Sunday, 5 December 2010

Widdecombe, Widdy go

Top 6 - Movie Night: 4th December 2010

The theme weeks are really out in force this year, aren't they? I feel like I can't complain too much about the overabundance of gimmicks since I actually really enjoyed Hallowe'en Night, but at the same time, I'm still somewhat wary because I also watched TV Theme Week on Dancing With The Stars, which was an absolute mess. (A tango to the theme from The Brady Bunch? A foxtrot to the theme from Charlie's Angels? Even the memories still hurt.)

Anyway, we begin with "Seven days ago on a dancefloor far far away", and I hope you don't need me to tell you what movie that's from. This segues into Strictly Strikes Back: Episode 10 where all the celebrities are introduced as archetypal film characters. There's the princess (Kara), the farmboy (GUESS. GO ON, JUST FUCKING GUESS), the lovable rogue (Scott), the Wookiee's wife (Pamela, complete with shot of BILLY CONNOLLY, TO WHOM SHE IS MARRIED), the handsome droid (Gavin, which I take to be a total shout-out to Monkseal), and one woman set on intergalactic dance domination (Widdy, who's Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. I think we all know which character she really ought to have been playing from that film, though). Bruce intones that the makers of "Strictly Halloween" and "Vegas Special" (that was meant to be a theme week?) bring us "Movie Night", and we're shown shots of Pamela and James titting it around in the pottery scene from Ghost, Matt as Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery and Scott and Gavin doing The Full Monty. I can guarantee you now that at least one of those shots is going to be extremely misleading as to what lies ahead. And sadly, it isn't the one of Pamela and James.

To continue the theme, the titles are preceded by Bruce pretending to be the lion in the MGM title card. "Rar! Rar!" growls Brucie. Enjoy it, because it's the most sense he's going to make for the next hour. The titles themselves are broadly the same, except the glitterball at the end is replaced by a reel of film, they actually have the subtitle "Movie Night", there's a "Strictlywood" sign in the background and a mock-up of Bruce in the director's chair. Can you imagine Bruce directing the show? By the time he'd stammered out which camera he wanted for the opening number, we'd be halfway through The X Factor.

We open with a pro number, starting with Robin and Kristina doing a swing routine to 'You're The One That I Want' from Grease. Kristina looks alarmingly like Felicity Kendal all trussed up as Hooker Sandy like that, and I think we all know that Robin's far more suited to playing Leo what leads The Scorpions than he is to playing Danny. The absence of any kind of routine to anything from Grease 2 tonight saddened me, as I'm sure it did Carrie. Just imagine: we could've had Kara doing a jive to 'Cool Rider', or Pamela doing a rumba to 'Charades', or Widdy doing a foxtrot to 'Reproduction'. [Or a cha-cha to 'Score Tonight'! FAIL, Strictly producers. - Carrie] So many missed opportunities. We move on to James and Ola doing a rumba to 'Take My Breath Away' in their tribute to Top Gun. Surely any rumba danced to the theme of this movie should be performed by two men? I think we all know where the "vertical representation of a horizontal desire" lay in that film. (Incidentally, I'm the last person to hide my love of '80s power ballads, but even I'm slightly ashamed to admit how much I love 'Take My Breath Away'.) The third movie in the montage is Easter Parade, featuring Anton and Erin doing a...whatever the fuck they're doing to 'We're A Couple Of Swells'. An American Smooth would be my guess, but who knows with Anton's choreography these days? Then Katya and Artem arrive to tango to 'Misirlou' from Pulp Fiction. At the beginning of this montage I would've bet actual money on Katya doing a Pulp Fiction-themed dance, so I'm glad I'm on the same page as someone who works on this show, at least.

Once that's over, we have a Bruce, and a Tess, and also a red carpet for them to arrive on. A red carpet which wasn't there two seconds ago when Kara and Artem were walking off. Wow, the set decorators on this show are efficient. Daly Dresswatch: God only knows this week. I think it's a burlap sack with a slit cut down the front and a belt around her midriff. I don't really want to look at it any longer in case it actually blinds me with its ugliness, so that's all the detail you're getting. Sorry.

Bruce tells the audience to sit down; "I know you were told to do it, but sit down." Well, that rather robs the million other standing ovations we've seen on this series of their impact. In a tribute to the weather, this week it is "ice to see you, to see you ice". Oh dear. Tess reminds us that it's Movie Night, in case we've forgotten in the last thirty seconds. Time to meet our stars: Scott and Natalie as James Bond and Honey Rider, Matt and Aliona as Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell (let's face it, Aliona's clearly more of a Heather Graham than a Liz Hurley), Kara and Artem as T-Bag and T-Shirt (didn't know they'd made that into a movie), Pamela and James as Amanda Holden and Gareth Gates (nope, can't figure out what film that is), Ann and Anton as The Human Centipede (no, not really, I'm just having fun at this point), and Gavin and Katya as The Room. And if you haven't had the pleasure of The Room before, here is all you need to know:

"Oh hi Mark."

Bruce attempts to give us an intro and falls over his words for the first of many occasions tonight. He thinks some will be like FRED AND GINGE, while others will be more "Lauren Hardy". Who's she? Is that Karen's sister? Tess says that all the couples want to deliver box office gold tonight and make it to next week's semi-final. First up are Scott and Natalie, who are dancing to the James Bond theme. Scott admits in his VT that he blanked last week, and we get another glimpse of the epically brilliant moment in which Natalie grabbed him by the neck to get him into the right place. I love Natalie. If I'm ever on this show (LIKELY), I want her as my partner. [I can't believe you've jettisoned Erin! You were going to dance with her! - Carrie] Scott reminds us that he blanked on the live EastEnders and now he's blanked live on Strictly. Yes, I can't say I anticipate a huge volume of live theatre work to flood in for Scott when the show's over. However, Scott determines to shrug it off and try his best to get things back on track. He says that every boy has wanted to be James Bond, and Natalie thinks he could be one of the best Bonds, because he's got the look, the sophistication, and he's very occasionally classy. This statement is not well supported by the footage that follows. Natalie says that she's going to push Scott harder than she's ever pushed him before, and reveals that she's going to make him get his kit off, which does seem like a bit of a transparent ploy to get the votes coming in from anywhere at this point. Scott reminds Natalie that he's nearly 40 and hairy-chested (hey, nothing wrong with that) and Gavin's on the show, so they may be fighting a battle they cannot win.

They're dancing a paso doble, which doesn't really work that brilliantly with the music they've got, such is the problem of Movie Night. If I'm honest, it's not a routine that gives Scott an awful lot to do, as Natalie has choreographed a bit of an Ola Jordan special in which Scott mainly needs to just stand in the right place while she dances around him. I can sort of understand her reluctance to give him too much to do after last week, but come on - I'm sure he can at least remember some steps. Still, as my boyfriend put it - better a routine like Natalie's which only makes the pro look good than a routine like Aliona's, which makes no one look good. I think you could perhaps have got away with a tango to this music, but as a paso doble, it's really not working. In fairness, there's a bit more movement in the second half of the routine, but it's still a bit disappointing, and I know that both Scott and Natalie are capable of better than this. And the bit at the end where she rips his shirt off - well, it's fine, but it doesn't really make a lot of sense in the context of the routine. I mean, did he get his shirt buttons snagged on the cape as he whirled it around? Has he just been gored by the bull? I haven't a clue.

There is, of course, a standing ovation, aided in part by Gethin Jones and Kelly Brook. Aw, I miss Kelly Brook. And Gethin. God, series five was awesome. Bruce welcomes the judges, saying that they have all the necessary qualities to be in films: Alesha is beautiful enough to be in romantic movies, Bruno is funny enough to be in comedies, Craig is scary enough to be in horror movies, and Len is old enough to appear in silent movies. Hilarious, yes, but if Len would like to use the rest of the series as practice for his silent movie career, I'm very supportive. Len leers at Natalie's body and cracks a "double-O SEV-UN!" joke, saying that he had passion, posture and performance, though there were a few incidents. Alesha thinks Scott gave Gavin a run for his money in the chest department, and he's brushed off last week's issues and had purpose and intent in his walks. Bruno thinks Scott has a licence to thrill, and produced beautiful Spanish lines despite the fact that the music didn't help it. Craig disagrees: he wanted more paso shaping in the arms, and a few transitions were ropey, but he thinks Scott is back and he loved the theme, the choreography and the role-reversal, declaring the entire thing "hot". Bruce tells Scott to run away quickly since Craig thinks he's hot. LOL PREDATORY GAYS!

Up in the Tess Circle...I really cannot take my eyes off Natalie's abs, sorry. They are awesome. Perhaps she could be Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde: The Musical when Aoife NotMaria eventually departs? [My friend Lynn and I were sitting at home watching Natalie and admiring how beautiful she is and wishing we were that gorgeous, while stuffing our faces with Doritos and champagne. Swings and roundabouts. - Carrie] Scott says that he had issues this week about the prospect of a repeat of last week's blanking, but thanks Natalie for not giving up and keeping him going. Tess drools over Scott's torso, which is nice but nothing compared to Natalie's. Note to self: do a thousand crunches. Scores: Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35. There's a snafu in which Alesha's and Bruno's scores both show up as tens onscreen (not an unfair assumption) giving Scott 37, and Tess attempts to correct this, but only corrects Alesha's score and not Bruno's, so she thinks Scott got 36. Tsk. Then she cottons on and corrects herself again, and Scott's all "you can give us 37 if you want?" He's happy with 35 as well, though. Tess makes a "Maslen, Scott Maslen" reference. I wondered how long that would take.

Ann and Anton are next with their American smooth. Their VT shows Ann rewatching her performance on the monitors, and saying she was very happy with it. We see Ann stride out of the studio all "the audience loved it, my bet is the viewers did too." Not that she's believing her own hype or anything. The ever-graceful Ann continues by snotting that the judges are not interested in what I'm doing, "they're only interested in their own clever remarks." The ironyometer nexts to me suddenly shatters at this point, and I spend the next five minutes mopping up spilled mercury and glass fragments. They'll be dancing to 'Hello Dolly', which is a song Ann likes. What she does not like, however, is wearing a headdress with pink feathers for the purposes of filming the VT. Good gravy, woman, you really need to stop being such an insufferable killjoy. Clearly she hates light entertainment just as much as she hates pregnant prisoners and homosexuals. [And women who use contraception and want the right to choose. Don't forget that. - Carrie] The VT producer asks if she might at least provide them with "a big smile". Ann snarls. Ann says that they're allowed "three perfectly legal lifts" this time, but adds that if they feel like doing four, they shall. An excellent attitude to the law from a former MP, there. Ann says she'd be delighted to make the semi-finals, and would have a little smile at the expense of the bookies, who have lost a lot of money. I suspect an admission of guilt for outlasting much better dancers is too much to ask.

It begins with Ann sat at her dressing table applying powder to her face (surely all forms of make-up are deeply immodest?) and eventually capitulating to join Anton. The first lift is actually quite nice - neither one of them is showing the strain - and the good news is that there's a lot more actual choreography in this routine. The bad news is that Ann is utterly unequal to it, and spends the whole time about a step or two behind Anton, and her posture is dreadful - I don't think she'd be nearly as unsteady on her feet if she learned to stand up straight. Perhaps this might be a time for that properly-fitting bra we've discussed previously. Oh, and they opt for just the three lifts in the end, lest they suddenly spark an outbreak of moral turpitude.

Bruce tells Ann it's a shame she had to do her American smooth with a bit of rough. Alesha congratulates Ann on having more dance content this week and keeping up with it, but points out that she's still clinging onto Anton for dear life, and her posture is terrible and she has no facial expression. "It's grim," says Ann, and Alesha agrees that it is indeed grim. Alesha finishes by saying that she saw no improvement and the honeymoon is over for her. Bruno says it was more like "hello trolley" (heh) and says that when she was dancing on her own she looked "like a Dalek in drag". There's some booing at this but Ann herself finds it at least moderately funny. Also, she has lipstick on her teeth. Craig decides to list the positives: "all the best moments for me were when your feet weren't touching the floor", and there was one chasse that was passable and one polka that he didn't mind. Len says that dancing is "moving to music - and you did move, and there was music". I believe that's at least a six on Len's official grading scale, then. He says that he doesn't want to be nasty, because Ann's given him lots of fun, "but the snow gives you lots of fun to start with, but eventually you just want it to go away." Heh. Ann tells Bruce that she's going to be dancing with Craig on the tour. "They'll all give him one," she declares. I BET THEY WILL, FNAR FNAR. Craig laughs, and Ann celebrates.

They depart for the Tess Circle, and Tess says it's more like "hello Widdy" and Ann hopes that it's not "goodbye Widdy". This is a true meeting of minds, isn't it? Tess goes back to Alesha and Bruno's scores for Scott once more, with feeling, and clarifies that the graphics were wrong and the correct score was 35. Anton suggests that he and Ann have had the wrong graphics on their scores every week. Tess asks Ann if she's improving as a dancer, and Ann says she loves the viewers, because they're very encouraging. So that's a no, then. She's also pleased that Craig was encouraging this week, "for the first time", and wonders if he'll be more encouraging if they're still here next week. Tess: "Two words: semi-final, discuss." That's three words, Tess, you numerically-challenged bint. Ann says it's up to the viewers, but she hopes so because she's looking forward to learning three dances in three days. Anton suggests "there might be a lot of familiarity between these three dances". Scores: Craig 2, Len 5, Alesha 4, Bruno 3 for a total of 14 - the same score they got last week, and a record low for the American smooth, which is a total of five low-score records that Ann has broken. Ann thinks she breaks records every week, for making Craig laugh and flying and stuff. Let's hope she'll break some kind of record for GOING AWAY this week. At the very least, the fact that their routine wasn't as intentionally comical as last week's makes me hope that fewer people will feel inspired to vote for her.

Up next are Matt and Aliona. He kind of suits the nerd glasses, actually. Matt's VT has me throwing things at the TV in fits of rage, because it shows Alesha saying she was "a little bit disappointed" at last week's routine and Matt somehow thinking that justifies him claiming that "Alesha absolutely caned me". Are you fucking serious, Baker? We also see Alesha mentioning that Matt's smile looked "forced" last week (which was nothing the other judges didn't echo, and certainly from my perspective was in no way an unjustified observation), at which Matt full-on snits that what he's doing is REALLY DIFFICULT and if his face LOOKS FORCED then it's forced FOR A REASON because he finds what he's doing REALLY CHALLENGING. (Capitals Matt Baker's own.) Which kind of unwittingly backs up Alesha's point, because if he finds what he's doing so difficult that he's pulling strained faces when he's dancing, then he probably shouldn't be trying to do something that difficult. Oh, hang on, he's not done: "I don't want to go out there and be all (singsong) 'mmm, yeah, I can be nice and relaxed'." But you are SUPPOSED to, Matt, this is the point. It's basically an internet argument at this point: "OMG it woz totally mnt 2B lyk dat, UR JUS JELASS." This week, Matt was sent to the Outer Hebrides (I used to live there! Western Isles, represent!) for Countryfile, and not at all because mainland Britain had fucking had enough of his smart-arse attitude. They practice in a little community hall for their Austin Powers-themed jive, and Matt giggles about how he's going to be awesomely cheeky for 90 seconds. Then we see them in what I assume to be Stornoway airport, looking at all the airports that are closed. So while they wait, they crack some jokes about the show with fellow passengers, and presumably Matt whinges that Alesha is just a JEALOUS BITCH who DOESN'T UNDERSTAND HIS ARTISTRY to anyone who'll listen until the other passengers all decide to take their chances with swimming across The Minch to the mainland.

So, they're jiving to 'Soul Bossa Nova', with Matt prancing about on top of the judges' desk before backflipping (sigh) onto the dancefloor and doing some Austin Powers impressions. Then there's about thirty seconds of basic jive steps repeated over and over again, with a few flicks but no discernible kicks, and then a stop for some arm-dancing. Then there's another spot of basic jive steps with some kicks added into the flicks this time, and then a bit of random flailing. Seriously, what the fuck is this? I'm starting to wonder if Aliona thinks they've basically got the victory all sewn up at this point so they don't really need to put any effort in any more. I'm appalled. About a third of this routine, at most, is a jive. The rest is just fuckery.

Bruce thanks the fabulous singers and the wonderful orchestra (this is getting later every week - pretty soon they'll have to interrupt Casualty to do it) and turns to Bruno for feedback. Bruno calls it "groovy baby" and is impressed that they managed to fit in some jive amid all the character comedy. He actually takes this to be a good thing. Craig loved the "back summie" (lol) and the characterisation and the precision, but he thought Matt lost time on the kick section. Len, remaining consistent with his reaction to Kara's American Smooth, wants to know how he's supposed to judge it when there's no jive, wait, actually he likes it. You suck, Len Goodman. He thought the feeling and the content of the dance were great. He gets my hopes up for a second with the comment starting "a little bit light..." which I was hoping would end "...on any fucking jive content" but actually finishes "...on your feet." BOO. Matt, incidentally, is sweating like a wrong'un. Must be all that polyester. Alesha is not permitted to speak, lest she ABSOLUTELY CANE HIM again, relentless bloodthirsty creature that she is.

Tess tells Matt that he's got his mojo working and congratulates him on a first for somersaulting backwards off the judges' desk. Let's hope it's a Strictly last as well as a Strictly first. Tess asks him who's the Dr Evil of the competition. Matt resists the urge to say "THAT EVIL BITCH ALESHA WHO DOESN'T APPRECIATE MY GENIUS", and instead says Anton, "because he's the force behind...y'know." Heh. I'll take any shout-out to Widdy's inherent evilness, even if it comes from Matt Baker. Scores: Craig 8, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 9 for a total of 35.

Pamela and James are next. Bruce opens with a joke about BILLY CONNOLLY, TO WHOM SHE IS MARRIED. Pamela recalls in the VT that their charleston was risky, and that her daughters were shocked by the moves she was doing. Her daughters do indeed confirmed that they thought they might have to run on and catch her or something. Pamela's proud to be doing it for the older generation. James takes his shirt off, and they recreate the pottery scene from Ghost. I am disappointed that Pamela doesn't sculpt the clay into a giant dildo. Perhaps she did, and it was edited out for compliance reasons. It feels like such a missed opportunity otherwise. They have a mini party in rehearsals for Pamela's 61st birthday with champers and cake, and Pamela cracks the old "you're only as old as the man you feel" joke, to remind us why she retired from comedy.

They're dancing the Viennese waltz to 'Unchained Melody', and it's a lovely routine, sensitively executed (i.e. Pamela actually manages to rein in the Giant Ham Faces for once) and it actually gives me shivers which aren't entirely related to the fact that it's -2 outside. Bruce attempts to speak to them afterwards but has been rendered a spluttering mess of incoherence by their routine (/old age) that he has to turn to the judges. Craig calls it graceful, elegant, stylish, tasteful, full of emotion and gorgeous. Len thinks he'll see Pamela in the semi-final next week. Alesha wishes Pamela happy birthday ("happy 61st", echoes James, clearly finding the whole thing hilarious and not-at-all tedious by this point) and tells her that these are the moments she looks forward to on the show: the perfect song, the perfect dress, and the perfect choreography, perfectly danced. Bruno is not called upon. Why is Len never the silent judge?

Up in the Tess Circle, Tess asks Pamela what she would've said if someone had said to her a year ago that she'd be dancing in front of 13 million people on her birthday. Pamela: "I would've said 'you are psychotic, I'm going to lock you up'." That is about the level of psychological insight I expect from Dr Pamela, yes. Scores: tens all round for a perfect 40. Alesha actually shouts "happy birthday!" as she wheels out her 10 paddle - like, don't make people think you start handing those out as birthday presents, Alesha, you're in enough trouble as it is after what you gave Scott last week. Pamela says this was already the best birthday ever just being there, and thanks James so much for making it happen. James rubs his ear and says "sorry?", because he's a fucking tool who doesn't know when to stop.

Back to Bruce, who mentions that this is the first time he's seen a standing ovation for four tens. Good God, the SCORES are getting standing ovations now? Have the chairs been removed in the BBC cutbacks? This is just getting silly. Gavin and Katya are on next, and their VT reminds us that their jive was not well-received last week. Gavin says that normally he'd take that from the judges, but he really didn't think their dance was that bad. He thought they'd be going home last week, but since they've made it this far, he thinks it's time to up the ante. He and Katya are being the Blues Brothers this week, and Katya is very proud of Gavin for doing well at ballroom. Gavin likens the process to the tale of The Tortoise And The Hare - some peaked too early, but now he's going to unleash his SUPER TORTOISE POWERS and make it through to the semi-final. "Game on," he declares. [And pulls a really quite fearsome game face. GO GAVIN. - Carrie]

They're dancing a foxtrot to 'Minnie The Moocher', which begins with Katya disrobing Gavin as much as can be legitimately allowed for a ballroom routine. Gavin's pulling a bit of a concentratey hamster face, but the dancing is not too shabby. It's not the most exciting routine ever because, hello, foxtrot, but there is a mad uptempo bit in the middle which is quite fun before they get back to the regularly scheduled foxtrot business.

Len says he doesn't want Gavin to kiss him (don't be ridiculous, Len, he's a SPORTSMAN, of course you want him to kiss you, and probably a bit more besides) but that was his best dance. Alesha thinks they're a sexy hot couple tonight, and Gavin's back doing what he does best and looking more like a dancer. Bruno says that he put a lot of work into this routine and it showed. Clearly we're short on time at this point.

Up in the Tess Circle, Katya gives Gavin a little solo burst of applause and Tess tells Gavin that he's the "self-proclaimed underdog" now. Gavin: "I wish I didn't have that tag, but I'll take it, I suppose." So is he self-proclaimed or not? Because if he is...he probably shouldn't be complaining about that. He wants to make it to the semi-finals. "I don't want to be an underdog, I want to be the favourite, but that's not the case yet." Heh, I love his dry sense of humour - especially the inclusion of that 'yet' on the end there. Scores: Craig 7, Len 9, Alesha 9, Bruno 8 for a total of 33 - Gavin's joint-highest score of the contest.

Our final couple of the evening is Kara and Artem. Artem appears to have had all of his facial hair, including his eyebrows, drawn on with a felt tip. It reminds me of this (and please, someone tell me I'm not the only person who remembers Breakfast Serials). Kara admits in her VT that she blanked on Saturday night, though I think we can all agree that she covered it rather more smoothly than Scott did. She says that she thought they were goners (to be honest, I was worried about that too) and was thus elated to hear they were safe. Kara says they can't go out again not knowing what they're doing, so they have to start training again right away. They're dancing a tango to 'El Tango De Roxanne' from Moulin Rouge!, which is one of her favourite films. They pose briefly as Christian and Satine. Kara says that she's been doing lots of interviews about Artem, and Artem says that there are lots of rumours about whether they're together like that, and that it's one thing to go at home and be with the person you love and another thing to go into work, and it's complicated if you mix them together. "I'm waiting for Strictly to be over," he explains. Kara clarifies for the less astute viewers in the audience that Artem has hinted he might "take me out for a bite" (dirty!) once the show's over. Artem concludes the VT by saying "yes, I'm confirming the rumours." Phew! I'm so glad they didn't waste any of that VT time by talking about anything silly or irrelevant like dancing.

There's a lot of dancing around a chair at the beginning, including Kara straddling it in various ways and showing how very flexible she is, and a lovely bit where she climbs on top and rides the top of the chair's back down to the ground before kicking it away behind her. Hilariously, it's nowhere to be seen a few seconds later, so I bet they had a very swift production assistant on hand to remove that while the cameras were briefly pointing elsewhere. I'm not really sure what's up with Kara's "Audrey Hepburn as a vampire" make-up and hair here, but it's a wonderful tango - sharp, passionate, brutal. Kara's matching Artem every step of the way, and I said on Twitter during the first showing that I felt like my heart stopped during this dance - and the effect wasn't lessened the second time around.

Alesha tells Kara that she's absolutely blown away, and that was the best tango she's ever seen on Strictly Come Dancing. Bruno screams "SPECTACULAR SPECTACULAR!" and calls it "a tango full of theatrical magic" before launching himself at Alesha again, sending her flying into Len. I think Alesha's going to need danger money if they continue to seat her next to him. Craig calls it "fantasmagorical". Len thinks Kara's heel leads were so strong that she occasionally went too far with them, and her close promenades involved a stomp a few too many times for his personal preference, but he thought it was great.

Scott grabs Kara to say "well done" as they enter the Tess Circle, and Tess asks her what it was like to dance a song from her favourite movie with her favourite man. Kara says she's a very lucky girl. Tess clucks that they're "so cute!" and starts planning what she'll wear to the wedding. Scores: Craig 9, Len 9 (boos from the audience to both of these scores), Alesha 10, Bruno 10 for a total of 38.

Leaderboard: Pamela and James at the top with full marks, Kara below them, Scott and Matt tied for third place, Gavin just below them, and Ann a full 19 points below him at the bottom, but separated by only one point in the eventual allocation. I really think they need to adopt the percentage-based system they use on Dancing With The Stars.

Quick recap: Scott and Natalie on Her Majesty's secret service, Ann and Anton's American lumpy, Matt and Aliona's quasi-jive, Pamela and James contacting the other side, Gavin and Katya possibly rescuing themselves from being told to foxtrot oscar, and Kara and Artem trying to beat the consumption.

That's it for the performances - someone's missing out on a semi-final place, but who will it be?

Results: 5th December 2010

The show starts about 10 seconds too soon, so the BBC One continuity announcer talks over the beginning of the "last night on..." recap. Oops! Tess informs us that the box office receipts have now been counted - so who turned out to be an absolute bomb? Time to find out. Cue special Movie Night titles!

We open with a Dance Troupe number. Yay, Dance Troupe! They're re-enacting Mamma Mia: The Movie, though I think they missed a trick by not casting Ian as Meryl Streep. 'Mamma Mia' segues onto 'Lay All Your Love On Me', which appears to be a paso doble. After that, we go into 'Take A Chance On Me', though sadly with no signs of Julie Walters, and this seems to be a samba. I think this is the most the dance troupe have had to do all series. I still haven't quite worked out which of the boys is Colin Firth in this scenario. Tess tells us that the routine was choreographed by Ian. Ah - perhaps that gives us our answer.

Time to meet the judges, from right to left: The Italian Job, Dreamgirl, Brassed Off and The Grinch. Not reaching at all there, then. Craig loved Movie Night because it gave everyone a chance to express themselves and get creative. Pamela stood out for him as the best of the night, which would make sense, since she got the top score.

Over to Claudia, who teases an upcoming waltz from Anton and Erin and a performance from the Manic Street Preachers, but before all that, we must recap. Len thinks it was an evening never to be forgotten, and Bruno thinks everyone improved. Natalie enjoyed getting Scott's tits out. Len reminds us that Ann is a record-breaker, and Alesha salutes her, perhaps a touch sarcastically. The judges agree that Matt made a fantastic Austin Powers - Bruno and Alesha wanted to give him tens, but he lost timing. Matt says that he wanted to nail it, but ended up doing a bit of DIY instead. Not sure that metaphor entirely works. Everyone loved Pamela, hence all the tens, and Pamela wonders backstage if she's dreaming, saying it's the best birthday ever. Alesha's proud of Gavin for doing so well, and Len thinks "the more you sweat, the better you get". I feel that comment should've been aimed at Matt. Alesha wishes she had a 20 paddle for Kara. Len thinks Kara is the one to beat, even though Pamela got four tens. Thanks for that, Len. Kara thinks it doesn't get better than that. The judges agree that Pamela and Kara were the best of the night. Len thinks we've never had so many great dancers getting this close to the final. Alesha thinks this could be the best final EVARZ.

Time for our first batch of results with Tess. The first couple through to the semi-final is Gavin and Katya. Katya's face of surprise is almost Kensit-level. They're joined by Kara and Artem, and Artem celebrates by dry-humping Kara. The first couple in the bottom two and in danger of leaving is Scott and Natalie. And those of you who saw Natalie Lowe's ill-advised spoiler tweet knows that Scott and Natalie aren't going home tonight, so whoever ends up in the bottom two with them is DUNZO.

Bruno thinks this is a ridiculous joke, because Scott is a potential winner, and he declares it "unfair". Tess turns to Alesha and asks if the male celebs are running out of steam. Alesha says no, the boys were on fire, but who's on top changes from week to week, which should make an interesting final.

Claudia's with the two safe couples, but we don't get to talk to them yet, as first we have Anton and Erin with their FRED AND GINGE number to 'Moon River'. Erin looks lovely in this, if I may say so. It's a really lovely waltz, although after four years of recapping, I'm kind of running out of things to say about pro waltzes. It's beautiful, then it's over. Like so many things in life. Let's move on. [Philosophical, Perkins. - Carrie]

After that, we're back up with Claudia and the safe couples. Claudia reminds Gavin that he was in the bottom two last week, and Gavin says he thought he was going home tonight, so he's feeling a bit emotional about being in the semi-finals. Katya says that it's amazing to be in the company of such incredible dancers and to get so far. They have to do three dances next week, which Gavin admits he can't get his head round now. Kara giggles that she's emotional now too, and Claudia asks them about Scott. Kara says that he and Natalie are incredible and they can't lose them.

Back to Tess to find out who will be joining Scott and Natalie in the bottom two. The next couple definitely through to the semi-final is Pamela and James. So that leaves Matt and Aliona and Ann and Anton fighting it out for the last safe spot, and the couple in the bottom two is...Ann and Anton. Matt and Aliona are through, and WIDDY'S GOING HOME! HOORAY!

Tess asks Craig about Ann and Anton, and he says that the public have finally come to their senses, and he trusts that they will choose the best dancer in the end. Len's asked about next week, and he says that he can't wait because as well as their usual dances they'll have to do a swingathon - five couples on the floor dancing together, being eliminated one at a time. Not only that, but it's a double-elimination next week, as anyone who's read the rules on the BBC website has known for ages.

Claudia's with the bottom two. Ann says that there's no way she'll beat Scott and Natalie, but it's been a tremendous ten weeks, and thanks the viewers for keeping her in. Claudia turns to Scott and Natalie, and Scott says he's not surprised to be in the bottom two as they've been flagging for a bit and the standard keeps getting higher. Claudia asks Ann what she will do next week if she survives, and Ann says they can expect brilliance from Anton and she'll tag along. Scott and Natalie have a charleston and an Argentine Tango next week if they get through, Scott tells us.

After that: Manic Street Preachers! With their new single 'Some Kind Of Nothingness'! It is a new single by the Manic Street Preachers! I don't really have any strongly-formed opinions on it, to be honest. There's a nice choral bit near the end. And there's a string section. It's nice, if you like that sort of thing.

Time for the abbreviated "I don't want to go home" VTs. Scott thinks that to fall at the last hurdle would feel like such a waste of time, so he's working towards the semi-finals. Ann is looking forward to the semi-finals, but never anticipated to get that far, so has had a jolly good time, whatever happens.

Time to see who's going home. Scott gave Bruno a licence to kill, while Len said Ann was like the snow - fun at the start, but you're glad when it's gone. "Bye!" waves Ann. The couple leaving is...Ann and Anton! Natalie snogs the face off Anton, for some reason. Tess asks Ann how she feels to be leaving, and Ann says they've had a good time, and she always knew this day would come eventually. She's had fun learning the dances, and will miss going into training on Monday, but she's had the time of her life, and Anton has been brilliant. (Except at the Latin.) Anton says he's had an incredible time and is slightly lost for words when trying to think of how to describe Ann. I know how he feels.

Ann and Anton have their final dance, and there are even a few actual dance steps in it. See, she did learn something after all! The others descend to say goodbye, and Kara hugs Ann like you'd hug your granny. Everyone has to practically bend double to say goodbye to her, which is quite amusing. That's it! We'll be back for a Widdy-free Strictly on Friday, continuing on Saturday. See you next week!


ht said...

Steve, you leave the Baker alone. He is a nice boy, badly edited by the BBC in their search for a 'journey'.
I thought Natalie's moody mare fmace when she ended up in the bottom two this week very eloquently summed up why I dislike her: SOMEone has to be in th bottom two with the couple who go, and at this point it could be any of you - deal with it, Lowe. Too cocky by half for me. You should definitely have stuck with Erin as your future dance partner - much more classy! ;)

Steve said...

Well, if it is down to editing, he doesn't seem to have left them with a shortage of material to work with. 'S all I'm saying.

Anna said...

Matt will win because he IS Tom Chambers Mark 2.