Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Strictly week 6: brogues, broken backs and the lesser-spotted samba bounce

Week 6! Can it really be week 6? I mean, it feels kind of like week 10, doesn't it? Still, it's a bit like a holiday this week as we get a rest from the intense theming of recent shows. Apart from the Strictly pun writers, of course, who remain manacled in their dungeon while BBC light entertainment drones hold up cards showing images of Bonfire Night and fireworks. Tess's opening voiceover subsequently contains all the dextrous wordplay and gossamer-light, glancing references to the season that you might expect.

Who's first? I'll tell you, although you already know, because it happened half a week ago. It's Lulu and Brendan. They are dancing to Kiss by Prince, which is a BRILLIANT song to tango to. They start at the top of the stairs, and Brendan is quite clearly telling Lulu which steps come next – either that or he's voicing some kind of existential crisis about his life, of which changing his hair was a symptom but not a remedy. I think it's probably the former, though. It doesn't work, unfortunately, because Lulu still comes a little unstuck with her moves. It seems she's meant to kiss Bruce at the end of the routine, but she can't find him, and for a few seconds she looks exactly like a nan who's walked through the doors of the supermarket and can't remember what she's gone in for. Nice hair though, Brendan.

From one pillow-cheeked one-hit-wonder to another – it's time to meet guest judge Jennifer Grey. Hmm. Too harsh, right? Lulu had far more than one hit. Not least, The Boat That I Row, written by Neil Diamond, which is awesome/oarsome etc. Also, Jennifer was in Ferris Bueller. With Jennifer's habit of reading her pre-prepared comments with a taut-skinned expression, it's really a little like having Arlene back on the panel. Obviously it would have been too much for her to have memorised what she was going to say. It's not like she's an actress or anything.

It's the Viennese Waltz for Audley and Natalie. They have one of Holly and Artem's lampposts from a couple of weeks ago – seriously, what's with all the lampposts? I didn't realise they were quite so iconic. Oh OK. Singing In The Rain. That is pretty iconic. I guess they can keep the lampposts. They also have a white bridge, which looks suspiciously festive. I wouldn't be surprised if Will Carling/Susanna Reid/similar was waltzing in a winter wonderland over this come the Christmas special. This week is a return to form for Audley, if by 'return to form' you mean getting lots of things not quite right but being strangely charming with it. Still, he posts his highest score and Tess congratulates him as if he's just abseiled down a cliff face on a youth-club outward-bound weekend.

What will Harry and Aliona have in store for us this week? It's the samba! Aliona includes some actual dance content this week, just to spite Len in the very week when he's not there. Sadly, she still makes Harry touch his crotch after running his hands Grease-style through his hair. The way I've written that makes it sound like it's a huge hygienic no-no or something. I don't mean it like that. What I mean is, HE'S HARRY FROM McFLY. HE'S BETTER THAN THIS. DON'T YOU SEE? It's not Harry's finest hour. His bounce action isn't quite right. The samba bounce action is like some rare species of Amazonian birdlife, much talked about, seldom seen.

Let me say, at this point, that Jennifer Grey is not growing on me. She is strangely anonymous, but maybe this is because she has little of her original face left.

Also, urgh, if the BBC stopped making these tedious training-VT 'sketches' they could probably save BBC4 for all eternity. Or least pay for a decent stylist for Tess.

First Charleston of the series! By Robin and Anita! It's fun squared! Sarah and Keren from Bananarama are in the audience. I don't know if there's any significance to the cameras picking them up at this point. Maybe they are looking for a third member for their next comeback tour. If you see Anita tango-ing to Cruel Summer next week, then you know the audition process has started in earnest.

Talking of earnest.... heeeere's Jason! He's doing the rumba with Kristina. I think the best you can say about any rumba is that afterwards you know there is one less rumba in the world that you have left to sit through. In recent days, I've had some thoughts about the competitive rumba, which I think the governing body of dancing in this country might like to embrace. If we could only remodel the judging criteria so that the rumba was MEANT to be a dance of sexual embarrassment – dripping with awkwardness and cringeworthy facial expressions instead of fluid sensuality – I think we could all get behind it a lot more. Also, inhibited British dancers everywhere would become world leaders in the field. This week, even Jason, with all the relaxed qualities of his national stereotype, is struggling somewhat. Afterwards, Jennifer seems to be saying that she wants more intensity from Jason, which is like saying you want to see a little more speed from Usain Bolt.

Alex and James are doing the quickstep. Alex is steadily improving, especially when it comes to her dance faces. This week, her dance face is 'perky'.

Robbie has his hair modestly ponytailed again. Does this mean, in accordance with my anti-Samson theory, that he will have his dance mojo back tonight? The answer is... sort of. Clearly, I need to give some more attention to that theory, along with the one that London is really run by an army of fox generals and pigeon foot/wing soldiers. They are waltzing, Robbie and Ola, to Love Ain't Here Any More and Robbie is told off by Craig for not smiling. Craig has clearly failed to notice Robbie's sterling *SAD FACE* acting to one of Gary Barlow's most mournful ballads. I mean, it's no Patience but then what is? Robbie is clearly wounded by the criticism, but sadly not enough to hack off his long hair in a fury of despair, which would be my dream scenario. Maybe next week.

Russell and Flavia are dancing the paso doble. It begins with Russell wearing thick glasses, riding a bucking bronco and tossing pieces of blue satin onto the floor. I genuinely have no idea what it's all supposed to mean, but Russell's spectacles, tailoring and general physical demeanour remind me a lot of
Alber Elbaz, so I'm wondering if it's all an elaborate satire on the fashion industry.

The second Charleston of the evening is being danced by Pacha and Chelsee, who lose their synchronicity on occasion but are still the best of the night. Generally, a man in a vest does little for me, but Pasha is making a good case for the sleeveless male garment. I take back what I said about him looking like Chico. That was Week 1 and we were all much younger then. Apart from Lulu.

Finally, it's Holly and Artem. I'm loving Holly's trousers and brogues combo. Call me a prude, but it's nice to enjoy a Latin dance without constantly being assailed by a glimpse of female gusset. Also, she reminds me of Madonna on the poster for Desperately Seeking Susan. Holly finally finds some inner fire-power for their jive, which is back-breaking. Literally. ARTEM HAS LITERALLY BROKEN HIS BACK. How does this happen? It's only dancing. It's not even show-dancing. I think Artem needs to up his calcium intake.

Come results time, it's Brendan and Lulu who are leaving the competition, to the shock and trauma of a minority – which apparently doesn't include Brendan who has never seemed more lovely or more radiant. He bids an engaging goodbye to the competition, barely remembering to mention Lulu. And in this arena of near-constant physical bonding, he cannot even bring himself to throw an arm around her. Now Brendan can spend the working days fishing with Anton, feeling the wind in his new hair, eating ham sandwiches and talking about what it all means. Life, that is.


Roz said...

Well done Miss Jones, you have excelled yourself this week. The lamppost, Lulu's confusion, Bananarama...you missed nothing. Obviously we all spotted how hopeless Jennifer Grey was, but you summed her up magnificently. And I learned who Alber Elbaz is. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I know. So weird about Jennifer Grey – they had to keep saying her name to try and convince one that one knew who she was because she is totally unrecognisable from the last time anyone saw her in anything. When she was in Friends the nose had gone but at least the hair colour was the same – now she literally could be someone else completely who has just managed to hoodwink the BBC.

Ms Rose

Nicky said...

Brendan Dancing With Holly Shocker! Poor brokeback Artem :)

Anonymous said...

loving your work miss jones!

did anyone think Tess's dress was just a bit too tight in the lower body, it looked almost painful, though not as painful as her script, god bless her. what's the bets jennifer grey will turn up in Dr Who at xmas? invasion of the dancing stiff-faced z listers or summat...

brendan and lulu are clearly not bezzies, bet he's delighted to slot into artem's place, bet kara is delighted too!

Anonymous said...

...obviously not in a sexual sense (brendan slotting into etc etc, that would be too gross and oh dear, my head just exploded...)

Anonymous said...

I posted this on another blog, but surely the only song Jason could have danced the Rumba to is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-2BLRg9dCU&feature=related He'd have got the votes of everyone my age, for who that was THE television event of their childhoods!

Loved Artem and Holly's jive, poor Artem :( .

Love your blog btw, makes me laugh LOTS! Thank you!

Alison said...

Yes, Jennifer Grey could have been absolutely anyone! Why didn't they get Karen Hardy to stand in for Len, instead of doing the red button nonsense which probably no-one watches anyway.

I also HATE the "comedy" VT!! It's supposed to be the couples in training, not fart-arsing around pretending to be ghosts or visiting farms etc. Make it stop!

I hardly noticed lovely Dave Arch this week, but did lust over Harry's chest a bit. Oh god, I think I might be turning into Bruno....

InvisibleWoman said...

I assumed Russell was channelling the Milky Bar Kid - the original one - a bit before your time probably. Poor Artem - she's quite a big girl Holly, isn't she?