Sunday, 16 November 2008

Dance to that funky music, white boys

Week 9
Tx: 15th November 2008

Last time, it was a weekend of controversy. John survived. Rachel was in the dance-off. It was in the papers. Rachel cried. No-one is safe. Everyone has to up their game. This! Is! Strictly Come Dancing! Live!


Welcome back your hosts, Bruce and Tess. Daly Dresswatch: red curtain, complete with valance rail propping up her breasts. As Craig might say, it is ug-er-ly. Greg Rusedski is in the audience. Bruce congratulates Tess on dancing with Anton last night for Comic Relief. Tess corrects him that it was Children in Need. Bruce replies: "I wish I'd known, I wouldn't have laughed so much." Ha ha! I wish I'd seen it, but I'm allergic to charity fundraising. [Misery. It's on YouTube. - Carrie] There are eight couples left, and they are: Tom and Camilla; Christine and Matthew; Lisa and Brendan; Austin and Erin; Jodie and Ian; John and Kristina; Rachel and Vincent; Cherie and James. At this point in the proceedings, Carrie texted me thus: "LOOK AT JAMES JORDAN! Rrrrrr!" Well, perhaps, but he's going to have to do better than that to compete with Austin's guns. [At least James isn't a shortarse. And he has a rrrrr tattoo. - Carrie]

Jodie and Ian are first up. Bruce jokes that Jodie has such long legs, if she does the splits she could be in both corners of the dancefloor at once. Everyone thinks that is the punchline, but apparently the actual punchline was: "I only hope she makes a wish." Nobody gets it. He should have taken the laughs as they came. Jodie says she knew samba wasn't going to be one of her favourite dances, and indeed Craig gave it a 3, which she rightly says she can't be getting if she wants to stay in the competition. The fact that everyone voted for her and Rachel ended up in the dance-off has motivated her this week. Jodie and Ian's quickstep is hopefully going to be like running across hot coals. Ah, but will it be like jumping over giant stones? We're about to find out.

Jodie is all in red. She should have worn that dress for her paso. They're dancing to 'Mr Pinstripe Suit', and the crowd are clapping along. Drink! Jodie's back in her comfort zone and this is pretty good, despite a couple of mistakes. Len will probably like the fact that there's not too much messing around, as he would put it. It's still not a good time to welcome our fabulous singers. Bruce introduces the judges, saying that they're always scribbling things - Craig makes notes on technique, Arlene makes notes on the story of dance, Len makes notes on posture, and Bruno's doing his colouring book. Lulz! It makes a change from picking on Craig. Head Judge Len says he did write a note on Jodie's posture - "excellent". He thought it was bright and light, but wondered if they were "tripping over Brendan Cole" when it went wrong. [I was amazed it took them last long to make a Brendan Cole joke. - Steve] Jodie blames it on Ian. Good girl! It's always the man's fault because he's leading. Bruno calls Jodie a "speed racer regaining momentum" and says she's back on track. Craig thought their performance was "so much better than last week" and it's "wonderful seeing such tall people go through that dance like lightning". Arlene says that, "They say tall girls aren't fast" - well, we also say they're gangly and awkward, it's not just the speed - but Jodie was "so fast you looked like you were training for the 100m for 2012."

In the House of Tesstosterone, Jodie says she feels more at home this week, and blah about it being difficult to do Latin when you are so tall, blah blah. The scores are in: Craig - 7, Arlene - 8, Len - 9, Bruno - 9. Ian wants a 10 though. That gives them 33, which is much better than last week.

The next couple to dance is Lisa and Brendan with their samba. Last week they got amazing comments and Craig wanted to kiss Brendan. Brendan thinks that comment is going to haunt him for a long time. I can't think of anyone who would harp on about it. Lisa realises that she has to do well in Latin as well as ballroom, and jokes about having "a wingspan like an albatross". Lisa can't go out and party because she has to get up early to do her radio show, so her sisters come to rehearsal in samba outfits to get her in the party spirit. Brendan looks like he's enjoying himself.

Lisa's in an orange dress with frills, and starts with a solo spin. They're dancing to 'Rock the Boat'. She does look slightly awkward in the samba rolls, but otherwise it's good. I don't think the music is quite upbeat enough, personally. My boyfriend chimes in to say it's the best samba of the competition so far. Craig says that he liked the spot voltas, Lisa looked in control, and the running promenade was good, but the samba rolls weren't smooth enough. Booing ensues. Bruno starts shouting at him. Craig snarkily tells Bruno to, "Keep your opinion to yourself until it's your turn." Brendan tries to intervene. Bruce says he "thought the spring rolls were lovely". It's a bit of a free-for-all. Craig concludes that overall he thought it was very good, and throws his pen down on the desk in disgust. Arlene sort of agrees with Craig because she thinks Lisa has tension inside and didn't quite go with the flow. She needs "more of that famous breakfast cereal, snap, crackle and sizzle". What is she on about? [Rice Krispies and bacon? - Carrie] Head Judge Len thought Lisa's legs were a bit too flexed, but Craig is talking out of his arse. Although the actual word he used was "bottom". Apparently it's alright to say that on Saturday night telly these days. Len makes excuses about tall people not being good at the samba, despite the fact that Lisa was actually quite good at the samba. Bruno adds that, "For somebody so statuesque, it's hard", but, "There's no way you can say the samba rolls weren't good." Well, Craig said it and I said it too, so ha.

Backstage, Brendan says he wouldn't remonstrate with the judges because he's a lovely boy, and Lisa says she was pleased with it. The judges' scores are: 6 from Craig, 7 from Arlene, 9 from Len, 8 from Bruno. I don't think it deserved a 6, but I like to think Craig marks extra low to compensate from the high marks he knows Len's going to give people. They have a total of 30, which is quite respectable.

There's a teaser for what else is still to come - I'd recap it, but I'm eating Pringles.

Bruce mucks up his spiel to introduce Christine and Matthew. Let's not go into it. This week they'll be dancing the waltz. Christine was rather pleased that she got good comments from the judges last week, and two points more than Austin. The rest of this VT is really D-U-L-L. In case you didn't know, Christine is from Northern Ireland, which means she has a solid voter base.

Christine's dress is baby pink with sparkles on the bodice and those silly wings. They're dancing to Girls Aloud's 'See the Day'. Their waltz is pretty good, but I'm finding it hard to care. Arlene says it was "a big song, a big dance, and without doubt your best yet". Len seems to be surprised at how nice she's being, and agrees. Arlene obviously hasn't reached her nasty drunk phase this evening yet. Len point out that Christine "went wrong on the whisk", but apart from that it was great. Bruno says that it's good to see Christine become more polished and refined, because sometimes she used to "go off slightly". What is she, a yoghurt? Craig is pleased to see the top half and the bottom half of Christine's body working in union. In the House of Tesstosterone, Christine says she's been trying to work on areas the judges have criticised. The scores are in: Craig - 8, Arlene - 8, Len - 9, Bruno - 9, for a total of 34, which beats their record high last week of 31.

Cherie and James this week are doing the cha-cha-cha. Bruce mocks Craig's pronunciation of the "char-char-char". Cherie was pleased with her four 9s last week, as she bloody should be. Arlene told her she had to deliver the same standard for every dance. James's aim this week is to prove to judges that Cherie can do Latin. They have a visit in rehearsals from Cherie's daughter, who is badly in need of a hairbrush. She thinks her mum looks like a pro dancer. Cherie says that when she dances this week, she wants to feel good about herself. [She also plays the "I'm a SINGLE MUM!" card. Seriously, woman. Have some dignity. - Carrie]

Omigod, they're dancing to 'Play that Funky Music' by Wild Cherry, the funk song for people who know nothing about funk music. The beginning is hilarious, as James pretends to use Cherie's leg as a guitar. Mind you, she's in a little pink and gold dress which does show off her fabulous legs. This is certainly her best attempt at Latin so far. I may have been distracted by James's arms though, which could have been the point. [The Mr & Mrs Jordan school of costumery, where skimpy outfits compensate for celebrity partners' lack of ability! - Carrie] Bruce asks Cherie, "Who's a naughty girl then?" which would surely be a more appropriate comment for a really raunchy rumba. Bruno enthuses over Cherie's legs and says she's had a breakthrough and he loved it. Craig says that he would have liked to see "a bit more punctuation". James is like, "Where, bitch?" Craig replies, "Most of the times when you were landing on counts of two". Dear me, that James Jordan doesn't like criticism, does he? Bruno interrupts again. Craig presses on and emphasises that it was "magnificent to watch". Arlene says that it was "very neat and accurate", but complains that Cherie had "looked like you were going to turn on every electric lightbulb everywhere, but there were moments when the dimmer switch went on". Still, she envies Cherie's legs. [As do I. - Steve] Head Judge Len agrees that they are lovely legs. Then he says that 'Play that Funky Music' is "one of the few songs I like by somebody living". He tells us it was by Wild Cherry, in case we didn't know - which Cherie didn't - because it is important for his comment that the dance was "clean and crisp" and he wants to see more "wild Cherie". [For one horrible moment I thought he was implying that he wanted to see her vagina. - Steve] Bruce steps in, because if anyone gets to do bad puns on this show, it's him.

In the House of Tesstosterone, Cherie says that she's got her mum to thank for the legs. Bizarrely, James seems to think she's talking about his guns. James thinks the judges were harsh saying Cherie's not wild enough, and says that, "She done me proud". The judges scores are: 7 from Craig, accompanied by a cacophany of booing, 8 from Arlene, 8 from Len, and 9 from Bruno, for a total of 32.

Time for a quick check on the leaderboard, which shows the world turned upside-down: Christine and Matthew are at the top with 34, followed by Jodie and Ian with 33. Cherie and James and Brendan and Lisa are lagging behind with 32 and 30 respectively.

Bruce says that for Austin and Erin's tango, the audience have to imagine they're in a nightclub full of disreputable drunks - nice to have a dance the judges can participate in. Ha ha! It's not possible to have an Austin VT without a sporting metaphor, so we are informed that last week his rumba was "kicked into touch". Austin thought he was going to be in the dance-off, the fool, and compares it to "going to the doctor and being told there's nothing wrong". Yes, not being in the dance-off - it's like not having cancer. Austin and Erin are testing out their tango at Austin's daughter's school. Thank fuck they didn't do that with their rumba. The kids think variously that he has to do better than last week, and that he's better at dancing than rugby. A kid pretending to be a judge gives them 19. Len probably wishes he'd thought of that.

I rather like Erin's dress, which had a glittery gold bodice and pink skirt with black netting over the top. Austin looks in total control, which as we know is very important in the tango. I am lulzing at Austin's ridiculous tango facial hair. It's very quick, very sharp, and they're dancing to proper tango music, so they've really done everything right. [I...didn't like it. I don't know, I just found it really D-U-L-L, but clearly I'm the only one, so I'll shut up. - Steve] Craig starts off by saying it was "aggressive, passionate, driven", and Austin was leading the dance, he maintained his flexed knees and wonderful hold, they told the story and Austin looked like he was in complete charge and control. It's like Craig was trying to get in as much as possible before someone interrupted him. Bruce asks whether the story had a happy ending, and Craig tells him it was "rugbilicious, darling". [HAHAHAHAHA. Craig rules all this series. - Carrie] Arlene says it was the first time she's seen Austin act, and alliterates that their "tango was tingling with torrid passion", and she "didn't think you had it in you". Head Judge Len says that in his head he was like, "Go on my son!" because it is not possible to forget for two fucking seconds that Austin is a sportsman. He liked the attack and the moody start, and thought it was fantastic. Bruno thinks Austin "went for the tango like a rampaging beast", and it had "more bang and wallop than Quantum of Solace." Also, the camerawork is less annoying than QoS.

In the House of Tesstosterone, Erin calls him "Austin Bond", but fortunately Tess doesn't suggest that he performs next week in Daniel Craig's blue trunks. Tess informs us that Austin hasn't come out of character all day. He says it's difficult not being an actor, and jokes that the fluff on his face has taken him four weeks to grow. Apparently the tango is incredibly similar to rugby because it requires "passion, arrogance and lots of aggression", and he hopes he didn't overdo it. Tess wonders if Austin will reclaim is his place at the top of the leaderboard, and he's all false modesty, like, "It's not my place". Tess points out that he has been there a lot. Specifically four out of five dances, if anyone's counting. Anyway, the judges' scores are in: 9s from Craig and Arlene, 10s from Len and Bruno, for a whopping total of 38, the highest score of the competition so far.

Rachel and Vincent are up next. Last week they were second on the judges' leaderboard (although three people were tied in first, so they were really fourth) but they ended up in dance-off, which Rachel assures us was horrible. This week, they're doing the rumba. Every time Rachel looks at Vincent she wants to laugh, so he takes her out for dinner to get her in the mood, and serenades her with 'That's Amore'. Flavia will get jealous. [Except not so much. I was embarrassed for Rachel when he was making her eat spaghetti with him. - Carrie]

Rachel's dress is black with hardly any back and sides, and they're dancing to 'You Do Something To Me', which I think is excellent music for a rumba. My, Vincent has a lot of chest hair. Rachel's hands aren't always that elegant, but the rest of her is, and I think the judges may like the storytelling. When it finishes, Bruce rushes over saying, "That's enough! Stop the music! Children are watching!" Lulz. Rachel takes Bruce's hand, and he's like, "Aah, father figure." Hee! Len threatens that if Rachel and Vincent end up in the bottom two tonight, he'll dance Claudia's masterclass on Thursday naked. Ouch. Bruno says he needs a bucket of ice. But then where would Arlene keep her champagne? He calls it a rumba that "could revive the dead". If necrophilia's your thing, I suppose. He liked how she "connected each move from the core of your body". Craig starts out saying it's "a bit lewd and lustful, almost indecent", and gets drowned out by booing before he can get to what is obviously coming - he loved it. Arlene says it gave her goosebumps and she feels "emotional, like a proud mum", because every week she criticised and suddenly Rachel has come out with a performance that "blows the competition into the stratosphere".

In the House of Tesstosterone: Rachel says it's her favourite dance and she enjoyed being serenaded, even though Vincent has a rubbish voice. Okay, she may not have said that, but it's a fact. Tess points out that Rachel's fiance Alex is in the audience. He raised his eyebrows at the camera. Vincent and Alex have an eyebrow-off. The scores are: 9 from Craig, 10s from everyone else, for a phenomenal 39 points. Not only have they just beaten Austin and Erin's record for the highest score in this series so far [prompting Tom to shout "what a shame!" Cunt. - Steve], but it's the highest score for a rumba in Strictly history. [Ha. Ha. Ha. HEALEY. That'll learn you. - Carrie]

Now the moment everyone (apparently) has been waiting for, John and Kristina's American smooth. Bruce points out that they have to do two lifts, and I'm expecting a Stannah stairlift joke, but am to be disappointed because it's a joke about Kristina lifting John. John united the judges in hatred last week. He's worried that if he progresses any further, the judges might find it difficult to cope because some of them are quite elderly. Craig would have given last week's dance a zero if he had one. John is a bit bewildered by the press furore, and surprised that reporters have been turning up outside his home. John says their dance is going to be perfect by Saturday, and Kristina agrees, and they both snicker.

Is it just me or does Kristina wear hot pink every week? They're dancing to 'True Love Ways' and, well, it's not completely awful. There is one great move, where Kristina does the splits and John drags her along the floor. Their first lift must be about the easiest possible to do, but it doesn't go that smoothly. John doesn't look like he's leading at all. The second lift is better. The music ends with them walking up the stairs, and they almost make it into the House of Tesstosterone before Bruce makes them come back for the judges' comments. Bruno describes their dance as "surprisingly appealing". The timing was better, and the footwork wasn't a total disaster. He says that John "nearly smell[s] of roses", but he sometimes looks drowsy, and pull faces to demonstrate, insisting that John has to "give me something to work with". Craig says that, "However entertaining, it lacked a certain energy and drive," and it didn't feel like John was leading the dance. The first lift was precarious, but there was "a small wow moment" when Kristina did the splits. Arlene says that she gets what other people see in John for the first time - he's "quite endearing". John is like, "Quite?" Arlene says they had the Hollywood feel, but it was "more Mickey Rooney than Fred Astaire". She concludes optimistically that, "If you're here next week, you need to keep your head straight and work on posture." Head Judge Len says that compared to Terry Wogan last night, John was brilliant, and he was terrible last week so he was bound to improve. They are Bruce's favourites, but we knew that.

Backstage, Kristina is jumping up and down. John says he remembers someone saying "brilliant", but not the rest. John explains how their dance partnership works: "She does the dancing, I do the jokes." The judges' scores are in: Craig - 5 (hooray!), Arlene - 6 (hooray!), Len - 7 (hooray!), Bruno - 7 (hooray!). That's a total of 25, John's personal best. Perhaps the judges have realised that they have to be nice to get people voted out - mean comments cause sympathy voting.

The final couple to dance is Tom and Camilla. Tom loved being Fred and Ginge last week, but was shocked when Rachel and Vincent only had one point less than them ended up in the dance-off. Nobody is safe, etc. This week, Camilla has brought in some salsa experts to help. Tom wiggles and points in rehearsals, chanting, "What a berk. What a lemon drop. What a nincompoop", and calling himself "Thomas" when he's remonstrating with himself. [Shut up, Tom. - Steve] He wants to make the judges feel like they're on the dancefloor.

Their routine starts at the top of the steps with some very intricate arm work. I'm always impressed by that because I went to a salsa class once and it was surprisingly difficult. Camilla has sensibly choreographed Tom shimmying in front of Arlene. This is more like the sort of energy I wanted from Lisa and Brendan's samba. The footwork is good, but Tom needs to do something with his half-clenched hands. Bruce goes to Arlene first, saying she must be very excited. Yes, and when Arlene gets excited, she alliterates: "Those sequins set your hips in motion. It was saucy, steamy, sexy, sensuous - everything a hot salsa should be." Head Judge Len says it had "the three things you need for salsa: rhythm, rhythm, rhythm". Bruno declares that "The spice boy has risen to the challenge" - he never failed to sell it. Craig says that he loved the choreography, "especially the armography at the top of the stairs". For the record, "armography" is not a real word. Then Craig criticises it for being "a bit too much about you than and giving expression to the world", and everyone starts shouting. He reiterates that he thought it was "selfish", and wanted them to "give a bit more of you to us". Arlene clearly feels like Tom has given himself to her, as she's fanning herself off. Len calls Craig a "born-again plonker", and can fuck off.

Back in the House of Tesstosterone, Tom says he is loving every week, "It's like driving a new car". Tess tells him not to talk about Camilla like that. Ha! The scores are in: 8 from Craig, "a saucy 9" from Arlene, 9 from Len, 9 from Bruno, for a total of 35.

So the final leaderboard looks like this: Rachel and Vincent, 39; Austin and Erin, 38; Tom and Camilla, 35; Christine and Matthew, 34; Jodie and Ian, 33; Cherie and James, 32; Lisa and Brendan, 30; John and Kristina, 25. Those are pretty phenomenal scores. British public, may I leave you with these words of wisdom: if you love someone, let them go. John and Kristina's time is surely up.

On the results show tomorrow: Tom Jones, and Bruce singing and dancing with one of the professionals - I'm guessing Anton. Carrie will be here to bring you all the action!


ht said...

Tom says he is loving every week, "It's like driving a new car". Tess tells him not to talk about Camilla like that. Ha!

Tess in "actually being funny" shocker! And improvised as well. Maybe I shouldn't include in the first group to be shot when the revolution comes - she can have a stay of execution until I work out whether she really IS a vacuous cow, or just working with bad script writers and under orders not to show up the Forsyth.

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