We have a rule in the office at work. The business has tenets of trust, respect, fun, honesty, integrity, and with that there are office protocols where we rightly respect age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The only things not tolerated are soccer players and their fans.
The office is full of wags, men and women who are quick with a line, sharp of wit and keen to get a laff, so given the sensitive nature of employment the rule is simple: don’t say the first thing that comes into your head. Sometimes it is wise to not say the second either, or the third, so when Tess ‘Twice’ Daly sashayed onto our screens wearing a red frock that was adorned with a zip from her clavicle to her knees the only thing that came to mind was ‘what a good time to have a magnet’. So that worked, didn’t it?
Similarly the juddgies have to be wary as well. In a charged atmosphere when 23 points gets a standing ovation it is easy to forget that you are on camera and on mic so when there was a disagreement about technique Bruno exploded the word that starts with ‘B’ and rhymes with socks. Twice. Tess apologised, The Sun called it a rant, The Mirror played the shocking VT online. Scandal rocks. I suppose you could say the reaction was bollocks really.
(When you watch the show next time check out Lord Len when Bruno has his turn to speak. He instinctively dives to his right towards Darcey (why not?) as a means of self-protection as Bruno gets to his feet, gyrates and throws out his right arm like he’s sowing seeds. Hilarious.)
The difference of opinion arose when Craig, in a particularly churlish mood all night, started to criticise Cloudier Fragapane after her Waltz to ‘You Light up My Life’. Well, you don’t criticise an Italian when another Italian can and will defend her. Has he never heard of the mafia? Brave fella. So too AJ (Andrew John) Pritchard who managed to add more tricks than Paul Daniels to a routine that contained less than a minute of actual dancing. He must have studied the show. Ninety seconds of Waltz? No thanks. The routine began with Cloudier on a balcony, a mash up of Romeo, Juliet and West Side Story. If only her middle name was Maria . . . and it contained more Salsa arms than a Friday night in Havana. It also showcased her gymnastic floor training, her poise, her great arm extensions and her balletic ability, 30 points a little shy. One to watch, a finalist in the making.
And what of Laura and her Waltz, what is in the making there? I’m not sure how Georgia May Foote will take it but Laura and Gigi will be dating soon if they’re not already; the body language between the two is louder than a megaphone. A touch here, a hand there, a glance, a look, a study of her face, her eyes, her pupils, the colouration of her skin, the change in her complexion. Of course, the Waltz does this, even when it takes forty five seconds to get in hold. Given how stunning she is I would have taken hold a lot sooner . . .
Anyhow, you get a good looking fella and a hot chick, he dresses smasual, grey suit, tie, scarf, her like an angel in a soft pastel lemon frock, and then you add ‘You Light up my Life’ and some magic Waltz dust. Then Gigi hit the romance button and that was it. A ten yard drag on a musical accent got a whoop, he even sat her on the floor. I do hope it was clean. A sizzling standing turn brought the climax. Eights across the board from the juddgies put her joint top of the leader board shared by the two ringers, Louise and Danny Mac, both asked to do a Viennese Waltz.
I should have said last week but Danny Mac isn’t his real name. His real name is Danny Mac Greene from Bromley, Kent. Doesn’t have the same ring to it does it? Artistic license in line with Marian Morrison, Reg Dwight and Harry Webb. Maybe one day he’ll be James Bond. Maybe, when he gets older. When he’s finished his elocution lessons.
Without doubt this was the sexiest VW the show has ever seen, ‘Never Tear us Apart’ that Austrian classic tune, the theme being Oti playing hard to get, then giving in, then having a moody strop, then giving in again, just a normal Saturday night. For thirty seconds they had a little spat over who should carry the suitcase (artistic language for didn’t dance) and thereafter his skill shone as much as she glistened. Twice we were treated to her leg extensions, once as he pretended she was Cinderella and he had found her slipper, the other as she attempted to kick him under the chin. She was too high. We also got the second Fleckerl of the series. Fabulous.
The first Fleckerl came from Louise and Kevin from Grimsby who defied all the odds and completed their routine barely scraping a Viennese basic in the process. It was beautifully set up, there were more light bulbs than an Edison Exhibition yet it was still dark, the mood was gentle and then Louise came out wearing a frock that was made from a dead Dulux dog. The mood collapsed. Louise, as we know already, is a smart dancer. Her timing is impeccable, her control perfection, her mirroring of Kevin was delightful. The song was ‘Hallelujah!’ which is what we would have said had there been more natural and reverse turns. No chance of motion sickness here.
Tameka may well be the surprise package of the show. Gobby, sassy, loud and talented, her acting pedigree held her in great stead as she performed a ridiculous and brilliant Charleston to ‘Yes Sir, That’s My Baby’. She wore a navy twenties style swim suit with a rubber ring and enuff super glue to lock her ample bosom in place, Gorka a red and white hooped full body swimming costume that stopped at his shins, and together they played and japed producing classic slapstick at the seaside. Tameka’s timing matched her attitude, funn, frivolous; she must have wanted to laff her head off when Gorka lifted her, or tried to, when he leapfrogged her and when a hand to hand move between his legs might have given her more than she bargained for. The last move could easily be mistaken for something called reverse cowboy not seen on the show since Chris Hollins did it with Ola Jordan in 2009.
Tameka’s 29 points garnered six more than Ed and Katya who danced to ‘The Banjo’s Back in Town’, Ed like a cowboy at a hoe down, with a banjo, Katya wearing shorts, with a banjo, and a midriff revealing red and white table cloth. Had you not known Ed or his history and you’d have seen him perform this in a show you would have taken this dance as pretty special, great funn and brilliant entertainment. As it was everyone was nervous for Ed hoping that he kept to time, that he didn’t forget the steps and that he didn’t run out of steam. With thirty seconds to go we were shouting at the screen ‘keep going’ and he duly obliged. Pretty good for a fat bloke . . . sorry, novice, if not a little camp. Craig marked it with a ridiculously miserable three. Must have had a tiff with the boyfriend.
Everyone had high hopes for Anastacia but on Friday night or Saturday morning she got an injury (scar tissue tear from her mastectomy) that meant that the routine that they were presumably practicing all week had to be totally changed though once they’d danced it did make you wonder what they’d actually been doing since Monday. The new routine to ‘Sax’ began on a boxing ring without the ropes and ended there when Brendan used a hidden trampette to launch himself back on to the dais over the top of Anastacia. It’s a sad state of affairs when a trampette is the star of the show. During the comments and VT Brendan kept on mentioning Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, again and again, to bring some Latin into the room, I guess. You wonder if he’d said Havana what the dance would have been like? 22 points put Anastacia firmly at the bottom of the table and into the dance off.
Nerves are always a factor in performance and unless you use them in a positive way they can drag you down and make life pretty uncomfortable. It’s a bit like at school being told on a Friday that you are going to get the stick on Monday in the glorious days when naughty kids could be kept in order with a cane. That weekend would not be pleasant.
Take a look then at Greg before his Tango to ‘Jump’. See what the producers did there? Might have been clever had it actually been a Tango song but they’re already at it, filling the show with inappropriate music. How is he supposed to dance to that? You have to offer nothing but sympathy. Where is the tempo, the ‘Quick, Quick, Slow’ that dominates Tango timing?
The terror in Greg‘s eyes before the dance said that he knew that he was in for a tuff time and he was right. His posture was odd, his buttocks were pushed backwards, he was ploddy and pigeon toed, and he is no actor . . . but he gave it his all in spite of everything and scored 26. His controlled aggression fed the mood well, at times his fast feet hit the mark, his pivots were strong and a dramatic jump to close meant he ended on a high. So good marks for attitude, low marks for technique, no marks for the song. As a novice Greg is doing fine. All he has to do now is to think like a dancer.
The nerves also grabbed Naga doing one of the four Chas of the night, hers to ‘A Fool in Love’, a Tina Turner song that is older than me. Dressed in gold tassels and a crinkly haired wig she looked the part, stunning. But her eyes told the world what was really going on in her head. Do I really have to do this? Should have had a couple of gins to loosen the inhibitions. Can’t wait to take this wig off. It’ll all be over in a minute . . .
The pro dancers have an obligation to their celeb, to make them look good, to help them through the moment, to make it easy but to make it look special and in this element Naga was let down. Most of the routine was danced in isolation or side by side. No basics, little in hold, little lead, so a ‘could do better’ note will be sent to Pasta. Inspire her! Two weeks scoring 23 each time doesn’t bode well.
The other Chas were Lesley (26), Ore (27) and Daisy (30), taking us up to ten Chas in a fortnight. This little trio will be fine for a while. Lesley is a great actress, Ore is not short of self-belief and Daisy has the most fantastic pins.
The first line of the Urban Dictionary describes a Cougar thus: an older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man. In our insane, unbalanced world the male version is called a Perve. Step up Lesley, three score and ten, and thoroughly enjoying her romp with Antony Smith of Bristol, a fella living the dream so much so that he has stopped training in his cardi and tie. Their Cha to ‘Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps’ was set in a champagne bar where Antony was the waiter, Lesley the Cougar on the hustle. Or was she?
In a routine with humour and playfulness there were some actual basics, a top and some outside swivels, an occasional Cuban break, Lesley played yes and no with him when we all knew the answer was yes, especially when he donned black spangly PVC pants that shone like a night sky full of stars. You could see the joy in her eyes, a chance to act her way to next week and beyond, no more so than when she copped a gratuitous choreographed grope of his buttocks. At the finish Antony slid across the floor to be met by a pushing foot and he returned from where he came, which is actually . . . Bristol. Brilliant funn and a joy.
Ore stood next to a fireman’s pole in a yellow sou’wester like a stripper at a Hen do. He was next to the pole, he didn’t slide down it. They even did that on Trumpton. A bell rang and then the brilliant Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Love’ began. The reveal came next and there was Ore in black pants with red braces and a sleeveless black shirt that bore flames of red and gold. All was looking good. And then the dancing started.
I think that the Cha must have been re-invented of late. Every class I’ve ever seen has involved a partner, good old fashioned boy leads girl. But not anymore. There may have been ten bars in hold but the rest was solo. Ore threw his shapes, they ran and played with the pole again, and he was comfortable but for some needed polish. Plenty of energy but not enuff technique. Confidence can’t win this on its own. Perhaps the choreographer had a bad day?
There are many benefits of being a model apart from the cash and the starvation. Models know how to walk, that’s what catwalks are for, and many of the celebs would benefit from a lesson from Daisy. Set in a fifties’ diner Ali-Ash began by taking a chocolate sundae to a random lady in the front row (suddenly everyone’s a waiter?), she even got a peck on the cheek, much to Daisy’s distaste, which was when she started the walk. Her dress was short at the hem, broad pink and cream stripes like a raspberry ripple, and those legs just stared at you. Or vice versa. Not sure which. They were captivating. Taller than Tess they have the wingspan of an albatross that was demonstrated in a splits. ‘Forget You’ was the song. How?
Daisy has a youthful funk to her, there was no fear just a little clunkiness in a cupple of transitions where she was unsure of the arms. But she luxuriated in the routine, simple, together, funn, contained, smart, smart until Ali-Ash threw her around him as she stood with her back to him, his arms under her armpits. Both feet left the ground and Lord Len penalised them a point for the pleasure. He also sent a guilty faced Ali-Ash to the naughty step. Which is exactly where I’d take Daisy.
Also used to dealing with naughty people is our Rob the Barrister, the fly catcher, that mouth at it again during an American Fox Trot Smooth that contained as much Fox Trot as a 400m race. Maybe one step, perhaps two. What we did witness was the birth of the new Ola, Oksana in zebra leggings, a new pin up.
Charlie Puth sang ‘Marvin Gaye’ with Meghan Trainor, and it did pretty well in the hit parade. Little did they know that it is a Rumba at one speed and a Smooth at another. It’s a great song with a lyric that leaves nothing to the imagination. Neither the routine as Oksana‘s choreography stole the show. From a piggy back she launched herself and somersaulted over his shoulder to get into hold. He lifted her powerfully into a fully extended arm lift. She also appeared sitting on his right shoulder facing backwards. How did she get there? And in between the tricks they mirrored and danced to 27 points and we got the best one liner of the series so far. Rob placed Oksana gently after each lift. ‘If you drop a dancer you have to pay for it.’ Fantastic. However, the gaffer tape will be out next week for that gob.
The only Jive of the night was given to Will and Hottie Hauer, the song ‘Rock Around the Clock’, the score, another 27, and the BBC excelled with props, a jukebox, and graphics, a giant clock on the floor and as a backdrop. Hottie looked just that in tight red leggings and a body hugging white sleeveless top. That is where the glamour ended. In came Will in black and white hoops and trousers held up by a laggy band, trousers that headed towards the floor like a stone in quick sand as the dance progressed. A bit like the oiks today who flash off their arses and knickers when they can’t be bothered to wear a belt.
The dance itself wasn’t half bad but Will does dance like he’s in a competition at a gay convention at Butlin’s. His body shapes, finger snapping and his spare arm were very camp and it gave the dance an odd feel, a level of inauthenticity. Better posture, standing taller and arm/hand technique will enhance his standing. If you add a bit of flat-footedness maybe Will would have benefitted from dancing in real shoes not sneakers. And in a satin shirt. And pants that stayed up?
So to our first victim, poor Melv. As soon as the music started, ‘Moving on Up’, – they were in a lift at the start – you knew that it was going to be a tuff gig. Because this was supposed to be a Tango. I know, I know, don’t mention the words together, it might cause trubble, you know, producers, wacky and backy. The poor fella had no chance. You could say he was odoomed.Out of the lift the scene was set in a hotel foyer, Melv in a fetching crimson jacket, a bellboy arguing with Janette over a suitcase, second of the night. But for some messing about with a luggage trolley Melv did well, his mood was spot on and he knew the routine. He had posture issues but as this is only week two, so what? The issue was the music and it condemned him to the dance off against Anastacia, a deserved recipient. But it didn’t, hamstrung by her injury, there was no dance off much to the surprise of the dancers and the audience at the gig and at home. The Great British Public did the rest and Anastacia got a bye to next week. The fact that she scored less than Melv and couldn’t dance meant nothing to the producers nor the GBP.
Melv can now go back to his day job with Rickie and Charlie and Janette will have to focus on choreography. In a show with no obvious duds the weeks ahead will be tantalising.
October 6th 2016