Monday, 4 November 2013

Riley gone kid

Top 11 Results: 3 November 2013

It's still Hallowe'en (Week), and if we learned anything from last week's X Factor, it's that there's little in this world more terrifying than Lady Gaga's unfettered id, so the show is celebrating this by opening the results show with a pro showcase to 'Bad Romance'. Something else that is also terrifying in this world is women's continued lack of agency in a patriarchal society, so the choreographers have represented this by having the female pros sit on the men's knees and act like ventriloquists' dummies. Fortunately, the women ultimately turn things around by turning the men into the puppets in this scenario, thus making this an inspiring tale of feminist triumph. Yep, this is the sort of BBC LEFTY LIBERAL BIAS that is infecting your harmless entertainment programming and turning your children into gays and/or vegans, and you never even realised. Call Ofcom!

(Alternatively: the pros do a ridiculous and gaymazing number surrounded by several thousand cubic metres of dry ice, and all the costumes and lighting are numerous different shades of purple and are, as a result, quite difficult to see with any clarity on iPlayer.) [And Karen is rubbish at miming lyrics, even if she is THE GREATEST DANCER or whatever that tabloid fuss was about - Rad]

In arguably the most gratuitously silly moment of the night (and I don't say this lightly), Tess "Demonic" Daly and Claudia "Wicked" Winkleman make their entrance from above, sitting inside giant hula hoops and being lowered on wires. Claudia, bless her, is clinging on for dear life. They're both wearing black, because it's Hallowe'en, and both of them look disappointingly presentable, even with the silly witches' hats. Come on, ladies, you're giving me nothing to work with here.

Tess tells us that Madness will be here later, and Claudia reminds us that Lens Lens is unavoidable, but first, a recap of everything that happened on Saturday. New content includes: Len on a bicycle, Ashley in a vest playing pranks on Ola, Dave thinking that his make-up looks "very KISS", Ashley hiding inside the microwave that was used for Natalie and Artem's VT and scaring Mark in the process, Len saying that it's time to see "who's frightening and who's frightful" (is it just me, or does that not really work? Both of those are BAD THINGS), Lisa Riley REALLY WANTS TO GET OUT THERE AND DANCE (hands up anyone who's surprised? Nobody? Yeah, thought not), Greg the hot redheaded floor manager is still keeping this rowdy rabble in order, Susanna just about resisting the urge to motorboat Ben's tits, Dave (who is made up as Beetlejuice, and Karen is Lydia, and I totally did not spot this yesterday, and I feel like an absolute fool, but thank you to everyone who pointed it out to me politely) announces that he's just won a Danny Baker lookalike competition (heh), Natalie shrilling "I'm a LAYDEE" in an Emily Howard voice which inexplicably makes me love her even more, lots of people making bearface at the camera, and then: PERFORMANCES! Patrick and Anya remain dull even when enthusing about two nines. Fiona was still thrilled about her charleston despite a lukewarm reception from the judges. Kristina is ecstatic about a nine from Len, while Ben's reaction is more in the general realm of "yes! I've just remembered that I didn't leave it too late to fill in my tax return after all!" Sophie is frustrated because her jive went so much better in rehearsal, and hopes to get a chance to redeem herself next week. Artem and Natalie seem a little bit numbed by their tens. Mark and Iveta loved their "paso disco, or disco doble", and do not care about one Leonard Goodman. Rachel can't believe she got two eights. Ashley is "buzzin'" after his tango, and that would explain where he's getting his energy from these days. Abbey is gleeful about her score of 35. Karen tries to give Dave a consolatory hug but he warns her, "don't smudge me make-up, I might be doing it again." Susanna and Kevin do not get to say anything. And there we have it.

Tess has got the first set of results, so it's time to see who's safe and who's in the Dread Dance-Off. In no particular order, these couples are safely through. Patrick and Anya (her: shock and glee, him: vaguely surprised muted enthusiasm), Sophie and Brendan (grateful relief), Fiona and Anton (dumbfounded gratitude) and Ben and Kristina (she: leaping for joy, he: mostly just grateful he can wash the jizz off his face now). The first couple in the bottom two? Abbey and Aljaž. I mean, I'm not saying that Tess Daly is a presenter who's somewhat lacking in subtlety, but she takes a great big whooping breath in and then bellows it loud enough to be heard in Chapel-en-le-Frith. It's okay, Tess - we get that this is a SHOCK RESULT, we didn't need quite that level of underscoring from you. Thanks, though. (This is interesting, though: I'd kind of always assumed that Abbey wouldn't be getting a lot of public support, but to dip down into the bottom two from second place in week six - much as Kimberley did last year - means she had to be either the lowest vote-getter of the night, or the second-lowest behind whoever else is in the dance-off with her. That's gotta sting, especially when she was on near the end and delivered a strong routine. Also, the fact that the first routine I felt some connection with Abbey also being the first routine that lands her in the bottom two shows that once again, my finger is ON THE PULSE.) [I would have voted for her this week except I am never in to watch this live and therefore never able to vote.  I'm as bad as Deborah and Robin's families and am therefore also a Dave/Anton/BenzTitznGunz enabler - Rad]

Abbey's face crumples momentarily, but luckily this happens under cover of near-darkness, and she quickly gets herself back together as she and Aljaž make their way over to Tess. Everybody else is rooted to the spot - they're genuinely shocked. Also, just maybe, every single one of the remaining contestants (except probably Natalie) is currently working out how very fucked they are if they're the other couple in the bottom two tonight.

There's general booing and, I think, a cry of "robbed!" from the audience. Tess asks Craig what can be done about all this, and Craig tells them that they both danced magnificently and he can't believe the audience at home put them in this position, because it CERTAINLY wasn't the judges. Yeah, that three-way tie for second definitely didn't make it any easy for Dave and Mark to leapfrog their way up the leaderboard. Craig reminds the viewers at home to start "judging with informed choices", so everybody switches over to BBC Four and watches Unnatural Histories. Tess asks Abbey how she's going to cope with the NEHVES and Abbey says she'll just have to do her best.

There's a fittingly funereal atmosphere in Claudia's Counselling Circle as everyone takes in the news of Abbey's near-death experience. Sophie's having survivor's guilt, wailing "it should have been me!" Patrick says that Anya's choreography was brilliant, and Brendan's all "YES, MMHMM, YES, IT REALLY WAS." I think obsequious, desperate-to-please Brendan is my favourite Brendan. Claudia wants to pick up on Anton and Fiona's disbelieving reactions, and Fiona says that she was convinced she would be in the Dread Dance-Off. Ben is congratulated on his highest score, which is still ludicrous, but he's happy about it all the same.

Up next, we have Madness, performing their single 'La Luna'. The pros are dancing some sort of circus freak-themed routine, and Suggs sounds like he needs a Strepsil. Still, I like it when the guest acts are happy to use the pros that are already on the payroll rather than bussing their own dancers in.

From there, we head up to the balcony for Len's Lens, complete with Mr Craig Revel-Horwood, who now has a super-glamourous crutch and is able to negotiate stairs again. Obviously Len's Lens hones in on Ben's Tits first of all, and then on a grinning Len doing the Time Warp, which he says is the only dance he can do these days. Anyway, you know how yesterday Len started getting all fussy about The Rules? Well, we should have known this was coming: he's going to complain about illegal lifts. Singled out to go and sit on the naughty step are Ashley and Ola and Sophie and Brendan, and Len sniffs that he's been lenient in the past, but that's made the pros think they can get away with it. Seems like the obvious course of action here is to not be lenient about it, then? I mean, this is hardly the first time it's happened. Brendan and Kelly Brook built an entire story arc around it back in series five. Also, bless everyone on this show for pretending that there are any rules at all any more, especially in Hallowe'en Week. And I refuse to be lectured on the SANCTITY OF DAHNCE by someone who gave a SPORTSMAN a nine for wafting a bit of cloth around with his shirt off. After that, more of the usual Len's Lens: Darcey recoiling in horror from Brendan's approach, Sophie's jive looking even worse in slo-mo, Darcey and Bruno getting all smug about giving tens, Craig sniffing that Natalie didn't deserve a ten because she wobbled a bit once. On the subject of Rachel, Craig says that it's great to see her back and recovering from how badly she did last week, then we watch Claudia getting lowered from the ceiling again (this is all getting a bit meta), Len thanks the costume and make-up people again, and then Len's Lens is over for another week. Hooray!

Time to reveal the other results. Safely through are: Susanna and Kevin (a little bit over-demonstrative), Mark and Iveta (surprised, relieved), Natalie and Artem (gushy), Ashley and Ola (so tense that there may have been a bowel movement) and Dave and Karen (feeling guilty). Rachel takes her bottom two placement far better than she did the first time around - she clearly knows there's no chance of her being saved over Abbey unless something severely wacky happens, so she's already got a sort of zen acceptance thing going on. Len says he's surprised to see Rachel here, because it was her best dance and he knows how hard she's worked but, you know, a sporting history is only useful to Len if you a) played professionally and b) have a penis, so sorry Rachel, you're shit outta luck on this occasion. Len tells Rachel that her bottom two placement is not deserved, so she should just come out, have confidence and "trust in Pasha the dasher". Tess asks Rachel what she's feeling, and Rachel basically reels off her exit speech there and then. She vows to enjoy the Dread Dance-Off whatever happens.

Claudia's Counselling Circle: a pervading sense of relief. Claudia tells Mark that his entrance was extraordinary (fnar). Claudia asks Ashley how he can achieve more polish with his nine jobs and seventeen children. Ashley jokes that his hunched posture was all intentional, because he's playing a zombie.

A VT next in which Ashley, Karen and Pasha realise that they are being secretly filmed. Apparently the first two are being studied by that Zoe Ball off of It Takes Two but yeah, as you all probably expected, the Pasha-cam is all me.

Claudia's with the bottom two. She asks Abbey if she's in shock, and Abbey says that it's made her realise how much she doesn't want to leave, and she really doesn't want to be up against Rachel because Rachel's her best friend. Well, that' Even Rachel looks slightly surprised by that admission. Abbey and Aljaž head down so she can get hooked up to the emergency slides again. Rachel says to Claudia that she told Abbey earlier that she thought her rumba was beautiful and that she could win the whole competition, so she's just going to go out there and enjoy it. Poor Rachel. It must suck to have to go through the formality of the Dread Dance-Off when you know that your opponent basically needs to trip up and impale herself on the scenery not to get saved by the judges.

Abbey and Aljaž reprise their rumba. The singers sound weirdly vocodered this time; I didn't notice that first time around. There's still a bit of trouble in unhooking Abbey from the slides, but she still manages to give a very commendable performance. She sobs a little bit on Aljaž when it's all over. Rachel and Pasha reprise their American smooth, and I think this might be the best Rachel has ever danced. Maybe it helps that she knows she's basically not even in the competition any more, bar the formalities, so the pressure's off, and she's just Letitia Dean-ing her way through it all.

It's time for the judges to cast their votes on who gets to stay, as if we really need to ask. Craig votes to save Abbey and Aljaž. Darcey thinks both couples performed even better second time around, but votes to save Abbey and Aljaž. Bruno says they both did very well, but he votes to save Abbey and Aljaž. So it's all official: Len would've saved Abbey and Aljaž as well.

Rachel says that she "hasn't cried until now" (I think she misremembers what happened the last time she was in the Dread Dance-Off) and that she's made some amazing friends. She's pleased to go out on a high, and calls Abbey "a gorgeous dancer, gorgeous girl - there's no shame in getting knocked out to her." Everyone claps and then Rachel panics because she realises she's forgotten to thank Pasha. Pasha tells Rachel to look how far she's come, and Rachel declares Pasha the nicest person in the world and says he couldn't have looked after her better. She's hanging off him as she says this, and frankly I say that if you have to be eliminated from the competition, there's no shame in making the most of every last opportunity to paw at Pasha Kovalev's chest, so brava, Rachel. [Awww, that's two couples in a row I'll miss. - Rad]

Rachel and Pasha head off for their last dance. Tess and Claudia confirm that there's no Brucie next week [hurrah, and on my turn as well!  Thanks Bruce! - Rad], so they'll both be back on Saturday, and Rachel and Pasha dance to 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place'. Aww. I really am sad to see her go, but like she said, I'm glad she got to go out on a high, on a dance that she'd performed well and could be really proud of. My feelings about losing Pasha this early on, however, are rather complex. I'm going to need some time alone to deal with this one.


Rhona said...

I caved last night and had a youtube binge of Pasha vids from series 9, including his welcome dance and ITT interviews (Chelsee + Pasha 4 EVA).

Steve said...

And did that make everything better, or worse?

Steve said...

And did that make everything better, or worse?

Rhona said...

I'm still not sure... (sniff)