Ooh yeah, two week 1 cha chas, a CHEEKY COCKNEY CHARLESTON, Frankie’s samba AND FOUR SHOWDANCES? SIGN ME UP! *hand shakes towads bottle*
Last week : after a series in which they were cosplayed as being danced by fighter pilots, astronauts, lonely teenager girls dancing with a ghost in their bedroom, Captain Birdseye and a Brazillian prostitute, apparently we had not fully tested the limits of what dumb gimmicks could be thrown at a rumba to make it fun, so we sat through Toybox Ballerina Rumba and Contemporary Barefoot rumba. Karen cried, Len grumbled, Craig called Frankie antiseptic, Darcey did her own private rumba in her head with Simon Webbe, and somewhere in this mixture Jake didn’t dance very well and got SHOCKBOOTED!
This week :
So that’s Bradley, Jo, Paul and Tina sorted. We still need a Jon, Rachel and Hannah for this S Club tribute act to work! Actually let’s just get the actual Rachel. She’ll clearly come back on this show for a tenner and a packet of dog biscuits.
I wonder if that’s the first time Kevin’s got lodged in a giant A. (*ponders*)
We open, as usual for the final, with a big aimless pro dance starting with
our reigning champion looking cheerful. Maybe it’s the thought of a whole finals evening stretching ahead without the constant need to give benzodiazepine shots for NYERRRRRRRRRRRVES. It’d make a change. Anyway, “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang starts up and then, in my favourite Finals Opening Pro Routine moment since the glorious entrance of the gladiators, someone
literally throws Janette at him from off camera, and he catches her perfectly. I think this is how they met. It’s like The Sword In The Stone, Janette hurling her arse mid-air directly at strangers until one of them has the wherewithal to catch her. THAT IS THE MAN SHE’LL MARRY. Anywho, Aljaz throws her about a bit and then Trent, Tristan, Joanne and
Anya, substituting tonight for an injured Ola who apparently got a mangled leg in training for The Jump (GET WELL SOON OLA! ALSO MAKE BETTER CHOICES ABOUT WHICH OTHER REALITY SHOWS YOU CHOOSE TO DO SOON OLA!). They flounce about a bit, and then our more seasoned Loser Pros (Iveta, Anton, Natalie and Brenda and a brief cameo from Aliona) join them for a competitive
SPLIT-OFF! Natalie and Iveta I’d say have that one won. Janette looks like she’s dislocated something. After more vaguely Party Latin jiggery (and what a good job this pro dance is highlighting it because lord knows there’s a paucity of it to come…) including a move where the female pros repeatedly convulse like they’re choking on a fishbone, the
POTENTIAL WINNER PROS leap on, dressed in deep purple, the colour of victory, royalty, and the bruises on your thighs tomorrow morning. And that’s just from the afterparty. Then a giant glitterball spaceship descends with the finalists in.
Everyone wanders off to get ready, and then the giant glitterball spaceship takes off again revealing
THESE TWO WERE THERE THE WHOLE TIME. The effect is a bit like someone removing a giant glittery cloche at the Mad Hatters tea-party and finding two rogue tiny television presenters have been at the cheese. Once they’ve brushed the Caerphilly crumbs off their upper lips, Tess welcomes us to the final, and Claudia tells us that we have officially reached the climax of Strictly Come Dancing 2014. Maybe for you love, I climaxed when Alison descended from the ceiling on a flying sofa to Wuthering Heights. Although that may just have been at the sight of Aljaz in that eye-liner. Tess then reveals that this series has featured 37,000 sequins, 280 dresses, 120 cans of hairspray and 87 gallons of fake tan. Or as Nancy Dell’Olio calls it, “Tuesday”. On further numbers, Claudia tells us that our finalists have between them put in over 1,300 hours of training. 350 hours each. Almost as long as it takes to read one of these recaps. BUT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO TONIGHT (/who you decided you want to win when you saw the cast list, because you think TOWIE’s shit and you hear that Frankie’s mum was an international ballroom champion and to be honest that Simon Webbe has always seemed right up himself to you, you don’t know why, you’ve just not warmed to him). WHO WILL LIFT THE GLITTERBALL?
Well not any of these four. Not in this lifetime. Not dancing on like that. Although to be fair to Darcey
she’s so bored with this whole dancing on malarkey that she’s now got the help in to carry her. ONWARDS TRISTAN! Claudia reminds us that these four will be scoring tonight but “for our guidance only”. And let’s face it, not even for that, Caroline being the first winner to top the leaderboard in the final since Alesha. Our couples are introduced, and as they walk out, revealing via their costumes what their Judges Choice dance is, an endless parade of Party Latin that nobody cares about culminating in a set of Pearly King and Queen garbs, I realise it’s going to be a long night. Once everyone’s out, Claudia reveals the Order of Ceremonies for the night – Judges Choice, Showdance, Break For Atlantits, Fourth Place Booting, Couples Choice, Vaguely Patronising “Let’s Check In With The Public” Montage, Take That, Terrifying Returning Celebs Dance, Montage Of Celebs Saying That Pros have CHANGED THEIR LIVES, Winner Is Revealed, THE END. So…let’s get on with it.
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton Dancing Her Worst And Least Favourite Dance – the Samba
Yeah she looks excited.
Now it is at this point in any Strictly finale that normally I would go to my library, and dust off the great big tome of Strictly Fairy Tales and share with you all the JOURNIES of our four finalists via the medium of folk lore and bad genre parodies. Unfortunately though, there was a break in at the Strictly Library this year way back in Week 1, and someone stole my official guidebook on the stories of Strictly Journies past, what they look like, and how to have one. I’ve no idea who it was, but I did notice a linger smell of Lynx body-spray, fake tan, and lube about the place afterwards. Which is to say it smelt a bit…like Essex. I just didn’t tell you before now because I didn’t want to spoil the series. Fortunately, one of our eliminated pros has offered their help in telling us all about our potential winners paths to glory. Oh yes, all of you who’ve been complaining that It Takes Two have been shoving her down our throats better get your fingers ready to jam in your ears…
WELCOME TO IVETA’S SOCIAL MEDIA CORNER FINALS UPDATE WITH ME, IVETA LUKOSIUTE, STAR OF STRICTLY 2014 PARTNERED WITH PORN STAR TAHM EFANS ALSO STAR OF STRICTLY 2014 CHRISTMASTIMES SPECIAL WITH PREVIOUS RUNNER-UP CHRIS HOBBIT (DO NOT TELL IVETA THAT HE IS A WINNER, IVETA HAFF NOW DANCE WITH HIM AND SHE BELIEVE THAT YOUR RECORD-KEEPING IS WRONG). I AM HERE WITH MY SOCIAL MEDIAS HUBS TO TELL YOU ABOUT FRANKIE SATURDAY MAGICAL STRICTLY SOCIAL MEDIAS EXPERIENCE! IVETA CANNOT FIND FRANKIE STAURDAY ON TWITTERS EVEN AFTER MUCH RESEARCH (IVETA FIND SOMEONE CALLED FRANCESCA BRIDGE WHO LOOK VERY LIKE FRANKIE SATURDAY AND ALSO HAVE THE HAIR OF A BOY BUT CLEARLY NAME IS WRONG) SO IVETA NOT SURPRISED SHE DOES NOT WIN! HOW DO YOU WIN WITH NO TWITTERS FOLLOWERS THIS IS BASIC STRICTLY RULE FRANKIE SATURDAY! FOR ONLY £129.99 IVETA WILL GIVE YOU 10 PART COURSE IN SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE WITH LESSONS IN SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATIONS, ATTRACTING STALKERS WHO ARE GUARANTEED TO MULTIVOTE MANY TIME, AND ALSO SHARING YOUR BEAUTIFUL MUSIC WITH THE WORLD ON THE MYSPACES INCLUDING HOT SEXTY 14 MINUTE LITHUANIAN BALLAD NOW AVAILABLE ON ITUNES! AFTER THIS COURSE, YOU TOO WILL BE AS SUCCESFUL IN WINNING PUBLIC VOTE REALITY SHOWS AS IVETA LUKOSIUTE! NOW PLEASE TO HAND OVER YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
The judges have selected Frankie’s samba for her to reprise, so that she can do it again without mistakes and show how much experience she’s gained in Party Latin since…Week 7. So basically they’re asking her to use all the skills she gained in her salsa and add them to her samba. Well that’ll end well. Personally me, the biggest improvement over the last time we saw this dance is that they’ve toned the lights show down. Last time through it felt like they were trying to give me LASIK surgery mid-dance. Frankie’s a lot better as well, thankfully, because I would imagine feeling you’ve messed up in a final would produce an emotional meltdown leagues more weepy and vulnerable than feeling like you’ve messed up in a week when Judy Murray and Alison Hammond were still in the competition. Her legs are still a bit weird
and it’s still a bit of a Frankie
Skirt-Swishing Special, but she looks a lot happier throughout and there are fewer mistakes, so it’s all much easier to watch. And in Crap Party Latin Round, “not hard to watch” is basically the pinnacle of possible outcomes. Well…
apart from this bit. This bit still makes me profoundly uncomfortable.
But you can’t have everything.
Once they’re finished, and over at the judges, Tess beams about what an AMAZING ATMOSPHERE it is in the building this evening. Again, like Aljaz, there’s someone happy to be facing a final not stood next to someone requiring constant medication for a change. She then introduces the wonderful wonderful orchestra of
The Man In The Hat’s Hand. They’d be nothing without it. Len starts for the judges, saying that Frankie not only had the quantity of steps, she also had the quality of steps. Well I wonder what QUANTITY OF STEPS the two week 1 cha chas you’re apparently about to foist on us are going to have. Three? Bruno’s next
Craig’s next and Frankie’s
chin goes weaker than Katya Virshilas’ legs at the prospect of a sale at Phillip Treacy’s but guess what? She needn’t worry, because Craig thinks that she’s redeemed herself. Phew. She showed so much improvement in her Rhythm & Bounce. Weren’t they finalists on Britain’s Got Talent this year? Kid rappers? No? Darcey closes by saying that she loved how Frankie brought the carnival vibe to the studio. Well yes, Darcey, she was dancing to La Bamba. Make her samba to Everybody Hurts, as I’m sure you’ll do to some poor sod next series, then we’ll talk.
Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia starts by talking to them about how nerve-wracking it must be to go on first in the final. Kevin drones “yeah it’s really hard going first” with an air of “yes, you stuck me in this slot last time as well, and Susanna actually started scratching at the curtains like a cat in heat that time” about him. Claudia then asks them if they’re glad to have the
WHOLE GANG back together again. Kevin looks at Jennifer as though he’s not sure she isn’t one of Hairdressing whose snuck in somehow for the final, pretending to be a contestant. And, to be fair…are we sure that’s NOT true? Frankie says that she’s REALLY EMOTIONAL that everyone’s come back to support her, and starts crying. (*Judy Murray discretely shoves the “GO FLACKERS!” banner and shortbread she’s made in the shape of Pasha’s face back into her handbag*). Frankie then drawls on about how the judges picking samba made her a
leetle bit annoyed, and I’m sorry, but based on this evening Frankie was having vodka shots with the rest of the Saturdays before the show started, and not a small number of them. Scores are in
Karen Hauer & Mark Wright Dancing A Week 1 Cha Cha Designed For A Novice Who’d Never Had A Dance Lesson Before, Now, In Week 13
*sigh* Apparently Iveta is having some problems with some…erm…representitives of Her Majesty following her last social media update. Still, this recap will not be stopped by anybody, not even the Serious Fraud Office, so may I now present…
OH MY GOD YOU GOIIIIIIIIIIS THIS IS SO AMOYZING! OI’M SO PRAHD TO BE ASKED BY MOI BIST FRIND, WHO ONLY TALKS OVER MOI ON ASKTHEPROS A LIDDLE, MISS IVETA, TO TAKE OVER HER AMOYYYYZING SOCIAL MEEDYA UPDOYT TUH TALK ABAHT AN AMOYZING STRICTLY COME DANCING CONTISTANT CALLED MARK WROIGHT. HE’S SO AMOYZING YOU GOYS! BEFORE DOING STRICTLY, MARK WROIGHT HAD NEVER DANCED, TORKED, OR EVEN APPEARED ON TV BEFORE (CAUSE ALL HIS SHOWS KIPT ON GITTING CANCELLED BEFORE THEY EEEEEEEERED) BUT HASN’T HE BIN MAKING IT UP FOR UHT SUNCE? HE’S BIN DOING SO MANY UH-MOY-ZING DANCES AND PERSONALLY FOR MOI HIS AMOYZING TWITTER HASHTAGES HIV BIN MOI FAVOURITES OF THE SERIES. WHO COULD FORGIT #teamunderdog, #hatadream, #imanunderdog, #UNDERDOG, AND MOI OWN PERSONAL FAVOURITE #imanunderdogwhoaintneverdancedbeforeinhislifeandineverthoughtidmakeitthisfarweddingdanceunderdogunderdogunderdog? HE’S ALSO GITTIN MARRIED NEXT YEAR TO THE BYOOTIFUL MICHELLE AND OI OFFERED TO CHOREO THIRE WIDDING DEHNCE BUT APPRATNTLOY THIRE GITTING PETER ANDRE TO DO IT INSTID, FEER ENOUGH. OI DONT THINK ANYONE HAS IVER HAD A MORE AMOYZING STRICTLY JURNEE THAN MARK WROIGHT, EXCEPT MAYBE MICHAEL VAUGHAN, SCOTT MASLEN, RICKY NIPPLE, OR TIM WONNACOTT? WOULDN’T IT BE AMOYZING GOIS IF OY GOT A RINGER NIX YEER THOUGH? GOYS? OR AT LEAST GOT TO THE FOYNAL? GOYS? WHO’S WITH MOI?
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Well that road sign is…more prophetic than the props department probably intended. Mark is redoing his week 1 cha cha to show what a JURNEE he’s been on, and seriously, this is what’s passing for drama in the first half of the final :
Len : “I was a bit annoyed when you did the caterpillar”
Craig : “I would like you to do the caterpillar again”
Mark : “Len, can we do the caterpillar again?”
Len : “AT YOUR OWN RISK!”
It’s hardly Kara’s American Smooth is it? Anyway, this is a handy reminder of when I found Mark Wright surprisingly likable, until the monotonous catchphrasing and reality show gubbins and oh God that “impersonation” of Kevin (THERAPY AGAIN PLEASE I THOUGHT I’D SUCCESFULLY REPRESSED IT!) ground me down. It is kind of ironic that he’s been pegged as the JURNEE candidate, as, whilst his dancing has improved, the fact that he came out every week and said the same things on a loop (“I can’t believe I’ve got this far”, “this is the best thing I’ve ever done”, “that could be my wedding dance”, *cries*) made him the most emotionally static of this year’s contestants, for me. Also based on this showing…his technique’s not improved that much either.
His worm’s a lot less floppy I guess? (YES IT’S CALLED A WORM, NOT A FLIPPING CATERPILLAR, DEAL WITH IT). And he does remember to
stop grinning in parts so…erm…well done? I have to say the effect of seeing an indifferent male cha cha in the final is that I immediately panicked that I’d fallen down a wormhole and I was about to start having to recap again from Show 1.
Once they’re over at Tess
SPEECH. OH ok, not really, just Mark making a joke that he was trying so hard to correct his footwork from Week 1 that he almost wore a hole through the bottom of his shoes. I’d suggest one of the other finalists sabotaged him but…would you really bother? Bruno starts for the judges
Thanks Bruno. Craig follows by saying that the walks were a bit stiff and it needed more hip action, but he appreciates Mark’s confidence. DID SOMEONE JUST GET CRITICISED ON TECHNIQUE IN A FINAL? WHAT IS THIS? 2005? He says that it’s great to see someone come from the gutter (or as it’s otherwise known ITV2) to become a Strictly finalist.
Darcey’s next and says that his assuredness, as “the boys have said” (*finger hovers*) and his timing have much improved from week 1, and she’s going to miss his smile so much. The audience actually go “awwwwwwwwwwww” at this. *shakes head*. I’m guessing this reaction was being led by
Mark’s Nan Army (just out of shot : Nanny Betty, Nanny Carole, Nanny Martha, Nanny Zelda, Nanny Hilda, Nanny McPhee, Nanny Goat, Nanny Plum, Nannyette Newman, Nanny Nanu, and Nan Nan The Carpet Man). For he is the Lord Of The Nans sez me. Len closes by saying that Mark is like red wine – he makes a hell of a mess on your carpet and afterwards you have to spit in a bucket. Oh, and he gets better with time. He’s made a large improvement since Week 1, but as he did the caterpillar, Len’s only able to give him a 7 never mind.
Up to Claud 9 they hop, where Claudia starts by saying that what she loves about Mark is the fact that he can’t believe he’s still here. HE DOESN’T? HE’S NOT MENTIONED IT! Mark then tries to make out that that cha cha was his highlight of the series.
Oh was it bollocks. Claudia next congratulates Karen and enthuses with her over the fact that her mother and sister have flown in from New York to watch her tonight.
HI KAREN’S MUM AND SISTER! Mark reveals that he’s not yet met them. It’s alright Mark, drag ’em down Faces later, show ’em your mambo. Scores are in
35. The audience boo, as though that isn’t the second highest male score for the cha cha of all time, tied with Austin Healey running around to It’s Raining Men.
Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev Dancing Yet Another Week 1 Cha Cha Wowee Woopie Pants
Oh great, so apparently you’ve all complained to OFCOM that my constant bias towards Iveta and Natalie amongst the current female pro line-up is a disgrace, and that I should have my blog cancelled. Great. So now, in the interests of fairness, I’m going to have to go back into the ranks of female pros past and spend a ton on an international Skype connection to
Hi guys. (*hic*). Welcome to my island Brendan says hello he’s playing with the dolphins right now (*hic*). Welcome to my…oh no wait I’ve already done that bit (*hic*). I’m shupposhed to be talking about (*checks notes*) Caroline Flack who used to present The X Factor because apparently they’re letting THOSE sorts of people on the show now wouldn’t happen in my day what’s next fecking jedward from jedward? (*hic*) Apparently I’m supposed to act like she’s been on a journey and that’s how you win Strictly is by having a journey when we all know that’s bollocks coz i lost to a fricking STAGE SCHOOL TAP-DANCING RINGER who was never on a journey it’s a load of old (*hic*) anyway…Caroline and Pasha have a lot of sexy chemistry it says here which is great for them but they kept on giving me gays to dance with not that i’m complaining I love the gays don’t get me wrong but its hard to get your sexual chemistry up with Richard Arnold or with Julian Clary wearing a frilly shirt with his maracas out. (*hic*). I’M SOORRY I WAS NEVER ON SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE WAFTY PRETENTIOUS TWADDLE MOIRA WOULD I HAVE GOT MY RINGER THEN? Anyway well done to Caroline coz she’s about to win, not that that means anything because I’m happy here with my mimosas and my fishfinger sandwiches and I never won nothing more than a Christmas (*hic*)ing Special good night.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Caroline has been given her week 1 cha cha because it was her lowest scoring dance. OF COURSE IT WAS, IT WAS A WEEK 1 CHA CHA. (Fun Fact : Bill Turnbull’s highest scoring dance was a week 1 cha cha). Anyway, the judges want to see her show improvement, which I’m sure the audience really appreciate, because we all remember it so well in order to compare. Still, at least Wardrobe remembered which one it was
so they could run her dress through the shredder another time. Honestly, all I remember of this dance is thinking at the time that it wasn’t great, but was the sort of dance where you know watching it that the person doing it has the potential to do really good dances in the future. SO WHY AREN’T WE REVISITING THOSE DANCES NOW? Instead we’re watching a fairly dull cha cha with decent (but not amazing) leg-action and not an awful lot of impact apart from the bit where she goes
a-judge bothering and Bruno and Len both act like they’re in a strip club. And people say that Bruno only perves on the guys. For shame.
WEEK 1 CHA CHAS!
Up on Claud 9
Jake realises they probably would have forced him to do his rumba here, and obtains peace. Once they’re over at Tess, she asks Caroline how her second time was. Caroline gushes that it was SO MUCH BETTER than the first time. It’d be so so easy for me to make a Harry Styles joke here, but as it’s the final, I’ll let her off. Craig starts for the judges by mutely slow-clapping like the end of a John Hughes movie. Nobody joins in sadly, probably because we’ve still got hours to go and they don’t want to wear themselves out. Darcey’s next, saying that she loved the phrasing and dynamics that Caroline brought to that dance, particularly her “leg and bum action”. First time I’ve heard the judges mention “bum action” on this show. Well…other than Bruno but that’s a given.
Len’s next, yelling I CAN FEEL IT, (no you can’t Len, you were told). The rhythm, the excitement, the feeling from the crowd, that was 24 carat. Bruno closes
Up to Claud 9 they scoot, where Caroline hoots that it’s great to have everybody back, and then high-fives with Alison. Claudia asks her how she feels now that she’s finished her JURNEE by perfecting the cha cha, and Caroline says that she really feels like what she’s learnt from the show is performing to an audience. *The BodyWorks Performing Arts School remove her from their list of people to get testimonials from*. Scores are in
40. Alls I’m saying is that if something gets 40, I think the majority of people should be able to tell you what song it was danced to.
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff Dancing The Least Succesful Of All This Series’ Many Comeback Charlestons
So…erm…there’s no easy way to say this but Erin’s passed out, so I’m officially all out of people I can call on to do this segment so…erm…I’m going to have to resort to the secret backstage camera I had installed…
He’s not going to say anything, but I have hope that if we stay very very quiet he may get changed at some point.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So the judges have chosen Simon’s Charleston because it was both the turning point for him in the competition and the first time they feel he really showed his personality. The consistency with the logic behind these selections it’s just…astounding isn’t it?
My favourite part is how Simon turned up to Judges Choice Night/Parents Evening all
MILITARY WALTZ MAYBE HINT HINT? Well done to Simon on getting the one dance in this round that anybody might conceivably want to ever watch again. I’m sure I might do too if it wasn’t the flipping Cockerney Gob-Agape Charleston.
Although bad luck to him for being the only one I think to demonstrably dance it less well than the first time around, because it all feels a little bit measured and paced, almost as though he doesn’t want to wear himself out before Kristina puts him through the STRIPPERTHON 5000 in about half an hour’s time. I also remember this bit
looking a lot less obscene when Chris Hollins did it. Maybe it was the camera angles.
THIS BIRD HAS FLOWN!
It gets the loudest reaction of the evening so far (something Simon gets consistantly in each round, so at least he can comfort himself that the room was behind him) and Simon gives a speech about how Strictly has really brought him out of himself and there’s NO HIDING FOR SIMON WEBBE ANY MORE. God, as if it wasn’t bad enough, Mark’s now writing speeches for the other contestants! Spare us! Tess turns to Darcey, and reminds her that last time she watched this dance she said that she could see the star dancer in Simon. Really? Maybe the other way around…
Hem hem. Darcey tells him that he is still shining and calls him “mate”. Len follows, and says that as that was a Cockney Charleston, he’s going to give his critique in Cockney. Oh joy. He tells Simon that it was a treat for his mince pies and put a smile on his boat race. What a load of Eartha.
Bruno’s next and
thanks Bruno. Craig closes by saying that the Charleston was indeed the first dance in which he saw any personality from Simon, and he’s since watched Simon FLY in the competition. Kristina over-reacts to all of this wantonly, as is her style.
Up to Claud 9 they flap, where Simon rabbits on about finding the beauty in the ugly side of the Charleston whilst I am distracted by
Aliona in hipster glasses. Her slow transformation into the April Ludgate of Strictly continues. Once Simon’s done pontificating, Claudia congratulates him on fighting so hard and getting to the final through three dance-offs.
Scores are in
39. Already you can tell everyone’s like “oh, right, another 10, woo”. Even Len saying “A Len From Ten” can’t really mix things up sufficiently for anyone to care. IT’S ALL ABOUT GETTING THAT 40 NOW.
First half leaderboard?
I’m getting a message here. It’s very subtle.
So, first half over with, pointless recap aired, it’s time for our Showdances. Claudia turns to Len and asks him what the rules of Showdance are. Len’s all “RULES? THERE ARE NO RULES! ANYTHING GOES!”. I dunno Len, my plan for Ola to strut out in a latex outfit with Steve shirtless on a leash, to “S & M” by Rihanna and yell “BULLY AM I? OK THEN!” probably wouldn’t get past the shows producers.
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton dancing a Classic Ballroom Showdance
I think there’s a fine line with a tiara/diamond headband between looking charming and elegant and looking a bit like Blanche DuBois on the phone to her imaginary suitor. I’m not sure Frankie falls entirely on the right side of that line.
In training, Frankie tells us that her showdance is inspired by Fred & Ginger, and will be packed full of American Smooth, quickstep and foxtrot, because she really wanted that whole Black & White Movie vibe, and Kevin’s really gone to town with it. WHAT TOWN WOULD THAT BE FRANKIE? ONE ON THE NORTH SEA COAST PERHAPS? Anyway, Kevin informs us that he’s choreographed in a section with benches
THAT’S INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS AND IN WHICH FRANKIE COULD DIE ANY SECOND. I think Kevin’s not really properly worked out the risk-reward ratio here, because even if she doesn’t fall off, at best it’s going to be cutesy and unspectacular, and at worst it’s going to like like an 8 year old playing “KEEP OFF THE FLOOR” in PE. Frankie says that, regardless, she trusts Kevin so much and couldn’t imagine dancing with anyone else on the show. She pays tribute to what a great teacher he is, and then Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig shouts “CAN YOU LOOK AT HIM LIKE YOU WANT TO SHAG HIM HUN, I’VE GOT TOUR TICKETS TO SHIFT!” and Frankie’s all
“well, I’ll try” and she and Kevin call one another Frankenstein And Friend (hopefully) for the last time.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So Frankie and Kevin are dancing to “Get Happy” and as billed
it’s a very sweetly done dance full of pizznache and elegance and big floaty skirts and jumping vaulting lifts and even if Frankie’s personality isn’t quite big enough to reach Perfect Big Band it’s as much of a performance as she’s ever given before and it suits her. Honestly, this is the second year in a row now where (SPOILERS) Kevin has choreographed my favourite Showdance of the night and it amuses me endlessly that neither of them seems to have remotely stuck with the public. YOU SAY YOU WANT BALLROOM ELEGANCE AND THEATRICAL FLOURISH IN YOUR SHOWDANCES, AND THEN YOU IGNORE IT IN FAVOUR OF THE USUAL OVERWROUGHT PRETENTIOUS LIFT FESTS? DOES THIS THING ONLY FLOAT YOUR BOAT WHEN THE SMUG VICAR DID IT, PUBLIC? Ahem anyway, I hate showdances anyway so I’m probably not the best person to be judging. And despite my best wishes
even I can’t make sense of the bit on the benches/mortuary slabs. Like jiving on surfboards, it’s the worst kind of empty jeopardy. Apparently Frankie herself requested it because she wanted to dance a bit like they do in the “I Am 16, Going On 17” number from The Sound Of Music, but I think Frankie probably should have reflected on the fact that she is in fact 25 (Brendan).
FIREWORKS! She does at least squeal “I LOVED IT!” loudly at the end, which makes me happy that she got to live out her dream erm…of jumping up and down on benches.
Tess goes to Len first, asking him if that dance was to his tastes. I think that’s the most obvious question asked on this show since “do you think Julien MacDonald might turn out to be quite unpopular?”. Anyway, Len says that yes, it definitely was to his tastes and that Frankie should GET READY FOR THE JUDGEMENT DAY WHICH IS HERE AND NOW THIS IS THE JUDGEMENT DAY AND HE IS THE JUDGE AND HE JUDGES THAT GOOD. Would anyone feel less entertained if Len maybe occasionally diverted from the “yell back the lyrics” school of judging? Bruno’s next up
Craig follows, and says that, to be honest, he didn’t like the stuff with the benches – it looked like Kevin was training a horse.
Kevin starts spluttering “A HORSE! DON’T CALL HER A HORSE, SHE’S NOT A HORSE!” but to be honest Kevin, you need to take lessons from Brenda on this one. If Craig deploys the animal imagery, you storm off. You don’t just
flap your arms. Craig pulls things back by saying that he loved the quickstep and jazz bits though. Frankie neighs good-naturedly. Darcey closes by telling Frankie that she’s become a very stylish and sophisticated dancer, particularly in quickstep, so much so that she would have loved to have seen even more of it in the routine. I would love it if someone came out and just did 90 seconds of closed-hold no faffing quickstep for their showdance given how most of the ballroom this series has involved about 10 seconds in hold per routine. LAHV IT.
Up to Claud 9 they canter, where Claudia says that she personally is glad Frankie decided to dance on the benches rather than, say, have a lie down on them (STEPHANIE BEACHAM SHOWDANCE PLZ). Frankie explains the inspiration for the routine and Claudia congratulates them on doing a classical showdance rather than some gimmicky shallow loud modern crap. Will you tell her what’s happening next or should I? Scores are in
38. Natalie at this point instigates Judy, Sunetra and Joanne to all trot around like horses behind Claudia. Amazing scenes.
Mark Wright & Karen Hauer dancing a Jive Showdance
Training, and Mark tells us that he’s excited for his showdance, because it means he can just go out onto the dancefloor and have fun. And that, indeed, is going to be all he does. He then reveals that the dance is going to be based on the jive, I guess in much the same way that “She’s The Man” was based on “Twelfth Night”. The music choice is “Don’t Stop Me Now”, which Mark loves SO MUCH that when he sings it for us, he gets the words wrong. The words in the title. Woo. Karen goes on to say that SHE WILL DRILL MARK UNTIL HE IS PERFECT IN EVERY LINE, EVERY MOVE, AND EVERY FOOT POSITION. To this drilling
Mark collapses to the floor muttering about his heart. I swear…if Mark had got Tarbuck’d out on the eve of the final…just imagine the amount of extra filler they would have had to have pumped into the final. We could have had a whole nother round of the Superfan Quiz. Karen pulls him back up though, saying that this could be the dance that defines whether they get to lift the glitterball or not. I…think it probably wasn’t Karen, you’re alright. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The VT closes with Karen and Mark sitting underneath the Christmas Tree with him telling her that she will 100% be his friend for life
…if she wants to be. DUNN DUNN DURRRRRRRN FADE OUT TOWIE CREDITS ROLL.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So based on the cricket whites this showdance is a representation via dahnce of that time Andrew Flintoff got pished and went on the rampage in a pedalo. Amazingly, it begins with a pan of the camera over a projection of all their
Safety Sex-Faces, projected onto the ballroom floor. This feels like even more of a tribute than Erin Island did. Part of me wishes the entire dance had in fact been choreographed to Karen’s delightful screams every time they were waved on through. One lift in and
already Mark looks a bit embarassed, and this is before he has to
break the fourth wall by miming “DON’T STOP ME NOW!” down the camera lens. I can’t for the life of me understand why the British public looked at this display and decided not to comply, I really can’t. This is followed by
cartwheels, leapfrogs, pelvic thrusts, butterfly kicks and MUCH MUCH MORE, charging around the dancefloor with little head for choreography, coherence, or consistency, like two hyped up 9 year olds suddenly let loose in a pub garden adventure playground after mummy was a bit uncautious about letting them sneak glasses of her wine, before Karen yells “I WANNA MAKE A SUPERSONIC MAN OUT OF YOU!” again, right down the camera-lens as Mark
crouches down, looking eager and ready. Are you ready guys? For the most exciting moment in Strictly history? BRACE YOURSELVES! THEY’RE GOING TO RUN BACK UP THE STAAAAAAAAAAIRRRRRRRRRRRRS!
AND THEN DOWN THEM AGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!
MY MIND, IT IS BLOWN!
THE END! I’ll be honest, I didn’t really understand anything that just happened there, but as long as they enjoyed their last…dance (?) on Strictly then I guess that’s all we can ask for.
Just don’t try to get them to get ready on time for school tomorrow morning, cause it AIN’T HAPPENING.
Once they’re over at Tess, Mark actually does give a speech this time. About how that showdance summed up his time on Strictly. You said it, not me. Bruno starts for the judges and
thanks, again, Bruno. Craig follows by sniggering that he felt like he was just in a Jane Fonda aerobics class but he loved Mark’s energy and joy of dahnce. Darcey is next and marvels that that was jive all the way through…apart from the running. Like how Die Hard is a really sweet Christmas family movie…apart from all the terroists and explosions. Len closes by saying that Mark was flying around like Harry Potter on a Nimbus 2000. THAT’S MAGICIAN IMAGERY KAREN, STORM OFF NOW! He then follows by reminding us that Mark has no dance background but he’s come here and found his Princess Karen and now he is a Prince Of Dance.
I love how, because Len’s nice about 99% of all dances (the exception of course being those dances with ILLEGAL LIFTS WHICH HE MIGHT START MAYBE THINKING ABOUT SORT OF POSSIBLY PENALISING A BIT NEXT WEEK MAYBE IF HE FEELS LIKE IT) from about week 5 onwards, the final is basically him having burnt off all his superlatives and just spewing out any old nonsense. Princess Karen?
Up to Claud 9 now, where Claudia squeaks that with the showdance you have a blank slate and you really can do anything. I’m kind of hearing a silent “…and you chose to do that?” dangling on the end there. Karen says that it was such a blank slate that she let Mark choreograph most of it.
I love Alison’s face there. I’m not sure who she’s aggrieved at or on whose behalf but that is a FACE, babes. Mark tells us all that his aim was to cover as much of the studio as possible. Approaching choreographing a dance like you would astroturfing a lawn there. Scores are in
35. Making Mark the first finalist since this blog’s Lord and Saviour Julian Clary not to receive a single 10 during their series. That’s got to sting.
Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev dancing a Contemporary Showdance
Oh Christ, she’s getting IN THE ZONE already. As Caroline…summons herself, Tess promises us fireworks, smoke, and an industrial wind machine coming up. Industrial Wind Machine? BRUCE IS BACK! YAYYYYYY!
In training, Caroline says that if this dance goes wrong, it could make all the difference between being in the final three and going home. Eh, Pasha screwed up both of his previous efforts and still managed to limp through the first elimination, you’ll probably be fine. Pasha for his part says that this time he wants to try something different. That’s right…he’s NOT CHOREOGRAPHING TO BEYONCE! JUST BEVERLEY KNIGHT TRYING TO SOUND LIKE HER! IT’S PROGRESS! OF A SORT! He’s also going to be choreographing a slow dance, which he terms as
“contemporary roomba”. I was so torn at this point between rooting for Pasha (and by extension Caroline, I guess) to do well, and rooting for the birth of Snowdance 2 : The Flackening. Caroline frets about one lift where Pasha has to take her from behind (…) and then tells us that this
is going to be an emotional one. Does she do anything else? In the closing obligatory “such good friends” moment Caroline says she’s going to really miss Pasha, wails about how he’s changed her life and more importantly CHANGED HER and then
hurls herself at him. Men out there will recognise Pasha’s careful knee placement there as “keep the crazy lady away from my crotch”. And that’s what makes him a dancer.
TO THE CONTEMPODOME!
NURSE! THIS LADY’S DRESS HAS EXPLODED! WE NEED 100MG OF OVERACTEHOL STAT!
There we go. After some spasming, patient is showing signs of improvement. Dress has stabilised. Arms have regained motility (and how!) Now we just have to provide emotional support for patient’s support, who has just realised she’s doing this without her knickers on without having told him she was going to. Patient has requested “Angels” by Robbie Williams, being sung by Beverley Knight in a Gospel style, because goodness knows that song wasn’t quasi-religious enough already, in order to make her comfortable and remind her of home (eg 1997). Doctor has requested that patient’s support have all his shirt buttons removed…JUST BECAUSE, OK, I’M THE DOCTOR. Patient has been infected by virus known as Contemporary Roomba, which last week almost claimed the life of Patient Zero (Dance Experience, Honest). Vital signs are
WAIT, SHE’S CRASHING! SHE’S LOSING CONTROL OF ALL OF HER BODILY FUNCTIONS THROUGH THE MAGIC OF DAHNCE! GET THE SCREENS THIS IS GOING TO GET CONTEMPORARY!
OH GOD SHE’S ACTUALLY TRYING TO DEVOUR HIS HEAD WITH HER VAGINA! Nurse, can you check the patient’s notes for references to a “Numbers Bitch” we need to know why she might be screaming it and threatening it with death. Possibly it represents the patient’s mother? Oh and get the foreceps this one’s not coming off without serious force.
So, all in all I think that was the…least bad contemporary routine they’ve ever attempted on this show? HOORAY FOR PASHA! Apparently it touched a nation, and I guess it moved me too, as hysterical giggling and yelling “LOOK OUT PASHA, SHE’S IN HEAT!” is an emotional reaction of a sort. This lift
was impressive though.
Now, up on Claud 9, we see Gregg turn to Steve and say
something. At the time, a lot of people thought it was “crap. Absolute crap” but on lip-reading it’s clearly “incredible, incredible”. To be honest I would find both reactions equally hilarious. GREGG WALLACE HAS BEEN MOVED BY THE PURITY OF DAHNCE YOU GUYS. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Judy meanwhile is clearly thinking “well that was mostly lifts, I could have done that”. Craig starts for the judges, saying “Pasha, you are a brave man”. Ain’t that the truth. He goes on to say that he loved the lifts, the theatricality, Caroline’s feet, the storytelling, the fact that Pasha hasn’t waxed tonight. EVERYTHING. Darcey follow by saying that there are so many sides to Caroline and we’re seeing so many of them tonight. Not…really the ones involving ballroom dancing, but ok. She praises Caroline for her seemless lift prepartions. What, even the one where she had to sprint across the entire width of the dancefloor like Usain Bolt, flapping her arms like an End-Of-Days preacher, just to get the momentum up? Anyway Darcey was so moved that she touches herself
and gets the Darcey Bussell “Yah” line of BEAUTIFUL NECKLACES AND HAND ADORNMENTS in shot as she does so, only £99.99 on QVC, then tells Caroline that she can be in her company any day. And by company she means “call centre company”. SHILL THOSE BEAUTIFUL NECKLACES CAROLINE, SHILL THEM! COLD CALL DEM BITCHEZ!
Len’s next and says that sometimes a whisper is louder than a shout. And sometimes a fart is louder than either. Zen of Len. He then makes a joke about how Caroline doesn’t need a wind machine because she’s got huge fans on the judging panel. Don’t encourage the Mentals Len, seriously, not even in the name of a bad pun. Bruno closes
so true, so true. (I don’t think Darcey knew that the camera was going to be on her when Bruno compared Caroline to both Martha Graham and “Twyla Thorpe” do you?)
Up to Claud 9 they shimmer with GENUINE EMOTIONAL RESONANCE AND CLARITY, where Claudia sighs that she thought that Caroline was going to go, right there in the middle of the dancefloor. Well there was certainly enough toilet-paper flying about if she did. Caroline sighs about how beautiful and appropriate and emotional as the
voting banner blocks my view of Pasha’s nips. SO RUDE! Do people really need to vote for Simon & Kristina THAT BADLY? Come on. Caroline cackles that that’s actually the sort of dance she’d do at home on her own if she heard Angels on the radio. Pasha grumbles “but who would lift you?” and oh Pasha. When you’re full of the contemporary roomba, you can levitate with the love of dahnce. For evidence, see that famous dance movie The Exorcist. Scores are in
40. (LOL at Pixie’s face) (LOVE YOU PIXIE)
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff dancing a Vegas Showdance
Tess tells us that Simon will be dancing tonight to The King Of Rock And Roll. About time we had some Prefab Sprout on this show. Can’t wait to see Kristina’s Alberqueque.
In training, Simon tells Kristina that he’s sad
so sad, that Strictly is going to be over soon, because his whole experience has been golden and Kristina has been a great friend to him, on the dancefloor, off the dancefloor, and in a cupboard. At least, based on this picture, he can comfort himself that he broke new ground by being part of the very first all-tattooed Final 3 in Strictly history. Probably. Contemporumba and tramp stamps and ITV2 celebs all over the shop. The show, it is a-changing. Simon goes on to say that his showdance will be based around power and tricks, because he wants to remind people of all the styles he was “renowned for” (alright Lisa Riley…) on the show this year. Apparently these are the salsa, the charleston, and the jive. I…would say not, but then I guess it’s harder to fusion the Argentine Tango, the foxtrot and the salsa together (although I think Pasha had a go with Caroline last week). It sounds a bit like the sort of thing they did to get rid of Nicky Byrne. Kristina next gives an interview where she sounds and moves her face
so much like Red from Orange Is The New Black that it scares me, telling us that there are 7 lifts in this routine and no room for mistakes. Also stripping.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So the gimmick here is that, as they move down the podiums, they change dance styles, and also strip off. There’s
jive zombies in red,
chirpy Charlestoners in black and blue,
and finally salsa groovers in white. It’s a cute idea, and it mostly works, although Simon has slight problems in getting down to his last outfit which slows the momentum a bit. Once down on the floor though, other than a really nice “armography” session in time with the build of the song to the chorus…it’s a bit sloppy and manic. The lifts are frantic, the quickstep (I think) they do barely bothers to string a ballroom frame together, and it doesn’t really know where to end, just featuring Simon doing a bit of body-popping before
hoiking Kristina up onto his shoulder as fireworks go off. It feels the most like a “classic” showdance, the likes of which you might have seen from Matt Dawson or Jill Halfpenny which…I guess is why I have the least to say about it of all the showdances.
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I think my favourite part was how
happy it made his (as we’ve seen) apparently normally phlegmatic, pragmatic, and let’s face it, a little bit terrifying mum. HOORAY FOR MUMS. Darcey starts for the judges and guess which part she liked best?
THAT’S RIGHT, THE STRIPPING! She knew that as soon as Simon started taking his clothes off we were in for something special. She’ll never forget it. Or stop watching the Youtube video with her hands under the desk. Len follows, calling that routine “Simon’s Greatest Hits” (NOT IF IT WASN’T TO ‘DON’T WORRY’ IT WASN’T) and saying that Elvis may have left the building, but based on tonight so far, Simon isn’t about to. What, die? If he keeps up the pace of that showdance I wouldn’t bet against it.
Bruno is next and
he’s really providing so much insight tonight, it’s a masterclass in judging, it truly is. When Bruno’s finished, Tess asks Simon why he’s staring at Kristina so intently (…) and Simon says it’s because this could be the last time he sees her on the floor.
Kristina’s all “I doubt it love”. Also, you’re doing the tour with her Simon, calm down. Craig closes by saying that he can’t quite believe that Simon is the same person who walked into the show all those weeks ago and that’s tesitmony to Kristina’s teaching. WHADDAJURNEE.
Up to Claud 9 they go, where Claudia beams about Simon’s transformation some more, and Simon yet again eulogises Kristina in a way that makes her sound like a
right bossy cow. It’s the thought that counts I guess. Anyway, Simon really likes that he’s being taught by someone who really drills it into him. I’M SAYING NOTHING.
TRENT’S FACE ISN’T! Kristina in return is nice, saying that Simon never ever said “no” to anything she asked him to do…I’m sorry this is too much, can we get to the scores, I’m dying of innuendoes here. Claudia gives one last “OOOH YOU’RE DOING AN ARGENTINE TANGO NEXT!” just to push him that little bit further past Mark and into the final 3 and…scores are in
(Semi) FINAL LEADERBOARD?
NIGH…oh wait there’s more to come.