The pocket rockets return to Earth.
(Hello, Steve here again. Chris has been working very hard on Saturday’s recap all day and he’s a little bit unwell so I’m taking charge of this one to give him time to have a well-earned rest.)
Cloudia & AJ : There weren’t masses of surprises in Cloudia’s final interview, consisting as it did of mostly the same stories we heard on Sunday about Cloudia growing in confidence and becoming a different person through the competition, punctuating each sentence regularly with “rilly rilly” which I fortunately find rather endearing. This is probably why almost half of her segment was given over to a lengthy best bits montage, which was mainly interesting to view as AJ: A Series In Hairstyles. The most interesting part actually came at the very end of the interview, when Cloudia got a bit choked up and talked about how her entire identity for the last 12 years has revolved around being a gymnast, and that’s why she’s really enjoyed being something other than a gymnast for the last few months, and having a new person in her life other than her parents and her coaches. Then she cried, and so did I.
Backstage Gossip : Ore says that it’s “got weird” now that he and Danny are the only boys left. Have at it, slashfic writers!
Len Goodman : Honestly it’s a miracle I recapped this at all considering that his intro consisted of Zoe telling us that Len has spent the last 13 years “entertaining the nation with his wit and charisma” – I nearly cancelled my TV licence there and then. After an intro package consisting of Len screeching YUM YUM PIG’S BUM PICKUW ME WAWNUTS ARF A SIXPENCE KNEES UP MUVVER BRAHN at various points over the past 14 series, we did at least get a reminder of Len’s first appearance on the show back in 2004, back when he actually talked like a human being.
He still went on about lifts all the time, even then. (Also, I didn’t start watching properly until series four, it’s amazing to me that Bruno sat on the left in series one. On the left!) Len admitted that he thought Strictly would never catch on, that all of the celebs would be shit and that no one would care about ballroom dancing anyway, and that he thinks the BBC were brave to put it out on Saturday nights – he would’ve put it “Wednesday after Newsnight” first to see how it got on. Imagine Brucie having to stay up that late. Randomly, Len selected Judge Rinder’s cha cha cha as one of his favourite dances of the series (??) and said that he doesn’t mind who takes over from him but he’d like it to be someone from the world of ballroom and latin, because no one else on the panel has that background. Darcey is from classic ballet, Craig is from musical theatre, and Bruno is “from pop videos”. I’m definitely adding that to my list of euphemisms to explain Bruno’s behaviour in future: “I see Bruno’s been on the pop videos again.”
Danny & Oti : You will be no doubt surprised to hear that Danny spent last Saturday night in a constant state of nerves which were apparently exacerbated by all of the show’s staff around him being calm and professional and helpful and attentive. How rude of them. Maybe you should have been here in Series 7 made you would have been given half a sandwich and shoved through a spray-tan booth backwards. As much as Danny was scared (again, some more) at the prospect of messing up, spare a thought for Oti, who did that running jump off the end of the pier in their American Smooth with broken contact lenses, meaning she couldn’t see a ruddy thing. She just keeps on finding new ways to win my heart. Otherwise whilst Danny expressed sorrow at having been in the dance-off, especially in the semi finals, he also said that at least this means he’s had the full Strictly experience. I guess that’s one way of looking at it. Their choice for a finals reprise is the samba, which thankfully means that stupid ruddy “nothing past Blackpool plz” rule they snuck it last year…just got snuck out again.
Karen’s Khoreography Korner : One last push for the final in the Khoreography Korner, as Karen was generally very positive, whilst letting us know that two dances that got at least one 10 (Louise’s tango and Ore’s quickstep) were “scattered with errors” and that another (Danny’s American Smooth) had been pretty lacking in basics. Attagirl. Otherwise, Ore’s Argentine Tango showed what a team he and Joanne have become, Danny’s salsa showed his willingness to push boundaries and always force himself to the limit, and Louise’s samba…………well it had a maypole in it.
Tunes On Tuesday : Today the jukebox spat out our three Showdance song choices, and then shut down for the series. Danny & Oti will be dancing to “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele, Ore & Joanne will be dancing to “I Got Rhythm” by This Is How Tom Chambers Won Isn’t It?, and Louise & Kevin will be dancing to “Too Drunk To Fuck” by The Dead Kenned…oh alright, she’s dancing to “One Moment In Time” by Whitney Houston. I eagerly anticipate it being so damned Kevin Clifton that I fully expect cheese to start squirting from Louise’s nostrils from halfway through.
The Winners Panel : Going back to their roots, It Takes Two today called up three of its more totemic champions to offer their opinions. Louis too mumbly, Natasha too jaded by the show, and Caroline probably busy tapping her details furiously into a petition to bring Cloudia back (yes, Caroline Flack falling deeply in love with a teenager who’d have thought it?) but Jill Halfpenny, Darren Gough, and Tom Chambers. Rest assured that Tom Chambers would not bloody shut up throughout as per usual, and someone managed to drag in the fact that he’s married into things, also as per usual. It was a timely reminder that, as much as none of the remaining three celebs really tickle my needle personality wise, it could always be worse. We learnt where all three keep their trophies (Darren – his study ; Jill – next to her old-tyme record player ; Tom – honest to God I don’t know he waffled so much, I think his dad’s got it?), Jill told us all how it feels to be part of the Holy Trinity of Jive, Darren was actually very humble about how both Colin and Zoe were better dancers than him, and everyone told us who they wanted to win – Louise in the case of Darren and Jill, and in the case of Tom…who bloody knows, I spent the whole time restraining myself from trying to poke him in the eye through my television screen, I think he said both Oti and Ore because heaven forbid the man just answer something in a straightforward fashion, then SHUT IT.
Kevin & Louise : Not that today was all about Kevin or anything but we discussed how he is the first pro in Strictly history to compete in four finals (meanwhile in American Derek Hough hones in on his tenth no, I’m not joking), how Louise had sleepless nights over how she would be the one who got Kevin eliminated, how Kevin lost control of his body briefly when he found out that Joanne had got through, how if Louise ends up finishing 2nd in the final then it will be Kevin’s fault because he always finishes 2nd, Kevin and Joanne’s baby photos and God knows what else. Apparently their showdance is choreographed to be a tribute to Louise’s journey on Strictly, so based on this interview the last move is going to be her disappearing up a giant papier mache replica of Kevin’s bumhole before fireworks go off in the sky spelling out KEVIN! in blue spangles. They have picked Argentine Tango to reprise, as it is the first time that Louise realised she was supposed to be playing a character. Took your time love.
Waite’s Wednesday Warm-Up : The warm-up this week focused on the showdances to come, and most entertainingly featured Ian ambushing Zoe with her own showdance choreography, which she clearly remembered none of. Sadly he did not replicate the bit where he stacked it over a loose prop and fell on his arse, which is the only bit any of us ever remember. Based on his descriptions, Danny’s showdance will be a combination of Argentine Tango and Contemporary, Louise’s will be a combination of Rumba and Contemporary, and Ore’s will be his American Smooth.
Jeremy Vine’s Stats Dome :
Oy. Jeremy Vine came in today to tell us how we can predict who is likely to win Strictly based on demographics and whilst this series has been much better than any before in integrating stats which are accurate into the show this was a load of bunk. First Jeremy split all 39 finalists into groups by age in terms of decades as follows :
20s : 16
30s : 18
40s : 4
60s : 1
This was then presented as contstants being more likely to make the final if they’re in their 30s, which is of course not true, unless contestants are cast evenly across age brackets, which they aren’t. Not including this series 46% of all 20somethings cast (ALMOST HALF!) have made the final, compared to 27% of 30somethings and 10% of 40somethings. Meaning really it helps to be as young as possible, unsrprisingly. We then more or less accurately covered finalists being more likely to be female but winners more likely to be male, and then moved on to how it’s apparently indicative that 29 finalists (74%) have had higher averages in ballroom and 9 (23%) higher averages in latin, with Natalie Gumede being equally garlanded in both, which means apparently that you’re more likely to make the final if you’re good at ballroom then if you’re good at latin. Except that by my count across ALL contestants 22% have higher averages in latin, and 78% higher averages in ballroom so in reality it doesn’t make much difference either way – you’d expect to find those rates of preference in finalists if you were picking them randomly out of a bag. Apparently we’re getting more of this tomorrow, I can’t wait. (Maybe Zoe should have got her dad to do it, he would have sorted them out).
Tess & Claudia : Finally Tess and Claudia popped in for a little chat before the final, and Claudia told Zoe that the studio is much more glamorous than when she ran the show, when it was tiny and tatty and smelled of sick due to her constant morning sickness. In the interview we learnt that Tess thinks this series has featured the highest standard ever (again, really hasn’t), Claudia told us all how she brings in baked goods for contestants when they’re feeling down (based on her Celebrity Bake Off appearance, I’d be wary if I were them), and also Tess said that the first series had 6 celebrities in it, and the second 8. At least for Series 2 she has the excuse of not having been there for half of it I guess. There was a brief segment of the pros asking questions, which elicted images of Tess grinding up on Aljaz at the wrap party, Claudia revealing that of all the dances she’d like to do the paso doble, and that the most fun contestant of all time was Alesha (yahhhhs). Sadly Claudia then dismantled all of the goodwill she built up with me by mentioning The Forbidden One, by saying she wants more bloody politicians to do the show. NO CLAUDIA, NO.
Let’s Get Fucked With Vicky Gill : This weekend Joanne will be wearing a Bermuda Blue dress for her showdance.
The Friends & Family Panel : Today was the day that our three finallists reached deep into their pocketbooks, picked their most articulate advocate, and threw them all out there like pokemon in panstick to fight their corner. Jamie Redknapp (Louise’s husband), Iain Stirling (Ore’s very close friend in a dream I’m trying to have) and Natalie Anderson (Danny’s costar in Wicked not that they mentioned this specifically) all came on to lay the case out for their bestie. Instead Iain emasculated Ore effectively by saying that Ore once burst into tears because Iain cooked him a meal, Natalie said repeatedly just how dedicated and meticulous Danny is in a way that made him sound a bit weird, and Jamie unleashed a whole Freudian can of worms by accidentally referring to Joanne as “Karen”. I think my favourite part was when Jamie was given 10 seconds to give an uninterrupted stump speech for his wife, and 9 of those seconds were related to Kevin. And the other second was him grizzling about being made to wear a pink rosette.
Jeremy’s Stats Dome 2 : Sometimes people with the best scores win and sometimes they don’t and people with lots of different types of dayjob have won. Fascinating stuff.
Ore & Joanne : Today Ore gave thanks that the dance genre picking giraffe scooped down into the basket and gave him two punchy dances in the quickstep and Argentine Tango to bounce back from his dance-off appearance with. Unlike last time he was there, when he had to try to do it with a flipping rumba. Still he was surprised that he topped the leaderboard (weren’t we all) because he’d been making massive mistakes in training all week. And on the night. In other news we learnt that Ore’s dad will be back for the final (yaaaahs), that the dance he has chosen to reprise is the jive (yaaaaaaahhs) and that his showdance will involve BIG MASSIVE PROPS (….). Oh and they seem less than keen about whatever the prod…I mean judges have gifted them with for their third dance, so I’m warning you now if I have to sit through that bloody Charleston again…
BoeBalls : Yes Alfie Boe and Michael Balls are still singing homoerotically to one another without, y’know, LOOKING at one another or anything gay like that, like it’s not gay if you look out the window and think about a girl when your mate’s giving you a handy-j. This time it was A Thousand Years aka that song from that vampire movie the kids love that you probably haven’t heard of, but Brenda is ON IT, FINGER ON THE PULSE, GUESS WHAT ELSE IS POPULAR NOW, THEY’RE CALLED LOOM BANDS.
Pro Dance Rehearsal : Matt Flint made his first appearance herein tonight, as he is the choreographer for Saturday’s big opening number, which is apparently being done to “When Love Takes Over”. And as Janette told us, it contains a wide variety of dance styles “from jazz to latin”, because yes, those are the two genres we’ve not seen enough of this series. No word on whether it will feature gladiators again I do hope so.
The Friday Panel : A bit of a cut-price effort here, as BoeBalls returned, this time flanking Chelsee Healey, who was in prime form, delivering a heartfelt plea down the cameralens to all Danny fans to vote for Danny to win because obviously they just thought he was safe last week and now really have to get behind him…before backing Ore to win. Bless her heart. She also told us that she didn’t sleep before her final, back in 2011 which really explains a lot about what happened in that final when you think about it. Particularly that showdance. Anyway, Balls is rooting for Danny, although really he had these three finalists picked out before the series even started and could probably tell you who wins if he really stretched himself, and Boe is rooting for Kevin, because they’re mates. I think. I have to say, I was slowly warming to a Louise win until this entire final week of It Takes Two made it obvious that she’s generally seen by all involved as secondary to Kevin.
Backstage At The Christmas Special :
Nobody tell Pasha why Dr Hamela is making him dress up as Billy Connolly. He’ll be happier that way. This was a brief snippet of all our Christmas Specialers (Hammy, Denise, Ainsley, Melvin, Frankie, Gethin
seen here emerging from underneath the dining table, say no more nudge nudge) telling us all why they love Christmas and why they’re doing the Strictly Christmas Special. As previously mentioned everyone will be basing their dance around a different Christmas movie, so nothing here was a revelation, although I am slightly disappointed that Ainsley will be playing one of the Home Alone burglars and not Macaulay Culkin.
Ian & Gethin : Together at last, for a joint interview to mark, as It Takes Two’s most regular regulars the end of the series. And they spent the whole time pawing at one another, stroking one another’s faces and with Zoe telling them they look like they just got married. It’s been that sort of series hasn’t it. On which note we were also treated to the delightful revelation that in Series 5 Ian taught Gethin how to be a man, because Camilla couldn’t get it done. As official backstage reporter, Gethin offered some valuable insight, revealing that everything became sombre after Ed was eliminated, and that it was in fact of everyone Louise who was the first to say she wanted to win. Interesting. It became obvious over the course of the interview that Cloudia was his personal favourite, whereas Ian’s favourite dance of the series was (*sigh*) “Gangnang Style” (sic). Although Ian also thinks that there has been a huge number of iconic routines this series which…lol.
The Final Three : Interspersed through the episode were interviews with our final three. I’m not going to cover them separately because they all followed the same format – overlong montage of their journey, short interview with celebrity in which they tear up, video messages from family & friends, celebrities cry all over Zoe’s shoes. Ore cried the most (ba’duh), everyone spoke about Louise like Kevin had taught her to walk again after a major car accident, not reminded her how to do a pas de bourree after a 10 year gap, and Danny pledged his troth to Oti one last time whilst it still counts.
And that was this year’s It Takes Two.