First eight, part two
Tx: Saturday 19th September
Last night, eight couples danced, judges judged, Alesha cackled, and Tess was thoroughly mendacious in her voiceovers, as she is again tonight.
Still no Bruce-Tess dancing, thank fuck. Bruce wiggles his arse; this is less good. Tess is in purple with a bronze belt for no discernible reason; I appreciate that Bruce has a purple handkerchief in his jacket pocket. Bruce makes jokes about being old and leads the audience in a singalong of We'll Meet Again; Alesha joins in. Oh, this show is upsetting me so far this series.
Anyway, all the couples pile on to the floor, and I have not yet stopped laughing at "model and entrepreneur Jo Wood". Three hours later, they're still filing down the stairs. Can you say "too many couples"?
Tess reminds us that we have to watch last night's eight couples dance a Latin routine tonight. We begin with Jade and Ian. Jade is looking HOT in her cha-cha beads and fringing. Ian is bare-chested in an open waistcoat, for those of you who like that kind of thing. [That'll be me, then. - Steve] Bruce makes a good joke: "Jade is worried about getting to the next Olympics. She said to me, 'Bruce, I'm worried I'm not going to make it to 2012.' I said, 'How do you think I feel?'" Anyway, last night they did well but Jade wasn't happy with their performance, and she complains about having to learn two routines at once. She doesn't want to let Ian down - hope you've got your shot glasses charged, everyone.
Ooh, Jade has got some fierce hip action. I like it. And she finishes on the splits! Len says you need rhythm and cheekiness in the cha-cha, and then admires Jade's hips, though she has flat feet and bent posture. Alesha reckons she wanted to dance too, and Jade's arms are throwaway. Bruno says Jade's legs could crack walnuts - "nasty, naughty, I love it." And Craig wanted her feet to be less flat and pigeon-toed, but thought the body-roll and energy were fantastic. Scores - Craig 6, Len 7, Alesha 7 and Bruno 7 for a total of 27.
Bruce introduces Ali with another weak gag about policewomen. Ali beams wetly and benignly from backstage. She says many dull and obvious things in their training VT, in which Brian wears a baseball cap, and that is about all I have to say about that.
They're dancing the rumba, and Ali has a dress with a pink tail, which is always good. It's a bit weird to rumba (the dance of romance and raunch, apparently) to That's What Friends Are For. But then perhaps Brian and Ali have exceptionally close relationships with their friends. [I know there's not an awful lot you can do with a rumba, but the choreography did seem alarmingly close to that of Rachel and Vincent's from last year to my eyes. - Steve] Bruce tells them it was beautiful; Len says chemistry is the key to a good rumba, and we saw that by and large with Brian and Ali, but they posed and postured too much with not enough dancing. People boo in scattered pockets, which indicates that the audience perhaps agrees. Alesha wants more hip action, but thought she nailed it. How can you think both, Alesha? Bruno tells Ali to hold it all the way through. Fnar. And then he stands up and holds an impromptu dance class, as he is wont to do. Craig disagrees with Len, because he loved the posturing and posing. Len interrupts, which he complains about when other people do it, because he's an idiot. Then Alesha and Bruno starts giggling between themselves, as Len shouts ridiculously about Ali's heels being too high. Craig just ignores it all and ploughs on with his comments. I miss Arlene. Scores - Craig 7, Len 7, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 30.
Lynda and Darren are up next. Her tango was quite shit with not enough movement. Lynda wants to fight Craig. My money would be on her. Except then she says she would like to see Craig on stage taking his clothes off. Darren has his glasses on in rehearsal, which is always cute. Lynda says she is here to entertain, which is what Daphne and Celeste said as they got bottled off the stage at Reading in 2000.
They cha-cha to Don't Go Breakin' My Heart (Lynda and Darren, that is; not Daphne and Celeste); [Daphne and Celeste for Strictly 2010! - Steve] I'm totally distracted by the fact that the Strictly singers cannot even perform this karaoke standard. Alesha says that Lynda "always" brings the spirit to the dance (always, based on tonight and last night) and that it is VERY HARD to learn two dances at once. Bruno says it was like "Carry On Strictly Matron", whatever that might be. Craig says Lynda's personality shone through and it was a vast improvement on last night. Len says...something to which I don't listen. Scores - Craig 5, Len 6, Alesha 6, Bruno 6.
Rav and Aliona are next, and he's made the wise decision to get his chest out tonight. In training, Rav gets utterly confused by the fact he has to learn two different dances AT ONCE which is VERY HARD. Also, I don't think I've ever heard Rav speak before. He talks like a proper policeman. Aliona is wearing half a tablecloth. Is this supposed to be a rumba? Do they have different definitions of dances in Russia? Oh, it's OK, they're doing more rumba stuff in the middle. There is zero chemistry, just in case you're interested.
Bruno squeals about Rav's image of smouldering hunk - "it wasn't perfect but you had control...the walks were not very good...you could do with a bit more dancing." Good idea. Craig says it was awkward and unnatural, and points out that the routine was posing and posturing. Bruno says, "He's a MAN, it's DIFFERENT!" and Len adds that it is VERY HARD for the male celebrities to dance the rumba, particularly because we don't want any of that soft, feminine, not-dancing-like-a-bloke nonsense. He does however pull Aliona up on her crap choreography. Backstage, Rav admits his thighs are bigger than Aliona's waist. I'm beginning to hate them both. Scores - Craig 4, Len 6, Alesha 5, Bruno 7 for a total of 22.
Chris and Ola are up next. Last night, Ola was happy, and so she didn't shout at Chris. In training for the rumba, Ola gropes his backside and declares, "I love my job!" before yelling at him, "MANHANDLE ME!" Heh. Whenever he tries to do a "sexy" face, Ola laughs. And obviously the thing that'll help with sexiness is hauling his parents in to watch. His mum seems quite helpful. His dad is John Hollins, so that's weird seeing him billed as Chris's dad.
WHERE ON EARTH ARE OLA'S CLOTHES? Seriously. A few bits of string and a doily. Anyway, I actually love this routine, and I actually quite love Chris. He kisses her nose at the end. It's adorable. [Ola seems ecstatic to actually have someone who might be a contender this year. That's quite adorable too. - Steve] Craig says that Chris's mother was right, it was rather brilliant, with fantastic storytelling, but his fingers need to be cut off or changed. Len says it was good, and then starts talking bollocks about "man's hands" as opposed to "girl's hands". Cock. Alesha tells Ola that she looks lovely. Oh, Alesha. Chris apologises to James for molesting his wife. Scores - Craig 7, Len 8, Alesha 7, Bruno 8.
Last night, Joe and Kristina's tango was rubbish. But he's excited about tonight because he likes Latin movement, apparently. He treads on his own foot in training. Oh, Joe, bless you, you're marching in rhythm, but there's no movement. You need to look like you've thrown a hip out. Len says that Joe has come back like a boxer and given a proper performance. He reckons the show is about comparing each performer, and that Joe is like a slow bloomer in a bunch of flowers. Alesha says that Joe's personality shone through. Bruno says the footwork was poor, with no hip action, and suggests that listening to the music might help. Craig says he has two words - "rigor mortis". BURN! Bruce encourages Joe to punch Craig. Tess says that boxing is opposite to dancing. Really? Ever heard of "float like a butterfly", Tess? Scores - Craig 2, Len 5, Alesha 5, Bruno 4 for a total of 16.
Martina has been taking Matt to play tennis, and coaching him along. Perhaps she'd have been better served (ha!) spending more time dancing? Just a thought. Oh, and Steve will be along shortly to describe the Strictly singers' performance of Alone. [GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. That is both my verdict on their performance and a vague approximation of what it sounded like. - Steve] Martina's rumba is awkward, coltish and graceless. Alesha says she needs to control her arms more, but there is a soft sensuality in her dance. Bruno says that her routine falls apart in the transitions (true fact). Craig says he liked the routine but he agrees with Bruno - the transitions were blocky and square, and she was flat-footed and leaden. However, her hand shapes were nice. Len says she lacks toning, but it was nice to watch. Unconvinced. Scores - Craig 5, Len 6, Alesha 7, Bruno 6 for a total of 24.
Bruce and Len reminisce about what the Real East End was like - ie, not like EastEnders. This has digressed somewhat from the script and production team all over the studio are panicking. In training, Ricky (for it is he, hence the EastEnders tangent) has decided to be a Brazilian, because they have fun and dance the cha-cha, apparently. Except this routine starts a bit too much like a samba for my liking. It turns into a cha-cha when they take hold. Bruno asks Ricky if he had rocket fuel for lunch, and you can hear Alesha snorting away next to him. Craig says Ricky has a big open mouth. Fnar. It was awkward, but he attacked it and danced in the spirit of the dance. Len says IT IS THE FIRST WEEK so it is VERY HARD. Alesha says it was the most entertaining dance of the night, and he should get extra points for wearing pink. Everyone looks utterly confused and it is almost like Arlene is back. Scores - Craig 6, Len 7, Alesha 7, Bruno 6 for a total of 26.
Time for a quick recap as the BBC urges us to spend our hard-earned pennies on boosting their coffers. Then time for some filler meeting the new girls, Natalie, Katya and Aliona, prior to their routine with Brendan, Ian and Matt. Again, I'm distracted by the fact that I KNOW the songs in this medley and I'm SURE none of them are supposed to sound like a cat being strangled.
Back to the contest, and Craig says Ricky is the most changed dancer from last night. Len says that some are already starting to develop as all-rounders, such as Chris, Ali and Jade. Alesha is asked who was the most entertaining, and fails to answer it herself, instead throwing it open to the audience, who declare it was Ricky. Bruno says Ali is the frontrunner and she doesn't know how good she is. Yeah, right.
Time for a pro dance to Hey Big Spender and The Rhythm Of Life from Sweet Charity, but then sadly that means a segue to If They Could See Me Now and the fucking awful comic business Tom and Camilla did for their show dance last year. [Now with 50% more mugging! *sound of retching* - Steve] But as we know, series 6 didn't actually happen, so this isn't as distressing as it might initially seem. Camilla is still crazy and overwhelmed by the occasion.
Tess talks to the Other Eight couples backstage. Ricky Whittle says tedious things. Jo says Brendan isn't a bad boy, he's a pussy cat. Then Tess throws back. What a waste of time. Bruce is talking to Darcey bloody Bussell, who's being coopted as a random guest judge at the end of the series. And then we have to suffer Katherine sodding Jenkins. You all know how I feel about her already, so it should come as no surprise that I'm muting this bit. Bint. [Ha, I muted that bit too. And I was watching on a slight time-delay, so I fast-forwarded through as much as possible. - Steve]
Time for the results which have been INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED. Safe are: Ali and Brian; Chris and Ola; Ricky and Erin; Jade and Ian; Lynda and Darren; Joe and Kristina. That means Rav and Aliona dance off against Martina and Matthew. Len, as always, advises them to enjoy it. Rav and Aliona are first to dance, performing their rumba; Martina and Matthew force us to sit through another fucking awful rendition of Alone.
Decision time. Craig says both couples improved dramatically in the dance-off, but the best were Martina and Matthew; Alesha thinks both came out with fighting spirit, but also opts to save Martina and Matt; Bruno says it is difficult and very close, but will save Rav and Aliona; so Head Judge Len gets the deciding vote, but thinks in the dance-off one couple improved and one underperformed, so he's saving Rav and Aliona. [I think Len's reasoning was absolute bollocks - Martina was vastly improved in the dance-off. - Steve]
Martina and Matt are first out, then. Matt is gutted that he won't get to play any more tennis, but does not mention being gutted that he won't get to dance with her any more. Next week, more stuff, and in the meantime, lots of Claudia! Join us next Friday!