Everyone on the floor for the Time Warp, including the Judges, before Dress of the Night makes an entrance - Tess! Don't often get the chance to bestow that honour upon her, do we? And so begins our Halloween special ...
The Gothic splendour of the opener is carried on by Patya, whose quickstep I absolutely loved. A stuttery start became a fabulous romp of theatricality with energy, personality and terrific timing. A great comeback after last week. Having to follow was Antiona with their Charleston, more "Halloween at Doris Day's house" according to Bruno, but a delightful effort - Fiona's got the swivel and Anton was enjoying himself immensely.
My first vote of the series - since I've not seen it live till this week (I refused to go out this time) - and it went to Bentina for a totally owned Paso Doble (and not because he was topless, really, I'm not that shallow *ahem* But nice to see the Powers That Be decided that a couple of complaints weren't worth the fuss) Loved the strong, aggressive nature, and his partnering with regard to the arm work was fantastic, so fluid and didn't miss a beat.
Sadly, Brenphie's jive didn't work for me at all. Great characterisation but lacking bounce, flicks and kicks. Artalie's Viennese Waltz was a gorgeous concoction of lyrical wafting arms and floating whirliness - but there simply wasn't enough in hold to actually be a VW, so scoring tens seems a little naughty - especially considering later remarks, which I'll come to shortly.
When I say shortly, I mean now, and Marketa's Paso Doble. Personally, I loved it, there was fun and a good stab at the attitude and I felt there was plenty of Paso content to allow for the super disco break near the end. So Bruno's comment about not enough Paso to be a Paso, after a 10 for Artalie's VW that actually wasn't, hacked me off a bit, and resulted in a vote for Marketa from me. So there.
Pashel's American Smooth I thought was a little bit limp? No? I didn't really get into at all, although a second watch convinced me it was Ok to do a Viennese Waltz Smooth, which is why, presumably, on the SCD website, they called it an American Waltz.
And then to a bloody fantastic interpretation of an awesome song choice, with Asha's tango. Taut, electric, menacing. Beautiful, monster! My third vote. Another unusual but effective performance in the rumba for Abjaz, she really seems to get it and I'm beginning to like them a lot. Kave had more hand jive than leg work but it did actually resemble a routine, in that he seemed to know where he had to be at any given moment. Scariest thing about it was his panda eyes.
Kevanna ended the show with their charleston, letting us have the full benefit of SmileySusanna again, tons of proper charleston content, really well done and "freedom on expression" according to Craig, I just think it deserved a more traditional song to really capture the feel. Still got my fourth vote though - it's too close to call not to.
Those draws are not doing the mid table peeps any favours - best prepare ourselves for another shock tonight. See you later x
And so we return with another inventive and pulsating performance, with Claudia and Tess dropping in, literally. And then for the shock - Abjaz into the dance off! I was praying it wouldn't be versus one of my other favourites, but still a bit peeved when it turned out to be Pashel.
Elsewhere, before the Big Decision, Madness showcased their new single - I've always wanted to see Suggs on Strictly, but next time please let it be in tails. In Len's Lens, Dress of Sunday Night is Darcey's, and loving Craig's glittery crutch; Len enjoys the Time Warp but warns about the plethora of illegal lifts; Darcey's scared face at Brendan, and Sophie's knees; high fives between Bruno and Darcey for the 10s; Claudia's descent into hell, you'd have thought, with the air lift in!
I thought the Dance Off might come down to nerves; on balance, with both at their best, it would always be Abjaz, but she's a wreck - her and Rachel are best friends on the show and she's setting me right off with her sobbing. As it happens, she focused the emotion into the performance and it was even better than last night. Rachel also much better but it was a unanimous judging decision. But so, so sad for Pashel :(
How can a show that brings so much joy cause so much pain? I'll leave you with a little Frankie Beverley and Maze to think about it. Well, why not, you dig? Go ahead, get down y'all, till next week anyhow.