Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Fleur East is a brilliant dancer. Why do hard voters have a problem with her?

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After proving herself time and time again, hope Fleur has now done enough to convince the public that she deserves their support

Finally it happened. As confetti rained down on the Tower Ballroom dance floor and the crowd went wild, Craig found his 10 paddle and gave Fleur East the first perfect score of the series.

Her Couples’ Choice to a Destiny’s Child medley was a technical feat and the judges were unanimous in their praise, particularly Shirley, who noted the difficulty of the routine, which she had just pulled off with apparent ease.

Dancing perfection has been achieved. Now all bets are on and the popularity contest that has always taken place beneath the footwork and posture is exposed. Dancing is all well and good, but what happens when you’re brilliant and the crowd doesn’t like you?

Fleur was one of the best dancers from the start but found herself in the dance-off more than once. She’s funny, kind, and incredibly talented, so what’s the problem?

When we talk about the blatant racism that almost always sees black women first voted out of reality shows, it’s racism by omission. The voting public are asked to “save” their favorite, and when that audience is mostly white, they tend to vote for people who look like them.

After proving herself time and time again, topping the rankings for two straight weeks, hope she’s now done enough to convince voters that she deserves their support.

The whole form of a series hangs from this small gold plywood support under Craig’s desk. Convention dictates that the Revel-Horwood “10” remain cloaked until Blackpool, otherwise we’ll peak too soon, our confetti cannons will fire prematurely and we’ll have nowhere to go emotionally between now and Christmas. So we obediently sit and await his action like eager puppies waiting for our owner to throw a tennis ball. Once it’s out, it’s confirmation that the required standard has been met. Then the actual race begins.

But looking at the results and the level of proficiency shown on Saturday night, there’s little choice between the remaining celebrities in terms of skill. Phone voting is everything now and the left’s success or failure depends on how the public thinks of them.

Remember something inside Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Where the holy grail tumbles down a ravine and one person after another stretches out their fingers, knowing they can reach it if they just try? That’s every contestant still fighting for the finals but using their personality instead of their fingers.

To take the Indiana Jones metaphor even further, they need to stop trying to win us over and think Cup of the Carpenter. Only the humble can make it to the end. The only movement they must master now is to desperately strive for victory while making it appear that just participating is enough.

Whatever you think of famous people, know this; None of them made it into their careers through humility alone. Show business requires sharp elbows. The winner of this year’s series will be the one who can best hide them.

Forecast: Those who repeatedly threaten midfield remain the same, but now there is no lower half of the table to cushion them. Despite the staggering results, Molly and Ellie and possibly Kym are on the brink this week. Maybe even Tyler after that jibe across his hips from Craig. I want it to be Will, but I think it could be Ellie.

Murder on the dance floor: Controversially, I think Will Mellor is a one trick pony and we’ve now seen his hips. I’m not sure if he has anything else. I also pitied the poor spectator sitting behind his good friend Leigh Francis, wearing one of his distinctive massive hats.

You’re my favorite: Helen’s quickstep to “Valerie” was flawless. From the Westwood punk aesthetic to her exquisite canter that carried her across the vast floor like a beautiful pony, it was the perfect Blackpool floor filler. I’m amazed Craig’s 10 didn’t show up for this.

Sample material bingo: Everyone Strict The cliché of the sea found its way into tonight’s show. Northern candidate shows a foreign dance partner the delicacies of mushy peas – check. Man screams on roller coaster – check. Trams – check. People trying to ‘enjoy’ the British coast in the driving rain. The whole record.

Memorable moment: I’m torn between Anton’s super cool mid-air pirouette in the opening number and the runner dressed as a giant seagull pecking at the judges as the voting opened.

Most Improved: I’m not sure if he could improve, but Hamza’s dreamy American Smooth to New York, New York was another contender for a perfect score. That last lift was a real head turner, but his face barely showed the effort.

RESULT: This dance-off was always going to be a heartthrob, and indeed there were two exceptional horseshoes left to stamp it out. Tyler and Diane salsa-ed for their lives, but it wasn’t enough to beat Molly and Carlos’ more accurate jiving that night.

Looking to the finals now, I see Helen, Hamza and Fleur as obvious contenders.

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