Friday, December 9, 2011

Strictly week 10: Holly's weekend

Holly's like a friend's cool older sister. You know, the kind of girl who comes home from college on the Christmas break and only half-remembers your name even though you and her little brother have been hanging out playing Dungeons and Dragons in the basement for years. Her prettiness and coolness are beyond your realm of understanding; you cannot imagine what it is like to be her, or to fit into her world.

Running around the house, getting ready to go out to see her friends from high school who have all, like Holly, returned from top-level universities in exotic places, she bumps into you in the kitchen and offers a laid-back hello. Leaning against a counter and quickly consuming a breakfast bar and some orange juice she asks you about the one piece of information she has retained about you, usually information that is incorrect.

"You still working at Smoothie King?" she asks.
"No. It was Jamba Juice. But I got fired because I made a Darth Vader costume out of the cups."
"Cool beans."

Then, she pats you on the shoulder, says goodbye in some weird slang way she picked up from her group of friends at Cornell, and flies out the door amid a flurry of coat and scarf and jangling keys.

Walking back from the kitchen with a bag of Cheetos and a two-litre bottle of Mountain Dew you pass by her room, see the door slightly ajar and see her clothes strewn out across her bed -- she has simply dumped the contents of her luggage for the sake of quickly finding an outfit. You see her clothes, her things, her underwear, her bras, and for a moment some part of you starts to ponder these things: their feel, what they must smell like, their fit on Holly's body and the smoothness of the parts of her they conceal. Then your head snaps away, almost causing whiplash, and the thought is pushed from your mind. In part because you are naturally prudent to an almost comical level, but more so because some part of you is afraid Holly is so cool she can read your mind.

Back in Strictly world, I think it's been difficult for the audience to connect with Holly and that's why she's found herself in the bottom two in previous weeks. They don't feel they can relate to her, so they don't vote for her. 

Week 10, then, was Holly's. In the video package before the dance we saw her getting teary-eyed, then she came out and performed amazingly. Chelsee Healey finished at the top of the leader board, Robbie Savage was eliminated and the J-Train's journey came close to being cancelled but the weekend belonged to Holly. 

Here, though, is a look at the rest of the show:

Robbie Savage and Ola Jordan ~ Quickstep ~ 30:
It was a rough week for Robbie. Correctly, I feel, there was no mention of Gary Speed's suicide on Strictly. People who kill themselves should not be lifted as heroes. In the week after Speed's death, however, it felt too few media bodies were recognising that fact. Strictly simply chose not to mention it. But just because an action is selfish and wrong that doesn't mean it's not tragic, it doesn't mean that Speed's friend, Robbie, shouldn't be affected. He was; that showed in his face on the show. Glittery ridiculous celebrity dance shows mean nothing in the face of actual tragedy, so how Robbie performed is irrelevant. 

Alex Jones and James Jordan ~ American Smooth ~ 34:
Next Friday I'll be part of a television programme set to air 30 December on Welsh-language channel S4C, which will look back on the events of 2011. The programme will be hosted by Huw Edwards, BBC presenter, Welsh-speaking icon and the man behind the voice that was broadcast, God-like, across Hyde Park and the whole of Britain during the royal wedding
On that day, the BBC rolled out just about every one of its presenters to report on every tiny aspect of the wedding and from every tiny corner of Her Majesty's United Kingdom. Amongst them was Alex Jones, also a Welsh speaker, who will be a guest of Huw's on the end-of-year programme. This, of course, allows for a tenuous link to "Strictly Come Dancing" and somewhere in the middle is where I come in. As one of the few Welsh speakers willing to admit a fondness for the royal family (anti-royalism is the fashion in Welsh-language society, as is conforming to what other Welsh speakers espouse), and a ridiculous fan of Strictly Come Dancing, I will be there to express an opinion on both.
The programme is being filmed on Friday evening in Cardiff. The very next day, Alex will be in Blackpool as part of the Strictly final, regardless of whether she is competing because all the eliminated celebrities are brought back for the final show. As such, I am guessing her contribution to Huw Edwards' programme will be taped at a different time and she won't actually be there in the same studio as me.
But I don't know for sure.
And in light of that uncertainty, I now find my usual catty-pervy attitude toward Alex crumbling under the fear of possibly having to speak to her face to face and her knowing that I totally want to put my face between her boobs and recite Tynged yr Iaith. Not because it necessarily means anything to me but just that the lecture would take a long time recite.
So, here's what I have to say about her quickstep: lovely. She didn't look wobbly and confused through much of the dance. Not at all. Not even a little. 
OK, maybe just a little.

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani ~ Rumba ~ 36:
The rumba is never an easy dance for the fellas. Sometimes I think it's part of the Strictly repertoire solely for the purpose of making guys look like fools. Usually, the very best one can hope for is a rumba that isn't painful to watch. With that in mind, I think Harry did quite well. It wasn't sweet, sweet white chocolate lovin' on the dance floor but I'm pretty sure it was the best male celebrity rumba since the days of Ricky Whittle. Yes, you're right: being the best anything since Ricky Whittle is hardly an accomplishment. I personally feel the dance would have been much better had Aliona not been wearing so many clothes.

Jason Donovan and Kristina Rihanoff ~ American smooth ~ 37:
"Jason Donovan loves Jason Donovan," quipped Jenn's aunt when we were down in Devon last week.
There's something about the fella that puts me off oh-so-slightly and I am happy to learn I'm not the only one. I wonder if perhaps it's that J-Train has not properly made the transition from stage to small screen, in the sense that his facial expressions are frustratingly overdone. This would work if the audience is sitting 20 to 100 feet away, but when it can get in close via the camera lens it just makes him look kind of creepy.
Additionally weird this week was the lift in which J-Train picked up Kristina and then appeared to be displaying her foot for all to see. This is the sort of thing we would expect from creepy Jason: a foot fetish.
The routine ended with J-Train opening an umbrella, which we all know is bad luck indoors. That is why he ended up in the bottom two.

Holly Valance and Artem Chigvinstev ~ Paso doble ~ 38:
The only drawback to this whole routine was the fact that Artem, wearing what was supposed to have been a bespangled Zorro mask, looked just a little too much like Super Grover. That said, he was kicking around and throwing shapes to such an extent that the first time I watched the performance I was watching him more than Holly. On consecutive viewings I saw that Holly was awesome, as well, and perhaps this was part of why I had first been paying attention to Artem. She was performing so well that you stopped looking at her and could take in the performance as a whole.
This all said, I'm not sure it will be enough to reverse her path toward being eliminated before the final. She will have to be amazing in the semi-final to be able to get through.

Chelsee Healey and Pasha Kovalev ~ Jive ~ 39:

  • I had hoped to work in an obscure reference to Mantaur this week, but never really found a way to do so.
  • Who the hell was that opera guy in the results show? He looked like Al Borland. His standing there, flanked by frightening female dancers doing that predatory sexy thing whilst he belted out a medley of James Bond theme songs in operatic style was easily one of the most surreal televisions experiences I've had in a while.

  • Two are set to go this week, so I predict it will be Holly and Alex, leaving the final to be fought out between Harry, Chelsee and the J-Train. Though I would prefer the J-Train and Holly switch places, I think it is unlikely.
  • I am still predicting Harry to win. I hope he does; I've put a £5 bet on him; Papa needs a new pair of socks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yep. Holly is a bit of a minx I agree..........