I feel like I did a poll about what dance should be incorporated into an “athon” at some point. I feel like “cha cha” was somewhere towards the bottom.
Last Week on Strictly : due to the ongoing violence on the mean streets of Blackpool, the aftershow party became the show itself. Ore gambled, Ed played the piano, Cloudia flirted wantonly with all the backing dancers, Judge Rinder shook his arse to the Spice Girls, Danny danced on all the tables, and Greg spiked the punch and took Natalie for a running splits the whole length of the Golden Mile. Louise meanwhile was forced by Kevin to sit in the corner away from everyone else and play Game Of Thrones themed Dungeons & Dragons with Kevin and all his mates, because he spent all day painting his King Joffrey figurine just right DAMNIT!
This Week :
PARTNER SWAP TWIST RESULTS REVEALED! LOUISE HAS GOT AJ!
DANNY HAS GOT ONE OF OKSANA’S ATTTACHMENTS BECAUSE THE REST OF HER’S ON CHARGE!
RINDER’S GOT…(insert your own punchline, am I that mean, no I am not)
Imagine if they’d tried a partner swap with these two. Whatever poor lady had to try to crowbar Natalie off Greg would have ended up with life-changing injuries. It would have been like trying to get a full grown leopard inside one of those kitty carry-cages to take them to the vet.
The band strikes up, and Tess and Claudia emerge from the top of the stairs. Tess, clearly mindful of the fact that the studio has sat unused for two weeks
gives the banister a bit of a clean with her dress on the way down. Such a team-player. Once she and Claudia are on their dias, they remind us that last week Craig got his 10 paddle out for the first time this series and Greg and Cloudia faced off in an OLYMPIAN DANCE-OFF, that saw Greg go home. I have been asked by a reader to correct my assertion that this was the first dance-off between Olympians, as in Series 6, multiple time Olympic finalist Mark Foster faced off against Andrew Castle, who has sat and watched many Olympic tennis matches. Tonight? All the couples will dance once, and then we will all have to hold our collective breaths as we witness the gladiatorial spectacle that is the Cha Cha Challenge.
They look thrilled to be here to witness it don’t they?
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the samba
She may be grinning and clapping now, but as soon the cameras are off she’s getting the scissors out and cutting off that one button that still appears to be done up. STOP CLOGGING HER VISION DANNY MAC, YOU’RE STIFLING HER ARTISTRY! Tess tells us that since getting the first 40 of the series last week, Danny and Oti have been partying non-stop. I’d say it’s a bit early to start your Victory Party but…it’s Oti. She’ll probably have a bottle of Premier Cru in her hand all the way through the final.
VT time now and we open with Oti having bet Cloudia that
ok she’s small, but no way both she AND AJ could fit inside this suitcase, it’s just not possible. She and Danny are sat there talking about how magical it is that they got 40 at Blackpool, with Danny saying that all he’s ever wanted to do in his life is entertain people. That and give himself a blowie but he TRIED THAT and it DIDN’T WORK and he’s at peace with it. Entertaining others it is.
Training now, and Oti has come up with a twist on the samba that she wants to try with Danny – instead of being redolent of carnival and Rio, she wants to do a samba that’s more “jungle, ethnic, and tribal”. Already been done love, try to keep up. Danny wiggles and gyrates and swings his hips around the training room, all causing Oti to dissolve into fits of laughter. A 20something white guy trying to be “jungle, ethnic, and tribal” in a backwards baseball cap and ill fitting grey jogging bottoms is liable to have that effect on people who are actually…y’know ethnic I guess. It’s more than a little Vanilla Ice. Danny for his part gamely tells us, struggling to avoid laughing himself, that Oti has informed him she is just “celebrating the movement of my body”.
And not in the way you are sir. I see you. Take your hands off it please. To polish him up, Oti takes Danny to the “London School Of Samba”, where nobody appears to be dancing in the “jungle, ethnic and tribal” style, so I’m not sure why they’re there but given that Danny & Oti are apparently training for about 12 hours a day, maybe she just wants to get out from those four walls before she goes stir crazy. All the women there are very glad to see Danny and his wriggly hips regardless, apart from this one woman
who looks confused throughout. Maybe someone told her Ed Balls was coming?
TO THE ETHNIC TRIBAL JUNGLE!
Oh wow, two potted palms, it’s like being in the Amazon isn’t it? I love that Oti’s hair being highlighted behind Danny’s head makes him look like Krusty The Clown/Wolf From Gladiators as well. And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you
THE BODY IS OUT! Like Artem on a bad week or like Gleb on a…week, Danny is finally giving in to market forces and giving people what they want for Thanksgiving Week – lots of breast meat and a hint of fruity stuffing (hey, if we’re doing Black Friday in this country now apparently, why not Turkey Day as well?). And if Danny’s bringing the breast then
Oti’s definitely got the leg meat covered, good lord. As sambas go, everything’s writ large, which very much suits Danny’s style of dancing. There’s no subtle technique or cute flirty bouncy pauses here – every movement of the hips is massively exaggerated, every dip is done so hard it’s practically a full slut-drop, and the arms and bazongas are
flailing wildly throughout. It is abandonment on the dancefloor, and in a way not too dissimilar to what Rinder did last week. But, y’know *good*. (No offence Rindy). The only thing I’ve got against it is the end, where Danny swings Oti into the final pose, at which point she stares down the camera with more fierceness than I’ve ever seen on this before ever
and Danny pulls “Jim Carrey Ace Ventura Office Christmas Party” face. Somebody stop him.
It gets a rapturous reaction, and speaking of faces
I kind of want to make Carley Stenson Smug Face a whole separate blog entry each week. What an iconic bystander. Can we get her in a VT next week please, she clearly wants this far more than Jamie Redknapp does. I’m also very much appreciating that, once they’re over at Tess
you can see that even touching Oti’s face slightly in a hug has resulted in Danny’s face looking a bit like it’s got a port wine stain on it. The make-up department on this show do not do half measures do they? As he cleans himself up, Tess introduces the band and now, finally, unbound from Davearch’s basement of terrors and out of the shadows of Blackpool
The Man In The Hat is free to mug away to his public unfettered. Yes he has got a giant drumstick in his mouth. It’s that sort of week.
Len starts for the judges by playfully scolding Danny for being such a tease. Whatever Len, the cum-gutters were out from second 1, there was no tea…oh he means the choreography. He means they started slow and then built up. Carry on. He tells Danny that his hips were like a snake, his fierceness was like a puma, and that the whole thing was hotter and steamier than the Amazon Jungle. (Note to self : Len knows two South American animals). Bruno’s next and of course takes it to the next level, growling that he’s palpitating and hyperventilating and he doesn’t know whether he needs a doctor, a pill, a drink or a cold shower.
It was a PAGAN MATING RITUAL!
DANNY WAS A SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM!
HIS HIPS WERE POPPING OFF HIS PELVIS! This whole rant is so inspired that I think it just caused Oti to lose an ear-ring. I’m not going to pretend that I ever vote for anyone other than Bruno in the Best Judge poll at the end of the series, but he just cemented my vote with this one.
Craig’s next and says that the open shirt was a bit of a distraction, but he loved all the batucadas and the voltas and the isolations and all the technical stuff as well. More if anything. Definitely. That’s definitely why it’s getting a 10. Not the shirt thing. Darcey closes by praising Danny for all the effort he put in, and calls it a “samba masterclass”.
Up to Claud 9 they run, where everyone’s doing the arm-flailing bit, although a lot of these faces are reading
“organised fun” to me. Claudia congratulates Oti on producing a samba the likes of which we’ve never seen on the show before, because normally they’re just someone with a parrot on their shoulder bobbing up and down. Claudia’s world remains a fascinating place. She then tells Danny that he always looks so surprised to get nice comments and he replies that you genuinely never know what the judges are going to say. Especially when the title of the song (“Malaguena”) means it’s hard to make puns off it. Scores are in
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the paso doble
So moody. Tess tells us that Ore has had a rollercoaster of a series – going from top of the leaderboard one week to being in the dance-off, and then getting 3 10s at Blackpool. Yes, for those interested, Ore has by far the highest variability amongst scores of everyone remaining, although even he is just barely inside the list of the top 40 most erratic Strictly contestants of all time. (Judge Rinder is the least erratic, good ol’ reliable Rindy)
Ore’s VT starts with him saying that he never thought he of all people would end up getting three 10s in Blackpool. I mean, you also got three 10s for a dance not in Blackpool Ore, ages ago, but I guess the constant smell of vinegar and sewage made them that little bit more special. Regardless, he tells us that he wouldn’t have changed a second of his Blackpool experience, and he’ll definitely come back one day. When they make him, for a One Show piece about women’s football.
Training now, and Ore tells Joanne that there have been so many incredible pasos already this series that he definitely feels the pressure. As such Joanne says that she’s going to find a really novel and innovative way for their dance to stand out. Is it going to be a table? It’s usually a table. Or a swing. Or lampposts. Only lockers the once though, I guess because the nation couldn’t take the sensory overload of orgasmic excitement again. From here, we move on to how this is the first dance where Joanne and Ore have had to be angry with one another and
I’m only sorry we didn’t see this sooner, I’m a little overcome. Maybe if they’d done this in their tango instead of…whatever nonsense that was, I’d be a little more favourably disposed towards these two. Although I dispute this is the very first time, let’s not forget what happened in that Charleston when Joanne tried to nick his dick-lolly.
TO THE BOARDROOM!
Yes it’s a table. Great. Honestly it looks like they’re about to compete in the World Championships Of Air Hockey doesn’t it? The early part of the routine chiefly appears to be
Ore jumping about and making weird shapes as Joanne rolls about on top and under the table, flashing her knickers and pulling snarly faces. As choreographical choices go…well it definitely makes the dance stand out, I’ll grant it that much. They’re dancing to Lorde’s version of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and the clear highlight for me of this early part of the routine by a country mile is that you can see Hayley (/emogirl82) getting her life singing it in the background. Scowly faces, Mariah Carey melisma wafty hands, moments where she SEIZES the microphone with both hands. This is her moment for sure, she is this week’s queen of karaoke. Anyway, once they get away from the IKEA showroom, Ore starts to look a bit more
authentically dramatic and things start to pick up. There’s a nice dramatic build in the dance once all the posturing and tablecraft is through, it’s just a shame that it’s only about half the dance. Unfortunately also there’s a moment of weirdness in the corner where it looks like Ore has driven Joanne too close to the audience and they get stuck reversing out again.
I love mistakes you can pick up on because they force the show to use camera-angles you’ve never seen them use before. Still he recovers reasonably well and finishes out the routine strong
with an end-pose right out of an old Madonna video. Very avant-garde. I’m a little disappointed overall, because I was hoping for a trainwreck for the ages based on everything I heard during the week and instead this was just…there, really.
Once it’s done, the audience applaud and stand on their feet including
Iain Stirling, another kids tv presenter and presumably friend of Ore I have also definitely never had impure thoughts about, no sir. Once they’re over at Tess, she tells Ore that she doesn’t know where that performance came from because he’s normally such a pussy. Cat. Pussycat. Crying is manly, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, guys. Ore says that he’s not had much to be angry about during his wonderful Strictly experience (barf) but he really tried to put on a performance there.
Bruno starts for the judges, calling the routine “achingly stylish” and comparing it to Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. A film I would guess about 1 person out of 100 in the audience has even seen. Bruno then goes on to say that it really captured the “zeitgeist of now”, which is one of my favourite Bruno things ever bless him. I regret last week saying he was now redundant as a judge. I of course meant “entertainingly redundant”. Craig’s next, saying that Ore is definitely a potential quarter-finalist but he had an awkward moment in the corner and his port de bras was sloppy. On the other hand, Craig loved the jete en tournant. I think that’s Craig’s first “jete en tournant” (/JHETAY ONTUHNON) of the series. I always look forward to it.
Darcey’s next, dribbling over the curves of Ore’s upper body, and Len finishes by saying it was a dance of power and purpose, mood and atmosphere, and cabbages and kings, but he also noticed the little problem in the corner just as Craig did.
Up to Claud 9 they stalk, where we go right to ORE’S TOO NICE TO PASO, as Claudia coos over how he managed to be so scowly despite being the “friendliest boy in the world”. Judge Rinder’s face at this statement in particular is
redolent of posibilities. Ore says that he was worried at the start of the routine because Joanne was pulling a frowny face and he was worried he’s done something wrong. 10 weeks in and some of these people still need “acting” explained to them, what a series. Joanne for her part says she was biting her lip to stop herself from smiling. Ore grins that he couldn’t stay mad at a face like Joanne’s for long anyway and good grief pass the barf bucket again. Scores are in
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the waltz
I really want to just reach in through the screen and lift Kevin’s hair right off his head, like a cloche off a serving platter.
Tess tells us that it’s been great watching Louise’s Strictly transformation, as she grows in confidence with every passing week (…) and who better to join her in training this week, than the man who’s supported her every inch of the way (/mostly looked bored and confused)? Yes that’s right, it’s JAMIE REDKNAPP!
But first a VT, presumably to remind us all that at some point Kevin might have to answer to Jamie for that lift last week which seemed to have been inserted
just so he could look up Louise’s skirt. He and Louise are sat in training, with Louise telling him that Blackpool was even better in real life than it looked on the telly as a fan. What a high bar. What made it particularly special for her was getting a 10 from Len.
Look at her little face. And look at Kevin’s. A 10 from Len has long since lost all meaning for him. I think Len probably leaves one under his pillow every night before he heads off to work.
Training and, Kevin’s hair is starting to look so Robert Smith that I just checked there isn’t a The Cure jukebox musical he might be ramping up for for Musicals Week. I can just see Louise doing a ripping quickstep to “Close To Me”. Their dance this week is the waltz, which Kevin says is a very romantic dance. Louise protests that she’s not really a very romantic person, which she then demonstrates via medium of a banana flavoured burp delivered right into Kevin’s face.
Sometimes the glamour of this show…it’s just too much isn’t it? She really has been utterly Strictlified, journey over. Kevin tells Louise that he’s brought someone in to help her channel her romantic side, and she sighs that she hopes that it’s George Clooney.
It’s not. Anyway, just feel the raw sex oozing off the screen there, I swear they just singed my eyebrows clean off. Louise and Jamie spend the rest of the VT futzing around like two awkward teenagers at an Amish disco, giggling about how awkward this all is, and trying to avoid the subtext that Kevin knows what to do with Louise’s body more than Jamie does. Trying and failing.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
The story here is that Kevin has done Louise wrong, and has brought some flowers to her massive house in order to apologise and win her over. And for those of you who persist in saying that Louise is devoid of acting talent please note, her
“oh fuck, it’s you again” face here is perfect. It’s like the Bennett Sisters came by and asked her to come and do The Big Reunion for the fifth time. I’d also like to take a moment out here and now to express, after a run of not horrible outfits, how truly hideous Louise’s dress is here. It looks like one of her kids has spent all afternoon sticking their Good Behaviour Gold Star stickers to mummy’s dress as a lovely surprise and she’s just had to come out and go with it. The dance is being done to “At This Moment”, which I personally have never heard of before but which sounds like someone covering “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” at half speed. After the two innovative performances we had open the show, this is another odd one actually – not quite a waltz, but not quite an American Smooth either, as it’s mostly done in hold, but one that’s very obviously not a standard waltz hold, and contains a number of figures and combinations that look like waltz figures and combinations, but which aren’t quite recognisable. I quite like it, but then I always like when Kevin Clifton goes full force chintzy “barely repressed Northern suburban passions”
Louise is also doing a great service scanning the floor for that earring Oti dropped earlier. What a good friend. It all builds to a great big finish, complete with
Natalie Gumede style reaching out to touch the divine and
quite blatant illegal lift, which I am only highlight in Daisy Lowe’s good name of course, and then finally 9 perfect pretty princess pirouettes across the floor before one last
swoon into Kevin’s arms. Unashamedly I loved this. Maximum cheese. Also I find it amusing that Kevin choreographed a routine that clearly can be read as a man tryng to persuade a woman to cuckold her husband the week his partner’s actual husband dominated the VT.
It gets I think either the biggest reaction of the night or the second biggest after Danny, which says to me that we have a farly bolted on Final 2 here, and once they get over to the judges, Craig says that Louise always maintains standards. Yes, no unmarried women in the WI on Louise’s watch for sure. Craig then says that he was a bit concerned that her shoulders were a bit too raised “in the jazz section”.
Louise looking there like she’d quite like to raise her shoulder right into her jazz section. Darcey’s next, saying that she loved the aristry of the piece, particularly how Kevin mirrored the growing strength and togetherness of their bond by only getting into proper hold right at the very end. Well that’s one way of fanwanking it yes…
Len’s next, and starts by saying that we’ve now had three fantastic dances this evening. Oh look and there are only three slots available in the final tum-ti-tum, don’t mind me, just depositing this anvil here for safekeeping. He then goes on to say that Louise’s dance could count as one of your 5 A Day it was that wholesome and good for you. I don’t know about you, but nothing gets me sold on a dance like it being explicitly compared to eating my vegetables. Bruno closes by saying that he loved Louise’s interpretation of the song and that musical phrasing is impeccable. I mean, this is the woman who wrote 2 Faced AND Beautiful Inside, could there ever be any doubt? As little as there is doubt that
Tess’ Mr Tickle groping is now reaching horror movie proportions. THERE IS NO ESCAPE!
Up to Claud 9 they run, and Claudia tells Louise that she’s heard that Louise found this week particularly hard because it involved going back into hold with Kevin. Ouch. Louise herself says that yes, truly this has been the hardest week of them all, just because of the amount of self-control required, and then apologises to Kevin for “driving him mad” with her neuroses. Not for burping in his face though. Scores are in
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero dancing the rumba
Warm tender kiss on the cheek, or Judge Rinder receiving nutrients from Oksana’s ear-dispenser, you decide. Tess tells us that this week Judge Rinder will be doing the dance of love, which is appropriate, as he loves being on Strictly, loves learning the dances, and above all else loves having Oksana as his partner.
Mmm hmm. You can tell it’s straining every sinew in his body not to clap back “ACTUALLY SHE’S MY TEACHER, NOT MY PARTNER!” or whatever his objection to the way people talk is this week.
VT time, and it begins with Oksana asking Rinder “how do you feel about Blackpool Experience?” Rinder says that he will never forget it, even if the routine did get away from him at times. Oksana’s all ERROR PLEASE RETURN YOUR FEEDBACK FOR BLACKPOOL EXPERIENCE ON THE AGREED TRIPADVISOR SCALE OF 1 TO 5, 1 BEING THE WORST AND 5 BEING THE BEST. Honestly I think “Wouldn’t you agree Oksana?” is just because she needs formalised inputs and outputs in order to produce a response. That’s just how her programming works.
Training, and Rinder is gushy from the off, saying that he was apprehensive about the rumba, but the routine Oksana has choreographed is so beautiful and moving that he’s looking forward to it now. Honestly when I heard this on It Takes Two I was worried it was going to be something mawkish where Oksana was comforting Rindy after his husband died in a car crash or he was helping her through a miscarrage or something similarly mawkish and Dancing With The Starsish. But instead it’s just a tribute to the inherent give and take and friendship of a close mentor-manatee (that’s the word right?) relationship. To help Rinder get in the mood, he’s invited his own old teacher to assist and
you can tell from the way she enters that she’s a drama teacher right? That feels like it should be being soundtracked with an Eastenders “doof-doof” or five. Anyway, Wendy here shows Oksana lots of pictures of Robert in his days at school so they can reminisce.
This isn’t from a play, this is just how he dressed for school. Oksana looks a bit blank, but then she came out the factory looking like this, so ageing confuses her.
TO THE DANCE SCHOOL FOR DANCERS!
They’re dancing to “Lean On Me”, and let’s start with the elephant in the room here – Judge Rinder is the first openly gay man to do the rumba on this show since Julian Clary, unless you count that one time Robin Windsor did it with Lisa Riley and they made it about the semi-acrimonious dissolution of a Liza Minelli fan-club because nobody wanted to come any more, and a lot of people in this show’s audience are going to have trouble “buying it” no matter how he does it. From what I remember Erin played it straight up romantic way back when, but it’s not on Youtube and it was all so long ago I can’t remember any more. I can see why Oksana did what she did – eschewing both sexy sex and comedy for an alternative route but it doesn’t really work. Firstly because something about a lot of the rumba movements is pretty sexual at base
I had teachers who did this with their students but it always ended up with them having to take a 6 month break and having to come up with a lot of excuses about how their wives had cancer and they were under a lot of stress. Secondly because the choreography seems to present Oksana as the teacher but most of the moves seem to require her to lean on Rinder for support – it alternates between her showing him the moves to copy and him responding, which could work, and him holding her up and being a base for her body weight, which subverts the whole thing. Thirdly, Rinder’s not very good at rumba so the transition from him being frustrated at the beginning of the routine to “getting it” at the end is muddied by him not being very good at any point. The presence of the bar and his wobbly gait to be honest makes it look less like someone learning to dance and more like someone learning to walk again after a road traffic accident. Finally
this is just goofy bless him.
File this one under “noble failures”.
Once they’re over at Tess, Rinder speechifies that he may not be the best dancer, but he’s definitely got the best teacher. At this he and Oksana
embrace? If that’s the word for it. Darcey starts for the judges, saying that she didn’t really like the dance so much, because she couldn’t see the connection or story between Oksana and the judge. I think she really should have had a mortar board and a cane. Would have spelled it out much better. Darcey also thinks that he created some nice movements, and extensions, but he wasn’t really very fluid and his weight was too far back. Len follows this by saying that it wasn’t Judge Rinder’s best dance, but it also wasn’t his worst one either. Yes, I feel the Judge Rinder “EVERY DANCE IS AT LEAST THE EQUAL OF THE ONE BEFORE” storyline just collapsed under it’s own weight. Ah well. Len then sails right into telling Judge Rinder the whole thing looked too “taught/taut” and then his brain
utterly fries trying to explain which one he meant so he just retreats to “RUMBA IS HARD FOR DA MEN!”. Poor Len. (RETIRE)
Bruno’s next, purring at Rinder not to worry because “everything is beautiful at the ballet”. This appears to warm Judge Rinder’s heart and cheer him up briefly, but then it turns out Bruno was taking the piss, as he compares Judgey to both a dying swan and a funky chicken, deflating him again instantly. Who would have thought at the start of the series that it’d be Bruno rather than Craig who’d most effectively knife Rinder? It’s never the queen you expect… Craig himself closes by saying it was all very spiky and awkward and none of his body parts were working in unison with his core, but Rinder was clearly expecting this from him so none of it really cuts through.
Up to Claud 9 they saunter, where Claudia greets them by telling Rinder not to be disheartened, to which he replies very curtly that he’s not. It is comically obvious just how much Rindy is pressed here, it’s great. Claudia moves gently on to saying hello to “your teacher Wendy” who is sat in the audience and then Rinder gets very hissy and starts protesting to Claudia that he should call her MISS, not WENDY, MISS. I love how Rindy brings a lawyers exactitude of language to casual conversations that don’t warrant it and also runs it to rules literally none of us are aware of. Scores are in
Ed Balls & Katya Jones dancing the tango
Tess tells us that Ed has faced many challenges during his time on Strictly – rescuing a damsel in distress, flying in on a flaming piano, doin’ da Gangnam Style, having to sit on his hands as Anton and Brenda chat merrily away backstage about what a strong inspirational woman Teresa May is, maybe even more so than Margaret Thatcher, and say what you will about Nigel Farage at least he’s got opinions, and now most terrifying and most difficult of all, he’s going to have to pretend to be a GOOD LOOKING MAN. The scales on this one tipped ever so slightly towards “laughing at” more than “laughing with” with this one this week didn’t it?
VT now, and Ed tells us what a privlege it was to enter Blackpool by swooping in on a flying piano that on fire, as he knows that Katya and her husband Neil have competed at Blackpool many times in the World Flying Flaming Piano Playing Championships. That time when they won the whole thing by performing Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting whilst dressed in costume as Britney Spears and Kevin Federline and simultaneously playing the piano with their feet whilst juggling flaming baby dolls and bottles of tequilla with their hands? They’ll never forget it. *sniff* Katya grizzles a bit that she’s still a bit down that they’ve never impressed Craig, and he gave you a 6 a couple of weeks ago love, what more do you want? Jeremy Vine got above a 4.
Training now, and as Ed will be playing the role of a male model, Katya has brought in a genuine example of the species, Paul Sculfor. Who I know mostly for standing on the sidelines looked baffled on the last series of Britain’s Next Top Model whilst Abbey Clancy and Terry Wotsisname screamed at oneanother in incomprehensible Scouse. Paul is here to “teach Ed how to model”.
I feel like someone isn’t teaching the fine and noble art of lying around looking sexay seriously enough. In fact I’m extremely disappointed in him. It feels like this is a joke to him. He’s been through an embarassing election defeat in his life, and Yvette Cooper skipped an expenses payment so that he could afford a giant plastic dragon for this competition. And he lies there and he jokes and laughs? About being a MALE MODEL? This is serious to these guys. Danny Mac, Louise Nurding, Thingy What’s With Judge Rinder, the blonde one? THIS IS SERIOUS TO THEM! AND THIS SHOULD BE SERIOUS TO HIM TOO! Oh he’s sick of Craig giving him low marks? If he was REALLY sick of Craig giving him low marks, he would STAND UP AND TAKE CONTROL OF HIS DESTINY AND REFUSE THE COMEDY VTS. DOES HE REALISE HE HAD A POSSIBILTY TO WIN THIS? DID HE KNOW THAT ALL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM WAS ROOTING FOR HIM? AND THEN HE COMES HERE AND LIES AROUND DOING A SILLY POUT AND A FUNNY WALK AND TREATS THIS LIKE A JOKE? HE COMES IN HERE AND SAY HE CAN’T DO TANGO PROPERLY? HE DID TANGO BETTER THAN HALF THESE GIRLS IN HERE, PARTICULARLY MELVIN ODOOM WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT, WITH THE TROLLEY THING? AND HE COMES HERE WITH THIS DEFEATIST ATTITUDE AND JUST FARTS ABOUT? BE QUIET, ED! STOP IT! I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE YELLED AT A STRICTLY CONTESTANT LIKE THIS! WHEN BRUNO TONIOLI YELLS AT A CONTESTANT LIKE THIS IT’S BECAUSE HE LOVES THEM, ALSO BECAUSE HE’S A LITTLE BIT HIGH! I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU, WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU, HOW DARE YOU? LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS! WHEN YOU GO BACK TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND YOU PUT UP SOME BILL ABOUT HOUSING REFORM, YOU REMEMBER HOW YOU FAILED US ALL HERE AND YOU LEARRRRRRRRRRN FROM THIS! OH YOU STANDING THERE, HITTING KATYA IN THE FACE WITH A PLANK AND PLAYING THE BANJO INSTEAD OF DANCING, COZ YOU HEARD IT ALL BEFORE! YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE I COME FROM, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I’VE BEEN THROUGH! I SAT THROUGH WIDDY! I SAT THROUGH SARGE! I MADE IT THROUGH KATE GARRAWAY AND JEREMY VINE AND HAIRY DAVE AND FIONA PHILLIPS AND ALL OF GMTV! ALL OF THEM! I SAT THROUGH RUSSELL GRANT BEING FIRED OUTTA DA PIANO AND CAROL KIRKWOOD’S HALLOWEEN PARTRIDGE FAMILY FRANKENSTEIN RUMBA! I COULD SIT HERE AND ACT LIKE A VICTIM, BUT I GREW FROM IT, AND I LEARNT! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF! DO THE SODDING DANCE!
Someone needs to lay all that down for him I think. Y’know, in a teachable moment. (I hereby heartily apologise to the show for saying Gangnam Style was an outdated reference to hang a joke on)
TO THE CATWALK!
It’s not a very good tango. I think the male model gimmick was probably ill-advised given that it started to feel a little mean-spirited in parts. I could have done without another routine of him running his hand up and down his belly sexually. It was at least a pretty full routine of tango. I thought Craig’s face when Ed gave him his rose was
quite funny. It’s much easier to write about comedy contestants who you feel aren’t getting enough credit than it is to write about those who you think are getting adequate amounts, generally, from both the public and the judges. I think generally his jive would have been a better “high point” to go out on than this was. I hope
to God the placement of that tassle in the end-pose isn’t on purpose.
They saunter over to the judges, where Len starts by cackling that Ed Balls should be renamed “Lottery Balls”, because you never know what you’re going to get out. At least with the lottery they generally stop at 6. Marks, performances, random actions undetermined by choreography or logic, you decide what I mean by that. He goes on to say that there was plenty of tango content in there, and that whilst Ed might not always (or indeed ever) be the judge’s number 1 choice but he’s definitely the people’s champion. Not this week he wasn’t.
Bruno follows by hooting that Ed made Zoolander look like a beginner. To this all of Zoolander’s fans on the Internet start an online petition asking for Bruno to be removed as a judge due to unprofessionalism, and Ben Stiller himself posts on his twitter that the BBC personally have had Zoolander 2 removed from all inflight entertainment systems on transatlantic flights it’s A CONSPIRACY I TELL YOU, AN ILLEGAL CONSPIRACY!
Craig’s next, and jokes that Ed can give him as many roses as he likes, it’s not going to save him (remember when Gavin gave Bruno a full snog with tongues mid-quickstep? Now THERE was a bribe) – his frame was crap, his feet were floppy, his hands were splayed, it was very stompy…he could go on really. Darcey closes by saying that it started off very focused but he seemed to get carried away and lose focus from about halfway through. I think it’s safe to say that Darcey’s critiques for Ed are most consistantly the ones where literally nobody else watching was thinking that.
Up to Claud 9 they swagger, where Claudia tells him that she so admires him for at least trying to top Gangnam Style and the flying piano. Ed grins that it was especially hard given that he’s not exactly a male model really. Bless. That was the joke yes. The scores are in
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard dancing the Argentine Tango
Someone needs to pluck their eyebrows. Tess tells us that this week Cloudia will be conveying the drama of the Argentine Tango, and who knows better from drama now than Cloudia, having just been through a dance-off. How many dance-offs do you think you’d have to pass AJ through before he could act? Jamelia amounts wouldn’t be enough.
VT time now, and Cloudia said that it was nervewracking to go on first at Blackpool, because she felt it really set expectations on her to do well and get the party started, and it’s a shame she made mistakes and then found herself in the dance-off. I have to admit, she’s styling out pretty well that she went out in front of the nation without a skirt on. You’d almost think it was on purpose.
Training now, and the bad acting continues, as AJ barks at Cloudia that to prepare for the fast aggression and sharp turns of the Argentine Tango, he’s taking her go-karting. Cloudia is then all “but I cannot drive for I am only 8 years old!” and there’s a clear bit where AJ’s supposed to turn to camera and pull a face like Tim from The Office but
we only get this far into it before we WIPE to something else, so we never get to see it. I would pay good money to see it. I bet it was very this. Anyway, AJ takes Cloudia to the go-kart track and tells her to attack it like it’s the dancefloor. I mean…the cars can’t actually fly AJ, so it seems unlikely. He and she compete in a race and he laps her four times and brags about fulsomely. Yes, the dates guys invited you on where you did something they were MUCH BETTER AT YOU at so they could show off were always the best ones weren’t they?
TO THE ROOFTOPS!
Oh ok, this is a genuinely cool use of the video floor well done. Cloudia and AJ are dancing their Argentine Tango to “Cry Me A River” by Justin Timberlake, albeit a remix where it’s all slowed down and also it sounds like a drum is being thrown down the stairs every 5 seconds, and a cymbal being hurled into the audience every 7. I genuinely want to check that The Man In The Hat isn’t being rekidnapped during this routine, because someone is ceertainly really thrashing about back there. As for Cloudia?
She do do lifts. She do do lifts quite a lot. About 30 to 40 seconds of this routine is pure aerial display, with Cloudia kicking, swinging, and bundling herself around AJ in quite spectacular ways. Honestly with all the red she’s wearing and the cobwebs on her face and the rooftop theme I would have gone the whole hog here and made her Spiderwoman, why not? The stuff on the ground is also pretty good, I think because there’s a lot more control and precision required from her here than the dash-and-bash choreography that AJ prefers, especially in the latin. I think all of the remaining contestants other than maybe Louise and Rinder could benefit from slowing down their routines a bit, but I feel it with Claudia most of all. When she’s not having to do 50 things at once, she’s really rather good.
I’m still kind of only looking forward to her future dances that involve lifts.
Bruno starts for the judges, comparing Cloudia to a Red Arrow putting on a spectacular aerial display. I missed the white smoke shooting out her arse, maybe that was beyond the budget. He also thought he saw for the first time signs of a real dramatic persona developing. I feel he’s really forgetting her saucy witch there. Craig follows, saying that he felt Cloudia’s legs should have been looser in the ganchos and he felt he wasn’t really performing it like she was responding to a lead, but he loved it anyway. Yeah, I don’t envy any woman having to act out like AJ’s her romantic master. Especially in that velvet suit.
Darcey’s next, proclaiming that NOBODY COULD SPIN IN THE GANCHOS LIKE CLOUDIA JUST DID and marvelling at her, guess what, core strength, before Len finishes us off by calling it “frisky and risky”. I’m very glad that Len’s leaving before he can develop that into a thing, I really am.
Up to Claud 9 they fly, where Claudia beams about what a comeback that was (a comeback that’s about to score the same score as she got last week) (and the week before) and Cloudia grins that she really loves being moody and sultry, and at the end she went for it so hard her toes popped out of her shoes. Ah, the least spectacular wardrobe malfunction ever. Scores are in
The Cha Cha Challenge
The Cha Cha Challenge approaches, ready to TURN THE LEADERBOARD ON ITS HEAD. As long as you ignore the fact that Ed and Judge Rinder exist. It is at this point I (not for the first time) fondly remember last year, when we reached Top 7 and they did a quickstepathon, because they had faith that the remaining contestants could do a full improvised quickstep routine, zipping around the floor all together in unison, without it turning into a limb-knotting shambles. And besides the fact that neither Peter nor Kellie were very good at it, they were more or less right. By comparison, of this year, the supposed BEST STANDARD EVER I’d trust Danny, Louise, and maybe Cloudia at a push. Good job that they’re keeping everyone in pens this year then, and just making them mince up and down on the spot.
Len is here to take us through the rules :
1. Six couples compete in the Chachathon. The floor will be divided into six segments, with contestants immediately evaporated by lasers if they move out of their zone. Their starting positions on the dance-floor were determined backstage by the pros drawing numbers out of a hat. If you want to see where bias might have crept in already at this point, consider whose hat it probably was based on all available evidence from It Takes Two. (The VT illustrating this by the way features the
worst shot of Janette I’ve ever seen)
2. Halfway through, the couples will switch segments to ensure that everyone gets equal time performing right in front of the judges.
3. No lifts
(I take back what I said about Janette just now)
4. Dance proper with good technique and that.
5. The winner of the Cha Cha Challenge will get 6 points, the loser will get 1, and the rest a variety of numbers in between that no-one will check too closely because they’re too busy belming themselves inside out over who finished first and last.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Before we start, Claudia has a little discussion with Len, saying she thinks it’s very unfair that the contestants will have never heard the song they’re dancing to before they go out onto the dancefloor. Len says that this is just the way it is in real competitions, when you can only afford the one blindfolded dart-throwing song choice monkey, and they have to be somewhere else by 7. We aren’t all working to a lavish BBC budget darling. Tess asks Darcey to remind her again why the couples have to move positions halfway through, and Darcey says it’s so the judges can see them from every angle. So…two angles. That’s all their are. For some reason it doesn’t surprise me this show only operates in two dimensions… Claudia asks Bruno how to win and he basically says “don’t be Ed”. Informative.
LET’S GET TO DANCING!
So the couples are performing to “I Like It Like That” and it’s about as exciting to watch as any “athon” which is to say “not very”. Ed is obviously the worst, and Rinder is obviously the second most worstest, but other than that it’s sort of hard to tell. Based on what is actually shown on camera in close up I’d have Danny as the best, then Cloudia, then Louise, then Ore, just because when they go in close to Louise the first time she is being transparently shoved about by Kevin whilst staring at the floor. She looks a lot better in long shot (apart from one moment where she and Kevin appear to be having a prolonged cuddle) but…well the camera angles are as much of a part of the fun lottery on this show as any other. When it’s all done though, the judges have Ed out first, then Rindy, then Cloudia, then Ore, then Danny, with Louise as the winner.
It is so so fitting that the one thing Louise genuinely loses it over winning is the most boring pointless twist in the pack, this year delivered by one of the more boring dances. Meanwhile Kevin’s pattern of being utterly hosed by the “athon” one year and then beasting it the next continues. Although I suspect the person this really helped was Ore.
Here’s that new FINAL LEADERBOARD!