Sunday, 10 January 2010

Damnit, Yanet, I Love You

Top 14: 9th January 2010

Previously on So You Think You Can Dance : auditions, which we didn't see an awful lot of, but which definitely happened. Honest. But mostly we were reminded of who Nigel Lythgoe was, and given the cold bath of remembering what Arlene was actually like as opposed to the puppies and rainbows version people had in their heads. After Fabia Cerra, Ros, any number of Ros' partners who were all equally doomed but not as heartwarming, Stripy Deckchair Man, Head Judge Tanitha, Telltale Tit, That Man In His Pants Who Couldn't Hip Hop, That Girl Who Was Dumped, as well as lots and lots of people who were never saw, and who were probably called Sexx and pretending to be panthers were eliminated we were left with our final 14. Whoever they are. I think there's a Chinese one if that helps.

Nigel tells us that if any of the dancers think this is going to be a walk in the park, then they can catch the next bus home. Given London's public transport fail at the moment, I don't think they can, but whatever. We're reminded of the prize : both good (loadsmoney!) and poor (getting to dance in a performance on the American show (probably somewhere behind Jennifer Lopez after she descends from a giant shoe) and Robbie says this is the biggest opportunity of his life, except when Tatsuya got explosive diarrhoea from a taco from Sebastian's Shrimp Shack at Disneyland Tokyo, and he got to play Aladdin for the afternoon. A very pale Aladdin. Everyone else then equally takes to spouting reality tv show contestant cliches like "bring it on" and "two people are going home - I is FWIGHTENED!" like I'm about to take to reality tv blogger cliches like drinking heavily, and we get to the CREDITS! which is a load of pretty young people flying about whilst someone goes "shuggabuggasnuggadiggaDANCE"

Fortunately I am not watching this with my parents so I don't have to explain to them that the people in the credits aren't the actual contestants, just as I had to do EVERY SINGLE WEEK of EVERY SINGLE ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER MUSICALS show. They were incredibly frightened the first time they watched American Idol and thought Dr Manhattan was going to be a contestant. Him and Fantasia.

Before Cat takes to the stage, we get introduced to our Top 14 - Anabel (looks like the older sister out of The Queen's Nose), Alistair (looks like a sexy Gary Barlow), Charlie (looks like she should be a villain in Britannia High), Chris (looks like if you pay him £20 extra he'll overlook Auntie Paula trying to lick him through his g-string), Chloe (looks like the lead singer of one of those failed indie bands whose chart positions go 27, 42, 115, dropped but who ends up getting to go on Never Mind The Buzzcocks anyway), Drew (looks like gay), Hayley (looks exactly like her parents own Italia Conti WHICH THEY DO), Gavin (looks like Ben from The Apprentice if he were Chinese and had the body he thinks he does in his head), Lizzie (looks like Jane Krakowski crossed with a scarecrow), Mark (looks like I feel), Mandy (looks like she's going to snap any second and go on the rampage), Robbie (looks like an (even more) albino Peter Crouch), Yanet (looks like EVERYTHING GOOD IN THE WORLD), and Tommy (looks like he's never been unhappy for one second in his life bless him. Let's see if this show can make him CRY) - via the medium of them titting around and showing off. Cat them reminds us which ones are the girls (the girl ones) and which ones are the boys (the boy ones) before she bothers to turn up on stage.

Which she does through the departing dancers, whilst Drew vamps at her all "PLEASE NOTICE ME!" whilst Cat just looks at him with disdain. Or that could just be all the work she definitely hasn't had done since going to Hollywood. Once ensconsed on stage she yells about how amazing everyone is, then assures us that the audition process was months of scouring the nation, and definitely not just throwing a net over the walls of London's stage-schools and hauling the trawlage back into the SYTYCD bus. She says they saw "b-boys, ballerinas, broadway and ballroom dancers", and somewhere at the side of the stage, Arlene's nethers twitch delightedly at all the alliteration. But after all that, we're down to the very best 14 they saw who had visas in order. And to help us, the ignorant peons who voted Chris Hollins winner of Strictly discern who amongst this bunch is worthy of the championship? The judges. On VT.

Nigel starts, fronting all "people ask why I'm the head judge on this show?" (is it because you own it? That's why I think it is) and then saying that he himself was a (not very good) dancer and choreographer, whilst titles flash past saying FIVE DECADES IN DANCE and EMMY AWARD WINNER (do you know what he won his award for? Being the producer who created So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. DANCE CREDENTIALS!) so he is, like, totally qualified and shit. Next there's Arlene Phillips (SEVENTY-TWO DECADES IN DANCE!), who says she's going to critical when she needs to be (and plenty of times when she doesn't need to be probably) and "firm but fair", Louise Redknapp (ZERO DECADES IN DANCE!) says she's looking for the sort of dancer she would've taken on tour with her (would that be a Thomas Cook tour? ie eerily dead-eyed and unable to pronounce their t's), and finally (Not that) Sisco (10 MINUTES IN A TRAVEL-LODGE WITH ONE OF THE PRODUCERS!) who says he knows what he's looking for and isn't going to sugarcoat anything. Oooh, get her. Finally we close with Nigel justifying the credentials of the panel by yelling "THEY'RE NOT ALESHA DIXON!" over and over again. Oh no, wait, he says they all have dance credentials and have been in this position before. Can you imagine a 20 year old Arlene as a contestant on one of these shows? I think I'd still be laughing by the time she's the age she is now.

Back to the studio, and Cat (after fawning over how amazing everything related to this show is some more, twenty times, forever) asks Nigel what it'll take to be Britain's Favourite Dancer. He replies that they'll need to be able to dance, but also they'll be able to inspire the people of this nation to get up off their sofas and vote. I have a mobile Nigel, so they don't even have to do that. Cat then touches on the fact that these people will be performing in more than one style and Arlene siezes the opportunity to hoot about how difficult this is, because in the real world, dancers will focus on just one style, and often spend years perfecting one move but here they're going to have to deal with WHATEVER'S THROWN AT THEM (if they're male and even moderately attractive - Arlene's bra & panties) and ALSO dance with a partner, even thought some of them have never held a member of the opposite sex in their arms before. She and Nigel thereafter start giggling over this hilarious gay joke, but whatever Nilene, there's not a fag alive who hasn't carried their hag into a taxi after a heavy night on the flaming sambuccas before.

Cat then asks Louise if she has any advice, and she basically responds "try your hardest so if you're eliminated you have no regrets". Given how half these people will be dressed tonight, I think it's too late for that. Finally, (Not that) Sisco is asked why he thinks dance has become so popular in the last few years in this country, so popular that someone can basically suggest that the BBC redo Strictly Dance Fever and not be laughed out the building. He replies, with not a little repressed rage, that dancers have spent SO LONG IN THE SHADOWS BEHIND PEOPLE and now that the little pin-prick of Strictly has been made, they're all coming flooding out, HUNGRY FOR BRAINS!

Cat thanks the judges, and tells us that the dancers have been paired up and randomly assigned a dance-style and at the end of the show, we'll be able to vote for our favourites. After the votes have been tallied, the two couples with the fewest votes will split and perform solos in order to survive, much like other celebrity couples split up once the public stop taking an interest and try to peck each others eyes out for the last crumb of stardust. Then finally, the judges will pick one boy and one girl to go home. Or hang around for an hour at the aftershow party getting wasted on mojitos and taking their last chance to try to cop off with one of the remaining dancers.

First off? 30 year old (which in dance years is 210) contemporary jazz-dancer Mandy and ballet-dancer Alistair (wearing sparkly argyle like he has NEVER HELD A WOMAN BEFORE). In their VT, Mandy informs us with her accent and her words that she is originally from America but whilst dancing on a cruise-liner she fell in love with a British guy, who puts me in mind of a young Benny from Crossroads, and followed him back to Britain once her contract ended. [I await the outraged article in the Daily Mail about the immigrants coming over here and stealing opportunities away from UK-born fame-hungry wannabes. - Steve] Once here she taught for a bit, before deciding she wanted to retire to fire babies out of her cooch. But then the call of reality tv beckoned, and she decided to keep her coil in for a few years longer. Anyway, because she's so VERY OLD this is her last chance. Alistair then informs us that he was raised on a farm and we're shown him driving a tractor to reassure us of this fact. But farming was not enough for young Alistair and he started taking ballet classes when he was 4 without telling anyone. Apart from the people who taught the class. And the other pupils. And presumably whoever paid for the classes. But apart from that? NO-ONE. Anyway, his shorts are so tight I'd take money on them being the same pair he wore when he was 4, and he thinks he has the heart to win this.

In hilarious irony news we're then shown footage of Alistair saying that he'd love to have Mandy as a partner, because she's an "all-rounder" at the same time that Mandy (rocking some terrifying chest-acne) tells us that she'd hate to be partnered with Alistair, because they're exact opposites. She HATES tractors basically. {Did she like them at any point previously? Because then she'd be an ex-tractor, I'm sorry, I'll go away again. - Steve] And then they meet and he's happy and she's pretending to be happy. He jokes that he doesn't know if she's happy or not, because Americans are so hard to read, what with all 300 million of them being exactly the same cheery "have a nice day" automaton. Once she's acclimatised to the smell of the barnyard, we're informed that they'll be doing a Broadway routine choreographed by Stephen Mear whose Broadway philosophy is basically "all smiles all the time". After 5 minutes of dancing with Alistair, Mandy does a U Turn and declares herself to be a fan of Alistair after all, calling him a "grower". Oh Mandy. Sometimes when boys tell you that it turns out to be sadly untrue. We close on Alistair grinning that he has faith in himself, so he hopes Mandy does too.

They come out and brilliantly, on the first set of spins in the first move of the first routine of the first live show of a series that really needs to wow people with its dancing, Mandy stumbles hard. Excellent. She recovers fairly quickly though, and she and Alistair proceed to put on a decent, if fairly unremarkable Broadyway routine to the strains of "I Got Rhythm". Unfortunately the routine does demonstrate one of the usual BBC Saturday night reality show problems - the camera man appears to be tied to the lighting rig by a bungee cord. There's a couple of really nice lifts in there and it's got a nice sway to it but overall I'm not sure I'll remember it in 3 weeks time. Or in 40 minutes when the voting starts.

Anyway, they look very pleased and stomp over to Cat who asks them if they were nervous going on first. Of course not they reply, and then talk about what an honour it was to be allowed on first. Given reality tvs propensity to dumping all the people it wants people to vote for at the end, I don't know about honour. Nigel starts for the judges by saying that Broadway is associated with opening nights, and this was the opening number on the opening night of this show, and it was the perfect routine for it. It reminded him of (noted dancers) Ethel Merman and Mickey Rooney, and Alistair's socks reminded him of Gene Kelly. That's nice Nigel. But he didn't like the "Wallace & Gromit jumper". Alistair responded by saying that thought he looked like a "pimped out golfer", and the image of Tim Westwood fiddling with Alistair backstage momentarily makes me nauseous. Nigel tells us that all series he's going to be talking about the three "Ps - Power, Personality and Performance" - and Alistair and Mandy both have all 3.

I give advance notice that I will be talking about my own personal 3 Ps - Port, Pernod, and Peppermint Schnapps.

Arlene next, and she kvetches about how Nigel has already said everything (have you watched the American show Arlene? Nigel's monologues there are positively Shakespearean.) but she just wants to say that that dance had impact and razzle-dazzle (although it probably would have had even more of the former if Mandy face-planted like she looked like she was going to) and then it's time break out your Arlene Bingo Books as she says that " the baby ballerina has become a MAN". So that's both alliteration and lasciviousness covered already. Next up Louise, called "Lou" by Cat who is approaching over-familiarity at warp speed [I only remembered this weekend that they used to do SM:TV Live together, which may go some way to explaining said chumminess - Steve], who says that, as the oldest couple in the competition, their experience really showed and calls them "sassy, sexy and strong". I would imagine at this point Arlene's face reflected once again fear that she was about to be replaced by a younger model after Louise managed to hit 3 in a row on the alliteration-o-meter after she only managed 2.

You know, if Arlene's face could still display emotion.

Finally (Not that) Sisco says that routine rendered him speechless, but then continues to talk anyway. It were quite good apparently. Finally Cat reminds us of the number and that one guy and one girl will be eliminated later. I would imagine the chance of that being Alistair (and hence Mandy) at this point is rather slim.

Next up? Hippity-hop dancers Lizzie and Mark. Lizzie informs us in her VT that even though she is a performer, she's actually a really shy person and dancing is how she gets out all those emotions she keeps bottled up the rest of the time. We're then showed her audition piece in which... she's a robot. Hmm... Just saying. Partnered with her is Mark, from "the mean streets of Milton Keynes", an announcement which is accompanied with a shot of an old man on a mobility scooter soundtracked by 50 Cent. So gangsta. Mark cops to the fact that Milton Keynes isn't exactly jumping, but it's his home anyway. He then pleads for clemency because he only does hip-hop and there's so many genres represented within the programme. I'm almost on the verge of pity when he starts waving his child at me. Less of that please.

Unlike with Alistair and Mandy, there's no tension between the two when they meet, because they're both hip hop dancers, both kind of emotionally weird, and also this week they're doing... hip hop. Totally randomly. For sure. They go to meet up with Kate Prince and "her assistant" Tanisha, who is lying on the floor when the two of them walk in. So gangsta. I hope next time someone turns up she's in a giant hammock in her jammies. Kate Prince informs them that this isn't just any hip-hop, this is lyrical hip-hop, which means it has a story and also is boring. The story in this case being they're tramps who live in bins, because when Kate Prince talks about life on the streets, she means "Sesame Street". We're also informed that the key elements of "lyrical hip-hop" are emotion and musicality. And hats. Kate Prince then highlights the basic problem with the Lizzie and Mark pairing - they're both kind of quiet and weird and introverted, which means they're just standing there looking at eachother awkwardly rather than dancing, meaning their partnership has all the spark of a 13 year olds disco. Oh no. WILL THEY PULL IT OFF?!

Turns out they will, after a fashion. There is a basic problem to the routine - it's lyrical hip-hop so it's beholden to the lyrics of the song which in this case is "Take A Bow" by Rihanna. I re-iterate, they're doing a dance in which they are HOMELESS PEOPLE to a song by Rihanna. I doubt Rihanna even knows what a homeless person is, and if she does she probably thinks they'd be fine if they all gathered under her giant umberella-ella-ella-eh-eh. The camera doesn't help either with a key moment where Tramp Mark is supposed to be peeved that Tramp Anabel has blocked him with a skilful move, but the camera is pointed somewhere off into the wings somewhere. Anyway, quite nice moves, done quite well, but quite disjointed and not terribly hard-hitting. But I guess that's lyrical (/boring) hip hop for you. It ends with them holding out their hats all sad looking and "but there's a message about living on the streets here as well behind the entertainment" and it all gets a bit "Another Day In Paradise" but then Tramp Anabel biffs Tramp Mark on the head with a dustbin lid so... not so much.

Over to Cat they go, and said lovely lady makes Mark (who she calls Tommy, because all those hip-hop people look the same don't they?) retell the story of how he did a flip in training the day before and landed on his head. Oh Cat, he's a dancer. I don't know that you'd notice. Nigel starts by reiterating just what totally spontaneous and dumb luck it is that these two have ended up together as hip hop dancers doing a hip hop routine. But what was even LUCKIER was getting the great Kate Prince who gave them great choreography. Oh and they weren't bad either. Oh and he felt the chemistry. Apparently. Hot tramp chemistry. Arlene next, who brings up that Mark has won "a competition" (Move Like Michael Jackson which is on a BBC channel, so I don't know why they're being coy) and she can see why, because that routine moved her to tears with its emotional truth. Arlene, they were homeless people dressed in dinner suits who lived in dustbins which are bigger than I am. What world are you living in? Melanie C's song about the homeless had more emotional truth than that.

Next up (Not that) Sisco, who says that because they're hip-hop dancers, expectations were "up here" (raises hand to the height of his hair, which kind of looks like it's glued to his hat) and they delivered because that made him proud to be British because it was so "heavy". Calm down with all the street talk (Not that) Sisco, this is still BBC1 dinnertime. These people still think wicked means "bad", or at the very least still think that people use the word "wicked" at all. Louise is not asked her opinion on hip-hop. Cat gives out their number, and you know their fans are hip-hop people, because they boo for them rather than cheering, just like Tony Blair informed us those schoolchildren were doing to him. It was a sign of RESPECT. Sorry... RESPECK!

Next, "contemporary dancer" Anabel (not a name, more the capital of a disputed Soviet state you've never heard of) & "musical theatre performer" (draw your own conclusions) Drew! In her VT Anabel informs her that she's not the type of person who hides their emotions. Hooray! Now I can tell her apart from Lizzie. Anabel will be the one who's crying. Apparently before every big performance she's a nervous wreck, but she then uses those feelings of fear to give a little something extra into her performance. Is that something a little bit of pee Anabel? She tells us that this process has already been an EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER and she hopes that all her tears will show how much she cares. Because if there's one thing a reality tv show voting audience loves, it's girls who cry. She's partnered with Drew, and sadly not Durrewe so she could maybe borrow a couple of her missing letters. Apparently his parents have been incredibly supportive of everything he's done, and his dad informed him that if he looks like he's enjoying himself, that's half the battle. Drew's mother nods very vigorously at this. Hmm-hmm.

Their meeting is sadly not greeted with Anabel bursting into tears and shouting "I WANTED A HIP-HOP DANCER!" - instead they're very happy. Sigh. Completely randomly, they've drawn the jive, to be choreographed by those two new people from Strictly who like to dress up like the war and pull faces. They inform us that the most important things in the jive are rhythm and timing. And doing your kicks like you're shoeing a tramp to death, as anyone who watches Strictly will tell you. Anyway, it's obvious that neither Drew nor Anabel is very happy, as the jive does not fit their remit as contemporary dancers and "musical theatre performers". Anabel in particular talks about her "jive wounds". Hang on Anabel, this is going out at tea-time. Apparently she's scraped all the skin off "under there" (There being her arms.) which she talks about whilst we see footage of her repeatedly kicking and punching Drew in the face. Yeah, not sure you came out of this one worse sweetheart.

What I like is that for a good 4 or 5 seconds before the dance starts, whilst Cat is waffling on, Drew and Anabel are just stood in place ready to start like two jivers trapped in a snow globe forever. Then they start, and so does "Proud Mary" (which is in the pantheon of my favourite songs ever) and it's clear that he is built for this dance and she... isn't. Her kicks are totally malfunctioning Buckaroo and she's a bit flat. Meanwhile he's over-acting fit to beat the band (his hair in particular shows more personality than half the female dancers tonight) and it kind of pulls the whole performance up, and to be fair to her she is making a decent job of selling the dance. Although at the end there's one horrible drag where she hits the floor like a sack of spuds and I'm not nearly technically informed enough to say whose fault it was but...ouch. Not a great note to end on. Score another jive wound I guess.

They vibe over to Cat who says she was out of breath just watching them. I think that might be because to attain your current weight you had to sacrifice a lung Cat. Nigel says he was looking forward to it, because Ryan the Choreographer choreographed Chris Hollins' Charleston for him, which Nigel has been told by the producers he really enjoyed. But he felt that Anabel let it down, and Drew totally outdanced her. She didn't have enough bounce and her jete was a load of ol rubbish. But she performed it well. Cat tells him to lay off because it's only week 1, and Nigel basically responds that at that quality she might not get week 2, causing (Not that) Sisco to flap his hands at him in a disapproving fashion. Arlene starts in after this pointing and jabbering randomly (mark another one off on Arlene bingo) about how this is what the show is all about (and again, mark your card) and Drew and Anabel drew the short straw by having the jive. Sure she was rubbish and Drew was much better, but Arlene was frankly surprised she was even as good as she was.

That's supposed to be a compliment by the way.

She then full on jabs at his face and yells "this is what your show, "So You Think You Can Dance" is all about!". Don't tell the man what his show's about Arlene. You're only here because they feel sorry for you. Louise opens by saying that the Jive is meant to take us back to the 30s and Drew managed it by throwing everything but the kitchen sink in there, whilst Anabel struggled because she's too poised for it and needs to work on "getting down into her boots more". This causes Anabel to pop epic bitch face as well she might. Cat finishes by saying that Drew is covered in sparkles, and she wants to rub against him for "fairy dust". CALL OFCOM!

Next up : broadway dancer Chloe, and contemporary dancer Gavin. Chloe VTs that she's currently working front of house on a West End musical. And by the looks of the clip, said musical is Wicked. I mean she's pictured in a shirt with "Wicked" on it, shovelling Wicked merchandise into a tote bag with Wicked written on the side in front of the logo for the musical Wicked. But I'd see why they'd have to be coy about saying it loud lest they break product placement rules. Still GO SEE WICKED! Apparently she was inspired into the world of music and dance by her dad, who played bass guitar in a band and with whom she occasionally jams on the flute. This is just a middle-class enough backstory for me to empathise with. She's partenered with Gavin, whose entire family live together and work together in a little Chinese takeaway in Shrewsbury. Which is every teenager's dream isn't it? His parents are proud of him naturally, and we revisit the moment Louise told him he was through to the live shows and he cried enough for an entire 15 seconds of X Factor auditions.

For extra contrast with Mandy and Alistair's muted meeting, we're shown Gavin and Chloe running at each other screaming with joy. I swear, by the time we get to Tommy and Charlie at the end, I would not be surprised if they had full on sex in the middle of the rehearsal room upon seeing each other for the first time. As it is we're still just at the level of an eHarmony advert. Then choreographer Mark Baldwin walks in and they go equally crazy, jumping up and down and hugging eachother. I like their enthusiasm at any rate. Noted Choreographer Mark Baldwin tells us that contemporary dance involves taking elements from every other dance still and pushing them in a new direction/nude erection. My experience of contemporary dance is that it's either choreographed fighting or choreographed fucking. And occasionally both. We're then told that Chloe is a really good natural contemporary dancer and that Gavin... is struggling. And given that this was billed as his style I'm a bit... sad for him that Chloe is gushing about how keen he is to learn and how she's enjoying helping him and seeing his enthusiasm.

They're dancing to "Why?" by Annie Lennox and this is officially "sexing contemporary" which you can tell, because there's a lovely delicate backdrop of cascading twinkling silver stars on the video screen behind them. If this were the fighting kind of contemporary it'd be a CURTAIN OF BLOOD. They've got a lovely partnership and create a good atmosphere but that doesn't change the fact that this is alledgedly his style and... he's not very good at it. His movements are a little bit accelerated and school assembly rather than flowing as neatly as hers do, and when they're together he basically adds 10 pounds to her. Everything they do in hold looks just that little bit heavier than when she's on her own. Although whose fault that is, as I said, I'm not qualified to say. I think this partnership might be what she needs on a visibility level and what he needs on a technical level but... IT'S HIS STYLE. Maybe he only does fighting contemporary.

Cat stalks over to them and whispers "hey you two!" in a very very creepy stage whisper, like she's the voice in their heads telling them to burn things, before they stand up and she comiserates with Gavin over how his parents couldn't come tonight, because Saturday Night is Chinese Takeaway Night and they can't afford to lose the takings. She then treads all over this by asking if they could perhaps come next week and... barring some major low ratings and rescheduling the show to 10pm on Tuesdays on BBC3 it's still going to be the same, Cat.

Nigel starts in by saying that "a little bird" (/leathery old crow sat 2 feet to his right) has told him that these two went on a romantic dinner to improve their chemistry. If it were at his parents takeaway I would put them through to next week on that alone frankly. We also learn that he paid, bless him. I can't imagine working in a Chinese takeaway pays that well. Nigel says it obviously helped, because they had a great connection. Nigel asks Gavin if he's ever danced with a partner before and he says no. What manner of contemporary dance is he supposed to be versed in again? Anyway Nigel basically says he can tell, but on those grounds it was a good first attempt. As if this wasn't patronising enough, Cat then PATS GAVIN ON THE HEAD. Nice. Nigel then tells Chloe that if anybody in this competition is ever feeling down, they should attach a set of jump-leads to her. Nigel, I'm as much a fan of sadistic slapstick as the next person, but surely that's torture as defined under the Geneva Convention?

Anyway, she's apparently very enthusiastic and lovable and whilst there were some technical issues, it wasn't bad for a first go. Arlene next, and she informs us that contemporary dance is something new to British television on Saturday Night. Except for on X Factor where they use contemporary dancers all the time. It was "created in the 20th century" (the clue is in the name) and pushes boundaries. Arlene says that this was supposed to be a love story (see? told you) and whilst she was feeling the emotion from Chloe, she was getting nothing from Gavin and frankly he was letting her down. Louise next, and she says that contemporary is not a dance that suits SHORT PEOPLE because it's meant for TALL PEOPLE! (contemporary for Strictly 2010 to aid an Ian Waite victory please) Arlene breaks in saying this is a load of rubbish and Louise is all "mm hmm" and Arlene's all "bring it" and Nigel is left awkwardly joking at the side about how they only look so short because they're stood next to Cat. Less judge drama plz. (Not that) Sisco finishes by saying that he's going to "agree and disagree" and then says that he thought it was a great effort but that he didn't get any emotion from Gavin.

In't that just "agree to agree"?

Nigel closes by joking around about how maybe Gavin and Chloe were just trying to portray a one-sided relationship and of course this level of humour sails right over Arlene's head and embeds itself on the cameraman in an upswing. Keep it to puns Nigel, or she can't function.

Next up? Broadway dancer Hayley, and jazz dancer Chris. We're informed immediately in her VT that Hayley has dancing in her blood, because her family own Italia Conti. I think this might just mean she has venture capitalism in her blood but I admire the show's willingness to tank her popularity right off the bat like that. Especially as, judging from the background behind her parents in the VT, Italia Conti is run out of Pat's Cabs in Eastenders. Apparently originally her parents didn't want her to throw her dreams away on the stage life, but then she was all "eh, whatever, I'm going to anyway". Chris then does his best to catch up in the "turn people against him" stakes by saying that everyone says he looks like Colin Farrell. Wow, I don't know about you, but I'm really surprised these two ended up in the Bottom Two. Anyway, he has designated himself the "funny one" whilst not actually being very funny, which I find is often the way. He does a good monkey face, but it's hardly Gavin & Stacey is it? (Don't answer that one Steve). [Wouldn't dream of it. - Steve]

When they meet, they're both reasonably happy, although Chris says that he was hoping for Arlene. God he just gets funnier and funnier doesn't he? We're then informed that they've pulled samba out of the magical hat (I wonder if said hat was (Not that) Sisco's? They'd probably have to fish the bits of paper out of a lot of hair first) which is a dance that struggles to get votes on a SPECIALIST BALLROOM DANCING programme, so I think we all know what that means. Still they've got sesquillion times Latin champion Carmen Vincelj choreographing it and she thinks that Chris & Hayley have great chemistry so what could go wrong? Oh right, they've never danced Latin before. Cue footage of them leathering the shit out of eachother. Accidentally. Anyway they hope they can keep every element of the most difficult Latin dance together, otherwise they'll look silly.

They're samba'ing to Mas Que Nada and he's fulfilling his natural destiny by having his shirt slashed open down to the waist, like a Dreamboy at the beginning of a performance. Sadly he remains thus throughout, rather than getting progressively more naked as the dance goes on. She's dressed very much in the Latin style - muppet fed into a wood-chipper. For once this evening it's the man who's a little bit behind the woman, as Hayley just has the Latin vibe and style down that bit better than Chris although it goes without saying that he's not exactly Anton du Beke. It's more in the performance than anything else. He's just grinning rather than oozing Latin sex. Not that she's oozing much of anything either but at least she's got a few facial expressions to call on. I do notice that despite the WORLD CHAMPION level choreography, they're still doing the "explosive fart". Poor show, poor show.

Vamp over to Cat they do, who drools over Hayley's legs before we go to Nigel, talking about how the samba is a style that British people will be familiar with after seeing it on Strictly. Oh Nigel, we don't have samba on Strictly, we have salsambcha. It's a style all its own. We then get out the obligatory John Sergeant joke for the evening. He was a bad dancer. That's it. Yuk it up. Anyway, Nigel thought it was a good enough effort but it provoked a slow thaw rather than the full scale melting of the snowdrifts he was hoping for. I'm sure the Daily Express would find a way to say that climate change didn't exist regardless. The batchacatas in particular were apparently a tad weak, but hey, they're a good looking young couple and have enough chemistry to open their own chemists shop (I'm sure Arlene laughed hysterically at that one) so Nigel hopes that they'll be back next week to perform in a new style, as he thinks they could be hot.

Arlene says that she thinks this was the hardest draw tonight (wasn't that jive a few minutes ago?) because Latin dancers are the dancers she mentioned at the start of the show as spending years on a single move from the age of 3. Is that move the "exploding fart"? I don't want to envision Latin dancers spent years bent over trying to get the right angle of guff. So on those grounds it was a good first attempt, but Chris needs to loosen up and be less uptight. Louise says that she went to the same school as Hayley and learnt the same dances as her (which rather begs the question why she's in a position to judge her on a professional level, but ok) so she knows what she's capable of. And there were parts of that she enjoyed but there were parts she thought were really naff. The audience then boos and Louise officially has popped her "dumbass booing audience cherry". First time's always disappointing Lou, give yourself to it.

(Not that) Sisco finishes by saying that he doesn't know what performance the other three judges were watching because "that was phenomenal". Apparently it was "technically, blah blah blah blah blah" but it transported him to a scene where Nigel was wearing sunglasses, Arlene had her maracas out, and he and Louise were suppin virgin margaritas. Yeah, no way Arlene goes for a virgin magarita in real life. (Not that) Sisco obviously doesn't know these people very well. Although the part about her having her maracas out seems accurate enough.

Next up salsa dancer (/fiercemazing goddess) Yanet and "contemporary dancer" (/albinotastic god) Robbie. And before you ask, no, Yanet is obviously not scared of getting the "black bitch" edit, as she pouts and shoves her boobs at the camera all the way through her VT. She came to this country from Cuba a number of years ago, leaving her entire family behind (and she totally thinks of them every day. Except Thursdays, because that's Yanet Time) in order to bring the Cuban spirit to the UK. It's basically her vs Andy Garcia in a death match to be the UKs favourite Cuban entertainer, and seriously, what has Andy Garcia done since Ocean's Eleven? She's a shoe in. Her partner Mark also has an international flavour, having never worked as a dancer in the UK, but like every faded UK pop act of the 90s, he's worked extensively in Germany and Japan. We see his homecoming, where he seems really keen to pet his dog, and his nan waxes lyrical about how she's nurtured his dream since he was small. In BBC1 Andrew Lloyd Webber reality show code these two things add up to "GAY!" although we shall see.

Their meeting is suitably ecstatic, although more on her part than his. Maybe that's just her Latin Passion coming out, which I'm sure we will never ever stop hearing about. Still, if he's unimpressed with getting Yanet then God knows how he restrained his face when learning they were going to be choreographed by THE CURSE himself James Jordan. He does appear to be wearing stripy socks as a tie when they meet though, which is a fashion choice I can get behind. THE CURSE James Jordan will be choreographing an American Smooth Foxtrot for them... and why not tag another couple of words on the end? I kind of want to see an American Smooth Foxtrot Samba Doble. Stick that in your hat for next week (Not that) Sisco. THE CURSE James Jordan is being helped by Katya Virshillas incidentally, not that she says or does anything at any point except look blonde and pretty. I'm sure she helped. In some way. Anyway James wants them to have chemistry, and not dance the foxtrot like he would, presumably because they might actually want the public to vote for them. There's a bit of drama over who's in charge but... we all know that's Yanet, so let's gloss over the drama shall we?

They're dancing their American Smooth Foxtrot (Jive Rumba) to "Fever" and I hope when the show settles down they start producing some more left-field music choices, because it's all been pretty safe so far. Anyway, that aside, I AM TOO IN SHOCK OVER LOVING A JAMES JORDAN ROUTINE TO EVEN COMMENT. It's smooth and elegant and if I completely ignore the presence of a stupid needless backflip, it's just great. If I have any criticisms, his faces are a bit toothy and it's quite distracting, and sometimes when he's still it looks a bit awkward but otherwise? Marvellous.

They twirl over to Cat, who asks Robbie to recount why he and Yanet have an air-smooch before they come on stage. Is it because she is so full of Latin Passion that if she so much as touched him they'd have uncontrollable sex right there, like that girl from Misfits? No, it's because she's black, and therefore her make-up would cause him to turn into Al Jolson, and the show would be buried under a giant OFCOM tombstone.

Nigel starts by saying that he's quite disappointed that Robbie got a spray tan, because the Vampiric look is very in at the moment, what with Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. And also, the more he glows, the easier it is for the cameramen to spot him, which is obviously a problem for them in general. He then goes that one better, by saying that if you look up the word "class" in the dictionary you'll see a picture of James Jordan.


Laugh with me people, it's healthy. Seriously, even James looks like he wants to scoff. [Maybe Nigel's dictionary has a nasty smudge on the page, because in my copy, James Jordan's picture is under "ass". - Steve] Anyway, just like an STI, James has transferred said class to these to, via the awkward shag behind the bins of that routine. So hooray for them. Arlene follows up by saying that Robbie definitely won that battle, and then he and Yanet mug and play-scold each other for a bit, before Arlene praises his moves and Yanet's new-found softness. I've never seen Yanet hard but... whatever.

Louise starts by praising Yanet's Latin Fire and Passion which apparently oozes out of her when she dances (maybe that's why Robbie's a bit browner - he was lightly braised by Yanet's LATIN FIRE) and finishes by saying that technically Robbie wipes the floor with everyone. (Not that) Sisco then finishes by saying it was graceful and sophisticated and that they both made him go (*face*). I can't really describe it adequately. Envision the beginning of an unexpected blowjob in a Rob Schneider movie. Then cross it with someone dry-heaving. That face. Again, this is a compliment. He finishes by saying "hats off to you young lady" although he conspicuously does not actually take his hat off, as we all know that his hair would have to come with it.

Cat gives out the number whilst in the audience James applauds, and Katya gives her icy robot death glare, as she is wont to do.

Finally up? Jazz dancer Charlie and hip-hop dancer Tommy. He's wearing a backpack and she's giving him mean-mugging face. I have hopes that this means an outbreak of "hip-hop routine about Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone" US show style madness that's been slightly lacking this evening. And no, the tramp dance does not count.

We learn in their VT that, unsurprisingly, Charlie is pretty much a stage school brat, although she is from Leicester although I feel somewhat compelled to root for her whatever (WOO! WEST MIDLANDS REPREZENT!) Aparently she's the youngest in the competition, but this doesn't make her any less determined to turn around to Britain and show them what Charlie Bruce can do. Hopefully that's dancing and not firing ping-pong balls out of her hoo-hoo, because this is still BBC1 teatime entertainment. Partnered with her is Tommy, who is yet another FORRUN, Tommy, who is from Sweden and enjoys extreme sports and hip-hop dancing. I sense an action movie starring Steven Dorff in the making. He takes his shirt off for some gratuitous rock-climbing and says as an adrenalin junkie, this show is his biggest thrill yet. And yes, appearing in a VT with your top off as an attractive young male before meeting Arlene has to be up there with base-jumping off a waterfall in terms of exhilarating peril. Either way you're going to end up wet.

Their meeting involves her screaming manically whilst he looks at her slightly terrified as she hurtles towards him. Yeah, I don't think any amount of bungee jumping can prepapre you for Charlie Bruce cannoning towards you screaming at the top of her lungs. They've drawn hip-hop out of the totally random magic hat, and are being helped by JLS choreogrpaher Simeon, and his assistant lady who is notably not lounging on the floor all "yeah, check me out, am dem baddest de roughest on So You Think You Can Dance with NIGUW LITH-GO!" He's choreographed them a classic "boy meets girl, on a bench, she plays hard to get, then they backflip and make heiroglyphics at each other" story. Just like Romeo & Juliet. Anyway Tommy done do hip hop, but Charlie dunt do hip hop so it is easy for him but hard for her. Get it? Good.

They're dancing their hip hop routine to "Get It Right" by Timbaland and their bench is painted green coz they is dancing in the NEON GHETTO like this is Byker Grove or something. Obviously Tommy is much better than she is, but she's still quite fun to watch. Her movements are a bit flappy and spasmodic, but she's pushing as hard as she can, which I think is half the battle won. What's slightly disturbing is her dance faces which, for a girl from Leicester are full on Kate Nash Mockney. If there was a speaking part she'd be basically saying "ERE, check this GEEZER aht. Innie a RAHT LEMUM?! CALM DAHN MATE and DO ANUHVER......BACK FLIP". Tommy naturally is smiling happily throughout because that's just Tommy. Happiest little Swedish hip-hopping elf in the kingdom.

They tramp over to Cat who jokes with them that they obviously added the cheesy smile and thumbs up that Tommy gave at the end when he "won the girl" himself. I don't think he did it consciously Cat, he's just THAT HAPPY.

Nigel starts by saying "what a great fun routine" but in such a tone of voice and face that he looks incredibly sarcastic. Happily, because this is the FIRST NIGHT AND EVERYTHING IS AMAZING, PLEASE WATCH, he's being sincere and praises Simeon for his great routine and in particular the "King Tut" moves which he says are based on Egyptian hyroglyphics. Egyptian scholars will tell you that Tommy was in fact writing out "help, she's got a knife". Nigel then goes on a tangent about how "Wilson, Keppel and Betty" used to do this and I swear, not a single person watching has any clue what you're talking about Nigel. For anybody wondering : this is Wilson, Keppel and Betty.


Anyway, Nigel liked it, and Charlie shouldn't doubt her hip-hop skills.

Arlene next, saying that every dancer's dream is to master lots of different styles. One dancer I know's dream is to marry Mark Wahlberg, so I'm afraid Arlene is wrong on that score. Anyway Tommy has it all, and Charlie gave it a good shot, given that it's "not her world" but all the little stage-school faces made Arlene want to heave. It's all about TRUTH darling TRUTH. Yes Charlie Bruce, find the truth in some guy with a backpack coming up to you on a bench and then trying to woo you with body popping. IT'S IN THERE SOMEWHERE! SOMEONE CALL MULDER AND SCULLY!

Louise next, and she says that Charlie totally pulled it off for her, and she wants a go at the routine later, because she loved it. They should make her do it on air to prove her DANCE CREDENTIALS. She also points out to the public that whilst the public might be drawn to the high kicks, but it's the little fiddly stuff that's hard and the sign of a true dancer. And then they ACTUALLY SHOW the little twiddly bits in a clip (as they have been doing all night - showing live what the judges are actually talking about) which is a really good idea and a nice import from the foreign versions. (Not that) Sisco finishes by praising them both for their athleticism, but also pulls Charlie up on her stage-school faces, causing Louise and Arlene to start up another round of epic jibber-jabber, before (Not that) Sisco tells them to shut the eff up, and finishes by saying that it was overall quite good, but she needs to be more raw, like the under-sides of Anabel's arms. CALL BACK!

Cat gives out their number and now, finally we can all vote! FOR YANET AND ROBBIE! You know, or whoever.

It's now time for Judges' Memory Game, wherein the judges try to remember what the fuck just happened. Nigel says he liked the two hip-hop routines the most tonight, Arlene says that she liked Tramp Dance (she would) and didn't like the Samba, Louise says that she thinks Gavin should be worried (whatever, he's pulled, I doubt he cares) and that Lizzie was most fabbermost, and finally (Not that) Sisco says the foxtrot and hip-hop numbers were all very good, but he thinks that Gavin & Chloe will get the most votes, because the audience will want to see them grow. Hey, (Not that) Sisco was right! Bring him back!

After that's done, we get a quick recap - Mandy falling on her ass and Alistair in sparkly argyle, Mark & Lizzie as totally authentic homeless people, Drew's hair alone outdancing Anabel in the jive, Gavin kind of failing in his own style and making Chloe look heavy, Chris & Hayley samba'ing into irrelevance, Yanet & Robbie single-handedly redeeming James Jordan, and Tommy and Charlie Bruce having stage school sex on a glowing green bench.

After that, we're back, and Cat gushes some more and I like her anyway, and we are out of here. Steve will have your results show recap... probably immediately after me. He's a much faster recapper and his show was shorter. Don't judge me!

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