Also, an announcement!
We’ll make Vogue happen on this show yet!
Another series that wasn’t really won on the showdance because the winner was a foregone conclusion coming in, but which everyone will spend the next decade saying was won on the showdance because that makes a nice narrative? YES PLEASE, CAN’T GET ENOUGH!
So let’s take it round by round
Judges Choice : As you might expect from the fact that the judges picked one of the better routines for each celeb, this is fully an excuse for Motsi, Shirley, and Bruno all to hunker down with their 10 paddle for winter and not pull anything else out for the rest of the night. And so it is left up to Craig to ding people, with Emma being poked for not entirely being in sync with Anton in her Charleston (might I also add, the fairly uninspiring job that the choreographers did in replacing all the stuff with backing dancers with…a lot of spinning round in circles like Wonder Woman) and Kelvin getting dinged for, well, being a man dancing the rumba mostly. Karim meanwhile, sails on with his quickstep, getting a perfect score for a dance that nevertheless feels a little unshowy and drab in comparison to Kelvin’s tour-de-force last week. My winner? Kelvin.
SHOWDANCES : Karim just does his contemporary routine again, to a different song, and gets the same score all over again. At least Ashley added a little spinny table last year. Of the other two, Emma swings at Old School Fred & Ginge and misses, with a routine where she and Anton don’t ever really seem to be in the same library, let alone on the same page, and Oti goes absolutely all out on the choreography for a retro jukebox routine that features bits of pretty much every routine Kelvin has done this series. It’s sloppy as hell, but also incredibly charming, and very Kelvin, which in this finale, is more than enough. My winner, and Craig’s? Kelvin.
Couples Choice : Not much to say here really, other than that nobody really changed my mind from their first performances – Emma’s dance is still mostly ham acting with a bit of clunky Viennese Waltz thrown in, Karim’s jive is still glorious frantic OTT stage school perfection, and Kelvin’s Week 1 samba…well, it’s still a Week 1 samba, and somewhere about 3/4 of the way through, it really starts to feel like it. My winner? Karim.
That all settled, we go through the usual filler – a special guest performance (filmed two weeks ago) from Taylor Swift, who needs her mic turning up ; a Car Crash returning Celebrity Group Dance the clear highlight of which for me is Michelle dancing on to a RuPaul album track live in front of 12 million people on BBC One ; and, of course, the usual “here’s the judges maundering on about any old rubbish to fill for time” padding VT. Which summary is probably underselling it, it’s all a very upbeat, jolly, light-hearted, convivial, and fun finale, not least because you get the impression that everyone there kind of knows who’s going to win regardless of what they do.
AND THEY’RE RIGHT! Kelvin wins, and he and Oti both cry everywhere, probably ruining several fantasies about just how macho and Northern and stoic he is, but there we are, it’s Strictly! Kelvin accidentally proclaims himself the embodiment of everything great about this country, Oti lobs all of her previous partners in the bin. AN ENDING!
BYE CHRIS! YOUR NAME WAS LIKE MY NAME!
VOTE ON THE BEST RUDES!
ENDUT! HOCH HECH!
Warning : contains hardcore shots of Emma’s gymnopodie.
Goodness me I’d forgotten just how padded out the final Results Show of the series always is. Which is fine when you’re on a double length pro dance featuring Carlos Acosta, or an in-depth and cost goodbye segment with a (SPOILERS) likeable articulate contestant like Chris Ramsey, but when you’re sitting through Dance Debrief : The Judges Best Bits or lengthy “Oooh I’m so glad to be in the final I can’t believe it Claudia!” sofa interviews…forget it. This could have been a lean half hour, and you know it. Nobody’s going to be *that* excited by the fact that Niall Horan has chest hair now and he’s ready to show it off.
Joining Chris and Karen in the dance-off? No surprises here, as Karim’s “deciding to be quiet” as Motsi interestingly put it, doesn’t end up paying dividends in the vote, and he is given the task of putting his biggest bromance to the sword, in a decision that, yes, takes far longer than it should because the show needs padding out. Even Craig tries to make out that he’s conflicted and he gave Chris’ rumba a sodding 4 in the Performance Show. This leaves the final looking like a perhaps slightly anticlimactic Kelvin vs Emma face-off, with a very very slim outside chance of Karim pulling off an Ore, I guess, and you can vote on how that’s gonna go right now!
(I was out again for this one, so semi-regular It Takes Two coverman Donald has been promoted to the big leagues. So if there’s massive discrepancies between opinions here and the main recap that’s why, not the usual reason – that I wasn’t really paying attention)
Well, that was a little underwhelming, wasn’t it? We’ve sat through quite a few boring semis over the year (neva4get the Pixie hangover semi-final), but this is up there with the most snooze worthy. The highs aren’t particularly thrilling, and there are no train wrecks. So…good for last four? I guess? Also, a plea: unless we get a full Big Mo personal message (LAILA MORSE FOR STRICTLY 2020!), please stop the sentimental garbage, please!
Emma and Anton:
Cha Cha: Ooft, why did no-one tell Emma that she looks terrified? That’s not performance darling, that’s ‘oh god, what’s the next step?!’ It was all a wee bit placed and careful, and my god her expression was TERRIFYING. It was strewn with awkward moments (if you can’t do a straight high kick, don’t try hun).
Waltz: Anton’s zenith, though I kept expecting to hear ‘this is…M&S food!’ over the tannoy. Same terrifying expression, different dance. Good footwork most of the way through, nice and mellow and honestly a bit ‘will put you to sleep’. Mostly I’m annoyed that Anton said that he’s been waiting 15 years to dance that dance (?!) with a celeb – are you forgetting DERHAM, Anton? LESLEY?!
Kelvin and Oti:
Quickstep: Ok, first things first, Oti’s dress was a mess. It was aiming at elegant, landing on ‘my GCSE art project’. This was charming and light, but there WAS gapping, spatula hands and an unnecessary floor spin. Bonus points for Shirley’s one woman hen show, screaming ‘YOUR WOODPECKER WAS WONDERFUL’, atta girl. Anyway, it got 40 and joined the pantheon of ‘eh?’ 40’s.
Paso Doble: after all the build up, this was no DVO. Despite the nips being out (and what glorious tits they are), there was far too much bizarre hip action, and a multitude of balance issues. Also: if you can’t do a grande jeté, DON’T ATTEMPT IT. However, a LOVELY COUP DE PIQUE! (Shirley was on fire this week!).
Chris and Karen:
Oh Chris, two swings, two misses. In the:
Viennese Waltz: well. He tried. Big ole’ bonus points to La Ballas for this gem : ‘IT WENT ON FOR A WHILE!’ Other than that…yikes.
Rumba: My notes read ‘basically Goughy 2.0´. To quote Aretha Franklin: ‘Lovely gowns, nice gowns?’ Karen did look lovely, and good on her for trying to get a decent rumba out of Chris. I appreciate that he’s tried. However, how can you dance a rumba with NO discernable rumba beat?! Sheer madness. Tess honking ‘IT’S YOUR LAST DANCE (of the semi)’ was also hilarious.
Karim and Amy:
Argentine Tango: It was just a bit borin’, wasn’t it? There was no Vincent Simone fire or passion, WHERE WAS THE SEX? It literally looked like he was dancing with his teacher. What a colossal waste of ‘Libertango’, I WANT MY MONEY BACK. Nice trousers, tho.
American Smooth: I just can’t deal with this. I can’t get over the hideous outfits/theming. Was there some decent dancing, yes, was it a wasted chance for some Fred n Ginge, yes, were the lifts horrific HELL YES.
All in all, probably my least favourite semi since Series 12 – and at least that had Caroline’s salsa. Who’s going home? It’s hard to see past Chris finally getting the chop, but who joins him is anyone’s guess. We’re about to find out if Emma has been Kelvin’s biggest threat all along, which…lol. Just, lol.