Sunday, 17 April 2011

Live and schticking

Top 20 Showcase: 16th April 2010

So after three weeks of auditions, more auditions, choreography camp, and BARROWMAN and Sisco's school of heterosexuality, we're finally getting to the important stuff: the live shows! We might even be able to offer you a bit of insight above and beyond what appears on your telly screen this week (assuming that anything on this blog passes for "insight" in the first place), since Chris and I actually managed to be in the studio audience for tonight's show. That's how dedicated we are. And how much we want to befriend Nigel. [Woo! Nigel! LOVE YOUUUUUUUUU! - Chris]

Cat reminds us that during the auditions, they searched the nation and found some incredible dancers, but even that wasn't enough to satisfy those mean ol' judges, who found some contestants fat, old, boring or all three. However, 20 dancers were thin, young and exciting enough to qualify for the live shows, and now they're get to showcase their dazzling talents in front of the viewing nation. The winner gets the chance to dance in Hollywood and £50,000 (a prize fund that, Chris pointed out to me earlier this week, is only slightly less than the money given to the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, which airs on cable to an audience of about half a million viewers. Whether the winner of this show also gets a shitload of free vodka remains unconfirmed.)Nonetheless, everyone's out to win, and this! Is Shoogaboogacandance!

We open with a group number featuring the entire top 20, performed to Rihanna's 'Don't Stop The Music', in which the boys are all sexy sailors and the girls are all the secretarial staff at naval college, or something. One thing that's quite promising from the outset is that there seems to have been a noticeable rise in quality from the audition stages - Fat Deaf Old Kirsty in particular is a lot sharper in this than I've ever seen her before. Danielle gets a featured spot and wastes no time making love to the camera. As they're all paired up, I wonder if this will be who they'll dance with when the competition starts properly next week. I'm inclined to think not, because Matt's dancing with Kirsty, which seems like a very odd partnership, but then stranger things have happened on this show. [Like Sisco - Chris] Ryan also makes the most of an opportunity to get some camera time, and Lee C gets a featured spot doing a backflip and some impressive breakdancing. Tom and Matt are also given their own bit to do, which is as tappy as you can actually be when you're not wearing tap shoes, and invisible Alice seems to be struggling a bit at the end.

Cat arrives and welcomes us to the show, bringing us the good news that no one's getting eliminated this week. Hooray! I actually think this is a really good idea, and it's a shame they didn't have time to do it last year - considering the dancers are all about to be thrust out of their comfort zones, it's helpful for us to see how good they are at what they claim is their area of expertise (for most of them, anyway). Of course, they will still be subjected to the judges, who get their own VT, but it's made up almost entirely of bits we've already seen, so I'm just going to skip that if it's okay with everyone. Arlene and Sisco enter from stage left - Arlene is looking lovely in a white dress and a snazzy pair of red shoes, and Sisco is looking...very Sisco-esque. He's scraped all his hair back à la Beyoncé in the 'Single Ladies' video, and appears to be going for some sort of bonda matador look. Maybe he'll be doing a paso doble later? Louise and Nigel enter from stage right, with Louise in a shimmery, glittering dress and Nigel in a silver suit. On-set Insight #1: Louise's dress doesn't seem to have gone down terribly well with viewers, but I can only assume this is a "failure to translate to TV" issue because in person she looked absolutely stunning.

Cat returns to the stage and looks at the wrong camera for a good ten seconds (ahh, live TV) and reminds us that the dancers will be showcasing their strengths tonight, but we'll be chatting to the judges first. Nigel tells us that the dancers can relax tonight because there's no danger of elimination, and this is a chance to show us who they are. He tells us that in that first routine (courtesy of Mandy Moore), we saw how clean the dancing is this year, and he adds that while we had some great individuals last year, this year the group as a whole is strong. Cat asks Louise what the dancers will be feeling, and Louise thinks they'll be anxious, nervous and excited, but they just need to come out and give it their all. Cat then turns to Sisco and does an Elvis impression that at first I mistook for a growly sex face. I have to say, I was quite relieved when I worked that out. Nigel's clearly reading my mind, because he likens Sisco's hair to "Elvis and Beyoncé" and Cat points out that that's "two divas in one". Three, surely? Sisco reminds us once again that THIS IS NOT BRITAIN'S BEST DANCER THIS IS BRITAIN'S FAVOURITE DANCER, THAT'S HOW THAT CLUMSY OX CHARLOTTE AND FAT DEAF OLD KIRSTY GOT HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, and that they have to - wait for it - "live". This gets absolutely no reaction from the studio audience, and I have never been prouder of a group of total strangers with whom I'd been thrown together in my entire life. After that, Arlene explains that next week everyone will be dancing with partners, and they'll have to have chemistry and they'll need to remember what they had in that first routine, which "looks like it was mixed by Brian Cox in a science lab, they need all the chemistry they can get". Except Brian Cox is a physicist, so he probably doesn't do all that much mixing in the lab. [Maybe she's talking about the Brian Cox Pantene advert that is no doubt imminent - Chris] Still, Arlene without those slightly clumsy turns of phrase wouldn't be Arlene, and I for one wouldn't want her any other way. Cat also draws our attention to Arlene's subtle but snazzy diamond accessories, and the audience whoops rather mutedly. On-Set Insight #2: I don't think many of us could actually see them from where we were, hence the slightly quiet response. I whooped loudly anyway, because I'm easily led.

Time for our first group number, from Shane, Bethany Rose, Luke and Katie. VT, anyone? Oh, I think so: we start with Katie, who tells us that she's crazy and scatty, because she likes food and music. Whoa, steady on there, YOU LOON. Primetime BBC1 is just not ready for your madcap stylings. She continues that she's not too precious about image and is quite happy to do whatever's asked of her in that respect: "if you can't have pink hair when you're 24 and on the telly, when can you?" Next up is Shane, who is from Australia, and illustrates this by posing outside a Walkabout. Presumably his choice was either that or just walking around Acton. He's been here for about 10 months, and doesn't consider himself a typical Australian because he can take or leave things on the BBQ front, although he does like Vegemite. I feel like I am learning a lot here. His mum hasn't seen him dance in five years, but has come over to watch him on the show. Bethany Rose is from Devon, and loves animals because they don't answer back. Although they do bite. She didn't make it onto the show last year, you may remember, and says that she's spent the year working hard. Luke is 30 (gasp!) and from Leicester - he's been working on shows like Cats, Grease, and Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert recently, but he's ready to be in the spotlight and do something bigger and better. They are the Jazz group, and illustrate this by doing jazz hands, naturally.

They're performing a vampire-themed routine to Evanescence's 'Bring Me To Life', which begins with Luke and Shane suspended from the ceiling upside down, and frankly they've both got my vote for being able to do that without vomiting all over the studio. Bethany and Katie are presumably vampire fangirls, and start macking on the guys as they're lowered from the ceiling [either that or they love Spiderman and got CONFOOSED - Chris], and then get their own little featured spot over the side of the stage so that we don't have to watch Luke and Shane releasing themselves from the harnesses, and then there's a bit of snarling from the guys before an acrobatic display - Luke and Shane's aerial cartwheels are particularly impressive. Luke is going above and beyond in his commitment to the roll, going as far as to lick Katie's ear in the middle of a lift. It ends with the girls throwing themselves into the boys' arms and being carried off to the crypt or whatever.

Cat calls it "Twilight meets Liza Minelli meets jazz hands meets 'I wanna suck your blood'." Indeed. Nigel namedrops choreographer Paul Domaine just to help things along, and credits him for tapping into the general vampire lust that exists in popular culture right now. He thinks they were very sexy vampires, but he thought that Shane was a little toothless "and for a vampire, that's no good, son." He thinks Shane needs to get into character a lot more. Luke, on the other hand, was bang on and the girls' technique was fabulous. Cat asks Shane to give us an evil look, and I assume Shane probably didn't have to look far to summon feelings of murderous rage right now. Arlene thinks they set the standard flying high, and she really got her teeth into the routine. She thinks that Bethany and Shane had dead arms and she wants to see them "LIVING!" Again, no reaction to this. Keep it up, audience! Also, Arlene: please don't assume that just because Sisco keeps saying "living!" that it's ever going to catch on. He said it frequently last year, when this show had about two million viewers more than it's getting at the moment, and it didn't work then, so I really don't think it's going to happen. Louise agrees with the dead arms in places, but says that they all brought the power and made the routine work. She agrees with Nigel that Shane needs to lose his inhibitions. Cat asks Sisco if first-week nerves are to blame for Shane's issues, and Sisco non-answers that he doesn't know what show the others were watching, because that was hot. He thinks they were all believable, and he was jealous of the kisses. He thinks they all did well. And if I may throw in my $0.02 here, obviously I know shit-all about dancing, but I didn't see anything wrong with Shane in this routine at all. He was just "on" less than Luke was, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The jazz dancers trot off, and it's the hip hoppers: Lee C, Rithy, Charlie and Israel. Lee tells us that he had encephalitis when he was seven, which scrambled his co-ordination, and the doctors suggested trampolining as part of his recuperation to help him restore it. He went on to be a champion trampolinerist, and was inspired by a breakdancer in a club to move into dance. Rithy is Brazilian and crazy and loves people. She appears to be one of those people who couldn't sit still even if her life depended on it. She says it doesn't matter what you do as long as you do it with passion. Israel is the youngest dancer on the show, and has only been dancing for four years - he thinks he's good, but he wants to be better. He has supportive parents, which is nice. Charlie is currently studying a degree in circus, and even Charlie's like "yeah, who knew that was a real thing?" I imagine that David Cameron is tabling motions to cut all funding for things like that as we speak. He says that he's got a few tricks ready for the live shows.

They're all dressed as old people, so you know right away that Kate Fucking Prince must be behind this routine. The theme from The Archers plays and everyone mugs their very best old-people behaviour (incidentally, with Charlie in a tweed jacket and his hair parted on one side, he kind of looks like Matt Smith as The Doctor). Lee fiddles with the wireless and retunes it to Run DMC's 'It's Like That'. Charlie and Lee show off their best breakdancing moves first of all, before Rithy and Israel do some interesting work with their canes that involves contorting themselves around each other. Charlie and Rithy do backrolls over Lee and Israel respectively, and Charlie's hat flies off in the process, meaning that it's right in the way of the next bit, where they're all lined up on the floor, jumping over each other, although full marks to Lee for thinking quickly, and grabbing it when he gets near and lobbing it offstage somewhere. Charlie does some of his contortions at the front, while Lee and Israel chuck Rithy into the air cheerleader-style. It ends with Charlie retuning the radio to 'Barwick Green' again and everyone remembering that they are old and stuff. Ugh. Still, at least there weren't any tramps involved. Kate Prince applauds in a fairly surly fashion.

Cat summons them all over, and they all stagger over, old-person like. You can't knock their commitment, I guess. Sisco says that that piece is exactly how he imagines Nigel's house. Nigel chips in that that was Arlene's last birthday party. [33 again! - Chris] Sisco loved their commitment and they left him wanting more. He can't wait for them all to get hip hop again, which could conceivably never happen. Louise loved that we had hip hop and theatre, and she loved the synchronisation, and she thought Rithy made hip hop sexy [Hip hop of course generally being a genre known for it slack of overt sexuality - Chris]. Cat interjects unnecessarily that Rithy "held her own, and there's three guys up there." Should we be surprised by this? I don't like this general idea of humouring the girl by pointing out that she did well by not sucking in comparison to the guys, especially when Rithy genuinely was great in that number on her own terms. Arlene loves their acting and personality, and calls Charlie "Bieber baby", telling him that she loves his tricks but he needs to start learning some new ones. Charlie assures us that he has more tricks up his sleeve. Nigel agrees that they've taken a risk with Charlie and they're expecting him to grow. He turns to Rithy (pronouncing it as it's spelt, rather than "Richie" like everyone else has been saying), pointing out that she's not even a b-girl and did so well in this, despite being out of her element. He's looking for Lee and Israel to provide some exciting moves, and he knows they're going to be really exciting.

Up next are Danielle, Katrina Ballerina, Gian Luca and Stephanie with a contemporary piece. Danielle cops to being a total Britney Spears fangirl, and we see a photo of her as a teenager with a bad blonde dye job. She's very excited about the first live show. Stephanie lives in Kent (hooray!) and her specialty is Latin dancing. So quite why they've lumbered her with a contemporary routine, I'm unsure. Mind you, she's not the only one with this problem tonight. Just wait until you see what Fat Deaf Old Kirsty gets stuck with. Danielle's been working as a professional dancer (as Cha Cha in Grease, by the looks of things), but she wants to learn all the skills on this show. Katrina works at her mum's dance school, and was taught ballet by her mum when she was five. Anyone else hoping we're going to get some kind of Black Swan moment from the two of them at some point, or is that just me? [WHERE'S MY SWEET GIRL? Still here mum... - Chris] She's hoping that being the only ballet dancer will help her stand out. Gian Luca is Italian, and is also ballet-trained, and is a part-time model. He's the oldest dancer here, but thinks that's an advantage because he has the experience.

I'm sure you will all be shocked to learn that this contemporary number features everyone in billowing monochrome outfits soundtracked by serious MOR music - in this case, Andrea Bocelli's version of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Not that I'm suggesting this show is a bit overly-narrow in its display of contemporary dance, or anything. (And yes, I'm going to eat those words after the next routine, but I feel my point stands all the same.) Danielle stands out as the best in this routine - there's just something incredibly watchable about her, although Stephanie and Katrina don't exactly embarrass themselves either. Gian Luca is a bit harder to pin down - he seems to have more of an enabling role in this routine than anything that's specifically his own, but he's not wowing me.

Louise loved the change of pace and sound, and says that contemporary is about digging deep and immersing yourself in, and she thinks Danielle conveyed every emotion in that routine. Danielle says that she's so emotional, because she loves that song and loves dancing with these amazing dancers. Sisco thought they complemented each other brilliantly, and he felt like he was watching a company. He thinks the bar has been set very high for all four of them. Cat asks Arlene if it's impressive for them to have developed chemistry so soon, and Arlene says that they have technique for days and own their bodies. She credits Gian Luca with "the passion of a Bruno Tonioli or a Vincent Simone" (HA!) and Nigel adds that as he's got older he can't believe how much he enjoys watching the marriage of music and movement, and he found this very uplifting and moving. He tells Gian Luca that he reminds him of a young Michael Corleone from The Godfather and asks him if he has mob connections. Hmm. It's no "you're like a little Lenny Henry!", but it still makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.

Up next are "our Broadway brat pack" - Lee B, Charlotte, Paige, Matt and Tom. Tapper Tom says he's not a typical dancer, he's a lad's lad (shots of him drinking beer and playing pool and DEFINITELY NOT DOING ANYTHING THAT LOOKS GAY OR ANYTHING). He wants to bring tap to a wider audience and make people realise how difficult it is. Paige is a disco dancer, and looks as bored by her own VT as I am. She likes dressing up, although she needs to work on her "I ENJOY THIS!" face if she plans on doing this sort of thing on a regular basis. She's shy and nervous, but she comes alive when she dances, she assures us. Lee is from Plymouth and is a jazz dancer, but was apparently not allowed to be in the actual jazz routine, so I guess he's another person not exactly giving us his specialty tonight. He says that he doesn't try to be different on purpose, but he just stands out anyway, and this segues into a rather cruel montage of people walking past him and pointing and staring. I mean, he's not THAT weird, guys. [I thought it was supposed to be people having their heads turned by his androgynous sexuality rather than his weirdness. Which would probably be a bit kind NO OFFENCE ANDGROYLEE - Chris] [Well, I assumed the same thing, but even in that context, I'm struggling to see his appearance to be as noteworthy as the show seems to think it is. I mean, he's a lean dude with long hair, we had tons of those where I grew up. - Steve] Oh, and it's soundtracked by The Killers' 'Somebody Told Me', as in "somebody told me that you had a boyfriend that looked like a girlfriend." Seriously, show, lay it on thicker why don't you. He thinks he can bring something individual to the competition. Charlotte is also a jazz dancer, and is BUBBLY AND OUTGOING. On-Set Insight #3: her friends were sat in front of us and were super-loud, and kind of rude to the other dancers. Not that this should have any reflection on Charlotte herself, who I'm sure is perfectly lovely, but I feel it merits saying all the same. She says that some people say she looks like Christina Aguilera. If this is true, they're wrong: she looks like Sheridan Smith in Two Pints Of Lager And A Pint Of This Show Should Have Been Cancelled Years Ago. Matt's VT is soundtracked by 'Thinking Of Me' by Olly Murs, which I'm hoping is the show's way of suggesting that Matt too is a bit of a bellend, but we'll see. He's an adrenaline junkie, and he likes FOOTBALL AND MANLY NOT-GAY THINGS! He wanted to be a dancer because he thought it would improve his chances with the girls, AND IT DOES LOL NOTGAY!

They've got a bit of an overall Broadway montage, which starts with something that I believe is from A Chorus Line and showcases everyone, before Lee, Charlotte and Paige are sent offstage to allow Matt and Tom to do a tap duet. And it's not that it's not enjoyable or impressive, but it does go on for quite a while, and none of the others get anything like the same amount of exposure in the routine, so it does feel a tad unfair. Lee at least gets a little bit of a solo spot immediately afterwards, although the camera disappears in the middle of it, and Charlotte and Paige eventually get to go at the front for 'Anything Goes' - briefly. Seriously, if I were them, I'd be feeling short-changed right now.

Cat calls Matt "heartbreaker" (I'm so pleased we've got an entire series of *that* to look forward to), and Arlene says it was the campest thing she's seen all year. I wonder if Tom and Matt are annoyed that all that energy they spent on being MANLY AND NOT GAY in their VTs was for naught. She loved the tapping, but she thinks Tom needs to keep his arms strong, and she thinks Lee was great in the lift, and the girls have great personalities, but they need style for Broadway, to think "neat and clean". Nigel thought it was entertaining, but felt it was both a mash-up and a mess-up. He's quick to exonerate Giant Lady, the choreographer, from blame in all of this because she just did what was asked of her given the mixed bag of talent, but Nigel would've liked to see the tap as its own routine and Lee and the girls as their own routine, but putting them together felt a bit disparate. He thinks they'll all do well in the competition, and he hopes for a proper tap duet from Matt and Tom at some point. Louise says that Broadway is entertainment, and the tap really worked for her and brought the room to life. She tells Matt that he made it look easy and Tom needs to make sure he can keep up. I have a feeling that I'm going to be an enraged Tom stan by the end of the series if people keep insisting he's playing catch-up with Matt. Sisco disagrees, because he loved it, but he thinks Paige needs to hold her centre of gravity, because she's sloppy on her landings and her posture on her pirouettes is extremely ugly, but as a whole it was great. Cat reminds us that Paige is the shy one, and Paige backs this up by being fundamentally incapable of stringing a sentence together. Good job she's not on So You Think You Can Articulate Yourself Effectively, I guess.

Finally we have Fat Deaf Old Kirsty, Ryan and Invisible Alice, who seem to be "the leftovers" and have been classified as "contemporary". Fine for Ryan, who we saw audition with a contemporary piece, but Kirsty? Need we remind you what happened when Kirsty attempted contemporary last time? This doesn't bode well. Ryan is from the Isle of Wight and has cheekbones, and reminds us of his ill-advised sob story. Remember: my brother died of cancer makes you sound sympathetic. My brother died of cancer on my birthday makes you sound like you have a really odd set of priorities. [Given as how the Internet loves to show off its ZOMG EDGINESS AND CYNICISM by whinging loudly about "sob stories" at every possible opportunity I personally doubt it'd make much difference - Chris] Anyway, dancing helps him through his emotions, and he's much happier now. He does endear himself to me a little bit by saying that he's been training in all the different genres like a madman, because it's not like he's going to get this chance again. I like that attitude a lot. Invisible Alice is from Leicester and has never been seen before. Her family is very showbiz - her great grandfather was a jazz singer, and her grandmother is 85 and still tap dances. She hope people see her for who she is. But who is that? Buggered if I know. Kirsty used to do burlesque dancing with a girl group, and got to dance with Dita Von Teese. Dita Von Teese does seem quite happy to turn up for just about anything, though, so I'm not sure how much of an endorsement this is. Kirsty says that they found she was deaf when she was 12, adding that people had been assuming she was a daydreamer ("I probably was daydreaming as well, but it was because I couldn't hear anything anybody was saying" ♥). She adds that she doesn't consider it as a disability and doesn't want to be known as "Poor Kirsty". I'm guessing she's not going to be crazy about being called Fat Deaf Old Kirsty, in that case.

Now, in this routine's favour, it is a contemporary routine where no one is wearing white, and where the music actually has a tempo to speak of (Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy'). Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing I can say about it. They appear to be on the set of Not Going Out, and while all three of them are doing their best to sell what they've been landed with (Kirsty in particular is all eyes, tits and teeth throughout, though Ryan and Invisible Alice aren't far behind), but the routine as a whole is just a mess and doesn't really make sense as a narrative or as a showcase of technique - at one point Kirsty grabs a bowl full of glitter and starts chucking it around everywhere, making it all just look like they're all high. [LOL MENTALLY ILL!!!!!! - Chris] It ends with them all leaping off the stage. I don't blame them.

Louise thinks they gave it 100%, but there's a fine line between dancing and acting, and she thinks the overegged acting detracted from the dancing. Sisco surprises himself by agreeing with Louise, saying that he doesn't know if this is what the requirement was, and if so they did what they were told, but it was too cheesy for such a gloomy song. Arlene says that we all know she was not a fan of Kirsty, but she's eating her words now because she couldn't stop watching her in that routine. She hopes they were all required to look crazy. Cat asks Kirsty if the craziness was a requirement of the routine, but Kirsty isn't looking at her and so can't really hear her properly, but eventually all three of them confirm that it was deliberate.

So everyone's performed, but we still have two more group numbers. First up are the boys, who will be working on a contemporary routine taught by Australian choreographer Sarah Boulter, who explains that the routine is about the strength and power of a man, to show off the boys' physicality. [As excuses for stripping goes, that one's up there - Chris] Israel says that there's a lot to think about. Sarah insists that the boys take their shirts off, and this is not a happy development for everyone. She also suggests they need some fake tan, so the girls come in to paint them all orange. Seriously. I hope none of these girls are beauticians in their downtime, because this point does not speak highly of their skills. Charlotte tans Lee, who says it's fine, "as long as I don't turn out like Scally". Hee! Charlie thinks he looks like an Oompa Loompa. Sarah has complete trust in the boys and thinks they'll be terrific.

This, for my money, is the best routine of the night, and not just because of the shirtlessness. It's visually arresting, with each of the solo spots being single out in spotlights, and being lit directly from above giving it all an otherworldly quality. It features some genuinely breathtaking choreography, and the guys deliver what's asked of them and more. I can't help noticing that in comparison to the rehearsal footage, some of these guys have had some serious waxing done [BOO! - Chris] - Matt and Ryan most noticeably. Shane has an incredibly muscular back, and to that end is probably the only one of the ten with the physique to really sell this piece.

Nigel wonders if the absence of shirts is part of the BBC cutbacks. He thinks that the shirtlessness and tanning helped us to see the bodylines, and it's clear to see how hard it is to be a strong, masculine male dancer. Arlene calls it a "chest fest", and some were showing off their best bodies and their best tricks, while others weren't, but it was "hot". Louise thanks Sarah for making the shirtless decision, and she thinks Shane and Luke brought the masculinity and power required. Sisco fans himself, and says that he was worried about whether they could pull it off, and they did - but some of them only *just* managed it. He doesn't specify who, which isn't terribly helpful for the audience or the contestants.

Time for the girls to see if they can better that. They've got a routine from Kevan Allen, which is about "ten birds that come to life at night and become sexy, vibrant women" - it's very lyrical and jazz-focused. Alice says that everyone's having to concentrate very hard. Kevan's impressed with how well they all gel together. Kirsty thinks that if it works it's going to be amazing, and is reminding me more and more of The Prenj with every second of screentime she gets. We see them rehearsing their apartment, and Danielle says how nice it's been getting to know everyone, with Stephanie adding that being temporarily in a position of non-competing helps. Danielle says that they're dancing to one of her favourite songs (again? Is there anything she doesn't like?) and she hopes they can outdo the boys.

They're dancing to 'Fighter' by Christina Aguilera which is indeed an awesome song. Their challenge is different from the guys', because here it's more about whether they can capture the drama while remaining in synch with each other. For the most part, they do a fine job - Danielle, Bethany, Kirsty and Rithy are the standouts to my eyes, but Charlotte and Katie aren't far behind.

Nigel has a feather in his hair, which he claims came from Arlene, and cracks a terrible joke about how many people will be "tweeting" about this. Oh, NIGEL. Sisco thought it was better than the guys, and that they killed it. Louise thinks the competition is on and can't wait for next week. Arlene says it's about the legs and how they use them - "girls, you used them, and next week you'll be using them to kick each other out the door!" Indeed. Rithy's all "oh, snap!"

Cat decides to put the judges on the spot - even though no one's going this week, she wants to know who'd be in trouble if they were, and who's got off to a great start. Sisco squeals and refuses to say, but he does have one boy and one girl in mind. Cat declares him "rubbish". Word, Cat. Nigel says that he was uncomfortable with Ryan, Alice and Kirsty working together, but it's going to depend on what they pull out of the hat next week and who they're partnered with. He thinks the first contemporary routine was the best. Arlene thinks Ryan, Shane and Tom need to "get it up" *titter* and get stronger to keep up with someone like Matt (sigh), and the girls like Paige and Charlotte who lack technique but have personality (I seriously can't believe that Paige of all people is being painted as having got through on the strength of her personality) need to take some notes from Danielle, and Louise agrees that Ryan needs to try harder, and her favourite was Danielle, who makes everything look easy. Sisco adds that it's only week one, and everything could change.

So that's it! Next week we have actual eliminations, so shit is gon' get real. We finish with the obligatory DANCE PARTY, slowly panning around the Top 20, with everyone being fairly subtle apart from Ryan, who full on leaps at the camera, presumably in direct response to Louise's request for him to own the stage from now on. Chris will be here next week with the lowdown on the first elimination show - don't miss it!


  1. I'm wondering if Shane and Luke were good at the upside-down schtick because of their Antipodean links - one's an Aussie, the other's been in Priscilla?

  2. Gah, just posted elsewhere that Charlie looks like Matt Smith only to discover I've been beaten to it. Alas.

  3. You are totally right about Shane's performance. There was nothing wrong with it! and certainly, as you say, it was no bad thing he was less "on" than Luke (who I can't warm to. Amongst other things, because from the way he defended the bad routine in choreography camp, I immediately thought he must have imposed it on the others).

  4. Oh guys I’m sorry (© L Redknapp) I expected MUCH more scathing bitchery than this! I know it all looks different in the studio and I think you need to watch on TV to see how they have already achieved full psychotic camera work – but this was your chance to shine (© Luke but franchised to A Phillips). Did the choreographer adopt Luke’s belief that walking was an innovative dance move – she used it for a good portion of that first group dance.
    The ‘white’ contemporary number was quite unbalanced by having 3 girls and one boy (the other contemporary was just unbalanced) and on TV three brunettes in white dresses are pretty hard to tell apart! How long are they going to pretend that Charlotte is just a barmaid? (remember “You’ve never danced in heels before” to Lizzie who had just come off the Take That tour?). You are very talented at this and next week I want to see you giving it 110% (© every single contestant and judge)

  5. Did I imagine it, or did Ryan also say that his mum died of alcohol?

  6. And does the £50,000 prize mean the winner is worth only half a Charlie?