Sunday, 26 October 2008
The title of this week’s blog comes from Strictly Ballroom, which you must see if you have not yet done so. It is an immensely quotable film for dancing fans, sometimes I can just hear Len Goodman shouting “New steps? There are no new steps!’ in an Aussie accent.
Anyway, a twirling and a bull-fighting we go…
Note - I am AWFUL. Frankie had these little snippets ready to put up on Sunday. I am lazy. Or busy. Or both. However, because of various things such as work, ballroom classes, the theatre (daaahling) and generally having a jolly good time, I've only just got round to posting my opinions. Feel free to hate me. If you dare.
Lisa and Brendan
What a dress! It was a frock of Ola Jordan proportions and the skirt certainly made up for the lack of cape. But it was a shame to not see Brendan all swishy again! Overall a good effort but it didn’t have the *grr!* factor.
I liked this. I think it was my favourite of their dances so far. And hurrah! It was fairly marked. No ridiculous 9s or anything to spoil my enjoyment of what was a competent performance.
Andrew and Ola
It was certainly better than last week, but I saw that stumble! Hurrah for the end of ‘Bum-Gate’ too. But I’ve just noticed, why has Andrew done ballroom 3 weeks in a row?
Prizes for improvement! Can't really stand the chappie but kudos for this one. Can't really give credit to Ola for choreography here as there's only about three steps in this dance - but they were well executed by the looks of things. And yes, the judges made the right decision this week (How am I coping? I have nothing to moan about!) And yes again, he has done ballroom three weeks running. What's going on?
Christine and Matthew
Wow, where did the sultry Christine come from?! Arlene’s comments were rubbish, I don’t really care if a paso is Spanish, it doesn’t always have to be! I thought the choices of music and choreography by Matthew were really good. I cannot believe Craig’s 3- will there be a 3-gate?
Bless. This was a gentle Paso Doble. This dance was never going to suit Christine as she's just too delightfully smiley. Matthew did about as good a job as he could with this one and Craig was just being a prune. 3? It was definitely in the 5/6 zone.
Austin and Erin
Sometimes I think Erin is a tad bonkers, Send In The Clowns is such a depressing song! Unfortunately I couldn’t seem to get past that, but I’m sure it was lovely as the judges said.
I liked the song! Does that make me bonkers?! It's so difficult for them to find new songs in 3/4 time...I was surprised there weren't any repeats like there was in week one actually. I wouldn't blame them for it if there were...and it WAS lovely. I love Austin. I'm even warming to Erin (well, maybe...?) It didn't WOW though - hopefully the quickstep will this week!
Cheri and James
Quick, it’s an older woman- she must wear sleeves! Cover her up! Also not sure about James’ choice of circus music or dodgy facial hair. As the judges said she still has fabulous posture and natural grace but that can’t get you through every dance, I personally don’t think it deserved 31 points.
Hmmm, poor Cherie. I felt for her with that stumble and it probably did put her off for the rest of the dance. Again, it was nice but it didn't wow. I want some wow. Where are the wow dances this year?
Heather and Brian
I don’t know if its something to do with Brian, but Heather always looks a bit awkward in hold to me. The shoulder shimmy/funky bit/sass was not good, you don’t do a fleckel in the middle of a samba! I also didn’t think it deserved an 8 from Bruno, am I getting mean in my old age?
That was one heck of a big dress.
Mark and Hayley
I wouldn’t have called it a shambles, but Mark is getting more and more wooden and sometimes looks like he’s just walking.
I would call it a shambles. He's just not a dancer and there's no point trying to prove otherwise. If they had been saved another week then I would have contacted Hayley Holt - I don't know, through a FORUM or something, and suggested she not bother to choreograph a thing. Just plonk him in the middle of the floor, topless and alone.
Tom and Camilla
I was carried away on a cloud of pink fluffy loveliness and that wasn’t just Camilla’s dress. Fabulous choreography and song choice, as romantic as a Viennese Waltz could be. Len suddenly came across as rather grumpy, I am sure there will be words from Claudia on ITT this week!
Now this is where the divide comes between mere mortals like you and I (I assume, I don't know...) who know very little about dance and those who, um, do. Because I LOVED this. I thought it was looovely. I was half expecting exclamations and nines! And then, no, my little bubble of wow burst and they were all pretty mean. Especially Len. I bite my thumb at you, sir.
John and Kristina
Illegal lift alert! I know it was obviously an accident, but the judges have called people up on it in the past. Former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the audience alert too! It all got a bit much for me, but I have definitely seen worse pasos in my time. Please let it be ballroom next week!
I don't care. John is about the only thing that's holding the show together for me at the moment. There's too many contestants and sometimes he's about the only one I can remember. Therefore, he should stay. Plus, he's foxtrotting this week which is bonus for him.
Rachel and Vincent
The cuteness level is cranked up another notch with Rachel in the most darling fairy-princess dress. I knew Len wouldn’t like it though, especially as it took them forever to get into hold at the beginning- but we want to see more interpretations of the Viennese Waltz sometimes.
Darling dress indeed! She looked like a little sugarplum fairy! What is it with Vincent and his long Viennese intros? I remember Len getting grumpy about Louisa's VW for the very same reason. It was nice but come on Rachel, we need wow or I am going to get bored.
Jodie and Ian
Hilarious song choice that somehow worked, Jodie looked great whilst Ian looked like he was off to cycle the Tour de France. However, I agreed with Bruno that she got a bit too aggressive in places and it looked like she was throwing herself about- but then again it’s such fun to see Jodie going at it with gusto!
I was like, BLUR?! What the cucaracha is going on here?! Rather enjoyed the dance on the whole but, like all the pasos, it did kind of fall a little flat. Good use of word GUSTO, Frankie...one of my faves.
In some random news, I saved the staff crossword at work this week by knowing the Rumba is from Cuba. My silly workmates thought it was a Samba- I thought EVERYONE knew that was from Brazil!
I swear I just saw Mrs Antcliffe (former English teacher) on It Takes Two. I swear. I swear.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
1) She is mad. Only slightly and in the very best possible way, of course. Now why, you may ask, is this bonus? Strictly this year is taking itself too seriously – only John Sergeant brings the delightful British self-deprecation it oh so needs. Marian Keyes, although not British (she’s one better – she’s Irish – it’s like British but with a better accent), would bring this to the show in oodles.
2) She is a superfan. Question: what, my dears, was the most endearing thing about Alesha last year? Answer: she loved the show. She couldn’t believe she was there and she enjoyed every second. This made all us normal superfans (those not celeb-shaped) warm to her because we could identify with her excitement. Marian, I guarantee, would be cooing and oohing over the whole experience – and we would love her for it.
3) She’d think she’d be rubbish – a whole pie full of humble. And we’d adore her for this very reason – even if she did turn out to be rubbish (I’m not saying she would be...I’m just musing over the possibility) – because we love the self-effacing, and we love underdogs, and we love Irish accents.
4) She could get to be Lilia. Marian loves Lilia; Lilia loves Marian. Marian could dance with Darren and get to live her dream of being tiny (though MK is not in the least bit large, from what I can tell from the telly) and Russian. Maybe Darren and Marian could strike up a professional partnership leaving Lilia time to write a best-selling novel. Who knows?
5) We’d get to see more of her on It Takes Two. Once or twice a year is not enough. Marian and Claudia (note: also mad; also in a good way) are the perfect comic duo. And both have fantastic taste in shoes.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
In a night of hideous, yes hideous, costumes, this one stood out as being one of the most flattering - but so conservative. Rachel probably is holding back - she's not the confident little minx we thought she'd be and this performance and routine was just meh. So what? But this does make me like her more and I'd love to see her have a crack at the Paso next week.
I'm warming to Lisa a lot. She genuinely does lack confidence and she's genuinely concerned about the public's perception of her. Ok, Ok, she's genuine (note, she's not Kelly Schmuck...oops, I mean Brook). Lovely performance too. But 35 points? Ludicrous scoring AGAIN. Did they not see her posture and hold? At times she had her chesticles glued to Brendan as though he were covered in Uhu. If this happens again next week I'll start crying conspiracy.
Not good. And what was with the hair? Overall, much like The Three Degrees: barely lukewarm.
Craig, quit it with the niggles. This was better than Lisa and Brendan's - well it should have been and if it wasn't I blame the music. American Smooth isn't so much a dance as it is a STYLE of dance and with a style of dance there is a style of music. Stick to it and regardless of how bad you are, the audience will get caught up in the performance. Unless you're called Kate Garraway, I guess.
Blah. What a shame. He looked like he was concentrating too much, that's all. Samba is tricky and it looked like a rotten routine to accomplish. I don't blame Erin for that (seriously, I don't...I'm coming over all soft...) because if I were her I'd have pushed him too. He'll be back to Viennese Waltz with a vengeance next week. Hopefully not too much though...it is a waltz after all.
Don is the very definition of introvert and, like Arlene, I saw him smile at the beginning at the routine and it made me smile and I thought 'hurrah!' and then he started thinking again - why do we have contestants with brains? - and it all became a little washed out. A possibility for the dance off but I truly hope he doesn't leave.
Hayley's dress was the most hideous thing I've ever seen in my whole life. I've watched horror movies and been less repulsed. And poor Mark...it was like watching Herman Munster trying to bat a fly from upon his nose. Kudos for spirit, however.
Are the Jordans having a competition this year to see who can use the most inappropriate song? I admit, sometimes a risk really, really works...but most of the time, no, and especially with a dance like the American Smooth. Part of its appeal is in the glamour and part of the glamour is in the music. Unlike Cherie's, Andrew's dancing couldn't save the routine.
I think this one might have been my favourite - just because it was so unexpected. Jodie is extremely cool and this dance was lovely. GREAT song and very classy routine.
Did you know Tom is getting married on Sunday? Really? Had you not heard? Ha ha. Oh I joke because I don't care. This was great (BETTER than Lisa and Brendan's so what was the scoring about, eh?) The only thing that disappointed me was that this was the prime (yet kitsch) opportunity to use the track 'Get Me to the Church on Time' from My Fair Lady. What a waste!
One last thing: was Arlene drunk?
Yes, as we have commented before she is slowly turning into Karen from Will and Grace.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Anyway, two very hard and very different dances tonight; the physically-impossible-for-clumsy-people-like-me quickstep and the often cringe-worthy rumba. The stakes have been raised once more and expectations are very high…
Clover is in purple. Yet again. She keeps beating me. Not with sticks.
Christine and Matt
Lovely song choice, which I expected would make it in somewhere this series, but unfortunately mauled by the singers. However, even with that as a distraction I thought Christine skipped rather merrily in the manner a quickstep should be done. And top marks to Arlene for using ‘beige’ as a synonym for boring- she’s obviously been reading this blog!
I'm getting slightly annoyed by her coquettish batting-of- eye-lashes, but not too annoyed and think she's still quite a sweetie on the whole. I have the problem with quicksteps in that in my unprofessional opinion, blinded by the tricksy moves, I think they always look fairly good (we'll not talk about Kate) But, alas, the judges see what I do not see and I suppose, yes, on a brief second viewing it was a bit heavy. Dress average.
Jodie and Ian
Well after Ian’s slip on Wednesday's ITT about Jodie producing her breast rather than best, I thought we were going to get an eyeful when I saw her in that frock. Saying that, she looked stunning and I thought her emoting was really improved from last week. I think there could be a Gethin Jones-style breakthrough moment if she gets the chance.
Jodie is tall. Can tall people dance? But you know, she is tall. Thought she would be in the dance-off for sure - shows how much I know.
Heather and Brian
That is possibly the most delightfully camp dress I have ever seen in six series of the show! However, it didn’t really float my boat; to me it seemed like she was dramatically better at the beginning and the end when she was out of hold. And we go back to the chests with Len’s reference to her ‘upper portions’, wink wink nudge nudge…
Well, for starters she looked like a packet of synthetic strawberries packaged to be taken on a space-mission. But again, I didn't think the dance looked that bad at all. With all the swooping camera shots I don't suppose it's possible for the viewing public to know that she's not heel-leading. OK, the frame didn't look very elegant but I do feel for them in the quickstep because, to be honest, if I were skipping about at that pace, I'd be clinging on for dear life too.
Cheri and James
Ok, as much as I don’t like James I do have to say that was rather good! Simple and elegant and very lost-in-the-moment-esque. Who else thinks Cheri must have sort of ballet experience?
Oooh what a delight. And right now I'm just talking about the deliciously refreshing monochrome costume. She just looked so damned classy. What I liked most about this dance was its simplicity - I actually recognised some steps and that's so rare with the rumba. I am beginning to wonder if James and Ola are big Eva Cassidy fans.
Jessie and Darren
Darren once again picks a song that has the right tempo but has absolutely nothing else to do with the dance (remember last year’s Material Girl tango debacle?). And oh my word another reference to boobs! I agree with what the judges said; as much as I want to like Jessie, she’s not doing very well…
Poor dress - I don't know what all that was about. Poor dance. Poor Jessie. Though I think those tears were a bit fishy (in the sense of said fish being caught in a crocodile's jaws), I did feel for her a little (and I'm a cold-hearted biatch) because the judges were harsh. She was not half as bad as Kate or Gary or Fiona or squazillions of other contestants but they really laid into her. She went fair and square but I think the fearsome threesome (and Len) were meanies nonetheless.
Lisa and Brendan
The training footage looked very good on ITT and the performance certainly lived up to that. I thought it smouldered a bit more than Cheri and James’, but maybe it wasn’t as technically as good. Plus it’s always fabulous watching Brendan doing the rumba.
What the heck was this about? It was OK. No, OK, it was good. But they were waxing lyrical about her technique when I'm pretty sure her knees were bent most of the way through. This is not the way to rumba. Over-marked. (Note - I didn't pick the picture for this blog entry.)
Rachel and Vincent
Great dress, great song, great dance. I’m always waiting for these two to come on and Vincent just has a fabulous knack for fancy choreography- I don't care what Len says, I like extended openings! Can’t wait to see her take on the boys!
Oh they are so wee. And they are so cute. I haven't much else to say. I wasn't blown away but oh! they are so wee.
Group dance (don’t ask me to spell it!) R-U-E-D-A (I'm testing you next week.)
Wow, that was a number and a half! Loved the en masse lift at the end and also the costumes- Lilia once again gets the best, but Ola scored high too. I thought Mark was a bit behind everyone else despite the spectacular shimmy, but Tom was very good. Kristina seems to be turning a deeper shade of orange every week though!
Holy guapea! What was this? It looked like a total shambles. There hasn't been a Cuban-related crisis quite as bad as this since 1962. However, I think that was partly due to the fact that a rueda is never going to lend itself well to being filmed. I think they should have considered a fixed camera for this dance so we would at least have been able to admire the pretty patterns a cuban wheel creates - or should do, at least. Maybe even an aerial view would have worked! It looked like they had a mighty fine fun time though regardless of what it actually looked like.
Bryan and Carmen - what a treat! Received at angry text message from Frankie about him being evil for ditching Karen for the German chick (is she German?) but even so, that was a cracking samba...could it be anything else? Loved the candy-coloured dresses in the pro-American Smooth...and the song, aces! 'Hello Dolly' - that really speaks to my inner showtune maniac (I call her Liza). Glad we didn't have to suffer the rueda again and it was lovely to see Ian and Camilla perform to Simply Red - sometimes I forget it's not the James and Ola and Vincent and Flavia Show.
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Frankie is main text and Clover is in PURPLE again.
Austin and Erin
Now they bigged this up so much on ITT that I think I was just set up for a disappointment, especially with them dancing to a song from Hairspray. To me it was technically good but it didn’t have enough zing for me, it just looked like repeated hopping. Nice frock for Erin though and she’s stopped looking like she’s doing Riverdance when she jives.
Austin has a bad back. Really? Does he? I hadn't heard. Did love the dance however; it was far too good for a second-week attempt. Could Austin be this year's Bunton? By week four nobody really cared about her...Mais non, I think, like Alesha, Austin has personality and charm to carry him through too. I'm not an Erin fan (as you know - and I know I said I would cut her some slack so here we are...) but that was a super song choice and a nice zippy routine. I thought it had zing. Frankie's being a doughnut.
Mark and Hayley
Beautiful dress for Hayley, we love a bit of flamenco! And what a song choice too, it went with Mark’s serial-killer face rather well. Ok it wasn’t the best tango ever, but I think 5s were a bit harsh.
Gary and Karen
Deary me, Gary Rhodes might be a bad dancer but there was no need to put Karen in such a horrible dress! I hope he stays this week though so they can finally let him do some ballroom, it only seems fair.
Karen, Karen, Karen, now you know we love you, right? Look! You're top in our poll...just over there to the right. But, please, I beg you, please stop POINTING. I didn't notice this until my wonderfully Strictly-obsessed colleague Clare, um, pointed it out to me. She points at her partners, she points at the judges...in the merengue last week, she even pointed at her shoes...as though to make sure that, we, the audience at home know what shoes actually are. Note, Karen, we do and we love. Not sure what the Quality Street wrapper dress was about either.
John and Kristina
Dress of the night, oh my word it was lovely! John’s great big grin for most of the dance spoilt the drama, but since the cuddly old man thing has become his USP it wasn’t the end of the world. Surely its time for some Latin next?
Looooooved the dress. John is such a sweetheart I don't think I can imagine him ever being able to pull off an authentic tango. But yeah, Frankie's right, if all goes well (and he definitely shouldn't be out this week although I do think he was over-marked) he will be dancing latin next - probably a paso doble or a samba. Now paso would be a problem but I can actually imagine him with a pair of maracas (he's old, we can forgive props) shakin' his thang to Ricky Martin or similar.
Andrew and Ola
I find Andrew quite endearing, which is rather odd for a GMTV presenter, but I don’t think I can excuse that utterly random headbanging! Poor thing, he swerved from looking like a vampire to being totally scared throughout. The song choice was a bit strange too; it could have worked as an instrumental but it was rather distracting with the singers going on about moving like cats and talking like rats…
Song didn't work. Don't remember much else about it.
Tom and Camilla
My favourite dance of the night! I loved how they looked like a team doing an actual routine, with a great song and outfits to match. Gotta love Camilla and her inventive moments with choreography and musicality. And she loves making her men slide around the floor doesn’t she?! Alas, not a Gethin Jones melting-trousers moment, but still rather good fun.
Now Camilla's another pointer, though not as much as Karen so we'll forgive her. I think Camilla was trying to recreate the magic of Gethin's jive last year but the magic of that was that it was unGethinlike. But definitely matched Austin - it's a two horse race at the moment the girls are going to struggle to catch these two fiercly competitive guys. Camilla likes fringy dresses, doesn't she? This one may be the fringiest yet.
Dom and Lilia
Dom’s pout! I don’t care what the judges said about atmosphere, his trout-pout ruined it for me. Saying that, another cracking routine from Lilia, who had a rather fabulous pair of shoes on too! Very nice way to throw the results show wide open…
Yes, he did look a little bit like a fish but I LOVED this. For starters, the Gotan Project's remix of 'Whatever Lola Wants' is one of my favourite EVER tracks so that made me sit there and go 'ooooooh' before a step had even been taken. I thought this was wonderfully choreographed and I'm glad CRH gave Lilia some praise for that (the girl is good - she made Dom Littlewood look OK for three weeks running - that kind of genius deserves New Year Honours) I wouldn't go crazy, Lilia fans, thinking that this couple could win however; of all the dances, I think this is the one that he was always going to do well. I can't see any others making the same impact - but on the strength of this they may stay in longer than we thought.
Oh what a clumsy thing poor Jodie Kidd is turning out to be, I dread the poor girl doing Latin. I genuinely don’t think it’s because she’s tall but rather that she’s really heavy footed or something. Other than that I can’t really muster much enthusiasm for the group numbers anymore, I want more proper dancing!
What's wrong with group dances? I loved this and I agreed with Len - it was fantastic! Cherie seems to have taken to swing well - if she can manage the latin dances as well then she will go far. Jodie hmm, she's the only one who stood out for me - for bad reasons anyway - maybe because of her height, I don't know. It's a shame because I do still think she is seriously cool. No one really stood out apart from that and I see that as a good thing - that's what made the dance so great - it was a real formation team effort.
If I had my way I'd have two of Mark, Gary and Andrew in the dance-off - and Gary to go, I'm afraid. Shame for Karen - hope she wouldn't be too disa-point-ed ( ha ha).