Saturday, 18 December 2010


This is it boys and girls. Let the group numbers get more overblown, Brucie's jokes cheesier, costumes spanglier and skimpier and Bruno spontaneously combust. It's been an exciting year and whilst the media says this pointlessly every year I genuinely don't think I can say who is going to win. Off we go!

Matt and Aliona
Well this is going to be odd, blogging about stuff we've already talked about. Anyway, I missed Aliona's fabulously spangly Blackpool outfit but this one is hardly short on glitter. Any bloke who can do a samba in the final as his top scoring dance must be pretty good and those samba rolls were amazing. Maybe Greggs can sell a samba roll in tribute along with Len's infamous cheese roll.

Kara and Artem
Oh my word, will this VT ever end? Is Artem going to propose at the end or something? I see all the dresses are changing, oh well, glad I don't have to see the blamange bed sheet again. A rumba is also a brave choice for a final, one slip and that's it. Wish Craig would stop banging on about illegal lifts, they're not intentional and stop calling them lifts!

Pamela and James
James Jordan is human, who would have thought? God I love this VW, that's all I have to say.

Ahhhh I'm over-excited! Annoyed it's come this early in the evening though, surely the whole damn point of a showdance is that it comes at the end?! It's all a bit premature *snigger*

Matt and Aliona
When this started I was like 'oo-er, street dance' and came over a bit Daily Mail for a moment, I saw a bad streetdance showdance on DWTS once and it scarred me for life. But overall I think they actually got the balance just right and there were other steps in there too. Didn't blow my mind like I was hoping but certainly didn't crash and burn.

I know which she means. It was Apollo and Julianne. Watching a ballroom dancer trying to streetdance is like seeing an 80 year old in a hoodie.

Kara and Artem
Those outfits are hilariously cute, they look like SCD comic book superheroes! Great song choice and the opening was amazing, but was it just me or was the middle section incredibly slow for some reason? The dance its self was pretty great and fun, plus the lifts were stunning. And all whilst avoiding a camel toe! Bruno was right, it could have been a blockbuster.

Pamela and James
Plagiarism alert! I know it was seven years ago but Brendan surely has something to say here. Saying that, it was perfect for Pamela and the choreography was great. I did totally cheer out loud when Pamela did that spin on the floor and got up right, no more crazy teetering! This could be the real crowd-pleaser of the showdances. "Nobody puts granny in the corner".

So who's going first. I'm going out on a limb and saying Matt myself, nothing personal, but I think the street dance element will have put some voters off. But yes, closest. final. ever.

...can't believe Pamela and James went! And right at the start of the show like that too - how brutal!
Matt and Aliona
Much plagiarism going on tonight, someone should order a BBC inquiry. At least it's a cracking song, just right for the tension of the final. Aliona looked the best she has all series, she's bloody good at the paso actually. Liked the flamenco stuff. I know what the judges were saying about it being a tad off, maybe its because we've already had the craziness of the showdances?

Kara and Artem
After about three seconds I knew this dance was going to be all magical and lovely. Classy, romantic, graceful. God Craig is a grumpy sod, just let it go, it's the final!

Loving the class of 2010 rundown, I still think Goldie should have been in it longer. And Jimi obviously. And Scott could have easily wowed the finals with his jive and VW.

As for the last two dances, I loved the VW swing and all - I think it's the creepy undertones of the Wild Rose song. I also however loved Kara's AS and the modifications they did to it. And what a fabulous dress too! Whilst I was watching it I was also caught up in the 'Kara's arm is sprained/broken/going to fall off' drama on Twitter at the time too! Once she stopped dancing she looked like she was going to cry.

I absolutely adored the final group number, whoever came up with that was a genius. Paloma Faith was perfect is a fabulously bonkers glitterball Christmas cracker dress. I was even happy to see Ann and the the return of the World's Ugliest Pants. What a feelgood ending!

Are we nearly there yet? As much as I've enjoyed all the dances tonight I am emotionally exhausted! And the winner is....KARA! Fabulous, worthy winners for sure, but I think I could have accepted anyone this year. My heart is warmed, how sweet.

Roll on Christmas day!

Friday, 10 December 2010



Wow, are we at the semis already? It's all gone so fast, this time next week and it'll all be over *tear*sob*sigh* Cue extra-extended VTs with meaningful music behind them...

Pamela and James
I've been waiting for this woman to do a paso for forever (or since about mid-October, practically the same thing), don't let me down! Ah and when you include Lady Gaga you let these two be as camp as ever. Pamela's facial expression was perfect and as ever James did make it a proper paso. Cracking dress too.
Rare is da lady who can pull off latin and ballroom with such, well, pizazz. Loved this. Yes, it was camp and overacted but who can't love those crazyfaces (trademark Karen Hardy/Camilla Dallerup 2006) The song choice was good for a non-paso-type-paso. All in all, a good effort. Methinks. The most amazing thing is that a 61 year old woman can wear an outfit like that...and get away with it. Pamela to win. No, Pamela for Prime Minister. I mean it.

Kara and Artem

This song has been used before, but rightfully so as it so perfect. Loved a tiny bit in the middle where I caught Kara giving Artem a little smile, so cute and I'm a right cynical cow. Spotted the sort-of-illegal-lift but it was totally accidental.
Too many of the songs have been used before. I have quitted niggling 'bouts it. I really like this song anyway so no moaning, oh no no. This was delightful. I've been comparing her to Ali Bastian and Rachel Stevens but she's not as sappy as they were - she appears to have a little more oomph. A worthy finalist. Dress reminded me of spearmint Softmints - or the colour of walls in a mental hospital -but never thee mind.

Katya and Gavin

Oh dear, poor Katya wearing some old lady's sofa fabric. Gavin reminded me of some local wine bar Lothario in this number, leering at the laydeez but not actually doing a lot of dancing. He has improved and what he did was good, but like Bruno said there's something lacking compared to the others. Katya is a star however.
Another re-used song but just so relieved to have samba music with an inkling of actual latin flavour to it. What the producers have against latin music is beyond me...but let me not rant. Again. I liked Katya's costume. It was Liliaesque. Oh but Gavin - he was still a bit wooden - will he ever become a real boy?

Scott and Natalie

That song is on the Finish dishwasher tablets advert, but I somehow managed to block out such thoughts for most of the dance. Natalie looked a-mazing! Those shoes were drool-worthy and the detailing on her top was perfect. Loved Bruno's comment he didn't know if Scott was a lover or a stalker, it was perfect and I think they really got the mood. Think the judges were a bit harsh overall but the scoring was ok!
It was also a Boots Christmas Advert a few years ago. Nice to hear another Gotan Project track (oh so awesome) Natalie looked stiff and so did he. This is what happens when ballroom pros take on other explains a whole lot of rah rah ah ah ah, roma roma ma, ga ga ooh la la, want your bad, uh, salsa. And Argentine tango. And uh, swing. But more of that later. If you want to see how it's done, check out the routine by Vincent and Flavia. Oh wait, there wasn't one.

Matt and Aliona

They love that desk, don't they? Really enjoyed this, it was good not-so-clean fun. Matt seemed nervous at the start and then started to enjoy it halfway through. Thought they did enough salsa steps and armwork. Not sure about the abundance of lifts, but the judges were being proper grumpy.
Oh boo hiss boo. This was rotten. Not only was the song all-of-sh-sh-shocking (oh-so-nearly-swore-then) These guys wouldn't know a salsa if it hit them on the head with a Cuban cigar and stripped them to their bloomers. At one point he was randomly writhing on top of her like a possessed camel. About as salsa as a roast potato. Badly done, Matthew, badly done.


Well that felt quite ridiculous to type...I've actually been quite looking forward to this in the absence of a mass Viennese Waltz pile-up. This was probably one of the most insane things I have ever seen on Strictly - it was like Grease on acid! Why was Pamela wearing such massive shoes anyway? Matt and Kara were the best, but I feel Kara did spend a lot of time being thrown around and doing cartwheels rather than always dancing. Hurrah for the big old mish-mash of fun, not sure if it'll be back next year though!
This reminded me of a cringeworthy video my former boss showed me of a Northern Soul dance competition in Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Frankie's right about Pamela's shoes. The curse of the dance sneaker. Notso pretty. They went off in the order I expected whilst watching it - which kind of makes it seem fair.


Scott and Natalie
Oh my word, it's like the world's campest fancy dress party! In the end I felt a bit underwhelmed by this, after his amazing jive I was expecting something fast and technical and it didn't feel like it was up to much. Not sure how I feel for Scott's chance, he can be great and is such a lovely guy but he's not very consistent.

Strictly meets Steamboat Willie. And they don't get on. Grossly underwhelming. And that is all.

Kara and Artem

I wasn't too sure that to make of this at first but got really drawn into it as it went on. Not liking the dress too much, she seemed to be wearing about twice as much fabric as she needed to be. The lack of lyrics in the song made it feel odd, but it did hold my attention and all the lines etc were amazing. Technically great, but not jumping up and down material for me - no Rachel Stevens who actually made me gasp like a saddo.

This wasn't just any rumba, this was a Marks and Spencer rumba. I wasn't so keen on this either really. I have a feeling that any other year, Len would have been havin' a go about it being too 'posy' - this year though, I knew they were going to love it. Loving the track but it just reminds me too much of those adverts. And I'd pick a melt in the middle chocolate pudding over this any day.

Matt and Aliona

I should have hated this song, but miraculously I didn't! The pivots sequence at the beginning was amazing - I do love a good pivot. There was tension and sex, leading, staccato and everything. Please let the Geordie through, it'll be like kicking a small farmyard animal if not...

The song shouldn't have worked. But it did. Perhaps we have become accustomed to rotten choices. This was impressive mostly because it really did look as though he was leading - something which it looks as though Scott never mastered. And in that case, then Matt was definitely the right one to go through.

Gavin and Katya

The song was perfect, as if Robbie Williams wrote it just to make sure that he got one of his songs on primetime tv again. It was pretty good, I didn't see anything relating to LampGate myself.

Katya dressed in a wigwam (a dreadfully under-used word - must try to find more uses for it). It was a gallant effort by Gavin but just too far below par for this point in the competition. A fine competitor who bowed out with grace. More grace than he showed in his dancing anyway. Poor soul.

Pamela and James

BBC cuts number 342: They only make Pam half a costume. The lament heard around the country all series strikes up once again 'Get into bloody hold!'. This was a great routine, but I felt like they wasted too much time on the opening when they could have fit in more quickstep fun. Not that there wasn't any fun, it was a delight to see them skipping about to an old-school song. Loved her genuine surprise at a 40, hilarious!

I think Pamela dances wonderfully out of hold (despite the odd wobble from time to time, of course) and perhaps that is why James - now he is allowed - has choreographed thus. This was a lovely quicketyquickstep. And as far as gimmicks go, this was one of the better ones. Was so relieved when a skirt appeared for the 'in hold' part of the dance. Can you imagine a quickstep without a skirt? I don't think Britain's ready for that.

And so we say goodbye to Gavin and Scott, not sad to see Gavin go but Scott had provided us with some great dances. Too bad we are denied the joy of the world showdance champions writhing around on the floor with some music playing in the background, what a pity. So this time next week it'll be all over, but there will be much randomness and manic episodes of ITT to come!

I'm gonna just come out and say it: PAMELA TO WIN.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

I Like To Movie It Movie It

OK, so it's another special Gimmick Night, but since Blackpool wasn't actually very gimmicky I'm going into this with my mind open. Plus Brucie pretending to be the MGM lion genuinely made me laugh, but I am easily amused like that. Plus Kristina in the tightest pants known to ever grace a Saturday night on the BBC is always worth it. They should have got Julian Clary back for his Top Gun rumba with Erin, but that was about 30 years ago...

Scott and Natalie

Well there was always going to be a Bond, SCD has had some ama-zing Bond routines already so they have a lot to live up to. Doing a paso to the Bond theme was a genius idea and the band knocked it out of the park. The dance was pretty good with paso content, tension and sex, but I think my expectations may have been a tad high. Plus Natalie was, like, naked - maybe they want on first so she can now go put a coat on?

Hola. I was watching Strictly this week with my non-Strictly-fan friend Katy. This looked very dramatic but hasn't there been a Bond theme Paso before? Old hat, my friends, old hat. (A top hat? A fez?) And Natalie, stop passing yourself as a Bond Girl. We all know you're the evil genius, Erin's nemesis...we've been through all this before... Midway through the routine I got distracted by a Hotel Chocolat brochure. Which, as I'm sure you'll agree, is highly understandable.

Ann and Anton

Ann is wearing the most disgusting trousers I have ever seen, not even an 80 year old drag queen in Benidorm would wear those. As ever Anton is dancing for two. To be honest I don't think Ann did anything amusing enough this week to save herself.

In an attempt to dance properly, I think they lost their charm. Perhaps they lost it down those massive trousers. These guys had a good run. I think they're my favourite token rubbishouple (blend of rubbish + couple - it's the linguistic version of a mash-up) of all time. In fact, whilst they were dancing their final dance it was the first time this year I've felt emotional. Nay, it's the first time this year I've even cared. Ann - you are a treasure.

Matt and Aliona

Well the costume department had fun with these two! How utterly adorkable is Matt? Nice to see him totally throwing himself into this, but like the Argentine Tango I would have liked to have seen him do a proper jive. But I won't be a total grumpy guts, it was such good fun and banished all memories of Christopher Parker doing that song back in t'day...

This was too themed. And that is all.

Pamela and James

Pamela the snow queen and James the ice cream man, how cute. I must say for the record that I actually despise this song, it makes me want to feel a bit sick usually, but wow it was perfect here! Loving the timing on the fleckerl. It was divine and I feel quite Christmassy *sigh* Job done guys.

I think I loved the tens more for James than for Pamela. Frankie's talking about fleckerls. This amuses me. What the fleckerl is she talking about? Oh, it was lovely. Pamela is lovely. I so want her to win. The judges clearly want Kara to win. Boo hiss boo.

Gavin and Katya

Gavin looked like a brick wall in his suit, the costume people were right, Katya looks pretty good though! This could have been an amazing number, but Gavin's lack of dancing ability let it down, there was walking in there again. It was quite an odd foxtrot in the end, I was very surprised Len said he liked it! Completely over-marked, I shall leave in a huff *HUFF*

Well I liked it. Yes, I think it was a tad over-marked but such an improvement...If the show were on for about another 350 weeks, he might have gone through enough of a j-j-journey to win. Bit slow off the mark, that's all...

Kara and Artem

Phwoar, that's a dress and a half Kara! I am actually dying with jealously that they get to do the Roxanne tango from Moulin Rouge, did someone use this in Series 1 or am I imagining it? They really brought out the big guns for this one and it totally paid off, cracking. I think I actually heard their feet stamping, must have been deathly quiet in the studio. Rather surprised with the 9 from Craig actually, thought he would have been swept away by it all!

Ooh Ooh, yes I love the song. This was great. I'm not a huge fan of Kara - typical stage school girl who's done all the 'usual' (she claims) ballet, tap, modern - not that that would be an advantage at all hmph hmmm...? Am not saying she shouldn't be in, or that she shouldn't win because of just makes her a little...too good...and perfect, well, it's as boring as. Apart from this dance. Which I did like.

Well the bottom two seems obvious, but as ever, do not estimate the power of Widdy. As long as her or Gav goes I'm happy, anyone else would be horrendous.

RESULTS: Well there we go, Ann has left the building. Bye bye, it was fun while it lasted and unfortunately it lasted a bit too long. Roll on the three-day semifinals!

Was I the only one who was not shocked by Scott's place? Someone's gotta be there. I guess Natalie's got to crank up the evil villain thang again now.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Strictly 2010 AB: After Blackpool

Kara and Artem

Will Artem's head fall off or not? The nation waits with breath that is baited. I'm sure that's the dress she's wearing in the promo stuff, but in silver instead of green. I preferred the green, made her look like a Christmas pixie. Not quite sure about this one; all the steps were there and there didn't seem to be anything wrong per se, but there wasn't that zing. Seemed a bit slow, but that might be so Artem keeps all his limbs. Overmarked, would have given 8s.

Why are we talking about Artem losing his head? Is it because he is Russian? Frankie, you're a few years behind. Stalin died years ago. And anyway, I think he preferred death by firing squad. This dance made such an impression on me that now it's Tuesday - I am finally back online - I can't even bloody remember what dance they did. Was it a jive?

Ann and Anton

Ann appears to actually be dressed as a Victorian Hillary Clinton, Kate Winslet she ain't. I am however enjoying the band's rendition of My Heart Will Go On, it's rather good so maybe I should just close my eyes. This was actually crappety crap due to the total lack of content and to be frank, effort on Ann's part, they have given up and maybe it's time for everyone else to.

Oh poo to you all you moaning minnies. This was hilarious. Everyone's so grumpy at the moment - myself included - that a good laugh is oh-so-needed. Thought Anne's costume was a bit more tasteful than the yolk-of-very-genetically-modified-egg she wore in Blackpool. Anton shouting 'Iccceeeebeeerrrg' really, I'm quite sure, is set to be my absolute highlight of 2010.

Patsy and Robin

I am so mad they stole MY Argentine Tango song (look at the song recommendations from two years ago!), but damn it makes for a good dance. Not as technical as some other ATs, but I thought they had a real good go at the theming, intensity and story aspect. I didn't think the dress would work, seemed a bit frumpy at first, but thought it played out into some sort of cougar-esque story...maybe I look into this too much? And Len is right, you do not win being careful

Ah yes, I was sitting there in front of the TV thinking exactly the same thing. How dare they steal Frankie's Argentine Tango track? (She conveniently forgets that Kate and Anton danced their Ballroom Tango to it many moons ago, I think, circa 1926) I really liked this couple. We will miss them. We will not miss his vests.

Scott and Natalie

Quite enjoying Natalie's lemon bondage ballroom dress. I turned into Craig halfway through and started wailing about Scott's dangling free arm, too much ITT training footage for me. I'll be getting one of those Machines next. It was a bit oddd, like he was a touch tipsy actually! Put that 9 down Alesha...

Scott who? I'm bored of these. Like Kara, he's technical but dull. I'm turning into one of those idiots-what-votes-for-the-joke-ones but only I'm not voting. I haven't yet felt strongly enough to do so...though if someone starts threatening my Pamela, I may begin to...Anyway, Scott and Natalie. Meh. Oooh, just as a side note though, while I was in internet exile, I must admit he danced an extremely lovely jive. As sharp as a Halfpenny. Almost.

Gavin and Katya

Loved the outfits, the take on the Outkast video was so cute. Can't believe someone has not used it for a jive before, but it's going in the Wasted Song Choices category. I don't feel like he did much dancing in this actually, apart from a few kicks and flicks in a section. A lost chance to shake it like a Polaroid picture. I can also see Katya's knickers, oo-er...

Ha ha, great song choice. Really liked it. The dance was bloody awful but I think the glasses made up for it. Frankie hates Gavin. I don't hate Gavin. I don't care enough to hate him. He's just like a little puppy dog. What can't dance.

Matt and Aliona

Loved Aliona's dress, not to sure about Matt's floaty shirt. This was an American Smooth like no other, forget the foxtrot, this was part rumba. The facial expressions were a bit odd, but I really loved it and appreciated they tried to do something different with it. Thought the judges had a total downer on it, but the scoring wasn't too bad in the end.

So You Think You Can Dance? Whoops. Wrong show. Seems like Matt and Aliona thought so too. What was with that contemporary nonsense. It looked like they were trying to - I dunno - express through the medium of moooovement the paaaaain of suffferrrring in the world's raaaaiinfooorrressts. Or sumfink hippy like that. And it started so lovely. What a wasted opportunity. American Smooth so could have been Matt's thang.

Pamela and James

Expectations were very high for the campest of camp couples doing an insane dance, and they gave us slapstick by the bucketload! I really liked the song choice too, but thought it was all just a tad too slow to give it the proper manic quality. But I am nit-picking here, this woman is 60! How many times do we have to say it, 60! I also see the door from Scott and Natalie's jive has been given a facelift...

With those facial expressions, Pamela, it was like having a mish-mash of Karen Hardy and Camilla Dallerup back. That is a good thing. Crazy manic faces doth Strictly make. This was insane. In the best possible way. Loved it and love them. PamJam to win.

Wow, is that it? Sudden shortage of contestants...December is creeping up on us. Very sad to see Patsy go, would certainly have preferred Gavin to have gone on Sunday.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Viva las Blackpool!

So here we are in the homeland, for both me, Clover and ballroom dancing - it's Blackpool week!

Everyone's dressed up and galloping across that ma-hu-sive floor. Loving the pro girls dress as showgirls and the boys in their little white trousers. Not loving Tess' scary red jumpsuit, it's not going to do anything to stop pregnancy rumours! Did however like hearing her say 'bucketloads' like a true Lancashire lass though.

Patsy and Robin
Liking the design of the costume, not the boring colours, we need hurt-your-eyes bright pink and green etc, Blackpool week is not the week for good taste! Thankfully they got the most kitsch-tastic of samba songs, if I was on Strictly myself I would need to do it to the Copacabana (which will obviously happen one day). Thought the dance itself was pretty decent, but no fireworks.

Kara and Artem
Despite the X-factor style will-they-won't-they-of-course-they-will opening I seriously loved this dance. I genuinely did not notice they didn't do anything in hold until Len pointed it out, it was so atmospheric I was carried away with it. I also liked how they didn't get too carried away with the lifts (boom boom), they could do three and he could have spun her around his head the whole time and didn't.

Matt and Aliona
Now those are some samba outfits! Aliona and her seriously distracting fringing, all it needed was some feathers and it would have been perfect. Love how Matt embraced the sparkle quite literally and threw those hips around. The run around at the start made me laugh, I'd have to have stopped for a sit down after cantering around that massive floor! And I liked the fancy ending with the backflips, he totally earned them after such a good routine.

Felicity and Vincent
Lovely frock, great song, horrendous opening! Look up Kate Gosling's awful Paparazzi paso doble from DWTS and you'll see why I hated it. Once the dance actually started it was indeed smooth and the band are doing a seriously good job. Felicity handled the lifts pretty well and brought her usual class and grace to it, but after two showstoppers it seemed a bit reserved.

Gavin and Katya
I hate the hat, I hate the miming, I have problems with the underlying misogynistic sentiment of She's A Lady, this was not going to be a good dance for me! Saying that, Katya certainly gave a very good performance, so good I forgot to watch Gavin most of the time. Maybe it's because his tan is the same colour as the Tower Ballroom floor and he blended in?

Scott and Natalie
I am going to come out and say I think this was totally undermarked. Think I may have been carried away with the excitement of it and the jingling of Natalie's fabulously naff 70s-Vegas-cavewoman outfit. Those shimmies had a hint of the Gethin Jones about them to me!

Pamela and James
A-ha, Pamela gets her mojo back! Pamela looks like a drag queen, James looks like a snooker play, perfect for Blackpool. I can forgive the silly opening and the fact it was practically a tango for the sheer campness of it. Pamela did look like she was having a psychotic episode during the end lift, bless her.

Ann and Anton
Well here we go then...will Anton make it through the dance without his trousers bursting into flames? We can but hope. At least he got them a fun samba song even if they didn't fancy doing any actual samba dancing. Was not enjoying this until the leg flinging antics begun and I thought Ann was going to break a hip. I can take these two as an amusing sideshow for now, but not forever and there are less and less people every week.

As for the results show, totally loved the laydeez and their bootylicious number. Cirque du thingy-bob were pretty good too with the High School Musical On Acid routine, gotta love a bit of flying and general insanity in Blackpool. In fact I feel like the place brings out the extra-oomph-ooh-la-la-va-va-voom in the show. I do realise I am now talking gibberish.

Felicity? I guess like last week it was her time to go (apart from You Know Who), she's pretty good but was never going to win. Felt sorry for Patsy, but when you go first you run the risk of being forgotten. Pack up your bucket and spade and get on with it girl.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Madam Mim and the dresses of doom

Just in case you haven't noticed, it's Blackpool next week. Blackpool, Blackpool, Blackpool. It needs to be mentioned at least every five minutes. By the way we're from Blackpool!

Ok, so I've just watched the walkdown and the costumes are awful this week, considering they've been pretty good so far this series this is a disaster in the scrap bin of the fabric department.

Pamela and James
Exhibit A, horrendous Bradford and Bingly ballroom. Seriously, Pamela is gorgeous and they've made her look twice the size she normally is! OK, I typed too soon, bit of the old Bucks Fizz magic and we're away! Once they got on with some proper dancing I saw this was a technically good cha cha, but thought it was a bit slow. Would have liked a full-on, camp-as-Christmas disco number myself.

Michelle and Brendan
Exhibit B, Brendan in the scratchy Ann Summers red lace I'd hoped they'd used up last year. Michelle looks like a loo roll cover, but I can forgive that for the rather impressive skirt work that Brendan did. I do love an experimental paso (with the stress on the mental!) I also quite liked the song choice for the it-shouldn't-work-but-it-does factor. Oh yeah, the dancing? Meh, she got round the floor. Love the word nodulistic, don't love the 4 Craig.

Patsy and Robin
I know it's wrong, but this was a real guilty pleasure of a routine, I loved it! So full of twiddly bits, but lovely storytellling and I was watching Patsy more than Robin for once! These two are totally scoring points in the teamwork and j-j-journey categories. If they get to Blackpool they will have literally been on a journey, so that's ok.

Gavin and Katya
Katya survives bad dress week relatively unscathed, considering the skirt appears to be made out of Muppet. I have no idea what the start was about, it took me a while to remember he was actually dancing. The bits when he was actually doing some proper quickstep were surprisingly good, but I just didn't like this routine. The stop-start aspect was just odd, really don't get what the judges were going on about? TWO NINES?!

Ann and Anton
I think Anton got bored and attempted some proper dancing this week. She didn't get a favourable reception for her assumption she's going to Blackpool on ITT this week and she's had a bad week in the press. It kind of would be a shame if she went out on a week when she had really tried. Amusingly enough, the dress made her look like Madam Mim from the Sword in the Stone.

Wow, an actual VT of Blackpool. I lived in Blackpool for more than 20 years and still call it home, but I have never actually heard anyone call it the Las Vegas of the North. At least they managed to get a bit of sun, or maybe they just added it on the special effects afterwards!

Kara and Artem
Exhibit C: If that hat stays on Kara's head for more than five seconds I will not be happy. Once the pole dancing interlude was over I think they really got into this. The choreography and footwork was really good, Artem has obviously been watching Vincent and Flav doing the old jigsaw-legs as I like to call them. But's the problem with those two magic munchkins, they're so good we hold everyone to a very high Argentine Tango standard!

Felicity and Vincent
They look like two little French Fancies! Not sure what they were trying to do with Vincent's shirt, but it looked three sizes too big. I certainly appreciated the armwork even if it wasn't the best, some people have just forgotten about it all together. I liked the slow opening but felt it went on a bit too long.

Matt and Aliona
I have been waiting for this one all week, my hopes are high Farmer Boy...And well, I was quite impressed! The song choice was perfect in my opinion, really helped build the atmosphere that is crucial. Feeel like it could have done with a tiny bit more hip action but his lines were as great as ever. Think he got the right balance of manly-ness and...erm...rumba-ness?

Scott and Natalie
God awful outfits, Natalie looks like Barbie. Not a special themed Barbie, just a Barbie. Crikey, this was an amazing routine though, it actually deserved its standing ovation! His timing and rhythm were all bang-on and he totally sold it too! Although these props are starting to look like waste of licence fee money, how much time and money must have it have taken to make that stupid door?! It would have worked perfectly well if she had just walked away from him a few times. But woah, the solos were worth it.

My pointless prediction: Bottom two, Felicity and Michelle. But maybe Pam as a shock, because people might forget about her.

UPDATE: Wow, the pointless prediction was right for once! There's not too much to say here really, it bascially was her time to go. Ah, but we have the delights of Blackpool to look forward to next week - yes Blackpool, in case you hadn't heard!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Scores, shocks and sequins

Well here we are again, maybe we can pretend last week was some sort of surreal dream? At least someone dusted the cobwebs off the studio.

This week you have just me again, very sorry about that, but Clover is having some sort of computer-based Armageddon and we hope she can return to spangle-land very soon!

Kara and Artem
Currently being stalked by the tabloids, its amazing these two haven't had to black out the studio windows. Really great outfit too, perfectly co-ordinated with her poppy. Nice firecracker of a dance with a classic song choice for the salsa. This is controversial but I quite liked the lifts, they seemed in fitting with the dance rather than being too gratuitous, plus the salsa is much looser anyway.

Pamela and James
So glad to see her back in some proper ballroom in a nice long frock and James yet again chose a fabulous old-school song for them. A few wobbles, but we can forgive her than. Really liked the ending, it was so adorable! Although the cheesy, slightly manic smiles were hilarious! Len was programmed to love this song, maybe Pamela read his mind (there's your dubious psychologist reference for the week).

Felicity and Vincent
Wow, that dress is amazing! Also, quote of the week: Can you be a posh bull? If anyone can be a posh farm animal it's Felicity! Very brave of Vincent her him to let her do the flamenco opening section all alone, but she totally carried it off. Not sure about her hair extension though, it looked like it was about to come around and smack Vincent in the face. A very good paso, but I think it lacked a bit of the 'grrr' factor.

Jimi and FlaviaOh dear oh dear, after as couple of weeks of successes poor Flavia again is at the back of the queue for the costume department. I can hear them now "oh we forgot about her and all we have left is this scarf and some pyjama bottoms...". Thankfully she kicked some ass with some amazing dancing! Jimi was having the time of his life and I must say, there was no gapping. So at least Clover won't start shouting. Nice to see him finally live up to his potential.

Matt and Aliona
Another one I'm happy to see returning to some classic ballroom, even if it means no guyliner. Too bad they got lost in a branch of B&Q at the start, but other than that it was a beautiful routine. That's what annoys me, sure let the rubbish people use props but couples like this don't need it! Slightly unusual but totally divine song choice, made it all feel rather romantic. Loved seeing Bruno get out of his seat at the scandalous suggestion he might have missed a few heel leads.

Ann and Anton
Wow, did the costume people tie Ann to a chair to force her to have her hair and makeup done to proper SCD standards? Now these are people that need props! Saying that, I actually think this was their best routine, totally in keeping with the Charleston. Plus it was worth it to see Anton do a cartwheel. Alesha was right that it was more of a comedy sketch, I personally would have liked them to have dance to Let's Do It by Victoria Wood instead!

Michelle and Brendan
Michelle is actually dressed as a Disney Princess this week, if she goes out they're gonna send her to Disneyland Paris to wave at people in the parade. Such a classic routine from Brendan, maybe to appease Grumpy Pants Len? Not especially exciting overall, but that can be the way with the waltz, so might that put her at risk of going despite the good score?

Patsy and Robin
I can't believe how much if warmed to Patsy throughout this series, it also helps her and Robin have such a good time too. She may have faced the curse of the stairs, but it did mean she did some dancing on her own and she bounded down them like she didn't have a care in the world. She was totally channelling Kylie, but I myself could have done with a bit more camp!

Scott and Natalie
The rumba is really evil. I really have no idea what to make of it; sometimes I feel male contestants get credit for being a big strong man rather than dancing. It's traditional for men who are doing well to stumble here, we've seen it so many times before, so I don't think he's gonna go. Gosh that was boring. The four from Craig was stupid, but so was the nine from Len- is he saying that rumba was one of the best ever?!

Gavin and Katya
Oh ffs, put that rugby ball down Gavin! Clover texted me halfway through saying "Drop the ball!" so at least that made me laugh. God this was terrible, poor Katya. I don't care what the judges said he seemed to be standing around and walking a bit to me. Haha I've just noticed Gav was wearing one of those waistcoats with a hood from the Apprentice. Seriously, three eights? Mental scoring tonight.

Who do I think will go tonight? Think it might be Michelle. I shall come back tomorrow night when I am inevitably proved wrong.

UPDATE: Well I thought I had predicted it right for once, but then I was knocked sideays by the glitterball to see Jimi and Flavia go! I had practically put Michelle on that float in the Disney parade. Well that was a shock and a half, wasn't it?

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Fright night

Here we go then, SCD tries it's first Halloween-themed episode. Will the show collapse under the weight of its own gimmicks?

Well at least we started off the show with the OMG-factor naked pros, with the vampiric power of capes and eyeliner- phwoar! James Jordan's eyes of a killer have finally come in use, small children across the land hide behind their sofas. Fabulous to see Matthew Cutler back though even if he was contained inside a Primark vest.

Ooh look at Tess has got in on the act, coming this week as 80s Goth Barbie.

James and Pamela
I always knew James was the devil, they so should have danced this to Devil in Disguise...Pamela looks as fabulous as ever, I am coming to the conclusion that the fact she is 60 is some sort of twisted LIE, it can't be true! God these two are hilarious! Loved James' nonchalant leap over her and the fact they attempted to actually dance on the stairs. Not as technically good as some of her others but still great fun.

Tina and Jared
Pleather alert! I bet this is what Ola would have been wearing if she'd still been in, but they found another poppet to put it on. The song choice for this this was really good and they got into character, but to me the routine wasn't hard enough. The ending was really good, but I think I was distracted by the costume and she did seem to be walking a bit. Craig might have been harsh, but it was a bit dull.

Kara and Artem
Wow, that was good! Really enjoyed this, keeping with a traditional paso but also using the themes of the song properly. It might have needed a tad more sex, but just a tad, we are British afterall. Certainly her best dance and very grateful they didn't try and cover her in cobwebs or something daft. And look, Alesha has got her 10 out, is it the rule she has to do it first?

Patsy and Robin
I don't think I will ever be able to look at Robin in the same way ever again. That was possibly one of the most surreal things I have ever seen! How the band got through that number without bursting out laughing at the lyrics I do not know. There was a pretty good jive hidden somewhere within the madness, certainly one of Patsy's better dances.

Felicity and Vincent
I see these two have refused to be attacked by the eyeliner monster, I guess Vincent's eyebrow stands out enough on its own. Little Mini Vincent is adorable too, I wonder if they have had his eyebrows checked? This was always going to be a good dance for Felicity, it's perfect for her. Would have preferred it without the marathon jog down the stairs, but thought they managed to do a good routine without it being silly. Quite low scores in my opinion.

Jimi and Flavia
Ooh now that's how you do SCD Halloween costumes, just a touch of theatricality to add to things without going mental. Not too sure about the contacts though, it seemed to make Jimi look a bit robotic. I couldn't be sure if it was a gimmick for the song or if it was bad dancing...Definitely one of his better dances, but not sure about the gushfest from the judges.

Michelle and Brendan
Ok, now THAT is the most surreal thing I have ever seen! Those outfits scared me to death until the music started, then it all made perfect sense. Wish Michelle could have worn the Magenta maid's outfit instead, but this was the best way to let all her hyperactivity out! "Lobotomised, but in a good way" is possibly the best way to describe what the hell is going on. Not surprised Len hated it, fun to see Brendan kick off properly for the first time in ages, now that's classic Strictly!

Gavin and Katya
He's clinging on to that cloak for dear life, isn't he? Unfortunately he was wafting it around like a tea towel. Perfect paso song and outfits...and then all of a sudden it got a bit x-rated! But strangely enough, not particularly gimmicky, I can see Gavin trying to do that in ANY week! As ever with Gavin, not bad, but not that good either.

Scott and Natalie
Natalie looks amazing, Scott looks stupid. Props to this woman, she's scary, but damn she's good! That was an amazing VW routine and the song choice was divine. I could smell a 10, and from Len too, a proper 10! Ooh three 10s, how exciting.

Ann and Anton
I can just imagine what Ann will have said to them when they suggested she wore something Halloween-y, in fact I think they thankfully ignored the idea altogether. Unfortunately she did look like the Queen Mum on some sort of embarrassing national visit to Spain. Although I am always surprised when Anton isn't horrendous at the Paso! It wasn't too bad until he swept the floor with her...

Matt and Aliona
Ok, so Matt does look rather foxy in guyliner. You see, I am so impressed I have been reduced to yet more farming-based puns. Now when we first heard this song choice on ITT it was all 'ZOMG worst song choice...ever!' but I think the band did a really good job of it, so it didn't seem too daft in the end. Or maybe my perception has been warped by this show. This was rather good indeed, but doesn't it make you yearn to see Matt do a PROPER Argentine tango?

Results Show
Erin dressed as Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters was GENIUS! Anton is no Bill Murray however, something for which I think we are all grateful. I am genuinely enjoying this madness, I think it might be time to move back to Blackpool and spend the rest of my days doing panto.

Oh look, it's the showdancers, remember them? Ian, Darren and...a badger? This is the time when I feel it is appropriate to do something with a Halloween theme and this was a rather lovely interlude. I would have preferred Ian dressed as a skeleton for some reason. Alice Cooper was also hilariously appropriate.

As for Tina and Jared, I was quite surprised they went, but Craig's comment they were boring this week was true. The curse of pleather? I do think there was more to come from them, but that's the way the

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A Close Encounter of the Strictly Kind....Part 5!

Well here we go again off on another Strictly adventure, can you believe we're up to part five of these?! I won tickets for the show via the BBC ballot and took my lovely friend Layla along for the ride as Clover couldn't make it. It was a very long day with about 12 hours at the BBC in total, but it was oh-so-very exciting!

After much advice on Twitter we decided the best time to get there was about 11am and as we rocked up with bags of food and heels in our handbags we discovered there were only about 40 people ahead of us in the queue AND we were the last people to be able to stand under the minimal amount of shelter, score! Thankfully not too cold and we could wander off to Westfield one at a time; I must give a shout-out to the lovely woman who let me sit in her husband's chair for a while! We were let in at about 3pm in the end and had our phones whisked away from us pretty much straight away, which was rather traumatising!

After being put in the holding pen/cafe area for a while we were given a last minute opportunity to go to the loo and we got shepherded outside and around the doughnut bit in the middle of the BBC to go to some extra ones as the queue was massive. Who do we see in the middle of the doughnut, but Len, Vincent, Ola and James having a natter! From a distance we waved and tried not to shriek, but then Flavia walked straight past us! Then shrieking commenced for a few seconds. Not only that on the way back we walked straight past Bruno, who was looking very orange and gave us a crafty smile and wink! This was all so exiting we'd practically forgotten we were going to see the show...

Next we were finally herded into the studio, but it seemed to take a million years to get into there whilst we were all hyper and squealing at the mere sight of some glitter. As we walked in the first thing I realised that the dancefloor is so much smaller than it looks on the TV and the audience is so close! We we're put at the side near the stairs on the back row, which wasn't so bad since you're allowed to stand up and you get a good view of the footwork. Plus we got moved later on, more of that later....

First we had Neil Diamond recorded; he sang live and pretty well at that. However, I was mainly distracted by the fabulous Robin and Kristina. This is also the point in the evening when you realise how much clapping you'll be doing the whole time, my hands hurt so much by the end!

So after a few pre-recorded clips and judges costume changes (Bruno took longer than Alesha!), the show started. Being near the stairs meant we saw most of the outfits pretty close and they were so spangly and cool. I won't do a full run down of all the dances like usual as this would be a huge post, plus I feel like I watched a lot of the dances backwards from where I was sitting.

Flavia and Jimi were a great way to open the show and we were gasping away at the fast footwork, but the windows were lost on us as we were behind them! Next was Scott and Natalie who I was very impressed with, the tango routine was great and there was a lot of menace from Scott, who is much hotter in real life! Plus Natalie's parents were in the audience - neither of them are as tall as you might think!

Moving on to Tina and Jared, they really are teeny tiny and her dress was super-cute as well. Thought this was a pretty good Charleston and they very well with the song choice. Couldn't see any pox on her, but maybe you could on screen! Felicity and Vincent's tango was a treat, when they were preparing to start we thought they were bringing out cocktails for the judges to drink! I got a pretty good view of 'The Kiss' actually, very exciting! Her dress was also much more sparkly up close.

When Patsy first came down the stairs in her wig we were all saying 'Who is that?!' for a few seconds, such a fun idea for her! She seemed to really enjoy the Charleston, but like everyone was exhausted by the end. Some people who new Robin were sitting near us and when they came off stage he was right next to us having a chat with them! So exciting, but we managed not to lunge at him....

Katya totally won the best dress of the night, totally inspired by Kelly Brooke's tango dress. The gloves were fabulous too. This wasn't the world's worst tango, possible slightly undermarked but not dramatically so. Len was right about his facial expression, he did look nervous throughout the whole thing.

Speaking of dresses, when Erin was dancing her Charleston with Peter we could hear the sequins on her skirt clicking together! You do not get that at home! Alas, when the dance ended I did turn to Layla and say without the song that would have been a shambles. Peter was never going to be good at this, but he did give it his all. The gloves were a mistake though, they made his hands look HUGE!

James and Pamela's tango was fab-u-lous! Even with James' satan beard and my dislike of leopard print I thought this was a great dance, I can't wait to see this woman do a paso! Matt and Aliona's Charleston was also amazing and you will never see a more sparkly unicycle! When Bruno gave it an eight I think it got the biggest boo of the night from the audience.

And then came the man we have been missing, Ian Waite appeared looking as tall as ever, Michelle looked quite petite next to him. I think this might have been her best dance, although I do confess I was mostly watching Ian. With Artem and Kara we thought she was slightly undermarked, the judges said it wasn't as funny as the others, but that wasn't the point of the routine. It was more cool and jazz and she did it really well.

And then came flying Ann, we simply could not stop laughing when you added Anton flying himself around the dancefloor on his own. Plus big points to all the people running around getting Ann in and out of that harness without being on camera.

So that was it, as an extra treat about half the celebs came off stage and walked right past where we were standing! I feel I must apologise to Pamela Stephenson for pretty much shrieking "well done, we love you!" right in her face! Also saw Michelle and Patsy AND Billy Connolly waked right past us too, managed to restrain ourselves thankfully and not scream at the poor man.

Then it was the break from the VERY hot studio, when we came back we thought it might not be as exciting as the rest of the show - how wrong we were! Some people had not come back, probably had to catch trains or something, and the floor manager moved us to the fourth row right behind Tess! After much OMG-ing at each other, we had totally forgotten that whilst we had already seen the amazing Argentine Tango being filmed there was another pro dance to come! And what's more it was the GI-themed jive from the pro tour! Oooh men in uniform! This was probably the best thing we saw all night and we were practically jumping out of our new seats.

The results part was quite tense watching everyone line up, thankfully we were given a good bit of light relief from the delightful Claudia. She had very shiny hair and very high shoes this week. How we loved her. After the results we loitered and waved at various celebs and eavesdropped on Matt talking about how tired he was but eventually we were forced out by the BBC people. I tried to take a photo inside the BBC doughnut as we were leaving and who walked right across it but James! And thus the immortal quote 'James Jordan you are ruining my photo!' was born.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A Rumba & The Jungle

Let's get rrrrready to rrrrrumba! Will that joke ever get old? Here we are in super-hard rumba and quickstep week, get wiggling those hips with those feet....

Kara and Artem

Well this was an energetic start to the show! Quite liked the musicality of the introduction but it did go on a tad too long; twiddle a the top of the stairs, run down the stairs (very impressed with Kara's jazz hands), twiddle at the bottom of the stairs, Charleston, twiddle, me shouting at the screen having been possessed by Len Goodman. Other than that it was a pretty good routine. Pretty dress for Kara too and Artem's super-high trousers!
Is Artem channelling his inner Monsieur Cowell? My, the trousers reached his armpits. Almost. This was OK. I thought it was overmarked in a kind of Ali Bastian/Lisa Snowdon way. Loved the song choice though and the 'rocky' (no, not the movie...I didn't see Sylvestor Stallone anywhere - unless you did...?) vibe though.

Felicity and Vincent

Crikey, I'm more than half Felicity's age and there's no way I can bend like that! I can't even touch my toes even after various yoga sessions and she appears to have no spine! That and Vincent's rather exciting white trousers I was quite distracted from the rumba technique, what with me being a world-renowned rumba specialist of course. Thought it was quite nice myself, subtle, but that is what Felicity appears to be doing. Nice, but how long will it last?
OK, so Felicity is more supple than Bedtime Barbie. (No? My cousin had one. She was so floppy. Like all her bones - if Barbie had bones - had been magically disappeared by, uh, Professor Lockheart. HP joke, natch...I digress too much...) OK, so yes, she's bendy. But the rest of it was a bit pants.

Patsy and Robin

As Claudia would say, it took about 900 years to get in hold, which sometimes wouldn't be bad, but not when you're trying to line dance in a ballgown. There was a bit of gallumphing about (is it just me and my mum who use that word?), but I don't think it was as bad as the judges made out. Plus it's better to see Patsy enjoying herself than looking like she's going to crack at any second. Now I have the Raggy Dolls theme tune stuck in my head. Ah, children of the 80s...I digress again. Erm, back to the point. Sorry, but it was that bad. She was just getting dragged about. There was no gallumphing about it. Good word though. Gallumphing implies she was moving under her own steam. The steam was all Robin's. These guys have a fierce set of fans though - and why shouldn't they? - I don't think they'll be going anywhere soon.

Paul and Ola

Is it only me who would prefer the magic tricks if they were a bit better? Pulling a flower out of your sleeve is hardly David Blaine. Maybe he could learn some sexy mind tricks from Derren Brown and convince us he is a good dancer? (Actually, Derren Brown doesn't need tricks since actually did a fair bit of latin/ballroom is his youth, random fact for you there). Anyway, if we must discuss the dance, I want to make a joke about hip replacements even if it is totally cliche.
Thing is, Ann Widdecombe's getting the John Sergeant vote. I'm all for a gimmicky contestant to a point...but the ballroom's not big enough for two of them.

Matt and Aliona

Bejesus this was fast! I remember looking at the ITT training footage and thinking Matt could trip or really get lost in all that choreography but he handled it pretty well. For the first half of the dance he did look like he was counting in his head but by the end he was really enjoying himself. A bit flying-off-the-seat-of-your-spangly-pants, but I like a bit of that sometimes! Really great song choice from Aliona there too, someone correct me if it's been used before, because I can't believe such as gem hasn't been.
This was quickstep on SPEED. This was quickstep wot haz downed Red Bull and possibly that new, bright green Mountain Dew too. And possibly a Pro Plus. This woz a footwork trip and a half. Luckily not literally. He did marvellously to keep up. Good job, old boy, good job.

Gavin and Katya

Hmmm...does anyone think they're doing a bit of expectation management on Gavin? Every week I think he's going to be horrendous and then he seems to get through the routine ok. Again, think the judges were a bit harsh on a week 3 rumba, he did seem to be moving those hips to me. It's not like men have much to do in the rumba anyway! Not sure about Katya's dress, looked like something stupidly expensive from Kate Moss' so-called 'festival wear' thankfully glammed up with a pair of sparkly pants.
Ms. Frankie, I agree. There was some movement there. Something which all of the judges seemed to miss. It wasn't great but he's trying. Katya's dress looked like something from Laura Ashley circa 1986. And did you see it bunching up at the stomach? She'll be stealing Lilia's pregnancy rumours with wardrobe choices like that.
Scott and Natalie

This was my favourite performance of theirs so far, so much less gimmicky bits and proper dancing. That girl knows her quickstep and they had a bit of fun at first but didn't take took long to get into hold. Natalie's dress was a bit scary, but I liked what they did with Scott's tie, the song could have been a bit odd but it actually worked out. Job well done.
Have I stumbled into Disneyland? Oh come on, if you're gonna go that twee, at least dress as a monkey. Staying on The Jungle Book theme, Natalie, of course doesn't need to dress as a monkey as she's clearly going for the manic, hypnotic-eyed snake Kaa...Is she trying to hypnotize us at home? Maybe. Who knows. Oh yes, yes, it was a good effort. But I'm not warming to them. It's Ricky Whittle II. Snooze.

Michelle and Brendan
That's Vincent's outfit from last week on Brendan! Have they stretched it from munchkin to kiwi size? How odd. Quite liked this as a controlled and romantic rumba, but at times she did look like she was hanging on for dear life. The four from Craig was well harsh, innit.
Oh I'm just going to come out and say it. She's rubbish. She's never going to be able to dance. She's this year's Craig Kelly. Michelle, Michelle, Michelle...yes, the judges are being more picky with you. Because. There. Is. More. To. Pick. On. Glad to see Brendan doing his best impression of a chocolate mousse.

Peter and Erin

I have to say before this starts Erin looks amazingly good on her top half this week, but has unfortunately fallen prey to the clown trousers! Peter scrubs up quite nice too, ballroom was always going to be more of his thing. Alesha was right that it was his best dance, but not sure about the last bit where they just kinda ran around for a bit. Good on him for doing well, the dads will be proud!
This may surprise you all. I'm all for Erin this year. This was good. And if she got a good performance out of this guy - who, I believe, will only get better and better (if we ignore the latin dances) - she must be a bloody good teacher. Which we know she is. We might joke about the woman being an evil genius and all...she might not be evil, but genius... well, maybe she is that.

Jimi and Flavia

This was an a-ma-zing routine from Flavia, one of the best rumba ones I think I've seen on the show in a while. It wasn't painfully slow like some of them are and there wasn't a chance to get bored. The judges thought it was a bit too frantic, but I think that was part of the storytelling. Flavia also appears to have put her tiny foot down and insisted on having a nice frock again, you go girl!
Poor Jimi. Looked like he hadn't had his All Bran. Think it was a bit try-hard on his part...but come on, the judges were harsh. He clearly has ability. Clare-from-work noticed that his footwork was spot on (that kind of thing gets discussed at her house a lot) and the body movement was almost there...just a bit spasm-y. This guy is loving it. And he's a good sport. I think we can only expect better...

Ann and Anton

Thank god they got around to designing her a new frock, slightly less Queen Mum this week. I don't want to get too carried away, but did anyone else see Ann do some actual steps this week? But are we ready fo her to do another latin? Is ANTON ready for another latin?
That Quickstep footwork that Ann managed, very well, was not easy. I'm glad she got credit for it. I love these two. They should enjoy their time before the inevitable backlash begins. Obviously that will be when a couple of mediocre contestants get thrown out a couple of weeks earlier than they otherwise ought. The only question is who will be this year's Gabby Logan?

Pamela and James

Really wasn't sure about the bacofoil fabric of the dress, but I think that's about the only thing I can criticise about this. Liked Len's use of the word poignant. Good old team PamJam, I guess it's not really a surprise it took a psychologist to make us warm to James Jordan!
I LOVE this woman. She's so full of life and I think she's one of the most talented dancers ever seen on Strictly. This is two fingers up to the BBC over the ageism thing...I'm already putting myself out there saying I'd love Pamela to win. The woman is 60. It's amazing. Long live PamJam. (They should market that).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Turns, Tassles and Tangotrots

Strictly really has had a makeover. The dancers appear able to break hold, thus making the fabricated 'American Smooth' of other series redundant. I can live with that. It allows creative freedom and keeps it fresh. The four 'Tangotrots' (Foxtrots with a Tango air, swivels, ochos etc) this evening would not have been so easily possible last year - (is this a current trend in dance btw? It seems odd that four couples came out and did something similar...) The use of p-p-p...oh I can't even say it, p-p-props, however... Well, the jury's still out on that. Right now, it's not looking favourable. I can understand it for the 'entertaining' celebs but it seems naff for the ones who can really dance. - C

Matt and Aliona

There's a lot of pressure on this guy's shoulders and not just from lumbering around with pumpkins and thankfully no tweed ballgown. I think I mentioned this last year, but sometimes when the pros don't fancy a dance they seem to just do something else, this was basically a tango-foxtrot. Matt's frame is really good but he looks a tiny bit robotic to me. Nothing like a random sex-attack at the end to liven things up though!

Tangotrot No. 1. Aliona is very clearly demonstrating that she's an extremely creative and talented choreographer. Who really doesn't like rules. Good job they've done away with them this year then. Oh, can't you just see Len biting his tongue? I think Craig is stamping on his feet under the table or squeezing his...hand, like, really hard. Because really, so much of this year's routines are just...faffing. Aren't they?

Peter and Erin
Imagine you're at a wedding, imagine your dad has had five pints, imagine there's something on the ceiling for him to point at irregularly. Your Great Auntie Mildred is filming it and you will laugh at it affectionately for years to come. That was this dance! Peter is very sweet and was certainly having a good time, gotta love a man who throws himself into it like that, so I think that is all that matters really.

Ah, salsa. No wonder we can't recruit new male salsa dancers. Oh guys, come on, it's really not like this. This is a style of salsa that has been picked up by ballroom dancers and they've run with it all the way to sequin-spangle-land. Which is about as far removed from the salsa I know as you can get. I'm not complaining as such; this is a ballroom dance show. It should be showy. And yes, your average social salsa dance isn't much to watch. I just feel it's misrepresented just a tad too much. Come along and see some of my male salsa friends dance. They're cool. This wasn't.

Oh the dance? Meh. Could be leaving us...

Tina and Jared

Tina gets the Disney Princess dresses that Ali specialised in last year, and of course it's perfect for a little pocket person. Jared made this very old school LA with a bit of razz-matazz thrown in (have I spelt that right? what does it even mean?). Certainly better than last week but still some nerves, who is getting the whiff of a j-word here?

Maybe. But I don't think we are going to warm to these two as much as I thought we would. They seem devoid of all personality. And Jared doesn't really seem up to the same standard as the other professionals. Perhaps he just needs more experience. But then you see young 'uns like Julianne Hough on Dancing with the Stars going for it like they've got dynamite in their tootsies (toes, to clarify) - and Jared seems a bit like he's firing on a damp match. Maybe confidence and time can help these two. They are all of adorable. And Tina has the potential to be a cracking dancer.

Patsy and Robin

After a slow start last week the training footage looked pretty promising and she seems to love her SCD-style LBD. The song was a fabulous choice, one of my real favourites, and she totally sold it with her enthusiasm and massive disco hair. Not really sure what I thought about it as a salsa though, didn't think there was enough arm-work etc. But glad to see she found her mojo, her face when she got the marks was a picture!

First of all, I love watching Robin dance. And Patsy, my, she did well with this one. Clearly the wardrobe department has given up on bespoke dancewear and has started sourcing costumes in Jane Norman. Ohh, gawd, I'm coming off as a right old grump today aren't I? Here I go again...but there was so much strutting and not much dancing. I am channelling my inner Len. As it seems he no longer cares...

Paul and Ola

OMG do we have to suffer some sort of magic trick every week? Nice traditional foxtrot, Ola as good as ever with the choreography. Bruno is right though, he does just sort of wander off sometimes like he's looking for the loo.

It wasn't unpleasant. Foxtrot is my least favourite dance. And yes, Paul does seems like he's just off on a stroll in the park and interacts with Ola as though she's a pesky Jack Russell who's blocking his path. And yes Alesha, ballroom is going to suit him more than latin. He's, like, 190. Way to point out the obvious.

Scott and Natalie

Well I think we have found something to finally replace Lilia's S4-Samba-turban, that is a headband and a half! The complete kitsch-tastic song somehow won me over even thought I should have hated it, the whole thing was like something from a classic 80s cheesy film. Buy your own spangled-flannel shirt in River Island come monday...

NO! They can replace Lilia, but they cannot replace her turban. Oh, this was so camp. And Natalie is so manic-of-eye. It wasn't bad. Yes Len, it was really good but not a really good salsa. It was what it was. It was good at what is was. I have a shirt like Scott's.

Michelle and Brendan

Now that is a dress (think it might be my favourite) and that is a entrance from Brendan, that man was born in the wrong decade. Totally loved the routine, proper foxtrot stuff with a bit of glam. There's was a nice balance of constructive criticism from the judges and Michelle has worked hard, but dammit where is the crazy girl who has 12 sugars in her coffee?!

Loved the traditional mood of this. It had the air of something smooth. The execution was a little bumpy though. Michelle is not a natural dancer and probably never will be. She's a bit like Heather Small and may just about get to competent with a bit of time and a lot of work. Great song choice and charming dress. I don't know how much the public has warmed to her though...she could be trouble.

Goldie and Kristina

Kristina really knows how to choreograph for her partners, since she's had a lot of work to do over the years! The routine really suited him but was actually not too complicated. Certainly better than last week and actually quite interesting for a foxtrot. And whilst props are the last refuge of the desperate, hats do not count!

Oh. The P. Word. P-p-props. Don't get me started. Makes me very uncomfortable. But yeah, a hat doesn't count. Looks like Kristina's been dealt a poor hand again. I just don't think there's very far he can go and I'd be worried if I were them this week. He's not good enough. And it's Strictly...he's just not bad enough either. Liked the song and the routine. But so forgettable amongst all the others.

Pamela and James

Probably the most 'proper' salsa routine of the night, meaning we forgive the Carry On Doctor opening. Wow this woman is fearless! Technique was pretty good but totally won over by her manic smile. As she said in her blog "I now understand why patients refuse anti-psychotic medication". Not sure if that dress has sleeves or not, wardrobe department you are teasing me...

Whip off that horrendous opening and I actually did like this. Please James, no. This girl does not need the gimmicks. And for those of you who have been waiting with baited breath (on Twitter don't cha know...) for me to announce my favourite couples. Here is one. I adore this pair. I love Pamela. And, my my, she can dance. She is full of verve and vim and vigour (all tragically under-used words imo) I'll even call this song acceptable. At a push. We have never had a winner like Pamela. I cannot wait to see how far she can go.

Felicity and Vincent

Now those are sleeves, but my word there are boobs too! This routine was classic Vincent, beautiful song choice too. Like the judges said it was good, but not spectacular, but this woman has so many fans I'm sure she'll be fine.

Tangotrot No. 2. Mmm, they looked like little Gu desserts. Scrummy. She's going to suit the ballroom more, as expected. This was a nice job but a tad forgettable. Apart from the fact that at some points she does look like she's taking a pee against a tree. Ok, it's Vincent, a bonsai tree then. Oh! She's so lovely I feel like I've just sworn at my Grandma. Does anyone else miss seeing the couples wait nervously behind the curtain as their names are announced?

Ann and Anton
Brace yourselves, here we go! The woman deserves a 10 simply for encasing the du Beke rug back in it's shirt where it belongs. Although I must ask if she is going to wear the same dress in different colours every week, a fashion mistake last seen on the Queen Mum. Actually there seemed to be some basic steps in there! Maybe she'll get a higher mark that Laila...

Now this may surprise you. This was, in fact, the most authentic salsa dance of the night. Nay, EVER on Strictly. How so?! I hear you cry. Anne was jabbering away at Anton all the way through. I'm sure I heard her say "Where were your arms???" This is precisely the kind of conversation (including the finger pointing) a bickering salsa couple has on the dancefloor. I'm not even joking. Kudos.

Kara and Artem

There was a hint of props at the start, but thankfully it turned into a very good routine. Kara's arms are really good, despite the supposed travesty of the left index finger. Put that 9 down Alesha, did no one follow my advice to take it away from her for a few weeks?

Tangotrot No. 3. And a 9? Week 2? Don't get me started.

Gavin and Katya

Well that's a relief, I thought we were going to get through a whole episode without any fringed outfits! I think that might be my favourite outfit of the series so far, because I'm classy and understated like that. Better than I thought it was going to be, like last week, think the judges were a bit harsh for his first latin! He had his game face on again, surprisingly intense actually!

Well he's embracing the sparkle in that pink shirt. But he just wasn't comfortable. Which kind of makes it squirmy to watch. Plfff.

Jimi and Flavia

Flavia finally gets a good dress after about three years of bin liners and net curtains, joyous day! Like Len, I think it got a lot better as it went along, but there were some very amusing faces from Jimi throughout.

Tangotrot No. 4 (though more for mood than steps on this one) For our Twitterites, this is my favourite couple number two. Jimi is just loving it and that makes me love him. Flavia's dress was my favourite of the week and I loved the routine. Great musicality. And the fact that he's leading is extra-awesomary.

See you soon for results!

Friday, 1 October 2010

And so the J-word begins...

Here we go, the phoney war is over and the new studio is open for business. Other than that, it's like we've never been's spangle time!

Felicity and Vincent
Oh what a doll Felicity looks, a charming age-appropriate dress without an inch of frump. Wardrobe you have won me over already! And thankfully Vincent has not yet lost that eyebrow, I don't think they do transplants on the NHS. Then the music starts and it's literally one of my favourite songs ever! Am I having some sort of SCD-hallucination already? Not nearly as camp as we normally see from a cha cha, it was as frothy as a macaroon. A classy macaroon you might get from Selfridges' food hall.

Scott and Natalie
Twiddly opening alert! Not already, crikey, Natalie threw everything into that routine apart from a lift. She's playing a clever game already that Natalie, she knows her arch rival Erin isn't going to be doing much raunch with Mr Shilton. My opinion? All mouth, no trousers but certianly has potential.

Goldie and Kristina
I've been waiting for this and the spangle-tastic shirt in week 1 is always a good sign! Embrace the sparkle Goldie! Squealed the second the song started, Ke$ha had to be used at some point in the series but this early on is a treat. Oh what fun that dance was, just the right side of drunk-uncle-at-a-wedding (Drunkle) and he was obviously enjoying every second.

Patsy and Robin
She looks like a giant strawberry. And why is Robin dressed for the paso? I was about to type lovely pivots and then she fell over, typical!

Matt and Aliona
I was very intrigued by those costumes...but then I was gobsmacked at how damn good Matt Baker is! This was my face --> :O . Also the band really surpassed themselves with the song. Back to the gimmickry of the costumes, will they keep this agricultural theme up? Will they be foxtrotting with Matt as the hunter and Aliona as the fox? Pantomime cow in the showdance?

Pamela and James
What a dirty laugh that woman has, I like her already. Plus she seems to be willing to wear the most drag queen-esque of dresses. The song has been used before, but when it's that good you can't blame them. Maybe a little overrated as the judges turned it into a gush-fest but she is one to watch in the ballroom.

Paul and Ola
The moment you haven't been waiting for...Oh god, he's producing Ola out of a box and not doing any dancing and the music is gimmick-tastic, I despair! Saying that, I don't think they needed to waste so much time on that considering he could actually do the steps. I could name three other worse first dances off the top of my head (...erm...Quentin Wilson, Joe Calzaghe, Christopher Parker).

After only seven dances I was quite sad for the show to end, I was just getting into it. Bring on seven more! Nice to see them all out as a team, a technicolour spectacular of costumes!

Jimi and Flavia
Hotly tipped favorites dancing first? There is hope for the 'dance-first-get-to-the-final' paradigm yet! Cracking song too! Poor Flavia has had another costume accident again though, this time getting some cat toys attached to her dress. And while I'm on costumes yet again, was it just me or did Jimi's shirt look really baggy? It distracted me quite a bit. However, the dance was totally energetic and feisty, expectations are high but it's a promising start.

Peter and Erin
Loving the BBC's use of I'm Still Standing for Erin's intro, how tongue in cheek! Now if there's anyone who can teach a man to waltz whilst being a criminal mastermind and throw in some high kicks for good measure it's Erin. Wasn't sure about the bit at the end, thought Peter had dropped her in some sort of goalie-related gaffe! Oh look, and now Craig has stolen my joke - great minds!

Michelle and Brendan
Ooh I've been waiting for this, Michelle is turning out to be endearingly insane. Really good routine from Brendan, he was totally right to let her get her sass on! Certainly not perfect and Bruno's stilts comment was quite right because she did look hesitant at times. There could be potential for a journey here. Len was a bit harsh, remember it is week one!

Gavin and Katya
Katya gets the most restrained dress of the night, but it is rather Oscar-night-tasteful. For all his nerves it looks like he pulled it together on the night, I was pleasantly surprised. Feeling slightly disarmed by this, can we have him doing a lumbering cha cha to Crazy Chick next week?

Tina and Jared
It's the ickle pocket people and they've even come dressed as ickle Barbie and nerd-Ken! I wondered if this song would be used since it's cha cha perfect, thankfully the whipped cream was replaced by some big silver pants. I thought it was a bit cha-cha-lite, the diet coke of latin. Must do better kids.

Ann and Anton
Now this is the moment you've been waiting for. Ah and Brucie gets to attempt satire, bless. The training footage is so bumblingly British I'm surprised there isn't a Carry On film in the works. Not sure about the outfit, looks like some sort of pink bin-liner. Everyone is playing their roles perfectly and there's no way she's going home first. Bring on that salsa- Anton is amusing enough when he does it so there could be some funnies of Christopher Parker proportions!

Kara and Artem
What is going on with Kara's outfit, is that what Kat Slater thinks she looks like inside her own head? Not sure what to make of this one, after a promising start it didn't seem to go anywhere. Fur coat no knickers? (lol, I love that phrase!). She did recover from that fall like a champion, but I wouldn't say it was the best of the night. Overmarked in my opinion.

And here we have Robbie and Gary, I really don't get what the fuss is about apart from marvelling that they've both lost a fair bit of weight! It was like relationship counselling with glitter.

So Matt and Pam tied at the top and Paul at the bottom, not too out of place with our poll. Don't know if I can wait a whole week to see more, Strictly is well and truly back!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Winning Formula - revisited!

As we rub our hands together with glee waiting for the new spangle-tastic series of SCD to beging tomorrow I thought it was time to revisit last year's Winning Formula post. The formula stood up to some scrutiny last year, even if our poll didn't - I am looking at all you people who thought Joe Calzaghe was going to win! This year's poll suggests Jimi Mistry or Matt Baker might just grab that glitterball, but we know better when it comes to this perfectly calculated set of variables...

So who will win this year...let us find out!

1) Get the party started
This was one of the most fascinating and steadfast rules of SCD, dance first in the opening show and you will make it to the final. Unfortunately last year managed to ruin that! Whilst the blame cannot be entirely placed on Rav Wilding or Natalie Cassidy it has made me a bit grumpy for the rest of the year. The dance first formula even worked on Let's Dance for Comic Relief BOTH years! So whoever dances first this year, I have my eye on you...

2) Quit your day job
Another variable that needs a bit of fine shall now be known as 'Quit your day job, unless you are a BBC newsreader'. Since Natasha and Chris are the only two to win the show whilst doing a day job there must be something super-steely and hardworking about those who hang out in the BBC newsroom. Now Scott Malsen, you may think auntie beeb is doing you a favour shifting your filming around, but I think Jack Branning needs to take a few weeks off from Albert Square if you're gonna go all the way!

3) Blondes don't have more fun
Yet again last year the blonde was pipped to the post, hot favourite and blonde Ali Bastion does not make the final *tear*sob*sigh*, in fact she came third, as did Emma Bunton and Zoe Ball. Spooky? No, it's spangly scientific fact. Plus one of our favourite blonde pro dancers Katya has gone to brunette this year, she knows what she's doing! As for this year's people, Tina, Felicity, Pamela and Patsy had better consider a trip to the hairdressers before the semi-finals!

4) Latin Fever
Our darling Ola kept up the tradition of latin experts winning the show last year, so what chance do Anton, Erin and Natalie stand? Well, as Clover would say, Erin and Natalie will be trapped in a Bond Girl-style battle of wills all series so that will be quite distracting for them. Anton on the other hand...well if anyone wants to see Ann Widdecombe do the Argentine Tango and a spectacular showdance get voting tomorrow night!

5) Embrace the sparkle!
Ah my favourite of all variables, getting down to some serious sparkle! As a celeb you are used to a glamorous lifestyle but when it comes to SCD you aint seen nothing yet. Lock yourself in the fake tan booth, wear so many crystals you're too heavy to walk and dance down the street because you've got to give it your all! Chris had the time of his life last year and emerged the colour of a Christmas satsuma...speaking of satsumas (satsumi?) Gavin Henson is already pretty orange, but also looks quite bewildered so needs to embrace the sparkle. Others like Pamela and Jimi already seem to be totally getting into it, so bring it on!

So with a few tweaks the winning formula now looks like this...

(Try to) dance first - day job (unless BBC news-bod) + brunette x latin pro + sparkle = VICTORY!

See you on the dancefloor...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Strictly Come... Libraries?

Clare-from-work and I looked on in complete jealousy at Frankie's post about the dresses. I mean, we have the illuminations here but that's nothing compared to Louisa's jive dress, is it, if we're honest? So, in a flurry of sequins and feathers (that we just happened to have lying around, oooh yes) we created our own little Strictly-themed display. And that got us thinking how many Strictly-related books have sprung up over the years. Of course there's the obvious guides and annuals...and Anton's book (aka The Bible)...and forgotten gems such as Darren Gough's Dazzler on the Dancefloor (Have you seen it? It's wicked. Wicked? How old am I? Eight - circa 1993?) Last year saw the release of a Strictly 'Step by Step Dance Class' book in addition to the usual series guide and let-us-not-forget Craig and Len's biographies...

But it's not only books about the show itself- fiction writers are capitalising on the rising popularity of ballroom, latin and other forms of dance. There's The Ballroom Class by Lucy Dillon, which follows the lives of characters who are attending their local ballroom class. Arlene (yes the Arlene) says 'It's for everyone who loves to watch dance, join in a dance and all those whose heart is in dance' Definitely aimed at Strictly superfans then, no?! Next up is Strictly Love by Julia Williams...and the connection is obvious from the title. And perhaps not so explicitly connected, but definitely worth a mention, is Living La Vida Loca by Belinda Jones. Its shocking pink cover and dance-fuelled storyline will appeal to the Strictly Set just as much as the previous two.

So there's a few suggestions for filling up your Strictly Bookshelf...or...if you think about it...all will be available to order from your local library ;-)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Close Encounter of the Strictly Kind...Part 4!

Here we are again with another of our random SCD-related encounters, can you believe we're up to number four?!

So, the BBC decide to put some dresses on display at BBC TV Centre, I have some time off work, it's a match made in spangly heaven and I go out and take some photos! Be warned it was a sunny day and I was taking them through some glass, so the quality is not the best. But if you're in the area they are totally worth a look at!

Here we start with Aliona's opening number frock from last year, just in case you were wondering it is held together with two bits of sparkly dental floss at the back!
Getting this close to the dresses was a real treat, this is Ali's Viennese Waltz dress, the detailing you can see is gorgeous, I spent ages staring at it!

Next up was Cherie's rumba dress, ooh what a sophisticated treat it was. If you look carefully you can actually see where the leotard bit is that all the costumes are built around. The mesh inset at the side also made remember just how very orange the contestants have to be!

Next I had a right old giggle at Joe Calzaghe's Eye-of-the-Tiger-what-the-bejibbens-is-going-on-here paso outfit! The welsh dragon detailing was great, can't believe someone went to the effort of making all that! I also went to the effort of going inside the studios like a stalker loon to get a photo of the back of the Calzaghe cape for you all. I had to say 'excuse me' in my politest voice to an old man sitting on a chair next to it and everything.

Coming back to some more beautiful frocks, here we have Natalie Cassidy's foxtrot dress. I remember thinking this was lovely at the time, but up close it is gorge-ous. The style makes me think of Erin and the stoning and detailing on it really is a treat. The back is just as good as the front, as with all good ballroom dresses.

On the end of the first half is the joy that is Julian's tour samba costume, complete with sparkly maracas! I saw this on the tour with Clover, we loved it so much at the time and it brought back some funny memories. Too bad there wasn't Lilia's seriously over-the-top outfit in the same colour to go with it, but I think it might have blinded passing pedestrians!

Turning the corner I saw the second half of the costumes and gasped in succession as I looked down the line, at this stage I wasn't too bothered if a security guard came to ask what I was squealing at! First up is both Camilla and Tom's Salsa outfits. If they could get anymore fringing on that dress then I don't think she would have been able to walk.

Next in line *gasp* Zoe's tango dress! This is one of my all-time favourite dresses (more on that later) so this was totally making the trip worthwhile. Zoe has a tiny ribcage by the way. Again get more intricate detailing and it looked pretty heavy.
Hitting me with shocks along the line, we then come to Louisa's jive dress! The jive dress, in all it's lime green spangly glory! *sigh* what happy memories. At this point a random man came by and decided to have a look at the dresses near me, I was tempted to shout "These are historical artifacts to me!" but I thankfully restrained myself.
And THEN came the one and only Ramps' salsa shirt! The shirt that caught on the microphone, but we won't hold that against it. By the looks of it Ramps has very broad shoulders, pwhoar.

Next up in the pleasant surprises is Rachel's' rumba dress, again the detailing in this thing that you might not have noticed on the show is amazing. This was a particularly hard one to get photos of as its so dark but it really is stunning.
And finally, last but certainly not least, we come to Zoe's American Smooth from last year. This really was a surprise for me, because I didn't really remember it but when I saw it I went straight back and spend the rest of the afternoon singling My Girl to myself. It really is gorgeous, like a strictly wedding dress!

That was the whole selection and it was a fun way to spend some time of an afternoon, if you are in the area I would certainly recommend popping by for a gawp. There were lots of other people having a nosy as they walked past, admittedly not taking photos and squealing to themselves but each to their own! Plus if you stick your head around the door and go into the foyer there are some rather amusing cardboard-cut-out surprises!