Sunday, 12 October 2014

The One With Bruno's Thunder

There are no words. There are NO WORDS.

OK, there might be a few words, and here they are.

I am not sure whether to laugh or cry or scream or barf or run around the neighbourhood in a donkey costume screaming "BANANAS!". This week's's debacle could be described as The Worst Episode of Strictly Come Dancing Ever. It quite possibly is even worse than the (before this evening at least) current official holder of that title: Saturday 15th November 2009. If you happen not to recall, that was the night Laila had an injury, Jade had to pull out and there was Ronnie Corbett. Which says it all. And, as Frankie quite rightly pointed out on Twitter this evening, at least the bad points of that episode were not planned. Most of these were. And that's the scary thing. 

I was going to describe Donny Osmond as a waste of space, but that would be too kind. He was like an overbearing stage school brat under the influence of excessive amounts of caffeine. Flailing and leaping about? That's Bruno's thing. And don't get me started on giving the First Ten of the Series. That's also often Bruno's thing. Other than Donny, the attempt to squeeze each dance into a theme failed yet again. As I have said before, the theme becomes more important than the dance and that's to the detriment of everything. EVERYTHING. 

PS.  I don't own a donkey costume.

PPS. But if I did.

Alison and Alijaz

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but jive is definitely one of the most energetic dances on Strictly, and Alison really did struggle with it. Upstairs was all that jazz, and downstairs all labour and no reward. She was the dancing embodiment of an episode of Downton Abbey. Don't get me wrong, I really love this pairing and Alison does have a natural flair for dance, it's just this was, like having a large slab of cake as an entree, a bit too much, a bit too soon,

Steve and Ola

Despite the overbearing theming, this was actually a good dance. Well, it was for someone like Steve at this point in the competition. If he keeps showing this level of improvement week on week, he could well become one of those contestants we all love and save this series from . Think Chris Hollins, think Darren Gough. Ones to watch. 

Jennifer and Tristan 

I couldn't remember this dance and had to watch it on repeat on iPlayer. That's never a good sign. It wasn't stupid enough for the ignorant to vote for it in manner of Celebrity-Shaming à la I'm Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (I remember when Strictly had more class); it wasn't good enough for many to vote for it on merit. Jennifer isn't really connecting with the audience at home, yet I suspect Tristan is gaining in popularity, so that could help their cause. All in all, it was, unfortunately like many dances this week, alarmingly...forgettable.

Simon and Kristina

In the grand scheme of horrendous Monster Truck crash level rumbas on Strictly, this wasn't actually that bad. In fact, it was, compared to many dances on tonight's show, good. Yes, there could have been considerablyt more latin motion (that's feet, legs and hips to you and me) but it was well-performed and competently executed. It's hard to perform the rumba without descending into Carol Vorderman levels of Facecrime, and I think Simon's presentation was (thankfully) subtle and smooth. But again, like Jennifer, I'm not really feeling his personality - I'm assuming he does have one - coming through at all, and this could be to his detriment. He needs a breakthrough routine, and soon. 

Judy and Anton 

It was better than last week's cha cha - that goes without saying, as in ballroom, Anton can prop her up like a ladder - but poor Judy did seem as though she'd accidentally stumbled onto the set of Funny-Girl-Through-The-Looking-Glass and been whisked into the arms of a Mr Arnstien slash Gene Kelly slash The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang type character. Anton going all Blair- Waldorf-schemy with an illegal, and tactical, lift may have saved their bacon. 

Tim and Natalie 

Natalie is amazing. She managed to distract all attention away from Tim. Whether that was intentional or not, I do not know, but her Karen-Hardy-slash-Camilla-Dallerup levels of facial expression coupled with the Sally Bowles hair assured - I imagine - very little attention was paid by most to Tim's abysmal footwork. I watched it again, and just watched him: no timing, and no technique. I wish I could say he committed to the performance, but he just looked uncomfortable. He's with a formidable teacher however - Michael Vaughan anyone? - so we may be seeing much better from Tim - and soon. 

Caroline and Pasha

Thank the Lord of the Dance for this routine. Classy, clean and gimmick free, it was a pleasure. Caroline, like Simon, could have straightened her legs more but in a night of otherwise excruciatingly embarrassing or painfully mediocre dances, this was a joy. 

Scott and Joanne

Just no.

Frankie and Kevin

The most over-swished skirt in the history of swishing. Besides that, I quite liked it. The movie theme wasn't too distracting from the essence of the dance. Frankie's a little bot-like, to steal Monkseal's term, and I'd like to see her come out of her shell, like Rachel Stevens came out in that rumba. It's definitely possible, but doesn't always happen. We never saw Holly Valance connect, despite being a magnificent dancer, but thankfully for Frankie, I don't think Kevin would allow that to happen: he's too full of beans for it not to be infectious. I just hope they realise that ten totes doesn't count.

Jake and Janette 

A moody, dark, waltz. Now if I remember correctly, Karen Hardy got her hand slapped for using this very piece music way before theme weeks came into play, but now, as then, it sort of worked and sort of didn't. I have no idea why Len chose this very moment to criticise a lack of traditional technique when so much else is allowed to slip by uncommented. In my opinion, the music was too stilted to allow for swing and sway. It would have jarred with the sombre music. So Len, if you do have your issues with it, take it up with whoever chooses the music, not the dancer and celeb who did a great job with an unorthodox tune.

Pixie and Trent

These two are squeaky. They are the halloumi cheese of the dance world. And Trent could win an award for channelling the spirit of an animated candlestick without being fully dressed up as one. This was perky and, in the best possible sense, corny. Disney could not have suited a couple more. 

Thom and Iveta

It was the first time I have seen a faint glimmer of engagement with the dance and audience. Welcome to Strictly, Thom. Has has a touch of 'The Gethins', and we all know how that can go.

Suntra and Brendan 

Oh, this was my favourite dance of the night. Sunetra lights up the floor, and you can tell she is living the whole experience. If movie theming were always like this, I would never have a problem with it. Brendan's choreography was just delightful. And Sunetra's 'Nine Face' was a joy to behold. 

Mark and Karen

This made me laugh out loud. From Karen writhing around the floor, to the oh-so-incongruous deadly serious Paso faces, to the dangling aerial work at the end. Surreal, and in some ways, a new low. This was bonkers played straight. The equivalent of wearing a dinosaur onsie to the dentist, Mark actually has the potential to dance well, so the fact he's been sent down the comedy route is somewhat insulting. The scores, including Donny's inconceivable nine, were completely out of proportion to the rest given over the course of the evening. But that's a whole. other. rant. 

Over and out. 

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