A few days late…
Previously On Strictly :
These 15 celebrities walked into the Strictly ballroom for a series that promised to be the most gaymazing yet. Will Young! Judge Rinder! Dorian! Noted Campy Pop Icons Anastacia and Louise From Eternal! Gay Rights Activist (ie he appeared in the Gay Times in his pants a few times) Greg Rutherford! Other men who might not look bad with their tops off! BALLS! Then slowly one by one the tango murdered them all until we were left with (easily!) the three most boring people in the cast and over two hours to fill!
Remember when we all thought they were going to shag? Good times.
We open on a shot of what our three remaining celebrities have spent the last three months training, fighting, and playing gigolo to Patricia Ward Kelly (what, you thought that endorsement came free?) for
It might not look like much, just sat there, but crack it open like a pinata and inside you’ll find a contract to sub in for Marvin & Rochelle on This Morning : Friday for the next 6 months. Compared to how Caroline Flack’s career’s doing it’s the holy grail. Our three finalists walk around it, stalking it, eyeballing it, and in one case ultimately deciding it’d be too much effort to clean every weekend and deciding to bin off any attempt they were going to make to actually win here and now. What type of mass group pro dance should preface the last sprint to the line in this tale of glory, sequins, and lol did you see Ed Balls do da ChingChong Style I never stopped larfin?
Yes it’s a LATIN SHOWCASE! It’s being performed to “When Love Takes Over” by Dancing With The Stars 2018 6th placer Kelly Rowland, and before you ask, no Anton isn’t involved although
the latin skills of some of the other pros are starting to look a bit scrapheap ready bless them. Everyone wiggles their bums, all the ladies get lifted about, then Joanne, Kevin and Oti all run on to announce the arrival of their celebs who, as is usual these days, descend from the ceiling attached to giant rigs with their names attached. I don’t want to start reading too much into who won this final at what point, but it is fairly noticable here that both Danny and Louise descend looking like
they’re awkwardly waiting being called up to give a little speech before opening a new branch of Aldi, whilst Ore enters
like this. I think the people usually want you to look like you’re enjoying yourself
At least a little bit.
Once everything’s been swept up, the band start up again and Tess and Claudia emerge from the wings, accompanied by Brendan and Anton and as usual
dressed for the final. The final what I couldn’t say. What they welcome us to though, is the live final of Strictly Come Dancing 2016. Tonight, after they perform their favourite routine, their showdance, and the dance written on whatever ping pong ball it was that Bruno fired out of his [PUNCHLINE REDACTED] when their name was called, one of our three remaining contestants will be crowned as this year’s champion. Also we’ll be experiencing the annual End Of Series Car Crash Group Dance, Emeli Sande, a Farewell To Len, a giant wicker Will Young being burnt in effigy whilst the greatest hits of Gareth Gates plays in and finally, in the car park after the show
Carley Stenson and Portia Odube proper going at it with like broken bottles and shit. The extensions will be FLYIN.
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the American Smooth
And now, over to the iPod for a message from our Special Correspondant.
HELLO MY FELLOW AMERICANS IT IS ME YOUR NEW FIRST LADY MELANIE A TRUM…TRISTAN THIS IS WRONG SPEECH PLEASE TO CORRECT ON THE TRANSMITTING MACHINE! HONESTLY IVETA CANNOT GET STAFFED THESE DAYS! HELLO STRICLY FANS IT IS ME YOUR QUEEN OF SOCIAL MEDIAS, 20 DANCE CHAMPION, LIFE THIEFING SECRET AGENT SPY AND FIVE TIME STRICTLY GLITZYBALLS WINNER IVETA, TAKING TIME OFF FROM THIS YEAR WHEN SHE HAS BEEN VERY BUSY EXPLORING NEW INTEREST IN WORLD DOMINATION AND AND NOT CARING IF THE DONALD CALL HER IVANKA MIDTHRUST IT VERY CLOSE TO MY REAL NAMES ANYWAY TO GIVE BACK TO YOU, MY BEST FRIENDS FOR THE LIFE, BY TELLING YOU WHAT OUR THREE FINALISTS ARE AND WHO THEY HAVE BEEN DOING ON SOCIAL MEDIAS! ORE IS A MAN WHO TALKS ABOUT SPORTS AND HE HAS FEWEST FRIENDS OF ALL OUR FINAL PEOPLES ON TWITTER BUT IVETA DETECTED MUCH ACTIVITY AND SHARING OF SNAPPY SNAPS IN HIS DMS IN RECENT DAYS UNTIL PORTIA LADY FIND OUT AND HE SPEND CHRISTMAS IN KENNEL IN GARDEN WOOF WOOF!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Yes, mercifully the judges have taken heed of the response to this round in finals past, when we all collectively moaned and groaned and grizzled when we got stuck with “iconic” routines like Frankie Bridge’s samba and Simon Webbe’s Charleston and any number of Wk 1 cha chas, waltzes and tangos, and actually elected to pick dances that it’s feasible that somebody, anybody, might actually want to see again. In this case, Ore’s American Smooth with Joanne to “Singin’ In The Rain” from Movies Week. I have to admit, I’m more excited to watch the dancing again than I am to watch Joanne’s acting.
I know the Golden Age Of Hollywood was more about charisma than naturalism but even so. The idea here is that all three celebs could feasibly start the final with a 40 if they just tweak something about the routine – in this case Ore’s technique in hold. And it does, admittedly, look cleaner when they’re together than it did the first time around – in places it actually appears that Ore’s heels hit the damned floor for a start – although it’s still the little
character touches and moments outside of hold that sell the thing, for me. Albeit
still not really the bit where it looks like he’s sticking it to the umbrella. God only knows what that’s about. Maybe they’ll do a documentary about it on Channel 4 in the New Year.
It gets a strong reaction from the audience, including Ore’s family although they only crashzoom on his mum, presumably because his dad has a little bit of drool dribbling out the corner of his mouth as he snores away happily. As Ore walks over to Tess he lets out a massive whoop, and then tells her that the last four months have been the biggest honour of his life, before pumping the crowd again like he just walked out at Wembley. I’ll give him this, he’s certainly putting the work in. Tess introduces the singers as per usual and
the Hand In The Hat, as we all
wonder if Russell T Davies got a bit confused about which month it is that doubles as Movember. Len starts for the judges, saying that Ore couldn’t hear him, but he was screaming throughout that performance. I love the idea that that’s feasible. Just Len sat at the side screaming “FAHCKIN EWW” the whole way through, as the band plays Singing In The Rain at a perfectly normal volume and nobody noticing. Tess gets Len to clarify that he means the good kind of screaming, not the kind that happens when she accidentally picks up her straighteners by the wrong end. Bruno’s next and if you don’t remember
in the final, we just use Bruno’s faces rather than his words. It’s all more coherent that way.
Craig’s next, saying that Ore’s frame was much improved this time and he also was up on his toes more (…) but he’s not going to be able to give it a 10 because Ore didn’t point his feet in the retires.
Ooh madam indeed. Darcey closes by saying that she wishes that she could watch that routine on rewind. I…guess that would be a laugh? Would she like them also to play the Benny Hill music over the top and stick a comedy moustache on Joanne. Anyway, I think she means “again”, rather than “on rewind” because she thought it was heavenly and it made her gasp. Ore then mouths “no, thank you” at her and already this is a bit rich for my tastes.
Up to Claud 9 they splash where apparently “the whole gang” are back to support Ore. I am most amused by the sight of Wk2 boot (and yes, Christmas Champion, although let’s not start on that bollocks, I’ll never flipping stop) Melvin standing on a chair to get into shot whilst Wk4 boot Naga exists as a smeary head somewhere towards the back. Claudia reminds us all that Gene Kelly’s Widow (now officially referred to as Gene Kelly’s Widow at all points rather than her actual name) loved that dance, and is in fact here this evening. Cue
Gene Kelly’s Widow standing up and waving to the audience. Alright love, they’re very much not here to see you, sit. (Incidentally you can very clearly see one woman whisper “is that her then?” or similar to her friend behind her hand at this point). Ore says it’s an honour to have Gene Kelly’s Widow here watching him do the routine. Meanwhile Donald O’Connor’s Niece powervotes for Danny Mac whilst Debbie Reynolds’ Nail Technician is more of a Louise girl. She’s just so relatable. Scores are in
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the cha cha
Hang on, we’re receiving another dispatch…
welcome back to my social medias corner for louise nurdling you may notice that iveta is whispering this edition of the update. this is because louise is a mother (james jordans inform me that kevin is also a mother or at least that what it’s sounded like to her before the coins on his payphone ran out) and so this is good time to tell you that this year iveta also gave life to a small human from her cloaca. he is a beautiful boy but is sleeping now shhhh also he is very unwell please send money for medicine to the usual place. if someone says they asked for picture proof and they tell you that iveta send you a picture of a grapefruit in a bib they are a dirty liar. anyway, iveta hack into louise’s mumsnet account (username : jamieswife, password :oohyoumakemefeelnaked6969) and find out that her favourite biscuit is rich tea, she is having problem finding best dentist work for her eldest child and jamie’s favourite sexual position is the dying grasshopper, whatever that means, iveta only does it missionary wink wink. louise also has sockpuppet account (username : bingoaddict12, password : screwUestherIwasthebest1) she uses to back herself up in fights over what best time for naptime for teething child and who should win bake-off (louise thought it definitely should have been andrew because he was very cute and she loves a ginger).
TO THE DANCE STUDIO!
I appreciate that finding any exciting Louise routine from the first few weeks of the series to reprise was a bit of a fool’s errand but they seriously could have done better than this. The angle they’re running with is that the Cha Cha Challenge showed that Louise is now an amazing cha cha dancer and so can really nail this routine which is such transparent nonsense that I have to at least give them credit for delivering it with a straight face. As before
it looks like the very easy warm-up section for the weight-loss DVD that she’s never going to release, except somehow even more anaemic this time. At some point, possibly around Musicals Week, I think “just so glad to have made it this far” took over Louise’s brain and her competitive spirit left her entirely out her left earhole and this is all we have left. She can’t even lift her leg up a bit without going all wobbly and I’m all for a bit of levity, but if it’s the final I think they probably should have either removed or tightened up the bit where they do a 10 second segment from the Naked video
randomly, giggling openly at how stupid they’re being. It’s adorable, but when Natalie bellowed “YOU’RE A VEGETABLE!” in Artem’s face her legs were at least still going 19 to the dozen and they were in sync. I think the most indicative moment is when she goes to do a primal scream of joy and abandon and
it looks like she just trod on some Lego Jamie should have picked up.
Very much not passed the audition.
It gets a polite response from the crowd, and Bruno starts for the judges
Thank you Bruno. Craig’s next, and tells Louise that that whole routine took him back to the 80s, when he used to do a routine to “What A Feeling” as part of his drag act. Sadly Louise’s part missed out the section where he tossed off an audience member whilst juggling a welding iron in his other hand, but we are still before the watershed here I guess. He tells Louise that she’s definitely come a long way technically since Week 3, and her hip action now is amazing.
I hope this look to camera from Tess was deliberate. If it was she can have a bonus point. Bringing her to 3. Over 14 series.
Darcey’s next, and says that we all have to remember that this year’s Strictly has been a really tough competition. Yes I can see why you’d want to try to reassure the audience after that after we all just witnessed Beverly Tucker’s Post Xmas Thighburner Work-Out Level 1 presented as a top tier dance routine. She then goes on to say that Louise can take pride in being the only lady in the final. Kevin says nothing at this point to defend his sister’s honour, the bastard. Anyway, Darcey thinks Louise did that cha cha perfectly, especially the “subtle” hip action. Yes that’s one word for it. At this point the camera
cuts to Wayne Bridge, clearly losing track of who’s WAGing who at this point. Seriously, it’s sobering to think how few female finalists over the years didn’t come pre-loaded with a famous other half/recent ex to pan to or refer to constantly. Anyway Len closes by praising Louise for starting the routine on her own and keeping more or less to the beat. Yeah that’s worth a 10 isn’t it Len, great work.
Up to Claud 9 she stomps where Claudia clearly spends the whole time
wanting to lean over and yoink the tickertape out of her cleavage. She goes on to reveal (/joke, it’s hard to tell given it’s Louise) that the first time she did that routine, Louise requested a modesty towel to cover herself the second the credits rolled, and now she’s out there giving it her all. Or most of it. Louise says she really enjoyed it and it was a big honour to be here given how competitive it’s been this year. Yeah, she really doesn’t care does she? Scores are in
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the quickstep
And one last time…
HELLO AGAIN FOR ONE LAST TIME, THIS TIME IVETA WILL BE TALKING TO YOU ABOUT DANIEL MAC WHO IS AN ALTERNATIVE CHARACTER SHELL PALETTE FOR “RICKY WHITTLE” IN SUPERFUN APP GAME “HOLLYOAKS FIGHTER VI” WHO YOU UNLOCK WHEN YOU TAKE SHIRT OFF 500 TIMES AND THEN COMPLETE THE UNLOCKED “PUSH SOMEONE OFF THE ROOF” MISSION AND VIOLA, YOU ARE DANNY MAC. SPECIAL MOVES INCLUDE “SHAKE WITH NERVES”, “SUPER-HALLOWEN BUNGEE ATTACK”, “TASTEFUL ABB FLASH” (PLEASE NOTE TASTEFUL ABB FLASH CAN ONLY BE USED IF IT IS ARTISTICALLY MERITED IN CONTEXT OF FIGHT) AND “FUCK EVERYTHING UP AND DIE FOR NO REASON RIGHT AT THE LAST MINUTE” ATTACKS. FOR 250 BONUS HOLLYOAKS LIPSTICK POINTS (PURCHASABLE FROM IN-APP IVETA STORE FOR £3.99 FOR 25 LIPSTICK POINTS) YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE BONUS OTI SIDEKICK ATTACK. IF OTI SIDEKICK ATTACK ACTIVATED OPPONENT IS INSTANT KILLED AND OTI ALSO GOES BACK IN TIME AND KILL THEIR PARENTS AND THEIR PARENTS PARENTS. IF ENOUGH PURCHASABLE EXTRAS ADDED FOR DANNY MAC CHARACTER SHELL THEN IVETA PROMISES TO RELEASE CARLEY STENSON HOLLYOAKS FIGHTER VI CHARACTER IN 2017. UNTIL THEN, KEEP ON TWATTING YOUR TWITS UNTIL NEXT YEAR, WHEN IVETA WILL BE PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA POSSIBLY WHO KNOWS? THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!
TO THE ORCHESTRA PIT!
So what follows is a tragedy on a number of levels. First of all there’s the fact that Oti has rechoreographed the entire opening of the routine to eliminate the faffing that prevented Len from giving it a 10 last time. This is tragic because, for some reason, nothing about the VT leading up to the dance reminds people of this or contextualises it, so it’s only the 3% of us who remember off the top of our heads that Len said that who even care. It’s also tragic of course because in this post Natalie Gumede “you did nothing to change the Amercan Smooth choreography that I slated only three weeks ago Artem but I can’t be bollixed with consistancy any more and she touched the divine so have a 10 anyway” world she didn’t even need to do it. Secondly it’s a tragedy because even though it’s danced pretty well Danny is clearly utterly wired the whole way through and I feel bad for the guy because he’s talked about his nerves so often this series that the one time he’s come out and actually shown them it’s got much less impact. Thirdly, and most obviously
he completely misses both jumps in the final running section of the routine, leaving Oti sproinging up like a springbok as he charges across the floor without leaving it. Of all the people who have lost Strictly finals before, this feels like the occasion where you could most accurately pinpoint the moment it happened in one picture. That and Louise emerging from the top of the stairs with her cha cha hair on display I guess.
He manages to actually put a pretty decent brave face on it all the way to the judges desk to his credit but once he starts talking to Tess (who seems keen to blame the problem on a wardrobe malfunction that I can’t see in any of the 10 times I just rewound the tape) he starts to unravel a little, all “whatever happened out there” and “just so happy to be here”.
Poor lamb. Craig starts for the judges and picks out the big two obvious mistakes (as well as the runs at the end, somebody was clearly out of time on the first pendulum section) and says it’s a real shame, because he was really hoping that was going to be amazing. Darcey follows, saying that yes, it’s a pity about the mistake, as the rest was done at such speed and with such composure that she really would have loved to have given it a 10 and Danny is a superb dancer. As if to show their new found unity at this moment of crisis, Danny and Oti
both pull the same suppressed rage face at the same time.
Len’s next and gives Danny a little speech about how the standard of dance set by Danny has been the catalyst to get everyone else to up their game. He set the bar early on for everyone else catch up to. A lot’s been said about how Len pushes for Ore as a COMPLETE NOVICE later, but if you’re looking for somewhere where he handed the trophy to him I actually think it’s this, because he comes so close to calling Danny the pacemaker of the race I have to rewind to make sure the words never leave his mouth. And we all know what happens to pacemakers. Especially Len. Anyway, he commends Oti for changing up the choreography and tells Danny it’s a pity about the GIANT MISTAKE oh well. In a moment that looks good on nobody we then cut to Carley in the audience very clearly and a bit pissily blaming it all on the dress to the person next to her. Bruno closes
Up to Claud 9 they splutter, where it becomes clear quite quickly that Danny doesn’t really know what went wrong, which speaks to the clarity of judging this evening if nothing else. He jokes that they should have just played the dance from Youtube. If only every final could work that way. It’d be shorter if nothing else. Just play six dances off youtube, do the showdances, announce the winner, bosh. Danny rattles on to Claudia about how hard it was getting three dances in his brain but hey everyone’s in the same boat he’s not complaining or saying he’s got it harder honest. I do wish Danny wasn’t quite so transparently micromanaging how he thinks he’s come across on a constant three seconds delay after the words have left the station but here we are. Scores are in
36. I think it’s when Bruno gives his 9 that he realises he’s boned.
There then here follows the start of voting, complete with Terms & Conditions, and probably my favourite one of the series as it just features the entire cast farting around in endearing ways as Danny tries to look into it but slowly crumbling inside. I think this is my favourite still frame
Natalie doing “I’M SO SORRY, I REMEMBER WHEN THIS HAPPENED WHEN YOU WERE RICKY WHITTLE” face at Danny, Karen pulling focus like only a Clifton can, Rinder throwing Cloudia up almost through the ceiling, and Anastacia and Tameka having a pretend catfight in the corner. Well I’m glad those two made up. I think.
Next, time for Claudia’s Surreal Prop Interlude, and if you thought they were going to retire on the almost-succesful subversion of the “Claudia accidentally lets a prop go” joke they did last week
sorry. They’re going to run it straight again. Remember when she was a dolphin last year? That feels kind of awesome in retrospect, comparatively, doesn’t it?
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the Showdance
Alright Zoolander, save it for the changing rooms in House Of Fraser. Tess reminds us that the showdance is a phantasmagoria of showmanship and technique, allowing the celebrities to show off everything they’ve learnt over the course of the series with the only rule being that there ARE NO RULES. I bet there are. I bet you can’t do it naked for one. Or theme it around how pizzagate is real. Or include live ritual sacrifice. There must be some limits. Limits that should have been applied to make sure I never in my life had to witness Matt Baker doing sexy hip hop on top of a plastic haybale podium.
VT time, and Ore tells us that Joanne has come up with a big bold routine, which Joanne subsequently tells us is going to show us every skill that Ore has mastered over the course of the series, from the American Smooth to jumping up and down on things back to the American Smooth again. These showdance VTs this year will apparently also feature Claudia and Tess “visiting the training room” in order to see how things are getting along as the couples put the finishing touches on their routines. They were going to introduce this gimmick last year, but when they walked into Georgia’s rehearsal space Giovanni was…putting the finishing touch on something else and they had to scrap the whole thing. Anyway
here they are, bounding in like a pair of lesbians trying a little too hard at their daughter’s first Parents Evening. TESS HAS BROUGHT COOKIES! They asks Ore what he’s most afraid of in this routine, and he tells them that what he’s afraid of most of all is falling off his giant props. This of course has the side effect of making me really really want it to happen. If this show needs more of anything it’s of people falling off stuff. Props, the stairs, the wagon, in some cases the face of the earth…
TO THE PROPAPALOOZA!
As much as I have to acknowledge that Ore looks pretty damned fine here, it really doesn’t feel like he’s offering us the greatest range here so far this evening. After his old-school American Smooth he’s dancing here in more or less the same style to “I Got Rhythm”, another song known chiefly from a 40s/50s musical, although at least in this case Jan Rooney isn’t lurking around behind a pillar waiting to leap out, applause, and then pass around a collection plate. And I guess Joanne is
stretching her dramatic range a little bit, although I recall Norma Desmond being in Sunset Boulevard, not Girl Crazy.
In fairness, once they get going there’s a nice range of ballroom steps going on across multiple genres, and he carries the lifts off nicely.
In the ongoing psychological warfare that I like to imagine goes on inside the Clifton Family, it does kind of please me narratively that Joanne here has on her first go carried off neatly, in terms of good old fashioned ballroom old Hollywood glitz and entertainment, what Kevin’s been trying to sell to the public for the last four years with ever-diminishing returns. On the other hand,
the segment where he jumps about for what feels like forever from one prop drum to another is just dumb, especially as the set wobbles around like Crossroads Motel the entire time, and it doesn’t seem to involve much…well…dancing. You can feel the effort of the show creaking to have him be the debonair Tom Chambers to the “peaked too soon” Danny/Austin figure and this routine doesn’t quite land with the impact of Tomzilla’s, although what could? That showdance smashed into this show like a Deep Impact Armageddon meteorite of purest spam.
And without giant cymbals wobbling around like the Smash Aliens.
It gets a strong reaction in the hall particularly from Janette, Daisy and Gorka, who is whistling his face off up on Claud 9. Darcey starts for the judges by giving Ore her own individual round of applause, and telling him that his showdance was fun, full, fast and classic. She gushes that the part where he jumped around on the drums stomping out the rhythm was amazing, and she’s not sure how he managed to do it all and get each step dead on. Ore motions that he
came very close. Or alternatively explains why that dressing-room selfie wasn’t trouserless as well. Len follows by beaming “who could ask for anything more?” and then giving Ore a
standing ovation. I’m glad he’s toddling off before this becomes this show’s equivalent of the “Hollywood Handshake” on Bake Off, because you know it would have done. At least it’s less mortifying than when Arlene did it for Alesha and the whole room pretty much went silent.
thanks Bruno. Craig finishes us off by telling Ore that that whole routine was like an advanced aerobic step class. 10! I look forward to Step Workout being added as an official genre next series in response to the outpouring of love for this routine. Can’t wait to see Keisha Sugababes walking up and down the stairs at Blackpool!
Up to Claud 9 they step, where Claudia expresses again disbelief that Jo made Ore leap from one tiny platform to another like that, and says that she bets Ore was scared. He says that no he was not, because Jo Clifton is the best in the world at choreographing ballroom showdances and also he has now fallen in love with her. Well this just took a turn. We then turn to an old reliable Ore standby
a shot of his dad looking slightly baffled. Ore wibbles on about how his parents being here is Christmas come early and did you know he’s lost a stone Claudia and what a wonderful suit he’s wearing and thankfully scores are now in before he can propose to Joanne and make Strictly a hive of bigamy
Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton dancing the Showdance
Before they get started, Tess rubs her hands together over how we just saw the first perfect score of the final. And we’re about to see the last non-perfect one. Ah, finals. Tess goes on to say that Louise will be dancing to “One Moment In Time” by Whitney Houston, and if it helps her to win, it’ll be a moment in time she’ll never forget. To this awkward intro Louise pulls a face
like one of her boys did something particularly ugly with a crayon that’s going to have to go up on the fridge anyway. You never got Cat Deeley doing links this bad on So You Think You Can Dance.
VT time and Kevin
honestly looking more like he needs a Vicks and a rubdown more than I’ve seen any pro ever look at this point of the competition (52 CONSECUTIVE EPISODES GUYS, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO LET HIM REST?) tells us that Louise’s showdance is going to be the story of her time on Strictly. Apparently she’s gone from being not at all confident at the beginning to losing all her inhibitions now. This would be more convincing if we hadn’t sat through the last two weeks of “I don’t really want to do thigh-slapping it looks silly” and “I feel a bit silly with this fruit hat on” and then this finale week where I don’t think she spoke once for all the other people telling us how confident and strong she was for her whilst she looked catatonic in the corner of the sofa. As if to prove this, Louise interviews that she’s feeling the pressure going into the showdance and the routine Kevin has choreographed is really difficult.
YAHSS FIERCE GODDESS GUNNING FOR THE CROWN YOU BETTER BE READY COZ KWEEN LOUISE IS READY TO TAKE HER THRONE.
Kevin goes on to say that he’s choreographed a lot of lifts into the routine, which is a little daunting because Louise hasn’t done that many over the course of the series. Yeah, ya salsa-dodger. Anyway, training for the lifts goes a little awkwardly with a lot of Louise falling daintily on her bum and going “oopsie” a lot and Kevin constantly saying sorry before
panicking slightly over her shoulder mid-hug. Tess and Claudia come in and talk a good game about how they love how lyrical and lifty it is but
there’s less genuine joy here from Claudia than there was when she was watching Ore play Tigger Of The Timpanies let’s be honest.
TO THE WAFTARENA!
This restaging of A Streetcar Named Desire is a little melodramatic isn’t it? I guess the problem with the spoken storyline of “Louise has become so much more confident” is that when you choreograph it into a dance that by necessity involves two people it usually gains a not-so-silent “because of Marvellous Me, The Magnificent Kevin, Brooding Here In My Contempotard With My Chest Hair I’ve Spent The Entire Series Growing Out Spilling Out The Top” on the end. Really the story with Louise, at least as it’s appeared on screen to me has been “I’ve been more or less the same level of inhibited and disinvolved the whole way through but sometimes Kevin has produced choreography so coo-coo bananas that I’ve been forced into emoting it at a discernable level sometimes” and this is Kevin going for one last run at that vibe, going for full reaching grasping flailing contempodrama to “One Moment In Time” (a WHITNEY HOUSTON song written for the AMERICAN OLYMPIC TEAM what could be more ra ra ra than that?) and Louise has taken one look at it and gone “nah” and trotted daintily around the side like a snooty dressage horse. I mean, even in the lifts which I thought looked ok on first viewing
she looks like she’s going to the same place I go to when people force me to go on rollercoasters. Also note to Kevin, portraying female feminine lady confidence by having said woman
grab her own bubbies never ever comes off, and especially not with Louise. Also if your routine is about Louise’s new independence and confidence
this isn’t a great frame to throw in near the end. And nor is
this one to end on. Really this song is one long uninterrupted climax and Louise is so transparently faking it the entire time I’m not sure even Jamie would be fooled. Just look at her face afterwards
she got the whole thing over with as quickly as possible and she’s still going to miss the first 10 minutes of The Missing.
Len starts for the judges and tells Louise that he’s sure that that was one moment in time she’ll never forget (THAT LITERALLY WAS TESS’ INTRO! RETIRE!) The confidence, the style, the lifts! The curtains, the constant reaching, the bizarre use of a smoke machine to hide footwork mistakes when her feet barely touched the ground! Bruno’s next
Craig follows, saying that he loved the expressiveness and the performance but she stuffed up her final developpe what a shame. Darcey closes by wibbling on about Louise’s lyricism and fluidity and the extreme terrifying risk she was taking in WEARING SOFT SHOES WITHOUT HEELS!!! Yes Darcey, I was on the edge of my seat.
Up to Claud 9 they float diaphanously where Claudia immediately congratulates Louise on having made Bruno cry. Like you couldn’t make Bruno cry by telling him that they’re out of Asti Spumante in the aftershow bar. Claudia for her part says that she loved the part where Louise ran across the floor grinning, although she’s sure there’s some technical contemporary name for it. I’m equally sure there isn’t. We then spend the rest of the interview talking about how Louise has done this for Kevin and how Jamie is so proud of her. STRONG INDEPENDENT CONFIDENT WOMAN STANDING ON HER OWN TWO FEET Y’ALL! Scores are in
38. Karen Clifton gonna cut you at the after-party Bussell.
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the Showdance
Tess does this introduction from the audience and honestly, when she says “dancing to be crowned champion” you can see Carley Stenson
inhale orgasmically through her nose it’s great. I want nothing more for next series than for Carley Stenson, two-time failed Hollyoaks Strictly Kingmaker to decide that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing yourself. CAST HER! CAST HER NOW I BET SHE GOES BARMY BY WEEK 5 AT THE VERY LATEST. Anyway blah blah Danny Mac, two perfect 40s, topped the leaderboard more than anyone else, already the male celebrity with the highest average score ever, let’s roll.
VT time, and Danny tells us that he’s going to go all out and push boundaries in his showdance because that’s what Oti does best. That and knowing where to punch someone so their whole body instantly goes limp. He also says that the dance has “every right to be the most incredible routine of the night” which is a really really odd way of saying it that I’m still kind of picking over. Oti tells us that the routine will be a mixture of Argentine Tango, paso doble and contemporary, which is an odd combination because the only winners I can remember doing aggro showdances are Alesha and Abbey, and nobody remembers Abbeys and Alesha’s was being done to the gayest hits of Bonnie Tyler, which took the edge of a little. Anyway, Tess and Claudia enter, and Oti tells them that the routine is going to tell the story of how Danny Mac came into the competition as a shy retiring young man and is now “…the man that he is today”.
Quite. I guess if nothing else this result is a wholesale rejection of “dances that tell a story”. Danny goes on to say that it was a bit nerve-wracking having Tess & Claudia in because the training room is supposed to be a safe environment, and if I could script something that could be less of a vote winner for the Strictly audience, in this political year, it’s the hunky dunky leading man talking about how he needs a safe space.
TO THE EMOSPHERE!
This routine is being danced to “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele and all I’ll say is that Brenda began a routine like this with Bloody Lulu and I thought it was silly then. Oti and Danny jump about and waft their arms in if I’m honest not VERY tight sync
(this for example is just…not mirroring) and pull one another through the mirror and generally fanny about and it all feels very
A Level devised piece to me to be honest. Generally I think over the course of the whole series Oti’s choreography has been the best (Joanne was too erratic and Kevin too obviously coasted in places) but between this and the bungee foxtrot about the give and take of zombie marriage I’m not sure I want to see her go too conceptual too many times again. Once they’ve stopped playing around with the mirror it starts to get going a bit, and there’s certainly a lot more going on, but it all looks very frantic and over-the-top and thrashy. Oddly enough I think that whilst Oti has probably got thematically the best contrast between the three dance choices this evening (elegant quickstep, passionate showdance, sexy flirty samba) she’s choreographed this with such abandon that I’m seeing their samba already. It’s all very impressive but everything’s thrown away and a bit weightless. And the big lift that she’s thrown in, where Danny carries her in the splits before she does a forward roll down between his legs and catapults him over her
looks very WWF indeed to the extent that I’m surprised she didn’t go for a pinfall afterwards. It all ends with him shoving over the mirror as Oti leaps through it.
It gets, somehow, the most positive reaction of any dance all evening, although I’m not sure how much of that is genuine appreciation of the dance and how much is them wanting to give him a little boost after what happened in his quickstep. Maybe it’s just something that worked better in the studio? Anyway, at this point Oti
goes in close to share the moment and Danny quite clearly pushes her arms off him because at no point, unfortunately, is he going to stop monitoring how he thinks things are going to look or sound to floating voters. Once they get over to Tess she sighs “the Mac is back” (RETURN OF THE MAC TESS, IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU) and Bruno starts for the judges
Craig follows by saying “two words : Totally Brilliant” (yeah, I wouldn’t get that one printed on any t-shirts hun), Darcey waffles on about how it was the perfect showdance, and Len closes by saying that he appreciated the moments of tango and the moments of paso, but what he loved best were the moments of magic. Grolk.
Up to Claud 9 they flail, where all of the attendant celebs and pros greet him warmly, particularly Katya, who is screaming like a cat that’s just been sat on. Claudia brings Danny’s attention to the fact that his fiancee wasn’t breathing during the routine she was so enraptured and his nan is now in tears
/blowing her nose. Claudia then asks Oti if that choreography came off the way she intended in a way that doesn’t sound ENTIRELY back-handed, and Oti says yes, she really wanted to bring the fire and the drama and the mirror-flipping because that’s who Danny is, although you wouldn’t know based on how smiley and humble and semi-naked he is. Scores are in
ARBITRARY CUTOFF POINT TO PREVENT THIS RECAP RUNNING RIDICULOUSLY LONG!