DISCO LATIN UBER ALLES.
Last week : blorb.
This week :
Susanna’s not giving you your sparkly cane back until you give her 10s Craig. She’s sorry, but that’s just how it’s gonna be. MWAHAHAHAHA.
“Hi…erm…sorry to bother you. I know I was eliminated last week, but she turned up at my house this morning and told me that I needed to get ready because we were dancing the samba tonight and erm…yeah…I think she’s broken? So I’m just returning her. I don’t think I did it – I barely touched her all the time I was here. In fact I spent most of the time lying on the floor pretending to be asleep so I didn’t have to but…I’m happy to have the costs for repair taken out of my lawsuit against the show for sexual harassment. On which point…”
The band strike up and fortunately for us all, the shows mechanics have given Kristina a thorough tune-up and everything is back to normal for the start of our opening pro-dance, as you can see from this shot of
her porthole. Always a comforting sight isn’t it? This week our pro-dance is a Charleston-flavoured routine to “Anything Goes” (how appropriate for this series…), with all the male pros dressed as sailor-boys because lord knows Janette’s GI Jive wasn’t nearly enough War Porn for one series. As is becoming a theme, Anton watches from a distance so great that he
needs a pair of binoculars to see whatever particular pro he’s perving on. Given Anton’s rather asexual vibe (apart from in that cha-cha with Fiona OBVIOUSLY) it’s hard to rule anyone out. Apart from Aljaz, obviously, because you don’t need binoculars to see that badonkadonk. NASA now use it as a point around which to navigate the space shuttle true fact.
After a while of the men sliding around of course the female pros come out and do what all women did during the war
BEHAVE SEXUALLY PROVOCATIVELY. Lots of winks and wiggles and pouts and wriggles and I’m surprised Brenda doesn’t march to the front and slap a burka on each and every one of them in the name of there being no more FILTHY DIRTY PRO DANCES. Interestingly
there is a STRANGER in the middle of the male pros, who is there to replace Robin. Either because he’s injured or because we’ve found another Clifton down the back of the sofa, or because Iveta has started importing other members of her life-thief gang. WHAT YOU MEAN THAT NOT ROBIN? THIS WHAT ROBIN ALWAYS LOOK LIKE! CHECK TAPE, I THINK SEE WHAT ROBIN DO! *readies cosh*
Finally the celebrities emerge and do jazz-hands down the stairs. As ever, the most fun can be had discerning
just how much Ashley Taylor Dawson does not want to be doing this. Now there is a gurn that doesn’t reach the eyes.
I think my favourite thing about the routine is at the end, when the contrast between Brendan punching the air and going “WOO!” makes a neat contrast with Iveta
Once everyone’s cleared off it’s time for Bruce and Tess to emerge.
Never has she looked more apologetic. She might as well be saying “yes, I know, they’ve given me metal boobies, have at it”. I wouldn’t worry Tess, Bruce’s opening dance is getting
so bizarre that nobody’s even looking at you, really. Yet. There’s one part at the end where he just starts LUNGING and STAMPING like someone with OCD about pavement cracks walking on crazy paving. Seriously, Kate Garraway is sitting at the side thinking
“even I could do better than that”.
Tess and her glamorous lady-robot-boobs welcome us to the show
and tell us that this week is all about musicals. And Aladdin. And Saturday Night Fever.
Seriously, with the exception of The Sound Of Music and Dreamgirls, every single musical referenced in a performance tonight was a film first, and a stage adaptation second (if ever). Considering we’ve had already had routines this series based on songs from Cabaret (musical first), The Pyjama Game (musical first), Sweet Charity (musical first), Babes In Arms (musical first) and Hairspray (musical first (sort of)) it all feels a bit arse-about-face. And not in the sense of a Kristina Rihanoff routine for Ben Cohen.
Anywho, this week Bruce approached a West End producer with the idea of creating a Strictly musical, but apparently it was rejected on the grounds that there’s already a West End show called “Beauty And The Beast”. Except there isn’t, because Beauty & The Beast hasn’t been a West End musical except for a horrid Disney cash-in for a couple of years in the 90s. SERIOUSLY, I don’t even really like musicals all that much and this week is hacking me off accuracy wise.
This woman knows what’s up.
Anyway, the joke is that Bruce is so vain he presumes that the producers was calling Tess a beast when OBVIOUSLY it must be Bruce ha ha ha. I recount this only because the actual punchline is Tess letting loose a primal scream of fury at Bruce that
has been building up for 11 series now. Quite spectacular. Well not really, but the intent is there. In the audience Nancy Sorrell
mugs away like she’s angling for a contestant’s slot. I would imagine you need to encourage Vic to look a little less bored love, cause that’s the only way you’re getting cast.
Once this is all over with, Tess reminds us all that Mark Benton has been slaying your favourites in the dance-off for three weeks in a row now and has the samba this week but…you know…let’s bother doing the show anyway, like there’s any mystery about the ultimate output. Just for probity’s sake. Got to please the accountants.
As the celebrities descend the stairs, Abbey almost decks it.
Fortunately for the judges reputation, the camera isn’t on them at this point, so we don’t get to see Bruno instinctively lurching for his 10 paddle. IT WAS FABULOUS DARLING! YOU REALLY FELL DOWN THE STAIRS LIKE A YOUNG CHITA RIVERA! YOU’RE STUMBLING ALL THE WAY TO THE FINAL! Also speaking of embarrassing spectacles
good grief. Can someone bust the other hip? For me. Bruce marvels at how well Craig is moving with his new bionic attachment and says he’ll probably get himself checked in for a procedure on Monday. I can only imagine what opening Bruce’s hip up for surgery would look like. I’m envisioning it to be a bit like when Howard Carter dug up Tutankhamen.
Once everyone’s in their seat and stopped fannying about, Bruce reminds us that there are only 3 weeks left to the final, and nobody wants to leave. Erm…I think Mark may beg to differ on that score.
Caractacus Potts & Truly Scrumptious dancing the Charleston
Bruce asks Patrick if he minds going first and Patrick replies
“no probs” unconvincingly. Bruce then asks if anyone else would like to go first and they all chime “NO!” in unison. Bruce grins devilishly that this reluctance is because they all hate the idea of performing first. Presumably because they don’t want to have to revive the audience after his opening monologue has flat-lined them. Brucie CPR is a highly technical operation that only the very few can master.
VT time and Patrick
full of festive joy, tells us that he really enjoyed the Viennese Waltz last week, but it wasn’t his best dance, and he’s noticed that the judges are getting particularly picky as we get closer to the final. Yeah, that’ll last. We’re reminded that Len called parts of the routine ugly, and Darcey saying that he needs to come back stronger because she has high expectations of him. As if Patrick wasn’t looking jolly enough, we cut to Anya
in dingy green looking like she’s just exfoliated with wire-wool saying that they really need to up their game if they want to stay in. What a wonderful uplifting effect PICKY WEEK has had on everyone eh?
Training now, and Patrick has perked up as they are dancing their Charleston to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I can see why he’s pleased – if there’s any dance guaranteed of overmarking, it’s the Charleston. (Fun Fact : despite it only having been here for 5 of the 11 series, more 10s have been given out for Charleston than any other discipline on the show apart from Quickstep). Anya very solemnly tells Patrick that this week, as they’re doing the Charleston, they’re doing lifts and as we’re getting to the sharp end, they NEED TO BE PERFECT. Given Wardrobe’s Random Vendetta against her, I’m not sure how she’s going to achieve that short of dancing naked but…hey, Ola’s come close to the line on occasion, so why not push it a little further?
She goes on to ask Patrick if he enjoys Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Patrick starts reminiscing about how he remembers watching it as a child and really liking the flying car and wishing he had a flying car and who WOULDN’T love driving a flying car as Anya
goes ever more glassy-eyed. Patrick then gets to live out his flying car fantasy via
green-screen straight out of Jumanji.
This all ends with the Comedy VTs going META and Anya telling Patrick to snap out of it, they’re not really in a flying-car, they’re in the Training Room
and it’s time to Charleston. They’re going to need more asinine props than just a detached car wheel and CGI done via overhead projector to pull that off.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Patrick slowly descends to the floor in his flying car, as it breaks down and he angrily flaps at the wheels and engine. I love that “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is a song about how wonderful this fabulous car is when reality suggests that is a great big lemon and will probably end up killing Caractacus Potts in a giant fireball explosion somewhere over the Indian Ocean sooner rather than later. Anyway, Patrick gets out of the car and does a Charleston. Quality storytelling there as ever. His Charlestoning is pretty much the antithesis of Fiona’s in that he is
flailing his limbs around at angles that frankly look like the aftermath of a serious sports injury. It’s all very wild and untamed and leaves Anya looking very prim and restrained in comparison. It’s quite charming, in its own way, but it leaves me wondering if Craig’s hip surgeon might wind up having a new client if he tries to do it again in the dance-off. The one major downside apart from is that as ever, Patrick’s faces are simultaneously
too much, and not enough. Other than that, it’s a strong effort, if one that I find it hard to warm to entirely given as how Charleston fatigue has now officially set in for me.
Incidentally it’s not a slight on Anya to say her dancing is a little prim. It takes an admirable lack of vanity in a professional female dancer to choreograph in you shaking your rump and pulling these faces
to the parts of the tune that sound like a car backfiring, suggesting you are in fact farting like a diesel engine. SHe also, for their final lift
hurls herself up off the ground in a way that I can’t explain under the laws of Physics as I understand them.
THE END! (oh look it’s broken again)
It gets a boisterous Standing Ovation including three of the judges (I briefly consider finding a way of factoring this into my spreadsheet, then decide against it). Bruce offers Patrick something to drink
hopefully that’s not the result of him not having time to pop to the lav during the dances.
Bruce introduces the judges and then says that it’s not very often he’s sincere about them (or indeed anything) but in his opinion, they’re all very talented people and could easily star in a musical. Based on their PICKY WEEK comments it’d be Les Miserables. Well they couldn’t be any worse than Russell Crowe. Len starts for the judges by jumping out of his chair and yelling that that Charleston was
FULL OF FLASH BANG WALLOP, A SHOWSTOPPER, AND FANTASTIC, AND HE SALUTES PATRICK FOR IT! Bruno follows by yelling that TALK ABOUT VA VA VOOM, THAT WAS CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG RETUNED BY MCCLAREN BEING DRIVEN BY LOUIS HAMILTON IN AN INTERGALACTIC GRAND PRIX ON MARS WITH THE GHOST OF JESUS!
So it really was just Picky Week wasn’t it?
Craig follows, saying that he loved the “Vaudevillian nature” (/gurning) of the whole routine and how fast it was, but he thinks Patrick was a little flat-footed and Anya lost stability in her lobster claw. Anya’s all
“excuse me, my pelvic floor is immaculate, thank you very much” in response. Darcey closes by saying that the whole thing was wild and so difficult but he NAILED IT.
Up to the Tessanine they gambol, and once up there they promptly collapse on one another, heavy-breathing and sweating all over the place. Tess gurns that EVEN ANYA, THE PRO (in case you needed reminding of her name) is exhausted. To fill in the panting, Tess tells us that Anton was behind her the whole time yelling that that was the dance of the series
then turns round to find out Anton’s not there. Maybe Karen just gets a bit…manly when she’s excited. Ask Kevin.
Tess follows by asking Patrick what it was like to have a flying car (Patrick’s response? “Well…there you go”) and asks Anya what it’d be like to make the final. Anya sighs that it’d be amazing to make the final in her first year (especially as she was only a last-minute replacement for that TRAITORPRO who buggered off to Dancing With The Stars), an honour she’d share as a woman only with Natalie Lowe and Hanna Karttunen and THAT’S IT fact fans. Scores are in
Effie White and Curtis Taylor Jr dancing the American Smooth
As if she hadn’t got enough injury problems, a Metroid appears to have attached itself to Natalie’s head. Bruce tells us that Natalie is dancing to a song from Dreamgirls, a musical based “loosely” on the story of The Supremes. So loosely
that the lead character might as well be called Rihanna Doss, singing the band’s hit single “Baby Gloves”, signed to the Hotown label, with a climactic scene set in the Supreme Court where she eats Chicken Supreme. Apparently Natalie asked Bruce if he was cool enough to appreciate the Supremes back in the day and if so which was his favourite. Bruce says of course he was, and his favourite was
Rustie Lee. Such a jolly soul.
VT now and Natalie looking like her musical might be
“Songs From Beyond The Thunderdome : The Melodies Of Mad Max” says that she was really worried before her tango because it was really obvious that it was PICKY WEEK. As if to prove this we get Craig suggesting that maybe the dance lacked a little for drama and the other judges
screaming obscenities in his face. Len in particular being a treat there. She closes by crying (again) that the stakes are getting higher and the judges (apart from Bruno) are picking up on everything that’s going wrong and every dance COULD BE HER LAST. EVER! (until the tour).
Training now, and Natalie tells us that as she’s dancing the American Smooth, the routine will contain a number of
glamorous lifts. Glamorous lifts that seem to be
exacerbating her back owie somewhat. Of course sensitive teacher and sympathetic friend Artem has the answer to all this pain.
TRAPEZE WORK! I’m starting to think he’s actually on commission with that hospital wing named after him. This is clearly the result of ever-creeping privitisation in the NHS, THANKS A LOT JEREMY HUNT.
Anyway, Artem’s right up there flinging himself off the trapeze, doing back somersaults and flashing his bum-crack to the camera, and then Natalie climbs up to the platform and starts screeching and wailing about how she can’t do it and she’s going to have a heart attack (again?) and then is
you know, mostly fine. Again I’m sad we are missing out on this opportunity for some Natalie Gumede Mad Hair action. Imagine that in flight. She closes by saying that now she’s done the trapeze she’s sure she’ll be able to do the American Smooth because there are so many transferable skills. Seriously, I’m not sure why they even bother with the training room these days. Apparently you can pick up dance-skills better at a combination of the circus, a funfair and the huanted roller-disco.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
I will start by saying the stiff spackly shimmer on Artem’s jacket winds up looking a bit like dried-up spaff in motion. Ahem. Natalie is dancing to “And I Am Telling You (I Am Shouting)” which is both the emotional touchstone of the one decent scene in Dreamgirls and an absolutely bizarre choice of song to dance to, because conveying it relies on your ability to come in histrionic and leave on a whole other planet of overblown emotion. Natalie
absolutely gives it her best shot, and to say she’s not Jennifer Holliday is of course setting a bar that no human being could live up to. To be honest, it looks about as much like an American Smooth as it does a Scotch Egg, but as a piece of gaymazing flapping, emoting theatre, it’s great, and I find myself more willing to forgive its choreographical looseness (and yes repetitiveness) after just how subpar her performance in the tango was last week. I will say though that as the evil ringah villain of the series dancing to a song basically telling us all that we can’t vote her off no matter how hard we try, that the lack of her pointing down the camera to the “YOU! AND YOU! AND YOU! YOU’RE GONNA LOOVVVVVVVEE MEEEEEEEEEEE!” part is a crime.
IT’S A COMEBACK!
It gets a abbreviated Standing Ovation as Natalie
pulls evil Soap Opera Face over Artem’s shoulder. Such glowering potential. Once they reach the judges Bruno starts and if ever a dance were tailor-made for one judge in particular, it was that dance for Bruno. He makes the universal sign for the ovary voters
calling them to Artem’s aid, and telling Natalie that she was sublime and danced like a True Dreamgirl. I think the only way it could have been better for Bruno is if Artem had danced it like a true Dreamboy (ie in tearaway pants with the Transfixatits out). Natalie starts to cry (again) and
her hair sproings itself to pieces.
Craig is next, and says the dance was sharp and he loved how she flowed from one move to the other, but there should have been more in hold and Natalie tends to look at the floor before she throws herself into a lift. Darcey follows by saying that she loved the fluidity and how she and Artem always mirrored one another exactly, but Natalie really didn’t need to clasp at Artem quite so hard in that last lift. She then pockets her tenner from JELUS KARA.
Len closes by
doing exactly what we all knew Len would do the second that Ian Waite on It Takes Two pointed out there was as much hold in the routine as there currently is in Natalie’s barnet. He’s an old school cockerney wind up watch in a swooshy mincey digituw world and it didn’t look like the foxtrot and the kids dahn the local park look at him funny and where’s his Cup-A-Soup and did you hear baht all them bulgarians what they’re gonna let into Strictly next year it’s awful they’re gonna be SWAMPED. It’s not so much that I disagree it’s just that…it’s Len. His strops have lost all impact. He needs to take lessons from evergreen stropper Brenda. 11 series and always a new angle.
Up to the Tessanine they scream, where Tess says “powerful” and “emotional” a lot and Natalie huffs and puffs and gives notice that in this series of people being lumbered with awful song picks that she at least just got to perform to a piece of music she would have chosen to. I’m surprised she didn’t bring her hair-brush out with her to mime into. Tess then asks Artem if there shouldn’t have been some American Smooth in that American Smooth and Artem’s all
“maybe, but I am a true artist so I do what the music demands, and in this case that was flapping and pulling faces” SO AVANT GARDE. Scores are in
Simba & COLD HARD LITHUANIAN LIONESS dancing the samba
Obviously thematically it would have made more sense for Iveta to be dancing dressed as Zazu for this dance but…who could resist Iveta as a fierce protective lioness? Nobody. As they’re introduced, coming off the back of three dance-offs in a row, Bruce grins that they’re such a popular couple. This is like the polar opposite of Series 7 where he only said that about Chris & Ola and everyone was like “THANKS FOR BLOWING THE SURPRISE ABOUT THEIR SHOCK WIN, BRUCE”. Bruce goes on to say that Mark and Iveta will be dancing to a song from The Lion King so clearly they should be dancing a SIMBA NOT A SAMBA LOLOLOL.
Thanks Bruce. I bet he cried when Mufasa died. Although didn’t we all?
Mark’s VT starts with him saying that he loved going out and just doing a proper foxtrot with no gimmicks or “modern twists” or silliness like that. I’m sure Natalie looked up from her physio bed slightly askance at this point. She might even have said
“oh really, what about that giant bed hmmm?” or similar. Who can say? Iveta : Strictly Expert says that
normally when you see person in third dance-off in a row, BAM, THEY DEAD but somehow Mark survive. Her evidence base for this is…Ricky Groves, and only Ricky Groves. Maybe Iveta is Series 7’s only THOOPAFAN, who can say? I wouldn’t dare contradict her. Mark says he was shocked to be saved as well – he just assumed Len would go for Ben.
Training now, and Mark says that nobody has ever survived four dance-offs before and he’s determined to not be there this week. He’s going to try his hardest and really knuckle down to the technicalities of samba. Iveta’s on the other hand is all
SOD THAT, IVETA WANT TO SEE LION KING. Bless her getting her show-funded jollies in whilst she can. On Musicals Week it would be rude not to wouldn’t it? Anyway, the show obviously has to try to find an angle where this is relevant (whatever) like watching Iveta yell along to The Lion King, rooting for Scar and yelling “MARK, ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO BE HOMOSEXUALS?” every time Timon and Pumbaa appear wouldn’t be the best entertainment any of us have had this series. And that angle is
Iveta hurling herself at Mark doing “stage combat”. It’ll do.
We close with Mark getting to try on some of the well-crafted, personally fitted, aesthetically pleasing costumes from the show that would suit the dance perfectly..
I’m surprised Wardrobe let that air.
TO THE SERENGETI!
Really it’s her signature move at this point isn’t it? As she flexes and stretches, Mark emerges from behind a bush and
it’s like The Cowardly Lion and The Scarecrow had a baby isn’t it? Mercifully the movement isn’t reminiscent of the Tin Man, although the whole routine does have a slight whiff of Dorothy about it. It’s odd, because obviously long-time Monkseal readers will have been watching out for the long-prophesied arrival of the Fourth Goddess Of Dahnce this series, but we all seem to have missed the arrival of the new undisputed
God Of Comedy Latin. Yes I know it’s a minor deity in the scheme of things, but if they can get a whole film franchise out of the God Of Smacking Things With Hammers then we can laud this. His arrival in the Strictly mythological firmament also empirically proves incidentally that you cannot do a comedy rumba. Not intentionally anyway.
Anyway, the dance is amusing, fairly well danced with a decent level of bounce (although he does get a bit tired towards the end) and he somehow manages to make being a grown man dressed as an alcoholic grown man dressed as a party clown dressed as a cartoon lion seem almost…dignified?
Sort of? If you squint.
I do think that dance could very much have been improved by Iveta casually ripping out the throat of one of their zebra backing dancers at the end. Just saying.
It gets a couple of isolated people bobbing up and down on the edge of camera, but certainly no trace of a Standing O. Ah well. Craig starts for the judges saying that Mark’s samba was full of shimmies and full of rhythm and full of camp. Bit flat-footed, bit lacking in double-bounce but technically his best to date.
IN SAMBA. Who would have thought it? Darcey follows by saying that she knows that “sadly the ability to be able to bounce I know for you is difficult and technically it’s very difficult when it’s such a steady samba which that was so it’s not easy at all but you’re still the cheeky king of the show tonight thank you”.
A comment to work on there, I’m sure we can all agree. When Mark weeps later, it may well be for Darcey’s coherence.
Len follows, a little more simplistically by calling Mark a GREAT BIG BUNDLE OF JOY and Bruno closes by yelling that he’s the CUDDLIEST LION BRUNO HAS EVER SEEN. But was he jolly Bruno? That’s the main thing.
Up to the Tessanine they scamper, where Tess starts by reminding Mark that Craig said that was technically his best dance to date. I’m not surprised this is the comment she’s reprising, given that she’s not about to repeat how cuddly he is or…assay anything Darcey was trying to say without help from the Rosetta Stone. For whatever reason, hearing Craig’s praise again
chokes Mark up something rotten, and there’s something about seeing a grown man in really really bad fancy dress crying that touches something subconscious in me that I probably shouldn’t prod at. He collapses on Iveta’s shoulder and she’s left to carry the weight of the interview. Tess asks her if she thinks Mark might score over 30 for the first time this evening and she says yes. Scores are in
29. STINGY BASTARDS. What, you can give Abbey 40 but you can’t spare one extra point to make it a round 30 for Mark? P’tuh.
Maria Rainer & Captain von Trapp dancing the Viennese Waltz
The fact that she is not in a full wimple aggrieves me greatly. Bruce tells us that Sophie will be performing to “My Favourite Things” from “The Sound Of Music”, which is her favourite musical. Of course it is.
Training now, and Sophie tells us that in her rumba she really tried to create the feeling with her performance that she and Brenda were the only two people in the room, so they could have that special connection that people look for in a rumba on Strictly. She’s very sorry that the judges didn’t enjoy it, but their negativity shown her that they’re really expecting perfection now from her, and she’s got to give everything of herself every week to make sure she stays in.
Brendan’s comments on the weekend’s events are not included. Pity.
Training now, and Sophie tells us that she’s doing the Viennese Waltz to “A Few Of My Favourite Things” from The Sound Of Music. You’d think if it was her favourite musical she’d get the title of the song right? What sort of nerd is she? Whatever, it’s enough to rattle Brenda who tells her that frankly
her obsession with musicals scares him. Sophie tells him that she can’t NOT love The Sound Of Music – it was the soundtrack to her childhood. I’m envisioning Janet Ellis in a hooded dressing-gown pretending it’s a wimple making Sophie play all the other parts, whirling around in her garden doing the HILLS ARE ALIVE BIT around a rotating washing line.
As Sophie wanders around in her musical theatre reverie, Brenda decides to have a little sit down chat with her about the perils of the Viennese Waltz. Namely the nausea induced by all the spinning. As usual in these segments though, Brenda has a plan.
Unfortunately for Sophie, it does not involve shopping. Instead she finds herself
at the fairground. Although…look at that innuendo on there. You have to believe that Brenda just didn’t see it, because you know he DOESN’T WANT TO GIVE YOU FILTHY DIRTY WALTZERS. Anyway, Sophie spins round and round and round and then pukes up in a hedge, the end.
TO THE NUNNERY!
That’s right, Sophie starts her routine sat on a bed surrounded by roses, copper kettles, warm woollen mittens and brown paper packages tied up with string. Brenda is being THAT literal with the staging. He enters from stage left, carrying with him
oh. Just more brown paper packages tied up with string. I really really hoped he was going to bring on an actual kitten. Maybe Iveta ate it and he had to improvise. (WEAK CUB HAVE NO PLACE IN TRIBE! SPIT!). Sophie, being a rude cow is all “OH THANKS” and then just throws it onto the bed with the rest of her stash, before stomping around the dancefloor in full
“hand on breast, doe eyes, Susanna Reid just having survived a dance-off” mode. I hope she’s nicer to her husband when he buys her things.
The dance is, as you might expect, being a Viennese Waltz danced to a Julie Andrews song, pretty twee and sugary, although it is admittedly nice to see a Viennese Waltz that remains in hold the whole way around the floor, without the dancers periodically breaking off to flick their wrists at the audience like they’re playing badminton in slow motion. Which is doubly good because when she does do it
she’s not great at it. They create a lovely atmosphere, and she handles the spinning well but let’s face it, this is all just purity and chastity groundwork before she hopefully ROARS out in a paso or a tango like Slutty Sandy at the end of Grease and we all spontaneously ovary-vote even though we don’t really swing that way.
Soon. I hope.
It gets a rip-roaring standing ovation, as on the Tessanine Kevin’s face reads
“Game on, bitch”. As much as I’m sure lovely Kevin From Grimsby ever allows his face to register such things. Seriously, Kevin vs Brenda is potentially such an iconic (*drink*) battle of Old School Strictly vs New School Strictly that I kind of just want everyone else to get out the way and let it happen. Anyway, Brenda gushes “SUPERSTAR! WELL DONE YOU!” to Sophie as she nearly spits her teeth out. Then this happens :
it’s like Carrie but without the pig’s blood isn’t it?
Darcey starts for the judges, saying that she felt dizzy just watching Sophie. So for those accounting for the scoring of the next routine already, Darcey’s reason for her 10 for Abbey was “nausea and disorientation”. She tells Sophie that she loved her Viennese Waltz, but she needs to
“lengthen the back of her neck”. I know the world of ballet is full of body-distorting major surgery, but maybe not for BBC 1 teatime eh Darce? Darcey then tells Sophie she can’t wait to see what she does next week, and calls her “babe”. OK then. Len follows saying that his favourite things (sic) in the Vienesse Waltz is rotation”.
It is clearly only her crush on Mr Goodman holding back the Mallory Towers Grammar Rodeo Champion 2011 & 2012 back here. He loved all the PIVITS and FLECUWS but he agrees with Darcey – her neck was bizarre.
Bruno follows saying that the hills are alive with the SOUND OF BULLSHI…sorry, “beauty”. Force of habit. He liked the purity of the style of the Viennese Waltz he saw in the routine and he really liked how confident Sophie was. He’d like to see that confidence next week. Presumably when they made her salsa dressed as Odie from Garfield to a song by Supertramp. Finally Craig says that he thinks her arms need more toning when she’s out of hold and he agrees with everyone else about her neck but…erm…well done anyway. Good work.
Over to the Tessanine they toddle, where Tess beams that it’s been a NIGHT OF STANDING OVATIONS. Yeah that…really makes it stand out this series. Tess asks Brenda if he’s proud of his little girl and he blarts that he is
ridiculously proud of her. Well quite. He and Sophie both flap around one another like a Mormon disco telling one another how amazing the other one is, and Tess yet again bigs up how Sophie is the most fervent musicals THOOPAFAN in the room. Ola’s face at this point reads
“yes, it’s easy to love musicals when they haven’t resulted in you being dressed like a slutty one-shot villain from Xena : Warrior Princess isn’t it?”. Scores are in
Stephanie Mangano & Tony Romero dancing the salsa
At this moment in time I like to imagine Arlene Phillips looking up from her spaghetti hoops and crying bitter salt tears that the most disco she ever got in her stay as a judge was Anton periodically wearing a fake medallion and wiggling his arse to Rose Royce. Bruce tells us that Aljaz & Abbey will be dancing to a song from Saturday Night Fever. I wonder which scene they’ll be recreating? The rape? The suicide? The gang bangers? The wanton drug-taking? The abortion? Anyway, Bruce says that it’s his favourite musical and if you believe that then…you’ll probably believe this deserved 10s as well, to be honest.
VT time, and Abbey tells us that she loved Aljaz’s choreography for the paso doble, and she was really excited to get to perform it, but then she just kept on slipping all over the place. She was so disappointed and she knows she needs to come back fighting next week if she wants to blah blah blah PICKY WEEK blah. God, even Abbey’s disasters are bland. Say what you will about Susanna, but at least when she fucks up it’s with a bit more panache than “ooh, I slipped a bit”.
Training, and we re-cover that Abbey will be dancing disco to “You Should Be Dancing” from Saturday Night Fever. And on Strictly disco means one thing – lifts. Abbey says she feels really…wait for it…NYERRRRRRRRVOUS about the lifts. Whatever dear, you’re not the one getting
kneed in the face
Once she’s done smacking him round the nose with her patellas, Abbey tells Aljaz that she’s really NYERRRRRRRVOUS about getting the lifts right and Aljaz is all “yeah, sure lifts are very important, but what’s more important is *squints to read idiot board being pointed to by one of Evil Moira Ross (in a rainbow wig)’s imps* getting…into the spirit…of the 70s” *shrug* in response. Abbey of course gushes that she just LOVES the 70! The fashions and…erm…yeah…erm…the whole ERA really. She loved lava lamps and flares and erm…Fraggles? Were they 70s? Push-Pops?…Lyndon B Johnson?
To get into the 70s spirit
Abbey and Aljaz go to karaoke and screech Dancing Queen at one another. MMM HMM.
TO THE DISCOTHEQUE!
Your eyes are just…drawn to her somehow aren’t they? (LOL). Anyway, this isn’t a salsa so much as a straight-up disco tribute act.
The bits that look like salsa actually don’t look too bad, although she’s very flaily and gangly. The disco bits though are a hotch-potch of cut-out-and-keep moves with none of the giddy gawky gleeful stupidity and playfulness of actual disco dancing and the constant intrusion of the backing dancers rob the dance of any sort of feel that Abbey and Aljaz are partners. Oh and it features more skirt-swishing than even her paso did. And when you’ve got a salsa that features more skirt swishing than a paso doble WHERE THE WOMAN IS THE CAPE (thanks Nancy) you know something’s gone wrong. Oh and erm
she should have been NYERRRRRRRRRRVOUS about those lifts. Just saying. I know any time a dance gets scored 40 it automatically gets raked over like it has to be a white-hot genre defining ball of perfection but…I’d give it an 8 on a good day. At least she looks like she’s having fun though, and dressing Aljaz in white trousers is never a bad idea, let’s face it.
It gets a standing ovation, as they wander over to the judges, where Len starts by yelling that there is SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER in the ballroom.
So again, that’s Len’s marking explained. He’s got a fever. He goes on to say that in his life he’s forgotten many things. His keys. His wife’s birthday. Hayley Holt. But he hasn’t forgotten what a great dance looks like and THAT WAS THAT WHAT WAS A GREAT DANCE WAS! Bruno goes on to say that in the moment where she was dancing between the two professional female dancers, he couldn’t tell the difference. So there’s the explanation for Bruno’s scoring. He was high as a kite. Surely you could at least discern her from the one gurning away like Brenda Blethyn Doing Acting?
Bruce then turns to Craig and asks him whether he could tell the difference, but Craig is gearing up for one of his one-word critiques (“AH-MAY-ZING”) so he has to very grimly say “yes” that he could tell the difference, because he doesn’t need a trip to Specsavers instead, then re-plot the course of his whole comment. Darcey closes by saying that the performance was mesmerising and that Abbey is finally oozing confidence in Latin.
I don’t think that’s confidence she’s oozing Darce. Although that close to Aljaz in those trousers, who can blame her?
Abbey gets disco’d off up to the Tessanine with Bruce hooting that they’ve NEVER HAD A NIGHT LIKE THIS, NOT IN ALL TEN YEARS OF DOING THE SHOW. I’d agree but…maybe not for the same reasons. Once up there Abbey hoots that she CAN’T BELIEVE IT.
She’s not alone. Tess reiterates that everyone has upped their game this evening and are performing stronger and better and harder than ever before (I notice this flim flam is reaching its peak NOW before…what is to follow, on both counts), and asks Abbey what it means to have made it this far in the competition, just past the old lady who forgot all her routines and the guy who danced like he was made out of teak? Abbey replies that she can’t believe it and it means so much and she never wants it end and all that jazz. Tess then touches again on how Abbey is married to Peter Crouch and that he is tall and also a footballer, and again perves on Aljaz. I miss Claudia. Scores are in
40. Can we try to get “to Snowdon” into the dictionary do you think? Anyway, I’m sure you all want to see Brenda’s face at this happy time.
Aladdin & Princess Jasmine dancing the rumba
Bruce yells that it feels JUST LIKE A FINAL! Yes, I’m sure if it had taken expanding the final out to seven couples to get Denise van Outen in there, they would have. Ashley in particular looks like he wishes it was a final. SO TIRED. Look at that vein on his forehead. It looks like the Eastenders credits kept on zooming outwards.
VT now and Ashley smiles that he’s so pleased to be through another week but he felt a few problems creeping back in during his waltz, specifically his bad head. Although we all remember that Darcey lept to his defence
possibly implying that the reason that he gave Craig bad head was because he had so little to work with. Ashley sighs that yet again he got 35 points, making this the third week in a row he’s been stuck on that particular score. This of course being almost as compelling a storyline as when he got 31 for three weeks in a row. They’re really putting an effort in to make him as interesting as possible aren’t they? (YEAR OF THE WOMAN).
Training now and Ashley tells us that he’s got the rumba this week, as Ola sighs that the point of the rumba is to be graceful and elegant and ol’ Captain Pissabout here
is the very antithesis. What with the judges being so picky
and everything he really needs to try to tap into his emotional and delicate side. She tells Ashley this and he’s all
SOD THAT, BABY WARZZZZ! (And yes, the two year old does make a better effort of pronouncing “Ola” than Tess does, you didn’t even need to ask, did you?)
Ashley tells us that his son Buddy loves Aladdin and will be so excited to see daddy flying in on a flying carpet. Awesomely, when Ashley asks Buddy if, in the event that he had three wishes, any of them would be for him to win Strictly Come Dancing, he noisily yells NO and tells him that DAVEANKARRENWUZZROBBED. I think we all got our answer to “what would Buddy say if daddy towd him he wazzunt gonna be dancing on the tewwy any mowuh?”. He wouldn’t give a crap. HOORAY FOR BUDDY!
I’m not saying I think this is one of the stupidest effing things I’ve ever seen.
I’m saying I’m fairly sure Ashley does. I think it’s been fairly obvious for a while from his group dance performances that Ashley thinks he’s a little bit above the kiddy excesses of the show and, to be fair, based on this routine, he is. I’m sorry I ever said the only time I loved him was in fancy dress, because this is just stoopid. As he unclips his magic carpet seat-belt, Princess Jizzmine is
carried on by two palace guards with all the grace of something being thrown into the back of a furniture removal van. Now those of you who watch It Takes Two will have seen Ola last week promising that, under the new Brendan Cole decreed Era Of Chastity, her rumba with Ashley would be in no way raunchy. This is the first figure they do
followed by this
right you are Ola. Right you are.
The whole routine is basically slutty Disney
and it kind of baffles me that anybody thought this combination of kids film costumes and wanton frottage was a good idea. I can’t quite decide if I find it hilarious or just a bit unseemly. Probably both. Especially in moments as baffling as this.
As a rumba, trying to ignore all the theming it’s…ok? I think Ashley’s just a bit too fidgety and twitchy a dancer to do anything as flowing and pin-point as a rumba.
It gets no standing ovation. Obviously this audience don’t care for Disney. Bruno starts for the judges , growling that that was
“exotic with a hint of the erotic”. Bruno really is capable of getting turned on by ANYTHING isn’t he? Clearly he wants to be cast as the Jafar in this “Aladdin(a vagina)” porno parody remake. He praises Ashley on how he framed Ola, but tells him that he needs to work on his hip action. From the audience, Ashley’s girlfriend/fiancee/wife’s all
“excuse me, I just pushed a second one out, give my vag some time to rest and recover and recouperate thx Bruno”. Craig follows saying that he agrees with Bruno about Ashley’s hips, and that his arms still need a bit more expression but he loved it. Is it just me, or has Craig got really really bad at explaining why he likes things? The critical eye’s still there, but there’s too much “but I loved it” and his defence on It Takes Two of Abbey’s salsa by saying she “owned the floor” was piss-weak. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS, CRAIG. Call things gaymazing like what I do.
Darcey’s next and she sighs that Ashley told a REAL STORY OF LOVE CONVINCINGLY
lol no he didn’t. Len closes by bellowing WHOLE NEW WORLD? I SAW A WHOLE NEW SIDE TO YOU THERE! Can we start a petition to stop the judges “referencing” the song titles in their critiques? Anyway Len thinks Ashley took command of the dance and really CAME AHT (on a flying carpet) but he too would have liked more hip action.
Up to the Tessanine they fly, where Tess grins that he’s the first celebrity ever to open their routine by riding carpet live on national tv. There were a few times when Matt and Flavia cut it close but they always managed to extricate themselves just before they were called to the floor… Anywho, Ashley says that he had a few problems with the carper in rehearsals, but it seemed to go fine there. This interview to be honest is mostly interesting for
Ashley’s hand refuse to settle anywhere on Ola’s side, thus making him look a bit Dominic Littlewood at his gropey worst. In Ashley’s defence, you try and find any part of that outfit where you’re not accidentally touching Ola’s sexual characteristics. He takes a break from touching her up to
wave at his son down the camera-lens, and then vaguely threaten him that daddy BETTER be his favourite over Dave & Karen NOW after he did STUPID NONSENSE just for him. We then close with a discussion of how HARD rumba is for MEN. Thrilling. Scores are in
35. It never ends.
Don Lockwood & Lina Lamont dancing the quickstep
Bruce starts by asking us if we knew that Kevin is from Grimsby, because he’s not sure if he’s mentioned it yet. Also, Ben is big and Abbey is married to Peter Crouch and Deborah is a DRAGON and Dave is HAIRY and Patrick is FROM CASUALTY and JULIAN WAS ELIMINATED AGES AGO A HA HA HA HA HA. Sorry, slipped out of character a bit there. Ahem. Bruce tells us that Susanna will be dancing to “Good Morning” from Singing In The Rain, and that in that film there were two men and one woman dancing to that song. God that’d be a positively barren dancefloor on Strictly these days wouldn’t it? Anyway, this apparently prompted Susanna to suggest a threesome involving Anton.
The dirty mare.
VT now, and Susanna says that she struggled to fall in love with the cha cha, although she gave it her best. Indeed the faces she was pulling suggested she was faking orgasm even harder than Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”. We’re also reminded that Craig called her “mumsy” and everyone kind of inspected the word like they might try to blow this up into some sort of scandal and then decided not to bother.
Training now, and Susanna tells us that for Musicals Week she’s drawn the quickstep. Which is quick. So Glasses Kevin says he’s ROPED in some help
with some rope. Yes, it’s two of Susanna’s children again. Given the quality of Ashley’s rumba and Susanna’s quickstep I think maybe this week saw the BABY WARZ equivalent of friendly fire. Her kids are here to do some skipping with her because as we all know “skippy” is the ultimate complement you can pay a Strictly quickstep. Naturally Susanna does the double dutch like a pro whilst Glasses Kevin galumphs around getting tangled up, a fact which Susanna is not at all
After she’s so skippy that even Jo Wood would be proud, Kevin tells her that he wants to throw something “a bit more flash” into the routine.
Well quite. It’s the iconic moment in Singin’ In The Rain where they up-end a sofa.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So I guess, since her paso doble every routine with Susanna now has to be an overblown production on a par with the last days of MGM. She runs around at top speed periodically losing her footwork then picking it up again then dropping it again then picking it up then hurling it into the audience then pointing at the judges girlishly
bounding up and down the steps like Tigger then doing the Charleston then high-kicking it then
looking at Kevin as if to say “WTF?” then
lurching on him wheezing like she’s about to throw up and then randomly
bursting out into broadway dancing then
up-ending the sofa
and I’m sorry the whole effect is like having your head stuck in a metal bin that’s being repeatedly smacked with tennis rackets. That could have been edited down into about half as much content, which she might have been able to do, and which wouldn’t have left me seeing little birdies flapping round my head going “cuckoo”.
Sometimes Kevin, less is more. Much much less.
It gets a standing ovation and Bruce beams that was all much quicker than it seemed in the film. This may well have been because Bruce was watching the film on slow-mo to try to catch a glimpse of Debbie Reynolds’ knickers. Poor Wilnelia. Craig starts for the judges, saying that Susanna’s footwork was sloppy and she was out of sync with Kevin quite a lot.
D’oops. He goes on to say that he thinks that she almost fell flat on her face as she came over the sofa but sadl…
I MEAN FORTUNATELY, she recovered. Tee hee. Oh Craig. Darcey goes on to tell her that she captured “cheeky Debbie Reynolds” perfectly but there were a couple of mistakes. She just thinks Susanna needs to exaggerate her footwork more. Oh Darcey. Nothing about that routine needed exaggerating.
Len follows by heedlessly yelling that MUSICALS NIGHT IS THE GREATEST NIGHT EVER ON STRICTLY AND SUSANNA REID JUST CLOSED IT WITH A BLOCKBUSTER OF A QUICKSTEP! I haven’t heard anything so edgily delusional since the last time Kristina talked about Ben’s scores. Seriously, even Bruno’s like “s’alright” and overstimulation is Bruno’s bread and butter.
Up to the Tessanine they gallumph
with Susanna’s smile more frozen in place then Pasha’s nipples probably are in that shirt. Tess asks her if a change of career to Musical Star is on the cards and Susanna giggles that she thinks the BBC Breakfast viewers might complain. I dunno, it might liven up the puff piece for Josh Groban’s new album or Richard E Grant’s new film or Myleene’s new breakfast cereal (FOR BABIES, CAUSE SHE’S A MOTHER). Tess asks her how Strictly is affecting her life, and Susanna sighs that she’s seeing a bit less of her family and a lot more of Kevin. Also she’s apparently having nervous breakdowns to Eminem raps in the middle of Virgin Pendolino’s quiet carriages but…
SHE’S FINE! HONEST! TOTALLY FINE! *twitch*
She tells everyone at home to take up dancing, because it’s loads of fun and really good for your health. She says surrounded by at least three people who are on enough pain medication to fell a bull elephant. Scores are in