Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Week 11: The Males

There's no point acting all outraged and choking on your salty telly snacks. We all knew it was coming. There's been no Shock! Exit! yet this series (does anyone count Thom Evans? Come on, you remember Thom. The one with the... he was kind of... oh, never mind) and it turns out Strictly was just saving itself for a big one. And that's how we find ourselves at How The Hell Did That Just Happen? Week.

I'm all about the boys for the quarter-finals, so first on my watch are Simon and Kristina, aka My Favourites Who Aren't Caroline And Pasha. Now that the British public have wielded their trusty sword of justice and hacked away the contest's remaining dead wood, we are left with six couples who could all conceivably win (idea for a BBC1 early-evening Saturday show – Total Wipeout-style fun physical format where members of the public dressed as knights wield the inflatable/polystyrene Trusty Sword Of Justice and 'kill' real-life criminals – needs work for a family audience). And I'm worried about Kristina and Simon – rightly as it turns out – dancing first as viewers are notoriously forgetful in these televisual situations. Still, our heroes make a valiant attempt to impress such simple-minded fools by calling on the star of one of their favourite shows – yes, it's My Family's Robert Lindsey.

Citizen Smith/Michael Murray provides Simon with some performance advice for his American Smooth, and the result is super-entertaining and fluid and full of razzle-dazzle, with only occasional lapses in taste, spade hands and fumbly lift anxiety. Simon looks like dancing gives him no trouble at all these days, and also that he's having the best time ever. Yes, even better than the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party 2002.

I'm not saying that Simon has been on a journey, but he doesn't look surprised by getting a 9 any more. 

Mark must feel he's the man in danger this week (idea for an ITV2 show: Mark Wright: Man In Danger, where Mark enters all the situations Ross Kemp has shredded for being too soft and discusses how far out of his comfort zone he feels in each one of them). As a result, he's pulling in the big guns, VT-wise. Yes, he's FaceTiming Michelle Keegan, six times winner of The British Soap Awards' Sexiest Female trophy. The world's most earnest man is dancing the foxtrot, which becomes a vehicle for Karen's more questionable choreography. It starts off winsome and cutesy, and goes downhill from there, with my lowlight being the balletic 'wax on/wax off' hands at the end. Mark deals manfully with the material he's given, with all the confidence that knowing you look pretty great in your suit brings.

(Now that I've called Mark the world's most earnest man, I'm remembering what a powerful claim to that crown ex-contestant Jason Donovan has, and wondering what would happen were the two to be brought together to talk it out. Unfortunately, we would all have torn off our own ears within the half-hour of them meeting, so y'know, hard to say.)

And then there is Jake's Charleston. It takes a circus theme and uses that circus music – you know, that circus music – which is apparently called Entry Of The Gladiators. I can't help thinking that both the Russell Crowe film and the Fashanu-hosted ITV game show of yesteryear would have gained a boost mood-wise were they to have involved this tune. Jake and Jeanette don't need any help, because they are flicking and tricking all over the shop. It is very impressive, but unfortunately I find both their Charleston faces so incredibly disturbing that I am simply unable to type any more about it this close to bedtime.

Tess is amazed by it. AMAZED. I mean, Tess cannot believe what she just saw.

And now some brief impressions of the Shock! Result! results show:

CLANG! When Pixie and Trent know they are in the dance-off, Tess says to them, 'But you were second on the leaderboard?!' which very clearly translates as 'What's it like to know that no one really likes you?'

ROAR! I am unimpressed by Kevin's undignified and slightly inconsiderate 'YEEEESSSSSSSS!' when he and Frankie go through. I've gone right off Kevin, with his ludicrous dance faces and his red trousers. 

SOB! I love Kristina telling Simon how proud she is of him before their dance-off, thinking it's their last time performing together. I just love Kristina.

HUH? The realisation on Simon's face when Darcy votes to keep him. Like, hang on..... is that..... a lifeline?

CRUMPLE! Once, many years ago, I saw an elderly man faint in a hot restaurant on a snowy evening. Before he fully collapsed, his head hung over the table and his face drooped. It is exactly what Len looks like when the camera cuts to him for his casting vote and he knows what he's about to do.

CLUNK! Simon's attention-seeking collapse to the floor – ostentatious (© friend-of-the-blog A. Wignall) but totally justified under the circumstances.

TEETH! Pixie takes elimination in her stride and smiles on like the showbiz trooper she was raised to be. But this time, the show doesn't go on. NOT FOR PIXIE.

Too much drama for one Sunday-night 40-minute show. Onward to the semi-finals. Two dances each! Can Simon stay in another week? I hope so!

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