We open with news that…
Oh no, a giant glitterball has crushed Russell Grant and he has had to be replaced!
OK, not really, calm down Flavia fans, the race to make her Fem-Anton is still on, it’s just an example of this show’s newly hyper attitude to graphics and flim-flammery.
Look! They’ve put a random Super-8 effect on this old lady saying she loves the line-up, for no reason at all, except maybe that she’s so very old.
Look! Dan Lobb’s having a glittergasm!
Look! Jason Donovan is re-enacting the Scott-Charlene nuptials with a piece of bacon!
Look! Eggwina quite lidderally has EGG ON HER FACE (either that or Vinthent has some…downstairs issues he should probably see a doctor about)
Look! At…whatever this is supposed to signify!
Look! At the ridiculous special effects they’ve put on Lulu’s fa…oh, wait, it’s just like that anyway? Never mind.
LIVE! (Remember when this show was just a simple show about simple dancing, telling simple stories about simple folk, not Dead Nans, gimmickry and Charlestons based around Jurassic Park? No, me neither, but it’s nice to pretend sometimes)
I am pleased to report that, all being well in the Universe and someone in the editing suite still having a sense of humour, that the “HO!” this year is
this one. As it should be. She also does the most amazing twitch of her head, a little Tourette’s like. If this turns out to be a genuine medical condition that she can’t help, then I’m all for her giving in and yelling “WANKER!” in Anton’s face mid-salsa. Or, indeed, even if it isn’t.
Into the studio we arrive, with the usual band fanfare, and with Bruce and Tess arriving through the audience, which is probably for the best. I’m guessing Bruce and stairs at this point would add another 10 minutes onto the run-time, and there’s not even time enough for pro-dances as it is. Tess Dress Watch yields
this, which is really just a sheet isn’t it? They got better at dressing Tess last year, although that may just have been by default, because they had a new doll to play with in the shape of Results Show Claudia (With Screaming Meerkat Action) to play with. And God, how they excelled themselves there.
Is Tess flicking the Vs there? Is it at all her HATAHs, a la Cher Lloyd? All them who can’t stop twittering bout her, myspacing bout her, ebaying bout her? if so, hi Tess! *flicks Vs back* We pan to the audience, and I am at least glad to say that
Billy Connolly has kept up his appreciation of the show.
Bruce and Tess agree that it is the best cast ever, yes it is, definitely, DEFINITELY the best ever, because there’s something for EVERYONE. And also a couple of things for no-one. There’s even a couple of women who are Bruce’s age. Oh shit, Arlene’s back isn’t she? I knew it! Get that chastity belt and baseball bat ready Dan Lobb, she’s a-coming fo…
oh no wait, he’s just talking about what happens if you add together the ages of Anita Dobson and Lulu!
Is it that it spells out “BOOBIES” if you turn it upside down on a calculator? Lulu’s LIVED. Or some anagram therein.
Tess reminds us that the celebrities have spent the last 3 weeks training for this moment, unless they’re Harry TEH EVEL RINGER, or Audley who apparently trained for, like, a day or something. They will be performing either a waltz or a cha-cha-cha or some thing where they climb out a clam and point about random. Shrug. And then tomorrow we do it all again, but better. Unless you’re Nancy Del’Olive Oil. (SPOILERS!). Anyway, this pre-amble over, it’s time to meet the stars of the show. Remember them?
Even with Holly with the usual Chocolate coins dress, and Chelsee dressed, as ever, in off-cuts from the JonBenet Ramsey Memorial Collection, this is by some distance the biggest crime against costuming on display. Why it slashed so SPECIFICALLY to his nipple? Is this what Ola thinks is erotic on a man? She’d be lucky to find James’ so maybe she’s just working it whilst she can. Anyway, we will get to this…”look” later anyway, so I shall withdraw my cannons for the moment.
Unlike Chelsee. Those things are never going away.
Incidentally, as soon as Katya and Dan are down the stairs, she plonks herself centre-stage and stands there with her mouth open waving and squealing to the audience. This is but the first stage in Katya Virshilas : Project Lobotomy. But again, we’ll get to that.
Once everyone’s out, Bruce reminds us that THIS IS THE BEST CAST EVER, and also that a few weeks ago Bruno compared them to a Pick N Mix. Eh Bruce, it’s Bruno, he also compared them to Girls Aloud, Harry Potter, and the Coventry City FA Cup Winning Team of 1987. Anywho, Bruce continues and says that this would make Robbie Savage a hard centre, and Russell Grant a soft centre. This would also make Bruce the sort of person who’d put chocolates in his Pick N Mix which also makes him EVIL AND WRONG. Oh and also Edwina and Nancy are both “nut clusters”
Except Bruce says “nut crusters” which somehow makes that immeasurably worse. I’m just glad nobody made a joke about Audley’s Liquorice Torpedo, because let’s face it, this show would. (NATURAL RHYTHM!)
Tess reminds us that sadly, nobody’s getting eliminated this first weekend. BOO! Instead everyone’s going to get to do a dance without the grim pressure of elimination looming over their heads. Having seen all this year’s crop Tess, I think a few of them could have done with it. I mean, the scores they get will still count, but it’s not quite the same thing, “motivation to not be crap” wise. Also it means I have to wait a week longer for my Claudia fix. But hush, anyway, they did that last year, this “giving people time to bed in” thing, we need NU TWISTS to help the ratings.
Karen Hardy floating over the studio in a spaceship with Katy Brand hurling insults on the red button? Eh. It’s no “TV Theme Tunes Week”. Tess says they will be providing “witty critique” of the dancing (mostly revolving around the theme of us possibly remembering when Karen Hardy won the show with Whatsisface) but Bruce huffs that he hopes there won’t be any witty critique going on of his bits.
Don’t worry Bruce, there definitely won’t.
The Second Mrs De Winter and Artem Chigvintsev dancing the cha cha
They appear to have styled her as an owl for some reason. Hoot hoot Holly, hoot hoot. Artem does that thing where he stands back from his partner to applaud them. I feel it is a little bit too early in the series for this. She aint done nuffin yet.
Bruce jokes that Holly asked him why she had to be on first, and Bruce replied that there was a totally fair and random draw, pulling names out a hat and sticking them on the running order board. It took him 27 goes, but eventually he got it up there. Poor Wilnelia.
VT TIME! Tess reminds us that Holly is a “pop temptress” (the hussy!) and also has done some magazine shoots and things.
I like to believe she’s related to the headline in the bottom right. (NOT REALLY, LOVE YOU HOLZ!). Holly reminds us that she started off in the world of acting, playing Flick Scully (which sounds more and more like a post-lights out game from a girls boarding school every time she says it), then she moved into the pop world, then back to the acting world, then the modelling world, then the acting world again, then the lollipop lady world, then the pop world again, then the acting world, then the “marrying a property developer who frankly could be worse, let’s face it, we were all imagining a cross between Jabba The Hutt and one of the Weinstein Brothers” world, and now, finally the reality tv world. It’s been quite a life. TAKE THAT LULU!
Holly reminisces about her video-dancing days, surrounded by ten hot sweaty male dancers. Yeah, none of that on this show Holly. She does downplay her experience though, saying that on those video-shoots there were hundreds of people employing all sorts of artful tricks to try to make her look good, whereas we all know this show is about people trying to make you look as moronic as possible. Oh and also she’s with Artem, who won last year, so she’s got a lot to live up to (/a lot of bonkers fans screaming “YOU’LL NEVER BE KARA!” to run away from). Artem for his part says that last year he both won the show and got a girlfriend, but it’d be nice to do it all again (except for the “girlfriend” part obviously). Especially for the manufacturers of Kleenex.
Training now, and Holly says that she’s struggling. Well quite. I’m not sure if the best dance of Strictly past to be trying to channel is the
Vorderumba. Holly also complains that Artem doesn’t give out compliments willy-nilly. Indeed we see her
writhing about at random and him groaning “oh my goodness…”. And not in the good way. Artem explains that you really have to be good to get a compliment from him. He is STERN RUSSIAN TASK-MASTER (*breaks down in tears when one of Holly’s faces reminds him of his poor dead bunny Spetznatz*). Eventually Holly reaches a standard that prompts Artem to say “that was alright”, which causes Holly to screw up her face and say
“is that another one of your “compliments?”
People have taken all this as a sign that Artem and Holly HATE ONE ANOTHER, or that he is DELIBERATELY AVOIDING THE CHEMISTRY HE HAD WITH KARA LAST YEAR TO AVOID COMPARISONS THE NOBLE GENTLEMAN THAT HE IS or that HOLLY’S SENSE OF HUMOUR IS TOO COMPLICATED FOR THE BRITISH PUBLIC. Personally I think it was about 10 seconds long.
TO THE FLOOR!
ZOMG LOOK HOW FAR AWAY HE IS, HE BLATES HATES HER! (etc etc). Their cha cha is to “Who’s That Chick?” by Owen Wilson and Whoever It Is This Week, nicely replicating in its title the scenes on the sofas of the show’s fanbase whose knowledge of Neighbours probably ended somewhere around the time Bouncer did. Her dancing is probably best summed up by this image :
ie, it’s all very placed and controlled and her face doesn’t seem to know what the rest of her is doing. It’s a very aloof, sexy, come-hither sort of routine, and I don’t know if that’s the best way to start (given that she may very well be just angling for “the dad vote”) or the worst (given this show’s preferred Latin style of “run around screaming your head off like a toddler on Red Bull” (aka “The Chris Hollins method”)). It’s also possible that the “bashful, sexy” vibe is a nice cover up for the fact that
I haven’t seen someone stare at their feet so much since that same toddler on Red Bull got told off for knocking Granddad’s ashes over.
On the other hand (*obligatory comment about how she shows definite potential here*) and Artem does throw in a random splits just because he can
which I never don’t appreciate. And the end-pose makes it look a bit like
she’s being birthed from her own vagina, which I’m sure is a very nice metaphor for her REBIRTH VIA STRICTLY. Or whatever.
The audience sound mildly pleased and up in the Tessanine, Russell
makes a move on Nancy, to add her to his coven of fag-hags. No dice Russell, Nancy is not just going to drop her conversational knickers for any homosexual who passes on by. She’s CLASSY like that.
Back to the floor, and it’s time for Bruce to introduce Davarch, his Fabulous Orchestra and
YAY! THE MAN IN THE HAT! NEVER LEAVE ME AGAIN MAN IN THE HAT! That emogirl meant nothing to me! Oh, and it’s also time to reintroduce the judges. Bruce tells Alesha he’s missed her…”little words of wisdom”.
Ugh, she’s on her third series now, can we get Alesha a big dumb catchphrase of her own please? It’s almost as though she’s not yet become a bloated self-parody and we can’t be having that. Anyway, Bruce has also missed Craig saying “dahhhling”
(I haven’t), Len saying “SEV-UHHHHN”
(I haven’t) and he’s also missed Bruno…doing whatever Bruno does
Mostly that. Bruno promises to speak very very slowly for Bruce’s benefit. Given that his sentences will still be about 80 words long each, I doubt that’ll help matters. They’ll still just be random car-crashes of nouns, verbs, and the lyrics to Katy Perry songs.
For judge content, Len starts, saying that this wasn’t the best first dance he’s seen (*audience boos*) but it was close! Apparently he said this to Chynna Phillips on Dancing With The Stars this week. Apparently some people watched Dancing With The Stars this week. I know which one I’m more surprised by. Anyway, Artem
grins like a 3 year old, because he may not know how to give compliments, but he certainly receives them with aplomb. It could have been crisper, with better hip action, but whoever’s coming is going to have to be pretty good to beat that. Sadly they only have to be Dan Lobb to equal it. Artem does the old “step back – applause” thing again. I’m a little over that now. I’m so capricious.
Alesha next and she says that Holly is a great dancer, looks sensational, and already is at a high standard of technique, but she could have pushed it more, and Alesha felt her nerves. (*step back – applause*). Bruno’s next and…are you ready for Bruno’s first critique of the series? Here we go :
“HOLLY! YOU CAN GIVE PLENTY OF VERY TASTY EYE-CANDY! FLOWINGLY STENSUOUS, THE FOOTWORK WAS GOOD, SOMETHING SOMETHING
THIS! BUT ALL THAT SWEET CANDY NEEDS MORE BITE! LEN WAS RIGHT SOMETHING SOMETHING YOU GOT IT!”
Long may it continue.
Craig’s critique is, of course, critical and attention-grabbing saying that her arm placement wasn’t sharp enough and she never straightened her legs. Also she never quite made her first devloppe extension. But you know, she was very flexible and she WILL improve. Holly looks at him as though she is very much tempted to set the dingos on him.
Comments over, up they bounce to the Tessanine, where I’m surprised Tess doesn’t greet them by asking Artem whether Holly or Kara’s norks are bigger. She’s slacking off. Ah well, I’m sure there’s time. Holly says she knows things can get better and she really appreciated all the constructive and helpful criticism from the judges, especially that bit where it looked like Bruno was about to fire a ping-pong ball at her. Suck-up. Scores are in : 28, including a
from Len, that officially puts this “almost the best first dance he’s ever on Strictly” on a par with this one. And, you know, Chris Parker’s. EXALTED COMPANY INDEED! It’s almost as though he just likes saying that number isn’t it?
Dan Lobb (LIKE THE TENNIS) & Katya Virshilas dancing the waltz
Look at her! She’s laughing! At a Bruce Joke! Not even a funny one! (“What do you call someone who presents breakfast every morning? A waiter.”) (*mourns for Old Katya*). To be fair, as all humour arises from subverted expectations, maybe she’s just surprised and amused that the punchline wasn’t “my wife”. I know I was. Poor Wilnelia. The audience goes a little batshit and Bruce says “very popular man”. Poor Katya.
VT time, and we get to see Dan at his day job. It’s at least an improvement on Adrian Chiles. The sound department play “Rise And Shine” by The Cardigans over this bit, because they are my friends. Tess tells us that he’s doing it “for the boys” and in particular (per Dan himself) those boys who hang around the edge of the dancefloor not really getting involved. At this, I get what I believe is technically known as a “Gough shudder”. I mean, I am, technically speaking, one of those men, but the solution to that is 4 pints of cider, not a GMTV presenter doing a half-arsed wagon wheel watusi. Anyway, yes, he is dismissive of glitter and he doesn’t really want to dance, just go down the pub with his mates. Well why not SOD OFF THERE th…
*takes medication doctor gave him for post-Matt Dawson PTSD*
And… I’m fine again. Hopefully Katya will beat this ANTI-DANCE NONSENSE out of him. There’s also some very subtle jokey irony about how he wants to do her LOL NOT REALLY HE’S ALL ABOUT THE DANCING, TITS TITS TITS. Speaking of which
HERE SHE IS! No hat yet, but it’s a start. She tells us all that she might be tough, but if she’s going to be in the studio with someone 8 hours a day, she wants them to make her laugh. (*mourns for Gavbot*)
In training we have a very brief “good cop bad cop” metaphor that doesn’t really make sense. Katya is both the good cop and the bad cop, and also giggly cop, corrupt cop, sleepy cop, female struggling to prove herself in a male environment cop, and Doc. There’s some comedy “bickering” there and Katya tells him to shut up once or twice, but really
I think she adores him a little. (Please note I am not saying this in a sex way. I’m not Tess Effing Daly). BOO KATYA! KICK HIM IN THE NUTS AND MAKE HIM CRY!
To the floor now and
oh hello first prop. And also
second, much larger prop. It has been suggested to me that the rose is a cheeky reference to Gavbot’s current (gloriously inept) turn on The Bachelor. If so, I’m glad to see some of the old Katya lurking behind this new gooey facade.
The music starts up and it’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” which when you think about it, is really “I Could Have Danced All Night” but slowed down a bit. Dan whirls over to Katya and deposits his rose, which she gives a quick sniff and immediately mercifully discards. If this were a routine from the House Of Anton that thing would have been stuck between her teeth for half the routine. Or possibly somewhere else.
It’s a very nice early waltz – he’s a little stiff and rigid, and he doesn’t really look like he’s leading anything, but he’s nicely in hold and not at all wriggly or pushy, as a lot of early male waltzes are. He also looks like he’s making an effort to remember what his neck-line is supposed to be, even if it does end up a bit “offensive wobbly impression of an Indian gentleman”. Every time he looks at Katya his face lights up, which is sweet, but when he doesn’t he looks a bit
bored and fed-up with her. Which rather gives the unfortunate effects of those soap opera hugs where someone pulls faces down the camera mid-embrace when the other person can’t see, signifying they DON’T REALLY LIKE THEM AT ALL AND ARE POSSIBLY ABOUT TO KILL THEIR KITTEN OH NOES. I’m also slightly distracted that in the audience
Billy Connolly has turned up dressed all hatchy-matchy with someone who is not his wife. SOMEONE TELL ANITA!
Over to the judges they go, and Bruce tells them both it was very elegant. He tells Dan that Katya is wonderful, and Dan agrees that she is “getting there, with her dancing”. Well, that’s earned him a stabbing in training this week. Or it least it would have in the old days. *sigh*. Len starts for the judges, saying it was a bit wooden and it lacked musi…
Oh dear, the audience have booed Len, this will never do. He snaps at them to shut up, and tells them that they’re “getting on his wick” already. Bruce laughs for about half an hour. Heaven knows at what. Len says that despite all that, the hold and footwork were good, especially as waltz is such a hard dance for tall people. Wait? What? Waltz is hard for tall people now?! That’s a new one. My heart goes out to you just a little bit more every day my outsize brethren.
Alesha follows, saying that Dan looked very confident and relaxed, even though Alesha knows he was very nervous before the show started. He looked like he was leading Katya, so well done. Katya’s goo-goo eyes are truly
something to behold at this point. Bruno follows, saying it was all technically very accomplished, but he looked more miserable than Adrian Chiles on the Daybreak sofa. Well…wouldn’t you be if you were Adrien Chiles? Apparently it should have been more like
this. I don’t think Katya choreographed a routine where Dan was a rapey octopus Bruno. That’s really more Aliona’s speed. Instead he was happy when gazing into her eyes but apparently
like this at other points. Well that’s going to replace the sea-monster in my nightmares. Bruce tells Dan he has a lovely smile and he should use it more, and Dan sarcily says “thanks Bruce, so do you”. This prompts Bruce to call Dan “lippy”. This prompts
this from Katya. Nice bridgework.
Craig closes by saying that Dan’s lead was very tentative, that he had a very rigid top-line, that all his rise and fall was in his knees, that his transitions between amalgamations were a bit crumbly
(whatever Craig, I like a crumbly amalgamation on a man), and that he needed to SMILE more. Alesha huffs “BUT IT’S HIS FIRST TIME!”. Oh Alesha, it’s his only time. They’re not dancing this again. Which of course makes the very notion of this degree of specificity in criticism ridiculous, but hey ho, we’ve been here before.
Dan & Katya need to get a room. Is the message I’m taking from this segment.
Up to the Tessanine they jolly where Katya just
stares at Dan like a 6 year old staring at the handsome groom at a wedding. Dan says that he really enjoyed training with Katya, and that he thinks they did better than the judges suggested. Also his tongue keeps diving into his cheek, which I guess is a nervous thing, and sadly not a preview of where Katya’s choreography is going to go vis a vis him and Bruno. That is if we can get Old Katya back. I’m willing to shrink down in a miniature submarine a la the Incredible Journey. Scores are in : 24
Darn those fudgey crenelations. Or whatever they were.
Bloody Lulu & Brenda Cole dancing the cha cha
His fans (I’m really more of a casual admirer) are insisting the “refreshed” look is because of his new hair-do.
Bruce jokes that when Lulu and Brendan were paired up, Brendan lifted her up over his shoulder and carried her off. LOL, Illegal Lifts from Brendan already! Do we have those any more? Illegal lifts? I feel we need Len to make a definitive statement and then definitively completely ignore it 5 minutes later. Also remember when Lulu was all “OH NO NOT BRENDAN! ON NO NOT LIKE THAT, HOW COULD YOU THINK THAT? I DIDN’T MEAN IT LIKE THAT! WHAT A MISUNDERSTANDING! OH DEAR! OH NO! OH CALUMNITY AND WOE!” on the Launch Show? Yeah, still at it.
In her VT Tess feigns ignorance and asks out loud “Entertainment Legend Bloody Lulu…now what is it she does again?”. Lulu helpfully replies
“I’m a singer, I’m a songwriter, I’m an actress, I’m a grandmother, I’m a bitch, I’m a mother, I’m a child, I’m a lover, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed”. She’s also very modest. Oh and she’s a businesswoman and a “sometimes model” and she also had her own tv show in the 60s.
And we think we have it bad now. At least Young, Dumb And Snogging My World’s Strictest Mum is relegated to BBC 3. She also reminds us how she reacted when she was paired with Brendan. Apparently it is because of his “bad boy reputation”, and also because he’s tall. Yes, I know I’m convinced by this reaction
being “because he’s over 6ft”. Act harder Bloody Lulu.
Brendan appears and reminds us that yes, he is a rebel, but he’s also a very nice person who gets along with most of the people he’s worked with (sadly they do not cue up the clip of him kicking Lee Otway in the face on NotCelebrity Love Island here. Mostly because I could watch it all day).
In training, Bloody Lulu turns up dressed like this :
I have nothing more to say on the matter. No matter what else happened in this segment (mostly Bloody Lulu being hyperactive, terrible and
terrifying), you can’t top Hip-Hop Yoda.
Out to the floor now and
even Davearch looks a bit put off. The routine is to “I Got The Music In Me”, although that would only be true if “Music” was being used as a synonym for “disco dust”. Basically Lulu hasn’t got a clue what she’s supposed to be doing beyond about 20 seconds in and just struts and jitters around. At least when Michelle was like this last year there was a vague sense she was following some sort of set of instructions in her head, even if they probably were coming from somewhere the other side of Uranus. Once Brendan gets clued in that this isn’t just his usual “feisty uncontrollable woman choreography” he tries to haul her about a bit, Fiona-style, but even he can’t hide the frequent expressions of
“what in crap’s name are you doing woman?” off his face.
She at least pulls things together for the end, where she and Brendan criss-cross the floor screaming at judges and the audience before they stand there and shimmy. Well…Brendan shimmies. Bloody Lulu looks like she’s trying to dislodge an undescended testicle.
Brendan carries her over to the judges, all the while she’s shrieking about how bloody hilarious she is. Bruce asks her if she needs a paramedic. I’ll take one if there’s one spare.
Alesha starts for the judges by thanking Lulu for getting the party started.
I guess a wake is a TYPE of party. She thinks that Lulu has lots of potential despite the fact that it went a “bit wrong”. You know, just like the Challenger launch or Megan Fox. Alesha’s glad she got the first one out the way, and looks forward to seeing her next week. Maybe Brenda can dance the entire foxtrot with her slung over his shoulder? Next up :
Bruno sings Shout. You know it was coming. I can’t wait to see his Boom-Bang-A-Bang. He liked her energy, but it was entirely obvious that there was no actual dancing anywhere in there. Brenda plays a jokey “IT WAS INTENTIONAL!” card, but after 9 series, even he can’t be bothered trying to sell it as anything else. Craig follows us up with our first “dance disahhhhhster” of the series. It really was. Lulu agrees, and also with his statement that she made it up, almost from beginning to end.
Len closes by saying that he had high expectations for Lulu, but she broke the cardinal rule of Strictly Come Dancing – “Don’t Go Wrong”. Apparently you lose marks for that these days.
I know Lulu, I was surprised as well. Still, he states it was “fun and entertaining”, so well done Bloody Lulu. I guess schadenfreude is a kind of fun and entertaining.
Bruce calls them his favourites.
I don’t know if it even deserved that.
Up to the Tessanine they skitter and Lulu
can’t even follow his lead up the bloody stairs. Once there, Tess proclaims that the audience doesn’t mind if Lulu forgets a few steps…DO YOU AUDIENCE? I swear, this show better hope I’m never in the audience. Tess asks Lulu if she thinks she’ll be able to pick herself up for next week’s foxtrot. She says that she hopes so, and she earnestly tells the audience that the dress rehearsal was better.
I think Harry Judd’s face probably speaks for the veracity of that statement. The scores are in : 17.
Is she getting a top-up behind there? Brendan mugs around saying “I think it was great! I think that was some of my best work!” and someone (it sounds like Harry which…I hope it is) replies “what was it?” SNERK.
Audley Harrison & Natalie Lowe dancing the waltz
He even waves awkward. Apparently Audley told Bruce that he was worried about what doing ballroom dancing might do for his image in the boxing world. Because, you know, it’s definitely possible that that could get worse. Anyway, this prompts a lengthy “BOXERS WEAR GLITTER AND FIGHT OVER A PURSE! LOLGAYS!” rant from Bruce that never seems to end, except when it does, which is somehow in the middle of The Importance Of Being Earnest. This is my second time viewing, so I have the luxury of playing this over the top.
Natalie’s post-Bruce joke face is, as ever, a joy :
VT time and we revisit Audley’s boxing career
punching people’s ears. Is this like England Great Peter Shilton – Saving Goals That Were Never Going In Anyway? Tess tells us he’s hoping to perform as well on the dancefloor as he does in the ring. Why, has he got a cruise lecture tour booked? He tells us that getting the Olympic Gold Medal was an amazing feeling, as was getting the MBE from “ma’am”. By which he means the Queen. The old one, not our new queen, Pippa Middleton’s Arse (coming to a £5 near you in 2012). He reminds us all that he is also
quite tall and that he has
size 17 feet. Don’t get Len over-excited Audley, otherwise you might witness a bad case of premature scorejaculation. He also tells us that he’s going to let his new partner be the boss. Well…not the boss, because his wife
is “the lady boss”. His new partner will be a delegate level of bossness. I’m happy to take her if you won’t Audley. I think I’d like Natalie to be my lady-boss.
Here she is
saying she’d love to hold up that glitterball. Maybe one day Natalie. Maybe not this side of the Olympics though.
Training VT…erm…doesn’t cover a lot, because they’ve not really done much of it. Certainly not together.
Who’s this stranger-bitch? Is she some professional Natalie impersonator, which I know is definitely a thing that exists, especially in LA. Apparently this is due to “work commitments” on Audley’s part which require him to stay in LA. Poor Natalie. The show’s quite happy to catapult her to Hollyoaks five times a week but they won’t spring for a trip to LA for a couple of weeks. Look
she’s got so bored waiting that she’s even started making jewelry out of bits of dead leaf. Poor Natalie. The current heatwave also impedes her ability to wear Fierce Scarves, which I miss. The upshot of all this is that Audley has had three days of training with Natalie, as opposed to the three weeks everyone else (apart from EVEL RINGER HARRY MCFLEA!) has had. Natalie says she’ll make up work til 3am if she can find studio-space. To be honest, when is that ever NOT true with Natalie and her partners?
Out to the studio and
I briefly ponder if Natalie has broken her legs. And also if that would stop her. They’re dancing their waltz to “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, which was the soundtrack to my very favourite episode of Cold Case ever. It involved some (telegenic) mother who became homeless alongside her two (telegenic) children and who lived out of her car until she won the lottery and excitedly told her tramp friend. Except she only won $20 or something like that, and used it to buy her daughters a birthday cake. But then the tramp found out and got MAD because he thought he was going to escape his life of poverty so he shoved her into the cake and shot her in the face. LAUGH A MINUTE STUFF! It also had a DIDO song in it.
Which is to say I find it hard to listen to the song without thinking about that poor dead pretty woman face down in her daughters ruined lotery-bought birthday cake. And, you know, giggling a bit.
Anyway, the routine’s sweet enough but it feels like he’s just doing it to get all the way through it. It’s endearing rather than any good, but you can’t begrudge a man for trying. Also
RUNNING SPLITS! Never change Natalie.
Up in the Tessanine
Nancy has caved, and is now embroiled in the world of being Russell’s Fairy Princess. Oh Nancy, it’s so unlike you to cave in so easily. Once we finish watching the blossoming of this new (bizarre) friendship, Audley and Natalie are already over to Bruce, who is telling Audley that he was very elegant, and Natalie that she was “very good in the clinches”. I don’t even want to start thinking what that might mean.
Bruno starts, and tells Audley that he was “very light and elegant for someone the size of Everest” but he needs to watch his lines and refine his footwork. And also possibly meet Natalie. That’s the woman standing to his right. Maybe occasionally. Craig follows by sneering “HANDS HANDS HANDS! SPATULISTIC! BIG OLD BANANAS ON THE BACK!”.
I smell a dance remix. He calls Audley flat-flooted and bizarre. And despite that, it wasn’t for him. Len follows by saying there’s a certain charm about a “big old geezer” trying to be soulful. Well that’s patronising. He would also like Audley to come and punch Craig in the face.
Well this never gets old. Craig suppresses a smile and says “I suppose you think that’s funny do you?!” I just retreat back to this. It is my new comfort blanket.
Alesha doesn’t get asked to comment, and Audley and Natalie shuffle up to the Tessanine. I didn’t even see any Internet threads starting suggesting Alesha wasn’t asked because she is a MORON or can’t help but EMBARRASS HERSELF every time she OPENS HER MOUTH. Maybe we’ve all moved on. I hope so.
Up in the Tessanine, Tess asks Audley how that compared with getting in the ring with “people who want to knock his block off”. Audley says it was very tough, and in particular Craig seems like a very tough man. Perhaps they could meet in a back-room later.
I’d get permission from your lady-boss first Audley. Scores are in – 20.
Charlie Dimmock and Ola Jordan dancing the cha cha
Bruce says that Robbie was talking to him backstage about his NERVES (*drink*) and apparently Bruce responded that Robbie shouldn’t worry, because after a few weeks on the show, everyone will love him. Yeah, that always happens. He might even become so popular that he gets offers to do panto. WOAH! DARE TO DREAM! Apparently Bruce thought that Robbie might cherish the role of a villain, but Robbie would rather be Goldilocks. You know, that hero who breaks into somebodys house and steals all their stuff. Also Bruce,
NEVER EVER MENTION OLA JORDAN AND ANYTHING TO DO WITH GOLDILOCKS IN THE SAME CONTEXT EVER EVER AGAIN FOR SAKE OF MY SANITY. That therapy was not cheap.
VT TIME! Here’s Robbie Savage
he has over 100 yellow cards. Seems a bit OCD to me, not that I’m judging. At least get some ones with a cute dog on the front for kids birthdays and stuff. He tells us that he started off playing football for Manchester United alongside Posh Spice,
him from The Inbetweeners, and Nicky Butt. Also apparently Paul Scholes by the looks of it, which isn’t mentioned, which is odd, because Paul Scholes Appreciation seems to be in vogue at the moment. Oh God sorry, almost sounded like I thought I knew something about football for a moment there. Erm…man kick ball and it go in net, that Gourcuff’s a bit fit isn’t he etc etc. Anyway this is it for Robbie’s achievements. I stood near David Beckham once. Erm…
he also stripped to his undergarments once. For some reason. *shrug*
He tells us that a real highlight for him would be getting to Blackpoo…I mean Wembley. Sorry, it’s so hard to keep track these days. He really wants to go to Wembley, because he never really played there once, and doing an indifferent paso to Club Foot would really make up for it. He closes by worrying that, when he played football, he had 10 other men screaming at him telling where to go if you ended up out of position. Who is there to do that on Strictly?! Erm…
this one? That or she’ll just kick you there.
In training, things don’t seem to be going great. Robbie can’t straighten his legs, and Ola says that he needs to “stop thinking like a footballer”. Which really is a fancy way of saying “start thinking”. Apparently he’s quite noisy on the dance-floor, which is not something that Ola appreciates these days. I think all of Chris’ yelling may well have left her with a sensitivity. Robbie says that getting a compliment from Ola is like scoring a winning goal, or getting a well-done off your manager. So much for “stop thinking like a footballer” I guess. We close with Robbie saying that he can’t quite believe that he’s going to dance a cha-cha on live tv. I can believe it, I just can’t believe it happened like this. Or more accurately :
WHAT IN THE SAME OF SCARY TRANNIES IS THAT?! Seriously, that is some cos-play sheisse right there. The crystal blue eyes, the lip-gloss, the boobs, the Kate Gosselin hair, the
designation that looks like its been sewn on the PTA. That says “bad8boy”. Which frankly is an online hook-up site username for gay men if ever I heard one. Did anyone NOT see that and automatically make the comment “more like bad6boy at best” calculation in their head? In between laughing themselves silly. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a routine and not been a bit sorry that someone wasn’t MORE inhibited, because bless him, he’s selling it harder than anyone else all evening, even Russell, and what he’s been given to sell is
THIS! DANCED TO ALEXANDRA BURKE! Oh my, I need a sit down.
He looks like he could be actually not bad if he was given a dance to dance not some sort of fever dream, but as it stands? Best comedy routine of the week.
Once over at Bruce,
the man himself has a good gawp at Robbie’s tattoos and asks him if he did them himself. Bruce, that picture of Wilnelia’s face that you drew on your bum in biro (and which you now can’t find), is not a tattoo. You can’t “do tattoos yourself” unless you’re a misguided 13 year old boy or one of those scary people with have tattooed over their own eyeballs. Ola jokes that she did the tattoos, and Bruce calls her “Orla” and tells her she can’t have time. Yes, she’s too busy…choreographing. Bruce then starts waffling on about his arms can only fit a 4 on them. I have absolutely no idea what that is even an allusion to, and neither do the two people in the audience that laugh.
Craig starts for the judges, and says it was “all very Abercrombie & Fitch, darling”.
No Ola, me either. Craig explains that this means it was all about the look, with no dancing whatsoever. I’d love to know what fashion outlet he was supposed to be aiming at being? You know, all those fashion outlets with all the quality dancing? Maybe Gap? Just standing there in second position whilst Ola minces around you is not what Craig would call cha cha cha. Does anything other than that happen in any salsambcha? They all seem to involve someone just…standing there.
Len follows up by saying that he likes that the hair matched. Quite. Anyway, he agrees with Craig that there was a tendency for Robbie to just stand still whilst Ola flew around like a wasp at a picnic. Or a bee on a cruise-liner. Or a hornet in a roller-disco. But Robbie had lots of attack and intent, and of all the three (*cough* four *cough*) footballers they’ve had on the show, “you’re” (*points*) the best (*cough* no he isn’t *cough*).
To be fair, maybe he’s talking about Ola’s little-reported career in the Lingerie Leagues.
Alesha follows, and gives Robbie an A for effort and for being a BLOKE doing the GAY DANCE OF GAY whilst also being a SPORTSMAN! Screw off Alesha. At least he’s not wearing pink, otherwise she’d probably give him a 9. She does say there’s room for growth, which I agree with, although she may just mean given how baggy his hoodie is.
Anyone want to see what Bruno thinks a “bad boy” looks like?
So authentic. He calls Robbie a savage who left the cha cha ravaged. Hey, that rhymes! He went at the routine like a wrestler! Yeah, this one. He also agrees with Len and Craig that it needed more content. Nice cleavage though. Yes the “one boob flopped out” look is very in this autumn. Bruce tells Robbie to zip up his knocker and hurry up to the Tessanine quickly, lest Bruno hop the table and try to gay-molest him. Yes, let’s send a male sportsman up to Tess to get him AWAY from sexual harassment. That’s sensible.
Once up there, Tess tells him it was a brillaint first effort and asks him if he waxed especially for her (SEE! SEE!) and Robbie ignores Tess completely (hurray!) to see that it is Ola’s birthday and it feels like he let her down.
Robbie, she spent last year having to pretend to be sexually interested in the millionaire Paul Daniels. This is positively Cloud Nine. Scores are in :
19. James starts yelling…stuff, everyone tries to look supportive, Kristina just
stares off into nowhere.
Angie Dobson & Robin Windsor dancing the waltz
Apparently Bruce didn’t remember who Anita was until she reminded him that she got naked in Calender Girls. Like that narrows it down. I think even I did that once. Most painful tuck of my life.
Anita’s VT now, and Tess tells us that she was in Eastenders for many years, but also more recently was Olivier nominated for her performance in Frozen. No wonder the West End is in trouble if they’re having to resort to making plays based on Madonna videos. (Except if they did one based on Oh Father! obviously. So emotional. New Blood Brothers etc etc). But really of course it’s for Eastenders she’s best known and especially how the costuming
inspired the modern Strictly wardrobe department. Also because she released a single based on the Eastenders theme tune, which really doesn’t happen enough these days. I’d totally buy a single of Chelsee Healey going “WATERLOO ROAD! ROAD! I PLAY A SLAPPER! BUT TOM CHAMBERS WAS CRAPPER!”. Apparently just after the song was released Anita was living in a block of flats and she used to hear her song blaring out of every single door and window, interspersed with the slamming of locks and scraping of keys and eerie moans then the walls started running with blood and it felt like her head was about to just screw right off…
SHE’S ALRIGHT NOW VO!
She also married Billy Connolly, from the band Ultravox. Do you remember them? OH VIENNNNNAAAAA! That one!
Her pro dancer?
Robin Windsor, who calls himself “the tough-looking guy with the soft centre”. I guess gristle is a KIND of tough. He’s not helped in his pretensions to hardness by…well that hat in the background for a start, or the fact he’s being soundtracked with “Candyman” or…well anything really. The fact that he sounds a bit like Gran from Angry Boys, let’s throw that one in there as well.
In training we see him
applying an L Plate to Anita’s tits and groaning “you don’t see me doing THIS every day”. At least they’re acknowledging that some of their dancers are gay now I guess. Sort of. Anyway, Anita says that she’s an absolute beginner and she won’t pick anything up unless it is quite literally DRUMMED into her head, and Robin dances around her with her L plate on, and for some reason it feels like they didn’t get an awful lot of footage from this partnership. I don’t know why. Maybe they struggled to find more than 5 minutes where she wasn’t scratching her ear with her foot and howling at the moon.
To the floor now, where
Robin is dressed as a footman and awkwardly jiggling about a bit. Maybe Anita went at him with a butter-knife in the dress-rehearsal. Maybe this is why Lulu was apparently under the impression that she did well in comparison. Anyway, the waltz starts and it’s very sweet and a little unremarkable. I guess it’s just nice to have someone who looks like they know what they’re supposed to be doing at any given moment, without having it written on their shoes. The story’s a little odd (Robin runs away at the end, and Anita does
SAD FACE, and I don’t know if he’s supposed to be dead, or a git, or if they broke up as part of a mutual agreement and still remain friends to this day) and she’s a little stumbly and awkward at times but given its position in the run of this week’s show, between Robbie’s Asshunter routine and Flavia’s clam, I’ll take it as a pleasant palette cleansing breather from gales of disbelieving laughter.
Billy looks proud anyway.
They sprint over to Bruce, who welcomes them fulsomely as she honks “I’M SO HAPPY TO BE HERE!” at him. Bruce says that he was in tears over the story of their dance. Poor Wilnelia. Don’t let him watch Marley & Me, he’ll probably lock himself in his room for a week.
Alesha starts for the judges, saying that Anita is beautiful to watch, and that dance was the most sincere of the night. I’m mostly
distracted by Anita’s earrings. Good job she didn’t get one of those caught in Robin’s braces, otherwise we could have had a van Gogh incident. Bruno tells her it was elegant, poised, and beautifully acted, although she needs to watch her top-line. Craig follows up by telling her that she does need to be careful with her head placement, but the whole routine was GORGEOUS. Oooh, I think they’re running a bit behind, because this is all getting a bit rushed.
Anyway, Bruce tells her to watch her top-line like Bruno said (I’m sure Bruce will have no problem watching her top line the dirty old get), and sends them up to the Tessanine.
Once they’re up there, Robin does a little skip of joy bless him, and Tess asks him if he thinks he can throw away Anita’s L plates yet. Robin replies that he thinks Anita will be a Formula 1 racing driver soon. Anita cackles like a loon and then starts earnestly boreing her eyes into Tess and telling her that this
IS THE BEST PRESENT ANYONE HAS EVER GIVEN HER IT’S SO AMAZING. Calm down dear, it’s only Week 1. In the background,
Katya starts to cry. WHAT IS GOING ON THERE? I DEMAND ANSWERS. Next to her Natalie and Dan look at one another and kind of make roll-eye faces about something, although to be fair, it’s probably just Tess. Scores are in – 28.
Russell Grant & Flavia Cacace dancing the cha cha cha
I’m thinking there might be a little sign up in their training room saying “You don’t have to be mad to dance here, BUT IT HELPS!!!!!!!!!!!!”. Wacky, wacky fun. Apparently Russell told Bruce that, as an astrologer, he enjoys gazing at heavenly stars. Good luck on this show.
VT time, and Tess reminds us all that Russell was the “larger-than-life” (Jesus Wept, what is this, The Sun? Why not call him “roly-poly” whilst we’re at it? Or jolly? Or say he has an “infectious personality”?) darling of morning television in the 80s, whilst looking like
someone they’d get on Big Break when Willie Thorne was busy. He was also apparently the official astrologer to the Royal Family which…I can’t believe is true but ok. I did a Google search and the only reference to any “official royal astrologer” is Tess saying it about Russell Grant on this show. Not that the royal family are against putting their faith in outlandish, patently nonsensical wastes of time (eg : Fergie), but I doubt they’d be so official about it.
Russell tells us that he is the High Priest of Camp (if that’s so then I’m about to go Martin Luther and nail some declarations to something or other…) and in the 80s he worshipped at the altar of doing crappy covers of Diana Ross songs and releasing them onto the charts. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve murdered “Theme From Mahogany” many times, but I doubt I’d want to inflict it on anybody else. He says that he hasn’t danced for years, because he was too fat, but now he’s ready go on Strictly and
SWALLOW IT WHOLE! I hear Kara expressed similar sentiments last year. At some point. About something. Ahem.
He then starts guffing on about the fabulous labyrinthine Byzantine energy of the arts all coming together in a blah blah blah chief munchkin in panto in Woking. Something like that. It’s going to be a long series, although I have faith in the British public that they’re not going to find all this try-hardery as endearing as they did Widdy. I live in eternal hope. Don’t let me down.
Flavia’s looking better than ever, and it’s a good excuse for her to unleash the mental within on a full-time basis, so I will try to deal. At any rate it means she gets to tit around in a feather boa
and call her partner a diva, which she’s never really got to do before. Except possibly with Vincent, but that was really more of a weekend thing. She says that Russell is very fun, very enthusiastic and never complains. Russell for his part says that Strictly is like a
NEW LEASE OF LIFE for him. In some fashion. He feels like he was BORN TO DO THIS, and he hopes we enjoy him as much as he enjoys himself. I’m not sure that’s physically possible.
Out to the floor and
Flavia is dressed as the proverbial flame, and writhing around on the stairs. But WHERE’S RUSSELL? WHERE COULD HE BE?
Oh, of course, he’s inside a giant clam, why was that not my immediate thought? I’m sure this all made sense inside Flavia’s head. I’m sure everything does. I know that notionally there’s a connection to the fact that they’re dancing to Venus but even then…it’s an odd sell. Ah well, at least he’s not naked.
The whole dance from this point is one giant mince. I think it even goes beyond salsambcha into whole new realms of composite Latin dances I never knew existed. I’m sure Flavia is dancing something, but Russell appears to be just pointing at things and wafting his arms and vamping. Ah well, it’s good for a laugh I suppose, and it’s a nice reminder of that time that Liberace was a villain on 1960s’ Batman.
(My opinion of this performance is of course in no way influenced by that time I was approached in a gentleman’s drinking establishment by an older and more traditionally built individual, dancing in a manner not dissimilar to this, singing along to Venus. Except not “Venus” but…something that rhymed with it. And not “I’m your” but something altogether more…verby. I definitely do not have traumatic flashbacks to that incident to this day)
Certainly it gets a standing ovation, which…is that a first for Flavia? I think maybe her Charleston got one last year? It sucks to her to have her one great partner from before the time these things were apparently mandatory every time the audience manages to stay awake until the end of a routine.
Bruno starts for the judges, with a look of such
pure rage, that I worry he’s about to out Flavia as having stolen his choreography for a minute, but it just turns out to be generalised Bruno emotion and he’s very excited at how this routine was the very embodiment of Frankie Howerd doing Bananarama. Is that THAT exciting? It’s hardly Kenneth Williams doing Visage is it?
Craig follows up, groaning that it was definitely the birth of SOMETHING and it certainly wasn’t Venus. Was it the thing from Eraserhead? I’m really thinking Flavia could follow up one the same theme and do the Chestburster scene from Alien for their salsa. Len swiftly follows saying that when he saw the shell come out, he wasn’t sure if the dance was going to be a pearl or an oyster, but in the end it was more macho than Robbie Savage and he loved it.
I like that the insanity of Flavia’s choreography has rendered the judges utterly incoherent and nonsensical. You know…more so, anyway. Alesha finishes by telling Russell that she wants to go clubbing with him, and that everyone loves him, as demonstrated by the standing ovation. Huzzah!
Up to the Tessanine, in a flurry of feathers, where he is greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm by his fellow competitors, and Tess greets him by saying that that was undoubtedly the campest cha-cha Strictly has ever seen (well…almost), and Russell replies that that’s what they were aiming for. Oh, was it not a serious representation of Roman mythology? Could have fooled me. He then goes very blissed out and starts moaning orgasmically about how happy he is here and how he never wants it to end. Deary me. Scores are in – 21
And a brief summary, and we are out of here, until the further joys of the second half.