Strictly quarter finals – and we’re off to the movies

So, it’s quarter finals week on Strictly Come Dancing.  With a movie theme, which couples will dazzle ?

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Pamela & James prepare for their 'Ghost' movie moment Photograph : BBC Pictures

The Professionals start the show off with scenes from the movies.  So will Scott & Natalie deliver box office gold ?

He has a James Bond themed dance, which he seems to be enjoying in training.  A dancing Bond.  Natalie has been harder than ever on Scott – will it work on the night ?

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Scott Maslen dances the Paso Doble Photograph : BBC Pictures

Lots of movement from Natalie; I’m not sure that Scott has got the transition steps quite right but it’s a very fast routine.  He looks to have remembered all the steps this time though – and as Natalie promised, Scott’s shirt comes off as a treat for the viewers.  The audience does go wild !

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Scott Maslen Photograph : BBC Pictures

What will the judges make of this ?  Len comments on Natalie’s bikini as a tango dress, and couldn’t she have been a bit more covered up, and mentioned a couple of incidents here and there but thought that Scott coped very well.  Bruno loved his power, determination and, against the Bond music, the Spanish line, which is really hard given that it wasn’t in the music.

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Scott & Natalie Photograph : BBC Pictures

Craig thought it was red-blooded and hot.  They score 35.

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Scott & Natalie Photograph : BBC Pictures

Ann ‘Widdy’ Widdecombe is next – dancing an American Smooth this week.  There will be lifts.  Will they be good ? 

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Scott & Natalie Photograph : BBC Pictures

In training, Ann loves the music this week – Hello Dolly – and she’s confident about the dance.  The lifts look a litte ungainly in training but….

Ann starts off at her dressing table, powdering her nose, with Anton doing all the dancing.  The first lift goes well, but Ann does look as though she’s always waiting for Anton to do something.  She’s still not looking up and because she doesn’t spot, every time she turns around, she loses balance.

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The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe & Anton Du Beke dance the American Smooth Photograph : BBC Pictures

They end with Ann on Anton’s knee, and the audience are one again on their feet.

Ann says it was a bit of a rough American Smooth, but Alesha liked the extra dance content this week.  However, Alesha says she saw no improvement this week and that for her, the honeymoon is over.  Bruno said when she was on her own, she looked like a dalek in drag.  Craig said the best moments for him were when Ann’s feet were off the floor, and he tried to find the positives this week.  Len says that dancing, in it’s basic form, is movement to music, and there was both, but not together.  He doesn’t want to be mean, but just as you have enough of snow after a while, it’s the same here.

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Ann & Anton Photograph : BBC Pictures

Tess asks whether Ann feels as though she’s improving as a dancer – but Ann just says she is grateful to the viewers.  She’d like to be in the semi finals, so that she can learn three dances in three days.

They score a 2 from Craig, and overall 14.  It’s the lowest ever American Smooth score for Strictly, and that’s five records that Ann has broken this series.

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Ann & Anton Photograph : BBC Pictures

Matt & Aliona have an Austin Powers theme, and Matt has a vivid red suit and black specs.

Matt wants to be geeky and cheeky tonight.  Seems to be working.  Training in the Outer Hebrides, and delays due to snow don’t seem to have put him off.  It’s quite a slow jive, but it’s clean and slightly clownish.

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Matt Baker & Aliona Vilani dance Jive Photograph : BBC Pictures

Bruno says “groovy baby” – he was expecting Twiggy to pop out, the setting was so realisticaly Carnaby Street.  Craig noticed that he lost timing towards the end, and Len wanted the dance to be a bit stronger into the floor; it was a little light-footed.

They score 35.

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Matt & Aliona Photograph : BBC Pictures

Next week there are three days of dancing with the semi finals – Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and all three couples will be on the floor at the same time.

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Matt & Aliona Photograph : BBC Pictures

It’s Pamela’s birthday today – and she is re-creating the theme from Ghost.

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Pamela Stephenson dances Viennese Waltz Photograph : BBC Pictures

James threw Pamela a party – chocolate cake and all.  No candles though – you can imagine why he thought that would be risky.  But Pamela is 61 years young and that’s really something to celebrate.

Pamela starts off on the floor, on her own; James takes her into hold and they twirl.  Pamela is dressed in white and silver, dress flowing with the music, made famous by the film.  Great posture,  and a serene, emotional connection between Pamela and James  tongiht – as he leaves her at the end, sat on the step, alone & bereft.

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Pamela & James Photograph : BBC Pictures

The audience loved that !

Craig said it was tasteful, stylish – gorgeous.  Len says that tonight is all about who should get through to the semi finals, and he wants to see her there.  Alesha wishes Pamela a Happy Birthday, and says that everything was perfect tonight.

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Pamela & James Photograph : BBC Pictures

Pamela looks quite emotional.

They score a 10 from Craig, Len, Alesha and Bruno – a perfect 40.  And Pamela’s husband Billy Connolly is in the audience.

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Gavin Henson & Katya Virshilas dace Foxtrot Photograph : BBC Pictures

Pamela is over the moon & wants to thank James.

Gavin Henson has a Blues Brothers inspired Foxtrot – and he really needs a good dance – he so badly wants to be at the top of the leaderboard and not the underdog.  It’s not bad, but perhaps a little careful.  Len says that this was Gavin’s best dance.

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Gavin & Katya Photograph : BBC Pictures

Alesha said Gavin’s confidence is back. 

They score 33.

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Gavin & Katya Photograph : BBC Pictures

That’s his highest score in the competition.

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Gavin & Katya Photograph : BBC Pictures

Kara Tointon has a lot to live up to this week with the Tango.

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Gavin & Katya Photograph : BBC Pictures

She has loved the Argentine Tango and is looking forward to this dance – will she score a perfect 40 ?

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Kara Tointon & Arten Chigvintsev dance Tango Photograph : BBC Pictures

Training this week has been hard, because tonight it’s Roxanne from Moulin Rouge and Kara doesn’t want to go blank again this week and forget the steps !

Much speculation has been in the press and everyone wants to know whether or not they are dating.  Artem has a history of getting together with his on-screen partners and so this time, Artem decided to made it clear that they will get together, after the show is over, otherwise it’s too complicated.  Kara is more circumspect – saying that Artem has said that he ‘may’ take her out for a bite once the show is over.  So that’s cleared that up !

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Kara & Artem Photograph : BBC Pictures

Stunning start on a chair – difficult steps walking over it, pushing it away with her feet.  Purple and pink velvet dress.  Drama and passion, grace and daring – with a huge floorspin at the end, leaving Kara on her own.

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Kara & Artem Photograph : BBC Pictures

Alesha was mesmerised, practically speechless.  Bruno said it was spectacular. Craig had one word – phantasmagorical.  And Len – he pointed out that he’d like a little less stamping and that Kara had been working on the heel leads.

They score a 10 from Alesha and Bruno – giving them 38.

Pamela & James are at the top of the leaderboard – Ann and Anton at the other end.

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Kara & Artem Photograph : BBC Pictures

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