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. 

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