Sunday, 31 January 2010

Drew The Short Straw

Top 8 Results: 30th January 2010

We open on Cat telling us that an hour ago, 8 dancers danced to keep their place in the competition. Boo Cat Deeley, they were DANCING FOR THEIR LIVES and you know it. Anyway, unfortunately only 6 can stay, and due to the... unpleasant draw from the bastard RANDOM HAT that was distributed, the two going home will almost certainly be my two favourites so... yeah. Also Cat's hair looks like hot-buttered ass, so it's an unpleasant night all round. Time to stop letting the RANDOM HAT choose your styling Cat.

WOOGE-WOGGA-CAN DANCE! I kind of wish the dancers in the credits were Nigel, Arlene, Louise and (Shut Up) Sisco. That'd make them 15 times more entertaining. It'd be like Clarissa Explains It All.

We start with the group dance for the week, with Cat's eerie disembodied voice booming out over the loudspeakers telling us "the mueseum is now closed". There's a big box labelled "Ripped Off From Got T...", I mean "Fragile" on it, which then opens up, allowing the dancers to emerge. I'm guessing they're supposed to be museum exhibits but... Charlie's got Mickey Mouse ears on, Alistair is dressed up for the Masquerade, Drew's a dandy, Mandy's dressed as the totty character from a 90's Sega racing game, and Lizzie's wearing a fez on top of a trilby. And they're all dancing to "Relight My Fire" (the original). So God only knows what sort of museum this is. Tragically, Yanet is not dressed as a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex, and she does not stomp all over them causing carnage, a la "Night At The Museum". Much like "Night At The Museum" however, it is incoherent and dull. I want to say Mandy is the highlight, but that might just be because I suddenly 180 Love Her after the performance show.

Once they're all back in their box, Cat stalks on from the side to tell us all that that routine was choreographed by Take That's choreographer. Makes sense. I would have preferred the Take That choreography of walking around on a shingle beach looking MATURE and WISER NOW and not really moving much to that nonsense, but hey ho. She also tells us that later we're going to be getting an exclusive performance from MIKA! You know how people complained about the quality of guest performers on Strictly? I would rather Andy Williams chainsaw-voice his way through his entire repertoire, whilst the Bee Gees sweated all over each-other on inaudiable backing vocals than sit through Mika. [Mika AND Sisco. Whatever did we do to deserve this? - Steve]

She then welcomes our judges, and seriously, after the main show, who knew that (Shut Up) Sisco's hats were not in fact a symptom of his twattishness, they were in fact that last barrier holding it all in his stupid honking head. I apologise to you (Shut Up) Sisco's hats. Come back next week. Preferably over his face.

Recap VT : the boys all hug and high-five and hype each other up, and then Cat Deeley comes in like some minor visiting royal and parades herself through them all, kissing them on the cheeks like they're brave little cancer patients. Maybe she got mixed up with last week. Mandy says she's really nervous and Drew mugs some more at the camera. We're then reminded of Robbie and Yanet's shitty awful Lindy Hop and then Sisco suddenly making me like it by being unnecessary all in Yanet's face to hide the fact that Robbie was just as bad. Backstage, Yanet says she's going to cut him open from gizzard to stern... oh no wait she just says she's going to prove she's not the weakest girl. In an actual fight? I'd pay.

Then we're reminded of the fact that KATE PRINCE IS THE WORST CHOREOGRAPHER IN THE WORLD FACT before Drew gets all gay in the camera about how NIGEL SAID HE HEARTED IT. Oh Drew, I love you but I can see why you were occasionally on your own in the playground. That was intense even by stage-school standards. Lizzie and Alastair's not at all gay pubes were next doing contemporary, and whilst Louise and (Shut Up)Sisco loved it, Nigel didn't feel the romance. This is the Nigel who's such an expert in romance he was giving Drew advice how to score with women a few weeks back. Finally, Tommy and Mandy being nuclear strength amazing with some basic choreography - Louise thought it needed more pizazz (/pizznash/pazznish) but (Shut Up) Sisco thought it would be a TRAVESTY AGAINST HUMANITY if the pair of them didn't make the final. Yeah, steal your schtick from Len Goodman, (Shut Up) Sisco. That's the way to get more popular. Nigel and Louise both finish by admitting that quite a few of the dancers tonight were crap, and then Arlene says something, but I'm too busy laughing at Nigel mocking her behind her back (pulling faces and making sock-puppet talky hands) for me to listen. It's probably better that way.

Straight into our pre girl-elimination VT, and instead of hearing from them all how much they want this and how devastated they would be to be eliminated, we instead get them all talking passive-aggressive smack about eachother. Yay! Mandy thinks that Lizzie is her main competition because she's a hip-hop dancer but also quite good in other styles (MEOW!). Lizzie thinks that Mandy is her main rival, because she's got the most experience (the haggard old bitch!). Yanet thinks that Mandy's solos are so good that they might even be as good as hers (OUCH!) Charlie thinks that Lizzie's her biggest rival, because she can do things that she could never do, like "popping and locking" and "spinning on her head". Hang on, that one comes up clean. From Charlie of all people. Who knew?

Out onto the stage, and Mandy and Yanet are paried off first, in a "one of these people is in the bottom 2" style. Yanet is reminded that she screwed up the Lindy Hop, and Mandy is reminded that Louise thought she needed more pizznash-pow before... Mandy is told that she's safe, and she collapses in classic "I THOUGHT EVERYBODY HATED ME, BUT NOW I KNOW THEY DON'T!" tears, and everyone hugs her as she runs off safe whilst her husband with the giant head pumps his fist in the audience. Yanet tries to walk off, but Cat grabs her full-on yelling "WOAH-WOAH-WOAH-WOAH!", allowing her the time and space to hear Nigel telling her that he's not shocked and she totally deserved it. I'm sure she's glad of that.

Lizzie and Charlie are left standing there, with Lizzie reminded that Nigel didn't rate her romantic performance, and Charlie reminded that Arlene thought she was too cutesy. Which I'm sure had nothing to do with THE OFFENSIVELY CUTESY CHOREOGRAPHY OR ANYTHING! I'm sure it was entirely possible that Charlie could have invested her role as heart-broken mime with balloons with some real FIRE AND EDGE. [Wasn't that Robbie and Yanet's team name? Or was that Yanet and one of U2? - Steve] Anyway, Lizzie and her terrifying abs are safe, and Charlie is in the bottom 2, looking profoundly unbothered in her Langford kind of way. Arlene tells her she's not surprised because this week's dance was as bad as last week's was good, and showed all sorts of holes in Charlie's abilities. Although none quite so large as the holes in her fishnet top last week.

Next up, the boys "my biggest rival is" VT, spreading the love a little bit more evenly than the girls. Drew feels his biggest competition is Alastair, because he's such a good dancer and has an amazing personality, and he smells of apricots, and like, one time when they were changing Alistair just gave him this *look* you know, it's hard to describe but there totally coully could be something there, and also he has really good hair that would just be really... soft, you know? Something like that. Tommy views Robbie as his main rival, because he's just so TALL and flexible, and Tommy is SHORT and... rigid? Robbie likewise views Tommy as his main rival just because he's so different. Alistair finishes by calling Drew the man to beat because he's got great technique and is a real performer. At this point, Drew becomes so flustered and distracted, that his elimination is assured.

Out on the stage, Cat starts with Drew, and the remarks she chooses to recall are complimentary, so you know he's in trouble. And indeed he is, dumped right into the bottom 2 straight off. Robbie gives him a little shoulder squeeze of support, before we have to hear (Shut Up) Sisco's opinion, which is that Drew is an amazing dancer but the lyrical hip-hop routine he did "exposed him" on the stage. [Maybe things would've worked out better if he had been properly exposed and Drew's Nipple had popped out to talk to us again. - Steve] Actually, given Kate Prince's choreography "skills" I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't work some sort of work with a Boogie Nights style prop dick at some point in the future. Cat asks Drew how many pirouettes he thinks he can do, and Drew basically doesn't give a crap at this point. Twelve or something, WHATEVER CAT. (*runs off crying*)

Cat then runs her way through the remaining male dancers, and again, that they're using what positive remarks they can find about what Robbie did to the Lindy Hop suggests he's cruising for a bruising. We rehash Nigel's comments about the unromantic nature of Alastair's contemporary piece for, like, the zillionth time and the collective cheerleading the judges did for Tommy, before it is revealed that the latter two are safe, and it's Robbie who is in the danger zone. So much for Cancer Dance propelling its participants to victory. Then again, both performers in Bed Dance will soon be gone as well. Anyway, when Alastair is revealed to be safe he is STUNNED and wanders off doing what looks an awful lot like Brendan Fraser's offensive clapping

Cat goes to Louise for a response, highlighting the fact that Robbie has never been in the bottom 2 before. Indeed, at this point, Lizzie is the only one of these people never to grace the bottom two. Not that that'll stop her finishing in third to two boys in the final but... Anyway Louise whitters that as a whole Robbie probably doesn't deserve to be bottom 2, but based on tonight he totally does. Finally, (Shut Up) Sisco is asked how the dancers need to perform in order to save themselves in his eyes and... I know people complain that Nigel talks too much but I'd rather him than (Shut Up) Sisco saying that all the dancers need to dance for their lives and show why they deserve a place in next week's show when he wouldn't vote for Yanet if he had a gun to his head. [Which I totally was not holding. What? Don't look at me like that. - Steve]

Solos time now, and Cat actually looks a bit nervous for a moment that Yanet might actually have stormed off à la Lady Sovereign on This Week, but phew, she is here. Vamping around in a Latin style to 'Let's Get Loud' and looking amazing. I just kind of wish she was even half as good at this as any other discipline and I don't know that she is. Charlie follows, doing more random jerking around to pop music and... even if you're a fan of Charlie's I'm guessing it's probably not for her solos. Oh and the audience chanting during the countdown is OFFENSIVELY loud at this point.

Boys next, opening with Drew and his phone-cock doing pirouettes to 'Call Me' which is really energetic and fun but also kind of desperate as a concept and also... he's got a phone cord coming out of his crotch. Who wants to think about that? It's terrifying. Where would you put the coins? What if you had a special card? What sort of noise does he make when you're running out of minutes? [I'm sure there's some kind of dictaphone/dick-to-phone joke to be made here, but I just can't pin it down. - Steve] Robbie follows up, reminding us of the ways that his long limbs can be a boon, rather than crippling disadvantage they had been up this point of the evening. It's still to The Calling though, and I would be more than happy to completely forget that whole period of musical history.

Cat foolishly goes immediately to Arlene afterwards and she starts gushing hysterically about how she doesn't want to let anyone go, and "those two boys" are amongst the most the phenomenal dancers in the country, and this is so harrrrrrrrrrd Cat, why are they making her choooooooooooose? If it's that hard Arlene, toss a coin or something. You know what you signed up for.

Next : Mika. The last time I recapped Mika, I got death threats. I think I said I was quite glad he lost at the Brit Awards because I preferred the artist who won. Oh and also that he was gay. Lots of Mika fans seem to have a problem with that entirely obvious fact. So forgive me if I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to do it again. All I'll say is that the song has hand-clapping in it, and I still don't like it. Quite an achievement. It's a bit like 'No Scrubs' in the verses except not nearly as good. I'm so aggravated that I get this, and Steve gets pop-cultural robot phenomenon Leona next week. Lucky bastard. [Then again... - Steve]

Once Mika's gone, and I've put my earphones back in, out troop the four people in danger, ready to receive judgment from Nigel, who starts with Yanet and Charlie, and tells them that the judges were unanimous. Yanet gives this comment the look of "...ugh." it deserves whilst Charlie continues to nod most Langford-like. Every time anybody says anything negative, she just nods eagerly. Probably because she's 19, and still thinks being gracious is going to get her anywhere.

From here we move to that whole "take one step forward, take one step back, do the hokey cokey and you're ELIMINATED" business which advances nothing and nobody with Yanet being told she's not showing her animal sexual magnetism out of her face as much she should be, and the judges wants her to smile more. Anybody who has watched the US version for more than 5 minutes (and apologies for the diversion into racial politics) knows this is Nigel for "you're black and you're about to be eliminated". Nigel then tells Charlie that it's amazing that her routine put her at the top this week, and now another routine has put her at the bottom, and really how much does this show thinks it needs Kate Prince that it feels it can't call out that awful routine for what it was explicitly?

Anyway, no duh, Yanet is eliminated, and Nigel at least acknowledges that she seems like she knew it already. Brilliantly, because Yanet is still in "take a step forward" mode Charlie comes at her from behind to hug her with her arms out-stretched, meaning that Yanet doesn't see her, meaning that she basically looks like a crazed zombie attacking her. CHARLIE WANT BRAINS! Yanet would be so amazing as the heroine in a zombie movie. Give this girl a shotgun and a cigar (Cuban, naturally) and we are MADE.

Yanet's best bits are actually probably the first where it feels like the participant has a body of work large enough to be memorialised. Poor Anabel having her best bits basically be her bucking around like a mule in her Jive. We are reminded of her stunning foxtrot and salsa, and her god-awful hip-hop and Lindy routines, as well as the fact that whenever cut to her in a group dance she was always doing the same goshdarn thing. When we come back, Yanet gives a little speech about how she's disappointed and how she'll miss working with the great choreographers, but she'll take the positive comments from the judges (*points to Nigel, Arlene and Louise, and then all but flips the bird at (Shut Up) Sisco*) and use them in her career going forward.

Can we have her on Strictly to at least choreograph some of the salsas? Or is Shouty Dwarf Man too well entrenched?

To the boys now, and Nigel starts by saying that the judges were unanimous in their decision but also a decision that "we were unanimous in that we did not want to give". MANGLE that syntax Nigel. Anyway they didn't want to make the decision, because they were certain that both of these two would be in the final, and one of them would probably win. Well... Robbie still might, I guess. They're both told they've done amazing solos before, although Drew is mildly admonished for his cock-phone, because "his dancing is so good that he doesn't need props". Yeah, I can't see why he would have missed the "props=bad" message when for his partner routine about 5 sq ft of the floor wasn't covered in extraneous crap. Anyway, Robbie's "double turn into the side-split" was amazing, and probably sealed it for him because (*step forward for no earthly reason*) Drew is eliminated.

I always kind of hope they're being made to step forward so something can drop on them.

Robbie gives it proper Steps "Tragedy" face, before hugging Drew mumbling "no, no, no". We then move on to Drew's "Best Bits" - him zinging his heartstrings, his hair being a terrifying force of nature at all times, poor Anabel, the Bed Dance, the disco, the man, the myth, the Judy - Drew McOnie. I must admit, he was the one I wanted to win towards the end there. [Me too. Sniff. - Steve]

Back in the studio, he says he can't articulate what he's feeling, but he really feels like he's been on a journey, and wants to take the lessons he's learnt from working with some great choreographers (and Kate EFFING Prince) and use them in his life to become a better dancer and person. Also he wants to inspire people to want to dance as much as he does. Oh Drew, I don't think anybody could.

The stage is mobbed, Robbie and Alistair in particular look devastated, your recapper's two favourites (although with Yanet it was more for sentimental reasons towards the end there it had to be said) are gone [same here - the only person left I feel remotely inspired to root for is Lizzie, so watch her go home next week - Steve], Shugga-Bugga OUT.

Weak in the presence of Snooty

Top 8: 30th January 2010

Last week! Charlie and Robbie danced about cancer and made all the judges moist, particularly Sisco, to the extent that he had to be towelled after the show by the production assistant who lost a particularly hard-fought game of Scissors Paper Stone, and then the internets asploded because it turned out to have already been done on the US version and was in fact Nigel's favourite dance in the history of everything ever. Oopsie. Sisco and Arlene disagreed about Hayley, not that it mattered because she's gone back to the Italia Conti prefab whatever dancers do when they get eliminated from this show. Oh, and Mark went home too, but we've already forgotten about him, I guess. (Given that "Fan Of The Hat" Mark's departure suddenly coincides with Sisco going hatless I think we can safely surmise that Sisco can add "thief" to his list of crimes - Chris) This week, the eight remaining contestants are battling for a place in the semi-final, and this seems to involve quite a lot of falling over. However, one guy and one doll will not make it that far. What's that, Cat? Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance? Alrighty then.

SHOOGABOOGACANDANCE. This is really quite saddening; they've slowed it down so much for a BBC1 Saturday night audience that it actually does kind of sound like "so you think you can dance". I preferred the utterly incomprehensible American version.

Time to welcome the top eight, then: Charlie (Stage School Spice), Alastair (Billy Elliot Spice), Lizzie (Spice Spice Baby), Robbie (Spice Blonde), Yanet (Spice While It Lasted), Tommy (Lairy Spice), Mandy (Old Spice), and Drew (Hairy Spice). There are the girls, and there are the guys. Oh, and there's Cat! Looking better this week in a sort of silvery, snakeskin-pattern type dress, and as usual, looking like an Amazon next to all of our Tiny Dancers. Cat reminds us that this is the quarter-final, and that there will be four duet performances, eight solo performances, and two group routines. All in an hour, as well! This is a huge relief, and means I don't have to worry about bedsores like I do during Dancing On Ice. Cat runs through the rules again, and introduces the judges. You will no doubt be thrilled to hear that Sisco is not wearing a hat or comedy glasses tonight. He is, however, still going to be a royal a-hole, so don't get too excited.

Cat asks Nigel what to expect from the Top 8. Interestingly, Nigel says that they will have to raise the bar, but no more so than they have to do every week. That's quite refreshing, when certain other reality shows insist that each new week is the Toughest Week Ever, and it will no longer do to give 110%, you now have to give 120%/130%/692%. Asked what the public should be looking out for, Arlene talks about magnetism, and how Britain's Favourite Dancer will make us believe they're dancing just for us. A private dancer, if you will. A dancer for money. They'll do what we want them to do. (Hi Alistair! - Chris)

To kick things off, we have the girls' group number, which is being danced to Beyoncé's 'Move', from Dreamgirls. Since watching this first time around last night, and sitting down to write this recap, Chris and I have become more intimately acquainted with Beyoncé's movie career, as he'd rented Obsessed for us to watch. I was expecting great things, or at least hilarious things, considering how the "YOU BETTA DO SUMTHIN ABOUT THIS WUMMIN O AH WHEEL" meme was everywhere last year, but seriously: terrible, terrible movie. Every single character in it is an utter moron. (Except Christine Lahti - Chris) Especially Beyoncé's. GRAB A WEAPON! CALL THE POLICE! Idiot. (Well I'm glad I didn't scare you with my repeated yelling of "GET A KNIFE YOU STUPID WHORE!" -Chris)

Anyway, where were we? Their group routine is sort of '50s girl group style routine, with lots of fringing on the dresses to emphasise the hip shimmying. It's nice enough, but not especially dynamic. Charlie is a couple of beats behind the others at a few points, and Yanet looks a bit nervous, so Lizzie and Mandy are the ones who come out of it looking the best, but I doubt any of us are going to remember this routine tomorrow.

Cat thanks Stephen Mear for the two minutes he took out of his day to choreograph that routine, and teases the boys' upcoming group performance, which will be choreographed by Matthew Bourne and based on his famous all-male Swan Lake. Well, that sounds like a level playing field, doesn't it? A routine based on a famous, celebrated piece of dance versus a bit of shimmying to Beyoncé. It's almost like they've given up all hope of trying to convince us a girl can win this. (Erm, excuse me, these bints should be GLAD they've been allowed to dance her royal B'ness - Chris)

The first couple tonight are Yanet and Robbie, who've been randomly paired together once again by the Hat of Randomness, which doesn't seem to be doing a terribly efficient job thus far. Yanet giggles when she learns who she's partnered with, and refers to their pairing as "ice and fire". Say, did you guys know that Robbie's from Stockport? And that his family have been campaigning enthusiastically for him to win? Well, just in case you had any doubt on that front, they are and they have, and they're still doing it. Robbie's mum talks enthusiastically about how much effort goes into it all, as the dogs are decked out with "VOTE ROBBIE" banners to go walkies, and she mentions that they're keen to keep the campaign "fresh". I think this is the most fun she's had in years. Unfortunately, the Hat of Randomness has endowed Team Fire and Ice with the lindyhop this week, which is not going to do either of them many favours. Choreographer Ryan Francois says as much, and a tired-looking Yanet says that they've had to put in a lot of hours this week. Because she has to keep four routines in her head, she's dancing in her sleep sometimes. They complete a successful rehearsal and Yanet has a little cry on Robbie's giant shoulder, and she should've learned from Hayley that crying + a routine that doesn't tailor to your natural strengths =/= public support. However, they're determined to go out and give it their all, as per.

The set-up for the routine is fun, anyway - Robbie's a mad scientist who drinks one of his own potions and has some kind of Jekyll and Hyde type lindyhop meltdown as a result, while Yanet is his sexy secretary - his sexretary, if you will - who gets caught up in all the lindyhopping madness, all to the strains of 'It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)'. I actually think they're doing a reasonably good job of it - Robbie's leg movements are sharper than Yanet's, but she's giving good comedy face, and energy-wise they're certainly giving it some welly, but a few of the lifts don't go quite to plan - Yanet lands awkwardly out of one, and another that involves her flipping over Robbie's back ends with her sort of rolling off sideways. However, I liked this routine - sure, it was gimmicky, but it was enjoyable, and I don't think either Yanet or Robbie disgraced themselves in it. (I thought they were both awful - particularly him. Different strokes I guess... - Chris)

Nigel's the first to comment - he liked it, and gives us a bit of a potted lindyhop history (NAZI DANCE! - Chris). He does, however, point out the failed back somersault, but applauds their energy - it could've been danced better, and he thinks they worried too much about the characters and the performances suffered as a result. Cat asks Yanet and Robbie if that's a fair assessment, and whether they were worried about the lifts. Yanet's all "FUCK YES". Arlene thought they approached it differently - she calls Yanet "fast and fearless", and then points out that she was afraid of all of those air-steps. Someone please throw a dictionary at Arlene so she can look up what "fearless" means, please. Don't worry too much about aiming precisely, I don't mind if it hits her head. Or Sisco's. She thinks Robbie performed away, but was far too tense, and that was why the lifts weren't working - because they weren't working together. Louise says that playing a character in dance is HARD (not as hard as a street dancer learning latin and ballroom, of course); she thinks that certain parts worked well, but she doesn't think the character and the dance married together to make a coherent whole. Sisco thought they were struggling through it, and he's worried for them both, "especially Yanet, because I think this really exposed you as, in my opinion, the weakest girl." If anyone can explain to me precisely what about this dance gave us a window into the air-filled glitterball that is Sisco's mind, please do enlighten me. I certainly didn't sit through this and suddenly think "oh my God! Sisco thinks Yanet is the weakest girl!" Unless I'm just being overly pedantic with his imprecise sentence structure, but hey, I'm sure it can't be that. The audience gasps and boos, and Arlene attempts to defend Yanet by saying that she attacked the lifts "more fearlessly than most of the girls in this competition", and Sisco snits "we're talking about Yanet and Robbie here, Arlene." Yes, you both were. What's your point, Curly Sue? Louise tells them not to take that comment offstage with them (au contraire, I'd advise them to take that comment off stage with them and chuck it in the bin where it belongs rather than leave it festering in the air). Sisco's all "it was truthful, I have to be honest, that's what it is." Well, since we're being truthful: Sisco is a fucking tool. And I say this as someone who has vigorously defended both Alesha Dixon and Kara DioGuardi in the past, so I tend to give the Scrappy a bit of leeway. Hell, I've even, on rare occasions, found reasons to defend Louis Walsh in the past. And I still can't find anything positive to say about Sisco. (He's still not as bad as Sharon Osbourne - Chris) (Orkaradioguardi *runs away* - Chris)If there is a series two (and I think there will be), I hope he isn't being invited back. GIANT LADY FOR JUDGE 2011!

Solo time! First to take the stage is Alastair, who is not shirtless this week. I never really know what to say about solos, other than what music they're being performed to (in this instance, 'Get It On' by T-Rex). It involves a lot of leaping around. Does that cover it? I dunno. Cat asks him if it's a lot of hard work, and Alastair admits to being nocturnal ("my mum and dad are here, so I can't really lie") and needing several cups of coffee to get going. Cat gives us the number to call if we think Alastair should be "in first position". Ballet humour! I love it. There's a shot of a banner in the audience, with "Fred Astair" written on it, except they've crossed out "Fred" and the "A" and written "Ali" in its place, so it now reads "Alistair". Which is not how he spells his name, or at least not how the show spells his name. I wouldn't laugh, except they went to all the trouble of crossing out that solitary "A" and they should have left it in.

Next up is Lizzie! Her solo is to 'Poker Face' by Lady GaGa, so naturally SHE WINS. I mean, the choreographical content isn't that amazing, but GAGA > EVERYTHING, right? She talks giddily with Cat about costumes, and continues to be kind of awesome.

Our next couple have never danced together before (finally, good work, Hat of Randomness!) - Charlie and Drew. Charlie was pleased to get positive feedback from Arlene last week. Which she apparently whispered, because the sound levels on this part of the VT are all buggered up. Charlie then rolls out the sob story about how she was never noticed at auditions (probably, I'm guessing, because there were about 20 Charlies in any given audition that she went to - I mean, I went to school with at least three of her. And I went to an all boys' school) and for a while, gave up on her dream, getting a job in a shoe shop (OH THE HUMANITY). "I completely lost me! I'd gone!" she recalls. Oh, for fuck's sake. Less of the "I dance, therefore I am", please. She is grateful to be here. However, this week, she's doing lyrical hip hop, choreographed by Kate Prince, which is exposing her weaknesses. Which are still not as pronounced as Yanet's, since Sisco SPEAKS TEH TRUTH!!!!1!!! and everything. Kate Prince describes Charlie's work as "very fresh - and not fresh in a good way." Snerk. Drew, on the other hand, is a "mature" dancer who takes on direction. Drew talks about being very mature all his life, and how devastated his mother was when he came out. Er, of the state education system to go away to a stage school, that is. Sorry. I don't know how that full stop got in there. We see videos of a tiny Drew performing, and his mum talks proudly about how it was a struggle, financially, but they're all very proud of him. Drew says that they've given up so much to allow him to fulfill his dreams, and that going home now is not an option. (I think it is.)

Their circus-themed routine is to 'Doesn't Mean Anything' by Alicia Keys, with Drew as an emo clown and Charlie as...actually, I'm not really sure what Charlie is meant to be. They're reasonably well-matched throughout the performance, though Drew's movements are more precise than Charlie's. Again, despite the slight problems with the execution of the routine, I enjoyed the routine itself. I think they're feeling brave enough to start making things a bit more avant-garde on this show now. I hope so, anyway. (I would agree if "avant-garde" didn't mean "amonst the worst choreography I've ever seen". This was supposed to be hip-hop? It was like the props round on Whose Line Is It Anyway? - Chris) Drew and Charlie pantomime a little bit after the music ends where she breaks his heart, or something. It's cute, and leads Cat to holler to Drew that she'll take his heart if Charlie won't have it. Only it doesn't sound quite as sinister as I just made it.

Arlene describes the routine as "prop heaven, that was gradually turning into prop hell". What? It's not like they had a hat and a cane! She says that Drew surprises her every week because she expects him to be one-dimensional as a dancer, but he comes out and delivers with whatever he's given - even lyrical hip hop, which is not his thing. Charlie, on the other hand, is not good at this and it showed, Arlene thinks. She felt that Charlie was too "cutesy", and not seamless enough. Sisco's opinion is solicited, and he thinks it was a "catastrophe". The audience boos, and he thanks them, because he's now That Guy. Tit. He felt that the theatrics and the props swamped them. Which is neither Charlie's nor Drew's fault, but whatever. Louise really enjoyed it and thought that they pulled it off, because she loves mime. Well, I guess someone has to. Nigel thought it was a lovely piece of entertainment, and he enjoyed it and believed in the characters - he thinks Kate deliberately choreographed it as an entertainment piece because neither of them is especially skilled with hip hop, and reiterates that it was really good CONSIDERING, just in case we hadn't picked up that he's being lukewarm with his praise.

Tommy, the "martial arts man", is next to solo: to 'Blame It On The Boogie'. It's all a bit manic and flaily, but in a very controlled way, if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn't. One of Tommy's friends in the audience is holding his "GO!" sign upside down. Unless "og" is a supportive Swedish word, maybe?

Old Mandy solos next, to a piece of music I'm afraid I don't recognise (Des'ree frowns at you sir - Chris), but hers is all very jumpy and floaty and quite contemporary in style, and probably the strongest of the solo we've seen so far. She tells Cat that it was her seventh wedding anniversary on Tuesday, so apparently this is some sort of celebration of their love or something. I think we need to hear from Giant Lady at this point. (Oooooh, a whole SEVEN years *slow clap* - Giant Lady)

Cat promises that Mika will be around for the results show, in an apparent bid to sink the ratings, before introducing Lizzie and Alastair, our next couple. Alastair thought he was going on Saturday, and is humbled that so many people voted for him. I wonder what the vote tallies are actually like? Ugh, I'd forgotten about this bit: Alastair's VT sees him going out drinking with his brother, because he LIKES BEER even though he is a DANCER because he's A PROPER BLOKE and therefore probably LIKES TO HAVE SEX WITH GIRLS and everything. Alastair's brother: "he's not forgotten where he's from. I'm so proud of him." And there I was thinking Mark was the contestant who kept suffering knocks to the head. Alastair doesn't know any other ballet dancers from Lancashire, but is still NOT A POOF, JUST TO CLARIFY. Meanwhile, Lizzie declares Baby Wars officially up and running by going to visit her class of adorable pre-teen dance students. They are very excited about their famous teacher. She brings back Alastair to meet them as well, and the girls are very excited about this, because he is a hot piece of ass, and even those who have not yet hit puberty are aware of this. Alastair and Lizzie are both suitably inspired by youth.

They're doing a contemporary routine to 'No Air', or a remix thereof. Alastair's shirt is entirely unfastened, because getting his nipples out worked out well for him last week. It's a solid performance, actually - I think Lizzie's probably proven to be the most adaptable of all the female contestants this year, and this routine is no exception. They appear to be fucking rather than fighting, since we all know that those are the only two variations of contemporary dance. Also, just like in Drew and Hayley's infamous Bed Routine, this one requires Lizzie to move Alastair, though she doesn't quite pull her lift off as smoothly as Hayley did. And really, when did you ever expect to see "Hayley did it better" in a recap? I didn't. (To be fair it might be because Hayley was twice the size of Drew and Lizzie is half the size of Alistair - Chris)

Cat reveals for the benefit of those who weren't standing by the judges' desk during the performance that Sisco was squealing incoherently throughout. How this differs from the way he sounds the rest of the time, I'm not sure. And to prove it: Sisco makes some sex noises, and says that they transported him to Cuba. God, I wish they'd left him there. He thought Alastair was convincing and sexy, and that Lizzie showed her versatility. He then blows a big obnoxious "MWAH!" to Rafael Bonachela, the choreographer. I swear, I am about this close from just ignoring Sisco's existence and recapping as though there are only three judges. Louise says that Lizzie never fails to amaze her and always delivers with sincerity, and thinks that she's getting stronger every week - as is Alastair, who has more to give, and Louise is looking forward to seeing him in the Matthew Bourne routine later. Arlene thinks that Alastair has been creeping through this competition on his "matinée idol looks" (certainly, the idea of supporting a gentleman that you find attractive is something that would never occur to Arlene) and that he hasn't adapted well to the styles he's been given, but "you adapted to this like a duck to water". Except ducks don't adapt to water, Arlene. It's kind of a large part of their lives from day one. She's also full of praise for Lizzie, calling her "spellbinding". Nigel says that it shows how everything can be subjective, because he thought the choreography was beautiful, but the dancing was only "quite good" because he didn't believe they were in love with each other. He thinks Lizzie's technique could be improved. Everyone else is aghast. Arlene says that her arm hairs were standing up. I wish she wouldn't make us think about those.

Solos? You betcha. Robbie the Stockport Spider is dancing to The Calling's 'Wherever You Will Go'. The only positive thing I can say about this song is that Drew Fuller is in the video, which is not being shown at this point, so I shall move along. Robbie's solo is kind of uninspiring, to be honest - there's a lot of running and kind of stopping in mid-run, punctuated with bits of gymnastics. It doesn't really do it for me.[/ruthiehenshall] Cat asks him about all the campaigning his family's been doing, and he talks about how they've been dressing up the dogs and making "edible support". That kind of sounds like a candy jockstrap, which is something that doesn't bear too much consideration. Cat decides to call his supporters the Stockport Massive, and on we go.

Then there's Yanet, who is shimmying to Jennifer Lopez's 'Let's Get Loud'. She's even looking kind of tired and distracted in this one, even though it's her being able to dance in her own style. I think she knows her time's up tonight, to be honest. That said, her end pose is amazing, as she does the splits and then just neatly bends one leg and tucks her foot behind her hand. Yanet tells Cat that she spoke to her mum this week, and her mum gave her the courage to carry on, and also told her to tell Sisco that she's not the weakest girl. I wish she'd spoken to me on the phone, I could've given her a few choice things to say to Sisco. Probably none of them broadcastable in a pre-watershed slot, admittedly. Cat asks Yanet what her mum's name is - I'm fairly certain Yanet's answer is "Elena", but Cat mangles her own attempt at pronouncing it anyway. CALL OFCOM!

Our final couple are both survivors from last week's dance-off: Mandy and Tommy. Tommy says that being in danger affects your mental state, and that Mandy has been in danger twice. So presumably she's now a raving loon. Oh, apparently not: she's just more determined now. Not to be outdone in Baby Wars, Mandy also wheels out her dance students, the Bright Sparks, who have been drafted in to campaign for her on the streets of...somewhere in south London, by the looks of it. Tommy gets a bit woobie-ish at this, because all of his supporters are at home in Sweden. He Skypes with his sister, who is sad not to be there with him, and then talks about how both of his parents died when he was quite young, and he and his sister had to look after each other. Mandy reiterates that neither of them have their families here (apparently her husband doesn't count as "family", which I'm sure he'll be thrilled about), but they just have to hope they can win over the public all the same. (Given that Tommy's family are dead and Mandy's are just in another country I thought that was... incredibly crass of her but shrug I love her this week so whatever - Chris)

Note that there was literally nothing about their routine in that video: it's a Broadway number, to 'There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This' from Sweet Charity (currently on at the Menier Chocolate Factory and featuring Friend of Tellybitching Tiffany Graves, plug plug). Their routine is pretty much what you'd come to expect from Broadway - lots of arm punctuation and leaps (and I don't mean that as a criticism, just that most Broadway routines on this show by their very nature tend to look at least moderately similar), but it fits the music nicely and is well-danced by both Tommy and Mandy, particularly the aerial cartwheels. They're also doing excellent face-acting, which Arlene reminded us was so important earlier on in the evening, so they get bonus points for paying attention.

Sisco's all "in danger? Last week? You two? Really? With my reputation?" - yes, Sisco, because neither of them were especially good last week. He thinks they're both amazing and versatile, capable of anything. ANYTHING. He says that if he doesn't see them in the finals, it's a crime. I would've thought that a Robbie/Alastair/Lizzie/Charlie final is the most likely result, so with any luck, he'll be horribly disappointed. (My desire to have Sisco disappointed isn't quite as great as my desire for people I actually like to get there. I know, I know... - Chris) Louise says they're both such accomplished dancers that they can pull anything off, but she's not sure that at this level in the competition, if they gave it enough pizazz. Arlene says that Broadway exposes technique because it needs attack and good feet, and she thought they adapted to the style, but no more than that - it was functional when it should have been fenomenal. Er, phenomenal. (FERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-NOMM-IN-UWWWWWWWWWW!) - Chris) Arlene's losing her alliterative touch. Nigel calls it the best dance of the night. There's a shot of Stephen Mear looking appreciative in the audience, so I'm guessing he choreographed it. He says that it was based on Bob Fosse trying to outdo Jerome Robbins in West Side Story. He asks them about various dance moves they were asked to do that I totally can't spell, and that they did them brilliantly. He thinks it sums up what the show is all about - a breakdancer doing classical steps and excelling. And also Mandy being there, stood next to him.

Final solos! Drew is dancing to 'Call Me' by Blondie, and has a gold telephone coming out of the crotch of his jeans. I'm not even kidding. Does it even matter what I say about the routine at this point? AMAZING. (The dancing was good too.) Drew hands the phone over to Cat, and she talks to his crotch, pretending George Clooney is on the other end. Cat asks "'proximately" how many pirouettes he can do on the spot. Drew doesn't know, since he's never counted, but the answer is probably "a lot".

Then Cheeky Charlie, who's rolling around on the floor to Timbaland ft. OneRepublic's 'Apologise'. It's an angry solo, and I feel like a broken record at this point, but the general vagueness in the way she moves is starting to annoy me a little bit. Finish your moves properly, Charlie! Charlie loves working with the choreographers, but is missing the lemon meringue pie her mum makes every Sunday. (Can her mum not bring it in? Lazy bint - Chris) Seems like a fair enough exchange, although if Kate Prince brought a lemon meringue pie to rehearsals, Charlie would be in absolute heaven.

Time for the guys to do their group number, and the show is so excited about having Matthew Bourne on board that he gets his own VT and everything: Drew calls him "the Steven Spielberg of dance" and Robbie enthuses about how Bourne's choreography is always new and innovative. They're doing the cygnet dance from his all-male Swan Lake, and Drew explains about how there's a comedy element and an animalistic element to it as well as a lot of very difficult technique. To illustrate this, Matthew Bourne shows Alastair how to stick his crotch out, "like you're saying something with it." (I was waiting for Drew to offer to use it as a telephone - Chris) No, really. Tommy loves Matthew Bourne's ideas, and Drew is excited to be performing such an iconic piece of choreography.

I'm sure this must have been pre-recorded, because there's no way in hell Drew would've had time to get fully made-up and costumed for this routine in the minute or so he would've had to do it. Not that it matters - the boys are all shirtless and wearing swan trousers, with their hair slicked back and black beaks suggested on their foreheads, and - now, I'm not a ballet fan, but I do enjoy samples of ballet in isolation, and this really is awesome. It's so much more impactful and interesting than the group number the girls got to do - and I don't mean this as any offence to the choreographer of the girls' routine, because I don't really see what could've been done to compete with this, which is basically famous in its own right, short of making them do the 'Single Ladies' dance or something. Anyway, the dance is awesome, and really technically challenging, and at the end they all stand and bow and look beautifully severe while the judges give them a standing ovation.

Cat goes to the judges for their final thoughts: Sisco thought that Mandy and Tommy and Lizzie and Alastair stood out, while Louise thinks that Lizzie and Alastair were the best, because they're getting better each week. Arlene thought the solos were the life and soul of the show, and Robbie redeemed a bad duet dance with a phenomenal solo (eh, agree to disagree, I guess), and Nigel thinks that the public should be worried because they've got a difficult job in deciding, because it's been so subjective, and calls Sisco "the school prefect" and Arlene "the Wicked Witch" in the process. Heh. Arlene professes to be "kind and loving and giving". I remain unconvinced.

Video recap: Alastair and Lizzie doing a contemporary routine despite there being No Air, Tommy and Mandy getting their Broadway on, Robbie and Yanet lindyhopping with scientific assistance, and Charlie and Drew clowning around.

That's it! Chris will be here with the results shortly to reveal who makes it through to the semi-final. SHOOGABOOGACANDANCE!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Heterosexual Bed Death

Top 10 Results: 23rd January 2010

Yeah, so you know what I said last week about Cat always looking so well turned-out on this show? I don't know what the hell she was smoking when she got dressed this evening, but that terrifying yellow cubist nightmare is not going to go down in the annals of her finer sartorial moments. Anyway, this is not So You Think You Can Talk Shit About Cat's Dress Sense, after all, so let's get on with things. Cat reminds us that earlier tonight, the dancers were hit with their toughest challenge yet: that of being judged on their own abilities and not hiding behind a superior partner, Gavin. Oh, wait, he's already gone. Just as well, eh? So - who survived the cull that was organised by the public vote, eh? Cat tells us that the lines have been closed and the votes tallied and independently verified (just once I'd like her to say that they've been verified by Maureen from the office next door, because they couldn't be arsed to get an external in) - one girl and one guy will be leaving us tonight. That is the purpose of So You Think You Can Dance - the results!


We begin the show with another group routine, and I'm sure Chris will be ecstatic to learn that they've wheeled out the Black Eyed Peas again ('Pump It' this time), them being his absolute favouritest band and everything. (I like when Fergie goes "DANG!" repeatedly in this one, though apart from that, it is a load of old noise - Chris)The good news is that this means the routine is hip-hop themed, which leads to some epic fronting from Mandy, some positively adorable attempting-to-look-surly from Drew, and a chance for Mark, Tommy and Lizzie to really shine. Robbie acquits himself rather better than he did last week, but Yanet not so much, though they've sensibly kept her in a crowd for most of it, so her slight hesitancy isn't especially obvious - and her solo moment is basically all salsa hips anyway, which seems an entirely sensible decision. One part that I love is when Charlie runs in, does an aerial cartwheel and then basically saunters off again - very much "right, I've done my bit, I'm off now". Well, it made me laugh, anyway. Actually, I would like more routines that involve Alastair and Drew trying to look street at the same time please, because they're both giving it a shit load of effort and yet still look like...two middle-class white boys trying to street dance. I just want to schmoosh their cheeks, bless them. (TMI - Chris) Oh, and it all ends with everyone lying on the floor except Tommy, who proceeds to "sweep" them offstage as they all roll away. It's stuff like that that really makes a routine. Good work, show.

Cat And The Dress That Puts A Giant Lobster Pincer Over Her Vagina walk onto the stage, and Cat laments that she doesn't want to lose any of them. Weirdly, I kind of know how she feels. (Eh, Mandy can bugger off - Chris) She teases the upcoming performance from JLS, as well as the elimination. Despite what I originally thought, the judges will still be choosing who goes home tonight, so they are here as well, though to be honest if Sisco had gone home to watch Casualty, I wouldn't have complained.

Video recap! The boys all wave gaily (some more gaily than others, naturally) to Cat backstage, while Hayley and Charlie hang around one of the monitors nervously. Lizzie and Drew opened the show with a disco routine that was a little bit sloppy around the edges but definitely energetic, and which gained the approval of the judges. Cat, meanwhile, continued to solicit the opinions of Drew's Nipple judging by where she's holding the microphone, even though it's been covered up tonight. Does Drew's Nipple have its own voting number? (Drew's hair vs Drew's nipple. Who wins, you decide - Chris) What odds are the bookmakers offering on Drew's Nipple making the final? Meanwhile, Lizzie was shy, but then had to dance in Princess Leia's bra, which means she must have managed to get over it somehow. That's got to be the shortest Journey ever. Backstage, Drew admits that doing disco in front of Arlene Phillips was terrifying. I take it we can deduce from this that Drew was not the fabled auditionee who told Arlene she knew nothing about the choreography for Saturday Night Fever. Mandy and Mark's reviews for their contemporary piece were mixed - Nigel told Mark to point his toes because they were "starting to look like flippers", while Arlene (who benefits greatly from the hands of the editors, which make her sound 100 times more coherent) that he left her breathless by giving himself to the choreography. Tommy and Yanet salsaed for us, and naturally the entire fucking thing was awesome and as a result they both evolved into their next Pokémon forms or whatever, and Yanet strokes Tommy's abs while thanking him for being awesome. Alastair and Hayley attempted hip-hop, and it went about as well as could ever be expected, though Sisco's hissy fit has thankfully been edited out of the recap. Finally, Charlie and Robbie were as serious as cancer when they said rhythm was a lyrical dancer, and Nigel kind of overshared about the choreographer's personal life and people cried and everything got kind of weird, but if you looked beyond all the uncomfortable cancer-talk, the routine beneath it was pretty fantastic, and actually raised my estimation of Charlie considerably. Terrifying Extreme Arlene Close-Up talks about how this was the closest show so far (to what, precisely, she doesn't say), and Sisco and Louise agree that it was a good'un.

And with that, it's results time. While six of the dancers are safe, four of them are not. Time for the obligatory "I would like to stay in the competition, please" montage set to Hometown Fucking Glory, and can we stop lining Adele's pockets soon, please? Because if I hear that bloody song one more time there is a very strong chance that I will sever all ties with civilised society and go and live inside a tree in the Scottish highlands, emerging only once a day to forage for berries. Anyway, Lizzie talks about how she has always been shy, but has also always wanted to be a dancer (and this is accompanied by an adorably chubby-cheeked childhood photo of a grinning Lizzie) (Seriously, Lizzie was so the cutest baby - Chris). Mandy says that it's been awesome to fulfil all those childhood dreams, and she doesn't know what she'd do if she had to go home. Start that baby farm you were planning before this show came along, maybe? Hayley needs to stay in, she says, because she will never have this opportunity again. And I guess that if your parents own Italia Conti and you still have to hawk your ass on a reality show to find work, you must be struggling career-wise. Yanet's family are far away, but she feels like she's found another family all the British people. Even the ones not watching? Charlie feels that she was "born to do this" and doesn't want to have it taken away.

And so the girls are lined up awaiting their fate. Charlie is the first to to be reminded of her feedback (essentially: "you are GOOD and also YOUNG"), before Cat moves on to Yanet, who also got excellent comments for her routine. Yanet is safe, and throws her head back in relief. Charlie hugs her, and seems genuinely pleased. Then Cat declares Charlie safe too, and Charlie squeals with delight and hops off the stage to hug and sway with Yanet some more. The three remaining on stage all seem pleased for both of them, but in a more muted, "well, SHIT" kind of way. Hayley's feedback highlights come from Nigel rather than Sisco, which is a relief for all of us, and she is in the danger zone tonight. Hayley takes it with a nod of the head, and her hands on her hips. Asked if she is surprised by this result, Arlene replies that she is, saying that Hayley had a tough routine to deliver, but she's a beautiful dancer and it's getting very hard at this stage. If only she'd made the joke during the boys' line-up, things would've been so much easier. Hayley goes off to prepare for her solo, while Cat turns to Lizzie and Mandy, who know that only one of them can be safe. Lizzie is the first to be addressed, being reminded that Louise loved her confidence, while Mandy was told by Sisco that she did brilliantly - but only one of them is safe. And it's Lizzie, because Mandy is declared to be in danger. Lizzie skips off, while Cat consoles Mandy: "we've been here before, we can do it again." Aww, that's quite nice. You wouldn't catch Dermot O'Leary getting that involved, would you? Cat asks Louise what advice she has for Mandy, and Louise tells her to go out and dance like she does every week: with conviction.

Now for the boys. Montage! Drew aims for maximum woobieage by saying "I was aware from a very young age that I was extremely unpopular." Oh, Drew. I love you and everything, but such transparent fishing for compliments is a really bad idea right now. He's in this competition to prove to himself that "all those years of standing by myself in that playground have come to something." Oh, for goodness' sake. Is he actually trying to destroy me here? I AM NOT MADE OF STONE, DREW. Alastair also talks about his childhood, but thankfully sticks to the tried-and-tested route of "I've just always loved dancing", giving me a chance to collect myself. Sniff. Mark doesn't want to leave tonight because he would feel like the challenge has brought him down. Robbie's family and friends have been so supportive, and he doesn't want to let them down. Tommy has felt a need to prove himself all of his life, and going home would crush him. Wow. Drew was really miles ahead of everyone else in the "don't ruin my life, you bastards" stakes this week, wasn't he? (I want Tasty Oreo to come back and choreograph a routine where Yanet bullies Drew for his love of dance/being a homo. IT WOULD BE EMOTIONAL! - Chris

The Unusual Suspects are all lined up with Cat now, looking varying degrees of nervous. Drew's up first, and got excellent reports from Sisco and Louise - and the viewers, because he's safe. He hugs his way tearfully down the line, kissing Tommy (and also Mark, I think) on the cheek as he does so. Robbie's lyrical routine won Arlene over, while Alastair's hip-hop got reasonable praise from Nigel. Who's the next one to be safe? Robbie, who's nearly having a heart attack. He too hugs his way down the line, but there's no kissing this time. There are three boys left, and Cat falls over the word "leaving" about three times, before revealing that Alastair is safe, much to his surprise. Tommy and Mark take it reasonably well, and just have their own little hug while Cat cuddles a catatonic Alastair. Once Alastair has joined the rest of the safe crew, Cat goes over Tommy's and Mark's feedback: Tommy was "smart and clever" according to Arlene, while Mark got an "A for effort" from Sisco. Cat consoles them that nothing is certain right now, and they can change anything. Except the outcome of the public vote. Though how cool would it be if they danced so awesomely that they TURNED BACK TIME AND CHANGED THE FUTURE? Arlene is surprised, especially considering how good the boys were in their opening routine for this show. The one they did after the lines closed, that is. Cat assures us that we can't wait to see their solos again, and closes with "let's hear it for...these guys". Heh. Someone forgot the contestants' names, didn't they?

Cat reminds us who's in danger tonight, having presumably had the producer just shout "Tommy and Mark!" in her ear. Nigel says that the routines and the dancers' personalities may be the reason these contestants didn't win the public over - well, yes, that's pretty much all we have to go on, isn't it? He continues that Tommy did well in his salsa, and Mark had a much tougher job, but then he's had it tough for a couple of weeks, because last week he was a HIP HOP DANCER DOING BALLROOM AND THAT IS MOST DEFINITELY THE HARDEST THING A PERSON CAN DO.....hey, get off my laptop, Arlene! Sorry about that. (Make sure you wipe it clean - Chris)

The solos are, disappointingly, the same ones we saw in the main show, so there's not really a lot I can add that Chris won't have already covered. To my mind, Hayley's hangs together well as a self-contained piece of dance, while Mandy's is more adventurous but flows less well. Tommy's is an impressive display of breakdancing, while Mark's involves a full palette of 256 colours and is engaging and precise, but less eye-catching than Tommy's. It's kind of hard to say who'll go, really. (I preferred Mark's and Hayley's solos, but I can see why they went home - Chris)

So, while the judges make their Very Important Decision, JLS are here to perform their new single 'One Shot'. Oh God, it's a ballad. Oh wait, no it isn't! Ooh, nice bit of misdirection there, JLS. The single's all right, despite not being as exciting as the Unexpected Genre Switch made me think it might be. I mean, it's still no 'Beat Again', but I supose at least it's not the stale mid-90s throwback piece of crap that was 'Everybody In Love'. They're blatantly miming too, just like Alexandra was last week, despite not having a terribly complicated dance routine to deliver. And JB doesn't say "Merry Christmas" at any point either. Boo! Swizz!

Once that's all over, Cat welcomes back "the four dancers in danger", which does lend the evening a rather unwarranted sense of drama. It's not like they're suspended over a vat of boiling acid by their own hair, or anything. (More's the pity - Chris) The girls will hear their result first, and Nigel informs them that the judges are unanimous, and also unanimous in believing that it is getting tougher every week. They feel there is very little difference between the two of them. Mandy is told that she is a "mature dancer" (read: "old crone") with great strength who understands the demands of this show and the fact that she will not always meet them. Hayley was fantastic last week with her contemporary routine, and the judges don't fully understand why she's here this week, apart from that five minute interlude where Sisco held up a neon sign saying "HAYLEY IS AN UNGRATEFUL BITCH" and basically gave the public total validation to vote her off. Her solo and duet were both good, but she needs to highlight her strengths and not expose her weaknesses. He has known her family for many years, because not only do her parents run Italia Conti, but also her dad was in The Young Generation, and it was him leaving the group that left a space for Nigel to join. Well, they kept that one quiet, didn't they? Probably just as well, for Hayley's sake. However, all that history counts for naught, because Hayley's outta here. (I so wish he'd said "I know your dad, so you can stay in". She then would have become a SUPERVILLAIN! - Chris) Mandy runs off for hugs, and Hayley beams, and then we see her best bits. Microseconds of audition footage, a cha cha cha, the best routine of the series so far last week with Drew, and...that's it. Back in the studio, Hayley cites the bed routine as a personal highlight and says that it's been an honour to be part of the show in its "first season", and then trots off to sit on the (/have an- Chris) Elimination Stool.

Time for the boys to hear their outcome. Once again, Nigel reveals that the decision is unanimous, though the judges are sad that they must lose one of their hip-hop dancers. (THEY HAVE IT SO HARD! - Chris) Nigel reminds us of this year's designated journey: that kids can be taken off the street and become proper multi-skilled dancers (/judges - Chris), and he thinks both of them have been exciting in what they've shown already. Tommy is called forwards first, and told he has a great warmth around him which gets him through routines, and the judges think he is doing well. Mark, similarly, has been doing well, but has not grown as much as Tommy, and therefore will be sent home to his little boy. I guess the curse of Blackpool lives on, since Mark made such a fuss about not wanting to go out before his son's first birthday. Mark and Tommy hug it out, and we get to see Mark's best moments. He came from the streets of Milton Keynes and had no training, but loved and felt the music, and became "the heart and soul" of the competition according to Arlene. Which presumably means it is now heartless and soulless. (HURRAY! - Chris) Back in the studio, Mark says that he feels privileged to have come from the streets and made it so far, and that perhaps he can be an inspiration to other people who are also on the streets. But not in That Way, I assume. (TRAMP DANCE! - Chris) Hayley runs on to hug Mark, and it's left to Cat to wrap up the show, telling us that they'll be back at 6:30 next week with Mika, but please don't let that put you off, as we really don't want the ratings to drop again. See you next week!

Disco, Salsa, Cancer

Top 10: 23rd January 2010

Last week : Our twelve contestants gave it their ALL! Nigel gushed over how HOT AND SEXY Alistair & Mandy were, but we were all distracted by Mandy's revelation that Alistair sweats at a rate faster than Arlene does at a meeting to discuss her future with the BBC! Yanet & Robbie were such a hot mess that even (I wish it was that) Sisco had to criticise. And he thinks everything's phenomenal. Sorry. FERRRRRR-NOM-INNNUW! The judges started to get into bitch-fights over everything, but thankfully this week we've got 17 routines to get through in an hour so there should be less of that. God, imagine if Dancing On Ice had 17 bits of actual content to get into a show. It'd take up a whole day of ITV scheduling. Apart from Wild At Heart obviously. They'd still find a way to sneak that in somehow. Gavin & Chloe's dreams were shattered FOREVER although I get the impression that Gavin's dreams involved Chloe and 5 minutes round the back of the BBC Canteen so...maybe not. This week there is SO MUCH PRESSURE THAT PEOPLE ARE CRYING! TWO PEOPLE WILL BE LEAVING! THIS! IS! SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!


And now we welcome onto our stage our Top Ten : Yanet (Sexy), Tommy (Happy), Mandy (Doc), Alistair (Prince Charming), Hayley (Grumpy), Mark (Daddy), Charlie (Dopey), Drew (The Wicked Queen), Lizzie (Bashful), Robbie (Snow White). These are the girls, and here are your guys. And yes, I do think, given that Cat towers over all of them as she shimmies through the landscape of frozen dancers, some of them might actually qualify as dwarves. Once out, Cat informs us that if these dancers want to survive, they will have to dance THREE WHOLE TIMES. Actually, I make it six or seven. Those two opening bits, the gendered group dance, the whole group dance, the paired routine, the solo and the dance-off dance if they end up there. I tell you, they don't work this hard on any other reality show. Anyway, this week, we're moving from voting for couples to voting for individuals, so if anybody was holding anybody back vote wise (*COUGH* MANDY *COUGH*) they are no longer a burden. Hooray. The judges are still going to decide on the bottom twos though, because they're nice like that. Also, it's not as though they were doing anything else.

Now it's time to introduce us to said judges and... I kind of wish (IWIWT) Sisco had stuck to his old stupid hat, because his new stupid hat offends me on a number of levels. It looks like it should have a propeller stuck in the top. It looks like it should have two soda cans on each side, attached to his mouth via a straw. It makes him look like a Pokemon Gym Leader. It makes him look like a geek (WHO IT TURNS OUT CAN DANCE) in High School Musical. Basically it looks like 17 different stupid hats, all manifest in the same entity. I want that anonymous choreographer woman from auditions to come and replace him as soon as possible. Whatever happened to her? Anyway, as he's wearing fake army gear (how on trend...for 2004) Cat Deeley goes "you're in the army now, woah, ooh woah, you're in the army now" and seriously when your outfit provokes Status Quo lyrics as a response, maybe it's time to question if you're as cool as you think you are. Please?

Nigel informs us that tonight is going to be super difficult as, just as we were all mashing up Drew and Hayley's names for their impending marriage a la Brangelina (Drayley?) [Haylew? - Steve] the couples have been reshuffled via the HAT OF RANDOM. Oh come on, you know Nigel thought that Drew and Hayley were totally doing it. Nigel then offers the advice to the contestants of using the adrenaline of FEAR to improve their performances. I'd be careful - if Alistair embraced his fear, the floor might become a sliding hazard.

First up, the Vagina Party routine, which is apparently "Bollywood". The problem with this is that it's being danced to "Jai Ho" which to be honest, is about as authentically Bollywood as Chicken Tikka Masala. As such the routine would maybe work as a (borderline racist) pop routine, but as Bollywood it's all a bit fast and cliched (lots of head-jerking and bobbing and sudden pre-emptory use of props at the end) to really come off well. Said props incidentally are some flower petals and some sticks, which are used in a very half-hearted way. Basically the girls clang them together like they're afraid to break a nail/put somebody's eye out. Lizzie and Yanet come across as the ones the cameras are really interested in and they're neither of them awful, although Yanet's Bollywood Smile is a little bit terrifying.

Cat informs us that the boys will be along later, and tells us all the numbers we need to vote later, and once again that all the couples have been split and reshuffled, as these dancers need to prove they can dance any style with any partner. I think it would be nice if some of them could prove they could dance any style. But in a slightly different way. With sightly different emphasis.

First up are Lizzie and Drew, with Drew informing us all that his overbearing mother will be there in the audience every week, being neurotic and trying to steal the limelight. At this point, the ashes of Sigmund Freud strain from all over the globe to try to reconvene and stroke their beard. We then cut to an interview with Drew's mother, who gets out a baby photo (I'm kind of disappointed he didn't have the same hair as a child as he does now) and talks about how proud she is. Bless her. We are then shown Drew pulling Lizzie's name out of the RANDOM HAT and them going on an afternoon out in London to learn about each other. Specifically they go to a record store, where Drew tells Lizzie that she might not know the type of music he's into, and then pulls out a JUDY GARLAND ALBUM! ON VINYL! LIVE FROM CARNEGIE HALL!

TV highlight of the year so far. [It's a shame we didn't get to see more of Lizzie's reaction. I'm guessing it was along the lines of "no, not a surprise, Drew. I have got eyes, y'know." - Steve]

Lizzie then tries to get Drew interested in some classic hip-hop and then they have an adorable jostle fight with him trying to shove the Judy album into shot and her trying to get the hip-hop album in there. It's like Obama's election all over again. They then go to a diner where Lizzie informs Drew that she likes chips with ice-cream and offers him some, whilst Drew looks REPULSED. Thank you RANDOM HAT for bringing us this pairing.

The style they've pulled this week is Disco, being taught and choreographed by that Giant Lady who is definitely owed after what Gavin and Chloe did to her Broadway routine last week. She speaks for the entire audience with the following exchange :

Giant Lady : Are you quite shy?
Lizzie : Yeah
Giant Lady : Get over it.

I kind of want Giant Lady to be farmed out to other reality shows to bust up other long running contestant tropes :

Giant Lady : Are you getting married soon?
Tom Chambers : Yes
Giant Lady : I don't care

Giant Lady : Are you worried about looking like a tit?
Gary Lucy : A bit
Giant Lady : Nobody gives a shit.

Giant Lady : Is your dad dead?
Niki Evans : Yes, and oh my God, there's a really CRAZY story about how I was going through his things and I fou...
Giant Lady : Fuck off Meaty Minge.


Anyway, Giant Lady then yells at Lizzie, shoving her into Drew (yay! more shoving!) and screaming "KISS HIM! KISS HIM!" at her, like we're at "Grow A Personality Boot Camp" or something. Drew and Lizzie both agree that Lizzie is coming out of her shell, BUT WILL IT BE IN TIME FOR SATURDAY?! Incidentally, this montage was sound tracked by the Amie Stewart version of "Knock On Wood", and if they'd actually danced to that, I might actually have had a little homo explosion. [TMI. - Steve]

Instead they're actually dancing to "Disco Inferno" which is pretty overused at this point. I think it's interesting that the more memorable routines of the series so far have been to less well-known pieces. If the show gets a second series I'd like to see a bit more left field stuff and a bit less of the standards. [I think that's quite likely actually - they're probably a bit wary of alienating viewers at this stage, but if they can keep track of the ones they've got, they might get a bit more out-there with their music choices during the fabled "second season". - Steve] Anyway, they start on giant glitter-boxes, pumping their arms and hips around, and then Drew effing LEAPS off the box and from there I'm just transfixed by his magical dancing hair. I swear, if Drew's hair were a contestant, I would vote for it every week. The routine is pretty fast and enjoyable, and Lizzie certainly doesn't seem particularly reserved in it. The one problem is that some of the lifts are a little bit tentative, but aside from that, a fun time is had by all. Once it's over, an entire army of Drew fans leap to their feet, led by his mother screaming fit to beat the band, and then we cut to... nobody from Lizzie's crew. Bless her. Now she's less shy, maybe she can get some friends.

They walk over to Cat, who tells Lizzie that Kylie would be proud of Lizzie's gold hotpant work. At this point I notice that there are actually flames on said gold hotpants. Lizzie is literally a firecrotch. Nigel starts for the judges by saying that Lizzie obviously stopped being shy when she put that outfit on, to which comment Lizzie gives an adorable little head-flick. Nigel then says that routine was particularly worrying for him and Arlene, because it took him back to the sort of dance they would be doing 40 years ago in Studio 54. Yeah, Arlene and Nigel were so ground-breaking that they danced disco 3 years before the genre (jahhhhhhhhhnre) was invented, on the grounds of a club that wouldn't open for another 7 years. SO AVANT-GARDE!

Although this does make me imagine Arlene as a contestant again. Sigh.

Anyway, Nigel enjoyed it cause it had a real sense of fun. Arlene next, who nonsenses that disco is like a heartbeat. Yeah, the heartbeat of an arrhythmic asthmatic with heart problems. She then praises Drew for embracing all the styles put before him but says he needs to spend more time building up his strength so he can really throw Lizzie about. Or Lizzie could just lose some weight, the HIP-HOP HEIFER! Alright, not that last part. Arlene then congratulates Lizzie on becoming a "real girl" [she knows exactly who she am - Steve and Mutya Buena] tonight and dancing in heels as she NEVER HAS BEFORE! Except presumably in the Viennese Waltz last week. We then cut to Nigel praising her for one moment where she really looked like she was enjoying herself/having a tiny little orgasm. Hooray! Tiny little orgasm face!

Louise praises Lizzie for coming out of her shell, and Drew on lifting Lizzie so effortlessly that she never felt once that she had to run on stage and catch Lizzie and then maybe do the routine from the "Naked" video to cover it up. Arlene on the other hand, had to be restrained from doing that exact same thing several times. (IWIWT) Sisco finishes by calling Drew a great support system and Lizzie really versatile, before boo-hooing about how we won't get to see them dance together next week. Luckily for Lizzie this is just because they're both going back into the RANDOM HAT (him to Charlie and her to Tommy I'm guessing but shrug, it is TOTALLY RANDOM), but if you look at his partners, he is kind of a black widower at this point.

Cat closes by asking Lizzie about the fear of heights she suddenly realised she had when she got up on that 4ft glitterbox, but apparently Lizzie is totes over that now. Hooray, Reality TV Show as therapy works again! Thank you Giant Lady.

Next up - solos. Charlie's is to "Pop" by N'Sync and she basically jumps around constantly doing side-splits, looking totally Langford and making sure I still don't really get her appeal on any level, and she's followed by Robbie, leaping around terrifyingly with his massive limbs to Switchfoot (*blech* Christian Rock *blech*) and doing one truly impressive movement at the end where he kind of catapults one leg up and over his head from a standing position. Solos are hard to recap y'all.

Next up for the couples are Mandy & Mark. We're reminded that last week she ended up literally (/not actually literally) "dancing for her life" in the bottom 2 which apparently reminded her of all her long years of having people say "no" to her. Sadly none of those times involved her asking people "do you think I should wear ugly hoodies that look like slankets every week?" Anyway, then her husband with the Big Giant Head interviews about how she's come out of retirement for this, after taking 3 years off dancing to put his arse through University and she says she doesn't want to let her family and friends down (Giant Lady : Get over it.) and then she starts crying and oh dearing all over the place, before saying she wants to go into the studio and come out showing people why she's here. Other than the appealing backstory obviously.

We're shown her drawing Mark out of the RANDOM HAT and Cat tells us that it's Mark's job this week to keep her cheerful (/not mind too much as she drags him down into the bottom 2). They've drawn contemporary this week, choreographed by Henri Oguike. Or not actually choreographed by Henri Oguike, as apparently because he's lazy (/wants them to read and understand each other) there will be a lot of improvisation in this week's routine. OH.DEAR. Anyway, as you'd expect, Mark is a little confused by what the hell he's supposed to be doing. But then his child comes in and gets waved in front of the camera a bit and that makes it alright apparently. Although the excuse for bringing him (it's his first birthday and Mark doesn't want to miss it) is better than it usually is for this sort of thing. Mandy gushes about how cute he is, and then jacks in the competition immediately to get back on that "baby having" thing she was talking about. Except not. Unfortunately.

Cat at least gives us notice that they're dancing to "Show Me Heaven" before it starts so I can get the sick-bucket at the ready. Sorry, I can't stand this song. It's like getting stuck inside Heart FM, and not the awesome side of Heart FM where they play Pat Benatar and Barry Manilow. The start's alright, and Mandy does a awesome roll around on the floor, but after that... it frankly looks improvised on the spot. Nothing has any intent or purpose, and there's one particular horrendous moment where they walk around for about 5 seconds and then kind of...flop into each other. Basically, he looks awkward, and she looks deranged, and it officially for me crosses the line for contemporary dance where it just gets parody-funny. They feel like they should be the comedy contestants in Bring It On. It feels like there was angry gay stereotype choreographer behind this (like the sort they're apparently already resorting to in Glee). Oh and at the end, she actually picks his head up by his rat-rail to point it at the camera. GROSS GROSS GROSS.

Oh God, someone's let someone in the audience come in with a whistle. PLEASE NO.

Cat giggles about what a sing-along moment that was (yeah, if the lyrics for Show Me Heaven were actually "Woah-oh what are they doing, it looks like turd") and Nigel starts for the judges by saying that the routine and Mandy in particular lacked chemistry and that Mark needs to get all his friends and family (what is it with Nigel constantly talking about Mark's interactions with his mates. Does Nigel want to hang?) to constantly remind him to point his feet and think about his extremities. Does the rat-tail count as an extremity? Would "cutting it the hell off" count as "thinking about it"? Arlene of course disagrees, because if there's one thing Arlene is noted for, it's the fact that she definitely doesn't go after peoples hand/foot technique like (IWIWT) Sisco goes after ugly hats. She thinks that all you need for contemporary dance, is the ability to breathe and find things in yourself that you've never found before (Fun fact : Arlene found a 2p coin up there the other day) and Mark managed to do those things but Mandy didn't because she was just trying to do the steps.

I know Arlene's all about the "BALLROOM AND LATIN ARE THE HARDEST!" but I think contemporary dance requires a little bit more than the ability to breathe. Although if that were true then Gavin's failure is even more tragic. His own style turned out to be breathing and he failed at it.

Louise follows up by pulling out the same bullshit "this is so hard for you because you are hip-hop" card that she rallied so wonderfully against last week and I shake my head in disappointment. Oh Louise, you were doing so well. Anyway, Mark is yay, Mandy is boo says Louise. (IWIWT) Sisco finishes by pulling dumb faces and telling Arlene and Louise that they were wrong, and that Mandy was amazing, and that Mark really did all he could, but his extensions were poor and his hands were mangled. Given that his right hand is clearly still bandaged up, I THINK THERE MIGHT BE A REASON FOR THAT (IWIWT) SISCO. Cat sends them off gleefully, whilst Henri looks on scornfully from the audience. Might have actually choreographed them something Henri? Do you think?

Solos again next with Hayley cartwheelin and smiling around to "Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse and being alright, in a bad-ass Nomi Malone stripper sense, and then...Alastair's got his shirt off and is dancing amazingly! But... it's to Mika, and so will have to be my second favourite tv show of the moment of the year after Drew getting his Judy out and waving it to camera. If you want to follow suit Alastair, you are more than welcome.

Yanet and Tommy are next up and she informs us via VT that her mother was Cuba's national Judo champion and before Yanet came to England, her mother taught her how to do it, so anybody who crosses her better WATCH OUT. Given that Yanet's mothers brand of judo apparently involves a massive fuck-off sword, I'd be doubly worried. Tommy then informs us that he too is schooled in the way of martial arts, as he once spent a year training up Martial Arts Mountain. Martial Arts Mountain totally sounds like a rejected level for Super Mario 64. Anyway, both of these people could cause you pain in ways you can't even imagine, so vote for them ok?

Anyway, this week, when Yanet needs it most, she has apparently drawn salsa out of the TOTALLY RANDOM HAT, and also drawn one of the two most adaptable male dancers. SO VERY RANDOM. There's a lot of talk about how the salsa involves Latin Passion and sex, and whilst Yanet is overjoyed to have drawn her style (THE STYLE OF FILTH!) Tommy is a bit worried, because he's not used to bringing out his sexy side. Bless Tommy, he does come across as quite asexual. Maybe that was just because up til now he's been dancing with a child. To help him bring out said sexy side, Yanet is going to take him out to a salsa club. Hopefully the same one where Cherie Lunghi went last series in Strictly, where they all thought she was amazing. Ie, the salsa club for the easily impressed. I bet they have a statue of her in the middle of the floor. Once there Yanet dances with him for a bit, before throwing him open to the floor, which gobbles him up eagerly, because he's on the telly innit. Anywhoodle, he learns to be sexy, and Yanet is very impressed as he shakes his maracas everywhere.

Out on the floor and watching this for the second time, I can now actually force my eyes away from her amazingness to focus on what he's doing because the first time... she was just captivating. He's actually pretty good from the neck down - very fast and fluid and down into the floor, but he's still grinning inanely most of the time bless him and there's still something about his movement I find a little bit too muscular and forceful. On the other hand if there's any male performance that should have broken the LATIN CURSE this series it was this one. She, of course, is effortless in her own style, and I can even forgive them for ganking Jade's end pose from her Strictly salsa for it. Oh and the whole "playing a woman like she's the bongos" move, which is but one step above "leg-guitar".

Louise starts for the judges by saying "that's what I'm talking about" all Lee McQueen and praising Tommy for managing to keep up with Yanet in her own style, whilst inserting some of his own (aimless grinning?) into it. Arlene next, and she goes mental over the pair of them, saying they single-handedly demonstrate why there's been a salsa explosion in this country (so tacky Arlene, four people died in that salsa explosion) and that Tommy is so smart and adaptable. Who would have thought that this hip-hop dancer and this "Cuban Motion Girl" would make such a great pairing? The RANDOM HAT that's who. ALL PRAISE THE RANDOM HAT!

Nigel next and he calls Yanet a real "Alpha Female who knows what she wants" (and how nice that the GBP actually appear to have taken to that attitude for once) but she's got a heart of gold, because she put so much effort into teaching Tommy this week, and it paid off. And he got to show off his versatility in new jahhhhhhhhhnres some more as well. Winner winner chicken dinner all round. Thankfully (IWIWT) Sisco doesn't get to speak, and instead we just cut to Gavin somewhere in the back row of the audience looking proud for them. Aw. I did like Gavin even if his dancing was sometimes a bit... suspect.

Some more solos now, with Lizzie doing that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style "clockwork doll comes to life" routine we saw her do in auditions. Well, which we saw 5 seconds of her doing in auditions. It's quite nice, if a bit off-style for a hip-hop specialist. [It wasn't exactly the showiest solo I've ever seen, but it was my favourite because there was something really charming about it. For what that's worth, anyway. - Steve] Drew then follows by dancing to more Judy Garland. Specifically the end of "The Trolley Song" complete with actual heartstring(/brace-strap) twanging. Bless his little gay cotton socks.

Next up, a couple who have both found themselves in the danger zone before - Hayley & Alistair. And again, it's nice to see the public not automatically saving definitely the best looking man and (probably, I don't know) the best looking girl. I swear, the fewer people watch a show the more happy I usually am with the public vote. I have no idea what that says about me, but it's probably not positive. Alistair talks a little bit about how he put everything into his routine last week but still wound up in the dance-off but this week he's going to try to yadda yadda, you know the drill.

We're shown next that Hayley managed to pick hip-hop out of the RANDOM HAT and thereby scuppered herself permnantly and forever. They're dancing to a routine by Simeon Qseya who apparently has done the MOBOs and MTV Awards and stuff, and so presumably knows his onions in terms of commercial hip-hop dancing. Both Hayley and Alistair snort around sarcastically in training about how much they looooooove the routine and how grrrrrrreat they are at it, but then Hayley goes boo-hoo mental and runs out into the corridor crying about how the routine doesn't play to her strengths and how it's just "a load of gymnastics". Oh Hayley you fool. You were probably eliminated the second you started crying, but that stuff just made it worse. [Also, "just a load of gymnastics" is kind of how I would've described Hayley's solo for this evening, so....yeah. - Steve] Alistair also has a bit of a mither and a panic, but at least manages to do it without falling into an already half-formed stereotype of himself as a bit of a stage school brat.


Anyway, we then get a brief visit to Alistair's farm, where his parents are holding a big party to try and rally support for him. Everyone waves banners and sports self-made t-shirts and shouts and cheers for Alistair, before his mother yells at them all through a megaphone to VOTE FOR ALISTAIR. Given what the voting figures probably are, it might just swing the balance.

OK first sabotaging thing first, they are dancing right into a giant NEON WALL WITH A BROKEN HEART ON IT. That's just tacky. Also they're dancing to Chris Brown, and I can just about forgive the us of his wife-beating ass if the routine's amazing (like Russell and Kathryn dancing to "I Can Transform Ya" in the final of the US version and ACTUALLY PRETENDING TO BE A TRANSFORMER!) but not for some common or garden Hollyoaks TOUCHING THE WALL ACTING. Finally she is wearing Heelies and sorry, if I were a professional dancer and I was asked to dance in sodding Heelies I would have an eppy fit at least as big as hers. What the fun? Basically she just slides around the floor like Stan Laurel. They're both trying, but it's just not very interesting and again feels a bit too poppy and not "authentic". Not that I want to use dread words like "authentic", like I'm any sodding judge of hip hop authenticity, but that's what they've driven me to. [On the plus side, Alastair should wear red vests more often. And I quite want the tracksuit bottoms he was wearing for this routine. I mean, not that EXACT pair...although, actually... - Steve]

(IWIWT) Sisco starts for the judges by putting Hayley on blast for her bad attitude going into the routine, telling her she let Alistair down. And I like Alistair but... his attitude wasn't exactly brilliant either. It was more of a mutual spiral of destruction thing, and she just let herself get carried away with it more than he did, and so made herself look uglier. Then again, she was the one WHO HAD TO WEAR SODDING HEELIES so I guess they come out about even. Anyway, he then says they did a really good job of it, and then apologises for being so contradictory but a bad attitude is one of (IWIWT) Sisco's pet hates.

(IWIWT) Sisco's other pet hates :

Rude people
Trains being delayed
Dog poo on pavements
That Coming Of Age keeps on getting recomissioned.

Basically not so much a "pet hate" as a "universal human experience" then. [As far as I was concerned, he deserved a Heelie to the face for telling her to "keep it cute and mute". Dickhead. - Steve]

Louise breaks in all "I'm confused" and if I did that every time a judge said something that wasn't internally consistent, this recap would be twice the length (I know, I know, doesn't bear thinking about does it?) Arlene then jumps in to defend Hayley, saying what she was doing was really difficult and disorientating, so it's no surprise she had a conniption fit over it. Nigel then interjects to say that he agrees with "our little desert rat corporal Sisco" (see? EVEN NIGEL IS MOCKING THE HAT!) that both dancers built up a metaphorical wall with the routine before they even started LIKE THE WALL ON THE STAGE, DO YOU SEE?! Which isn't what (IWIWT) Sisco was saying, but which I think is actually closer to the truth so... good. He puts them both on blast a bit for being so whiny and says the only reason the routine was so gymnastic was because neither of them can dance hip hop worth a lick, so it's their fault really, before saying they both did a good job with what they had, particularly Hayley. Cat sends them off, with Hayley clearly doomed.

Some more solos now. Mandy leaps and bounds around to that awesome Beth Ditto/Simian Mobile Disco collaboration that's going around, in a spangly hoodie that I'm sure I would covet if I were that sort of person, but I am not. [*conspicuous silence* - Steve] Mark follows and you can really tell that he produces his own stuff for the public, because he's probably the best self-choreographer here, although his final flip goes a bit wrong and he lands a bit on his head. Again. Also he's dancing to Alicia Keys so... bleh. What I do like is that one of his supporters - an old woman and possibly a relative - is waving around a sheet of A4 paper with the words "GUEST OF MARK" written on it in Times New Roman Bold Caps.


(Yes, yes I know it's probably the sheet of paper used to mark where the family of each dancer should sit, whatever, it's funny)

Oh boy. Next up, it's Charlie & Robbie and... she's got all her make-up scrubbed off and is wearing a headscarf. This ladies and gentlemen? Is So You Think You Can Dance Wank.

But first, a bit of light relief, in the form of a visit to Robbie's local area, where the butchers have written out "Vote Robbie" in sausages, and the local bakers have made a cake in the shape of Robbie's most well-known pose (head back, legs back, chest looking like a xylophone and pushed forward) and it's all very Wallace & Gromit. Said butcher incidentally informs us that "Robbie loves his meat". I'm saying nowt. We then visit Charlie's MASSIVE HOUSE wth a big shiny banner out the front, where her mother and grandmother inform us that they're really proud of Charlie, and every time they watch her, their hearts feel like they're bursting. I'd see a doctor about that, ladies.

Anyway, to the studio, where we see the pair of them with noted choreographer from the US version, Tyce Diorio (/Tasty Oreo), who we are told is an "Emmy Award Winning Choreographer". What we are not then told is that one of said Emmys was won FOR THIS DANCE. Because this? Is Breast Cancer Dance. A dance that Tyce choreographed about a friend of his suffering from breast cancer, which has already been performed on the US version. Incidentally when it was performed on the US version, it was performed by two dancers who had both been bottom 2 for two weeks prior to it, and then went home the week afterwards. They were not in the bottom 2 that week, I can tell you. We are then informed of the story behind the dance by Charlie, who reassures us all that her family are going to be in floods of tears after the dance, and so proud of her.

Basically there's been a lot of wank about this dance, and I personally don't object to a story about cancer being told via a light entertainment show, or even the slightly overwrought nature of the way it was framed - it just feels like it was, maybe, deployed? For these two people and for the good of the show in general by getting people and talking. And that makes me feel a bit icky, although no more so than the constant sob stories on X Factor, and none of those were in service to something as... I hesitate to say "entertaining", but you know, quite good, as this.

Also I kind of object that it's being done to a cover version of "This Woman's Work" when the original is RIGHT THERE. It's performed really well, and it seems to have hit something in Charlie in particular, who is giving the first performance I've really liked from her all series. [I concur. I'm not a big fan of Charlie, and a lot of the context for this performance didn't sit well with me, but I genuinely thought she really upped her game with this one. - Steve] Sometimes she gets a little bit too "acty" and not enough "dancey", but physically she's really giving herself to the performance, and Robbie's not looking too shabby either. I'm glad that we're getting to see routines this good on the show, because a lot of the choreography thus far has been a bit drab.

This next week plz? It's totally about the horrors of domestic violence or summat. [SECONDED. Failing that, please give us this one. It's about ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL! - Steve]

Over to the judges they go, with Charlie in absolute floods already, and (IWIWT) Sisco very ostentatiously already wiping tears from his eyes with his wrists. Tit. Nigel starts for the judges with a SERIOUS BUSINESS face and voice on, and tells Charlie that it's amazing she was able to produce a display of such emotional maturity at such a young age. Robbie gets similar props for portraying the long-suffering partner of the woman with cancer, before we get informed the irony of it all is that it's Nigel's wedding day and IT'S TOTALLY RAINING! Oh no, wait, it's that Tyce has had to go back to America because his mother has pancreatic cancer. Which is apparently is "the reality catching up with the fantasy" and that is some gross awful tacky wording there. Ech.

Arlene next who says that she's never seen Robbie pull his heart out on stage quite like he did then, and then apologises to Charlie, because Arlene didn't want Charlie in the top 14, and the others had to literally sit on her to stop her sticking her photo in her mouth and eating it during deliberations, and she was SO WRONG. Louise then follows by saying that they brought her to tears (although she is notably not making as big a show of it as CERTAIN OTHER JUDGES DID) and gave her goosebumps and praises Robbie for his technical skill and for Charlie becoming a woman on the stage in front of her. Speaking of said CERTAIN OTHER JUDGES, (IWIWT) Sisco boo-hoos his way through saying that Robbie and Charlie and the audience did what dancers and audience are supposed to do during a routine and then punches his fist into his hand. Apparently this symbolises "merging" but I kind of wish that in one of the routines a dancer randomly popped off at an audience member. IT REPRESENTS THE WAR IN IRAQISTAN! Everyone in tears, Charlie and Robbie leave.

Following that... WHO'S IN THE MOOD FOR SOME LATIN PASSION?! Poor Yanet. She ain't representing nothing but her hips. Her (good but nothing blow-away) solo, is followed by Tommy's solo, a hip hop number to "Beggin" by Madcon and it's equally quite strong, but nothing you'll really remember having your tea next day.

Next up, Cat hyped up the arrival of JLS, and I wonder if the quality dip between the second and third single will be the same as between the first and second and if we all might not be pitched into hell as a result.

Finally, it's time for the SAUSAGE-FEST performance, with the boys repeatedly throwing themselves at two wire fences to the tune of "When You're A Jet" from West Side Story. Even as a confirmed Sondheim stan, I can't endorse this song. Anyway, it's all disjointed, and serves to remind me that, outside of BCD, I don't really enjoy Tasty Oreo's choreography very often. Drew and Alistair probably stand out the most, but it's quite hard to locate where the action actually is most of the time. [The routine was a bit of a mess, but Alastair as a Jet had a funny effect on me. I'm not proud. - Steve]

Once that's over, we get a reminder of what's happened this evening (CANCER DANCE! HAYLEY'S HEELIES! FLAMING COOCHES! THE DOWNSIDE OF CONTEMPORARY! TOMMY UNLEASHING HIS LATIN PASSION!) Oddly enough, none of the solos and neither of the group dances are represented in the recap. Funny that.

Steve will have your results very soon!