Sunday, 18 October 2015

Anton on Top

....and we're back! Movie week is over, and thankfully it gave us some properly good highs. Now it's time to knuckle down to some 'normal' dancing before Halloween is upon us.

Anita and Gleb
Anita starting with a solo, that takes some guts! But why ever not when you've got some pretty good samba action going on? Anita really gives everything when she dances, her attitude is wonderful to see. The samba is actually quite hard, unlike some of the others which people say are hard, and she was great at this - don't know what the lukewarm comments from the judges are about. Also, points for Gleb's 90s silky pyjamas that made no sense, but whatever.
#AnitaWuzRobbed strikes again. Given a death slot for a party dance? Meanies. Her samba action was pretty OK, and this would have had more pizzazz if she had been able to feed of the rest of the evening. Oh I know someone  has to go first. But it's never going to be Andre, is it? This was considerably better than Helen's stilted and stiff 'salsa' but I don't suppose that's the point. Pfft.

Daniel and Kristina
Kristina looks like an absolute delight, anyone else would look frumpy in a grey ballroom air-hostess number. This seems to go back to the usual Daniel formula: nice enough, fairly competent, but not setting the world on fire. His ballroom footwork is pretty good, and we knew Kristina couldn't go all out with the lifts, I'm sure he'll be here for another , please!
That dance itself was nice. But he's just going through the motions. He's doing the steps but not living the steps, not daaahhhncing, daaahling. He's naturally better musically than other contestants but if he's not willing to embrace the sparkle then his days are numbered. 

Kirsty and Brendan
I hold my breath when these two dance, only last week did I think it wasn't going to all come tumbling down - although her tumble to the floor at the end was actually quite arty this week! Brendan's sparkly vest is paled into insignificance as a distraction thanks to U2. I don't like U2 anyway, but this had no rhythm for her to get into, so it was just posing. On the plus side she looked spectacular. I hope they get to stay this week if only because she's actually improving.
This was not good. But then how is one supposed to attack to a piece of music so wholly apart from the movements you're being told to create? I'm not convinced it was even in the correct time-signature. Had Kirsty had Carol's piece of music, I suspect their places on the leaderboard may have switched. 

Georgia and Giovanni
What a delight of a dress, they just love Georgia and wardrobe. Now despite the comedy VT, Giovanni must have worked Georgia so hard this week because there was so much in this. She seemed a bit stilted at the start and then after the first sequence she just suddenly came to life and they were skipping away. And no gapping either, I think Giovanni may have been crushing her to him!
Cute although the arrangement of the music was clunky. I can't rant or rave about it. It was nice, I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away. 

Jeremy and Karen
These two always make me happy, and since the jive was basically going to be his worst dance they quite rightly went down the comedy route. And Karen dressed as the world's hottest rubber duck with a Bettie Page fringe, because why not? His legs were everywhere, but his timing was still pretty good. And the chicken walk, I love a chicken walk! 
Jeremy always makes me smile, and I'm a grumpy sod, so that's a huge achievement. He's a contestant whose best bet is going to be going down that comedy route. Despite this however, as Frankie says, his timing is not bad at all. He's a wee bit ungainly in his movement but I won't say he can't dance. He just has his own... style. 

Kellie and Kevin
Kellie has three victory rolls in her hair and I am so jealous I can't contain myself. It's also a Kevin Clifton schmaltz-fest too, which I'm kind of happy to go with for this, you've got to do something with a foxtrot. It was all very lovely, classic ballroom and good technique. Good job guys!
If Strictly Come Dancing were a snack bar then this would be cheese on toast. Schmaltz-overload, but in a good way. Hair looked like a station on a Strictly themed course of crazy golf. 

Jamelia and Tristan
Jamelia looks amazing; spanglicious dress that was obviously destined for Ola and that wig really suits her! The training footage this week looked absolutely terrible but she really pulled it together on the night, great swivel, good musicality and they'd obviously put a lot of work into it. A few messy footwork bits and the lifts could have been better, but such a vast improvement from her cha cha.
Well look at this. Yet more improvement from Jamelia. Admittedly this has been the second 'non-regulation' dance in a row (as if regulation has anything to do with the others any more...) I do wonder how she will cope with something more structured, however. If she can give us the 'ballroom princess moment' I think we may be seeing one of the greatest 'journeys' since Darren Gough. If she doesn't manage that, she'll be gone in a week or two. 

Jay and Aliona
Well what do you do to follow the epic-jive-of-epic-ness? With a very confusing and unnecessary intro, as far as I can tell. I think Aliona may have tried to cram too much into this, it was all over the place and I couldn't quite tell what was happening. It does also show Jay is a human being, which I think might have been handy after our collective hysteria last week.
This was always going to be a disappointment after that jive. I only hope that Jay isn't so hard on himself. I suspect there will be a couple more tricky weeks before he wows us again but I'm genuinely hoping he has it in him. 

Carol and Pasha
This was worth it just to see Pasha flaring those nostrils for all it's worth. This was possibly the slowest paso there's ever been, although hurrah for the return of the circus music. Carol also looked pretty good and had definitely improved, mainly because Pasha had concentrated on the basics rather than covering it up with props etc. I think she's earned herself a chance to stay - it's also nice to see a lot of improvement from people this year.
Traditional music and costume. And how much better was Carol's Paso for it? If Kirsty had had this music, I think she would have done much better. I can't see Carol going anywhere after this. The people like her. 

Natalie and Ainsley
I can only imagine how happy Natalie was to get a waltz after last year's penguin debacle, not sure about her Barbie does Ballroom dress though. A nice ballroom number with no crazy faces, and I think this was the first dance Ainsley's done where his shoulders weren't somewhere north of his ears. And then we all cooed appreciatively at the rare sighting of some heel leads.
Ainsley has the ability to be a very good dancer, so I hope they stop trying to turn him into a joke. Natalie is the best pro teacher on the show, and it was reflected in this technically sound waltz. 

Helen and Aljaz
Well this was an interesting hotch-potch of things. It was better than I was expecting, since her ballet-ness was going to make her a bit stiff - they did seem to have worked on it. Although the first lift looked like something out of Swan Lake. Not a complete disaster, but could have been better. Also didn't expect Helen to mug the camera for about half the routine!
There are no words.

OK. There are lots of words. Mostly sweary words. I'll try to hold back. As someone with a little experience of this style of dancing, I can honestly say that this looked more like a broomstick than a salsa. Or much like what a broomstick would look like dancing a salsa. This was never going to be Helen's dance, and I appreciate her effort. Her dance style is balletic and elegant, which is lovely in most dances, but this did not work. What I object to are the ridiculous scores. Her isolations were as awkward as a middle class grandmother at a pole dancing class. Jamelia's was better. Controversial? True. Yes, the lifts were good but here we go again with the whole Jake Wood thing. "AMAZING LIFTS! GREAT SALSA!" What the actual fleckerl?! Salsa is more than lifts. At least Jake moved his hips. Get a grip, Strictly, get a flipping GRIP. 

Peter and Janette
The Andre Sideshow rolls into town once again...This was quite good, but a little bit perfunctory? I quite liked the song choice, but it might have hindered them in the end as it doesn't really build to anything. The technique was better than last week's paso mess, so well done for that. Peter seems to have done boxy, stompy dances forever at the moment, is he ever going to do something flowy?
And breathe.

This was OK. Like Helen, he could come out, wander around for a minute and a half and still get 8s. I think he might be a robot. I'm still angry about Helen's salsa. Writing about that has brought it all flooding back. I can't quite think now.

Katie and Anton
Anton doing a Viennese Waltz in the pimp slot? Oh my days. And it pretty much brought the house down. It wasn't perfect, there were a few trotty bits from Katie, but the flow of it and the choreography was wonderful. The run of pivots near the end was amazing. As is Katie's dress. Katie might not be as funny as Jeremy, but she does give off that wonderful sense of having a great time that is very infectious.
Lovely. It wasn't as good as made out but on a night of exceptionally mediocre performances (It's Jay's fault - what's going to top that jive?) it was a nice end. As much as I thought it was a tad overmarked, I was delighted to see Anton at the top of the leaderboard. I know it has been engineered to be so, but this one I don't really mind. Anton is great at ballroom, we know that, but what frustrates me is that Katie could be great at BOTH if only Anton...wait for it... GOT A GRIP too (I might as well roll with this...)

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