Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Knock on Kirkwood

Week 7: Top 10 Results - 8 November 2015

Because it's Remembrance Weekend, we inevitably open with one of those "tribute to the troops" pro dances that I dread having to write about because I find them rather twee and distasteful but also don't want to contend with Barbara Windsor-types throwing poppies at me, calling me a bloody pinko and accusing me of not being grateful for their sacrifice. I'm sure I've said this before, but I just get very uncomfortable about these jolly uptempo wartime numbers that gloss over all of the, y'know, senseless loss of life. It just looks a lot like the sort of propaganda designed to make young men sign up in the first place. And I know that a serious meditation on the nature of war would be out of place on Strictly Come Dancing in the first place, but that's why I get so uncomfortable about light entertainment feeling it needs to actively engage with this particular tradition at all. [Agreed.  If they want to still note it, I think the charity VT thing would be plenty sufficient - Rad]

Anyway, let's just get through it: Anton is entirely sidelined in the role of Major Du Beke, in his office, on the phone to "General Goodman" discussing the supplies that have been ordered for the troops. Then he turns on the radio and 'In The Mood' stars playing, so all of the troops start dancing (and if you're wondering, Pasha's butt looks every bit as wonderful in his army khakis as it did last night). They pop open the boxes marked "SUPPLIES" and Karen and Ola pop out (best not analyse the meaning of that too deeply), then the rest of the women parade down the stars to join the men for a group jive/jitterbug/lindyhop type number - except Joanne, Oti and Janette, who are playing the Andrews Sisters here. And if what she said on It Takes Two is correct, yes, that really is Joanne singing - although she's clearly getting a bit of help from the Fabulous Singers. Anton remains in his office while all of this is going on, by the way, and you can argue that it's for narrative purposes because the joke is that Major Du Beke doesn't see all of his officers dancing, but I like to think it's because lol Anton latin. Anyway, eventually near the end, Joanne takes pity on him and drags him out of his office to dance with them, but by this point he only has to endure a handful of bars before the song's over.

Tess and Claudia emerge, and...good god, Claudia, what is that? After last night's Dalek-inspired ensemble, now Claudia has come wrapped in what looks like a metallic surgical gown, and resembles someone who escaped midway through cyber-conversion (Doctor Who version, anyway, not the Torchwood version where she'd just have her tits out with a couple of metallic stars over her nips for modesty's sake). Tess, meanwhile, sports a comparatively sane black dress with some silver trails running diagonally across it. Claudia gives thanks to the military service personnel from the defence medical rehabilitation centre at Headley Court who have come to sit in the audience tonight, and then we get down to business as Tess (whose voice seems to have recovered a little bit since "last night", though it will be coming and going throughout the evening) reminds us that this weekend Peter got the highest score of the series, Anita got her first nines, and Jeremy got on a horse. I can't believe that an edited version of last night's show - from Tess Daly - didn't even begin to address the fact that last night was the hottest that most of the male pros have looked all series. I for one not been right since.

The judges are summoned from their coven once more, and I really wish they'd switch around the order that Len and Craig's names go in, because then it would be Darcey, Len, Craig, Bruno, and it would go in the order of least to most arsed about bothering to dance on. I just like things neat, what can I say? Claudia teases an upcoming performance from Seal and the return of Len's Lens, but first let's get Brendan's guided tour of what went on last night.

Prominent observations from the celebs backstage include the fact that this is the halfway point (thanks Jamelia), that this is the first time they've really noticed their numbers depleting (cheers Helen, mind you I daresay the men in the cast have been noticing it for some time now) and everyone's really supporting each other (ta Jeremy, although not everyone seems to think that). Then Brendan offers us the best seat in the house (insert Pasha joke here) as we whizz through the actual performances. Additional footage shows us Kevin football-chanting "Kellie's an all-rounder! Kellie's an all-rounder! Not just ballroom! And not just latin!" which a) doesn't even come close to scanning and b) almost seems like they're setting her up for something, doesn't it? We also see Jamelia saying several times how happy she is with her score of 28 (which has a bit of a "WHO ELSE IS FINE?!?!" fajita meltdown feel to it), Jeremy offering to put Robo-butt into every dance if it'll make Craig happy, Anita high-fiving Gleb a little too hard, and Peter crying over his 10s because he "just didn't expect it, that's all".

As we return to the studio, Tess is clutching the cue cards of doom and poised to reveal the first four couples who have made it safely through to next week. They are: Anita and Gleb, Jeremy and Karen, Peter and Janette (the latter of whom shouts "I knew we would", and their trip to the bottom two cannot come soon enough for my taste), and Katie and Anton. Our first couple in the dance-off tonight? Kellie and Kevin, which earns gasps from the audience and a very audible "WHAT?" which I think might be Anton. Kellie looks like she's suddenly feeling very sick, and we're treated to shocked, horrified and concerned reaction shots from Jamelia, Helen and Jay just so we're all clear that this is the Shock Bottom Two Appearance we've been anticipating for a few weeks now.

There's a huge cheer for them as Kellie and Kevin make their way down to Tess (they were standing right up on the mezzanine bit, so it must have felt very much like a proper walk of shame), who points out the swell of support, and Kellie says "thank you" with the air of someone who would gladly swap this display of appreciation for the option of not being in the bottom two right now. Tess rubs it in by saying they had great comments and great scores this week, and Kellie tells us that she'd just told Kevin that if they had to waltz again, she promised him she wouldn't wobble this time. She then says the usual things about this all being a part of the show, and she's just going to do her best. Tess asks Bruno what Kellie should do to save herself, and Bruno tells her to do the dance exactly the same because it was brilliant. Just relax the top line, but do exactly the same. Kellie points out that this is Kevin's first dance-off ever, and Kevin tells us that he's looking forward to it because it means he gets to dance with Kellie again. Point of interest: Caroline Flack was also in the dance-off in week seven last year after an underwhelming waltz, so clearly the lesson here is try not to draw the waltz in week seven.

Tess sends them off to dance purgatory while the four safe couples are up in the Clauditorium with Claudia. Peter tries to pretend he experienced sincere human emotions in response to his excellent comments and scores this week, Jeremy tells a story about the whole cast sitting down in the hotel to play a game of Eggheads which might well be the mimsiest tale of showbiz excess I've ever heard [If they were playing Only Connect, however... - Rad], Katie ascribes her quickstep quandry to her nerves and says that she's very pleased the public forgave her for her transgressions. Anita does not get to talk.

Then there's a VT of some of the celebs and pros going to Covent Garden for Poppy Day, although they seem to be a bit thin on numbers: we see Carol and Pasha, Georgia and Giovanni, Jay and Aliona, and Natalie, with Aljaž and Joanne doing a routine on the stage. An unusually sombre Natalie talks about her grandfather being in the war, as does Joanne. There's also a bit where Jay shares quite a long childhood memory about his grandmother sheltering from bombs which has an odd "dubbed over in post" sound to it, so feel free to engage in your favourite conspiracy theories about that one.

After that, Seal is in the studio to perform 'Kiss From A--' - oh, 'Every Time I'm With You', apparently. Bothered. Still, there's a nice routine from Giovanni and Joanne to accompany it, and Giovanni has his shirt mostly open, so that's nice. I still prefer him as a ghostbuster though.

Len's Lens, anyone? It's been on a bit of a roll these last two weeks, let's see if it continues. It gets off to a good start, as the slo-mo shows us and Len talks us through what Kellie's much-lauded double-reverse turns actually were (and they pass the slo-mo test, well done Kellie). Then there's a slight detour into nonsense as we watch Darcey leaping to her feet to deliver her first 10 of the series, and then Darcey talks about Peter and Janette being "perfectly in sync" at the precise moment that Len's Lens shows them to be...not so much. Awks. We course-correct as Craig explains what a gancho looks like and why he believes them to be such a crucial part of an Argentine tango, and end on an uncertain note with Bruno cowering behind Len during Jeremy's alleged tango. Bit of a mixed bag this week, but still enough useful content to make it worthwhile, I think. God, who would have expected the Len's Lens redemption arc this series? Next they'll somehow make the dance-off worthwhile. (They won't.)

Speaking of dance-offs, it's over to Tess to see who Kellie will be defeating in this week's. Helen is looking utterly terrified throughout, not that I entirely blame her because she was also much lower on the leaderboard this week, but I think the chances of the entire lower third of the leaderboard vaulting ahead of both of them is pretty unlikely. Anyway: Georgia and Giovanni are safe, as are Jay and Aliona and Jamelia and Tristan, to everyone's great surprise. It's actually interesting how much Kellie's dip into the bottom two has shaken everyone up - those who are safe don't respond with excitement as much as they do with relief. So that leaves Helen and Aljaž and Carol and Pasha waiting to hear which of them is joining Kellie and Kevin in the dance-off - Helen's having a full-on attack of the vapours at this point, but she's safe and it's Carol who gets the red light.

She and Pasha make their way down to Tess (they were on the mezzanine too, so everyone's had a long walk this week), and Carol says that she's been expecting this for a while, but she's had a great time and it's a pleasure to be able to do her dance again. Tess puts Craig through the pointless rigmarole of pretending there's anything Carol can do to save herself at this point, and instead he apologises for being so mean to her when she's always been so lovely backstage "and especially in the BBC bar, where we get on like a house on fire". Hang on, we get three hours of It Takes Two a week, why haven't we seen a single second of that? Come on Zoe, give the people what they want.

Up in the Clauditorium, Claudia briefly mentions the sheer looks of terror on Helen and Georgia's faces as they waited for the results before congratulating Jamelia on being safe, and Jamelia's thrilled to have concrete proof that some people definitely voted for her this week. Georgia tells us that she has the charleston that week "and we've got it to Chicago as well, which is one of my favourite songs". Odd, I never had her pegged as a Sufjan Stevens fan. Jay promises to try to do some acting next week, and Helen says that she was convinced that she was going home tonight, which is why she looked so terrified just now.

Claudia tells us that the show's off to Blackpool in two weeks, but last time they went there was one celebrity who sadly missed out. Just one? I made it seven. Anyway, we cut to Tess in the audience with Scott Mills, even though Alison Hammond was the one who went home the week before Blackpool after defeating Scott with the power of 'Wuthering Heights' neva4get. Anyway, Scott's here to plug his charity effort for Children in Need where he'll be abseiling down the Blackpool Tower and to ask you to donate if you possibly can thank you please.

After the obligatory It Takes Two plug, Tess'n'Claude are with the two couples in jeopardy. Kellie says that she feels a little bit sick, but she loves dancing with Kevin and she's going to love dancing with Kevin again. We're reminded that this is also Kevin's first dance-off (also he is from Grimsby and he quite likes Star Wars) and he in turn reminds us how hard Kellie works every week to do this and EastEnders. As Kellie and Kevin head down to prepare, Carol doesn't even pretend that she has a hope of staying, talking about how lovely it will be to dance with Pasha one last time, and Pasha talks about how it will be a celebration of Carol and how far she's come since the beginning. Meanwhile I wonder if Pasha's Arse knew that this was goodbye and that's why it made a special appearance this week, to bid us all farewell.

Kellie and Kevin reprise their waltz, minus lightsabres for some reason. Despite Kellie's promise to Kevin it's actually a little wobblier this time around - not distractingly so, but you can tell this week's result has knocked her confidence a bit. They hug at the end and Kevin tells her how proud he is of her. Then Carol and Pasha reprise their American smooth and Carol has entirely run out of fucks to give, laughing throughout and marking the steps out more than she's really dancing it; she knows she's going home, so she's just going to enjoy being here with Pasha one last time, and why not?

Of course, the judges unanimously vote to save Kellie and Kevin, and rightly so. Carol and Kellie embrace, while Pasha and Kevin hug (sorry, just taking a mental snapshot of that). Carol tells Tess that she will never forget this experience, and thanks the entire crew (seriously), but singles out Pasha for his endless patience, calling him "a gentleman and a gentle man". D'awww. Pasha then says that working with Carol has been his best experience yet on Strictly because he couldn't believe anyone could be so nice (bet Rachel had a few things to say about that when he got home) and he's really going to miss her singing to him. Classy to the end, Carol thanks the judges before taking to the floor for her final dance to Billie Holliday's 'I'll Be Seeing You'. Farewell, Carol, you were unfailingly charming and you will be missed. But not quite as much as Pasha's arse will be.

Post elimination reactions: Jeremy's sad to see Carol go because they've been friends for years, Katie says that Carol has a lovely word for everybody, Anita likens her to a warm summer's day, Jamelia recalls hearing Kellie's name called for the dance-off and basically thinking "that's weird, that's not what 'Jamelia' sounds like", Kellie says the dance-off was "horrible", Jay says that no one's safe and everyone's going to go at some point (this from the man whose odds of winning are currently so short you need an A level in Pure Maths to interpret them), Peter and Janette JUST HAD SO MUCH FUN YOU GUYS, Helen has the tango next week (amazing), and Giovanni 'hilariously' stumbles over the pronunciation of "charleston". And that's it! Join Rad next week for all the excitement of almost-Blackpool week!


DeltaBlues said...

What insider knowledge does Len have about the voting (even before it's happened)? I was certain this was the week his wawnuts would finally end up pickled.

F a t i m a said...

Len brings out his walnuts line when he wants someone to be saved. It's worked again, though how could he be sure that Jamelia wouldn't be in the bottom two when only two couples had danced and the other (Peter) was demonstrably better.

That was 27 weeks Kevin managed without being in a dance-off. Not that anyone asked.

F a t i m a said...

I would hate to think that you had not seen this effort from Russian Strictly by"Gileb Savchenka". Perhaps you could link it in a future story. I like it when you do that, even though it means it takes ages to get through a full length bitch.