Monday, 24 December 2012

2012 Strictly Closing Ceremony

So here we are, Strictly is a marathon and not a sprint  and come Christmas we're staggering over that finish line trailing sequins. And what a final this is going to be, four couples is unheard of! We're going to be exhausted at the end of this!

As ever, we're not doing each dance separately for the final, they've done them before and it's too much effort trying to be witty about them again! Denise kicked it in the jive, Dani totally vamped up her tango, Kimberley made the VW not suck and Louis discovered his hips!

So let's move on to that festival of randomness that is the showdances!

Denise and James
I was expecting more from that catsuit, it's an Ola Jordan cast-off. Wasn't too sure about this, the lifts were really great but the random interlude into a run-of-the-mill tango went on for too long and it lost momentum. But I do love a knee-slide, that catsuit could've burst into flames!

Dani and Vincent
Well when you're dancing to Bo Rap it's going to get a bit schizophrenic and boy this was. Wasn't sure at the start but once they got into the paso bit they killed it! And wow, once the tea towel came off that was quite a dress. Plus stegosaurus hair too, what a treat! Crazy lifts, we're getting into Dancing on Ice territory here.

Kimberley and Pasha
Well that was the most delightfully bonkers showdance I've seen in a while! I actually loved this, there was content, there was sass, there were lifts but not too many. And wow, wish I could change clothes with a yellow orb! She also wins the blatant disregard for health and safety award for jumping through flames with that amount of hairspray. Well done to Pasha for choreographing a routine that was all about Kimbo.

Louis and Flavia
Well we knew they were going to do soemthing different, don't know how long it took me to catch on to the doing rolling-on-the-floor-gymnastcs, but there you go. Despite that, it had more dance content than I was expecting! Plus tights, actual tights. Crazy times...

And sadly, we lost Dani, along with her super-cute My Little Pony ponytail. Our dark pony, we've loved you so much this series, it's sad to see you go. But for now we must return to the dancefloor battle...

Denise's Charleston was actually better than Wembley, maybe it was better in an enclosed space rather than a ridiculously massive space. But then Kimbers came out and pouted us all into oblivion! What a tango, probably one of my favourite ever Stricty tangos and there's been a lot over the years. After those two I felt Louis and Flavia made the wrong choice, it looked a bit lacklustre after the sheer oomph of the other two.

And as for the classic reunion of all the contestants, you have to love it, don't you?! It's always so camp and hilarious. Actually, this year it was executed quite well! Mainly down to the pros and sticking certain celebs at the back behind things. Gotta love another chance to see Lisa and Robin jumping around too!

Now this is it, who is it going to be? The winner is.....LOUIS! It was the showdance that won it, you can't stand on the world and not impress people. And so happy for Flavia, she's worked so hard! Well it has most certainly been an eventful year, thanks to everyone who's read our blog and tweeted along with the madness!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Pace Cars & Peplums

Dani and Vincent

Gosh, Dani looks like a tub of Neopolitan ice cream, maybe that's this week's Italian reference. Better than the random fountain without water anyway, the props are entering a new level of surreal. Delightful, but a bit subdued for an AS to me anyway, I need a bit of jazz-handy pizzaz. Although I must admit I like a bit of Buble for Strictly, nowhere else obviously, where the boundaries of taste and decency exist. Keep on it munchkins, I'm waiting for your AT!

Toilet roll cover dress. Check. Frothy song. Check. This could be a bubble bath. Or a Buble bath. Naturally. I am still waiting for Dani to blow my socks off. I really want her to blow my socks off. I would love her to win but Kimberley's edging ahead at the moment...

Louis and Flavia

I hate it when they try and put something cheerleader-y into the jive, it's just odd and sexless. Maybe I read too much into these things, maybe SCD has driven me mad after nine years. I've also found myself possessed by the spirit of CRH, I actually said flat-footed out loud! I get the feeling this was one they just needed to get through, it wasn't bad but it didn't have the vim or vigour it needed.

This was laid back and cool but it didn't seem as though he was putting much effort in. He also appears to have inherited Nicky's duck feet. 

Denise and James

What's with the sudden goth makeover? Is she a tortured soul that no-one understands? I bet no one understands why they're doing this to the Police version of Roxanne rather than the actual tango version from Moulin Rouge. And I know Roxanne was a prostitute, but I can see her knickers! Wow, this was sharp though, thought James was going to snap her in half at one point! Or that she'd take someone in the audience's eye out with her shoe. Better song and this would have been epic for me.

Dressed as a bruise, black and blue, Denise-the-safety-car sets the pace yet again with a nifty tango. Competitors are not allowed to pass the safety car during the caution period...well that is well and truly over. I suspect she'll be the first out of the final...leaving the others to race ahead. 

Kimberley and Pasha

Now, I do not like a 'quirky' American Smooth, I'm looking at you Artem with your Black Swan affair, but I actually really enjoyed this. The song and amazeballs outfit helped keep it old-school, but more importantly it had a lot more speed and content then I was expecting. Could have done with a bit more hold, but it's not like they weren't doing anything. Was it an Arlene 'I just want raw sex' moment?

And so goes Nimble Kimble racing ahead of Denise already. A red hot Ferrari of a dance. I don't even know anything about Formula One, I have no idea why I'm going on about it. Loved Pasha's choreography hitting all those little accents in the music. Didn't really suit the flavour of American Smooth but...ach, well. 

Lisa and Robin

Oh god, it's salsa. Robin's skin is actually closer to the tangerine of Lisa's dress than the flesh tone of his shirt! I thought this was going to be bad bad bad, but it was actually pretty fun! You need energy for a salsa and she has it in buckets. Sparkly buckets. And there was a fair bit of content in it. The salsa has been a bit of a disaster this year, will it survive to next year? Bring back the grand prix viennesse waltz!

Oh god, no it's not bloody salsa. The Strictly producers wouldn't know salsa if they slipped on it in the supermarket. This was about as latin as Prince Charles' breakfast crockery. Love Lisa but did not love this. 

Right, all change! Let's go round again...

Dani and Vincent

The first thing I did was shout 'omg there's a peplum, why is there a peplum?!' and then I wondered if the sound on my TV was broken, the drama of no music, the drama. This wasn't Austin Healey handing out canapes. A brilliant routine, as ever, from Vincent, so much of the old jigsaw legs. That's a technical term, y'know. Can't believe she learnt it in two days. And woo for letting her grow up for one dance!

I have a genuine fear of peplums. That's mostly all I could focus on whilst Dani was dancing. I imagined it detaching itself from her dress and stalking me. Chasing me. MURDERING me. What a scary way to go. I digress. The top half of her dress was very nice. The bottom half looked like something an extra would wear on Dynasty. Very nice little tango but I wouldn't expect anything less from someone dancing with Wee Vincent.

Louis and Flavia

Now this is more like it, proper dress, tails, interesting song and choreography. I quite enjoyed this, foxtrots usually bore more, and I think the song choice really helped bring something more to it. Somehow I think he performed it better than the jive, restrained angst might just be Louis' thing after all, no enforced gurning this week. Darcey is just throwing those 10s around this week!

I liked Flav's choreography too, especially the mini game of Fairy Footsteps they played at the beginning. He had more rise than a currant bun and more fall than Niagara. Darcey however, flapping that 10 paddle about has clearly been possessed by the Ghost of Judges Past. Has anyone seen Alesha recently...? 

Denise and James

The rumba, the slayer of greats. And what the hell is Denise wearing? A pillowcase crossed with a pregnancy smock? I could see this was danced very well, but I didn't like the routine. They were both too busy looking so paaaaained, so much emooooootion, they ended up looking constipated. Too many random bits on the floor that made me cringe. But this might just be me, the technique was very good.

How to survive a rumba? Wrap yourself in a windsock to hide the lack of body movement? How could the judges give a ten to something so wooden? Denise spins like a demon and it was acted well (I'm assuming she was meant to look as though she had just stubbed her toe...? Oh the paaaain.) but if this was a latin dance, then I'm a brazil nut. 

Kimberley and Pasha

I know there can't be too many choices for Charleston songs but that was one of the oddest ones I have ever seen. Kimberley looks so divinely cute, Pasha looks ridiculous. The theming was so weird, but her Charleston-ing was so good! Swivles, so many swivles! Cartwheels that were good and not pointless! Not going to grumble about four tens, the execution of it was so good. I may have whooped.

It's not every day you witness Biggles dancing with a sparkly blueberry. It was very neat and about as charlestony as a charleston can get. Spiffing, old chaps, spiffing. 

Lisa and Robin

I've been waiting for them to finally let Lisa do an AS and they needed to pull out the big guns. And I do love a bit of Fosse *jazzhands**shockedface* Great lines and syncopation as ever, but I never thought I'd say this but I missed the lifts.

How to dance like Bob Fosse? Waggle your hands about in front of your face and act as though you're surprised to see them. Plenty of that going on. It was fun, and in its own way, fab-u-lous, but Lisa's technique just wasn't holding up against the rest of 'em. She has, nevertheless, been this year's stand out contestant and for me personally, she's made it worth watching. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Con-fusion on the Dancefloor

10/10 for pout
It's Strictly, but not as you know's all gone a bit crazy this week (or as we like to call it 'gone a bit DWTS') with this newfangled fusion malarkey. Will we love it or hate it? Or merely prefer it to another annoying theme week? Let us go on a new spangled journey...

Denise and James

They're in Christmas outfits a bit early, aren't they? Quite like them though, they look like fancy Christmas crackers, the ones where you get something nicer than a plastic fish. Well, we all know Denise can jive with the best of them and it does go with the bouncy quickstep. The choreography was really good, I actually liked the diving in and out of hold, but the execution wasn't actually as sharp as I was expecting. 

Have decided it's perfectly reasonable for someone like Denise to be on Strictly. She sets the pace. Like the guy who runs the race for Mo Farah only to let him win. The joy is seeing others match, nay, surpass her. What's the word for that? Pace-setter? Pacemaker? (she'll never jive alone?) Safety car? Yes, Denise is this year's safety car. Brum brum. 

Lisa and Robin

Cha-cha and tango isn't the best combination, but since she did such an amazing cha-cha hopes are high. Loving the camp-tastic song choice, low-hanging glitterballs and Bucks Fizz skirt moment to reveal the most spangle-tasic of fringes. Again the transitions were managed well and gave a little squeak at the homage to the original week 1 lift! Mistakes and technique issues again, could this night be filled with fusion slips?

Lisa should be in the final purely on the basis of her facial expressions. 

Nicky and Karen

It doesn't look good for Nicky, two weeks in the bottom two and the dreaded samba, plus lifts in the AS, that's not asking much from him! Despite having two dances to combine they still managed the dreaded sitting-on-a-chair interlude. This was a bit of a dog's dinner, to sound like Len for a minute, they had to mish-mash some random stuff together and Nicky didn't seem to be doing much. Apart from flailing arms an offensive shimmy.

I am sorry Westlife fans but Nicky does dance like a duck-billed platypus. This wasn't much samba and it wasn't much smooth and it wasn't much American. Nothing gelled. It was a random mish-mash of plonking about with a chair to running to catch up to moves borrowed from the set of Dirty Dancing. Unfortunately he was less like the wind, and more like he had wind. 

Dani and Vincent

Now Charleston and Quickstep is a perfect combination, so perfect it's almost cheating. But I like Dani and Vincent so we won't dwell on that...Dani also won best dress by a country mile this week, it's Lilia-esque! And this was a bloody good dance, I might even say it was my favourite of the series so far. A-ma-zing choreography from Vincent, it actually had more Charleston in it with some of the Charlestons this series. Plus the quickstep element gave it more control and stopped any enforced gurning. What a delight!

Oooh, I loved this. Very cute. And what a lovely outfit. My favourite dance of the series so far. I would love these two to win. 

Louis and Flavia

Louis was always going to struggle with the rumba, so much that I have my suspicions this whole thing was devised to get him through it. Great choreography from Flavia, which was to be expected, I loved how the routine built with the music. It was better than a plain rumba would have been, definitely, but it didn't wow me. I wanted to be holding my breath with the drama and I was not, which is probably a good thing actually... 


Kimberley and Pasha

Despite the concept being about an hour old It's Raining Men is the PERFECT song choice for a cha-cha tango fusion. And this is actually the only time when a mullet dress is acceptable. I actually really loved this in a crazy way, they were both obviously having the time of their lives too. Is there anything more fun than a thunderclap high kick? And crikey that was a good lift. I really enjoyed it, but I was not expecting a 40, egads!

The choreography to this was awesome what wiv hitting all those accents with a mighty kick, ker pow! This was like batman does ballroom. Half expected cartoon speech bubbles to pop up on the screen. Alas no, but this was good. Not sure it deserved 40 though. Seemed as though those scores had been decided beforehand for effect. Conspiracy much?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Shimmies, somersaults and shocking frocks!

Another week, another questionable dress for Tess and overly-long intro from Bruce. Strictly isn't a sprint, it's a marathon! It's a short ep tonight and all of a sudden there doesn't seem to be that many people left. Three weeks to go, Christmas is nearly here!

And it's been a bit late coming this year, but Hideous Costume Week is finally here! There's some real shockers, so much that I'm finding Vincent's gondolier outfit quite cute!

Kimberley and Pasha

Speaking outfits, Kimberley just about pulls this one off, even though it looks like something the hilariously evil wardobe people would've given to Holly Valance to make her look daft. Thought this was pretty good, nice old-fashioned jive, quite literally. Great kicks and so much energy. Also, with a lot of training and hard work, she could one day graduate from the Karen Hardy School of Facial Expressions.

It was neat and tidy in the feet but didn't have enough energy (according to my strictly unprofessional eye) A bit jolty in the leg. Does that make sense? 

Dani and Vincent

I want some ice cream...I'm also having a Louisa flashback when Vincent was actually dressed as a tiny ice cream man. Dani lucks out with the best dress of the night as a marshmallow cupcake. You'll do anything to jazz up a VW and I actually thought this routine was delightful, nice little fancy touches to add some musicality.

WTF was with all the props and weird costume? If it weren't for that, I'd have loved it. I did quite like it despite my aforementioned protestations. I'm keeping my fingers crossed from now until the final that these two are in it. Still waiting for my wow dance though. Come oooon. 

Michael and Natalie

Those outfits are an early 90s nightmare, it hurts my eyes, I was there and they weren't nice the first time round. It was mean but I totally laughed when Michael fell down the stairs at the start, it's samba week, the omens are bad! To be fair, the hip action has improved beyond waggling his bum a bit, but that was about it. He seemed to be bobbing around Dad dancing most of the time while Natalie span around him in her tetris bedsheet dress.

Unlike Matt Dawson, Michael wasn't able to pull off a decent samba at the last minute. And yes, he was just bobbing along really. Bobbing along, along the bottom of the beautiful, briny ... leaderboard, 

Nicky and Karen

What the hell is Karen wearing, she looks like she's wearing the back of one dress and the front of the other! It does appear compulsory for an AT to be to a Bond theme, in a desperate attempt to live up to the legend of Ramps, but this probably wasn't the right choice, bit too mournful. This was in fact a pleasant surprise for me, a bit rumba-y for an AT, but it somehow worked. Not perfect, but yet again Nicky is coming on more than I ever expected him to.

Why not scrap Argentine Tango in favour of 'Bond Dance'? Song would have made an OK rumba, possibly, but didn't really suit this dance. Not sure what the kung fu fighting moves were about either. And he still has duck feet. 

Lisa and Robin

Not sure about the egg yolk outfit, but as ever you can't help but smile when these two dance. It was good in parts, but she did go wrong in the first Charleston section. And when in doubt jump over a sofa like a five-year-old! Might be a bit controversial, but I thought this was a tad overmarked...

Egg yolk? No, it was lemon sorbet, dear and Lisa looked delicious. She makes me smile and I am almost certain these two are going to make the final. What I still want to see is a technically fabulous dance. Then I will die happy. Not planning to die any time soon though, don't worry.

Denise and Ian

Really not sure about that dress or James' rockability bondage outfit, god this week is weird. Great spins, hilariously awful shimmies. Quite spectacular first lift it was like a labrynith of legs inside a washing machine. I'm getting really annoyed at James banging on about how he went wrong, methinks he protests too much...

Brace yourself: it did have some salsa-esque moves. Hopeless song though. And Denise had no body movement. Could do better...

Louis and Flavia

Why does Flavia have a flowerpot on her head? I'm all for hats, but this isn't the time! This had me and Mr F in hysterics, Louis dancing with his mouth wide open, what lawks! Good swivels and appropriate gymnastics this week. Thought this was going to be a make or break week for Louis, the judges might have been a bit overblown in their praise but he does deserve to go through. Two tens was mental!

I have two dance moves. Charleston and moonwalk. Louis used them both. In one dance. Excellent stuff. Glad to see him in a character of sorts. Definitely deserved its place at the top. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Non-Salsa of Doom!

Brace yourselves viewing public, there's no Wembley, there's no theme, you might be getting a normal episode of SCD this week. Although, I'm not actually sure what normal means in this spangle-tastic world, Tess' dress is even quite nice this week! But don't worry, it still takes Bruce twice as long to get through the intro as he needs too, long(er) may he live!

Dani and Vincent

I am loving Dani's dress, I've loved a lot of samba dresses this year, despite the lack of feathers. Give me feathers and I'm a happy bunny, Now, it wasn't a carnival samba, it wasn't even disco, it was actually trying to be vaguely cool! And somehow it worked, nice nods to the original, but with samba content. And wow to Dani starting the routine on her own, shake it sister! (I am from Blackpool, it's totally inappropriate for me to say that...)

Kimberley and Pasha
I'm distracted because Kimberley suddenly looks like Kylie, what's that about? Plus a seriously fierce Grace Jones facial expression, this girl means business! A proper tango, so sharp and staccato. Not much more to say, it was fab.

Victoria and Brendan
Seriously, what is going on with the poor girl's hair? And the sudden fake tan dousing. She's turning into a cocker spaniel. Salsa, we were always worried about this...but whilst it wasn't that good, I actually thought it was an improvement on her other latins. Better posture and she didn't look like she was hating every second of it. But yeah, it doesn't look good...

Louis and Flavia
They've chopped the arms off Sid's paso jacket, BBC cuts are really starting to bite. The sparkly Primark vest underneath kinda ruins the look though. Wasn't too sure about the song choice, it was a bit sparse and maybe that took away from the emotion. It was technically good, footwork and lines etc, but lacked that serial killer instinct that you need on a family entertainment show on a Saturday night.

Lisa and Robin
This song makes me cry. I have to pretend I have something in my eye. A genius song choice actually, it builds wonderfully and is so emotional, it's not like Lisa could do something fragile and willowy. It didn't suit her no, but she performed the steps as well as ever, her timing as brilliant and she maintained the syncopation with Robin. Keep on it Lisa!

Michael and Natalie
Natalie has stolen Aliona's dress and Zoe's fringe, is she going incognito this week? Has her super-spy cover been blown? This was not good for me, it was very placed and Michael's sticky-out bum was back. It was like they were two people doing different dances.

Nicky and Karen
I was expecting this to be delightfully insane, plus there was the additional fun of Karen's Minnie Mouse hair. And what fun it was! Really liked the routine, it was zany and bouncy all the way through with lots of energy. I was really surprised how many times Nicky threw her around actually! Could maybe have done with a tad more swivel, but I think he's close to winning most improved at the moment.

Denise and James
Now, I don't not like Denise just for the sake of it. I've really enjoyed a lot of her dances. But this was ruined by the terrible song choice and pointless lift. Her arms are amazing by the way.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

BIIIICYCLE BIIICYCLE. Thanks BBC for getting that stuck in our heads. BIIICYCLE.

Just in case you were living in a cave, SCD is back at Wem-ber-leeee this week, the most humongous show of them all. It's not Blackpool though, but we'll try not to be too grumpy about that. They've amped up the sparkle on the dresses this week too, some serious costuming delights!

No, it's not Blackpool. Northernist scumbags. 

Lisa and Robin

This outfits are really making me giggle, Lisa as the actual car wash and Robin as a caveman-mechanic, who says Saturday night entertainment is dead? There was bounce, there were samba rolls and the whole nation screamed when she did the splits! Must say I agree with Len the technique went off a bit, but I think that was because they were just too excited!

I'm not going to moan about props and lifts and tricks and fannying around etc as it's such a huge space to fill that these forms of theatrical bombast are needed to ensure the couple doesn't look like two specks of dust dancing on a dining table. Not that you'd be able to see if two specks of dust on a dining table were actually dancing. Oh, that's my point isn't it? Roll with me here... Now, if we are too rolling with 'Dance Across the Decades', I would like to know in what specific era did folks only have enough money for buttons on one side of their dungarees? Robin, you tease, you. Besides Robin channelling his inner Janet Jackson and Lisa dressing as a Koosh ball, this was, as ever, bubbly and fun. Didn't see much samba but let's be honest, when was the last time we did?

Nicky and Karen

Now the ITT training footage made this look ridonkulously fast, so I had high hopes for this dance. Even with the Jedward quiff. I think it might have been a bit dwarfed by Wembley, the routine seemed a tad slower but had a hell of a lot of content, which I wasn't expecting on a night like this. Alas, rock n roll content rather than jive content. Bit disappointing and rather overmarked but a few weeks ago you'd have expected Nicky's jive to be horrendous!

The training footage looked good for this - and it wasn't bad. Was a bit put out by Len commenting on the lack of jive content being OK because it was 'Rock and Roll.' No, no, no, no, my old friend, Len, would you have been as happy had he come out dancing the Macarena? The polka? If he came out...krumping? I think not. Judges commented on lack of retraction (word of the series) but I was more distracted by his 'naughty toes' feet which gave his movement the imitable quality of a duck's. 

Denise and James

I thought the Egyptian theme wasn't going to work, but somehow it really did! Whilst I hate gimmicks I quite enjoyed James the explorer on the rope. And hurrah for some proper swivels and cartwheels and fancy-pants-ness! My Strictly sense was tingling, I could smell 10s, there were 10s! Twitter is divided, but I'll totally take that as first 10s of the series.

Ridonkulous (I've stolen Frankie's word) theming but a rather nifty charleston. Nice to see some actual steps in it and at least Denise can pull of the pantomime of it all. 

Louis and Flavia

They don't seem to have bothered with a costume for Louis this week, but it's made up for with Flavia's gorgeous dress and amazing shoes! The quickstep content was great, we do love a Charleston interlude, not too sure about a breakdancing interlude. Think this was the curse of Wembley, feeling like you have to put something 'extra' in. Amazed at Darcey's back-handed 'I love the tacky tricks' comment!

This is what would happen if you crossbred a vintage tea party with Dizzee Rascal. If you're going to throw a 'street' (I can't use the word without quotation marks) element into any dance, really, American Smooth? It was disjointed. And Flavia was dressed as a napkin. 

Richard and Erin

I am in love with these outfits, what a kitsch classic delight. Erin as Mailbu Barbie, Richard as George Michael with some banana hammocks in the background. I can't actually remember much about the dancing, it was very light on content but hilarious. Can't believe Erin allowed herself to be thrown into the sea, maybe it's a good job it wasn't in Blackpool!

I think she had a suicide pact. 

Victoria and Brendan

I thought I was going to hate this and I didn't! The bicycle was charmingly insane rather than stupid, the outfit was cool and a bit of Union Jack capework can't be wrong. Savaged by the judges, when I thought this was pretty good when it came to the actual dancing. So there.

Victoria doing her best impression of ET and Brendan with a Union Jack cape? What's not to like? I too thought the judges were quite harsh on Victoria's dancing this week. It was an insane song to have to dance a Paso Doble to. Brendan never looks happier than when he's whipping a cape around his head. 

Dani and Vincent

I know I say it every week, but they're so CUTE! Vincent's quicksteps are always underrated, they have so much style and content and he pulled it off again, even whilst dressed as the Pink Panther! Loved Bruno's comments about the Motown touches. They made it all the way around that huge floor without looking stupid!

Oh two little liquorice all sorts hopping along the floor like Bertie Bassett's wet dream. That is quite possibly the rudest thing I've ever written on this blog. I'm quite ashamed. Really liked this and really like them. If she keeps improving, she'll be giving Denise a run for her money before long. And how much would we love to see Wee Vincent win?

Kimbeley and Pasha

Well the huge skirt was a let-down, a bit like a child playing with a bedsheet, but that was a proper spanglicious dress! There was a hell of a lot of energy in this dance, I got tired just watching it. It seemed to get a bit more samba-y as it went on actually. And I whooped for the samba rolls!

Meh. Sorry but. 

Michael and Natalie

Natalie threatened to chop his leg off in training, I love it. I also love her amazing Oscar-night dress. What a huuuuge routine this was, yet somehow a very acceptable American Smooth rather than an overblown Wembley atrocity. One of the lifts was rubbish, but the other two were very fitting. Amusingly he also missed the timing on the very last note, but still one of the best of the night!

OK, it was a tad over-marked in my opinion but I'm having a little turnaround about dear Michael. The hours and work he is putting in are paying off. This was not only not actually was quite good. I was watching avidly for him to go off time, especially in the segments where he danced on his own...but he just didn't. Credit to Natalie who is, I must declare, an actual genius. Can't see him doing so well in a latin dance but Goughie never really cracked that either, did he?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Rumour has was a good 'un,.

Evening all, there's no Bruce tonight. Can we cope? I love having Bruce on the show, I'm not desperate for him to retire like everyone else, although I do love our Claudia! However, she does seem to have come dressed as a dental hygenist this week, but then again Tess is a casino waitress which is just as odd.

Denise and James/Ian

Poor Ian, always the bridesmaid, he's turning into a Strictly Miss Haversham, get him back on the main show! As for James, at least you're allowed to grimace all the way through the paso. Thought this was pretty good, I do love a proper paso flaring-nostrils drama. I'm not supposed to like her cos she's a ringer, but she's putting in great, exciting performances and we need plenty of that this series! And her dress is from the Strictly Superhero school of costuming, hurrah!

Richard and Erin

Erin looks wrong in a Charleston dress, she looks wrong in anything other than a floor-length ballgown. But what a pro, doing the Charleston with barely a grimace! It was a really fun routine actually, totally manic but that's what I want from this dance! Bit sloppy in places, but proper steps and (pretentiousness warning)....captured the spirit of the dah-ance.

Louis and Flavia

I actually swore when I saw that swing. I'd hoped it was kindling on someone's fire by now, maybe Michael could have another go with his axe? But other than that, what a delight! Loved how Flavia's dress made it look like a black and white film *sigh* Nice moment of calm and grace, until the judges went and had a major barny. Bruno went all Italian, Len went all cocker-knee, Craig went all waspy and Darcey The six from Craig was horrendous!

Fern and Artem

Fern seemed to be having a Pamela Stephenson moment, despite wearing a Letitia Dean cast-off. And wow, I've not seen so much nude mesh since Carol Voderman's seriously wrong rumba! I think this was actually my favourite dance from Fern, it was fun, full of steps and oomph. To speak like Len, after a few boring weeks someone's put a firework up her bum!

Victoria and Brendan

Wow, she looks amazing! And Brendan wore his comedy hat for all of three second, hurrah! Such a classic quickstep, I love it when they go for the old-school theming and Craig used the word gusto, one of my favourite Strictly words. It is all about the hold though, but I think we'd all grip on to Brendan in that situation...

Dani and Vincent

Best song choice of the night, oooh the drama! Nice to see a sharp, dark, punchy tango, there's been too many gimmicks recently. Wasn't too sure about the dress, not to sound like your granny, but I think I would have accepted the shorter hemline without the cropped top, bit too much. Fabulous underskirts though, and you don't get to say that very often these days. Great footwork and staccato, she really is turning into the dark horse!

Nicky and Karen

I notice the microphone wasn't used for the entire dance, as was implied in training this week, which promised to tangle itself around their legs and send them crashing to the floor. Again, he's better in ballroom (latin is really suffering this year!) but since it was a foxtrot I got a bit bored once they were in hold. Well done for the hard work and Karen's super-glitz dress though.

Kimberley and Pasha

It was lovely, there was a fleckerl and a princess dress. Len used the word whimiscal and Craig said delicious, I'm loving the Strictly vocab tonight. Delicious makes me want to compare it to a box of Hotel Chocolat choccies (does anyone want to pay us to advertise those?)

Michael and Natalie

It's latin time, I'm hiding behind a cushion. Well, it was better than the jive of doom...but that's not saying much. There was a lot of walking/jogging combined with the shaking-of-the-bum-that-is-not-hip-action. The lifts were good, but that was mainly down to Natalie's legs and turquoise pants. Pointing out Ramps was cruel, a reminder of the joys that went before...

Lisa and Robin

Is there anyone in the country having a better time on a Saturday night than Lisa Riley? Genius song choice, charming choreography and great teamwork. I didn't even hate the hats or the extended opening! I think this is also one of those partnerships where everyone is gunning for the pro as much as the celeb, go Robin!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bring Back the Bennetts!

Tweet #bringbackthebennetts
We do oh so love a good campaign and when Nelly the Jellyphant suggested a #bringbackthebennetts campaign on Twitter, we just couldn't resist. Back in 2009, we posted 5 reasons why Karen Hardy should be a judge on Strictly...we're unfortunately still holding out for that day...but here are our five reasons why the BBC should bring back Darren and Lilia  next year...let's see if this one has more effect.

1) Perfect Partnerships

Darren and Lilia always brought out the very best in their celeb partners, no matter who they were or how they started out. Could anyone else have got Matt Dawson to the final? We don't think so. And after being in the bottom two in week one, could anyone else have coaxed Letitia Dean to the quarter finals? Other pros have taken naturally talented dancers to the finals and won. Darren and Lilia have taken absolute novices and turned them into dancers. And that's one mighty skill.

2) Clever Choreography

With regard to their choreography, both Darren and Lilia displayed creativity without ostentation. There were no props and there was no larking about - just straight dancing. And was it boring? Um, no. Their clever routines pushed their celebs' dancing strengths - note, Jill's jive or Matt's waltz. With less competent celebrities, their routines were always designed to show off the best side of their partners, the prime example of this being Lilia's routines designed for Dominic Littlewood - still full of dance content but the cheeky choreography played to his character. And again: no props.

3) Lilia's Costumes

We think we have read somewhere that Lilia designs her own dresses and liked to have input into the design of her Strictly costumes. If that is true, then it showed. Hers often had a little more pizzazz and a little more character than those worn by some of the other dancers. In fact, both of us agree that one of our favourite all-time Strictly costumes is her Candyman jive costume, worn season five.

4) Twitter Says So and As Everyone Knows, Twitter is The. Oracle. 

We have had lots of responses on Twitter about the campaign to bring The Bennetts back to the show and here are some of our favourites:

Jilly Boyd: Because of reasons. Whatever. Just BRING THEM BACK. AND ALSO IAN. AND MATTHEW.

(Yes, of course we would love to see Mr Cutler and Mr Waite back too...)

Caroline: Because they are amazing dancers

Lauraa!!: Classic choreography, fantastic dancers, brilliant teachers, great personalities... Etc. etc.

Cherry: They always got the best out of their partners, they're amazing dancers and they're likeable! The whole package! :D

Clair: Loved them both!!! Lilia and  still my favourite couple ever.xx

5) People People 

Both Darren and Lilia were likable people and fans warmed to them as much as they did the celebrities who appear each year. Testament to that is that two years down the line, fans still want them back. They were passionate about the show and gave it their all. We love some of the new pros too but it's nothing like the golden era - it would be great to see some of the old faces back.

Tweet #bringbackthebennetts

The Samba & Other Rolls

This picture. Just because.
Nice to see you back again, you can come out from behind the sofa - Halloween is over!

Kimberley and Pasha

Nimble Kimble isn't so nimble this week, but I can't think of anything else that rhymes with it so hopefully her knee won't fall out. Plus they said she was flying and she's just sitting down and being lowered, it's not even falling with style! Quite an intricate routine actually, more content than I was expecting despite the circus interlude, the armwork was good even when it got caught in her massive hair. Now it's time for Clover's weekly it-wasn't-a-salsa-moment....

A) There is no such thing as 'the salsa'.
WTF. Salsa is all about 'twisting', Kimberley? No, honey, that's the twist. Easy mistake. *??!!*

Lisa and Robin

I've been really looking forward to her doing another ballroom, there's been too much enforced wackyness over the last few weeks. Oh and Robin is in a purple suit, what a delight, like he works at Cadbury World! Now this is where I get grumpy, the song ruined the dance in my opinion. A tango needs to have tension and this song has none, it was nattering away in the background and totally distracting. I saw some good footwork, might watch it again with the sound off.

I have nothing to say about this other than the song ruined it. Sorry Lisa, Sorry Robin. I just can't get past it. Tango? Whoever made that decision has clearly had a serious blow to the head with the bell end of a trumpet. 

Richard and Erin

I love how Erin always looks distinctly unimpressed whenever she has to go out of the training room for a VT. She does however look fabulous, as is the law. Unfortunately the dance unravelled halfway through when Richard suddenly remembered he had feet. And then the giggles took hold, the dreaded giggles, if it was me I would have just sat on the floor and laughed manically.

She's not lying. That is totally what she would have done. Me? I'd have run away and cried. Oh, he started off OK too. What a shame. 

Denise and James

I get to use the word fleckerl, highlight of my week! To be fair, this dance was the highlight of my week, what an amazing routine from James! Loved how it was constantly moving, the bits out of hold weren't jarring for once, it flowed beautifully. It was so good I even forgot about the strange boob-fringe on her dress!

Ah, beautiful in a dress the colour of spearmint toothpaste. And a breath of fresh air, like, um, spearmint toothpaste? Very nice. Nicer than actual toothpaste, obviously, despite my comparisons in previous sentence. 

Brendan and Victoria

And just when we were getting somewhere, here comes the samba of doom! She really looked like she wanted it to be over as soon as possible and it wasn't even a nice dress. I did like the three samba rolls though, nothing wrong with a samba roll. Fingers crossed for the sympathy vote, being forced to dance on a desk once is bad enough, twice would be excruciating.

Samba roll. My third favourite type of roll, after : 1) Cadbury Mini Rolls 2) Arctic Roll (what happened to that btw?) This wasn't great but as we've discussed on Twitter, there's rarely been a decent samba on Strictly. It's a toughie. Brendan stole Aled's hip-thrust move, however, I hope he asked permission.

Louis and Flavia

Now it's not that I didn't like this, but I might be with Darcey, it was a serviceable samba with lots of content but I wanted to be wowed and I wasn't. Flavia did rock her lampshade dress though. He has been ill though, the poor lamb, maybe there would have been a bit more pizzazz otherwise, he might have been worried he'd throw up or something. Now that would be a first...

Oh?! A latin sounding song for a latin dance? Well blow me down and call me Brenda. (Dunno why, first name popped into my head.) As Frankie said, this was good but wasn't wow. It's suffering from Rachel-Stevens-itis. It's all technically decent but just not hitting the spot. Yet. 

Colin and Kristina

Kristina looks so much like Barbie she might have strayed into Malibu Stacey territory, that is one pink dress! She also looks tiny with him so tall, it's like she's slowly turning into a doll. Nice to see him back in ballroom too, and much improved from last time posture and footowork-wise. Although if he'd kicked any higher he would have damaged the glitterball!

Is this the Ministry of Silly Walks? Colin could give John Cleese a run for his money. Kristina did look tiny in this dance, despite being dressed as a big poof of candyfloss - it really is an odd pairing - but this was a decent dance. I'm not sure how much support this couple has from the public, however.

Nicky and Karen

Rumba, men, just get through it without falling over. Waft, turn, grimace, we know the drill. This was livened up for me actually by Nicky trying not to burst out laughing throughout the whole thing, he may have actually weed himself. I've seen worse to be fair, it's been a long 10 series afterall. His shirt also looked like a shiny boyband bomber jacket! Three sevens was just daft!

Crazy scoring and all posing. However, yes, have seen much worse. Rumba is a nasty one unless you happen to be sleeping with your dance partner *cough Matt cough Di Angelo*. 

Fern and Artem

Artem gets yet more flesh out (how much more is there to show? oo-er), which suggests there might not be much confidence in this paso. Fern started okay, but then it all went to pot and she didn't have enough skirt in her hands for wafting purposes (technical terms, it's what you read this blog for). It suddenly looked like one of those series 1 pasos that just seemed so odd because we knew nothing about them and wondered what the hell a bullfight had to do with anything. How it got sixes I do not know, even Fern looked like she wanted a recount.

Seriously, was anyone even watching Fern?

Michael and Natalie

After last week's revelation there's a fair bit of expectation on Michael now, if only so they can claim he's good at ballroom. This held my attention, which is rare for a straight foxtrot, and not just because there was a promise of candyfloss. Natalie needs to jab him with the electrodes whenever he looks at the ceiling though, eyes down Michael!

Kristina's dress doubling as a prop three dances later? My, the recession is hitting us isn't it? Now I know I ranted about Michael last week and I still maintain it's easier to hide behind a ballroom dance but fair play, that's two decent dances in a row. Next week, however, is salsa I believe. I'm not sure I really want to see that; I'll be hiding behind the sofa. 

Dani and Vincent

Remember Holly Vallance's hideous leopard-print Heartbeat dress last year? This is the version of it you get when wardrobe actually like you, rockabilly style really suits her, I could even forgive Vincent's worrying new wig addiction. This was so cute, proper kicks and flicks section, chicken walk and everything. I do love the chicken walk, it's so daft. It's been such an odd mixed bag tonight it was good to end on something so fun!

Aw! Cute! Dancing: cute. Costumes: cute. Not sure about the wig. 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Points from Paula

Well, we haven't had a guest blogger for a looong time so we thought we'd treat you. Paula Willis is a friend of mine & I always enjoy her Facebook commentary on SCD each week so I suggested she puts her thoughts together in a strictlified extravaganza of a post. So here she is...Enjoy!  - Clover. 

Several snarky and/or opinionated Facebook posts have been enough to prompt an invitation to guest-blog from Clover. Given that it was a Hallowe'en-themed night that kicked off with a  burst of Gangnam Style, I guess inviting your K-pop obsessed Goth friend to comment couldn't be better timed. I don't hate theme weeks so long as the theme doesn't overtake the capabilities of those who actually have them. I get annoyed if there are too many of them but Hallowe'en is fun, in my eyes, and people who are going to try to lark about and waste time with props will find a way to do it, even if there isn't a theme.

As I have no dance knowledge, I seem to mostly ramble about their outfits. I have therefore re-arranged the leader board, rated by outfit, maybe with the occasional comment thrown in on what I thought about the dancing.

1. Kimberley and Pasha

A modern paso that worked! And an instance where I feel having the Hallowe'en theme and therefore the excuse to do something a bit OTT helped. There was no way this would have happened otherwise, or at least not so overtly. She looked gorgeous, he looked creepy. Ok, I lived in Newcastle for five years, so I'm Geordie-biased and I think Pasha's a sweetie, but I felt like this was the best example of everything coming together. They were telling a specific story and matched the costume and music to it. It was well-acted through the dancing, not just in addition to it.

2. Victoria and Brendan

Goth suits you, Victoria. I think she should permanently come over to the dark side. We all know Brendan is evil, so it was no surprise the undead badboy look worked for him. Glad there were no wardrobe malfunctions this week – those eyelashes could easily have got tangled around something, and a supervillain with a large magnet could have ruined the whole thing. Team Heebie-Jeebie was my favourite pun of the night although I'm aware that that's not saying much...

3. Lewis and Flavia

Yaaaaaay, ruffly cuffs! There should be more lace cuffs. I vote for lace cuffs and cravats every week, minus the dusting of talcum powder. Flavia's dress was very pretty but not very Hallowe'eny, though as she was the poor, innocent victim, I guess we can forgive it. Plus her eyeliner rocked. I disagreed with Bruno that the transition between character and dancing was seamless, it was a bit like 'rawr rwar., shuffly monster.... And into hold, one is dancing!' But it was bloody good anyway.

4. Dani and Vincent

This could be a controversial placement and I can see why. I knew they were doing Scooby-Doo. I  had seen it on 'It Takes Two.' Even if I hadn't, Dani's look was fairly iconically Velma. Nonetheless, it took me a while to figure it out as for several moments I was unable to process any thought other than Blond-wig-blond-wig-ohmygod-blond-wig. It got the show off to a fairly alarming start. The horror of that aside, I really liked the outfits. Yes, sandals and socks are one of the Seven Deadly Sins but there are times when you can be a bit sinful, and Hallowe'en has got to be one of them. I felt the costumes really conveyed the characters that they were supposed to whilst still looking like Cha-Cha costumes. A bob really suits Dani – her shoulders aren't generally flattered by halternecks but the hair somehow managed to either balance her out or cover it up.

I thought the dance was a little bit cute or careful for a Cha-Cha but for a children's tv presenter dancing to a children's TV theme tune, maybe that was best. If she had been giving it all that with the hips like a dirty Cuban mama, I think my childhood might have felt violated. She got some fast footwork in there to show that she had the capability. And they didn't feel the need to have a Great-Dane run on and leap into Vincent's arms at the end. which was a relief.

5. Denise and James

During the bits with Tess, I kept wondering who was sat between Iveta and Kimberley. It took me forever to work out that it was Denise. Apparently, I hadn't really clocked her as she came down the stairs. She looked like a man in drag. The cage and the chair, whilst the latter was executed well and was probably amongst the best parts of the routine, really didn't help shift that image. In fact, it forced me to come to the conclusion that she had been replaced by someone from a drag cabaret show. They're quite high up because I happen to like drag cabaret shows but I don't really suppose it was what she was going for. Maybe she was abducted by the people they went to visit for calling them 'circus freaks,' which I don't think is really what they like to be called... It explains why the dancing was off this week and if you listen to Bruce's intro, he definitely says 'Denis.'

6. Lisa and Robin


That put me in a bad mood before they began, although it does get me onto thinking whether Robin might really be a wizard. I do not like body-builder, overly muscular men. Normally. But I just find him utterly adorable in every way and kind of want to take him home. Now I know why. He has Confunded me! Whilst at Hogwarts, they drank a dance potion, which it seems quite likely would exist in spite of not being mentioned specifically in the books, as various potions are known to enhance one's natural abilities (probably banned in competition though) and the only spell we know of that relates to dancing is a jinx rather than an enhancement. I love it when Robin tries to do geeky. It's just so incongruous. Yes, that is all I have to say on the costumes. They were fine and whether or not things follow Harry Potter canon is much more important.

I have been to about two beginners Charleston classes and was in no way a natural (I cannot cope with different parts of my body needing to do different things at the same time) but I could have done everything in that dance, which places it way below her usual standard. In reviewing it for this blog, I watched it muted, and it worked much better, leading me to think that their vile choice of music didn't help.

7. Nicky and Karen

Apart from the Gothstick, Karen was not very Hallowe'eny. She does lots of pouting and winking at the cameras and, whilst I'm aware she's putting on a persona, I do wonder whether she takes herself a bit too seriously. She was supposed to be his creepy Frankenstein's creation and so much more could have been done with that. It may not have been her decision, after all the girl in 'Weird Science' is your fairly standard sexy female human shape, I just felt like it was a shame she hadn't joined in the game of dress up. I liked everything Nicky did with it though, the overall concept was good and she had the best evil laugh.

8. Natalie and Michael

I didn't realise until she stood still that it was a playing card, not a phantom mask. The wonder of a quick change is usually being utterly mystified as to how that one dress turned into the other one, so it did not have the wow factor as a magic trick but it was a cute inclusion to set the scene.

I thought it was positive that he and whoever else did so well whilst Lisa slipped down the board a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love her and want her to do well, and I think he has seriously limited potential. But after a bad start, some people have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good. There was a real shake up of the leader board this week, which I felt showed the judges haven't got so stuck on their opinions of people that they cannot be shifted.

9. Richard and Erin

I'd say this was the least Hallowe'enified performance. That's not necessarily a bas thing, especially as pop music pasos usually fall flat, in my eyes (as noted, Kimberley's was a pleasant surprise). The costumes were pretty classic, with a nod to the fire and brimstone colour-scheme. Erin's make-up was nicely dramatic, although with the jagged eyes and orange blusher it reminded me more of a carved pumpkin than Evil Incarnate. But maybe that's what they were going for. Whilst he performed the steps vaguely competently, he did not have the presence or the.... the stompiness to live up to the music.

10. Sid and Ola

That is one damn sexy Ghostbuster! Ola, obviously. Sid might have been better in a proper 'busters boilersuit. Although, once they dropped their proton guns there wasn't anything that Ghostbustery about them. Maybe that was why they kept hold of them for so much of the routine... Ola's make up was pretty but seemed to suit an alien concept more. It rather felt like the costume and make up departments forgot about them until the last minute. Although badly executed, at least they had a concept which was clear and was there, apart from the freaky green make-up (maybe it was goo splatter?) which is why they aren't quite down at the bottom.

11. Colin and Kristina

Why are we suddenly allowed lifts in a salsa? Is it because it's a “theme week”? This was confusing and annoying. I felt like he'd spent more time on those than the basics, which meant he didn't do them with enough oomph. When you do Latin without oomph, it very quickly goes into dad at a disco mode. I still don't understand why they made this a partnership, other than the problem that they had two tall blokes and only one tall women, and – after preliminary testing – found that he would cope better than Michael. However, every dance they do looks like its been filmed using the forced perspective technique used in 'Lord of the Rings.' You will note that this is not really about costume. That's cos there wasn't really any Hallowe'eny dress up worth speaking of. I know there's a limited number of spooky songs to go around but, apart from the otherwise illegal lifts, this was the least themed of the night. I like Kristina's little mask though.

Artem's costume inspiration?
12. Fern and Artem

I got a bit confused in the run up to this one. I knew they were dancing to 'Killer Queen' and all I could see was Artem's leather vest and Fern's headband. I wondered whether they were going with a Khal and Khaleesi theme from 'Game of Thrones' but that seemed a bit niche and her headband seemed more Xena, Warrior Princess. When it cut to a long shot, I realised she was just being a Generic Evil Queen. That'd be fine but it didn't really explain who Artem was supposed to be, and he definitely had that Dothraki Man Warrior vibe going. My best guess is that wrapping Artem in leather except for his chest is always a popular choice that gets a few votes.

I didn't think the dance was as limp as it seemed. It was a smooth elegant foxtrot. The trouble was, they had chosen some pretty punchy music to go with it, so she needed to live up to that. Maybe she should have taken a leaf or two out of Daenerys Targaryen's book - it might have added some kick if she'd had to eat a horse's heart or just paused, mid-performance, to scream in Craig's face 'Where are my dragons?' Confusing costume concept and suspected cheap chest trickery leave it in last place. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Halloween III - The Theme That Would Not Die!

Big guns
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the TV on a Saturday night...the Halloween theme week is here! Here we are with a third Halloween week, we've really not enjoyed the last two (too many props and gimmicks, wasted dances) but I'm going to go into this with an open mind, not sure about Clover. Anyway, the opening pro number to Thriller was pretty spectacular, I'm all for a massive set-piece to start it off!

I sat down to watch. An eerie set, zombiefied characters, creepy music. Just what I was expecting. But no sign of Derren Brown. Whaddya mean Apocalypse was last night? This is Strictly? Are you kidding moi? Little known factoid: Derren Brown was once a cha cha champion. I'm sure I read it on a blurb somewhere. Shame he wasn't there really. He could have hypnotised some sense into the producers. 

Oh, I'm not a fan of theme nights and I never will be. I be knows some of youse like all the bombast, theatrical or otherwise (yes, channeling Gladstone again) , but it's not my thang. Innit. PS. I'm feeling grumpy today. 

Dani and Vincent

Well we're not off to a good start gimmick-wise, not sure what they did to deserve this combination! Vincent has a dead hamster on his head and Dani is forced into the travesty of under-the-knee-socks. But there was a perfectly respectable cha-cha hidden in there under the themeing, hopefully it'll keep the lovely pocket people in for another week.

Vincent looked like David Walliams poking fun at Dennis Waterman on Little Britain. If it weren't for the ridiculous costumes and music I think I would have liked this. They are much cute and she has much dance potential. I'll stop there on a high, should I?

Richard and Erin

Now these are nice Strictly Halloween outfits, Erin in particular looks amazing! Oh my word and they're using the Satan music, for me I need my paso doble to be completely dramatic and I loved this for going all out. Music! Capes! Explosions! Was quite impressed to see Richard doing some cape-work too, he was a bit stiff but I think the people at home will forgive him that. Halloween week might even get him through a week he wouldn't normally...

Paso Dobles, I always feel, should have an edge of darkness about them (note: not The Darkness - that would be weird) and this one, to its credit, did. And nothing can beat Erin's p-p-p-paso face. It was a tad toy soldier rather than matador in parts - you're not in The Nutcracker, dahling. I'd hazard a guess he might be safe this week - and he deserves to be. Though he looked like he had dipped half his face in Nutella. Or a puddle. 

Lisa and Robin

Now this should have been a delight, but it I was left a bit underwhelmed. It seemed too similar to the jive and cha cha and Robin did seem to be going faster than her for the first time. Ugh, grumpy Halloween, can't even think of anything funny, get them through to do some ballroom again...

Classic-case-of-theme-overshadowing-dance. What a waste. Lisa would have done a tremendulant (I have stolen the word from Miranda Hart. I hope she doesn't mind.) charleston, all twenties-faces and ooopsies-what-have-I-done-nowsies. Love RiRo and Lisa is a very talented dancer. Hope she's given something better to work with next week. 

Sid and Ola

Slightly underwhelming outfits here, considering the amount of effort they seemed to go to with everyone else, they looked like a 1970s Olympics team. Props to Ola for just going a normal cha cha though, think they learnt their lesson with the hideous Rock of Ages tango last week. But Sid seems to have lost his mojo, there wasn't even eyes and teeth!

I ain't afraid of no ghost. But I was a little afraid of this. Let's say it's because of all the upheaval this week but this was not good. 

Nicky and Karen

Loving Karen's Jessie J lips, not sure about Nicky's Clockwork Orange eye makeup - this is a family show! Was actually surprised at how good this was, quite sharp and staccato. Amusingly enough, he seems to be at his best when he's playing a psychopath!

This wasn't horrorshow, it was a horror show. Little literary joke, there. Having said that, it wasn't that bad at all compared to his other efforts. I don't think I was distracted by the rims on his glasses but I think Karen might be thinking - and dancing - along the right lines now regarding choreography. We will see fo' sho' next week when there isn't a theme to hide behind (we hope?!) I'd like to see Nicky keep improving. He's in no danger of leaving any time soon. Armies of Westlife fans will see to that. 

Fern and Artem

Are they dressed Game of Thrones style? I've never watched it, but that's what it looks like inside my head. Still no idea how it connects to Killer Queen, but I think the nation appreciates Artem's outfit nonetheless. Which is at least helpful, because the whole dance was D-U-double-L. I feel like she's coasting, could she be in the bottom 2?

Fern is so smiley that she just couldn't pull off a scary, moody face. It was a credible dance but a tad passive in the Holly Valance sense of the word. Perhaps it's Artem's fault. But then dressed like that...who really cares?! I hope they stay in. 

Denise and James

I spent the whole time being distracted by Denise's wonky eye makeup, I hardly noticed how frightful James looked. Liked how he had her on a chair and then quickly whipped her off it before someone could remember Chicago. It was alright, an actual cha cha but a bit wobbly in places. God, this Halloween week isn't so much annoying as dull!

James looked as though he had fallen into a vat of talc. Or he hadn't been using his Head and Shoulders. This wasn't bad but it wasn't Denise's best. 

Michael and Natalie

Well thank god for that! Natalie forced this to be a good dance, she probably got the electrodes out again. And what's more it looked like a lot of hard work had gone into it, which is what we like to see. Certainly not perfect, but I'll take an unexpected success on a night like this.

People. People, people, people. I'm not saying it was bad. Because it wasn't. But can we just clarify one thing? He was still rushing ahead of time in this dance, the only difference is, in hold, Natalie can do something about it. She can squeeze his hands until they're white. She can utter death threats into his ear. (Disclaimer: not saying she did, just that she can.) That's credit to her by the way because she's practically been a miracle worker this week. To get someone to dance like that who'd previously danced a jive like an intoxicated penguin is quite an achievement. Don't get your hopes up though, folks. As Monkseal said to us on Twitter: just wait for rumba week.

Victoria and Brendan

Come on girl, you've got to nail one! She looks amazing as a corpse bride and Brendan just loves dressing up as Edward Cullen. Ok, it wasn't spectacular, but it was a proper tango and she actually looked like she was enjoying herself. This night now seems to be picking up...

There is no one I'd like to have done better this evening than Victoria and she performed admirably. She's not yet wowed us but she's creeping (creeping, Halloween, geddit?) slowly and surely into the upper echelons of the scoring system. Perhaps she's this year's J - j - j - no, I can't say it, I can't say The J Word. Good job Brendan and Victoria worked the Kate Bush chic well. 

Colin and Kristina

Kristina is brilliant, isn't she? Maybe a bit too brilliant, since I always end up watching her rather than her partner. Not sure he really had a lot do do, and Clover will now rant about how this wasn't a salsa...take it away, girl....

This was not salsa. 

Louis and Flavia

Loving how Flavia looks completely normal apart from a bit more eye makeup, while Louis looks spectacular without being too fancy dress. And it was pretty much a normal tango - and done well at that!

I don't think this was worth all the fuss but really by this point I think the judges were getting desperate. He did appear to be doing some leading however and for a non-actor-type, his performances are always very good. He must be favourite to win at the moment, non? And we so would love to see Flavia win the Glitterball. Still waiting for his Wow Dance. The-first-time-you-go-JEEZ-that-person's-amazing. Eg. Alesha's waltz or Rachel Stevens' rumba. 

Kimberley and Pasha

Pasha seems distinctly under-dressed, like he's going to try and sell me some crappy art in Hoxton. Also, this might actually be the maddest costume moment of the night, why would you put Little Red Riding Hood in a blue dress?! And yet again, under all the pointless themeing, there was a decent paso in there. I'm warming to our Nimble Kimble...

It's a paso. Your partner's wearing a cape. Yet there's no cape swooshing, Pasha? How truly disappointing. Again, credible Kimbobs but not 'wow'. Perhaps there's going to be one of those weeks where they all step up a gear, that we all remember, like the-week-of-Matt's-salsa-and-Alesha's-cha-cha? Here's hoping. So much potential this year but there's an air of complacency. Agree with Frankie re. the dress though. Last minute theme change and panic buying of cape on Ebay, perchance?

See you all next week when it's all (hopefully - please pleeeeeeeease) back to normal. Or as normal as #SCD can be. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Just like the movies...

So here we are...Hollywood week! Is this just film week in a new dress? Probably, but be upstanding for the least annoying of the themed weeks! Don't prove me wrong Strictly...After the pant-wetting excitement of our trip to the show last week this might be a more sedate affair, unless we get some real showstoppers that is!

Speaking of show-stoppers, the opening pro number was indeed fab-u-ous, although the cameraman obviously has a thing for Kristina. Darcey out-dresses Tess, but only just, this could be a whole new competition area to look forward to! Also laughed at Craig as the Tin Man, especially as it looked like he had a pair of silver knickers on his head!

Fern and Artem
Why do these two always dance so early on in the show? It doesn't matter, because they look so delightful, delightful I tell you! Artem looks strangely at home as an unlikely cockney chimney sweep in a pastel deckchair jacket, who would've thunk? This was positively charming, but could have done with a bit more content. Although it was nowhere near as annoying as James and Alex's infamous hat-on-hat-off Charleston. And woo for the back-jazz-split, it sounds even fancier than it looked.

Victoria and Brendan
Ooh we love a man in uniform, and Victoria looks fabulous. However, the dress may have to be put on trial for treason after sabotaging a national Olympic hero like that. When she put his hat on at the end there was a 'ooooh' in this house, as early rumbas go it was pretty good. Certainly not cringe-worthy, I'm looking all the way back at you Carol Voderman, you've done and rumba and survived, job done.

Michael and Natalie
Oh after that jive last week, couldn't they have spared us and given him a ballroom. And no more props, he nearly took someones eye out with that axe last week. Although Natalie did seem to resort to the 'sitting down for a bit' tactic, this wasn't nearly as bad as it could of been. As in he did the steps. But someone needs to explain the difference between 'hip action' and 'wiggling your bum' to him. It's also a bit distracting when you're constantly waiting for someone to whip their trousers off!

Jerry and Anton
Remember how I was commenting that Jerry doesn't like to expend a lot of energy when dancing? Imagine how I laughed when she turned up in her dressing gown! Well this was all a bit of a lumpy mashed potato, wasn't it? She was also in Batman, wasn't she? Would have loved to have seen Anton dressed as Batman!

Sid and Ola
Ola has brought out the catsuit, a nation rejoices! Sid looks like a 90s volleyball player. The tango part of this wasn't so bad, alas that was only about half of the dance, I wanted to smash that guitar over someones head! Speaking of over heads, why was he looking at the ceiling the whole time? We love you Sid, but that was a horror!

Kimberley and Pasha
Now there's a new trick, it wasn't Kimberley sitting down, it was Pasha! Hope he hasn't got any splinters in his bum from sliding on that bench. Loved her flouncy costume and the general fizzy-ness of the quickstep. Not a classic, but certainly the best dance so far of the night. This is what Hollywood week should be about!

Denise and James
What's happened with Denise's eyelashes? She looks like she's been attacked by two spiders! And that's before we get on to the outfits...I've stopped saying James has the eyes of a serial killer, but that costume is a bit too close to the clown-scale for me. And of course, it was an amazing foxtrot, you know the drill, start complaining now.  

Colin and Kristina
It wasn't Karen and Ramps, I was tempted not to watch it (genuinely, I needed a wee!). But of course I did, and considering all the training issues it was ok, Kristina put together a good routine but also managed to forget half of her dress. The lifts were Dancing On Ice worthy!

Richard and Erin
Erin is in the trousers of DOOM, why is she not dressed as Dolly Parton?! A gold opportunity gone, just like that, shame on you BBC. I did however love the footage of her looking distinctly unimpressed at the Daybreak studios. As for the dance, you can't not do a good quickstep with Erin, it's just not allowed. Thought the footwork was pretty good, lots of content, although he needs to stop doing his Thunderbirds face!

Dani and Vincent
Another golden opportunity missed, there was a chance to literally dress them as munchkins! Dani does look lovely though, a very nice interpretation of the outfit. And those shoes Vincent brought for her? I wore those exact ones in blue to Strictly last week! This was a lovely dance, a lot of work had obviously gone into it and it paid off, well done to both of them. I even liked the dog, I must be going soft in my old age...

Lisa and Robin
They look mental, but endearingly so. Crikey, this was a fast dance, don't think they could have stopped if they'd tried! Kicks might not have been as sharp as they could be, but their syncopation was amazingly good. Can't wait to see more from these guys.

Nicky and Karen
I'm scared...bring back Pasha as Shrek! However, this was easily his best dance, despite the we're-going-into-hold-oh-no-we-aren't tease moment. Probably a bit overmarked, but the marking has been all over the shop tonight!

Louis and Flavia
Pimp slot again, but who can blame them. We've counted this is about the fourth time this song has been used on SCD, but we'll have to let that go for tonight. I know 'the salsa' isn't actually a dance (Clover is looking/glaring at me), but it was basically the dance from Dirty Dancing and not a salsa. But yes, show-stopper all round and not stupid props, huzzah!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Whoops for Fleckerls!

Once upon a time, two Strictly super-fans' luck came up and they got tickets for the howugest SCD episode of the year. This is what happened...

Best dance of the night

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and sparkly-shoed, we arrived at the BBC Studios nice and early. Well, what we thought was reasonably early - at least one hundred others had already arrived. We took our place in the queue 'by the tree' (in joke - sorry) and tweeted our presence. Muchos delightos to meet Sharon-wot-danced-wiv-Ian, StrictlyCracker, Gail and others in the queue. Also, Tasha, who came along fer a nosy. Nice to meet you (all) to meet you nice. A shout out too to our 'queue buddies', Sarah and Mum. Hola.

Many, many, many hours later, we sat down in the studio. Now, I'm sure much happened between 10.30am and 4pm but I just can't remember. We didn't see anyone famous and I'm sure as Shirley that none of you care about us handing in phones and nipping to the looby-loo. So on with the beeswax: we had awesome seats. Opposite the judges, about five rows back on a raised platform, from which we could survey all. We had a clear view of the judges, the contestants-in-waiting, the stage, lala. And once we had settled in these seats, we could start to celeb spot. 

Firstly, we saw Lee Mead...and Mrs Bruce. I was convinced I had seen Marian Keyes. Frankie was dubious I could tell from the back of her head, to which I replied "You can tell by her nod!" (You actually, actually can.) OK, so I was a little starstruck because she is one of my favouritest, favouritest people. Like, ever. We overheard some lovely, twinkly Irish vowels even if we couldn't tell what she was saying. Jimi Mistry was sitting two seats directly in front of us too. I now know the back of his head as good as I know anyone's. I wish I could say something special about it but to be honest with you, it was really a run-of-the-mill type of back of head. 

The first thing to be recorded was the Scissor Sisters segment later to be squished into the results show mashathon by production bods. Warm-up guy egged us all along whooping and chooping and cheering. We clapped 'til our fingers bled (was it the Summer of '69?) and generally had a Kiki. We think. The sisters-they-call-Scissor said it meant to...have a have a good time... Mental note to check Urban Dictionary. They not that innocent. Brucie sang a song, Tess had a natter and the cameras started to shake rattle roll.

Once we went live and kicking (got the theme tune to that stuck in our heads whilst waiting outside. 'Tis what happens when you grew up in the 90s.) and the celebs walked the spangly staircase into the studio, the first couple to perform was Nicky and Karen. Now, it didn't look too bad from the waist up, though slightly tragically trying to be street or sumfink. Len's face looked like a grumpy prune throughout so we could tell he didn't like it. Having watched it back on iPlayer, I'd be inclined to agree. The squillions of Westlife fans will be keeping Nicky in the competition for quite some time so there's no need to worry for him, however.

Colin and Kristina performed a lovely Viennese Waltz and proved that he has potential in ballroom as well as latin. The height difference between the pair is very odd, however. Colin did well not to stoop but if Jerry Hall insists on calling him a 'long, tall drink', then Kristina must be...a single shot of espresso. If these guys don't do a Bond themed dance for Hollywood week, I'll eat my glittery heels. 

Dani and Vincent, dinky of Lollipop Guild proportions, did a nice little salsa. I'm not going to rant about salsa on the show in general (I'll be here all night) but having said that, this wasn't too bad as far as Strictly goes (we won't mention the song.) The routine was so full of energy it looked as though they were positively luminous. Though more than likely that was the light reflecting off their costumes. We couldn't see any of the dancers' legs or feet whilst they were doing the routines. When Vincent attempted the tricky lift, at one point, it looked from our perspective that he had dropped her. As she popped up a couple of beats later, beaming and squiggling, we assumed it was deliberate. Phew. 

Fern looked lovely in red and danced a credible Viennese Waltz. Close up, her face is even more smiley. Richard's shirt scared me. It might be campest thing I have seen since the ruffles on Julian Clary's samba costume in series two. This was a bit like a flashback. I expected maracas. Spent a considerable amount of time wondering if his quiff was made of his own hair or if it were stuck on with glue.

Now Victoria deserves her own paragraph. We gave extra whoops and cheers (and Frankie gave double thumbs up) and she did such a good job. Everything is safer in hold. And she got to wear a poofy princess dress, which, after the interesting genie-in-the-bottle pants, was a relief. The judges said she had lost her nerves - I doubt that's true, you could still see it in her face, and they don't just disappear anyway (!) - but what an improvement. Everyone was delighted and the whole studio erupted into applause. Love this couple. Much potential. Keep voting!

Now Michael. Oh, Michael, Michael, Michael. When I first saw him with an axe, I thought he might be dancing to I'm a Lumberjack. It's a good job he didn't because he certainly wasn't OK. This was - quite unfortunately - doomed from the very moment of the out-of-time fake chopping of fake tree. Kudos for enthusiasm, of course, but if said enthusiasm causes one to execute oneself like an electrocuted tarantula, one ought to consider if it's worth it. 

Louis and Flavia danced a delightful Viennese Waltz too. Judges said he needed an emotional connection with Flavia (cue acting class) and if you listen carefully when Len describes fleckerls, the cheers in the background are us. Whoop whoop! Frankie says that Flavia looked like a sugared almond. In a good way. Denise and James' jive was the absolute dance highlight of the night. We couldn't see her footwork (except when her feet were flying up in the air) but it was so full of buzz, you could just tell it was good. Watched it back on iPlayer and it looks even better. They're the couple to beat at the moment. Let's cling to the possibility that James gets what he should have done with Pamela. Uno Glitterball. 

Johnny next - the question being would he B. Goode? (groan) He did his best but his character just isn't big enough to carry him forward a la John Sergeant. It was quite obvious to me that he would go (Johnny) go, go, go. (groan x 2) Only had he ended up in the dance-off with Michael, would he have had a chance of survival. Sid and Ola's dance was not salsa in any shape or form. It also wasn't all that great. Think he's gonna be a ballroom chappie but, to be fair, he did have a beaming smile on his face throughout the whole routine and took his critique like a maaan. Wouldn't write them off yet.

Kimberley and Pasha's foxtrot looked fine from our seats, if a wee bit raggy-dollish in parts. The judges said their expectations of Kimberley are high which is a little harsh - it should be a level playing field. . Wouldn't argue with the points but cut her a little slack on the comments, judges! Darcey is proving to be an excellent judge - always a positive (in a non-patronising way) and always gentle constructive criticism. Hear hear! The highlight of Jerry and Anton's dance was...much to my dismay...Anton. As much as he annoys me, his face is a picture. He sure can sell a foxtrot.

Lisa fizzed onto the floor like a sparkly parma violet. The best thing about seeing this routine in the flesh was Lisa's face - it looked as though she was trying not to giggle. Would love to know if this was true. This was lovely - light and pretty yet still retained some of that fab-u-lous Lisa and Robin character.

The patchwork of recordings for the results show was all confusing and it was sad to see Johnny go (but not all that unexpected...) The whole day was amazing (still not sure if it's real) and I'd urge you to keep keep applying for tickets because there's nowt like seeing it with yer own eyes.