is Dory. Alesha suggests that Alex was undermarked, which Claudia agrees with, and see above for my thoughts on that. Bruno explains what was wrong with the routine, and Craig chips in with "swivel, darling". Well, that's just RUDE. Claudia would like to talk to us all about Ola Jordan and how she is an amazing woman, normally so mild-mannered and polite, but then the video shows us how she was absolutely LIVID when asked to leave the floor during the swingathon. Her face in slo-mo is an absolute picture.

Claudia reminds us that next week is Movie Week. Time for a comedy trail? Oh, I think so. A throaty-voiced announcer reminds us that 14 celebrities started out on the competition, but now only seven remain. Oh God, maths - it's like The X Factor. There are some parodies for our enjoyment - Harry is lecturing Chelsee on how the first rule of Dance Club is that you don't talk about Dance Club (because your friends will think you're a sissy), only to discover that she's already texted everyone in her phone book about it; Alex and Anita plot to steal the trophy, Indiana Jones-style, and are chased by a giant rolling glitterball. I think that should form part of the next group dance - just stick that in the middle of the floor, set it rolling, and tell everyone you'll deduct 10 points from their score if they get squashed by it. Now that's good television. Meanwhile, Holly and Jason send up The Matrix, with a reasonably good punchline where Jason discovers that he's not The One, he's just going to get scored 1, repeatedly. However, this segment loses points for not having Alesha be the one holding up the 1 paddle. Finally, Robbie as Luke Skywalker faces off against Darth Vader, who's inviting him to leave Ola behind and team up with him instead. I'm sure I can't be the only person who was expecting Brendan to be the one in the costume, can I? As it happens, it's Craig, who tells Robbie that he's his father, and Robbie screams. There's an odd tag at the end of this where Craig tells Robbie he was only joking, and he's actually his brother, not his father. Is that...worse? I don't get it.

Time to return to Tess to find out which of the three couples remaining is also safe. She confirms that Alex and James are safe, and through to next week, leaving us with just Robbie and Ola and Anita and Brendan awaiting their fates. The couple in the bottom two is...Anita and Brendan. The curse of the first struck hard this week, didn't it?

Tess would like Alesha's opinions on whether having a new partner might have contributed to Anita being in the bottom two. Alesha thinks no, but that adjusting to a new partner probably doesn't help matters, and calls Anita "adorable" and various other faintly patronising things. Tess asks Len if he's excited about movie night, and Len is very much so, because movie night last year was one of his highlights, and he can't wait for it to happen again because it provides an extra dimension to the dancing. And as we all know, there's nothing Len likes more than a non-traditional approach to the presentation of dance.

After that, we have Anton and Erin dancing a Viennese waltz to 'Mr Bojangles'. Oh my God, they're getting Bojangled! They're definitely getting eliminated this week! Anyway, it's a pleasant routine, very crowd-pleasing, and that's just about all there is to say about it.

Claudia's with the bottom two couples, and she's sorry that Holly's here for her second time in the bottom two. It's actually the second time in the bottom two for everyone here, Claudia. Even Brendan. Holly says that being here is not her favourite feeling in the world, but if she goes out, she's going out on a pretty good dance, and she's made some great mates here. She's also pleased to have had nice comments from Craig, because those are not common. Anita says that she's had a wonderful opportunity to dance with Robin and Brendan, and obviously she'd be sad if she got eliminated tonight, but she's just glad she signed up in the first place. Sad VT time: Anita loves training with Robin, and just wanted to push herself as far as she could. She thinks that making it two-thirds of the way through is "not bad" for "an old bird", and if it's her time to go, she will do so graciously. Fair enough. Holly thinks her journey has been epic, with all the partner-changing and injuries. She's not ready to go home yet, because she's so close to the end, and she'll be "devastated" if she has to go home.

Time for Tess to reveal who's going home. Len commented on the appalling music which had no relevance to Holly's dance, and Bruno thought Anita had plenty of fuel in the tank. The couple leaving us tonight is...Anita and Brendan. Poor Brendan, eliminated twice. Anita takes it far better than I ever thought she would, smiling graciously just as she promised. Everyone gets to their feet for her, and Anita bobs her head at them meekly. Tess asks if it's tough for her not to have him by her side, but says that they have Robin on the phone right now. Robin's eerie echoey voice is beamed in, and he tells her that she's incredible, and he's sorry he couldn't be there with her tonight. She's been one of the most enthusiastic people he's ever met, and he's going to miss her. Aww. Anita says that Robin made this a humourous, enjoyable, fun, wonderful learning experience for her, and she's very grateful. She also interrupts Tess (always a good thing) to say thank you to Brendan for stepping in and allowing her to compete this week. As promised, this was a classy exit, so well done Anita.

That's it! Claudia reappears, and Tess reminds us that it's Movie Week again next week, and Anita and Brendan take their final dance to 'Dance Away The Heartache' by Roxy Music. There are lots of hugs, and Holly is kind enough to console Brendan on his second elimination of the series. And we're done! Join Carrie next week for Movie (/Film) Week! I don't know about you, but I'm hoping for Robbie and Ola to do a Human Centipede-based routine.

Monday, 21 November 2011

This week on It Takes Two, we have learnt...

- Robin will not be dancing this weekend because he's got a foot infection, so guess what? BRENDAN'S BACK AGAIN. As a result, Zoe now calls him "Rent-A-Pro".
- Russell thinks he "left 'em wanting more". I think the fact that you got voted out implies that you probably didn't, love.
- Robbie is familiar with 'All About You' by McFly.
- James's sense of humour extends to LOLFATJOKES about Craig. I guess we've established who's replacing Bruce when he eventually goes.
- Craig thinks "we've never had a celebrity who was entertaining but could also put one foot in front of the other". Did he just call all the winners boring?
- Holly thinks it was "fun" that she was in the bottom two, because she was getting too comfortable. I LOVE HOLLY SO MUCH.
- Artem is royally pissed off with Len for suddenly deciding that he's going to start caring about illegal lifts now, so now he's going to stick an illegal lift in his foxtrot as a giant Foxtrot Oscar to Len. This is why Artem is great, readers.
- Alex thought her Strictly experience would come and go without a nine, and now she's got three. Or four if you count that time that James got so angry in training he started scolding her in German.
- Zoe's quite good at speaking Welsh as long as she's got a cue card to prompt her.
- James thinks he and Alex have been hard done by in the call-out order of who's safe this series. Yes, that's right, James has found something ELSE to act the martyr over.
- If Karen were paying someone to open a showcase spectacular that she was choreographing, it'd be Robbie and Ola. Really? Okay.
- The best dance to get for Wembley if you're a professional is the quickstep because it allows you to cover the floor. Note: professional. Not Holly Valance, professionally not giving a shit since...well, ever.
- The fashion segment is boring again without Melissa Odabash.
- Having said that, there were 4,000 crystals on Chelsee's samba dress, which is quite impressive.
- Anita's reaction to being offered Rent-A-Pro as a partner for the week was "Oh! That's an...opportunity..." LOLLERSKATES.
- Not so much a thing we've learned, more the HIGHLIGHT OF OUR WEEK:
Aliona: What if they drop me? Who's going to dance with you, huh?
Harry: (considering this) Brendan?
- Brendan made an as-yet-unbroadcast VT a few weeks back called something like "Captain Big Boy". What did this involve? Strictly Come Bitching insists: we must be told.
- The trick to succeeding in the swingathon is to catch the judges' eyes really early on. For good reasons, presumably.
- Zoe likes the idea of Pasha dressed as a doctor. STOP GIVING US FEELINGS, ZOE.
- Earlie this week, Chelsee tweeted that she loved Pasha, then she deleted it. This is the greatest romance of the century. *grabs popcorn*
- Alex is not vain, but would like to still have her face when the series is over. This seems reasonable enough to us, but we're sure James will have plenty to say on the matter.
- Harry's voice goes weird when he's nervous. Great, like I needed more reasons to find him adorable.
- Harry would be willing to wear a leotard like the one Bruno wore in the 'I'm Still Standing' video, if so required.
- Aliona thinks she's been on good form this season and playing by the rules. I kind of love her for thinking that. I also kind of hate Len for making me love Aliona.
- Everyone wants to be locked in a room with Artem.
- Wardrobe lady Nicola refers to the "Arg Tango". I think she banged her head and thought she was working on The Only Way Is Essex.
- Kristina thinks Ian jinxed them last week.
- Jason has a slight asthma problem.
- Robbie and Ola's lifts went wrong in dress rehearsals. Quite how this differs from what we saw on the live show is unclear.
- Ola didn't choreograph much salsa into her routine because the song wasn't a salsa song. That's the worst excuse I've ever heard.
- The Duchess of Cornwall is a big fan of Strictly.
- You're not allowed on the set of Miranda unless you're a big fan of Strictly.
- Patricia Hodge will not dance for you on demand, no matter how much you ask.
- Princes Charles is a Kristina fan. I bet he was voting for John Sergeant.
- Harry has never sounded more middle-class than when he's discussing the Queen.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Our wish is Granted

Tx: 19th November, 2011

Greetings, children! Last week we had group sex fantasies involving the beauteous Holly Valance and her two leading men [and how! - Steve]; Tess wore the worst dress in her entire history of awful frockage, which is quite some achievement; Alex canoodled with an Ooga-Chucka baby; Bruno tried to out Robbie as a bisexual; and we had much disagreement about what tube lines serve the Wembley area. In case you'd forgotten, Audley's borrowed time finally ran out, meaning Dame Natalie Lowe is out of the competition for this year, and meaning that Steve can start his campaign for her and Katya to be partnered with ringers in 2012. [To be fair, my campaign started as soon as I saw who they'd been lumbered with *this* year. - Steve]

This week we're at Wembley, which is not Blackpool, but is serving the same purpose in that it is a) not BBC Television Centre and b) globally famous (except not just for ballroom competition reasons). More importantly, it will give many, many people on this show the opportunity to talk about having always dreamt of playing at Wembley (my guesses: Len, Robbie; I'm also wondering whether they'll wheel out Brian May to talk about Queen's gig at Wembley Stadium, particularly as, inspired by The X Factor's epic fail, our couples will tonight be dancing to the music of the other fab four in the opening number). I'm also expecting more woeful football-related skits, possibly mashed up with that godawful footage of Bruce doing half-time entertainment for some poor unsuspecting mid-1970s crowd. Ah, Strictly: it's so nice to have an impending sense of doom at the start of one's Saturday night viewing!

So yes. We begin with montage of the Wembley complex, and all our couples on a coach, in football kit, welcomed to the ground by Graham Taylor, otherwise known as England's worst manager ever. [I had no idea who he was, and I suspect that I will not have been alone in Strictly's broad audience of women and gays. - Steve] ME, I AM PSYCHIC. Time for a quick Russell IS GAY joke? Yes, I think so. Another montage of the couples playing head tennis around their rehearsal rooms, and we're ready for STRICTLY COME DANCING!


And we open with a group dance to We Will Rock You (sadly not the version improved by 5ive), which segues into Radio Gaga, which segues into Bohemian Rhapsody (featuring the judges as the singing heads), which segues into It's A Kind of Magic (complete with rhythmic gymnastics), which segues into One Vision (which has some small child cheerleaders doing acrobatics all over the place). This entire routine is a hot mess, as they always are when whoever choreographs it has this much space to work with (they're in the Wembley Arena). And it's exacerbated by Robbie failing to clap in sync with the others. And the singers not singing "Fried chicken!" at the end.

Here are Bruce and Tess, in a blue satin curtain which, while ugly, is not as bad as last week's abomination. Bruce is under the impression everybody is there to see him, and strings out his traditional greeting to quadruple the normal length. Finally it is time to meet the stars of our show - Russell and Flavia, Chelsee and Pasha, Holly and Artem (but not Brendan, who may be lurking with a baseball bat in hand ready to cosh his rival), Harry and Aliona, Anita and Robin, Robbie and Ola, Alex and James, and Jason and Kristina. That's eight couples. EIGHT COUPLES LEFT. And you thought it was nearly Christmas because you've seen the Coca-Cola advert. And in Future Head Judge Karen Hardy's magical perspex cage tonight is Olivier Award-winning actress and best-selling novelist and yoghurt pimp Martine McCutcheon! [I'd love to know what the take-up figures were like this week. Who on earth would put themselves through that voluntarily? - Steve]

First up, Robbie and Ola. Between them, their hair is 25% more blond and bigger than usual. They would like to get more than a 7 off Craig. Will they get it with their tricksy, lifty salsa? Robbie then delivers his scripted lines really unconvincingly, while dancing in the underpass that leads to the stadium. Because this is set up for a gag about dancing at the arena, not the stadium. Predictable Strictly is predictable. I find it so comfortingly reassuring.

Robbie is dancing on a podium to Let Me Entertain You, rips his shirt open, then wiggles off to meet up with Ola, who's in a lacy catsuit. Both of them jiggle their bosom at the other. And they both look tiny on this vast, vast floor. Robbie does a knee-slide, which comes nowhere near to being as good as the one Gethin did back in the day when he burnt a hole in his trousers. Not a great deal of salsa content, though.

After some inappropriate jokes about the Italian debt crisis, Len makes football-related puns about the routine, which he clearly thinks was rubbish but entertaining. Alesha says Robbie opened the show like a rock concert but it wasn't a fucking salsa. [I live in hope that now she's given out a 2, the gloves are officialy off and one day Alesha actually will say "it wasn't a fucking salsa". - Steve] Bruno wails about primeval fertility rites. Craig thinks it was flat-footed with no hip rotation. Scores - Craig 5, Len 7, Alesha 7 and Bruno 7 for a total of 26.

Alex and James are second, and for some reason they have offended the gods enough to be introduced by a Bruce Forsyth tap routine. What the actual fuck? Last week, Alex felt pressure to start the show off on a high, which is why she danced with a rag-doll. This week, they are doing the assertive, strong, powerful tango, and Alex is struggling with characterisation. So she does some role-play, acting as her One Show director while James attempts a pathetic Welsh accent in imitation of Alex.

They are tangoing to Relax, and their costumes are hideous. Not the most important point, perhaps, but relevant. The camerawork is weird - in some places it looks like it's running at half-speed, and for a significant proportion of the routine it focuses just on the upper body and whirls manically so you can't see the footwork. Alex's tango face, by the way, looks like she's sucking on a lemon.

Alesha says Alex's transition from last week is brilliant, and the tango had drama and was believable. Bruno waggles his eyebrows at Alex and then gropes Alesha for a bit, as is his wont. Craig says he believes we may be seeing some improvement, at which Alex and James hug each other and then seem to have some kind of costume malfunction. Len says he likes a proper tango danced beautifully. Scores - Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 35. James has an embolism and dies. [Hooray! - Steve]

Holly and the newly reinvigorated Artem now, although her rehearsal footage is with both of her boys. Artem was clearly hideously jealous (Kara, avert your eyes now!), and there's a lot of homoeroticism going on. Holly's sitting in a corner, watching with a sexily raised eyebrow: "Oh, you'd like me to join in now?" And after those thoughts Steve rightly raised last week, Holly really shouldn't be saying things like that. [Alternatively: she totally should. - Steve]

They're quickstepping to Valerie. Holly's dress is awful, and she's not picking her feet up enough leaving her partner to drag her round, but Artem's suit is sparkly and the routine is energetic. Bruno growls about Holly sometimes being maddening because she's not broken in properly. Craig criticises her balance and sloppiness, but he thought it was a fantastic routine. Len liked the use of space, and Alesha thought it was light and effortless. Well, she got the last bit right - Holly is the princess of lack of effort, but in a really cool way. Scores - Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 31.

Now Anita and Robin, who were sad last week because people didn't vote for them despite her being a national treasure. She hugged her husband BRIAN MAY, who is her husband, and cried. However, now she is thrilled because she is going to Wembley. Robin thinks she needs some inspiration from somewhere, so they go to Albert Square and dance around. I was at LEAST hoping for a guest appearance from Strictly alumna Letitia Dean there, if not Leslie Grantham.

Goodness me, they are sambaing to Come On Eileen. I really have no words. It's the gayest thing I have seen in a long time. There is a significant amount of clapping, and some rather shaky footwork from Anita - shaky in the literal sense, I fear she's going to slip at any second. Not good. Craig begins by laying into her posture, and her "muddy and murky footwork", before mentioning his ever-present chum, the sticking-out thumb. Len likes that Anita always gives it 100 per cent, although it could have been a little bit sharper and crisper. Alesha thought it had energy and personality, but didn't think Anita embodied the natural samba groove, whatever the hell that means. Bruno loves Anita because she plays it for all it's worth, but she forgot the fire down below. Cystitis? Scores - Craig 6, Len 7, Alesha 7 and Bruno 7 for a total of 27, all scores met with near-silence.

Harry and Aliona next. This week Aliona's been left to come up with some choreography herself, which can never end well. At least, not for Aliona when Len is judging. Last week they were at the top of the leaderboard with their Argentine tango; this week they are struggling because Harry can't move his hips, and because the Strictly producers are making them do a When Harry Met Sally rip-off, including Aliona faking an orgasm. Seriously, if that's how excited Aliona gets during sex, you have to pity her boyfriend. Or scorn her boyfriend, one of the two.

They're dancing to I'm Still Standing. BEST JIVE EVER! BLACKPOOL! ETC! I wander off to YouTube to look at clips of that as Harry throws Aliona about, but sadly does not drop her. Back on the screen, Aliona's pulling pathetic faces at Len, who's pathetically bitchy right back at her. [While you were watching St Halfpenny, you missed Len saying that this had everything he was looking for from a samba, having apparently not noticed that it was a salsa. Either the two dances really are as interchangeable as I secretly suspected, or Len's complete lack of experience with Latin is starting to show in his old age. - Steve] Bruno tells Harry to take more clothes off. Craig didn't think it had a groove, and it was devoid of hip action. Bruce tells Harry and Aliona not to listen to the judges. Yes, that's a plan that's bound to end well. As they run up to the Tess Circle, Brendan and James take Harry's shirt off him. Is that not assault? Scores - Craig 8, Len 8, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 34.

Next - Russell and Flavia. They blow kisses to the crowd, revelling in their glittery make-up and costumes. Russell says he couldn't wait to do the quick-change last week; this week they are doing something bigger. There is some plinky piano music as Russell takes Flavia to a hill in Middlesex to look at the lit-up Wembley arch. Dude, you could just stand on the bridge over the North Circular by Ikea, that'd give you a better view.

They are jiving to Reach by S Club 7. Flavia jives with sparklers as Russell lies in a glittery cannon and then flies across the dance floor. After the technicians manage to clear the floor of the debris, they proceed to dance the slowest jive I have ever seen, with some awful kicks and flicks. The routine ends with Russell looking at Flavia's vulva. Why? How? WHY? Alesha wheels out the platitudes about what he lacks in talent, he makes up for in entertainment. Bruno likens Russell to a satellite of madness. Craig says, "Dumbo springs to mind." OUCH. His one-word summary? "Revolutionary." Len has little to add, but however many great dancers there are in however many series there are, people will always remember Russell Grant being launched out of a bloody cannon. Word, Len. But that's not a good thing. [I'm going to make a point of forgetting it as soon as possible. - Steve] After pandering to the audience slightly, Russell tells Tess that he used to live in Wembley. REALLY? Scores - Craig 5 (generous), Len 6, Alesha 6 and Bruno 7 (for fuck's sake, Bruno) for a total of 24.

Now Chelsee and Pasha, who's showing us a tantalising glimpse of a nipple. Last week, it went better than anyone expected, because Chelsee has no self-esteem and the show is classist and racist. Some more dreadful acting from Chelsee and Pasha, some in front of a blue screen, and then it is time for their samba.

To Spice Up Your Life! Brave from Chelsee to start the routine by herself, and then go and rescue Pasha from molestation by a big wall of balloons. The samba rolls are a bit awkward, mainly because Chelsee has a sodding huge tailfeather affixed to her buttocks, but otherwise it's bouncy and fun fun fun fun fun. Bruno calls her "Chelsee Fierce" and then wails about a mistake ("Bless you, baby!") before calling it "near-perfect". Craig loves Chelsee's finishes, spins and bounce. Len says his night has been spiced up with that "proper samba", and Alesha says Chelsee captured the spirit of the samba. Scores - Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 35.

Finally, Jason and Kristina. (Whatever else I say about any of the contestants and pro dancers on this show, I have to give Kristina respect for sending a lovely message to a friend of mine whose husband is terminally ill - she didn't have to do that and it made my friend very happy.) Jason rehearses in a Miami Vice costume, and then imitates Adam Ant. And then himself, complete with blond mullet. Odd.

They burst through a paper clock, and are jitterbug-jiving to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Jason's footwork is skippy, and their legs aren't synchronised in the side by side pieces, but the stuff in hold looks good. Then Jason completely loses his place, and bless him, he stands there with foot pointed until he can work out when he should be kicking again. Not his finest hour, I think. Craig says it would have been phenomenal if he hadn't lost it and if there hadn't been two lifts, but it was an amazing routine. Len is disappointed for Jason because he has worked his socks off, and then announces that he is sick of illegal lifts and is putting everyone on notice that he is going to start to penalise people. I'll believe it when I see it. [Just when I thought the rules on lifts couldn't possibly get more arbitrary, Len proves me wrong. - Steve] Alesha reckons that the side by side bits were good, as was the energy. Bruno miaows about it being amazing. Jason cries about being overwhelmed by Wembley. What the fuck ever, Donovan, you've SUNG at Wembley Arena, which Tess points out, but more nicely. Scores - Craig 8, Len 8, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 34.

At the top of the leaderboard - fuck me, it's Alex and James, joint with Chelsee and Pasha. Russell and Flavia are, obviously, at the bottom, but, more obviously, have many more points than they deserved, and, even more obviously, won't go this week. So who will be our bottom two? Well, perhaps a freestyle jitterbug reminding us who our couples are will help you to decide (Holly can't even be bothered to freestyle and just wanders across the platform)! If not, just wait until tomorrow and find out then!

Results show

Good evening, everybody - we're back at Wembley for the Wembley results of the Wembley show, which was at Wembley! And what better way to open the show than with a Sixties-themed group hamming-it-up session to a Beatles medley? We have a "band" "live" on "stage", with Harry happily drumming away [bless - Steve]; and on the dance floor, we have two Minis and a red phone booth as well as a zebra crossing, which the men seem to use to apparently imitate the Reservoir Dogs rather than the Fab Four. The judges clamber out of the phone booth, and Bruno and Craig are so wired that I'm half-expecting them to segue into a routine to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. If you know what I mean.

It ends. And Tess and Claudia wander on, holding hands, which is oddly sweet. Daly Dresswatch - red, tight, lacy over the chest and sleeves, a bit tarty but nice for all that. Well done, Tess! Claudia is in a black smock, obviously, as she always is. After telling us about the musical acts that will be guesting on tonight's show, it's time for a backstage montage - Robbie liked the crowd; Alex never expected to get a 9 because she is HUMBLE; Holly would like to dance for the Wembley crowd every week [and yet she's not doing the tour. Heh. - Steve]; Len can imagine fancying Harry if he were a girl, because men never fancy other men, you see; Harry and Aliona reminisce about James and Brendan ripping off his shirt, to which Aliona says, "A first for you?" and Harry says, "Yeah," while shaking his head and scrunching up his nose at the camera, all the better for Steve's hoyay McFly fantasies [I'm QUITE sure I don't know what you mean. - Steve]; Russell does not think he has big ears like Dumbo; Pasha's nipples are still on show; Jason is disappointed because he fucked it up; Len believes the entire show to be "fabulous".

Whatever. Let's get some results! Who's safe? Anita and Robin! Robbie and Ola! Alex and James! But sadly Russell and Flavia are IN THE BOTTOM TWO. Thank you, Great British Public. Finally you see sense to some degree. Bruno is both surprised and unsurprised - obviously Russell is entertaining, but on the other hand he's shit, so you know.

Claudia likens Anita to a little pony, because La Dobson has gone all weepy and luvvie on us and thanking everyone like she's Kate Winslet at the Oscars. Robbie reckons dancing at Wembley is better than playing in the Carling Cup final. Yeah, cos the Carling Cup final is pointless and nobody cares about it any more. He then blubs about being hated when he played football but people must like him now. Shut UP, Savage. [I think an awful lot of people are spectacularly indifferent to him whatever sphere he's in. I know I am. - Steve] Alex squeals about never thinking a 9 was possible, and then that epitome of gentlemanly conduct James interjects, "I didn't think a 7 was possible." Seriously, Jordan, if it wasn't for the fact that Ola would leave too, I'd tell you to fuck off and never come back.

Now James Morrison and Jessie J are doing some sort of collaboration, maybe? I care for neither of them. Steve's more clued up than I am, perhaps he has some opinions. As far as I can tell, it's a caterwauling mess. [Nope, that's pretty much exactly what I would've said too. Carry on. - Steve]

Claudia is with the judges and Len's Lens. She shows a slow-mo clip of Craig being Brian May on wires last night - frankly, I couldn't even tell that was Craig, what with the massive wig and headbanging. Brian May judges Craig's lipsynching in Bohemian Rhapsody unfavourably. We then see a clip of Craig and Len dancing together. Careful, Len, don't want to catch the GAY. We then get a slow-mo of Robbie's leapfrog over Ola, which looks much much worse on second viewing. Alesha is enthusiastic about Jason's stamina. Fnar. We're encouraged to applaud Aliona's acrobatics, though not her choreography. And then we see Bruno dancing on tables and taking his clothes off, much to Alesha's horror. Bruno, Craig and Alesha are in fits of laughter and can barely sit up straight. And for a final giggle, we get to laugh at Russell touching a lady, because he's a homosexual and they are allergic to women. SIGH, show. SIGH.

More results, more safe couples - Chelsee and Pasha (and Pasha's nipple is exposed once more as Chelsee throws herself at him, causing his shirt to ruffle); Harry and Aliona. At this point, Holly is outright laughing, because she does not give a shit that she is in the bottom two [Holly ♥ - Steve], and Jason and Kristina are safe. So it's Holly and Artem v Russell and Flavia. This really shouldn't be a contest.

While we let this dramatic news sink in, Il Divo will sing Time To Say Goodbye for us. And yes, I know they are basically an operatic Westlife, but I would much rather listen to them sing this than Katherine bloody Jenkins. And they are better at singing than that bint who was on last week's result show with her dirge of a song. Although I did laugh out loud at the harmony that goes, "IT'S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE!" on a descending scale.

Claudia lies to Russell that she is shocked that he is in the bottom two, and he says he doesn't care because his goal was to get to Wembley, his home county. You should've mentioned it, Russell, like Craig Kelly did with Blackpool. Holly says she had a niggling feeling she'd be in the bottom two, and asked "Russ" to forecast her stars. HA! Oh, Holly, we love you.

A quick VT whereby Holly and Russell talk about not wanting to leave (you know the drill, guys, you've seen this show before), and we're back into the arena for the result. The couple leaving us this week - Russell and Flavia. Thank FUCK for that. Seriously, my argument on the "comedy" contestants is that if people vote them through, then they deserve their place, but Russell and Flavia's particular variety of can't-be-arsed camp choreography has worn very, very thin with me. Fortunately the Great British Public do tend to get rid of the joke acts a while before the final, so no matter how much frenzied media may try to ask, "CAN RUSSELL GRANT/ANN WIDDECOMBE/JOHN SERGEANT REALLY WIN STRICTLY?" the answer always has to be, "Yes, he/she can, but he/she won't." And thus my theory is proven.

Cheerio, Russell! Don't let the door hit you on the arse as you fire yourself out of the arena in a glittery cannon!

And that's it for this week. Join Steve next weekend for another instalment! Bye!

Monday, 14 November 2011

This week on It Takes Two, we have learnt...

- No one has ever survived the bottom two four times.
- Audley thinks it would help Anita to spend more time on Twitter and Facebook. Because I'm so sure that's where her fanbase is lurking.
- Ruby from London is our new favourite caller ever for ringing in and telling Len to "buck up your ideas".
- Craig gives Russell an extra 1 point for entertainment, but that's it.
- Robin thinks he and Anita were in the bottom two this week because people just assumed they were safe. Because that's a mistake that people make nine series in. Still, it beats "it's because she's not on Twitter", I suppose.
- Anita refers to the other couples as her "teammates", which is...misunderstanding the nature of the competition somewhat.
- The choreography is like the Picasso line drawing, and the dancing itself is the colour and the texture. (Thanks Karen!)
- A foxtrot should be like a monkey swinging through the trees. If Karen meant "smelly and covered in fleas", then she clearly feels broadly the same as I do about the foxtrot.
- Despite appearances last weekend, James has not learned to gracefully accept Craig's comments and is still in fact always a GIANT DOUCHE about it. I know, huge surprise. Poor Alex.
- Alex liked her cheerleader outfit because it was "really comfy". Bless.
- If they get Melissa Odabash on every week, I might just start paying attention to the wretched fashion segment.
- Russell is such a giant gay that it is apparently physically impossible for him not to acknowledge this in his outfits, according to fashion experts.
- It's not a proper series of Strictly if they don't somehow find an excuse for Artem to do a homoerotic rumba with one of the other male pros.
- The theme for the music this week is "Best of British".
- Holly is stealing Alesha's quickstep music. THIEF!
- Robbie went home early from training on Wednesday because he wasn't feeling well. Wimp.
- Chelsee is still rehearsing without her shoes on, tut tut.
- It Takes Two is basically encouraging us to stare lasciviously at Harry's arse at this point.
- Ian's dance teacher used to grab him by the back of somethingorother, but thanks to Zoe's intervention, we shall never know how that story ends.
- GIANT LADY is choreographing the newsreaders' number for Children in Need.
- Russell's aggressive humility is still pretty grating.
- Kylie Minogue doesn't really know what jazz hands are.
- Holly likes wearing long dresses because they help cover up her "horrible technique".
- Artem's doctor has told him he can dance if he wants to this weekend, but it depends on "the pain levels in his spine". All right then.
- The female pros don't like wearing pink shoes. Not sure about the men, mind.
- Robbie wouldn't mind going out if he was between Ola's thighs when it happened. FILTH.
- Vincent pronounces "hamburger" as "ambooger". Teehee.
- Chelsee was a massive Spice Girls fan and used to dress up as Scary Spice.
- Pasha claims to "trim" his chest hair, while Chelsee maintains he "shaves" it.
- Shane claims to be the best dancer in Westlife. This would be interesting if anyone cared.
- The dancefloor at Wembley is four times the size of the usual Strictly dancefloor.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Audley predictable

Top 9: 12th November 2011

Last week: the ballroom was a firework, presumably one that goes BLERP MERP WURP as it shoots across the TURPS BURPS PERPS. Russell Grant titted around on a mechanical bull while dressed like Penfold from DangerMouse and pretty much reached the point where Carrie and I lost all patience with him. Meanwhile, Jason's serial killer rumba bored Alesha, and Chelsee was deemed "most like Jennifer Grey" by Jennifer Grey herself. Best of all, Bloody Lulu was sent packing. Hooray!

This week: oh God, it's all going to be about wanting to get to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY. Just kill me now. The Voice Of Tess, in a peculiar accent for some reason reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth II, tells us to get ready for "kick-orf". This! Is Strictly Come Dancing 2011!

Titles! I miss Nancy. I also love how even in the two seconds' worth of screentime they have together here, it's so very obvious how Bloody Lulu and Brendan couldn't stand each other.

Live in the studio, we have a Bruce, and we have a...dear God, WHAT IS THAT? This week, Tess appears to have come wearing half a Christmas cracker wrapped in Astroturf. It's possibly the most deranged outfit she's worn in any series to date. If this were a special St Patrick's Day episode, I could almost understand the logic behind it, but on a cold and dark Saturday in November? I'm baffled. Bruce arrives late to grab Tess for the end pose, and she looks unimpressed. Bruce tells us that it's nice to see us, to see us nice, and YAY NANCY IS IN THE AUDIENCE! I live in hope that she might just rush the dancefloor at some point in order to treat us to the jive that we never got to see. Don't let me down, Dell'Olio. Bruce shills his album, and completely trips over the punchline to his opening joke, which involves Gok Wan. Let's just leave it there, shall we? Tom and Danny McFly are in the audience, looking about as impressed with Brucie's comic timing as I am. Given that Harry's on this show and Dougie's in the jungle, shouldn't one of them be training for Dancing On Ice at this point? Come on, chaps, if you don't pull your finger out, there may come a moment when none of you are in a reality show, and that would never do.

Bruce and Tess remind us that next week is BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY, and then it's time to meet the stars of our show: Russell and Flavia (Russell's conservatively attired this evening, apart from the glittery eyeshadow, just in case we have forgotten that HE IS GAY), Chelsee and lovely Pasha, Holly and temporary (OR IS HE?) partner Brendan, Audley and Dame Natalie, Harry and Aliona (both rocking the maroon velvet look tonight, it has to be said), Anita and Robin, Robbie and Ola, James and Alex, and Jason and Kristina. Everyone has the obligatory boogie, and Brendan has never looked happier now that he's free of the millstone that was Bloody Lulu.

Bruce suggests that we must all want to welcome back Len. Not especially, Brucie. Everyone cheers for Craig no longer being head judge, and Brucie suggests that's the first time Craig has ever been cheered for anything. Tess points out to the unobservant members of the audience that Holly is dancing with Brendan this week, because Artem is dead or injured or on holiday or something, and Future Head Judge Karen Hardy appears to wave at us from her prime seat next to Michael Ball in the interactive commentary box. [Maybe Michael Ball could be on Future Head Judge Karen's panel. He has judging form, after all. - Carrie]

Up first are Alex and James. The running order for this show series needs to be shaken up a bit, because poor Alex is always early. I mean, I know she's not exactly someone you save to be looked forward to at the end, but last week was the only time she'd even been in the second half of the show. Bruce says that due to her hectic work schedule, Alex is starting to feel tired, but not nearly as tired as his jokes. Or something like that. Last week, Alex's dress got caught in her heel, but James was proud of her for carrying on regardless, even if it meant that some steps as delivered were not quite as intended in his ALWAYS FLAWLESS CHOREOGRAPHY THAT MUST NEVER BE QUESTIONED CRAIG. They fell over at the end, and Alex didn't mind because she thought she'd done well to even get to that point. This week, they've got the jive, and Alex thinks they should make a fitness DVD: "Jive Away The Jelly". Heh. The theme for their VT does not, for a change, involve James screaming at Alex until she cries, but instead suggests that she is fitter than he, despite not being a professional dancer. James ends the VT hocking up a loogie into the bin. Lovely.

Their jive is to 'River Deep, Mountain High', and they're dressed as cheerleaders. The Literal Choreography Klaxon is sounded as Alex dances the first few steps with a rag doll (while Erin Boag submits a legal challenge for theft of intellectual copyright), before James spoils everything by actually turning up. It's far from the total mess I was expecting: the energy levels are good, Alex's footwork isn't too bad, and it's a fun routine to watch, but the real drawback here is the kick section, where Alex's legwork is a little lumpy. There's also a bit near the end where it looks like she misses a connection, although they cover it fairly well. The routine ends with James stealing Alex's ragdoll (NOT A EUPHEMISM, THANK GOD) and Alex pouting because James is mean, as we know.

Alex expresses relief that they didn't fall over this week, while Brucie welcomes the fabulous singers, Dave Arch, his wonderful orchestra, and the judges. Bruce reminds viewers that Jennifer Grey is not looking rough this week, it's just that Len's back. Phew, for a minute there I thought her latest facelift had gone horribly, horribly wrong. Bruce tells Len that it wasn't the same without him: it was better. Many a true word spoken in jest, and all that. Len was worried when they started with the doll (because just in case we've forgotten during his week off, Len is not a fan of MUCKIN ABAHT) but he thinks Alex has blossomed, and busted out all over the place. Let's hope he never says that to Chelsee, I'm still not entirely sure she's recovered from Hallowe'en week. He thinks the kicks could've been sharper and she missed one of the passes, but it was full of verve and gusto, as opposed to Len, who's just full of gust. Alesha thinks Alex's energy is commendable and she can tell her confidence is growing, so now she just needs to refine her steps by remembering to point her toes and finish her moves. Bruno thinks she had the enthusiasm of a manic cheerleader, and she really went for it. He echoes Len's comments about missing the pass (because she went on the wrong foot, apparently) and Alesha's comments about needing to flick correctly (FNAR), but he had such fun. Craig thinks the effigy is a remarkable likeness of James (heh), and thought the performance was confident, though there's no real accuracy and precision in the steps, and she needs to learn to point the kicks to delineate the lines. For once, James deems this "fair comment", presumably because it's Alex being criticised and not him.

The three of them (yes, including the doll) trot up to the Tess Circle, where Tess invites Alex to "rewind, six years ago, to the start of this". That joke's just too easy, isn't it? Alex says that James has done an incredible job with her and she never thought she'd be able to do this ("nor did I," James chips in chivalrously) but it was nice to give it a good go. Scores: Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 31. They're very happy with that.

Robbie and Ola are next - a "very popular couple", Bruce assures us. Robbie's VT this week involves more whining about how the JUDGES ARE MEAN (for the so-called "bad boy of football", he's got an awfully thin skin, hasn't he?) while Ola points out that Robbie focuses on the negative comments and doesn't hear all the positive feedback that he gets. Robbie tells us that his dream is to get to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY, and in true comedy VT style, he runs into a goalpost and passes out, which leads him to have a vision of a visitation from Fairy Godmother Ola, who fires glitter at him out of her nose. Job done.

They're dancing an American Smooth to 'Sway', involving sexy seductress Ola inviting Robbie - who's perched on the steps to the Tess Circle - to dance with her, prompting Robbie to do a "who, me?" face at a level of abject hammery that Pamela Stephenson would've been proud of. His top line is pretty good, but a lot of the turns are awfully tottery and the lifts are some of the most inelegant I've seen since this monstrosity, possibly relating to the fact that spins (especially standing spins) are not Robbie's strong suits, and all the lifts involve a lot of spinning.

Alesha tells Robbie that he's a real ballroom boy, and that the lifts were great if erratic at times, but he's constantly moving in the right direction. "I blame Ola," says Bruce, nonsensically. Bruno tells Robbie that he's a "smooth operator" and he likes the variety of steps in the routine, but sometimes it was a bit rough. He likes the way Robbie can "sway both ways", which causes the audience to laugh hysterically because LOL BISEXUALITY, though for once Bruno wasn't actually making a crass pun, but in fact admiring the elements of Latin within a ballroom routine, which he doesn't see often. [I loved that he appealed to Ola to say that she understood what he meant, and she nodded but pulled an epic confused face. - Carrie] Craig thought Robbie had beautiful arm placement in the running promenades, but he needs to be aware of his arms at other times because his hands tend to do a weird scrunched up thing, but he loved the mix of style and control in the lifts, and on the whole he thought it was rather good. (There's a cut to Nancy in the audience here, practically rolling her eyes. Oh, Nancy ♥.) Len suggests that Robbie's two outstretched fingers in that weird pose were actually directed at Craig, and goes on to say that Robbie is getting better and better.

They make a triumphant run up to the Tess Circle, and Ola is just repeating "WOW! WOW!" with all the sincerity of the faces she makes in the launch show when she "discovers" who her partner is this year. I love Ola. Robbie says that he wants to get to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY next week. Tess asks Ola if she was worried about being dropped, and Ola says that she wasn't while pulling an "I seriously was" face. Scores: Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 31. For once, Robbie is happy with Craig's score. Blimey, what will he have to bitch about on Twitter now?

Up next are Audley and Natalie, "another couple that you all love, I know" says Bruce. Yes, that's why they've been in the bottom two twice in a row and three times overall. Last week, Alesha recommended that Audley have a go at fisting (at least that's what it looked like she was saying, with the sound off) and Audley was proud to have got his highest score last week when he was under pressure, even though he was in the bottom two again. In light of Bloody Lulu's eventual elimination, Audley treats us to a few bars of Destiny's Child's 'Survivor'. Natalie explains that she's trying to teach Audley to lead her properly this week, but it does not appear to be going well.

Speaking of things not going well, their cha cha cha is to 'Uptight (Everything's Alright)' and despite Dame Natalie Lowe wearing a lovely dress and really doing her best to sell the routine, this just isn't happening. Audley's completely flat-footed to the point of barely even moving at all, there's no hip action whatsoever, and I'm not even all that sure he's trying particularly hard. I think he knew his time was up this week and it's affecting his performance. Still, at the end Natalie exclaims "AW MY GOD YOU DID IT!" in her best bogan drawl.

Bruno starts by telling Audley that he really likes him (heh), but says there was no timing or precision: "the National Rail on a bank holiday has got better timing". He liked the personality, but at this stage there needs to be more impact on a Latin dance, before reiterating again that he likes Audley. "YOU JUST DON'T WANNA GET PUNCHED!" giggles Natalie. I find myself wondering if she's drunk. Craig says that it was leaden, heavy, and laboured, and he's afraid to say it was not Audley's finest hour. Len speculates that Audley's best chance of getting to Wembley is "on the Jubilee Line" and says that Craig and Bruno are "wrong" (I love how the other judges "disagree" with each other, while Len just calls people "wrong" when he doesn't like what they said) because it had timing and rhythm, and while it wasn't Audley's best dance, he did his best. He did? Alesha thinks the others are right, and that this dance exposes Audley's troubles, because he's better in ballroom.

Up in the Tess Circle, Natalie opens by telling Audley that he always manages to do the best performance on the night, and he should be congratulated for that. Aww, Natalie. I do love her. Audley quibbles about which station Wembley's on, because he thinks it's the Metropolitan Line (it's served by both of them, I checked, CAN WE MOVE ON PLEASE) [No! Wembley Park is Metropolitan and Jubilee Line, Wembley Central is Bakerloo Line. - Tube geek Carrie]. Audley says that being in hold in ballroom is more suited to him than Latin, but he gave it his best shot. Scores: Craig 3, Len 6, Alesha 6, Bruno 5 for a total of 20. "Where's Craig going with 3?" asks Audley. A lot further than that cha-cha-cha ever went, let's be honest, Audley.

Harry and Aliona are next - the audience start screaming before Bruce can ever get to Aliona's name, leaving him spluttering indignantly "he's got a partner!" Heh. Last week, Harry was very pleased with his performance, as were his nipples. He notes that the competition is getting harder, so he'll need to up his game every week. Rehearsals for their Argentine tango are interrupted by the arrival of Tom and Danny, who are apparently a bit bored with half their band off on Reality Show Leave, so they've turned up dressed as gauchos to help out. Harry indicates that this is the opposite of helpful. Tom and Danny do a little dance with each other, and are substantially better than Bloody Lulu.

Their routine is to 'Asi se Baila el Tango', and it's a wonderfully sharp routine with lots of intricate movement, lots of leg-intertwining, and lots of pressing up against each other, which is pretty much what I'm looking for in an Argentine tango. Aliona's actually delivered a serious piece of choreography for once, so it's nice to see that she can do it when she sets her mind to it.

Tom and Danny are very impressed, and Harry gets a standing ovation (a proper, spontaneous one, apparently), but what will the judges make of it? Craig thinks it had authority, dominance, command, control (alt + delete?), filth and he loved it. Len, in full bitchface mode, says that he "understands Craig", and "understands the audience, standing and everything else". Nice. He thought it was a clever routine - note that he said "clever" rather than "good", because Len would sooner pickle his walnuts than say something positive about Aliona's choreography - but didn't see any intensity. Poor Aliona - she really can't win with Len, can she? [No. But she doesn't care, apparently, so they're both as bad as each other. - Carrie] Len didn't feel like he'd beeen transported to a club in Buenos Aires. At this point I'd gladly pay for him to feel like that, as long as he was actually there. There are boos and hisses, and Craig protests that it was full of passion, prompting Len to exclaim "there was no passion, you silly little sod!" Wow. Seriously, can we have Jennifer Grey back? Alesha tells Harry she thinks Len is jetlagged, and she thinks the routine was strong, sexy and passionate (Len is mumbling "give over!" in the background, because heaven forfend any of the other judges actually be allowed to talk or anything) and she thinks he delivered the intensity that the routine required. Bruno called it "moodier than a thunderstorm in the Pampas!" (compare and contrast with "a thunderstorm in Pampers", which is what Len's having right now): strong, manly and with a mean streak. He loved the ganchos, and he thinks Harry has never been stronger or more attractive. Bruce advises Harry to run from Bruno, because he is a Predatory Gay (unlike Russell, who is a Harmless Gay. Don't get confused).

Up in the Tess Circle, Harry is diplomatic about Len being a total wanker, and everyone else just agrees to ignore Len entirely. Hooray! Scores: Craig 9, Len 8 (fuck off Len), Alesha 10, Bruno 10 for a total of 37, Harry's highest score so far, despite Len's best efforts to scupper him.

Jason and Kristina are next. He got lukewarm reviews for his rumba last week, but vows to fight back from this terrible setback. He's having trouble getting the hang of the spins for his Viennese waltz, so Kristina sticks him in a gyroscope. They then attempt to dance, and "comically" a "dizzy" Jason crashes into the camera operator. There's also a random interlude from Kylie, telling Jason that she's been watching the show and he still looks as good as he did 20 years ago. That's...nice, I guess.

They're dancing to 'Iris', and Jason is doing Faces again, though the dance itself is very smoothly delivered, very lyrical, and well in keeping with the music. He attempts a fleckerl that looks pretty accomplished, so we know Len'll be happy. It loses a bit of pace near the end, and the final spin where Kristina arches herself right back is a bit off-balance, but on the whole, it was pretty decent. Shame that he once again ends it with a serious Serial Killer Face though.

Len loved the footwork, the movement, and the fleckerl, and liked it a lot in general. I wait for a "but" that never comes. Alesha loved the drama, the connection and the movement around the floor. Bruno thought it had real drive and that Jason was back in the zone tonight. He thought the intricate choreography was used to Jason's advantage. Craig thinks the dance could be a 10, but it's not because Jason's arms are letting him down, because he's not extending all the way and shaping his hands properly. Kristina is doing an epic face of outrage at this. Len grizzles about Craig "picking on his thumbs", having not five minutes ago just berated Harry and Aliona for a perceived "lack of intensity" that no one else saw. I wish Len could issue some sort of pre-show briefing as to what is and what isn't open to criticism, because I get so confused. Actually, I wish Len would just fuck off, that would be a lot easier. It's left to Alesha and Bruce to try to shut Len up. They should get paid extra for that.

In the Tess Circle, Tess makes no effort to disguise that she's reading off her cue cards, while Jason laments that everything felt right this week and yet obviously it wasn't working for Craig. Jason is very excited about the prospect of BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY next week, and talks about the amount of "talent" in the competition, getting all LOLGAY about it. Scores: Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35. Bruno's score shows up as 8 on the screen, and the total therefore at 34, and Tess deals with this spectacularly poorly, like dead-air poorly. Brendan shouts excitedly about the prospect of BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY next week, and James covers his mouth.

Randomly, there is now some incredibly pointless BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY-related filler involving some point in history when Bruce was at Wembley for a football match, and wearing red trousers. I'm not recapping it because it is shit and overlong and pointless. We return to the studio, and Tess confirms that it was a 9 from Bruno, and therefore 35 in total. Good, glad that's settled.

Next up are Chelsee and Lovely Pasha. She was very excited about getting straight nines last week. Apparently since Chelsee is prone to shaking her thang in training and snorting when she laughs, this must mean that she is far too common for Saturday night primetime BBC1, and must therefore play the role of Eliza Doolittle to Pasha's Henry Higgins. This VT is kind of offensive, but Chelsee and Pasha are both so completely adorable in it that I'm willing to let it go. [Pasha imitating Chelsee's snorts and miming chicken-wing movement was precious. - Carrie]

They're dancing a foxtrot to 'Doesn't Mean Anything' by Alicia Keys, which is basically the same song as 'Just The Way You Are' by Bruno Mars, which Harry and Aliona used for their foxtrot. The poor singer charged with delivering the song can't reach the notes at all, and it's pretty painful to listen to. Now, we all know by now that foxtrots are a bit of a snooze for me, but this one seems put together pretty well - Chelsee's holding herself correctly, there are some lovely flourishes from Pasha to liven it up now and then, and the footwork looks pretty precise. Unfortunately, about three-quarters of the way through, Chelsee loses her balance on one of the spins and sort of hops around - it's a minor thing, but noticeable enough that it's distracting.

Bruce commends Chelsee on the slide at the end of the routine, and Chelsee pretends to have hurt her back doing it, sending Bruce into Super Panic Mode in case we have to send Chelsee to Invalidsville with Artem. Alesha calls it elegant, graceful and with wonderful arm placement and great control - she thinks Chelsee is the one to beat. Bruno calls her gorgeous and sophisticated, and says he adores her. Craig said that she hopped on that last turn, but she's starting to tick all of his boxes. Len says that she needs to work on her footwork a little bit more, but he loved watching her because he doesn't expect her to be this elegant. Backhanded compliment ahoy! Mind you, I remember when they were doing all of this to Alesha four years ago. This show does love its stereotypes. Chelsee attempts to leave before Bruce gives her permission, and well, who could blame her for trying? Not I.

Up in the Tess Circle, Tess asks Chelsee if she's still in character as a lady. "By gosh I am," Chelsee replies, and Pasha cracks up. So adorable. Scores: Craig 9, Len 8, Alesha 10, Bruno 9 for a total of 36. Chelsee leaps up squealing into Pasha's arms at the 10, as would we all. I have to say though, despite my general stance as the internet's biggest defender of Alesha, even I think it was a bit much to give out a 10 for a routine where the contestant clearly lost her balance, but there you go.

We move on to Anita and Robin, and Bruce reminds us that since that old crone Bloody Lulu got kicked out, Anita is now the oldest person in the competition. We flash back to last week where Jennifer Grey called Anita a "national treasure" and Anita says that she didn't realise she'd become one, but now she wants to be a global one. I may now start using "global treasures" as a euphemism for boobies. Robin explains that the hard part of the Argentine tango for them is the intensity, because normally they're all about the lulz. To tackle this problem, Robin tests Anita's resolve by tickling her with a feather duster, warning her not to laugh. To be honest, I think a much more impressive test of Anita's resolve would be if the show pretended Robin was straight again - if she could get through that without laughing, she can do anything.

Their routine is to 'Tango' from Cirque du Soleil (according to Wikipedia, anyway), and Anita's intense face looks a little bit drunken. There are some nice moments in the routine, but I can't shake the feeling that it reminds me of that episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte makes a deal with the shoe salesman with a foot fetish that he can continue groping her as long as he gives her free shoes. (That imbecilic and offensive plotline, incidentally, is one of the reasons why I have only ever seen about two episodes of that show, and why I consider it to be a hideous pustule on the face of popular culture.)

Bruno likens the routine to Basic Instinct and calls her "sexy mama, queen of drama". Oh Bruno, you'll always be the queen of drama. Craig didn't think Anita was always responding to Robin's lead, and there needs to be more cross and throwaway to the ganchos, but he loved the spins and the routine as a whole. Len liked the smoulder of the dance and the mood and atmosphere, though I'd be at a loss to tell you what Anita and Robin did that Harry and Aliona didn't, other than "not involve Aliona". [That's fair enough. I like dances much better when Aliona is not there. - Carrie] Alesha thinks Anita looks sensational because she is INSPIRATIONAL OLDER WIMMINZ, though she needs to work on strengthening her body (from a dance perspective, obviously, not a physical perspective because WE LOVE YOU LYNDA BELLINGHAM ANITA DOBSON JUST AS YOU ARE!), but the overall mood was wonderful, as Len said.

They scamper up to the Tess Circle, where Tess does not actually give Anita an opportunity to say anything, but I do notice that Harry gives a polite little bob when the queen of drama presents herself. He's got such lovely manners, that one. Scores: Craig 7, Len 9, Alesha 8, Bruno 9 for a total of 33.

Our penultimate couple for the evening are Holly and Brendan. Holly explains in VT form that last week she and Artem almost didn't perform as a result of his back injury, and Artem says that he told the doctors all the hard work would mean nothing if he didn't get to perform. Such a diva, that one. There's a really bizarre shot of Artem's dance shoes lying on their side in the hospital which, if this were a drama and not a reality show, would mean that he was dead. Fortunately, Artem got told by the doctors that it was fine for him to dance as long as he could cope with the pain. Holly says that she wasn't surprised by how well he handled it because she knew he was "going to go and be all Russian about it", but she was impressed to do so well on the leaderboard. There follows a VT in which Brendan quite literally rides to Holly's rescue, a performance that Holly commits to about as much as she commits to everything else on this show. I love Holly so much. There's a weird ménage à trois thing going on because although Brendan is Holly's dance partner for the week, Artem is still choreographing and refusing to remain in his chair despite medical advice (in other words, he's still being all Russian about it). Holly vows to make him proud.

They're dancing a rumba to 'Leave Right Now', and no disrespect to Artem, but I think the first half of this routine is the best Holly's ever danced on this show. I don't know whether she's trying harder so as not to let him down (as laissez-faire as her attitude to the show has been generally, I think she genuinely feels a responsibility not to get herself eliminated in his sick week) or whether she has better chemistry with Brendan than she does with Artem (because she totally does), but whatever the reason, it's working. It does, unfortunately, go a bit wrong in the last 30 seconds or so as the drag across the floor lands a bit awkwardly, and Holly's attempts to move from there into having her legs crossed, and then from there into a standing position as Brendan supports her, are also about as smooth as Bruce's upper lip.

Craig starts off: "I thought we'd got rid of you, Brendan..." Heh. He does go on, however, to say that he's glad Brendan's back because he's loving this new partnership. Artem applauds up in the Tess Circle. Len thinks it was nice and precise, but he'd like to see Holly getting more emotionally involved. Ha! Good luck with that one, Lenners. He also wants her to look up more. Alesha thinks Holly coped well with the partner change, and all the basic rumba steps were there, and she thinks there's more to come from Holly. Bruno loves the sinuousness of Holly's body, and thinks it was a very very good routine.

They make their way up to the Tess Circle, where they're joined swiftly by Artem who gives Holly a big hug and declares the performance awesome. The three of them stand together, and I'm momentarily distracted by how Artem/Holly/Brendan would be a pretty awesome threesome. Admit it: you'd want to be in the middle of that, wouldn't you? Hell yeah. [I totally would. Don't tell Kara. - Carrie] Scores: Craig 8, Len 8, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 34. Brendan says that it's been a fantastic week, that Holly is a gem, and that Artem's been working wonders with them. Seriously: HOTT. Tess asks, "Have we saved the best for last?"

Well, no, because it's Russell Grant. Still, never mind, eh? In his VT, we revisit his nonsense from last week, which I shall be ignoring as much as humanly possible. Russell says that he knows he may not have the technical know-how, but he's always going to be "Mr Showbiz". Greeeeeat. This week, he's dancing an American Smooth to 'I Am What I Am', because he is GAY, and his "training" VT involves multiple Russell Grants singing the song in some woods somewhere. Feel free to insert your own variation on the "Tulisa's really clutching at straws with this latest line-up for The Risk" joke here. A tired-looking Flavia says that because Russell loves this song so much (BECAUSE HE IS GAY), it's hard to get him to commit to learning the dance instead of singing along. I wouldn't think it matters much at this point to be honest, Flav.

Rundown of choreographic horrors: Russell using Flavia as a pretend piano, random paso doble shaping leftover from last week, promenades that seem very much at odds with the tempo of the backing music at that point, Russell disappearing behind a screen for a full fifteen seconds while Flavia fills furiously before emerging in a gold lamé suit. Hmm, maybe that acute accent shouldn't be there. I'll leave it up to you to decide. The biggest shame is that the dance content itself was reasonably accurate before the costume change, at which point all sense of rhythm and timing goes out the window and they just both run around like idiots jumping up and down. Really, when Russell gets away with this shit week after week, you can see why Aliona doesn't see why she should have to change the way she choreographs.

Len: "I am what I am, you are what you are, and that was what that was." The most sense he's made all night, I think. Alesha thinks it was a dance of two halves: "the first half had a good mix of steps, and the second half was just like a snapshot of your...imagination, which looks like a fun place to be." Heh. Bruno: "You couldn't wait to get out of that closet, could you?" I dunno, he spent about 17% of the routine in there, by my calculations. Bruno concludes: "You really are your own special creation." Craig, who has basically been reduced to single-word sentences by Russell, calls it "immortal".

Up to the Tess Circle they gay, where Russell tells Tess that if he gets to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY, he's got a big entrance. LOL ANAL SEX. I'm so very tired of all of this now. Scores: Craig 5, Len 7, Alesha 7, Bruno 7 for a total of 26. Tess asks Russell if he's looking forward to "the roar of over 6,000 people"; Russell is more used to the roar of the over-sixties.

Leaderboard: Harry at the top for the very first time, Chelsee in second, Jason third, Holly fourth, Anita fifth, Alex and Robbie tied for sixth, Russell eighth and Audley is ninth.

The voting lines are opened, and we have a quick recap: Alex being sexy, cute and popular to boot; Robbie needing a loan of Kristina's gyroscope by the look of things; Audley just plain giving up; Harry and Aliona doing a proper routine for once to no avail; Jason and Kristina spinning around, Chelsee sliding on her bottom; Anita being harassed by a foot fetishist; two-thirds of a hot threesome; and some old homo in a shiny suit.

That's it! Someone's going home tomorrow night, and that person is clearly Audley. But who'll be joining him in the bottom two?

Results Show: 13th November 2011

It's Remembrance Sunday, so we're opening with a pro-Jitterbug featuring Ola, Flavia, Katya, James, Vincent and Pasha. Pasha's shirt is open to just above the navel, and...I'm sorry, I don't remember anything else. I was distracted.

Tess has changed out of "last night's" horror dress into one made almost entirely of Andrex, and Alesha appears to have followed suit. I suppose this must be the fashion. She welcomes the judges back to the show, and throws to Claudia, who's ignoring the dress code and wearing her usual black. Claudia teases the upcoming pro-dance from Robin and Kristina, and performances from Christina Perri and André Rieu.

Before all that, though, it's time for a recap VT, I think. Everyone is nervous before going on stage, as has become customary. Len was impressed by Alex's energy, and Alex thinks the effigy has potential to be better than James. He's more docile, certainly. Robbie got reviews that he couldn't whine about, and he hopes it's enough to get him to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY next week. Audley wonders if the public keep saving him because Craig has never given him a decent score. I doubt it, love. Len threw a snit fit about Harry and Aliona's Argentine tango, and is gross about it backstage, doing his usual "wurr gwon" mutterings about how Harry needs to sizzle more in future, while Harry and Aliona declare it their best night so far. Jason says that he's here for the long haul, so getting the odd bit of negative feedback doesn't hurt. Chelsee was pleased about being sophisticated and ladylike, but found it hard work. Len thinks she has a naturalness about her. Anita's Argentine tango got good reviews, and she and Robin celebrate their pair of nines backstage. Brendan says that this was one of his best weeks on Strictly, while somewhere in Scotland a drunken Bloody Lulu hurls abuse and fistfuls of Twiglets at the telly. Holly is nervous about BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY. Len suggests that because Russell has a wonderful time when he dances, we all do too. I beg to differ. Len concludes by saying that all the judges agreed Audley's dance was his worst, and therefore he deserved to be bottom of the leaderboard.

In no particular order, the following couples are through to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY: Robbie and Ola, Chelsee and Pasha, Jason and Kristina and Holly and Brendan. The first couple in the bottom two tonight is...Audley and Natalie. They both do "WHAT A COMPLETE SURPRISE, NO REALLY" faces.

Tess turns to Alesha to ask if Audley and Natalie can survive another bottom two. Alesha is all "*shrugs*", but notes that he can hold his head up high whatever happens. Okay then. Len chips in that the standard of dancing at this point is ZOMG BEST EVARZ and he can't wait for the show to continue.

Claudia is up on the balcony with the safe couples, and turns first of all to Mr Arm Placement, aka Robbie. She asks how happy he is to have finally broken Craig down. Robbie is very happy about this. Then she and Chelsee discuss getting her first ten and Claudia points out Chelsee's complete lack of self-belief, asking if she feels like a dancer yet. Chelsee does not feel like a dancer yet and does not think she is good at it. Claudia despairs. Claudia asks Jason about BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY and he says that it's so famous they've even heard of it in Australia, so it's somewhere they all wanted to get to.

Time for a performance by Christina Perri of 'Jar Of Hearts', which Claudia references as having become a huge success after one performance on "an American dance show". I love that So You Think You Can Dance has become such a painful memory for the BBC that they can no longer mention it by name. Regrettably, this song's main point of reference in the UK is having been performed by Biscuit on The X Factor. [I have never heard of this person or this song, but it was fucking awful. That is all I have to say about it. - Carrie] It's accompanied by a very EMOTIONAL rumba from Robin and Kristina, including some frankly suicidal lifts. Blimey.

After this, it's time to join Claudia and the judges back up on the balcony for Len's Lens. There is no shot of Len behind the camera, which once again shows us how he does not show the same commitment to making this show work that Jennifer Grey did last week. First up is Audley's mic track during his routine, where he was singing along and whooping, God love him. From there we move on to Jason and Kristina's routine, and Len tells us that when he sees a fleckerl, he always likes it. This is BRAND NEW INFORMATION, of course. Alesha talks a bit more about Chelsee not realising how good she is, and pointing out that she hasn't trained as much as everyone else because of Waterloo Road which makes the achievement even more impressive. Unfortuately, Alesha then decides to ruin this by pointing out that it is good that Chelsee is humble. NO ALESHA, HUMILITY IS NEVER GOOD. IT'S COMPLETELY RUINED MISHA B. Claudia turns to Craig and suggests that he was "pernickity" about the kicks in Alex and James's jives and thinks he will change his mind when he sees it in slo-mo. Guess what? This does not happen. Alesha wonders if that was the style they were going for, and Craig points out that there is no such style. Next up is Bruno's face after Anita's routine, where he is basically getting all hot under the collar. Bruno thinks that when somebody puts that much effort into a performance, he just responds to it, adding that Anita always gets the character right. Claudia then makes the unwise decision to poke at Len's Big Sack Of Crazy by asking him about Harry's Argentine tango. Len still believes that this "lack of intensity" is a thing that we can all see, because he is utterly delusional. Len snits that he gave one an eight and one a nine, so it's not like there was a lot of difference in it. Oddly enough, he doesn't suggest everyone else follow my technique of dealing with Len's idiosyncrasies by just pretending he doesn't exist. Finally, a shot of Russell being LOLGAY. I know I can't get enough of those.

Back to Tess now and the remaining couples. Also advancing to next week are: Harry and Aliona and Russell and Flavia. Russell is vile here, running down the stairs screaming "oooooh woooooow" and jumping up and down, bypassing his usual tactic of "aggressive humility" and just going for flat-out "obnoxious". The other couple in the bottom two is Anita and Robin, which means Alex and James are safe and through to BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY. Anita's face crumples. Bruno provides the obligatory shocked reaction because Anita is always SO GOOD, so he does not know why people are not voting for her. "Don't blame the judges!" he insists. Fat chance - she'd have probably been there sooner if you hadn't insisted on overscoring her most weeks. Tess asks Craig how best to succeed in BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY and Craig says that the performances need to be broader and more theatrical because of the bigger space. Yep, you heard, he just gave Russell Grant licence to be more theatrical. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, CRAIG.

Claudia reminds us that it is Remembrance Sunday, and we see a VT of Vincent and Flavia dancing at Silence In The Square. People are very happy to see them and moved by their dancing. The end.

Then we have André Rieu performing 'We'll Meet Again', joined by the Johann Strauss Orchestra as Anton and Erin deliver us a lovely waltz. My focus is distracted by the fact that the part of the song you don't hear as much sounds a lot like the theme from Disney's Winnie The Pooh.

Then Claudia's with the bottom two couples, and it is all old news for her as far as Audley's concerned. Audley suspects he might be going home tonight, especially now that he's up against Anita, and he says that she deserves to go through. Anita says that going from a personal best to going into the bottom two is a bit of a shock, and she'd be devastated to leave the show, but if people think it's time she went, that's just how it goes. Yeah, I really didn't think she'd cope with this moment well. VTs: Audley's is all "LOL BOTTOM TWO AGAIN", while Anita's is all about how she loves the show and doesn't want it to end. She wants people to share the joy that she is feeling.

Tess has the results, and repeats Len's Jubilee Line joke, which he and Natalie giggle at. She also reminds Anita that Bruno called her a "sexy mama queen of drama", but Anita's too distraught to have much of a reaction. The couple going home is...Audley and Natalie, of course. He hugs Anita and says lots of things to her about how it's only right that she stays, which is sweet of him. He heads over to Tess for a chat and says that it has been a very fun experience, before fundamentally misunderstanding how betting odds work: "I think I was 100/1 to go out the first week, so I hope all those people who lost money on me with the David Haye fight got their money back by supporting me now." I'm not much of a betting man, but I'm fairly sure he got every single aspect of that wrong, especially since 100/1 would've been his odds of winning, and he didn't win, so nobody would've made any money betting on that. Natalie is kind enough to thank everyone who voted for them for keeping them in this far. And really, this is not a bad placing for someone who was always destined for an early exit. As I've said before, I think Natalie deserves a lot of credit for getting him this far. RINGER FOR NATALIE NEXT YEAR PLEASE (AND ALSO KATYA THANK YOU). Tess says that Audley has been "knocked out but...never threw in the towel". Indeed.

And there we are! Next week is of course BLACKPOOL WEMBLEY for the biggest Strictly ever. He and Natalie have their final dance to the theme from Rocky, and that's their lot. Join Carrie next week as the remaining couples perform for a crowd of 6,000, otherwise known as "the approximate number of people still watching The X Factor". See you then!