Sunday, 29 May 2011

Couples retreat

Top 8: 28th May 2011

Previously: the promised uncoupling of the pairs didn't materialise, Nigel's interest in the show waned, leading to guest judge BARROWMAN who turned out to not have a single shred of the charm he showed on I'd Do Anything, and poor Tapper Tom was finally put out of his misery, along with Katrina Ballerina.

Tonight, it's the quarter-finals, which doesn't really mean anything apart from "the final's on in two weeks so we're trying to build momentum, even though we're now on at 3.35pm and only watched by a small group of die-hard fans and Sisco's mum" [I think if Sisco's mum paid any attention to his life then he might not be quite so...Sisco, so I doubt it - Chris]. The good news is that the partners have finally changed, so we're going to see some different dynamics amongst the pairings that have never troubled the bottom two (so, MattScallyMania and Team Raggy Dolls, in other words) and we'll get to vote for our favourite individual dancers, which could be interesting. The stakes are moderately high, the tension is vaguely perceptible, so who will be the favourite dancer of 4.3% of Britain?


We welcome the Top 8 to the stage, as individuals this time rather than pairs, and the order for anyone who's interested is as follows: Bethany Rose, Luke, Fat Deaf Old Foot=Phobic Face-Planting Kirsty, Matt, Katie Love, Israel, Charlotte and AndrogyLee. Those are the girls, here are some boys, let's get this mother on the road, eh Cat?

Speak of the devil, Cat enters and has a little shimmy-off with Matt, who somehow even manages to leave the stage obnoxiously. That's quite a talent. She explains how the dancers will be challenged this week: by dancing with someone they've NEVER DANCED WITH BEFORE, doing a solo as well as the usual pair dance, and because the public will be voting for individuals rather than pairs, so we finally get to see how popular Charlotte really is when she's not shackled to Matt The Obvious Winner every week. Cat adds that everyone now has an individual voting number, and proceeds to read them all out even though the lines aren't scheduled to open for another 45 minutes. Are we supposed to start programming them into our handsets or something? Also, Cat's a little weird tonight, she keeps missing words out of her sentences and tripping over her tongue. I wonder if she's ill? She is looking a bit peaky. [She's so bored - Chris]

Oh, and we also have judges, and thankfully Nigel is back and BARROWMAN has been given his marching (like a man, not like a sissy BRUCE) orders. Sisco is dressed like a matador again, Louise's eye make-up is still unenviable, and Arlene is wearing a necklace of popcorn dunked in metallic paint. Cat asks Nigel what he makes of the Top 8, and he says that they're pretty much the people he expected, though he's sad Katrina's not around. Katrina, incidentally, is in the audience, sitting alongside Cabbage Alice and someone who may well be Stephanie. There's no sign of Tom that I can see, but in fairness he's still probably off tapping away somewhere where nobody's going to compare him unfavourably to Katrina/Matt Flint/chalk dust, and loving every minute. Sisco blathers on about nothing very much that Cat hasn't already told us. Cat reminds us that two couples will be in the bottom two and one boy and one girl will be going home. Shall we get on with some dancing now?

Katie and Israel are our first reconstituted pairing of the evening, and Cat says that in an attempt to shore his support, Israel's been talking to the Big Guy - "not Nigel, bigger." Simon Fuller? Danny Cohen? I dunno, but if the answer to this is supposed to be "God", then frankly I think in terms of getting the message of support across, I think God comes a distant second behind Israel's Mum. They've drawn Broadway this week, and Israel recalls last week's show, where he thinks he gave one of his best performances, and was thus surprised to see the public had let him fall into The Danger Zone Or Whatever We're Calling It This Week. Katie, on the other hand, thinks last week went well, but "just as I was hitting a high point with Luke" (after one whole week together - I think Katie Love might be the intense sort who turns up on your doorstep with her cat and her Ikea houseplants after the second date) she's had to switch partners. Again. Israel's pleased to have Katie, and Katie's pleased to have Israel, adding "I'm working my way around the group, aren't I?" Oh Katie Love. You don't want to start spreading rumours like that, especially with a surname like yours that positively encourages childish nicknames. Like Katie FreeLove. Tee hee hee. As promised, Israel heads off to his local church in St Mary's Platt, to meet his supporters. There are indeed a lot of them, but frankly Israel's Mum is the only person we're even remotely interested in. The rest is just window dressing. Israel does some dancing and thanks everyone. They've got Tasty Oreo as their choreographer this week, who appears to be breaking the habit of a lifetime and actually devising an original piece for this show, to 'Roxie' from Chicago. [Original in the sense that he lifted a bunch of Fosse bits and threw them in a hat - Chris] Katie thanks everyone for keeping her in this far. Israel thinks he would've struggled with a routine like this at the start, but he's growing as a dancer and can totally do this. They're assigned a homework task to watch some old-Hollywood musicals and get into the spirit of Chicago (the inner world, obviously, since the film itself was only released nine years ago). Aside from the obligatory "Israel fake-yawns so he can put his arm around Katie Love" trope, this particular narrative track leads us nowhere and appears to have been inserted just to take up another 15 seconds or so of VT time. [Welcome to every VT on this show. Remember when Katie made Lee C breakfast/Salsa Man/when Angry Luke told Danielle her face smelled? - Chris]

Sidebar: I went to see Chicago in London when Ashlee Simpson was playing Roxie, and she was really good. No, seriously: legitimately good. Also, she totally played up the "my nose" lyric in this song since it was not long after she'd been in the papers for having lots of surgery, and I admired her for that. The choreography in this section isn't really blowing me away: I guess because Fosse's style in this show is so distinctive, and really Tasty Oreo's efforts here fall a bit flat in comparison. I know you can't just rip off someone else's work, but when a show is so irrevocably connected with a particular style of dance, it seems odd not to at least acknowledge it in the routine. Katie and Israel are doing an okay job of it - he's pretty good, and selling a role that clearly isn't the showcase, while she's vamping away heartily in the lead role and occasionally chomping at the scenery. It goes a little bit off for Israel towards the end, as he's just sort of throwing his arms around with no real purpose, and I think he's never going to be 100% comfortable in Broadway, but it's still a decent effort from him.

Cat giggles that Israel sashayed over to the judges, and Nigel disagrees with me by saying that he liked the choreography and Tasty's recreation of the Fosse style. Eh, you win some, you lose some. He's very proud of Israel's growth (FNAR) across the season, but he needs to relax his shoulders a little bit. Katie, on the other hand, is every inch a star, and this style suits her brilliantly. Cat admires Katie's fans with the pink hair. Arlene says that this style demands accuracy, technique, timing and a little finger that can do the talking. Presumably like Leon's. Katie, it seems, was talking tonight, while Israel's timing was lazy. Arlene then shoots forth with another of those strange analogies that make sense only to her: "I think you need to play Monopoly and you need a get out of jail free card." I love Arlene. I'm going to miss her when this show gets cancelled. Nigel thinks she's being tough, and Arlene responds that it's the quarter finals, and Israel was out of time. Sisco chimes in that this is absolute nonsense, prompting Cat to zing "I'm getting nonsense from Sisco", like that isn't true every fucking week. Sisco thinks Israel looked like a jazz dancer, and his accuracy and extensions were great. He thinks Israel is what the competition is all about. He thinks Katie is always consistent despite having been held back by her partners, and she's a star. Louise thinks this was a perfect routine for Katie, and it really suited her. She then proceeds to call Israel "Sisco" (ZOMG RACISM, although I like the idea of Louise critiquing Sisco, just in general) and telling him that this is not his sweet spot dance-wise, but he's really had to work to get this far. He wasn't perfect, but she enjoyed it and thought he looked like a jazz dancer.

Katie and Israel scamper off as Bethany Rose scoots onto the stage behind them, which means it's time for the first of tonight's solos, which Cat explains have been choreographed by the contestants themselves. Remember that, it'll be important later. For once, Bethany has come appropriately-bedecked for the occasion in a flowing ocean-blue dress that really enhances her movement and entirely conceals her ladyparts [for once - Chris]. Her solo is to the loud bit of 'Fix You' by Coldplay, and is actually pretty good - it's very dynamic to watch and features deft, flowing movements. She take slightly longer than her allotted 30 seconds, but at least the crowd don't do that obnoxious yelling countdown. Cat asks her if she's feeling the pressure of doing the night's solo, and she says that she is, although it's nice to be able to enjoy it rather than doing it under the pressure of the near-elimination scenario.

And if anyone's wondering what happened to the strippertastic outfits Bethany Rose often wears, here's your answer: Luke is wearing a pair of slashed black trousers (and nothing else) [maybe some knickers - Chris] for his solo, to Muse's 'Supermassive Black Hole', [I'd do a solo to Angry Luke's Supermassive etc etc - Chris] which is a bit flaily and messy for my personal taste, although the writhing is always fun. I just don't think, choreography-wise, it's that great an indicator of what he's capable of. Cat calls him "fancypants" (I sincerely hope those trousers really aren't anyone's idea of the word "fancy", except for maybe that one in the country song about the prostitute), and Luke says that while challenging yourself is good, it's nice to be able to dance in your own style. Apropos of nothing, Cat says that Luke makes her feel like a girl (NOT IN THAT WAY), [I'd let Angry Luke make me feel like etc etc - Chris] because he's one of the few men in the world who's taller than she is.

Time for our second new team, that of Scally and AndrogyLee. Scally got a rave review from BARROWMAN for her contemporary piece, while Lee hit a stumbling block because BARROWMAN didn't think his and Kirsty's version of Hair was appropriately polyamorous. Lee says, however, that knowing that his family were at home supporting him made all the difference, and we are treated to a hilarious reconstruction of this moment, with last week's show crudely superimposed on Lee's living room while his mum (making a late attempt to yoink the Mum Of The Series crown out of Israel's Mum's hands) tuts and rolls her eyes. I swear someone yells "get off!", and if they do, they are my new favourite person. We see Lee calling his family after he gets through, and them cheering loudly as families do. He pulls Charlotte out of the box, as it were, and she's excited to be partnered with him, as she thinks they get along well and there could be a great connection between the two of them. They draw contemporary out of the box and cheer, and then there's an odd bit where Charlotte does an "impression" of Lee that makes little sense, and Lee murmurs that he'll need to get tanning if he doesn't want to look like Caspar the Friendly Ghost next to Scally. Choreographer Mandy Moore explains that their routine is about the last moments before a man is summoned to war, and Charlotte declares that the routine makes her "go tingly". Mandy Moore notes drily that she's asking Charlotte to do something more mature this week (frankly, "getting dressed without assistance" is probably something more mature than Charlotte's used to) and hopes that she can can it with the damn giggling. I may have been paraphrasing slightly. Montage of Charlotte giggling, and Lee explaining patiently that laughter is a Sometime Trait. Charlotte says that she's struggling not to laugh, but she is working hard to get into characters because they want to make the semi-finals.

The entirely too on-the-nose routine is to 'Unchained Melody' by the Righteous Brothers, and Scally's dressed like an extra from Goodnight Sweetheart while Lee is, as previously mentioned, a man what is going off to war. [Well if we don't ask, they'll never tell - Chris] Charlotte's attempts at intense angst are unsuccessful: she looks like she's got a fishhook dangling off her lower lip. Lee's doing a pretty good job of intensity and showing the burden on his shoulders (and I don't just mean Scally), although the pair lack the chemistry that he used to have with FDOFPFP Kirsty. Again, it all goes wrong for Scally about halfway through and she just seems to be chucking her limbs around with no great sense of where or why, and then they lose time with each other. There's a nice tabletop lift where Charlotte manages to position her balance very well in order to look practically weightless, but then it descends again into awkwardness and a final fishhook face to end on.

Louise thought Lee was amazing with the storytelling, and that he's danced his way through a lot of very diverse characters, [Week 1 - you are butch and in love with Kirsty, Week 2 - You are butch and in love with Kirsty, Week 3 - You are in love with Kirsty, Week 4 - you are butch - Chris] but advises him to ensure he finishes all his movements properly. She's less keen on Charlotte, though, and thinks this partnership has exposed her a bit. Arlene thinks the B in Lee B stands for "better and better", and she was so moved by him in the routine - she disagrees with Louise and thinks that not finishing the moves actually worked in this piece to create a sense of abandonment. She didn't like Charlotte's faces and felt she was overdancing it, and she didn't get the depth of the potential loss of a husband [*snort* - Chris] out of the routine either. Nigel didn't love the routine, because he didn't believe in it. He thought that they both danced parts of it well, but he doesn't get how Lee can be a soldier with drainpipe trousers and no shoes. Because obviously, the costuming was something Lee had full creative control over. Also, it's CONTEMPORARY DANCE, Nigel, of course he didn't have any bloody shoes on. Be grateful he wasn't just attired in a billowing white sheet. He also thinks that when Charlotte isn't showing her big personality, her flaws come across - she needs to point her toes when she leaves the floor, and she has to straighten her legs in the jumps. Lee's technique was terrific, but Nigel didn't believe in it. Louise thinks Lee could be a trendy soldier. Sisco is not invited to comment. Hooray! Also: anyone even remotely surprised that the Charlotte Scally lovefest came to an abrupt halt the second she was uncoupled from MattFlintMania? No, me neither.

Time for more solos, starting with Fat Deaf Old Foot-Phobic Face-Planting Kirsty, and...oh dear. Remember what Cat said at the beginning about the contestants choreographing the solos themselves? Well, this routine makes it very clear that Kirsty is not not much of a choreographer. And that's putting it politely. It's to 'Candyman' by Christina Aguilera, and it's basically a fairly poor pirouette followed by a lot of twitching. It's the sort of thing that most of us could've choreographed on the dancefloor at the local discotheque if we had a few vodkas inside us and enough room to execute it. It's only through sheer force of Kirsty's goofy personality that the routine makes it through the full 30 seconds at all, but it's safe to say her big weakness has now been exposed, and she's very fortunate that she's never been forced to dance for her life, because that shit would've seen her go home without so much as a by-your-leave. [Because it really matters how they dance in the Dance For Your Bottom Zone - Chris] Because anything is preferable to talking about that hot mess, Cat tells Kirsty she's looking great, and Not-So-Fat Deaf Old Kirsty tells Cat that she's lost one and a half stone over the course of the competition.

Matt's next, wearing that godawful half-denim half-plaid shirt that he's forced to wear every week, delivering a pretty impressive tap routine to Stevie Wonder's 'I Wish'. Cat tries to pretend this is a rare opportunity to see Matt in his area of expertise, like the show hasn't tried to shoehorn it in at every available opportunity. Matt explains that he chose the music because it's from his favourite film, Happy Feet (REALLY?!?!?!?!), and "that little penguin inspires [him]". Okay, that's quite enough pandering there, thank you Matt. I had hoped that being separated from Scally might have made him more tolerable, but apparently not. [He's a dancer! It's a film about dancing and being yourself and that! I bet if you asked EVERY SINGLE GIRL it'd be Dirty Dancing, which is barely less infantile. LEAVE MATTFLINTMANIA ALOOOOOOOOONE! - Chris]

Bethany Rose and Angry Luke are next, and their VT follows the same format as everyone else's, with Luke reminding us that last week was good for him, while Bethany points out that last week was not good for her. We see her getting a hug from BARROWMAN after she's saved, and GO AWAY BARROWMAN, IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT YOU WERE HERE LAST WEEK WITHOUT YOU LIVING ON IN FLASHBACK FORM. Bethany says that she's thrilled to be paired with Luke, because she loves him to death and "would marry him like that" *snaps fingers* (the "if he weren't, y'know" left unspoken). [Someone needs to explain to Bethany-Rose that's not how marriage works - Chris] They draw hip hop, and Bethany Rose's entire universe collapses. Choroegrapher Simeon Qysea explains that the routine is about a broken down relationship, which is familiar territory for both of them in this show. Bethany is struggling with the routine and can't quite get all the moves, while Luke worries about having to rely on this routine to get them through the quarter-finals because it is very hard.

The routine is to 'Let You Go' by Chase and Status, and opens with Luke reading a letter and having SO MANY FEELINGS about it while Bethany Rose packs a bag in the background. The whole concept of the routine (that she wants to leave but he PHYSICALLY RESTRAINS HER) is kind of terrifying to start with [DOMESTIC ABOOOOOOOOOS - Chris], and they're both playing it very angrily. Bethany Rose's issues with hip hop are on show here, as once the routine moves into the part where she and Luke need to be synchronised in their solo movements, she's completely behind and struggling to keep up, making the whole thing look very sloppy. She does claw it back eventually, but it's a struggle, and despite her best efforts Luke's just completely outdancing here.

Cat implores Bethany to give Luke his bag back, adding "don't make him get angry, because he will", which is totally a shout-out to this blog, right? Right? Oh, never mind. Sisco thinks Luke is phenomenal, and a great example of what a professional dancer is, because while it wasn't flawless, he was performing with conviction, and made it look like this was a genre that suited him. Deciding to entirely buy into the narrative of the VT, Sisco bitches out Bethany Rose for complaining and says that if she'd spent less time whinging in rehearsals she'd have got a better grasp on the routine. Whatever, Sisco: it's not even like she was complaining that much, just acknowledging that hip hop is not her strong suit and that she was struggling with it. He thinks she should've taken "that" energy, presumably the energy gained from nervousness about an unfamiliar genre, and used it in the routine instead of "doing complaints". Remember earlier how I said I was going to miss Arlene when this show gets cancelled? Well, apply the exact opposite of that to Sisco. Louise loved the energy and the storytelling, and thought that Luke was spot-on, but Bethany struggled to keep up with him, and mistakes this for being a height issue. Arlene to Luke: "why use ten words when you can use one: OLYMPIC!" I guess she finally got those notes from the Strictly Come Dancing producers, a few years too late. [And yet not the one about the words having to make sense - Chris] Bethany Rose, sadly, was all over the place like popcorn in a microwave. And Arlene admitted to me that she's a terrible cook when I interviewed her a few months ago, [NAME DROPPER - Melody Hossaini] so I suspect she is familiar with microwave popcorn disasters.

Katie Love steps up for her solo to 'Seduces Me' by Celine Dion, dressed as Harley Quinn from Batman, and pleases Brian Friedman fans with her literal choreography (dropping to the floor in time with the line "I'll go down with a smile on my face" [F'NAR! - Chris], later dropping to her knees on the line "I'll go down on my knees" [F'NAR! -Chris]). It's pleasingly wiry and spindly, hampered very slightly by the fact that she slips over on her end pose and pulls a giant WHOOPS face as she gets up. [Oh it was more than one, not that she was hamming for all she was worth or anything - Chris] She heads over to Cat and informs us that she TOTALLY PLANNED the bit where it looked like she slipped. Heh. Someone in the audience screams "I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE!", and I think it's too late to make catchphrases happen, and it's about six years too late for THAT catchphrase to happen.

Solo Israel next, dancing to 'Move (If You Wanna)' [I don't - Chris] by Mims, and danced almost entirely by his crotch in isolation. I mean, it's no Drew and his cock-phone, but I think it's the closest we're going to get this series. [More's the pity - Chris] Cat gets Israel to turn around, and informs us that they've taken the coolest guy on the show (not that much of an accolade when your competition is AndrogyLee, Matt Flint and Luke and all his FEELINGS) and covered his back pocket in sequins.

Cat introduces our final brand new couple "like David Cameron and Barack Obama" - MattFlintMania and Not So Fat Deaf Old Foot-Phobic Face-Planting Non-Choreographing Kirsty, whose acronym is going to go off the end of a line if this carries on. Also, if they really are like Cameron and Obama, then I'm going to assume that before Kirsty was selected for the show, Matt went public with his support for her chief rival, and now is pretending he never did any such thing. NSFDOFPFPNC [Gesundheir - Chris] Kirsty says that she enjoyed last week, while Matt grouses that last week he got negative feedback for the first time in the competition. Excuse me while I hire the world's tiniest string section to play something suitably mournful here. The fact that the negative criticism he got was from BARROWMAN wittering on about how he wanted an Italian spicy meat feast just makes the whole thing more ridiculous. Matt taps for Kirsty when he draws her out of Cat's box. Kirsty: "Matt's an absolutely stunning dancer, how can I complain? Well, that's what everyone keeps telling me, HAHAHAHAHA!" It's funny how manic cackling is so much more endearing when Kirsty does it than when Charlotte does. They draw rumba for this week's dance, and bust out some "sexy" "moves" to celebrate. They have Chris and Jaci as their choreographers, and talk for about six years about how steamy the rumba is. Matt admits that his biggest challenge has been mastering the "rumba walk", and when asked by Chris to strut like he's on the catwalks of Milan, ends up lumbering forward like he's on a 10-mile hike with a backpack full of sand. I'm surprised they don't bring Barrowman back for this, actually - perhaps he's only useful for teaching people how to walk in a more masculine fash--no, I'm sorry, I can't finish that sentence without laughing. Matt "learns" to strut like he loves himself, which I'm sure can't have taken that long, while Kirsty basically has trouble starting the routine on the right foot. Literally. Jaci points out that they've had to be very hard on Kirsty because it's always the woman who gets the attention in a rumba, unless of course you're a male celebrity on Strictly Come Dancing and you've got Len Goodman in the corner wittering on about how THIS DANCE IS HARD FOR MALES. Eventually Kirsty seems to get it, and Matt winds things up by saying that he hopes their rumba makes Arlene so moist that she becomes overcome with lust for Nigel. Again, I paraphrase, but probably not quite as much as you're hoping.

Arlene, bless her heart, decides not to bother waiting for the rumba and plants one on Nigel anyway. ARLENE ♥. Cat expresses disappointment that it was only "on the cheek" and asks for another one later, "Kate and Wills-style". Ew. Anyway, dancing anyone? Their rumba is to 'Librarian Girl' by Michael Jackson (I don't care what you tell me, as far as my eight-year-old self is concerned, THAT IS THE PROPER TITLE) [It makes more sense than the idea that Kirsty dressed up as Princess Jasmine = "Liberian" - Chris] and they actually work very nicely together. Kirsty has lovely rumba arms, and she and Matt seem properly in sync with each other in a way the other couples this evening haven't managed. Also, it probably doesn't hurt that they're both giant hams, because it means they're not remotely concerned about getting properly up in each other's faces for the steamy parts of the routine, and that makes it all the more coherent as a dance of sexual intent. It ends with Matt running his hand down the length of Kirsty's body and Kirsty writhing in pleasure. And no, the watershed is not for another two hours and 35 minutes. FILTH.

Cat, clearly sharing my mind, suggests that it's "a funny outfit for a librarian" and asks Nigel for his feedback. Nigel thought it was very sensual and all about the hips, and then claims that Kirsty was NEVER FAT, even though they [/Arlene, just Arlene - Chris] pretty much said as much during her audition, adding that she's "totally reshaped [her] body" and it's shown off very well in that outfit. Turning to Matt, Nigel says that's the first time he's seen him dance outside of his style ("it's normally Broadway or tap or jazz or something", which, if I can borrow a comment from Chris, is still more recognisable as a genre than "commercial" is) and he's a wonderful partner with terrific shaping. Arlene loves the rumba, and wastes no time in telling Kirsty it was a good job she got this, because she redeemed herself from "that appalling solo", though she would've liked her to hug and caress the floor a bit more. Sisco needs feeding at this point and smarms that if there'd been any more caressing, it would've basically been porn, and while he's not wrong on that score, Arlene is also right to point out that she meant THE FLOOR and not Matt, and Sisco shushes her with Peanuts-teacher noises. Arlene: "You know what? I'm going to call you TESCO: cheap!" That doesn't make an awful lot of sense, but it's Arlene trashing Sisco, so I don't care, I love it. Anyway, Sisco thought it was very sexual and incredibly believable, with Matt oozing sex and Kirsty giving her usual consistent level of performance.

Final solos: up first is Charlotte, doing a routine to Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' which looks awfully familiar, though I can't say if it was her audition piece because that feels like it was about three years ago at this point. Anyway, it's all foofy and springy and when it's all over, Cat shames Charlotte some more by telling everyone watching that when Charlotte did the spins in rehearsals, she blew snot everywhere. Charming.

Finally we have AndrogyLee, in those ghastly humbug-striped stretchy pants that are joining Matt's shirt on the bonfire the second this series is over, dancing to 'Fashion' by David Bowie. His routine is a lot of jumping and the splits, whether vertical or horizontal, and decent enough amongst the fairly sub-standard solos we've seen tonight. Lee tells Cat that he loves fashion and dance, so it was nice to put them both together.

Cat turns to Arlene for feedback on the solos as a whole, and unsurprisingly Arlene starts with Kirsty, saying that people have access to the best choreographers to teach them on this show, but some of those solos went right back to the level people were at when they auditioned, and that's not good enough. Kirsty was "like a kid of six" [From Arlene's Paedo Dance-Studios presumably - Chris], while Charlotte wasn't pointing her toes, and wasn't supporting herself properly. On the other hand, some of them have grown, like Luke, who's dancing in a way that Arlene never expected, and Matt never lets anyone down. Despite all of that, though, Arlene reminds us that they have a further solo, if they're in the bottom two, and a group dance still to show, so we shouldn't just take her word for it. I don't think that was ever much of a concern, Arlene.

Cat declares the phone lines open, and a Katie Love fan screams "IBELIEVEINATHINGCALLLEDLOVE!", to which Cat replies "ILLGIVEYOUTHENUMBERINAMINUTE!" It's little things like this that remind me how great Cat is, and so much better with a live crowd than Dermot O'Leary over on The X Factor. I know I say that a lot, but it's true. [I think we were 5 seconds away from a "FUCKING SHUT UP!" - Chris] After that, we get a quick reminder of the night's performances and the numbers to vote for everyone.

So that's everyone taken care of, but we still have 10 minutes of showtime to fill. What next? Why, group dances, of course. Boys vs girls, like it's The Apprentice. The girls are up first, with a jazz number choreographed by Sean Cheesman. He explains to them all that although it is a group number, they'll be judged individually so they can't afford to screw up. NSFDOFPFPNC Kirsty interviews that they're being scored against each other, so it's important to look better than the girl next to you; this is underscored by rehearsal footage of Kirsty totally messing up and looking lost. Sean says that even though they've picked up the routine quickly, things are still not where they should be (Katie Love falls off a chair) and Bethany Rose interviews that when they get on stage, they have to bring it all together and show their inner diva. Katie points out that when you're one of four, you don't want to be identified as the luggage.

They're dancing to 'Dr Feelgood' by Aretha Franklin, and the routine is indeed a bit sloppy in places, with some timing issues - Bethany Rose is the only person I spot not falling victim to this, though she does have an entirely separate problem in that when the routine calls for them to kick their chairs away, she ends up kicking hers right into Kirsty's path [/face - Chris] and Kirsty has to plot an evasion course around it while still hitting her mark at the right moment. Sabotage will not be tolerated, Bethany Rose. As the routine progresses, Charlotte's looking a little blank in the face (more so than usual) and Katie's off-time again.

Louise thinks it was great to see them dancing again and, finally having spotted a situation for which she has relevant experience, points out that she knows what it's like dancing in a four-piece act. She thinks that some dancers were more noticeable than others - Kirsty and Bethany Rose stood out as having the feel of the routine and the easiness, while Katie and Charlotte were left behind in comparison.

Time for the boys: they also have a jazz routine, but theirs is choreographed by Mandy Moore using a heist theme. She claims that there's tension in the room as the guys are competing against each other, though to be honest the VT that they use to illustrate this makes it look more like sexual tension than anything. They were all just kind of leering at each other. Israel says that they're all friends, but they can't forget it's a competition. Angry Luke wants to be sure to stand out. Lee thinks it's been a very different atmosphere. Israel is fighting to stay in the competition. Matt thinks everyone wants to win. Lee wonders if this routine could be the difference between staying and leaving. And so on.

They're dancing to Queen's 'Another One Bites The Dust', all dressed in sharp suits and trilby hats. They're a lot slicker than the girls, in that it's harder to tell if any of them are messing up at any given point, although to be honest I spent most of my time watching this routine thinking how I could totally get on board with these four being the new cast of Hustle, especially if they brought in Kirsty as the honeytrap. I think Luke's the best of the group, with Matt somewhere in the middle, and Israel and Lee lagging behind a little bit, but as I said, the differences between them aren't nearly as pronounced as they are with the girls. Also, I'm disappointed that there was a shot in the rehearsal footage of Luke doing a one-handed cartwheel, and this doesn't seem to have made a final edit. Boo.

The judges are on their feet applauding, and Nigel thinks that unlike the girls, none of the guys stood out in that routine. A few idiots in the audience boo, because they're far too stupid to realise where this is going, and sure enough, Nigel concludes that no one stood out because EVERYONE WAS AMAZING. He thinks they're the proof that British dancers can be just as good as American dancers, and this is his favourite routine in the whole of SYTYCDUK. Somewhere in a distant corner, Drew and Hayley's Bed Dance weeps silently.

And that's it! Coming up in the results show: the fucking Black Eyed Peas. I'll leave that particular agony to Chris.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite thing about this episode (and all of them, actually) is Cat trying to shoehorn topical references in. Psh, like anyone believes she's spent more than a total of twenty days in Britain in the last couple years.