Throw those car-keys into the bowl! IT’S TIME FOR SWITCH UP WEEK!
So these two weeks (when I was off getting married and stuff) make for a neat little diptych so I’m going to write them up together. The concept of Episode 7, lifted from Dancing With The Stars, was that for one week only all the remaining celebrities would get a new pro and we would all sit and watch them deal with being mentored by a new guiding hand. Normally I’m opposed to this, on the grounds that, as with everything with Dancing With The Stars, it just becomes an excuse for fans of one entrenched pro-group (The All-American Hough-Ballas Connection vs “The Family”) (I love that the evil foreigner pro group is called “The Family” by the way, so cosa nostra) to hurl abuse at the other about how their pros MESSED UP A GOOD THING. And on Strictly I’m sure the ever growing pro vs anti Clifton wars would end up the same way. But on Dancing With The Stars Ireland it’s everyone’s first rodeo, and they’re all on a (more or less) even playing field perception wise so it still managed to authentically feel like a genuine “bit of fun”. And then in Week 8 the couples came back together and they did an elimination.
Katherine & Vitali & Aoibhin & Kai : In storyline terms this was probably the least fruitful drama wise, as both women did more or less equally well both weeks, and both Vitali and Kai are such benign personalities that you couldn’t really wring sturn und drang out of any of their interactiosn with Katherine or Aiobhin. There was a small worry that a week apart from Kai might stunt Katherine’s camp side, but mercifully whoever was in charge of the Dancing With The Stars Ireland looked fondly on both and those amongst us who quite like the thought of Vitali wearing flowing latin tops
, as he found himself choreographing paso dobles both weeks. Thank you very much, no really. His effort with Katherine was a more traditional number, to O Fortuna, and mostly featured Katherine stomping up and down pulling drama-face in an ungainly fashion, before falling into the Des Bishop memorial “we need to pretend at least four people here can dance have some 7s and 8s” zone, but his attempt when back in the arms of Aoibhin was much more contemporary, featuring as it did Florence And The Machine and a lot of flinging yourself on and off a bed dressed up like
I Dream Of Jeannie, just like I did when I was 5, but in a GROWN UP and EMOTIONALLY COMPLICATED way. For whatever reason (she claimed it was due to a lack of energy in the limbs but who knows?) this annoyed Lady Judge terribly, as she became the Low Scorer of a dance for the first time this series. But she didn’t make a big show of it like Len so she didn’t even get theatrically booed or anything. TRY HARDER LADY JUDGE. Conversely Kai felt a little muted during his Week With Aiobhin, as they did a fairly rote foxtrot to something about Big Bad Handsome Well-Hung Daddies or something (nice try Kai) but his return to Katherine the week after showed conclusively that this was a couple of pairings the casting directors got right the first time, as the pair of them got right back to business with a truly flamboyant Charleston that climaxed with her face being wedged right in his knackers, her legs flailing about as she Went Like Elsie, after which she waxed philosophical about how charleston and rave dancing are both just parts of the grand history of the bacchinal. Or words to that effect.
Aidan & Valeria & Des & Karen & Dayl & Ksenia too : Being odd of number (and…in a number of other ways) it wasn’t as possible to be quite as neat and tidy with the male celeb switches as it was with the ones involving female celeb switches. So we ended up with something that looked less like a partner swap and more like a partner daisy chain. And for the women the week of the swap ended up being somewhat of a triumph for Valeria (Aidan’s score went way down in her absence and she got Dayl the first perfect score of the series), a failure for Karen (Des bounced back in latin with Ksenia, mincing about in a burgundy blazer to Quando Quando Quando, after his “inauthentic” cha cha with her and she dragged Aidan down to the bottom of the leaderboard) and a middling experience for Ksenia (in that I can’t actually remember one thing about her after 9 weeks of the show, which is as sure a sign that she’s going to end up the winning female pro as any other). Valeria got Dayl his 30/30 with a hip hop themed salsa featuring neon light up costumes and Pitbull. Gleb must have been SEETHING (his way into his latest showmancing series of Dancing With The Stars) that this sort of thing flies on this iteration on the show but when HE tried Pitbull on Strictly he got ELIMINATED. Dancing With The Stars Ireland watch out, I’ve got a feeling Gleb may be filling a hole on your show very soon. The man just can’t keep still! Anyway, despite The Harsh Judge proclaiming hip hop dancing to be an actual disease (lol) this was enough to get Dayl a full score. I’m sure this would have been an even more fulfilling experience had wardrobe not given him a restrictive crotch as for the second week in a row he was adjusting his ding-dong as constantly as Lisa Snowdon
used to adjust her boobs. Aidan’s poor score came via a samba that brought too much thrusting hips and
ill-advised Flintstones jerkin and not enough finess. (Are all my pictures this week going to be the men of the show with their chests out I’m not saying they won’t be).
The return week though was All About Des. Dayl may have pulled in more 10s with contemporary ballroom to Hall Of Fame by The Script featuring William (NO) and Aidan may have…well I don’t remember what Aidan did because there’s no surer sign of a pro having run out of ideas than a VT revolving around the hoary old device of giving their sportsman celebrity a RED CARD or a YELLOW CARD based on their behaviour. And this is VALERIA we’re talking about. But yes, they MAY have done those things, but Des busted out a sentimental waltz to a song by The Dubliners and the entire studio melted en masse like the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. After this I’m not convinced that, dance-off or no dance-off, Des will be stopped short of the final. After a muddy switch-up week, Karen is back on top!
Teresa & Ryan & Denise & John & The Dance Off Yes the dance-off. I knew it was too good to last. Apparently someone on high looked at the erratic results so far, and the ever-increasing need for filler as the number of couples remaining reduced, and decided what we needed was a dance-off to keep things more on the level and to provide tension to the end of the episode. You know, the sort of tension that can only be provided by a face-off between the show’s uber-ringer and Teresa Mannion. Still, I can’t complain too much, as Teresa got this show’s third perfect send-off in a row, revolving around the creation of new Dancing With The Stars Ireland icon
Nerd Ryan. Not since Lisa Simpsons dated Nelson Muntz have we seen such a glorious union of school nerd and school bully, as Ryan awkwardly trailed behind Teresa at all times shuffling his shoes and mumbling quietly as she told everyone gleefully what a SWEET KIND MAN he really is. SWEET and KIND. Couple this with a really sweet and self-conscious ice cream parlour themed jive and an episode 8 in which Teresa spent most of her on-air time trying her damndest to embarass her kids by honking obliviously about their homework and the band they’re in THEIR NAME ARE SUGARHELL THEY JUST DID THEIR FIRST GIG THEIR INFLUENCES ARE U2, THE LIBRERTINES, AND MY BLOODY VALENTINE WAVE HELLO SEAN and I can’t think of a better way for Teresa to leave. Denise? I’m not sure if it was just John’s natural…beigeness, but the two episodes showed adequately that she does need Ryan by her side to make her memorable, as I can remember her salsa quite clearly but as to what happened during Switch Up Week? Who knows.