Saturday, 3 October 2015

Strictly Exhausting...

I hope you've been limbering up, because it's that time of year again, the annual marathon-length episode of SCD where every single contestant dances. We've been in prep all week and we're lacing up our sparkly trainers ready for the off...

As any Strictly Blogger will tell you, the second week is our Everest. 

Jamelia and Tristan
She's dressed as Sinitta and pretty much pulls it off, even with the mega-80s hair. She seemed a lot more comfortable with this one, which always helps the overall look of the thing, but her legs were as bent as a London copper in a 1970s film. She looked like she was trying to sit down at times. Saying that, it's early days and people seem to think she should be better than she is.
Whilst their costumes were a Take-Me-To-The-Emerald-City delight, the dance was, erm, not. Tasha on TV said on Twitter that her dress looked like a Quality Street and I think that goes a long way to explaining why I liked it so much. Mmm green triangles. Now, the dance itself, well. She looked like a giraffe in Moon Boots. It did have rhythm but it had next to no finesse. Either Tristan has not put any focus on actual technique, or she is truly not very good. Remember Michelle Williams? 

Daniel and Kristina
I thought this was going to be an absolute car-crash, with Daniel ending up lying on the floor in a heap or something, but it really wasn't! Lots of steps, cute song, looked like he was enjoying himself, it was all pretty cute. There were also some mad bits, like the hopping around in a circle and the solo where he looked like he was being electrocuted - but overall a great job by Kristina.
While we expected Jamelia to be good, we expected Daniel to be all kinds of abysmal. And he wasn't. He really wasn't. He had swivel and he had bounce. Where we expected him to robot his way through, he actually came alive (alive -oh.) Yes, he looked a little stumbly and unsure in parts but Kristina is one smart cookie and always knows how to get the best out of her partners. All in all, a pleasant surprise. 

Kirsty and Brendan
She had a lot to make up for this week, and there's nothing like high stakes like that to make someone stupidly nervous. While this was better, it still wasn't good, and really quite stiff during the whole thing - you could tell she was feel awkward. And holding on to that skirt for dear life, the hem must be shredded!
Since when did strutting about become an acceptable replacement for actual dancing? Again - what a a lovely dress. A rather huge bravo to the costume department this evening. But that dance was bordering on 'Meh.' Brendan is pretty much King-of-Choreography so I'm starting to think there's something bigger at play here. Have they had steps foisted upon them? Are they not getting on too well? I don't know but something's not quite right. 

Jay and Aliona
Oh Jay, you are allowed to look like you're enjoying it, especially when you're that good! I really didn't care about Jay when this started, but in two weeks he's turned me around. He even pulls off some pretty mad SCD fashion choices, and those spins were amazing. Nice to see Aliona is still obsessed with spinning in circles and wafting your arms about, but then again, she's finally got someone who doesn't look like he's going to fall over at any second.
Can I take credit for the fact he cut his hair? I have been suggesting it since the launch show. What a lovely waltz. He is trying really hard, he's learning and it's really starting to show. His turns are as elegant as any I've seen, and now we've seen him in both latin and ballroom, I really think we're on to a potential winner here. Yes, already. 

Iwan and Ola
Oh my word, those outfits, and Ola's been triple-dipped in the tanning booth. These was pretty content-light; they were literally halfway through the routine before the cha cha started, and that was with some pretty abysmal New Yorks. I'm not sure if this was an attempt at comedy, but it just didn't work.
Stompy, off time and really quite... annoying. This was about as cha cha as a chargrilled artichoke. He has no idea how bad he is, has he? Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? I shall say no more. 

Georgia and Giovanni
Georgia's dress is gorgeous, not a traditionally waltz dress, but very classy. Her hold could have been better at times, but she was surprisingly good for her first turn at ballroom. There was rise and fall (well I thought there was, despite what Len said) and she seemed pretty comfortable with the routine. I can even forgive this year's debut of what is known as 'that bloody swing'.
Nice but not perfect, which is kind of where it's good to be at this stage, providing you don't get completely and utterly lost in the middle. These two are all kinds of adorable. Like two little macarons in a Parisian patisserie. I suspect she's going to enjoy latin more, but does have huge potential in ballroom too. Expect the 'Princess Moment' around week 5/6. 

Ainsley and Natalie
Well, we were expecting this to be bonkers, and it was as camp as knickers. Natalie Lowe is a genius and this routine was perfect for Ainsley, even though his shoulders were up by his ears once again. I also got distracted by his T-Rex arms, but the whole thing was such a laugh, who really cares?
Utter perfection. This was wonderful in a Mark Benton kind of way. In that, under all the madness, is someone who can actually hold together a decent dance. I don't even care that it more ketchup than salsa. 

Carol and Pasha
I spent most of this waiting to see when they were going to ditch the umbrella, and they didn't. And as much as I hate props, that made it more interesting, because the dance was D-U-double-L. It was better than last week, obviously, but there isn't really much else to say.
So a contestant is visibly struggling in the competition. Let's give her a prop to hold throughout her routine. That will help. Not. Mind you, the umbrella did distract me from everything else so perhaps it had a purpose. Bless her heart, I can't see her lasting long. Still, they have each other. And can stand under that umbrella. (ella ella eh eh etc.)

Kellie and Kevin
I don't see how there could have been a more appropriate song choice for these two, it's so twee and cute. There was so much literal choreography in this I was surprised Kevin wasn't dressed as a clown. There was lots of cheeky cha-cha-ness in this, and while there could have been more basic steps, Kellie seemed better than last week. It didn't raise the roof, but it's only week two, and better than a lot of the duffers we've had tonight.
Come on Kev, give the girl some actual steps. She can dance. 

Anthony and Oti
After last week's surprisingly good jive, the waltz was only going to be a bit of a comedown for Anthony. Not to say he didn't try his best, it was a classic week one male waltz - a bit tentative, looking at the ceiling, just trying to get through it. He totally deserves to stay, since him and Oti are one of the more interesting couples on the show this year.
Q. Can't waltz because of bad shoulder? A. DRAG YOUR WOMAN. Q. Still can't waltz because of bad shoulder? A. DRAG HER AGAIN. Cunning use of choreography by Oti, which kind of made me forget he was injured anyway. Poor lad looked terrified but then they always do up until they have the Matt Dawson Moment™.  

Anita and Gleb
I loved those outfits, rarely do outfits on SCD actually look independently stylish. Great song choice, loads of steps, proper acrobatics. And despite Bruno uncharacteristically making a meal of it, their timing and syncopation was pretty amazing considering it's week 2! Anita's gotten off to a flying start and it looks like Gleb knows how to put together a good routine, long may it last...
A swing-dancing friend of mine did not rate this, so perhaps that was where the judges were coming from. But in addition to last week's cha cha, overall, Anita has been pretty much robbed. She is the most natural dancer on the show this year. Why Len picked on this for lack of content when he let Kellie and Kevin's non-cha go by without comment is beyond me. Conspiracy. CONSPIRACY.

Jeremy and Karen
We love Jezza, you can't help it when someone is genuinely enjoying themselves so much. I also loved how this routine was put together to fit the song's highs and lows, great job Karen (along with your amazing flouncy skirt). He's worked hard, and we love a hard worker on SCD. The lifts were a bit ropey, but at least they did them successfully. I want more from these two, hoping they stay in!
I have no idea why I loved this, but I did. OK, the library theme may have helped. If there's only one theme I can get on board with, it's that. Or perhaps it's that despite him being somewhat uncoordinated, he is actually dancing in time to the music.  Or perhaps it's just that he's a jolly nice chap having a jolly nice time. Whatever the reason, I'd like a few more weeks of Jezza please. His joy is entertaining. 

Katie and Anton
Anton was doing a tango to Lady Gaga, I was expecting someone to have a telephone on their head and Anton pretending to be Beyonce - BUT NO! About 20 seconds in I realised Anton had surprised us by playing it straight and it blew my mind. It wasn't the best technically, but it's week two and they created an authentic, moody and dramatic tango - what more do you want? And Katie's dress, wow, what a perfect choice.
Now this is how pop music should be incorporated into ballroom. What a lovely arrangement of Telephone. Big hurrahs to the SCD band. It was perfect. And the dance was good. And the dress was lovely. And well done to Anton for not being a plonker. Yays all round! 

Peter Andre
Another great outfit, how they didn't swamp Janette in a midi skirt I do not know. This was so jam-packed full of steps their feet were practically a blur, I think Peter might have missed a couple but it's hard to tell. Although apart from the Charleston steps, not much going on quickstep-wise and could have had more work on the top line and hold.
Peter has a way that even mid-quickstep it seems like he's going to try and break out into locks and pops. I'm naming it a ... Hipstep. Of course it was excellent for a week two dance. However, there were errors and these weren't reflected in the scores he received. 

Helen and Aljaz
Helen is such a luvvie, it's a delight, Uptown Girl was the perfect song choice. She shouldn't have tried to do the sexy face, she should have been totally prim. Aljaz in dungarees was a pretty nice distraction too. The dancing? This was never going to be as easy for her as the waltz, but they had a respectable stab at it. If this is an early sign, she's going to struggle with the more hippy latin dances. 
This was hyped on ITT, so perhaps that was why I felt a little disappointed. She was given the #PimpSlot so the show was clearly expecting much from her and it was a lovely bedazzling bombshell of a cha cha, but like Peter's dance, it wasn't perfect, and if Anita was undermarked, then this was truly over. She wasn't all that hippy; it was stilted, but oh-so-styled, which compensated somewhat. Extra cute dress though. And Aljaz dressed as a mechanic? That itself should have its own show. 

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