The Year Of The Man reaches terminal velocity.
We open with howls.
Howls of delight from everyone who’s been waiting all series to start complaining that Kevin & Karen are ALWAYS at the front of EVERY group number. Finally, 6 weeks in, truly it is their time to shine. They’re playing a young innocent Victorian couple who are having a bit of a
pash and a
muck about in a haunted mansion late at night. But lo! Who’s that moving in from the back of shot?
It’s Adam Ant! Would you be interested in hearing some new material kids?
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE GUYS, IT’S GOT TROPICAL HOUSE INFLUENCES!
Not really, Brendan is of course, as always, a vampire with evil magical hypnotic powers that put all women under his charismatic sexual spell. You’ll be surprised to hear that he didn’t choreograph this himself. It’s interesting to think, for those of us who’ve been around this show forever, that the last 13 years have seen Brenda Cole slowly age from Romantic Lead into Character Actor.
/Massive Fuck Off Panto Ham. At the biting of Karen’s neck all of Dark Lord Brenda’s Minions come spilling out of the grandfather clock and spend the next minute playing Rally 1-2-3 with an ever more frantic Kevin trying to keep him away from Karen so Brendan can…I dunno discuss with her how the 80s were a really misunderstood decade and actually the cultural highpoint of the entire 20th century. It’s all being performed to a slowed-down spookified version of “In The Air Tonight” which Kevin hilariously described this week on It Takes Two as a “sinister version”, as though the original isn’t sinister enough. Between this and “knockabout zany Amy Winehouse suburban comedy” I’m thinking Kevin has a bit of a blind spot in terms of working out what songs actually mean. There’s definitely some
arresting images I’ll give it that, even though the connection of most of the dancing to ballroom and latin escapes me.
It all ends with
Kevin broken and on his knees in front of a giant clock. Much like a variation on this theme I’d choreographed in my own head.
Once the rubble has cleared, Tess and Claudia emerge
still very much in black. Tess jokes that this is one clock that definitely should have gone back this weekend. Well yes, it’s been saying midnight for the whole of the last 10 minutes(/hours/however long that routine went on for) so yes it probably should. We’re reminded that this is the week of our annual Hallowe’en Special when things go bump in the night “like Ed fainting after he scored an 8”. Oh Claudia, the only bump going on there was the one that went up Bruno’s nose. Here are our esteemed panel now
Oh good, Craig’s wearing one of those bejewelled skeleton hands that look more like someone’s artfully laid strings of beef mince over his shoulder again. How glam. Our menu for the evening? The usual – Dance-Off, Len’s Glans, a guest performance from Laura Mvulu (a surname Tess pronounces so as to complete a triptych with “eranu” and “oovavoo”. But first?
Your Week In Greg. Still the inferior one mind.
And as usual, this is followed by
these chaps. Judge Rinder continues to be a disappointment here doesn’t he? All those facial expressions in the dances, and for the most important bit of the entire show? Nothing. What a choker. Our first couple to hit the bottom two?
Poor Daisy. To not get a Bottom 2 Bounce even the first time has got to sting a little. Hey, at least now Anastacia knows the name of the person who’s going to eliminate her in plenty of time. Give her an opportunity to get the basket of fruit with passive aggressive thank you note and free “Greatest Hits Of Anastacia” cd together. Daisy walks solemnly over to Tess and bless her but she is hyperventilating away like a mad’un. I think any last shreds of my image of her as a Holly Valance “gives no shits” type just went out the window. She’s can’t really get a proper interview out, but that’s ok, because it’s not as though Tess is capable of giving one, as she baby voices right in Daisy’s face until I’m begging Daisy to do the noble thing and eliminate herself from the competition via an act of extreme violence. Bruno does his best to gee Daisy up, telling her not to change a thing about her performance in the dance-off because it was so good, but these “Your dance was SO GOOD” speeches do always come with a silent “…so you must be REALLY unpopular to wind up here” tacked on the end don’t they?
Up to Claud 9 with our safe couples now
just imagine Ed and Katya painted yellow. They were DEFINITELY going to be Minions weren’t they? I demand a full enquiry. Judge Rinder is first to talk and he gives another little speech about how amazing and fabulous teachers are and…it’s nice when celebs have a demographic to target with their vote pleas isn’t it? I wonder if he’d had Greg’s wrist strain we’d be hearing weekly sermons on the wonders of doctors and nurses and our wonderful NHS (wouldn’t you agree Oksana? Much better than that terrible health system wherever it is you come from Bulgaria or whatever?). Greg follows and Claudia asks him how he’s going to come back next week. He doesn’t say (as is the truth) “by getting given a waltz bloody finally!” and instead says it’s very hard to get the exact same score for a dance he really loved as he got for that cha cha he did last week he couldn’t have been less arsed about, but with determination and Natalie and the public behind him, he will carry on somehow.
Cloudia’s next, and Claudia reveals that she’s back in training this week because the British Gymnastic Championship are coming up. Cloudia’s
transparent glee at being scheduled for a competition where she gets to be the Danny Mac and kick everyone’s arses from the off is transparent. Finally Claudia gives Ed her congratulations for not being bottom of the leaderboard for once and asks how it feels. He thanks hair and make-up. NEVER going to answer the question he’s asked is he?
Next a performance from…
who’s that? Get out the way mate, I don’t know who you are. It’s all very well when a Pasha or an Aljaz gets in your way but it appears a rogue audience member has decided to join and this will not do. Sit down sir, you’re getting in the way of me appreciating a performance from…
Charlie Brown? No, of course, it’s Laura Mvulu, honorary recipient of the Radio 2 “we will get this woman over or die trying” award last held by Rumer. It’s an honour. She’s here to do a haunted house version of “Ready Or Not” by The Fugees which wasn’t really a song that leant itself to a vocal powerhouse performance originally and which promptly falls to bits when Laura tries to add West African vowels and a funhouse organ to it. It feels very much like some producers went to Laura’s agent and said “now we’ve booked your client for the HALLOWE’EN SPECIAL, so we want a song that sounds a bit, y’know, spooky-scary” and Laura’s agent said “well she does a cover of a song that sounds a bit stalky sometimes, will that do?” and the producers said “yeah why not, to be honest mate this is the piss-break portion of the show anyway”.
Sound mixing was terrible as well, whilst we’re at it.
Once that’s over with, the judges dance on for Len’s Glans to the tune from Ghostbusters. At which point 50,000 manbabies cry that their childhood has been ruined by the sight of Bruno Tonioli waging his crotch around, is no space free from the terrors of the progressive agenda, what there have to be GAY ghostbusters now, and the entire show gets taken off air until someone can find Len’s blanky from the main show to wrap around them. I mean, I’m not complaining, it’s Len’s Glans, take the whole thing off air to be honest.
We start with Len and Craig being thrown over the balcony.
In a dodgem sadly. Apparently this is the first time they’ve ever had Len do wirework on the show.
Next up, this segment becomes more and more like a foot fetishist’s forum as we zoom in on Cloudia
doing toe and heel leads at the appropriate ponits in her American Smooth. Len tells us that unless we’ve done ballroom, we truly do not understand just how difficult and technically impressive that was. Or indeed care. Darcey’s up to bat next, taking us through the spectacular errors in Danny’s foxtrot. I have to say, watching foot faults in a foxtrot in slow-mo is hardly as exciting or entertaining as watching Ed Balls nearly kill a woman with his bare hands or Ian Waite fall flat on his arse in a showdance.
It does look a bit like he’s kneeing Oti directly in the fanny though, that’s quite fun.
Craig follows up and has to say how brave and courageous Judge Rinder was to do knee walks in his paso doble. I have to say, I did enjoy Rindy’s paso, but I have my limits. Finally Bruno is given the opportunity to wax lyrical about his girl Laura’s tango, and he seizes the opportunity with both hands. Poor guy, last week must have been even tougher for him than it was for Laura. Although not for the rest of us who had to sit through a show where the dramatic highlight was Louise Redknapp almost dry-humping The Eiffel Tower. Oh yeah, and Ed Balls made some noises in his cha cha but I’m sure we all remember that right? In our nightmares.
Gosh didn’t they get Kevin’s Joker make-up back on quickly after that dance at the beginning of the show, Mrs Ant really can work wonders can’t she? This leaves a non-Bottom 2 Bottom 2 of Danny and Anastacia and
even Anastacia’s like “well duhhhhhhhhhhhhh” when it’s revealed she’s in danger. Tess asks her, once she’s recovered from the shock, how she feels, and Anastacia replies that she’s feeling like she didn’t do kicks and flicks in the routine. Hun, you could have kicked, flicked, flipped, flic- flacked, backwheeled, cartflipped and done St Jill’s Holy Jive backwards in high heels and you’d still be going home. Darcey’s asked her advice, and she tells Anastacia to pitch her weight forward and get it onto the balls. Of her feet, Brenda’s, or Ed’s, it’s hard to decide really isn’t it?
Back with our safe couples and
much play is made of the fact that Joanne is stuck between Ore and Laura, the two biggest emotional basketcases on the show. Poor woman. Laura spills out the usual bits about how the standard is really high this year (LIES) and we should just scrap the eliminations and not send anybody home (do you want to go and ask Brenda about that hen?). Ore is asked how he feels about having the salsa next week and he says that he’s very glad because he doesn’t have to wear
ALL OF THIS CRAP ANY MORE. You can see on his face the moment when he realises that the people who put him in all of that crap will be applying his make-up and costumes for the remaining 7 weeks, and he needs to backpedal. And then he does backpedal, and it is glorious.
Danny is turned to next, and asked about his muck-up in the foxtrot, and he basically says “oh well, it went wrong, there’s worse things that happen in the world than mucking up a foxtrot, let’s move on”. On the one hand, admirable perspective, on the other, easy for him to say when he’s sat in a demographic that historically has had to commit attempted vehicular manslaughter to hit the Bottom 2 before about Week 10. Claudia asks Oti if she has thinks Danny can bounce back next week, and she replies that of course he can, she already known he’s bouncy. Presumably from when she shoved him down the stairs for messing up. Finally Louise is told she’s on Argentine Tango next week.
She could have used that face for Harley Quinn it would have made for a WELL more convincing basketcase.
After a brief advert for It Takes Two we’re back
with our Women In Peril. This whole bit now is a bit like a late 90s dating chatroom where the same women keep on coming back week after week but find no eligible men there so just end up talking amongst themselves instead. There’s rumours there was one guy there ages ago, but his connection dropped before he even got started. Anastacia says she’s really looking forward to kicking and flicking her way through meatloaf, which sounds like a Channel 4 cookery vehicle for Heston Blumenthal gone very wrong. Claudia then asks Brendan for his advice for Anastacia, and he says that he has advice for EVERYONE. They should ALL just do their best performances possible and see what happens. Well
the predictable, really. (Daisy also gives a mini interview but it’s just her promising to be tough and strong and brave so you’re not missing anything).
Anastacia has a quick hug and giggle with Daisy & Aljaz before running over to Tess (I know people have said it looked like Anastacia gave Daisy short shrift in the big goodbye hug at the end but
here she is all up in her face like a slightly blind great aunt telling you you WILL find a man some day) and once there is asked to say what her Strictly highlight was. Brendan shouts “DON’T SAY DANCING WITH GORKA A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA NO REALLY HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA AHA HA HA”, but Anastacia replies that it was in fact “getting to know her female”. And yes I *know* that she’s talking about rediscovering her femininity and her sexuality in the wake of a double mastesctomy, and yes I *know* that that is a very serious and daunting thing to go through and I am fully behind Anastacia in doing this show and talking about her journey through cancer and raising awareness for her chosen charity and that’s all great but she still said the words “getting to know my female” and that is still a funny turn of phrase even knowing all that. Can we at least agree that Anastacia bellowing out “IM NOT OUTTA LOVE WITH STRICTLY UK YEAH!!!” right down the camera lens as her parting words is amazing right?
Right? With jazz hands?