Last week the BBC dancing competition attracted an audience of 9.4 million, compared with the all-time low of 4.8 million for its rival, ITV’s X Factor. The only surprising statistic is that nearly five million dweebs still watch that rot.
After last week’s marathon viewing, we had the SAME number of slebs but somehow they managed to squeeze it into two hours. Exactly the same number of dances, but with 20 minutes chopped off. How is this possible? Would the unfunny comedy VTs be cut? One could only hope.
Claudia and Tess dress report: Claudia in rather fetching Bardot dress, Tess in an elastoplast cunningly disguised as a jump suit. Great hair though, so 6/10.
First up, Chizzy and Pasha, dancing the Foxtrot. In the preamble, Chizzy produced her sister, and made the relevatory comment: “My family is very important to me.” More interesting had she said, “I couldn’t give a shit if my family turns up or not,” but perhaps such a remark would make for a difficult Christmas lunch.
She was rubbish. There was a lot of faffing around a table, which involved Chizzy behaving like a woman unable to decide what to eat at the Holiday Inn breakfast buffet, and then it was just a lot of gapping and hardly any Foxtrot. The judges were unimpressed.
Next up, him off JLS. Aston and Janette performed the Salsa to Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber. I hate this tune with a passion, only because Radio One played it incessantly this summer which meant there was nothing else on in our office, because we’re not allowed to listen to anything else (yes, really, it’s a whole North Korea scene where I work. Send help.)
Aston was fabulous. The man is an incredibly talented dancer. He can’t win, surely – there’s no journey and reality competitions demand one. Bruno awarded him nine points. In week two. Unless he gets 10s from here on in, where does Aston go but down?
Susan Calman and Kevin, hurrah! And dancing the super fun Charleston, what’s more. They were absolutely delightful. I mean, it was pretty low on actual Charleston steps and there wasn’t a huge amount of swivel, but still – it was adorable. (Also Kevin was very clever with his choreography – the pros don’t always get enough praise for the routines they devise. End of lecture.)
Brendan and Charlotte danced the Cha Cha to ‘Sugar’ by Maroon 5. Goodness me that girl has a fabulous figure, but the fringing did more dancing that she did. Latin clearly not being her thing, she looked deeply embarrassed throughout. Shirley thought the routine too complicated for Charlotte. Pros’ choreography can make or break the sleb. “She’s very pretty when she stands up,” said Bruno, surprisingly waspish for once. “We all have a bad day. Re-group. Come back again and nail it.” If she gets the opportunity to dance again, that is. She scored 12 points. Yep, count ’em, it shouldn’t take long. She should be voted off, although she’ll have stiff competition from Ruth, as both of them dance as well as close pegs in a stiff breeze.
Joe McFadden and Katya danced the Tango to bloody Ed Sheeran (again, endlessly played in the frickin’ office) but after his terrific Jive last week, unfortunately he rather let himself down. Set, I think, in Narnia – there was a random wardrobe in the middle of the dance floor – he was as about as controlled as Mr Tumnus finding out that the White Witch was about to pop in for tea.
Brian and Amy danced the Cha Cha to ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’ by Peaches and Herb. It was like watching a man with a metal plate in his knee dance too close to a giant magnet, but he gave it his all and magestically refrained from telling Tess to fuck off when she referred to him as a “cheeky chappy”. I rather like Brian actually; he’s 56 years old, he’s dancing to make his daughter proud of him, and he wore sequinned flares. What more can a viewer ask? I mean, he can’t actually DANCE, but hey, neither can loads of them this year. That’s what makes it so much fun.
Next up, Gemma and Aljaz danced the Waltz to ‘Un Giorno Per Noi (A Time For Us)’ by Josh Groban. It was lovely. She tended to forget to finish off her shaping and got a bit lost after her spins, but the characteristic rise and fall was there, she held her frame and she looked to have grown in confidence. If she keeps her nerve and improves each week, she could make the final (my tips are always the kiss of death though Gemma, sorry.)
The Rev and Dianne performed the American Smooth to Love Really Hurts Without You by Billy Ocean. A godawful song from a godawful artist (anyone else remember the horror that was Caribb-ue-an Queen? He wanted to get the Europeans as keen on his song as the Americans, and so mashed up Caribbean and European. The fool.)
On he came, dressed, inexplicably, as a depressed hobbit on his way to the tip on a Sunday afternoon. He was about as far from an American Smooth as a European Rough. Amer-ic-ue-an Smooth (see what I did there.) I confess I was surprised to learn he’s 56 years old, as his outfits, demeanour, choreography and staging make him seem a good 12 years older, but he’s fun and has a huge fan base, so expect more of this for several weeks.
Ruth and Anton danced the Charleston’ by Bob Wilson and his Varsity Rhythm Boys (me neither). Apparently inspired by The Great Gatsy.
She would have done better had she loosened up with a few drinks (tip for next week, Ruth), but she had some decent swivel going on and didn’t get any steps wrong and that’s as much as anyone can expect. Well it isn’t, but I’m trying to be kind. Yes, me being kind. Believe it.
Simon and Karen performed the Waltz to You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rogers and Hammerstein. There was a spin where he pushed Karen around the floor like a man wielding a recalcitrant mower across a lumpen piece of waste ground, but it was a special song for him and is one that means a great deal to a great many people, and so let us say no more about it.
Molly and AJ danced the Tango to Tina Turner’s version of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’ (a terrible version and I should know, I lived through the 80s, hard though that may be to believe) made even more terrible by the Dave Arch singers’ ear bleeding rendition. She started off well , good shaping, plenty of attack, but lost her place somewhat towards the end. Still, decent effort. Apologies for sounding like a P.E. teacher. The judging was bizarre: Craig gave her four points, Shirley gave her eight. Sort yourselves out, you lot.
Jonnie and Oti danced the Jive to Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry. A super difficult dance at the best of times, surely it would be even tougher for Jonnie, given the emphasis on lower leg kicks and flicks? Nope. Energy, bags of attitude, technically spot on.
Debbie and Giovanni danced the Viennese Waltz to She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel (little known fact – it was originally She’s Always A Hamster, and dedicated to Billy’s childhood pet). It played to her strengths and there was an interesting discussion on Twitter as we realised she is younger than Madonna (by just under a year) and is not, as many had thought, a well preserved woman approaching 70.
Perhaps Debbie had over-indulged in the sunbathing when ballet dancing for the Shah of Iran?
Him off EastEnders and Nadiya performed a Quick Step. It was overly sexy, there was illegal lift in the middle, a lot of general faffing about, and as a result the judges weren’t happy. Enders chap took it and shrugged. He’s knows he’s safe.
Finally, Alexandra and Gorka danced the Paso Doble to ‘Ven a Bailar’ by Jennifer Lopez, which the Dave Arch Singers found somewhat challenging. Dressed as a mermaid forced to find work as a char woman, Alexandra gave it her considerable all. She was fantastic; totally bossed the choreography-heavy dance, terrific characterisation, faultless footwork. Every judge awarded her nine points. I mean, Craig. CRAIG. Nine points. In Week Two.
Might she win this thing?