Monday, 27 July 2009

Which is which?

Can you tell the difference between a world-renowned choreographer and a fictional drunk? We can't either. We cannot disregard the fact that Arlene, though we are sorry to see her leave Strictly, did spend most of the last series with the same glazed over expression perfected by actress Megan Mullally for the part of Karen in 'Will & Grace'. And check out the pictures above: the biiiig hair, the boobage, even the subtle power-dressing...all a bit spooky, non?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Close Encounters of the Strictly Kind Pt. 2

Now I warn you already that this is not half as exciting as happening upon Brendan Cole at a random tube station on one's way to work (still jealous), but I thought I'd write a brief account of our experience at the Strictly Come Dancing Tour this year. Snooze, you might think...1000s of people enjoyed the same thing. Well, I'll wager that no one else had quite the same experience...

After an overly hot (hot, hot?) meal in Nando's at the Printworks in Manchester, we (we being me, Frankie, friend-from-work-Clare and Clare's ten year old ballroom dancing son) ambled over to the MEN Arena to get ready for the show. Note about Clare: I've been trying to get her to guest blog but due to the inconvenience of having three children and A. Life. I have yet been unable to convince her - but all you need to know is that she's a huge Strictly fan and somewhat this story will go on to illustrate.

We made our way to the seats (front row, floor seating, absolutely unbelieveable and to this day cannot thank Clare enough for getting them) and enjoyed the show, much like everyone else in there. Couldn't believe how close we were to the action, yada yada. It was coming to the end of the show, there all the dancers and celebs were, doing their final dance when Clare managed to catch Monsieur Bennett's eye and BEGGED him to come over and sign her son's programme. Darren looked pained, to be honest but the little darling stopped dancing and came over and hurriedly signed the programme. Most people would be happy with that, huh? Not Clare. What does one say when one is faced with a Strictly pro mid-dance? Congratulation on their performance, perhaps? Say how much you're a fan? But no, Clare blurted out: "CAN I KISS YOU???" and then, without waiting for a response, planted a sloppy on his cheek. He then dashed off to rejoin the troupe leaving her forever as the 'lady who grabbed Darren Bennett' (she was recognised by several women in the MEN toilets after the show...)

We have reason to believe that Clare is now on the Russian Mafia's 'Most Wanted' List.

* Note: See the picture above? That red blur is Darren Bennett running away after Clare's kiss. Le seriously.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Heard It Through The Grapevine...

It’s that time of year again when we’re all (and by all I mean me...and Frankie...and sometimes Clare at work) speculating about who’s going to be taking part in this year’s Strictly. Will Sharon O. take part? Will Alesha be any good? Will Darcey Bussell hijack the show, force them all into tutus and choreograph a routine based on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake? Who knows? But what I do know is that after professing all year that I do not care for such nonsense as this any more (last series was just too long and dull – I feel I should add a ‘dahhling’ there – and there might have been good dancers but no real personalities and well, Sergeantgate, just don’t get me started...) I’ve actually found myself getting quite into it all again. I’ve even joined us on Twitter, something that scares and confuses ye olde Frankie, and am tweeting along with people who seem to know a darn lot more about the show than I do.

So let’s take a brief look at some of the rumours floating around the ether. The one regarding Sharon Osbourne keeps popping up to bite us on the bottom, doesn’t it? Even Kelly’s speaking to the press saying how much she’d like her mum to do it. What concerns me about this most is that Sharon will find it extremely difficult to dance a quickstep whilst clutching on to her wee doggies – does she ever put them down? Perhaps that will be a factor in her decision making process. Perhaps her dogs will dance. Probably would do a better job of it than Kate Garraway. Bless.

I’m not going to count any rumours about reality TV ‘stars’ such as Nikki WHO IS SHE? (ironic, huh?) Grahame from Big Brother. These little gems pop up year in, year out. Like last year: Chanelle and Charley for Strictly! Uh, whatever. Talk to the hand because the face is laughing right back at yours. If she does take part I actually will eat my socks. Seriously. The nice ones with cupcakes on them.

I heard /read somewhere that Geri Halliwell may be taking part. Obviously Craig and Bruno would be fawning over her (a la Bunton) regardless of whether her dances have any character (a la Bunton) I’ll admit she’ll probably be technically very good (a la Bunton) but ugh, she’s so annoying (a la Bunton). Geri always did have a bit more oomph than some of the other Spicies, however, so that might work in her favour. But Ben Shepherd? Nonsense. He’s too experienced a dancer. That would be like having Apollo Anton Ohno on that-show-what’s-the-same-but’s-on-ice-innit.

Chris Moyles. Fat. Probably won’t get very far. Team him with Smug Erin aka Smerin or Eg. I’d quite like that. (Oooh, she thought she had it in the bag again last year, didn’t she? Glee. ) Kara Tointon, the one who did the Sports Relief Strictly thing that I missed because it was, like, uh, the only thing the BBC didn’t put on iPlayer, is quite a possibilility and would fill one of the the places reserved for the Eastenders. The only other one I’ve heard is Carol McGiffin. Now, someone I know really hates her and I can’t quite think who it is. It might be Frankie. So, sorry, honey if it is you. But don’t worry, I only read that rumour on the Digital Spy forums and have no idea of its original source.

Pro-wise, we know we’ve lost Camilla and probably Hayley Who (though she lost us the moment she stepped onto the floor with her bland choreography and wooden dancing.) Rumour has it that we’ve lost the lovely Karen (someone read it on Brian Fortuna’s mother’s best friend’s sister’s pet rabbit’s uncle’s blog). She didn’t seem herself last series and we hardly saw her at all the year before so it’s hardly surprising if she has decided (or it has been decided for her) not to take part. But she should be a judge. A JUDGE, goddammit. Love you, Karen.

So that’s all I’ve gathered so far and, if it’s anything like last year, it’s all a pile of codswallop. It can’t be long now until we find out though...still got my fingers crossed for Clarkson. Yeeeeah right.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Warning: Rant Imminent

Well, first of all I'm after sympathy. I'm writing this purely with my left hand as my right thumb was aggressively savaged by...a mirror. You might not believe me that the first thought that went through my head went I saw the (horrific - you could see the bone, I swear...) injury was 'Oh God, I need that hand for salsa!' but it's truestory. So, if you can find it in your hearts to send out some wee little kind thoughts to my injured digit, I'd much appreciate it. So, rather than dancing myself, I've been forced merely to speculate on this year's forthcoming Strictly series instead (though I actually did go to salsa class anyway and still had fun laughing at gratuitous hippage of a thou-shalt-not-be-named old salsero...but less of makes me sound more bitchy than I am...ish ).

Soo, Strictly, eh? Am I pleased that they've replaced Arlene with Alesha? Ha, no. I think it's more ridiculous than the thought of Jeremy Clarkson joining the Royal Ballet and declaring himself 'partial to the French.' Frankie's too kind. I kinda agree that it's not Alesha's fault and yes, she is going to spend most of the series having to defend herself against hateful cynics (like moi) who think it's a travesty she's even allowed to touch the paddles. But what qualifications does she have to judge? Being a contestant is not enough - surely that's a no-brainer. To ditch a world-renowned choreographer for a mediocre pop singer (sorry, but it's true - she ain't no Beyonce...) is ludicrous. And yes, like Frankie, if I had to choose a judge to go it would have been Arlene. Last series very little of what she said made much sense and she does appear to slowly but steadily be morphing into Karen from Will & Grace. To replace her with Alesha though, is silly. It would have been far more sensible to replace her with Karen Hardy who is, after all, a trained ballroom and latin judge and is just as big a personality as Alesha - and no, perhaps she's not as 'glam' or as famous, but Strictly's a show where that doesn't matter...who honestly had heard of Len, Bruno or Craig before 2004?

The BBC is promising even more changes and rumours are rife as to what they will be. We know we will have to expect at least one new pro as Camilla left. I'd be surprised to see the return of Hayley Who who made less than an impact last series too. Perhaps they'll cut out some of the older pros - could it be the end for Darren and Lilia? Karen? Matthew? Ian? No, they'll keep Ian as he's useful for the very tall ladies...and Anton and Brendan are too big a part of the show to go... aren't they??? All I know is that there are sixteen celebs all waiting to be primmed and propered, glittered and glamoured, sequinned and sexed-up. My attention waned last year and my enthusiasm fizzled out. My expectations for this series are low...which means it could turn out be an absolute gem. But the cynic in me isn't so sure. Come on BBC, prove me wrong!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Strictly...but not as we know it...

After weeks of speculation the beeb finally confirmed that Arlene is out and Alesha is in! We can safely say this year's Strcitly is going to be rather different.

This is just a Frankie-rambling for now, Clover will be here with a much more entertaining purple-tinged tirade once she has regained the use of her thumb.

Of course opinions can change in time but the first reaction is a BAAAAD one. Let me say right from the outset that I do like Alesha as a person and a dancer and always have done. But I get the feeling the BBC are taking the X-Factor competition a little too seriously...There is a perception out there that SCD is the show for families and not cool young things (but then again, how cool is the X-Factor anyway? who actually buys those god awful records?), so I can see why they have gone for Alesha. But in my opinion, what people sometimes see as an old fashioned nature in SCD to me is part of the show's class and charm that puts it above X-Factor. Strictly is pure entertainment whereas X-Factor is always trying to 'keep it real' (and usually failing).

One thing I can say however, is that if you had forced me to say one judge had to go I would have chosen Arlene. She just did not cut it for me last series; very few of her comments were actual criticism and instead seemed to be rehearsed soundbites more bothered with alliteration or a topcial reference. Her years of experience seemed to be going to waste. OK, Bruno might just shout and get over-excited but at least he's showing his passion!

Another thing that concerns me is that it will make the series all about people bitching about Alesha. No matter what she says or does people will complain about her. Yes, she doesn't have the experience of the other judges but we are just going to have to deal with that. She does at least know how to win the show, which is what all the contestants are after anyway! If there could have been any other replacement judge it should have been our favouritest dancer of them all...Karen Hardy!

The only thing I have left to say about the upcoming series is...SHARON OSBORNE?!