Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe – Argentine Tango

Can they come back from their bottom two position last week?

Scott definitely has the right look for Argentine Tango, I still wish he’d keep his shoulders down.  Started with promise but seemed to lose a little momentum by the end.  Scott isn’t always looking at Natalie, and that loses a bit of the intensity for me.

Just an 8 from me.

Craig: 8 “Loved it…there needs to be more swivel…man really should lead…didn’t really get a hint of that”
Len: 8 “Clean, precise…lifts were good…not enough connection between the two of you”
Alisha: 8 “Slick opening section on your own…nice transitions…just something lacking”
Bruno: 9 “That was played like a film noire”

Total Score: 33

Strictly Come Dancing – Sunday 5th December Results

Yesterday I predicted Gavin Henson and Ann Widdecombe to be in the bottom two, with Gavin just losing out in the audience vote.  Though I have the feeling we might see a shock in the bottom two tonight (I’m worried Matt might be in trouble).

So first through this week: Gavin & Katya & Kata & Artem; In the bottom two is SCOTT MASLEN!!!  To be honest I think Scott has been over marked recently and maybe this is a bit of audience backlash?

A beautiful Waltz from Anton & Erin, though I can’t quite tell if there’s a few slips in there, maybe Anton is feeling the strain after American Smoothing with Ann?

So also safe is Pamela & James, and joining Scott in the bottom two is Ann & Anton (finally).  Let’s hope this is the end of the road for Ann, whilst she has been entertaining at times it really wouldn’t be fair for her to be put through in place of Scott.

The moment of truth then, Ann finally sailing home or Sccccooooottt Shhhhockingly sent back to base.

So Ann’s run to the final has ended.  They’ve have been great entertainment at times but it would have been a travesty if she had got through to the semi’s.

The right result all round.  Next week not only will two couples be eliminated next week, but we’ll also be there watching it live (so don’t expect any live blogging next week unless the BBC are feeling generous!).

So does this mean that Scott could be going out next week, and if so who’ll be joining him?  I don’t think Gavin will make it into the final but who would you send home?

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe – Paso Doble

Scott will be dancing the Paso Doble as James Bond this week, and apparently shirtless…

He’s lacking Spanish lines and really needs to dance the ball more into the floor, but at least he’s more awake this week.

A stripping ending just to make sure he gets the votes, think Natalie was worried?

A bit of a mixed bag really, didn’t quite feel like a Paso but I’ll give it an 8.

Craig: 8 “I don’t agree with that, could have done with a bit more Paso shaping through the arms…you are back…virile…red blooded…hot”
Len: 9 “00 Se-ven…you came out you had passion…couple of incidents here and there…coped very well”
Alisha: 9 “Giving Gavin a run for his money in the chest department…back in the zone”
Bruno: 9 “Licence to thrill…managed to do it [the Spanish lines]”

Total Score: 35

Strictly Come Dancing – Saturday 27th November

Almost up-to-date and it’s almost time for tonight’s Strictly, seriously where has my Saturday gone?!

Not sure on Bruce’s joke about Alisha having a good tan..

First up tonight is Kara Tointon & Artem Chigvintsev,

I’m looking forward to seeing their Jive.

Artem’s having a few wardrobe issues with his braces and Kara needs to point her toes down more during kicks.

It seems a little lacklustre and lacking something, and their ending seems to be just a little too late.

Disappointing we feel and whilst the lines were clean and movement good I can only give it an 8.

Craig: 7 “Dance very cleanly…attention to detail as always very precise…lost synchronicity…recovery [at the end] was terrible”
Len: 9 “First out, first class, top draw Jive…little bit hesitant…didn’t really attack [on some steps]”
Alisha: 9 “You two are on a real journey…really cutesy feel…looking down a lot”
Bruno: 9 “Sex appeal…lost a little bit of sharpness…bit of a tangle in the arm pass”

Total Score: 34

A tad too high personally.

Now for a sexy? Rumba from Ann Widdecombe & Anton Du Beke

Ann has aspirations to win, and we have a Titanic theme for this sinking ship of a routine.

At least they’re making more of a routine of it this week, I’m seeing Aida’s (well from Anton anyway), underarm turns, a rope spin, hand to hands, cucaracha’s, open outs.

All in all there’s a lot there that our students would recognise (which isn’t always the case in Strictly routines).

Better than last week so I’m going to give it a 6.

Craig: 1 “[Ann – here comes the iceberg] Frigid, passionless, that iceberg [on the set] showed more emotion”
Len: 5 “I’m shaken, not stirred. You did aida, opening outs – admittedly off time and you had the wrong footwork…but daftest dance I’ve ever seen”
Alisha: 5 “Kate Winslet eat your heart out…favourite storyline of the series so far…wasn’t much content, well done on remembering the steps.”
Bruno:  3 “Sinks the Rumba into the deepest and darkest depths of dance disaster.”

Total Score: 14

Patsy Kensit & Robin Windsor

Why do they always make Patsy’s eyes up like that, it always makes her look a little depressed, she actually looks amazing without it!

Patsy is suffering from a foot injury and may be spending most of the routine sitting down, won’t go down well with the judges if she does.

Argentine Tango should be passionate and intense and there’s a slight lack of emotion here, though the routine is good and looks like Patsy’s best dance.

I’m going to give Patsy an 8.

Craig: 7 “It did lacked flair…lacked any swivel on the foot passes…did have intent and purpose…did that very well”
Len: 8 “Hopefully you’ll be back next week…you won’t win Strictly Come Dancing being careful”
Alisha: 8 “I think you held the intensity all the way through…legs look stunning…loved it”
Bruno: 7 “The good thing, you really started to focus…lacked spunk…maybe you were trying to get the technique right”

Total Score: 30

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe

Scott’s turn at the American Smooth this week and it looks in the VT like all the training is starting to take it’s toll.

A big slip from Scott there on a three step but well recovered.  His frame looks a little close and could do with a bit more space.

Scott appears to have forgotten the routine and the final lift is just positively dangerous in those circumstances.

It’s a real shame as it looked to have great promise but I can only give it a 7 and that’s being generous.

Craig: 6 “Terrible shame…began with terrible footwork in the corner…some good, loved the lift…complete disaster”
Len: 7 “It wasn’t a complete disaster…didn’t do yourself justice…threw you off…you’re a really good dancer…don’t let it affect you…try and stay awake!”
Alisha: 9 “I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve made mistakes…I still enjoyed it…still looked like a pro out there”
Bruno: 9 “You’re still smoother than anybody else…some parts were excellent…don’t beat yourself down”

Total Score: 31

Far too high from Alisha and Bruno there, it’s not really fair on the other competitors if you ask me.

Gavin Henson & Katya Virshilas 

Gavin & Katya have a Jive this week, for a big guy like Gavin this could be [cue Craig] a Dance Dis-a-ster.

If Gavin goes out hating the dance this will come across in his performance.  Not sure on the outfit and unfortunately Gavin is out of time straight from the off with his initial kicks.

This is one of the worst Jive’s we’ve seen on Strictly at this stage of the competition and his attempt at butt wiggling in front of the judges is severely lacking.

It was a disaster and a 6 from me.

Craig: 3 “That bottom wiggle was completely unnecessary…giving Ann Widdecombe a run for her money”
Len: 6 “You hated it, I hated it, we all hated it…you came out and gave it a go”
Alisha: 7 “There was [were] timing issues throughout”
Bruno: 6 “It was like Clarke Kent never turning into Superman…you look good in tight pants”

Total Score: 22

Matt Baker & Aliona Vilani

Let’s hope Matt does a better American Smooth than Scott’s.  Is this the first time an American Smooth has been danced not in a suit?

The standing spin looks a bit awful if I ‘m honest which is a shame.  It feels more like a show dance than an American Smooth and it just didn’t quite feel right for me.

It was ok but I’m only going to give it a 7.


Len: 8 “If you have to explain what you’re trying to do then it hasn’t really worked as a dance”
Alisha: 8 “One of the strongest in the competition…little bit disappointed…turns felt very manic”
Bruno: 9 “You put so much in to what you do…beautiful…turn into American Psycho”

Total Score: 33

Another over mark for me personally.

Pamela Stephenson & James Jordan

They have a Charleston this week and this could potentially be their best dance.

Good lifts and energy, though she does seem to lose a bit of puff near the end.

Has some nice comedic moments though I’m not sure about the final ending position.

Not the worst Charleston I’ve seen but still lacking and Pamela could be in trouble this week.

Emma thinks 8 and I agree.

Craig: 9 “Frisky, perilous lifts…without fear…loved it”
Len: 9 “Tickled my fancy that, you enjoyed doing it, I enjoyed watching it”
Alisha: 10 “Best dance of the night”
Bruno: 10 “It’s going to get a BAFTA from me”

Total Score: 38

Wouldn’t personally have put it as the top routine of the night, for me that was Patsy’s, though I felt all the dances this week seemed lacking in a bit of life.

Leader Board

1. 38 points – Pamela & James
2. 34 points – Kara & Artem
3. 33 points – Matt & Aliona
4. 31 points – Scott & Natalie
5. 30 points – Patsy & Robin
6. 22 points – Gavin & Katya
7. 14 points – Ann & Anton

I already know Patsy goes, and that’s a real shame as I felt she did her best dance of the series tonight.  Earlier I thought Pamela would join her in the bottom two but judges marks may have saved her there so probably Gavin joining her.

Results

Bottom two is Patsy & Robin (who we know are going home) and Gavin & Katya.

Well now to get myself ready for live blogging tonight’s show.
 

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”
Len:8
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.

Results

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.

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe – Rumba

Can Scott pull off one of the hardest dances for male celebs? 

Hip action’s not bad, a little bit shaky at times and needs to keep his hands palm down during open outs and finish them better.  A very good Rumba though and definitely benefited from having it later in the competition.

I’m going to give it an 8, he needs to work on finishing his hands and just smoothing it a bit.

Craig: 4 “Did look like you’d just come out of hospital after a double hip replacement”
Len: 9 “No one realises how difficult it is for the man…by and large I think you pulled it off”
Alisha: 7 “For me you look a bit stuck in your body…a bit stagnant”
Bruno: 8 “This week not quite so hot…wasn’t horrific…maintaining fluidity [needs work]”

Total Score: 28 (their lowest score to date)

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe – Viennese Waltz

Good to see someone getting [pretty much] straight into the dance.  I feel Scott is just a little wooden during the fleckerls.

It’s a good performance but I felt they did better last week, easily an 8 though.

Craig: 9
Len: 10 “Last week good, this week great…absolutely spell binding”
Alisha: 10 “I think you hypnotised the whole room, that was magical”
Bruno: 10 “You created dance magic”

Total Score: 39

Looks like I’m being overly critical this week!

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.

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe – Tango

Scott impressed with his Quickstep last week, though I didn’t feel it was quite a 9 yet.  A Tango should fit in with Scott’s acting ability though, and Natalie does choreograph good routines.

There’s definitely intensity from the start, and Scott definitely looks like he’s losing weight.  I’m not a fan of the short jackets for the dancing and I think it shows up that he probably could have his knees a bit more flexed at times, and needs to be wary of his shoulder line.

A good performance, I’m thinking we’ll probably see a few more 9’s this week.

Craig: 8 “Strong, dynamic…great, excellent work”
Len: 9 “I think there was an incident in that corner…the best dance I’ve seen this series”
Alisha: 9 “Very very strong performance…full of passion…you mean business”
Bruno: 9 “You Tango Beast…slick and stealthy…from power and passion to romance”

Total Score: 35

Scott Maslen & Natalie Lowe – Waltz

We might not be able to see it, but Scott has purportedly got a two-tone nether region, thanks to a spray-tan g-string malfunction.  Let’s hope it doesn’t affect his Waltz abilities too much!

The start looks a little wooden in terms of the interaction between them – Scott’s doing the actions but I don’t feel any emotion behind them.

However he does have a very good shoulder line once they’re in hold but I just don’t like it, it doesn’t feel like a Waltz to me.  There just appears to be a bit too much running around and not enough actual Waltz for my liking, also there’s a start, middle and finish out of hold…something I don’t think Len will appreciate.

Not a bad start though, much better than I expected and I’m going to give it a 7.

Judges scores are in:

Craig: 6
Len: SE – VEN
Alisha: 8
Bruno: 8

Total score: 29