Year Of The…Cliftons?
We start with a note of caution, as we learn what happens to all Strictly First Boots.
They get stuck in the Cage Of Shame and forced to dance half-cocked contemporary routines for the entire series. Yes, Janette’s been locked in there for nigh on three months now, flailing about, representing the perils of addictions, the perils of domestic violence, the perils of blood diamonds, and the perils on not keeping up payments on your home insurance, all to a soundtrack of Celine Dion, Sarah McLachlan, and Ani DiFranco. If you look very carefully you can see the bones of Ola Jordan propped up in the corner. This week, Janette will be portraying for us a trapped bird, yearning to break free
apparently unaware that she could quite easily just walk through the bars, because they ain’t that wide. I guess nobody said that birds are particularly smart. This is all being backed up by Andrea doing her best job to get through Chandelier by Sia, a song that I can attest to being nigh on impossible based on a recent trip to karaoke (as can the people who accompanied me no doubt). Once Janette is let out of the cage (by a helpful Natalie) a bunch of other pros run on all dressed as birds and join in, and all I will say is that Janette and Karen were both part of So You Think You Can Dance and were ok at adapating to conteporary, Pasha was part of So You Think You Can Dance and was not good at adapting to contemporary (and still isn’t), and everyone else here especially Katya, Neil, Chloe and Giovanni by the looks of it, my eyes probably shouldn’t try this sort of dancing again for a while. Some of the bits where Janette’s being lobbed about look alright, but then they usually do.
END CONTEMPOJAZZ ’16
Once the cage has been tidied away and the feather swept up, we are joined by our hosts
and their boobs. I guess it’s Tess’ last costume change of the series, so she made sure she went out with a bang. They remind us that last night saw 8 routines, which managed to score 13 10s between them. 12 of them from Bruno somehow. Don’t check the maths, it definitely happened. Unfortunately despite this display of virtuosity, one couple will still have to go home tonight, even if you do start a petition to the BBC demanding that the entire result be overturned just because you don’t like it cough cough. Deciding who this person is will be our backstage medical crew, who will be out shortly to swab everyone for Clifton DNA. And, I guess, our judges. Also this evening, we will be sampling the delights of the music of Sting and the last ever Len’s Glans.
YOUR WEEK IN GREG. And it’s a Quizzical Greg. The best kind.
From here, we move to our last new Safety Sex Face of the series.
I guess if we’re going out on anybody it’s fitting that it’s the most emotional celebrity of the series. Off to the side
Kevin punches the air, presumably out of pride for Joanne getting to her first final, although maybe also because he had a real doozie planned for his last Safety Sex Face with Louise, wherein he hit the deck so hard he fractured his pelvis, allowing Gorka to sweep in at the last minute as Replacement Pro and win the whole series with Louise, thereby technically preventing a Clifton lifting their first glitterball for yet another series. Or maybe that’s what I had planned. Anyway our first couple in the dance-off is
this one, much to the shock of the audience, and the pure seering serene white-hot rage of Oti. She and Danny walk over to Tess, and she announces that she is frankly shocked, before Danny slides in to play PR and said that he and Oti were just chatting about what it would mean if this was the last dance he did. Oh trust me Danny, if you get Oti eliminated, it will be. You’ll be lucky to walk again. Tess asks them whether they’ll be dancing the American Smooth or the Salsa in the dance-off, and Oti does her best to point out to Tess that they’re dressed for the American Smooth without actually using the words “you fucking moron”. Bruno tells Danny, by way of advice, to just relax and enjoy himself because what he does naturally will be enough to get him through. Darcey is turned to next, and she says that she’s shocked to see him in the dance-off. Well you gave three people the same points Darcey, despite the opportunity to score them twice, so USE YOUR BLOODY PADDLES IN FUTURE and maybe this won’t happen. As if to pound this point home, she tells Danny that he should just dance it like he did on Saturday Night’s show, because then he’ll be fine. Well no, because you gave it a 9, the score you also gave Louise’s dance-off dance and Cloudia’s dance-off dance. So why would he be fine? It’d be a toss-up. USE. YOUR. BLOODY. PADDLES.
Anyway, such grizzling about Darcey’s vagueries aside, we’re up to Claud 9 where
oh lawd he’s off again. Claudia tells him she’s never seen anybody in more shock to be called safe. Do you want to go back and check Anastacia earlier in the series? Or Greg? There have been a few good ones to be honest. Claudia then reminds us all that Ore has never danced before, not at his wedding, not in da club, not for Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief, not for promo videos for BBC Breakfast where everyone talked beforehand about how much he loved to dance and should do Strictly, NONE OF THAT EVER HAPPENED, NEVER DANCED BEFORE, HE JUST READS THE FOOTBALL RESULTS OUT ARSENAL 1 – LIVERPOOL 1. Rather than respond Ore just weeps everywhere
Claudia looks well impressed. Eventually he manages to croak out thanks to everyone at home, his wife, and his parents.
The contrast between Ore wailing and weeping everywhere and his dad sat there, on the verge of falling asleep, is quite beautiful. Joanne gets to speak next, saying again that Ore has COME FROM NOWHERE to reach the final of Strictly, and really she would have just been happy to get to Blackpool. Oh aye. She thanks Ore for working so hard and then holds this slightly unnerving face
and holds it for quite some time.
Sting. Doing his new single “One Fine Day”, which is sadly not…well not a cover of The Shirelles song, because that would be Sting covering “One Fine Day” and would be horrific but…well it’s sad that we’re not having a finer frame for Pasha to twirl around with his
pashpops out to, with Oksana, than this chugging mid tempo late-String ephemera. Still, at least it’s fairly short. So where are we at with the Best Guest Performer Monkie now? Elaine Paige for the LOLZ?
Once that’s over, and we’ve had the far from tantalising prospect of a discussion panel on It Takes Two led by Tom Chambers (will anyone else speak, I doubt it) regarding the final it’s time for yes, they’ve promised, it has to be, I’ve got it signed, here, in blood, that we will never have to suffer it again, the very last ever edition of Len’s Glans.
I swear, if you’d ask me to guess which judge had got their hands on an e this evening it would have been Bruno. We start off with a slow-mo run through of Louise’s “maypole” from her samba, as narrated by Len, which immediately demonstrates the limitations of the segment, as Kevin was directly between Louise and the camera as it happened, so instead of Louise’s maypole we get a sight of
Kevin’s wedgie. Len tells us, regardless, that when he danced, something like Louise’s maypole would have been the dramatic highlight of the routine. And people wonder why they added all the props, themes and gimmicks. Darcey’s next, telling us that she really liked how Cloudia weaved across the dancefloor as we see a clip of
some Paralympians intensely checking out her footwork. Now those are some true fans. Darcey tells us that when she teaches anyone to dance, she always tells them to think about the pattern they’re making on the dancefloor when they get out there. Try and make the shape of a smiley face. Or a beauuuuuuuuutiful necklace yah?
Craig follows, and he’s asked about Danny’s hip action in the salsa, and his eprceived lack thereof. Craig quite happily
jumps to his feet to demonstrate. What exactly it is he thinks he’s demonstrating I don’t know, but it looks like he’s got a couple of live ferrets loose down each trouser leg. I’ll stick with Danny thx mate. Finally Bruno takes us through that moment from Ore’s Argentine Tango where Joanne leapt at him and he caught with one arm, and then launches onto a truly virtuoso defence of how Ore stood still for a lot of his Argentine Tango, because it’s very easy to catch the eye by being busy and noisy, but it’s the soul and energy from within that only comes in the quieter moments that defines that a true dancer. Bruno’s saying this. Bruno Tonioli. We close this last ever Len’s Lens with a montage of the best bit of Len’s Glans, dating back for six series. It’s quite obvious that they can’t find any at all.
Back to the floor now, to reveal our second couple in peril
these two. There’s a scream from the audience, and she gets a warm round of applause from the audience and a hug from Kevin and Louise as she walks over to Tess. I think everyone, at this point, knows she’s going home, as it all feels very valedictorian. Well apart from Tess
who has just settled on “patronising” as ever. She asks Len what Cloudia should do in the dance-off (sneak backstage and saw 95% of the way through one of the legs of Danny’s pier?) and he tells Cloudia that, as an Olympian, Cloudia should approach this like she’s at the Olympics. I mean, not to labour a joke that feels a bit meanspirited, but she lost at the Olympics Len. Tess then turns to Craig and reminds him that he said on Saturday that it looked like Cloudia & AJ were “dancing for their lives” in their quickstep and NOW THEY ACTUALLY ARE! No they aren’t Tess, hush up. Craig says that the only thing holding the routine back from getting a 10 was the gapping, so she should sort that out and she’ll be home and dry. Well, Danny will still beat her, but least she can rest assured she did a better quickstep than Abbey Clancy did.
To Claud 9 now where
yes Joanne is still crying. Louise is in the middle of telling Claudia that she’s had the time of her life and made a friend for life in Kevin then
the pair of them start crying as well. Then it sounds like Claudia gets a bit teary as well. Good grief Charlie Brown, can we have Holly Valance ride up to and through the balcony on a gold-plated motorbike or something, the level of overinvestment here is making me feel a bit anxious. Everyone agrees that everyone is very excited for and proud of everyone else sat on this balcony, and can you imagine if Karen and Will were still here and getting in on this action? Although by this point things would probably have escalated such that Will probably would have greeted his survival by yelling “HA, TAKE THAT LEN, YOU WITHERED OLD C**T” (yes coot) and mooning in his face, so maybe it’d be a bit less lovey-dovey.
After another montage, this time a brief summary of the series up to this point, like we’re not going to see 5 different variations on this next weekend in the final, we’re back with our two couples in danger
I tell myself at least at this point I’m about to watch the two best routines of the night again, instead of the usual state of affairs, where we’re sat watching Daisy Doble vs Brenda on a Hoverboard. Claudia asks Danny if he’s shocked to be in the dance-off, and he’s effectively muzzled Oti at this point, so he can give the usual political answer about how of course he’s not shocked because everyone’s so good at this point. This would have more impact if it hadn’t been repetedly said in weeks when Ed Balls was here. In fact…when was the tipping point when “EVERYONE’S SO GOOD, ANYONE COULD LEAVE, ALL THE DEADWOOD IS GONE” started this year? Just after Melvin left? Oti says to Danny that they need to go out there and leave their hearts on the dancefloor. Literally in his case, if he messes up. Tess then turns to Cloudia and asks her what it would mean to her to get to the final. Cloudia, clearly aware that she’s not getting to the final in this life, says that it would mean so much to her because she’s put so much effort in, but really the important things is that she’s become a much more confident person, and it’s all thanks to AJ.
AJ meanwhile thinks that Cloudia is a super girl and they’ve had a smashing time and it’s been great getting to know her and let’s keep in touch oh he changes his phone so often BECAUSE HE’S SUPER COOL he never gives out his number but he’ll call you girl, you’d better believe it, for sure it’s been one magical summer.
One that now must come to an end. Yes, Oti and Danny are crying all the way through the vote reveal. Has there ever been a semi-final with more tears? Other than Series 12 when Kevin forced the entire River Thames out of his tearducts because he was so moved by Mark Wright’s barefoot rumba.
Cloudia gives her farewell speech and God bless her it’s pretty garbled, which really makes it all the sweeter. She loves everyone and they’re all lovely and they’re great and she’s not as confident as she used to be thanks to this show oh wait that’s the wrong way round. It’s so sweet that even AJ starts crying, and I’m sure he can’t imagine anything more mortifying. One last lift?