Whenever I have a difficult decision to make, specifically if it involves that of a sensitive racial nature, I always think: what would a professional ballroom dancer do? Apart from their rhythm and winning ways with a carefully placed sequin, they are legendarily perceptive at judging the racial mood of any country. It’s a little known fact that before Nelson Mandela became everybody’s dream granddad and professional celebrity hugger, he was the fox trot champion of Apartheid South Africa. His canonical autobiography was originally called “My Long Salsa to Freedom”.
So, imagine my confusion when Anton Du Beke professional boogier, a man whose job it is to move to the beat of music and not fall over, was accused of racism. It all began when he hilariously suggested his dance partner Laila Rouass looked like a “Paki” after emerging orange faced from a fake tan session. It has to be remembered that to a ballroom dancer badly applied fake tan is as offensive as a shouting “Alright paedos!” on a day trip to the Vatican. St. Tropez is part of their ceremonial make up, the Umpa Lumpas are their gods, in a way Laila Rouass was offending him.
The Oscar Wilde of the cha cha cha had earlier quipped that he hoped the actress, who parents come from Morocco and India, wasn’t a terrorist. How does he think these up? Luckily the George Mitchell of light entertainment Bruce Forsyth was on hand to smooth over any stormy racial waters. He sagely pointed out that the English had been called “limeys” for years and they didn’t mind. How many English people living in isolated minorities, had the words daubed on their businesses or screamed in their ear as they were kicked to death, he wasn’t sure. I think Brucie is a diplomatic resource we need at the moment. We could send him along to the Left Back, gather the Palestinians and the Israelis around him in some “An audience with” setting and he could tell about the time he and Tommy Steele had been double booked for Sunday at The Palladium and just got on with it, did a tap dance double act and it all turned out marvellous.
Meanwhile The X Factor bandwagon has rolled into town; bring out your unloved and deluded, enthusiasm for regret, innocence for bitter disappointment. When I see the contestants manically sob into the camera with all the creepy enthusiasm of Tom Cruise that this show could change their lives forever, I always wonder: have they not seen any of the other series? Do they really not pause to ponder where last year’s twelve finalists are? Robbie Williams made his comeback live appearance on the first show, performing with the kind of wide-eyed desperate enthusiasm of someone with a gun to his head. ”Do you want us to love you again Robbie?” The producers were probably whispering in his earpiece “Then dance for us fat boy, dance”.
This year’s main talking point is John and Edward, teenage twins from Dublin who can neither sing nor dance but they can jump up and down a lot. They have been described as TV marmite, which I think means you either love them or hate them, not that they’ve got a yeast infection. I predict them lasting for another few weeks before Simon leans back with all the weary judgement of Solomon and acknowledges that maybe he got them wrong and ,to the audiences cheers, admits there was something fun about them . They’ll then be swiftly voted out the following week, journey and story arch completed. This week’s evictees were girl group “Kandy Rain” a name that sounds like an uncomfortable R Kelly B-side. The group of ex- strippers wanted to prove there was more to them than their ex profession so came on looking like, well, ex strippers. Sadly, as the main proportion of the audience is women, the chances of an attractive girl group going far in the competition was about as slight as their outfits. The ladies didn’t help their cause by describing themselves as “sexy”. Nobody likes anybody who describes themselves as sexy. A woman who calls herself sexy is like a man who ruefully describes himself as sarcastic and shy with women, claiming he’s exactly like Chandler from Friends, it just makes everybody want to vomit.
There is also Danyl Johnson, a man as annoying as the spelling of his name. Judge Dannii , who also seems to have come up with the spelling of her name while drunk, made a massive error when she seemed to out the twenty five year old live on air. It later emerged that she wasn’t trying to damage the young man’s chances by stirring up the unconscious homophobia of the British people - she was just attempting to be funny. Oh dear, that’s twice this week Antipodeans have tried to crack a joke and ended up insulting great swathes of the viewing public. When your attempt at humour results in jammed phone lines and campaigns from newspapers to have you fired, maybe just stick with knock knock jokes.