Monday, 14 November 2016

Oopsy Daisy

Week 8: Top 8 Results - 13 November 2016

Bet you're thinking we're going straight into a pro-routine as usual, right? Nope, not tonight: instead we open, slightly awkwardly, with a held shot of the stage where we can make out Tess and Claudia hovering in the wings waiting to be announced. Alan Dedicoat does the honours, and they make their way out to the front: Claudia all in black once more, and Tess has apparently run here straight from her audition for the lead role in a remake of The Flying Nun. Seriously, if there's a stiff breeze running through that studio, she'll be up and out of there before we know it. Mind you, would that be such a bad thing? [Aww, it wouldn't be Strictly without Tess's general Tess-ness. - Rad]

The reason for this change in the usual order of things: Tess and Claudia are here to explain the story of the pro dance for anyone who wasn't watching It Takes Two last week. If that's you: it's about a real-life couple called Basil and Madge, who met during World War II and are still together today. Basil and Madge then get a VT of their own telling the story of how they met (in the Far East, serving in World War II 72 years ago) before we fade into the studio, where they're now played by AJ and Chloe. However, Basil and Madge's narration continues to play over the top of the routine, which (a) is slightly distracting and (b) makes me think that someone didn't fully trust the choreographer to be able to tell the story properly. I can just about make out that the dance is to 'I'll Be Seeing You', though we don't really hear that much of the song or indeed the singers. It's a nice routine, though it does seem literal enough that I think we probably could've been trusted to get the story well enough without all of this supervision from the grown-ups. Anyway, it ends, and the present-day Basil and Madge are there at the centre of the dance floor, and are slowly escorted off by their younger selves. [Yeah, the ending was sweet but a bit of intro, then the dance, then the ending would have worked way better on a show about, you know, dancing - Rad]

Guess how gushingly insincere and patronising Tess is in her next link. Go on, guess. No, more than that. Nope, still more. Yeah, that's close enough.

After a verbal recap of last night that makes little sense and which I am therefore just going to ignore, the judges return to the stage and Bruno does a particularly energetic punch in the general direction of the camera in time with the last note of the sting. Someone clearly had a couple of Red Bulls during the break. Tess tells us that lord of all smugfaces André Rieu will be on later (making almost as much of a meal out of "Rieu" as she did with "Mvula" two weeks ago) and Claudia reminds us that Len's Lens is on its way, but first let's look back at last night.

Backstage, everyone was talking about how much they wanted to get to BLACKPOOL, which is definitely brand-new information. Judge Rinder says that he couldn't have done that foxtrot in week one, two or three - or indeed last week - because he just wasn't at that level yet, and thanks Oksana for getting him there. Ore is very pleased to have received 35 for his rumba. Daisy apparently doesn't get a backstage reaction this week, but Greg is despondent that he messed up again. Katya gives Ed a congratulatory hug (or should that be a congratulalabour hug?), while Claudia was thrilled to get four nines. Louise is excited about getting another 10, while Danny says that he's just having the time of his life on the show. Nothing terribly interesting happening with anyone this week really, was there?

Over to Sister Bertrille and her Cue Cards Of Doom. The following couples are safe and going to BLACKPOOL: Ore and Joanne, Danny and Oti, and Claudia and AJ. The first couple in the dance-off tonight? Daisy and Aljaž once more. Tess chirps that she's "so sorry" to see them here again, and Daisy says that she just hopes this isn't her third and final dance-off. She apologises to Aljaž for ending up here again, and honestly I'm gutted for Daisy because she seems like a genuinely lovely person, but I am at least glad that she's got to the stage now where she seems able to take being in the dance-off on the chin, considering how much it shook her the first two times. Darcey advises her to soften her knees and get her weight on the balls of her feet second time around, and maintain the confidence that she had the first time around.

It's looking awfully spacious up there in the Clauditorium at this point - lots of elbow room for everyone. Claudia turns to Danny and announces that he will be doing a charleston to 'Putting On The Ritz' and Danny thanks everyone who has put him through to BLACKPOOL without every actually identifying the right camera to look into. Claudia W then reveals that Claudia F will be doing a jive to 'Mickey' by Toni Basil, while dressed as a cheerleader. How original! Claudia W reminds us (again) that Claudia F has never been to BLACKPOOL and asks AJ what the itinerary will be when they get there. AJ gets as far as "The Big Dipper" and "chips" before Claudia F gets distracted by the prospect of chips. Claudia W turns to the camera and says, deadpan, "they don't have chips anywhere else". Heh. Claudia W then mocks Ore for tearing up again, and Ore says that he's very pleased not to be in the dance-off because he thought he would be, after last week.

Time for the annual Remembrance VT where everyone who could be spared is gathered in Covent Garden to help launch the Poppy Appeal. So that's Len, Anton, Gorka and Chloe, Ore and Joanne, Danny and Oti, Ed, Brendan, Daisy and Aljaž, Claudia and AJ, and Judge Rinder. And anybody whose name is not listed there is a SHAMEFUL DISRESPECTFUL TRAITOR, just ask Kay Burley. Len gives a little speech about how important it is to remember those who gave their lives for us in wars against fascism and tyranny, and a good chunk of the viewing audience wonders if we're going to have to fight another one of those in the not-too-distant future. (Sorry, back to this blog being a politics-free zone.)

Then we're back to Tess in the studio for a presumably hastily-arranged tribute to the late Leonard Cohen, as André Rieu and his big smug face plays 'Hallelujah' on the violin. Should've just got Alexandra Burke in, if you ask me. Craig's got her number. At least we're not expected to stare at Smuggo too much because Brendan and Natalie appear and do a Viennese waltz with some patented Natalie Lowe head rolls. I've missed those. Poppies fall from the ceiling and get trampled underfoot, which seems a bit of a mixed gesture if you ask me. [See also doing a fucking INSTRUMENTAL when you're meant to be celebrating a songwriter - Rad] Also if anyone can explain to me why all of Smuggo's backing musicians and singers are dressed as minor Disney Princesses, I'd be very grateful.

Once that's finished it's back up to the Clauditorium for Len's Lens. The first item on the agenda is Ore's rumba walks, and Len tells us that story again about how he used to put matchsticks on the floor and push them with his toes to ensure he kept his foot in contact with the floor. Thanks Len, that one just gets better every time you tell it. Claudia then tries to convince us that Danny's Argentine tango "really split the judges". Yes, between the scores of "nine" and "ten", what a colossal divide. Anyway, Craig says they're basically just nitpicking for something to do at this point, which is great considering there are still five weeks to go. Bruno replays Claudia F's exit from her series of fleckerls, though he does reiterate that she needs to learn to spot properly. Then we get a shot of the judges' reactions to Ed's salsa, and I swear Craig has never looked more like Rod from Avenue Q in his life.

Niceties dispensed with, it's back to Tess and those dreaded cue cards. Ed and Katya are through to BLACKPOOL as are Louise and Kevin, leaving Judge Rinder and Greg in contention for the other spot in the dance-off. It ends up being Greg and Natalie under the red light, which doesn't seem like an enormous surprise to either of them. Ed and Katya rush over to hug Greg and Natalie, possibly in a display of survivor's guilt. Greg tells Tess that he's disappointed to be here, obviously, but they're just going to do their best and hopefully correct any mistakes second time around. Craig advises him to panic less (sure, in a dance for survival), correct his footwork and try to land on that final beat of the music. But he does also say that it was a powerhouse performance first time around, and to give more of the same, please.

Up in the Clauditorium, Claudia tells us that Ed will be lowered from the ceiling with a piano next week and do a jive to 'Great Balls Of Fire'. God, I'm fed up of it already and I've only known about it for five seconds. Ed pretends that he didn't know about this in advance, and I've seen more convincing acting from Pasha, quite frankly. Claudia asks Louise if she ever thought she'd get this far, and Louise says of course she didn't, she's just taking it week by week. She's very excited to dance with Kevin in BLACKPOOL next week and will give it her best shot. Judge Rinder compares his near-miss to "a delicious 'not guilty' verdict". He's got salsa next week, and I hope it's not choreographed by Oksana's husband again because that routine he did for Ore last week was, frankly, a bit of a state.

There follows a comedy VT of everybody fantasising about BLACKPOOL, which is mostly notable for Danny getting his tits out and Daisy's not-great "whee I'm on a rollercoaster" acting. Oh, and Claudia F's inner voice telling her "don't let that donkey steal your candyfloss", which just makes me think she's experiencing psychosis.

The two couples in jeopardy are with Claudia and Tess, and Daisy tells Claudia - sounding a little more upset now than she did earlier, and my heart is breaking again - that she just wants to do it better this time, which I think hits Claudia right in the feels too as she immediately tells Daisy that she couldn't possibly do it any better, it's already fantastic. She got 31 and was joint-sixth out of eight on the leaderboard, hon. I think she knows you're bullshitting her. Claudia points out that Greg and Daisy both got the same score, and asks Aljaž what Daisy can do to scrape her way above her buff ginger rival. Aljaž doesn't really answer the question but says that this was his favourite week and that Daisy gave it her absolute best. As Daisy and Aljaž head back to the Camper Van of Lust, Greg is asked what it would mean to get to BLACKPOOL and he replies that it would be amazing, but they just need to be a bit better than they were the first time out.

Daisy and Aljaž dance their salsa again, and I'm struck by the continuity blooper that is Greg and Natalie standing at the back of the stage clapping them on when two seconds ago they were up on the balcony with Tess and Claudia. Has this been happening every week, and am I just really unobservant? The first half of Daisy's routine is an improvement on the first time we saw it - there's more energy there, and her legs seem more dynamic. But it loses a bit of steam midway through and the last lift goes a bit spider-leggy.

After that, Greg and Natalie perform their paso for a second time, and there's definitely an improvement in his timing this time around, and his posture looks better too. It's still not perfect by any means - there's still a section where the rhythm gets away from him a little bit - but he's definitely raised his game here, and had he performed that well on the main show, he might have got a couple of extra points. (I really don't like the music for their paso though - it's too fast and frantic. It's probably not going to be a popular opinion, but I think Claudia was better served with 'Shut Up And Dance' last week than Greg was by this attempt at a more traditional-sounding paso piece.) [I agree, though both were terrible music choices.  I'm waiting for 'Bullet with Butterfly Wings' or 'El Presidente' - though maybe doing a song with lyrics about killing presidents could be a little on the nose right now - Rad]

Anyway, it's about as close as it can be, so over to the judges to decide who gets the last seat on the coach to BLACKPOOL. Craig says that he's voting for the couple who totally nailed it this time around, and that's Greg and Natalie. Darcey thinks that both couples upped their game second time around, but the couple who had the more dynamic effect were Greg and Natalie. Bruno calls it "a clash of titans", likening Daisy to Venus the god of love (I don't think love is what's on offer in that camper van Bruno, though if it helps you to think of it that way, I'm not going to stand in your way) and Greg to Mars the god of war. Bruno's always been a bit of a hippy at heart, so he decides to make love, not war, and votes to save Daisy. That means Len has the casting vote for once, and Len says the fact that the judges are split just shows how close this was, but he has to go with his brain over his heart, and his brain tells him to save Greg and Natalie.

The crowd on the Clauditorium seems genuinely gutted that Daisy's out (not that I think they were rooting for Greg to go either), and Daisy says that she's loved every minute of being here, and that everyone is just unbelievable. She calls Aljaž "my hero" and gives him a backbreaker of a hug. Aljaž thanks Daisy for her positivity and working so hard and "being the most beautiful person, inside out" (heh), and they get 'If I Could Turn Back Time' as their final dance, and maybe I'm just overtired (it is 11:30pm as I'm writing this) but I can't help having a bit of a sob as I watch them. I'm genuinely sad that Daisy never connected with the public, considering she had a much nicer personality than Bloody Clancy, but I've banged that drum enough times and there's no point repeating it. I'll miss her, anyway.

Reaction montage: Ed says it's tough when anybody goes at this stage (gee, Melvin and Tameka say thanks), Judge Rinder says that Daisy was "like sunshine in human form" and it feels darker without her already, Greg says how hard it was to dance against Daisy for survival because they were such good friends, Ore is still very grateful to still be here, Danny thinks it's been an amazing journey for him so far and he's very grateful, Kevin confirms that he's doing another BLACKPOOL paso next week and mentions to Louise that it's his favourite dance, which makes her pull an "erp" face, and Claudia reminds AJ that he promised her chips when they get to BLACKPOOL, which seems as good a note to end on as any. Mmm, chips.

1 comment:

F a t i m a said...

I was surprised that Claudia F didn't claim never to have eaten chips before. Just like she'd never been to Blackpool or dressed up for Halloween.