The final chimes of Big Ben. They sound uncannily like “hooray!”
We lurch into the studio to the sight of Craig dressed as a cook, whisk in hand, yelling
“READY, SET, BAKE!”. I’ve got a feeling the show’s “Choreographical Director” is well ahead of you Craig, because whoever thought this was a good idea was already plenty baked. How else would “let’s combine cooking and dancing!” seem like a good idea? I’d say Bruno looked it as well but
when was that ever not true? After crushing Julian beneath his heels in the great Strictly Turf Wars of ’13, he’s had the indisputed monopoly over the show’s supply of crack, and he appears to be sprinkling it about liberally.
Not one of those people would pass a urine test. Not one. With Aliona I can understand it, because she is finally living out her dream of actually BEING custard, but the rest of them have no excuse. This routine is also home to some of the most mismatched pro-pairing experiments of all time, including Pasha and Janette (no chemistry at all), Aliona and James (too much…themness) and Karen and Anton (?!?!?!). If this routine was a cake from the Bake Off it would have a soggy bottom, a soggy top, and somehow be both under and overproved. Truly it is the SARAH-JANE’S BEEF WELLINGTON of pro-dances. And there’s about as much raw meat on display as well.
Next week : a very special crossover with Atlantits, as the pros all do the mambo wearing bulls heads or snakes in their hair. Underwater. On crack.
(This is as good a place as any to announce that this blog will probably be covering the Great British Sewing Bee next year right? Well they’re cancelling everything else I write about, so why not..)
Once the stagehands have cleared up more woefully misplaced cream than this show’s seen since everyone went goo-goo over MATT BAKER IN GUYLINER (blech), and everyone’s persuaded Darcey that she’s not completely destroying her prima ballerina reputation by associating herself with this guff
(she doesn’t look convinced) Tess and Claudia emerge.
No Claudia, cupcakes will NOT make it better. Also we all saw you on Celebrity Great British Bake Off – I have no desire to eat carpet. She offers one to Tess who picks it up, and then picks delicately at the casing to make it look like she’s even considering not just lobbing it straight in the bin. Although part of me would have liked to have seen her trying to big up Len’s Glans and Il Divot through a mouthful of sponge. Would still probably make more sense than Brucie does these days.
Anyway, Claudia reminds us that there are only 7 places available for next week, so one couple has to leave. Although looking at the general demeanour of the celebs circling the drain over the last month or so, you could rephrase that “we need 7 couples for next week so only one of you gets to go home and stick your legs in an ice bucket for the next decade, sorry”. Deciding who gets to relax are
these four. Looks like Darcey’s been taking mime lessons as well.
Time now, as ever, for our Backstage Gossip.
Bart Simpson’s let himself go.
Iveta refuses to let Mark dance with his glasses on. For the first time I’m conflicted about what she’d do if she ever found herself in my dream role for her – the new Evil Moira Ross (from Lithuania). She’d better leave Kevin alone…
Some of the problems with Susanna’s cha cha can perhaps be explained by the last-minute cancellation of the
planned Kajagoogoo theme.
Natalie thought her tango dress and styling was a “strong look”. I really do fear that I’ve lost her forever…
Not the slashfic pairing I would have gone for there, but I’ll take what I can get.
Susanna’s practicing of the
Vulcan Death-Grip ensured that at least one person would be beneath her woeful gurnfest on the leaderboard. Cunning.
Brucie thinks that Abbey would have made him a marvellous partner. Look out Wilnelia…
Susanna discovered that Craig’s Magic Chair has a powerful and secret
Susanna was in a lot of the Backstage Gossip this week it has to be said.
There she goes again.
Artem couldn’t see what Natalie was doing, but it felt good. Nobody tell Kara.
BRENDA STRRRRRROPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP KLAXXXXXXXXXXXONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
That all learnt, it’s time for our first swirl of Safety Sex-Faces
As a bonus, here’s Susanna saying “THANK YOU!” down the camera-lens in the most OTT fashion I’ve ever seen in the history of them doing the results like this.
My lord. Whilst we all recover from that, here’s our first couple in danger.
Iveta’s barely suppressed laughter and Mark’s not at all suppressed laughter are both a joy.
They stomp over awkwardly to the judges (it becoming increasingly apparent that Mark’s knees are even more fucked than Janette was backstage at the So You Think You Can Dance live tour allegedly) (GET IT, GURL). Tess asks Len what Mark needs to work on in the dance-off and Len suggests that he try and get a bit of sway in the dance, and if he can’t, get Iveta to help. Don’t encourage her Len. I would imagine she’ll do it by stamping on first one foot, then the other, in time to the beat.
Tess asks Mark what his gameplan is, and he says that he’s just going to enjoy getting to dance with “this fantastic person”
one more time. Iveta’s sudden lighting up at his genuine warmth almost makes me want to say “her IKKLE FACE” like Claudia would or write some fan-fic where Iveta and Mark travel around in a van solving mysteries (Solution : it was Iveta, it was ALWAYS Iveta, EVERY time, but if Mark tell anyone SHE CRUSH HIM).
Up to Claud 9 with our currently safe couples.
To be honest, I’m a little nervous about Susanna clasping her hands at me like she’s just won a game of Sophie’s Choice again, so let’s tread gingerly. Claudia says that it’s all very tense, especially as these three are the couples that literally nobody thought were going to be going home (what can I say? Sophie stans are apparently doomsayers). Artem does big schmoopy-poo doe-eyes down the camera and thanks whoever voted for him.
I think he’s talking to Robin.
Natalie says she’s so pleased to be through to Musicals Week, because it’s getting to the stage where you never know who’s going home (/to plunge into the bottom 2 and then endure the next month of “WAH, IT’S NOT FAIR, TEACHER’S PET, SHE’S NEVER GOING HOME EVEN THOUGH WE ALL HATE HER, YES EVERYONE” whilst remaining safe). Claudia next turns to Ashley and asks him what his plans for this week are, and he says that he’s off to buy a better head.
I’m sure Bruno can recommend a few head shops to him. Why not ask?
Finally Susanna announces that she’s GRIPPING Kevin and GRIPPING Claudia and Claudia’s all “yeah, I noticed”, I’ve not felt this much pain since I had to watch that After Earth for Film 2013″. Kevin then reveals that next week they will be Quickstepping to “Good Morning” from Singin’ In The Rain. Thanks Kevin. Susanna then yells “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!” about 50 times until Claudia stuffs her tights into her mouth.
Next up, Il Divot. As if we hadn’t had enough fauxpera this series.
My favourite thing with Il Divot is watching how bored and snide they all look when it’s not their turn to sing.
It’s not a long list of favourite things, it has to be said. They are incoherently shouting their way through “Tonight” from West Side Story. At some point Aljaz and Kristina come out and he flings her around a bit whilst
looking a bit confused by her, as we all feel about Kristina from time to time.
That passed through all our systems, it’s time for the judges to arrive for Len’s Glans. Look at that poor glitterly cushion.
Sat all alone, like a bump on a log, waiting for its sole function of receiving Craig’s arse for 7 minutes, then going back to nothingness. The life of a glittery cushion…
We start will a little PDA about Bruno’s
little problem with prop-based erectile dysfunction. His popper is up, but he can’t do a thing with it, no matter how hard he yanks on it. You can tell that Bruno’s been over-doing the sugar in the absence of Julian. Normally it would have gone off as soon as the male pro-dancers took to the floor. Once Bruno pockets a confetti-viagra from Claudia ready for next week’s pro-dance themed around Flog It!, we move on next to reviewing Mark’s foxtrot, and how there was no swing or sway in it. Len gets up to demonstrate
clearly hoping Claudia will join him, to recreate the glory days of “Len’s Masterclass”. Of course those days are gone, and Claudia is a different woman now, so she looks at him confused, and he is left dancing by himself. No more chesticles. No more boney knobs. Sigh.
Darcey apparently wants to talk about the storytelling in Ben’s Charleston.
Is it something to do with a glory hole? (sorry, I know this recap is filthy next week, I’ll try and behave next week). Darcey waffles on about how he’s finally become a real personality out there on the dancefloor, but all the celebrities now are starting to become real storytell…
JESUS CHRIST BRUNO, PUT THEM AWAY. I know it’s hot in there, but nothing needs that level of airing. Craig follows up by talking about what he meant when he was complaining about Ashley’s rubbish head. Apparently it’s like there’s a drawstring attached to it that pulls whenever there’s a little bit of tension in his body. Darcey then takes up the debate in Ashley’s favour and
I feel Bruno is speaking for many of us in this moment. Darcey then realises that he’s pulling faces at her behind her back and then gets a bit flappy and
sulky about it. Poor Darcey. I do kind of hope she proper snaps before the end of the series. Tells everyone she’s an effing ballerina and they need to show her a bit more effing respect or she’ll make them all sit through a really boring Latin showcase with her and Ian Waite again.
As if to get revenge on Bruno for Darcey, Claudia asks him to justify giving Natalie a 10 for a tango that I have not heard more than the most lukewarm praise for, even from her fiercest fans. Bruno’s response is that it was a “proper tango” and that “she was on it”. Well now I’m convinced. Craig of course has to stand up for PICKY WEEK and he says that as we’re nearly at the final he has to be PICKY. You still gave it a 9 Craig, give over. He snots that he will NOT give a 10 to anything less than ABSOLUTE PERFECTION.
Claudia’s little feeble “the judges – they’re now strict!” as this segment finishes is a joy. She knows that it’s going to be 10s all round next week again. You can see it in her ikkle face.
Next up, more Safety Sex-Faces
Why yes, that does leave Brenda and Kristina both stood there waiting to see which of them is in the Bottom 2. Can you imagine the atmosphere in the studio? You could cut the tension with a spork, let alone a knife. You can tell that Kristina’s so deep in Kristina-Level 4 that it’s scaring Ben.
He needs a cuddle. And he’s going to need more than that as
they’re in the Bottom 2. Ooft.
They wander over to Tess, who is probably thankful she’s wearing that bullet-proof dress right now, as she asks Bruno what more Ben needs to do in the dance-off, other than improve his foot-swivvels? Bruno says that he needs to maintain his performance level and make everything much sharper. Ben solemnly takes all this in
so he can do precisely the opposite, and get to go home.
Tess asks him how he’s feeling being in the dance-off and he flits his eyes nervously to Kristina, then says he’s had a blast and really enjoyed it, but he thinks he’s been on borrowed time for a while now. The audience all go “awwwwwwwwww” and Tess tells him not to give his goodbye speech just yet. Why not? Everyone else has done it at this point. Even when they’ve stayed.
Back to Claud 9, where Claudia feels the need to clarify that all our couples are delighted
just in case you needed help in some individual cases. It’ll be a few minutes before the smugness of vindication washes over him. Give it time. Claudia reveals that the first words out of Abbey’s mouth when she arrived were “have you got any wine?”. You can take the girl out of Liverpool etc etc. She then turns to Patrick and asks him what he’s doing for Musicals Week. He says that he’s doing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You can tell that Anya
kind of wanted to be Juliet again. Or at least Maria from West Side Story. Finally Claudia lurches at Sophie and tells her that she saw her nodding and saying “byesie bye” as they hit the penultimate Final 2. It’s probably a joke, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she said “byesie bye”. Or even “off I pop”. Sophie says that she was very tense, and then has a Sophie Geekgasm over
Musicals Week approaching. Brenda’s muted “yay” suggests that he’s not really here for Musicals Week. Never one for telling someone else’s story is Brenda. A pure artist.
Musicals Week is further heralded by clips of the celebs speak-singing
but none of them are Iveta, so I don’t care. (Actually I do care a bit about what Ben chooses to sing, which is that he is tired and wants to stop now).
Many a true word said in song.
Back to the pre dance-off Claud 9 now
where Kristina too is full of the joys of classic musicals. I’m surprised she doesn’t burst out into something from The Music Man right there. Claudia asks Mark if he regrets saying he was looking forward to dancing his foxtrot again, as though Mark is anything other than ECSTATIC to be almost going home, and Mark just grins that he’s basically a dance-off veteran now, so it doesn’t phase him. He also reminds us that he’s dedicating this performance to his wife and Lord she is just
ecstatic that him saying that means she has to be on camera again.
Claudia next turns to Bentina, and asks Kristina if she had an idea they might be in the dance-off. Kristina scoffs that thanks to those AWFUL SCORES Ben got, she knew it was going to happen. She tells Claudia that she’s going to go out there and have a really great time and enjoy every second.
As she rockets through Kristina-Level 5. WATCH OUT, SHE’S GONNA BLOW!
I mean, obviously you have to admire just how fiercely dedicated she is to her partners. And also you have to wonder how dedicated she’s going to be capable of being towards anything following the full-scale coronary she’s hurtling towards like a wet puppy down a luge track. Anyway, Mark sets a record here for consecutive dance-offs survived and it remains true that no Charleston ever survived being in the Bottom 2. The audience and judges give Ben a rousing and heartfelt standing ovation, and he thanks Kristina for her patience and support. Kristina for her part says that her experience with Ben has been her proudest as a teacher on Strictly, as she has taken someone from nothing
WITH NO EXPERIENCE HINT HINT and got him all the way to 8th place. (Also, yeah, Ben played his part as well, she guesses)
In lieu of a last dance
he picks her up and spins her round. It feels appropriate.