Bonfire Night FIREWORKS
Tx 5th November 2011
Last week, Strictly had a Hallowe'en spectacular. Steve wrote all about it and beautifully [aw, shucks - Steve], so read that rather listening to Tess's somewhat over-egged introduction. This week there will be fireworks, of course, and much Bonfire Night-related punnage as well as Jennifer bloody Grey (irritating) minus Derek Hough (which is a bonus).
Here are Bruce and Tess, and as always they begin with inept comedy duo skittery. Bruce tells us he is never going to retire. That's my one hope for next season screwed already, then. Also, I really hate Tess's ingenue acting face, all big eyes and pouting lips. It reminds me of Marty in Grease when she gets caught on camera with Vince Fontaine at National Bandstand.
They remind us of the rules of the competition, and then introduce our celebrities once Tess remembers how to speak: Russell and Flavia; Lulu and Brendan; Chelsee and Pasha; Holly and Artem; Audley and Natalie; Harry and Aliona; Anita and Robin; Robbie and Ola; Alex and James; and Jason and Kristina.
After telling us that Future Head Judge Karen Hardy is on comms this week with Martin Offiah, we begin with Lulu and Brendan. She says Hallowe'en was the best Hallowe'en she has ever had. I don't think I can remember any Hallowe'ens, good or bad. Does anyone really care about it other than kids, Americans and TV producers? She squees about their highest score so far. Oh, schadenfreude, how I love you. Oops, spoilers! She goes home and dances with a mop, and then brushes her teeth, which is one of the weird phobias I have so if I didn't hate her already I'd hate her now.
They're tangoing to Kiss, beginning with some work on the platform, and Lulu's footwork looks rather insecure. Brendan, of course, is counting and instructing her the entire way through it. Does he think we can't see him? Lulu kisses Craig at the end, and I'm SO over that particular contestant-kissing-judge trope I can't even tell you. [If it's not Gavin and Bruno I'm so not interested. - Steve] Bruce thanks our singers Dave Arch, and his wonderful orchestra, and then welcomes Jennifer Grey, who seems to have yet another new face, although that might just be because she has new hair. Bruce sings for a bit and makes everyone watching wish they were dead. Jennifer begins her judging with a bit of ingratiating "how gorgeous are you?" nonsense. Look, Grey, we're not on Dancing with the Stars now. We need actual constructive criticism. Of the kind that Johnny Castle would give. You dig? Alesha brilliantly talks about making slips during the competition and says that she's sure Jennifer's done the same. Obviously ALESHA never made ANY mistakes during her run in the show. [Darn right she didn't. - Steve] Bruno screeches and says that she should rehearse more. Awesomely, Craig is head judge in Len's absence, which appalls Lulu. He tells her that her posture and frame were awful but he liked her rondee. Very decent of him. Brendan does some ingratiating nonsense in return saying that it is an honour to have Jennifer on the panel. An honour? Srsly? I'm sick of this already and I'm only 15 minutes in. To the Tess Circle! Scores - Craig 5, Jennifer 8, Alesha 7 and Bruno 7. Lulu does her howl from the start of Shout. Shut UP.
Audley and Natalie are the next up this evening. They're doing a Viennese waltz. Also, Audley has big feet. This being the case, they go to the boxing gym to practise footwork around a punchbag. Which is, of course, what we all would do. They have a bridge on the dance floor, all the better for literal choreography to I'm With You. Natalie is obviously doing most of the dancing and rotation, but Audley is pointing his foot and attempting the arm extensions, and looks pretty good. Plus the fact that he looks so happy to be there and dancing with Natalie - that's always a selling point.
Alesha wants Audley to take more ownership of the dance, and says that he was endearing. Bruno says that Audley obviously loves dancing with Natalie and treats her like a precious china doll. Craig notes how much Audley is trying, particularly with regard to hand shaping, but suggests that he tuck his tongue away when he is dancing. Jennifer makes a pun on "oddly"/"Audley" [I totally didn't get that at first. Bloody Americans coming over here and expecting us to get their accented puns, etc etc. - Steve] and then talks about him having big feet. Scores - Craig 5, Jennifer 8, Alesha 7 and Bruno 7 for a total of 27.
Harry and queen of rotten choreography Aliona next. They inform us that the samba is technically quite easy, but very tricky to make look comfortable and natural. Aliona bores on about the samba being sexy and hard. FNAR. So then they walk around the West End in samba outfits, much to the consternation of a lady in a coffee shop.
They're dancing to Stevie Wonder's I Wish. Aliona kicks her legs high, Harry sneers. Maybe that's a sexy face? They do a bit of work side by side which looks strange, and I'm not sure why - perhaps because Harry's legs are camouflaged by the dark shadows that have fallen over the singers Dave Arch, and his wonderful orchestra. Bruno growls at Harry's chest and is intrigued to note what his hips can do. He says there wasn't quite enough bounce and it seemed forced - "you have to let it flow out of you. Out of your body. Not my body." EW. Craig also thinks Harry's see-through shirt was a distraction. Jennifer says that if her husband wasn't in the audience she might have found the dance quite exciting. Oh, OK, Grey, I'll laugh. Alesha says the samba steps he was given were performed well. Ooh, BURN! [Alesha was on excellent form this week. Len should go away more often. Actually, even if it made no difference to Alesha's performance, Len should still go away more often. - Steve] Scores - Craig 8, Jennifer 9, Alesha 8, Bruno 8 for a total of 33.
After Bruce tells us that he loves a happy ending (too much information) Anita and Robin are doing the Charleston. Last week she was nervous because that was her hardest dance to date, and she finds it tricky to stand like a dancer after 50 years of standing like an actress. They do a skit complete with foam guns to the Bugsy Malone soundtrack. Robin's accent is shocking.
Very bravely, Anita begins the routine to some kind of Cole Porter medley dancing by herself (and also very bravely, there is pretty much no back to her dress). She's such an old jazz-hands type this really suits her - all gurning and grins. Craig says it lost some swivel but she brought the dance to life. Jennifer says that she sees why Anita is a national treasure. Alesha says it captured the spirit of the dance. Bruno shouts a list of random nouns. Tess patronises Anita for being OLD. Scores - Craig 7, Jennifer 8, Alesha 8 and Bruno 8 for a total of 31.
Talking of old hams, Jason and Kristina. And a rumba. Oh, this is going to be painful. Kristina wants him to be romantic and think of his first date - cue 70s-style sketch with chest wig and moustache. They're dancing to Killing Me Softly With His Song, and Kristina's hair looks so beautiful I am distracted. Jason's making some odd shapes, I think his lines are a bit harsh, and his face is a study in epic concentration. Or probably he's trying not to sweat too much as Kristina performs gymnastic moves balanced on his lap. Jennifer says she was killed softly by the rumba but she wants more lust. Fair enough. Alesha says she was bored because it felt contrived. Bruno says that usually Jason's performances are good but this was focused on just the steps. Craig thought it was too serious and focused, and exposed Jason. Alesha chimes in that it is a hard dance, because Len is not there and somebody needs to say it. Scores - Craig 6, Jennifer 8, Alesha 7 and Bruno 7 for a total of 28. Jason and Kristina throw themselves out of the nearest window.
Alex and James now. Last week, they were pleased, and Craig found their dance erotic. This week they are doing the quickstep, and their rehearsal makes it look like the worst quickstep in the history of dancing. James is an utter tosser as usual, and tries to pretend he is being funny by dressing as a drill sergeant, but you can tell he LOVES it. [That joke was done much better by Tina Barrett in LA 7. - Steve]
They're dancing to It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, and Alex's dress is a lovely colour of blue. She's also acting the part for all she's worth, but that doesn't hide her various missteps and the fact that when they do their cross-floor diagonal runs James is dragging her. They topple over at the end. Good work, guys. Alesha notes the mistakes but thought it was classy and suited her. Bruno thought it started well but there were lots of errors, but of course overall that doesn't matter. Craig points out some timing issues but thought it was full of personality. Jennifer likens it to champagne - bubbly, effervescent and made her feel giddy. Oh, what the fuck ever. Scores - Craig 7, Jennifer 8, Alesha 8 and Bruno 8 for a total of 31.
Robbie and Ola are doing the waltz after last week's triumph of caping that was their paso. They go to dance at half-time at the football. A man who looks like former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan wanders into camera shot during Robbie's ptc, and then quickly wanders back again. Guess how this routine to Love Ain't Here Any More starts? It starts with them doing box steps around each other, and then Ola twirls around him for a bit. Robbie looks a bit heavy on his feet, and his head is at some weird angles. Again, my attention is drawn elsewhere - the band sound like they're about to attempt a key change, but actually it's just the lead singer veering out of tune. Robbie and Ola then sit on some steps, because they've not noticed that Len isn't there this week and aren't guaranteed points for that. Bruno says it was Robbie's most correct performance to date. Craig liked the rise and fall but thought it was devoid of emotion, and that Robbie was too tense. Jennifer loved the athleticism being brought to the dance floor, which is apparently exciting. That woman needs to get out more. Alesha thought Robbie danced it well. Thanks, Alesha! Scores - Craig 6, Jennifer 8, Alesha 8 and Bruno ("for Len!") 7 for a total of 29.
Last week, Russell and Flavia camped around the floor but nobody cares because he is our friendly pet gay who is friends with Kylie. Flavia takes Russell to play rugby in preparation for the paso because it is MANLY and he is GAY and likes MEN. On the ballroom floor, Russell is dressed as Christopher Biggins and is humping a bucking bronco. Oh, I can't watch this. It's pathetic.
Craig says it was astonishing. That is all he has to say. Jennifer murmurs some platitudes about entertainment. Alesha talks about interpretation and fun. I don't listen to Bruno because this is nonsensical. Scores - Craig 4, Jennifer 7, Alesha 6 and Bruno 7 for a total of 24. Seriously?
Chelsee and Pasha! Last week she had a wardrobe malfunction and cried. This week she is being fun and...like the Karate Kid? For her Charleston? Unsure. At the start of the routine they're both dancing alone and Chelsee looks a little bow-legged. And then they're dancing together and frankly I'm watching Pasha in his adorable vest and braces. Good routine altogether, though. Jennifer makes "baby" references and my patience with her has now officially worn out. Alesha says Chelsee is a natural dancer and they are in sync all the time except for when they're not. Bruno calls Chelsee a "flapper" except it sounds like "slapper" and praises Pasha's choreography. Craig thought it was fabulous. Scores - Craig 9, Jennifer 9, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 36.
Last couple of the evening are Holly and Artem. Their American smooth was fantastic, says Holly. This week they have the jive - "I just can't do it at that pace!" she wails. So to solve this problem they drive around in some fast cars with Ron Dennis. Now everything is better! Except not really. Holly is noticeably out of sync with Artem for most of their kicks and flicks and she looks very tired. Alesha says they both looked exhausted but it was a cool and sophisticated jive. Bruno thought it had a twist and a swagger. Craig says usually Holly is Australian, but apparently that jive was not in fact Australian. Scores - Craig 8, Jennifer 9, Alesha 8 and Bruno 9 for a total of 34.
And that's it! Vote vote vote, except not, because it's now four days later and the lines are closed! Who will go? Find out shortly...
Welcome back to the Strictly Bonfire Night extravaganza! What will happen?
Pro dance! The girls are doing sexy dancing against screens! Just what we need for Sunday night family entertainment!
Tess thanks them profusely, and re-welcomes the judges. Jennifer Grey looks worryingly like Arlene in a certain light; Alesha seems to have skinned Big Bird and crawled inside his corpse.
Time to fill some more space with a backstage montage VT. Lulu is faux humble; Harry is faux unsexy; Anita loves the 1920s; Jason looks like he's about to cry because he's not everyone's favourite any more; Alex and James cackle about falling over; Russell talks bull; Chelsee says she can't stop smiling, so Pasha tells her to stop smiling; Holly does the "poor Artem, he is INJURED" spiel. Craig swaggers down the corridor talking about being "acting head judge".
So some results! Who's safe? Well, Anita and Robin; Holly and Artem; Russell and Flavia; and Harry and Aliona. In the bottom two - poor Audley and Natalie. Craig thinks Audley has done "amazingly well" but this is not a surprise. Elsewhere, Claudia fawns over the safe couples as Anita plays the "I'm SIXTY-TWO, you know, dear! Yes! I said, I'm SIXTY-TWO!" card and Artem reminds us his spine has fallen off or something.
Hey, it's Westlife! They are FURLYING Without Wings! And without stools. But...but...if Westlife don't have stools to sit on, my entire concept of the world is BROKEN.
Now! We have to sit through Jen's Lens, which is marginally more palatable than Len's one. Mostly they talk about how much they all fancy Harry, and how Bruce is harassing Holly.
Sir Bruce Forsyth is now going to treat us to a song-and-dance routine.
More results! Who else is safe? Alex and James; Chelsee and Pasha; Robbie and Ola; but Lulu and Brendan are not (meaning that Jason and Kristina are also through). Bruno is very surprised but he understands it because Lulu is so inconsistent. As we recover from that shock, it's the men's turn to show off, with a pro dance that involves hats, tight trousers and hip-thrusting. [And Matt Flint from So You Think You Can Dance, much to my distress. - Steve]
Sympathetic Claudia consoles Audley and Lulu, and their "I really want to stay till next week!" VTs play. Audley talks about losing weight and that he has enjoyed the experience whatever happens; Lulu talks about herself a lot. So who will be going?
Why, it's Lulu and Brendan! Everyone looks stunned, but Lulu's face is EPIC. She says it has been the experience of a lifetime. Brendan talks about how he loves being part of the show. Tough luck, Cole, see you next year. [Except Artem's broken, so he's coming back next week for Holly. You can't keep a good man down, I guess. - Steve] So they take to the floor for their final dance as Tess reminds us that Len will be back next week, which I'm sure we're all looking forward to. Join us then!