Week 3: Strictly at its best. I genuinely thought that this week's show was the highest quality for this stage in the series we've seen in many years. There were some stunningly good dances here. Even I have been compelled to pull out my 9. Yes, really.
Kara and Artem: quickstep
As I've said before, I adore the quickstep. It's proper dancing at its very best. So I expect this is the point you're expecting me to complain that this wasn't a traditional quickstep. Well it wasn't but I'm not going to complain - I loved this dance. Kara is so good, by far the most natural of the girls. This dance, non traditional as it was, really showed her off. The cartwheel was a fabulous flourish which other celebs may have baulked at but she pulled off to perfection. An 8 from me this week.
Felicity and Vincent: rumba
Who knew Felicity Kendall was so damn flexible?! I loved this routine. Vincent does rumba choreography so well (Rachel Stevens anyone?!) and this was no exception. This dance was classy but sexy with beautiful lines and great fluidity. I have to admit I felt slightly wrong watching it - Felicity is a national treasure for gods sake! - but it was beautiful. Their best dance yet. 8
Patsy and Robin: quickstep
Now I love Patsy. I want her to do well in this competition so badly. But this dance was not good. The beginning was painfully out of time and it never really got back on track. The footwork was poor and the gorgeous floaty quickstep that should have been was rendered jumpy and unattractive. I also have no idea why that music - KT Tunstall's Black Horse and the a Cherry Tree - was chosen. It just didn't work. Must do better - but I think they can. 5 this week.
Paul and Ola: rumba
All I have written on my notes for this is the word 'heinous'. Guess I didn't like it then! The problem here is that Paul was never going to be able to do a passable rumba so they tried to copy Ann and Anton and make the routine funny. Except it wasn't. It was cringeworthy. 3.
Matt and Aliona: quickstep
Matt yet again proves his awesomeness. I was raving about this gorgeous, classic, floaty quickstep until it went badly wrong in the middle. I can see why the judges thought it was a bit maic, but I really enjoyed it. 8 from me this week.
Gavin and Katya: rumba
Poor Gavin just can't get his slinky hips in gear. He looked very nervous, uncomfortable and stiff throughout this routine. Katya had tried to help him out by giving him very basic rumba walks for most of it, which I understand but did just leave him looking like he was only walking. Not good. Hope he gets the tango this week, because I fear for his safety if he has to try and pull off a charleston. A 6 this week.
Scott and Natalie: quickstep
I've complained about Natalie's choreography every week so far. Not so this time. This was the dance of the night for me. The choreography was classic, classy and executed almost flawlessly. A genius song choice (I do love a but of Disney!) too. Brace yourselves: a 9 from me.
Michelle and Brendan: rumba
First of all, I have so much respect for Brendan dancing at all on Saturday night given he'd just found out his dad had died. I can't imagine how awful he must have felt - there's no way I could have done it.
That said, I now feel bad for saying I didn't like this at all. It looked uncomfortable (understandably perhaps) and Michelle seemed stiff and gangly. Her opening moves were just ugly. Michelle is dancing with Ian Waite next week whilst Brendan is at his dad's funeral. I hope she's still in by the time he gets back. For this week 6.
Peter and Erin: quickstep
And the award for most improved performance of the series goes to... This was a fab routine - Erin is not the Queen of the Quickstep for nothing! - and Peter really pulled it off. He was confident, his footwork was good, and the timing was generally good too. Nice work! A 6 this week.
Jimi and Flavia: rumba
Never have I agreed so completely with the judges. This dance was odd. There were flashes of brilliance sitting next to some horrifically stiff moments. I think Jimi was just trying too hard - it's clearly not a lack of talent. He tweeted a lot about having a tough week in rehearsals so maybe it was just the dance that he didn't gel with. Not a bad effort all in all though, and I do love Jimi. A 7 from me.
Ann and Anton: quickstep
Now fair play, this was a proper attempt at actual dancing from Ann. And I thought she did completely competently. It was by no means perfect, but it was by far the best actual dancing she's done and she had clearly worked hard at it. Well done Ann! And then there was Anton. Never have I been so excited at the sight of a top hat and cane. Oh my. Watching him dancing the quickstep causes me waves of near orgasmic joy. And that music..! Oh. My. Word. Overall, once again, Team Annton made me a very happy Billi.
Pamela and James: rumba
My other favourite couple are yet to disappoint me. I didn't like this as much as their other dances but it was still completely amazing. I'm with Len on the stupid lift at the end, but otherwise brilliant. An 8 from me.
And so to Sunday...
The results show this week was markedly less shit than last week, Peter Andre excepted. I adored the pro charleston and had appreciation for the pro 'tango' even if it wasn't a dance I actually enjoyed watching. I'm a traditionalist at heart, as you may have noticed.
When it came to the result, I was glad to see Paul go and unsurprised to see Michelle and Brendan keeping them company in the bottom two. The result was right this week, although I'm sad to see the wonderful Ola go.
Next week (which I won't be watching live as I have a prior engagement with my family and the new Andrew Lloyd Weber musical) sees the dancers taking on a charleston or tango. Oh. Yes.
Bring it on!