Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Semi-final: Ballroom Blizzard

Oof. Two dances for each couple this week, you guys, and HOLY MOLY the pressure showed. Miss Jones and I decided to to revert to form from earlier this series and split the show down the Ballroom/Latin divide, and because Miss Jones is a good person she agreed to take on the Latin, AKA ALL THE RUMBAS, leaving me with the slightly more staid (for which read: mainly extremely dull) Ballroom half of the draw. Two Viennese Waltzes, two Foxtrots and an Argentine Tango. Not a Quickstep in sight. Sigh.

We begin with a black and white VT, in which everyone has been given Sinister Eyes, and Mark is in a very silly hat. The close-ups and staring into the camera are very intense and I keep expecting the camera to pull back to reveal that all these people are now in prison for drunk driving. It doesn't. We just go into the credits.

In this week's credits report, I am delighted that Caroline in real life no longer sports her hair extensions. Also, I really miss Alison. Alison was fun.

It's Aljaz again for the walk-ons, but this week he is joined by Trent! TRENT! I think he might be the first blond walker-onner of the series, which is momentarily disconcerting. Claudia is wearing some serious lippy. I approve.

We switch up the dance-on this week, with Bruno first. Craig's moves are a shambles and he has ant trails on his face. Len has a sparkly broom. 24 hours on from watching it, and I am still not sure why.

Ground rules for this week's blog: I am not talking about the VTs. This is because they are all the same:

  • So close to the final, would be gutting to go out now, everyone's so good, Pixie leaving last week means anything could happen.
  • Two dances is really taking it out of the celeb, pro "decides" to cheer them up with videos of the general public.
  • Videos from the general public.
  • Visit from some sort of relative (Mark cries again).
  • The end.
On with the show!

Mark and Karen
It starts on a goddamned swing. I HATE THAT. Anyway, this is twee, boring, stop-start, and marginally off-balance throughout. Craig compliments his hands which: HOW? They are like planks throughout. I genuinely do not know how it is possible to have a dance this pedestrian in the semi-finals. What a waste of time.

Caroline and Pasha
Hmmm. I thought this Foxtrot was rather reminiscent of their Waltz, and if you remember their Waltz, you will know that this is not a good thing. Caroline is obviously completely overwhelmed by nerves, which everyone keeps pretending is the emotion and intensity of her character work, and it looks clunky and clumsy throughout. They hit some nice positions, and I suppose it's good to see a different sort of Foxtrot because God knows that's pretty rare, but honestly I just didn't get it. 

(I know it seems like I am well moody this week. I promise you I am not. But yeah ok, by this point of the show, I kind of was. The judges were really bringing me down as much as the dancing was - why suddenly start focusing on technique and giving intense, rude critiques in semi-final week, FFS? And no, you cannot justify it with IT'S SEMI-FINAL WEEK THINGS ARE SERIOUS NOW I'M SUPPOSED TO BE PICKY because if you had just been bloody picky when you should have been, maybe there would have been better couples in the bloody semi-final, AMIRITE?)

(Mind you, I say that, but there was really only one better couple and that was the Pixies and I didn't even like them. They still should have been there this week though.)

Jake and Janette
With no Ola around to mispronounce any longer, Tess has turned the full glory of her lack of multiculturalism toward Janette MAN-RARR-RARR. Tess is absurd. This VW scored two points less (at 31) than Mark's VW did, which I simply did not agree with. Jake's posture isn't great, there's no doubt about that, and I think he feels a bit awkward, so he disappears a bit in this dance, but this is the first time in weeks that Janette has choreographed an actual dance with no stupid tricks and no bloody back-up dancers, and I thought it was pretty smart and stylish. Underscored a touch. That might be the first time I have said that about Jake. It will also be the last. 

Frankie and Kevin
Len announces in the VT (I know I said I wasn't going to mention them, sorry), that he's "never given Frankie less than an 8, so she's consistent." Len, that doesn't mean she's consistent, it means you are consistent in your wild overscoring, you UTTER MUPPET. Anyway, this Argentine Tango is very stylish - it's a big, glorious overdone production number, which Frankie really sells. Her legs are a bit lazy, and it lacks the precision of Caroline's last week (I think because she lacks some of Caroline's strength), but it's drama drama drama from start to finish, and I really enjoyed it. Frankie's so likeable in her interviews too. Shame about Kevin. I've gone right off Kevin.

Simon and Kristina
A very charming Foxtrot from these two, from whom I will for some reason accept a level of tweeness for which I would punish the HELL out of anyone else. This is far better than Caroline's - steady, gliding movement around the floor, lots of sway, great frame, great style. The topping and tailing was horribly naff, but I suppose you can't have everything. If it hadn't been for that Salsa, this would have been my favourite dance of the night. Craig says to Simon, "You're back." I instantly point at Simon's back. But nobody laughs, because I am watching alone. 

And so, into the final we go, minus both Pixie and Jake, which I would have thought an impossibility just three weeks ago. Jake's not a good enough dancer to be in the final, but then again, neither is Mark. Mark and Karen. In the final. FFS. 

Other things I have learned this week:
  • I want Caroline and Pasha to win. 
  • I find it very hard to think of favourite dances this series, which suggests to me that it hasn't been a vintage year, but if you really made me choose it would be Caroline and Pasha's Charleston, even though it was from the Round the World Abomination Week.
  • There is absolutely zero dignity left in the Clifton-Hauer household. Tears from Karen at the EMOSHUN OF TEH RUMBA, followed by more tears from Karen at LETTING MARK DOW-HOW-HOWN, followed by Kevin's ill-mannered yell of joy at reaching the final, followed by tears from bloody KEVIN when Karen reached the final. People - even Mark Wright, platinum card-carrying member of the Frequent Cryer Club, stayed dry-eyed through this shit. Take it down a notch. Two notches. OK TEN NOTCHES.
Unbelievably, even though I will be back in the UK, I will not be able to watch Saturday's final live, but to be honest, I think I can live with that. See you next week. 

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