Monday, 17 October 2011

Give my regards to Broadway

It is Broadway night on Strictly Come Dancing – a neat way to jazz (hands) up one of the interminable early shows. And as the contestants enter, there is much to note and discuss – Brendan's cape, Harry's bare chest, but all I can think is 'ROBIN'S HEAD! THERE IS A THING ON ROBIN'S HEAD. WHAT IS IT? IS IT A DEAD BLACKBIRD? NO, IT ISN'T! IT IS HAIR!!! ROBIN HAS HAIR!'

Robin and Anita will be dancing to a song from
Hairspray, but surely the hair and make-up team can't really have thought, 'If only Robin had some kind of wig on, he would look EXACTLY like Zac Efron.' Maybe they did. What we've ended up with is less Zac Efron, or any generic Link Larkin, and more Harry Connick Jr's older brother who runs a bingo hall.

Anyway. Let's concentrate.

Holly and Artem are first up tonight dancing the Cell Block Tango from Chicago, which should be amazing, only a) SOUND THE ARTEM BAD HAT SIREN, and b) every time Dave Archer's singers sing 'Lipschitz' all I can think is 'They are saying shit on the BBC and it is only 6.30! Heads will roll!' Miss W, my sofa companion who is not a Miss any more, remarks astutely that should Holly and Artem get to the final, they will revisit this routine and it will be amazing, but at the moment it is not. It needs more strength. Also, I am immaturely distracted by the fact that it really looks like Holly has no pants on.

Dan is doing the Viennese Waltz in a pleather waistcoat, which, once again, is a challenge for any man. He is dancing to Someone To Love from, I assume, We Will Rock You. I am rocking, this is true, but more backwards and forwards in a 'this is quite uncomfortable' type of way. Dan at least manages some smiling this week, but I am really worried he is becoming Craig Kelly. This was the fate I originally envisaged for Jason Donovan, which J-Don escaped by being good at dancing. But Dan has the Kelly belief that things have gone pretty well just because he hasn't actually forgotten any steps – when really they haven't. Oh Dan.

Anita and Robin Connick Jr! There's a bit of joshing around with a giant fake can of hairspray at the start, presumably designed to match Robin's giant fake hair, and then they get down to a frantic jive, during which Anita commendably manages to sustain her 'Best fun ever!' face from start to finish. The judges give her little credit for thrashing her way through it at the age of 62, but perhaps that's because they, like Bruce, think Anita is trapped in a timewarp of 20 years ago, what with his constant banging on about the Queen Vic. SHE DOESN'T WORK THERE ANY MORE, BRUCE.

At this point, Bruce welcomes one of his favourite singers Jack Jones to the show, to the indifference of the majority. Unfortunately all I know of Jack Jones is that he sang misogyny anthem
Wives And Lovers. Presumably he sang other songs too.

Alex and James are dancing the Viennese Waltz to Memory from Cats. James loves these slow numbers, but I don't think Elaine Paige would love what Dave Arch's singers are doing to her song. They do a graceful and elegant job, despite the fact that Alex's nan has collared her backstage and insisted she carry a large handkerchief in each hand 'just in case'.

Rory has a bit of a tantrum in training, but don't worry, Rory, because guess who's here to help you. Yes, it's Lionel Blair! I know, not ideal, but it's the best they could do. Times are hard. Rory and Erin dance the quickstep to Top Hat (I think) and Rory negotiates a very difficult 'cane catch'. Lionel must take a lot of credit for this, and I like to imagine him throwing the cane to Rory again and again, while pulsating motivational music plays, shouting 'NO! WRONG! AGAIN!' until Rory can do it blindfold. The routine is great, not least because Rory does not do any impressions.

Lulu seems to have come tonight as Felicity Kendal who, coincidentally, is also in the audience. They are saluting The Good Life Musical - an off-off-off-Broadway hit from 1984. Oh wait, that's a mistake, Lulu and Brendan are actually doing the rumba. Urgh, the rumba. Lulu has a little self-hating cry in training about how useless she is. MAN UP, LULU. Brendan is wearing a cape his mum has made him and Lulu is in a nightie. The BBC cuts have swathed right through the wardrobe department, but there still seems to be plenty of cash left for IDIOTIC PROPS. There's a chance this is actually a good rumba, but to me it still looks like a cheesy old load of interpretive bollocks.

Nancy and Anton! Dancing a tango! What can possibly go wrong?! Actually, not that much! Which is not to say it's any good. There seems to be a creative struggle in the training room, with Nancy suggesting her own ideas for choreography. The result is that she mostly pouts and looks sexy, while Anton moves around her in another terrible hat, although it's not clear if this is Nancy's idea or Anton's. They have a kind of push-and-shove argument at the end of the routine, and, again, I have no idea whether this was planned.

Audley and Natalie are dancing to It's Too Darn Hot, so they go training in a heated bikram yoga room. YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID? THE ROOM IS LITERALLY TOO DARN HOT. This series, Natalie seems to be a shadow of her former, dementedly competitive self. I think in previous years, she's caught a whiff of potential victory early on and pursued it like a bloodhound, but she seems more zen these days – although on reflection perhaps doing dance training in a near-sauna is Not Entirely Normal. Their quickstep is big fun and reminds you that Natalie is pretty handy when it comes to the old choreography.

Following the model of Gethin Jones and Chris Hollins, I was expecting Dann Lobb to be the one who went on a journey this series, but I think it's going to be
Robbie Savage. He may even be there already. See how he's falling in love with dancing! See his bromance with Russell Grant! See how he's on the verge of tears when the judges praise him! See how he bonds with his adorable children! It's only week three. Goodness knows where he's got left to go during the next seven weeks. It will have to be a major religious conversion or gender realignment at this rate. They dance the tango to Gimme Gimme Gimme by Abba, which is, on paper, gold but we must still salute the genius of Ola. Poor Harry must weep when he watches this. Also, Robbie seems to have found the right level of attack – which is to say controlled aggression, not actual bodily harm.

Russell and Flavia are dancing a foxtrot. Russell is so relentlessly positive about everything, it's a wonder he manages to get anything done. It must take at least 20 minutes to make a cup of tea once he's said how grateful he is for the kettle, the water, the teabags and the milk, and told the sugar how happy he is to have it in his life. It's a great song, a great dress (for Flavia) and great choreography, and Russell is not going home any time soon, and I'm exhausted just thinking about how blessed and thankful that's going to make him.

Jason Donovan is taking on the tango to I Will Survive. It sounds like it shouldn't work. It is genius. Jason's 'attack' faces are especially spectacular, and should really have a show of their own. I imagine they would constitute an excellent anti-ageing regime, when done in combination with some other exercises for the facial muscles. Perhaps this is what keeps Jason looking so young. And perhaps he could pass them on to any fellow contestants who may be taking a less natural approach to staying young. Not that I'm singling anyone out, obviously. Oh hi, Lulu! You look nice today. I suspect Jason is cheating slightly by replicating some moves he's previously performed in Priscilla, but sod it. Len calls Jason 'The Midwife' because he keeps delivering. I wonder how long Len has been waiting to use that one.

Pacha and Chelsee are channelling Jersey Boys, although Pacha looks more like a showjumper. I would love it if someone used a live horse in one of their showdances. Their cha-cha-cha feels pretty much like their salsa, and I'm a little bit bored (despite Chelsee's ability) so please can they have something radically different next week. Not the rumba though, obviously.

Harry is jiving to Grease Lightning with no shirt on. Even Aliona cannot blight this for me. Harry's 'jive action', as Strictly afficionados say, is brilliant, and I feel a little sad that he's having to spunk it in an early week of the competition, instead of being able to play it like a joker in week 7 or week 8, when his chances of making it through to the next week are tighter. When they finish the routine, Harry breaks off IMMEDIATELY to do a cute 'Thank god that's over' face. Aww. He also deals admirably with Bruno's borderline sexual harassment.

And that's that. Contrary to my expectations, Broadway week has been pretty awesome. In the end, it's Dan that goes home before he can even start his journey. I thought the female voting public would carry him through, but I suspect he was betrayed by his fellow mid-table under-the-radar contestants (Alex, Rory) having a really strong week. Anton, who is also in the bottom two, looks surprised and a tiny bit gutted at his own reprieve.

You are not this year's Chris Hollins then, Dan. In the end, you were not even Craig Kelly. I probably still would though.


trashsparkle said...

I love how they pretended not to notice Brendan's latest tactic to Not Let Them See Lulu's Footwork Properly. Dry ice. Genius.

And how sweet are the mini-Savages, with mini-Robbie hair? ;)

Miss Jones said...

Ha! Yeah, we noticed the dry ice too. With Brendan, it literally is all smoke and mirrors.

Nicky said...

Nancy looked really gutted to be staying too. Maybe around Thursday we'll get a little announcement "Anton and Nancy are sorry to have to tell you that due to artistic differences they can't be arsed to do this any more". Nancy and Bruce's very confused wardrobe routine was a bit of a giggle though: a slightly demented old geezer and a foreigner shouting at each other, neither having a clue what the other is on about.

Anonymous said...

I have a confession to make – to my complete surprise I actually quite fancied Robbie Savage when he did his tango – and he is not my type (that terrible hair) at all!

Dan Lobb is better looking but he got rightly punished for being pleased with himself and a lot less charming than he thought he was. Katya deserves better!

Spot on as usual Miss Jones.

Ms Rose

Miss Jones said...

Well, Ms Rose, I am unsurprised by this revelation. The way things are going currently, we will all have developed crushes on Robbie by week 6. I am already eating my early damning words relating to him.

Anonymous said...

i so agree, Dan was far too pleased with himself, but i was mightily surprised that nance will be kicking the eyes out of spiders for another week....this may tip anton over the edge...

London City Mum said...

I just would like to know why do all footballers - when they open their mouths to speak - sound like they have recently been castrated by an angry Mother Superior who caught them kicking a ball about in the courtyard?

Just a thought.


InvisibleWoman said...

Marvellous, Miss Jones. I missed the whole show on Saturday on account of a rare night out. I know. Me, out. Now I don't even need to watch it on playback. Can't say I've warmed to Mr Savage yet but loving Russell and I thought I would hate him. Can't stand all that astrology nonsense (Pisces if you were wondering).

Word verification=chalangu which sounds like a dance doncha think?

Cx said...

Am I wrong in saying Dan Lobb looks a bit like Mcsteamy?

Accidental Londoner said...

I may simply give up watching on Saturday night and merely wait for your hilarious reviews, Miss Jones!

Lulu has been a surprising disappointment for me...I thought she'd be rather fabulous, alas no...

Anonymous said...

A magnificent account of SCD does Broadway as ever, Miss Jones.

One of my highlights (and there were many) from Sat night was Russell's wink to someone in the front row (I'm guessing Lionel Blair) mid-routine. I'm not ashamed to say I've watched it several times on Iplayer.


Anonymous said...

Loving your blog again this week, though can't help but think you've done Holly an injustice by referring to her as Kara in your review of her dance! :) x

Miss Jones said...

So I have. Amended now. Thanks. x