Top 7 Results: Sunday 20 November 2016
Last night! We returned to BLACKPOOL for an evening of overstuffed dances with some (Louise, Danny) rising to the challenge, others (Claudia, Greg, Ed) struggling and plenty of overscoring! Tonight! Will we be down to the last woman standing as the brofest that is 2016 carries on apace, or will one of the middle-bottom pack men be sent on their way?
Our opening group number is a rock’n’roll jigathon to ‘The Nicest Kids in Town’ from Hairspray, which, perhaps unwisely, involves the celebrities having roles and not really executing them very well, although Claudia in particular is hampered by a Princess Leia-meets Anne Boleyn style hairdo that means her face is screaming ‘KILL ME NOW’ the whole time. The male celebs are in clashing pink suits (so THAT was what Greg was referring to the other day) and green shirts, but that clash is nothing compared to Anton in a bright orange suit dancing with Natalie in a salmon pink dress. Judge Rinder is referred to as ‘Rob’ (or maybe Bob?) in the roll call – presumably Judge Rinder just wouldn’t have scanned well? [It would've been a bit of an odd fit for the theme as well. - Steve] It’s a lot of fun, but chaotic and it ends with everyone falling over and being covered in silly string, like a work Christmas party (not my work, you understand. Our green sidebar of printer and photocopier use SHAME would be glowing bright red were anyone to get up to bum-xeroxing. Unless they work in Fine Art, obviously).
Tess and Claudia enter, in unusually complementary silver and navy dresses, Tess’s with silver fringing, Claudia’s with silver stars, several of which have been chopped off where bits of fabric join so they look like they’ve been executed. It must be a metaphor for the dance-off. (I can also imagine poor slighted May Martin sighing at this poor pattern-work about how it wouldn’t have happened in her day. Do we have a health check on the Sewing Bee and the Crying Pottery Thing in these post Brexoff times?) [I gather relations between the BBC and Love Productions are basically unsalvageable, so I wouldn't hold your breath. Though I think there might be a series already in the can that hasn't aired yet? - Steve]
Recap time, in which we discover: 1) that the judges have taken to capering round in that carriage what Jordan got married in that time and Craig says he’ll probably whack his 10 out for BLACKPOOL; 2) The Tower Ballroom backstage looks like a health and safety nightmare, all stacked tables and props – I bet you some of them were blocking fire exits; 3) Ed’s jive looks better than Claudia’s in recaps; 4) Greg’s as sick of being on 32 as poor old Ashley Taylor Dawson was about 35 way back when.
Tess reveals the first batch of safe couples: Danny and Oti; Ore and Joanne; with the first couple in the dance-off being Claudia and AJ. That segment flies by when there are so few couples, doesn’t it? Tess helpfully reminds Claudia that it’s her first time in BLACKPOOL and her first time in the dance-off and doesn’t that dampen all that build-up of your first visit here, doesn’t it, eh, eh? [I mean, as unwelcome surprises on your first trip to Blackpool go, it pales in comparison to Gorka's... - Steve] She turns to Craig and says he would have given it a 10 without the mistake (only if by ‘the mistake’ he means the whole routine) and asks him how important it is that she is perfect in the dance-off. He says really important, with the silent caveat of ‘unless you’re against Ed or Greg or probably Judge Rinder as well unless we’re having a funny turn’. Len says to just do everything in the same way with a silent ‘because we’re judging on your status in the overall scheme of things and also probably the fact that we maybe want to keep a second woman around for at least another week or two, rather than on anything you’ll actually do in the dance-off.’
In the Clauditorium, Claudia and Danny note how soon it’s happened that so few of them are left and the producers do shaky fist motions at Will. Claudia congratulates him on getting a 40 and Ore on having the highest VW score of the series, telling him he can just ‘forget’ Craig’s 8. Ore says he won’t because it’s useful criticism.
Time for our first very special guests of the evening, Simple Minds. Or rather, Jim Kerr and maybe one or two remnants of Simple Minds and a bunch of people drafted in to make up the numbers. They’re performing ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ and I presume they have another reissue of their Greatest Hits to shill, but their official website hasn’t been updated since July, so who knows? Poor Jim’s voice is past its best, sadly, and we don’t get any pro dancers to watch, though he does cover pretty much the whole dancefloor himself. He’s dressed for the occasion, anyway, in a flock jacket that looks like one of Vicky Gill’s spare paso jackets for Anton (she must have several by now).
Len’s Lens time and the intro clip features Len being clocked in the head with a beach ball. I laughed for once. Well, tittered. We ask Len about the magic of a paso at BLACKPOOL and we look at Louise’s paso as an example, but we’re just told it was a brilliant paso, without any actual reasons, so if you’re looking for any secrets to a great paso other than ‘the floor at Blackpool is springy’ you’re shit out of luck. We then revisit Ore’s never-ending fleckerl and Darcey calling it ‘cute’ when his top line veers a little bit. Give me strength (and I like Ore). We then interrogate Craig on his score and he says to Darcey ‘you just showed it’ and she snaps that it was a tiny little mistake and Craig takes the moral high ground on not giving 10s for mistakes… which would be fine, except we come to Danny and Oti and, as is customary on Len’s Lens, the clip they’ve chosen to demonstrate his perfection and synchronicity with Oti is one in which they go a bit out of sync with each other. Oh and Darcey was fake shocked at Craig giving a 10 even though he said he was going to do that before the show. And Claudia pretends a 10 from Craig is a super-rare thing, rather than something he’ll start flinging out with wild abandon at any old random tat that takes his fancy from now on.
Back with Tess to hear the remaining results. Safe are Louise and Kevin and Judge Rinder and Oksana leaving the two bottom of the leaderboard couples in danger, and of those, it’s Greg and Natalie who are dancing off again, and in all likelihood, going home. Greg says he’s quite relaxed and he’ll just try and nail everything he got wrong before. Bruno says he should keep the lighthearted, fun feeling and try to smooth the footwork out rather than putting pressure on the feet. Darcey says he needs to cut down his ‘natural power’ and to go out and enjoy it.
In the Clauditorium, Judge Rinder is reminded he’s the only contestant whose score hasn’t gone down [it hasn't bloody gone anywhere for the last two weeks - Steve]; Louise is asked if she’ll be glad to get away from being ‘grr’ in the paso to be happy in the, er, waltz, because apparently that’s still on their to-do-list. Ed says he’s glad people can see that they’re working hard and he doesn’t want to go home yet.
Our second special guest of the evening is Dick Spastley as Ver Hits used to call him and he isn’t singing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ or even ‘Together Forever’ but some new song and ain’t nobody got time for that even if its lyrics are about dancing and he has giant DANCE signs everywhere to demonstrate the relevance.It’s not very good, although still better than that thing Alfie Boe and Michael Ball did (I bought their CD for a relative the other day and freaked out when it appeared in my downloads before I realised what had happened. THANKS AUTO-RIP [oh, THAT old excuse is it - Steve]). We get triple pro-dancing though, with Neil and Katya, Janette and Gorka and AJ and Karen [WHERE THE HELL IS CHLOE - Steve] doing their best slut-Latin (The women are wearing short pleather skirt things that look like binbags and the men tops with see through panels). I actually really appreciate Janette here as she is going full-force and making it vaguely watchable. She’s never been my ultimate favourite pro but I do feel for her after some duff celebs in several series, yet she still seems quite chirpy and enthusiastic and comes across as quite a nice person, so I’m definitely softening.
In the danger zone, Claudia F says the other dancers and the band were brilliant so she’ll try and enjoy herself doing the dance again. Tess reminds us that Greg is a dance novice, unlike the rest of the ringers, and he says he’s had a great time and he’d love to carry on with what’s been a special experience. Natalie says it’s been a dream dancing with him and calls him the best a lot, which is clearly a goodbye speech if ever there was one.
Claudia’s dance is, if anything, worse this time than before – so flat-footed, leaden and clumpy, with her grimacing the whole time. There’s a bit in the middle where they seem to forget what they’re doing and it falls apart pretty much entirely after that. Now let us never have to see that dance again.
Greg seems a lot more comfortable this time than before (except in the hand jive section where he looks completely lost again) and even if it’s not my favourite quickstep in a series that’s had some crackers, it’s a thousand percent better than Claudia’s jive – there’s a lovely leap this time, his footwork is mostly OK and his performance value greater. If there’s any justice, he’d be saved for comprehensively outdancing Claudia, but I still think she’ll be saved for a combination of being a woman, generally performing better in other weeks and not having been in the bottom two before. Not that the judges will say that, obviously.
Craig says both couples improved enormously but ‘closer to perfection’ were Claudia and AJ; Darcey says it’s tough to see both couples down there despite the judges putting Greg there themselves and saves Claudia and AJ ‘for better technique’. Bruno says it was fun watching both couples but he’s picking the couple who were stronger technically and in terms of performance and content – Claudia and AJ. And I’m not a DS conspiracy theorist, but it’s been a while since their critiques have sounded quite so pre-scripted rather than a response to what just happened. Oh, and Len agreed. Eh. #justiceforjamelia #justiceforgreg [Also, second Blackpool in a row that a crap jive has been saved over a decent quickstep in the dance-off because it suited the overall narrative of the series better, what a load of old shit. - Steve]
Greg cries and says it’s been a really special experience and Tess babyvoices him a lot. Natalie cries as well, but not as much as him, and apologises for not getting him further. Aww, I’m going to miss these two. [Me too, although my phone bill will breathe a sigh of relief. - Steve] Tess asks them to get ready for their last dance and Natalie says ‘No! I’m not ready!’ Claudia tells us that next week’s iteration of the rigathon will be the ‘cha cha challenge’ and doesn’t that sound like a laugh riot? *prays for Charleston carnage week one day where the only couple with no broken limbs wins. But only in a series where I don’t like anyone left, obviously*
Natalie and Greg hug everyone to the strains of ‘Bye Bye Love’ and in our post-exit interviews, Claudia cries about how she’s going to miss him and Louise says she’ll miss their cups of tea and chats. I kind of want to join Louise and Greg for teas and chats, I bet you get a warm fuzzy feeling from them. Judge Rinder sighs about no longer being able to hold Greg’s hand and I feel that’s something we should have seen more of in the backstage footage. [YES. - Steve]
So, next week is BLACKPOOL HANGOVER WEEK! Join Steve then!