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.