Sunday, 12 November 2017

Go go Joe!

Ah, Strictly, the perfect balance of the expected and the unexpected. This week before it even got properly started we had self-referential Blackpool jokes, Darcey dressed as a Strictly superhero, and the crowd going wild for Shirley. But the most unexpected thing was we had a whole week of training footage VTs! What a joy! How do we make this happen every week?

BLAAAAAACKPOOL. Totes looking forward to seeing the set up outside the tower on my way to work later this week. Yay.

Susan and Kevin
I am liking this new trend for kicking things off with an exciting number, Kevin and Susan really brought it with this tango. Lovely traditional routine that harnessed the drama of the music, and they'd clearly worked on technique all week. Frame is an issue, but she's working on it and facial expression went into hammy about halfway through, but it kept her going. Much like her joyful quickstep, it showed they can be great all-rounders and why we look forward to them every week.

Susan has such the air of a contestant who had no idea she was actually going to be any good at this. Bless. But she is. I mean, we all know she's no Alesha Dixon, but what she does have is joy, and vim, and vigour, and this all shines through when she's on the floor. I was kind of imagining that she was just trying not to laugh throughout this. Nice tango though. Kevin's a smarty pants.

Joe and Katya
The male rumba! In the death slot! Katya's costume got caught in a shredder! I actually rather enjoyed this: the song wasn't painfully slow and it looked like a rumba rather than contempo-waft. Joe was a bit too focused on attack at times, but I'm all for commitment to the dance, and I could see hip action and an all-important attempt to make the moves flow into each other. Plus, I got to cackle when he brought out "this girl" to refer to Katya, huzzah!

I think this could have been my favourite dance of the night. I mean. Male rumba in death slot? As was pointed out on Twitter by Mr Perkins. We all pretty much thought he was doomed. But alas, no. He pulled a total Rachel Stevens on us with this rumba. What I am loving most about this series is the return to actual ballroom and latin. And all tied up with this is the chance for the professionals to teach and for the celebs to learn and for the ones who were middly all at the beginning to have a real j...

Ruth and Anton
After recent adventures in dressing up and Ruth's Wig Emporium, this was a rather conservative look for these two. Took forever to get in hold, and then when they got there not much really happened. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't very good either. Ruth could struggle this week...

What's been keeping Ruth in is not only Anton's comedy form this series, but also just how relatable she is for a significant portion of the show's audience. However, this one didn't stand out. 

Davood and Nadiya
He raised his game last week, so that set expectations higher than before. But within two seconds we could see he could swivel and we were away! It wasn't a knock-your-socks off Charleston for the ages, but it was well-executed and fun, with only minimal gurning. Certainly worth nines, feel like tens is pushing it, but I guess he just made it look easy. The real surprise is Davood's sudden confidence and control, and that's what we love about Strictly!

YAAAS Davood. Another dark horse, much like Joe. Another middly-at-the-beginning-going-from-strength-to-strength type, like a Darren Gough or a Gethin (pre that salsa, he was a bit of a bot...) We haven't seen such lovely charleston swivels since Ms Ellis Bextor. This series really is turning out to be a free for all. I can't call it. One jot.

Gemma and Aljaz
After a couple of clunky weeks, it's good to see Gemma back in ballroom, and with a lovely song and frock to boot. It's hard to make a VW stand out, but these two managed to pull it off, and Gemma seemed so much happier and confident - I was really surprised when the judges said they didn't think she was emoting. It appears she has a fanbase voting for her, but they will have to keep it up this week.

Now Gemma is the opposite. She started this series with much potential but she hasn't really progressed. She isn't connected with the dances and to me it just feels like watching a series of movements which happen to have music playing in the background. 

Alexandra and Gorka
First Argentine Tango of the series, and a much-anticipated one at that, and OOF they delivered! The routine travelled more than I'm used to from an Argentine Tango, but they still managed to hold on the drama and the control. Also, Gorka is very good at allowing the choreography to showcase her. I now really want to see her in classic ballroom, she's not done much of it so far, but it gives her a chance to show another side.

What I love about Alexandra is that she pours her heart and her soul into everything she does. I remember that about her on the X Factor and she has certainly brought it to Strictly. Compare with Gemma. Alexandra is 100% connected to the dance and to the music. It is all as one. Practically perfect in every way. 

Mollie and AJ
Props to Mollie for delivering after the hit of being in the bottom 2 twice in a row. It wasn't the most technically achieved, but for me it was full of paso content and delivered with commitment. Mollie is a funny one, we realised fairly quickly she's not a ringer, and whilst she's not terrible, she's not improving at the rate of some people in an uber-competitive year.

Mollie, like Gemma, has kind of got stuck. However, I do think Mollie is considerably better a dancer than Gemma. The thing is, everyone is saying she's doomed this week, but nothing does wonders for the sympathy vote than being in the bottom two for two weeks. I reckon she'll be fine. But perhaps it'll be bye bye in Blackpool. And that's actually a shame.

Jonnie and Oti
It's been so nice watching Jonnie learn to enjoy dancing and performing, and obviously Oti in an array of stunning frocks. I felt this was a really difficult song for Jonnie, there wasn't much for him to bounce off, and in the foxtrot of all dances. A few improvements, including in arms, but the frame still has issues. Everyone loves him, but Bruno was right (I know!) when he said it was missing the va-va-vroom.

Eeeh, I was a tad bored by this one. Oti is quite obviously a goddess. But Jonnie has kind of reached a peak, and slipped a little down it. I want to see a WOW dance. Until I do, I'm all over meh about him now.

Debbie and Giovanni
There's nothing more latin than a salsa set in an opticians, I was rolling my eyes before it even started. Also, my sleeve vendetta returned once again, why on earth does Debbie McGee with her age-defying body need sleeves?! Once we FINALLY got underway, this was actually a lot better than I was expecting; Gio knows his stuff and Debbie performed the hell out of it. I think I preferred it to the Halloween Charleston, although the lifts were reminiscent of Bonnie Langford the human cannonball on Dancing on Ice. Bit overmarked...

Twisting at the waist as though you are doing the, er, twist is not salsa. It never has been and it never will be. I hated it. But that's hardly a surprise. 

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