So let’s see how this works then…
BBC cutbacks in effect already, as Zoe is forced to perform every job on the show herself.
Anastacia & Brendan : Probably a good idea to start off the series with an interview with Brenda & Anastacia, as they are both seasoned “content providers” and lord did they deliver here, with Anastacia flashing off tons of bling and crediting Strictly for “helping her come to terms with her own womanhood” after her recent spate of illnesses, and Brenda full on calling Lulu “The War” (as in “don’t mention the”) and unleashing his first “This Girl” of the series (YAY!) (She’s 47 Brendan). He also let us know that even he didn’t understand why Craig gave them an 8 and he and Anastacia debated between them which of them it was who decided to end their dance with Anastacia shoving Brenda’s head out of shot (both of them would have you believe it was their idea mmm hmm). Their next dance? Salsa
Twitter Update : Miranda Hart tweeted the word “de” over and over again. Quality content. Also Ricky Norwood tweeted “pass a doob slay” to Tameka, which is another Strictly drug scandal waiting to happen.
Claudia & AJ : As you might expect, most of their interview was about how being an Olympic Gymnast prepares her for Strictly (it doesn’t) and hence me gnashing my teeth as she says things about how she’s trained her whole life in gymnastics. YOU ARE 8 YEARS OLD HUN, THAT’S NOT A LIFETIME! (*cries into jar of E45*). AJ also appears to be trying to grow a beard. AJ should not be trying to grow a beard. In light of the judges comments, Zoe also asked AJ if he will be working gymnastics into his future routines, and he gave a classic Strictly non-answer by saying that he was going to take it out and then stick it back in again. HOPEFULLY he was talking about gymnastics at any rate. There was also a quick film that was supposed to “introduce” AJ, in which he stuck his leg up on a wing mirror of a gold Honda in an abandoned car-park. Well *now* I feel introduced. Their next dance is the waltz.
Karen’s Khoreography Korner : Karen covered only Friday’s dances tonight, unsurprisingly given that the intro for this segment is now 3 minutes long. She agreed with Len about Ore’s tango’s lack of content (not she’s anlging to be his replacement or owt), praised Greg’s energy, told Naga to increase her confidence and bluff over any mistakes, said that a lot of Giovanni’s choreography was in fact SUPPOSED to danced on bent legs, and most bafflingly of all, criticised Judge Rinder for his outlandish facial expressions. People in glass houses shouldn’t fire catapults loaded with elephants, Hardy. Elephants set on fire.
Ed & Katya : The patented “oops we’re out of time” rush interview, which mostly seemed to revolve around how Ed and Zoe have similar, but not identical surnames (I sense a history of shared pain just waiting to come out). Ed seems to be slowly thawing out in terms of his on-camera persona, and Katya also got an intro video, also set in an abandoned carpark. She managed to avoid frotting any of the vehicles though, so bonus points to her. The show also flared up a quick politically themed stats clip telling Ed that he scored higher in week 1 than either Widdy or Edwina. Hard to think of a lower bar isn’t it? Their next dance is the Charleston.
Melvin & Janette : Again, the strongest interview is probably up first, once we get through the usual 2 to 3 minutes of “WE HAD LOTS OF OF FUN!” and “MY KIDS LIKED IT!” that follows every unintentional trainwreck performance. We heard about Lady Gaga’s personal advice to Melvin (“Shut your phone off, clear your mind, act like a ninja”) although it’s possible that those are just the lyrics to her new single and Melvin took them personally. It’d be better than “Perfect Illusion” anyway, and also learned that Melvin is slowly developing a caffeine addiction after having his first Double Espresso to get through doubling up on Strictly and his radio show. ANOTHER LIFE RUINED BY STRICTLY COME DANCING! Also the entire Manrara family was apparently in attendance, although we didn’t see any of them, so if Janette has a fit cousin it remains a mystery. His dance this week is tango.
Tunes On Tuesday : Our weekly preview of next week’s tunes revealed that Lesley will doing the cha cha to “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” ‘by the Pussycat Dolls’ (*roll eyes*), that I never need to see some of the pros do the Hot Stuff dance again, particularly Kevin Clifton (and also Ore will be performing a Cha Cha to it), and that…wait for it…Greg is doing a Tango to “Jump” by Van Halen. Ah THERE are those stupid dayjob music choices I was expecting in Week 1.
Kevin & Louise : The Trials Of Louise continued as we learnt that as she descended the stairs on Saturday’s show, she found she’d completely forgotten her routine. Fortunately…she then remembered it again. This does not make for much of a story. Kevin also revealed that his choreographical approach with Louise is to start off by throwing in as much choreography as he could at the beginning, with the intention of editing it down as the week went on, then ultimately deciding he’s not going to bother. I feel this is not unusual for Kevin on this show. Louise also received a message of support from Grimsby which…you’re about to make the exact same joke that I would so let’s move on. Statswise we learnt that Louise gave Kevin his highest ever Week 1 score which is slightly more of an achievement than “least shit policitican ever”. Her dance this week is the Viennnese Waltz.
Karen’s Khoreography Korner 2 : In which Karen covered the Saturday couples. She refused to criticise Louise because it’s Week 1 (WHY ARE YOU HERE THEN?), showed us all proper tango hand placement and waltz rise and fall for the men, felt the judges should have spent more time praising Claudia’s basic cha cha technique and less time kvetching about her somersaults, gushed fulsomely over Daisy, suggested Oti calm her choreography down and Gorka amp his up, admited Anastacia’s flexibilty and teamwork and expressed fear over being outshouted by her (don’t worry Kaz, I’m sure you could put up a fight of it) and had a lot more faith in Melvin’s ability to improve than I do.
Will & Karen : Tucked away at the end, the focus with Will was mostly, as you’d expect, on his fashion choices in the training room. Will filled us in that he’s going to be going for a different style every week. Last week’s was “Japanese Schoolgirl”, this week’s is “Appropriate”. He told us all that to keep in character for the tango he spent last week being hateful and aggressive to everyone, especially Greg Rutherford. I would watch that tape, to be honest. We also heard messages of support from Karen from Jeremy and Hairy Dave, and learnt that she too got her highest ever week 1 score this series. EVERYTHING’S COMING UP CLIFTON! We also got this year’s first montage of someone profusely sweating which…it’s nobody’s favourite ITT moment of the series is it? Their dance this week is Jive.
Lesley & Anton : A lot of talk of Anton’s body between these two, as Zoe read out fanmail from one of his ardent admirers expressing a desire to be buried in his chest, Zoe himself basically admitted to have having seen him in the nud once, and also a stray mention of “27 cm” which I’d rather not dwell on (I think it was th height difference between him and Lesley, but I’d rather not check). Lesley was also very proud that she’d managed to get Anton to train wearing trackies and a t-shirt instead of his usual refined attire. Apparently there are pictures. I’ll take her word for it. It does appear that Anton for the first time since Widdy, a partner whose personality can go just as loud as his. (Also apparently “What’ll I Do?” is the theme tune to Birds Of A Feather!). Their dance this week is a cha cha.
Judge Rinder & Oksana : Interview of the day here (maybe I should keep a running tally and declare an It Takes Two champion at the end of the series? Maybe not…) mostly for the way Judge Rinder said the word “journey” as though he was handling a used condom and also partly for the sanguine manner in which he took being told his cha cha was the most viewed online clip from the show ever. Mostly because they’ve stuck it on autoplay every time someone goes to the facebook page. We also got to witness Oksana whirling around in the New Pro Car Park, where she revealed that her favourite part of being a dancer is whipping her hair, and that she firmly believes that she will take Judge Rinder all the way to the final. You’ve got to have a dream don’t you? Their dance this week is an American Smooth
Competition : Apparently we can win tickets to the final if we answer this simple question : “How many Jay fans will kick off if we decide to remind them the Second Coming Of The Holy Jive never scored 40?”
Waite’s Wednesday Warm Up Shortly to be followed by Waite’s Thursday Thaw Down, as the field is still too big for Ian to take it all in in one go. On the whole, training clips looked good for Laura and Daisy and…not great for Melvin, with Ian dispensing advice for Claudia (waltz) to improve her hold, Daisy (cha cha) to straighten her legs, Laura (waltz) to work on her balance, Will (jive) to stop dressing in the dark, Anastacia (salsa) to increase her hip movement, Greg (tango) to be less ploddy, Ore (cha cha) (still being called a great dancer despite no evidence so far) to improve his footwork and Melvin (tango) to…well there were a lot of things….
Tameka & Gorka : A nice focus on Gorka to end the show, as he sat there looking very handsome and also spoke very fast and very low. Tameka exclaimed her paso doble to have been as exciting for her as pretending t give birth, and Gorka revealed how it was actually, if you looked very closely, a subtly dismantling interrogation of gender roles in modern Spain. GO BACK TO YOUR SAFE SPACE, TUMBLERINA! Gorka also took a spin around the car park of newbies where he called himself masculine, elegant and sexy, and was slightly more convincing at being all three than AJ managed earlier in the week. Gorka The Corka count : 3
Greg & Natalie : Natalie, bless her, clearly had a terrible throat infection or actually did scream herself hoarse after her partner did an adequate jive, so Greg did most of the talking. It’s the usual wk 1 Sportsman stuff – he’s NEVER DANCED BEFORE but is SUPER COMPETITIVE so that makes up for it. We also found out that Greg couldn’t really hear the start of the music backstage on Friday, so he missed his cue to start the dance. Again, I put this down to Natalie screaming profanities at him. CALM DOWN NAT. Otherwise I am most distracted by this
stat attack featuring Denise Lewis at her most fierce. What a woman. (And people say they start their scores too high now). His dance this week is the tango. It does NOT. LOOK. GOOD.
Waite’s Whursday Warm-Up : After Ian informs us that he’s been giving Greg tips as to where t ostick his tail (…) Ian covered the 7 couples he didn’t dissect yesterday. Ed and Tameka (Charleston) both need to work on their synchronicty, Danny (Viennese Waltz) needs to fix minor things about his hold but otherwise looked good, Lesley (cha cha) needs to work on her leg action, Louise (Viennese Waltz) needs to sort out her naughty toes, Judge Rinder (American Smooth) needs to work at not keeping Oksana at arm’s length at all times lest he get cooties, and Naga (cha cha) needs to work on….everything but her neck. Again.
Daisy & Aljaz : Daisy gave a very genuine interview about how overwhelming and surreal Strictly was, which only went maybe a little too far when she suggested her grandfather was manipulating her limbs to make her waltz beautifully FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. We all have limits I guess. Also Zoe made sure that everyone knew, in the most subtle way, that she got the highest week 1 score for a waltz ever, so don’t even think of trying to come for her crown, she will CUT YOU. The interview was hampered slightly by problems with Aljaz’s mic, but he did manage to let us know that he’s already watched his waltz with Daisy back many many times BUT NOT IN A CREEPY WAY. I have to admit, again though, that my note-taking for this interview was hampered by a
visual distraction. If only all weight gain were so judiciously distributed. Her dance this week is the cha cha
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill: Yes, I’m still going to call it that, even though the show is now wussing out. Ahem. Natalie is going to be wearing a GREEN DRESS this weekend.
Ore & Joanne : Most importantly, Joanne said that she’s taking on board what Len’s said in his critical comments from last weekend. Less hopefully, she says that she’s going to start the content earlier in the routine, and cut down the faffing about. I mean…it doesn’t matter if it starts earlier, it still has to make sense. Even LESS hopefully, it sounds like Ore’s going to have a pole in his routine to “Hot Stuff” which means I guarantee that Joanne has taken a sex anthem about hooking up and is going to make Ore dress up as Fireman Sam to it. Ore also promised to tell us why he stuck his tongue out in the middle of his tango and then…didn’t…so much. He just felt like it OK! Finally Joanne was allowed to preen a little about winning the last Christmas Special, and becoming the first Clifton to lift a Strictly trophy. She promised us even more Hot Clifton Rivalry to come. OH. JOY. His dance this week is the cha cha.
Backstage With Gethin : Those of us who remember Gethin fulfiling this role last year, and ending up all but giving Gleb a blowie in the linen cupboard, were anticipating homoeroticism and
boy howdy did we get it. Feeling up Ore’s leg, lurking in the shadows watching Will’s jive and then mumbling to himself about how he probably would need to sit down on something afterwards, and agreeing with Natalie that Greg is indeed beautiful and also a “beautiful piece of arse”. Sorry, “art”. “Piece of art”. He had less natural chemistry with Judge Rinder, who seemed not to take to Gethin’s insincerity and banal line of questioning. You’re going to have to deal with Tess every week love, pace yourself.
Danny & Oti : First of all demerits for whoever in the music department blew their load and decided to use “Return Of The Mack” for Danny Mac’s first appearance on It Takes Two. It’s not as though he’s going to be First Boot guys, come on. Most of the interview was spent humanising Danny by having him talking about how he nearly vomited before the show and fell over in rehearsal one time, but it’s not terribly convincing. I don’t NEED Danny Mac to be a mortal, I NEED him to be a Golden Ringah God to Will’s fusty early middle-aged theatre queen, Rinder’s mad-eyed Dark Horse, Greg’s fish-out-water SPORTSMAN learning how not to be best, and Ore’s…whatever his deal will turn out to be. Also somebody needs to get Oti to try her anecdotes out on a friend before taking them live, just saying. Their dance this week is the Viennese Waltz.
FIRST BOOTS POLL : To fill the Friday langeurs the show held a poll to determine the most memorable First Boot ever. It didn’t include the multiple Grand Slam winning tennis player, but who am I to judge?
Pro Routine Rehearsals : We’re getting a group Argentine Tango pro dance based around Romeo & Juliet, in which Oksana is playing Juliet and Gorka is playing Romeo. Oksana told us all that she thinks Gorka is a good Romeo because he is good at throwing her about. It takes all kinds I guess. It is also in this section that I discovered that Gorka’s accent makes me feel a bit…funny. The best part though was when the Dark Lord Jason Gilkison said “it wouldn’t a Strictly pro dance without props” and I LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED imagining the Internet reaction.
(Uses of Neil & Chloe on ITT so far this series : 0)
The Friday Panel : OK let’s face the facts. I felt sorry for Sara Pascoe having to try to be The Comedian on a Friday Panel where there’s 15 contestants and 10 seconds for each of them. Alison Hammond pleased me immensely by saying “babes” within 5 seconds of turning up and quite clearly wanting to ride Melvin Odoom like a Blackpool donkey. But this Friday Panel was ALL about Daniel O’Donnell
I’d forgotten just how effortlessly SHADY his most innocent statements sound coming out of his mouth. Calling Kevin full of energy when you meet him, saying how Rinder really was all out in his cha cha, saying that Melvin has a really great look, and saying that Kristina really is the best pro (not like of these new idiots they’ve got there now Zoe). He also repeatedly gets his cha cha confused with his Charleston, flirted horribly with Zoe, and closed the show by belting out Sweet Caroline. He remains an icon. Alison picked Lesley to leave, Sara and Daniel picked Ed, I’m pretty sure they’re all wrong.
Naga & Pasha : Then came on and gave probably my favourite interview of the week as it became very clear to me very suddenly that until now Pasha has always been partnered with quite sweet, bubbly, and positive people, and Naga is a sarcy cow. To put it politely. Whether it was shooting down his attempts to call her a princess, shooting down his attempts to teach her via golf metaphors, “joking” that she only listens to him 50% of the time and growling “how DARE he leave me for another woman, it’s only wk 4!” when he told the story of the dance, the Naga/Pasha personality mismatch is one for the ages, but didn’t feel antagonistic so much as like Rita And Runt. I can’t wait to see more. I also liked it when Naga said that “Online” had been very kind about her, which I suspect is her being pleased she’s been more or less totally ignored so far. Their dance this week is the cha cha.
Laura & Giovanni : Laura’s interview mostly focused on her fears at having been the one to open the series and also her having made the mistake of looking at Craig during the dance and smiling at him. Probably best not to try to crack Craig as the first one out the gate Laura, it takes a while before the act drops. Normally about when the beard starts coming in. We also spoke to Giovanni, who is having trouble understanding Laura’s accent and also in rehearsal is singing Whitney Houston songs badly. I’m getting deja vu here, I don’t know about you.
Craig’s Catty Corner : Yes they made Craig come on and do a whole apologia for having been too nice to everyone in Week 1. Zoe told him he’d given more 8s in this Wk1 than in any Wk1 before, and he promised to be mean again in future. This was also an opportunity for Craig to give his comments for Danny, which he didn’t get to circulate on the main show. He was a bit iffy on Danny’s technique generally, but did like his “Double pencil turn to the knee”. Which will also be what Carly Stenson does on Louise Redknapp in the car-park after hours following Blackpool. We were told by Craig that the judges walk on is improvised (SHOCK) and there was also some nonsense about how politicians all make great actors (yes, history shows this) because they’re so good at lying. Never mind, let’s all close out this week of It Takes Two
with the daddy.