Sunday, 16 October 2016

Jive Talkin'

There was a lot going on with Strictly tonight, many things to discuss, but let us take a minute to discuss a rather special Tess Dress Mess - just what was that about? Comments on Twitter ranged from Christmas turkey to stretched glitterball, answers on a postcard please. Now, on with the show!

Greg and Natalie

Once I stopped harumph-ing at the death slot and Greg's floral blouse, I got into this, mainly because amid all the drama and the lifts it actually looked something like a salsa. Natalie is genius at putting together a routine that is a) entertaining b) full of content and c) suitable for her partner. Also, Greg hasn't lots any of his week 1 exuberance - shimmying away like demon and shaking that bum for all it's worth, but also a bit of progress in the hips.

I own that blouse. I picked it up in a charity shop in Southport.

Now I gave these two a vote, despite it being salsa-nothing-like-salsa-to-a-stupid-song because they had a death slot and totally deserve to stay. The music would have far better suited a cha cha cha. Our Twitter friend Marianka Dance Guru Swain is now calling for salsa to be ditched on Strictly because it has become so far removed from the dance it is utterly unrecognisable. I concur. #RIPSalsa
I refuse to believe that Natalie had anything to do with the choice of music. A dancer would not have picked that. 

Laura and Giovanni
Those outfits were a bit Jane Norman circa 2005 for me. On the whole, it was a hot mess. The song choice was great, but it meant the whole thing had to go at breakneck speed and I was pretty impressed that Laura seemed to do all the steps - if one thing had gone wrong they could've easily come tumbling down (and burst into flames amid all those man-made fibres). I feel like I would've liked to have seen her do it in Blackpool with a bigger floor and a couple more week under her belt.

Great song. Forgettable dance. Hey no one has mentioned Blackpool for a few weeks. What's going on? 

Anastacia and Brendan
In one of the very few nice dresses for this week, Anastacia gets the honour that no one really wants - the first rumba of the series. I actually thought this was quite good, very nice arms and lines from Anastacia. The song was lovely too and brought a nice atmosphere to it all, but as the judges said, it was missing a bit of technique. As with many rumbas, it didn't set the world alight, who knows if it will keep them in the show.

Brendan has choreographed some nice rumbas over the years and this wasn't bad. But Anastacia's execution of the steps wasn't great. Her knees were as bent as an iPhone 6 Plus that has been left in the back pocket of someone's Levis. 

Claudia and AJ
This was so High School Musical I can only assume Jared Murillo choreographed it (which is why it didn't look like a foxtrot). They went straight back into my 'annoying category' with this one, with the pointless 'theme', hardly any hold and stupid song choice. I still don't connect with these two, although I will admit, the producers acting like they are 12 years old doesn't really help, I can only assume they will be dressed as Pokemon next week.

Their grins were so wide and large it would have been easy to mistake them for Plasticine figures modelled by Nick Park. The dance was completely disconnected from the music. They may as well have been swaying in silence. From top of the leaderboard to forgettable in one week.

Ed and Katya
After an underwhelming opening to the show, the combination of Bonnie Tyler and Ed Balls is what we all needed. Now, no lies, it was a complete shambles, but it was full-on fun and sheer teamwork from the two of them as Katya tried to keep him on track. I was slightly distracted by Ed's feet, it looked like he was wearing silver wellies. He needs to go through, he's been spot-on at remembering his routine's every week and should be given the chance to recover - the show would suffer if we went.

Thank goodness for Ed Balls, our new and unexpected national hero. I have been making the claim that Ed can actually dance in time but I have to admit this was, in the words of Malcolm Tucker, a [insert expletive here] omnishambles. Oh but I totally mean in a good way. 

Naga and Pasha
I never really thought Naga and a Charleston was going to work, especially not when she's dressed like Rainbow Bite on acid. But actually, this worked for me more than any of her other dances, she looked like she was so much more comfortable in the routine. She looked athletic and confident, so well done to her, although the lifts were a total disaster.

How did this score less than her tango? Glad Naga decided finally to join us. She was enjoying it, showed some character and danced it well. OK, the costume looked as though it had been inspired by a pastel goth Pinterest board but definitely my favourite from her so far.

Louise and Kevin
Louise finally looking stunning in a proper ballroom dress, and amid all the frustrated-musical-theatre nonsense from Kevin, he actually managed to find the time to choreograph some proper foxtrot in there. As the judges said, her footwork was marvellous, but also enjoyed Darcey's thinly-viellled comment about her ringer-ness.

Yaaaas for the frock. She looked a delight all wrapped up in lovely. But I don't get the smiley-happy-cheesy foxtrot to an Amy Winehouse track. The song is quite clearly about a pretty dysfunctional relationship. There ain't no smiling about that. 

Danny and Oti
I'm getting really annoyed with Danny saying he's struggling with a dance every week where there isn't a shred of evidence to suggest he is. yes, this quickstep was marvellous, and the routine Oti put together was fabulous. if I'd seen someone do it in the final I would've have been delighted, but it's week four and I simply don't care. 

It was glorious. But we expected it to be. And therefore this is going to get pretty dull very soon. 

Daisy and Aljaz
The trainng footage of this looked pretty promising, but we have always learned not to get our hopes too high for a rumba. This was a cracker though, a proper rumba with lots of content and dedication from Daisy. A bit stiff in the hip in places, but I can see her doing this again in the final and it being great. Not sure about that dress though, a sultry black would've been better than Carol Vorderman nude dress.

A fair amount of content, although a little posy for me. I like those traditional rumbas with lots of basics.I haven't got all that much to say other than I thew these guys a vote too because I thought this might get lost somewhere amidst the breadth of ringers and..,Ed. 

Rinder and Oksana
Boom Bang-a Bang was actually the perfect song choice for a Rinder VW, a panto Bavarian theme not so much. There was enough waltz content from Oksana to bring it through, it's not like Rinder can't do it, but it would be good for him to have some more opportunities to work on it.

So they've definitely decided he's a dud comedy act then? What's actually interesting is it's possibly the first time we have seen dud comedy routines performed so well. He genuinely can dance but I do wonder whether Len's right and if he does go down the straight route he'll be out before Len can perform any type of fermentation on any sort of seed from the genus Juglans. #googleit #idid 

Lesley and Anton
Anton gives good Charleston, he just does. This was a great routine, crammed full of fun steps and movement, without going crazy on the lifts. Although Anton doing a cartwheel and Lesley high-kicking up a storm makes me think I should really start doing more exercise. Ok, there could've been a bit more swivel from Lesley, but how can you say that to someone having such a good time?

Week in, week out, there is something captivating about these two. I have enjoyed watching them every week but this one was particularly special. Her costume did look a little as though she were on a student St Paddy's Day bar crawl, but hey, emerald green glitter? Bring it on any time. 

Ore and Joanne
Now, when I was watching the training footage on ITT I was worried that Joanne was going to out-dance Ore in this, as pros can often do in the jive - but he kept up...just! This was easily my favourite routine from Ore, and speaking of the routine, I was unsure of the '60s theme' but it totally worked and the little touches complimented it rather than detracted from it.

But has he had prior dance training? Some say no, and some say he must have. If he's just had some lessons as a kid or student, it wouldn't put him in ringer territory for me. For me, a ringer has to have extensive full time training at a performing arts or dance school, not just happen to be really good. Does Ore just happen to be really good? I don't know but I do know I loved this jive. It didn't match Jay's for me - what I loved about that was its nonchalant cool - but this was darned close. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Jai... NO!

Daisy and Aljaz
Well Daisy looks like a sheer Delight as Mary Poppins, Aljaz carries Bert off pretty well too. Despite my initial reservations, the song was a delight too, perfect for a quickstep, you can't help be light-footed in a number like this. I feel like it could've been better in a few weeks when she has a bit more ballroom under her belt, but she carried it off with aplomb (sorry Clover, I stole aplomb).
Aplomb is a great word. This was nippy and nifty and, despite my utter disgust at the very thought of theme weeks, I thought Daisy and Aljaz pulled this off rather nicely. There was plenty enough quickstep to stop me moaning throughout and that's quite an achievement. Fast becoming one of my favourite pairings. 

Brendan and Anastacia
Well, we don't like too much theming, but Brendan looks like he's a been bit ill rather than a vampire. On the other side, Anastacia looked radiant, and despite the injury, we wanted to see some nice soft ballroom from her and we got it. It was simple, classic VW, basically forgetting that it was Movie Week. Good work guys, I hope it will send them through to next week.
Other than Brendan being painted the colour of a snail's trail, this was fine. It didn't set the world alight, but for a theme week, it wasn't too themey (Brendan has a knack with this sometimes) and I'm all over that. I hope Anastacia gets the chance to dance next week as she does have potential but I'm afraid the necessary injury-avoiding caution she displayed in this routine could send her packing. Oh you British public, you are heartless. 

Danny and Oti
Guyliner AND a Zorro mask, oh you spoil us Strictly...and actually, this make perfect sense as a paso anyway. Spanish, innit. This was easily my favourite dance from Danny so far, it just wasn't as cocky or uber-slick like the others. The judges raved about his lines, I think they were a bit overblown actually, he looked like a penguin at times.
It was as slick as oil sliding off a greasy spoon but dare I say it, also, too...dainty. Come on, man, I want a fierce appel! I want you to stomp that floor like you're a toddler having a tantrum in Tesco. Ole! 

Lesley and Anton
Lesley winning the Kirsty Gallagher Award for the least glamorous costume, you do have the disadvantage that hardly anyone is going to know what this dance is based on. I thought this was a cracking routine actually, loads of quickstep content, but also some fun bits that still didn't manage to break the flow of everything - Lesley has great musicality. No, it wasn't perfect, and they are never going to get over that height difference, but they have certainly earned a place for next week.
She's light on her feet, in time and more than a match for Anton. Other than copious gapping, I thought this was pretty good. Like Daisy's it had enough actual quickstep content to allow me to overlook the ridiculous costumes and theme. The music was fitting too. Lesley is far from a joke contestant and I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring next week. 

Will and Karen
Now, the training footage they showed on ITT was basically a game of 'spot the salsa step' and...that was pretty much what happened in the show. Like Len, I noticed a little bit in the middle, and actually a moment of decent hip action from Will at one point. But we are talking about 10 seconds of a 90 second dance.
There are no words. You have to do some salsa to call it salsa. This is like making someone a pancake and insisting on telling them it's spaghetti bolognese. Seriously, what is the point? 

Naga and Pasha
Speaking of lack of basic dance content, it was fun watching Naga waggle a torch, wasn't it? Really added to the drama of a tango. Actually, saying that, the song choice worked a lot better than some others, and she was obviously a lot more suited to it than the cha cha. Bruno was actually right about her having flashes of greatness marred by a lack of confidence. I was also muchos pleased to see Pasha's Cold War Spy Roll Neck Jumper make it onto the main shows.
Wow, this was a long show wasn't it? I don't even remember this dance. Were they dressed as the people you're not supposed to see changing the sets at am dram productions? 

Rinder and Oksana
This has been a bonkers journey already, so a Charleston and Fred Flintstone for Rinder seemed totally normal. Also, I've been humming the theme tune all week and it totally makes sense as a song choice. But then the routine happened, and it somehow seemed to missing something. It was a bit sloppy, and may have been a bit too technical for him, because it was missing the joy he usually exudes in a performance. Also, WHY isn't Oksana in a ginger wig as Wilma? It is the Strictly Year of the Ginger!
So they've decided they're going to send him down the path of joke contestant then? That's a darned shame because he's actually a talented dancer. His faces don't even bother me. This is what has annoyed me most about the show over recent years - if you're not a young, stage-schooled bore, then you're not allowed actually to learn how to dance. You're there to be dressed up in stupid costumes and laughed at. It's insulting really... 

Ore and Joanne
Our first opportunity to see if Ore can carry off a bit of smooth ballroom, and when you've got an American Smooth to Singin' in the Rain all the pieces are there. He carried it off...just. I think he's still more confident out of hold than in it, and too much on the toes, but the whole thing fit together in a way that was missing from Rinder's Charleston. I was also happy to see they didn't make a meal of the lifts, they fit into the routine rather than Ore throwing Jo over his head for no reason.
I wanted to like this more than I did. He has huge potential and I have to say, looked rather dashing in his suit, but something was missing here. The fact he was on his toes for every part of the routine I could see didn't help. Joanne's has demonstrated on It Takes Two that she's a talented teacher so I'm hoping to see something better from these two next week. 

Laura and Giovanni
Oh my word, that is the outfit of our Moulin Rouge-SCD mash-up dreams. What's more, Laura threw herself into this in a way we've not seen her perform a routine before. I don't think I glanced at Giovanni once during the routine, apart from gratuitous point-baiting by flirting with Bruno. I feel like it would've been better without the lifts though, Laura was partying on down until they came along and then was properly nervous.
Shock! Horror! I didn't *hate* the arrangement of this track for a Strictly-salsa. It was smooth enough to allow for moves, unlike the jerky dance like music they oh-so-often insist on using. Laura also had a bit of a *insert trademark here* Gethin-Salsa-Moment and performed with abandon. It was a side to her I wasn't expecting to see and it gave the performance more of an edge. Don't get me wrong, I still don't think it resembled anything near enough like actual salsa, but in the context of the show, I was less angry than I usually find myself... 

Greg and Natalie
Greg being endearingly awful in his VT acting AND dressed in a sub-Game of Thrones outfit, what a treat. I thought this was going to be waaaay too slow for an American Smooth, but I should have learned by now not to underestimate the genius of Natalie Lowe. He's a dab hand at lifts and she's the ultimate waltz teacher, all the pieces were there and I couldn't see them *sob* there was a typically movie-esque happy ending.
Sticky out bum? Hide it under a peplum. Who would have thought Greg would be taking fashion advice from Grazia. It worked though. No one really commented, despite his frame still being a little hunched. Oh but who cares because it's Greg and Natalie and he's NOT a stage school brat and he's NOT a performer but LOOK WHAT HE DID. Natalie is all kinds of wonderful. One of my favourite pairings for a long, long time. Can we even start to dream of another sports star winner? He's of the Goughie/Ramps realm. (Gymnasts don't count.) 

Claudia and AJ
I swing between liking and disliking these two, but they definitely won me over with this one. I have to say, I was surprised at the lack of gymnastics in this, I was expecting Claudia just to be backflipping the length of the floor, but it was all totally appropriate. Yes, she was a bit sloppy in places, but there was swivel and they'd obviously worked hard and pulled it out of the bag on the night, one slip up and it would've fallen to pieces.
I agree with Frankie that the gymnastic-level was just about appropriate. She's very good but I'm tempted to put gymnasts (female at least) in the ringer-zone due to their floor routines to music. Her charleston tonight did have a stop-start quality, as though she were pausing for breath before each move. I'd like to see a smoother performance but I suspect that will come with experience. 

Tameka and Gorka
I have to say I wasn't looking forward to this, not in a 'OMG this will be a disaster' way, more of a 'meh, movie week' way. However, through sheer force of will they managed to bring some aggression and intensity to it, and brought out the staccato beat of the bassline. I think this was more technically achieved than her Charleston actually. Not one for the ages, but better than expected.
As I have said many times, some dances are as much about the mood and style, as the actual steps. Tango is one of those dances. You take away the tango mood, put it to inappropriate music, and it's no longer really a tango. Not saying it was danced badly - it wasn't - but I didn't like it. 

Ed and Katya
After last week's (literally) barnstorming performance, the question was whether he could pull it off again, they certainly beat it for surreality on costume! Now, giving him a samba at this stage seemed a little mean, but Katya didn't try and bottle it, they were actually doing a samba routine. Ed, like Jeremy Vine last year, might not be the most naturally talented of dancers, but give him a routine and he will learn every step of it and remember it on the night - some people struggle with that throughout the whole competition.
Oh Ed, bobbing up and down dressed as a corn on the cob. I loved it. Frankie compared him to Jeremy Vine, and that's fair. Both men actually do dance. They're not lolloping about like Ann Widdecombe. Both have good timing and give it their all. He's an absolute joy to watch for this very reason, and, I hate to use the cliche, but that is what Strictly is all about, after all. 

Louise and Kevin
Louise with a bubble perm and wearing something that doesn't resemble a beige duvet cover! I have to say, it is easily the happiest she's looked doing a dance, but it was also the sloppiest. She's obviously more of a ballroom one, and often looked like she was thinking of the steps, but expectations have been very high on her. Easily the dance of hers I most enjoyed though.
Kevin dances for himself, not for his partner. Sad but really does seem to be true. It's been demonstrated with every celebrity he's had. Instead of throwing more and more complicated steps at Louise, he should strip it back and teach her some technique. She's naturally very good and that cha cha could have been at a professional-like level had her legs been straighter and the moves been sharper. Come on, man! 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Ballroom and Banjos!

You know how when Strictly couples finish a Charleston and they're panting and can't speak? Well this is what this 2-hour-15-couple extravaganzas do to us bloggers. Come with us as we wade through a never-ending saga of dances and drama...oh yeah, and Ed Balls on a banjo.

Ore and Joanne
So a week after the semi-tango, costume disaster, we get a classic cha cha tune and suitably camp outfits, so I was breathing a little easier. Joanne warned us on ITT it was going to be fast, and my word it was! There was a bit of faffing, but minimal compared to last week, and the braces move was pretty impressive anyway - you've got to have balls to do something that could so easily go wrong. Len was right, it lacked a bit of polish, but it was ambitious and pretty well executed. We know Ore can sell a dance, I now want to see him do some classic graceful ballroom.

Claudia and AJ
Claudia looking delightful, AJ looking like he's dressed for one of Anton's latin numbers. A waltz isn't exactly the most exciting of dances, but I have to say I found it really irritating. There was some basic waltz in there, but it just seemed really light and nothing - I'm not very impressed by seeing an Olympic gymnast being spun around on one leg. Vastly over-marked. Sorry to be mean to the little ones, but it didn't float my boat.

Will and Karen
Now I just knew things would get a bit more exciting with these two. I really liked this; I've come to realise teamwork is going to be their best asset, they just looked like they were having a good time. I even liked the casual outfits, they just looked like two crazy kids dancing on a night out rather than it being too dance-competition-y and frantic. The Converse may have been a step too far...

Lesley and Anton
Lesley looking stunning, proving women over 50 don't need to look frumpy (someone should tell Louise). This was as hilarious as I was expecting, and then some, oh that super-gurn from Lesley was a treat. There was a bit in the middle where it looked like it went wrong and Lesley reminded me of Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques, but I'll let that slide. Anyone who can hold their own while Anton gyrates in a pair of sequinned pants deserves to stick around a while.

Greg and Natalie
Greg is dressed as the Riddler, while Natalie is some sort of Strictly Incredible Hulk. The song kind of worked, and the fact that Greg danced to a song called Jump and only jumped once is practically a miracle in today's world of SCD. Britain's most discussed bum was noted, but I feel like we should remember it is week 2 and he has no experience. Lots of other good points to comment on there, including the routine from Nat and the level of performance and focus he had.

Tameka and Gorka
This was always going to be a good dance for Tameka, and she certainly brought the cuteness and character they needed to carry this off. I was pretty impressed when they made a mistake and she was right back on it in half a beat. Although, saying that, I wasn't wowed by the routine, especially not in the way that the paso hit us last week. People complained about Tameka's shoes, but I was more bothered that Gorka's tattoos did not mix well with the Victorian bathing costume.

Laura and Giovanni
These two looked like a million dollars, taking away from any need for props or excessive theme-ing. Laura even managed to look suitably placid, with a good top line in hold. However, there was a whole section in the middle where it looked like Giovanni ran out of waltz choreography and just decided to fling her about a bit. They may have to do some work to make sure they don't get forgotten among all the others.

Melvin and Janette
After last week's serious lack of cha-cha, and despite the Most 90s Song Ever, this at least looked like it was a tango. However, because there wasn't any eyes-and-teeth potential, it did show up that Melvin isn't that great. He'd obviously worked hard (and was doing a proper concentrating face) but there were issues with hold and posture that you couldn't help but see. He seemed more comfortable with faffing around with a luggage rack - I fear these two could be first boot.

Louise and Kevin
Now, there isn't really a lot you can do with this dance, but I don't think the world was crying out for a contempo Viennese Waltz. Once they finally got round to getting in hold, it was very nice, as you would expect. Although oddly skippy in places. I also understand that Louise said she didn't want to wear skimpy outfits, but her dresses are so bad people are talking about them more than her dancing. Also, it's not like you do a VW in hotpants!

Anastacia and Brendan
Well this was a hot mess. I do wonder what the original routine looked like, because this was a bit lacklustre (although from looking at Anastacia's face you couldn't tell, she knows how to work it to kingdom come). Clover thought the song choice was up there with the worst ever, I really think we have seen worse. Brendan jumping on a box of Terry's All Gold was a highlight too. Let's face it, she isn't going anywhere this week, so they can power through.

Ed and Katya
The rehearsal footage of this actually looked quite promising, and Ed managed to deliver on the night. The swivel only came into play halfway through, but better than losing it during the routine. And props to Katya for giving him an actual Charleston routine, with plenty of steps to grapple with - something only Bruno managed to comment on in the judges' comments.

Naga and Pasha
I've been intrigued about Naga doing the cha cha all week, a fair few people have been worried she'd be a bit stiff. But my word, that makeover helped give her some sass that we haven't seen before, and probably helped her performance. The routine and song were classic cha-cha, which was really nice to see. A bit tentative in places, and like Darcey said, you could see the concentration, but again, WEEK 2 PEOPLE!

Rinder and Oksana
After the TV-shattering assault on our senses that was last week's cha cha, it was good to have a look at some ballroom. Although even then, it was still a bit...high-octane? But it was clear some work had gone into it, and he was very good in hold, I actually want to see more ballroom from him. Also loving Oksana as Prom Queen Barbie.

Daisy and Alijaz
Not sure about Daisy dressed as a cross between a Playboy bunny and a cinema ice cream lady. Now, this was definitely better than Naga's cha-cha, but suffered some of the same issues about being tentative, you could see her going though the steps in her head. As much as I like these two, those two eights was rather over-marked...

Danny and Oti
Now, Danny's cha cha left me pretty cold last week, and Oti wandering around with a hold-all did not get this off to a good start. The bits of this that were in hold (eg an actual Viennese Waltz) were very good and I was quite impressed with the top line etc. However, there was a lot of annoying faffing going on, that actually just highlighted his ringer-ness.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Let's Dance

My, what a glorious pink puffball of an opening sequence. Give me that over Pans-People-Do-Star Trek any day. I enjoyed Friday evening's show - lots of potential but no ringers - so had high hopes for last night. So, Saturday night - did it hit the spot? Don't believe me, just... er... read.

The Right Louise and Kevin

Faff Rating: 6

Louise was holding back but it was a nifty little (swingy) jive nonetheless. She clearly has natural ability and it's endearing she's not overly confident. Twitter was awash with costume haters but, despite it looking a little like it might have once belonged to Santa Claus' wife, I didn't think it was all that bad. Kevin's choreography is often a little all too much about Kevin (we need to talk about him) but Louise may end up being quite a match for that. Technically, she's a bit too good for week one but perhaps her journey will be one to confidence. I can cope with that.

Melvin and Janette

Faff Rating: 8

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely no reason why Melvin should not be a good dancer. He has all the same bits and pieces as everyone else and he was in time, which is well over half the battle won before you've even started. The problem? I'm so sorry to say it, but it's Janette. She just doesn't seem to have the same level of ballroom and latin expertise as the other pros and it really does show. It was loosely a cha cha (so loose in fact I suspect it would have been more comfortable in a TV studio snarking alongside Carole McGiffen and a random Nolan) but mostly filled with poorly executed tricks, standing still and Janette dancing around him like a maypole. I worry for him. 

Daisy and Aljaz

Faff Rating: 0

Oh isn't Daisy a delight? Don't you just totally want to be her when you grow up? (She's younger than me. I don't care.) I loved her dress for starters. I want to wear it. Like, for work and stuff. One could argue, much like in the case of Louise,  that the dance was a little too good for week one but that seems all the most excusable when the person performing it hasn't had extensive previous dance training (note Abbey Clancy.) She does have the air of that girl at school that was good at everything but you couldn't hate even if you wanted to because she was actually really nice. Let's wait for her to break out a latin but I'm possibly tipping her for the final already...

Danny and Oti

Faff Rating: 4

Well doesn't Oti look like the cat who got the Cornish clotted cream? Great to see her able to stretch her choreography skills. He's excellent. But therein lies the issue. His timing was bang on, he was spotting in turns, to be blunt, he's this year's uber-ringer. I'm not warming to him - he isn't in any way humble, which is kind of why we excused Jay of the same level of expertise. I'm getting Ricky Whittle flashbacks. 

Tameka and Gorka

Faff Rating: 4

A really tough dance to get week one but perhaps being an actress helped out with that, as it needs so much character. One of the judges commented on her arms but I thought they were excellent. She really seemed to be moving from her core to me, which is something that is not easy to do. I think she's a natural dancer so I hope the props, themes and jokes don't take over in the coming weeks. My favourite thing was basically Gorka being happy to be on 'The Strictly.' 

Anastacia and Brendan

Faff Rating: 8

First of all, is Brendan trying to get a presenting gig by mimicking Brucie's famous pose? Second of all, this was much-faffy for Brendan, who, in recent years has choreographed some gorgeous stripped-back routines. Like many of the contestants on Friday evening, Anastacia displayed just the right balance of potential and 'improvement required' to make her a very interesting one to watch. 

Ed and Katya

Faff Rating: 7

A little tentative but Ed is perhaps the contestant who is furthest outside his comfort zone. It wasn't a bad job. I spotted heel leads. We've seen trained dancers *Cough Kelly Cough Brooke* dance without those. Being with a new pro may go against him in the public votes.

Claudia and AJ

Faff Rating: 6

One trick would have been cool. Two OK. Many. A bit too much. Still enough cha cha content to just about excuse it though. And I don't really remember anyone going on to Louis Smith about it. However, I guess the purpose of the first dance is to make an impression, and she certainly did that. She's good actually. Very good. And they make a cute pair. Looking forward to seeing how they tackle a ballroom.

Will and Karen

Faff Rating: 6

Really wish they wouldn't break out the tango in week one. It's so unfair as such a dramatic dance is way way better a few weeks in. Nevertheless, Will did do a good job. Quite clearly has danced before but doesn't come across quite as... cocky... as other contestants. Karen pulled a bit of a Janette and did way too many kicks and flicks whilst Will stood there as though waiting for a bus. My main problem with these two is that when I think Will and Karen, I basically this Truman and Walker. If Karen Clifton can break out these moves, they could go a long way.

megan mullally will and grace karen walker 215863

Friday, 23 September 2016

Off to a flying start!

This episode had me hiding behind a cushion before it was confirmed the Strictly spaceship wasn't going to appear again, that was scarier than the daleks...Thankfully, after a quick cup of tea, we got down to dancing and spangles pretty quickly!
Laura and Giovanni
Well the winning formula states that she should be sailing through to the final, pushed out into the blinding lights first and all that. She also had the perfect song and outfit for a cha cha, all the pieces were there. Props to Giovanni for not giving her a ridiculously hard routine, lots of basic cha cha in there for her to get to grips with. It was a bit hesitant in places, but a perfectly passable first dance - she also had very good Karen Hardy Facial Expressions potential.

Naga and Pasha
That is a seriously gorgeous dress for Naga. Now this time last year, Pasha descended from the ceiling on a sparkly thunderbolt, and I don't think there is anything anyone can do to top that so a gentle waltz was probably the way to go. Her top line was lovely, lovely, lovely and will stand her well for the other ballroom numbers, but they were right that she kind of lost it right in the middle. I would have put her more for ballroom than latin, so it's all to play for...

Rinder and Oksana
Was it just me that was happy that he could bang the gavel on the glitter in time to the music? I need to watch that again cos those spins at the start temporarily blinded me. It was all a bit crazy and SO MUCH, but I definitely want to see more from the two of them. Hopefully it won't be comedy all the way, he's got some natural talent that needs to be harnessed.

Lesley and Anton
Well it all seemed a bit predictable. The biggest shock was when the black and white effect faded and I saw she was wearing a neon pink dress. Lesley also pointed out in the VT that she is too short for Anton, but he can deal with that and it's better than a celeb male trying to sort that out - although getting lost in Anton's chest sounds a bit scary. The actress in her certainly added something to the routine and she will hopefully bring that again. Who knows where we will be with the latin...

Ore and Joanne
I had been waiting for this one, with Ore as my designated Dark Horse of the series, and also a chance for Joanne to flex her choreography muscles. But first Ore had to ride a bike for no reason. NOW, there was a good tango hidden in there somewhere, but I was glad Len went off on one of his rants so early - the break in the middle especially infuriated me. I thought the word 'faffing' was going to trend on Twitter.

Greg and Natalie
O to the M to the G, we were so exited. Greg and Natalie finally getting to step out, and I didn't even mind an early jive so they could get it out of the way - and then he went and did a pretty good jive anyway! It was a bit rough around the edges and gangly at times, but there was content, he remembered the steps and actually performed them. We thought performance was going to be a weak point for him - I guess it goes to show Olympians know how to give 100%.

What an exciting opening night! We're back in the game people, see you tomorrow!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Winning Formula - Version 8.0!

As I sit down to write the 8th version of the Winning Formula (for the newbies, the totally-scientific way I determine who will win SCD every year) I think to myself, should I have pursued a career in algorithms? Then I realise that last year the Formula only predicted two of the finalists...admittedly, it was Georgia and Jay, so that's pretty good, but it also included Kirsty and we all know how that turned out. (The fact that I also had to Google how to spell algorithms should also say something). Formula, you have your work cut out this year.

1) Get the party started
I'm astounded that year after year this seems to work - it started out as a joke way back in series 4 I think (sigh, those were the days). If you dance first on the opening show, you get to the final. End of. Last year it was Kellie Bright, with the really annoying pseudo-tango-with-60s-theme-wedged-into-it on the Friday show, and the fallback option of the Saturday show saw JAY dance first! Seriously, we might as well just decide after the first 10 minutes if we are to believe the evidence. I don't think we should expect Ed Balls on first this time around...

2) Quit your day job
If there's something Jay vs Kellie taught us last year, it's being an unemployed boyband member makes for a much more relaxed contestant than one that is being simultaneously flogged to death in the Eastenders sweatshop of the performing arts. This will bode well for Ed Balls, I'm sure, although I fear for Tameka's sanity. Saying that, I don't think there's an abundance of day jobs this year, Laura and Melvin may still be working, but I'm not seeing a lot more. Although I'm sure for Rinder, the law never sleeps. As for the BBC-newsreader-anomaly, we actually have TWO contestants this year, who's up for a Naga-Ore final?

3) Blondes don't have more fun
Another blonde was pipped to the glitterball, soz Kellie, the odds were stacked against you. I don't know what the British public has against blondes, but Anastacia, Laura and Rinder have an uphill battle on their hands. Also, as it is officially the Most Ginger Year Ever on SCD, we will continue to root for Greg in our crusade to have our first ginger winner - hey, if he could even make the final that would be a triumph for his species.

4) Latin fever
It's true, we have never had a ballroom specialist pro win SCD, the latin types continue to rule the sparkly roost. Now this means that whoever Anton dances with is automatically disqualified, but it also leaves us GUTTED that it means Natalie's partner has to go, and there has never been a time I have wanted to be proven wrong. Joanne has also made a return, evening up the balance of ballroom vs latin pros ever so slightly - could this be the year one of them finally lifts the glitterball? 

5) Age is more than a number
Well since this is supposed to be the youngest line-up since 1987 or whatever, it seems unlikely that someone over the age of 40 is going to finally break that age barrier and win SCD. British public, you are so cruel with your hatred of slightly older people, blondes, ballroom dancers and...people in employment? This includes Anastacia, Ed and Lesley. Louise is 41 and should have given in to those long-standing requests to do SCD a couple of years ago, same goes for Naga. They should have taken a leaf out of Tameka's book and snuck in aged 39!

6) Embrace the sparkle!
As we have learned, year on year, embracing the sparkle is key. Whether it be fake-tanning to a delightful shade of teak, to double-dipping yourself in glitter, you've got to feel it, or you won't win it. And it has to be said, this year's line-up of people seem to have it in bucketloads! You've got super-fan Laura, the ball of energy that is Tameka, bonkers Anastacia, Ore desperate to get on the dancefloor, and Rinder seems to already be having a life-changing experience. People who I think are holding back include Louise and Will, but give them a couple of weeks cha-cha-ing and I'm sure they'll be swinging from the glitterball.

So there we are, here is my patented Winning Formula equation:

Dance first - day job + brunette x latin pro > 40 years old + sparkle = WINNER!

Come back after opening weekend to see who the Formula predicts will make the SCD final!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Blast Off!

OK, first things first. What was with that opening? Whose brain concocted that sparkle-infested oddity? The only explanation must be that one of the producers has genuinely lost his/her heart to a fecking starship trooper. I never seen anything quite like it in my life. From Craig busting questionable moves to Brendan doing a cartwheel, it was nothing short of bonkers. And not really in a good way.

Louise and....... KEVIN!

She needs no surname. She is the right Louise, despite what dem yoofs on Twitter may think. There was a little talk online about her costume not being as nice as some of the others - but some folks had heard she had actually asked to cover up a little, which implies she's a little wary and inhibited. That's not necessarily a bad thing. We all love a journey, after all. I'm not always Mr Clifton's biggest fan but I think in this circumstance they will make a really great pair. He's such a perky little package of energy, he's bound to bring her out of her shell.

Naga and........ PASHA!

Naga has already perfected her Paso Face. That's the only reason for having perfected a death stare. Right? At least that will get put to use. Looking fabulously statuesque in red, Naga already seems to be (to use Frankie's phrase) 'embracing the sparkle', despite it being so far removed from her usual reality. Pasha is an all round darling and I'm looking forward to seeing what these guys come up with. 

Anastacia and.........BRENDAN!

We get so super excited when an American is on the show. Why is that?! Do we expect they will be bringing over stockings and gum? And remember Williamsgate 2010 where we all expected her to be the bee's knees and she was about as rhythmic as a baby giraffe who has been slipped a dram of Scotland's finest? Not that I am expecting Anastacia to to be terrible by any means. Brendan's reaction and her performance in the group number suggest she's going to be good. And embrace every second of it. Love her ombre-mermaid dress. 

Laura and............. GIOVANNI!
Oh I do love a Strictly-Superfan-On-Strictly. Their excitement is infectious. I'm expecting the tabloids to latch onto this partnership like a limpet on a sequin-encrusted rock. She's the standard PYT (Pretty Young Thing), bound to start relatively well and end more or less on the level of a professional backing dancer. But Strictly needs these stock characters as much as it needs feathers and fake tan. 

Melvin and.......... JANETTE!

I didn't realise he was quite so dinky and therefore almost inevitably destined to be partnered with Janette. He seems like he's going to be a jolly good sport and possibly a nifty dancer. Perhaps how many times 'Dance of Odoom' is uttered by the presenters could become a drinking game. 

Greg and....... NATALIE!

I have never quite shipped a couple from this early on before. This pairing seems like destiny. I was eyeing him closely in the group dance and his timing looks good. I already love these two. Natalie managed to get Michael 'I have no rhythm' Vaughan to dance a passable ballroom, I genuinely can't wait to see how she does with Greg, who actually seems to have potential. He's humble and doesn't take himself too seriously either. My very-early-on faves. This rarely happens. 

Judge and ................ OKSANA!

Yes, yes, he shall henceforth be known as 'Judge'. That is his first name right? I'm not so much looking forward to his dancing (although he does look like he has some rhythm going on) as his out Craiging Craig at judging time. This partnership should be a good measure of Oksana's televisionability (I'm totes coining that,)  Remember how adorable the partnership between John Sargeant and Kristina was? They don't always need a ringer year one to make an impression.

Danny and .................. OTI!

Ooh, he's a wee bit of a charmer, isn't he? Oti seemed positively delighted with her new partner. I have to admit, the last time I watched Hollyoaks, Monica and Chandler were not yet married, we had only just been introduced to the KitKat Chunky and construction began on the Millennium Dome. That is, I had absolutely no idea who he was. He's another PYT. Expect to see him at least up until the quarter finals. 

Claudia and............. AJ!

Have we seen a couple this tiny since Tina and the teeny one from High School Musical who didn't know how to dance ballroom? And still the height difference is huge. I hope they don't fill all their routines with gymnastics instead of dance. I'm not sure I can stomach a triple full layout in the middle of a Viennese Waltz. Her little pink costume makes her look like a little cupcake. They are uber cute. 

Daisy and....................ALJAZ!

Now officially a modeliser, Aljaz looked delighted with Daisy. And boy, they do make a pretty pair. She seems genuinely excited, which is nice. Who doesn't want to bathe in glitter? She has a touch of the Sophie E-Bs about her. I'm expecting some nonchalant cool. But perhaps I'm wrong and she'll go all eyes-and-teeth camp? Who knows?

Lesley and......... ANTON!
Oh these two were always a certainty. She can quite clearly boogie though and these two are going to be great fun. Prime candidates for the Race-To-The-Bottom, I'm wondering whether Anton is going to camp it up enough to rival the pure weirdness of Ed Balls taking part. 

Tameka and........ GORKA!

I don't watch Eastenders so I wasn't sure who she was. But I love her. If you could bottle that enthusiasm and take it to Dragons' Den, they'd be throwing offers all over the place. She looks all kinds of fabulous in her take-me-to-the-emerald-city costume. These are potentially the most fun pairing of the series...

Ore and...........JOANNE!

Oof, now this two could be a pair to watch. He is quite clearly a good dancer. I just hope he can overcome his nerves. Joanne should now get the chance to show us what she can do. I was impressed with her on It Takes Two last year and she clearly knows what she is talking about. 

Ed and.........KATYA!

Officially the most random contestant of the year. Yet, his taking part, seems like a weird kind of inevitability. It was always going to happen at some point. Katya didn't seem all that impressed, but with a line up full of potential ringers, getting Mr Balls is quite surely a short straw. But see above re Kristina and John. Sometimes the one that seems like the dud is a blessing in disguise, especially if he can make fun of himself. I'm expecting dad dancing and high camp. 

Will and ......... KAREN!

Karen! Let Will go! No wonder he was wanting to initiate a #SaveWill hashtag. I adore the thought of him dancing a rumba in his kitchen. I totally do that. That kind of self-deprecating nugget of information gives him a wonderful air of inevitability. I think he'll be pretty good from the start. I hope not too good though, as that often can ruin the show for me...

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Line them up and watch them go!

So here we finally are, it's been a funny old lead-up to the start of the series - what with no-one knowing who the pros were going to be, was Aliona in or out, will the press ever give up on its hilarious delusion that Daniel Craig would ever do Strictly? This confusion has put a bit of a dampener on the rumour mill this year, but now we're finally off with a lovely batch of new pros to, welcome, that's the word.

Ed Balls
Seriously, UK Twitter legend Ed Balls guys. Oh yeah, and apparently he used to be a politician. Our track record on Strictly for politicians is not great - Vince Cable may have put in a steady waltz, but Edwina Currie just sat on a chair and pointed her toe. And we continue to pretend Widdy never happened because we can't pay for therapy out of the licence fee. As for Mr Ed, he seems to be having quite a calm mid-life crisis, going on Bake-off and generally appearing like a normal human being. The Vines of him doing serious dad dancing at least shows he has basic rhythm and enthusiasm, so he stands a chance of a good few weeks. I feel like he would have been a shoo-in for Kristina.

Will Young
Ah, the lovely Will Young. Everyone got all excited at the rumours, and then he was announced and I can't remember the last time someone got such a positive reception! He might have a touch of the ringers about him (ballet, musicals, not exactly Denise van Outen though), but I also think he could be rather nervous about the whole thing to begin with. And just like in 2002, I'd much rather have Will than Gareth Gates....

Laura Whitmore
Our first girl is very much in the Caroline Flack stable of contestants, not massively-well-known TV presenter who seems pretty plucky. I also stood next to her in a lift on holiday in Malta last year when she was presenting at an MTV summer festival, and if that's not a claim to fame I don't know what is. I see her with a new male pro, just...because.

Ore Obuda
I remember seeing Ore doing the sport on the BBC a few times and somehow just KNEW he'd end up on SCD someday. My next hot tip is the business presenter Victoria Fritz, you heard it here first. Ore is also a Newsround veteran, where I think it's contractually obliged to be an all-round good egg. Also, that video he made of himself dancing to Hot Stuff whilst checking his tweets showed more basic skill than some contestants who've had a week to train. Could be a dark horse, this one.

Melvin Odoom
Not going to lie, this was the first contestant that made me go "Who?". In case you're wondering, see the Xtra Factor and presenting the breakfast show on Kiss FM. Also, he did CBBC, which gives you the valuable SCD skill of 'mucking about on live TV' - if you're lucky Brucie will chase you with a broom. Wikipedia also tells me he's 5ft 4, so I'm expecting him to be with Janette, or maybe Natalie for a laugh, who knows?

She needs no surname, for she is The Right Louise! We were very confused when a YouTuber started the hashtag #GetLouiseOnStrictly, but she was The Wrong Louise. Hoping they go down the 90s route for Mrs Redknapp, we need more in our age group these days rather than trying to appeal to the young 'uns. Plus nostalgia also beats going on about her new cooking ventures. There is also the rather awkward fact that she was a judge on SYTYCD, although I suppose that might matter more if anyone had actually watched it. I am going to say she will dance with...Pasha?

Danny Mac
I always find it odd when Hollyoaks people pop up on SCD, since it's their fault I stopped watching Hollyoaks cos it clashed with ITT.  This guy came after my time, so I have no idea who his character was and I can't make any amusing observations, what is a girl to do? He also has a background in musical theatre, having been in Wicked, so he will probably be good and pretty and all that. Not very excited about this one...

Daisy Lowe
A model! A bit out of the box, but they've done quite well in the past, good posture and all that. Bit of a bright young thing, loves the sparkles and not taking things too seriously - these should always stand a SCD contestant and good stead. At 5ft 10 there aren't a huge number of male pros she can be partnered with....make of that what you will...

Naga Munchetty
A much welcome surprise, I don't think I heard any Naga rumours, but so glad she's come on board. We love a BBC newsreader, statistically it's the only day job you can still do and win SCD, not that we're setting the bar high here or anything...Also, she's a pretty good golfer and it would be good to salvage their reputation from the spectacular low that was Tony Jacklin. Bring it on Naga.

It's a bona fide worldwide popstar, hurrah for her not being a thankless tabloid rumour! I love how we all get in a tizz when an American appears on the show, we're like WW2 factory girls getting giddy when the GIs come over. She can't possibly be as bonkers as Michelle Williams. Probably. Everyone seems very excited about this signing, and I'm sure great care will go into her pro partner, here's hoping she's got some natural skill!

Claudia Fragapane
So this was one of those people where everyone knew who they were and got really excited, and I had no clue whatsoever. And I always watch Olympic gymnastics. So she is very young, and very very tiny, and Italian - where is Vincent when you need him?! Olympic gymnast is a bit of a niche category, but a category that has done very well previously.

'Judge' Robert Rinder
Sorry to be pedantic, but he isn't actually a judge, the inverted commas may stay all series depending on how much we like him. I've never watched a show (I don't think I've even seen an advert for it) but apparently it's massive with students - smooth move BBC. There's also already a conspiracy claiming the BBC is playing the long game for roping in his BFF Benedict Cumberbatch. Why do I get the feeling he's going to be paired with Joanne?

Greg Rutherford
The announcement that made Twitter lose its collective sh*t. We've always wanted Greg but I don't think we'd ever thought he'd actually do it - so we're totally over the moon. Also, there's total potential for a journey here, I can't imagine he's going to all out spangles and cha cha from the start - we do like it when they need a bit of warming up. He's ginger and will be wearing the Union Jack, I smell a Spice Girls number on the horizon...

Tameka Epsom
Hurrah, Tameka is finally here! She was asked previously but had to pull out due to being pregnant, so glad the BBC stayed interested in getting her on the show. Watch her marvellous Lady Gaga routine from Lets Dance for Comic Relief if you don't get why people are excited, anyone who can do those moves whilst simultaneously making sandwiches definitely deserves a place on SCD as the obligatory Eastenders contestant.

Lesley Joseph
Possibly the worst-kept secret in SCD line-ups ever, with celeb friends openly asking 'when are you being announced for SCD?' on Twitter, great work guys. But who cares, it's a fabulous signing, someone had better start creating those leopard-print outfits pretty sharpish or we will all be disappointed. I have never seen this woman having anything but a jolly good time, and her theatre experience makes me think what whilst her dances might not be the most technically achieved, her performances will be great.

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Impossible Journey

This has been the strangest series of Strictly Come Dancing yet. The whole thing has felt very odd and bad feeling has been at a high. Allegiations - from the public, pros and celebs - that it's fixed, have left an odd feeling hanging over the entire show. Of course there has been a sense building over the past few years of 'over-production' that there has been an attempt to control every last detail - whether that includes the scoring or not, I don't plan to comment, but Strictly's charm, being live TV, was often its spontaneity (something Brucie was a pro at, I must say). Viewers do get a sense when they are being manipulated. They may not know the details, but it has certainly felt that something is amiss. And this year it came to a head. 

However, this series' problems may also boil down to one over-riding and quite simple fact: there were too many previously trained dancers in the competition. Now, I don't have a problem with a 'ringer' or two. In fact, I think they bring a lot to the competition. Firstly, they provide viewers with some excellent dancing in the early weeks of the competition when everyone else is getting to grips with the basics. Secondly, they set the pace and give the rest of the contestants something to aspire to. 

Two examples of this are Denise Van Outen and Natalie Gumede - both brilliant from week one, and did we mind? No. Did we enjoy their dances? Absolutely. Both made the final but were beaten to the Glitterball by celebrities who did not have the same level of dance background but - and this is crux of the matter - progressed more. I doubt either Denise or Natalie would complain about this - they had a great run - the full experience - and both appeared to enjoy it immensely. 

So why was this year different? In short, there were too many Denises. Georgia, Kellie, Helen, Jay and -arguably - Peter, all started the competition, week one, at a relatively high level.
It normalised that level of dance to the point that other celebrities' progress was lost somewhere in the middle. Jamelia (regardless of her level of popularity with the public) improved beyond measure. Anita, with no previous dance experience, did that absolutely wonderful Paso Doble, one of the best dances of the series. Now, yes, you could argue that the 'middling' contestants are the ones who usually get lost - but the problem is that Anita particularly shouldn't have been 'middling' at all - another year, she would have been right up near the top. 

Let's put scoring scandals to one side for a minute and assume that all the marks given to each couple this year were fair and square. Even in this instance, having four or five consistently getting 8s, 9s and 10s from the start effectively locks many others out of the final stages. From the very beginning. Anyone not already at that level was never really given a chance. We could have held the final at week three.

This is not a dig at any particular contestant. We do all have our favourites but they have all worked hard and all in the final were wonderful dancers. However, I think a terrible miscalculation when casting this series - amongst quite a few other issues - has caused many fans to question their loyality to the show. We may all mock the J... word but that's what Strictly's always been about. Only this year, a journey has been all but impossible. 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A funny old final...

Here are at the final! The pros are dancing around the production studio like a super-spangly, super-camp version of Is This The Way to Amarillo - while the celebs cling on for dear life whilst suspended from the ceiling. Fun, but not a patch on the golden chariots of Blackpool.

As ever, we're not going to do the dances we've seen before, but will have a quick run-down. Jay's quickstep was a sensible choice to show improvement, and he sure did - he was even smiling! Georgia got the tricky choice of a rumba (I'd rather die than do a rumba in the final!), but certainly managed to pull it off, although again not perfect. Kellie got lumbered with a week one tango that I had completely forgotten was supposed to be a tango, and it was just as annoying as last time - despite the technique being great, it's just not a worthy routine. Cue national eye-rolling for the 40. Thank goodness Katie and Anton arrived to give us a bit of ballroom class with their lovely old-school quickstep, admittedly full of mistakes, but so likeable.

The first four dances were all a little meh, despite the judges' feelings about Kellie's. I think they possibly got carried away there because she displayed more oomph than the other three put together. Jay's quickstep, Georgia's rumba and Katie's quickstep were all good, but weirdly lacklustre. But I guess that's what happens when the judges make them do dances they'd struggled with initially. Problem is, it was the final and I wanted to be wowed. I wasn't. 

Jay and Aliona
He's upside down, oh the drama! Not sure about Aliona's yellow pants. And this song makes me feel old cos I have no idea what it is. I quite liked this as a whole, it was a tight routine rather than a frantic hyper-active showdance like so many of them are. But with that, you lost a bit of the razzmatazz. As a few people said on Twitter, they tried to be cool and it didn't really work, SCD is not a place to try and be cool.

The hipster of showdances, it was like the dance thought it was too cool to be there. Jay is an exquisite dancer, and turns like a professional. This was slightly odd and uncharacteristically clinical. A bold move by the couple that sort of backfired. Beautifully danced, though.

Georgia and Giovanni
It was Coldplay, it was contempo, there was a blindfold - and yet it worked! It was pretty and there was hefty amount of ballroom in there for a showdance, which is always brave. Also, Georgia's dress was gorgeous and not a showdance glitter-bucket. Again, not a knock-your-socks-off performance, but still very good and they tried to do something different without being overly gimmicky. They've worked hard, this pair, and deserve to get to the very end.

Twitter wasn't keen on this, but I thought the beginning at least was very powerful. Mostly though I was just snorting at Frankie's interpretation that Giovanni made a blind woman see by the power of dance alone. I was on the wine by this point. Georgia danced splendidly again and this showed she would have been a very worthy winner.

Kellie and Kevin
The training footage looked great, and like an actual dance, which is always a good start. And the porn train came back, the most infamous prop ever! I was still super-cross about the 'tango' but they totally won me over with the showdance, I loved it. It's what I want to see from a showdance; energy, technique, personality, joy. Yes it was jazz-handy, but not gurning, how they managed that I do not know.

I expected nothing less from these two. Gusto. Razzmatazz. With aplomb. Slightly annoying but my goodness, they were both fighting for it and I can't knock that. 

Katie and Anton
Oh my stars and garters, it's an Anton showdance! We'd waited for it for literally years, and he wasn't going to disappoint us, I do not see how he could possibly have given anything more. It was cram-packed full of content, brought the wow-factor and had some death-defying moves. And Katie got to be Roman and haughty, in a Game of Thrones on acid dress, some people have all the luck. Still wobbly, but I don't think Katie's ever going to overcome her natural wobbliness. If they do go, it was a pretty cool dance to go out on.

This was high camp and dramatic. Katie was just an accessory in this crazy, epic showdance that Anton's probably been planning in his head for years. 

So we're back after our trip to the loo, make a cup of tea, wrap some Christmas presents break. And the person to leave us is.......KATIE!

Sad to see you go Katie, you always had an amazing time and your pairing with Anton was very special. And you had some blummin' fabulous frocks.

Bye Katie. I kind of wanted you to win because it would have annoyed the judges so much. 

So we're back down to the final three dances. Jay oddly did his paso, which was a mistake since the first show did not go very well. Saying that, I loved this paso first time around and thought this was even better - his technique was so good, especially on the Spanish lines and jetes. However, Georgia just went and knocked it out of the park! This was the proper boom moment of the final, her Charleston had everything you would want to see, and you just felt for her when she was so excited and happy she couldn't actually speak. And then after that, Kellie and Kevin did they're Charleston - another bad choice, it couldn't help be underwhelming after Georgia blew the roof off.

The only one of these three I really loved was Georgia's charleston, and despite not being a particular fan throughout the competition, I sent my three web votes her way after that. Jay's paso was good, of course, but we all just wanted to see that jive. Kellie and Kevin's charleston just looked like kid mucking about after the clean performance from Georgia.

And as for the group dance, I love the mess it always is - and this one was no disappointment Leaves me on a happy high for the end. Highlights included Jezza on his horse, Jamelia sassing it up with a backflip followed by Peter rolling is hands like a dad-dancer, Pasha on his cloud of ultimate randomness, Daniel reminding us he existed, and everyone looking gorgeous!

They don't even bother making them dance any more do they? Apart from Jamelia. Jamelia was fabulous.

After what seems like a million monologues, we finally hear our's JAY!

Was this expected since that jive? Quite possibly. But either way, he's been one of the most talented males we've ever had on the show and kept us on our toes the whole way. And his crispy perm hair was forever immortalised in the opening titles.

Extremely talented dancer. Probably the best male celeb who's ever been on. But yeah, his best dance was week three - so did the show peak then? We love to see a journey and I suppose his journey to confidence was a big one.

Thanks to everyone who's read the blog this year, it's been a bumpy ride, but great to have you along with us! See you on Twitter for Christmas!