Monday, 14 December 2015

Time and the Rani

Week 12: Top 5 Results - Sunday 13 December

Last night! Most people underwhelmed, with Kellie and Kevin coming out on top - and rightly so - whilst Katie and Anton underwhelmed more than most and ended up bottom of the leaderboard. Tonight! We discover which couple will get to the final, and whether or not anyone will manage to get there without hitting the bottom two (other than Jay, which I assume is a given).

We open with a pro-themed disco Latin set to 'On the Floor ' set in 'The Strictly Club' and featuring all of the pros who are no longer in competition, minus Ola plus Joanne, where Tristan is a very unlikely-looking bouncer deciding who to let in or not. Janette, Natalie and Joanne aren't allowed in, so do a little bit of dancing outside. The rebels! (They later sneak in anyway) Now, on It Takes Two, this dance had been billed as being one camera only and using sliding walls and other accoutrements for transitions.  Whilst this sounds interesting, in practice, it's not especially great. The sliding in and out of walls and props is quite fun for a bit, but the use of single camera means the whole thing feels pretty two-dimensional and flat and is a somewhat pointless gimmick.  That's an experiment I'd rather not see again, because, to channel Len, all the mackin abaht got in the way of the dancing. [It was total nonsense, but I LOVED IT. - Steve]

A screen pulls back and reveals Tess and Claudia sitting on a lip-shaped sofa, drinking cocktails. You will be surprised to learn that Katie Derham hasn't joined them for this.  Daly dress watch: a nice black thing with a large decoration that appears to be made of mirrors in the shape of star signs decoration. That doesn't look like it will go in the 40 wash.  Maybe that 40 with a line under it, though. What Winkleman's wearing: some kind of lace Goth nightwear. The judges saunter on and have a vague nod to dancing, showing a little bit more investment than they did "last night".

The recap of last night is hosted by Craig, because perhaps they have run out of telegenic pro dancers to do it. Unsurprisingly, everyone is nervous but loving their time on Strictly, it's anybody's game etc etc. Weirdly, although the judges comments are played over most people's dances and decontextualised from their original source, the bulk of Darcy's comments to Anita about the complexity of her dance is played over footage of Jay and Aliona's Charleston. /tinfoilhat

The comments we are shown for Katie and Anita lean towards negative, Georgia's are a mixture, and Kellie and Jay's are predominantly positive, which reflects the leaderboard, I guess. There doesn't seem to be much hot Greg action this week. [Surely the cruellest betrayal in a weekend full of them. - Steve]

Time for the first set of results now, and, to no one's surprise, Jay and Aliona are the first ones safe. Well, I guess they were pretty much the only ones guaranteed not to be in the dance off this week, so it's probably for the best they got them out of the way first to build tension.  Joining them? A very excited Kellie and Kevin.

The first couple in the dance off are Anita and Gleb, which is not really a surprise - to be honest, as much as I adore them, I was expecting this to have happened weeks ago. I think it just goes to show that the public vote is not always due to the audience's previous knowledge of the contestants, as Gleb was obviously an unknown, and although Anita has presented a whole range of different shows, she doesn't have the profile of some of those who went out much earlier in the series.  I think their personalities, as well as their determination and their dancing skill, have really served them well. I would not be surprised if Anita gets several more high-profile presenting offers in the not too distant future - Katie too, probably. I think it's likely they will go tonight if they are up against Georgia. If they're up against Katie, it is probably going to be harder to call- it will either go on the dance off itself, on overall performance across the series (Anita) or who they think has the best storyline going into the final (Katie), so that would be a close one to call.

Anita is fairly philosophical about it, saying they were just excited to have got this far and she feels like she's been sprinting to keep up with the ringers (/"everyone").  They confirm that they will be reprising their salsa because it's the most energetic, with a lot of content. [I basically mentally waved goodbye to Anita at this point because I knew there was no way that routine was winning a dance-off, not at this stage. - Steve] Gleb says he's really proud of her and Anita says he's her all. Awww. Darcey says it's a shock when they worked so hard and she can see that Anita has put her all into every weekend, and to go for it and enjoy the dance.

Claudia is with the saved couples now, and Kellie is a complete wreck, all tears and disbelief, despite being with Mr-Been-in-the-final-every-year Clifton. Now I love Kevin and everything, hometown represent and all, but he really is overdue a duffer next time. Jay lies that he thought the red light would go on them this week, and Kellie pulls an O RLY face like any two-time dance-off survivor might.

Time for our guest performer now and it is Kylie, whom I completely love, but I really do not understand the marketing behind her Christmas album at all. Tonight she's performing 'I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter', but they teased 'Only You' as the lead single, then they plugged '100 Degrees' and then there's the video and the SAW remix of 'Everyday is like Christmas', suggesting that was the one they were flying with. I get that we are in the digital age and singles don't really work in the same way they did, but wouldn't it have been better to pitch one of their original songs as the core selling point for this album, rather than trying to flog a whole bunch of different tracks? My pick would have been 'White December or 'Everyday's like Christmas'.  Anyway, the pro dancers don't get to do anything here for most of it, instead we have a slightly random assortment of female Christmas tree Father Christmas dancers doing generic pop video dance. But then halfway through, the male pros come on and start to carry Kylie around and she seems to enjoy that very much, as well she might, being held aloft by Gleb, Aljaz, Pasha and Giovanni. Such a hard life. (Also, if you were at her Royal Albert Hall gig, please don't boast about in the comments, because those of us who had to work during the day in the provinces are still upset about not being able to get to London for it)

Time for our final Len's Lens of the series. Can it be as useful as previous editions this series, or will it revert to old ways?  Truly, tis the biggest mystery of this series. We open with Len explaining the difference between natural turns and reverse turns (one goes to the right, the other to left), when discussing Jay and Aliona's Viennese waltz, as well as discussing what he meant about Jay closing his legs. We then have Darcey discussing Georgia keeping her frame in the Viennese waltz, where we see her head move, rather than her back. Claudia asks Craig if he was tempted to give Kellie a 10 for her rumba, even though he's never given 10 for a rumba before. [And even though there was a very obvious flaw in it. I mean, I know they want Craig to give something a ten, but Kellie's rumba was a very odd choice of dance to suggest deserved it considering even Darcey only gave it an 8. - Steve] The close-ups reveal just how weird Kevin's tan is. It looks like he's done a Ross Geller in the tan machine this week. Either that, or it's sabotage from Anton at the young upstart trying to take his middle-aged-woman's-crumpet throne. Craig says he couldn't give it a 10, because he thought the storytelling and chemistry could have been stronger, plus there was the balance wobble. Bruno is randomly molesting Craig's knee throughout this discussion, by the way. Bruno then shows some of the problems with Katie and Anton's waltz: the arms being terrible, the two of them getting out of step with one another. All in all, a reasonably informative Len's Lens again. Well done everybody, and keep it up for the next series, please.

Of course, that couldn't be it, could it? We then have a clip of all the judges' most obnoxious and ridiculous moments, but I guess it's an end of the series montage, we can let them have one of those, just don't go repeating that next week.

Time to find out who will be in the dance off with Anita and Gleb now. It looks awfully lonely when there's only two couples to choose between, doesn't it? Georgia looks completely terrified, and Katie looks like the life is drained out of her...  and with reason, as she and Anton are in the bottom two. Georgia squeals and grabs Giovanni, as Tess calls Anton and Katie over to the judges' table.

Len says she needs to really focus, to relax and trust in Anton because fortune favours the brave. He says 'most importantly, don't go wrong'. Katie nods and smiles with a 'Ho Ho, hadn't thought of that' look, but I guess time is running short after that montage of judges' bits, so Katie and Anton don't get to say anything else.

Backup in the Clauditorium, Giovanni and Georgia say thank you and 'gracias' to be audience and generally seem very excited about being in the final.

You know what I was saying about them running short of time? Clearly they still have enough time for more filler. We are reminded of a variety of different clips from the series in our trailer for the final, which seems incredibly dumb, because if you are invested enough to watch the semi-final, you are probably invested enough to watch the final.

We joined Tess and Claudia with the bottom two couples. Katie says it would be the icing on the cake to be in the final because lots of people want to see Anton in the final and she is fully aware of the narrative that has propelled her this far, but she's said to be dancing alongside Anita and Gleb. Anton says Katie's been wonderful in rehearsals throughout the show and he wants her to enjoy the moment. The audience whoop loudly as they go to get ready. We are reminded that Anita was a novice dancer and Tess asks what it would mean to get through. Anita says it would mean everything, because they've worked really hard, and she feels that it's only once she's left that the penny will really drop about what she's learned and how much she has been through.

Tess says tonight is the last dance-off of the series. Unless you count the final as being one massive dance-off, I suppose.

Katie and Anton reprise their waltz, and she does seem very relaxed here, possibly because she suspects they are the most likely to go, so she's fretting less-and actually, her performance improves as a result. It gets a rapturous round of applause from the audience, and Anton stands up and then lifts Katie's hand, as if they are in their final goodbye pose. Don't get too ahead of yourselves, guys.

Anita and Gleb reprise their salsa. It remains as energetic and bonkers as the first time round, although there's one moment where Anita gets uncomfortably stuck in between Gleb's legs. Perhaps that was deliberate, after all, it might be the last chance she gets, huh? [I would have done the same tbh. - Steve] It's a much better dance in terms of the amount of content and performance, but obviously it is much less true to the genre than Katie and Anton's, and, of course, the story of Anton getting to the final (and retiring on a high?) could be too delicious for the judges to pass up.

Craig saves Anita and Gleb for being dramatic, dynamic and risktakers. Darcey saves Katie and Anton for making no mistakes and producing a beautiful quality across the dancefloor. Bruno says 'all errors have been erased' from his memory, and 'for the quality and connection with the music', he saves Katie and Anton. That means we've had the rare example of a split judging panel this series, and it's down to Len. Len says it goes down to the dance off, and it wasn't even close to him, but totally clear: Katie and Anton. I think that is a bit unfair, because both couples danced well in the dance off, but obviously from the purity of dance point of view, he was never going to vote for Gleb, so it's no surprise he went that way.

Anita says Gleb is a slave driver and he's beautiful (and I haven't checked AO3 but I suspect has inspired many Fifty Shades-esque fanfics), but he also has a really creative mind and creative choreography and she's just had the best time working with him. Gleb thanks her for giving him an amazing time and he says he's loved every day working with her. The audience are on their feet, giving them a standing ovation, as are the judges. Anita thanks all the judges and her amazing friends among the other dancers and says she can't believe she got that far, given the calibre of the dancers in the competition. We get a recap of the best bits: basically a whole load of crazy. My God, Gleb is so ace. I do kind of want to see what he will do with the comedy contestant, maybe not next year, because Kevin needs to have a turn, but in time. [Gleb's never done more than one series in any of the other versions of the franchise, but I hope this is the one that changes his mind. I know his choreographic bag of tricks is starting to look a bit limited, but I'd like him around for at least one more run. - Steve]

Now, this was the first time I'd had the results spoiled for me on Saturday (thanks, Instagram!), and I didn't even get to see the episode until Monday, so I got all my WUZROBBEDs out of the way a little bit before actually watching the show. As a massive Anita and Gleb fan, obviously I'm disappointed, on the other hand, I can see how Katie and Anton would make a great story line for the final - and I do really like their pairing and think they acquitted themselves very well in the dance off - and as I like all four couples and neither of these pairings would ever win, I guess they may as well play out Anton's storyline in full. Besides, if Gleb showdanced his way through the salsa, his showdance might just send Len over the edge entirely.

Anita and Gleb dance out to 'End of the Road', and there might be a little something in my eye...

So, next week it's the final. Who will win - and, more importantly, will we have to watch an Anton Du Beke showdance? Join Steve then to find out!


Scott Willison said...

[Kyliechat] Everyday is like Christmas feels like a real seasonal classic to me. They should have emphasised that song. [/Kyliechat]

Rad said...

I concur.