Friday, December 10, 2010

Strictly Come Dancing Week 10 recap: Dalek in drag



It has been icy cold here in the empty halls of Cope Manor of late. Add that to the fact that I am sick, in financial ruin, have no job and am now a only month from my deadline of having to find work or leave Wales, and I feel like some sort of Dickensian character boarded up in a crumbling home while everything falls apart. The departure of Ann & Anton from "Strictly Come Dancing" brought a spark of warmth this past weekend, but then suddenly came the realisation that the semifinals are here. The Strictly journey is nearing its end. Woe. Moan. Ache. Sorrow. How ever shall I carry on?

But let us not yet mourn, good friends. There is cause for rejoice: two bespangled weekends to look forward to, and the glory of Widdy's downfall to look back upon. This week's recap will be extra short because I'm writing it just minutes before the Friday semifinal episode.

Ann & Anton ~ Almost but not quite falling down ~ 14
I don't imagine that a person just released from a brutal prison camp actually rejoices. He or she probably is too emotionally exhausted, too beaten down to express joy. There is relief, but not the energy to show it. That's how I feel about the departure of Widdy. She genuinely sapped my enthusiasm for the show. One can see that in the way these recaps have come later and later in the week. I will hopefully be able to enjoy the semifinals this weekend, but right now I just feel tired. To that end, I will again abstain from commenting on Ann & Anton, leaving it instead to judges Bruno and Len.
BRUNO: "Ann, when you were on your own, you looked like a Dalek in drag."
LEN: "Well, dancing in its basic form is movement to music. And you did move; and there was music... I don't want to be nasty because you've given me fun, but, the snow gives you fun to start with but eventually you just want it to go away."
By the way, did you notice how Widdy's exit was met with cheers by the audience?

Gavin & Katya ~ Foxtrot ~ 33
Ah, Gavin, if only your dancing were half as good as your banter.
Our Gav's performance last Saturday was standard but tentative -- the sort of thing that would have served him well in the first weeks of the competition. At this stage, though, well, again Gavin is reflecting the nature of the national rugby team he often plays for: they always perform slightly under the ability of their competition and they have a ridiculous habit of suddenly, frantically making an effort when it is far too late. I will not be surprised Friday if I see an out-of-the-blue incredible performance. I will not be surprised, either, if he fails.

Scott & Natalie ~ Paso Doble ~ 35
Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Natalie in a bikini. Scott was alright, too.

Matt & Aliona ~ Jive ~ 35
Backflip off the motherfucking judges' table, yo. Matt could have at that point just sat down and still scored higher than Widdy. But instead he and Aliona performed one of the best dances of the night. Matt Baker is the new British National Treasure.

Kara & Artem ~ Tango ~ 38
Unquestionably the best dance of the night. And the fact that they did not score a 40 is ridiculous. Go on, watch the dance again; explain to me how it is not awesome. On "It Takes Two" this week Karen Hardy commented that she feels Kara has been consistently under-marked this season. I agree. I think perhaps the judges fear awesomeness.
Conspiracy theory: If Kara were to be scored as she should, she would probably end up having the highest cumulative score in Strictly history, thus undermining Alesha's legitimacy as a judge. So, perhaps the underscoring of Kara is deliberate.

Pamela & James ~ Viennese Waltz 40
The Viennese waltz is one of those dances that always picks up good scores, even for less than stellar performers. It is also one of those dances that I usually don't pay much attention to. Perhaps the Viennese waltz is a bit like soccer -- more fun to do than to watch. But whatever the judges saw, they liked, earning Pamela & James the first perfect score of the season. In racing metaphor this puts them in position to suddenly break from the pack and win the competition in the last stretch.

Elsewhere:
- Albeit long, I really enjoyed the movie-themed opening number of the show, particularly Artem and Katya's Pulp Fiction bit. Admittedly, though, it wasn't as cool as when Jeff Nelson and his roommate, Tom, used to simulate surfing-style anal rape to the same song. But probably more family-friendly.
- The couples are each dealing with three dances this week. Although the swing is a pretty easy dance. Any dance that I can do is an easy dance. All five couples will be performing the swing at once, being eliminated one at a time by the judges. The last couple standing picks up the most points. I'm anticipating Matt & Aliona and Kara & Artem will come out best because they are able to do more tricks.
- This weekend of Strictly -- Friday! Saturday! Sunday! -- will result in two couples leaving the competition. I expect to see Gavin & Katya go, but I'm not really sure about the other couple. Possibly Scott & Natalie.

Who's going to win
Unfortunately, I'm predicting a win for Pamela & James, with Kara & Artem being the actual better dancers -- similar to the Ricky Whittle & Natalie situation last year against Chris Hollins and Ola.

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