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Strictly Come Dancing: Your big six Musicals Week talking points

PUBLISHED: 21:57 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 21:57 10 December 2018

Lauren Steadman - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Lauren Steadman - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

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Quarterfinals on Strictly Come Dancing are just another excuse to whip out Musicals Week costumes, more sequin-clad backing dancers and for Bruno to thrust at the licence fee payers expense - and we all love it.

Strictly 2018 Celebrities and Pro Dancers - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyStrictly 2018 Celebrities and Pro Dancers - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

So what did you miss this week on the sequined soap opera that is Strictly?

Charles’ Dance(s for the last time)

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton are the latest victims of Ashley Roberts and her amazing dancing feet.

Their Rumba to Maria from West Side Story may have been “The best male rumba we’ve ever had on the show” (says you Craig #BringBackDannyMac) but it wasn’t stopping Ashley powering into the semi-finals.

Karen Clifton, Charles Venn, Ashley Roberts, Pasha Kovalev - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyKaren Clifton, Charles Venn, Ashley Roberts, Pasha Kovalev - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

The stocks of sex appeal on the show have at least halved as the self-appointed ‘Team 12-pack’ shuffle off to It Takes Two and I can only assume a premium line of workout videos for the already-superbuff.

Going Full Burke

Dancing is hard. Even for ringers in this competition it’s hard to do all the steps, stay in character, nail some zany lifts and be ready to do it all again next week.

Whether you like her or not, Ashley Roberts is trying really hard. Which must make two consecutive dance-offs a bitter reward for near-total domination of the competition.

Karen Clifton, Charles Venn - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyKaren Clifton, Charles Venn - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Cue the tabloid headlines of backstage meltdowns, elitist slander flung about in dressing rooms and huffy stamps down corridors to twist the ears of producers.

One viewers take: Despite being endearing and human in all the VTs and It Takes Two interviews, she was too good a dancer and too small a household name from the get-go to win this competition.

Viewers like to see a journey and Ashley started way out in front - getting a 40 is less impressive when you start at 32.

T’was the same fate that befelleth Alexandra Burke and t’will befelleth all thee who enter here with years of dance practice.

Tess Daly, Charles Venn, Karen Clifton - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyTess Daly, Charles Venn, Karen Clifton - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Judge Mental 2: Eccentric Boogaloo

Ever thought you could do a better job than the Strictly judges? Now you can!

It started off with their inclusion in the Musicals Week opening dance (cue the Abba megamix casette) - gawdy costumes abound, but the worst offender was Bruno.

His shorts were so tight that one misplaced thrust would have left him doing a Lenny Kravits to millions of viewers.

Pasha Kovalev, Ashley Roberts - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyPasha Kovalev, Ashley Roberts - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Once behind the judges desk, a litany of inconsistency across the board in comments and scores were epitomised by Dame Darcey Bussell.

After telling Ashley to adjust her arm following her Quickstep, she gave Roberts and Pasha a perfect 10.

If you’re going to tell her how to improve Darcey, then it wasn’t a 10. Come on squad, pull up your collective socks.

Lauren Steadman: People’s Champion

Pasha Kovalev, Ashley Roberts - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyPasha Kovalev, Ashley Roberts - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

You’re sat there sipping your Sunday night, Babysham on ice. You think thoughty thoughts about Stacey Dooley and Joe Sugg being shoe-ins for the final.

Maybe one of them will even win this year, you profess knowingly, slippers resting on your foolish feet, wiggling toes ignorant to what lies ahead.

A murmur of agreement from your family or significant other is all you win, for in 14 days time we are all to be buried by the avalanche of support for Lauren Steadman.

How can you consistently end up in the middle or bottom of the table for 11 weeks and NEVER end up in the dance-off?

Kevin Clifton, Stacey Dooley - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyKevin Clifton, Stacey Dooley - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

How can you avoid the pot-luck killing fields of the first weeks where anyone other than ringers can get the boot?

How can you watch Charles and Graham fall by the wayside without so much as a whiff of danger?

How in Jupiter’s armpit can you outrank actual-dancer-turned-contestant Ashley twice in a row?

Could be Russian voting bots. Could be the Steadman’s have a bigger extended family than the BBC prepared for. Could be the GB Paralympic team corralled into unwavering support.

Faye Tozer, Giovanni Pernice - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyFaye Tozer, Giovanni Pernice - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

You didn’t hear it from me, but the smart money is on Steadman to win.

40-fied

Another must watch - Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice clinched the second perfect score of the series with a Charleston to a cacophony of techno-yodelling from The Sound of Music.

It was... intense.

Diane Buswell, Joe Sugg - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy LevyDiane Buswell, Joe Sugg - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

#TeamJohannes

Group numbers = more Johannes screen time. We’re all winners here.

Getting treated to his hammed-up fleeing in South Pacific with his nipples in the wind was kind enough, but seeing him thrust bubble-weight dancer Joe Sugg into the air like a normal human reaches for a multipack bag of crisps from a supermarket shelf was something to behold.

Only two more weeks guys - remember I’m keen to be bothered on Twitter @JJFoxford with any and all wild theories about how Lauren is still in and anything else Strictly-related.

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