Sunday, 29 September 2013

Tales of the unexpected...

It's my turn now, Frankie-of-the-black-text is back for the second part of SCD's series opener. I don't know what the fuss was about Tess's yellow dress was, I quite liked the daffodil delight! It's better than Saturday's dress, which looks like something a handmaiden would wear on Game of Thrones. Much worse is, despite an epic opening number, seeing Anton doing a pro dance with someone other than Erin, now that is truly WRONG.

Ben and Kristina
Ben seriously looks like a valentines strip-a-gram, there's getting them to embrace the sparkle and then there's throwing them in at the deep end. They also seem to have employed a BBC cameraman to follow Ben's bum around for a week, there must have been an office scuffle over that one. As for the dancing, I saw walking, and I do not take well to walking. A bit safe and stiff, but a good routine from Kristina with basic steps and clever things to do with his arms! If there was ever a candidate for a j-word, it was him...

Fiona and Anton
Someone's tamed Fiona's massive hair, I don't know if I'm disappointed or not. But hey, the woman has one fierce pout! Wasn't sure about the music, but got into it cos Anton is going to obviously commit to a classic tango. Few random footwork stumbles, but balanced out by extra snarls.

Dave and Karen
From Twitter, it seems like these two have been having a scream for the last few weeks, and that certainly came through on the dance floor! There was actual cha cha content, which I wasn't expecting, but also some of the worst New Yorks I've ever seen! Gotta love Karen's choreography, she totally knows how to play it - this could be a team that goes far. Now if they could just make my Team Shake'n'Bake suggestion a reality...

Rachel and Pasha
She's been tipped for doing quite well, but I'm not sure why, so I'm keen to see what Pasha does with this one after his stellar track record. Loving her dreamy dress, it's the Great Gatsby via Disney Princess. Similarly dreamy routine, although the song made me want to vom. This looked like a perfectly decent first week waltz, job done Pasha - can you do it for the latin or she going to come over all terribly British? Spatulistic klaxon!

Julien and Janette
Julien's forehead scares me. And speaking of body parts, I've not seen such eyes and teeth since Jason Donovan! There could only be this song, a sparkly catwalk was just insane though. It seemed like Janette was doing a routine while Julien was jumping around her like a toddler after too much Ribena. But such gusto and enthusiasm, he just needs stapling into some tails and forced into heel turns to see if he can actually dance.

Deborah and Robin
I'm loving Deborah''s dress, that's the kind of thing you want to wear when you agree to go on SCD. And how did I manage to forget the annual joy that is Robin's vests?! And another proper tango in there as well, it might be annoying to have a tango in week one but at least the pros have made them decent! Deb had obviously worked very hard on it, and I think she liked doing a stern look rather than happy-clappy when she was nervous. There was gapping, Clover will tell you that, I'm sure. 

Patrick and Anya
These two are such an unknown quantity, I was ready to sit back and just see what happened. Even with the cruelty that is a week one jive and the chance of your knee falling off. But what a nice surprise: cracking song, natural skill and great choreography! The outfits seemed camper than the routine, I don't know why I think this is odd in Strictly, but there you go. Could we have dark horses cunningly disguised in pink polka dots?

Vanessa and James
So that's what a James Jordan comedy routine looks like? It was really quite weird, Vanessa plodding through basic steps while James randomly gyrates and removes clothing. It could have been good, the song choice was perfect, but it just did not work. I like Vanessa, but James, you need to work harder on her dancing!

Abbey and Alijaz
Was Alijaz supposed to be a ghost? I got distracted by the uber-whiteness of the outfit. This was pretty impressive, I saw rise and fall right from the beginning! No one was expecting anything from Abbey and I think she might have just played that to her advantage. Maybe a bit too much out of hold and some gapping, but exciting potential. Going to call it a bit over-marked, but there's still her latin to come - it's all to play for!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Excuse the short sentences. I was blinded by the yellow of Tess' dress.

First of all - Tess' dress. How yellow? It couldn't be more yellow. It couldn't be more yellow if it dipped itself in custard and underlined itself with a neon highlighter. I think there should be a prize for that. 

Ashley and Ola. Sequins on his pants and hot pink lycra. You have embraced the sparkle m'lad, haven't you? He has rhythm, which we love. But it was a bit 'Here is my arm. Here is my leg.' Does that make sense? Hit the beat but nowt in between. I wouldn't have given it a seven.

Dad One and Aliona. Aliona's faced still looked pissed off. Unless that is her default face. If it is, it's just unfortunate. Started better than he finished. Now the song choice. That reminds me of my grandad, A big fan of Birds of a Feather. He used to call it Waddle Eye. 

Dad Two and Aliona's Less Evil Twin. Fecking props. Will Len comment on the faffing? Will Len comment on the faffing? No. Apparently he won't. Think he let that one go a long time ago. A good tangoey track this was it was though. And a muchos camp dance. How sweet is Iveta?

Susanna and Kevin from Grimsby.  Starting with jive, that's pretty cruel. And that wasn't a jivelet. That was a full blown kicking and screaming jive. Kevin is great - he is a little enthusiastic. Like an eager puppy. Susanna did marvellously well to keep up. Kevin looked like he was going to knee himself in the chin. He's really going to push her isn't he? Props to the new pro. Dark horse?

Sophie and Brendan. With some, expectations are high for Ms Bextor. Which is a tad unfair. I thought it did have elegance but more in the mood than the technicalities. Overmarked really. Latin will expose her if she is to be exposed. And lord, give 'em a long ballroom gown. It hides a multitude of toe leads. Looked as though she were scared to put her full body weight on the floor. 

Natalie and Artem.  What a powerhouse partnership this is. In training, she is hardcore. And she loves the show. Potential to be the best contestant ever. So after overmarking all the rest of the contestants, the judges had to nitpick someone who to an untrained eye, could have been mistaken for a pro. Pfft. One thinks one can get past the first episode without getting annoyed at the judges. Mais non. Artem looked like a scary marionette in those pants. And. Bruno. What the fuck?

It's been a long week. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Winning Formula Version 5.0

Roll up one and all, it's time for the annual peer review of my scientific formula for winning Strictly Come Dancing. If you are new to this, it's all about the key variables required for a contestant to swoop to victory, well, maybe not swoop, glide or something. So, armed with my GCSE in maths and only one science subject, here we delve into The Winning Formula...

1) Get the party started
As we know, to get to the final, you need to dance first on one of the opening shows, it's been oddly proven year after year to the extent it's getting a bit suspicious! Let us cast our eyes back to last year, Kimberly opened the Saturday show with her spangly cha cha and I knew the formula was safe for another year! So pros, get your elbows out at the top of the stairs and make sure you're out on that dancefloor first.

2) Quit your day job
It's a hard and fast fact, don't try and do SCD if you're trying to keep up your day job, it takes too much time away from your pro and we won't like you. Ok, we probably will if you're good anyway, but we will be doing our concerned faces as you drag your pro across the country and start rehearsing in service station toilets or whatever. The only person who can get away with this is Susanna, what with being a BBC news bod, since Natasha and Chris Hollins are the only other people to literally waltz off with the glitterball whilst earning their usual crust. Look! I said Natasha's name! Ooh I'm such a rebel...

3) Blondes don't have more fun
Last year I said, and I quote, that the British public "hate dancing blondes and never let them win SCD". I never thought you'd take it so close to heart! The Denise drama saw yet another blonde come in third, yes, in my world it is third because someone does not go from 5th place in the semis to 2nd in the final. So which blondes should watch out this year? Vanessa, Abbey, Rachel, Deborah and Fiona by the looks of it, that's a lot of hair dye they'll be needing! In my head Ashley is blonde too, but that might be because he was blonde on Hollyoaks in about 2002 or something, so I'm not going to hold that against him. Suspiciously, there are no gingers this year, I want more gingers!

4) Latin fever
Despite latin pros only seeming to win SCD I am desperately sad we're not getting our battle of the ballroom between the elegant nemesis two Natalie and Erin this year. Although I'm sure they will be there in the audience, in the wings and on ITT joining forces to bring those pesky latin pros down. Speaking of which, of our new pros this year we have Iveta, who as a Ten Dance specialist surely has some ballroom tricks up her spangly sleeve - and as Flavia shows, it's not like being a ballroom pro and somehow magically barred from winning SCD. Oh yeah, forgot to mention Anton again...oh well...

5) Age is more than a number
And once again, the battle against ageism rages on at the BBC, with Louis Smith winning last year as the youngest contestant on the show. And y'know, being an Olympic gymnast probably helped. People over 40 just don't win SCD and it's getting awkward. This variable unfortunately wipes out more than half of the men this year, no pressure on Ashely and Ben there, and also half of the women! Maybe this is the year the ever-so-slightly-older generation can crack it?

6) Embrace the sparkle!
This undeniable, yet rather unquantifiable, variable insists that to win SCD you must embrace the sparkle! Say it in a comedy Strictly Ballroom style Aussie accent and it sounds even better! Taking part in SCD is a bit of an extreme way to get someone to do your extravagant hair and makeup, but fair play if that's your target! Julien is obviously the prime candidate for shrieking and spangling in synchronisation, but Mark Benton has been performing in drag for the last few months in Hairspray so he's probably an old hand at the sparkle by now. Ben Cohen will be doing that 'oh I don't want any sparkly shirts' thing to start with, but give him a few weeks and he'll be as orange as the girls shimmying around in a see-through shirt! 

So there we have it, another year rolls around the formula remains steadfast and someone's gran dying on the X Factor and Big Brother contestants getting lairy, only with more sparkles. Science shows us:

Dance first - day job + brunette x latin pro > 40 years old + sparkle = WINNER!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Three Dancing Dads and Other Tales of Woe. I Mean Wow.

Strictly Come Dancing: the school of 2013.
Sophie and....Brendan!
Sophie is looking like a spangly Jackie-O, totally loving it. Really liking her partnered with Brendan too, he's one of our faves and should see her through all those Murder on the Dancefloor puns.

Firstly. I have heard of her. This year, that is majorly important, having had to Google most of the contestants, and being none the wiser after that with some. She - result of the single mother scandal of the 70s - and of course, pop star extraordinaire for a year or two. I think she's a middle serieser. 

Natalie and...Artem!
Well this is an exciting pairing, Artem isn't the first person I would chosen for her but I'm not dying to see how it turns out. We know he can bring some great choreography and I've already decided I can't wait to see them do a tango!
Natalie we love. This is because she loves Strictly. In an Alesha-before-she-DEFECTED-YES-DEFECTED-to-the-other-side way. This is always endearing. I worry for her as a Safety Car a la Denise. Yet she seems warmer than Denise. And these excellent dancers (she was rocking it in the group number) can win. Look at Kara. If I had any advice for Natalie, it would be to not (ffs a split infinitive I cannot be bothered to rectify) start off too good. Leave a smidgen of room for a journey. I was hoping she would partner Pasha but Artem, yeah, I can see these two going all the way. Ahem. 

Deborah and...Robin!
As much as I like Deborah, I was kinda hoping Robin might get a bit more of a ringer since he really has paid his dues over the last few years. I'm sure they'll have a rollocking good time though, with much giggling! 
This partnership was almost a no brainer and I don't know why. Why does Robin never get someone with a eensie bit of a chance? What is so lovely about Robin however is that I believe he truly, genuinely doesn't mind. Such a nice guy. Deborah. I love that she's on. As Frankie has said earlier, she's kind of just a normal, regular person. Who happens to make a lot of money. 

Rachel and...Pasha!
Wow, Pasha does well for himself! After coming second and third you'd think he'd have to escort one of the older ladies this year, but has instead bagged himself the youngest. Not that we don't mind seeing more of Pasha, but we shouldn't also assume Rachel is going to be amazing. Time will tell, ladies and gents...
So much publicity about this one. I didn't know who she was. But as Frankie said, I'm not a dad and I have a job. So why would I be watching her on Countdown? There seems to be an expectation of her to be good. But why? She's clever and beautiful but she's not a show-person. And looked a tad ungainly in the group dance. I suspect from that she has a long way to go...but on Strictly that is not always a bad thing. 

Patrick and...Anya!
Bit on an unknown quantity, these two, I really don't know what to make of them yet. Sorry guys, can't even think of anything funny to say, I have failed as a blogger!
I didn't know his name. But when I sought the power of La Google, I did know his face. He stood out as good in the group number. And for some reason, for the brief moment we saw Anya engage with him, she reminded me of Lilia. In a bonkers way. And we do oh so miss her. So could these guys be dark horses? 

Ashley and...Ola!
Ashley really has looked petrified about the whole thing so far, poor lamb. I was literally chanting Ola's name for her to get him and she did, I'm so happy. I think they'll make a great couple, might even cheekily tip them for the final already (this was possibly the kiss of death, sorry guys!)
I had no idea who he was. Googled him. Still no idea. But he looks nice in his dance gear. And looked like he was dancing in time. Could Ola be our first pro to win twice? 

Julien and...Janette!
The shrieking, the shrieking! Well considering it's been in the papers that he's the only celeb she's heard of, that turned out pretty well. Remember guys, it's not all about the dresses, you need some choreography in there too!
He's obvs a fan and he clearly is going to embrace the sparkle. If he can dance a wee bit he could be this year's Lisa Riley. 

Tony and...Aliona!
Aliona's acting skills have certainly come on since last series. Someone totally has it in for her, sacking her, bringing her back and then making her dance with a man who's nearly 70. Really liking her strawberry blonde curls though, and all the pro women outfits tonight actually! 
Never heard of him. Never heard of any golfer apart from that one who cheats on his wife a lot. Have just been informed (hello Jacky!) this one won the Open Golf in my home town at some point in the depths of time. Small tidbit of info there. I know you will have enjoyed that so much. Aliona, however, oh she does not look best pleased in the photos I've seen on Twitter. Snigger. 

Abbey and...Aljaz!
It looks like we've got a new Strictly Barbie and Ken for this series! I also pledge to learn how to pronounce Aljaz's name this series. Although, after seeing them talking to each other at the end of the show I'm a bit wary as to whether they can understand what each other is saying...
Oh Abbey. It's nothing personal but. It's just that she is, and I mean this in the nicest way I can, only-really-mostly famous for being Mrs-That-Footballer-Guy-Wot-Did-The-Robot. Ok yes she's a model. But she's no Moss or Kidd, famous in her own right. Yes, she's had a few modelling jobs. But, having her on Strictly is actually the equivalent of shutting your eyes, taking a random stab at someone in the Next Directory and saying “oh, she’ll do.” She may be able to dance. And she seems quite sweet. And still. She is on the show so we take it from here and say no more on the matter. 

Fiona and...Anton!
Well we all saw that coming! She's a bona fide old-school SCD fan as far as I can see, so if she says she's happy with Anton I'll take her word for it and wish her all the best!
Never heard of her. She actually seemed to do very well in the group number. But any hopes of a Pam Jam situation are thwarted by the fact she's with Anton. If he can get over himself enough to put some effort into latin dances they may have a chance of making it a few weeks, but I fear that may be as likely as Bruce donning a tutu and twerking with a turkey. 

Vanessa and...James!
This is totally genius, can't wait for weeks on end of bickering between these two and I'm not being sarcastic. James needs someone to bounce off and make him work and that's definitely going to happen here. Bring it on!
Fireworks. And omzg. Her face in the group number. Classic. And because we all love a tidbit. Vanessa Feltz attended the Haberdashers School for Girls. And now she is going to be covered in sequins. It’s like fate. Only really not.
Susanna and...Kevin!
I'm not sure where I am with Susanna, loads of people think she's going to be really good but I'm not so sure. Quite looking forward to seeing Kevin on the dancefloor too, if only cos he's a fellow northerner!
Never heard of her. Or him. A new British pro shocker! Grimsby Lols. Innit.

Dave and...Karen!
Well this is quite a mismatched pairing. He's totally enthusiastic though, so all Karen has to do is neutralise the dad dancing. 
Karen did a good job with Nicky last year. Her work is cut out more so this year. The war is on for this year's comedy pairing. There are so many options but only one usually stands out and the rest fall by the wayside. Who will it be? 

Ben and...Kristina!
Wow, Kristina was happy with this and I don't blame her! Nice to see the top-billed hunk of the year going to one of the seasoned pros too. Let's get Kristina flexing her choreography muscles once again, while Ben will probably show us his actual muscles quite regularly. 
I suspecto he was meant for Natalie. This is because of the height difference. Yet I am glad he's with Kristina. I like Ben. I had never heard of him (yes, yes, recurring theme) but from what I have read, he's a very good egg. The best egg is a Creme Egg. So he must be one of those. In addition to liking Ben, I like Kristina. Who is less of an egg and more of a caramel bunny. If we're rolling with that theme. 

Mark and...Iveta
Surely she paid her dues with Johnny Ball? And can we stop saying she's a new pro too? It's weird! Although as Mark's been on tour with Hairspray recently he might be a bit more experienced than he's letting on.
It's going to be battle of the dad dancers between Mark, Da Hairy One and That Golfer. Could they be the first three out? Could one of them actually do a good job? The group dance didn't show much hope of that. But perhaps one of these pros could work a Natalie Lowesque miracle. Stranger things have happened. MICHAEL VAUGHAN! MICHAEL VAUGHAN! 

Group dance
The Annual Group Dance of Doom was not nearly as doom-ful as you would expect, I was a tad disappointed actually. A quick scan of the contestants gave me...Rachel looking petrified, Sophie being full of poise but maybe not dancing, Susanna bringing some serious Karen Hardy face and a dad dancing trio exiled to the stairs...Strictly is back!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Strictly Season strikes again!

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Here were are kids, Strictly season is with us once again! Started your Christmas shopping yet? If not, spend some time perusing the new celebs...

Vanessa Feltz
First of our year's celebs to be confirmed, Vanessa is sure to bring the gusto and enthusiasm we love in a celeb. If her infamous Let's Dance performance as Cher is anything to go by, described by Arlene Philips as "a weapon of dance destruction", I do like how she refuses to take herself too seriously. Everyone's saying she's bound to be partnered with Anton, but I want to see her winding up James Jordan for weeks on end myself.

Tony Jacklin
One of the best British performers in his sport ever, alas, that sport is golf. It's not really unexpected that I don't know who he is, does anyone other than Bruce care? He seemed like a good egg on the One Show, but can't see him getting past week two. Comedy sparkly golf jumpers will not be tolerated, wardrobe department...

Abbey Clancy
Yeah...everyone was a bit surprised by this one. Why would we have someone on SCD who is mainly famous for her husband? *cough*JoWood*cough*JerryHall*cough*NANCY*cough* She'll look good in dresses and will probably be a nervous but half decent dancer. The key to whether she'll have staying power resides in a) a good partner and b) having an endearing personality

Julien Macdonald
Well if there's any male contestant who's going to embrace the sparkle then it's this guy! In fact, will he have time to learn a routine if he's too absorbed in all the outfits? This could go either way, I feel like he could be a terrible dancer or just so eyes and teeth it could work. No doubt though, it will be LOUD.

Rachel Riley
She's on Countdown, so if you're not retired or have a job you might not quite know who she is. I work shifts so I've seen a bit of her with her, quite frankly, huge wardrobe on the show. Could be a bit of a dark horse, being good and maths and wordplay doesn't seem to be much of an indicator of whether you can dance or not...or does it?

Dave Myres
AKA a Hairy Biker, I wonder if they ever regret that nickname? There's going to be dad-dancing, we all know it, he knows it, the BBC knows it.

Susanna Reid
Ah, back to the strangely successful SCD contestant breeding ground of the BBC News room! These people are the only ones who seem able to win the show whilst holding down a day job, it's so odd. Susanna will probably fill the 'terrified but actually quite good' role, maybe even have a j-word. Either way, she's going to have to interview people about SCD on BBC Breakfast, which could be uber-chummy or really quite awkward...

Ashley Taylor Dawson
Oooh, get you with your three names, Mr. Ironically, I stopped watching Hollyoaks because it clashed with It Takes Two, but I remember him as dastardly Darren Osborne. Is he still horrible or did he have a soap personality transplant? He could be quite good on the quiet (quiet because there wasn't a single rumour about him), since he was also in a hilariously naff 90s band called AllStars, so there was probably a bit of choreography going on there. Marking him as my Dark Horse.
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Deborah Meaden
Oh I do like Deborah Meaden, largely because she's on TV but also resembles being an ordinary person. Clever, no-nonsense but with a sense of humour, I doubt she thinks she's going to win SCD but is going to make sure she has a fabulous time along the way. It does however mean I'm likely to get that monstrous 'skinny tan' song from Dragon's Den in my head every week.

Patrick Robinson
He's one of those people who you think 'who is he?' then you Google (not Bing!) him and then think 'oh yeah, him from Casualty'. He's done a lot of theatre too, so he's going to be good moving round the floor I'm sure, let's hope there's some natural rhythm in there too.

Fiona Fullerton
For some reason, she is the person who is annoying me, more than the flack Abbey Clancy is getting. This woman is most famous for being in a Bond film nearly 30 years ago! When her name was first rumoured the papers were acting like this was something I should care about. Sorry, Fiona, I'm sure you're lovely and will work very hard, but...zzzz

Mark Benton
He's an actor I had to look up but then instantly recognised from loads of things as the affable/comedy northerner. Currently on Waterloo Road. Can't imagine him staying long, the end.

Natalie Gumede
Natalie is a massive SCD fan and we're so happy to see her on the show, although we might miss her being able to tweet during the show! Boundless enthusiasm and a musical theatre background make her one to watch, that and some truly amazing hair.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor
You heard it here first, we suggested her in our made-up line-up from 2009 (2009? crikey, we've been doing this a long time). Always liked her stylish and tongue-in-cheek approach to pop, I think Strictly should suit her down to the ground. Although I don't know how many Murder on the Dancefloor jokes I can take from Bruce through the series. Oh yes, and bring back that super-sparkly eye shadow Sophie, bring on the glitz!

Ben Cohen
Well thank goodness for that, a strapping young sportsman! A lot of people's favourite from the male contestants already, there is a good track record with rugby players after all. A colleague of mine also sent me a photo of him with his huge pet cat, which is more than enough reason to like someone. No pressure, Ben, but we're counting on you and I bet the female pros are fighting over you!
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