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.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


Deja-vu? Almost.

I watched in anticipation, hoping that there might be a little sense to this year’s competition after last year’s fiasco... I am not allowed to watch the Song Contest whilst under the influence of alcohol as I get very upset and um, vocal about the way countries vote – Frankie will attest to this, having endured the very spectacle. The dance competition last year brought on similar feelings...and this year, to be frank, was no exception...

I thought the addition of the judges would bring a wee bit o’ common sense to Glasgow but alas, that was not to be. First of all, Denmark...what the heck? It was an exquisite dance with a lovely interpretation of adding a ‘national element’ – but, oh dear, it wasn’t ballroom and it certainly wasn’t latin. Hence, broken rules. Hence penalisation? Nope, it’s Eurovision...ergo full marks from judges. It might as well have been Bruno Tonioli dishing out the marks. Rules? Pah!

Wee Vincent and Louisa put on a great performance and had a great song. It was a tenuous national element, but more than some countries. My mum did point out, uncharacteristically wittily, that the VT of rain playing behind Louisa and Vincent could be seen as our ‘national element.’ Personally, if I had voted, I would have voted for the Ukrainian couple, despite the madder than Karen Hardy grins. Lilia Podkopayeva danced a very precise-looking jive (though if you want a laugh, find the clip on youtube of her dancing a cha cha cha to Bananarama’s classic hit – ‘Wenus’) though, of course, her gymnastic training will have given her an advantage over most celebs.

The winners, Poland, were actually pretty good. So, as Len said, it wasn’t a travesty that they won...but there was no obvious national element...unless you count dressing in the colours of the Polish flag, which, when I think back to last year’s competition, they did the same thing then. Don’t understand the point of having rules and guidelines if there’s not going to be any punishment for breaking them. It’s like saying, oh well, we’d rather you didn’t take drugs before an Olympic 400m relay, but if you do, never mind, you can still have the gold...

On the whole there was too much Tango and Paso. The evening consisted of very little cha cha and absolutely NO samba. Hey, I know Brazil didn’t enter but surely someone could have thrown something in...most countries had little or no regard for the ‘national element’ requirement anyway. It kills me that Austria AGAIN didn’t seize the opportunity of dancing a Viennese Waltz to Strauss or similar...they have an obvious standard ballroom dance on a plate. Though, on the whole, it was nice to see a few bits and pieces of ballroom dance thrown in here and there as usually these things are dominated by latin.

Zee ‘Winkel’ Man Graham and Claudia Winkelman put on a good show, apart from the fact that Claudia was wearing an extremely ‘winkel’ dress which unfortunately did not suit her. (Note: ‘Winkel’ means ‘little’ in Eurospeak, the official language of Eurovision.) Another thing that struck me as bizarre was that I’m sure I heard them announce that Alexander Litvinenko was dancing...I assume un-thaliumed and raised from the dead. And what were the Dutch thinking in letting the guy sing? Whoever thought of that was clearly high at the time.

The most interesting thing that came out of the competition, however, is that there is actually such thing as a Finnish Tango. You learn something new everyday...

Hello everyone, Frankie is using the purple this time. Just a little aside from me, as I had the genius idea of taping the contests and watching it back the next day whilst fast-forwarding through all the rubbish VTs. Anyway, I agree that the judges were rather odd, particularly as there was one from Singapore called Gladys! What is the world of dance coming to? Speaking of judges, Len Goodman is obviously going for the title of Next Terry Wogan. Classic comment of the evening went to Greece: "Is their national element the hummous-coloured outfits?" Oh Len you are a god, I can't wait for you get to hold of the new celebs.

So yes, Lousia and Vincent put on a very good show and did rather well for the UK (ie not last). All in all a decent way to spend an evening while we wait for the real thing to come back. So, do we think this means we could have a third contest next year..?