Things are not always what you think.
A few years ago I was listening to someone talk about Robinson Crusoe and how Man Friday was just a figment of his imagination. I found this shocking. For thirty-five years I had thought that Friday was a native from another island. Instead he never actually existed. I had to take a moment to come to terms with it.
Last week, when it was announced that Andy Williams had cancer, I found out that Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs, 9:00am, on a Sunday, was pre-recorded. And I always thought that it was live. Can you imagine Steve at home, in bed with Mrs Wright on a Sunday morning listening to himself? ‘Hey, love, listen, this is where I sing over the vocals, this is when I’m funny, hey listen up, you’ll love this . . .’
Did you know that the Sunday night results show was filmed on Saturday?
Did you know that some parts are pre-recorded and spliced into Saturday’s viewing?
Did you know that our hostess’s dresses are so tight that she is hauled to the gantry from the ballroom floor to interview the dancers by a crane because, very dalek-like, she can’t walk upstairs?
Did you know that everyone wore poppies last week, and this week, and will continue to do so till Christmas?
Did you know that our hostess is taking elocution lessons?
Did you know that juddge Lulu won the spread bet on when Bruno would be up out of his chair? (First dance, by the way.)
And so to that trampette and Jennifer Grey, and similar. I was told by a man in the know that using a trampoline is common practice in dancing, especially in ballet where the great Darcey Bussell proclaimed that she became a brilliant trampolinist given the frequency of its use. Well, I’ll be. Now where was Darcey last week when we needed her the most? Sunning it Down Under, that’s where.
Gladly Len returned this week to allow Jen to fly back across the pond to her corner.
The show was not the same without Len’s mastery. We all know how nice it looks; we all know of the expertise of the two male gay judggies, though their continual flirting is getting boring and tiresome and somewhat off-putting. Whilst I am no homophobe we don’t get anyone staring at the girls and extolling their physical attributes in such an open fashion. There is a time and place for sex and it is not in front of the family on a Saturday evening. Surely Moira Ross, the show’s producer, knows this? I’ll ask her.
What Len adds is credibility. Reality. How dancing should be and he rightly stands his ground even in dispute with his other juddgies. ‘Silly little sod’ he called Craig. Not what others have called him but it did create a moment . . . a moment when Len’s apology was instantaneous.
The reason? Harry’s Argentine Tango, the top score of the night, two tens, Craig a 9 and Len, the lowest of the low, with an 8.
I sympathise with the Head Juddge.
What we witnessed was a TV crafted routine, where the placement was so precise, almost too choreographed, almost faultless, a fantastic performance by Harry, great lines, great delivery, a sure sign that no one will touch him come the final.
A quick forensic analysis would show you that the routine went like this: he knelt down, drop, shape, ganchos, drag, lift, spin, her lines, a box basic, thrust, a heel roundabout from her, a turn from him, her leg extension, a nice swivel and rondé section, he stood still, she ganchoed, lift, straddle, roll, rope spin, running turn and finish. Lots of content but not much dancing.
The big problem though is that the Argentine Tango is about a gaucho in the docks of Buenos Aires, either fighting in the queue for a prostitute, or dominating the lady of the night, leading her, getting his money’s worth, making sure that he is duly satisfied. It is a dance led from the chest. It is a dance that he should lead. What we got, in spite of its brilliance, was Harry again limited in terms of the steps he was asked to do, and the focus was on her beauty, lines and performance.
To coin a McFly song, it’s all about her.
And it shouldn’t be.
In contrast to Harry, bring on Anita and Robin, her looking like a real vamp, maybe a madame from a whorehouse, or certainly the front of the queue if Bruce were looking for another younger woman, an Argentine Tango worth all the 33 points awarded, Len giving it 9, just to make a point.
The dance was like a great cake, fabulous colours, electric blue and blood red, mixed in with perfect music and a brilliant performance, a smart combination, a sure sign that this cupple will be hard to dislodge as much as the youngsters dominate.
And just after I wrote that, there I see them in the bottom two in the results show where Tess delighted to let everyone see how the dancers ranked on the leader board.
Thank goodness it wasn’t Jonathan Ross hosting.
What this shows now is that the GBP will have far more a say in this show where just a voat counts rather than a performance or ability. It happens on the other side too, you know, that singing show, a Macdonald’s compared to Strictly’s Michelin star.
What it means is that as true dancers improve there is always the chance that the buffoonery will survive, just as Russell did, 26 for an American Smooth that included a clothes change. I kid you not.
Dancing to ‘I Am What I Am’ the balding astrologer performed something that was so shockingly bad that it was almost good. It really was an ‘ohmigod’ moment as he exited the closet, on time, dressed in a gold glitz of a suit last wore by Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. I can’t remember the dance much suffice to say there were no lifts except for when Russell skipped at the end, thus just managing to lift himself.
Now contrast this to Robbie who managed three lifts in his Smooth; only two are allowed but no one picked up on it. Next week the show goes on a mini-tour and will be staged at Wembley Arena in front of 6,000 people, a real target for an ex-footballer even if this venue is more famous for hosting Neil Diamond than Derby County.
Robbie and Oh-la danced to ‘Sway’ by the Pussycat Dolls, a song more akin to a Cha Cha, but as our hostess adorned her vocabulary with dancin’, liftin’ and how amazin’ it was, Robbie showed a clearly demonstrative improvement in his new art. He likes the Ballroom more than Latin and it showed, his style and grace getting better and better. 31 was a fine effort but he will have to be on his mettle next week; I fear a slow dance looms, maybe a Rumba . . .
Dancing the Cha Cha was Audley probably wondering why he didn’t get ‘Sway’. He’s had a bad knee this week and who knows whether that has impacted on his training. My guess is that it must have. Whilst his timing was okay and he did a nice rotation towards the end this effort was so laid back it was almost horizontal, something that I always thought he wanted to avoid. Too cool for school said Juddge Aggie. It wasn’t sharp, meticulous or delivered. A 3 in week seven is no fun. Neither 20, even lower than Pussy Galore.
The rest of the cast were a delight to behold.
Alex and James began the fun dancing a Jive to ‘River Deep and Mountain High’, a tune with a veritable lick of speed, and even though she was dressed like a pom pom girl from a porn movie she attacked the routine with energy, gusto and heart. Here is one proud girl, a competitive one. Her score matched Robbie, the two of them battling now to lengthen their stay on the show.
I bet you didn’t know it but last year’s winner, Kara Tointon, was seen in the car park at Waitrose, Henleaze, handing over a thick envelope of wedge to a bloke in a spiv suit and a Flash Harry hat. This was the fee to the lads for making sure that R-Tem was injured and wouldn’t be dancing the Rumba with Holly this week.
Poor love that R-Tem is he’s torn a muscle somewhere, or trapped a nerve that could have spoilt his night, or career, so out came Holly with her fellow countryman Brendan Cole – I keep telling you she was born in New Zealand but no one listens – and Rumba they did, the partnership working immediately though with another few weeks under their belt this could have been really something.
When it comes to the Rumba Brendan is at the top of his game and he brought Holly with him in a rousing performance. There were times when she didn’t complete moves, there was a rather vulgar leg closing section and you always suspect that she is holding back, but 34 wasn’t too shabby.
Nor the Viennese Waltz from Jason and Kristina, a point more, a Waltz with speed, quality and a Fleckerl. Craig spotted an issue with Jason’s arms, a term locally known as blatting, not extending from each joint, not pushing from the middle of the back, but that was a momentary loss of concentration from this fiercely determined Aussie. Is there another type? There was plenty of drive and pace and delivery, the most genuine VW we have seen this series to date. For that alone he should be commended. Can’t remember a lamp post in this one though there was a smidgen too much Salsa and underarm turns to kill time. Nice to see the young girl mechanic from Neighbours make an appearance too.
Just as Juddge Alice hits the high spot of the front of the queue to do the washing up at Travolta Towers she goes and gives a ten when there is a blatant mistake in the dance.
Chelsa was doing the Fox Trot, a verra verra difficult dance, a dance for ladies of sophistication, a dance of class, one not best described as ‘ded posh innit Pash.’ The name Eliza Dolittle was mentioned and never more needed.
The thing about self-belief though is that if you say yes enough to yourself you will become what you wish (careful, the reverse is true too) and if you believe that you are elegant, can be elegant, will be elegant then you will be elegant, well your version, and that is what Chelsa did beautifully. Clearly she has talent and she has moved into the top three, a genuine contender, and if she can eradicate the smallest of flaws that seem to populate each performance it’ll make Christmas a cracker. This week she hopped on a turn, lost her centre and she also needed to sharpen the accuracy of her feet, one or two corrections apparent. Len’s 8 added reality and she still got 36. Personally I would have docked a further two points for including a floor slide. In the Fox Trot. Ye gads!
That just leaves me to announce who has left the show, as if you didn’t already know.
It’s not often that Audley survives 7 rounds these days.
November 16th 2011