Monday, 3 November 2014

Defying Donny

Top 11 perform
Saturday 1 November 2014

Last week! Judy was undermarked! Scott had a car-crash Charleston! Mark cried a lot! Simon and Thom hit the bottom two and Thom was gone because Len didn’t save him even though he is a SPORTSMAN.

This week! Hallowe’en! Cue the dry ice and comedy VTs!

We open with a comedy routine to 'Bat Out Of Hell' involving the celebs entering a haunted dance floor where Anton is dressed as a vampire and the rest of the pros are some sort of masked zombies I think? The celebrities don’t do much other than huddle together looking scared and then Anton does a somersault from the ceiling to make a change from Janette. Then all the celebs’ costumes are revealed and Alison seems to be dressed as a bride or member of a gospel choir or something IDK.  HALLOWE’EN! (Except on All Saints Day).

As Claudia’s kid is ill, our hosts are the size-matched Zoe and Tess, who enter accompanied by mummies. Daly Dresswatch: black with a slit in the thigh, some weird netting sleeves and a slightly odd side arrangement of hair that would be nice if it had two sides to it but as it is looks weird. Ball’s Ballgown: black and sparkly with nothing fancy going on hair-wards.

The judges enter, doing the ‘Thriller’ dance. They are introduced, Simpsons Treehouse of Horror-credits-style as Len ‘ghoulish’ Goodman, Bruno ‘terrifying’ Tonioli, Darcey ‘broomstick’ Bussell (BROOMSTICK?!) and Craig ‘the devil’ Horwood (OK that one was quite good). They dance a bit, even Darcey and then there’s a bit where Darcey and Craig look like they might snog. TERRIFYING.

We re-welcome the stars of the show. Some of these people have much better outfits and make-up than others, but we shall come to that later on when they all dance. Boogie watch: Caroline is giving it some, Judy is giving it none, the rest are half-heartedly sort of swaying a bit.  Boo.

The first couple of the evening are Sunetra and Brendan. Brendan is in white make-up and hair, playing a ghost, which leads Tess into a terrible ‘he won’t get served in a bar, they don’t serve spirits’ gag - worth it for the actual rimshot it gets (and Tess’s grimace when she lands the punchline, which always gives me life, because at least she knows she can’t do jokes, even if the writers don’t).  Sunetra is excited to do Hallowe’en after watching it for years. Brendan thinks they can draw upon the gore from Casualty and she says it isn’t that gory as they mainly use pig’s hearts and stuff.  Sunetra is hardcore. (Cue a joke about her then playing Operation and some random ketchup on the floor being blood which… yeah, comedy VTs are still pretty much as good as ever).

Their jive to Tainted Love sees Brendan as a ghost under the bed like he’s Clara in Doctor Who or something and Sunetra (whom I keep calling Zoe and then having to go back and edit, and Jake thought he’d be the one who was called by his character name) as, I don’t know, some woman with a fierce curly wig on and her cleavage maximised. There’s a lot of farting around pushing a bed before it gets going and when it does, although Sunetra seems to get into the spirit (ho ho) of the dance, her kicks and flicks are pretty slight and she’s quite flat-footed. Her head and upper body are working it, especially when out of hold, but it’s not technically that great - and then there’s a lot more faffing about with the bed. I still love her, but I don’t think her Latin is up there with her ballroom.

Tess welcomes Davearch and the band before we get into the judges’ comments. Len says it started OK and then lost its flair (at which he gets booed) and then makes some random comment about Brendan being under the bed meaning she’s entitled to a good jive. Bruno wasn’t keen on the bed faffing or her kicks and flicks but liked the energy. Craig says it lacked punch and dynamic but she is a natural mover. Tess calls her a ‘natural heavy breather’. In the absence of Claudia, Ms Daly is getting her lady loving where she can, I see. Darcey says Sunetra can even make a jive look elegant but the physicality was missing and she’s definitely happier in ballroom. Brendan requests ballroom for the rest of the series.

They head up to the Ball pool (yes? no?) [works for me - Steve] and Zoe says the jive is excruciating before playing with the laces on Sunetra’s breasts. They’re all at it. Scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 for a total of 27. Sunetra thinks it’s alright and Zoe thinks it’s not bad but Brendan thinks it’s amazing.

The second couple are Alison and Aljaž. They are playing Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights, although Alison looks a bit like a glammed-up chorister rather than an ethereal lover on the wild and windy moors. [That was my thought too - she was ready to take it to church. - Steve] Aljaž is wearing white make up and eyeliner. Their VT then sees Alison caping about on a field (to recreate the moors) even though it’s not a paso doble.

Their American Smooth is to 'Wuthering Heights' and sees Aljaž introduced as ‘scabby’ [wasn't she his partner last year? - Steve] which I can’t help but feel is said with relish by Alan Dedicoat. Jealous much, voice of the balls? Alison descends on a white swing with a massive grin on her face.  MOODY! Fans of Aljaž in tight trousers won’t be disappointed with his get-up tonight, which is essentially the full package. The dance starts with some almost balletic moves and, whilst simple, it has some nice bits, mostly involving Alison wafting, mostly not involving the singing. The dress does mask a lot of what’s going on, though. It’s quite sweet and romantic as well as being all kinds of camp and Tess says Alison has fallen in love with ballroom, which Alison agrees with.

Bruno calls it a match made in heaven and says Alison puts real commitment in and he and Len were cracking up. He says her footwork gets sketchy in hold (mostly masked by flowing dress and camera angles). Alison says she thought she smashed it. Craig says it was one of the campest entrances he’d ever seen [fnar - Steve], ethereal and angelic until she got to the floor. He likes that she’s wearing heels but her feet are turned out and her head faces the ceiling too much. He didn’t like the wafting arms although accepted they were a Kate Bush tribute. Darcey liked the feeling of it but warns Alison not to get carried away. Alison says it’s because she’s wearing a white dress so she feels like she’s getting married. Darcey liked the wafting, as did Len, who was PHWOAR at Aljaž being a masculine Heathcliff. In this lack of SPORTSMAN age, I guess he takes his pleasures elsewhere. 

Up in the Ball pool, Aljaž cops a feel of Brendan. Everyone is so horny tonight. Zoe says they had the best song ever for their dance and Alison concurs, then we all wave at Alison’s mum and Zoe’s ‘mummy’ (the one that accompanied her). Scores: 5, 7, 7, 7 for a total of 26.

Zoe previews Steve and Ola dancing as skeletons and says it’s sadly not to Boney M because she loves them. Tess is all ‘me too!’ I guess they’re both children of the 70s so that explains it. Either that, or they just miss Artem's tan'n'teeth.

Simon and Kristina are next.  She is wearing a spider in her hair, a web on her face and a nice spider jacket.  He…isn’t although he has make-up on. Tess gets in the obligatory Webbe pun as a punchline to telling us Simon has a fear of spiders. Last week he was emotional when they got saved, although not to the extent of Mark. Their VT is about Simon’s fear of spiders and Kristina getting him to meet real spiders. I thought playing with bugs was something they do on that other show.

Their paso doble is to 'Poison' and begins with Simon trapped in a web. There’s no cape involved but it’s not a bad routine – certainly the music and outfits help and it has a good sense of attack and drama. Simon is clearly relying a lot on Kristina though and his moves aren’t the shapeliest or most precise, then there’s a pointless somersault ending in a kung fu pose because…um…?

Craig says it showed strength of will and was ferocious but Simon needed better shaping. Darcey says he came alive and told the story with conviction but had a mishap where he was just staring at Kristina for help. Len snarks that he didn’t deserve to be in the dance-off and the dance was full of attack but lacked some finesse. Bruno says he has it within him, it was powerful and he loved the confrontational attitude.

In the Ball pool, Simon wishes his daughter a happy 18th birthday and Zoe says he smells amazing.  Seriously, have they sprayed the studio with pheromones tonight? Scores 6, 8, 7, 8 for a total of 29.

Steve and Ola are next and Steve is delighted they’re dancing as skeletons because skeletons are a passion of his. I know we said hormones were rife but this is all getting a bit too Jimm- [redacted, obviously – ed]. They go to visit a dinosaur skeleton in the Natural History Museum after night and if this is all leading to special guest Ben Stiller then…well, then I guess he couldn’t be any worse than Jennifer Grey or Donny Osmond.

Their Charleston to 'Dem Bones' sees them both as skeletons and their make-up and costumes are great, so much so that I was watching them more than the dancing for a bit.  This is not a bad distraction technique as Steve forgets several of the moves. There are a couple of OK lifts and turns in the middle but it’s mostly quite forgettable, maybe due to er, the forgetting. I don’t think it’s that much better than Judy’s attempt last week, but we’ll see what the scores say. (Ugh, I like Charlestons and Tangos and this series both have sucked so far.)

Darcey says they kind of pulled it off but he was clearly preoccupied with the lifts which led him to forget bits. Len says he kept going wrong, the lifts were terrific and the dance was quirky but he didn’t recover from the problems. Bruno says it was goofy and chirpy but over-ambitious. Craig says it was like a study in osteology and the lifts were messy, with the timing out although the turning-hop section went well.

Scores: 5, 7, 7, 7 for a what-is-that-i-don’t-even 26 which even Steve and Ola are shocked by. [That this somehow got the same score as Alison's wafting masterpiece is the biggest miscarriage of justice since...well, Thom going home last week. - Steve]

Pixie and Trent next, and Tess introduces them sat next to the most bored looking man ever, until she offers him a sweet and his eyes light up. Heh. He’s much less cool than my third years who weren’t swayed by the reward of sweets for quiz questions the other day. Pixie and Trent’s VT see them in a haunted house thing haunted by a cardboard cutout of Craig, from whom Pixie doesn’t want to get a 1. I wasn’t aware of Craig having anything against these two, so I think they’ve probably just run out of stories.

Their tango is to 'Danger! High Voltage' which is one of the better choices from this series’ random tango song selector of suckiness (not for the singers, perhaps). They’re dressed as…sort of generic Halloweeny things with a bit of Beetlejuice mixed in with skeletons and other spooky things I think?  In a spooky hair salon with Pixie’s hair getting electrocuted. It looks a bit clumsy to me and Pixie gets the drama of it really well and sells it from a character point of view but seems to struggle with the footwork. I think the hair seems to get in her eyes a bit too much as well. Her kicks and turns seem OK though and it’s got a lot of ‘content’ in terms of a range of moves. [I loved absolutely everything about this routine. The concept, the choreography, the dancing - even the band were great. - Steve]

Len says Pixie’s right arm kept doing ‘queer things, like straightening’… Um… but he liked the routine. Bruno loved the chemistry and the characterisation. Craig says it was full of detail which he loved. Darcey loved the detail too but says it got messy in places and they need to watch that. I can’t believe Darcey basically gave the best critique. What is happening? Scores: 8, 8, 8, 9 for a total of 33. 9??? Oh, Hallowe’en.

Zoe plays with Pixie’s wig and pulls a meddling Pasha out from behind. Heh.

Trailer of things coming up: Mark thinks the jive is tough! Frankie has to slide her leg up Kevin’s leg. Ewwww. Judy is going to be Cruella de Vil! Scott is worried about tripping Joanne up.

Judy and Anton now. She enjoyed her undermarked Charleston and Anton thought they’d worked really hard on the performance aspect. Judy says 101 Dalmatians is her favourite, favourite movie (movie week’s already happened, no?) Their VT sees Judy dressed as a witch and Anton in a Dalmatian onesie, then she turns him into a real dog. It can’t be any worse at Latin than he is, ho ho.

She descends from the ceiling IN A CAR whilst Anton struggles on with two real Dalmatians. Their American Smooth is to the song 'Cruella de Vil' and begins with Anton removing Judy’s fur (THE FILTH). She’s never going to be a dancer, and it is still quite stiff, but she is definitely improving and although she forgets a bit, she copes better than Steve did. I’d say she does have a grasp of the basic steps, although it relies too much on Anton lifting her in weirdly static ways. Still, if anyone can claim to have had an actual ‘journey’ on the show I’d say it’s her, even if the judges don’t agree.

Bruno says she’s not a sprinting greyhound yet, more a learning to walk rescue dog and she’s confusing American Smooth with American stiff and she’s constant-delivering what’s expected of her: nothing. My DVR then cut off the next comments until we got to Tess saying Len was the voice of reason, and if Len is a voice of reason, then heaven help us all. I can’t work out if Tess has a lot of piercings in her ear tonight or just some weird cuff thing and it’s bothering me.

They get a warm reception in the Ball pool and Zoe says she looks incredible and to take comfort from Darcey saying she’d improved. Judy enjoyed being Cruella but wished she’d got to shout some more. HA! Anton says Judy has come on leaps and bounds. No-one picks up on the dog-related punnage. Zoe says Judy’s nickname is Sharon Stone and we don’t get a crash!zoom to Andy’s disgusted face so really what is the point of that mental image? Scores: 3, 6, 6, 5 for a total of 20. Hmm, was that really worth six fewer marks than Steve and Ola? 

Jake and Janette next and he has some very scary black teeth. Brrr. Almost as scary as Abi in THAT MASK on the EastEnders Hallowe’en episode. Their VT has Jake searching for Janette in a scary forest because their dance is Sleepy Hollow-themed. It then gets very Blair Witch in camera style with Tubular Bells playing. All the films! Even though film week has happened already!

Their paso sees Jake made up as…some sort of masked thing?  And Janette as… a horse? I don’t know, what's going on, but they’re both in black sparkles and dancing to ‘Black Betty’ and there’s a fair bit of dry ice. I like the pace of it, but I don’t think Janette has given Jake enough of interest to do in it and it has a nice sense of drama but it’s rather static in terms of movement. It doesn’t excite me as much as their routines sometimes do as there isn’t much going on here.

Craig says it was a bit stilted and the steps didn’t really connect to each other. Darcey says the energy and attack were there but he was too upright and needed more shaping. Len says you can always exaggerate shaping more in paso but then he eulogises for ages about Jake’s bum and sort of dribbles off into a mess of noises. Speaking of a mess of noises, Bruno says Jake got too immersed in the role as an actor so he played it as if in close-up with a lot of intensity rather than the exaggeration needed.

He gets a round of ‘Jake! Jake! Jake!’ in the Ball pool and we get a lovely sex joke about Janette getting her leg up high from practice with Aljaž. Nice. Scores: 6, 7, 8, 8 for a total of 29.

Pasha and Caroline are up now, both wearing afros and zombie-ish make-up. Hmm, is putting white people in afros a good thing? Caroline’s is purple and Pasha’s is… 70s footballer. Their VT involves Caroline playing with her full size Pasha dress-up doll. We’d like to play.. etc etc

Their samba is to 'Le Freak' (fair play to the singers, this one seems to go well for them) and it’s very disco in places, albeit in a more comedy and way more Latin than the thing Abbey Clancy did last year so I can forgive them. Kind of. She’s good, as always, and it’s generally quite fun and energetic.  Samba’s not always my favourite, and disco Latin even less so, but I quite enjoyed that.

Tess thinks this is the best song of the night. I’m not too surprised she’s a Chic fan to Zoe’s Kate Bush admiration. Darcey thought it was sometimes a bit too perfect to be fun and Len agrees, saying it wasn’t her best or her worst but it was fun. So… not the same as Darcey then. Bruno calls her a hot little devil. Craig says it was a bit frenetic and too clean and clinical but he loved it.

Zoe calls Pasha Spencer because he looks like Leo Sayer. Ummm…. Scores: 7, 8, 8, 9 for a total of 32.

Scott and Joanne are dressed as the Munsters and/or Addams Family (the latter, allegedly) for theirs and Joanne gives a bitchface that I don’t think needed too much acting to perfect. In a pisstake of Trent visiting Pixie’s family and getting scared off, Scott gets Joanne to meet his family – all comedy versions of himself, all of which gives Scott a storyline for his embarrassment.

They’re dancing a foxtrot to the Addams Family theme and Scott’s Fester make-up is pretty good. [But if Joanne is Morticia, then why is Scott Fester and not Gomez? - Steve] There’s a lot of mahcking abaht rather than dancing although I think when they do move he seems relieved to be in a ballroom, rather than Latin, routine, which allows him to do a lot of walking instead of emphasising that he can’t dance at all. He doesn’t seem to forget his steps as much as some people tonight and it does have a lot of comedy performance aspects to it which work well unlike in that Little Mermaid thing we shall never speak of again. Hardly a classic foxtrot for the ages, but one of his better routines.

Len congratulates Joanne on giving him choreography that makes him look good and says it’s Scott’s best. Bruno says because Scott doesn’t care, the pantomime and mise-en-scene were brilliant and it was a lot of fun. Scott says he does care. I have no idea what is going on in Scott’s head, bless him. Is he hating this or not? Craig says he thinks Scott does care and he sees him practising a lot but it doesn’t seem to help. He thought when Craig was hunched over in character it was better than when trying to dance properly. Darcey says the characterisation was terrific.

In the Ball pool, Zoe congratulates the hair, make-up and costume team and says hi to Scott’s mum.  Scott says it was his favourite routine so far. Scores: 3, 6, 6, 6 for a total of 21 which Scott is quite surprised by. [Can't believe he got more than Judy, AGAIN. The scoring this evening is so odd. - Steve]

Tess does what starts out as looking like a poor gag, where she says a 3 from Craig was harsh and she asks ‘Thing’ what it’d give. It waves a 10 paddle, and then she says ‘Is that you Donny?  Get back in the box’ and I laughed a lot. I love that the show is continuing to troll the idea of a Donny 10 so that when we get our first actual 10 (probably tonight, let's face it, it's usually on Hallowe'en isn't it?) we might be able to treat it as such.

Mark and Karen are the penultimate couple.  We then get a poor pun about Mark hearing voices ‘but is it the jive talking…?’ Oh Tess, you win one joke, you lose one so swiftly after.

Mark’s VT says he has LITERALLY trained all hours. Literally. He then gets prank called at his ‘day job’ in a radio studio. Is TOWIE on the radio now? Bless this show trying to pretend it doesn’t exist. [To be fair, Mark hasn't actually been a regular TOWIE cast member for ages. He left right before he was on I'm A Celebrity three years ago. But yeah, pretending that anyone takes him remotely seriously as a media personality is still quite a stretch. - Steve]

Their jive is to Little Shop of Horrors and I guess Karen is the plant and Mark is… not Rick Moranis? The only time I saw the film was on Betamax video in the late 80s and I’ve never seen the stage version, so Steve might have better knowledge of the source material than me. [I know even less about Little Shop Of Horrors than you do, sorry. - Steve] Mark has a lot of pep and his rhythm and energy are good although his kicks are quite scruffy. It’s not a bad dance and it has a lot of life and energy to sell it, but I don’t think it has enough jive content in it to justify a high score, as Karen seems to have kept him as far away from kicks and turns and lifts as she could get away with.

Still, I am clearly wrong, as Bruno thinks it was his best dance ever, Craig gives it a bravo and Darcey says it was phenomenal. Len says it was a shop of ‘tasty treats’ and I won’t be happy if this gets our first proper 10 of the series because it was enjoyable and that, but really didn’t seem that ambitious. [And also it was MARK WRIGHT. - Steve] Scores: 8, 9, 9, 9 for a total of 35 and Zoe grabbing them into a big hug.

Finally Frankie and Kevin and Frankie is playing ‘the witch’ from Wicked. I’ve never seen it but even I’ve heard of Elphaba, script writers. Their VT involves Kevin calling Frankie Frankenstein and having a broomstick which he won’t let her use until she does and she ends up dangling badly in front of greenscreen. Oh, comedy VTs.

Their tango is to 'Defying Gravity', yet another silly song choice from the stupid tango music selector. Given they’re fighting an uphill battle against the music, they do a great job of the movement, which is dramatic and looks cleaner and less clumsy than Pixie’s effort (Frankie looks unrecognisable in green make-up and a long black wig) and it all ends with Frankie ascending on a podium with a broomstick. I love how Kevin is such a pasty geek from Grimsby but really gets into it when doing the bombastic dances like tango and paso.

Craig declares it fab-u-lous. Darcey says it was beautiful with great shaping and Frankie has worked hard on her top line. Len says it was a spectacular number and Bruno calls it totally wicked in the best possible way.

Zoe asks Frankie how far her green make-up goes and Frankie says we don’t want to know. Scores: 9, 9, 9, 10 for a total of 37. At least they can actually say they got the first ten of the series now.  Everyone goes mad and Kevin screams ‘a real 10!’ and Zoe confirms ‘you’re right!  Not a Donny 10!’ 

Leaderboard time:
Frankie and Kevin 37
Mark and Karen 35
Pixie and Trent 33
Caroline and Pasha 32
Simon and Kristina 29
Jake and Janette 29
Sunetra and Brendan 27
Alison and Aljaž 26
Steve and Ola 26
Scott and Joanne 21
Judy and Anton 20

Zoe opens the phoneline and Brendan jumps on the sofa a lot then he and Janette crawl around the floor sniffing each other’s nether regions. While this lot collapse into something I definitely don’t want to recap, shall we remind ourselves of the joys and horrors?

Sunetra, Brendan and a bothersome bed, Alison wafting around Aljaž’s tight trousers, Kristina’s lips being venomous poison to Simon, Steve and Ola’s clumsy Charleston, Pixie’s clunky but dramatic tango, Judy being undermarked again, the wheels maybe falling off Jake a bit like they did to Scott Maslen, Caroline and Pasha almost redeeming disco Latin, Scott’s comedy routine almost working for a change, Mark’s judge-pleasing jive, Frankie and Kevin defying their song choice to produce a decent dance, Donny dying on the way back to his home planet.

Tomorrow night someone will be going home and Annie Lennox will be performing.  Wonder if she’ll have as many candles as last time she was on?  Join me then to find out. (Also: so glad I didn't watch this live as that was one major plot spoiler the continuity announcer gave before Doctor Who!) 

No comments: