Ed Balls stops just short of Number 10 yet again…
We open with
this shot. Don’t ask yourself why the BBC have sent two grown men to commentate close-up on a School Sports Day. It’s not even set in the 1970s! The dance this is preceding is an athletics themed Charleston, centred around Gorka as the Master Of Ceremonies
with his whistle out, looking a little like Gareth Bale. He’s the centrepiece of the routine, presumably as it being a smiley-riley Charleston lets him demonstrate to us all just how effective his dental work was after getting duffed up in Blackpool (Brenda’s Digital Spy blog about how quiet and withdrawn Gorka was in the days after the attack made me so sad. If only someone had been there to wrap a warm comforting hand around his shoulders. Yes shoulders). Around him are all the other eliminated pros, taking this opportunity to burn up all the props that Will had been lumbered with if he’d not quit to spend more time talking his dog. At the centre of the story of the routine is a burning rivalry between Pasha and Neil. They compete in the
the sack race (Pasha’s probably winning there, he has been there longest)
and that Olympic event where you and your partner repeatedly wrap one another’s legs around your heads. I think the synchro divers at this year’s games did that a lot. Or at least they did in my head. Who comes out on top between Pasha and Neil we never find out, as we zoom away to Janette beating off four of the male pros at once in a Tug O War, Anton falling over on a trampolene and Gorka transparently missing a hula hoop thrown at him but nobody correcting it, because let’s face it, who’d sit through this again?
No matter who won medals at the Strictly School Sports Day, can we all agree that
we’re not even giving Participation Prizes to whoever dressed Tess and Claudia tonight, as they clearly just did not turn up. They thank our pro dancers as per usual, and then remind us that last night was a night of firsts. It was the first Cha Cha Challenge, the first time a samba has ever scored 40 on Strictly (leaving just the rumba pure and unsullied until Cloudia shocks the world in the semis as she pops its cherry and AJs at the same time in the same dance), and the first time ever that Joanne has ended the night under the table. She’s a good girl she is. Honest. On tonight’s menu? Len’s Glans, the Dance Off, and Special Guest Star Ellie Goulding.
YOUR WEEK IN A THOUGHT-PROVOKING SHOT OF DANNY’S ARSE GOING UP THE STAIRS BECAUSE THERE WAS NO GREG!
Still, we’ll always have these
I think those are the perfect two pictures to express the difference between Danny/Oti and Louise/Kevin as partnerships aren’t they? It actively looks like Kevin is having to hand-crank a reaction out of Louise meanwhile Danny is spraying it up Oti with a firehose. This leaves Ore, Claudia, Rinder and Ed hovering on the edge, before Rindy is
shoved over. Is he getting another snack from Oksana’s ear-dispenser there, I guess it’s a hungry business all this standing around. He goes over to Tess and she asks him how he’s feeling, to which he says he just wants to do his best for Oksana, using some word in Russian that I’m not even going to try to transcribe. A new can of oil should do it. Darcey is then asked her advice, and really this is one of those weeks where we’re all just saying “pray it’s Ed Balls or you’re boned” over the top of whatever it is she says. In this case it’s to do a better job of telling the story of the routine. Get a chalkboard out. Maybe a gown. Dartboard with Michael Gove’s face on it. Set the scene. Len is asked for his advice next, specifically how Judge Rinder can make himself less taut. Poppers normally isn’t it? Jalapeno poppers, from Dominos, always get me loosened up and relaxed, so tasty, what are you looking at me like that for?
To Claud 9 now
and it’s RINGERIFFIC. Claudia tries to get both attendees to look excited by the propsect of being quarter-finalists, but it’s a bit of a struggle. Claudia then asks Danny what life is like for him now, and if people give him free things in the street because of his amazing Charleston. Like Oti lets him walk the street. It’s black bag over the head at the end of the training week and it doesn’t come off again until he’s in the studio. Even bathroom breaks she chains him to her. Danny says that everyone’s lovely to him, which is great for him – I had a Cloudia fan call me a moron the other day for saying Greg did better in the dance-off, where’s my sympathetic ear? Claudia then turns to Louise and asks her if she’s going to become really competitive now. What do you think Claudia? She’s saving all her real competitive energies for next year’s Celebrity Channel 4 Bake Off, where I can give you now the exclusive spoiler that she bites June Sarpong’s ear off for accidentally disturbing her blackberry macaroons. Louise then accidentally shades every other cast of Strictly ever by saying that she knows everyone says it every year, but this year they really mean it when they say that they’re all best friends now. Lisa Riley and Tracey Beaker don’t even text no more, but the love between Anastacia and Naga Munchetty will never die fam.
Next up, I have to praise the raw chutzpah of the show cutting directly from Claudia going “AND NOW, ELLIE GOULDING!”
Kevin sprinting on with Karen wearing a completely different outfit. And the raw chutzpah of Kevin and Karen in their part choreographing yet another “Strictly Pros Do Contemporary” routine when they never go down well, and always end up looking like…
well, like this. Listening to the song it’s hard to tell what Propah Ballroom Dance you could do to it but they could at least have had a go rather than jerking about like toy robots with the remote controls left in the hands of particularly sticky fingered toddlers. The raw chutzpah of Ellie Goulding claiming she hasn’t had lip fillers we’ll leave for another time.
Because we’re got
LEN’S GLANS to investigate. Just…”poor Mrs Len” all over that picture isn’t it? We start with the man himself bigging up Ore’s paso doble, giving us examples of the exciting shaping he said that he’d never seen the likes of in Strictly before.
Ooooh ahh etc. He explains to us that in the part we’re seeing the man is playing the part of the matador, and the woman is playing the part of the cape. Some of us have been here for nigh on 14 YEARS now Len, give us some credit. Or at least get Nancy in to explain it again. Furthermore, he stands up to give a physical example of a matador and his cape.
If that hankie starts billowing up in funny shapes, I’m leaving.
Darcey takes us through Cloudia’s lovely lifts, and then Claudia ambushes her by asking why Cloudia hasn’t got any 10s yet. Well Claudia, if she’d just not made that one tiny mistake in her jive last week… Anyway the audience clap and cheer and “WAH WAH WAH WHY HAVEN’T I GOT A 10 YET I AM ENTITLED” is my least favourite storyline ever since Tom Chambers pioneered it way back in Series 6 (and Gethin a bit, but I *liked* Gethin) so let’s not. Cloudia’s average score at the moment is sitting somewhere around Kelly Brook’s and quite frankly Kelly could kick Cloudia’s arse with one hand and one foot tied behind her back. Darcey produces some wiffle about needing to feel the drama and passion between her and AJ ooh look who’s probably got rumba and/or tango coming up in her dance draw in the not so distant future I smell a breakthrough.
Craig’s next up, showing us all what he meant when he told Louise off for her hunchy shoulders in the Waltz.
Len and Darcey both protest that that is a perfectly valid stylistic choice within Cliftonography and she still should have got a 10 for sure they were right. Bruno tries to demonstrate what they mean by wafting his arms all over Craig,
to which Craig snaps “NO ONE LIKE A NO-NECK DAHLING”. Well that’s him told. Bruno closes by praising Danny’s Perfect Samba, and as usual with these things
they’ve slow-mo’d the part of the routine where Danny kept on swinging his arms about a beat or two after he was supposed to stop. Baffling. STOP HIGHLIGHTING THE BITS WHERE IT WENT WRONG IN SLOW MOTION IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO MENTION IT GUYS! Bruno calls it the best male samba on Strictly ever which…did it have Mark Benton dressed as a lion and Iveta doing that “Here’s My Vagina” leg-lift on the imaginary planes of the Serengeti, no it did not. Now there was a tribal ethnic African samba.
Only one of these next.
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the cum-faces of our lives. This leaves Cloudia and Ed waiting to see which of them is taking a dip and
surprisingly enough, the dream is over. I have to admit, part of me, whilst long past enjoying anything much Ed did, was hoping that he would manage to beat Widdy’s placement of 6th. A dark part of me. But it was not to be. Ed walks over to Tess, as the audience are giving him his goodbye cheer already, and we’ve still got 15 minutes to go. I’d say that this highlights that the dance-off is a pointless suspense free waste of time but…don’t most weeks? Ed tells Tess that his tango was a fabulous dance (it bloody wasn’t) and he’s really looking forwards to do it again. When asked for his advice, Bruno tells Ed to keep the entertainment value high whilst improving the clarity and sharpness of his footwork, and when asked if he can give Ed a boost before facing his first dance-off, Craig says “no”. Fair enough really. He then tells Ed that he’s secretly really enjoyed his dancing but don’t tell anyone shhhh it’s a secret. Craig’s breaking character too much these days, make it stop.
Back to Claud 9 now and
God bless Cloudia’s face here. Is this her trying to have “chemistry” with AJ I worry it might break her. Claudia then turns to her and asks her if she’s desperate for a 10. She says that she is but she doesn’t know what she’s got to do to get them. If it’s Darcey? Tongues at least. Ore then gets to drone on for a clear minute about how the Strictly family is whittling down and he can sound as sad and wistful as he likes, it’s quite clear that Joanne
has her eyes on Great Aunt Antonia Du Beke’s inheritance. She reveals that next week Ore will be doing a foxtrot dressed as Willy Wonka. Can I have a promise none of the sweeties are going down his pants this time?
Oh and as it’s Musicals Week next
here’s yer VT of all the celebrities singing an original song, composed especially for his VT. In it we learn that, as much as they’ve more or less fulfilled their duties as RINGAHS on the dancing front, our West End Star and Pop Princess…might want to work on the vocals before they punt for a role in the UK transfer of Hamilton.
Back to Claud 9
one last time now, and both of our remaining Underdog Males deflating at exactly the same time has certainly taken a lot of the air out of the series itself at this point hasn’t it? Claudia asks Judge Rinder how much he’d like to stay, and he says that it’s more than words can say, especially for Oksana’s sake given all the effort she’s put it. Oksana says that she loves him too and Rinder’s all “hang on a minute, I didn’t say “love” exactly. Tess then asks Ed how he’s going to attack the dance-off, and he says that Katya has made sure every routine they do is full of dance content whilst also being entertaining. THAT’S NOT THE BLOODY QUESTION. God I will not miss that. You’re going home Ed, save the talking points to the party faithful for another time.
They’re so quick about it when it comes that the third glitterball doesn’t have a chance to emerge fully, so yes Rinder is stood there looking like the third member of Cameo.
The whole studio gives Ed a standing ovation for his departure, whilst up on Claud 9 you can see Kevin thinking
“bet when I get a duffer next year I get her all the way to at least 5th, yeah, Princess Anne, bring it on”. Ed says that if we’ve all had half as much fun watching him as he’s had learning then we’ll all have had a blast, and tells us all that Katya is going to be a dynamite knock-out star in future Strictly’s and go on to greater things. I mean…it took Kristina a few series after Sarge but I guess she got there eventually. Katya then cries flipping everywhere.
It’s quite sweet.