By Laura Edwards
With teeth and glitter more dazzling than any illumination, Strictly Come Dancing hits the Blackpool Tower Ballroom!
Just a few comments about the opening number; firstly, why is Ola dancing with Aljaz? Where’s James? Is he now available for applications for a new partner? Secondly, what the beejeezus are those horrible flower numbers the celeb girls are wearing? Poor things! I don’t know about “Something for everybody”, but those are certainly ‘Outfits that flatter nobody’!
So, who’s first to hit the most famous floor in ballroom?
Sophie & Brendan
Hang on, Sophie used to watch Come Dancing with her mum? She looks about 25! Mind you, her mum only looks about 35, so they’ve either got excellent genes or a pair of really hagged portraits hanging in the attic. A precise, well choreographed quickstep for Brendan & Sophie, and she’s got a massive grin strapped on throughout. It must be difficult to have your cool nervousness interpreted as can’t-be botheredness by the judges each week, so I’m delighted she’s managed to show her pleasure in the dance so naturally this week.
Generally good scores and comments from the judges, but a 7 from Craig? Far too harsh, in my opinion.
7, 9, 9, 9 = 34
Patrick & Anya
Lucky Patrick and Anya – nothing gets the crowd in a party mood like Bruce giving a comprehensive synopsis of Shakespeare’s darkest play. Although they are samba-ing to Copacabana, surely one of the greatest party songs ever! The bits where they dance individually look great, but it seems to me that there’s a lot of Patrick standing still whilst Anya flutters around him for most of it. A slight wardrobe malfunction early on, but that must be a fairly common health and safety hazard when spiky heels and spangly ruffles are the tools of your trade. Another spiky hazard this week is Craig’s tongue – it was hardly a ‘total mess’! Poor Anya looks gutted – it’s easy to forget how much pressure is also on the professionals in this competition.
8, 9, 9, 9 = 35
Ben & Kristina
Ah, lovely, lovely Ben with his twinkly eyes and big old arms! I bet this American Smooth is going to have some awesome lifts…or it might do when Kristina stops mincing about with those random dudes in black polo necks and actually starts dancing with Ben…Hmm. I love Ben, but I feel like this was a real wasted opportunity. I want my American Smooths to be all razzle dazzle and silver screen glamour but this just doesn’t do it for me. The song choice is yawn-some, Ben is under-utilised and the whole thing’s a little bit dreary. Also, is it just me, or does the first lift go a little awry? Kristina seemed to do an uh-oh expression and claw at the air a little. It’s probably a highly skillful technical move; Le face de panique! The judges seem happy enough, but I feel a tad disappointed with this one.
8, 8, 8, 8 = 32
Ashley & Ola
I’m enjoying Ben and Ashley’s attempts to do the Village People one by one each week (so to speak) and an looking forward to Ben’s construction worker look next time! I also enjoyed Ashley’s brief American accent, demonstrating why he hasn’t joined the throngs of English soap stars heading off to ‘break America’ (ie get a non-speaking part as Patient #4 in Gray’s Anatomy after six months and head home with your tail between your legs, talking about how much you hated the ‘LA scene’)! A Wild West paso – interesting! And it works nicely, Ashley seems to have pulled off the difficult cape and arm work and is also styling a non-ridiculous paso face. It’s an interesting twist, and the judges seem to appreciate it.
But why is nobody asking where James is? WHERE IS HE OLA??
8, 9, 9, 9 = 35
Fiona & Anton
Anton’s trying to join in the hot dressing-up fun, but unfortunately looks more like that fellow in Corrie who went out with Deirdre and pretended to be a pilot but actually worked in Tie Rack at Manchester Airport than Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman (obviously I’m not old enough to remember that storyline – Sophie told me!). I like the choreography of this American Smooth better than Kristina’s, but, sadly, Fiona seems to be struggling to remember a lot of it. She’s doing a fair bit of the old face de panique as well, and, if her eyes could speak when they’re looking at Anton, I think they’d be screaming “HELP!”. I hope they steer clear of the dance off this week, but it’ll be a challenge.
6, 7, 8, 8 = 29
Abbey & Aljaz
A and A are the favourites of my youngest reader William (even if he does occasionally get mixed up with which one is which) and also now the favourites of the OAP Blackpool tea room crowd – notoriously difficult to win over! This is an excellent quickstep – fast-paced, precise, fun and elegant. I wonder who’s happier; Aljaz with his long-limbed beauty of a partner or Abbey with her husband’s Mo-vember efforts!
My favourite dance of the night do far, but what’s going on with the scores? When you’re getting a 7 and a 10 for the same dance, something’s amiss.
7, 10, 10, 10 = 37
Mark & Iveta
More character and less comedy for Mark this week, please Iveta. He deserved better choreography than he was given for the rumba. A jive’s a tricky one to come back from the dance off with though – especially when it’s more suited to very young and very fit dancers. Some might argue it’s a bit of an unsaid advantage for Mark to dance to a number from the show he’s currently appearing in, but he’s so lovely, I doubt anyone begrudges him. I think he actually pulls off the jive really well – the technicalities if the kicks and flicks aren’t great, but overall a really strong performance. As a side note, I love, love, love Iveta’s dress. Now I’m torn between that outfit and the gold catsuit from last week for my Christmas party outfit – maybe I’ll change before the karaoke section of the night?
OH BRUCE! “A guy of this size?”. Nice. He’s not being airlifted out of his house to the studio every week for goodness sake, he’s just a bit cuddly.
Again, massively differing scores. What’s the haps, judges?!
5, 8, 8, 8 = 29
Susanna & Kevin
Wowzers – Susanna is working the sizzling señorita look tonight! I preferred Kevin’s wolf man look to this week’s guy-liner, but they’re both looking very hot for a traditional paso. And again, wow. Sorry A&A, you were only my faves for one dance as this is absolutely, unbelievably excellent. The fire! The drama! The technique! The pouting! The best dance of the night, if not the series. Just fabulous, it got a spontaneous standing ovation from me in my living room too.
9, 10, 10, 10 = 39
Highest marks of the series, totally deserved. I love that both Susanna and Kevin are so unassuming and good natured when it would be easy to slip into smugness. Speaking of which…
Natalie & Artem
Good to see Natalie back from injury and well enough to perform tonight. No surprise to see a technically perfect Charleston from Nartem, but unfortunately for robo-couple, a Charlestown depends a lot on personality too. The judges love it and it’s hard not to be impressed by the unarguable talent Natalie has, but they’re just not appealing – to me, anyway. Meh.
9, 10, 10, 10 = 39
So, the same score as Susanna, but I know who my champions of the evening were. They were Susanna and Kevin, just for clarity.
So, who needs to be worried about the dance off? Fiona? Mark? Patrick? I think there may be another ‘shock’ this week, but we’ll see!