Week 4: Top 13 Results - 19 October 2015
We open with a pro 80s-themed dance, which is set in that bit of the 80s where there was a 50s revival going on, which is true to the period, but looks at the same time like a bit of a weird mash up of styles. For some reason, there’s also a giant pool table in the middle of the dancefloor which gets in the way a bit and the guys dance to 'Wild Boys' with pool cues (some more convincingly than others...) before the women come out in ra-ra skirts to 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. Joanne in particular is in her element, which doesn’t seem especially surprising. There’s an extra male dancer and I’m no good on the surplus dancers, so I’m not sure if it's one of the regulars or not, but I’m sure Steve will know. [It was Neil Jones. He sometimes favourites my tweets! - Steve] In terms of the routine itself, it’s a bit of a mishmash of pop and sub-Latin. And, for some reason, Brendan is relegated to the position of a barman and Kristina and Ola are the waitresses. Poor veteran pros. Anton, meanwhile, is the random drunk staggering about at the back of the bar. I can’t help but think Katie’s been giving him a few lessons. It’s all quite fun, in a slightly pointless way.
Tess and Claudia emerge from behind the bar (who can blame them?) and Claudia is in a badly-fitted 80s mullet wig, with a boxy pink and black spotted jacket that’s super period appropriate. Tess is wearing a black skirt with white sparkly top and has her hair up, which looks pretty nice, although it may just be because she is standing next to Claudia dressed as an unholy mash up of every 80s middle-aged woman there ever was, and has probably drunk the bar dry of Mirage (or Taboo - which one are you?). The judges then come on and do some approximation of that thing which we will not name.
Claudia and Tess remind us what we have coming up, including music from Will Young and the joy of Len's lens. Recap of last night: Oti has decided to be the backstage host this week, which makes Joanne’s presence on the show even more superfluous than usual. Points of note: Daniel and Kristina’s and Jay and Aliona’s dances looked much worse in the recaps than in the show themselves, with the cameras choosing to focus on mistakes. The same is also true of Kirsty and Brendan, whilst Jeremy and Karen are getting the clear comedy edit. By contrast, the five couples at the top of the leaderboard are edited to look amazing, somewhat unsurprisingly.
Tess reminds us of the leaderboard, and the rare occurrence of an Anton top placing. First set of results and safe are: Peter and Janette; Anita and Gleb; Jeremy and Karen (and the audience go entirely mental at this, should that be any indication of popularity); Katie and Anton; Ainsley and Natalie. She is incredibly excited at this news. Bless her. The first couple in the dance off? Daniel and Kristina, which I have to say is a bit of a shock. His eyes betray only the very slightest amount of disappointment. I guess his fan base isn’t quite as dedicated as we all thought it would be. I didn’t expect his fan army to flame out this early and thought he’d be one of those that the show would have to force out in a John Sergeant Memorial panic kind of way, but I guess that is Jeremy (and maybe Carol). Craig tells him he has fantastic musicality that he can use as a strong base and that he needs to let loosen a bit more in the dance off which could get him through.
Up in the Clauditorium with the safe couples now, and Ainsley says he wasn’t sure whether or not he’d be in the dance off but he did mentally prepare for it and he is so excited that people voted for them and they’ll be there next week. Katie says she really liked last night. Claudia says it's the second time in 12 years that Anton has been top of the leaderboard, which is not true, according to Steve’s stats, nor, indeed, those of results bible Ultimate Strictly. Oh well, what are stats to get in the way of an Anton redemption arc? (Until his next Latin, obviously)
Will Young is here to perform his new single 'Joy'. [Can I go? - Joy] It’s a slightly uncomfortable staging arrangement, with a load of random balloons and balls behind him, and him standing awkwardly around a microphone, waiting for the dancers to come on and save him from all the attention. The song is fine, and upbeat kind of number about feeling joy, at which the pros whirl around gleefully, Gleb pulling out some contemporary dance wafting that's even more wafty than usual (does that mean we are to dread his rumba?). Will Young himself even gets to have a go at dancing with the female pros and I trust that when his casting is announced for Strictly 2016 or 17, we will get the inevitable ringer complaints because of this. [Given his resistance to doing Eurovision, I imagine Strictly's still a way off. - Steve] In the final chorus, some balloons descend from the sky, and the dancers have to negotiate them, kicking them out of the way rather than stomping on them. Will Young looks like he enjoyed himself anyway, so that’s all very nice.
Time for the judges to recap the evening’s events. By the way, Darcey is wearing a red lacy dress, and Craig a velvet jacket with a natty tie. Len is in boring black tie, and Bruno is in a suit with a coloured tie. For those that care about such things. Len's lens focuses first on Jay and Aliona and we see Jay’s head rolling all over the place. Must be the weight of all that hair. The next couple highlighted are Ainsley and Natalie. We get told how hard waltz is (yawn), with a focus on Ainsley’s frame. Claudia asks Craig about spotting and he says this is to control your turns and taking a point of focus as you whip your head around. We see Anita, and he says she has several points of focus, rather than leading with her head. Craig demonstrates coming a point of focus by staring into the camera and twirling round and nearly falling over, thus perhaps demonstrating that it’s not all that easy. Claudia asks Bruno about his opinions on the two Pasos. He says that the girls have to be particularly powerful and use a lot of artistry and demonstrates the smooth but strong movements needed. He says it’s the dance that needs the most clear and specific moves. He says Kirsty’s hands look too much like the Terminator’s than a dancer's and he says Carol throws hers away, and doesn’t finish the moves with them. Bits of that were actually vaguely informative. Note: not so much the bits with the head judge.
The next set of safety results. Safe are: Helen and Aljaž; Kellie and Kevin; Georgia and Giovanni; Jamelia and Tristan; Jay and Aliona; Carol and Pasha. Which means, unsurprisingly, that Kirsty and Brendan are in the dance off. Given they’ve been circling this possibility since the start, they are not especially surprised by this turn of events either. Tess asks Kirsty if she’ll bring more attack to the dance off and Kirsty says you should do everything she can and try her best. I’ve only just noticed how weird Kirsty’s Paso hair looks: it’s kind of like a longtailed piranha, or that time Pink had a mohawk, yet with various plaits in it. Either way, it looks like it’s about to come off her head and attack something. [Probably Brendan for his choice of music. - Steve]
In the Clauditorium, Jamelia is overjoyed to be staying; Kellie says she had a great time and her grandparents would have loved it. We can only assume the others are pleased to be safe, because they are not asked for their thoughts. Instead, we have a trailer for It Takes Two, featuring Zoe in the control room watching the highlights. Funnily enough, Robin Windsor does not feature in any of these highlights.
Tess and Claudia are with the two dance-off couples. Daniel says he’s really enjoying learning the dances, but performance is difficult and he loves his fans and he loves God and he loves his mummy and daddy and the little boys and girls and rabbits and bears and ponies and stop look and listen when you cross the road and don’t forget to recycle and back when he was a lad delivering Hovis he always wanted to be on Strictly and meet that Tess Daly even though she hadn't been born yet and did you know… Eventually Claudia manages to persuade Kristina to say something so that they can be dispatched to get ready. Kirsty starts crying as they talk to her and she thanks Brendan for being patient and amazing and talks about how she’s learned so much, and basically gives a full on leaving speech, so presumably she has absolutely no expectation of staying tonight, and has just started to care. She then says she would love to stay, but clearly her face is resigned to the probability that she won’t be. Brendan says he wanted to go out and dance her best and that this will be had time to shine. Weirdly, he talks about selves, so I’m wondering if he also wants Daniel to do well, or if he perceives Kirsty as two separate personalities.
Daniel and Kristina are first to dance. Daniel looks like he’s enjoying this, although there are more than a few fumbles and one really uncomfortable -looking dragging of Kristina across the floor. I don’t know whether it’s just lost its charm upon repeat viewing, or whether it is actually much, much worse than the first time, but it does seem pretty scrappy. [It was a lot worse. He basically forgot half the routine. - Steve]
Kirsty looks pretty tired and her and Brendan’s dance seems pretty laboured and their arms are all over the place. I have to say, this is not one of the best dance-offs I’ve seen this series and both couples seem slightly worse second time round than in the original show. I’d say this has slightly fewer mistakes in it than Daniel and Kristina’s dance off did, but it’s still a sloppy mess in large part.
It’s time for the judges’ verdict. Craig says one couple did well and one couple made a lot of mistakes, so he’s going to save Kirsty and Brendan. Darcey also saves them, without giving a reason. Bruno keeps the couple that committed less (fewer, Bruno) mistakes: Kirsty and Brendan. That seems fair, on the first show, I would say Daniel and Kristina were much stronger, but they really screwed up the dance off. [Well, Daniel did. I'm not sure we can lay much blame at Kristina's door, she's only one woman. - Steve] Len would also have sent them home. Tess says they’ll not forget his Danny Zuko or his captain, and there really going to miss him. Daniel thanks everybody, Kristina, his fans, his paperboy, the lady from the corner shop and so on. He also says Kristina was really nice and not like the nasty stories, bless her. She actually cries and says how wonderful he was to work with. Weirdly, I think this was actually quite a successful partnership, who’d have thought it?
They dance off to 'Careless Whisper' and a standing ovation (this dance looks actually much better than many of the dances he actually performed on the show), leaving the Daily Telegraph and other newspapers to worry about the future of the men and cry that strictly is probably rigged in favour of the women, clearly ignoring Peter and Jay’s obvious potential trajectories and the fact that, for some reason, they cast a couple of male ringers and a load of middle-aged fodder compared to a solid swathe of 30-40 something women destined to be mid-late pack.
Post show chat: Everybody loves Daniel and Brendan thinks what he and Kirsty did was a dance of perfection. Oh, sorry, he meant Perfection, which would explain why it was all jolty and all over the place. (Also: do click on that link, and tell me what merry hell THAT iteration of the game is about? Dinosaurs and flowers?!)
Next week: I'm out of the country and leaving Steve to do this all by himself, so do drop by and keep him company!