Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Whit-no-more

Top 9 Results: Sunday 6 November 2016

Last night! A fun and varied episode, all in all, not too bogged down with theming and offering us a selection of genres. Everyone did fairly well, with Louise and Danny topping the table and Ed remaining bottom, albeit with a bunch of 6s and 7s rather than 2s and 5s. Chances are Laura will be going home, due to the combination of her dodgy ankle, an underwhelming samba placing her low on the leaderboard and the lack of public support (at least the last time she was really tested in the vote, having topped the leaderboard last week and missed the previous week with injury).

We open with a Cuban-themed salschambo to ‘She Bangs’, putting Oti front and centre as Neil and Anton vie for her affections. Neil. And Anton. Mind you, in a world where Kevin is really married to Karen and Neil to Katya, this show does offer some real hope to awkward British men everywhere, doesn’t it? [A case that will only be strengthened when I marry Pasha. - Steve] Officially Over It Anton doesn’t even really bother dancing this one, just walks on at the last minute, displays Oti a bit and then at the end lies down for her to spike him in the chest with her heel in a metaphorical triumph of sexy new ringer-ed to the hilt Strictly over old traditional ballroom Strictly.  Or something.

Tess and Claudia welcome us.  Daly dresswatch: a blurple dress with a couple of slits running up the top.  What Winkleman’s Wearing: black, lacy - classic Claudia.

Recap of last night in which we’ll only note new points: Hot Greg has taken to hiding behind clothes rails and popping out to surprise the contestants; Len’s been wearing more fake tan than Kevin, making him the current colour of liver-ravaged Phil Mitchell; Ore thinks hula-hooping in a circle is making a figure of 8, thus reinforcing Craig’s criticism while trying to disprove it (sorry Ore, still love you).

Our first set of safety announcements: Danny and Oti; Daisy and Aljaž – who both go completely crazy, as do the audience; Greg and Natalie (who is way more shocked and excited than Greg, unsurprisingly. I don't think she'll cope if they get to the final... it's been a while since supercrazy Final Nat, hasn't it?). The first couple in the dance-off?  Ore and Joanne, at which Bruno screams ‘Whaaaat?’ So, I guess we’ve got our first actual man in the dance-off (given that Melvin didn’t actually dance off) – possibly earlier than I’d anticipated, but I guess he’s still comparatively unknown compared to some of the others, plus he’s maybe suffered a little from being a front-runner in several weeks. Unless he has a total nightmare next week (as in even worse than the mess he made of Charleston given he still got nined for it), I expect the judges will bump up his scores enough to keep him out of danger, plus I think he’ll get a decent enough sympathy bounce in the public vote. I mean, he might go home tonight, but Laura, Ed and Judge Rinder are still potential boots and he’d beat any of them in the dance-off. It might be a tight call if he’s against Claudia, but even then, in this year of the man (plus Louise) and the various racism panic stories we’ve had, I’d expect the judges to shade it for him. 

Ore says it’s not nice to be in the dance-off, but they’re at the stage of the competition where this week could be your week to go.  Surely that’s theoretically every stage except the opening week where no-one goes?  Bruno is asked to give Ore advice and screams ‘Are you kidding me, don’t change a thing!’ and moans that he’s brilliant and ‘if people can’t see it, that’s their problem.’ People like you and your fellow judges who placed him firmly mid-table in a bunch of mid-table draws and none of you gave him a ten which means you must think there’s room for improvement. I guess this just reinforces why they ask Bruno for dance-off advice less often than the others.

Up in the Clauditorium, Daisy cries and gushes, Aljaž confirms he’s going to keep being strict because it clearly works for him (and also a certain section of the voting demographic I'm sure). Danny says he’s happy with his 10s. Claudia asks if he can do it again next week, with the Argentine Tango. He says ‘course I can!’ CONFIDENT RINGER MONSTER ALERT – oh, wait, he’s a good-looking man, never mind.

Time for our first performance of the night, and it’s the latest in a seemingly never-ending parade of X Factor rejects – Funsponge FuckOff TightPants Borelow.  The stage is full of enormous great sunflowers and a sub-Military Wives choir, shilling his ‘The Girls’ musical, which is such an odd thing, given we have Calendar Girls the film, the play, the book(s), the calendar and so on… It feels like that story’s already been wrung out for all its worth. And I can’t help but look at this staging with all its sunflowers and thinking Borelow’s missed a trick here not performing this next week and having big fuck off poppies everywhere. That’d totally have secured him that knighthood he’s been begging for for the past decade. The song is a fucking dirge, by the way, barely any lyrics but ‘da-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-are’ and some odd nonsense about ‘coastlines in the heart’ whatever the hell that means. It’s no ‘we’d love you to stay but you’d be in the way, so just do up your trousers and go’. It’s not even a ‘Starlight Express answer me yes.’ You know how the BBC’s started doing that red button thing on The Apprentice where you get honest subtitles? I only hope they’ll do the same for his new reality show where you can superimpose ALW over him giving it all withering stares and bizarre shoe fetishes. Oh and there’s some wafty romantic sunny contemporary type dancing from the pros while it’s going on, where the women look fine in floaty yellow dresses and the men are lumbered with shirts and trousers in a colour I can only describe as pastel curried apricot. Still, at least it wasn’t ‘The Flood’ (they're saving that for a week Steve's on recap duty, presumably). [DON'T EVEN JOKE ABOUT THAT. - Steve]

This week’s Len’s Lens focuses on how the Viennese Waltz is really easy, comprising of just four moves: turn left; turn right; reverse park and turn in the road. We also have a look at Greg’s wafty free arm not being tightly finished, and Darcey demos how it should be done – but just when you think the segment might be veering into the realms of actually useful, it soon descends into ramping up the annual ‘when will Craig give his first 10’ storyline and bigging up Kevin for being nice to Louise, winding up some conspiracy theorists in the process, no doubt.

And time for the most predictable set of results since last week – Laura even eyerolls a ‘come on, let’s get this the fuck over with’ at the start of the segment. Anyway, safe: Louise and Kevin, who make a play of being relieved, despite being TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD; Ed and Katya; Judge Rinder and Oksana; Claudia (who looks very sick whilst waiting) and AJ. Laura and Giovanni are inevitably in the bottom, and Giovanni says ‘good’ – bit harsh, Gio.

Laura says it doesn’t get easier to be in the bottom but she’s happy to give that dance another go.  Craig says she has a great attitude but she’s up against Ore so she’s doomed and it doesn’t really matter what she does.  Or words to that effect.

In the Clauditorium, we learn that Kevin makes Louise say that she’s awesome before every dance and Louise cringes in horror at this, as you could predict. I notice for the first time that her hair is bedecked with lines of ruby jewels along the partings. Snazzy! Claudia asks Ed what music he’ll be doing his salsa to next week, and he makes playing the drums motions and there’s an awkward silence where people try to figure out what that means, before he reveals ‘Gangnam Style’. I kind of love how Ed awkwardly interprets the komedy koncepts they’re throwing at him in a way that suggests he’s only partly in on the joke. Claudia reveals that her body is really sore from doing gymnastics and dancing. Oh well, love, you’re not a bloke so you’ve probably only got two or three weeks left here anyway.

Ore, just about managing not to cry, says he’s living his dream on the show and being in the dance-off is part of the process, so he’ll give it all he can. Laura says that being on the show is brilliant and Giovanni tells her to do things as she did before and Laura says, sure, she’ll repeat the mistake <3
Ore and Joanne first and the routine still suffers from some of the same problems as first run: Joanne’s extensions, stopping and starting, too much skirt wafting – plus he pretty much drops her in the final lift, but it’s still energetic and entertaining and he doesn’t have a crocked ankle so there’s no way he’s going home.

Laura, if anything, is giving even more ridiculous open-mouthed gawping face than last night (I’m beginning to wonder if this cast have a bet on about who can get away with the most ludicrous expressions, because like hell is it just Judge Rinder playing that card), and it still has some stuttering moments where it looks like she’s probably struggling with the pain, but she gives it a good whirl and keeps up with the pace, despite knowing she’s doomed, bless her.

And thus it proves – Craig says one couple danced the best he’s ever seen them, but he’s saving Ore and Joanne – suggesting Laura and Giovanni were the ones he thought performed at their best, though he doesn’t clarify. [To be fair, "at their best" isn't the same as "the best". - Steve] Darcey saves Ore and Joanne for giving it a more finished performance (given Ore full-on dropped Joanne, the bit where Laura does nothing whilst Giovanni showboats must have really got on Darcey’s nerves). Bruno says it was a ‘dance treat’ and both couples gave their all, and the judges ‘didn’t put you there’, even though Laura was second from bottom on their scores, so they pretty much did. Anyway he saves Ore and Joanne and Len would have, too.

Laura thanks hair and makeup and the production team because everyone’s stealing that speech from Brendan this year. Laura says she’ll still come and watch the show. Tess tells them to prepare for their last dance, and Laura asks ‘what’s it going to be?’ It’s ‘How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?’ which, even given this show’s penchant for treating exiting the show as a death, is hella morbid as a last dance (‘how am I supposed to carry on, when all that I am living for is gone’) – can someone check on how Laura and Giovanni are doing today please?

In our post-show interviews, Danny Mac calls it ‘a shocker of a dance-off’. MEOW. 

Next week! Steven has the worst of all theme weeks – WEEK BEFORE BLACKPOOL WEEK! [Which also means I'll have Week After Blackpool Week. I can't catch a break. - Steve] We'll see you then!