Musicals Week, hurrah! But before we embark on our Strictly journey, take a moment to remember the man, the legend, the sheer, er, balls, that is Ed:
In the great steaming pile of shite that is 2016, Ed was a weekly two minutes of joy. Now at something of a loose end since last week’s Strictly ejection, he has said he has no plans to return to his previous life in politics. Very wise. Let’s face it, if a tangerine fuck-knuckle can make it all the way to the White House, the public affairs bar is set way too low for a man of Ed’s talents.
Dress watch: Tess in a split bin bag, Claudia in an Ann Summers’ nightdress. 4/10. Must do better.
The show kicked off with Anton Du Beke yelping an abomninable ditty specially penned by Strictly’s music producer Matt Howes, who should be taken out and shot. The only distraction from Anton hitting all the wrong notes was his unfeasible, decayed satsuma-coloured hair. Presumably Anton is mates with Paul McCartney and Silvio Berlusconi, both of whom use the same orange hued dye. Embrace the grey, Anton. And never sing again.
Once I’d taken my fingers out of my ears, I was able to focus on Ore and Joanne, who danced the Foxtrot to ‘Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Ore as Willy Wonka. It was truly lovely, but I’m afraid I’ve led you astray with my previously stated conviction that he would win the competition. He won’t. Hey ho. This is why I don’t win the Lottery, folks.
Next, Judge Rinder and Oksana, who danced the Samba to ‘Oh! What a Night!’ from Jersey Boys. I have loved Rinder ever since the moment when, waiting to find out if he was in the dance off, he was caught during one of Tess’s interminable pauses mouthing “Oh COME ON.” Alas now Ed has gone (obligatory two minutes’ silence) he is the weakest link. I missed some of Rinder’s dance due to a brief spat with my daughter who objected to my asking her to unglue herself from her iPhone and pour me another Aperol Spritz – what are offspring for, if not to keep one’s drinks topped up?, but what I did see looked fun. Not good, but certainly fun.
Louise and Kevin danced the Quickstep to ‘The Deadwood Stage’ from Calamity Jane. Louise’s characterisation was brilliant, although there was far too much out of hold and she messed up the timing. Len, of course, managed to bugger up his bon mot: “Never mind the Deadwood stage, you could be on the, er, um, er, the West End stage!” he burbled, like a grandad at Christmas, unable to get his knock knock joke in the right order.
Claudia and AJ danced the Salsa to ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ from the Lion King. It was a frantic routine, the teeny twosome bopping like toddlers high on Ribena and Tangfastics at their 12th birthday party. “Well, that was HIGH ENERGY!” shrieked Darcy, who kindly refrained from mentioning the final lift in which AJ lifted Claudia over his head and wore her like a hat, something I hope never to witness again.
Finally, Danny and Oti danced the Tango to ‘One Night Only’ from the musical Dreamgirls. Danny was excellent at the start of this series, and is still excellent, although his footwork went awry several times. He’s too much of a tailor’s dummy for my taste, but there’s no denying the man can dance. He’ll probably win.
The show finished with a knock-out West Side Story routine from the professionals that mercifully did not include Anton singing. If only Ed Balls had been in it, it would have been perfect.