Sunday, 24 September 2017

2017: A Strictly Odyssey

Oti awakens from her slumber and flies through the air with Giovanni, a totally normal way to spend your Saturday night from now until Christmas. Welcome to Strictly 2017, we're kicking things off with everyone dancing in the longest episode ever. I hope you've got plenty of #StrictlySnacks at the ready...

Gemma and Aljaz
As we know, the person who dances first gets to the final as per the Winning Formula, so no pressure there Gemma. And this was what you would expect from an opening number, a perfectly serviceable cha cha. She didn't embarrass herself and had obviously worked hard, but it wasn't really memorable - apart from Aljaz really giving his all in the eyes-and-teeth stakes, plus white trousers.

Brian and Amy
First tango of the series and it's actually to vaguely appropriate music, you could knock me down with a feather! Yes, there was faff, but once they got into it you could see Amy had tried to teach him a proper tango, possibly despite her better judgement. It was better than I was expecting, but still a bit wooden and blocky, but hey it's week one and a tango is tough at this stage. Also, the red shoes were not a good idea.

Alexandra and Gorka
I was expecting her to get one of the more coveted slots later in the show, but she made up for it in the dress department - what a mermaid's dream of a frock! In fact, she had all the elements you need for an opening waltz, including a great song and some lovely choreography. Also, it's a ringer-esque quality, but her musical theatre experience means she can emote. Sure there were some frame issues and a couple of missed heel leads, but it's week one people!

Simon and Karen
I have a bit of a soft spot for Simon as a normal bloke who doesn't seem like he's doing it for a career boost. Also, Karen is always good value with bonkersness, see her early-2000s-punky styled paso outfit. Now, this was a tough one to get week 1, alongside a more quirky song too, but there was also a lot of walking in this. He was definitely better in hold, but the little slip at the start probably had him shook. Hopefully he'll get some nice chilled ballroom next week.

Charlotte and Brendan
Well this was cute! I didn't have high hopes for Charlotte after her rather leaden performance in the group number on the launch show, but a couple of weeks of training seems to have done a lot of good! She was a bit tentative at times and was obviously more comfortable in hold, but this was a nice surprise. Also, Brendan got to do some of his favourite things, including hopping over furniture, what lawks!

Chizzy and Pasha
Chizzy is a bit of an unknown quantity, but she certainly sold that cha cha. It was a bit simplistic and reliant on flirting with the audience/judges/Pasha. Also, we've hopefully got the doctor jokes out of the way in week one, unless she's going to be cutting Pasha up like a mad scientist during Halloween Week? I really shouldn't give them ideas...

Jonnie and Oti
Gosh, this was cheesy, thank goodness they're both so likeable. It doesn't look like this is coming naturally to him, but as our new Goddess Shirley pointed out, he'd put a lot of effort into his footwork. These two have definite chemistry, so once he's warmed up to the whole performance thing I hope we'll see some real strides.

Joe and Katya
Ah, a classic 1950s twee jive, we know how this goes. Since he's a bit of a ringer I'm ok with him being given a harder dance early on, and he definitely rose the to challenge. A bit flat-footed in place, but that could have been down to the trainers. Katya also deserves extra points for jiving on a car bonnet in heels without plummeting to her death, I suppose after her adventures with Ed Balls this series will feel a little tame for her.

Susan and Kevin
There was a lot of faff in this, and probably the most over-burdening theme of the night, but was actually matched with some great movement from Susan. Her frame was pretty good in hold, despite her being so very wee, and she was good and confident in the footwork, which is half the battle at this early stage. She's also what Strictly is all about and has already had what feels like a life-changing experience, I think we'll be seeing a lot more of these guys...

The Lovely Debbie McGee and Giovanni
That woman has a pair of legs on her! This was seriously camp and all the better for it, forget Debbie's ballet training if she can deliver entertaining bonkersness like that. Plus Giovanni just got to have a sit down for a fair portion of it, which was hilarious. It's shaping up to be a nice mix of contestants at the moment.

Davood and Nadiya
Thank goodness for another cha cha, I need my week 1 to have the cha cha in order to feel at home. And crikey, Nadiya is an amazing dancer, she totally overshadowed Davood throughout the whole thing - sometimes new pros need to remember to turn it down a notch. Saying that, he did manage to keep up for the most part; it was a bit rough around the edges but it seems like he'd mastered the basics. We shall see what ballroom next week will bring...

Ruth and Anton
Could there be a better pairing for this series? In fact, the whole thing went totally as expected when it came to song, choreography and movement. She obviously was nervous and Anton was doing a lot of the steering. I imagine this is going to be a Deborah Meaden-style journey, where we see someone having the time of their lives and can't help but like it. Hopefully that annoying clip-in ponytail that looked like a cocker spaniel's ear will have gone next week...

Rev Richard and Diane
These two have already been hilarious on Twitter, so we were all awaiting Richard's first outing on the dancefloor. Despite the celestial cloud entrance, they did manage to keep the faffing to a minimum and Diane put plenty of basic cha cha steps in there. He also remembered the routine and did it in time, must be that 80s synth background. It was cute and charming and a good thing to have in the mix, more than happy for them to stay for a while.

Mollie and AJ
Loving Mollie's super-cute Minnie Mouse hair, but as Bruno said (surprisingly) she doesn't seem that comfortable dancing with her partner. She also seemed a bit gangly for someone so small, so might need to work on her core. It was a perfectly acceptable week 1 jive, but she may suffer from people having high expectations. I was also waiting for AJ to slide off the end of the piano when he swept across it on his bum at the start, but you can't have everything...

Aston and Janette
Ah, the ringery-est of ringers has been left until the end. As Craig said, they were more than capable of doing a lovely foxtrot, but then decided to ham it up with unnecessary faffing towards the end - this will get annoying if it carries on. Beautiful styling though, and thank you for whoever fixed his hair.