Sunday, 9 December 2007

"It's behind you!" - the competition, that is

Quarter-final results: 9th December 2007

"Last" "night" the remaining couples battled it out, all performing a Latin and a ballroom dance again. Gethin and Alesha both scored highly with the judges. Letitia's waltz was well-received, and she had a pretty good punt at the jive. The real story of the night was Matt completely falling to pieces in both his dances. Now the question on everyone's lips is: will the public sympathy vote save him?

The couples return to the floor, and everyone's dressed for ballroom except Matt and Flavia - whoever's in the dance-off will do the dance for which they got the highest mark from the judges. I quite like Flavia's trouser-outfit for the samba - although when I heard on Friday's It Takes Two that Matt and Flavia were both wearing trousers, I did have a bit of a flashback to Colin and Erin's disastrous puppet dance. (ERIN, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? - Carrie) Anyway. Tess has changed into yet another horrible dress, with folds of white material across the chest that look like they've been pinned there like a dress-shop mannequin.

Bruce opens with perhaps the most sensible suggestion he's made all series - let's keep all the dancers on and vote off one of the judges instead. If only the Great British Public could be trusted to vote off Len "we're not here to criticise" Goodman, I'd be all for it, but I rather suspect Craig "I'm a judge, for fuck's sake!" Revel-Horwood would be the victim. I'm always amused when Tess asks, "Which of our couples will be FORCED into a DANCE-OFF?" as I picture them being made to dance at gunpoint. [Or maybe in enchanted shoes that force you to dance? - Steve] Don't worry, we're not in that dystopian future yet.

Coming up, for your delectation (or maybe not): a performance from the World Latin Formation Champions, as well as an Argentine tango from Vincent and Flavia, and a song from Cliff Richard; "my liege", as Brucie addresses him, although I'm not quite sure why. But first - recap!

Matt and Flavia were in last place on the judges' leaderboard with 55 points, and it's not surprising when Matt totally blanked out during both his foxtrot and his samba. Craig was "saddened". Backstage, Flavia says it's hard to pick it up again if it all goes wrong, but at least they have the samba still to come... or not. Flavia says she turned around and Matt was gone, and she found herself doing samba rolls on her own, while Matt watched haplessly from across the floor. (This bit really made me laugh. Matt: "I was watching you do the samba rolls and I thought, 'Yeah, that looks good!' - Carrie) Dear oh dear. Elaine Paige felt sorry for him, but Craig wasn't impressed - people shouldn't be forgetting their steps at this point in the competition.

Letitia and Darren did a beautiful waltz, and Jill Halfpenny thought Letitia "did a really good job". She tried her best with the jive, but the judges pointed out that it doesn't really suit her. Letitia says she was overexcited and her technique went. Bruno opines that Letitia isn't a strong Latin dancer, but Darren points out that the jive has garnered them their best score for a Latin dance so far.

The judges loved Alesha and Matthew's Viennese waltz, although it didn't get 10s across the board, as predicted by Head Judge Len. Backstage, Matt admits that he came over all emotional, and Alesha says she was scared but she didn't want Matt to know. Gemma Bissix describes Alesha as a "vision of beauty" and a "contender for the final". Their paso doble only got slightly more criticism, despite the last 20 seconds of the dance apparently all being made up. (This made me laugh too - Alesha and Matt in the TV Centre corridor holding an impromptu 'how to make up a routine when you've utterly forgotten your steps' masterclass - Carrie) Bruno says that, "Something went wrong but she carried it through and didn't collapse" - unlike some people, eh?

Finally, Gethin and Camilla were in first place again with 75 points. Bruno thought their American smooth had the "wow factor", and backstage Gethin is so shocked that he "can't even add two 9s and two 10s at the moment". Hee. Len says Gethin has gone "from good to great in two weeks", and Arlene thinks he was "born to dance". I think Arlene's exaggerating. Their jive got even Craig excited, but Arlene was booed for daring to suggest that Gethin's kicks weren't sharp enough. Camilla gushes at Gethin, "Did you just get 10 for Latin?" while Jennie Bond admires his "pert little bottom".

Bruce reminds us that last week he showed us all a photo of Head Judge Len putting his rubbish out, and this week he has a photo of a young Bruno in a posing pouch. Bruno pretends to be embarrassed, but then shouts, "I was gorgeous!" (To be fair, if it wasn't Bruno, you'd have to objectively admire the aesthetics. - Carrie) Arlene seems to disagree, but I bet she has a full-size poster of it on her bedroom wall. Bruce has thoughtfully had it framed for Bruno, who props it up on his desk. [I dread to think what we'll get next week. My money's on Craig Revel-Horwood's private nude MySpace pics. He's this show's Vanessa Hudgens! - Steve]

Head Judge Len thinks it has been a dramatic week, but emphasises that what happened to Matt has happened to every dancer there (all the judges nod wisely here - Carrie), and he has to get over it. Bruno says "last" "night" was like a soap opera, but he's got a pep talk for Matt and Flavia as well: the show must go on - if you fall off a horse, you have to get back up. Bruce has been n r blog steelin r jokez again, as he says, "That's not a nice thing to say about Flavia."

The couples will all have to do an Argentine tango next week, so Vincent and Flavia, two-time World Argentine Tango Champions, are here to show us how it's done. Flavia is wearing a weird flesh-coloured dress. All I have to say is that this is going to be quite a challenge for the celebrities - the footwork is complicated, and a kick or a flick in the wrong place could be painful for the men. Carrie texts me at this point to say that she's bored of Vincent and Flavia, and thinks Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy's Argentine tango was better. They're not two-time World Champions though, are they? Tut. (Bet they could be if they felt like it. Actually, that would be an ace as reality show. I'm bored of them being wheeled out every week for showdances. I'm sure they're very good and all, but they're not that charismatic that I want to watch them, to be honest. - Carrie)

Backstage, Tess asks Matt if he feels like he let Flavia down, to which the answer is obvious, but he says he "has to forget it" - no, Matt, that's what led to all this trouble in the first place. If you're in the dance-off, try to remember it this time. He's looking cheerful considering the situation though. Gethin really enjoyed himself this week, but very modestly says it shows how much work Camilla has done.

A quick plug for It Takes Two - a panel including David Ian and Bill Turnbull will be on, and also West End Leading Man (In Drag) Michael Ball. Whoop!

For no particular reason, we are treated to a performance by the World Latin American Formation Champions, dancing to a medley from Rocky. [I first read that as World Latin American Fornication Champions. Wouldn't that have been fun, pre-watershed? - Steve] A bit of somebody's dress falls off. Their syncopation is very impressive. Umm... Bruce says they were "absolutely wonderful... Danke schön". They must be German.

There's still time for a bit more chat with the judges. Craig thinks that "Gorgeous Gethin" and Camilla's performance stood out; he has "released the shackles" (some kind of unorthodox training method of Camilla's?) and he's "up there doing it". Arlene agrees that "Glorious Gethin" was great, generating "more heat in this room with his two dances this series".

Uh-oh, it's Old Leather-Face himself, Cliff Richard. He's singing sickly ballad 'When I Need You' - but I suppose we should be thankful he's not foisting his latest Christmas song on us. Anton and Erin and Brendan and Nicole come out to dance to it (because Brendan doesn't like Karen any more? - Carrie). One of Nicole's tassley things falls off, in yet another wardrobe malfunction. Perhaps they need a better seamstress. In the middle, Erin and Nicole dance around Cliff like some kind of weird ballroom fetish gentleman's club, and then indulge in some partner-swapping, before kissing Cliff's cheeks as a finale. Yuck.

"Our couples have been training for four months," begins Bruce, "and they're loving the whole experience." I feel some filler coming on: couples in getting on shocker! Alesha and Matt think each other are fabulous. Matt and Flavia "genuinely care for each other". Gethin has enjoyed it more than he expected. Camilla wasn't expecting to get a "new best friend". Letitia has been making Darren "laugh constantly" in rehearsals, while she feels "nurtured". Aww.

Finally, results time is upon us. What Will Happen?? In the tradition of Strictly, the results will be announced in a random order, with the person who was at the bottom of the leaderboard but miraculously made it through first. That's right, Matt and Flavia are through. I'm sort of pleased, because I do like Matt and Flavia, although their performance tonight was terrible, but I would have liked to see them in the dance-off just to see if Matt could pull it out of the bag on his second attempt. The second couple through is Gethin and Camilla, leaving Alesha and Matthew competing against Letitia and Darren in the dance-off. This one's a bit of a no-brainer, isn't it? It's hardly worth doing the dance-off. Even though Letitia's waltz was good, it's hard to imagine what would have to happen to persuade the judges not to vote for Alesha. [Gah. I was so-so-so-scandalised by this result, even if it wasn't a massive surprise. Funny how Letitia's bad week and near death from flu last week left the audience unmoved, but Matt doing a woobie face and forgetting all of his moves gets the viewers voting in their legions. And it's not even like I don't like Matt, but the very idea of Alesha having to fight for her place in the competition pisses me right off, I don't mind telling you. - Steve]

Nevertheless, the show must go on, and Alesha and Matthew are up first. This also means we have to listen to the singers warbling 'Memory' again. Elaine Paige must be turning in her, erm, seat. (I was watching this show at the boyfriend's house, who was doing some important manly game-playing on his PC. Usually nothing can stir him from his virtual world, but as soon as the music started up, he paused his game, turned round in utter horror, and beseeched me: 'What IS this? It's OFFENSIVE TO MY EARS.' - Carrie) It's followed by Letitia and Darren's waltz, and honestly, I think if the judges were actually making a decision based on these dances alone, it would be pretty tough - they're both very good waltzes. Alesha has her serious face on, but Letitia has a resigned smile on her face. She's had a good run.

We know what's going to happen, but still: Craig votes for the "near-perfect" Alesha and Matthew; Arlene never wants to stop watching Alesha dance; Bruno's vote is going to the couple who have "extra stardust", Alesha and Matthew. Head Judge Len's vote doesn't matter, but of course he agrees, making it unanimous. Letitia says she's had an "amazing adventure", and thanks Darren for "his patience and hard work and all the injuries I've caused him - it's probably a good job we're not doing the Argentine tango!" So Letitia is off back to rehearsals for panto in Ipswich. Bruce: "Are you the fairy godmother?" Letitia: "Yes, that's what happens when you reach 40." Letitia has been a great sport throughout the series, and we're sad to see her go. (Word. Thanks, Letitia, you've been awesome. - Carrie)

Join us next week for the semi-finals!


phaeton said...

Just found this blog through Journobiz - fabulous stuff, but do for the love of God ditch the bracketed asides in each piece. Alesha to win! Matt to wear more black tie.

CCB said...

Arlene's comment "what other pictures have you got?" fills me with dread that there may be some risque photographs of her from her younger days which will be shown next week. They wouldn't traumatise us that close to Christmas would they?

But then, if they are from Arlene's youth, how traumatising can neolithic cave drawings actually be?

Carrie said...

Hi Kat, the bracketed asides are how the rest of us contribute to it, so no, we're not going to ditch them...

Adam said...

So farewell lovely Letitia. You were never going to win in a dance off with Her Royal Mis-Teeqness.
But you looked stunning and seemed to be enjoying yourself.
So your last memories of being on Strictly will be happy ones, whereas if you'd gone out last week they would have been of being hunched over a BBC lav

Bert said...

for the love of God, do keep the bracketed asides, i absolutely fawn over them as i think they are the funniest bits most of the time...

i sometimes even find myself laughing at something and than noticing with surprise that it wasn't even bracketed...

Carrie said...

Thanks Bert...I think we'll take that as a compliment.