Hey kids, what’s better than ONE Barry Manilow performance? That’s right! NO BARRY MANILOW PERFORMANCES! Unfortunately we’ve got two of them this evening, the first being a fairly standard talk-through of Copacabana complete with the most awkward audience interaction I’ve ever seen, and the second being him DUETTING WITH THE CORPSE OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG sort of. I don’t think they’re singing the same song a lot of the time. You’d think this would be a problem with a duet, but Barry ploughs on regardless bless him. Also in LIVE PERFORMANCE news there’s a pro cops & robbers routine featuring Robin and Anya. The former is acknowledged, the latter is not. That is…not the way around I would have it be, but ok.
Len’s Glans features Darcey twerking and Jake twerking and a lot of talk about twerking that just makes me glad that Bruce isn’t still here because Lord knows he would have tried to cut in on the action and it would have been absolutely mortifying. This week also sees the return, after its Blackpool break, of THAT’S CLAUDIA!, this time with Dave Myers and Mary Berry. Based on past precedent this means that Mary Berry is secretly the mother of either Sunetra Sarker or Steve Backshall or maybe even both, as they are this evening’s entirely predictable bottom 2. And speaking of predictable, Steve goes home, by a vote of 3 to 1, with Darcey dissenting because she likes his GUNZ. No really. That was her reasoning. Amazing. He gives a lengthy speech where he reminisces about his favourite dances from his fellow contestants, most of which happened.
The most important thing though, is that Jake announces that next week he’s going to be doing an Argentine Tango to Zorba The Greek. With plate-smashing. Racist Dress-Up Week’s going to be fun isn’t it? Hope someone’s got a bone through their nose to represent the country of Africa.
So if there was a Blackpool Hangover this week, it only lasted for the first couple of dances, as Steve opens by stumbling around woozy-headed looking for a curry dressed like an American Football player (I’m not sure if it’s a credit to Steve’s physique that I genuinely can’t tell if he’s wearing pads or not) and calls it a jive. Caroline on the other hand appears to have settled on Hair Of The Dog for her hangover cure of choice, as she slops around in her American Smooth to Mack The Knife, tripping up over her dress, wobbling up and down the stairs and wearing a performance face that can be best described as “I LOVE YOU PASHASHSA *hic*”.
After that though? It feels like everyone is firing on all cylinders. A little bit…too much maybe in some cases, as Jake’s samba goes officially absolutely out of control, like his salsa on cocaine, with extra gyrations, extra tooth-grinding, extra snorting, and above all, extra camp, as it’s performed at full-tilt to the Macarena in a truly vomitous pink shirt. It still…kind of works? But the judges probably should note that saying something was technically poor and a bit of a mess doesn’t really follow with then giving it 10s. Also getting 10s are our two pop princesses as the show’s pretence that “Charleston” is a genre collapses utterly as Pixie just straight up-performs her climactic Musical Theatre number from her starring role in “Moulin Rouge : The Musical” (and utterly ignores Darcey’s “…less with the legs love” advice as she does so) in which Trent appears not once and Frankie does a quite nice, liddle bit dull Viennese Waltz with what sounds like someone noisily doing the washing-up in the background.
Less feted by the judges, but still somewhat adored are Simon & Kristina, who jank Scott and Natalie’s salsa music and do more or less the same routine, except without the gingham realness that made that routine so epicmazing (just me?). The show tries to make “WOW, IT’S HIS FIRST 9 FROM CRAIG!” a thing but, let’s face it, with all the 10s flying around in the air like Janette in a pro-dance, a 9 doesn’t cut it any more. In danger of facing off in the dance-off on paper though are Mark and Sunetra. Both there before, both with nice-enough but fairly underwhelming ballroom dances that get nice-enough but underwhelming scores. Time will tell if it’s the obvious combination of two out of the three of them and Steve in the dance-off, or if it’s time for another SHOCK BOOT(OM TWO APPEARANCE) after the last few weeks of comfortable cuts of stragglers.
Most important though, Claudia is back, and just about holding it together until the very end, when Kristina says something sweet that sets her off and chokes her up and then it all feels very genuine and a bit real, which let’s face it is anomalous and terrifying on this show. Fortunately we’re back with Tess repeating back what she’s just heard an octave higher and calling it an interview shortly afterwards. Phew.
HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NEW YORK! CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE LAUREN GETS LAID OFF, BECAUSE OF PISS-LIKE BREW!
In which Anton learns to love again. Maybe too late…
HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, BLACKPOOL! CONCRETE SLAB WHERE FISH N CHIPS ARE MADE UP, THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN’T DO (except samba).
It’s a jam-packed Results Show this week, with the show trying to make the most of the Blackpool floor before we all have to pack up and go back to miserable ol’ London and the normal studio, where Pixie will only score, like, 35 and we’ll call it the Blackpool Hangover. (I just looked at last year’s Blackpool Hangover week line-up. Oy). To that end we have two guest performers and a giant free-roaming pro/celeb routine to a Jackson 5 medley. It has basically the same theme as Natalie Gumede’s Blackpool Charleston but with added “Judy Murray swigging champagne”. Which I am all in favour of. Our two guest stars? Shirley Bassey and the entity known as McBusted. One of them comes across as a tragic old has-been luvvie clinging on way past their best and with their voice shot to pieces. And it’s not the one you might think.
There’s no “THAT’S CLAUDIA!” (with Zoe Ball) probably because neither of the two celebrities in the bottom 2 have their mums in tonight so there’s no real fun to be had with that. Len’s Glans meanwhile focuses on bigging up Mark and Simon and giving Judy a nice send-off. Yes, as if it wasn’t entirely obvious from the Performance Show treatment of her, she’s off, in a bottom 2 with Sunetra. So a slightly sad sense of the balloon finally coming down in both cases then. She and Anton have a touching goodbye, in which Anton almost briefly touches upon sincerity, and then he flings her round the floor like some throwing a dishcloth at a rampant spider.
It’s what she would have wanted.
We open with a routine where Iveta dances with her 8 year old self, who is singing ABBA.
ARE YOU READY FOR BLACKPOOL? ARE YOU READY FOR 10S?! ARE YOU READY FOR 9S?! ARE YOU READY FOR SOME JUDY 7S?! ARE YOU READY FOR BACKING DANCER AFTER BACKING DANCER AFTER BACKING DANCER?! THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY! (Except Sunetra, who gets shoved in a death-slot with a hen-party themed mum-samba that gets roasted over an open fire by Craig. Although even that gets scores that literally not even Sunetra believes it’s worth) (Team Sunetra <3).
Simon gets three 10s for an erotically charged Argentine Tango with Kristina that only features two foot-punches and NO CHOKING. She's learning! Pixie gets two for a truly camp-shit crazy paso doble in which she and Trent are space-gladiators! Trent also gets his wife Gordana a gig as a backing dancer, although it becomes slowly clear over the course of the night that she looks far too much like Aliona to ever get a permanent role (boo). Frankie also gets two 10s for a rock-band themed quickstep that's probably the only quickstep ever in a big arena show not to feel like a dog being trotted round at Crufts. Caroline gets one 10 for her Londoncentric jive in which she comes dressed as a Happy Shopper Geri Halliwell. Surely this must be the peak of her feud with Wardrobe? SURELY? (Pasha sadly gets no 10s for his acting as a mysterious gypsy fortune teller because true acting genius is never recognised in its lifetime).
Sadly that's it for 10s. The fruit machine has to stop paying out at some point I guess. Jake and Mark both come close, and even get Craig-9s, which in very many ways are more valuable than a 10 from anybody else (certainly than a 10 from Craig, which as we know get given to disco-salsas and Dr Hammie's Quickstep and every single dance that Lisa Snowdon did to my recollection), although I can't see why in either case. Mark's magic-themed Charleston is fun but a little slow, and lacks the impact of either his samba or his jive. Jake's American Smooth on the other hand…is basically Ben's American Smooth from last year, but with Jake doing marginally more and doing it marginally worse. Janette works harder than Brenda does at making it up to production for missing his big Hallowe'en speech…I'm not sure Jake does an awful lot. I actually marginally prefer Steve's American Smooth, giant arm-hankies and bulky awkwardness included, just because it feels like the celebrity is actually involved. Also Iveta lobs make-up at him in his VT. I laughed.
Finally there's…Judy. Everything this week says it should be her time to leave. She does a nice enough ballroom dance, she gets 7s (the perennial now fuck off home mark for the no-hoper), Andy isn’t mentioned or shown once, and she literally floats off the show under a flight of balloons at the end. But will this be the end?
*to be continued*