Sunday, 29 November 2009

Arrivederci il mio amore*

This may be a truncated version of the newly traditional Strictly Blogging Shenanigans. This is because I have been away for the weekend, and for the second time in two recent train trips to Yorkshire, someone met their end on the tracks, so my journey home was delayed. Also, I am getting a cold. And why wouldn't I? It's been at least three weeks since the last one.

Another thing - I have consulted the tabloids and I know the result before I've pressed play on the Sky+. So I am watching this week's show clad in the flowing black garments and lace veil of an Italian widow, pressing pause every now and then to wail hysterically and shake a sodden tissue at the heavens.

So yes, this may be briefer than usual, but what normally happens when I say that is that I end up writing more than ever, so I'll see you in 10 screens of stream-of-consciousness wittering and we'll review the situation then, yeah?

Let us begin.

The pre-credits sequence of Strictly is becoming increasingly like that of Masterchef – Tess voiceovers essentially the same words (Blackpool pun-fest excepted) every week but tries to make them Sound! Increasingly! Dramatic! And! Important! Let's face it, though. This is unlikely to see off recent accusations that this series has become dee, you, double el, dull. But luckily there are Exciting Developments this week, as the couples are doing one of two dances that are new to Strictly, and they are both Properly Fun, which is to say Not Boring - the Charleston and Rock 'n' Roll (my apostrophes). The thrill ride does not end there though, no siree, because Tess has a new fringe. A new fringe! All the better for us to see her brilliant and 100% genuine facial reactions to Brucie's jokes, I presume.

First up: Chris and Ola. The audience goes wild at their mere introduction. They are doing the Charleston to Fat Slam's Grand Slam from Bugsy Malone. If Strictly ever did a Bugsy Malone special it would be amazing - they could waltz to 'Tomorrow… tomorrow never comes' and everything. I would record it on my Sky+ even if I was at home to watch it, and I would never delete it, and I would even press the special K button to Keep it and thus guard against accidental erasing, and I would watch it every time I was ill with a cold which let me tell you is about every two bloody weeks. That's how much I would love it.

It's been a busy week for Chris, as we see him moving into his new home which he will be sharing with his VERY SERIOUS GIRLFRIEND. Everyone connected with Chris, and especially his mother, have been at pains to emphasise how Chris has a VERY SERIOUS GIRLFRIEND. We see James Jordan helping to heave boxes around, which is another step in the Rehabilitation Of James Jordan, from the petulant, angry young man who was really mean to some girl off Casualty a few years ago, and nasty and bitter about John Sargeant in 2008, to the Hell Of A Guy who presents bits on It Takes Two, cooks dinner for Brian Fortuna and helps people move house.

So, the dancing. I still think that Chris's face doesn't do exactly what he thinks it's doing. I am sympathetic because I have that problem myself. People always accuse me of giving situations or things A Look, and I don't mean to, it's just what my face is like, except I probably do mean to, but I am trying really really hard not to show it.

Anyway, Chris's Charleston with Ola is about the cutest thing you could ever imagine, apart from if you could imagine Vincent in a really snuggly jumper rescuing an injured baby rabbit and taking it home and wrapping it in a blanket and feeding it with a little bottle of milk in front of a roaring log fire.

In the red/green room, Tess remarks on the fact that this is the first time anyone's ever danced the Charleston on Strictly, and Chris makes a little joke about how they're going to achieve the highest ever score for it. Winter becomes spring, and then spring turns to summer in the time it takes Tess to get it.

Ricky and Natalie! In the rehearsals, they are joined by '50s icon' and renowned Anglophile The Actual Fonz, who is resplendent in the colours of Norwich City. He says 'Wow' a lot and doesn't really do any actual helping. Still, it's Fonzie, isn't it? Yeeaaahhh!

Who can tell me why I find Natalie and Ricky's dances really underwhelming even when they are obviously really good? This one is not even really good, as they make mistakes and Ricky almost drops Natalie on her head at the end. Oops, clumsy. You might want to knock off the baby oil a bit, Ricky. Yes, it makes your sixpack look awesome but tell that to health and safety when Natalie's slid out of your greasy hands for the 10th time and has to dance her Final Showdance in a neck brace.

Two dances gone and Chris and Ola are leading Natalie and Ricky on the judges' scoreboard. If only it could be like this every week.

Brian and Ali! Ali spends the first bit doing the old 'broken doll' arms thing, and looks like Renee Zellweger in Chicago. Considering she's an actress, when it comes to dancing, Ali is not a brilliant actress. They are technically excellent blah blah blah but as always, I feel like Ali needs to print out the words to Footloose off the internet, stick them up in her kitchen and turn them into a kind of mantra. 'Yes! I will cut loose!' 'Yes! I will kick off my Sunday shoes.' The judges mostly agree with me, but score them 37 anyway.

Natalie and Vincent! Man alive, look at the colour of Vincent. He clearly knew this was going to be his last week, so he decided to let everyone who has ever worked in the make-up department give him a goodbye tan. Their training footage is hilarious, notably for Vincent failing at numerous acrobat moves, and saying, 'I'm scared of a roly-poly.' The judges don't like it, and tell Vincent they really needed the roly-poly in the routine, thus condemning my hero to a year of roly-poly-related self-loathing. Still, I would say that 80% of girls who did PE in the 80s suffered from roly-poly-related self-loathing, so welcome to our world, Vincenzo.

Leila and Anton do the Charleston. In their introduction Bruce stumbles over the word speakeasy, and I find myself actually laughing at this brilliant joke, and then I realise it's entirely unintentional

I think their Charleston is really good, which annoys me as it makes Natalie and Vincent more vulnerable to elimination, and I was counting on Anton and Leila going out this week. Then I remember last year's Strictly, when all I wanted for Christmas was for Anton to have a partner who is even vaguely competent. And now he has one, I don't really like it. What am I? I am NEVER SATISFIED.

This year, all I want for Christmas is for Vincent to get his BAGA one star award.

Next in this officially all-new and exciting episode of Strictly Come Dancing there will be a group competitive dance which will be… oh. It's the Viennese waltz. Dear BBC, introducing a group competition element to the Viennese waltz still won't make it interesting. No, not even if it's supervised by Flavia. They are dancing to Piano Man by Billy Joel though, which does claw back some minor thrill points, for me at least.

Professional dance! Foxtrot with 'a modern twist'. The twist is that they are wearing black and dancing to Muse. It's emo foxtrot! Are Muse emo? Hmm, I don't think so. They are prog, right? I don't really like it. When one of Dave Arch's army sings, 'I won't let you smother it, I won't let you murder it,' I imagine Matt Bellamy is at the same time on the phone to the BBC saying those exact words, with reference to his own composition.

There follows an extremely peculiar segment where all the contestants sit in a Grange Hill-style changing room and Julian Clary (a previous finalist) gives them all a lecture. I honestly don't know what to say.

Now the Riverdance people are Riverdancing to the music of Riverdance. Lo! See how diverse the world of dance can be! See how quickly the Riverdancers can waggle their legs around! See how I am not interested at all and start looking at things on the internet!

And now! A world exclusive by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado! A world exclusive of a duet that came out ages ago! Ha! Who's boring now, hmmm? HMMM? I've said it before and I'll say it again, The X Factor would KILL for this kind of drama.

Results time! Sob! Safe are: Ali and Brian, Chris and Ola (Ola is very excited and jumps on Chris, who says thank you repeatedly towards the camera, and does a kind of sitcom eyeroll about Ola, like 'Oof! My wife!') and Leila and Anton (who are appropriately gobsmacked). All though this, Vincent looks like he Knows. And when it is clear that it is him and Celebrity Natalie and Ricky and Professional Natalie in the dance-off, he looks like he Really Knows.

I am glad of the isolated fact that Ricky and Natalie are in the dance-off, but not glad they are in it with Vincent and Natalie, as it's so obvious how it will end. Especially if you read it in the News Of The World in WH Smith that morning. This time Ricky and Natalie do not mess up and you can see Natalie and Vincent in the corner of the stage dancing along with them and having fun. They are SO BRAVE. Ricky and Natalie do the same in return, but obviously it is not as good as when Natalie and Vincent did it, and they are basically Copying.

It's a sombre judges' verdict. Alesha says they are both winners. NO THEY AREN'T, YOU IDIOT because you are all about to send Celebrity Natalie and Vincent home, which makes them categorically and inescapably NOT winners. It's unanimous, of course. Ricky immediately goes to hug Celebrity Natalie and looks genuinely upset. Professional Natalie doesn't manage either.

Natalie and Vincent are both crying. It's possible that I am a little bit too. The applause for them is unprecedented. Goodbye Natalie and Vincent, we never knew your roly-poly.

Next week: Darcy Bussell joins the judging panel. World reacts with apathy.

*I got this off the internet. Don't blame me.


Anne-Marie said...

Ha! Completely brilliant as ever. I'm torn between sadness that Strictly's about to end and a complete feeling of 'meh' about this year's competition. Most discombobulating.

Anonymous said...

I particularly liked how the judges, Brucie and Tess all avoided mentioning Ricky's arrest directly but kept referring to it oh so subtly by going on about how distracted he was (that will be on account of the impending hit and run charges then). I was disappointed that Ricky and Natalie didn't do their little introductory bit from the police station, with a teary eyed Natalie visiting him and them practising their routine in his cell. It would have been far more interesting, and got them some sympathy votes. Also, if he gets sent down, I hope they do a whole episode from prison, with all the professional dancers dressed up in comedy con outfits and performing an appropriate routine - maybe re-enacting the scene from Bridget Jones 2, or Chicago in fact (Ali could then re-do her Saturday night routine), kind of like a musical Porridge. It would be great. And maybe they could leave Tess accidentally locked in one of the cells forever more for crimes against fashion/light entertainment...

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hog the comments but just realised you have probably in fact solved the whole Ricky Whittle incident in your post - the baby oil! Maybe he had far too much of it on his hands following rehearsals, which caused his hands to slip on the steering wheel, thus veering in to the path of the photographer. Quick, call his lawyer!

Miss Jones said...

Anon, hog away, this is genius! x