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!