Let’s talk about semi-finals in the real world.
Semi-finals are make or break, they are the gateway to the final, to wealth, to fame, or fortune, to deity, to that foot onto the rostrum. They are also events that can be full of tension, nerves and apprehension, a singular event that can switch the tide far more effective than Cnut ever did, a time for heroes and a time for villains. They are also occasions when the participants normally decide who marches on towards silverware, victory and headlines . . . save the odd fixed fixture in La Liga Italia.
Bring on reality TV.
Whether it be Opportunity Knocks, I’m A Celebrity, X Fixer or Strictla, we know that there are other forces at play. Hughie Green (father of Paula Yates) introduced the clapometer, first discovered in Doncaster. In the Jungle the audience still decide who eats what and who is back in the hotel before you can say Witchetty Grub. We saw the beautiful and gifted Ella Henderson depart from that singing show when the talentless one from Essex went on to the quarter final.
In Strictla, even with the nous of the judggies, much depends on the GBP. How can Kimberley ever have been in the bottom two? How come Denise? Twice? We are never to know who conducts this orchestra. A few years ago the Beeb changed the process so that the bloke who came 4th got into the final and subsequently won. Not good. Now we are left to the whim of the GBP to see who makes it to the big finale next week and the raising of the Glitter Ball. And, whilst all that happens, no one will ever know if the Beeb is telling the truth or not because the voating is not for public consumption. Even if the tax payer finances this ‘great . . . ish’ institution.
Plea for transparency.
So what a relief it was to see that Lisa and Robin finally departed the dance floor so that we can have an ‘almost’ proper final. I say ‘almost’ because now that the four best dancers are through that is a good thing. One departing and three remaining to be judged by popularity next Saturday is not. Surely a final is a head to head?
Lisa scored 31 and 32 on Saturday for her Salsa and her Fox Trot Smooth and those marks were ultimately not strong enough to see her progress. With no malice aforethought this is no bad thing. Whilst the others have ramped up nines and tens – Dani (4 tens), Louis (5), Denise (8) and Kimberley, let’s call her Kimbo for Chrimbo, (10), Lisa’s top score was an 8, her highest total 32, nowhere near the remaining ensemble. Louis has scored a 38, Dani two 38s, Denise a 39 and Kimbo two full houses of 40.
Lisa has done really well to come this far – she outscored every person who has left before her – but you sense watching her technique and performance that there was leniency in her marking, an example being her 32 tonight for her Fox Trot Smooth, two juddgies offering 8s, those 8s from the same juddgies matching Dani’s FT Smooth. To compare the two is easy. To say they both deserved the same score is ridiculous. Such is the weakness of the system.
Again Salsa had the last word, each cupple having dubble trubble this week, at last a bit of a test, enough to satisfy the strapline of ‘bludd, sweat and sequins’. Whilst her score on paper looks credible, dancing to ‘Best Years of Our Lives’, one can only wonder how it tipped over the 30 mark. It wasn’t that the performance wasn’t enjoyable; it was okay, it’s just that it was full of padding, poor transitions and it had a week one quality to it. Had any other dancer dunn it they would only have scored in the low twenties.
The padding included playing the heads of the juddgies like drums at the offset, some Cha Cha Cha, lots of solo faffing and a floor spin where Lisa struggled to complete the turn and to get back to her feet. Robin’s spray tan made him look like Jerry Guscott. It could have done to have been more like Charles Atlas.
Their Smooth was no less nor more endearing, just a point more. The song choice was ‘All That Jazz’ and if only there had been, more Jazz. Lisa used her hands in abundance, they danced apart a lot and this attempted to hide the fragility of the ability on show. The scoring was sympathetic or at least some of that word. A better suited song would have been ‘Leave Right Now’.
There was some hilarity though when Lord Len commented on her ‘razzle dazzle’. What followed was rude so I won’t repeat it; try the iPlayer. Suffice to say that sometimes the juddgies forget that this is a family show and that they have to curb their natural inclinations.
In the audience tonight were a number of other celebs, a feature throughout the series. David Walliams has been. Gloria Hunniford, Dave Brailsford (SPOTY Coach of the Year) and Girls Aloud. I applied for tickets for six shows. How did this lot get in? I didn’t. On the red buttttn, with former dance world champ Karen Hardy, was journeyman soccer player Robbie Savage adding all his dancing nous to the commentary. That’d be a nanosecond then.
On then with the real dancing in order of contender. I will state now that Louis Smith has no chance in a millennium of winning this contest. As yet there has been no time where he has been lost in the dance allowing it to engulf him and tonight was no different in spite of some juddgies differing with that opinion.
Let’s take his Jive to ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’. He scored 31, the same as Lisa’s Salsa, and as much as this dance didn’t endear it was four or five points more worthy. 36? Crikey no. Dressed in a blue and white Varsity jacket, skinny jeans and crepe shoes, Lou was supposed to look cool. Flav, in a matching skirt with white trim and a yellow top, looked like a porn star in the making. Sorry if you haven’t seen the film. Between them they made an unlikely pairing, him hunched, loose, dawkish. He should have been Travolta or The Fonz. He was more Eugene.
There was much redemption for Lou in his Fox Trot and he touched the two juddgies that fancy him again, so much so that they wofted their ten paddles high and proud as he marched to 38 points, taking his average for the series to 32. I’ve never said this before but I hated it. There. Now you know.
Lou himself was pretty good at doing the routine and the steps but once more he failed to enter the dance, it was unconvincing, no lead, no drive, and you never think that he’s really bought it. And the song was horrific, Gotye’s (featuring Kambra) ‘Somebody That I Used to Know.’ It was dead as soon as the music started. This Fox had well and truly trotted.
Third favourite with an average of 32.3 is Dani, scoring 34 to Lisa’s 32 for the same Fox Trot Smooth. Please see note above about consistency of marking. Dressed in pink and silver, a beautiful combination, Dani looked delightful, like a mini Rolls Royce, and as ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ tinkled and teased our eardrums she floated like Tinkerbell, her technique and craft developing every week. She is a delight to watch, full of flair, touch and timing. Only her extensions caused mild concern.
It was during her Argentine Tango, a vintage piece of South American class, that Juddge Aggie shouted at the telly, ‘Put some life into your extensions!’ Not like her at all. Juddge Lulu was too busy nursing her bruises from paint-balling to worry or to watch. Had she taken the time she would have been stunned by the content, the intensity, the outfits of red and black, ‘Libertango’ by Astor Piazzolla, the start without accompaniment, the amazing choreography and the expertise of the world’s finest exponent of this art. He may be eminently punchable but Vincent is beyond compare in this discipline. 38 points means two juddgies nined, even one that scored Lou a ten. Time she went to Specsavers.
There is a fag paper between the two lady favourites but as I have ‘Le Droit de Monsieur’ I am going to make Kimbo odds on to win and Denise 5/4 against. The basis? Well, Denise averages higher, 34 to 33.4, but she has been in the last two dance offs and has scored less 10s than Kimbo. The pressure in the final will be to produce perfection and also to wow the GBP and there seems to be some reticence towards Denise. Why? Her background possibly but by now all the dancers have had hundreds of hours of one on ones with the best in the world – do you hear my jealousy there? – so they should all be dancing well.
Much depends on their partners. James Jordan, no relation to big Joe, is brilliant at the Jive, and he is renowned for his Rumba, so it was with some surprise that, in spite of scoring 38, including a ten from Lord Len, this dance caused concern at Travolta Towers. Perhaps it was when they both rolled on the floor, a bit like we used to do in the gym at school? Or maybe it was the lack of sex and passion? It was definitely when the realisation dawned that he hardly moved. He didn’t actually dance. Yup, he told the story but for me the singer was the star, the song ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Just beautiful.
In contrast, their Tango, to ‘Roxanne’, a bit of The Police, a touch of Ewan McGregor, was a proper job, dark colours, darker mood, aggressive, swivels, kicks, a smidgen of Paso, a full bore effort, one that they produced again in the dance-off, probably the routine that started Lisa’s tears. The level of attack and intensity drew one point short of perfection. In spite of ‘loving it’ Ebenezer went for a nine. He’s a lad, isn’t he?
This trend continued as Kimbo raised temperatures with 38 in her American Smooth to ‘Fever’. Fever is the word; here was the sex and passion that had emigrated from Denise’s Rumba. The musicality and the interpretation was Hollywood, a lunge, a drag splits, so fluid, so powerful, so lustful. ‘I’d put you straight on stage in one of my shows,’ said Ebenezer. Nine.
What a barnpot.
Lord Len matched the nine, a purist looking for more in hold. More in hold is what Kimbo deserves. All she has to do is call.
And finally, the routine that sets Kimbo up as the gal to beat. It was a Charleston. The song, ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’. On stage was a mini Sopwith Camel (aeroplane). Pasha was dressed like an old-style fighter pilot, not Top Gun. Brown and white shoes, brown pants, blue top, white scarf and cuffs, obligatory goggles. Kimbo looked ready for the Christmas tree. Blue shorts, midriff, tinsel top.
It all began when Pasha tried to start the plane with the propeller. Flying that indoors would have been truly impressive. As is they didn’t need that gimmick, the routine bounced along at a pace, full of funn and frolics, great content, derring do, lifts, straddles, an amazing cartwheel sequence, such musicality, when the lyrics said, ‘feet in the air’, she duly obliged. And a hand spring finish encapsulated perfection. Four tens.
I say perfection. There is one gripe. At one stage she used her index finger and thumb as binoculars. Her hands faced forward. Anyone who has dunn ‘The Dambusters’ in a bar knows that the palm of the hands touch the face.A minor point.
The big gunns are now ready for the final, a two-parter on Saturday.
That’s just a bit of fusion coming back.
December 21st 2012