For the first time in a while, Anton comes out victorious on the back nine…
Last night, Pasha rode in on a storm cloud, Anita donned a mac and welleeez, Helen cried buckets, Tess and Claudia got their knickers in a knot over Gleb, Anthony took Oti on a soppy first date and Daniel took Kristina all the way to the Irish countryside. So really the only one not being wet in some way was Kellie. Hopefully tonight will be a much more dry affair.
Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee he looks so pleased hee hee hee (sorry Brenda).
We open with him tempting fate even more by
opening an umbrella indoors for the start of our first propah pro dance of the series, an actually reasonably clever enough tribute to dance in the movies over the decades, with Aliona as Sally Bowles
(I MADE MY MIND UP BACK IN CHELSEA, WHEN I GOOOOOOO….I’M BECOMING! A! VAMPIRE!), Kristina as Marilyn (no picture, because you’ve seen it before, many many times), Anton and Natalie as Fred & Ginnnnnnnnnnnnge (ditto), Giovanni as Elvis
(the one who works down the chip shop), Janette and Aljaz as Baby and Johnny Castle
(Brendan must be SPITTING), Kevin as Michael Jackson (who thought you could make MJ EVEN WHITER?), Joanne as the kid from The Exorcist
(or maybe Flashdance?), Gleb as Saturday Night Fever John Travolta
and Pasha and Ola are Sandy and Danny (sadly Ola is the one in the skintight leather catsuit FOR SHAME). I say reasonably clever because it’s all done to that stupid yappy “SHUT UP AND DANCE” song that I just had to sit through 764 times during the last series of So You Think You Can Dance (JAJA WUZZ ROBBED) alone. Which even if you like it has nothing to do with films. And really, we’ve got Movie Week in two weeks time, why not do it then?
Erm…WOO!? My favourite part of the whole thing is when everyone is frozen in their end pose, breathing in and out and coming out of the “dance zone”, Janette is like this the whole time
and does not move a muscle. So bendy.
Once the stardust has been swept off the floor and picked out of Karen’s bra, Tess and Claudia emerge.
Are high belts on trend this season? I mean Tess is wearing them, so I presume not, but I just thought I’d ask. She and Claudia remind us that 6 celebrities danced last night, and we’re due another 9 tonight. Tess jokes that the show’s so jam-packed it’ll end up bursting at the seams…JUST LIKE ANTHONY’S TROUSERS. Well it IS shoddily constructed and made to prioritise sex appeal over practicality. Tess asks the audience if they’re ready for MORE DANCING.
Tim Vine isn’t. I wonder why.
The judges dance on, the contestants walk on (Gleb is actually pioneering
mugging and jigging and clapping along to the theme tune as you walk down the stairs I can’t believe you don’t all love him), and Daniel starts actual fist-pumping, like when everyone made Tim Henman do it via peer pressure to try to make him interesting. God I love Daniel. Once everyone’s in their designated slots, Tess announces that some of the celebs are already dreaming of lifting the glitterball in three months time
what a cruel edit guys, you should be ashamed.
Jay McGuinness & Aliona Vilani dancing the cha cha
I’m not sure what’s crueller, sticking him on first or making him do it in that shirt. Before he even starts Tess throws out two “POOR ICKLE FACE” a “BLESS ‘IM” and a “shaking like a leaf”. Not like this show to overegg the pudding is it?
VT time and we’re reminded that Jay was once one fifth of chart-toppers The Wanted, East 17 to One Direction’s Take That, but now he’s stepping out on his own. I think it’s quite sad that we’ve got to the stage where the solo career hasn’t even had to have failed yet before ex-pop stars wash up here.
Jay tells us that he’s happy that he rolled the dice and took the decision to go on Strictly. Getting a 1 would have meant “ill-advised collaboration with a Vine star who later turns out to be a rapist” so…phew. Jay says he’s very pleased to have got Aliona and Aliona
doesn’t look so much like the cat who got the cream as the cat who got the cream and then pissed in all the other cats milk and then also ran over a dog and then reversed back over it again. Meanwhile Jay frets about going from being used to being on stage with four other people to only being on stage with one. It’s alright Jay, you’ll be surrouned by backing dancers for about 7 of the next 12 weeks based on last year.
Training now, and Jay says that the cha cha is really hard because there’s lots of choreography to remember and then periodically he remembers he’s got to do it in front of millions of people and it gets even worse. Has a Young Hot Male ever been this neurotic this early on? I know Ramps was shy but at least I didn’t have to hear him constantly Woody Allen voiceover it to this degree. Anyway, Jay tells Aliona repeatedly that he can’t do it, he can’t go on, and Aliona’s all
“listen bitch, I have sat through three first boots in an effing row, one of whom was GREGG WALLACE, I’m not here for this shit, man up or I will shank you where you stand so help me Custard”.
Anyway, she takes him to the 02, ostensibly to remind him that he has performed in front of massive crowds before and it was no bother for him then but also I think because they’re doing renovations and she’s threatening to bury him under concrete unless he at least gets her to the semis. Aliona asks him how it felt performing here with The Wanted and he says it was so amazing and made him feel 50ft tall. You’d think if performing with The Wanted was such an All Time High any of them would have ever worn a facial expression that read anything other than “right, which three of you am I shagging tonight then ladies?”. Jay and Aliona cha-cha in the 02 (UNFAIR PRACTICE FOR THE TOUR! RIGGED!) and then Jay
sits in the stands soliloquising about how it feels to have had it all and be washed up at 25 and how he’s putting his soul out on the line and he can’t stand it or something like that probably IDK, CAN WE GET A GROUP THERAPIST FOR THIS ENTIRE CAST PLEASE? HELEN AND JAY FIRST!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Jay and Aliona are dancing the cha cha to “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops. You may be puzzling how this is a reference to The Wanted, but if you are you’ve not read the fanfic I have. (Sorry Nathan). The story of the dance is that Aliona is a sad lady in the 60s
(SO SAD) but she stumbles upon a singer whose beautiful voice
BRINGS HER BACK FROM THE BRINK! Then they do a cha cha. My favourite part is when it looks like he’s supposed to be drying one of her tears but instead it looks like he’s
thumbing her in the eye. To say that Jay needs to pick up performance skills is an understatement.
The actual dancing itself is really good. In fits and starts. Until he remembers he’s in front of MILLIONS OF PEOPLE or we hit a particularly sticky piece of choreography and it looks awkward and fumbly. Even with Aliona erm…
having moments all over the shop.
This one here’s the end-pose and says it all really. Aliona shrieking full-bodied in delight and Jay looking like he’s trying not to drop the new baby that just got passsed round his office.
After it’s over and Jay has talked through every single thing that went wrong in the routine with Aliona on the spot in front of the cameras, they eventually get over to Tess, although he’s so nervous that his voice is wavering violently to the point that he’s not at all understandable. Tess shrieks “AWWWWWWWWW HE’S SHAKING LESS CRAZY” and then
grips him like she’s going to take advantage of his vibrating to have some fun time with Vernon out the house and the kids at school. As Tess calms herself down we cut to
Jay’s mum in the audience having a full red-faced cry over the fact that her son just about managed to do a week 1 bloke cha cha. It runs in the family clearly.
Len starts for the judges, and tells Jay that his nerves didn’t show at all, so he shouldn’t worry. Also, he’s JUST LIKE A PINT OF GUINESS – FULL-BODIED AND WITH PLENTY OF FROTH ON TOP. I think he’s talking about his hair. Also possibly calling him fat. He also tells Jay that he thinks there was also a lift, which he will DEFINITELY BE TAKING POINTS OFF FOR THIS SERIES YES HE WILL. Also by the way, he should stay where he is, because he’s definitely WANTED on this show. Such a barrage of Lenisms, I feel dizzy. Bruno follows by singing “Glad You Came” at him
not unlaciviously, and congratulates him on his leg action for a week 1 dance. He didn’t like his floppy free hand though.
Craig is next, and says that he couldn’t agree more with Bruno. Fortunately he does not sing, although I’m sure it’s coming at some point. (ALso Bruno falls off his chair at this point but the cameras don’t catch it and really Bruno needs to add something else to this whole bit because it’s lost its edge entirely at this point. Maybe flip over the front of the desk or spill a glass of water all over Len or something?) Craig does think the one thing he can add though is that Jay needs to display more showmanship, because it felt like he was just dancing the steps rather than performing. Darcey closes by saying it’s HARD FOR THE MALE CELEBRITI(*fast forward*)
Up on Claud 9, Claudia asks him if he’s relieved and he says it was so much fun, and he couldn’t have hoped from anything better from the judges at the end.
Kirsty Gallacher and Brendan Cole dancing the waltz
And yes Tess does call him Brenda in her into. My influence is spreading.
VT time and Tess tells us that Kirsty “stays afloat talking about the footie but will she sink or swim in a sea of sequins” and it takes a good minute for me to work out that the nautical theme is because she’s being billed as a sports anchor. Deary me. Kirsty tells us there’s probably miconceptions about her being sporty and tough but actually she’s a REALLY REALLY GIRLY GIRL WHO JUST LOVES TO WEAR PRETTY DRESSES. I mean…you can be both Kirsty. I know we’re all living under the gender roles assigned by the Pop Patriarchy of Daniel O Donnell, but you can be both. She goes on to say that the wait to be paired up with her profesional partner was agonising but she did appreciate Brenda’s reaction
More ecstatic even than when he won Flockstars. Kirsty frets that little does Brendan know SHE CAN’T DANCE, but Brenda huffs “so she thinks she can’t dance?” (how many seasons would that have lasted, probably more right?) and puts it down to just not having found “the right boy” yet. You’re 39 Brendan. Anyway Brendan thinks he is definitely the right teacher to get the best out of THIS GIRL (*drink*)
Training, and yet another gray-wash mope of neuroses, as Kirsty tells Brenda that she’s really nervous about Friday coming up but she’s trying not to have a breakdown over it
It’s either this or neon 90s rap battle dance-offs isn’t it? There is no in-between any more. Brendan tells her that it’s good that she’s aware of her nerves, because now she can start managing them. Then “Happy Endings” by Mika starts up, good grief. Happily though
KIRSTY’S MUM IS HERE! AND SHE’S BROUGHT HEALTHY SNACKS!
MMMMMMM! (Bring back Judy’s shortbread) Kirsty’s mum watches her rehearse and tells her that she’s really very goodm honest. When I was first watching this I thought it was a bit early in the series to be breaking the mums out but now after watching watched her…whatever you have to do Kirsty.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
What a pretty picture. It doesn’t last. Kirsty is dancing the waltz to “Vincent” because…she might have been better off partnered with him, I don’t know (JUST KIDDING BRENDA, I’M SURE YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING YOU CAN!). Ironically the singers rendition of it makes me want to cut my own ear off (NOT REALLY SINGERS, WE APPRECIATE EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR THE SHOW). Brendan appears as though drawn in and then guides her gently around the dancefloor. For about 15 seconds before the inevitable shoving has to start because she’s clearly not at all confident in what she’s doing. She’s very much like a mannequin being plonked around and periodically remembering to waft her arm about. There’s no softness or warmth to her movements whatsoever and she’s clearly
hating every second of it, bless her. Of course Brenda has a long history of ladies who don’t make the best first impression – really only Kelly came out the gates all guns (and boobs) blazing – but
any idea what’s going on here? No? Anyone?
Over at the judges, Bruno starts by saying that the dance worked as a series of beautiful still pictures but when she had to actually move it all fell to pieces. Her feet were all over the place and she was clinging to Brendan for dear life. Kirsty hoots “IT’S NERVES!” curtly but…we’ll see.
Craig follows by saying that the routine was very stilted, and lacked continious flow around the floor, mostly due to her obvious balance issues. He congratulates Brenda on covering up for Kirsty as best he could, and Brendan replies in gentlemanly fashion that he’s never felt Kirsty shake this much and they’ll definitely come back stronger because THIS GIRL (*drink*) CAN DANCE!
Darcey’s next and says that she can feel Kirsty’s nerves and it must be really difficult when a waltz has to be that slow and steady, but she can tell Kirsty has potential because she’s got her neck and her upper body in her favour. Yeah, maybe Brenda can work in choreographing around Kirsty’s issues by having an entire dance done in handstand position. Len closes by saying that he doesn’t think SAHM PEEPUW appreciate that these celebrities are beginners in the world of dahnce. Eh, it’s about 50-50 these days isn’t it Len? Let’s see how many people in the final never went to contemporary dance school or trained with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. He thinks Kirsty was a victim of nerves, BUT she has the salsa next week so she can really go for it and give it somewelly-gurtcha.
Her feet are never going to touch the floor are they?
Up to Claud 9 they sketch, with Brendan yelling “IT GOT GOOD! IT GOT VERY GOOD!”. Bless. Kirty breeps to Claudia that it’s SO SCARY, and Claudia sympathises, saying that she saw them in dress rehearsal and it looked marvellous. I would suggest that them being put on in the death slot suggests it wasn’t all that marvellous, but cool. Brendan and Kirsty both mug about how salsa is DEFINITELY going to be her dance in such a way as to suggest it isn’t and I hope at this point Sunetra Sarker is at home with her feet up and a bottle of Archers and having a right laugh. Scores are in
(As much as I’m going to try not to make this run of recaps entirely “LOOK AT DANIEL’S FACE IN THE BACKGROUND”
some things can not be ignored)
Jeremy Vine & Karen Clifton dancing the cha cha
And yes, she is officially Karen Clifton now, you can adjust your spreadsheets accordingly. Tess tells us that Jeremy told her exclusively that at the end of the routine, he really want to see Craig’s happy face. However, unfortunately for Jeremy
this is Craig’s happy face. Botox use in bisexual men (YES, THAT’S WHAT HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY SAYS, DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT) of a certain age really is endemic isn’t it?
In his VT, Claudia tells us all that Jeremy Vine has a strong history of breaking the news, and Jeremy himself tells us that he’s been a very serious journalist since 1987. Jeez, I know John Sergeant was transparently a total famewhore, but at least he actually had the resume to pull this “look at the serious refined man being brought low by fake tan and Winne The Pooh choreography” stuff. Jeremy Vine presents Eggheads and a lunchtime phone-in show on Radio 2. He’s one step above Liz Kershaw, can we calm down?
Anyway, Jeremy assures us he has now been strictlified, and shows us this via this array of dance poses
all of which look like someone getting exterminated by a Dalek. Karen plays up to the theme by saying that Jeremy Vine is a really clasy gentleman, but when she saw his hip thrusts at the Launch Show she was quite shocked. Sure you were Karen, sure you were. You haven’t watched that clip of him in Rocky Horror on repeat at all. Jeremy closes us out by promising that he’s going to be asking Karen serious probing questions about dance morning, noon, and night. The sooner some of these people outpace their own casting gimmicks the better to be honest.
Training now and
what was I saying? The idea is that Jeremy is constantly writing down micro-level notes of what hes supposed to be doing rather than actually doing it, and Karen’s all “eh, whatever works, I can’t be arsed”. Did you know that Karen Clifton is the current female pro with the best average finishing position? Sobering isn’t it?
TO THE SWINGOMETER!
I know this isn’t a politics blog (thank Christ) but I bloody hate the swingometer. Anyway, Jeremy has a spoken word intro, which he delivers in an accent that veers between his own and the cranky doctor from Murder She Wrote, which I will transcribe here in full :
“LADIES AN GENNLEMEN! Today we are discussing the cha cha cha, but what does our election swingometer say about the cha cha cha? Oh dear, only 18%, I wonder if that might be different in…………SEPTEMBER!!!”
Dear show, I will write these bits for you, and I will do it cheap. End the madness. At this, the horns of September by Earth, Wind & Fire starts up and Karen emerges from the voting booth
in a purple ra ra skirt. Don’t tell me this means she voted UKIP, we have a fractious enough reltationship as it is. Jeremy starts dancing and it’s interesting, most of the Super-Duffers in Strictly history have been so, let’s face it, because they’ve been really old or obese or effeminate or…well I don’t know what Scott Mills’ problem was, but we’ve never had a SOOPER-DUFFER who was so comically inept because they were so lanky before. Jeremy dances everything like a daddy long-legs at the very edge of being washed down a drain. He also, and I’m sorry to Mrs Vine to have to say thing, appears to have no knowledge at all of how to negotiate a woman’s body. Don’t get me wrong, he and Karen have a
cute relationship and good chemistry, but every time he touches her he can’t move. On his own he’s goofy and flamboyant and looks like he’s doing the Chandler Bing victory dance half the time and it’s silly and funny and adorable but God I fear for ballroom.
It gets a rapturous response, mostly from Claud 9 by the looks of it, although Darcey is already
in paroxysms. Seriously, even Bruno’s like “it’s not that funny love”. Jeremy tells Darcey that he’s never done anything like that ever before in his life (LIES) and Tess tells him to be on his guard, because these four judges here make politicians look like pussycats. I briefly have an image of Widdy in Musicals Week done up like Grizabella dancing and lip-sync’ing to Memory, give me a minute to calm down. Craig starts (with the audience boo’ing before he even STARTS which makes either him or them redundant I can’t decide which) and tells Jeremy that that dance would qualify for the World Cup Of Dad Dancing, which take place annually in Devon. Is this another co-project with Lisa Riley, Craig, the world needs to know. Darcey follows by giggling that that was all strangely fabulous.
Yeah, I’m not sure Jeremy Vine is the one to be patronising like this, although Tim Vine in the audience is clearly finding all this hilarious. She tells Jeremy to be careful that his long legs don’t show up his lack of technique, but she liked that he threw everything at it.
Len follows by saying the whole dance was like a vine – out of control, and you’re never sure where you’re going next. Len needs to get over the fact that people have surnames in the worst way, that made no sense. But still, Jeremy CAME AHT (*drink*) and WENT FOR IT, FULL ON. Bruno rounds us off by thanking Jeremy for dancing to his own tune (just like Daniel hopefully will for the rest of the series until Kristina undergoes elective deafness surgery) and with great panache. He tells Jeremy that he danced like a rubbery gangle Hallowe’en Spider, with no control over the length of bone.
Tess has been there. Vernon.
Up to Claudia they blaze, where Claudia giggles to them about how happy that just made her. Jeremy said that he enjoyed it throughly, although the first 15 seconds were terrifying. Note to Karen : less monologuing in future. Jeremy thanks the audience for their support, and says hello to his daughters down the camera-lens, as though they haven’t all run to their bedrooms, locked the doors, and deactivated all their social media accounts and refused to come out for the next three months. Claudia runs over Jeremy’s notebook gimmick again and he tells her that he won’t be doing that next week, because obviously it didn’t work. Thank God for that. Karen will however be wearing a bra and panties set made out of the boom mic. Scores are in –
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice dancing the jive
Tess wonders if, with Giovanni by her side, the girl from the street is on the road to success. From the street? Life is that hard after soap? Poor girl, I wish her well.
VT time, and Georgia tells us that she can’t believe that Little Georgia from Bury (any relation to Little Lisa from Manchester?) is even on a show like Strictly in the first place. No, me either. Was Michelle Keegan not available? Helen Flannigan fail the Psych Test? Did Beeverly Callard bite someone? Georgia says that she is a TRUE NORTHERN GIRL, and tough luck love, three of your kind have won already, it’s time for the YEAR OF THE MIDLANDS. She also, apparently, couldn’t be happier to be partnered with Giovanni
(did you know Georgia is claiming in all seriousness that she doesn’t spray tan? Seriously. Take that hair off, she’d look like Morph, you’re kidding no-one love). Meanwhile Giovanni’s all
“OF-A-COURSE SHE WANNA BE PARTNER WITH A-ME!”
WINK! Georgia says Giovanni is WELL CHEEKY, but because he’s Italian he can get away with it. Nope.
Training now, and Giovanni has a present for Georgia. Is it his dick in a box?
NO, IT’S A T-SHIRT. Georgia squeals that it’s so sweet and asks him if he made himself. Yes dear, it’s handsewn, it took hours, he’s auditioning for the Sewing Bee next week (so glad that that’s actually coming back by the way, I was scared another of my shows was dying). Other than the t-shirt the theme for this week’s training is “Giovanni is Italian so doesn’t understand Northern Phrases (even though his professional dance partner is Joanne Clifton From Grimsby)”. Georgia teaches Giovanni the meaning of a number of “Northern Words”, including “nippy”. It means “what I’ll have to “accidentally” get out for votes if I find myself in a Wk 5 dance-off”.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Yes, Giovanni is playing a hairdresser for this week’s dance.
It’s being danced to “Dear Future Husband” by Meaghan Traynor, which is the one about how she’s proud that she can’t handle criticism and needs constant praise, not the one about how she’s proud that she has a (very very) slightly larger than average arse. I think this choice of song also means that they’re angling for a showmance with these two (even thought she has a boyfriend but HEY HE’S ITALIAN HE CAN GET AWAY WITH IT, RIGHT?). It’s very subtle
but the clues are there. It’s a good start for Georgia and Giovanni as she goes out like a rocket, has great arm placement, and looks very professional, although she could do with picking her feet up a bit more and obviously needs to work on her stamina. He’s choreographed a very enjoyable routine filled with personality as well, if you can pick out the “I’M-A-CHEEKY-ME!” bits out like olives off a four seasons pizza (CAUSE HE’S ITALIAN INNIT!)
God I hate it when the ones I don’t like are good.
Over to Tess they go and she and Georgia have a competitive Northern-Off and you are from DERBY TESS, YOU RACE-TRAITOR. Darcey starts for the judges by saying that that was incredibly impressive for a first dance and that Georgia moved faster than lightning around the dancefloor. Speaking of lightning, after that routine, Giovanni’s looking pretty
greased. I’ve not seen anything that shiny on the dancefloor since Darren’s wig fell off that one time. Darcey then goes on to call it a “perfect match of two beautiful souls”. Darcey’s it’s not even a showmance yet, let’s not start writing the speeches for the wedding. Len follows by spewing out a load of hairdressing puns.
Bruno follows by waggling his fingers live an evil wizard and crowing that he can feel the
G FORCE AWAKENING. Is that what he’s calling it these days? He loved the chemistry and the choreography, but thinks she got a bit tired towards the end. Craig closes by saying that he agrees – it was fast and dynamic, but she ran out of steam about halfway through. Halfway through is about the point in any Meghan Traynor song where you realise it’s just going to be the exactly same thing the whole way through Craig, I can’t really blame her.
Up to Claud 9 they doo-wop, where Georgia shrieks to Tess about how exciting that all was, and Claudia congratulates Giovanni on receiving such praise for his choreography, especially as his parents have flown in all the way from Sicily to be here tonight.
His mother then stands up and yells “HANDS-OFF-A-MA BAMBINO YA LIDDLE TRAMP! SHE-A NO GOOD FOR YOU GIOVANNI, THESE ENGLISH-A GIRLS THEY NO KNOW HOW TO COOK ANNA HOW TO A-CLEAN LIKE-A YOU MAMA!”. Except she doesn’t, because some people can control themselves. Scores are in
Ainsley Harriott & Natalie Lowe dancing the tango
Oooh la la.
VT time, and Claudia tells us that Ainsley is “less ready meal, more silver service”. No disrespect to Ainsley, but I’d say the exact opposite. We’ve all nibbled on his couscous, right? Ainsley tell us rather ruefully that he’s the oldest person in the competition. Yes, at 58. In Series 8 you wouldn’t even have been top 5 oldest.
He tells us that when it was revealed that he was partnered with Natalie he started jumping up and down like a child, because it felt like Christmas. As tribute to this
Natalie’s come tonight wearing your nan’s special sparkly festive tablecloth. The gravy stain she can’t shift is just out of shot. She tells us all that the best thing about Ainsley is his smile. Bodes well for the dancing. Ainsley meanwhile thinks that he and Natalie are like tomato and basil – lovely on their own, but together they’re magical. Yeah who doesn’t sit around munching the odd basil leaf, what a nutritious treat. He says he’s always danced around the kitchen, because it reminds him of his mother. That’s sweet, at least. Even sweeter when Natalie says “yes I’ve already seen the salt and pepper shaker and the stirring the pot and the cheese grater and the boning the fish and the slapping the ketchup bottle and…” with a rictus grin. I think Natalie might be a little wistful for the days when they gave her bland hunks with no personality…
Once he arrives at training, Natalie tells him that they’re going to be dancing a tango to Voulez Vouz by ABBA and yup, Natalie’s whacking the camp button hard right out the gate, no messing around. Seriously, we are 15 seconds into training and we already have our first
official Natalie wink of the series. The dance is set in a Parisian restaurant, which Natalie uses as bait to fish for Ainsley to cook moules marinieres for her. Attagirl. The part where she upends half a bottle of Tabasco over it is sadly left out of the edit. As is the part where she actually eats any of it (oh dancers…)
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So yes, it’s a tango to Voulez Vous, set in a seedy French bar starring Ainsley Harriott and Natalie Lowe so
it’s camp. It knows it’s camp. It’s happy that it’s camp. It’s comfortable with the fact that it’s camp. It’s not particularly well-danced (Ainsley’s hold is terrible and his posture’s even worse – the most authentically Parisian thing about the entire thing is that he resembles the Hunchback Of Notre-Dame) but there’s one point where the singers go “VOUZ…..LAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY VOOOOOOOOOO!” as the spotlights flare wildly and Ainsley and Natalie take hold where I actually have a gaygasm so I don’t care. Also, for all the celebs are ever criticised for not giving the appropriate emotion for a dance,
Natalie is grinning her head off throughout, so you can tell she’s loving it. And when Natalie’s loving it, I’m loving it.
Once they’re over to the judges, Ainsley says that he’s been doing nothing but the tango face for two weeks and he’ll be glad to have a break from it.
If he ever gets to do the paso doble (it’s alright, I know he’s not making it that far, you don’t have to coddle me) can he bring that face back please? Len starts for the judges agreeing – that that’s the longest he’s ever seen Ainsley go without smiling. I dunno, there was that one episode of Ready Steady Cook where he told Fern to stick her red tomato up her arse and stormed off set. Television gold. Len congratuates Ainsley on capturing the spirit of the tango, if not the technique, and tells him that that was a decent starter for the main course of his salsa next week. Already lampshading Ainsley’s stay on the show only lasting for three dances, unless we’re counting a rumba as the cheeseboard. With Natalie in charge I guess it actually could be… Bruno follows by saying that Ainsley started off as a French “dubonneur” (?), then he became Othello lusting after Desdemona, before finally transforming into a rooster bokking its head for the end. I am so ready for a 21st century modernisation of Othello set in a French restaurant with Ainsley as Othello The Head Chef, Helen George as Desdemona The Owner’s Daughter and Jeremy Vine as a disco-dad-dancing Iago The Health Inspector. It’s what BBC 4 was made for.
Craig is next, and goes for the posture problems, as you’d expect him to. He also tells Ainsley quite politely, for Craig, that there isn’t really supposed to be any rise-and-fall in a tango. You can tell Craig’s holding off the big guns because that was gaymazing and he can’t bring himself to truly wound one of his own. Darcey closes by saying she couldn’t take her eyes off Ainsley’s great big pouty lips but then proves this to be a lie by saying he had crap shoulders. She too “loved the energy” though.
Up to Claud 9 they go again, they know the start, they know the end (would ABBA Week be so bad, come on), where Natalie
immediately starts picking the lint off his bald head. She’s so mumsy this year, it’s beautiful. Ainsley apologises to her for letting his shoulders rise up despite her telling him not to, but Natalie’s all “I cannot quash nor fight your natural Ainsley Harriottness and I wouldn’t even if I could” about it. Claudia praises his tango face and he redoes it for her.
It’s so Tituss Burgess. I demand a samba to Peeno Noir. Sadly we will have to wait for that moment though, as Claudia winkles out of Natalie that their salsa next week will be to “Don’t Touch My Tomatoes” by Josephine Baker. Amazing. Scores are in
Katie Derham & Anton du Beke dancing the jive
Honestly, would it have killed her to turn up sober? It looks like he’s trying to usher her off to the car before she calls Sir Montagu a bloated racist old fart and gets him deselected for the seat of Little-Tory-By-The-Sea.
VT time and
no, really, drunkest face ever. Katie tells us that the only dancing she’s ever done is an icckle bicckle teeny weensy eensie bit of ballet when she was young, and even then she only remembers “good toes, naughty toes”. Get on investigating this, o deranged pop-star/Corrie actress fans, this woman is a threat to your favourites now, DESTROY HER. She goes on to say that Anton’s reaction to getting her was so sweet, and she really feels like she’s hit the jackpot with him. This is one of those “free scratchcards that tumble out the Sunday Supplements” jackpots right? She also calls him a legend which…so is the chupacabra. Anton himself is of course very
HA HA MARVELOUS about having a female partner the right side of 60 with all her own teeth and legs and good luck to him. All he has to do is avoids accidentally calling her a racial slur and they’ll make at least the semi finals.
after they unclip Anton from the radiator he’s chained to (seriously, I love that such a self-consciously classy and refined couple appear to be rehearsing in a Cold War bunker) and Anton tells her that they’re going to be starting with the jive, because he’s buggered if he’s going to do it in a week that actually matters. That last part is silent but it’s so obvious. I’m so ready for Anton “oh I haven’t cared since Lesley Garrett, it’s all a carny show isn’t it” du Beke to turn tactical. After some fairly ropey looking training, Katie takes Anton to one side and says “Mr du Beke, would you like to come to the Proms with me?”. I so hope she calls him Mr du Beke and he calls her Ms Derham for the entire series, and it all culimates in a showdance to The Avengers theme-tune. Anton as John Steed and Katie Derham as Emma Peel would win this series in the greatest landslide since Series 6. Anywho, Katie and Anton go to the last night of the Proms but he doesn’t seem to actually get to go into the hall, which seems a waste. Instead he just wanders around backstage
waving flags and singing Land Of Hope And Glory to himself. I hope Mrs Derham isn’t taking Mr Du Beke for a ride. I bet he had to drive her home again AND buy her fish and chips on the way.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
The story of this dance is that Katie is a classy harpist and Anton is her stuffy conductor, and they’re playing beautiful delicate orchestral music together until a ROGUE GUITARIST SNEAKS IN, plays a MONSTER RIFF and starts up “Roll Over Beethoven”. Anton is of course appalled and slams his baton around like Daffy Duck, but Katie likes the groove and persuades him to
leapfrog over her face (complete with obviously choreographed in near-pratfall because Anton’s not letting any trick slide this series) and jive with her. As a Week 1 jive it actually reminds me a lot of Susanna Reid, albeit a bit more flopsy. It’s more heat than light and her loose arm is flopping around like a rogue Supernoodle but she’s got an incredibly winning personality on the floor and she shows no sign of flagging or forgetting the routine throughout. Basically we’re in for another series of Laila, in that Anton’s now got a partner who’s shown the slightest bit of talent and who just about fits the mould of a Strictly winner if you squint and bop a few years off her age, so she’s going to ride the wave of diminished expectations as far as she can. At any rate I eagerly await the tidal wave of good taste and decorum that will be her ballroom, and the fainting fit Anton’s going to encourage her to have to conveniently get a one week bye through rumba week.
One way I am going to find this YEAROFTHEANTON stuff funny is in the clear discrepancy between the roars and applause and laughter of the audience
and the assembled newbie pros, children and competitors up on Claud 9 who clearly don’t get it in the slightest.
Once they’re at the judges, Anton actually points up to someone on Claud 9 all “THAT’S RIGHT FAM, I DID IT!”. I bet it was Brenda. He’ll know the score. And also Katie’s most obvious rival for the crown currently is Jay, and we all know Brenda and Aliona hate one another. I’M SO EXCITED. As soon as Tess starts to talk of course Anton hauls all his previous partners into a bin, verbally, lights a match and sets it on fire, dancing and hooting obnoxiously about how this is THE BEST THING EVER. God help me, I’m almost rooting for Anton to win. In 2015. This show takes me to some strange places sometimes. Anyway, Bruno starts for the judges and calls Katie radiant and charismatic and tells Anton he now has some first class material to be moulded into a masterpiece. Or at least a piece good enough to win Strictly, so a Jack Vettriano or somfin. Craig follows and smarms that Anton is FINALLY DANCING. Anton affects mild insult, but he has to know this is his meal ticket to the final stages. Craig says bits were out of sync and it got sloppy at the end, but all in all it was the most sophisticated and stylish jive they’ve ever had on the show. Erm, classier than Patsy Kensit as a Mad Scientist who has her tits motorboated by Robin Windsor? Classier than a 62 year old woman dressed up like a teenager to Whatever Happened To Baby Jane her way through You Can’t Stop The Beat complete with Giant LipsticK? More sophisticated than a jivin’ tribute to Bucks Fizz complete with actual skirt ripping? I think not. (LOL at ALL of those being Bobby Windsor routines as well, he will be missed).
Darcey follows by praising Katie for being good at jive for a TALL PERSON and tells her that that was “one classy jive”. We’re going to be hearing “classy” a lot this series aren’t we? *girds self* Len closes by telling Anton that this could be it, this could be the GLORY YEAR. Honestly, I hope one week Katie does a PROPAH QUICKSTEP and Len snaps and gives everyone else a 1, yelling “THIS IS WHAT REAL DANCE IS PEEPUW!” just to rig her through.
Up to Claud 9 they roll, where Brenda is the first there to greet and congratulate him at the top of the stairs. Told you. Claudia’s next on the #TEAMANTON PR wagon, as Anton all but doing the Snoopy Dance, telling him that normally when the cast go to Blackpool, Anton gets left behind but NOT THIS YEAR (Anton made Blackpool with both Judy and Fiona) THIS TIME HE MIGHT EVEN MAKE IT TO CHRISTMAS! Claudia then just about remembers there’s another human notionally in this partnership, and asks Katie how she feels.
Pissed as a fart (excited/nervous/amazing/thoopafanny). Scores are in
Iwan Thomas & Ola Jordan dancing the tango
It’s “…I’ve made a terrible mistake” in picture form isn’t it? Which one of them do you think is regretting this harder? Ola apparently was lobbying to get him cast as well. Tess tells us that Iwan intends to come flying out the blocks, but she personally thinks he needs to remember that Strictly is a marathon, not a sprint. Based on this dance it’s more the egg & spoon race. For the nans.
VT time, and Iwan tells us that, as a SPORTSMAN, he knows what it’s like to really have your body pushed to the breaking point, until every sinew begs to stop but you just have to keep pushing to that finish line. Wow, Len *has* been busy in the off-season. He goes on to say that he would never normally step onto a dancefloor, but since arriving at Strictly, all he has to do is zip up a spangly shirt and he becomes
GLITTERMAN! He really does think it’s still about Series 5 doesn’t he? Glitterman? What the flip is that? He then reminds us that on the Launch Show he squat-thrusted Ola til her tits fell out, a fact which Ola herself
does not mention. FUN FACT : in this episode, Ola passed Erin and set the record for most competitive episodes for a female pro on Strictly. And it looks like she feels every one, doesn’t it? She says that she’s a strict teacher and expects the best out of her pupils and so on.
Training now, and Iwan tells us that he’s not a quick learner but he is a perfectionist and also oops did he mention he has to bugger off to Italy and Japan for the next few weeks and not really bother to train oops.
SEE-YA! Ola just about manages to get out to Italy one time, and stands watching Iwan present Moto GP rather than actually rehearsing. Bodes well.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
The less said about this better I think. Erm…
Ola’s determined athlete face at the beginning is really cute? That’s about it. The gun goes, Iwan runs round in a great big circle, and then he does a really really bad tango that’s clearly not really been rehearsed. There’s a lot of him barely scuttling into position and the hold collapsing and the arms going funny, and the fact there’s a giant track circle doing around the floor makes the whole thing look odd, spatially speaking. Also? I mean it’s an Ola-tango so it goes without saying because she’s cursed, but the music choice is awful – “Keep On Running” by The Spencer Davis Group. Anyway, it mills around like ants in a formary until the end when Iwan climbs the podium and Ola shoves him off it.
I like the visual metaphor for the fact that Strictly doesn’t have anyone in 2nd/3rd place any more.
Iwan carries Ola over to the judges, where Tess calls him “Glitterman”. Don’t encourage him. Iwan goes on to say that doing that was scarier than competing in an Olympic Final 400m final. Would that it had been over as quickly… Tess asks Craig if that was a gold medal winning performance and he replies “no” – it was full of gapping, his posture was hunched, his head was crooked and it was all very lumpy. Oh and his bum was sticking out too much. Tess and Iwan between them protest that Iwan’s arse is too massive to tuck and…Craig used to be a drag queen, I’m sure he’ll have some general tucking tips. Darcey follows by complimenting Iwan on starting well. What, when he ran around in a circle for 15 seconds? Darcey’s lowered standards for the bloke celebs remain, I guess.
Len’s next and says he’s never seen a lap of honour done before the series even starts. I dunno, Austin Healey gave it a good go (Arrogant Austin <3). He tells Iwan that he has plenty of ready, and plenty of steady, but not enough go. Still, he's a SPORTSMAN, so he's sure Iwan will try hard and come back next week stronger than ever (/continue pissing around talking about motorbikes instead of training, then get voted past Carol in a dance-off based on "potential") Bruno closes by telling Iwan he really should just have kept on running. LOL.
Up to Claud 9 they sprint, where Claudia and Ola talk about how hilarious and adorable Iwan is and
Oti and Anthony pioneer actually climbing on the furniture to get into shot. Don't let Andre see that, you'll never get him down. Iwan promises to HAVE A JOURNEY and tuck his arse under at some point, maybe, if he's ever in the country, and scores are in
Jamelia & Tristan MacManus dancing the waltz
Tess actually says the sentence “Jamelia stars in Loose Women” out of her human mouth, ponder that for a second. “Stars in Loose Women”. She then makes a piss-week…allusion, not even a joke, about how both Loose Women and the Strictly Judges Table have four people who have opinions, and then tries to wink and cross her fingers at the same time.
Models, am I right?
In her VT, Jamelia tells us that backstage at Loose Women she’s her normal silly giggly self, but as soon as the cameras turn on she becomes a SERIOUS NEWS JOURNAL…oh, no, wait that’s Jeremy. As soon as the cameras turn on she’s a take no prisoners opinion haver! Yes, Jamelia is the Sasha Fierce of having shitty uninformed opinions about the obese. BAM! She also says that doing the Group Dance on the Launch Show really reminded her of just how much she misses performing. I smell an ill-advised comeback album… We’re also reminded that Jamelia was somewhat pleased to be partnered with Tristan, who says that he sees a ton of potential in Jamelia, and the sky really is the limit. Does that mean he’s going to get her up in a harness? I can only imagine the screaming.
Training now, and after Tristan jokes to Jamelia that they’ve drawn “Breakdance” out of the hat, he then reveals that he has instead chosen the waltz.
Oh lord, she’s sulking already. She tells us all that this is because the waltz is really graceful and elegant, and she isn’t. Yeah, the revelation that Jamelia just wants to shake her booty and pull sassy faces is not a shocking one to me. The biggest thing holding Jamelia back from being a classy lady apparently is her hideous cackling laugh. She becomes more and more like a Lidl Alesha every second doesn’t she? Tristan tries a number of tactics to get all the laughs out of her system so she can be stone-faced for her waltz including
pulling funny faces and
whipping his massive hose out, pinning her in the corner, and threatening to spray her in the face with it. I mean…I know which method I’d opt for. To help my learning. We close with Jamelia promising that she is for sure going to iron her giggles out for Saturday Night, because the waltz is no laughing matter. Whatever, I was cackling through Kirsty’s like a mad’un, and that was only an hour ago so…
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
They’re dancing the waltz to “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, and I really hope Jamelia reflects on the effect her wish for clothes in more generous sizes to be removed from shelves has had, because Tristan is fair BURSTING out of his top the entire time. And not in the good way. Jamelia’s attempt at waltz starts well enough, but predictably enough she gets distracted by something shiny, or she sees someone who looks a bit like Javine, and loses focus entirely. She gets behind, then catches up, then does this
then starts giggling, then shrugs and just runs about a bit doing Swan Lake arms, then abandons any pretence of “ballroom hold” being a thing she’s supposed to be doing, then just starts throwing out random Natalie Lowe head-spins for no reason…It is, in its way, as big a mess as Kirsty’s attempt at a waltz was earlier, although at least Jamelia appears to be having a laugh with it. Also the
DIRTY sex faces she’s making at Tristan are more appealing than whatever the hell Kirsty’s fizzog was doing. And I do love her end pose.
You were right Jamelia, this is the least elegant thing I’ve ever seen.
Once they’ve over at Tess (after a shot of Claud 9 in which Katie can clearly be seen nodding merrily to Carol about how well done that all was, oh Katie…) Tess tells her that she didn’t see one giggle, that Jamelia looked like a princess, and also she and Tristan had such a romantic connection. To her credit, Jamelia can’t keep the
“lol whut?” off her face at this.
Darcey starts for the judges, saying that she found the start of the dance very charming with Jamelia’s beautiful long arms and great top-line, but she clearly lost concentration rapidly as it all wound on. Next week’s show lasts for over two hours, I hope they’ve put her on early, otherwise they’ll probably find her wandering the car park hasing a squirrel. Len follows by saying he agrees with Darcey – it started well, but two thirds of the way through mistakes crept in and she lost it. Oh Len it was earlier than that.
Bruno follows by saying that it started like a dream…but did not continue like that. He tells Jamelia that she needs to learn to cover over the join when she falls behind Tristan, and also she needs to concentrate on keeping up with the beat of the music, and that she should think about it like she has to concentrate on breathing. I hope that was shade. Craig closes by saying that she never really closed her feet like you’re supposed to in the waltz and she was really a bit unsteady. He also calls her out for not comitting to her arabesque turn because she was “loving herself sick” during it.
You can really see a twitch develop as she tries not to bite back can’t you? Twitch twitch twitch. It’s alright Jamelia, it’s what you’re here for, let rip.
Up to Claud 9 she twirls, where Claudia asks her if she enjoyed herself. She says she did, but she’s a bit disappointed that she let Tristan down. Tristan said that as far as he’s concerned all his celebrity partner needs to do is laugh at his jokes and he’s fine. He does realise Jamelia’s not a 60 year gasper right? You might want to aim a bit higher with this one Tris. Claudia then tells Jamelia that it’s alright, she’s HER favourite, mostly because she’s the only one all day who hasn’t bored Claudia silly whining about their nerves.
LOL, you can tell Jay felt that one. Scores are in
Peter Andre & Janette Manrara dancing the cha cha
Oh look he’s got the Pimp Slot, what a surprise. Honestly, Peter’s Donobotesque “early front runner who loses momentum at the end” storyline is so obvious at this point, but this cast is so full of combustable elements amongst its frontrunners that I can easily see everyone else falling to bits and him winning anyway. Tess tells us that Peter has been trying to sneak renegade hip hop moves into Janette’s choreography. To make it more resemble a cha cha presumably?
In his VT, Peter tells us that stepping off the Strictly Express (/PORN TRAIN) was sensational. The sensation was one of having sticky shoes. He goes on to say that he can’t tell us how pleased he is to be partnered up with Janette. Feel free to add your own mental pause there before he says her name, very much like he’s reading it off the back of his hand, where’s it’s been scrawled in biro by his wife. Janette on the other hand tells us that she packs a punch and is also the smallest female pro. I’m fairly sure you’re the smallest pro full stop Janette, Vincent left 3 series ago now. Peter says that he’s a perfetionist, so he wants to hear Janette telling him to do it over and over and over and over again. FIRE UP THE SHOWMANCEMOBILE (lol can you imagine if the public got even a whiff that Aljaz was being cheated on though, she’d be run over). Also,
this picture’s quintessentially Andre but I can’t think of a neat way to segue into it so…here you are.
Training now and
you’re 41 Peter, the backwards baseball cap is starting to look a little William Hague. He assures us that he’s NOT A RINGAH because all his dancing before has been in pop videos and he’s not used to the formal, codified, strict ballroom style of Ronette Ranrara And Her Flying Vagina. Janette offers “as therapy” to take on Peter in a “90s hip hop dance-off” to get all the cheesy pop out of Peter’s system. Honey, it’ll take more than one VT to do that. Ten this happens :
I honestly wish Janette had fully comitted to ripping off her greatest hits from SYTYCD, like she did last year, and just done a remake of this. Possibly instead of the actual cha cha (that clip’s worth watching for the VT as much as the dancing by the way, if only for the bit where Janette tells us all with a straight face that banking is cool). Peter tells us that he’s cured now, and that he’s ready to strap his cha cha heels on. How I wish this VT had instead focused on Peter saying that he’s never danced in heels before so I could repeatedly yell “BULLSHIT” and laugh my head off.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So it turns out that Janette has cured Peter of being full of 90s pop/hip hop and instead…stuffed him full of mid-00s pop/hip hop, with a little sprinkling of Michael Jackson, because he is eternal. It’s to “Aint No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera and it seems to be a lot of shoulder shrugging and posing and slamming your hips about that only really vaguely resembles a cha cha. On the other hand…I really don’t care about the sanctity of a week 1 cha cha, and if you want to throw some boyband stuff in it to try to make it in any way interesting go for it, I was wooping along when Lisa just came out and did a routine from Hairspray, I can’t complain about this. On the other…it’s still a bit pants. He’s doing that thing where you flex one knee than the other to give the illusion of hip movement a lot, and he’s being far too aggressive with Janette throughout.
I dunno, I was hoping for fun cheesy Peter Andre, not RAGING SEX MACHINE Peter Andre. I’m getting enough of that from Jeremy Vine.
It gets super-dooper-high-pitched-squeals from the audience, so obviously Jordan’s snatching at weaves and stamping on other bitches toes already, and Len starts for the judges by honking “OY OY SAVELOY!” and saying that despite the fact that it was a bit clipped and “MM MM MM”
(?) it was the best dance of the entire weekend. OK Len. At this Peter Andre goes directly to Dr Hammy Prayer Hands : Bloke Edition
He’s feeling the love Lenny, he’s feeling the love. Bruno follows, by saying he loved the cocky character Peter played, but he needs to get some much less clunky hip action going. It was all too angular, when the cha cha is supposed to be a bit more…wiggly.
Tess then asks Craig his opinion “as a West End Choreographer” (f’nar) and he says that it was a real showstopper of a routine but he agrees about the dodgy hip action, and Darcey says that she loved all the tug and pull of the routine. I bet she did.
Up to Claud 9 they jerk, where Peter immediately tells Claudia that he’s speechless. Sadly he’s lying. Eventually, after much talk of what LARFS he and Janette have in training the scores are in
Next Week? Bum-Numbing Week