Last night! It was like playing ‘Where’s Wally’ with all the dancers as the WEMBLEY cameras zoomed so far out they became microscopic. From what little we could see, Denise and James’ Egyptian Charleston worked against all odds; Victoria was useless, as was Richard, but at least he had ERIN ISLAND (even to the point of wearing a shirt with it printed all over) - and most of the people inbetween were overmarked to a fairly ludicrous extent, especially Lisa and Robin – although we still had a ZOMG MIDTABLE SHOCKER in the form of Louis and Flavia.
I watched both this results show and The X Factor one with my parents, by the way. Their verdict? My dad likes Lisa, my mum is not admitting that Nicky is rubbish, they think Richard is entertaining, and that Michael is improving loads and Denise is amazing.
We open with a 1950s’ style dance to the band caterwauling through ‘Tears on My Pillow’ (for why? Kylie had a number one with a cover of it and I’m sure she’d have obliged if you asked her) which involves the pros flitting between dancing with each other, their celebrities and other celebrities – it then turns into ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and the projections are very good indeed – giving the impression of huge stacks of poker chips or similar with clock numbers on. The pros and the extra dancers ‘rock and roll’ a bit whilst the celebrities stay tucked away in a car. Most notably, Flavia gets chucked about by all the men, which I bet she loved. Then the celebrities are allowed to come back on to ‘We Go Together’ which is the 1970s doing the 1950s, but I think we’ve established my feelings on the decades business. Bizarrely, Darcey is with them all and she and Richard hold up a card saying ‘Strictly Class 2012’. Please let this mean that Darcey is vacating the panel in favour of Head Judge Erin next year. Dani throws (yup, throws) a bowling ball at some huge skittles because SHE IS TINY.
Craig is sitting in a kissing booth where no-one is coming to get them, even though they’re free, hoho. And then it descends into a dodgem crash between Bruno and Len and Claudia and Tess, which Bruno is a little bit too into.
Claudia, who must have just run from the Mitchell/Coren nuptials (awwww) [I can't believe we didn't get an invite. We were on Only Connect and everything - Steve] looks rather lovely in a navy dress with lace frontage, whilst Tess is wearing a silver ribbed sack and looks rather embarrassed about it.
Wembley ‘welcomes’ the judges it only saw about an hour earlier and Tess reminds us of the dance-off. The audience are too rowdy during all of this. BLOODY WEMBLEY.
Last night’s recap includes meeting the public. Boo! Everyone – audience, celebs and pros - says WEMBLEY a lot. Lisa cries at getting good feedback; Louis thinks it was as scary as the LYMPICS; Dani is in a state of shock at becoming a new potential favourite; Kimberley and Pasha are shaking it a lot and Michael says it’s the best feeling since winning the Ashes. Len got ‘trembly at Wembley’ and wants Wembley every week. I knew there was a reason I always get the urge to shout FUCK OFF LEN, because, seriously, FUCK OFF LEN.
Results time – safe are: Dani and Vincent, Michael and Natalie, Lisa and Robin, Denise and James. In the bottom two? Richard and Erin, who look about as unsurprised as it is possible to be. Tess asks what Richard needs to do to survive. Be up against Victoria and hope she crashes and burns? Len says he needs to have fun and enjoy it. Thanks, Len.
In Claudia’s Counselling Circle, there is an apology for Scotland missing Michael and Natalie’s dance and a reminder you can watch him on the website. Michael has loved being at WEMBLEY. Maybe as penance they should go to SCOTLAND next year? Denise loved it and BANTER BANTER BANTER. Lisa says it was the most insane, but best, night of her life – to have opened Wembley. So many things wrong with that statement that I can’t even…
Claudia then demands people stand to welcome Girls Aloud who are celebrating ten years of Girls Aloud who have been together for ten years and 2012 is their tenth anniversary. TEN! (Let’s just gloss over those years when they essentially had split up to do solo things/or things anyway). My dad (who is 80) was all ‘I bet they’re off on tour, aren’t they? That’s why they’re doing this’. Very astute. Now I love the Aloud so very much. I can even live with their covers of ‘See The Day’ and ‘Jump’ (notsomuch ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’) but I am really struggling to get on board with ‘Something New’. I like the chorus, but I hate the Beyonce rip-off tribute bits and the rapping is pretty rubbish and whilst a little bit of rubbish Girls Aloud rapping is fine, there is far too much of it on this track. It’s also a bit too verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge for me, which isn’t very Girls Aloud. At least Sarah’s face looks a little better than on Children in Need – or maybe that’s because I’m over the shock of how different she looked when they performed on Friday. The thinness of Nadine’s legs still scares me a little. Their silver dresses look a lot nicer than those orange things they’ve been wearing for this single though; and they do the ‘Sound of the Underground’ bit with the microphones at one point, so hooray for that. And ‘we’re the leaders of the pack, you’d better watch your back’ does sound like a direct threat to The Saturdays and Little Mix, doesn’t it?
Claudia tells us that the dance floor is six times the usual one. SO THAT’S WHY IT SUCKS SO MUCH. Len’s Lens time and we relive Lisa’s splits and Bruno’s keenness to crash into Tess and Claudia with the dodgems. Claudia cries ‘whiplash’ – everyone’s favourite injury this series, and Bruno lowers the tone with a ‘Miss Whiplash’ comment. Len says he didn’t like Louis’ American Smooth because it wasn’t what he was expecting. As criticisms go, it’s not the most well-developed. He should go judge the X Factor where everyone does the same thing every week. We see some rehearsal footage of Louis doing the Robot and Flavia looking exasperated. Poor Flavia – paired with someone who could potentially be a winner and who clearly has the ability, yet who behaves like a teenager and spends every dance sulking.
They then relive what Darcey called the ‘bluebird’ lift in Michael and Natalie’s dance and Michael’s face of terror, then we see Natalie high-kicking him in the face and him doing dramatic arms to back away. Love it. Craig is happy that Denise and James did the ‘birdie’ step in their Charleston. If we start having The Birdie Song as a dance, I will not be happy. [Count your blessings, they added hip hop to Dancing With The Stars in America this season. Yep, Len Goodman judging hip hop. Amazing. - Steve] Craig says he didn’t give them a ten because she needs to get her feet together and then Len shouts all over him before he can finish his critique. Len is insufferable most weeks, but there’s something about WEMBLEY that cranks that up to ten. We then see Craig and Bruno rehearsing their parachuting in – Craig is loving it, taking photos of himself and the arena from up high – which is way braver than I could ever be, whilst Bruno takes the approach I would – screwing his eyes up, pursing his lips and trying not to have a full blown panic attack (wrong show!). The audience laugh at him, big meanies.
The rest of the results are in! Safe: Victoria and Brendan and Louis and Flavia (Flavia’s mic is on and she goes ‘Us? I didn’t even hear our names, did she say us?’). Meanly, they leave Kimberley and Pasha hanging until the very end – seeing as the dance-off almost broke her last week, this seemed far too harsh when the dance-off tease could have been Victoria and Brendan or something. Anyway, in the bottom two are Nicky and Karen which pleases me as I was so worried he’d be topping the phone votes. (I suppose that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been doing so in several weeks) Kimberley looks like she’ll vomit.
Tess asks Craig why Nicky is in the bottom two seeing as he’s a WEMBLEY veteran. Because being in Westlife and dancing on this show are the same thing, apparently. Craig says it’s because the audience don’t realise how much power they have to overturn the judges’ vote. Except for all those weeks Nicky went through whilst being in the bottom few on the leaderboard. And all the times Victoria has gone through. And Kimberley’s bottom two appearance overturning the judges’ marks in the other way. Oh, Craig. He then says that in the dance-off Nicky has to be entertaining and technical. Seeing as he is usually neither, this could be fun. Tess says ‘so he has to be flawless?’, which isn’t quite what Craig said, but when Craig replies ‘perfection’ she says ‘Oooh, I’m worried for Nicky’. Heh. I don’t know if she meant that burn or not but if so, nicely done, Daly.
In Claudia’s Counselling Circle and Kimberley is still white as a sheet and struggling to articulate herself. Claudia reminds both Kimberley and Victoria that they’re nervous. So not only has being Bruce rubbed off on Tess, being Tess has rubbed off on Claudia. Louis says he came close to crying and Claudia screams ‘I really wanna see you cry!’ The audience ‘aww’ and Claudia tries to cover up her clear sadism with ‘Then I can make him feel better’. But judging by Flavia’s laugh, I suspect the two of them are secretly concocting torture for him as we speak. We all know Flavia has a Red Room of Pain after all…
Special guest two now, and ten years is nothing as an anniversary (and as Strictly has made little of it being its tenth series, I’m guessing all the DECADE OF DAHNCE stuff will happen next year?) when you compare it to a SILVER JUBILEE. Yes, 25 years of Kylie singles, and she’s here with her first (in Australia) single, ‘The Locomotion’ in the big band version she’s done on the Abbey Road album – which is absolutely wonderful and a great Christmas present. She’s surrounded by female dancers in bondage-style leotards and men in shirts, girdles and tights. My parents’ verdict? ‘She never ages’ ‘Well, she’s just iconic isn’t she? She’ll go on forever’. I’ve brought them up well. They weren’t so keen on the male dancers’ outfits, but I suppose they’re a bit of an acquired taste.
Claudia is with the bottom two couples and lies that they have an equal chance. Erin’s all ‘yeees’. Richard says he’ll party like it’s 1983 and wishes the other two good luck. Claudia tries to pretend that Nicky being in the bottom two is a shock and Nicky tries to compare him being there to Kimberley being there, like he hasn’t languished in the bottom half of the leaderboard most weeks.
Richard’s salsa does seem to be an improvement on the first run, with a little more looseness in his hips, but it’s not exactly the improvement he made last time he was in the bottom two, and as it’s his third dance-off, it’s pretty much a fait accompli at this stage. The singer still can’t sing the bloody name of the song, either. Nicky’s performance hasn’t improved to any noticeable degree, although his timing remains pretty good, apart from that really long ending, and even my mum, who won’t admit that he sucks, had to concede he was really flat footed and she ripped into Len’s ‘this is not a jive, this is a rock’n’roll’ bollocks from Saturday night straight away.
Results time! Craig saves Nicky and Karen for ‘exuberance and energy’, Darcy saves them for ‘content and energy’ and Bruno saves them for ‘power and content’. CONTENT? Richard and Erin had ERIN ISLAND and men in speedos and Erin being launched off into the sea! How much more content could you want? Len concurs that Nicky and Karen should stay. Tess asks what Richard will miss most, he jokes about it being wardrobe, but he says he’ll miss Erin saying ‘welcome to another week’ on a Monday and he’ll take her out somewhere special. Erin says she’ll miss dancing with him and she now calls him a friend.
And, to the band completely eviscerating ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, confetti falls and they have their final dance, with Richard hugging everyone, and Natalie giving Erin a big hug (Natalie and Erin lezzmance 4eva) So Erin gets to go back to her island – several weeks later than she no doubt anticipated. Next week we’ll hopefully be going back to a ‘normal’ week, or at least one where we can actually see what’s going on. Join Steve then!