This week is the first time the couples will have to perform two dances - their own routines and a group dance. Yes, the swingathon is back. And I think that double dose of dancing is really favouring the remaining women in the competition. This could be one for the Strictly history books.
Looking good, feeling great
There is no way Abbey Clancy's not getting a great score for her Viennese Waltz to 'Delilah' (hubby, Peter Crouch, will be happy as it's Stoke City's song). I can't believe how good her training clips look - the dancing is flowing, elegant and almost perfect already. And she sounds really confident ahead of the dance - I don't know if she can repeat her full house of tens again but there must be a couple, at least, heading her way.
Sophie Ellis Bextor is also brimming with confidence as she gets ready to tango for a place in the semi-finals. Her footwork looks great and all her training seems full of drama with plenty of attitude. She says it's a good dance for her - my only worry is whether Madonna's 'Material Girl' is a good song for a tango. I'm not sure it's the best music choice this series and we've had some bad selections already. That aside, she's got a great chance of her first ten in the contest.
Talking up their chances
Susanna Reid is feeling confident ahead of Saturday's show. In her training interviews, shown on 'It Takes Two', she says she loves the passion and drama of her Argentine Tango to Jacko's 'Smooth Criminal' and she can't wait to get out on the dancefloor. Some of her training looks good but other parts look stuttering although Susanna always manages a great performance and remains one of the front runners for the title.
Ashley Taylor Dawson is dancing a salsa to Gloria Estefan's 'Conga'. This week, Ashley has said he is going to own the salsa, smash his performance and, if all goes as it should, make Strictly history. That's a lot to live up to, Ashley. To be fair, he looks like he may just be right from his training - the dancing is so fast, it's hard to keep up and the salsa 'armography' looks spot on already. I reckon Ashley is now the best chance of a male finalist and even then his hopes against a formidable field are not great.
Talking down their chances
Patrick Robinson is performing a rumba to Bruno Mars 'When I Was Your Man'. He says he's struggling to remember it while professional partner, Anya Garnis, says they're going to have to rely on his acting skills to get him through. Oh dear. I'm worried after looking at the training - there's no hip action at all. After a great run of top scores from the judges, I think Patrick is in trouble.
Natalie Gumede has got a Paso Doble to music (El Gato Montes) that's about as traditional as it gets and she looks pretty amazing in training. Natalie says she's finding it hard to get the right attitude but I really don't think it's going to be a problem and I sense another set of four tens might be looming on the SCD 2013 horizon.
Return of the swingathon
The six couples get at least a minute and a half to sit down and have a cup of tea before they're back in action in the swingathon. The pairs have to keep dancing a mix of jive, lindy hop and swing steps while the judges eliminate them one by one. They'll get extra points according to where they end up in the finishing order. And I can't see the best scores for this part of the show going to anyone other than Abbey or Natalie.
I have to admit, I've never really liked the swingathon. It's impossible to see all the couples dancing in the frantic couple of minutes it lasts so it's really hard to compare them. And even though this year we get twenty seconds at the start where they all have to do the same, choreographed steps after that the free for all nature makes it hard to work out who is beating who.
But it might just give us a clue to who will claim the glitterball in this too close to call contest. The last two couples to win a swingathon went on to win Strictly - hello, Kara Tointon and Harry Judd, I mean you. Whoever finishes top with the judges in this part of the contest could well be our overall winner. I'm just not expecting it to be a man this year.