Strictly Come Dancing – Saturday 20th November

Ok so it’s a little bit late, but we’ve been working out in St Lucia so I’m sure you’ll forgive us a small delay!

I have a confession though, I already know who went home on both of the two weeks that I missed (pretty difficult to avoid the whole internet and all our students in a 3 week period!), however I will endeavour to comment accurately and without prejudice.

First up on the show tonight is Patsy Kensit & Robin Windsor

Those in the know will realise that I link my images straight into the BBC mini-site so it’s lucky I know who went last week otherwise this would’ve been a massive clue (the greyed out image!)

Patsy has Samba tonight and I’ve always been concerned about her energy so not expecting much tonight.  It’s not a bad start though her legs are a little messy looking.  As Emma points out though, she does have good hand shaping.

The second half of the routine goes a little astray at times and her hips could feature more but overall not a bad start to the show.

One of her better dances but I’m only going to give it a 7.

Craig: 6 “Besides the obvious wrong footwork, did lack hip action…could be a little bit free-er”
Len: 7 “Lot of nice basic steps…got on the wrong foot somehow…trying to [forget it]”
Alisha: 8 “Stunning, like a real showgirl…captured the feel of the Samba”
Bruno: 7 “Glitzy and sexy…because of the impetus you missed some steps…willing to give it all”

Total Score: 28

Kara Tointon & Artem Chigvintsev

Kara & Artem have American Smooth this week, and a serious injury in training could have prevented them from performing tonight, however Artem performs anyway as that’s what us professionals have to do!

It seems they’re doing a Tango/Paso American Smooth…and the offending lift goes by without a hitch…and it’s actually a Foxtrot now it’s kicked in.

Not really seeing anything in hold though, I’m pretty sure 30%-40% is supposed to be in hold.  It’s an excellent routine but I only saw one section in hold.

Will they be penalised for that, who knows, for me it’s excellent but have to penalise for the rule breaking, but still a 9!

Craig: 9 “I can only agree…gorgeous lines…arm placement is absolutely beyond…Fab-u-lous darling”
Len: 6 “I don’t want to be the party pooper…confused as a baby in a topless bar…you didn’t take up hold once…I loved the routine, fabulous routine…[but] it wasn’t a Foxtrot so how can I judge it as a Foxtrot”
Alisha: 10 “Seductive, smooth, intense…mystical feel…so brave to come out and do [the lift]”
Bruno: 10 “Truly inspired and inspiring American Smooth…fluid…dramatic…star turn”

Total Score: 35

I think 6 was harsh Len

Matt Baker & Aliona Vilani

They have Samba tonight and I’m not sure about the hips in the VT.

Great song, hips are quite good at the start, though hands are a little strange.  Some nice lines and there’s a nice amount of bounce, not too much.

Finishes with a few backflips, which Len is not going to like I imagine.

Really nothing for me to criticise on so I think we could be seeing their first 10!

Craig: 9 “Thought your hip action was very good, thought your bounce action was very good”
Len: 9 “I’m almost in agreement with Craig…wasn’t too keen on those flip-flops at the end…because you can do something doesn’t mean you can put it in the routine…I had a boy that could fart God Save The Queen!”
Alisha: 10
Bruno: 10 “I’ve never seen a competitor (who wasn’t a professional)…moving his bum in that way”

Total Score: 38

I wonder if he hadn’t done those backflips whether Len would’ve given a 10…?

Felicity Kendal & Vincent Simone

I think American Smooth could definitely be nearer Felicity’s abilities than Samba would have been.  They start with a very Hollywood scene and then their Foxtrot starts.

I’m afraid to say it’s a very pedestrian and boring start and doesn’t pick up until their first lift.

Except for the lifts the only time the routine picks up is when Felicity starts kicking her legs up in time to the music.  For me the rest of the routine was completely uninspired.

I really can’t give this a high mark and I think it’s a 6 from me.

Craig: 7 “I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit more rise and fall throughout the routine”
Len: 7 “Lifts were excellent…lacked movement”
Alisha: 8 “I like the lifts…I think that was your best dance”
Bruno: 8

Total Score: 30

Personally a little high if you ask me.

Gavin Henson & Katya Virshilas

Quite a scary lift they have planned for this American Smooth.  A bit of Tom Jones which doesn’t quite scream “Foxtrot” if you ask me.

The lift goes by almost without a hitch, Katya looks positively petrified and very obviously tries to steady herself.

Gavin looks uncomfortable out of hold at times, especially spinning from side-to-side, but actually it’s a commendable performance, and infinitely better than Felicity Kendal’s.

Improving all the time, and starting to show some personality, but just a 7 this time.

Craig: 4 “Lame and lacklustre”
Len: 7 “What Craig’s just said is totally incorrect…parts of that were excellent dancing…overall a very good performance”
Alisha: 8 “Don’t let this knock your confidence…brave to do those lifts…moving in the right direction”
Bruno: 8 “Why do you get nervous…some of the sequences…were very very good”

Total Score: 27

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe

Ok not a bad start, though far too bouncy for my liking and the hips look a little wooden at times and there’s a slight slip in the shadow voltas.

Not a bad Samba, though not as good as Matt’s. 

I’m going to give it an 8 I think.

Craig: 6 “You tried hard, without success”
Alisha: 9 “You really gave it a good go Scott…right up there with the rest of them.”
Bruno: 9 “You always perform, you always deliver”

Total Score: 32

Pamela Stephenson & James Jordan

Another scary looking lift in this one it seems.

Pamela’s facial expression is a bit disturbing at the start, but they look good once they start, though they’ve changed the lift for an easier (and less likely to hospitalise Pamela) one.  Shoulders look a little uncomfortable at times.

A nice fish lift too.  A slight stumble by James as he goes in for the final lift but they manage it without incident.

A good dance, not quite perfect but definitely worth a 9.

Craig: 8 “Very well structured routine…do need to keep the shoulders down”
Len: 9 “Best American Smooth of the night”
Alisha: 10 “Queen of Blackpool tonight.”
Bruno: 10 “Come up and see me some time…American Frisky…fantastically danced”

Total Score: 37

Finally we’ve got Ann Widdecombe & Anton Du Beke with their [attempt at] Samba…

Aside from Ann looking like a big yellow canary I actually think Anton’s outfit is worse.

There’s definitely an attempt at basic there but most of the routine (unsurprisingly) consists of Ann walking around.

Anton then chucks Ann, spins her around on the floor, spins her just off the ground, then drops her with Ann’s bum to camera which she hastily drops her dress back down to cover.

Not as entertaining as some of her previous dances for me, just a 5.

Craig: 1 “Overwhelmingly awful”
Len: 5 “It’s like hemorrhoids, keep coming back more painful than ever…did make me laugh”
Alisha: 4 “As bright as your outfits”
Bruno: 3 “Like a canary that was trying to take flight…never took off”

Total Score: 13

Leader Board

1. 38 points – Matt & Aliona
2. 37 points – Pamela & James
3. 35 points – Kara & Artem
4. 32 points – Scott & Natalie
5. 30 points – Felicity & Vincent
6. 28 points – Patsy & Robin
7. 27 points – Gavin & Katya
8. 13 points – Ann & Anton

Even though I know Felicity went home this week I would still have predicted her to go home, with Patsy joining her in the bottom two.


So the bottom two went as I predicted, and Felicity went home as I already knew…now to watch the following week’s before tonight’s show.

Strictly Come Dancing – Saturday 6th November Leader Board

Leader board this week:

1. 36 points – Kara & Artem
2. 35 points – Matt & Aliona
3. 33 points – Pamela & James
4. 32 points – Jimi & Flavia
5. 30 points – Michelle & Brendan
6. 29 points – Felicity & Vincent
6. 29 points – Patsy & Robin
6. 29 points – Gavin & Katya
9. 28 points – Scott & Natalie
10. 17 points – Ann & Anton

Ann with less than half of Kara’s points should really be the one going home, but she is definitely entertaining (and probably contributes immensely to the BBC’s 11m viewers).  I think Patsy could be in trouble tonight and Felicity may well join her in the bottom two…it is getting very tight to call now though, especially with no dance-off.

Who do you think will be going?

Felicity Kendal & Vincent Simone – Paso Doble

Felicity is a celeb who hasn’t lived up to my expectations, though is definitely a lot more flexible than I gave her credit for (and definitely than me!)

A nice Spanish start and I like how they’ve made her hair look a bit like a bull’s tail.  Felicity needs to be careful not to skip, but that was only very briefly.  The ending seems slightly out of time but then vincent strips off and drags Felicity across the floor to the judges.

For me it’s Felicity’s best dance, I can’t find anything to fault it on but just a few niggles means I’m going to give it a 9.

Craig: 6 “Storytelling absolutely wonderful…thought you could’ve used the floor a bit more…a bit rough”
Len: 8 “Very atmospheric…captured the mood…lacked in agression, made up in expression…best dance so far”
Alisha: 7 “Loved the drama…arm shaping great…still need to work on the attack and drive…one to many splits in your dancing”
Bruno:  8″That had more drama…tried to put a lot of flamenco into it…at times not as well-placed as it could have been.”

Total Score: 29

Now it seems I’ve gone the other way!  Much, much better than a 6 though Craig.  Whilst it lacked aggression I personally felt that was more to do with the story and expression and no less of a Paso because of it.

Strictly Come Dancing – Sunday 31st October Results

So I’m back from teaching, I’ve managed to avoid finding out who was in the bottom two tonight, now to watch and blog before I go to bed.

An interesting combination of Ghostbusters and what appears to be Thriller to start.  There’s actually quite the story to it and it’s worth a watch.

The first safe couples are: Michelle & Brendan; Scott & Natalie; Ann & Anton; Kara & Artem; Matt & Aliona.  In the bottom two are Tina & Jared.

Looks like my prediction that her ‘pleather’ might be an issue has actually come about, even if I did think she wouldn’t be there.

Also safe are: Patsy & Robin; Jimi & Flavia (there goes my other prediction); Gavin & Katya.

Joining Tina & Jared in the bottom two are Felicity & Vincent (I can understand why).

Out of the two of them I think Tina will be going home, though I must admit I don’t think any of the celebs are performing particularly well at the moment.

Down to the moment of truth, going home is…Tina & Jared.  For me I think Jared failed to impress as a new pro and Tina didn’t really come across with as much personality as she could have.

Do you think the right result came out?

Felicity Kendal & Vincent Simone – Viennese Waltz

Felicity and Vincent appear to have gone down a very traditional route, in terms of the history of the dance from the balls of Vienna.

It takes them quite a while to get down onto the floor though (from the bridge) which I know Len isn’t going to like.

There’s a little bit too much skipping from Felicity, though she can still do the splits better than I can.

Overall I thought the dance was ok, but nothing special.  I’ll give it a 7.

Craig: 6 “Beginning held great promise…unravelled when you got to the floor…bit lumpy on the travelling splits”
Len: 7 “Nice feeling of romance…posture much better…took a bit of time to get down on the floor…no heels”
Alisha: 6 “Wasting time down the stairs…tad jerky…loved the splits.”
Bruno: 7 “I think you were starting to laugh in the middle…feet mucking up”

Total Score: 26

It Takes Two – Thursday 28th October

On Wednesday’s show: Patsy & Robin; Jimi & Flavia; Lisa Snowdon on costumes.

Doing the Viennese Waltz this week will be Felicity Kendal and Scott Maslen.  Felicity will be doing the splits again and Scott has the [man]flu.

Michelle Williams took a tumble in her Jive training but will compete on Saturday, joining her will be Pamela & James (I hope she has her hair in ponytails for the show) and Patsy & Robin (Robin’s been working her hard to try and avoid the stamina loss we saw in the Charleston on Saturday).

Speaking of Patsy & Robin,

It was Robin’s idea for Patsy to wear the wig, though she took a bit of convincing.  Patsy definitely felt the burn of the Charleston by the end of their performance and Robin’s been working her so hard that she’s had to start taking pillows to training so that she can snooze in the corner.

Robin made Patsy do their Jive 12 times in a row during training to really build her stamina up, let’s hope it pays off.

Costume analysis from Lisa Snowdon and a designer called Jessica,

I was going to blog about their comments on the dresses, but aside from my witch halloween outfit (complete with tights!) I can’t say any of it interests me, I recommend iPlayer if you want to know more.

Though Tina’s outfit of pleather (a combination of plastic and synthetic leather) looks like it could be interesting.

Very Sandy & Danny!  Joining her with Argentine Tango this week is Matt & Aliona

Paso Doble will be performed by Gavin, Kara, Jimi & Ann.  Anton is flinging Ann…twice; Gavin looks like he’s stretching in the gym rather than taunting a bull; Kara and Artem are starting to fight in training as the pressure of the training starts to get to them; Jimi & Flavia have been concentrating on technique.

Jimi & Flavia,

Flavia felt they were undermarked, but doesn’t seem to want to talk about it.  She’s been punishing Jimi with a cane, I must admit I’ve used similar tactics with some of my students!

They’ve worked hard on the technique and are both excited and looking forward to Saturday.

Now to watch Fridays before getting myself ready to watch the Halloween special.

It Takes Two – Monday 25th October

On tonight’s episode: Peter & Erin; Alisha Dixon; Ann & Anton; Felicity & Vincent.

The show starts with Ola Jordan taking a video camera round behind the scenes and chatting the the dancers and celebs.  We see James jokingly telling Ola about what it’s like to still be in the competition. Len and James share a kiss (so that Len can see if it ‘prickles’ when you kiss a man with a beard).

Then we’re treated to another brief recap of some of the highlights from Saturday before it’s time to talk to Peter & Erin.

Peter feels like he let himself down, but also that Charleston wasn’t really his dance.  Erin points out that Charleston was around week 11 last year, not week 4, and considering there’s acting as well as dancing involved that does make it much more difficult.

Peter’s highlights do unfortunately include his Salsa, but there’s a nice outfit of Erin’s in the training vid 😉

Next up a VT showing all the animal references the judges made on Saturday, leading up to Alisha being on the show.

I understand that she can relate directly to the celebs, having been through it herself, but she’s still just not a viable judge for me.  However Emma and I both agree that she is improving…though I do wonder how much of her comments are scripted???

It is revealed that Patsy will be doing the Jive next week, given how soon she ran out of puff with the Charleston she does need to work on her stamina.

Our next couple are Ann & Anton,

Ann reveals she is afraid of heights but actually enjoyed the wire work by the time she was landing.  Anton reveals that he originally suggested the idea as a joke!  Their next dance will be the Paso Doble, I’m seeing shades of John Sargeant already…

Now onto Felicity & Vincent,

Apparently the kiss was Vincent’s idea (surprise, surprise) and they weren’t sure if it was going to be allowed.

A VT on Vincent’s Magic Eyebrow (lots of twitching at camera).

Felicity & Vincent will have Viennese Waltz at the weekend, choreography-wise it will be a lot simpler but the constant rotation at speed makes it such a hard dance.

That’s our lot for today.

Felicity Kendal & Vincent Simone – Tango

So Tango is Vincent’s forte, but it appears Felicity can’t tell her left from her right, always a problem in dancing!

Not liking Vincent’s hat, so I’m glad they put it down.  Some great intensity at teh start, though they are doing Argentine rather than normal Tango.  Needs to keep her chin up when she’s looking down the floor and I think there was a slight mistake just before the pivots, which themselves looked uncomfortable.  A finish with quite a passionate kiss to!!!

I’m going to give it an 8.

Craig: 7 “I did like the story very much…too much up on your toes…bit of a stumble”
Len: 7 “I like the story…Italian oils his way across…opening section beautifully choreographed…lacked a bit of fire”
Alisha: 7 “You were like a seductive temptress throughout”
Bruno: 8 “That’s the way I like it”

Total Score: 29

Felicity Kendal & Vincent Simone – Cha Cha Cha

Felicity was struggling in training with wearing high heels, and they did appear to be particularly high in the vids, but I’m hoping she’s got past that.

Felicity is definitely more flexible than I was first expecting, but there’s an awful lot of time wasting at the start and she does look a little uncomfortable.  I would prefer to see a bit more hip action and some thought to what she is going to do with her hands when not in hold, as they tend to just be held not really doing much.

I’ve seen worse first dances but I do feel there could have been a bit more there.  Would have to give it a 6 I think. 

As I mentioned in the training video I do think Vincent had his hand too high on Felicity’s back during the Natural Top (probably to have greater control over her) and Craig picks up on the raised shoulder in his comments.

Judges scores are:

Craig: 4
Len: 5
Alisha: 7
Bruno: 7

Giving a first dance score of 23 (just shy of an average 6 – I’m off to a good start this year it seems!)

Strictly Come Dancing – Friday 1st October

So it’s week one of Strictly Come Dancing 2010, I know I’m starting this a bit late but lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a few years (and the subsequent beers) ran over a little and by the time I’d got back, cooked and, the wife and I had finished dinner the show had already started.

As usual though I’m watching the show and blogging ‘live’ i.e. I’m going to update the posts hopefully before the judges announce their opinions, but I’ll probably still post this first entry as one whole article.

There is one benefit to watching the recorded show, I can fast forward through Alisha’s comments if they prove to be as inane as they were last year!

The BBC tell me that tonight’s show will feature Felicity Kendal, Goldie, Matt Baker, Pamela Stephenson, Patsy Kensit, Paul Daniels, Scott Maslen so not a bad starting line-up.

According to Pamela Stephenson the glitterball is actually made of polystyrene so crystal might be over-exagerating I’m thinking Brucie!
The first couple to perform in 2010 is going to be Felicity Kendal & Vincent Simone and I’ll upload them in a new post.