Saturday Live Show
It’s week six already – where has the time gone? Although, during some of tonight’s dances, it feels like this show is never going to end……Tonight Tess has gone for a one-shoulder number, just for a change (seriously, what *is* it with all the one-shoulder frocks? They’re not terribly flattering in my opinion). Kara and Artem are on the floor first with their salsa. Kara looks fabulous, although I am a bit concerned that Artem seems to have forgotten his shirt. Silly boy. Their salsa is energetic and exciting, with amazing lifts – one of which makes me use bad language, it looks so terrifying (you’re shocked, I can tell). Kara is now the cartwheel queen. I did really enjoy it, but it had more of a showdance feel to me than a salsa. What *are* the rules on lifts, by the way? Len thinks it was a full-on, high energy brilliant salsa, but tells Kara that sometimes she loses a bit of control. According to Alesha it was one of the best show openings, but she did miss the usual salsa armography (maybe that’s why I didn’t think it was especially salsa-y?). Bruno calls Kara a little bombshell, but highlights a mistake, while Craig thinks it was an extremely ambitious routine, but he wasn’t keen on some of the choreography. Nines across the board give them a total of 36.
Pamela feels that James is more upset with her regarding last week’s jive-related tumble down the leaderboard than he’s letting on, and they have a bit of a snippy fight in training. Fortunately they’ve made up by the end of the VT, and it’s on with the foxtrot. After a bit too much finger clicking they finally get in hold, and for the most part it’s a lovely routine but Pamela’s face looks a little frozen to me. There are a couple of little stumbles too, including an unfortunate wobble right at the end. Alesha is glad to see Pamela back doing what she does best, and doesn’t care about the mistakes (that’s right Alesha, you take your judging responsibilities seriously), while Len loves the romance they brought to it. Bruno calls Pamela a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield and Craig commends her for coping so well with the quick, quick slow element, but he’s not so keen on the ‘cheesy 1950s’ ending. Up with Tess James says that he could feel that Pamela was nervous for the first time, which I guess explains the frozen features. Still, they’re happy with their score of 33.
Have I mentioned that I love Vincent before? Well I do – in the VT for their paso doble he says of Felicity “hopefully she’ll be incredi-BULL”. Ha ha! The routine starts with Felicity on her own throwing some flamenco shapes, and it’s a much better performance than last week. I’m still not feeling it though, sorry. Bruno says it had more drama than a full season at the RSC, but at times the flamenco bits weren’t as good as they should have been. Len thinks it was atmospheric and Felicity’s best dance so far, while Craig tells Felicity she needs to use the floor more and the transitions were a bit rough. He ‘sort of’ liked it. Alesha loved the drama and the arm shaping, but it needed more attack. The score is 29 (with a six from Craig) – will they be in the bottom two again this week?
In the VT for their quickstep Jimi tells us his daughter is really proud of him, but when he and Flavia turn up to dance at her school she’s, like, really embarrassed. Their routine is pretty good but doesn’t make much of an impression on me – I’m still finding Jimi really annoying so I’ll own up to not paying close attention. Craig says that Jimi was pigeon-toed and a little heavy at times, at which Bruno leaps to his feet in outrage and exclaims “he was walking on air!” Calm down, Bruno, you’ll strain something. Len thinks it was bright, breezy and light and Jimi’s best dance yet, but tells him that he needs to be cleaner in hold and sharper with his feet. Bruno, now seated, praises the slick and polished jazz era feel and also thinks it was Jimi’s best. They’re rewarded with their best score yet of 32 (with a nine from Bruno. Pfft).
Matt and Aliona have a tiff in training (is there something in the bananas this week?), and he’s struggling with the infamous Viennese waltz ‘sicky spins’. The routine starts with Aliona on a swing under a rose festooned arch, and they’re dancing to Where the Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and Kylie (Nick Cave! On Strictly!). Mike asks if Matt will finish the routine by bashing Aliona’s head in with a big rock. Fortunately we’re spared a ballroom bloodbath – it’s a perfectly nice performance, and Matt’s as good as ever. Why am I not more excited by them? I think it’s Aliona – despite the hair I find her a bit dull, and I don’t think they’ve got much chemistry. Shame. Anyway, Len says he was a bit concerned at the start (he stops short of accusing them of MESSIN’ ABAHT) but praises Matt’s ‘lovely flat back and wide elbows’ (??) and his attempt at the fleckerl. Bruno tells Matt he looked like a prince, and it was elegant and graceful. Craig points out that he missed a few heel leads which upset the balance of the rise and fall (Len interjects to disagree), and says Matt’s thumbs are driving him mad. Er, ok. The magic ten eludes them again as they score 35.
Widdy’s sporting a flapper headband and fringed frock to let us know that this week she’s performing the Charleston. I certainly wouldn’t be able to tell from the ‘dancing’. In the VT she moans about the judges comments last week – apparently she got every step right. IT’S NOT A FLAMING MATHS EXAM. Their routine seems to go on for hours, with Anton gamely (desperately) throwing his all into it while Widdy stomps about looking stern. At the end the framed picture she was seen admiring at the start is revealed to be a picture of Craig. Ha blooming ha. Alesha says that the actress in Widdy is emerging (really?), and that it was more of a comedy sketch than a dance routine, Bruno says that Widdy was like Vera Duckworth’s grandmother and Craig laments the lack of bounce action, timing issues and the fact that she spent more time on her backside than actually dancing (although many would say that’s a positive thing). Widdy asks him “could you do it?” Yes dear, he could – he was a professional dancer and is now a choreographer so SHUT UP. Len, dear jet-lag addled Len, tells them they’re never a chore to watch (YOU’RE GETTING PAID FOR IT, I’M NOT) and they always make him laugh. He gives them a six* (they get 17 in total). GAH. Can you tell I’m tired of this now?
Michelle and Brendan are waltzing to Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx, so I’m sold already. I like their performance – Michelle is so much more comfortable in hold, and she looks serene rather than skittish. Bruno is full of praise for her frame and their body contact, while Len says it was a proper waltz with lovely posture. Craig is rather less impressed – he thinks Brendan is forcing Michelle into some of the positions, and declares it “not bad…..but not good”. Their score is 30, their highest yet.
Oh fab, it’s time for Patsy and Robin’s cha cha. Patsy’s dropped two dress sizes since she started Strictly, and Wardrobe are giving her more revealing outfits to wear. She says that this week’s cha cha dress might make her look like a sausage, but she’s not too bothered as she loves sausages. Hee 😉 She actually looks amazing, and a little bit like Kylie (which is appropriate as they’re dancing to All the Lovers). I’m not wowed by the routine, unfortunately – they seem to spend ages in one spot on the floor, so it feels quite static. The problem is more with Robin’s choreography than Patsy’s performance, I think. Craig calls it ‘cha cha chavvy’, saying it needed more hip action, however he liked the clean New Yorkers. Len thinks it was fun and cheeky but the problem is that Patsy wants to go too fast, while Alesha says it was sexy and confident but there were timing issues. Bruno tells Patsy “don’t worry, cos you’re very good at sex!” *snort* They’re awarded 29.
Scott and Natalie’s run of great dances and brilliant scores comes a cropper with their rumba. It’s not terrible, I quite like his arm placement. But the hips are a bit lacking, as is the romance (if you’re Len) / sex (if you’re Craig). Meh. Len, of course, gives us his usual “the rumba’s really hard for the male celebs” schtick, and thinks that by and large Scott pulled it off. Alesha liked the lines and says it was a good attempt, but a bit static and not Scott’s dance, and Bruno says it wasn’t horrendous but it wasn’t hot either (and his “Scccooott!” is a little less enthusiastic than in recent weeks). Craig tells Scott he looked like he’d just come out of hospital after a double hip replacement. Ouch! The scores are, frankly, ridiculous – Craig gives them a four, which is too low, Len gives them nine, which is too high (since when does “by and large” pulling it off equal a nine?). It’s not often I think Alesha’s spot on with her scoring, but seven is about right. Scott and Natalie’s total is 28, eleven points down from last week. Oh dear.
Gavin is happy as he’s allowed to play rugby again (he’s signed for some team, somewhere). This means his attitude in training is no longer that of a sullen teenager, so let’s all be thankful. There’s even a rugby ball in their cha cha routine (and Katya’s hideous outfit is based on a rugby kit), which makes me wince at the start but actually, it’s not bad. It’s not great either, but Gavin’s definitely improved – his hip action is better, for a start, and he actually seems to be enjoing himself. Alesha says she’s never seen Gavin look so happy, and tells him that he outdanced Scott tonight (way to kick Scott while he’s down, Alesha). Craig points out that he was a little flat-footed, but he could see that he was trying and Len says “last week slack, this week slick”. Ok then. The score is 28 – a five (from Craig) and three eights. Hmmm. I would have gone for a seven, myself.
So that’s it for week six’s live action, on to the results……
Sunday Results Show
The Strictly Showdancers present us with a 1950s diner-set jive number that seems to go on forever. I MISS LILIA. It appears Tess has come straight from a matinee performance of Swan Lake and forgotten to change out of her costume. I nod off slightly during the judge’s conflab – it’s padding, isn’t it? The first couples safe are Felicity and Vincent (I’m a little surprised), Gavin and Katya, Kara and Artem and Pamela and James. Jimi and Flavia are revealed to be in the bottom two – they look shocked, and we hear Bruno exclaim “WHAT?!?” off-camera.
Next there’s a speech from Len about how the judges are going to be very strict about penalising illegal lifts from now on. The pro dancers quake in their shoes (although Kara says she’s pleased cos she finds the lifts terrifying). After a pretty pro foxtrot the remaining safe couples are declared: Patsy and Robin (I actually yelp), Matt and Aliona, Widdy and Anton (grrrrrrrrrr) and……Scott and Natalie. So Michelle and Brendan join Jimi and Flavia in the bottom two. One interminably dull performance from Bryan Ferry later and it’s the Moment Of Truth – Jimi and Flavia are out of the competition. They’re stunned, and poor Jimi (I’m not completely heartless) can barely speak. Michelle is clearly flabbergasted – I think she and Brendan were convinced they were going home. So, the first Shock Exit of this series – what did you think?
*Arlene’s comments here regarding the scoring are pretty spot on, I think.