Sunday, 27 September 2009

Simon Says...

Poo to you, ITV. We have our very own Simon and he's set to put Mr Cowell to shame. So here we are, with the first instalment from our guest blogger, Simon Grogan, ten year old, ballroom dancer and Strictly Come Dancing expert.
"Now I've seen everyone dance I have come to the conclusion that it is going to be a good competition this year. Zoe Lucker especially surprised me. She did a very good waltz but her rumba was even better. Ali and Brian performed two amazing dances last week, maybe I think the two best dances of that group. Their waltz was very romantic and she looked like she had been dancing for years. I have done the waltz in my dancing lessons and think that the steps are simple but the dance itself has many specific things to perfect, which makes it harder.

Laila and Anton are one of my favourites, from watching SCD from the start, I know that Anton has had many dreadful partners, (not Patsy Palmer she rocked!) It's nice to see Anton having a fantastic partner to dance with at last!!!! I personally think that Laila's best dance was the cha cha cha even though the judges dont agree with me, I thought she did really good new yorks and had nice strong arms. I have high hopes for Laila.

Craig Kelly was my dad's best friend for a long time so I better watch what I say. I thought him and Flavia have a good connection, I especially like the Tango it gave a very interesting twist to the dance which I think is always fun as it makes it more exciting to watch. I was very relieved that Craig went through! So Craig if you are out there and have read this please consider me to be on the guest list ;)

So my best dancers so far are Laila and Anton but I dont mind who wins, they are all brill. The worst dancer was Richard Dunwoody who is now out!

At the moment I am learning the jive and formation cha cha cha. I am hoping to find a dance partner who is the right size for me and who wants to go far in their dancing because I want to be on Strictly one day! I have just got 3 highly commended dances for the quickstep rumba and samba so I am very happy about that!

That's it for me today folks but make sure you look out for more Simon says..."

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Woeful Lack Of Lilia

[Plea] Frankie and I both have commented that the previous two series have suffered from a dreadful affliction known as L.O.L. aka 'Lack of Lilia' - the reason this has such an adverse effect is two-fold. Firstly, she has the best costumes. Usually. Think Candyman jive (just don't think about her partner whilst doing so.) Secondly, we all fell in love with Aled and Lilia, Goughie and Lilia, Matt and Lilia - we just want to recreate that giggly magic. Come on BBC, if Darren and Lilia are in next series, pleeeease give her a goodie.[/Plea]

So tonight's dances...? Here goes:

Phil and Katya

Tufty, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and really quite charming. Not a great cha cha cha technically by a long shot, but so what? I like there to be room for improvement. Reasonable room, that is. Darren Gough was a ballroom whizz but struggled in the latin - and look how far he got. Clare-from-Work says his style reminds her of early Ramps, if not as natural - maybe there's something in this cricket lark. Loved the fringing on Katya's dress. The costumes are first rate this year.

Craig and Flavia

Oh we do love a local lad. But it didn't move me (the spider that promptly scuppered into my lap during this performance did, however. In fact, it moved me rather quickly, but that's another story...and completely irrelevant) There didn't seem to be much chemistry here - but then was I comparing this to Flavia's last rumba on Strictly which was hoooot (that's hot, not a hoot) but then that was with Matt and well, ahem.

Laila and Anton

Notable non-waxage aside, I didn't think this was all that bad. In fact, I enjoyed seeing recognisable cha cha steps for a change. But therein lies le problemo. Anton. Not only does he look strange dancing latin (I'm sorry fans but he does) he seems to struggle with choreographing latin routines. It was too meh. This is why I've never been too fussed that he's been given duds - give him a good one and he could ruin her chances of making the final. Loved the song choice though. Kitsch, old-school, darling cha cha cha. And the peacock coloured frock was to die for.

Zoe and James

James I've-Stuck-My-Fingers-In-A-Plug-Socket-And-Come-Out-Looking-Like-A-Billy-Idol-Wannabe Jordan has the knack of choreographing scrumptious rumbas. Cherie's last year was a delight - this one, even more so. Len might not like it slutty but this worked. Though a nice song choice, I couldn't help myself from thinking about Bridget Jones and wondering if Zoe should have danced it in 'scary stomach holding-in pants, popular with grannies the world over...' Yer know, for characterisation purposes.

Jo and Brendan

Jo Who? Jo Shouldn't-Have-Got-Through. Perhaps I'm mean but I still don't think she deserves to be on the show. See, I wasn't even going to mention these two, was I? And now I have and am annoyed at myself. Kind of feel, though, that I should comment that she was dressed as 'the toffee one' from a tub of Quality Street.

Richard and Lilia

'Queen of costume' Lilia sparkled in a spangly little thing. But as for the rest? Oh dear. Richard, clearly never ever ever going to be a dancer did the best impression he could of a Duracell Bunny. If that was what he was aiming for, then all credit to him. Alesha made a point here though about his great attitude and 'that's what this show's all about'. She's right. Good for her.

Ricky and Natalie

I was torn between thinking this was absolutely marvellous (that's for Clare) and thinking it was slightly odd. Len, as always, hit the nail right on the head (ouch!), talking about light and shade and all that cal. There is huge potential here. Huge. But so early on makes us bored, doesn't it? I have to say though, that even if he does get a little boring, I do oh-so love watching him dance. I can't think why.

Natalie and Vincent

Nat and Wee Vincent performed a charming little cha cha cha. I really liked this and I really like her. She did a wee solo spot on her own at the beginning and that is veryveryvery brave. She's a real showgal and with a 'I've got a bum on me! Let's move it!' attitude, is bound to win public support. Again, not technically great, but full of vim and vigour (tragically under-used words in my opinion) - just as long as she can keep control of those nervies. Clare (not-from-work, another one) doesn't agree, but each to their own, eh?

LOVED the pro Paso Doble - mostly for the swooshy skirts and LOVED the pro Quickstep. Did you see Natalie Lowe go? I think we might have ourselves a new Queen of Ballroom. Erin, this is a tough one to crack, my gal. The dance-off result was a no-brainer really. Shame but true.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Ballroom Blitz - the sequel!

Roll up, roll up! Here we go again with another go on the Strictly dancefloor, 8 new couples, anyone else getting a touch of deja vu?

Natalie and Vincent
So it's Natalie that draws the short straw and goes first (or is it, if the dancing first paradigm plays out once again?). Brillaint choreography from Vincent, it reminded me of the vintage Anton-Patsy Palmer tango from many years ago. But was it just me or did Natalie have a sudden freakout face-pulling moment halfway through? That was probably the dreaded I'm-standing-on-my-frock-oh-crap moment we all have nightmares about. All in all a rather promising start.

Zoe and James
Loving the VT footage of James 'eyes of a killer' Jordan, not loving his Gary Rhodes hair. And omg what a horrific choice of music! Thankfully Zoe seems to have natural grace in buckets (not a very graceful metaphor I admit). The judges were right; simple elegance. However, two eights seems a tad extravagant, maybe it's just because I don't get the technical side of the waltz.

Craig and Flavia
The magic of television means Craig was having a bust-up with Rosie Webster on the other side, good to see the fellow Lancastrian can multi-task. Fabulous dress for Flavia, genius song was all going so well until they got into hold! And I think we need a psychological study of the effect of nerves on the men's mouths! I wouldn't write Craig off at this stage, he certainly has potential even if he didn't shine tonight.

Richard and Lilia
And here we go with the horsey jokes, are you ready for a full series of them? Lilia looks like a pocket princess, Richard looks like he's glad its over. I can only describe the judges' reaction as a good-natured savaging. He wasn't as bad as Joe, but I don't think it looks good for Richard.

Laila and Anton
I still can't get over how amazingly fabulous Laila's pink dress in the promo footage is. Let her wear it in the show! Saying that she got a pretty good dress tonight too, lucky thing. And thank god Anton gets to flex his ballroom muscles with some proper choreography for once! Beautiful pivots, I myself did not notice this alledged limp hand and like Len i'm not bovvered.

Tufty (his official name on this blog) and Katya
Poor Mr Tufty started to look more and more nervous as the dance approached, but overall it really wasn't that bad- who would have thought?! He seemed as surprised as the rest of us too! Is Phil in fact the dark horse? If Len says you have the best footwork then you're on to something...

Jo and Brendan
I know she isn't really famous for much else, but do we really need to know the ins and outs of her marriage in the opening VT? Nevertheless, for once the dress department managed to dress an older woman rather well AND she got some foxy shoes! I normally don't like tangoes to that sort of music, but Brendan certainly made it work and it was a great routine. Too bad it looked like she and Brendan were doing different dances! Saying that, a three from Craig was harsh.

Ricky and Natalie
Like last week, the most hyped contestant comes last. Loving Natalie's use of brooms and elastic bands in training, we do like a creative pro! Very prolonged start, I know all of you sitting at home were thinking 'oooh Len won't like that!' and I also know you all gasped at the stumble. Thankfully Len didn't go on about it and started heaping on the praise, seriously a nine in week ONE?!

Group dance - Wacko Jacko spectacular!
Karen Hardy works her magic once more, I think that was one of the best group dances I've ever seen on the show (next to the Jitterbug and Dirty Dancing medlies). Craig was right that Joe looked like he was in the room with us. Ricky's moonwalk was indeed fab, but he does only seem to be able to dance with his mouth open. And hurrah for ravishing Rav! I also can't explain it, but Chris is just such a likeable dancer. As a final note, loved Ali's dress, she looked like Little Boots!

Well, that's me for tonight. No idea who is going to go at this stage, as we know you can't always rely on the bottom two! Clover will be with you for the latin tomorrow!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Latin Fever

So here we are again, SCD two nights in a row. The BBC are really spoiling us this year! After the graceful and not-so-graceful ballroom of last night we now kick off the latin!

Jade and Ian
Well, if you have to go first then you might as well do it in the spangliest, bestest dress of the night! Also a fabulous song choice from Ian, she seemed really into the whole thing. Plus the splits at the end made me gasp, how do people do that in Week 1 without doing themselves an injury?! Obviously it wasn't perfect, but really glad to see her going at it so early on.
Ali and Brian
After last night's beautiful performance, the Barbie and Ken of the ballroom (I mean that in a good way) had a lot to live up to, but never underestimate the power of a fringed frock. Was really impressed to see Ali looking confident out of hold so she really does have potential. Not sure about the whole posing vs non-posing debate - to me you can't have a rumba without posing!

Lynda and Darren
Sleeves, sleeves, sleeves! For heaven's sake am I going to have to spend the whole series going on about the unnecessary use of sleeves again? Thankfully a genius song choice from Darren, but it couldn't jolly along the whole thing along for me. Seriously though, she got a whole series of steps wrong. As lovely as she is, she shouldn't stay in for weeks on end just for being Lynda.

Rav and Aliona
After being unfairly battered last night I really had my fingers crossed for Rav's rumba, especially as it is so hard for the men. I was not disappointed and I am glad Len came to his rescue after Craig having one of his marathon moans. Too bad about the random scoring from the judges. I also think I am quite liking Aliona with her song choices and choreography. And yes, hurrah for fun facts about waist-thigh ratios!

Chris and Ola
Personally, I could not see what the fuss was about with the tango last night, but wow I was impressed by this rumba. Whoever thought a sports presenter could act a rumba like that in week 1! Ola didn't even need to be half-naked for it, although I did waste some time pondering what percentage of her bum was on show (about 60%?). Either way this is now the surprise team to watch for the next few weeks.

Joe and Kristina
Ask yourselves dear viewer, is it worth your licence fee to watch Joe Calzaghe walking around a dancefloor? Rigor mortis was a bit harsh, but I am missing this potential Len seems to be seeing. I don't want to be mean and I am sure Joe is trying really hard, but I am starting to wonder why he signed up for this.
Martina and Matthew
Oh the alliteration; it's so much fun and sounds like an 80s pop group. Anyway, still not too sure about Martina but I can't quite put my finger on why. I thought she looked a bit stiff but other than that there doesn't seem much to say. Rather idea why Alesha got that 7 out.
Ricky and Erin
Oh my word look at Erin's outfit, it's like the Flintstones meets Austin Powers and yet I somehow love it! I was really hoping Erin would play on his cheeky-chappie reputation and I think they stayed just on the right side of comedy. The most entertaining routine of the night by far and glad to see the judges appreciated it. In the words of a recent post of ours, Ricky has well and truly embraced the sparkle!
Just as an aside, I totally LOVED the Sweet Charity Medly, it's such an under-rated musical and the pros were on fire. I hope the new format of the shows means we get more treats like that throughout the series. Plus, got to love Camilla and Tom's showdance, especially for Camilla's mad dancing faces that I am going to miss so much this series (along with Karen's, I hope some of the new female dancers are crazy face-pullers!).

As ever, the two worst people are not in the dance-off for week 1. Craig was right that both couples improved during the dance-off, but very glad that Rav stayed. As you can see above I was not particularly excited about Martina and both Rav and Aliona seem to have so much to give. Well this has got everything off to a very exciting start!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Ballroom Blitz

So here we are yet again at the beginning of another Strictly series. It's been decided that this week I'll be blogging the ballroom and Frankie will natter on about the latin tomorrow - and then next week, we'll swap (I hope...we haven't discussed it but I want a latin week...hmmm...) I'm not going to talk about the show in general (that is, what we think of Alesha, new pros etc) as I think that deserves its own post. Sooo, fer now, on to business:

Rav and Aliona

First on, so will he make it to the final? It's really too early to say. Despite clearly suffering from Andrew-Castle-Bottom-Syndrome, it wasn't all bad. I think it's a tad unfair to judge the tangos and waltzes equally as, though you my disagree gentle readers, a waltz is so much easier to pull off, don't cha think? But Aliona, my my, an illegal lift? Do we have ourselves a Bad Girl of Ballroom to rival Brendan? About time too.

Ricky and Erin

Erin's characteristic steely determination overshadowed gawky Ricky in the training footage. You can't knock the girl for trying. Well you can, but it upsets people. True story. Anything I could have said about the dance was completely disregarded once I realised just where I knew that song from. The theme tune to 'Birds of a Feather'?! All I can think of now is 'waddle-eye-dooo' and something about a ghost called Smym.

Chris and Ola

Some say (on Twitter, which I have just been reading) that this was the surprise of the night. Perhaps it was. I personally thought it was a wee bit robotic but then, surely it was the best tango of the evening (Face it, the others sucked. Huge time) Kudos for the dress, Ola...and glad to see you kept the head-banging to yourself this year (one at the beginning and one at the end) instead of inflicting it on your poor celebrity.

Jade and Ian

Ian in BFF mode again. He's a true little gem of a friendly chap, isn't he? Jade looked like a Disney Princess in pink and I wouldn't say it was a bad job at all. But the song? I don't object to the fact that it's been used before but I do object to the fact that I am sick to the very back of my back teeth (wisdom teeth?) of it. It is the most over-played track at my ballroom class and half way through poor Jade's routine, all I could imagine was dancing-teacher-Jason's booming voice going 'PRACTISE WALTZ!'

Martina and Matthew

Has the BBC stolen Jason's CDs? Yet another over-played waltz track at my class. Martina scrubs up well, looking considerably better all glammed up than on the court...but then one would, wouldn't one? Again, a nice dance and I'd guess some potential? Gah, I'm pretending I care. Ya can't tell nuffin' from a waltz. I mean, John Sergeant's was decent, wasn't it?

Lynda and Darren

I'm with Craig on this one. I was bored. I liked the song choice but, uh, that's about it. The most exciting thing to happen in this dance was the text I received from Clare-at-Work exclaiming 'I'VE KISSED HIM!'

I'm issuing a side note in warning to Alesha. 7? Don't play games, Missy. It won't win you any favours. No more twee and fanciful voting please; it's patronising. Frivolous voting doth not a happy Clover make.

Ali and Brian

This really was quite lovely. Ali appears to be quite lovely. Brian is quite lovely. Lovely can be lovely. Lovely can be dull. The fringed shoulder pads on Ali's dress made it look as though she'd got lost on the way to Dallas - and did I see Brian welling up at the judges' comments? Bless.

Joe and Kristina

Eagerly anticipated, tough-guy-goes-ballroom, bookies' favourite...? Well, it really was quite hideous. I think Kristina had a better first dance last year. Joe was prowly in a Kenny-Logan-Does-Paso kind of way and, on the whole, didn't do very much at all. There was so much wrong with it that Len didn't even comment on the fact they broke hold in the middle - and we all know how much he likes to comment on that. Joe did look terrified however and that can't have helped. As a sportsman, I'm sure there's more in him.

Group Mambo

There was so much going on there it was very difficult to pick dancers out, though out of the corner of my eye, I did thunk I spy a gyrating Ricky Whittle? Am I right? Shirley Ballas is one tough cookie - makes Arlene seem like a fwuffy pussy cat. I liked the rueda moves but I think they were dancing on one? In tribute to the passing of Patrick Swayze this week, I will end on a quotation:

"You don't step on the one. You gotta start on the two. Find the two. Understand?"

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

10 Sure Fire Signs You're A Superfan

You’ll always watch Strictly no matter what the line up is because you love the pros more than the celebs. You even love the the pros you hate. You even love the pros you don’t remember because they had the charisma of a kumquats. Hayley Who?

You have enrolled in ballroom dancing lessons. That is, in your quest to be the next Erin Boag, you willingly and happily spend your time being taught foxtrot by some old chappie with hearing aids (and therefore an incapability to count to the beat) and who smells faintly of cabbage.

You consciously haven’t enrolled in ballroom lessons on the off-chance that you might be asked to compete on Strictly Come Dancing and would be forced to decline due to ‘previous ballroom experience.’

You buy clothes with lampshade-like fringing on them. Despite having nowhere appropriate to wear them.

Your only point of reference with popular music is, for example: ‘Oh, that was Claire and Brendan’s Samba!’ or ‘Kate and Anton danced a tango to that, yer know...’ You = fascinated. Friends = Zzzzzz.

You use words such as fleckerl, cucaracha and botafogo. You’re not 100% sure what they mean.

You imagine yourself to be ‘using the floor’ whilst walking down the street and ‘moving from your core’ whilst washing the dishes.

The Strictly Come Dancing theme tune is your ringtone and you hum and/or whistle and/or sing it at work almost constantly between the months of August and January. Despite working in a public building.

You spend valuable shopping time following a Karen Hardy lookalike around Topshop.

You start compiling lists of all the crazy SCD-related things you and your friends have been known to do and publish them on a blog for all to see. But no one I know would do that; that’s going a bit too far – isn’t it?