It’s MOVIE NIGHT on Strictly Come Dancing. I mean…the programme information on my PVR says “Musicals Night” but there are routines being done to songs from Aladdin and Saturday Night Fever so I’m presuming it’s just a press-pack error, like when “Nauseating Pink Sap Week” was accidentally called “Love Week”. It all kicks off with a routine to the song “Anything Goes(This Series)” performed by the male pro dancers dressed up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I presume it’s a tribute to Ghostbusters. Certainly Anton spends most of it looking pretty busted.
As we get near to the end of the series, it’s looking more and more like the battlelines in the war between the top women are being drawn between Tradition and Novelty. The fact that even in a Fancy Dress week of all weeks this is obvious should tell you just how tendentious things are. Squaring up on the side of history and propriety are Brenda and Kevin From Grimsby. (Why yes, the fact that after the last 10 series BRENDA of all people is a bastion of The Rules is delicious to me, why do you ask?). Sophie does a very prim and proper (and slightly twee) Viennese Waltz to “My Favourite Things” from The Sound Of Music which is very deliberately almost entirely in hold and very simply choreographed. Kevin meanwhile aims for old school razzamatazz to the max with his Quickstep to “Good Mornin” from “Singin’ In The Rain” but Susanna falls off the train halfway round the track and gets sucked up under the wheels. The effect, as the music swells ever bigger and the choreography gets ever more overblown and her feet get ever more lost is a little terrifying.
Novelty is OF COURSE represented by Artem, who does a gaymazing American Smooth to a song from Dreamgirls that finally I think completely ignores the need to be in hold for the dance, like you can tell he’s always wanted to, prompting a patented Len Goodman snit. I kind of love it, but mostly because Natalie’s over-acting has finally found its home in Musical Theatre week. New-boy Aljaz meanwhile tweaks the nose of propriety by completely ignoring the genre he’s been given even notionally, throwing a flat out Hustle out there instead of a salsa, for Abbey to dance mostly like she’s just out in the club having a laugh. Of course, because Len gives no shits about Latin, it gets the first Perfect 40 of the series. How sad that we can say “the first” with such certainty that there will be many more. But here we are. Craig always finally jumps off the ledge for the oddest dances doesn’t he?
The increasingly irrelevant looking men? Patrick does a very very flaily Charleston to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but hauls in 3 10s and a whole lot of “ZOMG, THAT WAS THE DANCE OF THE SERIES!”s. Admittedly most of them are from Anton, who may well be straight-up trolling at this point, but at least he can feel like he’s topped his American Smooth and at no point does Anya’s underwear try to murder her so it’s a triumph all round. Ashley meanwhile is stuck on Bloke Rumba duty, to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, descending to the studio floor on a flying carpet, with his nipples out, and Ola looking like an angry transvestite male stripper in an ugly ugly wig. It’s like “Parents Night” at Disneyworld gone badly wrong. Remember all those urban myths about the porn secretly inserted into Disney Films? This was basically that.
Mark? I’ll just copy and paste a thread I started at Digital Spy, because I’m lazy like that.
“Yes I know it was technically the worst. Yes I know that the backing dancers in skintight zebraprint slacks were an atrocity. Yes I know that Iveta cracking her legs open like she’s about to fire a ping-pong ball out her fanny got old weeks ago.
But amidst all the mud-slinging and overmarking and disco latin and freeform contemporary and farting cars, I enjoyed Mark’s dance the most. So sue me. Getting the most impossible of impossible genres, getting samba bounce despite his knees, and properly marrying the comedic nature of the choreography with an attempt to capture the physical spirit of the dance (loved that they were dancing a samba with an African vibe to it, even an ersatz Disney one).
He’s going home tonight. He should go home tonight. I certainly hope he goes home tonight. But whatever happens I think Mark will always be my favourite contestant of this series (as much as I love everyone left). When he choked up afterwards after the judges were universally nice to him and showed they appreciated his efforts, it genuinely moved me in a way the increasingly plastic nature of the show hasn’t in a while.”
Sail on Mark, sail on. Will the public be cruel enough to put you through to next week, apparently featuring the unholy return of the Swingathon? I can’t imagine it.