OK – most important things first, Susanna is the “ho”. For completeness’ sake, I’ll mention that Aliona gets one as well, but Susanna SEIZES her “ho”dom with such gusto that I have to give it to her. The only thing Aliona will be seizing with gusto this year is the bottle of drambuie.
So somewhere up in the dark twisted blasted near-deserted hinterlands that are the BBC Light Entertainment Department post Yewtree, somebody finally realised that nobody wants to sit through 15 waltzes and cha chas (BORING) in the space of one weekend, so our usual Week One dances are spiced up by the addition of jive and tango (NOT BORING). It’s the best decision the show’s made since the thought “hmmmm…I’m sure Nancy Dell’Olio’s not up to much” floated through Evil Moira Ross’s head.
Probably the most triumphant example of how this was a good idea comes from Susanna Reid, who has been landed with the jive in Week 1, to Alesha’s jive theme tune, and somehow through sheer forced of effort manages to convert it into, for half of it, a triumphant party starter of a stompathon that really should have opened the series, and for the other half of it, a glorious sloppy romp that ends with the world’s worst cartwheel. Which somehow makes it even better. Also Kevin wears glasses that make me come over all unnecessary. Pasha better get his game on, is all I’m saying.
The evening’s tango is performed by Mark Benton, who embraces being the comedy turn halfway through the opening credits when he pulls an On The Buses face and never lets up. This particular comedy routine focuses around Mark being an EVIL BURGLAR OF DIAMONDS who gets seduced by Iveta and loses his gems to her. But with lots of face-pulling so it’s funny. And also a tango in the middle. He’s no Lisa Riley, but hopefully this means he won’t turn INTO Lisa Riley later.
Amongst the dances we’ve seen at this stage so many times before, Ashley Taylor Dawson does a pitch perfect “male hunk contender does an indifferent week 1 cha cha” cha cha until I feel I might drift off, but then Ola throws a random hip hop breakdown into the middle of the dance for no reason, because she has gone MAD WITH POWER. Natalie Gumede for her part matches him with a pitch perfect “female hottie contender does a decent week 1 dance but it’s still boring because it’s a cha cha” cha cha. But Artem’s got the twins out and is painted the colour of a BBQ Wotsit and it’s to Ra Ra Rasputin and also Natalie is already SO OVER BRUCE’S JOKES, so I’ll forgive them both. Also Ashley is going to be a dad soon, THE SHOW MAY MENTION THIS.
Last up, in every sense, are the waltzes. Aliona has choreographed a lovely routine where a pretty young bride does one last waltz with her elderly husband before shoving him under a train, and also does a lot of running splits to hide the fact that her elderly husband is not so much with the dancing. Up on the Tessanine she calls Tony out for being a sweaty old man and gazes off into the middle distance. She’s not going to need an island so much as an entire archipelago. Brenda meanwhile has choreographed a routine in which Sophie Ellis-Bextor plays the “epitome of femininity” eg Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s eg a needy prostitute. For some reason she chooses to perform the whole routine in the posture of Robert Redford in the last shot of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. Her footwork though is apparently fine, so hooray for her. Her mum cries, and she doesn’t give a shit.
Also, Brucie FINALLY says “twerk” so now we can all unclench and watch the rest of the series.