Around The World With 80 Gays.
(Actually I suppose some of the backing dancers could feasibly have been straight, even with that hair, I do apologise).
Last week : it was our last normal, non-themed, gimmick-free, honest to God week of just dancing and nothing else, and the judges gave sanity a fond farewell by hurling 10s at dances that contained technical errors and trying to save people from elimination because they’d had none-too-secret secret fantasies about their biceps.
This week :
IT’S WOOBIE WEEK! Points will be awarded for crying, almost-crying, really looking like you want to cry but holding it together, burying your face in your partners shoulder, having a lip wobble, sniffling, having a mild learning disability, being really in love with your pro partner but not being able to say it, knitwear, having mean stories about you in the press, being misunderstood, having people hate you online for, like, no reason, temper tantrums followed by a gift of garage flowers, always being second on the leaderboard, and having nice eyes.
(A LOL at everyone else doing their best NSPCC advert child-in-peril faces an then Pixie popping up in the middle looking a bit stoned. NEVAH CHANGE TEAM TRIXIE)
Even in the opening credits they look a bit like one of those backstage popstar meet’n’greets where nobody really got what they came don’t they?
ARE YOU READY FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL DRESSING-UP BOX WEEK?
Now point to the country on the map this building represents. That’s right kids, India! A rich Indian man made this for his girlfriend to live in or something and Princess Diana once threw the world’s biggest pity party outside it. Indian people all eat curry, ride around on elephants, wear
glittery bras and pink skirts and jangly things on their head and bindis and when they dance they do
funny things with their arms and every time they dance they can only dance to Jai Ho, ever, all the time, nothing else. Now children, can you make a shadow-puppet of a rabbit?
WELL DONE VERY GOOD. Now it’s time for a juice and a nap.
Night night. (Fun Fact : Iveta was eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance (in 20th place bless her) off the back of a Bollywood Dance, so I bet she was having major trauma the whole time this was going on) (Other SYTYCD Fun Fact : Janette was shock-booted from her series in 7th despite being a strong favourite to win, so I bet this week was also…quite nerve-wracking for her) (Fun Fact : I have no appropriate Fun Facts based on Pasha, Aliona or Karen’s times on So You Think You Can Dance that I could crowbar into this segment but here’s a clip of Pasha dancing jazz to “Body Language” by Queen in obscenely tight trousers anyway) (Fun Fact : the next series of So You Think You Can Dance is going to be STAGE VS STREET so I wouldn’t be expecting any fresh ballroom dancer transplants from that show for a while. For some of you, this may be a relief).
To add to the Parents Evening vibe of the night, the stairs out to the dancefloor have been done up with flags
representing ALL THE COUNTRIES OUR PUPILS COME FROM except with the British flag biggest just in case Mr Farage from the PTA complains. Tess and Claudia emerge from the staff-room
both wearing black, presumably in mourning for when this show made sense. Meanwhile in the audience
Pixie’s boyfriend’s cheekbones are already so severe it looks like someone’s sub-dermally implanted a Cornish pastie into his face.
Tess welcomes us to Around The World Week, a celebration of the fact that the world has countries in it and that we have stereotypes about them, all expressed via the medium of dahnce. She thanks the pros for waxing especially for this evening’s opening number, their backing dancers (you know, the people who looked like they knew what they were doing), and our special guest Bollywood Vocallist
right here. What a sweetheart. I hope the other singers were nice to him and let him join in in the playground. (Did anyone else see Davearch on It Takes Two this week? What a festival of raw human awkwardness that was). Tess then asks Claudia if she’s got her passport ready, and Claudia says that she has. Yes, given the reaction to this week’s show, leaving the country asap may well seem like a priority. I hope she’s had her shots in case she meets a rabid Jake fan. Claudia then goes on to remind us that poor Steve left last week so he’s going to have to miss out on
Darcey dancing on in a sombrero, Len being the least French thing I’ve ever seen, and Craig touching himself erotically whilst wearing a cork-hat. I’m sure he’s gutted.
Our pros and celebs enter and I am reminded of the one good thing about Ladybird My First Holiday Week.
Pasha’s going to take his shirt off quite a lot.
Pixie Lott & Trent Whiddon dancing the Viennese Waltz in The Netherlands
Tess tells us that Trent and Pixie will be dancing to Tulips From Amsterdam with backing dancers wearing clogs around an actual windmill. Well, nice to see we’re easing ourselves in slowly this evening. I thought Trent was going to do the entire routine on a bicycle with a spliff hanging out of his mouth whilst Iveta, Aliona and Natalie all writhed around in a corner behind a plate-glass window under a red-light, and Aljaz and Tristan got gay-married and made out.
VT now and Pixie, sounding more and more croaky by the week (watch your lungs dear, riding the donkey is still a form of smoking) reminds us that her Charleston last week was very very fast and had a lot of moves in it. Not necessarily Charleston moves but moves… She sighs that it may have been scored a whole one point lower than her paso doble, but she still thinks she’s up there. I have honestly started to think Pixie (at least so far) has had the smoothest ride of any Strictly RINGAH ever, except maybe the holy St Jill. Natalie worked herself so hard that she fainted, Alesha, Abbey, Lisa, Rachel, Kimberley, Ali, Zoe, Denise Lewis, Emma, Ali and Jason Donobot were all in the bottom 2, Ricky Nipple had his erm…little car accident, Ramps had a BLOKERUMAB OF DOOM, everyone pretended Tom wasn’t a ringer because he was a bloke (oh and of course the judges refused to give him a 10 and tried to rig him out woobie woobie wah wah wah), Aliona kept on getting into fights with Len on behalf of both Harry and Matt, Dr Hamela was a psycho sexual deviant who scared the bejesus out of everyone, Kelly’s dad died, every woman who could ever dance who was paired with James Jordan either went out earlier or was Denise Von Ringah, The Ringiest Ringah Of Evah (who couldn’t really do Latin breathe it quietly), Chelsee’s tit fell out in the tango, Colin had the dummies, Scott’s Eastenders bosses overworked him until he was ground down into a fine powder and of course GETHIN/AUSTINWUZZROBBED. Even Kara fell on her bum in week 1 dressed as a Happy Shopper dominatrix. Pixie just seems to float above everything imperviously in a sweet green haze. Even when she screwed up her jive in Week 1 the judges pretended she never. I’m not sure if all this makes me like her more or less.
ANYWAY, TO TRAINING, where the first sentence out of Trent’s mouth is
“This week we’re doing a Viennese Waltz with a Dutch theme, so I thought it’d be nice to take Pixie out and give her a bit of a Dutch Experience to get her in the mood”. I bet you did. We’ve all seen those youths hanging out by the canals. I spend the entire VT half-expecting Bruce to run on with a broom and chase them off, bloody kids, HE KNOWS WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND IT’S NOT CLEVER. (Can you imagine that these two were originally supposed to do a Spanish Cha-Cha? Just wouldn’t have felt right would it?).
Fortunately for those starting to froth over BBC budgets, this Dutch Experience isn’t in Holland but in Victoria Park. Trent and Pixie hang out riding their bikes, wearing their clogs and eating their
SPECIAL CHEESE. I have honestly not seen two people look so stoned since I was at University. I am literally right now wafting at my laptop screen to try to get me the contact high I need to get through the rest of the show.
TO THE AUDIENCE!
Where Pixie is giving out her tulip to whoever will have it. I don’t think you need to be worried about your vote to quite that level just yet Pixie, but ok… The story of the dance (oh yes, this is a theme week, there will be a story) is that Pixie is a tulip girl who comes to Trent’s village, where he is having a
gay old time with his friends despite the fact that they’ve all got fancy clogs and he hasn’t, and then steals his heart.
Trent having his heart stolen looks uncannily like someone doing a bad impersonation of an epileptic Bruce Forsythe. Again, as with last week, it’s a nice enough dance (and her legs looks a lot better after her previous “oops where did my goat go?” effort) but there’s still a slight disconnect between her and Trent. The most exciting thing is her
skirt, which officially is the most ammenable skirt to waltzing I’ve ever seen on this show. It’s like it’s got its own wind machine under there. Every time she so much as turns it flies up like The Seven Year Itch. Shes lucky that she’s got a clean pair of knickers on under there is all I’m saying. Sadly, just as she and Trent are warming up to one another and it looks a bit less he’s just functioning as more than her human ballet bar…
back come the clog-boys to do the Single Ladies dance andd win him back to to being a villager again.. No really. That happens. And we all know that there’s no fighting Beyonce, so Trent winds up
flat on his back making snow-angels in the grass as Pixie wanders off to find another village to give away her flower in. Trent does the…best/worst endings on this show.
It gets a Standing Ovation, and Pixie gives Tess a flower
which leaves her quite overwhelmed. I guarantee you that’s the first time anyone connected with this show has given her a present ever. Even now there’s a Secret Santa bag waiting in BBC Headquarters with one scrap of paper with her name on it, because someone’s told The Man In The Hat “don’t worry The Man In The Hat, just buy Karen Hardy a second present and we’ll pretend there’s a mix-up…”. Speaking of which
THERE’S ONLY ONE MAN IN THE HAT DAVEARCH, AND IT AINT YOU. STEP OFF.
Tess turns to Len and tells him the FUN FACT that, as of last week, everyone left in the competition has scored at least 30 for at least one dance. They’ve also, as of tonight, all had at least one 9 Tess, if we’re playing with numbers. Len of course, doesn’t really do numbers so just says that Pixie had more rotation than the sails on the Teletubby Windmill over there, captured both the HOW and the WOW (but sadly not quite the WHY? or even really the WHAT?) of the , and it was a
BOUQUET OF DANCE. He just hopes that “Von Trapp” on the end there liked it as well. You can give out the comments meant for Simon’s dance all you like Len, we’re not skipping ahead. Bruno follows, giving his critique in French (NETHERLANDS, THIS DANCE WAS SET IN THE NETHERLANDS GUYS, IT WASN’T SUBTLE) and then switches back in English for a bunch of “Pixie-as-flower” metaphors whilst Len idly
twirls his bloom around like he’s in the world’s worst Morrissey biopic.
Craig is next, and says that he’s come to expect great things of Pixie and he wasn’t disappointed.
Pixie’s boyfriend’s cheekbones continue to scare me. Darcey then closes by saying that she thinks that dance was very dainty and lovely, and she noticed a lot of little extra balletic flourishes that Pixie put in, which she hopes were just for her. Or they could be because she’s ballet trained Darcey, WHO CAN SAY?!
Up to Claud 9, which has also been festooned with flags, where Claudia gushes that that’s the first time they’ve ever opened the show. Almost as though their performance slots for every week apart from the last two have been bordering on parodic, no? Claudia asks the pair of them if going on first made them nervous and Trent’s face reads
“nerves? What are they? I haven’t had nerves over anything since I was…about 13”. Pixie says that really she’s more nervous for dances when she has to wait around for half the show before she gets to do them.
Claudia congratulates Trent on his choreography (yeah, they said that a lot to Anya as well, I’m still not totally comfortable) and then talks with Pixie about her “Dutch heritage”. Pixie clearly doesn’t have much of a clue about her Dutch heritage
but nice try Claudia. She’s basically all “I fink it was a great aunt’s second cousin or sumfing”. Not quite “Who Do You Think You Are?”, even one of the boring ones where it turns into an hour long discussion of The Troubles because someone’s granddad went to Belfast once. Scores are in
38. Pixie’s face when she seees that Claudia is sudenly wearing a hat is
one of the few saving graces of this week. Speaking of which
still not wearing a shirt.
Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dancing the salsa in the USA
Tess tells us that Mark’s salsa will have a casino theme, but she’s wondering how Mark’s going to put a smile on
this poker face. Suggestions as to how Craig would like Mark to put a smile on his face on a postcard please. Bonus points if it involves a pun on “poker”.
VT now, and Mark gasps that tango is such a fierce and sharp dance that required him to be both angry and different. Well…it was certainly different alright. We’re reminded that Bruno was jumping up and down in his chair making grunting noises afterwards, which Mark takes to mean that he did his job. If your job was literally just to turn up then yes. By this point in the series Bruno’s basically the human equivalent of one of those car alarms that goes off if a cat walks past. He does know though that there are so many other talented dancers still in the competition blah blah humblecakes.
Training now and Mark is officially
still filming “Take Me Out : The Clap Clinic” in Tenerife. My heart, it bleeds. Mark says that between training and filming 5 second advert break bumpers it’s going to be a tough week but he’s really determined.
SO DETERMINED! LOOK AT HIS WIDDLE DETERMINED WIDDDLE FACE. He’s training all the hours gawd sends him, be they ever so meagre and humble. Karen decides at one point that enough training is enough for today, so she’s going to take Mark out (lol) to get inspired by the spirit of Las Vegas.
As translated via a tacky theme pub in the Med. I don’t remember Michael Jackson ever wearing a wig like that but ok… Mark and Karen are suitably inspired by the rancid hot dogs and the smell of tequilla wafting up off the floor and the girl being vigorously fingerbanged in the middle of the dance-floor until they are ready for Saturday Night the end.
TO THE CASINO!
Another upside to add to the list : more Gordana. Anyway, Mark and Karen’s salsa is being performed, of course, to “Viva Las Vegas”. Mark sprints onto the dancefloor and…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pair of people be so comically out of time with one another as Mark and Karen were at the start of this routine. It’s like perfect “Les Dawson Playing The Piano” anti-timing. As for the rest of the routine I think of all the routines this evening this one best encaptures the spirit of the place it has been “inspired” by.
In that it’s really sleazy and a bit desperate, although not always in a bad way. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire really to see Mark Wright in any sort of state of undress, but the moment where he goes “OOPS WHERE DID MY BUTTONS GO” made me laugh. As always with Mark, it feels like it’s 2am and this dance is the last thing standing between him and copping off with a random. IT’S THIS OR MASTURBATION GUYS, LET’S GO ALL IN! It’s not at all sinuous, or sexy, or intimate, or tight, and the lifts are all Karen apart from one last
pelvic floor exam, but…well there are worse horrors to come tonight.
It gets the loudest Standing Ovation of the evening which…well if nothing else this series puts me finally off even half predicting anything it’s that, and Mark gives a little speech about how tiring that was. Bruno starts for the judges by calling Mark a JOKER IN THE PACK with a FULL HAND TO PLAY WITH. Is this another comment about ladies boobies Bruno, I will not have it. He goes on to say that there were awful timing problems at the beginning (duh) and he feels really bad for Mark having to “play with” three women at once.
Yes, I’m sure it was very hard. Mark then gives a little speech about how hard it is to get timing right when the audience is THIS AMAZING. Craig follows by saying that Mark was ahead of the beat in a lot of the dance and then Len yells “NOT A LOT!” so loudly and so shrill that I half think Paul Daniels has come back.
Darcey is next, and says that Mark handled the lifts with great ease, almost to a professional standard. Is Darcey just here to mark the lifts and bitch about Pixie’s legs now? She does tell Mark that that he needs to be more smooth going into and coming out of moves. Well his arms aren’t nearly as big as Steve’s, so she can be a bit more objective I guess. A bit. Mark then gives a little speech about how hard dancing is and how many hours he’s put in. Len closes by saying that it lacked polish but he liked how Mark CAME AHT and GIVE IT SAHM and then yelling about how EEE LOOKS FOR VE GOOD IN DARNCE BUT CRAIG ALWAYS LOOKS FOR VE BAD. (*deepest of all eye-rolls, like the Marianas Trench of eye-rolling, so deep you’ll never find it*). Yes it’s almost as thought Craig is a judge isn’t it?
Up to Claud 9 they curl, where Claudia jokes that Mark only had 8 minutes to train this week and Mark jokes back that he just about managed 9. I feel like we’ve been here before… Anyway Mark gives another little speech about world peace or whatever but I’m
mostly distracted by Natalie hovering in the background wearing a cork hat and Indian head-dress whilst wrapped in the Union Jack. Around The World Week in a nutshell there. Scores are in
32. Post-Scoring Highlight?
Aljaz smacking Ola in the head with a card and her getting MIGHTY PISSED-OFF.
Sunetra Sarker & Brendan Cole dancing the rumba in Brazil
The country, not the film about an unescapable dystopian nightmare. Just thought I’d clarify. Tess jokes that Brendan and Sunetra’s beach-set rumba better not get too raunchy, as that sand can get everywhere. I doubt that’ll be much of a problem Tess… Especially as we all know that the last thing that Brenda’s rumbas are is FILTHYDIRTY.
VT now, and Sunetra says that she threw as much as she could at her waltz last week, but she still found herself in the dance-off.
I’ve seen people be less unhappy it has to be said. She says it was never in her plans to get all the way to Week 9 (fairly obviously given her work schedule) so she’s really glad to still be here. Honest. If you could see fit to let her go this week though that’d be great thanks.
Training now, and Sunetra reveals that she will be doing the rumba and playing “Brazilia”, a lady(more like a drag-queen with that name) on the beach who seduces men. Is this beach situated on Erin Island by any chance? Just a hunch. Sunetra goes on to say that she feels
a little bit uncomfortable doing all the sexy poses and raunchy writhings of the rumba. Nope Sunetra sorry, you don’t, you’re a girl. The rumba is hard for MEN. All women love stroking a stranger’s face and wriggling around like they’ve got a particularly aggressive tapeworm, sorry. Brenda tells her to imagine that she’s a “melting candle, dripping down her sides” and Sunetra tells him to bog off, as well you might. Sunetra closes by basically realising that, as an actress and a woman and on the verge of elimination, nobody’s going to make excuses for her in this dance so she might as well go for it.
TO ERIN ISLAND!
AFTER DARK! You might think that’s Christ The Redeemer in the background, it’s actually Erin wailing on top of a mountain about AUSTIN WUZZ ROBBED, as she does every sundown. The story of the dance is very much as Sunetra made it sound – her
and then rejecting all the menz, to the sounds of “The Girl From Ipanema”. I’m not sure the BBC teatime audiences were ever going to be ready for this level of libidinous sauce and I’ll be honest…they probably could have got backing dancers were better at playing straight. They’re not looking at her as though they want to ask her if they can jump her bones so much as
where she got that skirt, because it’s simply divine.
Eventually, possibly prodded on by Evil Mira Ross In A Rainbow Wig, Brenda joins in
dressed like a holidaymaker whose clothes fit him two weeks ago before a fortnight of cachaca, torresmo and empanadas. Sunetra does her best to get some chemistry going
but it’s still not really clicking, and the backing dancers lurking in the background like flipping Stranger At The Lake the whole time is mighty off-putting. I don’t think her technique is awful – she’s keeping her body moving, albeit slightly uncomfortably, especially in her arms, and her face looks a bit narcotised. To be honest, it’s hard to get fully invested in a couple this doomed. In the end she wafts off leaving Brenda
alone and pissed and hanging off a tree. Maybe she spotted your wedding ring hun.
It gets a Standing Ovation and a round of applause, but then Sunetra slams right into Craig saying that it lacked strength and pressure through the floor, and on the whole she wasn’t really sure or steady enough on her feet for the dance. Sunetra
looks so devestated at this that I want to hug her(/give her a partner willing to engage beyond the most ginger levels of support and bodily contact). There were too many wafty arms as well. Apparently. (What was Natalie Gumede’s average score again?). Darcey follows by saying that personally she loved Sunetra’s lovely fluid arms and the storyline wherein Sunetra was a big ol’ ho-bag, but her legs didn’t really caress the floor.
Len follows by saying that he liked the choreography, and that Sunetra had a good sense of the timing of the dance, but he thinks it lacked hip-action and sparkle. Bruno closes by basically agreeing – he liked the story but the hip-action was lacking. Of course it’s Bruno so it’s all couched in him growling that Sunetra was the GRAND DAME OF THE BOODWAR but I’m already 800 words over pace this week and there’s myriad horrors to come so…sacrifices must be made.
Up to Claud 9 they swish, where Natalie actually
reaches out and pats Sunetra sympathetically on the face. Maybe she should be the Life Coach, rather than Camilla.
Claudia next reminds Brenda that he has danced the rumba in every single series of Strictly that he’s been on. In fact, in Series 9 he did two!
Sunetra tells Claudia that she really feels like rumba was entirely outside of her personal comfort zone, just like everyone remaining who’s never danced before has a dance that’s never going to suit them. That’s what…two of them at this point? Brenda follows by saying that Sunetra was much more game to take on rumba than some of his past partners have been and this almost-nice moment is then rendered flattened by him complaining that he’s wearing Anton’s trousers and they aren’t half-tight. Well we all saw how…little wiggle room there was in them during Fiona Fullerton’s ha-cha, lest we forget. Also speaking of Anton
I hope he turns up in that same funeral director get-up every week. Scores are in
27. Way harsh Craig, way harsh. Post scoring highlight? Natalie plonking a cork-hat on Brenda’s head and cackling as he writhes around uncomfortably muttering “…but I’m from New Zealand”. Erm, we all SAW YOU as a child with Sydney Opera House in the background Brenda, don’t play.
Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing the Charleston in Turkey
Pasha starts by swinging his tassle around for the camera. It’s…less exciting than that might sound on paper. Otherwise Tess takes a good 20 seconds to get to a punchline of “TURKISH DELIGHT!”
Please stop making Tess hand out food to VIPs. I know it’s possibly good practice for her future career but…
VT time, and Caroline says that Pasha choreographed a really beautiful routine for her to do last week, but she couldn’t enjoy it because from the moment she stumbled she felt like she’d let him down and she couldn’t get into it. Let’s relive that stumble one more time.
Tee hee. (No offence Caroline). Still, she’s happy to be through and she feels like it’s still anyone’s game. Well…probably not Sunetra’s. Or Mark’s. But erm…some people’s.
Training now, and Caroline says that she’s really enjoying the Charleston, and she thinks the most important thing to get right is the lifts, because she wants to make people go
“ARRRGH!”. Ten weeks at the Pasha Kovalev School Of Methodless Acting paying off in spades there. Speaking of paying off in spades, Pasha tells Caroline that because she’s been working so hard on her Charleston they’re going to go to a Turkish Bath to help her feel less sore.
THIS IS NOT MY FAN-FIC, THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Also I’m telling you now if Pasha was to have a session with me in a Turkish Baths, nobody would be leaving feeling LESS sor[*PUNCHLINE REDACTED*]. Anywho, after lots of cracking of legs and smearings with mud and painful back-pummels, the whole VT resolves itself in a truly cringey ending wherein Caroline
HAS A SNEAKY PLAN TO MAKE PASHS JUMP IN COLD WATER
BY PUTTING HER HAND OVER THE COLD WATER SIGN DUNN DUNN DURRRRRRN. Pasha jumps in, and reacts as though he’s actually leapt into a pool full of piranhas in a Bond movie andd yells
“IT’S COLD!”. There are some moments in life when the perfect performance and the perfect script and the perfect director (did Artem leave those shoes there? just come together and make Oscar-worthy magic.
As for me?
I’ll be in my bunk.
TO THE BAZAAR!
Caroline (an Englishwoman) is dancing the Charleston (an American dance) with Pasha (a Russian) with a Turkish theme (from Turkey) to “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” (a Canadian song). Again, Round The World Week in a nutshell and we haven’t even covered the backing dancers yet. Regardless of the nations involved though, it’s safe to say that this is Caroline’s dance. She’s fast, showy, full of personality, quirky and ebulliant
and the music gives the whole thing a sort of convincingly retro silent movie pastiche feel. The choreography is great as well – lots of individual little moments that keep Caroline at the centre of things whilst still keeping lots of personality going on around her. Pasha is also winning throughout, particularly when he loses his fez and
hams it up wonderfully in response. I don’t know if that was choreographed or improv or Pasha just being naturally adorkable, but bravo. The only problem I would have with the routine is that she looks a little wobbly in the lifts although the last one, featuring her being
bundled up like a carpet until she lands in her
end-pose is spectacular enough to make up for it. Probably her best dance yet, and I’m not just judging her routines on how semi-naked Pasha is I SWEAR.
It gets a Standing Ovation, complete with stamping of feet and whooping, before Darcey stars for the judges by boggling that she never would have thought a Charleston set in Turkey could work so well. What, the ones set in COCK-ER-NEY LAHNDEN like 95% of the rest of them this series were any more “appropriate”? Len follows by saying that the sign of a really great dancer is someone who can take different styles of dance and make you like them. Woah, don’t get too deep there Len. Anyway, apparently that great dancer is now Caroline well done. Bruno follows by saying the routine was a sparkling mosaic of beautiful jewels that perfectly fit together to produce great art. Craig then calls it
“an exploding Pot Noodle”. I think Bruno possibly wins that round of overblown metaphors Craig. Just.
Up to Claud 9 they charge where Natalie
has officially now fashioned that Union Jack into a bra. Amazing (/AMOYZING). Claudia tells us all that the Charleston was the reason that Caroline wanted to do Strictly in the first place and Caroline replies that it was specifically Sophie’s that did it. Hoe nice it would be for Brenda if he could know that he inspired somebody else to win Strictly in his stead? Wouldn’t that be great for him? Let’s all vote for that and very specifically watch his face at the moment it happens? Let’s. Scores are in
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing the Waltz
Claudia. She looks more like my school’s old Home Ec Technician than an air hostess but I guess with this show you take what you get, costume wise. She asks Tess if she wants the chicken or the fish, and she opts for the chicken. No need to ask if she wants breast or leg, it’s a Kristina Rihanoff routine, so she can have both (LOVE YOU KRISTINA).
VT time, and Simon says that last week the pressure was on to follow up on his Blackpool performance, and he was so glad that Craig liked his salsa. It’s getting close to the final now, and he’d really like to make it. As much as Simon has been in my top 3 performances of the night every week since about Week 7…his personality’s not quite there yet. NEEDS MORE MUM. When you find a good mum show, show her every week. It’s why you cast Judy after all.
Training now, and in a really bizarre turn of events, Kristina mews
“I really wanna go to Austria!” to Simon. Kristina, it’s Around The World Week, not Free Holiday Week, calm down. Simon says that sadly he can’t take Kristina to Austria, only Belgium, because that’s what his diary demands
(ZOMG HE’S AUTOMATICALLY PRESUMING HE’S IN NEXT WEEK, BURN HIM DIGITAL SPY MENTALS, BURN HIM!). Kristina then has a pouting fit because Belgium sucks. This feels a bit like on X Factor this week, when “my parents split up for a bit then got back together again” was used as a sob story.
It gets better though, once they’re in Belgium, to “make it up to Kristina” (?!) Simon gets her a
load of free premium chocolate. Some women really know how to work their angles I guess. As if this whole VT wasn’t bizarre enough it ends on a weirdly muted shot of Simon and Kristina waltzing, from a distance, outside the Place Des Martyrs.
This all together raises only one question.
TO THE ALPS!
I love that Kristina has literally had the enforced backing dancers caged in so they can’t get anywhere near her. No on-floor collisions for this Rihanoff. So anyway, I reckon I’ve built up enough safety points with the Rihanoff Sisterhood (best fandom name on this show EVAH by the way, because it sounds like a CULT) to say that I still don’t really get this dance. It’s to Edelweiss, he
looks like a flipping Sound Of Music Theme Park robot, the technique is better (I think *shrug* he says getting perilously close to sounding like he thinks he’s at all knows what he’s on about) than his Viennese Waltz but he’s still a bit frantic and stiff and
somehow something that looks a bit choke-y has crept its way into the choreography. OH KRISTINA. But then on the other hand you can see her pulling faces like this
and you kind of think it wouldn’t be *awful* if Kristina won this series in the long tradition of female pros waiting for absolutely-fricking-ever for their win and going absolutely bugflip mental when it finally happens. I think they’d be picking bits of her out of the ceiling. I think the scream would shatter all the windows in Elstree and leave Tess and Simon and whoever else was near at the time permenantly 70% deaf. I think she would some how automatically become pregnant right there on the spot. I think the glitterball would EXPLODE.
This one wasn’t really my bag though.
It gets a Standing Ovation, and also Tess yelling “THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF CLAPPING AND CHEERING”. Wanna be careful there’s not an avalanche. She asks Len how well Simon did with the waltz, which is really a very difficult dance, or so they keep on telling us this year. Len says that it is indeed very hard indeed indeed and that Simon is the COMEBACK KID. Twice in the dance-off and now topping the leaderboard! If only sudddenly topping the leaderboard immediately after being in the dance-off wasn’t…de rigeur. Bruno follows by saying “das wass wunderbar”. Keep on with those language tapes Bruno. You’ll get one right one day.
Craig follows by saying that there really needed to be more expression in Simon’s hands.
On second thoughts, watching Kristina losing is always hilarious as well, so…win-win this year really. Simon jokes that he noticed himself as he was raising his arm that his hands were
a bit crap. Well it’s nice that he’s watching out for these things. Darcey closes by saying that there was a real sense of romance the whole way through that dance, and it was beautiful.
Over to Claud 9 they swish, where Claudia reminds him that he’s still here in Week 10, despite having been in two dance-offs. Simon says that he puts it all down to Kristina – she works him so hard and puts hairbands over his hands to stop him moving them
ZOMG FORGET OLA, KRISTINA IS TEH NEW STRICTLY BULLY CALL THE DAILY MIRROR. Simon then gives love to his daughter who’s sat in the front row, and then wishes happy birthday to his Uncle Michael who is 60 today. He then asks Claudia if she can play “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden for a very special lady out there, she knows who she is. Scores are in
38. The noises Kristina makes…it’s like she’s being unspooled backwards. Post Scoring Highlight – Kristina claiming Simon was the only one who had a slow technical dance this week and Sunetra and Pixie both being all “EXFUCKINGSCUSE ME?” at the same time.
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton dancing the jive in the USA
Tess jokes that Frankie is surfing this week, but what she really wants is a PADDLE! FROM CRAIG! WITH A 10 ON IT! Thanks Tess.
VT time, and Frankie reminds us that she found the Viennese Waltz really hard last week because it gave her really bad motion sickness. Kevin tells us that in actual fact at the end of the routine he had to steady her so that she didn’t fall over, in a way that
in no way made him look incredibly terrifying. Still, her motion sickness didn’t stop her scoring two 10s, which she calls an “incredible compliment”. Sadly the jokes about Donny-10s appear to have stopped, because this would have been the perfect place for one.
Training now, and if you wanted to pinpoint the exact moment when Around The World Week disappeared down the toilet and didn’t come back up for air, it’s here. 52 minutes in. I honestly think if we’d stopped here, everyone would have been fine and we could have come back next year and done the same theme again. HOWEVER. For their jive this week, Kevin has taken Frankie to an
indoor surfing pratice pool. Now you might think this is because he’s trying to get her into the spirit of the surf for their Beacch Boys jive. Nope. They’re actually going to be jiving on surfboards. FUN. Frankie is good at surfing, Kevin isn’t tee hee, why can’t all Comedy VTs be set in Turkish baths from now on I feel a precedent has been set Strictly, GET ON IT.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Oh law, and the surfboard is flying. Hang on
there we go. Kevin yells “SURFS UP DUDE!” and then “Surfing USA” starts and oh Lord, I don’t think the cringing will ever stop. Kevin scrunches his eyes and nose and mouth up and bobs his head like a 6 year old listening to the car radio whilst Frankie looks frankly baffled as the surfboard slowly (SLOWLY) descends from the skies down to the dancefloor. Once they’re down, Frankie sprints to another surfboard and starts
jive kicking on top of it. I guess…there’s a certain talent to doing that, but I spend the whole time she’s on there expecting her to roll her ankle and have to call a paramedic in. Once this is all over with it’s a decent enough jive, although a bit heavy-footed and with a lot of flaily running about and I’m not sure what this is
but I feel like I just caught Kevin in the middle of disposing his RealDoll in the harbour. And then as quickly as it began
it’s over. I am truly truly baffled.
It gets a Standing Ovation, and Tess tells Frankie that her fitness levels are outstanding, as Frankie stands there
looking like she can see through time. Bruno starts for the judges, saying that Frankie is now officially on the CREST OF A WAVE. Doesn’t that usually mark the point just before it crashes? Juss sayin’. He then yells that Frankie and Kevin were like two teenagers on their first summerbreak yelling “I WANNA DO EVERYTHING AND I WANNA DO IT NOW AND I WANNA DO IT FAST AND I WANNA DO IT HARD!”. Teenage Bruno sounds…terrifying. Lock up your sons, ladies. He does think her free hand got a bit…manic though. Craig follows saying by saying that he loved the synchronicity and the speed, and it’s beyond him how Franie managed to jive on a surfboard in high heels. It’s beyond me why anyone would think anyone would want to see it, but there we are. Tess mutters about how Craig is maybe about to dust his 10 off. I love the thought that Craig would be stuck giving his first 10 out to something even Bruno clearly isn’t going to give one to, but ok.
Darcey follows, saying that she wasn’t expecting such speed and energy from Frankie and as the boys said [*fast forward*]. Len closes by calling her
FRANKIE BRIDGE OVAH TROUBBUWED WORRTUHS. Thanks Len.
Up to Claud 9 they surf, as I shake my head that nobody has asked themselves if she’s about to HANG 10. Brucie would have. WE MISS YOU BRUCIE. Oh wait hang on
she’s not there yet. Maybe Claudia can do the interview on the staircase? Eventually Frankie just shoves all her body-weight onto Kevin and Brenda has to haul her to the top. Doesn’t really bode well for Two-Dance Week does it? To give Frankie time to breathe, Claudia asks the cameramen to give us a shot of Kevin’s legs.
So if that’s your market, you’re in luck. Frankie wheezes incoherently about how Kevin is so fast and so bouncy and she can’t keep up and the FLAILING MY GOD THE FLAILING and Claudia calls right to scores before she passes out.
Jake Wood & Janette Manrara dancing the Argentine Tango in Greece
Oh here it goes.
VT now, and Jake sighs that you can’t buy experiences like he had last week in the samba. I dunno Jake, I doubt Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig is immune to bribes. How do you think that woman last year got on? Fiona something. Bout yay high, blonde hair? No? Anyway, her. There’s a lot of money in chickens. (Interestingly this VT of Jake’s samba is soundtracked by Check On It by Beyonce, circa 2005, because it mentions twerking. I like to think this is the BBC participating in the educational effort to inform people that the noble art of “tworking it” wasn’t invented by Miley Flippin’ Cyrus)
Training now, and Janette asks Jake to think of the most typical Greek thing he can. Jake replies “SMASHING PLATES!”. Good job he didn’t say “yoghurt”, “excessive body hair” or “inventing buggery” otherwise this routine could have been very different. To help Jake out, Janette decides to take him to an authentic Grek restaurant to teach him how to smash plates.
Is she going to teach him how to suck eggs at the same time? Who needs to be taught how to smash a plate? This is the dumbest VT ever. Everyone stands around smashing plates and clapping themselves and oy but this week took a turn for the worse very quickly.
TO THE TAVERNA!
Fun Fact Choreographers : if you choreograph a man to stand there looking sadly at his crotch whilst lots of people mill around oblivious in the background, it looks a bit like he’s wet himself. Anyway, Zorba The Greek (that deepest ever eye-roll earlier? Double it and have a drink on top) starts up and Jake yells
“OPA!” and oh gawd make it stop. I feel like this is the point of the recap where I should write a dissertation on how Around The World Week really could have worked if they’d tied the countries a little bit closer to the origins of the dances, or even if they’d picked appropriate music that had a song-country in the title and themed the dance around it (see : Kara’s foxtrot to From Russia With Love, or Denise Lewis’ Evitafied Paso Doble to Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, or Nancy’s EPIC BE ITLIAN TANGO) or if they’d maybe BINNED OFF ALL THE BACKING DANCERS THAT KEEP ON LURKING AROUND LIKE THE GHOST AT THE FEAST AND CRASHING INTO PEOPLE’S ARSES.
But to be honest, Jake doing a crummy Argentine Tango to Zorba The Greek, in the pimp slot, complete with one moment where he just starts doing his samba hips again because THERE’S NOTHING ELSE HE CAN DO is so transcendently bad, it’s like when they pushed Rock N Roll out fronted by underhearsed Jailbird Ricky and Natalie “Too Tall To Lift” Cassidey and under the wheels of the Team Cola juggernaut.
It might work in another universe, but thanks to the Strictly Producers, it sure ain’t going to work in this one. In the end they don’t even smash the plates themselves, SO THERE WAS AN ENTIRE VT OF INTENSIVE TRAINING IN HOW TO DROP A FRIGGING PLATE ON THE FLOOR WASTED, EH?
It gets a Standing Ovation, because nothing is going to stop them at this point, not even that. I’ve loved Kristina a lot this week, but my favourite moment from her is easily this shot of her
clapping like she’s Princess Anne at the Royal Variety and just sat through some street-dance. Craig starts for the judges, calling it a DAHNCE DISAHSTER, and saying that it all went wrong at the very beginning and never recovered. He then tells Jake that he’s still very fond of him, which is a courtesy I can’t remember Craig bothering to extend to anybody else ever. Tess asks Jake if he agrees, and he admits there was a crash at the end and that he was a bit wobbly throughout. Darcey follows by saying that she really liked the “interesting fusion between Greek and Argentine moves”
Pfttttttttttttttttttttttt. She thinks he got off-balance halfway through, but she did like his vocals. If only he’d been in the dance-off this week – Darcey could have saved him for shouting.
Len follows by saying that his overall thought about tonight is that they’ve truly had the magifincent SEVERRRRRRRRRRN. Thanks Len. Bruno closes by saying that if you do drink too much ouzo, these thing will happen. What, you comission Theme Weeks that are doomed to fail? BRING BACK LOVE WEEK! Anyway Bruno rabbits on about how that was truly a Eurovision Tango, which frankly besmirches the good name of Eurovision, so let’s move on. He closes by saying it’s the sort of thing he’d like to see again, but done right.
Over to Claud 9 they OPA, where Jake admits that that dance had previously gone better in rehearsals. We next cover how every week Jake’s kids recreate the dance he’s done after finishing watching the show. Jake gives his kids official permission to smash as many plates as they want, mummy won’t mind.
I must admit, as much as I periodically loathe his performances more than Widdy loathes human kindness he’s been by far my favourite male contestant this year in terms of personality, no competition. Scores are in