Week 2: Performance Show - 1 October 2016
Welcome back! As Steve said last week, we do apologise for the lateness of our recaps at the moment. The start of the series has coincided with busy times in both of our lives and we could go into detail in a plea for pity, but seeing this is not series 3 of the X Factor, we'll move along (sidenote: until the boring predictable hysteria over the choices for lives happened – remember when Borelow put through no novelty acts and ‘the public’ hated it? – I think this series of TXF has actually been quite entertaining. It’ll all go to shit in the live shows, though, as it always does). Suffice to say, this recap may be a little shorter than normal [Or not... - Future Rad] in order to actually get it out sometime before the next live show!
Last week! Everyone took to the floor and the ringers rang their little hearts out, Judge Rinder got his tits out and the others turned in your fairly standard week one routines, except for poor Tameka who got saddled with a week one Paso, for some reason.
Tonight! Shit gets real as somebody heads for elimination! Louise is already shilling the ‘being top doesn’t mean I’m safe’ babble. At this stage, when there are Melvin Odooms and Laura Whitmores and Lesley Josephs and Ed Ballses. Save something for later in the run, love. Cue credits!
Tess and Claudia enter. Daly dress watch: a bright pink thing with a precarious looking zip (for some reason my voice software can only hear ‘the’ when I say this - the two don’t sound anything alike!) running all the way up that could lead to an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. What Winkleman’s wearing: a shoulderless dress that skirts (hoho) the boundary between navy, purple and black - quite nice. The judges saunter on, the camera lingering on Len for far too long - but I guess we have to milk the 'oh dear, he is going' thing a bit longer. Let’s just hope the new head judge doesn’t quit their position after 18 days so he has to come back, hey? (/Political joke that probably won’t make sense to those reading this in future years)
Our couples enter for the last time as a complete unit: Louise and Kevin; ‘Robert’ Rinder and Oksana; Leslie and Anton; Melvin and Janette; Claudia F and AJ; Ore and Joanne; Daisy and Aljaž; well and Karen; Naga (wearing an insane wig, because apparently short hair is not allowed in the ballroom) and Pasha; Greg and Natalie; Tameka and Gorka; Ed and Katja; Laura and Giovanni; Danny and Oti; Anastacia and Brendan. Crikey, there are a lot of them, aren’t there? I can’t say I'm never sorry to see the numbers dwindle - until it comes to two-dance week, anyway.
Rather distressingly for the second show, barely any are even bothering to take along to the theme tune - we're only in week two! That sort of apathy is meant to kick in once the injuries do! (Spoiler alert: the injuries are, in fact, going to kick in this week.)
Claudia (W) reminds us of last week’s leaderboard: Daisy and Aljaž at the top and Ed & Katya at the bottom. The scores from both will be added together and combined with the public vote to see who ends up in the dance off. Now we’ve got that sorted, onto business.
The first couple of the evening are Ore and Joanne. Now that the Great British Bake Off has gone to that flour mill in the sky (/commercial TV to writhe around in its death throes for a few years), Tess has clearly decided it’s time to seize the innuendo ground for her own. She tells us that they are playing firefighters in the dance and have got plenty of experience at sliding down poles. Can you imagine if Bruce had made that joke? I feel kind of soiled just considering the prospect.
Things I have learned by watching the VT which had nothing to do with dance: it’s the 150th anniversary of the London Fire Brigade. God, what is this, Great British Menu?
They are dancing the cha-cha-cha to 'Hot Stuff', and, in a vague nod to The Full Monty - albeit without the political undercurrent lamenting the decay of the steel industry and the impact of Thatcher’s Tory government, although I’m sure some people in the Daily Mail would still be able to make out that this is an example of BBC lefty bias somehow - Ore strips off his big yellow firefighter jacket to reveal his dancing gear underneath. Jo kind of does as well, but she’s in the background tastefully taking her off and putting it in a locker rather than doing stripper poses. Quick! Somebody alert the MRAs! Sexismz!!11!!!!
They are wearing quite tasteful and attractive black costumes with fire prints on them, which I really like, so props to Vicky Gill and team (even if they seem to be more themed for a full-throttle Kevin Clifton Paso Doble than the cha-cha. Maybe Jo snuck into his training wardrobe and stole them. He probably keeps his flamethrower paso gear somewhere inbetween his full-on-leather goth outfits and his cheesy meet-the-grandparents tea dance stuff. Oh, the enigma that is Kevin Clifton). The dance itself begins quite well - energetic and fast-moving, with Ore keeping up with the pace and having a good sense of (natural) rhythm. His footwork is pretty good, although his hips could do with some more swivel. Then those bits where they get up and stick around using the pole, which might work had the pole been used in a gymnastics sense, rather than a ladz-having-bantz-but-then-chickening-out-of-climbing-or-posing-in-case-they-catch-girl sense. They do an interesting move with the braces, which would have been about the right level of faffing about for me, then Jo can’t help herself but do a thrusting motion, which Ore doesn’t take part in, and the whole thing ends with them shooting off a glitter fire extinguisher-again, that would be just about an acceptable level of fucking about. I feel like Jo is still going to need another couple of weeks to settle down. I’m hoping. I know the evidence isn’t looking good. Especially with Halloween and BLACKPOOL still on the horizon. [At least with Movie Week next week, I'm hoping her choreography will blend in better because everyone else will probably come up to her level of...overexcitement. I do like Jo, but I think it still wouldn't hurt her to calm her choreo down a bit. - Steve]
Len kicks off the judges’ comments by saying that it could do with a little bit more polish. He gets resoundingly booed for this at a level so disproportionate to the comment that I think the audience are just relishing every last opportunity they get to boo him before he is gone forever. Other than that, he liked it - it was a big improvement on the previous week. Bruno’s initial comments get lost in audience rowdiness and his own babble. He declares it a saucy cha cha but he thinks that sometimes Ore raced with the music too much and it could have been a bit cleaner, but he enjoyed the rest of it. Craig says he was sharp and energetic but it looked very stiff and straight in the hips (ho ho). Darcey’s comment is literally that he was on first and the routine was fast. Oh and some sort of jazz hands thing that I didn’t quite get. Thanks Darcey!
In the Clauditorium, Claudia comments that her favourite thing of the routine was watching Ore’s wife in the audience going ‘I didn’t know he could do that’ and it’s nice to see that it is show is so willingly embracing the notion of a threesome even before the watershed - at least, I’m taking this to be the sequel to last week’s VT about them all getting it on or whatever that was. Ore then says his wife doesn’t know and starts kicking his legs like he is a member of the Ministry for Funny Walks and it all gets a bit bizarre. Dance one, people! Scores: six, seven, seven, seven for a total of 27 - and I think they were probably expecting a little higher than that from their expressions.
Claudia reads out the terms and conditions with the help of a giant prop and tells people they have to sign into their BBC account now in order to vote later. That’s how the SNOOPER’S CHARTER gets you. #maysbritain
Claudia (F) and AJ are next and their VT takes place at a children’s gymnastics lesson. The jokes are far too obvious there aren’t they? Their waltz is to ‘You Light Up My Life’ and the storyline involves Claudia falling out of a window into AJ’s arms (don’t try this at home kids). It’s a very sweet and well-executed routine, but I’m sure there are some ILLEGAL LIFTS (is that even a thing anymore?) thrown in there.
Tess points out that Romeo and Juliet symbolism, lest you have missed it with the whole window and teenage lovers thing and Bruno compares them to Maria and Tony from West Side Story, which is also the same thing as Romeo and Juliet, obviously. Bruno loved her arms and thought it was beautiful though. Craig thinks there was too much spotting and tries to pick out some of the faults but he’s drowned out by Len inciting boos, and in my real life I’m dealing with a situation involving someone’s hypocrisy and rudeness (OOH GOSSIP!!), so I have even less tolerance for Len tonight than I might otherwise (which was limited tolerance at the best of times, let’s face it) so to save time and my own wellbeing, from hereon in I am not going to recap anything he says unless it is genuinely insightful or interesting. If I applied that rule to Darcey of course, it would make my job incredibly easy. Anyway, she loved the way that Claudia arched her back and the flow of the dance.
Scores: six, eight, eight, eight, a for a total of 30.
The third couple of the evening are Will and Karen and apparently their jive is going to have a 1950s theme. How wonderfully original! [Dear Clifton family: other decades are available. - Steve] Their VT revolves around Will Young hiring a retro car and taking Karen for a date which is stretching even this show’s level of showmance stoking to snapping point. The joke is that, instead of seeing a drive in ‘movie’, they watch their training footage. As if to justify the medium of comedy VT.
They’re dancing to ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and Will’s wrists are the limpest thing I’ve ever seen and I kind of hoping he’s doing that on purpose to wind Len up. He is decent at keeping in time (as you’d expect), but by God his movement is imprecise and clumpy and watching without the sound you might be hard pressed to call some of it a jive. His trousers still don't fit, just like last week.
Tess apologises for Bruno’s language earlier – WHAT DID I MISS? Ain’t no way I’m rewinding this epic beast to find out. [He shouted "bollocks" in response to Craig's comments to Claudia & AJ. I missed it the first time around too! - Steve] Craig calls it flat-footed and Tess screams that Will pulled a muscle. Oh, so we’re still at the stage in proceedings where we’re meant to be sympathetic to injury are we? Darcey loves it for some reason and Bruno praises Will for being a ‘generous performer’ (fnar). Scores: 5, 7, 8 (WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK?), 7 for a total of 27.
Claudia trails Greg dancing to ‘Jump’ later in the show by saying if there was a song called ‘reading words off a screen’ she’d be dancing to that. I’m sure the show’s musical directors have thought about writing one themselves for TV presenters obviously.
Lesley and Anton have the cha cha and Anton notes he’s more scared about it than she is because LOLANTONLATIN. They’re playing a waiter and customer so their VT focuses on Anton being at Lesley’s beck and call including him fetching her a mug of tea and her demanding a cup and saucer. It’s her ‘what the actual fuck’ face during this that makes it art.
They’re dancing to ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ and all I can look at are Anton’s trousers. His top half is traditional shirt and waistcoat-style waiter-wear, and then there are what look like black sparkly pyjama bottoms below. They’re insane. I should just be thankful we didn't get an eyeful like with Fiona Fullerton. HANG ON A MO - those sparkle trousers are quite baggy. Guessing Vicky Gill didn't want to relive that trauma either. The dance seems to be a bit stilted and messy and goes wrong in several places, but it’s energetic, and camp and there’s some uncomfortable almost-gyrating, and it’s still probably better than half of his previous cha chas. [I loved it. Unashamedly. - Steve]
Darcey says Lesley has a hot body – she does look good in the dress, but all eyes were on SPARKLEPANTS. Indeed, all of Darcey’s critique is ‘YOU LOOK AMAZING’ with clear facing-impending-old-age panic in her eyes. Bruno says her legs were excellent but she’s throwing away the top and then seemed to be making it up as she went along when it went wrong. Craig says Lesley does have enthusiasm but could have done without the bum rub, even though he would watch it again – which I think might be an attempted ‘…in the dance off’ burn that didn’t fully happen.
In the Clauditorium, Lesley says she loved it and Anton compliments Craig’s shirt (which is a jazzy colourful print. I quite like it). Scores: 6, 7, 7, 6 for a total of 26.
We then have a preview of what’s coming, and in a 2h plus show, I’m not recapping the precaps, I’m just not.
Before Natalie and Greg, we get a joke about Claudia pretending she can play the sax, and it really being a recording she was miming to, but the real joke is Tess’s FILTHY wondering if Natalie can find the moves to blow Greg away.
Their VT sees Natalie take Greg to a wind tunnel to ‘maintain his frame’ and then he says he hopes he can blow her away. Pleased to see he gives as well as takes. [Stop, you're killing me! - Steve]
Their tango is to ‘Jump’ (Van Halen version) and Greg’s tango face sits somewhere between constipated and confused. It’s another Natalie Lowe masterclass in distraction as she uses her own moves plus her enormous skirt to hide his leg work as much as possible, because it’s… not exactly pretty. I mean he moves across the floor fast enough, but he’s all hunched and stompy and I really want to root for these two, because Natalie and Super Saturday, but it’s not come together for me yet…
Bruno calls him strong, powerful and handsome, like a locomotive at full speed but he needs to glide rather than stomp. Bruno and Craig praise his bum (which he who shall not be recapped said stuck out) and Darcey gets in a ‘the boys have said it all’ and liked his drive and his bum. Not many actual comments on the old, you know, dancing, from them, huh? [I'm perfectly happy with the entire judges' comments section being about his arse. It is a cracking arse. - Steve]
Claudia says Aljaz said ‘He’s a genius’ to her. Or was it ‘she’s a genius’, meaning Natalie and her powers of distraction? Might make more sense, except those powers are weaker tonight, because the scores are: 6, 7, 6, 7 for a total of 26.
Tameka and Gorka now, with a Charleston. She’s not getting an easy settling in period, is she? [I disagree - I think they're front-loading Tameka with routines that she can sell on personality without having to worry too much about the technical side, which is probably working quite well in her favour. - Steve] Their dance is themed around the seaside so she takes him to Brighton, but it’s not the annual Kevin Clifford takes a girl home to Cleethorpes-being-called-Grimsby, so *shrug*.
They’re dancing to ‘Yes Sir! That’s My Baby’ in retro swimming gear-themed outfits and thank god for this because it’s put some fun into the evening and being a comedy performer, she gets right into the vibe of the Charleston. She has issues with some parts – going under Gorka’s legs is a particularly uncomfortable moment – and I suspect some of that is to do with being a larger lady (I’m a big girl too, so I speak from experience). Other than that, though, she has a good go at all the moves, her timing is great and it is so much better than a week two Charleston has any right being (I always knew she would be a stealth RINGAH but given the rest of the cast’s credentials, that’s not saying much). [I quite enjoyed how the whole wholesome retro setting was undermined by Gorka's massive sleeve tattoo being visible at all times. - Steve]
Bruno says there’s no danger of her sinking to the bottom after this turn, Craig says there was a nice amount of swivel although more might have been delicious. He loved that it was character-driven and thought she could have gotten up from the floor more smoothly. Tameka says ‘it was a rough sea!’ Heh. Darcey says she’s swimming through the competition and should keep giving ‘characters’ like that. I’m not sure how much is ‘character’ and how much is just Tameka, but I’m happy with whichever it is, to be honest.
In the Clauditorium, Claudia asks her the inevitable ‘you’re on a soap and you have a family and you’re doing this ARE YOU DEAD YET?’ question and Tameka says she’s fine because she loves all of those things. The disembodied voices of the Ghosts of Strictly Future Ashley Taylor-Dawson and Kellie Bright shake their heads ominously with a ‘you won’t be saying that in another two weeks’. Scores: 7, 7, 7, 8 for a total of 29. If anything, that’s a bit low – at least compared to some of the other scores so far. [It is surprisingly low for a charleston, but they do tend to get overmarked quite regularly, so I think on balance it was about right for the level she was dancing at? I guess? - Steve]
So what is the Laura/Giovanni showmance name? Liovanni? Giura? [I'm going with 'Zzzzz' - Steve] He takes her to climb the Millennium Dome, which was a ‘prize’ the winning team got on The Apprentice once, wasn’t it? Still, as Apprenti-prizes go, probably better than Myleene Klass turning up to play piano or going to that godawful circus themed pub that one time. [Although this week's winning prize of lindyhop lessons might actually have been quite useful charleston practice. - Steve]
Lavanni (Lav? Let’s go with Lav) are waltzing to ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ and I am always a sucker for yellow, so I’m enjoying her dress which flows into an ombre effect with navy fabric at the bottom (less enamoured with the green tinsel waistband). The dance is a solid, romantic, pretty waltz that has more stuttering on second watch than I noticed at first - but then at the end she puts her hand to her face and is clearly going for a sultry stroking motion and fails and face palms herself and it’s awkward as all hell but I quite like that because it feels even more like she’s evoking the ghost of Caroline Flack when that happens.
Craig says she skipped out of one of the spins but overall it was gorgeous and romantic without being overly sentimental. Darcey says she has elegance and a beautiful extended back. Bruno says it was smooth with a passionate intensity. FAN THOSE FLAMES PEOPLE.
Claudia calls her the biggest Strictly Superfan they’ve ever had, at which Rachel Riley bursts into uncontrollable tears and flings her scrapbooks on the fire. [Rachel's got Pasha though, so who's the real winner here? - Steve] Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8 for a total of 32 and the highest score of the night.
Melvin and Janette now, and Melvin says he was called an ironing board last week, which was new, and I immediately have PTSD flashbacks. This will be of interest to precisely no-one except me unless any of my cast happen by the blog, but one of the reasons I’ve not had much time to blog is that I directed a play and the run was last week, and one of my characters had to put up, and later take down, an ironing board and it became his nemesis. Fortunately it was a comedy so he got away with it being at groin level one night and nearly toppling him over another. Oh, Melvin and Janette? He does an early morning radio show or something and she has to pretend she hates getting up and is so tired at being there with him so early on. I kind of visualise her more as one of those annoyingly peppy people who are GO from the moment they wake up until they sleep, even if they’ve slept for an hour or something, but maybe I’m wrong.
Their tango is to ‘Movin’ On Up’ and he is a hotel concierge (am I being generous here? Is he a bellboy?) and she his stroppy… boss? He spends most of the time staring into the middle distance wondering if he’s left the oven on and he’s not very polished – nor do the two of them look at each other at all, as if being in hold with one another is some sort of grim fate (tell that to Lesley, mate). Then they come out of hold as she pushes him back in a SEXUALLY AGGRESSIVE WAY and they finally seem to remember each other exists and the energy improves, even if there’s some FAFFING ABOUT with a luggage cart going on. [Nothing about the storyline of this dance made any sense at all, did it? - Steve]
Darcey says she liked the dance content but he was a bit stompy. I will briefly recap Len here because he predicts Melvin won’t be ‘movin’ on out’, and surely everyone has had him down as first boot for some time now? Least-famous, unpopular (ish) pro, no real aptitude for dancing… I mean, who else is it likely to be? [I think Janette's actually quite popular, or at least I know a lot of people who rank her quite highly, but yeah, on the other fronts we all knew Melvin was doomed, didn't we? - Steve] Len also mentions Melvin has a dodgy shoulder, so it’s not just Oti who has to put up with that, then. Bruno says ‘as the Hotel Inspector would say, service energetic, but a little bit clumsy.’ Actually, I think she usually says ‘Darling’ and ‘mattress protector’ and ‘what the fuck are these imbeciles doing trying to run a business’ and ‘how the hell has Gordon Ramsay somehow managed to replicate this exact show in the US?’ and ‘why yes, I do look like a missing Sawalha sister’. Craig says his posture and frame were a worry, as if he was dancing with the whole frame, and it missed the V frame.
In the Clauditorium, we learn that Melvin is 36 and never had coffee before he started this show. Scores: 5, 6, 6, 6 for a total of 23. Oof. I mean, still overmarked, but, compared to everyone else… oof.
Louise and Kevin have a Viennese Waltz coming up, another rough draw for so early on. [Yeah, but RINGAH though. - Steve] Last week, Kevin was pleased that they got ‘three 8s and a standing ovation’. Oh behave, Kevin, they give standing ovations for everything these days. Even Tess Daly’s ‘jokes’ probably have half the punters on their feet. Their VT basically involves vigorously pushing Louise round in a Zorba ball all day to get her used to feeling sick. Early days for this partnership to turn so fractious, isn’t it?
They’re dancing to ‘Hallelujah’ and her dress is an odd cross between flapper, angel and curtain pull. They’re surrounded by lots of lights on stands which is pretty and atmospheric and all, but doesn’t leave much actual dance floor. Kevin has his mouth weirdly open throughout it and looks like he’s grimacing a bit, which sort of detracts from any atmosphere, but Louise looks sweet and is quite graceful despite the dress horror she’s been given. Seems to lack spin for a VW though – there’s a lot of out-of-hold wafting going on. Also, I’ve decided the VW is definitely my least favourite of all the dances. Well, except Fusion. And rock’n’roll. And waltzathon. And most showdances. And Anton Latin. And that time they tried to reboot 'TIME WARP' last year.
Len thinks he spotted the first fleckerl of the series. Bruno says her arms moved like water and she gave beautiful extensions. Craig says there was too much rise and fall but it was gorgeous and Darcey loved it, too, but says it can be difficult to get everything right when you’re spinning so much. She appreciates the lyrical nature of the performance. In the Clauditorium, Claudia reminds us VW makes you dizzy and apparently Louise pretended earlier in the week that she forgot the routine (I didn’t see ITT for aforementioned theatre reasons) but I call shenanigans. Louise has had every routine perfected for years, I tell you. Scores: four 8s for a total of 32.
Anastacia and Brendan now, and Tess tells us that Anastacia sustained an injury in training and they had to re-choreograph. FORESHADOWING. In their VT Brendan tells her ‘I don’t want perfect, I just want you’ which has totally come straight out of his great big Johnny Castle cliché book, hasn’t it? Also, Anastacia wears flowery bottoms and starry tops in training, which is very… her.
Their salsa is to ‘Sax’ and the opening is very ungainly and you can see Brendan trying to be really careful with her, for reasons that will become apparent later. She’s more in her element when she gets to do hip wiggles and saucy minx faces and when they’re out of hold and doing fewer things that might exacerbate her injury.
Bruno says despite her injury, she still gave Anastacia goes gaga in the salsa but her facial performance was right but she needs more movement when she’s fit again. Craig says the underarm turns were clunky and the feet misplaced but their side-to-side was OK, and she whacked Brendan in the face at one point, which Anastacia says was part of the choreo. Brendan says they did have lifts in there and had taken them out and changed it earlier that day so it was really hard. Darcey says it was hot and spicy and she can see it must annoy Anastacia not to be at her best. Anastacia says she’ll do the dance properly in a club at some point. Scores: 4, 6, 6, 6 for a total of 22 – the 6s were clearly sympathy points, but you can see why they did that.
Ed and Katya now and Katya says she was chuffed last week, but Ed says he was disappointed because he made a mistake. He says she doesn’t like it when he’s concentrating rather than going full gurn. She’s already learned the Strictly Charleston code, at least.
They’re dressed as country bumpkins with banjos as they dance to ‘The Banjo’s Back In Town’ which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before, so it makes a change from the eightyzillionth Charleston to ‘Pencil Full of Lead’, I guess. Ed’s Charleston face is basically making a big ‘O’ with his mouth and his limbs are hardly elegant or flexible, especially when he looks like a penguin with rickets in the flappy bird sections, but he does just about keep in time and has a lot of energy. I mean, it’s not good, per se, but it’s better than Ed-Balls-does-a-banjo-Charleston sounded on paper/screen.
Craig says it’s not a sight he ever wishes to see again as it’s the wrong side of goofy and had an air of desperation about it, with no cross or swivel. Darcey says she didn’t think she’d see the musical bounce in his body and that he stayed in sync and in ‘character’ (the character of a goldfish?) throughout. Len makes some bad joke about him not being in politics anymore and Ed sasses back ‘we did win three elections’ and gets a big cheer. OMG LEFTY LOONY PC BBC BIAS!!! Bruno tells him he should be proud.
Up in the Clauditorium, he puts his arm around Claudia and Claudia says she kept looking at Yvette Cooper’s face. Guessing Yvette is the new Billy Connolly/Brian May/Peter Crouch? Scores: 3, 7, 6, 7 for a total of 23.
Naga and Pasha now and oh dear, that wig. It’s a ratty curly frightwig that an end-of-the-pier Ann Wilson from Heart tribute singer would reject as being too tatty. [I loved it. 10s for the wig! - Steve] They seem to have lathered her in too much fake tan as well, unless it’s the wig’s effect on her skin – and the washing-out effect of concealer-nude lipstick. Their VT involves hula hoops, but mostly Naga looking normal, save for the ‘I’m slightly regretting my life choices’ expressions creeping over her face.
Their cha cha is to ‘A Fool In Love’ and MY GOD THEY HAVE MADE HER LOOK LIKE NANCY DEL’OLLIO from a distance. Also, isn’t this basically a song about a woman staying in an abusive relationship? How prescient, given Naga’s apparent state of mind. I like her and I like Pasha but I don’t like this. It’s awkward and uncomfortable in every way – song choice, hair and make-up, and all of the movement.
Darcey says she looks stunning. Well, I was stunned, so technically… She says Naga needs to focus only on Pasha to at least try and enjoy something about the situation. (/slight editorialising). Bruno compares her to Naomi Campbell, because they both stumble? Or something? I got a bit lost in his metaphor, to be honest, but so did he. Craig says it was riddled with mistakes and the timing was bad. Scores: 4, 6, 6, 7 for a total of 23 and higher than Ed, which I’m not sure was actually deserved. #sorrynaga #istillloveyou
Now Judge Rinder, and he’s dressed in a white tux and pink shirt and giving us big eyes – and his eyes are so sparkly I’m wondering if he has glitter mascara on. In their VT, he says they’re dancing the American Smooth Foxtrot as is the naming custom these days and that it’s his favourite because he loves Fred Astaire. His grandparents come to watch and I immediately google how old he is to still have two living grandparents and discover he’s only 37 or 38 (I got 1978 as DOB but not a date), which seems a few years too young for that straight-out-of-an-80s-synthpop-band-probably-featuring-vince-clarke-or-jimmy-somerville haircut. [As someone a couple of years younger than him who is already losing his hair, it's really not. - Steve]
They’re dancing to THE WORST SONG IN HUMAN HISTORY (except for Mull of Kintyre of course), ‘Marvin Gaye’. The story of their dance seems to be she’s the popular bridesmaid at a wedding and he’s the awkward gay best man and she drags him for a dance and he’s afraid of the girl cooties, then she somersaults over his head and by the magic of her lady parts he’s able to dance with her, albeit not exactly in a sexual or romantic way. It’s all showmanship and gurning and big eyes and hyper-extended arms and skipping and it’s camp as tits, which, along with Tameka, is what you need to punctuate the nice-but-dull and the not-so-great of the rest of the pack.
Tess says she thinks his grandparents will be proud and he says ‘Oh, I hope so.’ Aww. Len thinks he was too obsessed with heel leads but it was better than last week. Bruno said he went from Fred Astaire to Fred Insane (?!) and it was mental but he can actually dance. Craig says he has hands like a bricklayer’s trowel and needs to get some shaping in there as his dancing is too noisy and unrefined. He says Rinder needs to watch his face and he says ‘you’re just jealous I can smile this widely’. Darcey praises him for doing the lifts and in the Clauditorium he says he’s glad he didn’t drop her as ‘if you drop the dancers you have to pay for them’. [I'm surprised he didn't say "caveat emptor", given how fond he is of saying that on his own show. - Steve] Scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 for a total of 27.
Are we nearly there yet? Please?
Daisy and Aljaž now. Daisy was shocked by the response they got from the judges last week for their lovely waltz. This week, they’re dancing in the… wait for it… 1950s. It’s almost like some weird kind of product placement for the decade in here tonight. They dress in vaguely 50s clothing and go bowling to ‘get in character’. [Think how much money they could've saved by just going to Kevin and Karen's house. - Steve]
Their cha cha cha is set in ‘Daisy’s Diner’ and is to ‘F You’ – the F(orget) version. It’s a lot slower and more stilted than I was expecting – Daisy isn’t very wiggly in the hip department, as elegantly as she can strut. It’s very underwhelming and lacking in energy and vibrancy, but at least it’s out of the way.
Bruno loved it, and Craig really enjoyed it though her upper body needed work. Darcey says she has attitude and her legs are far too long, but she’ll go far. Were they seeing something I wasn’t, or are they just trying to push for her to be a contender? (I think she *is* a contender, but that routine fell flat for me. Still, early cha cha is never anyone’s crowning glory). [Except Natalie Gumede, but I feel like she's the exception that proves the rule. - Steve] Len then snarks on about ILLEGAL LIFTS because apparently they’re a thing again this minute. Maybe he’s trying to do a ‘greatest hits’ package of snark before he goes. I did say I wasn’t recapping him when he was being all Len, didn’t I? Oops. Scores: 7, 8, 7, 8 for a total of 30.
Thank the stars that it’s now time for the final couple, Danny and Oti. Danny says last Saturday was one of the best experiences of his life. And I reckon he was still only about 10% as excited by it as Oti was. They’re also doing a Viennese Waltz tonight and Danny is struggling with posture, so out come the training handlebars and lots of Oti shouting, perhaps trying out the old Erin ‘Miss Whiplash’ character for size.
They’re dancing to ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ and there are (a few) more spins than Kevin and Louise’s – and they have a lot more dance floor to play with – although I’m not sure it’s as elegant. Danny is great at the showmanship – showing Oti off, characterisation, nice upper body – but his feet seem a little stumbly at times when he’s spinning. That said, I wouldn’t be able to manage it, so… There’s also some Hollywood style posturing part way through, with him lifting Oti’s leg in a way that defies gravity and probably breaks the rules, but certainly makes the VW less boring.
Craig thinks he’s a great dancer and he wasn’t sure about the American Smooth part but ended up loving it. It did get a bit skippy rather than smooth but he was wowed. Darcey says his top line is elegant and he does get skippy when he travels. Len tells him to watch his head on the pivots but enjoyed it. Bruno calls it a VW told by Tennessee Williams because of the story and he thought Danny really performed like a star and got him and half the studio going (ooerr missus etc). Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8 for a total of 32.
Shall we have a leaderboard?
Louise and Kevin 31 (Last week) + 32 = 63
Danny and Oti 31 + 32 = 63
Daisy and Aljaž 32+30=62
Will and Karen 30+27=57
Laura and Giovanni 25+32=57
Claudia and AJ 26+30=56
Tameka and Gorka 26+29 = 55
Ore and Joanne 27+27=54
Greg and Natalie 27+26=53
Judge Rinder and Oksana 25+27=52
Anastacia and Brendan 28+22=50
Lesley and Anton 23+23=46
Naga and Pasha 22+23=45
Melvin and Janette 22+23=45
Ed and Katya 21+23=44
I don’t know how much that feels like an accurate reflection of the state of play and how much it feels like where people ‘should’ be on paper – at least in the top half of the leaderboard, though I might have expected Greg and Claudia (F) to be higher up than they are.
And that’s it! From now there’ll be fewer of them to recap! Join me soon for the results when obvious first boot Melvin leaves. OR SOMEONE ELSE OF COURSE. Also (spoiler alert): DRAMA.