HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, BLACKPOOL! CONCRETE SLAB WHERE FISH N CHIPS ARE MADE UP, THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN’T DO (except samba).
Last week : MOR Week smashed into Strictly like an 8 foot wave (gently crashing against a tropical shore on a relaxation tape). Alison spoiled the relaxed mood by yelling and gurning through a Disney Charleston so the audience collectively bipped her on the head like she was a human snooze button and went back to sleep, to dream of Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow some more. Also Caroline’s boobs were knitted on. Could it get any worse? Let’s find out!
Home of ordinary everyday folk, just like you, who are so glad that celebrity folk are coming to spread sparkle-magic on their humdrum Northern lives. And also
this glamdessa, who’s just here to see Pixie & Trent. She loves that Mama Do sound. Pixie for her part also seems excited to be in the home of so many of her heroes – John Inman, Syd Little, Jodie “La Prenj” Prenger, Stacey from The S Club 8s and WWE Wrestler William Regal.
Trent less so. Actually the Blackpool Tower is freaking him out a little, let’s hurry on.
To Natalie’s post-Strictly future as an aerobics instructor in an upscale care home!
AND TO BLACKPOOL! AGAIN!
GLAMAH! Zoe does a little Latin shuffle across the floor as the music strikes up. Tess does not. Tess does the exact same trundling model walk across the floor she’s always done. In this series, where literally everybody is being forced to dance at all times (surely we’re only one Producers Meeting away from the couples having to dance their way down the stairs over to Tess when they’re put under the Bottom 2 red light, doing a mournful mambo over to be told by Len to really CAHM AHT and GIVE IT SAHM in the dance-off) why is she getting away with this? MAKE TESS BOOGIE! If I have to put up with Craig over-egging the pudding so much every week it turns into an omelette with cocoa powder in it, we have to MAKE TESS BOOGIE.
TESSY CHRISTMAS BOOGIE!
Anyway, you may at this point be wondering why they haven’t started off their big Blackpool show with a massive great pro-dance. Don’t. They’re still going to – it’s just that the pro dances are now so high concept that they need a narrative intro complete with video package. Imagine if it had been like this way back when – Karen Hardy sat in a great big chair like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, smoking a pipe, telling us that the story of jive is one of the rebel yell of the libido of repressed black America against the patriarchal middle-class whites.
Anyway, the story of this dance is that ever since they were children, the pros have wanted to dance at Blackpool.
This is baby Ant(h)on(y) in Sevenoaks, reading up on propah ballroom technique from Leonard Goodman.
These are baby Brenda and baby Natalie, in AUSTRALIA. Baby Trent meanwhile is in the toilets, from which a sickly sweet smelling fog is slowly emanating.
These are baby Kevin and baby Joanne, in GRIMSBY. Baby Kevin’s Dad though is
exactly the same age as he is now, which is a little confusing. Maybe they should have just shown his ankles, like Muppet Babies.
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE WITH BABY IVETA! IVETA TODAY PRINT NEWSPAPER WITH POTATO, GIVE ALL THE NEWS ABOUT IVETA DREAM OF BECOMING 10 DANCE CHAMPION WITH ALL OF IVETA’S MANY FANS ACROSS LITHUANIA. IN VILNIUS, KAUNAS, KLAIPEDIA, EVEN IN UTENA COUNTY, EVERYONE GO MAD FOR IVETA’S DANCING TALES AND ALSO COMICAL CARTOON OF IVETA CRUSHING ALL HER OPPONENTS BENEATH HER FEET AND DANCING ON THEIR CORPSES. ALSO WEATHER AND LATEST NEWS ON BROOKES SHIELDS SEXY DATE WITH GEORGE MICHAELS! UNTIL NEXT EDITION, KEEP WAITING FOR INVENTION OF THE INTERNET!
Anyway, somehow Baby Iveta’s music box plays the Strictly Come Dancing theme tune (which makes me briefly wonder if this is Inception and my entire life has been a dream in the mind of a pre-teen Lithuanian) which serves as a transition to
the dancer inside the box becoming Adult Iveta and Baby Iveta appearing in Blackpool to sing “I Have A Dream” by ABBA at her. Too Many Cooks makes more sense than this.
Marginally less terrifying as well. Around Adult Iveta and Baby Iveta all of the other pro dances do nice ballroom, in a mysterious smoke filled forest. Then
they start levitating. MUMMY, I DON’T LIKE IT. This is getting so nonsensical and bizarre you’d swear that we’d got a new FRENCH ARTHOUSE pro in to choreograph. If only. One week the dances would last four hours and just be the same step over and over and over again. Then the same, backwards. Amongst the flying bodies, Baby Iveta
ascends to her throne as queen of the forest, then orders a blood sacrifice of Judy Murray.
She doesn’t know what’s about to hit her, bless her. Nice ballroom, nice ballroom, the Judy’s throat is slit, the Blood God rises.
Once the mess has been cleaned up and everyone’s brains have slowly been given time to crawl back up their ears and into their skulls again, the judges emerge from the wings and dance on to Boogie Wonderland, with Craig going
full Archie Rice as he does so. Tess and Zoe follow and remind us that last week we bid a fond farewell to Alison and Aljaz.
Always sad to see Aljaz leave, always a pleasure to watch him go. Apparently this week Alison would have been doing a sexy Latin number to “It’s Raining Men”, complete with actual man-shower. Why they couldn’t have given the same theme to Sunetra I do not know.
The couples emerge from the BLACKPOOL backstage and hilariously, as he’s being a Gladiator, Trent flexes his muscles for the crowd.
Bless. Talking of things that are underwhelming, Zoe says that, as we’re now past the halfway point, everyone’s eyes are on the
bit of tat you get for winning. Just think, when you start ranting that “EVEL RINGAH JAKE IS BLATES LYING ABOUT ALL HIS OBVIOUS YEARS OF SECRET DANCE TRAINING” that this, and only this, is what is being fought for.
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton dancing the quickstep
Kids, you’re not in a photobooth, calm down. Tess reminds us that last week Frankie was upset by how poorly she did her samba, but as far as this week is concerned, that’s all WATER UNDER THE FRANKIE BRIDGE.
Who you side-eyeing to Zoe, do tell.
In her VT, Frankie giggles away and happily clarifies for about the fifth time that she was crying last week because of the disappointment she felt in herself, not because of Craig’s bitchy comment about her samba. Nobody all week I think has asked why Caroline was shown during the Results Show hurling herself bodily at Pasha’s chest weeping and wailing and gnashing her teeth but…I guess some things are self-explanatory. And of course the VT producers still play in that CRAIG CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL! Kevin of course says that he disagrees with Craig and that Frankie has got better every single week (lol ok)
whilst I briefly wonder just how much higher Kevin can pile his hair before he actually turns into Little Richard, and then some sort of bizarre lop-sided Marge Simpson. There’s your real Blackpool Tower ladies and gents.
Training now, and Frankie reveals they will be dancing their Quickstep to “Town Called Malice”, just like Tom Chambers did all those many moons ago. Kevin grins that he loves quickstep because, and you may have noticed this, he likes any dance where you go fast. I’m not one to speculate on the exact details of the pros love-lives but I would imagine he and Karen go through headboards like you wouldn’t believe. And their neighbours through earplugs. Frankie on the other hand doesn’t like how fast it all is, a fact she delivers at a pitch so whiny that it would make Janice from Friends look at her askance. Fortunately Kevin has a solution!
For about five seconds before Lilia runs in from stage right screaming, and smashes the machine up with a baseball bat. (Apparently Frankie turns out to be better at the dance machine than Kevin is, which isn’t really a surprise given that this is how all of the dance routines for The Saturdays are worked out.)
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So this is all really an excuse for Kevin to live out his Rock God dreams. Hey, remember when Kevin was a Goth? And how I will never ever ever stop finding that amusing? If you really wanted revenge Mark, there’s your tool. This is Kevin
yelling “GOOD EVENING BLACKPOOL!”. He’s aiming for AC/DC. It’s coming across Bingo Caller. Frankie then yaps “HIT IT!” and the band starts playing. It’s less “The Jam” more “The Dairylea Dunker” as the anti-suburbia angst of Paul Weller is converted into a jolly old 50s aping (again) quickstep. I was dreading this dance, just because up until now I’ve always found the big dancefloor quicksteps to be a Crufts-y trot-a-long, but actually this one works. The choreography isn’t terribly inventive -jazzy bit on the stage to start, two circles round the floor
jazzy bit, once more round the floor, then a bit of Billy Elliott business to finish, but there’s a nice variety of steps and she’s very light on her feet. After the mess of last week, she’s definitely back on form.
I notice Kevin still gets first billing though.
It gets a Standing Ovation, keeping Frankie on her 100% record, and Tess yamps that Frankie really impressed this TOWN CALLED BLACKPOOL! Good grief, they’re name-checking the place so often this evening it’s like being on the Radio 1 Roadshow. Tess introduces the singers, the band, and Davearch and sadly
you can just spot the Man In The Hat jumping up and down and waving in the corner trying to be seen again. My heart has never been more broken.
Tess asks Len if he’s excited to be back in BLACKPOOL! and Len says that he is, and he was just as excited by that routine. He says that he’s going to give Frankie three points for speeding (given how pepped up Kevin was I’m guessing he’s getting a total life ban for drink-dancing) and that it was her best dance yet – as bright as the BLACKPOOL! Illuminations. Tess then asks Bruno if it’s harder for couples to cover the BLACKPOOL! floor than the Elstree Studios floor, and Bruno replies that, based on that, obviously not. He thinks that they must have been propelled by rockets behind them. Kevin certainly does erm…have a lot going on in the back of his trousers, so maybe. (Karen is obviously all about that bass).
Tess asks Craig if he’s going to be kinder this week than last week and he says yes – he thinks she used the floor well, but she lost her frame on occasion and her feet don’t always come together properly. Not so much kinder as “more specific in his bitching”. Do you know what else is bigger in BLACKPOOL!?
The judges mugging at ZOMG HOW MEAN CRAIG IS. It’s always instructive to go from this sort of shot to
Frankie’s own family, not really being that bothered. Darcey closes by saying that that was a “frantic rocking quickstep”. A slip of the tongue there and Zoe might have been issuing her apology for bad language a little earlier in the evening… Darcey praises Frankie for her top-line and Kevin for his choreography. Hooray!
Up to the Ball Pit they bundle, where Zoe asks Frankie if she was scared to be on first. I mean…she’s done it before Zoe, and that time it was with that bobbins cha cha, so I’m sure this was a breeze in comparison. Frankie burbles that she was so scared as Caroline laser-eyes
“yeah yeah, you try closing dressed as a deranged Spice Girls fan who won a charity auction” right at her. Zoe reminds Frankie that the judges were very nice, then chit-chats with Kevin about how this isn’t the first time he’s competed at Blackpool.
Oh boo, I was hoping we were going to relive Susanna going bonkers at the end of her paso. In fact…let’s just do that anyway.
So many memories. Scores are in
37. That’s Len yelling “YOU’RE OFF YOUR BLAHDDY HEAD!” at Craig by the way. Which is nice.
Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the American Smooth
Tess tells us that Jake has had a rotten couple of weeks recently, but he’s really excited about getting to perform at BLACKPOOL! In fact, his American Smooth is going to be like the BLACKPOOL! Tower – hundreds of steps, lots of lifts, stays in the one place, only lights up periodically, bit ugly.
I may have added a little commentary there myself, I do apologise.
In his VT, Jake says that he began the competition strongly, but he thinks he only just scraped through last week.
File this face under “sad” in your notebook that you keep to detect the subtle differences in microexpressions that belie Jake’s emotions. It’s a big notebook. He says that he’s glad to have the dreaded BLOKERUMBA! behind him, and now be able to move on to BLACKPOOL! So many show-tropes, such little time.
Training now, and Jake tells us that he will be dancing his foxtrot based American Smooth to Feeling Good “by Michael Buble” – a song that features lyrics about it being a new dawn and a new day and feeling good. Hmmm…does anyone smell manufactured comeback arc? Janette waxes lyrical about how the routine she’s choreographed is full of gliding and swishing and GLAMOUR. Jake mutters something about it being difficult to make him glamorous and pulls
po mo woobie face, and Janette says that he should wait until he gets to Blackpool, because truly nothing says glamour like the Blackpool Tower. It will INSPIRE HIM! It will lead him on to NEW HEIGHTS OF BALLROOM GLAMOUR!
Let’s now relive the moment that the Blackpool Tower Ballroom was finally revealed to Jake.
He says “wowie!” like a particularly disinterested gay porn star pulling down his 60th pair of y-fronts and tries to look like he’s boggling at the grandeur. Meanwhile the camera sweeps around showing the
in no way sinister technical run-through. Why doesn’t Anton have a face?
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
OH NO JAKE, LOOK OUT FOR THE CHANDELIER AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Hem. So I’ll lead off by being honest and saying that it’s truly a long time since I’ve really honestly viscerally disliked a routine this much on Strictly. Lisa Riley’s samba where the last finger on my grip of thinking she could actually ever be fun in Latin ever again got prised off. Deborah Meaden’s Viennese Waltz where she and Robin just ran round a coffee table like Benny Hill. Natalie Gumede’s tango where her fierce was buried under a bad laser show and constant camera-hunting. Russell Grant being fired out of a cannon. All of them irritated me but not quite to the level of this
and it can’t just be because it’s being sung to Michael Buble taking a song about black emancipation and making it sound like he’s singing about getting flashed at by two Canadian strippers for the price of one. It’s like…have you seen that perfume advert where some bar-singer gonk turns “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease into a stalker ballad by singing it in a breathy transvestite whine? It’s like that. As a dance. It just feels sleazy and unpleasant and like he’s not really doing anything other than stomping about and catching Janette as she (and her two goons) hurl her up in the air, like he’s a human safety net. It features probably the same amount of foxtrot and Scott and Alison’s American Smooth, but the gaps aren’t even being filled in with hilarious wafting or gimpy power-fists. Just him stamping and looking angry in a way that is clearly supposed to turn me on and absolutely positively doesn’t. And really, they were Alison and Scott and were the likable fat bird and hapless comedy gay not the SUPER-HOT MALE FRONT-RUNNER that Jake has the potential to be.
Still, it gets a
slightly haunted looking Standing Ovation from people who maybe…don’t have my issues with loungecore and men who constantly fiddle with their cufflinks like they think it makes them James Bond. Bruno starts for the judges and
obviously has no such issues. He praises Jannette for her “storytelling” that allowed Jake to show off what he could do dramatically to his best potential, but he thinks the “dismount” from some of the lifts was a bit dodgy. Are we on Tumble now? In the Ball Pit
Anton mourns the days when American Smooth was supposed to look like a dance, let alone a ballroom dance. Craig follows, saying that he is FEELING GOOD.
(file that one under “happy”). Craig goes on to say that it was a Herculean performance, and then pushes us over into parody by saying that Jake truly “knows the value of stillness” (that is, just standing there stood still as Janette vamps around like someone’s playing The Last Seduction at triple speed).
Darcey follows by saying that that American Smooth was sophisticated and smooth, and that Jake really outshone his backing dancers. Yes, truly they did not understand “the value of stillness” (ie were doing things). Len closes by saying that Jake puts the “oooooooo” in “mooooooooooooooooooooooooody” and that the dance, whilst it wasn’t quite the American Smooth he was expecting, had a “lovely feel” throughout.
To the Ball Pit they bubble, where Zoe reminds us that we haven’t (officially) seen Jake doing lifts since THAT SALSA and Jake frets that
he nearly dropped her, so he’s glad that all worked out fine. I’ve got a feeling Janette is pretty unsplattable Jake, don’t worry. She is the Wile E Coyote of the dance world (FACT). To tee up the final thwack of Jake’s Return To Form Arc Zoe reminds us all that his scores have been a bit ropey for the last two weeks, and Jake snorts that he’d like higher than a 6 from Craig if at all possible.
Shouldn’t be a problem – 36
Sunetra Sarker & Brendan Cole dancing the samba
Further manglings of Sunetra’s name I have seen this week : Sumatra, Sunyetra, Satsuma, Suntrap. I think at least some of those were autocorrect problems. Or at least you’d hope. Tess opens by saying that she’s got a question for the audience. Oh God she’s going to try to interact with them. She asks them if they’re ready to party, and they roar “YES!”. Apart from two people who roar “NO!”. What a shame that they’re the ones dancing…
VT time, and Sunetra tells us that her nerves got the better of her in her foxtrot and it meant that she made one foot-fault that then threw her off for the rest of the dance. Hilariously, the VT editors decide to
DO A CRASH ZOOM OF HORROR on the least-dramatic mistake ever to occur on Strictly. Sunetra said that she really felt like crying the whole time she was on air, which was a mistake because it meant that she ignored some of the lovely things that Darcey said. Oh don’t worry Sunetra nobody else listens to a bloody word Darcey says, crying or not.
Training now, and Brenda has to break the news to Sunetra that they’re
back on the party latin. Again.
For the third time this series. My ITT Brenetra interview highlight this week incidentally was Brenda saying that all the female sambas that have ever been performed on the show were at best mediocre and Zoe looking like she wanted to stand up out her chair, walk over to him, grab him by the lapels and snarl “I REHEARSED FOR 75 FUCKING HOURS FOR MY SAMBA AND IT WAS AMAZING, SHUT UP!” right into his face. Even when he’s barely present, Brenda delivers *moments*. He tells Sunetra that samba comes from Brazil, so to get into the mood, they’re going out for a Brazilian meal.
AND HE’S BRINGING STRIPPERS! Stay classy Brenda.
He gets his entertainment to show Sunetra how to do authentic Samba like what they do in Brazil, an authenticity that is undercut slightly by when they open their gobs to deliver their verdict on Sunetra’s prowess and both sound like Gayle Tuesday. Once they’re done eating, Sunetra tells us that she really enjoyed her time with “The Samba Girls”. If only she’d spent some time with this week with The Weather Girls…(seriously, Aljaz and Tristan could have come back stripped to the waist and oiled up with rain-effect. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE!)
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So Brenda is a bartender and Sunetra and her mates are out for a hen-do, where they party it up to “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin”, a song so cursed on reality shows that it once took out a Strictly contestant and an X Factor group on the same night, on different channels. Now, I’m going to try not to complain about the backing dancers too much (although they add absolutely nothing to any of the dances they appear in other than to serve as a human springboard for Janette) but
they could at least have put Sunetra in the flipping middle. Brenda works his way through the whole line of them, leaving a reluctant Sunetra until last, and then she
mum-dances him into submission. I have theorised that of this year’s contestants Sunetra is the biggest superfan(/only one who’s ever watched the show before, ever) and her party latin truly has been her constantly worshipping at the Church Of Salsambcha because they’ve all looked the bloody same. I am a bit disappointed, given the theme, that they haven’t given her an actual handbag to do it round. You can tell Brenda has
no bloody clue what she’s doing half the time as well. Also whilst I’m complaining, the singer really should have had a Strepsil before he tried to do that falsetto.
SPLASH! (OK I did like this bit)
As a sidebar, whilst we’re mentioning backing dancers, one of them this week was Trent’s wife, with whom he co-choreographs, Gordana. So let’s do this poll then :
Tess starts with the judges by asking Craig if he FEELS LIKE DANCING after that. Craig says “no” and thank God because I’ve seen enough of his shimmies for one series. He says that it was loose, heavy, unspecific and all over the shop, with something truly horrific in the corner.
(Sounds like the state of the female lavs after an actual Blackpool hen night!) Darcey follows by saying that she saw an improvement in Sunetra’s party latin there, because she was so vibrant and flamboyant, but her footwork was weak.
Len follows, saying that Sunetra brought Copacabana Beach to the BLACKPOOL! Sands and Bruno closes by praising the backing dancers, and talking about how some guy in the front row was having a right old perve. He liked Sunetra’s “flirtful” dancing as well, he guesses, but she made a lot of mistakes. LIKE NOT DANCING TO IT’S RAINING MEN, MAYBE.
Over to the Ball Pit they charge, where everyone is
dolled up in hen party gear. Iveta and Judy Murray in matching pink stetsons is…quite something. Zoe tells Brendan that he really reminded her of Tom Cruise in Cocktail at the beginning. Except for the part where he could see over the bar. Sunetra says that that was the most vibrant and energetic she’s ever felt and she really does treat every Latin dance like it’s a Weight Watchers commercial doesn’t she? Zoe reminds Sunetra that she is from “just down the road” (/60 miles away) in Liverpool, and Sunetra says that she used to come to BLACKPOOL! as a kid, and it truly is a special moment to be dancing here. Hilariously as soon as BLACKPOOL! is mentioned Brenda remembers this is technically speaking a Theme Week and turns it on
“I’ve danced here a million times and every time I walk in here, it’s absolutely awe-inspiring. It’s a phenomenal feeling. AND WHILST I’M TALKING, a shout-out to all the production, who have schlepped up from London to get up here. WHAT A SHOW! Every single dance!”
Oh Brenda. You utter cheesemonger. Scores are in
30. Sunetra’s “WE GOT 8S FOR THAT?!” afterwards is officially my non-dance highlight of the series so far.
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the Argentine Tango
Yes, it’s the first Argentine Tango of the series, and despite my begging they got Len to explain it so *fast forward*. I guarantee you it contained the words “passion”, “sleazy”, “ganchos” “sweaty pampers” and some reference to hookers. Also a CAM AHT and a GURTCHA obviously. But they’re common to every dance.
VT time, and Simon says that it was really nerve-wracking to open the show last week but also a privelege, and it was great to have Craig tell him that he’s a contender again.
Training now, and Kristina tells us that the Argentine Tango, what Simon is dancing this week, is very moody and very sensual. Lest we forget the sense most indulged in in past Rihanoff Argentine Tango, the sense of smell. Mostly directed at women’s hair. Oh Donovan. The dance also involves lifts and a lot of complicated footwork, Which Simon says that he’s finding difficult, particularly the PIVITS (should have got Ola in). And then…that’s it. That’s the VT. Just someone talking about a dance and saying what aspects they find difficult. WHERE’S THE COMEDY IN THAT? THIS IS RUBBISH, I WANT JIVE BUNNY!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Thank God there’s a prop here or I wouldn’t even know what show this was supposed to be. They’re dancing their Argentine Tango to “Roxanne”, making this the sixth time now that song has been used on this show for a tango, albeit this is the first time it’s been used for the Sweaty Pampers variation. It’s also the version used in Moulin Rouge, as we all remember it, being so memorably sung as it was by Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. It is, as we’ve come to expect from the Argentine Tangos INSPIRED by Kristina, hard, fast, aggressive and
pretty darned sexual. Crucially though, it’s free more or less of the element of grottiness that marked her other efforts. No hair-sniffing or blowjob finger-guns here. Simon does his job of supporting Kristina admirably, and gives the routine a lot of his own style whilst still keeping it recognisably Argentine Tango. The lifts are also
pretty insane. Just when you think Kristina can’t get her legs any wider apart…there she goes! There’s a little tentativeness about some of the legwork that would stop it getting a CRAZY 10 from me, but it’s definitely his best performance of the series so far, and of the night so far as well.
It’s almost as though they DIDN’T have to give him a stupid AUTOCHARLESTONCOMEBACK isn’t it?
It gets a rapt Standing Ovation
except from Frankie and Mark, who are ‘avin a goss. Simon of course greets this audience reaction with the
humility it deserves. YOU LIKE HIM! YOU REALLY LIKE HIM! We go to Darcey first because
you wouldn’t want a hot flash of this magnitude to go uncommented on. She asks Simon what came over him, and decides it must have been the building. Maybe not all of them Darcey, he’s not Annabel Chong. She loved how MASCULINE he was, and recounts how she was worried at the beginning that it was going to be a showdance rather than an Argentine Tango but then it WAS an Argentine Tango and she was excited again. Thanks Darcey. Len next yells that the dance was FINGER LICKIN’ GOOD which…maybe don’t leap to the fried chicken slogan to praise the black man Len, especially given the exceptionally literal path your crit usually takes. He goes on to say that truly BLACKPOOL! has made everyone amazing, and then he closes by whispering what sounds quite a lot like “fucking…” under his breath. What I wouldn’t have given for a shot of Baby Anton sat there with his mother’s hands over here and his mouth wide open at this point.
Bruno follows by calling Simon the “Dark Lord of Buenos Aires”, and we close with Craig and Simon’s mock hiding behind Kristina in fear turns out to be kind of appropriate for once, as…he didn’t really care for it.
Really I just think he’s trying to lure Old Kristina out again. He misses her as much as I do, I can tell. He says it was too stiff, Simon’s hands were like ice-cream scoops and his ganchos were a bit too tight. At this coherent constructive criticism Darcey starts screaming and trying to choke Craig. Well, if Kristina won’t… Simon next gives a little speech about how much he respects Craig’s critique and SAY “BABES” AT THE END SIMON, OR JUST LEAVE IT.
He then runs to the Ball Pit
high-fiving every audience member on the way, because there really is no limit to the amount of treading on his own moment Simon Webbe can do. Do the sink to your knees OR the thanking the judges OR the audience hugging Simon. Pick. Not all three. Zoe asks how amazing that felt, and Simon replies that it was very amazing. He then talks a lot about how his mum was in the front row but he’s not sure if she was pleased or not because she never smiles, DO YOU MUM and then he starts blowing her kisses down the lens and at this point Zoe is on the verge of homicide so
let’s do this. 38
Judy Murray and Anton du Beke dancing the Viennese Waltz
Apparently, to show the judges that there’s no hard feelings for the judges over their mean comments, she’s bought them all some candy floss.
Well as revenge it’s been pitched perfectly because they all look like utter goons. ANOTHER MURRAY VICTORY!
In her VT, soundtracked by “So What?” by P!nk, because the editors are on point this week, Judy tells us that she really enjoyed her paso doble, because the story was great, but she found it really difficult when she actually had to dance. I do like your one joke Judy, but you may have to expand your repertoire a little if you want to parlay your time on Strictly into being a team captain on Mock The Week. I know it’s your dream. Judy and Anton then both say that they know that they’re only in the competition because viewers are voting for them. Anton neglects to mention that *he’s* only stll here because of that picture he’s got of the DG of the BBC in sexual congress with a kangaroo.
Training now and Judy reveals that she’ll be dancing to “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” from Mary Poppins. Didn’t we already do Mary Poppins once this series? Wasn’t Natalie Lowe descending from the heavens like she’d come not to babysit children but to eat them enough? Anton tells Judy that he’s worked in some kiteography for her routine, which he explains as being “choreography with a kite”. Sadly not the avian kind. I would have given much money to see her set one on Craig all “RIGOR WHAT YA WEE BASTARD?” as it pecked at his skull.
To get practice in kiteography, Judy and Anton
meet in BLACKPOOL! near the beach. I know people joked about a Judy Murray sitcom in the comments last week (and make me salivate) but this whole scene really does feel like it’s come from a 1970s sitcom about two widowed people who meet and find second love, despite how exasperating Anton is and how much Judy’s children disapprove. I bet Judy’s character really can’t cook. I bet Anton is alcoholic in a way that would have seemed more charming in a different era. Judy talks quite a lot about how she wishes she was like a kite.
Bittersweet. As if to prove the sitcommyness of the situation, Judy closes by saying that she hopes things will be ALL KITE ON THE NIGHT. Bless her.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Do you know, I’ve got a feeling that maybe that course of kite flying lessons might not strictly have been entirely necessary? Anton and Judy move across the floor after their kite slowly, until Anton leaves Judy in charge so he can go buy an ice-cream. Then a guy with a balloon and an awful hair-cut collides with Judy,
meaning her kite flies off upwards into the heavens in a straight line as would definitely happen under the laws of physics as I know them.
Then their tussle gains a sexual frisson
(thanks Judy) and Anton has to win back his bird to Viennese Waltz with her. It’s a nice nippy fairly basic Viennese Waltz that’s far too light (it feels like a light breeze would send Judy tumbling off into the ice-cream truck with a clatter), and Anton should really stop
getting her to try to do this with her arms because it never looks good. As a farewell dance? I think we always knew that it was going to look a bit like this, and I’m glad that Judy did, slowly, in her own way, learn how to dance. Sort of. There’s even only
just the one illegal lift in there. Progress! At the end Judy
flies off on some balloons. They couldn’t be making it more obvious that they want her gone could they? Get ready for those 7s!
Once they’re over at Tess, Judy grins that Anton told her that if she messed the routine up they wouldn’t have let her down again. I wish she had. The thought of Judy floating over Pixie and Trent’s doomy Gladiator Dominatrix Paso Doble under her own bodyweight in kids balloons is giving me life. Len starts for the judges, saying Judy’s Viennese Waltz was very much like the candy floss Judy gave him as a present – sweet and fluffy, but a bit sticky in places. You wait until you find the nest of spider-eggs at the bottom Len. Bruno follows by saying that he was expecting WIENER SCHNITZEL not Viennese Waltz but *checks script for five minutes* he really liked that!
(Judy actually seems a bit teary-eyed from here on, so it feels churlish to stamp on her moment by saying that if Bruno actually liked that, being Bruno, I will buy him an ice-cream sandwich, so look, I’m putting it in brackets).
Craig follows by saying that something went horribly wrong at the beginning of the routine involving Anton and an ice-cream cornet, and if you don’t know that Anton is going to AUTOBANTER 5000 HA HA MARVELLOUS that until Craig just gives up and shuts his gob, then you haven’t been watching. Ever. Darcey closes by saying that it’s great that Anton has transformed her into a softer lady, but she’s still got a lot of work to do on her top-line. Darcey, sweetheart, the only ballroom she’s got left at this point is the foxtrot (lol, Judy’s dance draw), forget the constructive criticism. Judy from here on out would have been ALL LATIN, ALL THE TIME.
How could you vote her out? How? We were so close…
Once they’ve flown into the Ball Pit, Zoe hands them their kite back
Iveta had ear-marked that kite for her own. Look at her face. You can tell. Judy jokes with Zoe that she decided this week that walking was over-rated and so she tried dancing for the first time (Tesspit Edition : “A HA HA HA WALKING MY LOVE, SHE SAID WALKING, OH BLESS, WELL WE LOVED IT DIDN’T WE LADIES AND GENTS?”), and then Zoe reminds Anton that he went out in Blackpool Week last year and Anton acts mock-affronted. Like he wasn’t ready to go by that point. I’m sure living through the great Fiona-Susanna Catfight of 2013 in person was less fun than just experiencing it by proxy. Scores are in
24 (people talk about how Craig’s scores mean sooooooooooooooooooooooo much more because he’s so stingy : I can guaran-damn-tee you the 7s Judy got from Len and Bruno meant more to her than some pet stage-school ringer getting a couple more “why not?” 10s at the end of a whole series of ’em)
Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dancing the Charleston
Tess tells us that in the upcoming dance, Mark will be playing a magician and Karen will be his Debbie McGee. Tess then says that she’d like to try some magic, waves a wand and
makes Tristan appear, fully clothed, with a mug of tea. What a scandalous waste of magic powers.
In his VT, Mark says that his waltz was really magical and mugs that he can never quite believe the judges are talking to him
IT MUST BE SOMEBODY BEHIND HIM! WAIT, THERE’S NOBODY THERE! I bet Mark’s a really good babysitter, as long as the child is under the age of 8. Mark goes on to say that reaching Blackpool is like his final, and that he’s even prouder to get there on a waltz, which was the dance he always feared the most. NOBODY THINKS YOU FEARED THE FLIPPING WALTZ MARK, GIVE IT UP. At least say the Viennese Waltz, there’s at least the fear of vomiting there.
Training now, and Karen tells Mark that this week they’ll be dancing the Charleston to “We No Speak Americano” with a magic theme. Hopefully Mark will give this more energy than when Holly Valance attempted the same dance, because I’m not sure Karen is going to accept a Charleston performed as though appearing halfway through “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”. Mark gushes that it’s great that they’re doing a magic theme, because he knows someone who loves magic.
HIS LITTLE COUSIN SERGIO. No Mark. No. Nieces are just about acceptable for Baby Warz, but no Little Cousin Sergio. (No offence, Little Cousin Sergio). You’ve wheeled about 6 nans on somehow, enough. Little Cousin Sergio tells Mark his dancing’s crap and then throws a pack of cards on the floor and runs off. What a wee charmer.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Is he going to be a stripping magician? The music starts up and two of the backing dancers load Karen into a crate, at which point they proceed to saw her in half whilst Mark just stands there
with this look on his face. Not much of a magician is he?
WOW, WHAT AN ILLUSION!
Once Karen has emerged, they Charleston, and as usual with Mark in the up-tempo dances, it’s fairly enjoyable. It’s quite a slow, deliberate, and precise Charleston, and the choreography is pretty
Club Med Family Hour Fun, but he delivers it well and is fairly charming. I’m just, again, just like with his jive, not really sure it’s nines, you know? Although I appreciate Sunetra GERRIN 8S FOR THAT?! does rather stymie them in terms of where they can go.
It gets a Standing Ovation and Bruno starts by crowing that he loves a man with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. I’m telling you now, I’m doing my best to get through this routine without making a joke about somebody enjoying tricks, and I’m on the verge of just giving in. Bruno carries on by congratulating Mark on his ongoing Magical Journey. Alison
applauds from the audience, whilst her mum looks for another mic to snatch. Craig follows by mooing that he’s starting to fall in love. Yes, we noticed. Ben Cohen last year was bad enough, but at least then he actually went to the trouble of getting his tits out. Mark then runs up and kisses Craig on the mouth. Well there’s his 10 for next week sorted.
Darcey follows by saying that Mark surprises her every week by revealing new strengths in areas she never imagined he’d have, and Len closes by saying “EVERYFIN VESE AVE SAID, WIV NOBS ON!”. Well, it beats “the boys are right”, I guess…
Over to the Ball Pit they swivel, where Zoe marvels at Mark snogging Craig, and Mark grins that when Craig says that he loves someone, it means they’ve danced well. That or that Craig has decided that he can make a lot of money out of a theatre tour with them. Either way. We then chat about Mark’s journey some more, and Zoe remarks, not at all subtly, that nobody this series has yet received a 9 for their Charleston. Well, now, I wonder what scores Mark might be about to get.
Pixie Lott & Didimus Decimus Meridius dancing the paso doble
I guess this is as good a time as any for the distaff poll.
VT time now and Pixie says that she loved last week’s foxtrot performance so much that she’s going to keep her hairstyle from it
FOREVER HA HA HA HA.
Trent appears to have been sharing his biscuits around backstage. She goes on to say that Darcey is an amazing lady, so to get a 10 from her for her foxtrot was really special. All the ladies love Darcey this year apparently.
Training now, and Trent is waxing lyrical about how BLACKPOOL! is truly the place to dance, and that he and Pixie are going to put in lots of hours of training for their paso doble so they can match up to the venue. Pixie sighs that training is all well and good but she wants to have some fun! She wants to
ride the donkeys, man. I don’t think “ride the donkeys” has ever sounded quite so much like a euphemism for drug use. Trent sternly (… you know, for TRENT) says that Pixie has to nail her paso doble first, and then they can talk about riding the donkey.
Guess what? Pixie has nailed her paso doble, so off they go
riding the donkey on a Ferris Wheel,
riding the donkey whilst eating fish n chips
riding the donkey for so long that Pixie actually starts hallucinating. Remember kids. Just say no.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
I think Trent must have been riding the donkey pretty hard when he came up with this routine – a Gladiator themed paso doble to music from War Of The Worlds, complete with
gladiators actually descending from space. Pixie’s role in this is some sort of insectoid dominatrix space queen David Icke illuminati lizard.
Probably. The whole thing whilst being very accomplished technically, is also very kitsch, very fun, and very 70s disco sci-fi indeed. Trent’s gladiator armour in particular
looks like it came right out of an episode of Buck Rogers and Pixie’s hamming up her villainy so much, legs flying around like weapons of death, that I find myself disappointed when she doesn’t full on yell out
“CURSES!” at this point. I really think that the heavy theming in this era of Strictly does help contestants like Pixie express their personality, especially when their pros are as theatrical in their choreographing inclinations as Trent seems to be. Can you imagine Pixie in Series 4 or 5? She’d be a total Bunton. I think my favourite moment is at the end, when Trent believes he has slain the villainous queen
BUT WAIT, SHE’S STILL ALIVE, SCUTTLING ALONG THE FLOOR LIKE THE FACE-HUGGERS FROM ALIEN!
Then she dies anyway. I laughed, I cried, I longed for the episode of It Takes Two where Trent talked about how very not camp this all was. (Is this where I risk a lynching from the Artem legions and say that I wish Trent had choreographed Natalie last series? DAT TANGO WITH DAT HAIR)
It gets a standing ovation, and once they’re over at the judges, Tess calls her “Piximus Lottimus” and appears to
drag her hand over to her arse with such ferocity that I wonder if Vernon is going to have to fashion the bed-sheets into a toga again this evening because someone is in heat. Craig starts by proclaiming that Pixie is an indomitable force in the competition.
If either of them know what indomitable means I will pay you all £5. He then proclaims her to be invincible which…don’t tempt people Craig, please. Darcey follows by saying that Pixie couldn’t be better…but she needs to be careful that her dances aren’t ALL about her ballet tr…I mean legs.
Len follows by saying that if Pixie was a stick of Blackpool rock, she’d have “talent” written all the way through her. Would it be a Britain’s Got Talent tie-in stick of rock Len? Is she performing on the results show? Well, better her than Tulisa I guess. Bruno of course waxes lyrical about how Pixie was a dominatrix spice pirate gladiator queen devouring her men and
can he borrow one? In many ways, it scares me just how similar Bruno’s taste is to mine. And how…differently we express it.
Over in the Ball Pit, once they have arrived, Pixie
appears to be riding the donkey so hard that its tail is in danger of falling off. Zoe marvels at her insatiable appetite for hot gladiator flesh and then kind of gives the nod to the idea that some standing ovations are more standing ovationy than others, saying that the audience all stood up in unison as soon as she finished. As opposed to forcing Greg to activate the tazers inserted into all of their seats. Pixie drones on blissfully about the vibe she was getting out there and yup, she’s out of her tree. Scores are in
38. There then follows a highly entertaining “NO, I’M SPARTACUS!” bit, the twin highlights of which are Judy squeaking out “I’M SPARTACUS!” like Mousey from Bodger & Badger and Zoe’s face
as Anton leaps up and down screaming.
Steve Backshall & Ola Jordan dancing the American Smooth
Tess actually pronounces Ola’s name the way she prefers this week. Truly the greatest instance of BLACKPOOL! magic in the entire show right there.
In his VT Steve defends his caping last week as having helped him to get into the mind of a bullfighter, and he loved every second of it. So much for Steve’s record as an animal rights champion I guess. Get ready for his mink-farming themed jive next week…
Training now, and Steve tells us all that this week he will be doing an American Smooth, which features
lift after lift after lift after lift. Ola tells him that they will be dancing in BLACKPOOL! and she wants Steve to approach the trip like he does all his other expeditions. Insert your joke about coping with venomous reptiles, or handling snakes here. Anyway I’m sure he’s already got the jabs booked in, Ola, no need to tell him. Steve then does a comedy bit wherein he talks to camera like he’s David Attenborough following wildlife around, in this case the wildlife being
Iveta. (STRICTLY SLEAZE STEVE STALKS STUNNERS BACKSTAGE! LEAVES PARTNER OLA IN TEARS! (*please see attached picture from Ola’s 2015 calendar*)) Iveta tells Steve to get out of her dressing room and then starts throwing her make-up at him (lol at the idea that each individual dancer gets their own dressing room- given that Scott was saying that even as a celebrity he’s now seen pretty much every male wang on the programme, I’m so sure that the hired help get their own space), after which he moves on to spying on Kevin and Janette and then
Gordana. I feel like this Comedy VT didn’t progress very far beyond the conceptualisation phase. Ola closes by telling Steve to stop MESSING AROUND so he can get that 40 he really wants. And they called Alison delusional…
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So the theme for Steve’s American Smooth is “arm-hankies”. They form a constant cage for Steve and Ola through, presumably representing the caging of the spirits of the lovers depicted in “Rolling In The Deep”, what Steve and Ola are dancing to. American Smooth choreography really is a load of old twaddle these days isn’t it? BRING BACK ERIN AND COLIN DOING ME AND MY SHADOW LIKE FRIEND AND GINNNNGE WITH THE ONE TRIUMPHANT LIFT AT THE END. Steve fiddles with his tie
and then his cufflinks and then Ola
leaps out from behind him, all “BRRURGGH, RARRGH, I AM TURBID EMOTIONS MADE FLESH!” and then they do a bit of foxtrot (or maybe tango I can’t really tell) and some lifts.
As with all of his dances with lifts in, it feels like a lot more attention has been paid to the latter than the former. S’alright.
For Blackpool I was hoping for something a bit less…placeholder? After the dramatic excesses of last week he didn’t really feel like he was over-bothered with this one. Maybe somewhere in the middle next week?
Once they’re over at Tess, she blithers about how macho it was and how it really did it for her. Still feeling the effect of those burly gladiators I see. Darcey starts by congratulating Steve on not being over-zealous with his lifts but she thinks that, given his athletic physique, he can afford to mark things more and show more light and shade.
Darcey hun, neither of these people went to stage school. Judge your audience. Len follows by saying that he liked seeing Steve’s softer side, and his efforts to be smooth, but he needs to lift himself up more – like a small man at a urinal. In my experience Len, small men at urinals tend to focus on wedging themselves into a corner so that…oh, wait, different kind of small man, carry on.
Bruno follows by praising Steve for being more gentle with Ola than usual, and Craig closes again by praising the lifts and congratulating Steve on getting in touch with his FEMININE SIDE, which he says like Ursula The Sea Witch, but goes on to say that he needed to tuck his thumb under. Under what?
To the Ball Pit they slide, where Zoe decides to inherit the Worst Of Daly by getting Steve to show off his GUNZ
I honestly would not be surprised if we came back next year with lifts allowed in every single dance form (and not just for Judys) just so the men can show off their Strictly Come Weightlifting prowess. I swear that entire critique just then was 90% technical discussion on the merits of Steve’s clean and jerk. Personally I feel, if you can’t do something truly Jake’s Salsa with them at this point you might as well not bother. Scores are in
Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing the jive
Tess tells us that after her visit to the Bottom 2 last week, Caroline visited a fortune teller to find out what her future might hold. If only I too had access to this fortune teller’s crystal balls so I could make a strong forward projecti[JOKE REDACTED]
In her VT, Caroline says that she was looking forward to her waltz last Saturday, but there were mistakes in it, and it was a horrible feeling when she was in the bottom two. She says that it didn’t really hit her how emotional being in the bottom two could make her feel
until she realised she could get a hug from Pasha out of it. Then, suddenly, the feelings came. Caroline tells us all, stirringly, it’s not about how you fall, it’s about how you get back up. Alright Churchill.
Training now, and Pasha tells Caroline that they will be doing their jive in BLACKPOOL! You know, just in case she’d missed the memo. Caroline tells Pasha on the other hand that she
saw a clairvoyant before doing Strictly and that clairvoyant told her that whilst she was on Strictly she would fall deeply in love with the man of her dreams and then he would fall in love with her back and then he would DUMP THAT NUMBERS BITCH and they would go off and live happily forever after on a farm and raise baby goats and have three kids who would be called Harriet and Mabel and Pash Pash Jr do you believe in fate Pasha because I do I think God would be angry if we didn’t follow the path he has laid out for us via the stars. Pasha tells her that he knows another clairvoyant who will be able to tell Caroline more.
“Wooo, Caroline, you’re scaring Pasha, please find a different boyfriend woooooo”. Sadly for Pasha, Caroline sees through his ruse
and unmasks him. Lipstick and all. Caroline tells us that she thinks Pasha was using his highly convincing fortune teller disguise to send her a message.
“If the presenting career dries up, literally anybody can become an actor”.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
The theme of this dance is sadly not Spiceworld : The Movie, but instead “London”, because heaven forbid we every truly leave the capital on this show. Pasha is a palace guard, Caroline is a
gormless tourist desperate to get her hands on his big furry titfer
and then they jive, to Crocodile Rock. As jived to (really really badly) by Lisa Snowdon in THE WEEK THAT AUSTINWUZZROBBED (neva4get). She’s undoubtedly better than Lisa at it, and she does well to keep up in potentially the most onerous comparison of the evening
with other pro couples, directly in sight, in pairs, dancing the same steps. It’s a lot of fun, and she’s definitely charismatic enough to the centrepiece that she is throughout, but it’s not absolutely blowaway because there is maybe a little bit too much flirty business with hats and so on that distracts from the dancing.
It gets a standing ovation and you’ll notice that
Caroline isn’t actually letting that thing touch her head. Either Pasha has lice or she doesn’t trust wardrobe at all, not one little bit, ever. Len starts for the judges, saying that if Caroline is in the Bottom Two this week he’ll dive off the end of Blackpool Pier naked. Yay… Bruno follows and
we really ARE getting to the point when the competition really starts aren’t we? By which I mean the point when you can represent Bruno’s critique solely by his face.
Craig follows, praising the sprung floor of BLACKPOOL! for aiding Caroline’s incredible bounce and Darcey closes by saying that “as the boys say” (*fast forward*) (AND WE CAME SO CLOSE TO GETTING THROUGH A WHOLE SHOW! NEXT TIME DARCEY, I BELIEVE IN YOU)
Over to the Ball Pit they womble, where Zoe congratulates “Bionic Flackers” for that routine. And Caroline as well. Zoe then very quickly apologises for the show having given out the wrong number for Steve earlier (they gave out the abbreviated mobile number instead of the full landline number for both – so prosaic, I’d hoped they’d given out Mark Wright’s number “by mistake” and everyone could scream RIGGED whilst running round the roses). Pasha then very quickly says that he’s very proud of Caroline before the scores come in
Post BLACKPOOL! Standin Ovation Count?
Frankie – 8
Caroline – 7
Jake/Mark/Pixie/Simon – 6
Sunetra – 5
Steve – 4
Judy – 2