Our first ever Olympic Dance-Off!
In all the ways the ghosts of Jameliagate will be evoked this evening, I’m not sure I needed the show
trying and failing yet again to produce a clean-cut 50s/60 themed jive. The theme here is the Corny Collins Show from Hairspray, and therefore yet another number from the Musicals happening outside of Musicals Week, making the point of it less and less obvious as we go on. Other than to keep backing dancers in work I guess. All the pros are on the floor, whilst the celebs play the band – Louise, Danny and Cloudia singing, Ed as the announcer and tambourine player, Greg on drums, and Rindy plucking away on the Double Bass. Hopefully he’s in training to take over from The Man In The Hat when he finally launches his coup, takes over the band, and frees them all from the tyranny of Davearch forever. Anyway, the dance goes well enough when it’s just the pros on the floor swinging one another around and gurning but at some point some bright spark decides to
unleash everyone out on the floor at once to haphazardly jive about and it becomes a bit of a mess to be honest. I think my favourite part is probably the “role call” part of the song, just because this
is the closest I’ve seen to a true successor to the Shake N Vac woman this century. Truly, Strictly has put the freshness back in Louise’s life. Oh and also, it’s impossible to capture at any decent resolution due to the sheer volume of colours and movement going on but trust me
Natalie face for the ages.
Once they’re all done it’s time for our two hosts to model the latest Blackpool couture.
Tess having nicked that off the floor of a fortune teller’s tent just outside the Pleasure Gardens. Claudia meanwhile says that she’s just missing a couple of things to complete her ensemble – a stick of rock and a live donkey. As opposed to the usual pre-recorded braying ass this show normally trades in. Tess takes us again through the highlights of last night’s Blackpool – Peter Kaye, the flying piano, the first 40 of the series, our last chance ever to view Gorka’s beautiful smile before some thug beats his face in… – and previews tonight’s highlights – Rick Astley, Simple Minds, a group routine based around the forthcoming wedding of Charles and Diana in which Natalie plays Lady Di and Anton Prince Charles, and Su Pollard guests to give us a preview of next week’s episode of Hi De Hi. THIS WEEK SHE MIGHT FINALLY BECOME A YELLOWCOAT YOU GUYS! Oh and Len’s Glans. The “woo” Len gives to preview Len’s Glans here is so eerie
I can’t help but share it. Terrifying.
YOUR WEEK IN GREG! Quake in fear, quite right too. Such a powerful man.
And after that the first, and ever decreasing, round of these.
Only two, what a swizz. Dropping into the Bottom 2 are
these two, firstly, meaning that unless the vote is being done entirely amongst James Jordan’s twitter followers, and Louise is somehow Bottom 2, Cloudia will get to be the first one to dispatch one of the Underdog Men who have so dominated the middle stages of the competition. What an honour. She and AJ walk over to Tess, who asks Cloudia what’s going through her head, being in the dance-off on her first trip to Blackpool. Cloudia says that she’s just going to try not to make the same mistake as she did last time. Unfortunately she does not mean “not wearing a skirt”. Tess asks Craig for his advice, and he tells her that she is DANCING TO SAVE HER LIFE (jesus, calm down), so she should show some more personality and fix her mistakes. Also PUT A BLOODY SKIRT ON. Len also tells her that her dancing was perfect other than just the one mistake and really, is anyone buying this? Are they expecting us to be too distracted by
AJ’s terrifying trilobite hair helmet to question the truth of these statements? It’s like a crash helmet made of hairspray and keratin. Len also tells Cloudia that she shouldn’t be in the dance-off, which I feel like they say every week now. At least this time there are people he marked lower than her I guess.
Over to Claud 9 and our saved couples now
Remember when the major storyline was the series was pitching these two up against one another? That feels done now doesn’t it? Sorry Ore. Claudia talks to Danny first, congratulating him on getting the first 40 of the series and revealing that one day this week he trained 11 hours straight, so it was all worth the effort. Jeez, I think that’s the same amount Peter Andre trained in total for the entirity of last series. Danny replies that you need to put the hours in to learn the dance (unless you’re Louisa Lytton who mostly improv’d her jive on the spot lest we forget) and he credits it all to Oti. Oti’s all
“damn right you do, imagine if you’d got Karen”. Ore, when his turn to speak comes, bigs up Blackpool and says that Joanne’s been talking about it since they were partnered up at the Launch Show. Not that she was getting ahead of herself or anything. Claudia then tells Ore that he just set the record for the highest Viennese Waltz score of the series, and looking who is left to dance it, he’s probably going to keep it.
Simple Minds sing “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. During the performance, Daisy wanders across the stage sadly waving to the crowd, but the cameras miss her every time.
This is followed by Len’s Glans, which is heralded this week by a shot of something
squishy, pink and round bouncing off Len’s forehead. As I said earlier, Bruno, wait for the wrap party. We start with Len talking us through Louise’s paso and
it’s in this moment that I think that, whilst I’m sure everyone was very glad Louise had “traditional” paso music (ie not traditional at all but it was played on a violin and sounded dead classy and that), it really would have been an even more epic performance if it had been done to “Prince Charming” by Adam & The Ants. Also what the bloody hell are Kevin’s hands doing there. Is he doing shadow puppetry of a rabbit getting a bikini wax? Len sighs that there’s just something about Blackpool paso dobles. Yes, it’s that you spend the half the show’s bloody budget on them and then shove poor Rindy out there on a trolley cart with some fake neon feathers and left over groceries sellotaped to it to Spice Up Your Life. Darcey is next, talking about Ore’s massive unstoppable fleckerl, with everyone stressing just how difficult it was to do.
I don’t really care if it was difficult, it was BORING. It would have been difficult for him to sit in the middle of the floor picking up individual grains with chopsticks between his toes for 22 seconds, and I wouldn’t have wanted to watch that either. Darcey also mentions what a mess it made of his head positioning, but she explains it away by saying it was cute, before we watch her
berating Craig for only giving it an 8. On the one hand no way was it a 10, on the other, no way was it worse than Cloudia. I do love these occasions when I can be on the side of none of the judges, it’s great.
Next up it’s Danny and Oti, who Craig gets to go into raptures over seeing as he gave them his first 10 of the series. The slow-motion also gives me the opportunity to notice that
whoever choreographed this seems to have worked in a sexual assault going on in the background. I guess when you have the fame of a Strictly Blackpool Backing Dancer, women will let you just walk up and grab them by the pussy and nobody cares. That’s what STARDOM does. Finally we all have a gawp that Darcey’s reaction to Craig giving Danny a 10, which means that Bruno sadly doesn’t get to talk about anything this Len’s Glans, for shame.
Back to the floor now for the last couple of these
I think that’s the first time Judge Rinder has really reacted at all, God bless Oksana for doing absolutely nothing. This leaves Greg staring down Ed for the last automatic slot in the Final 6 with
Ed scraping on by yet again. Someone find where I made the prediction I made somewhere around Week 2 or 3 that Greg would finish in the exact same spot as Michael Vaughan I want it framed and delivered to my quarters. Anyway, rather than following Greg and Natalie on their walk to the Judges Table, the cameras jump to the judges
presumably in an effort to catch them looking pissy to fuel some sort of asinine “THE ESTABLISHMENT VS ED BALLS” nonsense storyline. Have some respect guys. Len just watched his hopes of leaving on a SPORTSMAN victory go down the drain, give him some space. Greg tells Tess that he’s going to sieze this opportunity to correct everything he got wrong before Bruno gives him his advice – to keep the joy in his performance whilst making it all a little more graceful – all whilst wearing a smile that tells Greg not to sweat it
he’s saving the cute little Italian gymnast with the partner straight out of Bel Ami regardless. Darcey meanwhile tells Greg to try to tame his natural power and exuberance. Natalie’s on the other hand, she’s not touching.
We return to Claud 9 now to find
Kevin and Louise mid casual chat, whilst Ed checks out a fried egg stain on his tie and Katya sits there counting down the seconds until she can get off and change into something that doesn’t make her look like a dolly bird on Cheggers Plays Pop. Claudia talks to Rinder first, returning to the in no way beaten dead theme that he’s the only celebrity whose score has never decreased week on week. Yes, in a way that’s starting to feel increasingly phony, storylined and manipulated. Rinder’s all “yeah, woo, teachers and that” as seems to be the way with him on the live show now. Claudia then turns to Louise and tells her that she’s the sweetest girl she knows (SHE’S 42 CLAUDIA) always handing out biscuits and knitting patterns and copies of Bella magazine. It’s then revealed that Louise has the waltz next week, which should be a thrill an hour. Finally Claudia tells Ed that he’s somehow through to week 10 having just scored 23 for a jive which was mostly him jigging on the spot, now would he like to take this opportunity to stare down the camera in a frankly creepy manner and thank all his fans for getting him through to dance another week.
Next, we’ve still got time to fill, so singing another new song is
Rick Astley, complete with some very subtle video messages I guess to remind the pros to all run on and
do a bit before jogging off again. It all sounds a little bit Jesusy for my tastes, but if Rick follows Anastacia as the Blackpool performer who does the show next year I wouldn’t complain, because there’s always been something basically likeable about Rick Astley to me. He reminds me of a young Daniel O’Donnell in a way. And let’s face it, if it is one of them it’ll be him, because yer man from Simple Minds sounds like he couldn’t go for more than 20 seconds on the dancefloor without losing a lung.
Again, after a brief pause for an advert for It Takes Two, we’re back in Claud 9, with the last moments of our two couples in jeopardy
Claudia looks down on Cloudia, because she didn’t win any medals, but she looks up to Greg, because he has won a bronze and a gold medal. Claudia asks Cloudia if there’s any part of her that’s looking forward to doing her jive again, and Cloudia’s all “YEAH THOSE BACKING DANCERS WERE ‘MAZIN!”. I wonder if this year will see our first romance between a celeb and a random background prop dancer? It’s one way to try to get yourself onto the main roster I suppose. Greg for his part says that he’s been spending so much time with Natalie, every day, only her, training the dancers and really becoming closer and closer friends. I think it’s a good thing that this ended here, as much as I’ll miss Greg, not because I think this
would have ended in adulterous sex but because I think it might well have ended up in a Heavenly Creatures “half brick in a sock” murder of an authority figure who just DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THEIR CONNECTION. Here it is ending anyway.
Plink. (Greg substantially outdanced Cloudia in the dance-off by the way, but THAT’S BLACKPOOL DANCE-OFFS I guess). Cloudia and AJ hug in safety whilst her mum weeps
and her dad makes a mental note to get the names and addresses of everyone present tonight from Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig later. HIS DAUGHTER’S NOT DATING TIL SHE’S 23 AND IT CERTAINLY WON’T BE NO BACKING DANCER WHEN SHE DOES.
Natalie and Greg?
Just stand there and cry on one another for the next three hours. What a pair. What a team. What a false dawn for Natalie yet again.