Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Return of Ballroom

Halloween is over, thank goodness, for another year and Blackpool is on the horizon...can you see it? The sparkling lights, the smell of candyfloss and donkey poo - if you can't see it, they're going to mention it at least a million times this week, Blackpool Blackpool Blackpool! We love it, but first, we must see the celebs battle to make it to the Home of Ballroom - can't believe we're halfway through this series already!

Good to see Zoe back looking all spangle-tastic,

Was this ballroom and latin themed week?!

Simon and Kristina

Good to see Kristina back in Marilyn Monroe mode and Simon in tails, not good to see them in the death slot. Great music choice too - it might have been used before but it's so perfect for a rip-roaring quickstep. A bit sloppy on the top line and hold, but we didn't have to scream GAPPING at you all, which I'm sure you're grateful for. Great Charleston interludes too and both of them looked like they were having the time of their lives. Simon's 9 face was wonderful too, he looked like he'd been slapped in the face.

This was quite a delightful way to open the show. Zippy, syncopated and timing as spot on as Spot the Dog under a spotlight in Spott - FYI, Spott is a small village on the eastern fringes of East Lothian...totes had to Google map that - Simon is becoming a real contender. Dave Arch and his Strictly band always excel at these classics too. Welcome back, actual ballroom dancing. 

Caroline and Pasha

Despite the wardrobe department trying to sabotage her yet again, Caroline pulls off the sparkly-mermaid-caught-in-a-bit-of-netting look rather well. She's not had to do a lot of traditional ballroom yet, but she pulled it off pretty well. She might have looked a bit uncomfortable in hold, but the whole thing fit together, and gorgeous pivot turns. I do like a pivot turn.

Sweet Caroline, I couldn't tell if it was the dancing or the camera angles that made it look as though she were about to wobble over. The dress did not suit her, being half ephemeral mer-person and half Wicker Man. But it wasn't a bad job in the grand scheme of things - in the opening bars, her arms were just exquisite - it was all just a little tense-of-shoulder in parts. Perhaps she had a chilly neck. We will buy her a scarf. 

Jake and Janette

Ooh it's a blokey-rumba, whatever shall we do? Really liking the slightly left-field music choice, it's a slow number but not an OTT shmaltzy ballad. Wasn't 100% sold on this, but there were plenty of good parts. The hips were good, the top half not so much - it looked like he was repeatedly hugging her at times.

For starters, rumba does not have to be slutty. As Mr Cole argued last year, it can be gentle and romantic. It's all down to interpretation. So, in that respect, it was a nice dance. However, having smoke wafting around the floor was a sure fire way to disguise poor technique. But it's not fooling me *evil laugh*. Jake, we know you can move your hips and that is a huge advantage but you have to let other limbs join in the fun. 

Judy and Anton

It's ANDY! They've finally got Andy in! Blatantly under duress, but whatever. I cannot get over how bad Judy's paso arms were, how hard is it just to stick your arms out? Think this was their weakest dance for a while, the paso is very distinct and it just didn't come through and the themeing wasn't funny. I do have my suspicions Judy will bow out gracefully at Blackpool...

So Judy had a saunter about the floor and Anton did some ban-tah. At least she has the grace to be self-deprecating about it like any good British person.

Brendan and Suntera

Hurrah, they're back to gorgeous ballroom! Sunetra also wins the gorgeous sparkly pouffy dress of the week. Once again, and I don't know how many times I've written this now, Brendan brought out an amazing routine - even with the arm-hanky peekaboo incident. There was a mood to this, real romance and I actually went 'awwww' out loud at the end, I don't know what's coming over me...

Brendan over the years has become a dab hand at elegant, classy ballroom routines, and this was no different. The problem is, this had the potential to wow, but there were too many technical issues. There was gapping abundant - in parts, you could have driven the Tate Modern between them. If the Tate Modern was on wheels, that is. Still a fan, Sunetra, but it's getting closer to the end and an increased level of improvement is required. 

Alison and Aljaz

Well if Alison can't do a Charleston, we might as well all go home. Crazy song choice that somehow worked and Aljaz put together a great routine for it. A but sloppy in places, could have had a bit more swivel, but her best dance for weeks. Plus I think we're all properly awake after that!

Initially her swivel and double bounce action was great, but Alison can't sustain that level of energy throughout a whole routine. It was jolly good fun, and her best dance yet, but I can't help but feel she's on borrowed time now. 

Mark and Karen

Oh gosh, our naff-tastic Towie boy has grown up into a ballroom dancer. Even when he's distracted by dirty leaves falling from the ceiling. Yet another proper ballroom dance tonight, I'm starting to sound like Len! Well done boy. Well done to Karen too for pulling off a pepto-bismol princess dress without looking like Barbie.

Despite the saccharine nature of the whole affair, this was lovely. My favourite dance of the evening and fast becoming my favourite couple. Loved the appropriate waltz music, despite it being a repeat, and loved the simple, traditional, elegant choreography and costumes.  

Frankie and Kevin

Well those outfits are...something. Are we at the stage where we're sticking glitter on stuff from the Primark bargain bin again? There is a donkey as a nod to Blackpool though! I didn't have high hopes for Frankie and the samba, thought she'd be a bit stiff, but she actually gave it some welly. Probably her best latin since the Paso (aka the Paso of Donny Doom), great samba rolls too! Disclaimer - not as good as the bonkers-awesomeness of Pixie's samba.

Appropriate music and a latin flavour, so very pleased about that, though seemed much faster than other sambas we've seen. Props and theme not necessary. This was packed full of steps but Frankie had very little hip movement and seemed disengaged throughout the performance. Kevin's top looked like something a children's TV presenter would have worn circa 1986.

Pixie and Trent

So these guys get the crazy themed vintage dance - of course! Thank god these two can style out pretty much anything, even dancing around furniture from a low-budget kitchen sink drama. Great foxtrot content and brilliantly performed, although it's hardly keepin' up wit da kids! Not sure about the 10 for such a random dance, but Pixie is bringing us something new, skilled and entertaining every week.

Bizarre theme. But, and I can't believe I am saying this, it kind of worked. Maybe it's just these two have the chutzpah to pull off whatever's thrown at them. I'm not sure I would have given it a 10 but I suspect there's a ploy to create a rivalry between Frankie and Pixie. Conspiracy, much?

Steve and Ola

Don't know what's funnier, Steve's emergency facial hair or Ola's Christmas knickers! I do love watching Ola do the paso, it's one of her best, I was a bit scared by Steve's face though - there's serial killer face and then there's hiding behind the sofa face! This was always going to be one of his best, even after the Ballroom Breakthrough a few weeks ago, and he gave it some oomph, but it didn't set my evening alight.

So Steve reminded me of Dexter in this dance. Yes, the serial killer. I half expected him to stop in the middle to slice up a blood orange. I'm not sure that's what you want in a dance, even a paso doble. Having said that, it was strong, and danced well. I preferred his ballroom, but this is his best latin. As Frankie says though, it was always going to be. 

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