Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Naga Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Week 4 Results: Sunday 16 October 2016

Last night! Our official front-runner battle between Danny and Ore kicked off in earnest when the latter became the third incarnation of the spirit of Jive, gaining 39 points in the process, and the former delivered another great performance whilst not getting 10s and thus demonstrating that he’s not really a ringer, honest, all he did was sit on a chair that one time.

At the other end of the spectrum, Ed and Katya delivered a car crash Knights and Damsels paso for the ages, whilst Anastacia and Brendan’s rumba was delivered in such a way that all signs pointed to LAST DANCE and Naga improved a bit with her Charleston whilst looking utterly and completely terrifying as she became the unexpected recipient of a komedy edit. [Poor Naga. - Steve]

Tonight! We open with an energetic pro dance to a James Brown medley, largely featuring Aljaž, Janette and Karen, whilst most of the other pros keep to the sidelines, presumably as they’re not entirely comfortable in the funk/disco genre… Apart from Anton, that is, who is somewhat improbably positioned front and centre for part of it, in a pervy-uncle style purple suit with chest wig akimbo. He has some moves, I’ll say that for him. [Whether they're the right ones, however... - Steve] The routine also showcases some funk and breakdance dancers who aren’t really properly introduced and trying to Google them hasn’t proved that fruitful, but Claudia says they are ‘Roshay, Damesh, Brakes and Brook’ and I heartily apologise for my inevitable spelling errors guys, I did try to find out who you were. You were very good, anyway.

Daly dresswatch: A black lace number she seems to have purloined from Claudia’s wardrobe. What Winkleman’s Wearing: a pink and red dress that looks suspiciously like either a nightdress or a kids’ dress. I do quite like it though because I’m a sucker for bold colours, but it’s an unusual choice for her. 

The judges enter and try to effect some funky dancing, which ends up with a homoerotic tussle between Len and Bruno. I guess now he’s leaving all that unexpressed tension is coming to the fore. [You'd think they'd realise they still have to work together on Dancing With The Stars, but I guess the heart wants what it wants. - Steve] Recap time! As usual, I’m only recapping new points of note or interesting editorial choices.  There’s a non-Greg floor manager stealing Greg time.  He’s a little balder and burlier so I guess they’re trying to cater for a range of tastes. Of note in the recap: Greg’s slightly mediocre, injury-ridden dance is presented as a triumph (YEAR OF THE MAN!!), Anastacia is presented as mostly good but with room for improvement (end of a journey/pre-dance off narrative); Naga’s is presented as a mess despite garnering lots of ‘your best dance’ moments; Kevin and Louise are still trying to make a fist-bump look cute; Daisy and Aljaž’s weird rumba and Claudia and AJ’s godawful foxtrot thing don’t look great in recap. Oh, and Ore’s jive was the greatest thing since… Jay’s jive. Last series. As Fatima pointed out in the comments, it’s odd how jives become this feted, legendary, thing on the show, more so than any other genre (Charlestons probably come second here) – I suppose it’s because it’s a fun, exciting dance to watch, but so are, say, pasos and quicksteps and even the most brilliant of those are rarely inscribed in the show’s mythology in the same way (I am not talking about fan talk here, but the way the show’s presenters hark on – or not – about past dances). Even moments that are seen as the standout of their series or genre-defining – Jake Wood’s salsa, for example, don’t seem to be held up as a benchmark in the same way that Jill, then Jay and now Ore’s jives have been. [It's interesting, isn't it? Even Chris Hollins' charleston seems to have been forgotten, despite being absolutely huge at the time and being responsible for everyone feeling they had to massively overact their charlestons until Sophie Ellis-Bextor came along and showed us there was another way. - Steve]

Anyway, that aside, we’re onto our first results of the evening. Safe: Lesley and Anton; Ore and Joanne; Daisy and Aljaž; Judge Rinder and Oksana; Laura and Giovanni. The first couple in the dance-off? A somewhat unsurprised Naga and Pasha. I was so focused on Naga’s hair and make-up last night that I didn’t notice the… thing… on her head – it’s like she has a barnacle-style growth on there. It’s horrifying.

In the Clauditorium, Claudia tells Ore no-one has had a score that high so early on in the competition (apart from Christmas, but we all know that Christmas isn’t canon) (and weeks where there were five judges but one of them was Donny Osmond so that isn’t canon either) and he says she’s going to make him cry again. Claudia says that she quite likes that. Claudia tells Laura she must be relieved to be safe and Laura says the waiting is so emotional she can’t take it (even though their judges’ scores must have revealed they were safe). We learn that Dorien is playing a clairvoyant next week – Mumsy perhaps? And Judge Rinder has the jive and Claudia asks if he’s worried, but he says they’ll get 40. Daisy is also pleased to be here.

Time for special guests Madness, doing a new song rather than a classic. It seems to be about some dodgy old bloke who’s right wing and kind of seedy. FAMILY FUN! Suggs still looks good for his age. I do have to say this because I have a good friend who is a huuuuuge fan, though. Neil and Katya do some dancing about in front – not sure what genre, other than ‘school disco’ – it’s a bit odd and Neil pulls faces that make Rinder look sedate, and he’s not making me look forward to him having a celebrity partner next year (if he does).

Len’s Lens time now and we start with Kevin and Louise’s footwork and we see her dragging her heel back.. and then not, so he has to clarify that she didn’t do it correctly every time. Then he tries to explain what he meant about Louise’s arm being too far right and Claudia is confused about what he means so he decides to grope Darcey in the name of teaching wimmin a lesson. Oh, sorry, thought I was writing a football/US politics blog there. 

We move to Judge Rinder and Darcey emphasising his bum looking like he was squatting rather than him being elegant.  I can’t imagine elegance is possible in a lederhosen-laden dance to ‘Boom Bang-a-Bang’ but there we are. Darcey calls him a great student, though, whatever that means, and that he needs to be given a more elegant character. Now it’s Ore and Joanne’s jive, and when I first watched this yesterday I thought some of his footwork could have been more precise, and wrote a comment about that, then I was dazzled with the pace and they 10d it all over the shop and I thought that was a bit churlish so deleted the comment before publishing – but in slow-motion you can see how he does execute the moves well but doesn’t quite have precision in the way he finishes off each step – probably due to the pace and him being an amateur, but if you’re giving something almost perfect scores you maybe don’t want to emphasise the bits where it’s not perfect in the recap. [Yeah, the jive is a dance that rarely benefits from being Len's Lensed, because most of the good ones go so quickly that you don't notice or care whether they're being precise or not. - Steve] Anyway, Bruno says he is like a praying mantis and claps him. Finally, we see the judges’ reactions to the jive as it unfolds – Darcey leaning in and gawping, Bruno standing and gawping, Craig bobbing his head along and Len looking miserable.

Now for our next results. Safe are: Danny and Oti; Claudia and AJ; Louise and Kevin (who is wearing an almost-Chigvintsev level of fake tan); Greg and Natalie and Ed and Katya, placing Anastacia and Brendan in the bottom two in a fairly predictable turn of events.

Anastacia says she can dance off tonight and she’s up for it. Craig says to keep the dance moving, let the dance live and not be tempted to stop – but to think of the positives, her wonderful arms and hands and her chemistry with Brendan. It kind of seems like a goodbye note.

In the Clauditorium, Ed thanks everyone who voted for them, Danny has the rumba next week, which, sing it now IS A PIECE OF PISS.  I mean difficult for a MAN to do. Despite it being difficult for women this week. Claudia asks Louise how they’ll make things more difficult next week and Kevin says ‘if harder is what Darcey wants, then harder is what Darcey gets’. That’s barely even a single entendre, never mind a double. Claudia F says they’ll bring out sass next week. In a routine where they’re doing lines in detention or throwing tantrums in supermarkets no doubt. Greg says the thought of not carrying on would be horrible (and if you, too, are affected by issues in this programme, please ring the BBC helpline).

Zoe then trailers ITT, now with much less Robin, which can only be a good thing. With the bottom two couples now, and Anastacia says she’s positive and just being here is great, and they go off to get ready. Naga seems quite down and genuinely seems like she doesn’t want it to stop – as Steve said last week, maybe she just has resting pissed-off-face. Or Stockholm Syndrome.

Anastacia and Brendan probably put in a technically better performance, but at the end she sits on the floor for a bit which looks like they’ve gone wrong, which can’t have helped with the ‘don’t stop’ message she was given from Craig. Naga falls apart a bit and the dance has less energy than first time, which leaves the judges having to choose between a couple whose journey story has been set up to come to a close tonight (but who are generating press) and another couple who had a ‘breakthrough’ storyline but a technically worse dance off. Neither couple is here for the long haul, but whilst I was sure Anastacia was gone pre-dance off, now I think it could go the other way.

Craig says Anastacia and Brendan danced better so he’s saving them. Darcey saves them as well for ‘their performance value and better artistry’ (*cough*). Bruno saves them for giving a slicker, more rounded and convincing performance and Len agrees with them. Naga thanks Pasha for being the best teacher she’s ever had and he thanks her for being the best student he’s ever had (o..kay?) and she apologises for not being good enough and he tells her it was her best performance. Awww. And off they dance to ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ and another racism debate which will presumably be said to be over when the trophy is lifted by either a black celebrity or a black pro (I mean, I’m just guessing, like, but that would seem to be a way they can refute those allegations and deliver a strong storyline. I think it generally can be hard for black and Asian contestants on reality shows, by the way, so I’m not trying to pretend otherwise.) [I guess it's good that people are finally realising that we, as a nation, don't tend to vote very strongly for people of colour on reality television and that it is a problem, but I wish people weren't just framing it as "Strictly Come Dancing Is Racist!" because that's neither the problem nor the solution. - Steve]

Who’ll go next week?  Chances are it’s going to be another woman, but which one?  Join us then to find out!

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