Friday, 30 September 2011

It's all kicking off!

So here we go again, this has been the longest three weeks ever waiting for the show to start! Loving the walk-down from the celebs in their extremely bright costumes, after the mermaid-chic of the launch show this is a pretty mixed bag. Not sure why someone has left a bit of material on the back of Tess' dress...Anyways, here we go!

Holly and Artem
Holly looks properly nervous....but the Winning Formula suggests she has a shot at the final, if we ignore the last two years and we pretend I know something about science. Loving how Holly seems to have been given mahusive sequins as a trademark already, she'll be wearing CDs by the end of the series. The dance? Not bad for the first person, first week. All the steps were there etc. Did not like the song choice, find it a bit of an odd dirge for a dance tune, a bit more fun would have given it more energy.

Dan and Katya
I have no idea how this will go at all...I myself have been up since 4.30am and I doubt I could shimmy my way round the floor, er, ever. Oh crikey, that cursed trellis is back aleady! Has it been gathering dust in the BBC since December? It'll be the windows next... Thought this was a pretty decent waltz for episode 1, I saw some rise and fall. Could Dan be a dark horse/giraffe already? Oh my word, is the GMTV curse over, cured by Daybreak of all things?! I guess we'll have to wait for the latin. Loving Katya's lemon bon bon dress.

Lulu and Brendan
Well after being so rude in the launch show she'd better be nice to our Brendan! Whatevs, they're blatantly having fun really. Maybe a bit too much fun since Lulu seemed to forget half the routine; covering for it with the Frankie tactic of 'waving my skirt around and giggling', never fails! Illegal lift alert! Wonder how many times I'll get to type that this year. I laughed all the way through and could not stop watching, and that's all you need sometimes...

Audley and Natalie
Please can I call him Audrey? Is is just me or does Natalie look like Zoe Lucker? Maybe it's the massive hair. I also love how she appears to be wearing a latin dress from the waist up and a ballroom one from the waist down. Didn't look that good to me, not enough in hold and a lot of Natalie dancing around him, the judges overmarked it in my opinion. It is only week one though, can't expect miracles.

Robbie and Ola
Feel like we've been waiting for this one for a long time, even if it's just for Ola's spanga-licious dress! Genius song choice from Ola, she's so good and can hopefully have some fun this year. Might not have been technically the best and could have done with a bit more content, but the most exciting dance of night so far and bound to get the votes. Ooh potential!

Anita and Robin
What nice outfits, especially Robin's new line in super-high Fosse trousers and hats. And no sleeves, ageism at the BBC has been stopped with this exact moment! Anita seemed to warm into the dance after being a bit tentative at first, nice arms too. Aw this woman just seems to love dancing so much and a 7 from Craig in week 1 is pretty impressive!

Russell and Flavia
Flavia looks amazing, Russell looks like Caspar the Friendly Ghost, but if this guy can't have fun then who can? We've all loved his great tweeting in the past weeks so everyone is behind him. I'm so happy they danced to Venus I can even forgive the hideous prop! This guy has more energy and rhythm than anyone expected of him, I think we're in for a good few weeks here...

Well, that's it for tonight. Who would have thought we'd see Anita joint top with Holly and Lulu at the bottom? I want more! It's all to play for, more tomorrow night when the winner of our poll Harry will be performing. Not sure if that's a blessing or a curse!

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Winning Formula - Version 3.0

It's that time of year again, I'm pretending to have scientific abilities as I revisit my tried-and-tested Winning Formula for SCD. Hey, it's got to be better than Strictly Stats Man...and judging from last year there seems to be something in this!

1) Get the party started
This is unfortunately the weak link in the formula now and may have to be retired if this series does not give satisfactory results, so even more pressure on whoever is dancing first! The tradition of whoever dances first gets to the final was put out of joint for the second year by Felicity Kendall last year, anomalous or not, celebs, I'll be watching you.

2) Quit your day job
I'm looking at YOU Matt Baker, maybe if you hadn't dragged Aliona literally the length and breadth of the country whilst trying to learn to samba you might have pipped Kara to the post. Or maybe not... Either way, if your celeb has nothing better to do then all the better for you Strictly pros. There are no BBC newspeople this year, so we can't test that hypothesis unfortunately, but Dan Lobb had better not have to get up so early if he's going to win against the 'unemployed' types. And I hope Alex Jones is getting a bit of time off, show them this blog as proof if you're reading!

3) Blondes don't have more fun
This is possibly my new favourite variable, after pointing out that not only do brunettes always win but yet again a favourited blonde came third! Poor Pamela, we loved you. Guess this does not bode well for Robbie Savage, even if he and Ola are going on those joint trips to the hairdressers than they joke about on Twitter. Lulu and Holly might also consider a quick dye job. I wonder what this is about? Maybe the British public subconsciously hates blondes, but then again that would not explain the unfathomable popularity of Boris Johnson. Oh god, Boris Johnson on SCD...

4) Latin fever
Once again, the Latin dancers win out, even when they're a newcomer like Artem, so maybe Pasha has a hope. I guess that means we can watch the battle between Natalie and Erin continue once more, which could be even more fun as neither of them have an obvious favourite as a partner this year. Wonder who will resort to hypnotism or build a cyborg first. Anton doesn't count, in case you were wondering, although Nancy is brunette and lacks a day job...

5) Age is more than a number
Now this is a sensitive pointed out by Matt Ball from MSN, no-one over the age of 40 has ever won SCD. Shocking I know, call for a BBC inquiry right now I hear you cry, but this is science dammit and the evidence speaks for itself. So Harry, Holly, Chelsee Robbie and Alex there's no excuse for slacking or I'll send Arlene round to hit you with the glittery stick. In a moment of extreme SCD-geekery I have just googled how old Dan Lobb is and...he's not 40 until 7 January, just sneaking past the age-line there! Audley Harrison is 40 in October, maybe he should have done this last year.

6) Embrace the sparkle!
The least tangible, but most important, of variables, celebs I need you to embrace the sparkle! I want to see sequins, fake tan, ruffles, feathers and complete dedication to all things Strictly. Russell Grant may win for the biggest love of sparkle so far and we are really enjoying him on Twitter. Jason seems to be taking it very seriously, but might not have truly given himself over to spangled shirts yet. Robbie Savage seems to have some kind of ambiguous relationship with the sparkle, he blatantly loves it but doesn't want to show it, and we won't tolerate that!

So there we have it, the new revamped winning formula looks like this:

(Try to) dance first - day job (unless BBC news-bod) + brunette x latin pro > 40 years old + sparkle = VICTORY!

Less than a week to go celebs, you now know what you have to do...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

We have lift off!

Well here we are, the SCD launch show is upon us! It took all of 30 seconds for Bruce to mention his knighthood and Tess at least deserves an OBE for making a banana yellow jumpsuit look good, maybe I've had a blow to the head but I genuinely quite like it!

It looked as though an egg yolk threw up on her.

Suitably showbiz and slick opening number, just what you need to start off the series. My highlights also included Kristina's sexy new haircut and Vincent doing the eyebrow thing in the run-down, which made me shriek with laughter. Someone also needs to tell Alesha her pony tail is wonky.

Robbie and...Ola!

I've only just noticed he really looks like a horse, maybe a multicoloured My Little Pony by the end of the series. But both of them look so happy, I hope it goes well for them, even though he did lie to us *grumblegrumble*. Plus Ola deserves someone less scary than Paul Daniels.

Perhaps a horse that got stuck circa 1993. And gah, I thought there was something wrong with the TV until I realised I was just being blinded by his teeth. He looks at bit like that annoying guy from Pineapple Dance Studios too. Ola looked delighted but I think anything's better than Paul Daniels...she might even have been delighted to get Russell Grant...? No, maybe that's too far. Now despite the fact that, yes, he did lie to us, (watch you cereal boxes, mate) I think I actually quite like this pairing.

Dan and...Katya!

I am holding judgement on Dan, he seems nice enough but does suffer the curse of the ITV breakfast show. Really hope he's allowed some time off, doing Daybreak at 6am and Strictly could kill a man. Katya seems happy enough, and we've seen with Phil Tufnell and Gavin Henson she can really train a man up from humble beginnings.

Team Kan...? Or team Kan't? (grooooooan.) Now everyone knows that Daybreak is just GMTV in a new dress, so let's quit it with the talk that this guy could win. He hasn't got a bloody chance. He'll either be dragged around like a puppet a la Kate (I think Katya's probably strong enough) or have botty-sticky-outy issues a la Smug McSmugly Castle. And I can hardly bear to mention Fiona Phillips. He's clearly corny. His 'blind date' joke provoked the best fake laugh I ever seen from Katya. Blind date? Yeah he wishes.

Harry and...Aliona!

He fell in love with Uranus, y'know? Write your own joke. Well since he's the favourite Aliona seems to have lucked out again this year!

Is Aliona a Blackpool supporter? Her hair appears to have reached new heights of tangerine. Out of all the celebs, Harry looked the most nervous. And he looked positively terrified of his dance partner. Perhaps he watched in horror, like us, at Aliona's prop-heavy, gimmicky choreography. Or perhaps he just remembers Matt Baker's jive pants.

Introducing Pasha was quite a delight, he really can dance so I think we will like him. Also quite amusing that the BBC decided to to introduce their sexy new male with possibly the campest dance we've seen in a while! Richard Branson should hire the Strictly ladies for the next Virgin Atlantic campaign...

Yes he certainly can dance. Unlike that twelve year old with no ballroom experience they hired last year. Poor Tina - she probably could have done really well with a partner that could lead. Ach well, Pacha, yes. Perhaps it wasn't the dancing that was camp - perhaps he is camp. Time will tell.

Anita and...Robin!

Considering she could have been the token older lady she's got a figure so good she was allowed to be free from sleeves! Not sure how I feel for Robin, after he worked so hard to get Patsy to come out of her shell last year, felt like he should have got someone with the potential to be really good this year.

Let's be honest about this. He's clearly not on the market or he bats for the other team. The single, straight pros get the hot, pretty gals. It's not abaaat the dancin' no more. I haven't got much to say about these two unfortunately. They might gather enough public support to fill out three weeks if they're lucky. Otherwise, they just fodder. Innit.

Chelsee and...Pasha

Well the new boy has got the youngest girl and she's very enthusiastic, maybe he's lucked out here. These two could be an unknown quantity. Not sure about the shorts though, could they be the new Cursed Trousers?

And here's my point. Young gal + new Russian = haven't-we-been-here-before? For those who have been wondering, her accent is Lancashire. She's from Eccles. Famous for cakes filled with flies.

Lulu and...Brendan!

Well this will be a fun pair, hopefully she'll dance better than Jo Wood and they can have a laugh. She looks amazing in that super-spangly frock and a lot of people seem to think she'll be quite good, so Brendan will have something to work with. Thought it was a bit mean for her to shout 'oh no!' when he was announced as her partner, be glad you don't have Anton!

This is one I did not see coming. And I really like it. Well, at least more than Lulu seems to! Brendan still has that Season 1-4 persona but we seem to forget how great he was with Jo Wood. And Michelle-the-vibrating-tagliatelle-strand.

Nice to see Dolly Parton got into the swing of things with about three SCD outfits in one, never thought I would see so much white fringing in one place. Everyone loves Dolly, don't they?

No one told me Robbie Savage was singing on the show.

Jason and...Kristina!

He really does seem to have embraced the sparkle already and if he doesn't do a rumba to Especially For You I want my licence fee back. So glad he's partnered with Kritsina, she really deserves someone with potential!

Another one I wasn't expecting. I really want Jason to be good but he could go either way. He'll either get those rickymartinhipsashakin' or we'll be stuck with something along the lines of Gary Rhodes. For the sake of the nation, let's hope it's not the latter.

Rory and...Erin!

Ooh now this could be a great pairing! He's already endeared us to him on Twitter and I think Erin could be just the right teacher for him. Plus, he can do impressions of Bond villains etc and she can be the henchwoman, mwahahaha.

Yes, loving Rory. He's our Twitterbuddy (well he replied to us, which is a start!) And despite my previous dislike of Erin, it's come full circle and I'm so on her side now. Thinking they will be a good pair but probably not winning potential...which is what we really want for Erin now. But then...she had her chance...and used ****ing puppets. No, never gonna let that go.

Audley and...Natalie!

Well, that was blindingly obvious, since Natalie is actually taller than Russell Grant! Poor thing seems to have used up all her good contestant credits, wonder how this is going to turn out. I read somewhere he has size 14 feet!

Whhhaaaa? I think he could be good! Size has nothing to do with it! Watched him in the group performance and he seemed to have rhythm, timing... and seemed to be one of the few that was enjoying it! Shame he's with Natalie. Bound to take the fun out of it.

Russell and...Flavia!

Wow, Flavia is a really good actress! I'm sure he's a lovely man, but you really wouldn't have to be choreographing him week after week. Although if he;s lost 10 stone he is at least committed to this.

Agreed. Flavia deserves an Oscar. Poor wee thing standing there all evening thinking 'not me not me not me not me' one by one the dancers are paired off...looking over at Russell...looking over at Audley. Thinking s**t.

Group dance

Feathers! Chairs! Legs!

Alex and...James!

Wow, someone up there likes James. Another potentially good person, ok, we didn't know Pamela was going to be so good but she did get to the final and everything! Be nice to her James.

Gone are the days of serial killer eyes and mad hair. James, like Brendan, or a fine malt whiskey, has mellowed with age. He and Pamela were a delight. And Alex is so much so that she will now be known as Alex SoLovely Jones. It will be like Strictly wandered into the set of Gavin and Stacey. I hope she can dance.

Holly and...Artem!

Seriously, the tabloid rumours have started already? Couldn't we have left them in peace? Well she's tipped to be quite good and I love the huwouage sequins hanging off her dress!

Meh. Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt. Sewed my own sequins on it. She's bound to be at least a bit good...but is she interesting enough? Time will tell.

Nancy and...Anton!

Shock couple! I so had her pegged for Vincent and he was standing there with his happy wee face, but no! This could actually be hilarious, she probably won't get too far but it's nice to have a different dynamic than Anton with the comedy old duffer.

Nancy is bigger than Jesus.

Edwina and...Vincent!

Vincent now seems to be the guardian of the older lady all of a sudden, Stephanie Beecham, Felicity Kendall and now Edwina. The poor woman is the only person in our poll so far to have no votes, but then again the poll is always wrong!

Completely uneggspected (sorry). Of course, we all kinda assumed that Edwina would end up with Anton so I'm kinda pleased the beeb mixed it up a tad. Vincent and Anton looked genuinely surprised too. And as Frankie forgot to mention the sleeves, I'll point out that at least she didn't have two - only one and a half.

Group dance

I always love how the first group dance involves a lot of walking and clapping along to the music. And some of them can't even manage that. Crikey, Russell Grant has a lot of energy, and dare I say a sense of rhythm? Jason Donovan is totally into this and Alex really seemed to be enjoying herself too. Well, this is our motley crew until Christmas!

Walking and clapping indeed. And hardly any dancing. Yes, I think Russell has rhythm too. The only ones that stood out - not necessarily for dancing but because they actually were enjoying it were Audley, Jason and Chelsee. The latter of whom shone out of the group like a little rough diamond.

This series could go any way at all. I really wish Russell Grant wouldn't keep the outcome to himself.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

And the contestants are... actually some people we've heard of this year.

Alex Jones

Forever known as 'bird from the One Show', at least that programme has a record of sending us semi-decent contestants. She could be good clean fun, or incredibly dull, but either way there is no chance she will be as creepy as Dominic Littlewood.

Alex Jones aka Christine 2. They look the same. They both work/ed on The One Show. They both have endearing regional accents. And now they can both add Strictly to their lists of achievements. Seriously, if you gave me a picture of the two of them, I wouldn't be able to tell you which was which. I'm not joking. In fact, has anyone ever seen them together? Conspiracy much? I now fully believe that it is actually Christine coming back to have another go. If they bring back Matt Cutler too I'd be happy with that.

Harry Judd

Sound the alarm, young man aged 25 on SCD! After a serious dearth of the younger man since the days of Matt DiAngelo I'm quite glad to see this guy turn up on the show, even if I was always a bit old for McFly. Although we may have to do something about that name, Harry Judd is hardly a sexy salsa name...

Alarm! Alarm! Indeed. OK, I have no idea which one he is. They all looked the same to me. I really do think that one of his costumes should incorporate at least 5 colours of hair dye. Obviously ;-)

Edwina Currie

Since when did 'token politician' become a category on this show? A few years ago this would have been a totally random signing, but now it seems quite run-of-the-mill (run-of-the-glitterball?). As we know, the older lady must be encased in sleeves at all times, but I don't think I'll complain about it too much this year. Who will she dance with? Is it automatically Anton?

Conversation at work. Me: "Is she the one with the eggs?" Librarian: "Yes." Me: "Is she the one with John Major?" Librarian: "Yes." Me: "Ew."

So does she automatically get lumped with Anton? As proved in 2009 (and do not get me started on this...), he does not deserve a partner that has a chance of winning. And let's face it, even if she's the world's best dancer, older women just don't win. (Pamela was ROBBED!) However, if she does get lumbered with him doesn't it all become a bit predictable? I say mix it up again a little. Give him Russell Grant.

Rory Bremner

In a way they didn't need a token politician, since Rory could have provided them with about 10 for the price of one, we could have pretended the BBC had got Tony Blair, no-one would question the idea after all. Older but with a very dry sense of humour, can't see him going all the way but he could be a dark horse.

Definitely a real character - or many, as the case may be. Perhaps he could be a different person each week. OMG, that actually would be amazing. Scrap my disdain for frivolous follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies...DO IT. I might be wrong but I can imagine him being quite hard on himself if he can't quite get something...something in the eyes...but only time will tell.

Chelsee Healey

I don't watch Waterloo Road, but yet more young blood is always a good idea. I'm seriously starting to think this show has developed ageism against younger people. Give her a good partner and enough spangles and we can probably have some fun with Chelsee.

I don't watch Waterloo Road either but now I have Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks stuck in my head...which is a better option than Waterloo by Abba...oh, dammit.

Dan Lobb

Remember how bad GMTV presenters were? Well this is a Daybreak presenter, the odds say he should be even worse! Ah, but he was a tennis player, you say - so was Andrew Castle! It all boils down to ITV coverage though, so we can't escape SCD on any channel. I'm going to suggest he'll start out clumsy and then get a bit better.

No bloody idea who he is. I'm not sure I care. So Wikipedia tells me he was a tennis player too - remind me of someone? Oh yes. Smug McSmuggeson Andrew Castle. Just tried Google images. He does look smug too. Sorry to judge only on those two things. I'll eat a banana skin if I am wrong.

Nancy Dell'Olio

Fantastico! If there's one thing this show needs it's some crazy glamour with a foreign accent, us Brits love all that stuff. I just really, reeeeeally hope she's ickle so that she can dance with Vincent. Bruno will love her, there will be excitable shouting, job done.

What actually is she famous for? Is it just for being Sven's ex? But meh, she's clearly crazy and she's Italian and you never can have enough of those in the Strictly Come Dancingsphere. I haven't got the oomph in me to get annoyed along the lines of the whole Jo Who let's just see what happens.

Jason Donovan

Ahh, everyone loves Jason Donovan these days, don't they? He just seems like one of those people with a lot of goodwill behind him, housewives' favourite and all that. He's done drag more than once in musicals, a man who did Rocky Horror is not allowed to turn down wearing some serious spangles or I will be mightily disappointed.

Ahhh indeed! This is a man who could quite easily become an adopted national treasure. Always strikes me as a nice guy and he's so my generation it hurts. I want a rumba to 'Especially for You' and lots of early Neighbours clips please. Or the dreamcoat thing. Either is fine.

Holly Valance

Continuing the cast of Neighbours who aren't doing panto, Brucie is going to have a field day with his Aussie puns this year. She'll look good and will probably be half decent at dancing, the main thing I think we're all looking for is

I'd kinda got over my Neighbours phase by the time this lassie was in it so there's little interest here. I guess she was responsible for a pop classic (yes, you still all know all the words) Mwah. As Frankie says, we assume she will be able to dance (though remember that assumption made about Michelle Williams...and she turned out to dance like a matchstick on acid.) A personality would be nice. But I'm not holding out much hope.

Audley Harrison

Oh look a sportsman, and randomly enough a boxer I've actually heard of. We've not exactly had a good track record with boxers so don't hold your breath. I've actually just read he's some ridiculous height like 6'5. I'm also slightly concerned that I'm going to call him Audrey all series.

Should we allow Frankie to call him Andrey if it will keep her happy for three months? She is a simple creature. So, a boxer? Not a good track record for those on Strictly, no, but I have a young friend who's a cracking salsa dancer...and he there's hope yet. He is MIGHTYHUGE though...who is man enough to take him on? Natalie. No, I'm not saying Natalie is a man... ... ... or... .... ....

Antia Dobson

Fighting Edwina Currie in the 'older woman' stakes, we'll be drowning in sleeves this year...I don't really have any idea of what to expect here. Could be terrible in an endearing way, could be competent at ballroom and cringey in latin.


Russell Grant

What did we do to deserve this? This isn't going to be you're-bad-but-it's-quite-funny-light-relief of Widdecombe and co, it's going to be the you're-bad-and-creepy-and-please-go-away of Paul Daniels. I feel sorry for the poor female pro who gets him, it had better not be Kristina.

He actually scares me.


All I can hear in my head is Edwina Monsoon shouting "I PR things...people...LULU!" which is going to get quite annoying throughout the series. Small and plucky, I know a lot of people can't stand her and I'm not 100% sure myself.

My first memory of Lulu is of watching Top of the Pops as a child, happily listening away to Take That's new single, 'Relight My Fire', when all of a sudden a tiny woman rose from what seemed like flames and belted "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaahhhhhh." It took me a long time to forgive her for that.

Robbie Savage

The eternal ditherer, I am convinced he lied to us on Twitter but I have got lost in the swirly vortex of tales that have been spun about Mr Savage, which is a bit annoying since I had no idea who he was until the rumours started circulating! It had better be worth all this drama.

He lied?! I shall find it and see. There is not replying, that is one thing. Ignorance is bliss, after all...but an outright lie?! I'm actually outraged. I shall hunt him down and mismatch his socks. I shall put salt in his sugar bowl and chilli pepper in his cinnamon. I shall turn his cereal bags upside down inside the boxes.

Yer, I had to look him up too.