Blackpool, Blackpool, Blackpool, you guys. In case it had somehow bypassed you in the run-up to this week, it certainly isn’t going to pass you by in the pre-credits sequence. Blackpool, Blackpool, Blackpool. The home of ballroom (but not Latin, AMIRITE ANTON?), Blackpool Blackpool Blackpool. It has come to my attention that I was a bit moody about it being Blackpool week, and I have realised that this was because I had literally confused Blackpool with Wembley. It’s Wembley Week that I hate, the only squabble I have with Blackpool is that people won’t shut up about it. Even me, it turns out. Blackpool Blackpool Blackpool.
We finally get into the credits. This week’s credits report belongs to tHom and Iveta. He looks bland, she creeps towards the camera over his shoulder all sinister-like. If I was into blanket Eastern European stereotyping I would call it vampiresque. But I’m not, so I won’t.
The Stockport Joke Murderer (SJM) and Zoe are not escorted on by chaps, so apparently Blackpool is quite the progressive town. Zoe commits fully to a dance-on, which is exactly what I would expect from someone who once did this on this show.
Now we get a strange creepy little VT full of LIES, in which Small Anton is adorable, Small Brendan is Australian, and Small Joanne is not taking the competition out at the knees. Then a child pretends to be Iveta and then starts singing and OH GOD MAKE IT STOP. Sorry kid, but this is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, and I sat through Ouija the Movie last week. Eventually she stops, everyone dances. It’s nice. Goes on a bit. Iveta hangs from wires. The end.
The SJM is standing in front of Zoe again. It’s amazing.
Darcy dances on again! She’s really getting into this. Len gets his moves wrong. Nobody is having more fun than Craig.
This week, I have the first half of the show, Hannah has the second. We did not know which order they were going to dance in, so this was the Strictly blogging form of Russian Roulette, in which if I got the Pixies I would have to choose which one of them I would shoot in the head.
(I did not get the Pixies.)
Before we start, if you read my reports carefully, you might notice that I LOATHED the use of back-up dancers. That thread of hate is integral to all my feelings tonight.
ON WITH THE SHOW!
Frankie and Kevin
We have NO RED TROUSERS. What we do have is a top speed quickstep to the Clash and, look, if you’re going to do a dance routine to A Town Called Malice, you had better bring it, because this exists. Anyway, they gallop around jolly well, Frankie’s slightly Alesha-like lazy foot aside, but (BLOODY BACK-UP DANCERS) I liked the beginning and the end much more than I liked the middle. Imagine if the whole quickstep had had that rock and roll feel, rather than just topping and tailing it, it could have been insanely brilliant, and Frankie’s good enough to do it. As it was, they did enough to tantalise, but not quite enough to make me love it. If you’re interested, here’s a Blackpool quickstep I once loved (and yes, I have linked to it before, thanks for noticing).
Jake and Janette
It’s a scripted COMEBACK week for Jake, and surprise surprise, that’s exactly what happens. This is an American Smooth to Feelin’ Good, which to my amazement has not previously been done (there has been a Foxtrot, but nothing by Joe Calzaghe counts, let's be honest), and I am not that into it. They don’t dance together for much of it at all, because of all the faffing about and the BLOODY BACK-UP DANCERS. I mean, it’s fine if you like that sort of thing, but I prefer to see actual dancing, and not just Janette being thrown about and lots of posing by BLOODY BACK-UP DANCERS. A mere 30 seconds of dancing meant that this was not my cup of tea. The judges like it, though, so good for Jake, I guess. Craig scores it higher than Frankie, which: NO.
Sunetra and Brendan
Oh dear Lord. Let’s start by saying POOR SUNETRA – when you’re a reluctant Latin dancer, Blackpool Week is not the week to get the samba – there is just so much floor to cover, and she hasn’t got the confidence to really do it justice. (For a good Blackpool samba, take a look at this one - actual backflips were needed to make it a decent dance on this big old dancefloor.) The show goes on and on about this dance having a hen party theme, and this does Sunetra no favours, because once she gets going, all you can think is Maths Teacher on a Hen Do, and once you’ve thought it, it’s game over. She is giving it plenty of beans, but she does not know what she’s doing or where she’s going, and Brendan ends up shoving her round the floor like an angry groom whose wife forgot the steps of their cleverly choreographed first dance, and he is HAVING WORDS ABOUT IT LATER I DON’T CARE IF IT IS OUR WEDDING DAY YOU’VE LET ME DOWN HERE DARLING. She gets three 8s. WTF? I love you, Sunetra, and I love Sensible Brendan, but seriously: WTF? Between this and Jake, I am renaming this Overscore Week. Also, I hated the BLOODY BACK-UP DANCERS. But you knew that.
Simon and Kristina
My feelings on realising I had Simon’s Argentine Tango: OH NO I’VE GOT SIMON’S ARGENTINE TANGO. My feelings about 10 seconds in: OH MY GOD SIMON IS REALLY GOOD AT THE ARGENTINE TANGO. Occasionally it’s a tiny bit careful, but basically I loved it. This is easily Simon’s best dance, there is no gurning, there are no bloody back up dancers, and there is an amazing atmosphere throughout. I could have done without Simon’s post-dance Humble Thank Yous, but I loved it and I have zero rude words to deliver. I know.
That’s it from me, you guys. Over to Miss Jones for the Judy Report, and Flack dressed as Geri Halliwell (and presumably being kept away from McBusted by actual bodyguards). Oh, and the Pixies. SIGH.