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BBC Strictly Come Dancing – The Magnificent Seven – left

Anita misses Robin and bows out


Strictly Come Dancing – The Magnificent Seven – left

Not even a Hokey-Cokey to the Halleluiah Chorus would have had the audience on their feet so often. Seven dances, seven standing ovations. Even-handedness or what? There seem to be so many relations and friends of dancers in the audience of Strictly nowadays that we could create the ‘Strictly Wave’ where each related group jumps up in order at the end of each dance.

Teachers throughout the country will have watched disapprovingly this week wondering whether Strictly Producers need some training in classroom discipline to stop Brendan and James behaving oafishly behind Tess when she’s trying to do her job.

There is a possibility that the judges will be issued with a second paddle to reflect scores for performance in the tweetosphere: scores will be out of 5 and to avoid confusion the second scoring device will be called a twaddle. The BBC is furiously promoting Strictly through Tweets with pictures of rehearsals etc. Of the celeb dancers only Alex and Harry don’t appear to have sites. With twoints added in Russell would never have left the show, his tweet-rate having doubled since last week.

A curiously contradictory, very English kind of dancing etiquette emerged this week. It appears it is OK for blokes to have scarcely, sorry scantily clad ladies’ legs wrapped like underfed pythons round their necks; or a bemused Russell not knowing where to look, having his head framed by a Flavian crotch on camera; or a series of tangos with such a determined passionate intensity there seems a tangible threat of imminent coitus; yet everyone gets embarrassed if a guy’s hand inadvertently strays outside the safety zone between bra strap and knicker elastic. Such an offending errant appenditure, albeit a Savagely suspicious one; described waggishly by Brendan, now firmly established as the class comedian, as a “nice hand placement”; actually made Ola blush and Robbie rueful. He was probably furiously thinking up an excuse to his wife over breakfast on Sunday morning.

This arcane rule of sensitivity will at least enhance Craig’s judging vocabulary: instead of whinging on about hands that look as if they should be attached to a 10-pin bowling ball, he can add a few disapproving bon mots about the aesthetic deficiencies of buttock-grasping and boob-brushing. Though he’s probably fairly unmoved about the second.

Harry and Aliona left the field behind this week with an almost perfect 39 score for a quickstep looking for all the world like a spin-off from the Charleston. Craig mysteriously withheld his Yeti 10 (reputedly exists but very rarely seen) on the grounds that Harry apparently has a lazy, deformed left foot. Harry accepted this earth-shattering, life-changing news with his usual endearing aplomb, but I bet some BBC researcher was already looking up orthopaedic surgeons on Google.

Aided by an adventurous choice of music and superb choreography from Artem, Holly did exactly what they’ve all been moaning about for weeks by ‘letting go’ with sexy abandon only to have lumpy Len complaining it was all too innovative and inventive. Len’s understanding of what it is to be passionate and sexy begins to coalesce into intriguing speculation about his love life: “ok darling, lead with the heel, toes pointed: now, wait for it, slow, slow, quick-quick slow.” Meanwhile in another bungalow elsewhere in the London suburbs Robbie, similarly engaged: quick, quick, very very quick. Each man to his own I guess. Anyway the other three judges all got it and loved it. So to speak.

Perversely, after Anita did what I thought was her best dance with an elegant upright posture for once, they all criticised her and then marked at variance to their comments. I don’t for one moment think James got the choreography or song right for Alex. She did her part, putting every bit of her zany, kooky personality into a version of the Charleston that James had mysteriously slowed down and removed the zest and fun which are Alex.

Watching Robbie and Ola in training for the dreaded Samba one feared the worst. In reality not too bad but his back-bounce or whatever it is, and his hip action did rather recall a well-oiled lounge-lizard sidling up to the bar to chat up a bird. (Sorry ladies contextual licence). Chelsee did everything right but as the judges noted, could not take herself seriously as a passionate, cruel femme fatale, but her ability to learn intricate steps and perform them with her unexpected composure and grace still make her one to reckon with.

Jason came back to form with a Charleston with all the hallmarks of Kristina’s (dress of the night) appealing choreography. I do wish he’d lighten up a bit though: by his intensity and self-seriousness you’d think he had been asked clear the National deficit by Christmas.

Written before the results: my guess is Robbie and Anita: Anita to go. Which probably means they’re both safe as houses.

PS: So Anita goes: nice lady – but right choice.

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