Tx 6th December 2008
That's right folks, it's quarter-final time! Last week the competition exploded, apparently. It is so emotional! It's the most closely run Strictly ever! Austin Healey is "revved up", hee. Pun probably not intended, but I laughed more than I will at any of Brucie's jokes this evening. Titles!
Here come Brucie and Tess. Whoever designed Tess's dress didn't take account of the fact that she has to do, like, three dance steps in it, because it's trailing on the floor at the back and she predictably almost trips and falls over. You wouldn't have thought it would be Bruce holding Tess up, would you? Also, I'm slightly concerned that her nipples are visible through the white fabric; either that or it has really badly placed seams.
Bruce and his glamorous assistant make a joke about the cold weather. Let's skate over that to welcome back the stars of our show: Tom and Camilla; Lisa and Brendan; Austin and Erin; Rachel and Vincent. Is it just me, or is Strictly not as much fun when everybody's doing really good dances and getting tens all the time? [It's not just you, no. - Steve] Bruce asks, "Are they humans or are they dancers?" and jokes about himself knowing who The Killers are, and then about himself not actually knowing who The Killers are. Austin and Erin are first to dance, and Bruce takes the piss out of Austin and Tom for not being macho.
Last week Austin's paso divided the judges, with Len rediscovering his 8 paddle while all the other judges gave it 10. Austin has been waiting all series to do the American smooth - "there's no point having muscles if you can't do lifts". Erin says she's hoping not to be dropped this week. Cut to footage of Austin throwing Erin around their studio. Austin confesses that there's more to lifts than just brute strength [tell Kenny Logan that - Carrie], but he doesn't know how Brendan can do lifts, with "pipecleaners coming out of his shoulders". Austin and Erin have been working hard, but it is so difficult whine whine whine. I can't imagine a visit from Matt Dawson would help, but here he is, telling Austin how to improve his arms. I'd have punched him, personally. [Which one - Austin or Matt? - Carrie] Finally, Austin tries to make out that there's any doubt that they'll get through to the final.
They're smoothing to 'The Best is Yet to Come'. Austin's arms are too straight, so he obviously ignored Matt Dawson's tips. They've left the lifts until the end, and they are predictably good - no shock there. The rest of the routine is, however, lacking in wow-factor. It's not exactly Fred and Ginge.
Bruce says this week he asked Len why he was arguing with Craig all the time, and Len said, "Look at that face, would you want to kiss and make up?" Craig raises an eyebrow at the camera and tries not to laugh, while Arlene puts a protective arm round his shoulders. Len reaches over to console him and Craig is like, "Don't touch me!" Hee. Anyway, on with the judging. Head Judge Len says he's overexcited this week (like every week), because anyone can win and anyone can go home. He thought Austin could have been a little bit more Hollywood. Bruno compares Austin to "a glider on an upward swell", and liked his arms. Craig doesn't have "that much to complain about". He thought it was smooth and had a lot of control, but it was "very safe", except for the lifts, and he was bored through the first part. He agrees with Len that there wasn't enough "Hollywood pizazz". Austin confesses that until Wednesday he didn't know what Fred Astaire looked like. Bruce interjects, "You've never watched me?" Austin retorts, "You do look very similar now that I get up close." Arlene wants to give Austin some advice - he mustn't let Erin outdance him. He played rugby for England, she wants him to dance for England. Will we be seeing him in the Eurovision Dance Contest next year then?
In the House of Tesstosterone, Austin says it's difficult to put the acting edge on the dance all the way through. Erin's a bit miffed because she didn't think it was boring. Tess reminds us that Austin isn't an Actor. The scores are in: Craig - 8, Arlene - 8, Len - 9, Bruno - 9, for a total of 34. Austin thinks they'll have to come out and blast the salsa. Tess is already salivating over the proposition of Austin getting his guns out. Leave it, Daly!
Next up, Lisa and Brendan. Tonight they'll be doing the waltz and the jive. Bruce says she asked him what the '60s were like - but she meant the waltz in the 1860s, wah-wah-waaaah. He's not doddery, etc. Lisa was thrilled with her good scores last week, and quite pleased about not being in the dance-off. The Welwyn and Hatfield Times have been running an SOS (Save Our Snowdon) campaign. Their waltz training isn't looking promising as they both go flying. Brendan says he's already proud of Lisa. Drink!
Ooh, Lisa has her acting face on. And a very pretty sky-blue dress. They're dancing to 'He was Beautiful'. In the words of Carly Simon, Brendan probably thinks this song is about him. I thought Lisa looked a bit awkward when she did the leaning back bits. It's very good, but I'm slightly bored by it. Lisa looks tearful at the end.
Bruno says Lisa's ballroom dream continues. Simple choreography is difficult to do, but it was stunning. Craig says that Bruno's absolutely right that the genius of the dance was in its simplicity and it was beautiful. Arlene thought it was "like every breath you took matched the flow of the dance and the footwork, and it was so heartwarming you could melt the snow in Scotland". Len compares Lisa SNOWDON to the mountain in Wales: "beautiful, majestic, breathtaking". He also wants to commend the singer. I wouldn't, but that's just me.
Backstage, Lisa says it felt magical and Brendan agrees. The judges' scores are: Craig - 9, Arlene - 10, Len - 10, Bruno - 10, for a nearly perfect 39 out of 40. Lisa says she's going to pretend she's 5-foot to do the jive. Brendan loves her just the way she is. [But not in THAT way. Because he is ENGAGED. - Carrie]
Tom and Camilla are next on the floor. Did you know Tom GOT MARRIED a few weeks ago? I must have missed that. Bruce jokes that Tom was worried about doing the raunchy rumba, but his wife reminded him that he's an actor (sometimes I think he's forgotten too), so he said he'd act like it was his stag night. Their VT shows Tom's supporters (I suppose there had to be some somewhere) in his village back home and their reactions in the pub last week to Craig's 7 and Len's 10. Tom goes home to visit with Camilla in tow to drum up votes. His grandfather-in-law Den asks whether Camilla's heavy. Ha. Also they have done some training, I'm assuming.
Tom and Camilla are dancing the foxtrot to 'Here You Come Again' by Dolly Parton. I must admit it's very good, and has the Hollywood feel that Austin and Erin's smooth was missing. Sorry, though, I still can't stand Tom's smug face. My mum thinks he's going to win. All I can say is: not on my watch.
Craig says it's the best he's ever seen Tom dance, "full of all the stuff celeb men find difficult, the swing and sway". Arlene says, in the words of Dolly Parton, "all you gotta do is smile that smile and you'll be dancing your way into the final". I'm not sure that's exactly what Dolly said. Len says they knocked his socks off. Bruno calls them "TomCam, the golden couple". It makes it sounds like Tom has a 24-hour webcam, which I wouldn't put past him. Bruno says he had "excellent technique, executed with incredible flair".
In the House of Tesstosterone, Camilla loses the ability to speak and Tom says he was overcome by his emotions. Tess says she can see some moisture in the corner of his eye. It's sweat. Scores: Craig - 9 (boo? since when is 9 a boo-able score?), Arlene - 10, Len - 10, Bruno - 10, giving them 39, their highest score so far. Camilla is proud of Tom. Drink! Tom says the NEW WIFE has given him permission to go for it in the rumba.
The final couple to take on the ballroom is Rachel and Vincent. Bruce says that they've been getting such good scores, the level of expectation is "higher than Simon Cowell's trousers". [I think I preferred it when the jokes at least made a vague attempt at being topical. - Steve] They were in the bottom two last week, and Vincent got all emotional because he was criticised for his choreography. Good job for them that Christine and Matthew were in the bottom two with them. The choreography is giving Vincent insomnia. The tango is difficult, so they have to make sure they nail it. Rachel still has no personality. There's no comment on Vincent being a tango expert, surprisingly.
I do like Rachel's dress, which is red, sparkly and backless. They're dancing to the Eurythmics' 'Here Comes the Rain Again', which has some suitable staccato moments, and their tango has pretty much everything a tango should. There's none of that Messing Abaaaaaht which Len hates so much. The ending's a bit weird, but mainly from a musical point of view rather than a dance one.
Arlene says that the dance needs to be full of "emotion and drama, tight hold, clipped staccato moves", and as well as having all that, it was "possibly the most erotic tango she's ever seen". I'm not sure we were watching the same dance in that case. Len loved the "light and shade", and how they "took hold directly, no Messing Abaaaht" - drink! He wishes he had an 11. That's what your 10 is for, you twat. There's a brief interlude while Bruce clicks heels with Vincent. Bruno says that it's "one of the rare times when music, dance and dancer become undistinguishable". Let's gloss over the fact that (1) that's not a word, and (2) Bruno mispronunciated it. Craig commends Vincent on the choreography, which was "very classy". He thought the music was "a brave choice". However, he did notice two things - Rachel's balance was displaced on a backstep, and during the kick ball changes towards the end, she was slightly ahead. Bruno starts shouting about how he counted all the way through, and Len accuses Craig of causing global warming with all his hot air and just wanting to be the grumpy one all the time. Or, you know, wanting to be the judge who actually does his fucking job.
In the House of Tesstosterone, Tess says Rachel looked like a professional. Vincent makes excuses about Rachel losing her balance because she's got such small feet. The scores are in: Craig - 9 (boo!), Arlene - 10, Len - 10, Bruno - 10. Len has given up actually saying "ten" by this point, presumably because we're supposed to just assume that's what it is. Rachel and Vincent have broken yet another record with the highest tango score EVER.
Half-time leaderboard: everyone has 39, except for Austin and Erin at the bottom with 34.
Now for the Latin round! Austin and Erin are doing the salsa. In pink satin. VT filler: how do the judges rate Austin's chances? I can't really be bothered to recap it. I can report that Arlene definitely has a glass of wine in front of her on the judges' round table, however. Len unsurprisingly thinks that Austin's going to do a knockout salsa. Arlene thinks he needs to dance for his life.
Erin does a spin going on to the floor, which is just showing off and surely doesn't count anyway. They're dancing to the Mambo Magic music from Dirty Dancing. I bet Brendan's pissed off that someone else got to it before him. There are some Dirty Dancing moves too. There are a lot of crowdpleasing moves, but in some of the transitionary parts Austin just seems to be walking across the floor waiting for the next bit. When they finish, Austin looks like he might have a heart attack.
Len goes on about Austin being a sportsman and he loved it. Shocker. Bruno tells him that, "This performance will get you the pink pound!" Hee! Austin "lost a bit of timing in the middle", but he loved the underarm passes and the drops. Craig thought it was "very entertaining and all of that", but "some of it was a bit awkward" and he "didn't believe the hip action". Austin shakes his booty in Craig's direction to convince him. Bruce adds his own booty as a comparison. Bruno looks shocked. Or possibly turned on. With Bruno, it's hard to tell. Arlene points out that we know Austin can circle his hips, but Craig is right that the salsa hip action wasnt there. Len says he saw it on the forward and back basics, but Arlene maintains that it wasn't, and I'm sure she was watching more closely. When dancing with Erin, she thought Austin's performance was electric and masterful - and she loves a masterful man - but on his own, there's "a bit of timidity". Len starts yelling, "NE-VEER!" and looks pleased with himself. Arlene ignores it and tells Austin to be fearless all the time.
In the House of Tesstosterone, Austin says he'd feel like he let Erin down if he didn't get through. The judges' scores are in: Craig - 8 (boo!), Arlene - 9, Len - 10, Bruno - 9, for a total of 37 and a final score of 71. They'll need all the viewer votes they can get. Austin says he doesn't have the energy left to salsa again in the dance-off. Won't he have recovered by "tomorrow"? Tess says there was a problem with the graphics, and Bruno actually scored a 9. Everyone is like, WTF? Austin says he definitely saw a 10. I'm guessing that Bruno got overexcited and pressed the wrong button. Tess reiterates that they got 37, but presumably what she was actually supposed to correct was that they got 36 for their salsa, giving them a final score of 70.
Lisa and Brendan's jive is next. She mastered the Latin last week - can she do it again? More pointless VT. Craig reminisces about their "A-Ma-Zing" foxtrot. Len is impressed with Brendan's transformation from the nasty boy of ballroom. Is it just because he's getting some this series? Bruno is topping up the wine. Craig is alarmed about Lisa's jive and thinks it might be her downfall. Bruno thinks she has potential to knock his socks off. Len thinks she'll be in trouble, presumably because she isn't a sportsman.
Brendan's clearly intending to take a leaf out of Darren's book by jiving to Elton John - 'Crocodile Rock'. Lisa looks like she's struggling to keep up a bit, but her kicks are sharper than, for example, Jodie's were when she jived. [I actually thought Jodie's were sharper. Lisa's seemed very leaden. - Steve] There's a lot of basic jive. Okay, she's no Jill Halfpenny, but it wasn't as bad as everyone seemed to be expecting.
Bruno starts off, "Why did I worry? Jive is the hardest dance to master for a tall person, but you did it." Craig calls it a "brave endeavour". Lisa danced it to the best of her ability, but he didn't think it completely suited her. He commends her on a fine job. Lisa points out that she's a tall girl, because that hasn't been mentioned enough, has it? Arlene says never mind Austin; Lisa tackles everything like a rugby player. Sometimes her knees were bent when she needed to flex them, but it was a "fantastic attempt for somebody who'd never done anything like that". Len liked the way Lisa acted the dance. He was worried about her legs, but they were good. However, it was a bit loose and needed more toning throughout her body.
Backstage, Lisa is happy with the comments. She's been using the power of positive thinking to convince herself that she can do the jive. Brendan challenges the judges to do that jive and says it was "damn good". The scores are in: 8s from everyone except Bruno who prefaces his 9 with, "I liked it!" [Haha, I loved Bruno's coy little look at the camera as he said that. - Carrie] That's 33 for the jive, and 72 overall. Brendan throws a hissy fit, saying the scores are rubbish and it was better than that, and storms off, despite Lisa trying to drag him back. [Beaming at the camera all the while as she grips onto his arm with all of her might. Brilliant. - Carrie] Hooray, Bad Boy Brendan! He should have a theme song for when that happens, like Wolf in Gladiators. Tom gallantly steps in as a stand-in Brendan. [Anything to get a bit more camera time. Whore. - Steve] Tess throws back to Bruce, who misses his cue amid the chaos in the House of Tesstosterone. Someone has to shout, "You're on, Bruce!"
Tom and Camilla are next. Bruce says that despite a 10 last week, Tom hasn't managed to wow all the judges. I really think they could have reconsidered that link after he got 39 for his first dance. Arlene is impressed with Tom's hip action. Bruno calls Austin and Tom "two stallions racing for the finish line". Craig is concerned that Tom hasn't improved. Len thinks he's on a plateau and plays it too safe. Arlene thinks being an actor is a handicap because he's thinking too much about acting the dance. Tom feels a bit naked doing the rumba. Arlene offers to show him how to do it, and wants him to erupt. We are still talking about the rumba, aren't we?
I find myself rather enjoying Camilla's choreography. It's one of the more exciting rumbas I've seen. Tom still looks like he's acting Romance, with a serious face. They're dancing to 'You Needed Me'.
Craig says he has to apologise because he was wrong, there is sign of improvement. He thought it was going to be "too sharp and aggressive for the rumba", but he "fell in love with it". Bruce tells Craig he's improving all the time too, and Craig suggests that he tell Len that. Snarf. Arlene complains that there were lots of shapes and lines, forward and back basic, but not a lot of content, but first time she found her heart beating faster because the true dancer Tom is came out. Len says the rumba is "a tough dance for a man". He thought it was too hectic, had too many lines, and not enough of the basic rumba. What? That's the opposite of what Arlene said, and they can't both be right. Bruno agrees with Len and says the balance wasn't right and Tom was "a bit stiff". Arlene says it told the story and had chemistry - she saw it and we should trust her.
In the House of Tesstosterone, Tom describes it as "an interesting piece". The scores are in: Craig - 9, Arlene - 9, Len - 8, Bruno - 8. The audience are confused over the 8s, with half of them booing and half cheering. That's a total of 36, and a final score of 73.
Finally, Rachel and Vincent. They'll be doing the cha-cha-cha, and I imagine Rachel will probably be good at this.VT! Arlene says Rachel's the strongest dancer technically and everyone else is snapping at her heels. Len points out that her Latin hasn't been up to standard of her ballroom. AS we know, the cha-cha-cha is a cheeky dance and needs great hip action. Bruno says Rachel needs to "ignite the special performance level of the cha-cha-cha", whatever that means.
Vincent seems to have choreographed some personality in for Rachel. They're dancing to 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered', and they're going to get good marks again for it.
Arlene says that, "We've waited a long time, but that performance sparkled like the shine on your dress." Len tells them they've done two fantastic dances. Bruno calls Rachel "a great dancer" and Craig says it was "absolutely gorgeous". Have the judges been told to get a move on or something?
Rachel is delighted backstage. Vincent whines about having to do two fast, difficult dances, with lots of steps to remember. The scores are in: Craig - 9, Arlene - 9, Len - 9, Bruno - 10, giving them 39. Bruno's score is the only one that makes sense in light of their comments. That was weird. Anyway, that's a total of 76 for both dances.
There's just time for a quick look at the final leaderboad: Rachel and Vincent are lording it at the top with 76, Tom and Camilla have 73, Lisa and Brendan have 72, and Austin and Erin are at the bottom with 70. Will the public vote save them? A clue: yes. I'm off to vote for Lisa and Brendan. [In the absence of a vote-to-eliminate option, I voted once for everybody except Tom. - Steve] Join us tomorrow for the results, when Barry Manilow will be performing 'Copacabana'! [Expect the girlies to be fighting over who gets to be Lola in the pro dance! My money's on Ola. Vincent can be Rico, and wear a diamond. James can be Tony and protect the showgirl's honour. SO excited. - Carrie]