Sunday, 12 June 2011

Luke Jackson, Katie Love and Kirsty Swain in: "So You Think You Can Be The Runner-Up?"

Final Four: 11th June 2011

It's the final! You know what that means (VTs? - Chris) : we start with a montage that takes us back to last autumn, a time of innocence and dreams, back before it became apparent that this show just really doesn't have much of an audience in the UK, and that the only decent routines we were going to get would be lifted from the American version. I remember those times; I was so happy then. Sigh. Anyway, Cat tries gamely to remain enthusiastic as she reminds us that dancers from all over the country came to audition, but only the very best (and Paige) made the Top 20. The dancers fought to stay in the competition, but now, only four remain: Katie Love (*blows kiss*), Fat Deaf Old Kirsty (*vamping grin*), Angry Luke (*raises eyebrow*), and MattFlintMania (*obnoxious finger guns*). Cat tells us that the dancers' future is in our hands, as if anything we could do tonight is going to derail the inevitable MattFlintMania victory. Really, it's a fight for second place (and thanks to the stupid vague way they'll be announcing the results, we can't even be 100% sure who gets that, so THANKS NIGEL). There can only be one winner, and it's going to be Matt, but we're still going to take over 90 minutes to get there!


In a slight deviation from usual practice, there's no immediate link into an opening number or intro to the dancers this week; instead, Cat's straight out onto the stage, bearing wavy hair and a tight red dress not a million miles away from the catsuit Britney Spears wore in the 'Oops! I Did It Again' video. She tells us that we've seen over 100 routines over the series (bet you can't name five of them), as well as plenty of arguments from the panel and a few injuries, chiefly to Kirsty's forehead, but somehow they made it all the way to the final, and this year no one got maimed in final rehearsals! (Poor Robbie. I feel bad for him that the various "what last year's finalists are doing" features ignore him entirely - he did qualify for the final, after all, he just had that bad breakup with the doctor he was dating.) Tonight, our votes will decide whether Matt, Matt, Matt or Matt will be announced as Britain's Favourite Dancer 2011, but to kill some time before we get to that point, each contestant will perform three partner routines, a solo, and a group number. Also, in the live results show later, there's a performance from Jennifer Lopez, because she owed Nigel a few favours after he basically singlehandedly revived her career with the American Idol gig.

Because the finale is somehow not fillerific enough, the judges each get a special intro: Cat suggests that Sisco can pull off shoulderpads and a corset (he really can't, Cat); the ridiculously loud "backing" music drowns out the entirety of Louise's intro, so we'll never know what Cat said, but frankly I'm taking this as an inside gag about how no one's bothered to listen to Louise all series anyway. Arlene is "the original West End Girl", and Nigel is "the God of dance", and breaks out a few moves including some jazz hands upon his arrival, which leaves Cat giggling.

The next in a series of about 20,000 VTs tonight reminds us that the winner will win £50,000, the chance to dance in Hollywood (including genuine footage of Charlie Bruce on the final of So You Think You Can Dance season 7 to assure us that this is indeed a genuine prize), and of course, the title of Britain's Favourite Dancer. Because that's really the clincher that you leave to the end. Back in the studio, Cat assures us that this is totally a fantastic prize, and turns to the judges for some initial thoughts. Nigel compliments her on her dress, and Cat says that she "pawed"/"poured" herself into it (I can't really tell what she said, but frankly the dress is a feat of engineering so whatever way she got in there is bound to challenge the laws of physics in some way). Cat asks what's in store tonight after the wonders of vampires, geishas and birds of paradise that we've had this series, and Nigel says that everyone has to do their best tonight and stand out from the crowd in order to win votes. Cat adds that it's all about personality too, and Nigel screams "NO IT FUCKING ISN'T, CAT, IT'S ABOUT DAHNCE, AND IF ANYONE EVEN THINKS ABOUT VOTING FOR KIRSTY I'LL FUCKING KILL THEM." Oh hang on, that's actually at the end of the show. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Cat turns to Arlene and asks her how it feels to have lost control, because that is of course a state of affairs that Arlene is deeply familiar with. Oh, my mistake: to have lost control of the outcome of this show. Silly me. Arlene declares it "scary" and says that the viewers must use this power seriously, because with great power comes great responsibility, or something. Also, she says we should vote for who we love, because she at least understands the basic set-up of this show.

Time for a performance, at bloody last: the group number is a pop-jazz routine to Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now'. It starts with Angry Luke and K-Lo being lowered from the ceiling on wires, with FDOFPFPNC Kirsty and MattFlintMania following suit. Kirsty is sporting a truly joyous shit-eating grin, while Matt has his arms out in a Messianic manner, not that we should perhaps read too much into this. It's not really the best example of the group numbers from this series: for one thing, Kirsty's out of time with the others at several points (in this sense it is probably the best example of a group routine from this series -Chris), and there's a bit of a freestyle section in the middle eight that would be a total mess if it weren't for Luke pulling his leg up right next to his head (I'm really going to miss that). There are good bits, though - a brief can-can section, some nice leaps and partner work, and LUKE PLAYING HIS LEG LIKE A GUITAR. On Strictly that would be an awful gimmick, but on Luke, it works. I doubt they're ever going to plunder this cast for future Strictly Come Dancing pros, but if they do, I hope Luke's at the top of the list. And Kirsty. Can you imagine Kirsty as a Strictly pro? (No - Chris) I can, and it's DELICIOUS. It ends, with pyrotechnics, because we're pushing the boat out tonight.

Cat reads out the voting numbers, even though the lines aren't opening for ages yet. From there, we go straight into our first couple dance of the night: Katie and Matt in a jazz routine to 'Heads Will Roll' by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It's got a sort of bizarro Alice In Wonderland theme to it - with Katie as the Queen of Hearts and Matt as...I dunno, some flunky. Matt is wearing a jacket with massive shoulderpads that was probably borrowed from Sisco's wardrobe, tight silver jeans, and mid-calf boots that accentuate the fact that he's quite wee. Katie is wearing a black and red dress with the closest you can get to shoulderpads on thin straps, and red tartan ankle boots. God only knows, quite frankly. I think K-Lo is slightly better than Matt in this routine - her moves are sharper and have more definition, and he seems to be slightly behind the beat at points. It's quite a good routine, hampered slightly by occasional uncertainty in movement from both parties, but features some nice flips and tricks.

Cat summons them over and asks Matt if he's been borrowing Lee B's leggings. Nigel crows that they'll find out who'll be sitting in that throne later on tonight. Matt turns around to look at it, and shrugs "'S gone." Oh, all right: heh. He says that he always thought a boy would win the competition, though obviously it could be ANY BOY, it could still be GIAN LUCA. However, he credits K-Lo for keeping up throughout the routine, and applauds Mandy Moore's choreography. He loved Mandy Moore's choreography, and thinks this was a really good start, but he still wants more from them later. Arlene says that they're the king and queen of dance, and that the routine was a retro-pleasure. She liked seeing Matt as a New Romantic (okay then), and liked that Katie offered up a performance as opposed to just being technically very good. Louise has enjoyed seeing them do what they do best, and liked seeing Matt being quirky and Katie being tougher. Sisco thinks Matt's had a great run throughout the competition, while Katie has had things tougher, "with the partners you've had". OOF. However, he adds, she's always been amazing, and calls her "a blimming star". Cat's all, "eh, fuck the judges, public vote innit."

With our second routine of the night, we now have Kirsty and Luke, doing some contemporary dance to 'Nothing Compares 2U'. Much as with last week's 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' number, this is exactly how you'd expect it to be - billowing outfits (Luke's chest is on display, of course) and lots of overwrought emotion. I'm actually disappointed that Luke and Kirsty weren't partnered sooner, because with her faces and his FEELINGS, there's so much potential there. The routine is notable primarily for Kirsty looking a bit dizzy after being spun around by Luke, for Luke planting a big smacker on Kirsty's lips TWICE, and for a bit where, much to my distress, Kirsty's lying on the floor trying to kick Luke away and then he climbs on top of her and they both start rolling up and down, and...was that meant to look as rapacious as it did? Anyway, beyond that there's a lot of leaping (which Kirsty does very well, I might add) and it ends with the two of them staring into each other's eyes, breathing heavily, with so many unspoken FEELINGS.

Cat: "I liked that - more kissing, less fighting." Louise tells Kirsty that she wears her heart on her sleeve when she dances, and THAT'S WHY PEOPLE LIKE HER. (I like her because she does things like point to her face and bellow "I CAN'T HEAR WORDS!". Sod off telling me why I like people Louise - Chris) She adds that Kirsty's got better and better, but needs to remember to be light on their feet. Luke's flexibility is amazing, and she's going to miss his leg extensions next week. Cat suggests that Luke takes a picture for Louise to keep on her phone (I'd say she could get fired for that, but it's not like anyone on this show has a job after tonight anyway(or gives a shit about what Louise does. Remember the week she came out with worm-shit all over her face and nobody said a thing? - Chris)) and Louise responds that she was hoping Luke would teach that move to Jamie. I concur, and suggest this is commissioned as a six-part spin-off series. I don't care, as long as I get to see it. Sisco thinks Luke is a true survivor who always demonstrates great technique, and always shows his technical brilliance as well as an emotional connection. He loves Kirsty's vulnerability, and while she may not be the most technical dancer here, she's still brilliant because she works with what she has. There's a distinct note of "we like Kirsty really, please don't give her a sympathy vote win" to these critiques tonight, isn't there? Nigel says that despite the song title, they must of course compare this to something that Matt did and find it wanting: specifically, his contemporary routine with Katie from last week, which I personally didn't think was all that, but there you go. He thinks Kirsty is a sensational performer who sells the dance with her face. He asks if they've done their best, because that's all anyone can ask, "and if you've done that, I'm happy for you." Oh, OUCH. (Quite. Why not pat her fucking head whilst you're at it Nigel? - Chris) Cat asks them if they indeed feel they've done their best, still having not entirely twigged that she needs to be looking at Kirsty when she talks to her, because there's a little pause while Kirsty tries to figure out what question she's responding to, eventually plumping for a fairly neutral "I gave it my all". Luke agrees that he's happy with their performance. Arlene thinks "nothing compares to you two, so far", telling Kirsty that Javier (De Frutos, I'm guessing, though quite a few of the choreographers tonight aren't really getting their credits) has done a fantastic job on her, and Luke that he touches and feels the air.

It's solo time at this point, but to give everyone a bit more time to get changed, we have of course (OF COURSE - Chris) got some VTs. Katie's up first, and confesses that when she did her first audition, she was worried that the judges would hate it. While the judges loved her initial routine, she eventually got a rather more disgusted reaction when she was part of the team behind the infamous Walk Of Shame dance at Choreography Camp, along with Luke, Bethany Rose and somebody called Daniel whom I've pretty much forgotten, but probably still got more screentime during the auditions than Alice, Danielle, Katrina or AndrogyLee. Nigel called this the worst choreography to a piece of music that he'd ever seen, because he hadn't yet seen that awful mess that Ryan, Alice and Kirsty were given for the Meet The Top 20 show. K-Lo didn't think she'd make the Top 20, but then Louise called and told her that SHE HAD, HOORAY! One of Katie's favourite routines was her lyrical hip hop piece with Lee-Boy in the first competitive week, because that was the first couple routine that she did on the show. She recalls getting some amazing feedback from the judges (oddly, this is illustrated with Arlene hollering that Katie was "right out of Gossip Girl", so okay), and she also loved her contemporary piece with Matt last week. Overall, she's just chuffed to be in the final, and grateful to everyone who put her here. At this, she brings it on home: "It's a dream come true. That sounds a bit corny, doesn't it? But it's the highlight of my life. I turned up to one audition one day, and off the back of that I'm here, and I don't really know what I've done to deserve it." Suddenly I feel like Katie Love was actually this awesome person we never got to know properly because the show wanted her to have the "brilliant technician, needs to develop personality" edit.

After I've finished wiping my eyes, Katie performs her solo to Leona Lewis's cover of 'Run' (Katie Love's music choices for her solos are disappointingly MOR, even by this show's standards), and it's good - very light, very floaty, lots of spinning and turning and very deft technical manoeuvres, and a real emotional hit behind it all. Probably the best solo of the night, I think.

She walks over for a cuddle with Cat, who asks her about her most memorable moment, and Katie says that her highlight was last week, doing Mandy Moore's contemporary choreography on this show with Matt. Good choice. She thanks Mandy for the experience, and Cat reminds us that Katie RAN ACROSS THE STAGE AND THREW HERSELF AT MATT, JUST LIKE WE THE AUDIENCE SHOULD DO WHEN THE VOTING OPENS LATER! Or something. Cat tells us that if we think Katie should become Britain's favourite dancer, we should call the number shown on screen. Katie responds to this with an "oh, don't be daft" handwave. Seriously: I wish I'd appreciated her more earlier in the series.

Next up for VT Exposure is Matt. He turned up to his audition in an Olly Murs-style Twat Hat, which I think was the moment that the seeds of my dislike for him were sown. Matt says that his ambition was always to make the final, and we see him tap his way to a golden ticket. He goes on to say that he was really lucky to be partnered with Charlotte, though he's too polite to add that this is because she made him look both better and smarter, instead saying that they were well-matched and she was a good friend. He recalls the standing ovation (minus Sisco) they got for the Broadway routine, and that they were being seen as a happy-go-lucky type couple, so he was glad when they got to show another side with a contemporary routine. He blathers on about seeing his parents every week in the audience, and that they've given him so much, and he hopes this can be a way of repaying them. Somehow I doubt he means the £50,000. He concludes that being in the show was awesome, and he's going to miss it very much. Though he'll get to be on it again when the Season 8 US finale rolls around, so I'm not crying so much here.

Matt solos for us to 'Ain't Got No, I Got Life' by Nina Simone. Tappa tappa tappa. Tappa tappa tappa. Mostly throughout this routine I am mesmerised by the solid immovability of his quiff, which bounces up and down with him without a single strand falling out of place. I could seriously use a hairspray like that. It ends with a somersault, which he slides out of across the front of the stage, basically hurling his crotch into the camera. I didn't really need that. Another standing ovation from three judges, another standing no-vation from Sisco. Interesting.

Cat's all "eh, it was okay. Couldn't you have done something MORE FUCKING SPECTACULAR at the end?", all jokey-jokey, and Matt suggest she give it a go, then. Cat scoffs at the very idea: "In this dress? You must be mad! We'd be taken off the air!" I think you're getting taken off the air after tonight anyway, Cat, so I say go for it. She asks for his favourite moment, and he says again that it was being paired with Charlotte, because the competition is not just about dance, it's also about coming over well in your VT (ha!), and she made that easy for him. He's got a point: I challenge anyone not to look good in comparison after spending five weeks coupled with someone who's all "WHAT AM A FOXTROT? LOOK A DONKEY!" Cat reads out Matt's voting number, Matt threatens to pick her up, Cat threatens to end him if he so much as tries it.

Kirsty's VT next, and she opens it by saying that when she was a little girl, she expected to be on TV, which is such a Lauren Samuels level of ill-advised comment, I can't even begin to describe it. Girls should never expect anything, Kirsty! Girls must be grateful at all times that we even remember they're there! (She probably meant Crimewatch as part of an all-girl cat-burgling team - Chris) She says that as she got older, she realised those were just dreams, and says that she wanted it so bad when she did the audition, and it was a real kick to make the Top 20. Once there, she surprised us all by actually being quite good, and she says that she's danced "every genre possible" (perhaps not all of them, but she's certainly had to adapt to a wider range of styles than pretty much everyone else left standing at this point) and while the Bollywood and Argentine Tango routines were highlights, she can't pick an overall favourite because she loved it all. She adds that it hasn't always been easy for her (shot of Kirsty faceplanting on the Unsecured Table O' Doom) and she has struggled in rehearsals because she can't always hear the music as well as everybody else, but she's wanted to dance ever since she was a little girl, and it makes her very emotional. She's very grateful to be in the Top 4, and thinks she's the luckiest girl in the world to have had the public voting for her.

She solos to Britney Spears' 'I'm A Slave For You', and it's definitely better than both of her previous solos, if still not in the same league as everyone else. That's kind of all there is to say really. And she does the splits at the end.

Cat tells Kirsty that enough of that "no favourites" nonsense, she needs to pick her most-cherished routine NOW, dammit. Kirsty opts for the Bollywood routine, because of the costume and because of Lee, saying that it made her feel like a superstar when he stuck her on his shoulder and paraded her around the stage.

Finally in the solo branch, it's Angry Luke. We see his audition, back when he had normal-person hair (I know Chris will disagree with me on this, but I prefer his mad white-blonde hair, personally) (eh - Chris) and he explains that he was nervous and unsure if he wanted to do this when he turned up. He too relives the horror of Choreography Camp where he unwisely took on Nigel with the "walking is as good as dancing" argument, and thought that he might have cost him his place in the competition, which is why he spoke up for himself. Still, it didn't hurt him in the end, because he made it here to show us his chest and his FEELINGS and his leg extensions, and I for one am very glad indeed. Luke thinks his real turnaround week was beating the Latin curse with his paso doble, and he thinks the whole experience has been phenomenal because it's built up his confidence in himself. He gets a bit weepy and relates that his mum has been there for him throughout this experience, as she has been for his entire life, and he hopes that he's shown her he has done something with his life. He adds that the finale has crept up on him, and perhaps now he can finally take a step back and admit to himself that he's done well in something. Everybody wanting to give Angry Luke a big hug at this point, please form an orderly queue behind me.

Luke's solo is to 'Love Don't Let Me Go' by David Guetta, and opens with the obligatory leg extension, before moving into a routine that's a little funkier and less emo than the solos I've come to expect from Luke, with a bit of body-popping and armography and crotch-thrusting and cheeky winks. I kind of prefer him when he's going batshit to Take That, but this is good too. Especially since he's wearing jeans that show off every muscle in his legs, and a vest that allows proper examination of his arms.

Cat asks Luke for his personal highlight, and he thinks the vampire routine from week one, where he was hanging from the ceiling and realised he was part of something special. After the voting number is read out, Luke gives Cat one last wink and scarpers.

More pairs now, and Kirsty and Matt are up first - but before that, of course, there's a VT - this time featuring contributions from their loved ones. Kirsty's parents say that they never expected she would be on this show because her hearing made things difficult for her, but that made her more determined. Kirsty's best friend Jennifer says that she's always been proud of Kirsty, but even more so now. Kirsty's friend Joanne says that it would be fantastic if Kirsty won, and Joanne's daughter (I assume) Ava says that Kirsty is "really good at dancing". Matt's aunt Jan says that she feels "absolutely choked" when she sees Matt dancing, but adds "with pride" before I can contribute my agreement to this sentiment. Dammit. Also, 'Hometown Glory', aka the worst song in the entire world, plays underneath this segment, so I'm almost inclined to skip the whole godforsaken thing, but I'm a professional (LOL - Chris), so I shall continue. His father Edward says that he's so proud of "Matthew" that he wants to cry. So he does. Sharon, Matt's mum, calls her husband "a daft bat". Matt's highly attractive girlfriend Dominique says she would be ecstatic if he won, and says that she never quite realised how incredible he is until she saw him on the show.

They're dancing an American Smooth foxtrot to the Candlelight Mix of 'Heaven' by DJ Sammy. The dancing's a little jerky in places, but for the most part they're graceful and smooth, with some lovely lines, and really selling the emotion of the dance, not that I'd expect anything less from these two. There's another stuttery part in the middle during a spin (for some reason, the spins seem to be the point where most contestants go wrong) but they get things back on track for the end, where Kirsty throws herself around Matt's neck and Matt holds his arms out all Jesus-like. Again.

They have a hug and a little kiss afterwards, which Cat notes was not part of the official choreography (ZOMG WATCHOUTDOMINIQUE! - Chris). There's a shot of Katya and Klaus in the audience, so I'm assuming this was their handiwork. Arlene tells Matt that he mastered the foxtrot with such grace and style, that he had the swing and the sway (shot of Matt gurning unattractively into the audience, like, pay a-fucking-ttention, Flint) and that she thinks lots of women must be wishing he was leading them right now. Kirsty allowed herself to be led, which Arlene thinks she doesn't do often, and she's the first girl Arlene has seen do the very difficult heel-turn, so she offers up her congratulations. Louise thinks there was a lot of romance on the stage, and that Matt was so smooth he could dance in a puddle without making a splash, while Kirsty is a star. Sisco loved the commitment they both contributed, and he thinks they were both stunning. Nigel thought when it was a foxtrot to a song called 'Heaven', that it would be the one that goes "Heaven, I'm in heaven..." - apparently nobody told Nigel that that song is in fact called 'Cheek To Cheek'. So he was surprised that it was a slow lyrical piece rather than a big personality number, but it doesn't matter because this was the first time tonight he's seen partners truly connect. Katya's throwing her arms out in the audience, all "FUCKING YES!"

More VT, anyone? (NO, FUCKING NO, NO, FUCK OFF VTS - Everyone) Katie's brother Chris talks about what a joy it is to see his little sister on TV, and he thinks she's done brilliantly. Katie's smoking hot boyfriend Huw says that she's been dancing all her life and it's everything to her, and while he misses her, he loves seeing her do what she loves. Katie's aunt Jo can't even talk about her without crying. Katie's parents John and Sue are incredibly proud of her. Luke's best friend Abigail thinks he's got what it takes to go all the way. His stepdad David says that Luke's in the competition to prove to himself that he's got what it takes, and that they completely believe in him. Abigail reappears to say that he's an amazing dancer and an amazing person, and his mum Julie ends it awesomely: "to be crowned Britain's Favourite Dancer would be the icing on the cake, but then I've always known he's the best dancer." Excuse me, I have something in my eye. (Use a tissue next time. Or a sock. It can sting - Chris)

They have a tango to Grace Jones's 'I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)', with Katie wearing a dress looking very similar to one sported by Kara Tointon on Strictly, the lilac one with the black trim and the cut-outs. It's set in a masquerade ball, though only Katie is wearing a mask. Despite the need for intricate footwork in a tango, the producers have in their infinite wisdom, decided to flood the stage with dry ice so we can't see a bloody thing. The ganchos are a little sluggish, and a few of the movements are a bit too studied, but there's some lovely intent in there, and these two smoulder like two very blonde smouldery things.

Artem is in the audience, so we'll assume this was his work. Kristina is also sat next to him, but for some reasons this show steadfastly refuses to credit her for anything, so who knows if she was involved or not? Arlene says that the tango is the dance of seduction, and tonight they seduced each other, her eyes, and her heart. Nigel disagrees - he thought it started out well, but the technique wasn't good because the ganchos weren't sharp and dangerous enough. Sisco sneers at Nigel and throws technicality out of the window, because he thought they were sexy and charming. Louise thought it was dark and passionate, and she loved Katie bringing her sense of style, and Luke really fighting for the title.

At this point, the phone lines open. Vote for whoever you like! I mean, if you vote for anyone other than Matt, you're throwing your money away, but still: democracy in action. And this is in no way bitterness from someone who voted several times for Luke and Kirsty.

To round things off, it's time for the homoerotic routines. First up are the boys, and I'm sure it will SHOCK YOU TO YOUR VERY CORE to discover that they're doing a Broadway tap routine. Apparently Luke let slip a few weeks back that he had a bit of tap training, at which point currency symbols appeared in Nigel's eyes as he realised this was yet further fuel for MATTFLINTMANIA. (But, but, but they draw the dance on this show ENTIRELY RANDOMLY, so etc etc etc... - Chris) Bill Deamer is choreographing, and says that it's a genre all of its own, and there are no half measures. Nigel drops in on rehearsals to see how things are going, just as they're getting to grips with the routine. Luke mutters that he's messing up now that Nigel's here to watch. SO MANY FEELINGS. Nigel interviews that they have to be completely together, because it'll be very obvious if one of them makes a mistake. He demonstrates to Luke the difference between UK and American tap, the latter of which is apparently much lower on the ground, telling Luke he's "too high". Luke interviews in turn that this is a really big challenge for him because he's not a tapper (don't take it to heart, Luke, Tom was a tapper and it never did him any favours) but he's going to give it a go. Poor Luke. He deserves more than to just be a prop leading to Matt's inevitable victory. Nigel tells them to just do their best.

They're dancing to 'Puttin' On The Ritz' by Fred Astaire. First and foremost, I would like to complain in the strongest possible terms that there is nothing remotely homoerotic about this routine. Why have the boys perform together if they're not going to gay it up? I mean, I know we were spoilt with last week's paso doble, but this is still entirely unacceptable. The good news is that Luke is absolutely up to the task of a tap routine and gives Matt a damn good run for his money, just like I was hoping he would. Matt is obviously great because this is his JAHNRE, but my eyes are on Luke throughout. It ends, and they're both beaming; Luke in particular is all "I can't believe that worked!" Full standing ovation from the judges, Bill Deamer gives them a thumbs-up from the audience. Cat steals one of their discarded top hats and wanders around looking like a less embarrassed version of Amanda Holden in Big Top.

Nigel thinks that Luke held his own in Matt's back yard. Should we really be bringing up what these people get up to in their private lives, Nigel? He thinks that some of Luke's taps were better than Matt's, while some of Matt's leaps were longer than Luke's, so he's amused that they've swapped skills. He wishes them both luck and announces that he believes one of them will win tonight. "But which one, Nigel?" asks absolutely no one. Arlene thinks Luke razzle-dazzled with elegance (I'd let him razzle-dazzle my excellence etc etc- Chris), while Arlene thinks Matt might have two feet leaping all the way to Hollywood. Louise thinks it doesn't get better than that, and congratulates Matt for his spot-on tapping, and Luke for his versatility (I'll thank Luke for his versatility etc etc - Chris). Sisco loves seeing Matt in his element (has he really ever been out of it? It's not like he ever drew hip hop or anything), while Luke might be sailing ahead. They tap offstage.

Time for the girls to take over. Giant Lady is choreographing them a routine to 'Defying Gravity' from Wicked. She tells them to channel their inner Thelma & Louise. Which one's which? I'd put good money on Kirsty being Thelma, with Katie as Louise. Katie's happy for it to be just the girls in the studio, while Kirsty observes that it's a duet with a lot of contact, and if things don't work, then it could be dangerous (shot of Kirsty falling off Katie in rehearsals). Arlene pops in for a surprise visit, which leads them both to panic. She advises them both to ensure that moves that mirror each other her really do mirror each other. Arlene interviews that she's excited about the top two girls, but they're very different dancers. She loves Katie, but Katie is a technical dancer who isn't always the best performer. Kirsty does not have the technique (Arlene tells her off for "cutesy hands"), but she has great performance skills and is lovable. Giant Lady says that we need big, theatrical spectacle, and that they're putting the girls on a platform that any dancer would kill to be on.

The track has been absolutely butchered to hell in the edit (I don't mind if they have to cut it all up to suit the natural beats of the routine, but at least try to edit it smoothly so it's not crashing and honking one second and deathly quiet the next) and the routine is very flowing, almost contemporary in its feel. As much as I love Kirsty, Katie's clearly better here - she just has the nuances down and is a little bit more fleet of foot, though Kirsty's giving it her all. The mirroring's pretty good, albeit not perfect, and there's a nice lift of Katie by Kirsty. At the end, they take hands (and Katie gives a brilliant "you ready?" look at Kirsty at this point that's more of a statement than a question) and then they rush to the front of the stage...where they have to frantically clamber onto a teeny platform over huge swathes of fabric and cling on for dear life as the teeny platform is borne aloft and the fabric fans over the stage. Now, I love a good West End spectacle as much as the next person, but there is almost no dancing in the last 15 seconds or so of this routine. This is not So You Think You Can Grab Onto A Pole (although obviously I would watch that and recap it in excruciating detail) (If Angry Luke was on it etc etc - Chris), so I feel they've been slightly shortchanged in terms of having an opportunity to really show themselves off when the dramatic climax to their routine is barely even about them.

Cat gives them a second to untangle themselves and beckons them over. Sisco is jealous that he didn't have that for his entrance - he thinks it was a great ending, and Kirsty was believable and in her element, while Katie was a star. Louise thinks Kirsty lives and breathes dance, and her face comes alive on stage, while Katie performed out to the room for a change. Arlene thinks there's a softness and appeal in Katie's dancing, and there's no question that Arlene loves her. She thinks Kirsty is the archetypal little girl who wants to dance, and while she wishes that Kirsty had more technique, she dances from the heart. Nigel thinks everything has been said - it's down to the public now, and a man's winning anyway, so this routine is totally irrelevant anyway. (MattFlintMania's winning - everything is totally irrelevant - Chris)

So that's it for the competitive dance portion of the competition. There's a lengthy recap of all of the evening's performances, because Lord knows we're not even close to our full allocation of VTs tonight. The final four dancers rejoin Cat on the stage and Cat turns to the room all "are you NOT entertained?" Oh, and here's where we get the ugly bit: Nigel speaks up to protect his own integrity, apparently, saying that "dancing is 50% performance, 50% technique, and I think we've all got to remember tonight that it isn't just performance we're voting on, it is So You Think You Can Dance, and dance needs technique as well." Which is basically a long-winded way of saying "DON'T VOTE FOR KIRSTY" in a way that is intended not to sound like that. Also, I'd object to this a lot less if Nigel hadn't spent half the season justifying controversial decisions with "it's Britain's favourite dancer, not Britain's best dancer!", so this last-minute moving of the goalposts is unseemly. If he didn't want to take Kirsty over to dance on the US show's season finale, then he should've thought of that sooner. Although frankly this whole conversation takes place in a universe where there's any doubt of Matt winning the whole thing, and that is not the universe I know, so it feels like an entirely wasted gesture anyway.

Arlene is asked who stood out, and she thinks the boys did with their tap routine, which made her "heart beat in the rhythm of their feet". I'm going to miss Arlene. Maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber can give her a job when one of his shows is occupying this timeslot next year. Louise thinks it's tough to call a frontrunner at this point ("Matt!" shouts someone from the audience, who clearly is not finding this particular call anywhere near as difficult as Louise apparently is), and refers back to the "it's the public's decision of who wins, so I'm not going to say anything." God, just answer the fucking question, Louise. No one listens to you anyway, so it's not like anyone's going to hold you to it. Sisco also sits on the fence, saying that everyone has done well and they all deserve to win. Cat thanks the judges for their services over the evening, and reminds us of the phone numbers one last time.

Coming up in the results show: the return of the Top 20 dancers, and international megastar Jennifer Lopez. Also: Matt wins. Oops, spoiler! (YOU'VE RUINED THE IMPACT OF MY ENTIRE RECAP NOW THANKS A LOT *quits* - Chris)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for noticing the Stalinist rewriting of BBC history that ignored Robbie (BBC publicist tweets "Our three finalists from 2010 ..., VTs that feature 3 finalists and a semi finalist). I admire your attention to detail.
    Your writing is a great antidote to the FB madness of the fans.

    You might like to know that while last year's contestants were invited to be in the audience for the final they weren't invited to the wrap party - reality (TV) bites!