Sunday, 23 November 2014

Hips Do Lie Actually, Shakira

We're back in the studio this week, after the blast-the-cobwebs-away weekend that was the Blackpool Bonanza. Now we're left wonder what is in store for this week, the Blackpool Hangover is now the stuff of legend, it's hard to get excited after all that camptastic wonder. But hurrah for Claudia being back, and rocking a Beyonce bedazzled jumpsuit, no less! Also quite shocked it's only four weeks to the final, where did the year go? I need Brucie and his lame Christmas shopping references!


Steve and Ola

I never thought this was going to be good, but no need to wedge a mid-90s children's TV theme into it! Although props to him for doing a solo at the start, that'll always make you feel a bit sick with nerves. Considering we heard on ITT that Steve's body could shatter into a million pieces at any point, he didn't do too badly and stuck with the routine, but it was a bit clompy-stompy. I think Steve may have plateaued...

Whilst I know he has a bad ankle and this dance was always going to be tricky for him, it's week ... what week is it? 8, 9?... well, far enough into the competition to catch the faint whiff of final. And this dance was about the level of a week two or three effort. Steve's progression has not been great enough to warrant his continued place in the competition. If he's not gone this week, he will be the next. This was subject to bizarre and arbitrary themeage once again. If it's absolutely necessary to give someone a cheerleading theme (absolutely necessary), it ought to be someone with the potential to give more pep. Pep. I love that word. Pep. 

Caroline and Pasha

Caroline is allowed to look sophisticated for once and isn't made to wear a lime green puffball or something equally horrible. And an American Smooth with a classy song, who would've thunk? Yet more gorgeous arms from Caroline, she can waft like a pro! And what kicks, what they didn't do in lifts they made up for with showstopping choreography, I've never seen someone spin on the floor with such class.

Classy, elegant, appropriate song. What was with the under-marking, judges? Or even if these were about right, what was with the over-marking everyone else? Further convinced that the scores are decided before the show even starts. Conspiracy theory, you may shout at me in horror, but there is something just not sitting right with these scores... On another note: Pasha in a tux. 

Pixie and Trent

Pixie wins spangle-tastic dress of the week hands down. Like Tess said, probably the fastest Charleston ever, it was exhausting to watch! They threw absolutely everything at this dance, even the kitchen sink from the most random foxtrot ever a few weeks ago. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it might even have been a bit toooo manic, there was hardly time to recover from one step into the next. Not my favourite Charleston ever, but once again, Pixie and Trent bring a highlight every week. 

Pixie wins costume of the series so far. Of course there's the whole RINGAH thing but Pixie brings personality, charisma and pizzazz to each of her performances which makes me actually not care. I actually found her leg action a tad ... squatty... in this dance. As if this very sparkly celeb was trying to lay a very sparkly Faberge egg in the midst of her swivels. That saying though, these, along with another couple... who I shall mention further down the post... 

Mark and Karen

Oh look at Mr Cutie Pie Eyes-and-Teeth Mark trying to do a tango face! It's testament to his improvement that there is no way Mark could have done a tango that well four or five weeks ago. And my word, a tango song that didn't make me curl my toes in abject horror. Not his best dance, but certainly not anything to be embarrassed about, I now actually want to see him try and do an Argentine Tango.

This was a great song. If this dance had been a cha cha cha, not a tango. Love Mark and this was competent, but that Craig scored it higher than Caroline? See conspiracy above. 

Frankie and Kevin

What's New Pussycat is the most delightfully eccentric choice for a Viennese Waltz, I can't believe it's taken us about 10 years to get to it. A VW never really sets the world on fire, but it was classic and dizzy-making. The slide at the end looked a bit like she'd fainted, in a falling-with-style Buzz Lightyear way. Am I the only one who misses the group VW numbers when it looked like the contestants were about to end up in a mass pile-up?

No, they were lovely, I miss those. It was all very pretty and placed, but a tad dull. This pair reeks of Rachel Stevens. Lovely, but something missing. 

Jake and Janette

I don't think I've ever been as sick of hearing about a person's body part more than Jake's hips, they've had more attention than Bill Turnbull's mouldy ankle and Natalie Gumede's back combined! Decent samba rolls, proper shimmies, terrible arms, really quite worrying gurning face - all overshadowed by him basically pointing his bum into our living rooms! And who chose the lighting? I thought I was going to have some sort of seizure! Ginormous mess of a dance, massively overmarked.

I am getting the impression that Jake is more pleased with himself than he ought to be. He also seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that latin dances just involve moving one's hips. Fuelled by comments to that effect by the BBC and on Twitter, it took me completely by surprise when he moved his feet in this routine at all. Despite the judges saying that the only samba move in this samba was executed badly, they still gave this high scores. The samba rolls were about as roll at the Barbican.. I actually despair. 

Sunetra and Brendan

What a delightful change of pace, and sumptuous in velvet, it was like a Marks and Spencers food advert of a waltz. Not too sure about the song, it didn't quite work waltzing-wise or emoting-wise. Little bit worried that they'll get forgotten in the voting.

Trying to squeeze a random slow tempo into waltz timing again? The phrasing makes it sound stunted, and this is not the fault of the band who actually made a pretty nice arrangement out of a dreadful situation. But for a celeb who's used to hearing the track in its usual time signature, the forced phrasing it bound to throw them out. However, Brendan's usual beautiful choreography cheered me up in the middle of a more than usually grumpy evening. 

Simon and Kristina

After last week's breakthrough AT (has anyone had a breakthrough so late? Ah, Gethin...), the pressure was on for potential salsa of doom. As much as I hate comedy VTs I kinda loved the fake movie trailer "excuse me, you dropped your...legwarmers". Do you know what, this was an absolute delight! So much content, great armography, actual hip work rather than someone shoving their bum in your face, and both of them having a great time. Kristina is always so ridiculously happy when her partner does well, it really makes me chuckle - great work guys!

Hated the song. And it wasn't really salsa. But we know that now, guys? Please tell me you know that.  However, I shall do what I did when Natalie Gumede was in a similar situation last year. I shall overlook the music and the fact that the dance wasn't really the dance it said it was, and look at potential. And my, I think Simon could dance an amazing salsa given the opportunity. In fact, even despite the song, it was definitely one of the better salsa dances in Strictly history. Simon leads, and his timing is spot on. He dances with his body (NOT JUST HIS HIPS). So along with Pixie, Simon is fast becoming my favourite. 

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