It’s the semi final showdown! I bring you….yet more bullet points (hey, there * are* 3 shows to get through this weekend). So with no further messin’ abaaaaaht:
Friday Live Show
- Pamela and James paso doble: In the VT Pamela says how proud she was to get the full complement of tens last week. Their training footage looks a little shaky (the dancing, not the camera work) so I’m afeared, but I actually thoroughly enjoy the routine. There’s some lovely skirt-work from Pamela, and it’s all performed with a great fierce intensity. I could have done without the Strictly singers mauling Bad Romance though. Len liked the spirit and the chair-ography (of course there was a chair), Alesha admires Pamela’s focus, Craig praises the stong lines but picks up on a couple of solo wobbles from Pamela, and Bruno does a frankly scary impression of Lady Gaga and calls Pamela a “red menace”. They score 35 (eight from Craig, nines from the rest).
- Kara and Artem Viennese waltz: We learn that Kara thinks Craig was making up words when he called their tango phantasmagorical (Artem thinks it too, but English is not his first language). Kara’s found learning 3 dances stressful and has a bit of a tizz in training. Their VW is completely lovely (she’s in pale green, and looks like a very pretty peppermint), with beautiful phrasing and there’s a lot of variety in the choreography (VWs can often be a tad dull). I just wish her foot hadn’t come off the floor – twice! – when she was being twirled by Artem! Not because I mind myself, but because Craig will spot it. And he does, of course, so they get a nine from him and tens from the other three judges. Pah to pernickerty-ness!
- Gavin and Katya samba: As usual Gavin’s glued to the mirror in training, causing Katya to bark “Gavin! Get away from the mirror!” Ha. They’re going all out for the Welsh vote, with support from the mayor of Cardiff and a male voice choir. Somehow I don’t think it will be enough….Learning three dances is a trial for poor Gavin, who complains that he can feel his brain hurting then calls Katya a headache on heels. Apt. I can’t be bothered to talk about their samba. You don’t mind, do you? Katya’s outfit is pretty though. The judges are equally underwhelmed, giving a total score of 27.
- Scott and Natalie Argentine tango: rather undermining his manly aura, Scott struggles to lift Natalie in training – although he does gallantly insist that it’s not because she’s fat. We do have eyes, thank you. For their routine there’s a lamppost! And a hat! And the music from that dishwasher powder advert! Thrilling. It’s not bad, but it is a bit languourous and lacking in heat. There’s a big lift at the end that I don’t think really fits with the routine, but at least Scott manages to pull it off without straining anything. Craig and Alesha would have liked stronger leading from Scott, while Len wishes he looked more like he was “out on the town trying to pick up totty” *insert appropriate angry growling here* Bruno is the only one to “get it”, likening it to film noir. He gives them a nine, and with eights from the others their score is 33.
- Matt and Aliona salsa: Aliona says that her main aim is to make sure that Matt is “in the zone”. Surely, dear, it should be to choreograph great routines that suit him? Hmm? No. Instead we get a very basic salsa, with a lot of “sexy” grimacing, awkward armography and a bit with Matt on one knee clumsily thrusting his hips at Aliona that makes me feel quite unwell. The studio audience love it (fools!), which means Matt is completely unprepared for the barrage of criticism he’s about to get from the judges. Oh dear. Watching it back the criticism does seem to go on forever, and it’s all directed at Matt – it’s quite hard to watch really. Plus, WHY ARE THEY NOT HAVING A GO AT ALIONA? FFS. They get 28, their lowest score, and Matt looks utterly dejected. Aliona’s probably just thinking about custard.
- Swingathon: I love the bit in the VT where Gavin talks Katya through tactics with the aid of a flipchart. Like that’ll help!! The actual swingathon (stop sniggering) is pretty hard to watch – there’s so much going on and the camera is whizzing around all over the place it’s hard to concentrate. I can tell however that Gavin’s not coping very well, and they’re the first to be dismissed (I don’t think they hear the announcement as they have to be ushered off the floor), receiving one point. Next off are Scott and Natalie, followed by Pamela and James, leaving Matt and Kara to battle it out. Matt looks done in and is soon put out of his misery, making Kara and Artem the victors with five points. My mother in law likened the swingathon to They Shoot Horses, Don’t They – but without the grinding poverty, depression and death, obviously.
Saturday Live Show
- Tonight we are being treated to the sight of Artem’s bare chest. Hubba. Remember my week 1 recap where I refused to find him sexy? Idiot.
- Scott and Natalie Charleston: Scott is dressed as a sailor and they’re dancing to Anything Goes. It looks to me like he goes completely wrong at the start. The rest of the routine is jaunty but not particularly exciting – it’s a bit too floppy for me. The judges are all positive, although Craig does pick up on the odd beginning, calling it “nebulous”. They score 35 – eight from Craig and nine from the others. I’m not even sure I’d have given it eight.
- Kara and Artem rumba: Craig is expecting perfection from Kara, which, given that she describes herself as a “wobbly person”, might be a bit too much of an ask. I think their rumba is STUNNING – tender, romantic, sexy *fans self*. Gorgeous lines, great connection between them (natch). And not ruined by the Strictly singers as it’s an instrumental, thank god. Alesha says it was pure magic, Bruno says Kara danced to a professional standard and Len thinks it was knockout. Craig, darling pedant that he is, says it was almost perfect but for the lift. At first I think there’s something wrong with his eyes, but having watched it back Kara’s feet do indeed leave the floor during a twirly bit. Bugger! This of course means he only gives them a nine, but at least the others wave their ten paddles.
- Matt and Aliona tango: the VT shows Matt storming off after their horrible salsa last night, which some will say is ungracious. It’s clear he wants to get to the final so badly – I can understand his frustration. I think Len’s right when he says that sometimes Matt “overdances” – if he could relax a little and take some of the pressure off himself I think he’d get better comments. But mainly, as you know, I think the problem is Aliona and her lazy-ass choreography. They’re on better form tonight with the tango, but it’s nowhere near as good as Kara’s in my opinion. Their score is 38 (tens from Len and Alesha, pfft).
- Gavin and Katya Viennese waltz: Tonight Katya’s resplendent in a red muu muu, which is an interesting wardrobe choice. Gavin, as usual, looks much happier and comfortable in hold, and it’s a nice routine. His timing’s all over the shop though and it’s a bit skippy in places. Still, for his last dance (surely?) it’s not a bad effort. Craig comments on the timing issues – Katya says the sticky bit was because they had to avoid the lamps at the edge of the floor. Surely she knew they were there before? Len tells Gavin he’s his hero, which is just plain silly. Maybe if he was in with a real chance of winning it, but not just for being a sportsman and turning up every week. Craig – six, Len – nine (!), Alesha and Bruno – eight (total 31). Would have been a seven from me.
- Pamela and James quickstep: Pamela looks fantastic in tails, leotard and top hat. She’s 61! They start side by side, with canes, then Pamela does something to her outfit and hey presto! a skirt made out of pink streamers appears. It’s a lovely number, complete with a tap section. I do love a bit of tap dancing. Pamela’s so light on her feet that it looks effortless. The judges are all effusive in their praise, and out come those tens.
- So, that’s it – the couples have done all they can. On to the results show!
Sunday Results Show
- After a paso from the show dancers (why no Ian? And is it just me or is Darren sucking in his stomach all the way through?), the first couples through to the final are…..Pamela and James, swiftly followed by Kara and Artem. I am VERY PLEASED. Tess chats to them, and bless him, Artem is manfully trying to hold back tears. LOVE. HIM.
- There is a moment of true horror when Brucie performs a duet with one of the singers, accompanied by Ola skipping about dressed as Goldilocks. Has someone put something hallucinogenic in my wine?
- Take That perform Back for Good for the first time since Robbie rejoined the band. JOYOUS JOY.
- And now, the final curtain for two couples. Gavin and Katya are the first to be shown the door, then Scott and Natalie. I’m happy with the outcome – I think Kara, Pamela and Matt are worthy finalists (although if Matt wins I shall ignore the fact that Aliona will get her mitts on the glitterball). Kara to win, please. I think the final is going to be fab – I can’t wait for those show dances!