Tx: 3rd December 2011
Good evening, everybody, and welcome to Strictly's Movie Week! Last week, we bade farewell to Anita, Robin and Brendan (again), while James Jordan made an utter mean-spirited arse of himself and his wife tried to distract everyone from her partner's inability through physical exposure. (Note to self and Steve: make a macro for the second half of that sentence in time for next series.) [Or we could just tell our readers to assume that's happening at all times unless otherwise stated? - Steve] Also on last week's episode, Holly deciding to put in some effort but still ending up in the bottom two; more awful acting from Chelsee and Pasha, which just enhanced their adorableness; and an appearance from someone with a title who's been a drain on public funds for years. But enough about Bruce - the Duchess of Cornwall also turned up, sat with Craig at rehearsal, and scored everyone a 9.
So this week it's Movie Week, which is an Americanised phrase we at SCB hate. However, it is likely to be a more successful Movie Week than The X Factor's annual disasters, which descend into squabbling about whether or not a song actually counts as "from a film" if a) it was just used in background music or b) nobody has ever seen the film.
What do we have in store, then? Caping! Sunglasses! Prosthetics! Personally I can barely contain my excitement. Shall we?
Yes, let's! Titles!
Ooh, and we begin with a group dance extravaganza to Saturday Night at the Movies, featuring Vincent and Flavia and a Big Red Door prop, and I find myself almost liking Len in the role of 'man at sparkly ticket office' because he's singing along and I feel sure he'd make a better job of the song than the Strictly singers. I am also enamoured of the fact that Anton and Erin are doing some ballroom up on the balcony in a Fred'n'Ging style, because they refuse to do anything that might possibly look newfangled. The routine ends with Vincent kissing Bruno, as everything really should do.
Here are Bruce and Tess, dressed as Morticia Addams for this festival of films. Brian Fortuna is in the audience. I'd forgotten he existed, if I'm honest. Bruce talks to some woman in the crowd, fucks up the autocue, and finally gets round to introducing the couples: Chelsee and Pasha (DRESSED AS SHREK); Holly and Artem; Robbie and Ola; Alex and James; Harry and Aliona; and Jason and Kristina. Bruce scouts through the line-up to ensure that Brendan hasn't sneaked back in, and then invokes the wondrous name of BLACKPOOL! BLACKPOOL! GLORIOUS BLACKPOOL! before introducing Rory McGrath as Future Head Judge Karen Hardy's guest tonight. McGrath kisses Karen. She looks singularly less impressed by the snog than she was when the Fonz kissed her, I'll tell you that much.
First up, Robbie and Ola. He says there was a lot to think about in last week's samba routine. Oh, Robbie, srsly? You wandered your way through it, then took your trousers off. It was textbook Ola. This week they have the quickstep to a song from Reservoir Dogs, so he and Ola and a random hairdresser pastiche the climatic scene using hairspray and hairdryers rather than guns. Ola, for all her qualities, is a very poor actress with dialogue. [There was something so-bad-it's-good about her acting for me, though. - Steve]
And Robbie doesn't seem to be able to walk in rhythm. Which is a bit of a problem in the quickstep. He's happier once in hold, and he forces the quickstep grin on to his face, but his feet just look messy, and his posture and hands are all over the place. Still, Ola is pleased and congratulates him, so perhaps he was worse in rehearsal.
Bruce greets our singers Dave Arch, and his wonderful orchestra, and welcomes the judges - A Star is Born (Alesha) and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Insert your own joke. Len makes a point of telling Robbie how much he likes him, because he is a SPORTSMAN, and then says the routine was rough round the edges. Alesha says it was cool and clean. Fuck knows what she was watching. Bruno liked the way he was walking - "a cross between Kate Moss and Russell Brand" - and then says "erect". Craig comments on the out-of-time nature of the first section and criticises his head position, and then likens it to a rabbit doing a trot. However, he liked the concept and the performance. Scores - Craig 7, Len 7, Alesha 8 and Bruno 8 for a total of 30. Jason looks surprised in the background.
Harry (in a Natalie Lowe scarf of awesome) and Aliona next. Last week, Harry felt, was amazing. He did not expect three 10s, but thinks there is room for improvement, and he was happy to win the swingathon. In rehearsal, Aliona punches him in the face, and then suggests he wear tights - "How about no?" comes the reply. The Sheriff of Rottingham, ie Brendan in a suit of armour, takes Aliona hostage and says that if Harry ever wants to dance with her again he must go to the forest and save her. Harry, don't go! Leave her in peril. Nobody cares about Aliona. We all want you to dance with Brendan anyway. [Aliona's growing on me, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't rooting for Harry to pick Brendan. - Steve]
Anyway, they are rumbaing to Everything I Do I Do It For You. Harry has some nice hand shaping, Aliona grinds against him, I hate the rumba (I genuinely do. If it's performed badly then it's embarrassing; if it's performed well you feel like a voyeur, which isn't something I enjoy)...and on an important point, this is the worst the Strictly singers have performed all series, and as you know they're up against some stiff competition. But it's a good dance. Alesha thinks it is the best rumba by a male celebrity for some time (but then again that's not saying much). Bruno was apprehensive because the rumba can make or break a man. Craig notes the work that has been done on Harry's hip action and admires the tightness of his trousers. Len says that Harry's dreams will not be left on the cutting room floor. I would quite like everyone not to vote for Harry now, just to prove Len wrong. Scores - Craig 9, Len 9, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 36. Aliona is pretending she is not pissed off. She is less convincing than she was in the VT.
Now Alex and James. Last week they did a rubbish Charleston and James was a pissy little bitch. Alex tries to cover up his pissy little bitch-ness by being cute. This week they are doing an American Smooth, which apparently has "lifty bits", to the song Oh Pretty Woman, which necessitates a sketch in which he gives her his credit card and she goes shopping. Because all women are the same, you see, regardless of their hooker-ness.
Ooh, they have a table and chairs on the dance floor. And because Alex is a Pretty Woman, walking down the street, she does some walking around. Inspired choreography, Jordan. It's a nice routine, though; Alex looks good, although she trips over her skirt or something at some point. And then he gives her more jewellery (to buy her sexual favours). Ugh. Horrid film. Bruno tells Alex that she is gorgeous and admires her transitions in and out of lifts. Craig congratulates her for putting sexy into dance. Len says he loved it; Alesha says it had elegance and class, and Alex has consistently improved. Bruce then decides to give his opinion, like anybody gives a fuck about anything he says ever. Up with Tess, Alex looks like she is about to cry, and then James does a stupid camp voice and I want to punch him. Scores - Craig 8, Len 8, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 34.
Holly and Artem now. She says that she gave it 100 per cent for her foxtrot last week, and it was the dance she is proudest of so far, so she was disappointed to be in the bottom two. But this week she is excited to do the paso, which she thinks fits her personality a bit more than "the fluffier stuff". Hey, here's a thought, Valance - ACT! Like you do in the Foster's ads. Anyway, they go fencing, and Holly slices Artem's shirt off. Oh, Kartem shippers, don't watch!
Artem is shirtless and caping; Holly is Zeta Jones-esque and appelling. Awesome. It's a fiery paso, with a H burning on the screens at the back, because they are dancing to the theme from Zorro. Craig says it's her personal best; Len says she is finishing the competition strongly; Alesha bashes the table in her excitement and scares Bruno; and then Bruno terrifies everybody by doing some flamenco. Len and Craig, meanwhile, are trying to pretend it's not happening. Scores - Craig 9, Len 9, Alesha 10 and Bruno 10 for a total of 38.
Jason and Kristina next. He was happy with last week and the scores, but he did think they would do better in the swingathon. Now that Anita has gone, he is now the oldest person in the competition, and clearly he is dealing with that brilliantly. They are dancing to Singin' In The Rain and apparently that means Jason now takes round his own personal raincloud. I don't really understand the logic of that VT, if there was supposed to be any. [Somehow, no matter how awful the other VTs are in a given week, Jason and Kristina's is always the worst. I don't even think it's their fault, so it's very strange. - Steve]
More importantly, Jason and Kristina have their own Prop Door and a prop lamp-post, which is important. He does a bit of soft-shoe, which is less offensive than when Tom bloody Chambers does it. Oddly, the bits when they're in hold look more awkward than the solo pieces and the tricksy lifts - perhaps because Jason has less of an opportunity to ham it up. Len witters about Gene Kelly; Alesha says Jason deserves to be in the semi-finals. Bruno says it was a huge risk to take on one of the best movies ever made "but you made it your own" - oh, come on, Bruno! Craig says it's getting boring now that everyone is good. HA. Scores - Craig 9, Len 9, Alesha 9 and Bruno 10 for a total of 37.
Now Chelsee and Shrek!Pasha. Last week, Len scolded Chelsee for not acting enough; and she seems to think that was reasonable enough once she worked out what all the words meant. This week they are doing a jive, which necessitates a trip to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to become Princess Fiona. Then they dance on the stage amidst random pieces of set.
Obviously, they're dancing to I'm A Believer, complete with a statue of a donkey on the floor, and complete with a very brave solo spot for Chelsee...and this is a really good routine. Chelsee looks sharp, and isn't being left behind by her partner as so many of the jives have done this year. [Especially considering how the rehearsal footage on It Takes Two looked...not promising, this was an utter triumph. - Steve] Bruno screeches about semi-finals; Craig says something about lifting knees up; Len talks about pickling his walnuts; Alesha brings out Arlene's much-missed ball of alliteration calling the routine playful and punchy - "you've found your dance." Scores - Craig 9, Len 10, Alesha 10, and Bruno 10 for a total of 39. Chelsee and Shrek!Pasha leap around like the adorable children they are.
And that's it! The phone lines are now open, Tess tells us. Brendan has inveigled his way into the studio and is heckling as she introduces the recap. So who will make it through to the semi-finals? We will find out TOMORROW!
Ooh, more pro dance fuckery, complete with lack of apostrophe in the cards they're using to create a silent film style, which angers me more than is really appropriate. Anyway, it's a silent film pastiche, so obviously Charleston, positively replete with gurning. For one second I think the men are about to do a Chris Hollins tribute worm, but I am disappointed. [They did it on It Takes Two on Friday. Get it on iPlayer, it's right at the end. - Steve]
Because it is movie week, Tess has come dressed as an Oscar, all golden and sparkly, and then because Bruce is not here, she then introduces the judges with a comma missing - "Craig Len, Alesha and Bruno!" Claudia warns us that Alfie Boe is imminent.
So a montage from last night: Robbie looks a bit pissed off; Len reminds us that rumba is the hardest dance for men (this week); Alex says there is nothing worse than getting your dress caught on your heel, and thinks that perhaps she should dance in shorts and t-shirt; Holly screeches into the camera and declares, "Holy moly!"; Jason and Kristina feared that Craig would slag them, but then he didn't and they were happy; Chelsee bounced around and put a lot of strain on her dress, and says she didn't expect the 10s.
Right, some results. Who's safe? Alex and James ("How did that happen?" he asks, all class as usual), and Chelsee and Pasha (she blows kisses at everyone and nearly punches Pasha in the big green Shrek face with her excitement). Sadly, though, Jason and Kristina are in the bottom two. Bruno is very disappointed - "If he has to go, we all will miss him," he declares, calling him a "great, honest performer" and then proclaiming that it is "tragic". Oh fuck off, Hyperbole Man.
Claudia chats to the safe couples as usual, and Alex wonders if the votes have been counted properly. Chelsee hides her face in Shrek!Pasha's shirt and does the humble thang once again.
Right, Alfie Boe is about to sing a James Bond medley. I'm going to pour a glass of vodka. He's even brought his own dancers. Our professionals not good enough for you, Boe? Maybe you could explain that to Natalie. She's at least a foot taller than you. And she pretended to be a Bond girl last series. And she was more convincing at it than you are at being James Bond, even if you do have a tux with an undone bow tie.
From one pointless depressing filler segment to another - the judges with Claudia, featuring Len's Lens. Before Jason and Kristina danced, Bruno called her "gorgeous". I'm not sure why this is supposed to be funny. Kristina is gorgeous. Is it because Bruno is a gay? Len calls Chelsee "an absolute crackerjack"; Alesha says she could feel Holly's determination (fnar). Craig talks about how brilliant Kristina is at choreographing - "she always choreographs for the celebrity," he claims - while Claudia and Bruno sob about how sad it was that Alex caught her dress on her heel. Then we are forced to sit through Len singing to Saturday Night at the Movies - which is much less endearing than it was when you couldn't actually hear him in the opening number last night. Bruno and Craig die of hysteria.
More results? I think so. Also safe - Harry and Aliona (which is not really a shock, surely?); but in the bottom two - Robbie and Ola. This means Holly and Artem are safe and through to the semi-finals. Len puts on his sad face and says he does not want Robbie to go because he is a SPORTSMAN and Len loves SPORTSMEN. Ah, I'm glad he reminded us. We haven't heard that enough this series.
More pro dancing? I think so. This one's a lovely Rat Pack-themed ballroom number, featuring Dame Natalie Lowe and Brendan Rentapro Cole being TALL and awesome, with Vincent, Flavia and Erin and Anton. Hurrah!
Back to Claudia and her particular brand of insightful interviews, where Jason is talking as if they are about to be shot, and Kristina is crying. Robbie says this has been the best experience of his life, and it wouldn't be fair if they went through and Jason and Kristina didn't, because they are better. Jason shakes his hand and says, "Thank you for saying that," before doing more embarrassingly humble platitudery and then some VTs which say basically the same thing.
So who will go? It's the moment of truth. And it's Robbie and Ola to go. Rightly so, obviously. Robbie whines about people thinking he is horrible but now he hopes that they will think he is an ordinary decent guy. He then remembers to thank Ola. Sigh. The other couples flood on to the dance floor, and poor Shrek!Pasha is detracting slightly from the solemnity of the occasion. Hey ho.
So we're down to the semi-finals, and Steve, God love him, will guide you through that particular delight. See you next week!