If you keep on eliminating the best interviewees I’m going to stop doing these…
Anastacia & Brendan : After the warm gush of Lesley and Anton last week, suffice it to say that this was a slightly less collegiate goodbye. I lost count of the number of
side-eyes Anastacia was hurling Brenda’s way throughout, and it was very apparent that they were, respectively, more excited about Gorka (and the candy corn Zoe brought on as a parting gift, which I thought was a cute reference to her obsessing over it last week) and being a vampire than they were about one another. Still, Anastacia was very humble about how her jive sucked, and how in the end she felt like she was a ballroom girl rather than a latin lady. There was a lot more therapy speak (apparently Strictly is great because it represents moving on and embracing all of life apparently, I can’t say I’d noticed) and a lot more wacky faces and a lot more shouting and a lot more Anastacia. She will be missed. We added another name to the “Who Do You Want To Win?” pile as well, as Brenda plumped for Danny.
Chloe’s Choreography Corner (Featuring Neil) : YES SHE’S BACK (and so is Neil). It took a little while for Chloe to properly get the axe sharpened this week as she was purely straight up nice about Laura and Louise’s efforts, but it wasn’t long before the burns were issuing forth again, with Chloe informing us all the balance of choreography in Greg’s rumba was wrong, that Neil was wearing stupid socks, that Ed’s cha cha was a very nice effort but it wasn’t exactly SNAPPY, that Ore’s Charleston was just “bouncing around on flat feet” and that best of all Danny’s foxtrot was “very different”. I’m sure someone’s got to her and told her to be more politic after she came for a routine that got 10s and was placed by the judges in the Holy Trinity Of Jive last time, but I can still see her inner Bad Cop yearning to break free. Neil meanwhile was generally very kind, praising the way Cloudia stroked the floor with her feet in her American Smooth, and how Daisy chose to do a “sensual” paso doble. I’m sure Daisy will be very pleased to hear that. Pleased and surprised.
Backstage Gossip : We learnt that Hallowe’en is Oksana’s favourite holiday, and also were treated to Joanne sharing out “trick” jelly beans backstage, which prompted Katya, Oksana and Greg to squeal, wretch, spit and throw up all over the place, and Louise to go “ew that’s not very nice tee hee”. (Louise <3)
Claudia & AJ
Gosh is it the Inside Soap Awards AGAIN, they come around so quickly! It was never quite explained why Claudia and AJ were in full evening wear, maybe that’s just how the kids are dressing these days. A lot of the interview focused on Claudia’s impressive lifts, with AJ particularly excited about working them into a whole bunch of future routines, as he thinks it’s the secret to getting the judges to crack and give her some 10s. He does realise they’ve got the salsa and the Argentine Tango left now and that’s it? Theoretically. Their dance this week is the paso doble, and Claudia has been listening to the critiques other couples have got for their pasos and is going to try to avoid doing the same things in hers. So no forgetting the entire routine and headbutting a polystyrene dragon then? Sorted.
Daisy & Aljaz : I’m sure there are many ways that Daisy could be humanised and made likeable to the watching audience at home. I’m not sure a VT montage of her repeatedly burping in Aljaz’s face is the way to do it, but at least they’re trying now. It’s a fresher angle than Baby Warz for sure. Other than that Daisy appeared to be back on an even keel after the brown paper bag job of the results show at the weekend, talking about how much she enjoyed the paso doble and how she did it even better in the dance-off than in the main show, so really she was glad to be in the dance-off so she could have the opportunity. I’m so very sure. Their dance this week is the Viennese Waltz, and thank god because there was a rumour going round that she had the samba. She seems pleased anyway. Maybe…slightly “false sense of security” pleased, we shall see.
The Booth Of Truth The show’s exercise in mild negative branding continues, as all the pros agreed that Brendan is the clumsiest, as they have all learned from his constant attempted tricks, stunts, and general flailing and fart-arseing about, and that Pasha always comes late. To rehearsal. As does Anton. Why are you looking at me like that?
Tunes On Tuesday : Zoe opened this segment by telling us how many “sleeps” there are until Christmas, so you’re lucky I’m recapping it at all, but revealed tunes for this week are as follows. Greg and Natalie will be dancing a Viennese Waltz (just like Daisy, you feel he’s being thrown a bone there) to “You Don’t Own Me”, Danny & Oti will be doing the jive to “Long Tall Sally” (yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhs) and finally Laura will be dancing samba, on a busted ankle, to Bamboleo. I think the saddest moment of Tunes On Tuesday was when they said that they’d google-translated the lyrics to that one. ONE OF YOUR PROS IS SPANISH.
Pro Dance Rehearsals : It will be Oti taking centre stage this Sunday, as the show and Guest Choreographer Matt Flint utilise her natural sexual chemistry with…erm…Anton and Neil, apparently to build a sexy latin routine based around a Cuban street party. When will this show stop using Anton ass a sex object I find myself asking, it must be very demeaning for him.
Guest Slot For Gilkison : A flying visit for Jason Gilkison, as Zoe and indeed we all agreed that all the pro dances from this series so far have been simply marvellous and wonderful and inspired and Jason Gilkison is a marvelous man and this is the best school we’ve ever been to. Still, some insights were gleaned, such as that Zoe voted for Matt Flint to win Series 2 of So You Think You Can Dance (JUSTICE 4 ANGRY LUKE, NEVA 4GET) and that the opening routine at Blackpool this year will be a foxtrot. Members of the audience were also permitted to ask questions, such as “How do you choose who is in front for the pro routines?” (you feel there was a “AND WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE CLIFTONS I HATE THEM WHY DOES KEVIN ALWAYS GET GOOD PARTNERS WHAT ABOUT POOR…ERM…GIOVANNI?”) and “what are the three most important things for any pro dance?”. Apparently the answer to that last one is “Concept, Technique and Performance” and not, say, “Props, Guyliner And A Massive Trampoline”.
Ore & Joanne: This segment was notable chiefly for the most terrifying sell job ever seen on It Takes Two since Len had to come in and say Peter deserved to win the Dance Off with Jamelia. By the time Joanne had been done explaining her and Ore’s Charleston, the ONLY thing wrong with was the lift going wrong AND that was all Joanne’s fault not Ore’s AND also if they DID go out of time afterwards (NOT THAT THEY DID) it’s because Ore was being a gentleman and trying to stop her falling over. I feel like we ned Choreography Chloe to come in and for them to square off on that one. To a WHOLE NOTHER LEVEL. Ore meanwhile was quite happy to quite clearly just mentally write the whole thing off because he “looked like a cross between Ron Burgundy and Castaway” the whole time and really, who could even say it was him that did the bloody thing anyway. Out of a line-up? No. Their dance this week is the salsa.
Ed & Katya : Today was practically a dance party for Ed, as the show celebrated his first time not being on the bottom of the leaderboard with his cha cha! (Of course technically speaking he also beat Anastacia if you look at Week 2 alone, but that was a combined leaderboard so nobody did. Also it was due to injury and I’m sure Ed is a gentleman) He credited this to his and Katya’s continued commitment to “taking risks” (/stupid gimmicks and mucking about) and also partly to his having made up half the choreography on the spot. Poor Katya. Apparently there was one bit where he was supposed to be Michael Jackson but turned out to be Beyonce. His words there. Nobody else’s. The show also managed to touch on Ed’s current twitter “feud” with Lordalan Sugar, which will possibly end up with a sizeable charity donation from one of them, but will also likely involve Piers Morgan wading in at some point, so we have to ask ourselves, is any amount of money raised worth it? Their dance this week is the quickstep. Oh and the Blackpool push? It is begun.
Waite’s Wednesday Warm Up Even though we’re alreay at the halfway mark, Ian’s still only capable of taking on half of the couples at a time. And so it was we discovered that Laura’s samba looks like an effing mess, Greg’s Viennese Waltz is looking fine but he needs to hunch over Natalie yet, that Danny needs to pick his feet up more in his jive, and that Ore needs to focus less on partnering Joanne and make more time and space for showing off his own inner dancer in his salsa. Whether that last one was Ian or it was Anastacia it’s hard to tell.
Zoe’s Dance Card : Yet again, Zoe was taken through the history of a dance by a guest pro, and in this case it was Karen Hauer taking through the Charleston. Apparently it was seen as so scandalous when it was performed for the first time, it was BANNED in some places (see also : every single dance ever performed ever, up and including the bloody waltz)! This week’s segment had an extra frisson, as they were covering a dance Zoe herself didn’t get the chance to perform on her series, so Karen took her through her paces live. Based on the evidence…it’s a good job Zoe was never scored for it, let’s say that much. I’ve never seen such shoddy Flappy Bird work since my fiance deleted the app off his phone in a fit of pique.
Louise & Kevin : We closed with these two, and the heartwarming fact that, after several weeks of being embarassed and ashamed by their mum’s dancing, Louise’s kids have decided she’s now dead cool because she did a dance dressed as Harley Quinn (although it was, by the sounds of it, more because she was dancing with someone dressed as the Joker, Louise not even getting to be cool for herself). Yes, all of Louise’s first half of the series storylines are just sort of…ending, leaving room for her to BURST FORTH in the second half with her first passionate performance on the series this week in her Argentine Tango. I choose to remain optimistic that it can happen, and that Louise can be a performer rather than just someone doing a slightly more public than usual zumba class. Ask me to imagine her paso doble though and we might struggle. There was also a montage supposely devoted to showing Louise’s full range of exciting expressions but which mostly seemed to consist of her looking bored/annoyed/weirded out by Kevin. What sort of dance would that work in? Samba? (Also, Zoe needs to brush up on what is DC and what is Marvel is she wants that Film 2016 job full time, especially as by next year officially all films will be comic book adaptations by law)
Greg & Natalie : The battlelines were drawn tonight after the events of the weekend, with Natalie now fully ranging herself against Craig with an array of passive-aggressive missiles, most particularly her claim that her rumba choreography was actually too advanced for Craig to be able to recognise, odd that the actual expert Len didn’t raise any issues hmmm?. Greg meanwhile seemed a little quiet, but also quite cheerful, and it’s hard to reconcile his presence here with the tabloid stories that after the show at the weekend he went on a rage, flipping tables and hurling abuse, it taking four members of staff backstage to beat him off. We also talked a little about Greg’s physical limitations tonight, as Greg talked about having always been a little bow legged and Zoe asked him the question we’ve all been asking – how difficult is it for Greg to go from always running in a straight line for his day job to turning in circles for his dance this week – the Viennese Waltz. I like the idea that Greg is actually genetically incapable of moving in a curve at all, like a human chess piece.
Waite’s Thursday Thaw Down : Ian took on the remaining 5 celebs tonight, telling us that Daisy (Viennese Waltz) keeps on losing her neck, and Ed (quickstep) keeps on losing his “CBMP”. Whatever that means. Cuddly Balls : MP? In other news, despite all expectations, Louise’s Argentine Tango looks…quite good, Cloudia’s paso doble is apparently a little too light and airy, and Rinder’s quickstep so far appears to be a bit of curate’s egg – good in parts other than anything to do with his frame.
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill : This weekend Cloudia will be wearing a pink dress.
Danny & Oti : Another couple coming off a turbulent weekend here, as we got the full lowdown on what went wrong with Danny’s foxtrot. Apparently it was nothing to with the sproingy seatbelt (which Oti told us the deep meaning of, which I have alreay forgotten) but because Danny’s mind completely blanked, and Oti had to shove him around the dancefloor to keep things together. How much it takes for Danny Mac’s mind to empty out completely wasn’t gone in to, but I suspect Denise Van Outen had a really nice sandwich in the audience that caught his eye. With ranch dressing and everything. Still he and Oti have bounced back via the medium off 11hr training days (!) for his jive, an admission that was met with further political humility from Danny that of course 11 straight hours of jive training is still less strenuous than what most real people have to do for their real jobs (I’m fairly sure it isn’t).
Gethin’s Homoerotic Backstage Adventures : If you were looking for homoeroticism with Gethin this week then
you had to look at the subtext, because between a segment talking about the dating lives of the Cliftons and the Skorjanec-Manraras and Louise Redknapp sighing delightedly over how Jamie got her a necklace for her 42nd birthday, it was a very heteronormative episode indeed. Louise’s birthday was very much the focus point of this round of interviews, as she had a fit of very Barbara Good giggles over Gethin accidentally blowing out the candles on the very tiny cupcake he’d brought her, and we also learnt that Kevin bought her a massive bottle of tequilla, which Karen was encouraging her to down at 9am. Such enablers.
Judge Rinder & Oksana : The interview began with Rinder walking on to “Love In The First Degree”, which MUST be used for one of his upcoming dances, it simply MUST. Also with him insulting the audience for their dress sense, which feels very Judge Rinder. Although if you did that on ITV Daytime once you started you’d never stop really. The impeccable chemistry between these two continues, as Judge Rinder waxed lyrical about his Strictly journey and what a wonderful teacher Oksana is, as Oksana stared off glassily into space and gave every single answer through gritted teeth, like a sexy ventrioloquist’s dummy. We also learnt that tonight Judge Rinder and Zoe met Jonathan Platero – World Salsa Champion, So You Think You Can Dance 15th placer, and Oksana’s husband. Given that he looks like this an on camera meeting would have been great thx. Their dance this week is the quickstep, which they’re playing straight, for a change.
Melvin & Janette’s Cha Cha Chart Countdown : More filler here, as our first boots for the series counted down the 5 greatest entrances in Strictly history. Darcey almost taking a flier down the stairs every week did not feature. Instead we got Austin going OLE, Victoria’s flying bicycle (which EVERYONE INVOLVED HATED), Hairy Dave being pushed on on a trolley (again with things only getting on countdowns because of Clifton involvement I see you show, I see you), Widdy flapping in for her rumba, and of course DAT TIME RUSSELL GRANT GOT FIRED OF DA CANNON AT WEMBLEY. Not even in the top 3 Russell Grant entrances that one, let alone all of them in the history of the show.
The Friday Panel : Let’s use this Friday Pinal slot to pay tribute to Jack Savoretti
the least prepared guest in Strictly history. Never in the history of It Takes Two has it been so obvious so quickly that someone has never watched the show before. Copying the other panellists answers, just blandly praising EVERYTHING, saying he wants to learn this dance, whatever it’s supposed to be. The more engaged members of the panel (Richard Osman and Carol Kirkwood) ran through the usual expected opinions : Danny and Ore are contenders, Ed’s not great but trying bless him, Greg should be better at ballroom than latin, Daisy doesn’t deserve to be in the bottom 2 but we don’t care THAT much etc etc but truly it was Jack who shone most brightly for his beautiful ignorance of literally everything he was brought in to discuss. Which is why it was so great that they picked this week of all weeks to play…
Strictly Pointless A quiz in which the Friday Panel had to drag forth from the back of their brains their most arcane chunks of Strictly knowledge. Jack Savoretti clearly having never watched Strictly OR Pointless before, it was of course an utter shit show and dragged on forever. Still we learnt that Kara is the most forgotten winner, fewer people recognise Janette than several pros who left the show years ago, and that Richard Osman can easily confuse Nancy Dell’Olio for Lesley Joseph. Oh to have been a fly on Nancy’s living room wall if she’d watched that moment.
Laura & Giovanni : More fun with accents with these two, as Giovanni showed off his Irish and his…I think it was Cockney? Somewhere South East ish anyway. Judges comments were also a focus, as Laura talked about how fulfilling it was to get praise regarding her poise from Darcey Bussell THE MOST ELEGANT WOMAN IN THE WORLD, and Giovanni dismissed Craig’s concerns about Laura’s thumb positioning as being “a tiny thing in a massive bubble”. I wouldn’t like to speculate on what that might mean particularly. Their dance this week is the samba, which Laura is still claiming to know nothing about despite being this year’s SUPERFAN. Unless she’s talking on a metaphorical spiritual level I guess. What is samba really? What it do? Giovanni explained the samba via three words – energetic, sexy, and fast. I’m not surprised he went for energetic AND fast there, we all remember Georgia’s and how it nearly took someone’s eye out in the third row.
Dances From Around The World : Another installment in this semi regular slot, as this year’s most neglected pro, Chloe, went to learn how to belly dance. Perhaps an odd choice, as belly dancing is all about shaking and isolating your wobbly bits and Chloe…doesn’t have many. Although I guess what pro on this show does? I think my favourite moment was, a few seconds into dancing, Chloe shouted “I’M FITTING IN!”. Yes dear. Yes you are. *pats head*