Sunday, 1 May 2011

Better the genre you know

Top 18: 30th April 2011

Previously on So You Think You Can Dance: the Top 20 faced the public vote for the first time, and ultimately became the Top 18 as Cheekbones Ryan and Clumsy Paige were forsaken by the public. Previously on Bitch, You Think You Can Dance: our distaste for MATTFLINTMANIA gathered momentum and Chris fell hopelessly in love with the epic romance of Katrina Ballerina and Tapper Tom. What fresh joys will tonight's show bring us? Well, Steph and Gian Luca think they will not be in the bottom two, Charlotte doesn't know what a bottom two is HERP DERP DERP *eats own hair* and the producers apparently cotton on to Luke and Danielle's complete loathing of each other and get them to sort it all out in a boxing ring. About time too.


Because the most important thing that happened this weekend/week/year was two obscenely rich people getting married with a large cash injection from taxpayers while every single television channel in the country emptied its schedule of regular programming in order to shove anything with the word "wedding" in its place, it's only right that this show jumps on the bandwagon with a wedding dance. Now, Chris is violently opposed to the royal wedding at the best of times, so you can probably imagine what sort of reaction he had to a dance that split up his Tom/Katrina OTP and had her marrying MATTFLINTMANIA instead. Let's just say he spewed forward a burst of profanity that Gordon Ramsay got in touch to say "I say, old chap, you should really wash your mouth out". Poor Tapper Tom has been relegated to the role of photographer, and while I hope there'll be a twist in the narrative where the bride runs off with the guy behind the camera, sadly it's not to be. This is such blatant tappism, as well, putting MATTFLINTMANIA front and centre and leaving poor Tom to be the hired help. (Also, Luke and Shane are standing to one side, looking adorable in matching suits, and I know they're probably supposed to be groomsmen, but in my head they were the other half of a double wedding, and no one can tell me otherwise.) Anyway, once That Kiss is out of the way, 'River Deep, Mountain High' kicks in and everyone starts shimmying down the aisle like mad. Other observations: the lilac bridesmaid's dress makes Katie Love look rather matronly, Danielle looks like she could not give a rat's ass about any of this, Stephanie catches the bouquet [Later, she will be marrying irrelevance - Chris], and there appears to be a slight blocking issue at the very end when everyone's trying to line up for their final positions and there's not enough room stage right. Tsk.

Cat arrives in her best outfit of the series so far (a hollow compliment, admittedly, but all the same) and thanks Mandy Moore for the choreography. For reasons that are not made clear at any part of the evening, Cat is wearing a WWE championship belt around her left wrist. [I thought she'd fisted a giant chocolate Christmas tree coin - Chris] [Failing that, I was very disappointed she didn't shoot a fireball out of it once - Chris] She introduces "the royal family of ruthlessness", ie the judges: Sisco appears to be wearing another set of high-fashion armour, while Louise has sensibly avoided walking into any doors before setting foot on the set this week. Nigel hopes that this week we'll see more chemistry between the couples (SCREW YOU, NIGEL, KATRINA BALLERINA AND TAPPER TOM HAVE CHEMISTRY4DAYZ) and connect with the audience. Arlene points out that this week we've got a butch b-boy trying to be soft and lyrical, a contortionist who can't count trying to waltz (Charlotte: "What's a counting? HERP DERP DERP.") and a ballerina trying a fast Broadway routine.

After a quick recap of the rules, it's time for our first competitive routine of the night, from Matt The Designated Tapper Of Choice and Charlotte The Idiot. The VT lies that Charlotte's performance last week wasn't a huge sloppy mess, because she's being dragged through to Top 10 at least thanks to being partnered with the unstoppable might of MATTFLINTMANIA! and they need to justify it somehow. This week they've got jazz, which will be the first of many instances tonight of people rather handily drawing their specialist genre. They have a cane to perform with, which as we all know from Dancing On Ice is THE HARDEST PROP IN THE WORLD, especially when combined with a hat. Mandy Moore, who's choreographing this one as well, explains that it's about a power struggle and the two of them both wanting control of the cane. It's a Cane Mutiny, if you will. Mandy insists that they must not drop the cane, at which point we see a montage of Excessive Cane Droppage (soundtracked to 'Hold It Don't Drop It' by Jennifer Lopez - lovely work from the editors there). Charlotte says that she's missing home a little bit, at which point we segue into a VT of Charlotte's parents, who are apparently both Keith Lemon. The most amusing part of this entire segment is the poster being waved by her parents that says "CHARLOTTE SCALLY" in about 50pt font, and has "+ MATT FLINT" written in much smaller letters underneath. I guess MATTFLINTMANIA! hasn't quite hit Watford yet.

Their routine is to 'Relax' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Chris instantly recognises this as a theft from season six of SYTYCD in the US, where it was performed by Jakob Karr and Ashleigh DiLello. I've included the YouTube link there for you to have a gander at, but the original is clearly superior for the following reasons:

1. The quality of dancing on SYTYCD US season six was infinitely superior to the quality of dancing on SYTYCD UK series two.
2. Ashleigh DiLello >>>> Charlotte Scally.
3. Jakob Karr >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> MATTFLINTMANIA.
4. Unlike Matt, Jakob is not wearing WHITE SOCKS WITH BLACK SHOES, for fuck's sake.

Taken objectively, Matt and Charlotte's performance is decent enough: they're sharp and dynamic, and there are some impressive tricks in there, but there's a degree of hamming to the camera that I'm not overly fond of. They don't drop the cane, though, so I think Mandy's prime concern with this routine has been addressed.

Nigel does not cop to the recycling of the routine, but applauds Mandy's work all the same. He says that he's putting his money down on Matt being "one of the best boys in this competition" as though that's some kind of daring statement, and not something that the show's been trying to convince us of since the opening minutes of episode one. Charlotte missed the dress run because she smashed her head yesterday on the backbend and has been dizzy all day (how would anyone know the difference? WHAT AM A FOXTROT BLEEP BLOOP), and Nigel hammers on that she was being advised by the show's medical staff to sit it out, but Charlotte insists there was no chance of that happening. "I signed myself out from the hospital!" she giggles. What a brave little toaster. Arlene thinks they've set the bar high for tonight, and that Matt sends pulses racing when he dances. She adds that they will be joining Frankie in the Going To Hollywood stakes. Louise reminds us that CANES ARE DIFFICULT, saying that Charlotte looks hot while Matt is actually a good dancer. It sounds nicer when she says it. Sisco calls it simply "perfection".

Katie and Lee C are next, having been given one of Kate Prince's more bearable efforts last week (spoiler: no Kate Prince routines in tonight's show! *dance party*). Lee agrees with Sisco that he needs to pull his socks up. In the pick, Cat asks what style they'd like, and Lee opts for contemporary. Cat's all "BUT YOU'RE A B-BOY!!!!!1111" Contemporary it is, which means the girls are two for two tonight in picking their home styles for this week's routines. Their routine is being choreographed by Katrin Hall, who explains that it's about a couple breaking up, "and the love and the passion". Hmm, a contemporary dance routine about relationship problems: how very novel. We saw in the opening that Katie's in her nightwear for it as well, which is just breaking further uncharted ground. Katie likens the routine to the real arguments that they've had, Lee asks her if she ever stops talking, and she gives him SUCH A LOOK. Ugh, then there's this awful try-hard bit where they try to coin themselves a team name of "Team LoveLee", vomit vomit vomit. It's bad enough when the fans do it, but please don't try to actually make it happen for yourselves. [Team CrowLove - They bummed a raven! - Chris]

They have a bed for their routine, which can only invite comparisons to Drew's Hair and Hayley (where has Rafael Bonachela been so far this year? COME BACK RAFAEL THIS SHOW NEEDS YOU). They're performing to the only good Alicia Keys song ('Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart') and despite my grousing, this is a genuinely great routine: Lee is pretty good, but Katie is absolutely phenomenal, leaping around and making herself look completely weightless as Lee chucks her all over the place. Even in the lift that they were shown having serious problems with in rehearsals, where Lee supports Katie as she's lifted into the air and then drops to the ground, landing on her side, she's just incredibly smooth and gentle, and I'm literally astounded that the human body can actually do all of this.

Cat says to Lee "you're a fast worker! Last week the kitchen, this week the bedroom..." And somehow in between he found time to officiate at a wedding, don't forget. The crowd is chanting "LoveLee! LoveLee!" (ugh) and Louise thinks they sizzled, and at times Lee looked at Katie so tenderly that she really felt it, and she thinks they looked like a perfect partnership. Arlene disagrees: at times he looked at her like he should, but he looked "like an apprentice in the bedroom". Cat's all "err, guys, that's something VERY different" and Louise begs to clarify her critique: she thinks that Lee looked tenderly at Katie when the choreography asked for it. Arlene thinks Lee never lifts his chest and his head (Sisco: "WHAAAAT?!") and since the chest is a mirror to the soul (sheesh, what ISN'T a mirror to the soul in dance?) he needs to use that. Katie, on the other hand, was flawless, but Lee needs to give more. Sisco disputes this, and thinks Lee did That Thing We Won't Recap Because It's Not Going To Happen, and that this week he really pulled up and was very inspirational, and Katie gave a beautiful, organic performance. Nigel is proud of Katrin, as this is the first time he's worked with her, and there's pause while Nigel's all "you're Icelandic, is this what you do on those long dark nights, ho ho ho" and then says that his bedroom hasn't seen that sort of action for a while, at which point Arlene puts her arms around him and OH MY GOD PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME THINK ABOUT THAT. To get back on point, Nigel thinks Lee was really strong tonight and was there for Katie, and when they danced together it was good, but he needs to think about straightening his legs and pointing his toes. Nigel thinks Katie stands out in a crowd, like in tonight's opening routine. Cat wonders what they'll do next week. Full frontal, I shouldn't wonder.

Kirsty and Lee C are next. They were thrilled with their feedback last week, and are actually quite adorable in their backstage celebrations. They draw Bollywood from the box, and have got Ash Mukherjee as their choreographer. And if you're expecting 'Jai Ho' to be on the soundtrack right now, then you're absolutely right. Ash explains that it's a melting pot of different dance styles from all over India and all over the world. We see Lee and Kirsty looking pretty fabulous in rehearsals as Ash explains that it's about a young couple on their wedding night, where the man is an alpha male looking to get the lady into bed, and the woman's all "no chance" *z-snaps*. Lee explains that it's a high-tempo routine, and because it's Lee, he has to justify to the cameras that he can totally be convincing as an alpha male. Sigh. That "somewhat girly" narrative isn't going away any time soon, no matter how much Lee debunks it on the dancefloor. Ash explains that the three E's of Bollywood are excitement, entertainment and elegance. I was hoping that one of them would be "eeeeee!", but apparently not. Lee clobbers Kirsty in rehearsals, but she swears she feels safe with him. Kirsty: "I like a rocker. We're like Katy Perry and Russell Brand." Seriously, I cannot express how much I love Kirsty. She's amazing.

As Cat's doing her intro, we can see the two of them in the background, with Kirsty elegantly leaping into Lee's arms for their opening position. They're so adorbs. Their routine is to 'Hindi Sad Diamonds' from Moulin Rouge! and it's another wonderfully infectious, exciting routine. Tonight's definitely a step up from last week in the choreography stakes. If I'm honest, I don't think the performance is quite as clean as it looked in rehearsals, and Kirsty's outdancing Lee tonight because she's really selling it, while he has a few moments of wavering uncertainty. They're both doing a great job with an incredible complex routine, though, and I think they've pretty much cemented their place as my favourite couple right now. I'm actually amazed how much I enjoy Kirsty as a dancer, considering the edit she got in the audition shows.

Sisco thinks it was hot, amazing, spicy and rich, and he loves their organic connection. He particularly loves Lee for breaking the mould, and he thinks Kirsty looks beautiful and gave a beautiful performance. Nigel asserts his role as All-Knowing Dance Guy by verifying with Ash that this is specifically Bharata Natyam rather than just "Bollywood" (although he pronounced it slightly wrong), and that there are 300 hand gestures in it, and he doesn't think Lee quite got the hands right. [That bit was just gruesome. NIGEL KNOW ABOUT BOLLYWOOD DANCING! - Chris] There's some booing at this, and Nigel shouts back that this isn't a pantomime "just because Cinderella and the two ugly sisters are up here." Is it wrong that for a second I totally thought he meant Sisco was Cinderella? I think Arlene might have thought that as well, judging from the look she gives Louise. Getting back on track, Nigel tells them to get as close to the style as they can, since the footwork isn't too tricky, but he thinks they both gave a great effort. Arlene thinks Kirsty was "the temptress from the temple" and was really sticking to the rhythm, while Lee was not so much. "Sometimes I want to yell 'stop slumping and start pumping!'" she adds. Insert obligatory "that's not the first time Arlene has wanted to shout that" joke here.

Up next: Bethany Rose-Lee and Israel. As Cat puts it, "he was a Sk8er Boi, she said 'see you l8er, boi'." I really hope there's a point in this routine where the rest of the girls appear as the friends who stick up their (one collective) nose because they have a problem with his baggy clothes. [I hope Bethany-Rose gets PREGNANT and the routine ends with a baby skateboard shooting out her vag and Israel runs off to MTV and Bethany-Rose regrets her choices- Chris] Last week's performance went well, and Cat asks them what they'd like from their pick. Israel would like hip hop, and Bethany is on board with that. Surprise: they get hip hop! There appears to be an uncanny level of wish fulfilment going on with those cards. [Keeping count - after Nigel said TWO WEEKS AGO we'd never see the hip-hoppers doing hip-hop again, we have now seen three of the four hip-hoppers doing it again - Chris] I'm really hoping that Danielle and Luke are both clutching theirs in the middle of an argument when they scream "I wish I could trade places with you!" because that is COMEDY GOLD WAITING TO HAPPEN. Run DMC inform us that it's tricky to rock a rhyme that's right on time as Bethany demonstrates this conundrum in rehearsals. Choreographer Simeon Qsyea reminds us that it's a skater-themed routine so they've got skateboards as props: Israel is coping with it well, Bethany not so much. She's kind of handling it like she expects it to bite her. Bethany admits in rehearsals that she loves the routine, but needs to develop some swagger. I'd love it if they brought Katrina Ballerina in to teach her. Time for a hilarious skating skit, where they go to a skate park together and Bethany turns up in, like, neon pink skate equipment covered in Hello Kitty and ribbons and vaginas because she's a gurl, and Israel is horrifed. Bethany gives this little set-piece exactly the level of GCSE Drama acting it deserves, and Israel teaches her how to skate. But with how much success?

They've got 'OMG' by Usher featuring William as their music, and I'm probably alone in quite liking the actual choreography, but the dancing itself is a much harder sell. Bethany's clearly trying hard, but isn't quite up to the demands - she's a little bit too soft in her movements and isn't locking properly, and while she can grab her crotch with the best of them, any parts of the routine that involve interacting with the skateboard are really not pretty.

Nigel is clearly unimpressed, and says that sometimes the idea takes over from the dancing - he felt there was "a lack of swag", especially from Israel, and the skateboards were underused - they had no strength together as a couple and weren't together rhythmically. He thinks they're both in trouble tonight. Arlene agrees: "I had more fun queuing for petrol this week than watching you dance tonight." Heh. She thinks Bethany was working it and keeping in time with the music, while Israel was off the rhythm and that was unforgivable. And to finish, she paraphrases the lyrics in a moment that only strengthens my Arlene-love: "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes-oh-oh-oh-oh." LOVE. Louise tells them that they keep losing her halfway through the routine: Israel has no energy in his body, while Bethany's being left behind by the other girls. Sisco closes by telling Israel that it was ", .org and" - he thinks Israel's swag and personality is only from the neck up, and he didn't deliver in his own genre. Bethany wasn't technically on, but at least gave a performance, and he agrees with Nigel that they're in trouble. Cat mocks Nigel for attempting to be down with the kids.

Time for the rejects dance: Stephanie and Gian Luca. Stephanie was overshadowed by her lights last week, while Gian Luca had the burden of Paige falling over and forgetting literally everything. They're both happy to be around, and even happier to have drawn Cha Cha in this week's routines. They've got Katya Virshilas and Klaus Kongsdal [Who has let himself go a bit, sad to say - Chris] as their choreographers, and Katya assures them that this routine will definitely not put them in the bottom two. Steph points out that they've got a harder job of things than the other couples because they're a new partnership, so they've not had so long to develop their chemistry. Gian Luca loves Latin dance - "maybe I just feel it inside" [BECAUSE HE IS A LATIN - Chris]- but they're both feeling the pressure after their B2 visit last week.

They're dancing to 'When I Grow Up' by the Pussycat Dolls. They actually make a pretty good pair - it's obvious that Steph's more used to this style of dance than Gian Luca is, but he's holding his own in this routine, and there's definitely an energy here that was lacking from both of their routines last week. There's a banner being waved in the audience that says "VOTE STEPH" but due to a couple of unfortunately placed folds in the material obscuring the V and part of the T, it looks a bit like it says "DIE STEPH". Poor Steph: even her own banners are conspiring against her.

Arlene tells Gian Luca that he's not got a clue about the cha cha, but he was working the Latin fire. So "congratulations on being Italian", in other words. Arlene tells Steph that she owns her technique, but she needs to throw it away and be like "those naughty girls" on Strictly Come Dancing. I don't really understand. Cat: "Nigel, have you seen those naughty girls?" Heh. Nigel advises Gian Luca to use his hips more and isolate his rib cage, and calls Katya "one of the sexiest women in the world". Down, Nigel. He adds that Steph "brought everything you needed to that". Louise thinks they look great together, but wants Steph to give it a bit more and help the audience what she's feeling, and also applauds Gian Luca for his ethnicity. Sisco disagrees with the women and thinks Steph was fantastic, and says that he understood and felt everything. He thinks Steph was better than Gian Luca, but Gian Luca still brought a lot to the routine. Cat wipes lipstick off Gian Luca's face like the team mum that she is, and sends them on their way.

Next up: Katrina Ballerina and Tapper Tom! Squee! Katrina was thrilled to have great feedback from "Sisco, King Of Hip Hop" last week, and this week they've drawn Broadway. You know what this means: Katrina Ballerina and Tapper Tom working together with Giant Lady. I'm going to need to peel Chris off the ceiling. Giant Lady explains that she wants "a cowboy and a sassy girl", and Tapper Tom says that he's surprised the routine isn't more "showbiz", and instead it's more character-driven. Giant Lady gets Tapper Tom to work on butching up his cowboy act (I hope this involved her telling him to "get over it" at least once) by asking him to think of the butchest cowboy he can. I'm quite surprised that being told to "think about butch cowboys" does not prompt another round of gay panic, but perhaps he's getting over that too. They stage a shootout, and Giant Lady tells Tom that was "almost butch". Ooh, BURN. I heart Giant Lady. In an early entry for Weakest Segue Of The Year, Tom says that he's not a cowboy, he's a CROFT boy and we cut to shots of Tom's supporters in his home town of Croft in Leicestershire. Tom's mum marshals support amongst some cute kids ("Who are we voting for?" "Tom and Katrina!" I assume there was a second part of this call and response that went "When are we voting for them?" "From approximately 7.55pm on Saturday night until the lines close at 8.15pm!") I note with interest that the flyers Tom's supporters deliver give Katrina equal billing - I hope CHARLOTTESCALLYMANIA! was paying attention to that.

They're dancing to 'Footloose' from the musical of the same name, and their performance isn't quite as sharp as last week's - they seem to be struggling a little bit to keep up with its frenetic pace, but they're still doing a pretty decent job. Tom's little moments of solo showcasing are very good, and Katrina's got charm to space, though I did think her sequence of high kicks was a bit sluggish. The routine ends well, too, with them climbing onto the crates that are being used as their set, and Katrina slipping behind them while Tom does a splits jump back off them that clears her head by what looks like millimetres.

Louise thinks Tom "pulled off the cowboy!" Oh, Louise, that's just a scurrilous internet rumour with no basis in fact. She's been asking for him to give more for weeks, and tonight he gave it to her. Fnar. Arlene disagrees, she thinks Tom has "the personality of a pumpkin" (I wish she'd gone for "the personality of an angry fucking flying fish or summat") - he doesn't perform out and is not that cowboy from Texas, apparently. [Alice is a cabbage, Tom is a pumpkin...Arlene needs to work some spring vegetables into her critique. You're not on an autumnal reality show now Arlene - Chris] "You need to go shopping in Croft and find yourself a personality!" Could he not just go in London? I mean, sure, it'd probably cost a bit more, but it's closer and there's bound to be a better selection. Sisco thinks Tom's improved from last week, but still needs to bring more to the stage like Katrina does. He thinks they handled a difficult routine very well. Nigel thinks it was mean of Giant Lady to give them so many lifts to do, so he thinks it's an improvement from last week, but he does still need to give more personality. He loves Katrina's energy on the other hand, and can't believe she's a ballerina. Cat: "Can you breathe now?" Tom, breathless: "No."

Alice and Charlie are next. They're happy with how last week went, and Alice just wants to do it again. No such luck, though, as they're moving onward to an American Smooth Waltz, and they're only couple so far not to be entirely thrilled about what they've chosen. Alice lampshades the fact that most couples this week have picked a genre that suits at least one of them, but neither she nor Charlie have ballroom skills. Matt Flint tapdances obnoxiously in the background while they're doing this. Do you not get enough camera time of your own, Matt Flint? Because I think you do. Katya and Klaus have choreographed this one as well, and Katya calls it "basically a dreamlike sequence" and Charlie reminds us that they're both starting from "stage zero", with Alice adding that "it would be easier if at least one of us knew what we were doing." Charlie is also worried about the number of lifts, though he rather unfortunately chooses to express this to the cameras as "lifting old Alice up" in an interview where Alice is also present, causing her to (justifiably, in my book) smack him for implying that she's some sort of heifer. Their concern is that ballroom is meant to look easy, but they're making it look hard. Katya says that she wants them to look like "William and Kate". As much as I do not want to hear about the bloody royal wedding any more, I'll take anything over the constant "Justin Bieber and Rihanna" comparisons.

They're dancing to 'Three Times A Lady', and I love the opening where Charlie is behind the backdrop, creating shapes with his silhouette that Alice (who's in front of it) is dancing with. After about ten seconds of this, Alice moves stage right with Charlie coming out onto the stage in synchronisation to grab her for a lift, and they take hold for the ballroom proper part of their routine. It's much better than the VT led us to expect - they've got nice chemistry together, and there's great rise and fall in the routine, and despite what they feared, they are making it all look very easy. I'm not sure if one of the lifts has been quite executed correctly as it looks a bit awkward (Alice drapes herself over Charlie's shoulders and he has one hand between her legs - why?), and there are moments when I think Charlie's a little bit off the beat, but overall this is another impressive performance.

Nigel hopes that William and Kate's first waltz is that beautiful - he was stunned by it because he expects Alice to have a lyrical quality to her work, which she provided, but Charlie is performing with wonderful confidence in areas that are unfamiliar to him. Nigel asks Katya how long it took to get this together, and Katya's all "eight hours?" God, Katya is amazing. Nigel thinks that people at home will not realise how good Charlie was in that. Apparently Nigel thinks that the entire viewing audience is Charlotte. "WHAT'S A RISE AND FALL? BURBLE BLEEP BOOP BOOP." Arlene says that Charlie is "all shades of wrong, but oh so right" - she's impressed that he attempted the heel leads and the rise and fall, but criticises Alice for having her feet flexed in the lifts and not using her hands properly, with the implication that if Charlie can do it, then she really shouldn't be having these problems. Louise loved it, and she thinks Charlie's an underdog who is brilliant to watch despite his lack of perfect technique. Sisco calls it "exquisite". I love that they're always running out of time when Sisco's the last one to speak.

Rithy and Shane are our penultimate performers for the night. They got great comments last week, and Shane thinks Rithy is the best partner he could ask for, which she appears genuinely moved by. These two give Tom and Katrina a run for their money in the cuteness stakes, I don't mind telling you. They've drawn hip hop, which Rithy is obviously pleased about. Their choreographer's name is Supple, and he explains that the routine is about Charlie Chaplin, and it's slapstick and humorous. My alarm bells are already ringing a little bit at this. Rithy admits that learning the routine is nerve-wracking for her because she's struggling with the character - she knows who Charlie Chaplin is, but is finding it hard to get the movements right. Shane, meanwhile, has his own problems because it is HARD FOR TALL PEOPLE to do hip hop. Rithy apologises to Shane for not being as supportive to him as she probably should be because she's got her own issues this week. In a cute interview back at their flat, Shane is eating a Mars bar that Rithy yoinks away from him so they can practice their slapstickness. There are sepia tones and a custard pie involved, I'll leave it at that.

Perhaps a touch incongruously, their hip hop routine is being performed to Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11. I know I whinge about this show being too predictable at times, but I'm finding it quite hard to make the mental leap from Mozart to hip hop while watching this routine. They've actually mastered their characters of Charlie Chaplin and Lanky Policeman No. 1 pretty well, and the routine is fun to watch, but there are some issues - Rithy stumbles on her landing from an assisted jump, although Shane grabs the back of her jacket and pulls her up in a way that's so lightning-fast it may well have been a deliberately choreographed movement. I'm still not sure, though. I feel like I'm saying this a lot tonight, but they're both doing well with a really fast and complicated routine. Having said that, I did feel slightly baffled by the whole performance, and I'm not sure if that's their fault, the choreographer's, or mine.

Cat refuses to miss the opportunity for a "let's be 'avin' you" gag, while Nigel marvels at the Mozart/hip-hop combination, though he thinks it came off. There was just enough dancing in there for it all to work, and he thought the characters were great. Sisco thinks it lacked hip hop content, and there wasn't enough funk in the locking, but he thought they were great entertainment and the most consistent couple in the competition. Cat at this point asks about the stumble-and-grab moment, and Rithy's all "um, what?", which may be from Cat's rather fumbled attempt to explain what she means, and Nigel screams "don't admit anything!" to them as Rithy's just about to cop to it (no pun intended). Cat attempts to salvage the moment by saying that she meant to say what a great example of teamwork it was, and I admire her immensely for demonstrating that she does watch and pay attention and care and all that, but I think she might have done better on this particular occasion to leave it be. Nigel calls it "an arresting performance", and everyone groans. Louise thinks it was spot on, character-wise, and she thinks Shane got away with his locking and popping because he was doing it in the manner of a lanky policeman. Arlene thinks Rithy is a star-storyteller. Cat thinks Rithy looks hot with a moustache. Which, in fairness, she does. [I guess Cat is the femme in this relationship - Chris]

To close the evening, we've got Danielle and Luke. They survived the Latin curse last week, despite a lukewarm (ha!) review of their salsambcha from Nigel and Louise. Danielle points out that they've never done this style of dance before, as though that's supposed to be a good excuse and not in fact the entire point of the show. They draw Commercial in the pick, and I still have yet to meet anyone who actually understands what that is. Dance that people will pay for? Dance that advertises stuff? Not a fucking clue. Even Luke and Danielle don't seem to really know what it is, judging by their non-committal response to seeing the card. It's choreographed by Sean Cheesman, who describes it as "a gutsy, all-out brawl". They giggle about how they wanted to come back fighting, and now they ACTUALLY ARE FIGHTING. Sean is concerned that they're dancing "too soft" and he feels that their lack of chemistry puts them in serious trouble. I can only assume that "lack of chemistry" is a euphemism for "openly despising each other". They head out for some actual literal boxing (to the soundtrack of 'Mama Said Knock You Out' by LL Cool J, naturally [I wish that had been the actual music instead of Jessie J - Chris]) where they manage to go relatively easy on each other despite the aforementioned hatred, and Danielle wins the staged scrap, with Luke slurring "she's feisty!" into the camera from the mat. Much like Bethany Rose-Lee, he delivers his scripted dialogue with a healthy sense of derision.

They're in a boxing ring dancing to 'Mamma Knows Best' by universal annoyance Jessie J, and I feel it would be remiss of me not to point out that shirtless and in boxing shorts is quite a good look for Luke. I mean, there probably won't be much call for it in the rest of his life, but it never hurts to know these things. It was handy of Sean to choreograph such an aggressive routine for them because they actually seem to be quite enjoying pretending to beat seven bells out of each other. There are some impressive moves in it too, particularly the ones that involve Danielle wrapping her legs around Luke's neck - I especially liked the one where they use the momentum from this for Luke to roll down on to the floor with her still around his neck. It looks like one of the lifts lands awkwardly again, but it's a good, energetic note to end the show on.

Arlene is thrilled that they provided the sexy show she wanted, and she thinks Danielle stole the routine. She wants Luke to react more to Danielle's mock punches, something that I'm sure Luke is well practised at. Louise thinks they saved the best for last, and Sisco loved it, he thinks they matched each other for sexiness, and it was believable and fearless. Cat asks them if they felt the pressure to deliver this week, and Luke says that they had to come back and hit it hard, and Danielle adds that they wanted to prove themselves. Nigel, sadly, did not feel that they proved themselves - he thought it was "a little fake, like wrestling" and "less UFC than KFC". He liked the choreography, but he didn't get the connection - he thought they both stood out in the opening, so he knows that they've got it, but they don't work together. Then we get to the most surreal part of the show, where Sisco tells Nigel that "of course it's acting, they're in a boxing ring" and Nigel thinks that it must be wrestling because they don't have boxing gloves on. Oh, Nigel. You're becoming so literal, it must be all that time spent around Kate Prince. Somehow you can get past the fact that a man is fighting a woman, and that they're clearly in very different weight classes, and yet the fact that neither of them is wearing boxing gloves is where the illusion of convincing boxing is destroyed for you? How would they have done the lifts with boxing gloves on? How would anyone have been able to judge their hand placements? I just...there isn't enough room on the internet for me to fully state how much I do not get Nigel's problem here.

ANYway, let's move on. Danielle and Luke exit, and Cat asks the judges for some final feedback overall. Nigel thinks the standard is stronger tonight, because last week he felt at least one partner tended to let the other down, while tonight things were generally better, though a few couples are in serious trouble: specifically Danielle and Luke, and also Bethany Rose-Lee and Israel. Arlene thinks that the contestants need to remember that two of them are going home before they set foot on the dancefloor. She thinks Katie got lucky this week and was flying high in her own genre, while Charlie did a brilliant job outside of his comfort zone, so there's no excuses for anyone. Nigel chips in that maybe next week he and Arlene should do that bedroom routine and show them all how it's done, and right on cue Arlene drapes herself over him, and Cat joins me in declaring this a mental image entirely unsuited to a pre-watershed broadcast slot. Louise's favourites are Charlotte and Matt and Danielle and Luke, and she wants to single Kirsty out for praise, but does it thusly: "I think Kirsty is playing a really good--good--having a great time up there, I think she's flying." Heh. Louise is clearly getting genre-savvy to this reality TV malarkey, and knows that suggesting any female contestant might be "playing a game" is a huge red rag to the internet haterz. Sisco just has one thing to say: he loves Katie Love.

The lines are opened, and we get a quick recap: Thick Charlotte With The Loud Fans and MATTFLINTMANIA not being as good as Jakob and Ashleigh, Katie Love being awesome and Lee C doing a good job of keeping up, Kirsty and Lee B delivering Bollywood spice, Bethany Rose-Lee and Israel sullying the good name of hip hop, poor doomed Stephanie and Gian Luca, the concentrated adorableness of Katrina Ballerina and Tapper Tom, Alice and Charlie confounding the critics with some great ballroom, Rithy and Shane's bizarre slapstick hip hop routine, and Danielle and Luke showing us what they really think of each other while pretending that someone choreographed it.

We close with Cat giving us a reminder of all those voting numbers, and...notice anything missing from this?


1 comment:

  1. just to point out one thing, Rithy and Shane's hiphop routine is definitely not done to Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11, it's his Turkish March. And personally that number was the highlight of the evening for me. (I'm possibly biased when it comes to Rithy, but oh well)

    seriously, contemporary routine is all about having a mattress on the floor, relationship troubles, and PJs