Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sweet Cherie Pie

Now before Frankie gets in there and starts being MEAN about Cherie, I thought I would post a little tribute. No, Cherie did not deserve to go, but no, I am not surprised she went. And no, I'm not crazily angry about it either. John Sergeant is absolutely correct in pointing out, week in, week out, that it's not just about the dancing and that public opinion is vital. I hope the papers aren't all in fury-mode in the morning because it's not a travesty that Cherie went; she was third from bottom, after all. It is a shame, however, because (yes, yes, Frankie) we know her latin hasn't been fantastic (apart from the rumba that people keep forgetting - and yes, yes, Frankie, I know it's slooow) but she was certainly one of the ones who could have made the final and could have got a few tens under her belt. The problem this year is that there's six others who could do the same. I am confident that John will perform his swan song next week - and the gimmicks are coming thick and fast with him - maybe he will be dressed as one. But besides Sir John (honours, surely, Your Majesty?) there's no way of telling who's going to go out and in what order.

But I'm here to write about Cherie, who may have come across to some as a little smug, but that could quite easily have been those nerves - or the fact that she's reserved and classy. I heard opinions that Don Warrington was snooty - and that's a crazy suggestion! He was digified. In the words of a fictional murderess and a corrupt prison warden: "What ever happened to class?" Cherie's foxtrot was beautiful, her rumba was exquisite and her waltz was stunning. And so I give her much much credit for those. And, as Frankie's friend Ailsa (hello!), has pointed out, Cherie brought out a side of James that made us not hate him. And boy, oh, boy, did I hate him last year. His serial killer eyes have softened. And I'm giving all the credit to Cherie. She was a token older contestant who actually managed to be good and stay in the competition as a serious contender (oh, I love John, but he's not in the slightest bit serious - in fact, he's infectiously silly - and I am ready for him to leave now...) I'll even go so far as to say that I actually agreed with the judges for keeping Lisa in. I just think that Cherie deserves a dedication - in fact, I think that every contestant from now until the final does and I would have been writing this had any other one of them left the competition this week (save John - NO, NOT 'SAVE JOHN!''s not an order, it's just an expression! I MEAN IT - really, DON'T!)

PS. How naff is this title?! Hee hee.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The race begins...

The race to the final, that is. Because there are seven couples that could feasibly make it to that final show. It's so close I wouldn't even like to guess one definite...and I still don't have a favourite...I'm starting to love them all. This was definitely the best show of the series so are our opinions...

Frankie is in black; Clover is in purple.

Jodie and Ian

I just love these two as a pair and I think Ian has a real knack of choreographing things Jodie loves to do and it shines through. Really liked the whole package with the song and the outfits too. Their faces when they got two 9s make me support them even more- now just get a good Latin under your belt woman!

LOVED IT. This reminded me so much of lovely Penny and Ian's quickstep last year. I really like Jodie and hope she can, as Frankie says, do a decent latin dance. It's getting all very Matt Dawson, but he cracked the samba (I thought he was undermarked in the final for that...) Jodie looked at ease in this dance, and she looked happy. This truly was a delight to watch. Excuse the Arleneism yet again, but it was deeeelicious.

Lisa and Brendan

My new BFF Brendan (see the post below!) is master of the samba rolls once more! Yet another spat ensues between the judges but good to see Brendan keep his cool and some encouraging words from Len. I thought it was pretty good as the oh-so-difficult samba goes and both Lisa and Brendan looked like they were having fun.

LOVED IT. This was great (apart from the song - what was that about Brendan?), extremely well-choreographed (lots of spins for Lisa) and had an air of fun about it. I know I have had problems in past weeks about Lisa being over-marked but I thought her score was very well deserved this week...I even think Craig undermarked her. How's that for a switcharoo?

Christine and Matthew

After a rip-roaring jive last week a waltz was never going to be that exciting for me. I’m sure it was technically good as the judges said and it was very elegant but I’m not going to start jumping up and down over it. (Jumping up and down is reserved for special events like Mark and Karen’s argentine tango)

LOVED IT. This was beeeautiful. I did do a little jump actually. Well, a bounce, since I was sitting on my bed and it was past three in the morning when I was watching (I didn't catch the live show due to The Importance of Drinking Cocktails).

Cherie and James

Now is it me, or is that dress different to the one they showed on ITT on Friday? Anyway, it’s amazing to see her out of frumpy sleeves and in something in the Lilia Kopylova style! James chose a great song, but I thought he wasted it with some boring choreography- I’m sure I saw them do the same step about 8 times in a row at one point! I cannot believe Bruno gave her a 9!

LOVED IT. Is it those cocktails speaking? Mais non, they wore off hours ago. I really did love this. Costume was fabulous, song choice was fabulous, James is a new person this series, great to see Cherie pull off latin. It was joyful! (Joyful is a word that my friend Clare at work uses and I am stealing it.)

Austin and Erin

My word, Erin was looking foxy tonight! She sure knows how to nail a tango and chose the best possible music. I was really impressed by this: Austin was actually leading all the way through and you could feel a sense of menace coming out of him. I could smell another ten coming and well deserved they were!

LOVED IT. Ooooooooooooooooh, there was a hint, A HINT, of the Ramps about this one. Austin really really did take control of this dance and it was great to hear Libertango (kudos, Erin - I KNOW, I'm in a generous mood today....) EXTREMELY well-deserved tens. I am DYING to see what he can do with an Argentine Tango.

Rachel and Vincent

Speaking of people looking foxy…my god, Rachel was channelling the Ola Jordan spirit throughout that one! I was captivated by this rumba, I think it was one of the best I’ve ever seen on the show. It was so controlled and the amazing song choice added so much to it. When Arlene got that 10 out so early in the series we were at jumping up and down territory…

LOVED IT. Rumba is the hardest dance, in my not-very-knowledgeable opinion, to translate for TV. They often look bland, dull and even sometimes pointless. A-ha, but not this one! This was stunning. I let out a mini scream when Arlene lifted her 10 paddle. So exciting. This week is equivalent to that week last year when Matt did his salsa and Alesha did her cha cha...great dance after great dance doth make Clover happy.

John and Kristina

Kristina was not her usual shade of terracotta orange tonight and the whole thing seemed a much classier affair. We almost headed back to the lovely waltz of week 1 and I thought the lifts were well handled. The skiing-splits move or whatever it’s called was rather special too.

This wasn't bad at all. I agree with John that the judges are being a bit pathetic expecting the public to vote the same way they do. What is the point of having a public vote at all, if that's to be the case? But, I have to say, that the other couples are all so good; the competition is wide open, with switching places at the top of the leaderboard from week to week and I think it would be an awful shame if any of them are to go this week. I feel the competition has actually started now and unfortunately, I don't see a place for John in it. I do hope this was his last week and he goes out on a high.

Tom and Camilla

Well Tom certainly had a lot to live up to this week going last after everyone else. Not a knock-your-socks-off salsa of Gethin Jones proportions but still very good!

LOVED IT. Like Austin, he was leading (though in salsa, if he doesn't, then there's no dance!) Camilla had the same expression on her face as when she danced salsa with Gethin Jones last year...I think this possibly was as good as Gethin's...but it was just less expected of Gethin! This competition is just too close to call...

The standard is certainly way up high now, everyone apart from John scored 30 or above! I really hope Lisa and Brendan don’t face the bottom two; she just fell on the wrong dance this week, plus I have extra sympathy for anyone else who has to get up at 4am. It could in fact be John’s time to go, he even seemed to be hinting at it himself on ITT this week.

I agree that it's John's time to go. But who will face him in the bottom two? It could be anyone. And if it's not John, then who will go? Lisa? Cherie? If any celeb other than John leaves the competition this week then it will be a travesty as they are all so good...I don't think I will be able to stand it next week as I won't want anyone to leave! This is the first week I have truly enjoyed this series...long may it continue!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A close encounter of the Strictly kind!

Possibly the most exciting news ever to hit this blog, I (Frankie) met the one and only Kiwi superstar Brendan Cole on the Tube today!

Picture the scene: I am running for the tube at Bond Street when I miss it by about a second, in a huff I turn around to see when the next one is and who has just got off said tube but Brendan! He was casually wheeling his luggage along when sensible me opens with the amazing conversational gambit "Excuse me, are you Brendan Cole?"

I must say throughout our conversation he was a total gent and seemed to actually be listening to what I said. He told me he was on his way to training and when I apologised for holding him up he replied that Lisa was always late anyway! I also wished him luck in the Samba this week, to which he said it was very hard. Replying to that I managed to blurt out that his Samba with Natasha Kaplinsky was really good and he gave me a look like I'd just whisked him away in a time machine!

I also have three rather amusing attempts at a photo of us from my camera phone; my camera phone is terrible and Brendan was very patient and even helped me with it!

This does not sound like the most amazing of incidents if you were not there, but it was for me- it's made moving to London all those months ago totally worth it! Plus I was very restrained and did not come out with any silly questions such as "Did the film Dirty Dancing change your life?" or "Do you ever pretend to do a paso with a teatowel at home?"

This so beats the time I followed a Karen Hardy lookalike around Topshop for 10 mins...

Sunday, 9 November 2008

'The Rumble'

What, you may ask, is 'The Rumble'? Well, besides being a muscle contraction that is result of incomplete digestion (I think you'll find the correct term is borborygmus), and something that is known to happen occasionally in the jungle, 'The Rumble' has recently been given (well, by me, just now) a whole new meaning. It is blend of two words: 'rumba' and 'stumble' - and refers to the horrific car-crash TV that comes of a male celebrity (often a sportsman) trying to dance the rumba. Winner Darren Gough was not a fan of this dance at all and even Mark 'The Hips' Ramprakash struggled; in fact, Colin Jackson is the only sportsman not to have fallen at this particular hurdle. Snigger. Hurdle. Lol.

Here are our opinions on this week's dances.

Tom and Camilla

Well, excellent song choice. Perhaps the best of the series so far, actually. I didn't think Len would like all the prancing about at the beginning and end, but Tom does it with such pizzazz that I don't think even hardcore-traditionalist Len can resist being charmed by it. I preferred Austin's - though I suspect Frankie will disagree - am I right?

Well, actually....after a tap-tastic start I had really high hopes for this dance, but the rest of it didn’t really thrill me. Once more technically brilliant and it certainly deserved the 36 points, but it didn’t have the wow factor really, I still preferred their jive! Tom’s fabulous shoes* cancelled out Camilla’s dress thankfully.

Ooh yes, I forgot to mention the spats!

Jodie and Ian

Was I taken in by the song? I suggested this track on a Strictly forum about a month ago and am now convinced Ian is stalking me (, not seriously...I'm definitely not serious). Not sure about Jodie's dress...did I like it? Did I not?...if Karen was the Quality Street fudge in week one, then I think Jodie was the coconut one tonight - which at least suits the samba. Well, whatever, I did love this, although I did have a very cheeky Um Bongo in my hand at time of viewing. Overall it was as camp as sturdy wood gadgets all tied up with string.

The dress looked like something Jem from Jem and the Holograms would wear, but I love it all the same! Plus its always fascinating watching Ian doing the samba- he’s just too good at it for a skinny white boy! And he was a very special shade of orange tonight! Ok it wasn’t the best dance in the world but I really thought Jodie was enjoying herself and it certainly didn’t deserve the mauling from the judges.

Heather and Bryan

Not bad. Would have preferred music with a flavour of traditional tango. I don't want to be a pedant because some unconventional tracks REALLY do work (Maneater was inspired) but on the whole, this year, I've come to the conclusion that the more tango-ey the tango music, the more tango-ey the tango and the more tango-ey the tango can be, um, the better, I guess.

This was definitely one of Heather’s better dances, but it took me a while to work that out because the song choice was so distracting! I always like a bit of Bowie, but if they’d chosen a traditional tango track it would have been so much more dramatic.

Austin and Erin
Austin hated the rumba so much he punched himself in the face. I didn't think it was that bad actually, but it does seem to be a recurring problem with male celebs (apart from those who actually are in love with their pro partners, naming no names, *cough Matt* *cough Di Angelo*) Erin the evil genius wasn't genius enough to get them out of this one.

As we exclusively revealed this week Erin is an evil genius and she was going to need every weapon in her arsenal to get a good rumba. The bow tie trick didn’t bode well (as we know props are the last refuge of the desperate) but it was better than I thought it was going to be. The 5 from Craig was definitely harsh, but it did indeed lack that sparkle.

Cherie and James

Of course this was going to be lovely. I wish it had been a little better - a wee bit more sparkle and there may have been a ten on the cards (or on the paddles, or whatever).

The song made me want to vom, as did James’ smirk so it was hilarious when Len started going on about her footwork! The waltz isn’t the most exciting of dances, but this one seemed particularly D-U-double-L. And thankfully they have finally caught on to the fact that Cherie is terrible at Latin!

Christine and Matthew

Fantastic dress. I was sitting watching this with some friends and all of us approved of the fringing. This was perky and cute. A pleasure to watch.

Christine bagged the best dress of the night and did her best dance so far! It was as if she was channelling the legendary Karen Hardy spirit. Glad to see her back in the game!

Rachel and Vincent

In comparison to her other 'performances' I really liked this. But, nonetheless, I wasn't all that surprised she was in the dance-off. She's got the curse of great expectation and when it's not delivered, buh-bye. Ooh, though, I liked her hair and thought she looked stunning. For a shrunken down regular person. Wee Vincent's choreography was a wee bit 'look what I can do while my celeb stands there and bops.'

Vincent pulls off a great bit of choreography once more with a lively but classy routine. The quickstep basis was a really good idea and the song was cool. Hurrah for Len liking it, I don’t think I would have taken another week of his grumpy-ness!

John and Kristina

Hmmm, am I finally getting bored? Perhaps. I really am beginning to think that John is being purposefully bad now because in weeks one and three, he wasn't bad at all......and I know that was ballroom but now he is bad of the Rhodes kind...and it makes no sense. Kristina had choreographed the basic cha cha step...which is not hard at all...and it was wrong. Very wrong. And off the beat. And I know very little about this kind of thing. John, quit playing about. He'll be out the week after next. After a Logangate-esque elimination.

Here we are again: Kristina in the spangliest of frocks and John just wanders about. Also at one point I was fearing for his knees! And what was the thing with the phone at the beginning, did I miss something there? Although I did notice once more this week that for all his rubbish dancing skills John does have amazing timing.

Lisa and Brendan

Ah, and so we are back to the over-marking. I didn't get the big deal. It was nice, but meh.

It will take a lot to top Brendan and Kelly’s Delilah Viennese Waltz from last year in my book, but I thought this was another brilliant bit of work from Brendan! The song was overblown and cheesy, which somehow turned out to be perfect. I thought we were hovering around a 10 after that rapturous reception from the judges, alas no, but everyone really seemed to have upped their game this week.

A few notes about the results show...

OK, for some reason I haven't really anything to say...

Next week could be interesting. I have the feeling John could stay in another week...and we may be saying goodbye to someone we don't want to. As I say, I think he's starting to play up on being awful but cutesy to get the votes in...and yes, it's been endearing...however, John, your plan has now been well and truly rumbled. Time for tubby bye-bye.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Erin Boag: Ballroom Dancer or Evil Genius?

It has come to light that there's something odd about Erin Boag. Now odd in a good way or odd in a bad way is not for me to say, but let me just say this: the evidence is mounting, MOUNTING I tell you, that she is not only a ballroom pro but that she is also a genius...of the very evilest kind.

Let's look at the other ballroom pros on the Strictly. Oh wait...WHAT other ballroom pros? Besides Anton Du Beke (who has already been outed as a Bondesque type through the segment 'Strictly for Your Eyes Only') no other ballroom professional has lasted longer than a season. Boag is top dog ballroom pro - and therefore gets to do a lot of exhibition dances on the results show. Those pesky little latin minxes are no threat...but other ballroom dancers? They must be eliminated! Hazel Newberry lasted only one week dancing with Quention, was this because of his poor dancing? No. I doubt it. It is widely that Boag persuaded Wilson to pin the L-Plate to his back...the L-Plate that was secretly hiding a strong magnet. By also planting magnets in the suede soles of his shoes, Boag was able to ensure that his legs moved in completely the wrong direction at completely the wrong time. By employing her vast skill at neuro-linguistic programming she was also able to convince Wilson (something that he believes to this very day) that he is a bad dancer. Genius? I think so.
And what about Izabela Hannah in series three? This one proved a little more difficult for Boag and Dennis Taylor stayed in the competition for five whole weeks. In the end, it is believed that Boag resorted to hypnotism to ensure that Taylor's posture and footwork did not improve beyond a very basic level. Taylor may have made an impression...but Hannah? Never to be seen or heard of again. So what, I hear you ask, is going to happen to Hayley Holt, new ballroom-shaped pro 2008...? Hayley who? She's already out of the competition...unlikely to's just a little bit of history repeating...

These could be coincidences. I think not, but your scepticism is understandable. So let's look at her nationality. An evil genius from New Zealand? Never! But ah! Surely if there were an evil genius amongst the Strictly ranks the first to be suspected would be one of the Russians, Rihanoff or Kopylova...but wait for it, Boag is Russian! After many years perfecting the most innocent-sounding and non-assuming accent she could think of, Boag managed to forge herself a New Zealand passport (not difficult to do, and it is thought that it has only been attempted four times in the history of the nation) and managed to convince the authorities, the Great British public - and some even say, to some extent, herself - that she is a small-town, small-country girl who just loves to dance. She also cultivated a rags-to-riches story of having one pound left in her pocket and then meeting Du Beke, finding true chemistry (on the dance floor only, you understand) and then becoming a champion. Who would question that? Well, I suggest my friends, that you do start to question it. For Boag is Russian, yes - it is thought she is the daughter of a spy who was the daughter of a spy who was the daughter of a spy. I spy something suspicious about that - don't you?

Super-villains and evil geniuses always have alter-egos. Google 'Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog' for clarification of this, if you so choose. And Boag's? She makes no secret of this (a double bluff?) and openly refers to herself as 'Miss Whiplash' - this is evidence enough. She is a master of disguise and a master of gadgets. She has no problem with changing her hair, her costumes, even her teeth to get her own way. Sometimes she is able to disguise her high-tech evil genius gadgets in a fashionable (well, questionable in some cases...) way. Take Saturday 01/11/08 for example: Boag was seen with an unusual hairstyle that, I can exclusively reveal, was masking a small electronic device that emitted small electric shocks to Austin Healey at the precise nano-second his feet were to hop, skip and scatter-chasse their way through their quickstep. Did you see her hair? There is no other possible explanation for hair like that.

But surely all this is not true! If Boag truly is the evil genius as I propose she is, then surely she would have used her skills to win the competition? But, as it turns out, life is very much like a Bond movie. Boag had in her clutches the very best male celebrity ever to grace the Strictly floor, yet they did not win. Because - good triumphs over bad - the evil genius always loses. Not usually to a cricketer from Barnsley, but there's a first for everything...

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A Brief Note on the Results Show

What popped into my head whilst watching the results show this evening...

Was that this year's pro jive then? If so, then mucho disappointo. While it was sassy and snazzy, there wasn't much jive, was there? And I was so looking forward to this one because of the Matthew/Karen partnership...and they filled most of their solo spot with a bloody lift. What a waste! In fact, the only couple that shone in this was Darren and Lilia - but they haven't shone brightly in the pro dances for a couple of series now so it was good to see them go for it.

Anton and Flavia's dance was HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud (and made my sister, who was quietly sitting playing The Sims on her phone, jump out of her chair) when Anton and Wee Vincent started dancing...and when Erin lifted Wee Vincent. These two couples might not be the best dancers but they're probably the best characters.

Found out that Cherie is dancing a waltz...I sense her getting to the top of that leaderboard fact, I smell another 10. It seems also that Tom is dancing a quickstep (did you hear? He said it when his name got called out...) This unnerves me and makes me not-quite-like him as he's CLEARLY expecting to do as well as Austin and although performance-wise he can match (or even out-do) him, technically, he's not as good. There'll be lots of fighting talk on ITT this week about this one.

Ha ha, Kelly Jones on Strictly. Aces. Brendan and Hayley make a lovely partnership and ballroom definitely is her thing. I do wonder if Brendan misses his role in the pro latin dances - they did let him play with a cape in the paso though - he should be thankful for that!

It was time for Andrew Castle to go ... so not a shock decision this week. No MAJOR shock eliminations this year yet...but if Rachel's not careful, she may find herself in the dance-off before long.

Erin's Evil Genius

Austin and Erin

Erin was looking decidedly un-Erin tonight, but also managed to not look like a Halloween pumpkin (obligatory seasonal reference in there for you). But here we go with the first 10, there’s no holding them back now- it’s going to be 10s left, right and centre! Craig’s 8 was rather amusing though, I get the impression we need to make sure these two don’t get too cocky.

Oooh! I love Austin. He really can dance...but he plays rugby too, so that makes it all OK. I loved this. I knew Len would crack first...Erin planned it all meticulously, like an evil genius...traditionalesque music, no 'fannying around' at the beginning...I'm just surprised Len didn't leap over the table in sheer ecstasy and squeeze Erin . Or both of them.

Heather and Brian

One of the best song choices of the series and what a cracking dress too! Cute choreography and Heather really looked like she was enjoying herself for once, so too bad the judges mauled her. However, I do agree she simply isn’t as good as everyone else and I doubt I would miss her if she left.

LOVED the song choice - and I didn't think this was that bad at all. It's just the others were better. I think she's in trouble this evening.

Jodie and Ian

The Pride and Prejudice theme looked so cute on ITT and the footage of them on horses was hilarious. The actual thing was absolutely delightful and anything that makes Len talk about whimsical hair has to be a bit special!

Much lolage (lolage? I hate that term) at Len's description. Whimsical hair it was. In fact, the entire routine was a good way...even the P&P themeage (it's a disease I tell you...affixationitis?) was cute - despite the anachrony of it. Yes, yes, I KNOW it was only a bit of fun and wasn't meant to be a historical representation but Mr Darcy and Elizabeth would not have danced a waltz. Now who's for an English country dance?

Andrew and Ola

I can’t believe Andrew did a samba with a knee cartilage injury, big respect for that. I also just love watching Ola samba because she’s great at it, especially as she understanda the value of feathers. Saying that, he was awful and his shimmies looked rather sinister at times! And Len really shouldn’t have given that a 7!

Len is a prune. Seven? Bloody ridiculous. He'd give a seven to a sloth dancing a jive to a funeral march if he thought it were trying hard - or had at least improved a little. I agree with Frankie - it's great to see some feathers! These two could end up in the danger zone again this evening. It wouldn't surprise me if it's going to be bye bye to Andrew this week.

Lisa and Brendan

Loved the staccato in this, but thought Lisa was a bit too Ice Maiden-esque. But the judges were right, it was a classic full-on tango. Very nice to see some constructive criticism from Arlene too instead of her rehearsed alliterative ramblings.

LOVED this. Finally, a dance of theirs that I did really enjoy and don't mind them getting high marks for. Brendan put together a fantastic routine...nice to hear La Cumparsita, the tangoest of all tango's been used before, I'm sure, but it's a classic.

Cherie and James

Sleeves sleeves sleeves, for heaven’s sake Cherie has a great figure and is perfectly capable of bearing her arms! She did look genuinely nervous throughout the dance to me and seemed like she was just going through the motions.

Oh dear. This was not good. She looked as though she was just willing it to end (having had salsa dances like that, I feel her pain).

John and Kristina

Ah, we’ve all been waiting for John to get back to some elegant ballroom. Kristina once again makes a fabulous song choice and looked like Marilyn Monroe covered in tinfoil. Len was fair about his technique but I think he’s earned his keep for another week.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Little John is such a star I don't care about his dancing technique. An absolute pleasure to watch.

Tom and Camilla

Hurrah for capes and 80s synth classics! And Camilla doing proper funny faces, always a treat. I don’t get what Len’s cape-hating is about; the pro males do it and it’s a Latin dance, not a ballroom! Thankfully, the judges’ barney didn’t affect the scores too much.

I loathe, nay I DESPISE, this song. But dance was OK. I think Bunton's lost her crown. That is the 'Funniest Paso Doble Face' crown. This was all a little too much pantomime villain for me.

Christine and Matthew

The song was a lovely choice, but I really didn’t think Matthew made enough of it in the choreography, the whole thing seemed unnecessarily slow! On the good side of things, Christine’s dress was amazing and her partnership with Matthew seems to be as lovely as ever.

I kind of agree. Love the song choice but I might have used it for a standard foxtrot if I were Matthew and chosen something with a little more pizzazz for the American Smooth. On the whole though, this was a good effort - and Christine is such a darling.

Rachel and Vincent

Now that is the type of sparkly frock I like to see! Loved Vincent’s use of rock n roll elements, but I know what Len means about the socks not being knocked off. Maybe that’s ok in this cold weather though…

Rachel in a short dress! Good for her! It's not like she can't carry it. Unfortunately, that was the most exciting thing about this routine. I think Wee Vincent and Rachie are going to find themselves in trouble soon if she doesn't get over these nerves. I keep telling you, I'm getting bored...

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Show me your Paso Doble!

After last week’s various disasters we all approached this week with caution, but no worries, SCD came up trumps once again!

The title of this week’s blog comes from Strictly Ballroom, which you must see if you have not yet done so. It is an immensely quotable film for dancing fans, sometimes I can just hear Len Goodman shouting “New steps? There are no new steps!’ in an Aussie accent.

Anyway, a twirling and a bull-fighting we go…

Note - I am AWFUL. Frankie had these little snippets ready to put up on Sunday. I am lazy. Or busy. Or both. However, because of various things such as work, ballroom classes, the theatre (daaahling) and generally having a jolly good time, I've only just got round to posting my opinions. Feel free to hate me. If you dare.

Lisa and Brendan
What a dress! It was a frock of Ola Jordan proportions and the skirt certainly made up for the lack of cape. But it was a shame to not see Brendan all swishy again! Overall a good effort but it didn’t have the *grr!* factor.

I liked this. I think it was my favourite of their dances so far. And hurrah! It was fairly marked. No ridiculous 9s or anything to spoil my enjoyment of what was a competent performance.

Andrew and Ola
It was certainly better than last week, but I saw that stumble! Hurrah for the end of ‘Bum-Gate’ too. But I’ve just noticed, why has Andrew done ballroom 3 weeks in a row?

Prizes for improvement! Can't really stand the chappie but kudos for this one. Can't really give credit to Ola for choreography here as there's only about three steps in this dance - but they were well executed by the looks of things. And yes, the judges made the right decision this week (How am I coping? I have nothing to moan about!) And yes again, he has done ballroom three weeks running. What's going on?

Christine and Matthew
Wow, where did the sultry Christine come from?! Arlene’s comments were rubbish, I don’t really care if a paso is Spanish, it doesn’t always have to be! I thought the choices of music and choreography by Matthew were really good. I cannot believe Craig’s 3- will there be a 3-gate?

Bless. This was a gentle Paso Doble. This dance was never going to suit Christine as she's just too delightfully smiley. Matthew did about as good a job as he could with this one and Craig was just being a prune. 3? It was definitely in the 5/6 zone.

Austin and Erin
Sometimes I think Erin is a tad bonkers, Send In The Clowns is such a depressing song! Unfortunately I couldn’t seem to get past that, but I’m sure it was lovely as the judges said.

I liked the song! Does that make me bonkers?! It's so difficult for them to find new songs in 3/4 time...I was surprised there weren't any repeats like there was in week one actually. I wouldn't blame them for it if there were...and it WAS lovely. I love Austin. I'm even warming to Erin (well, maybe...?) It didn't WOW though - hopefully the quickstep will this week!

Cheri and James
Quick, it’s an older woman- she must wear sleeves! Cover her up! Also not sure about James’ choice of circus music or dodgy facial hair. As the judges said she still has fabulous posture and natural grace but that can’t get you through every dance, I personally don’t think it deserved 31 points.

Hmmm, poor Cherie. I felt for her with that stumble and it probably did put her off for the rest of the dance. Again, it was nice but it didn't wow. I want some wow. Where are the wow dances this year?

Heather and Brian
I don’t know if its something to do with Brian, but Heather always looks a bit awkward in hold to me. The shoulder shimmy/funky bit/sass was not good, you don’t do a fleckel in the middle of a samba! I also didn’t think it deserved an 8 from Bruno, am I getting mean in my old age?

That was one heck of a big dress.

Mark and Hayley
I wouldn’t have called it a shambles, but Mark is getting more and more wooden and sometimes looks like he’s just walking.

I would call it a shambles. He's just not a dancer and there's no point trying to prove otherwise. If they had been saved another week then I would have contacted Hayley Holt - I don't know, through a FORUM or something, and suggested she not bother to choreograph a thing. Just plonk him in the middle of the floor, topless and alone.

Tom and Camilla
I was carried away on a cloud of pink fluffy loveliness and that wasn’t just Camilla’s dress. Fabulous choreography and song choice, as romantic as a Viennese Waltz could be. Len suddenly came across as rather grumpy, I am sure there will be words from Claudia on ITT this week!

Now this is where the divide comes between mere mortals like you and I (I assume, I don't know...) who know very little about dance and those who, um, do. Because I LOVED this. I thought it was looovely. I was half expecting exclamations and nines! And then, no, my little bubble of wow burst and they were all pretty mean. Especially Len. I bite my thumb at you, sir.

John and Kristina
Illegal lift alert! I know it was obviously an accident, but the judges have called people up on it in the past. Former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the audience alert too! It all got a bit much for me, but I have definitely seen worse pasos in my time. Please let it be ballroom next week!

I don't care. John is about the only thing that's holding the show together for me at the moment. There's too many contestants and sometimes he's about the only one I can remember. Therefore, he should stay. Plus, he's foxtrotting this week which is bonus for him.

Rachel and Vincent
The cuteness level is cranked up another notch with Rachel in the most darling fairy-princess dress. I knew Len wouldn’t like it though, especially as it took them forever to get into hold at the beginning- but we want to see more interpretations of the Viennese Waltz sometimes.

Darling dress indeed! She looked like a little sugarplum fairy! What is it with Vincent and his long Viennese intros? I remember Len getting grumpy about Louisa's VW for the very same reason. It was nice but come on Rachel, we need wow or I am going to get bored.

Jodie and Ian
Hilarious song choice that somehow worked, Jodie looked great whilst Ian looked like he was off to cycle the Tour de France. However, I agreed with Bruno that she got a bit too aggressive in places and it looked like she was throwing herself about- but then again it’s such fun to see Jodie going at it with gusto!

I was like, BLUR?! What the cucaracha is going on here?! Rather enjoyed the dance on the whole but, like all the pasos, it did kind of fall a little flat. Good use of word GUSTO, of my faves.

In some random news, I saved the staff crossword at work this week by knowing the Rumba is from Cuba. My silly workmates thought it was a Samba- I thought EVERYONE knew that was from Brazil!

I swear I just saw Mrs Antcliffe (former English teacher) on It Takes Two. I swear. I swear.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Five Reasons Why Marian Keyes Should Do Strictly 2009

1) She is mad. Only slightly and in the very best possible way, of course. Now why, you may ask, is this bonus? Strictly this year is taking itself too seriously – only John Sergeant brings the delightful British self-deprecation it oh so needs. Marian Keyes, although not British (she’s one better – she’s Irish – it’s like British but with a better accent), would bring this to the show in oodles.

2) She is a superfan. Question: what, my dears, was the most endearing thing about Alesha last year? Answer: she loved the show. She couldn’t believe she was there and she enjoyed every second. This made all us normal superfans (those not celeb-shaped) warm to her because we could identify with her excitement. Marian, I guarantee, would be cooing and oohing over the whole experience – and we would love her for it.

3) She’d think she’d be rubbish – a whole pie full of humble. And we’d adore her for this very reason – even if she did turn out to be rubbish (I’m not saying she would be...I’m just musing over the possibility) – because we love the self-effacing, and we love underdogs, and we love Irish accents.

4) She could get to be Lilia. Marian loves Lilia; Lilia loves Marian. Marian could dance with Darren and get to live her dream of being tiny (though MK is not in the least bit large, from what I can tell from the telly) and Russian. Maybe Darren and Marian could strike up a professional partnership leaving Lilia time to write a best-selling novel. Who knows?

5) We’d get to see more of her on It Takes Two. Once or twice a year is not enough. Marian and Claudia (note: also mad; also in a good way) are the perfect comic duo. And both have fantastic taste in shoes.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Enough is Enough is Enough is Enough

Okies, so I've already had my say about this week's dances &c but there's no rule to say that I can't have a random rant every now and again. I plan to execute my right to rant (should be on the Universal Charter of Human Rights) right here, right now.

I'm upset about this week's results. Don and Lilia did not deserve to go (and no, I'm not just upset because we're not going to see any more of Lilia's fantastic costumes...) First of all, they shouldn't really have been in the dance-off. For that, I blame you, public. OK, that includes me I guess, because I didn't vote. But I do, oh-so-blame you oh-so much if you voted for any of the following:

1) Mark and Hayley

2) Andrew and Ola

I would add Heather and Brian to the above list but I don't believe anyone voted for them anyway so that would be moot.

Did Mark get votes because he decided to pull a pair of fishnets over his (admittedly fine) torso? OK, I can accept that. At least I can see the reason for it. But Mr. Smugness McSmug of Castle Smugley, Smugtown, Smugashire, SM1 6UG? Why Andrew got votes is beyond comprehension. I can only hope that he trips over his cape in the Paso Doble, lands head first into a front-row celeb, gets sued for ruining his/her fine Versace get-up, starts a fight with said celeb (oh let it be Marian Keyes - she'd eat him for breakfast...), ends up with two black eyes that even Clinque's finest cannot put right and puts us all out of our misery. But of course, all that would probably work in his favour...strike all that. I just hope you DON'T VOTE FOR HIM.

I'm also equally, nay MORE, angry at the judges. Craig, Arlene, Bruno - this one's for you. What the fleckerl were you thinking? Heather may have flashed her eyes and teeth but as Len said, Don's performance was far more polished. Don and Lilia made a lovely partnership and, in hindsight, I'm beginning to think that we didn't see enough of them. It was genuinely touching when they took to the floor for their last dance. But Len, you're not off the hook. I'm still annoyed about Lisa's fact, I became even angrier after watching the quick re-cap of the dance on the results show this evening. 9? Ridiculous.

A friend of mine, Paula, thinks that sometimes the judges decide who is 'good' and who is 'bad' before the celebrities even dance - and then, when they do dance, the judges are blinded by their prior assumptions. This could be said of Heather. Yeah, she did a great Salsa. Therefore she is 'good' - and a questionable Quickstep and a shocking Samba cannot shake that reputation. Well it's shaken it from my point of view, honey, and it's all shook up. Bored now.

Now I'm not one for change, so what I'm going to say now is very controversial. I think it's time to shake up (it's late, I'm running out of cliches) the judging panel. If Arlene truly is thinking of leaving, let her go. I don't think she has said a single thing of note or worth this year so far. I'm all for judges being from different dance backgrounds but I think now the show would benefit from another latin/ballroom specialist judge. And since Karen Hardy has hinted she may not choose to dance another day (well, series), I say get her in as a judge.

Next week I want to see something different. I want to see a wow-factor dance from Rachel and Wee Vincent. One more so-so, pretty but lacklustre performance and I'm going to get tired...I'm giving them one more chance because I'm in a generous mood (can you not tell?). I want to see fair marks for Lisa and Brendan - as I have mentioned already this week, if they're over-marked again, I'll start to smell a Roland. IT DID NOT DESERVE 35; IT DID NOT, IT DID NOT. I want to see Heather's hair crafted into some other strange out-of-date style. I'm thinking bee-hive. Why not? It might distract us from her terrible dancing. I want to see Cherie back at the top of the leaderboard with a decent song to match her beautiful dancing. I want to see Mark Foster and Hayley Holt out - I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. I want to see the sleeves ripped off Austin's costume...well, only if he's dancing latin, I'll admit that would look a little odd if he's waltzing. There is decorum to all this, yer know. I want to see Christine and Matthew carry on smiling (it so should be a film about them) like the happy little bunnies they are. If they're dancing the Paso though, the smiling might seem a tad bizarre - let's hop(e) they're doing the Viennese. I want to see Jodie go from strength to strength. She is cool. We like. I want to see John Sergeant dance the Paso Doble. Enough said. I want to see Mr Charming-Pants Chambers crank it up another notch...come on, I know Austin's going to be on top form (the sportsman spirit!) and I love the rivalry. I want to see Don and Lilia back on the dancefloor where they should be.

And I want to see Andrew Castle stuck in stocks being pounded by rotten tomatoes.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Dress Dis-arrr-sters and Dancing Dilemmas

All in all I thought last night was a tad disappointing. Several ridiculous music choices, bad costumes and crazy comments and scores from the judges made for an all-round near farce.

Clover's the main text this week as Frankie is probably stuck on a train somewhere at the moment...I'm sure she'll be adding the purple soon.
And here I am, free from the train and ready to comment on last night's utter random-ness...
Rachel and Vincent
In a night of hideous, yes hideous, costumes, this one stood out as being one of the most flattering - but so conservative. Rachel probably is holding back - she's not the confident little minx we thought she'd be and this performance and routine was just meh. So what? But this does make me like her more and I'd love to see her have a crack at the Paso next week.
I agree it was a disappointing performance, but I'm sure going first on such a hard week was part of it. I also rather liked her wiggle at the end!
Lisa and Brendan
I'm warming to Lisa a lot. She genuinely does lack confidence and she's genuinely concerned about the public's perception of her. Ok, Ok, she's genuine (note, she's not Kelly Schmuck...oops, I mean Brook). Lovely performance too. But 35 points? Ludicrous scoring AGAIN. Did they not see her posture and hold? At times she had her chesticles glued to Brendan as though he were covered in Uhu. If this happens again next week I'll start crying conspiracy.
Ditto on warming to Lisa and top points for the use of the word 'chesticles'!
Heather and Brian
Not good. And what was with the hair? Overall, much like The Three Degrees: barely lukewarm.
The Afro was the most interesting thing about it really, plus I was very disappointed on the colour of the dress. What was it not neon pink or turquoise or something!? I somehow have yet to warm to Heather and I think its the same for Brian, I just don't care.
Cherie and James
Craig, quit it with the niggles. This was better than Lisa and Brendan's - well it should have been and if it wasn't I blame the music. American Smooth isn't so much a dance as it is a STYLE of dance and with a style of dance there is a style of music. Stick to it and regardless of how bad you are, the audience will get caught up in the performance. Unless you're called Kate Garraway, I guess.
I agreed with Craig, just to be awkward, you got the impression James just didn't want to do an American Smooth. As much as I love the song it was not right at all and the choreography just seemed to be a repeat of her rumba posturing. Plus the dress was just odd odd odd.
Austin and Erin
Blah. What a shame. He looked like he was concentrating too much, that's all. Samba is tricky and it looked like a rotten routine to accomplish. I don't blame Erin for that (seriously, I don't...I'm coming over all soft...) because if I were her I'd have pushed him too. He'll be back to Viennese Waltz with a vengeance next week. Hopefully not too much is a waltz after all.
I know you want to blame Erin really. Like James I get the feeling she didn't want to do a samba so made the routine rather odd. Nice to see he isn't going to be teacher's pet a la Ms Bunton though.
Don and Lilia
Don is the very definition of introvert and, like Arlene, I saw him smile at the beginning at the routine and it made me smile and I thought 'hurrah!' and then he started thinking again - why do we have contestants with brains? - and it all became a little washed out. A possibility for the dance off but I truly hope he doesn't leave.
Well, I've just watched the results show...and was quite sad to see him go. I thought the dance was very sweet, probably to do with the endearing naffness of Barry Mannilow, and that he really had put the effort in. Nice frock too Lilia, well done, it was a tough week for dresses but you held your place at the top once more!

Mark and Hayley
Hayley's dress was the most hideous thing I've ever seen in my whole life. I've watched horror movies and been less repulsed. And poor was like watching Herman Munster trying to bat a fly from upon his nose. Kudos for spirit, however.
Every week I get the feeling there is less and less chance of Mark doing a final showdance in his swimming trunks. Hopefully a nice Viennese Waltz next week will help him regain control of those wildly flailing limbs.
Andrew and Ola
Are the Jordans having a competition this year to see who can use the most inappropriate song? I admit, sometimes a risk really, really works...but most of the time, no, and especially with a dance like the American Smooth. Part of its appeal is in the glamour and part of the glamour is in the music. Unlike Cherie's, Andrew's dancing couldn't save the routine.
I didn't think it was the most inappropritate song choice of the night, but yes, it should have been saved for a tango or something. After a promising start Andrew seems to have wandered into Dad Dancing territory and I don't think anything is going to bring him back sadly. Saying that, he has not humiliated himself like Fiona and Kate.

Christine and Matthew
I really liked this and I think it's because Christine's beaming smile just suited the Samba so much. It was nowhere near perfect but the music was appropriate, the costume bright and cheerful (though conservative AGAIN - and with hideous sleeves) and the dancing competent enough to make it an all round jolly good show.
Christine was indeed one of the few contestants that seemed to be genuinely enjoying herself and I think it added a lot to her dance. But yes, I spent most of the time shouting 'Sleeeeeves?! Why?!' to myself. Where were the feathers? The entire POINT of a samba is that you get to prance around with feathers on your bum!
Jodie and Ian
I think this one might have been my favourite - just because it was so unexpected. Jodie is extremely cool and this dance was lovely. GREAT song and very classy routine.
And what's more, I don't think they mentioned that she was tall once!
John and Kristina
I can't help but smile at these two. They are so cute. The routine made me smile too despite my head telling me that it was awful- oh, and it was so, so bad - my heart was just going awwwww!
It does indeed defy all logic, but I also thought Kristina did a good job in choosing a song that wasn't too quick and some cute choreography. Please give him the Viennese Waltz next week, I don't think I am quite prepared for John doing a Paso!

Tom and Camilla
Did you know Tom is getting married on Sunday? Really? Had you not heard? Ha ha. Oh I joke because I don't care. This was great (BETTER than Lisa and Brendan's so what was the scoring about, eh?) The only thing that disappointed me was that this was the prime (yet kitsch) opportunity to use the track 'Get Me to the Church on Time' from My Fair Lady. What a waste!
That would have been a step too far on the kitsch-o-meter I think. But best dance of the night all the same, even with Camilla being forced to wear a scary trouser-based outfit!

One last thing: was Arlene drunk?

Yes, as we have commented before she is slowly turning into Karen from Will and Grace.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Let’s Get Rrready to Rrrrrumbaaa!

Well I must say, there was a lot of chest on display this week! Everyone from the rumba-ing celebs, to the pros and even Tess seemed to have invested in a Wonderbra.

Anyway, two very hard and very different dances tonight; the physically-impossible-for-clumsy-people-like-me quickstep and the often cringe-worthy rumba. The stakes have been raised once more and expectations are very high…

Clover is in purple. Yet again. She keeps beating me. Not with sticks.

Christine and Matt

Lovely song choice, which I expected would make it in somewhere this series, but unfortunately mauled by the singers. However, even with that as a distraction I thought Christine skipped rather merrily in the manner a quickstep should be done. And top marks to Arlene for using ‘beige’ as a synonym for boring- she’s obviously been reading this blog!

I'm getting slightly annoyed by her coquettish batting-of- eye-lashes, but not too annoyed and think she's still quite a sweetie on the whole. I have the problem with quicksteps in that in my unprofessional opinion, blinded by the tricksy moves, I think they always look fairly good (we'll not talk about Kate) But, alas, the judges see what I do not see and I suppose, yes, on a brief second viewing it was a bit heavy. Dress average.

Jodie and Ian

Well after Ian’s slip on Wednesday's ITT about Jodie producing her breast rather than best, I thought we were going to get an eyeful when I saw her in that frock. Saying that, she looked stunning and I thought her emoting was really improved from last week. I think there could be a Gethin Jones-style breakthrough moment if she gets the chance.

Jodie is tall. Can tall people dance? But you know, she is tall. Thought she would be in the dance-off for sure - shows how much I know.

Heather and Brian

That is possibly the most delightfully camp dress I have ever seen in six series of the show! However, it didn’t really float my boat; to me it seemed like she was dramatically better at the beginning and the end when she was out of hold. And we go back to the chests with Len’s reference to her ‘upper portions’, wink wink nudge nudge…

Well, for starters she looked like a packet of synthetic strawberries packaged to be taken on a space-mission. But again, I didn't think the dance looked that bad at all. With all the swooping camera shots I don't suppose it's possible for the viewing public to know that she's not heel-leading. OK, the frame didn't look very elegant but I do feel for them in the quickstep because, to be honest, if I were skipping about at that pace, I'd be clinging on for dear life too.

Cheri and James

Ok, as much as I don’t like James I do have to say that was rather good! Simple and elegant and very lost-in-the-moment-esque. Who else thinks Cheri must have sort of ballet experience?

Oooh what a delight. And right now I'm just talking about the deliciously refreshing monochrome costume. She just looked so damned classy. What I liked most about this dance was its simplicity - I actually recognised some steps and that's so rare with the rumba. I am beginning to wonder if James and Ola are big Eva Cassidy fans.

Jessie and Darren

Darren once again picks a song that has the right tempo but has absolutely nothing else to do with the dance (remember last year’s Material Girl tango debacle?). And oh my word another reference to boobs! I agree with what the judges said; as much as I want to like Jessie, she’s not doing very well…

Poor dress - I don't know what all that was about. Poor dance. Poor Jessie. Though I think those tears were a bit fishy (in the sense of said fish being caught in a crocodile's jaws), I did feel for her a little (and I'm a cold-hearted biatch) because the judges were harsh. She was not half as bad as Kate or Gary or Fiona or squazillions of other contestants but they really laid into her. She went fair and square but I think the fearsome threesome (and Len) were meanies nonetheless.

Lisa and Brendan

The training footage looked very good on ITT and the performance certainly lived up to that. I thought it smouldered a bit more than Cheri and James’, but maybe it wasn’t as technically as good. Plus it’s always fabulous watching Brendan doing the rumba.

What the heck was this about? It was OK. No, OK, it was good. But they were waxing lyrical about her technique when I'm pretty sure her knees were bent most of the way through. This is not the way to rumba. Over-marked. (Note - I didn't pick the picture for this blog entry.)

Rachel and Vincent

Great dress, great song, great dance. I’m always waiting for these two to come on and Vincent just has a fabulous knack for fancy choreography- I don't care what Len says, I like extended openings! Can’t wait to see her take on the boys!

Oh they are so wee. And they are so cute. I haven't much else to say. I wasn't blown away but oh! they are so wee.

Group dance (don’t ask me to spell it!) R-U-E-D-A (I'm testing you next week.)

Wow, that was a number and a half! Loved the en masse lift at the end and also the costumes- Lilia once again gets the best, but Ola scored high too. I thought Mark was a bit behind everyone else despite the spectacular shimmy, but Tom was very good. Kristina seems to be turning a deeper shade of orange every week though!

Holy guapea! What was this? It looked like a total shambles. There hasn't been a Cuban-related crisis quite as bad as this since 1962. However, I think that was partly due to the fact that a rueda is never going to lend itself well to being filmed. I think they should have considered a fixed camera for this dance so we would at least have been able to admire the pretty patterns a cuban wheel creates - or should do, at least. Maybe even an aerial view would have worked! It looked like they had a mighty fine fun time though regardless of what it actually looked like.

Results Show

Bryan and Carmen - what a treat! Received at angry text message from Frankie about him being evil for ditching Karen for the German chick (is she German?) but even so, that was a cracking samba...could it be anything else? Loved the candy-coloured dresses in the pro-American Smooth...and the song, aces! 'Hello Dolly' - that really speaks to my inner showtune maniac (I call her Liza). Glad we didn't have to suffer the rueda again and it was lovely to see Ian and Camilla perform to Simply Red - sometimes I forget it's not the James and Ola and Vincent and Flavia Show.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

A Point About Pointing

Our assesssment of this week's dances...

Frankie is main text and Clover is in PURPLE again.

Austin and Erin
Now they bigged this up so much on ITT that I think I was just set up for a disappointment, especially with them dancing to a song from Hairspray. To me it was technically good but it didn’t have enough zing for me, it just looked like repeated hopping. Nice frock for Erin though and she’s stopped looking like she’s doing Riverdance when she jives.

Austin has a bad back. Really? Does he? I hadn't heard. Did love the dance however; it was far too good for a second-week attempt. Could Austin be this year's Bunton? By week four nobody really cared about her...Mais non, I think, like Alesha, Austin has personality and charm to carry him through too. I'm not an Erin fan (as you know - and I know I said I would cut her some slack so here we are...) but that was a super song choice and a nice zippy routine. I thought it had zing. Frankie's being a doughnut.

Mark and Hayley
Beautiful dress for Hayley, we love a bit of flamenco! And what a song choice too, it went with Mark’s serial-killer face rather well. Ok it wasn’t the best tango ever, but I think 5s were a bit harsh.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Zzz.

Gary and Karen
Deary me, Gary Rhodes might be a bad dancer but there was no need to put Karen in such a horrible dress! I hope he stays this week though so they can finally let him do some ballroom, it only seems fair.

Karen, Karen, Karen, now you know we love you, right? Look! You're top in our poll...just over there to the right. But, please, I beg you, please stop POINTING. I didn't notice this until my wonderfully Strictly-obsessed colleague Clare, um, pointed it out to me. She points at her partners, she points at the the merengue last week, she even pointed at her though to make sure that, we, the audience at home know what shoes actually are. Note, Karen, we do and we love. Not sure what the Quality Street wrapper dress was about either.

John and Kristina
Dress of the night, oh my word it was lovely! John’s great big grin for most of the dance spoilt the drama, but since the cuddly old man thing has become his USP it wasn’t the end of the world. Surely its time for some Latin next?

Looooooved the dress. John is such a sweetheart I don't think I can imagine him ever being able to pull off an authentic tango. But yeah, Frankie's right, if all goes well (and he definitely shouldn't be out this week although I do think he was over-marked) he will be dancing latin next - probably a paso doble or a samba. Now paso would be a problem but I can actually imagine him with a pair of maracas (he's old, we can forgive props) shakin' his thang to Ricky Martin or similar.

Andrew and Ola
I find Andrew quite endearing, which is rather odd for a GMTV presenter, but I don’t think I can excuse that utterly random headbanging! Poor thing, he swerved from looking like a vampire to being totally scared throughout. The song choice was a bit strange too; it could have worked as an instrumental but it was rather distracting with the singers going on about moving like cats and talking like rats…

Song didn't work. Don't remember much else about it.

Tom and Camilla
My favourite dance of the night! I loved how they looked like a team doing an actual routine, with a great song and outfits to match. Gotta love Camilla and her inventive moments with choreography and musicality. And she loves making her men slide around the floor doesn’t she?! Alas, not a Gethin Jones melting-trousers moment, but still rather good fun.

Now Camilla's another pointer, though not as much as Karen so we'll forgive her. I think Camilla was trying to recreate the magic of Gethin's jive last year but the magic of that was that it was unGethinlike. But definitely matched Austin - it's a two horse race at the moment the girls are going to struggle to catch these two fiercly competitive guys. Camilla likes fringy dresses, doesn't she? This one may be the fringiest yet.

Dom and Lilia
Dom’s pout! I don’t care what the judges said about atmosphere, his trout-pout ruined it for me. Saying that, another cracking routine from Lilia, who had a rather fabulous pair of shoes on too! Very nice way to throw the results show wide open…

Yes, he did look a little bit like a fish but I LOVED this. For starters, the Gotan Project's remix of 'Whatever Lola Wants' is one of my favourite EVER tracks so that made me sit there and go 'ooooooh' before a step had even been taken. I thought this was wonderfully choreographed and I'm glad CRH gave Lilia some praise for that (the girl is good - she made Dom Littlewood look OK for three weeks running - that kind of genius deserves New Year Honours) I wouldn't go crazy, Lilia fans, thinking that this couple could win however; of all the dances, I think this is the one that he was always going to do well. I can't see any others making the same impact - but on the strength of this they may stay in longer than we thought.

Group swing
Oh what a clumsy thing poor Jodie Kidd is turning out to be, I dread the poor girl doing Latin. I genuinely don’t think it’s because she’s tall but rather that she’s really heavy footed or something. Other than that I can’t really muster much enthusiasm for the group numbers anymore, I want more proper dancing!

What's wrong with group dances? I loved this and I agreed with Len - it was fantastic! Cherie seems to have taken to swing well - if she can manage the latin dances as well then she will go far. Jodie hmm, she's the only one who stood out for me - for bad reasons anyway - maybe because of her height, I don't know. It's a shame because I do still think she is seriously cool. No one really stood out apart from that and I see that as a good thing - that's what made the dance so great - it was a real formation team effort.

If I had my way I'd have two of Mark, Gary and Andrew in the dance-off - and Gary to go, I'm afraid. Shame for Karen - hope she wouldn't be too disa-point-ed ( ha ha).

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Worst of the Trots

Firstly, I must say that the entry title is courtesy of my friend Chris who refers to the foxtrot as thus, mainly because he has issues with the music. But speaking of blog entry titles, isn't it funny that the Sugababes sang 'Here Come The Girls' after Frankie entitled last night's entry the very same phrase? Sometimes that girl freaks me out with psychic dance the time she predicted Brendan and Camilla would dance a Bond themed showdance at the Eurovision Dance Competition...but really, Frankie, if you're going to predict stuff...surely it would be better to predict something a bit more, um...useful...? Lottery numbers? The weather? The outcome of global warming?

Anyway, this is just a quick entry about stuff that popped into my head whilst watching the results show this evening. I'm glad, as I'm sure you know, that Gillian, glad's the wrong word, but I think the right person went. I think Jessie deserved another chance and I'm glad ye olde public voted for her. I felt sorry for Jodie Kidd but, ah, next week's another week...well, it IS another week because they're not dancing for voticles for another fortnight now - and who knows what may happen between now and then?

I've warmed to the new pros. That showdance thingy-me-whatsit was fab-u-lous. I think I've definitely warmed to them more quickly than I warmed to James and Ola...which took me a long time...the ice-cold hatred I have for James' serial killer eyes is only just beginning to thaw - but, I tell ya, my pretties, it IS thawing. My friend Katy says that Cherie Lunghi looks like she smells her own farts but I think the Cherie/James partnership is simply charming (dahhling).

I did not know what to expect of Jill Halfpenny. I mean, it's four years since she won in spectacular fashion in Blackpool Tower Ballroom (the best of all the ballrooms...well, it's the only one I've ever danced in so I can't really comment from EXPERIENCE, but I'll go with the general opinion...) and she's had a baby, was clearly going to be out of practise and well, has Alesha to match up to now...but my gosh, if Alesha had been wearing socks, Jill would have knocked, nay BLOWN, them off. She really still is queen of Strictly. That dance tonight had all the energy of an H-bomb - but with slightly more pleasant consequences, naturally.

(I expect there will be some fierce comment appearing here soon from anti-Jillite, Frankie...probably in purple. But maybe ANGRY red. )

Just time for a little purple interlude...yes, I am indeed an anti-Jillite. Not because I think she was a bad dancer, but because I found her as boring as Mr Beige Darren and felt series two was made rather dull in places by the judges constantly going ON AND ON about her. Julian Clary was the first person to have a Strictly Journey and Densie Lewis was the first successful sportsperson but they've been all but forgotten! And if I see a clip of that Jive one more time on ITT I'm going to scream! Ok it was good, but we don't need to see it three times a week for the rest of our lives! *ahem* carry on Clover...

Can't WAIT for Marian Keyes on ITT this week. I LOVE Strictly...I LOVE Marian Keyes...I look forward to that five-minute slot ALL year.

Ditto, let's get her on as a contestant!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Here come the girls…

I am quite happily settling down to the fact this is going to be my life until Christmas, well, until January 2009 really since there’s also the tour!

So here we are with the real frock action kicking off with Tess in a dress that for once makes her look slim and young. This year the girls escape the rumba-quickstep nightmare and are given the comparatively easy salsa and the ridiculously hard foxtrot...

I'll be the fabulous purple text this time - Clover x

Jessie and Darren
I just can’t help it; I cannot get over Jessie’s hair- it’s like a Lego-man wig! Saying that, she does seem to have potential and I always love a girl who knows the power of eyes and teeth! Fours were rather harsh, there’s always the potential for a journey with Jessie- oh what fun they could have with alliteration- and I’m sure nice as pie Darren will help her through.

Oh how I felt for these two going first. Poor Jessie - it was a sterling effort and in previous years might have left them mid-table, but the standard this evening was very, very high, on the whole and I fear for them. If the public keeps them out of the bottom two, great, but if they are in the bottom two, I disagree with Frankie...I think the judges may let her go. Shame. Darren is nicer than pie by the way...what is nicer than pie? Cake? Darren is as nice as cake.

Christine and Matthew
Lovely dress, lovely girl, absolutely beautiful routine from Matthew! Foxtrot is a rock-hard dance to make them do first, so she must have a lot of natural elegance. It makes me ponder what she will be like at the Latin numbers, but for now we can bask in the loveliness of a girl being good at ballroom this early on. In your face Dominic Littlewood!

I love Christine. Bless her, she's so humble. She commented in a VT about feeling awkward next to Rachel Stevens, Jodie Kidd and Lisa Snowdon. Uh, hello, Christine, you're stunning too! And what a lovely foxtrot. The dance was deliciously elegant. I suspect too that she may struggle more with letting go in the latin dances; she comes across as fairly reserved and well, latin dances are so eyes-and-teeth I wonder if she can pull them off. I will look forward to her waltzes.

Lisa and Brendan
I am going to have to restrain myself from screaming “Who IS she?!” every week in a BB Nikki fashion…and I am also going down to the SCD studios to burn every single yard of that hideous grey fabric that keeps coming back to haunt us! The routine? Brendan never disappoints with snazzy choreography, but I didn’t really think Lisa was up to much, it felt like she was holding back a bit for someone who seems to have a lot of front!

I was not expecting this salsa to be so British. I know I have said I have found her annoying but I warmed to her a little on It Takes Two this week. I don't think she's the over-confident, faux-coy KellyBrookite I thought she was. I thought the dress was quite pretty though...

Jodie and Ian
That dress was really distracting; from a distance it looked like it had numbers sewn on it! I’m starting to like the foxtrot a lot this week though, maybe it’s the fabulous song choices. On the whole, I’m glad to see Iain managed to get another lady who can control her limbs, but that Jive is looming on the horizon next week…

Jodie is seriously cool. Her foxtrot was cool, but not seriously. It was OK, a good first attempt but didn't blow me away. C'est tout.

Heather and Brian
I do agree with Craig for once, Heather’s got potential and did pretty good but it did lack a bit of oomph. Nevertheless, is it just me who is amazed and impressed that she doesn’t seem to have aged a day in the past 10 years? Brian on the other hand looks freaky, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but he does.

Ooooh now this was a salsa. Note Brian's salsa moves compared with say, Monsieur Bennett's...the UK pros dance a kind of ballroom salsa's too, I'm sorry to use the phrase again, eyes-and-teeth...salsa should be less flashy, less controlled, less contrived. This was by far my favourite salsa of the night because it was rhythmical and natural. I agree, though, bless him, that Brian looks kinda freaky...kind of weirdly he isn't the result of evolution...that he was created for a 'Wallace and Gromit' movie or something.

Gillian and Anton
Watching poor Gillian look like she was going to burst out laughing all the way round the dance floor was great fun! And just what was that frock all about? I was waiting for it to make sense when the music started, but it didn’t! I am glad to see that Anton knows to play to Gillian’s theatrical sensibilities though and that they aren’t going for the comedy vote.

Now I think we were all expected her to be rubbish. She wasn't rubbish. People were surprised, including judges...this led, in my opinion, to her being over-marked (or am I just feeling sorry for Jessie?)

Rachel and Vincent
The Wee People are here! Best salsa of the night in my option; those turns were great and it’s fabulous to see Vincent get a chance to flex his choreography muscles once again. I’m actually looking forward to them doing a rumba after that opening. What a pair, they’ll go far.

Oh what a lovely wee pair they make! Finalists, surely?

Cheri and James
And this week’s Worst Song Choice Award goes too…ok, maybe I just don’t like the song but it just seemed to jar against all of the Hollywood numbers of the night. Alongside that, James ‘eyes of a killer’ Jordan needs to remember that arrogance has got him voted off the show twice before. Best dance of the night? Not in my opinion. It might have been technically good but it certainly didn’t hold my attention like Rachel or Christine. Plus we don’t give out 9s in week one Len, this isn’t Dancing With The Stars!

I LIKED the song choice! I love it when a contemporary number is thrown in. I thought this was LOVELY, from beginning to end. My favourite dance of the evening, and I usually find foxtrots dull (but to be honest, tonight was a feast of fabulous foxtrots...get that alliteration, Arlene...) I am disconcerted too by the early nines though - where can they go from there? - if we have tens in week three or four, well, the rest of the series might as well be cancelled.

Group Dance
Oh what a fabulous guilty-pleasure choice of a song! Highlights of the number for me included: John looking like a granddad at a wedding, Tom’s aeroplane arms, Don shaking it like a Polaroid picture, Erin doing Latin (it’s always hilarious) and Lilia’s dress! This dance didn’t really reveal a lot though, but then again group numbers rarely do...

Aled Jones flashback! Wasn't this the music for his cha cha cha? Highlights, yes, definitely Lilia's dress (I've said it before and I'll say it again - keep her in for the costumes!) and Don...I'm gutted the judges didn't mention him actually - he was ACES - could have given Matt Di Angelo a shimmy for his money. Austin looks as though he may be as fab at the latin as he is at ballroom, but I've worked it out: Matt Dawson's been coaching him for two years. That's clearly the answer. I think Hayley Holt looked awkward.

So who do I think is going to go? No idea this week actually, I have an inkling Jessie might be in the bottom two due to the curse of going first but I don’t think the judges would vote her out.

Who's gonna go?
I can't call it at all this week. Every single one has potential. If I had the choice I'd lose Gillian.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

One down...

So here begins the countdown to Xmas...because, you know, before we know (they know we know they know we know) we will be sitting down with our cups of tea and cheese rolls in preparation for the Strictly Come Dancing Final 2008. It doesn't bear thinking about, does it? But if it's anything like last year, time will fly by and we'll be back to guessing who will be on next year's show again.

Anyway...just thought would do a brief run through of the dances this weekend...

Tom and Camilla

Well, you know, I kind of agree with Craig in that it did seem a little smug, maybe even a little cocky. But that's not necessarily a bad thing and brought a little character to the dance. I actually thought that it was a really good first attempt, especially with it being the first of the whole series. Camilla looks like the cat who's got the cream. Yes, ALL the cream. And all the milk, tuna and tins of Whiskas. I'm not sure what her costume was about, however - I think the designers have been taking the course How to Ruin a Perfectly Nice Dress with a Random Bit of Green Chiffon 101. I hear it's popular.

Phil and Flavia

Now, here's a much better costume. Flavia's beautiful yellowy-billowy dress was stunning. Unfortunately, that's the only thing about this dance that was. First thing I noticed is that they do appear to be re-using music. I couldn't tell you who and when, but I'm certain that 'I Have Nothing' has been used for a waltz before...I do appreciate that there is not an infinite supply of popular songs written in 3/4 time, I just hope they don't get lazy and start re-using for other dances where it's not as necessary. Ah, the dance? I have nothing, nothing, nothing (ha ha) to say really. Apart from that Phil looked constipated throughout.

Don and Lilia

Poor Don; of all the celebrities, he's the one who looked most out of his comfort zone. He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a, um, something big? Let's go with a Toyota pick-up truck. And he tried...well, at least, I think he did. He hasn't got an obvious fanbase either so it's little wonder he ended up in the bottom two. All in all, it was a forgettable performance, and it is so unlike Lilia not to choreograph something magic. Even when she had the demon munchkin last year (WHO...the little SWINE...did you see him saying Don should pack his bags...? Isn't he supposed to SUPPORT his former dance partner...?!) she managed to create a little routine that suited him. Maybe Don's personality is just so far removed from the cha cha that it proved impossible. I think it's likely he'll be able to pull off a very credible tango though...being an actoooooor (note, not actor, actoooooor - there's a difference) an' all and I'm very glad we'll get a chance to see it.

Austin and Erin

Sorry, I missed it. I was blinded by Erin's teeth. No, I jest (although they are reminiscent of Ross' teeth) - this was a lovely dance and he's a lovely guy. These sportsmen, eh? You may have read before that I'm not a fan of Erin, but I have it on good authority that she's actually very lovely so I'm going to quit being nasty about her (it's only because she appears to take it so seriously anyway - and I guess that's her job). I wonder if Austin will take to the latin quite as comfortably as he has the ballroom (he looked as though he'd been doing it his whole life...) or if he'll end up going the way of pal Matt Dawson (ballroom A* latin C-). Nevertheless, this, on the whole, was just lovely lovely lovely from beginning to end.

Mark and Hayley

This waltz looked uncomfortable to me and that's because of the height difference between the two...he looked as though he were leaning over her at some points. And it was a forgettable dance, a forgettable song (country, ugh) but a memorable dress/hair-do (for all the wrong reasons...think extra from Strictly Ballroom). I don't think he's lacking in potential however. In fact, as we know, these sportsmen rarely come out like Austin Healey week one...Matt Dawson and Darren Gough certainly did not impress with their first week cha chas and look how they progressed. We don't know as yet what Hayley is like as a teacher etc but I must confess I have youtubed her dances for DWTS NZ and her own dancing does not seem up to the same standard as most of the other pros, but she is a ballroom specialist, and like Erin, may not seem comfortable doing the latin side but is more than capable of teaching it.

Gary and Karen

Oh dear dear dear dear dear. Dear. Oh, at least he looked as though he were having fun. And he really did. But, goodness me, what on earth was this? He looked like Mr Soft from the old Softmint adverts... when he put a foot on the ground the weight sunk to his knees and thrust his middle forward like someone trying to limbo. Poor Karen, who gets the prize for the sparkliest costume (as she quite often does...) tried to choreograph a fun routine and chose a memorable song (she's ace - we love her) but unfortunately, it was the BEST possible way. He'll be in for a week or two - maybe more - he may be this year's Kate. And Strictly needs Kates no matter what the judges say.

John and Kristina

Now people have been saying that he was going to be the first out, but why would he be? We knew he was dancing a waltz and there's no reason why he couldn't dance a waltz as well as anyone else. Problems will arise should he get as far as doing a latin dance - and he probably will get that far, though his next dance is tango, apparently. I just can't see him getting PAST a latin week...jive?! Can you imagine?! This was another song that I'm pretty sure has been used before too, but that's neither here nor there as it's a gorgeous one. In fact, I couldn't resist standing up and practising a whisk when they briefly ran through the routines at the end of the show...but enough of that... The judges were right, it WAS charming because he DID genuinely look as though he were caught up in the moment. Kristina, another new pro seems to have a little more oomph than Hayley, but again, we have no idea what she's like as a teacher/choreographer, and unfortunately for her, I don't think she's going to get much of a chance to shine this year.

Andrew and Ola

Well, clearly even if Andrew didn't win any votes, Ola's catsuit probably did. Yikes. She must have been sewn into that in an Olivia Newton-John like manner. I actually thought, however, that this was a well-choreographed routine and Ola was the only pro who chose a recent song and that did work well. Don't think Andrew was great, but as with Mark Foster, I think there is room for improvement. He's certainly not as bad as Kate or Fiona, but to be honest, that's not saying much. He's a bit of a housewives' favourite so he's got a few weeks in him even if he doesn't improve much - and if he embarks upon a j-j-journey then he could go far (

Group Cha Cha Cha

This was fun and it is nice to see that there isn't the big difference in ability between the boys and girls this year - a much more even playing field, I think. I think Wee Vincent and Rachel are going to be great - if they can win the public over with their partnership then we could be looking at finalists there. Jessie Wallace is clearly a big character (Letitia Dean 2?) and will possibly go far. One person the judges didn't mention standing out was Heather Small, who I think deserved a bit of praise and who I think may surprise us with her salsa next week (that is if she doesn't fall prey to GabbyLoganesque competitiveness and subsequent ELIMINATION). Christine and Jodie looked awkward but with group dances there is minimal practise time so nerves will have been playing a huge part. Gillian and Anton appear already to be going for the comedy vote (but there is Gary Rhodes to watch out for in that respect this year so Anton might want to change tack!) I do not like Lisa Snowdon.

Dance Off

I'm not at all surprised at the couples who ended up in the dance off. In the end though, I think Len made the right decision, because as I said earlier, I think Don deserves a crack at the tango. I think he'll really get into character and may even get past another week...who knows? Phil, on the other hand, I couldn't see him progressing much further. The thought of him dancing latin makes me squirm and luckily now we don't have to see that jive. Nonetheless, it is always sad to see the first person leave. A friend of mine just sent me a text saying that they shouldn't eliminate in the first week...I'm inclined to agree...let them do one ballroom and one makes all the hard work seem more worthwhile.

Looking forward to seeing the girls next week!

Friday, 19 September 2008

I see you shiver with antici.......pation!

The big moment is almost upon us, in 24 hours we'll have seen the new celebs teeter down that famous staircase...I can hear the band now, or is that the onset of some sort of Strictly-obsessed illness I have developed over the years?

Its time for the big moment, who will be instantly rubbish but equally loveable? Who will take us by surprise? Will we spot a winner? Most importantly...who will have the best dress?!

So its the *ahem* boys first with a cha cha or waltz. Thankfully John Sargeant is doing the waltz, but then again we shouldn't assume he should be going out first...

Turning to the girls, we have a group cha cha, which is a new innovation but I quite like it. It seems fair to give them something similar to the boys and I'd rather see a cute little cha cha rather than some daft watered-down swing-thing. Plus, it means more super-sparkly frocks!

So what am I betting? 2 to 1 someone cries, 5 to 1 someone falls over, 3-1 Bruno gets over-excited and leaps out of his chair and where will Bruce's jokes rate on the Stink-O-Meter? This would be so much better if I could actually understand betting odds...

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Pre-view de doo de do de doooooo

You may have noticed that Frankie hasn’t written anything for a while and you’ve just been subjected to my dulcet, um...typing? Or you may not have noticed at all – and you may not even care – but I’m going to apologise on her behalf and without her consent and say that she’s actually got to pretend to be busy and important for most of September, hence the lack of Strictly waffle (straffle? – ooh I like the word, though it does sound like a hybrid Germanic/Belgian treat). Nah, she’s gone to the seaside! You can take the girl out of Blackpool...and she heads straight for...Bournemouth?!

Well, on to the Strictly preview show. I actually squealed when the new credits burst onto my screen, a fair achievement given that I have a very sore throat at the moment. This is just a quick post really to divulge a few things that popped into my head whilst watching...

1) I do not like Lisa Snowdon. She is annoying.

2) Jodie Kidd is seriously cool.

3) Austin Healey seems like an extremely nice chappie.

4) Has Erin had botox?

5) Is it me or did they all look more ORANGE than usual?

6) Did I hear them say that Hayley Holt is a ballroom specialist? Interesting...

7) I haven’t really warmed to the new pros but I guess there’s plenty of time for that.

8) Wee Vincent and Rachel are so CUTE!

9) It could be Camilla’s year this year...and about time, bless her.

10) When do we find out what group dance the girls are doing next week, dammmmit?!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Ten Forgotten Gems

Ask anyone to name their top ten Strictly dances and the same ones appear time after time...such a list would usually consist of a mixture of one or both of Alesha’s Waltzes...maybe her Cha Cha too...Mark’s Salsa...Matt’s American Smooth...Jill’s know the story. So I decided to compile a list of fab dances that are sometimes overlooked...or forgotten for whatever reason, in the vain hope that they might be restored to grace as Strictly Classics. I also compiled this list because I have a rotten cold, am bored and depressed because I am too ill to go to my Salsa class. Sympathy very much appreciated.

Matt and Lilia's Waltz

Matt went from being ‘dull, dull, dull’ to dancing this beautiful Waltz that Len described as being ‘the best dance of the series so far.’ There have been many j-j-journeys on Strictly but Matt Dawson’s is still the one that sticks out as demonstrating the biggest transformation - yes, even more than Goughie...(controversial?) Unfortunately for Matt, he was out-shined (and out-glossed?) by Mark Ramprakash but Mark’s ballroom never quite made it up to this high standard.

Mark and Karen's Samba

This dance is overshadowed by the now-iconic Salsa and Argentine Tango routines, but this is a dance that really shouldn’t be lost in the Strictly wilderness...even if it’s just because of Karen’s wonderful hot pink costume and the camp-as-toasted-marshmellow music. This dance also signalled Ramps’ return after the previous week’s common disaster, also known as ‘Male Celeb Tries (and fails at) The Rumba.’

Louisa and Vincent's Quickstep

For a first dance, this was fantastic. It may not be technically accurate – and of course, she will always be remembered most for THAT jive – but this is so cuute! Wee Vincent sometimes made the choreography very difficult for Louisa and this is no exception – but, bless her little spangly shoes, she coped admirably.

Emma and Darren's Samba

Poor Emma, despite reaching the semi-final of series four, no one can remember any of her dances. At a push, people might remember her grimacing bull face in the (very good, actually) Paso Doble or even her Tango – though it’s more Mr Bennett’s genius selection of song that sticks out with that one. But this Samba is perky, fun and a very tricky routine for Emma to have mastered so early on in the competition. Its lack of kitsch perhaps makes it less memorable than some previous Sambas, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be forgotten.

Alesha and Matthew's Foxtrot

Alesha-the best-thing-since-Jill-Halfpenny- Dixon will be remembered for an electric cha cha and two beautiful waltzes, but who can forget her stunning Foxtrot which caused Arlene to gush (something she usually only reserves for Ramps’ hips) ‘you glimmer, you glitter and bring warmth to everything you do’ ? The poignancy of Alesha’s utter disbelief at the judges’ positive comments makes the whole thing all the more charming.

Aled and Lilia's Samba

Aled’s Samba in Blackpool Tower Ballroom is remembered fondly by many...if only for those hip-thrusts, which he apparently choreographed himself. No one who’s seen it can resist replicating those movements when ‘It’s Not Unusual’ starts blaring out of the speakers...But hips aside, this is actually a fairly good example of a Samba. Aled isn’t generally remembered as one of the show’s better dancers, which is a darned shame, as, uh, he was.

Letitia and Darren's Paso Doble

You’ve got to remember that Letitia was in the bottom two after her first dance (a notso hotso rumba, if I remember correctly) so to come out, only three weeks later, and dance like she danced in this Paso was a major achievement. This was the highest scoring Paso of the night and quite rightly deserved its very decent score – in fact, it deserved more, Mr Craig Grumpy-Horwood. If there were ever a competition solely for use-of-skirt, this would win hems down.

Zoe and Ian's Freestyle

Possibly forgotten because they had already left the competition when they performed it, Zoe and Ian’s Freestyle is a lovely mixture of dance styles and steps. It’s also possibly overlooked due to Zoe having two iconic, memorable dances (her Samba and Tango) and by the other contestants’ freestyle routines, which are remembered for oh-so-opposite reasons. For this was the year of Puppetgate, oh yes...I still don’t think Erin’s got over that. But I digress, in this Showdance, Ian looks as though he’s having the time of his life. That is until he falls over.

Gethin and Camilla's Jive

Yes, his ballroom was already exquisite and he had treated us to that salsa, but what makes this jive special is that Gethin looks as though he’s having so. much. fun. Camilla’s choreography is fantastic – I particularly love those slides on the accents, and no, I don’t get the urge to copy them whenever I hear ‘Knock on Wood’ ... honest... Peculiar hands aside, if he’d have danced this in the semis, he might have pipped Matt to the final.

Penny and Ian's Quickstep

Another Quickstep first dance to make my list but this was truly, and excuse the Arleneism, DELICIOUS (unless it was just Penny’s dress that made me think of Granny Smith apples...) Sometimes I think it was criminal that Penny left so early, but to be fair, her jive was criminal it all balances out. I really wish we had got to see more ballroom from this couple however. What a pretty-as-peaches- pair they made.