Sunday, 16 December 2018

Dooley Scrumptious

Here we are then, I don't know about you, but this year's Strictly has totally flown by! It doesn't feel that long ago we were squealing at the unexpected cast announcements (Joe who?) and now it's freezing cold and we're getting down to this long December night of emotion. Oh yes, and never-ending montages...Let's go round for one last time in what has been one of the most random years on Strictly.

As you may remember, the final is too frantic and emotional for us to summarise all the dances, so here's a quick rundown of the judges' (wrong) choices of numbers. Ashley nailed the Dirty Dancing lift so wonderfully she can go home happy whatever happens. Stacey definitely improved on her hold in the foxtrot, but there still wasn't enough of it in the routine. Faye brought drama to a VW, which is an achievement in itself. Joe however, showed the most improvement and brought a much cleaner and stronger paso than a few weeks ago.

Hang on to your hats, it's SHOWDANCES time!

Ashley and Pasha
What I liked about this was that they seemed to be dancing for their own pure enjoyment, embracing the freedom that should come with a showdance. We know she can do contempo, but this wasn't constipated emoootional contempo, it was fun and flighty. All that and a dress that looked like something from Jem and the Holograms - I would say going out in style, but then they went and chose the Charleston!

In a world where contempo-wafts masquerade as rumbas, in theory, this wasn't all that special. BUT can't argue that it wasn't excellent. Actually quite enjoyed it. Ashley has had a tough time and she must have known she wouldn't be holding the glitterball, but she still gave her all. Props. 

Stacey and Kevin
I did not have high hopes for this, as Kevin was inevitably going to throw the kitchen sink and bathroom laundry basket at this, but I actually wanted more from it! Stacey delivered it all perfectly, but the routine was sorely lacking, as Craig said, it was basically just running around. This puts them on rocky ground going into the last dance....

So basically showdances are Kevin's kryptonite. I don't get it. He's a stand out, creative choreographer throughout the competitions; year on year he delivers innovative (sometimes weird) and fresh routines. BUT this? Nah-ah. Running around and pretending to be silly. Nothing wrong with Stacey's execution but it was by far the weakest dance of the evening. 

Faye and Giovanni
We were promised a Broadway bonanza and we certainly got one! This started out as nice jazzy quickstep but actually managed to build rather than being 100mph the whole time. The spotlight sections were pretty amazing, along with Faye's superhuman run up the stairs at the very end. Pushed all the right showdance buttons, and Faye has certainly raised her game in the past few weeks.

Joyous. It's actually taken me this time to warm to Faye. But by the end of this, I wouldn't have minded in the slightest if she'd won. The only thing I'd say is that all her dances in the final had a similar flavour - theatrical, jazzy, dramatic. I'd have loved a feathers-on-the-bum samba to balance it out. 

Joe and Dianne
I had so much expectation on this I was actually nervous when it started, and then we were off - flying off the seat of our pants all the way through! That was an example of gimmicks working, including a tiny trampoline and jumping through an amp, which actually made me shriek like a fangirl. Not perfectly executed, and Joe's leggin-clad legs were a hoot, but definitely memorable.

Everything you want to see in a showdance. Gimmicks, fun, an excellent piece of music; this was energetic and a joy to watch. Not the best dancer but his improvement has been immeasurable. I hope very much that he's encouraged a whole new generation to get involved.  

Finally, we had the surrealness of Ashley and Pasha's magic mushroom Charleston. Stacey and Kevin actually chose the right dance to end on, and pretty much nailed it, real angry sex vibes going on there. Faye and Gio brought back one of the few Couple's Choice routines worth repeating (fingers crossed it won't be back, but well done Faye). I have no idea why Joe and Dianne chose the Charleston, but they had a jolly good time and he did it like he was having a stroll in the park.

And then of course, we have the annual car-carsh mess, although this was actually delightfully competent! They managed to worked in so many little bits from the series, it was really good to see and did everyone proud. Ranj's shimmy! Kate's leg! Graeme's I'm-dancing-on-the-telly face! Susannah just being there! Great job all round everyone.

Finally we came to the....final moment...lights, music, tension, and it was.....STACEY! What a cracker of a time she's had, and what a year it's been. Thanks to everyone who has come along for the ride!

YAAAAAAAAAS! 


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