Thursday, 31 December 2009

News in Brief: Streetdance, SCD, GTD

There's a trailer for Streetdance, the movie featuring Diversity, George Sampson and Flawless - I didn't have any sound for it, hopefully you will. But I'm very much looking forward to seeing this next year!

Ricky Whittle is heading for Hollywood and would love to star in a remake of Dirty Dancing - I'm thinking, you can't improve perfection, so maybe a re-write updating it to include a bigger variety of dance styles would be better.

Brendan Cole answers a few questions regarding his own tour - and revealing that Strictly is one of the worst things he's ever done. But he'll keep going back!

Dancenergy have made it through to the top 60 acts in Got To Dance - how much we see of them I've no idea. Davina defends the decision to put through a ten-year old autistic boy, James Hobley. The thing is, if his talent warrants a place, wouldn't it have been discriminatory of them not to put him through? The decision NOT to take part would have rested with his parents, surely? The show kicks off with a preview at 6pm on Saturday night - same time and day as the BBC's So You Think You Can Dance - then continues on Sunday at 6pm with a two hour double bill.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

News in Brief: SYTYCD, DOI, GTD

Ten things you never knew about So You Think You Can Dance's presenter Cat Deeley. Or maybe you did!

Dancing on Ice Friday, the new spin off show, will be hosted by Loose Women's former contestant Coleen Nolan.

Davina McCall is looking forward to watching Got To Dance with her family - she's never fronted anything suitable for them to see before! Although she's been asked, she's turned down Strictly Come Dancing because of the time she'd have to be away from her children. And judging by this article it doesn't look as though she'll be making time either, even when her own are grown! I've never been a fan of Davina particularly, but I have to say her attitude to dancing is warming me to her!

Monday, 28 December 2009

News in Brief: SYTYCD, GTD

Interview with Cat Deeley - they missed the obvious headline didn't they? The Real Deel-ey ... and already the shows must be in competition with each other, with we poor viewers having to choose which to watch. Not. I haven't got Sky for a start - jeez, I haven't got time to watch everything I want on Freeview, for goodness sake! Anyway, it sounds like they'll be completely different - the top 14 in SYTYCD are all proper dancers, whereas GTD is going for the sob story/dodgy X-Factor mix. Although, I can't see Kimberley, Adam and Ashley actually putting anyone that bad through, personally. I hope not, anyway! And an interview with Kimberley and her high hopes for the dance shows impact.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Strictly Arlene and Camilla Interviews

Arlene "Come dance with me" interviewed in Times Online; Camilla "I should never have gone into the jungle" in the Mirror.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing Xmas Special

The annual sparklefest, with six of the best couples - I still maintain it shouldn't be scored and the audience just choose the winner, but they don't listen! Kicking off with Ricky & Natalie's trademark fabbie quickstep, pure Hollywood glitzy start, full of musicality and fun, dancing to Jingle Bells, with some samba thrown in for good measure - brilliant! Len not keen on that, but as Ricky says "It's Xmas in Brazil as well!" Apparently there were a couple of sticky moments; I was enjoying it too much to notice - their score: 36, Alesha's 10 cancelling Craig's miserly 8. I'd give it 10.

Austin and Erin Paso Doble to Bohemian Rhapsody and there's a lot more content for Austin than in their Series 6 routine and delivered with power and aggression; I loved it, so did the audience - 9's across the board from the judge, even though Craig's comments threatened to turn into a proposal; Len credits the band for a fantastic performance; Austin milks it backstage, lol - total 36 (I can't help wondering what got him 10's from them before but not this time!?)

Ali and Brian Viennese Waltz to Bells Will Be Ringing , which I'd heard today and thought, this would make a lovely VW. It's gorgeous and perfect, full of sparkle. Full score of 40, well deserved. Even better than in the series I think. The nerves not in evidence! Tess has her outfit already for the wedding!

Gethin and Flavia dancing an American Smooth to Baby, It's Cold Outside and it's a lovely routine from Flavia with some awesome, smooth lifts, very enjoyable, he's clearly loving it - nice touch with the 'Merry Xmas' on the waistband - but, much as I loved Gethin back in series 5, he doesn't have quite the rhythmic flair of a Tom or Ricky to deliver the pizazz that choreography required. Well executed, nice routine, but didn't wow me. Score: 38.

Rachel and Vincent dance the rumba to Miss You Most, it still doesn't do much for me, although Rachel is more connected this time around and it's a beautiful song. But I think it's probably the rumba I have a problem with, not being technically trained, I can't appreciate the lines - it's just too still for Christmas! I'm sure the judges will love it - yes, they do score: 39 (Alesha found it a bit posey too!)

Finally, Chris and Ola foxtrot to Santa Baby, and I think even Team Cola would be hard pushed to admit this is their finest - bearing in mind this is only two days after the final, I think we can forgive them for being a little lacklustre! Not sure what the something special was that Ola mentioned in the VT, because nothing that special materialised! There was a highpoint in the brass section in the band that the audience cheered, but it didn't correspond with anything on the dance floor! Score: 33.

I wish they'd gone in the opposite order - I much preferred the first three to the last three! Never mind - here's the Rat Pack with White Christmas, with Darren and Lilia and Flavia and Vincent accompanying. No soppy VT's though (no recap either) the result is immediate - with the vote dissipated amongst them all though, I can't see anyone below third being able to overtake: Ali/Brian and Rachel/Vincent top two: Ali and Brian take it, Yay! Very pleased for them, they deserve it!

And that's Strictly over with for this year! Tickets for the tour are on sale though, with a very strong line up! Can't wait!

News in Brief: Got To Dance

Ashley Banjo hates having to disappoint the youngsters ... an extended trailer and lowdown on Davina's Got To Dance ...and their youngest competitor, 11 year old Emily Crow gets a head start on the opposition in the PR stakes. It says she's eleven - if they're going to dress her older, though, why not as a twenty something, instead of Eartha Kitt? Just sayin'. Here's a dancer busting some moves but looking the part - and his age!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Got To Dance

Sky's answer to BBC and ITV's dance reality shows kicks off on 3rd January - here's a link to the official website, you can catch the Diversity flash mob video and if you register you can see the warm-up show too.

Strictly Come Dancing: Snippets

Nice interview with Season 7 winners, Chris and Ola, aka The Hobbits! Chris is also standing in for Colin Murray on Radio Five Live's banter-based sports quiz, Fighting Talk on January 2nd. And a sneaky peek at the Xmas special, courtesy of Scott Matthewman from Stage - giving away a couple of top scores, but not who to - and looking at the line up I'm actually surpised it was only two couples scoring that highly!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

So You Think You Can Dance: How it will work!

ABOUT THE SHOW
Nigel Lythgoe is returning to British shores to find the nation’s hottest dancing talent on BBC One with award-winning So You Think You Can Dance. Fresh from 6 seasons of the hit show in the US, Lythgoe will take up his position as head judge along with renowned choreographer Arlene Phillips and a third judge to be announced, to critique finalists competing for the title of Britain ’s Favourite Dancer.

The culmination of a national audition tour where dancers from all disciplines attended, the top 14 have been selected for the live, Saturday night studio shows.

The series winner will receive a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hollywood where they will get to perform live on the US version of the show, plus £100,000. But in order to get there, the top 14 will be pushed right out of their comfort zones. Each week they’ll be challenged to different styles of dance like hip hop, jazz, Broadway, lyrical and contemporary with a new routine taught by world renowned choreographers and mentors. And it won’t be just the judges they have to impress: viewers will have the ultimate power to vote for their favourite dancer at the end of each live show.

HOW IT WORKS
Seven girls and seven boys made it through the auditions to be selected for the live shows. Of these 14, one will be crowned the winner of So You Think You Can Dance and win the opportunity to dance in Hollywood plus £100,000.

Following the launch show on the 2nd Jan, the live shows will begin on 9th January. Each Saturday for 6 weeks there will be a live main show followed by a separate live results show.

VOTING
Each week until the final, one boy and one girl will be eliminated.

In week 1 and 2 viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite couple. Out of the lowest scoring four contestants, the judges will select one boy and one girl to be eliminated. All four (two boys and two girls) will have their last opportunity to dance in the results show in a 30 second solo.

In the remaining shows, viewers will vote for their favourite individual dancers and the judges will lose their power to make the final decision, only giving critiques. From the third live show, couples will be changed. The dancers will all dance solo, in group routines, and as couples in a variety of different styles.

The first show will air on Saturday 2nd January 2010 at 6pm on BBC One. For more information and gossip, visit www.bbc.co.uk/soyouthinkyoucandance or follow us on Twitter @BBC_SYTYCD and find us on Facebook

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

So You Think You Can Dance (UK Stylee!)

The final fourteen have been announced and you can see their profiles here, with a mini clip of the choreography camp audition. Now, it may be that I'm still in Move Like MJ mode, but the Hip Hop dancers stood out for me, possibly because they were so different to the other 12!

Nigel Lythgoe says in that interview he wants to be reborn as 'Nurturing Nigel' - but he's failing miserably, judging by this VT! Did make me chuckle though. Check out the bad and the good auditions while you're there too - it's a testament to the standard we'll see, that those at the end didn't make it through.

So here's the link to the official SYTYCD site - you can also follow the official tweeter @BBC_SYTYCD. and/or join them on Facebook.

There was still a cricket connection in Strictly, even after Phil was out! Chris played cricket for Oxford and his batting figures rival those of Darren and Phil - and only a hundred hundreds or so below Mark!

Alesha is having an operation on her foot in the new year - just as well she turned down a chance to judge the tour!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Dancing on Ice Series 5 Line Up Revealed!

And they are ... Olympic swimmer and sports presenter Sharron Davies; Hollyoaks actor Kieron Richardson; Charity fundraiser, amongst other things, Heather Mills; The Bill's Gary Lucy; Eastenders actress Daniella Westbrook; comedian and actor Bobby Davro; The Inbetweeners actress, Emily Atack (who's Paul McCartney's niece!!) Boyzone's Mikey Graham; GMTV dashing doctor Hilary Jones; Gordon Ramsey's wife Tana; Holby City actor Jeremy Sheffield; singer and Cowell-ite, Sinitta; Emmerdale actress Hayley Tamaddon, and Corrie heart-throb, Danny Young.

Fourteen celebs means two new Pro skaters! And as soon as I find them I'll let you know who they are! Will update the Twitter list soon-ish too - have actually got a dancing list I'll put a link to, rather than them all indivisually, as they are at the mo - this is very much a work in progess as each show comes along!

Move Like Michael Jackson ...The Final!

There's a lot of noise, I can barely hear Reggie - but what a Thriller to start, all four acts taking centre stage. Lavelle makes the draw for the head to head and it's the two dance crews Plague and Unity drawn against each other. Unity first to In the Closet and, for me, I found it a bit ordinary, not always as tight in some areas as expected, though a well put together routine, the only stand out bit for me was the cossack-influenced step. JJ: it was a hot performance, very tight, well executed and performed.

Plague dancing to Jam - now that wowed me!And what a move to finish! Superb, sharp, dynamic, exciting, creative, brilliant. JJ: Flawless, up here *raises hand high* Amazing flip (with the straight legged landing) definitely aware of each other, so tight. They must have it - yes, had to be - but the smug one gurning at the audience just might cost you there, Plague - watch that, it's offputting.

Animaineax's (that's the third spelling I've used!) versus Ash - soloist Ash on first to Bad - contemporary Bollywood meets MJ, so unusual and artistic. JJ: There's nothing Ash can't do, talented, out of the box.

Animaineax's to Rock With You - I love these guys, again, so different - celever and inventive choreography - and so bubbly even when not moving! But I think JJ is set on Ash ... however - JJ: highly impressed, very cool, incredible, another spectatular performance. So who's he going with? Animaineax's have it, woohoo!

But that makes it another tough choice for me this weekend! The dance off - out of their comfort zones - incorporate MJ moves into a song by a different artist. Plague to Harder Faster Stronger - it's another creative and innovative performance, slickly danced, including their signature looping move. JJ: Incredible, the gumboot, the performance, unbelievable.

Follow that Animaineax's - I'm already intrigued by the VT (and that doesn't often happen!) Leona Lewis? Bleeding Love? Well, a hip hop version and this is fantastic - love that move, they're down, they come up backwards in slow-mo, like you re-wound - the frozen signature MJ moves - they're getting my vote (which, considering I don't much like that song, I'm amazed at myself) sorry Plague, much as I love you, I love these more - what else can they come up with, there seems to be so much thought put into the choreography for every word of the song. JJ: a slow song but so exciting, unbelievable, the feeling, great, very strong.

While we await the verdict, would-be MJ's, too young for the competition perform a group tribute to an MJ medley - that littlun's no bigger than mine! Love the quote: "If we drop him it would be ...wrong!" Wow, to see such joy in dancing, they were brilliant. A standation, what d'you know! JJ: highly impressed, Michael's legacy. Chipmunk perform, backed by Peridot. I've no idea which one is Alvin, but I do like this song, my feet are tapping.

The Result is in: It's Animaineax's, Yayyyyyyy!!! Great show, nicely done Reggie - you ought to tap up the PTB for a Britain's Best Dance Crew; we can never have too many dance shows :-)

Strictly Come Dancing: Official Result and Clips.

In one of the most nail biting finals ever seen on Strictly Come Dancing, sports presenter Chris Hollins was voted Strictly Come Dancing Champion 2009, battling it out in a dramatic grand final against Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle.

Not much time - here's Strictly in Sixty!


On winning the competition with his professional partner Ola Jordan, Chris said:

‘I’d just love to thank everyone so much especially you two (Ricky and Natalie) you’ve made it a wonderful final, a very wonderful final. I’d love to thank all our family and friends, our loved ones because without you we wouldn’t have been able to do half the training, and I’d also like to thank all our fellow professionals, they are so generous with their time they are absolutely brilliant! And I’ve got to say last, and definitely not least, little Ola chops - thank you so much for believing in me all the way along, I did test you a little bit, the jive and the quickstep come to mind! Thank you so much you lovely little girl.’

Ola Jordan said of lifting the coveted Glitterball trophy: ‘I just want to say you’ve been the best partner, you’ve been a dream to work with – thank you so much because that experience was fantastic for me.’

Runner up Ricky Whittle said of his Strictly experience:

‘I’ve had an absolutely amazing time; I’ve had the time of my life. I want to thank all of our supporters firstly for getting us here and getting this far – we’ve had a great time and the opportunity to dance on the biggest show out there in Great Britain . I’m going to keep dancing. I want to say thank you to a lot of people, my family here at Strictly, everyone back on Hollyoaks who helped us out – the press team, Vicky, Rachel, Lucy, Anne. Natalie (Lowe) who has been absolutely amazing! My Mum and Dad who are here, my friends, my family.’

In the climax to a thrilling seventh series, both couples performed their highest scoring Ballroom and Latin dances plus a group Lindy Hop and a ‘no holds barred’ show dance in a bid to be titled Strictly champion 2009.

There was a special performance by Strictly’s very own Bruce Forsyth and Alesha Dixon, singing a sparkling rendition of ‘Something’s Gotta Give’.

The final also saw the return of many of this series’ eliminated couples who took to the floor one final time, performing their most memorable dance from the show.

In a poignant moment, athlete Jade Johnson who was forced to withdraw from the competition because of injury, returned to the dance floor with her professional partner Ian Waite to dance the Tango – the fateful dance they never got to perform in the live show.

As an added treat, last years finalists, singer Rachel Stevens and model & presenter Lisa Snowden paired up with their professional partners from last series; Brendan Cole and Vincent Simone to dance a Cha Cha/Tango to ‘Sister’s are doin’ it for themselves’ by Aretha Franklin/The Eurhythmics. As one final Brucie bonus Strictly Professional dancers Kristina Rihanoff and Brian Fortuna dazzled the audience with a magnificent Cha Cha Cha to Lady Gaga’s ‘Just dance’.

On Chris and Ola’s Foxtrot to ‘Could Have Danced All Night’ by Frank Sinatra the judges said: Craig: Timing and footwork of course is very difficult, as you know, in this dance and I think you did that very, very well. However, your hands are still a problem and it lacked swing and sway but, for me, it was a lot better than Blackpool .
Darcey: For me, in this, you show the best of your dance ability. You look so comfortable and you look like you enjoyed it. It was lovely. Well done.
Len: Well you have turned into a prince; you’re prince charming. No, you are, I think you’ve got a charming personality and I think this foxtrot has travelled well because I thought it was top notch in Blackpool and it’s travelled all the way down to London. Top notch again.
Bruno: I want to take this moment to congratulate you, Ola – you’ve turned a frog into a prince! You really did because this was elegant, it was charming, beautifully danced, no mistakes, not too many funny faces, a tiny bit of a funny hand but I’m telling you, what you’ve done is brilliant
Alesha: Well it was a magical moment when you danced it in Blackpool . I think that was a really defining moment for you, wasn’t it, Chris? You’ve been on an incredible journey, you’ve improved so much, it’s been a pleasure to watch and I just want you to really enjoy this moment tonight, Chris.

On their Lindy Hop to ‘Sing Sing Sing’ the judges said: Len: To be honest Chris, I thought you held your own very very well. Ricky was maybe a little bit sharper and more rhythmic but overall, there really wasn’t anything in it, was fantastic well done.
Alesha: Chris – it was nicely controlled, funny and entertaining. Your brain must be frazzled by this stage of the competition, but for me it was very close to call; it was neck and neck really!
Bruno: Well I must say, you really crack me up! It was like watching a cheeky frantic monkey, but I loved it! Was like watching a scene out of the Jungle Book – I almost threw you a banana! I enjoyed it, it was wonderful

And of their electric Charleston performance to ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam by Paul Williams, the judges said:
Bruno: ‘Exhilarating! Uplifting, exciting! The look on your face when you did that end sequence when Ola was riding you and taking you to the realms of ecstasy – a Strictly Come Dancing Classic!
Craig: Quirky, dynamic, animated all those wonderful things and actually your mouth being open so wide really did suit that whole thing – it really helped deliver and I loved it.
Darcey: You did it Chris, you transported me to the golden era of movies – it was brilliant it was brilliant, and you and Ola are so perfectly in tune together in that Charleston it was made for you.
Len: This is turning into the best final ever. The classic confrontation, the dancer and the entertainer, and I tell you what, sunshine, that was fantastic entertainment – I loved it!!

On Chris and Ola’s Show Dance to ‘Do you Love me’ by The Contours the judges commented: Darcy: Wow Chris that was great partnering, your timing the technique was perfect. I was really taken a back. And there was no strain on your face at all in every lift.
Len:They talk about journeys on this show and some people’s journeys are tougher than others, and you’ve had a real tough journey. Some weeks good, some weeks bad and occasionally a little bit ugly, but always coming out full of energy, full of enthusiasm and full of get up and go and this is no exception. Great dance, well done.
Alesha: I like the fact that you combined different styles within your dance, you put some jive in there, some cha cha some you had the classic Chris pivots in there. There were some cheeky funny moments, some clever lifts, the song says, do you love me - the answer is yes!
Bruno: Chris – where did you get the strength? Did you eat spinach for a month? It was like Popeye – I cannot believe what you did! A great performance!

Ricalie






Chrola






Ianade Tango


The Result


Strictly Come Dancing returns for a one off festive Christmas special, featuring previous celebrities’ Rachel Stevens, Austin Healey and Gethin J ones plus this year’s semi finalists Ali Bastian, Ricky Whittle and 2009 Strictly Champion Chris Hollins. Tune in BBC One 7.00pm Christmas Day. For more info, visit the official website or get the regular updates via @bbcstrictly on Twitter.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing: Running Commentary - Grand Final!

Gary Lineker and Co with the build up - officially this time! The Battle for the Glitterball commences! Come on!

I think it goes without saying there's a ton of VT's covering their emotions, relationships, journey, friends, families and supporters - so I'm just going with the actual dancing *whispers: It did get a little repetitive - specially as we've had it on ITT this week also* ... so first out, it's Ricalie with their fabulous Quickstep, almost a wardrobe malfunction with Nat's heel caught in the dress but she sorted it - and what a performance, full on, musical, stunning as before, the sheer delight shows in Natalie's face whenever Ricky's leading her; it's wonderful to see. Adore this dance, right up there with all my favourites ever. Oooh, first standation of the night - there were so many I've abbreviated! Darcey: Wowee Mr Whittle, amazing, set the standard; Len: Best QS from any male celebrity ever; Alesha: incerdible opening, loved it even more; Bruno: (He's up; quite frankly, they could have removed his chair for tonight) Major league QS, moved around like a pro, interpreted every nuance in the music; Craig: Polished, slick, sophisticated, extrememly rhythmic, Spec-Tac-U-Lar! Tens on their way I think. Scores: Oh, yes, the elusive 10 from Craig, there we go - the big 50. Well deserved - I just said that Tess, she's doing it again!

Chrola foxtrot next, lovely and charming, not quite the fluidity but it'll make no odds tonight - I'd have actually liked to see his Tango again. Alesha: magical moment in Blackpool, improved, enjoyed the moment; Bruno: Congratulated Ola for turning a frog into a Prince, elegant, charming, beautifully danced; Craig: timing and footwork difficult, did it very well, improved on Blackpool; Darcey: comfortable, you enjoyed it, lovely; Len: Prince Charming, top notch foxtrot. Score: 46, Alesha with a ten, bless her.

Series review week one to five: they come in, they go out - Martina, Richard, Rav, Lynda and Joe - all much more relaxed and some improvement in the movement, specially Richard and Rav.

The Lindy Hop! Fun in training - wondering if Chris' mum still does his underpants, they're very white. Big, fun routine from both - Ricalie hitting some of the huge air lifts, missing just the one, Chrola concentrate on the character. Another standation. Craig on Ricalie: more difficult, timing, little laboured; Darcey on Ricalie: Cleanly executed, suits more compact, sold brilliantly; Len: Chris held his own very well, Ricky more rhythmic; Alesha: both couple nicely controlled, funny and entertaining, neck and neck; Bruno: Cola cracked me up, cheeky frantic monkey, I loved it, wonderful; Chrola just edge it in the score - Ricalie score 43, Chrola 44 - again, they both showed their different styles there, Ricalie with the much tougher physical routine, Chrola the showmanship.

The next batch of those come and gone: Jo, Zoe, Craig; Phil has flu and is unable to be there unfortunately. And Ianade make a welcome return to show us that Tango - what a loss they were, fantastic dance, the character, passion and musicality all there, powerful, would definitely have put them up the top. Standation! First half of the show finishes with a Bruce and Alesha duet - love her dress - a fun partnership, worked very well. Dare I say, Alesha outsung Bruce? Best not.

Into the results show with a recap of the final few weeks highlights: Ricky G, Natalie, Ali - Laila unable to be there, sends her love.

Chrola up first this time for their Charleston, which is undoubtedly going into the Hall of Fame, brimfull of everything you could want in an entertainment show. Standation! Bruno: exhilarating ... in the interests of decency I can't repeat the rest. That, and the fact I was too busy laughing to write it all down! Craig: Quirky, dynamic, animated; Darcey: transported me back to the golden era, made for you; Len: this is turning into the best final ever, fantastic entertainment. More tens on the way I think - Yes - The Big 50! Tess apologises for Bruno - Ola was swimming, not riding! How tough is this choice tonight?

Ricalie cha cha: I love the way his body moves, I can't help myself, he's so so groovy and I see what Nigel meant about the paintbrush feet. Sharp and tight, the best cha cha ever on the show, imo. I think I've got a Spanky Wilson album in the loft somewhere, one day I will dig them all out. Standation! Alesha: Such a sexy couple, one of the best dances I've ever seen; Bruno: It's a dance competition - and boy, you can dance - so slick, sexy yet cool, nailed it; Darcey: quietly taken aback, I'm a bit hot, definitely more polished, I wouldn't mind doing a cha cha with you! Craig: Still masculine, still sexy, still turned out. Score: 48.

Showdance time! Chrola first, to Do You Love Me from Dirty Dancing. Some great lifts, including a one hander, and another fun routine, Chris ending up on the judges desk! Standation, naturally! Darcey: great partnering, timing, technique, perfect, beautiful; Len: They talk about journeys - you've been good, bad and ugly - but full of enthusiasm and get up and go, great dance; Alesha: Liked the combination of styles - you asked 'Do You Love Me' - Yes! Bruno: been eating spinach, so strong, great performance. Score: (Since when did they ever score showdances?) 46, Alesha with another ten.

Ricalie and my heart does sink a little when I see Natalie in a leotard - I don't want a 'dance' full of amazing lifts. Very contemporary and actually quite beautiful slow start but I know from the song - The Last Dance - it's going to speed up - does become cha cha based with huge lifts - including a no-handed one with Natalie balanced on Ricky's neck while he spins. All very difficult and one for the experts who can appreciate that. Personally, I'd have preferred a big Fred and Ginger number, with flowing lifts AS style - it's his ballroom I've loved more. I think Chrola's charleston will be the difference here. Though, tbh, I think Chris will have got it anyway, so maybe Ricalie made the decision to go for the experts. Len: You're the best dancer, fantastic all the way; Alesha: loved the contemporary feel, would have liked more styles; Bruno: You have no idea how difficult to do those lifts; Craig: Lift-tastic - jaw dropping, spinning incredible - hair must be velcro. Score: 49 Darcey letting the side down!

While we await the verdict, we have the memorable moments of Tom - his QS; Kelly - AS; Mark - AT; Austin - Paso; Alesha - Cha cha. Brian and Kristina 'Just Dance' - to the live band - naughty man on ITT told us it couldn't be done! Sisters are Doing it For Themselves as Rachel and Lisa join the Pro dancers, with Vincent and Brendan for Cha Cha and Tango respectively.

There's only four points in it - how do you choose? The rhythmic natural dancer who makes you gasp versus the cheeky chappie whose dancing brings such joy. The closest final ever, I'd say! I'm leaving it up to everyone else, I've loved both these couples right from week one and whoever wins will be a deserving champion - thanks to both for a fabulous evening.

It's the final Moment of Truth: Chrola!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

News in Brief: DOI, SCD, SYTYCD, GTD,

Following the finale of So You Think You Can Dance US, an interview with Nigel Lythgoe ... and one with Cat Deeley. And, what d'you know, one with Arlene Phillips, on the panel with Nigel for the UK version. And yet another Nigel interview, he's (body)popping up all over the place!

Craig Revel-Horwood interview - in the FT???

Dancing on Ice glides off with a preview show on Friday, 15th January at 8pm.

The experts agree: TV is great for dance!

Sky's Got To Dance launches on Sunday.

Bruce and Alesha will be performing together on tonight's Strictly final.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two: Final Preparations

Ricalie on the sofa first, we're getting their highlights packages tonight, Ricky (Whittle Wonderland) and Natalie (Mistle-Lowe and Wine) chose the Quickstep and Cha Cha as that's what their supporters on the forums and all around have wanted to see again. Run the family and friends VT - hey, check out Soul Glow Ricky! The little VT elves have set them off, its been emotional. Ricky never knew his grandad was a ballroom teacher!

The Dance Machine Challenge Final: James versus Brian. James enjoying himself; Brian concentrating. And the winner is: James! Improving his mark to 69200; Brian improves more, to over 56,000 but it's not enough! James has a trophy and I don't think we've seen the last of it.

Ricky G (Christmas Grover), Lynda (Jingle Bellingham) and Natalie C (Xmas Fayre and square) on the sofa wishing they were still in it and loving Alian's VW, Ianade's foxtrot and Zojam's rumba. There's no pressure on them tomorrow, they can just go out and enjoy it.

Chrola on the sofa for their highlights, Chris (The Hollins and the ivy) was a bit down but has received lots of supportive messages telling him to keep his chin up. Lindy Hop training loooks good, family and friends VT a morale boost.

Len eulogises over Ola and Natalie, Latin versus ballroom, Ola: hot and spicy, cooking up a dream, determination and dogged spirit, James in her corner, obviously. Natalie: elegant, good teacher, poise, determination, stamina, drive, Ian bigging her up.

Friday Panel, Len (Wiseman) and Bruno (Christmas party popper) joined by the So You Think You Can Dance head honcho, Nigel Lythgoe (Bah, humbug) the US Series having finished this week, our one starting on Jan 2nd! The People's champ versus the Judges champ, Len recognising Chris' huge public support, and Ricky at the top of their leaderboard more often that not. They're going to raise their games - Ricky's QS, so together, so light on his feet, musicality quite extraordinary; Chris foxtrot, head a little too high; Ricky's Cha Cha - uses his feet like paintbrushes; Chris' charleston shows his personality.

James is down in the studio for live rehearsals - Kristina and Brian are practising behind him, he uns through the final order - voting opens after the first round of dances! Back to Claudia and a flashback of all the funniest bits of ITT and then a sing song to end - thanks goodness it's a dance competition. Dunno what Cowell was so worried about! Actually, they should release this really really quickly, we can all download it and go for the Xmas Number One, that would really make Cowell's Week! (Bet captionman would love to have thought of that one!)

Claudia fans - your questions answered below!

Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two: Masterclass-gate!

Who'd have thought that angelic little boy would've grown into James ...

Chrola training update, Charleston and foxtrot, loving both dances, will perform well. 340 hours training so far in the series!

James' Strictly dance life: Started aged 10 with his sister, realised aged 14 he's surrounded by girls! Private tuition stepped his career up a notch, found Ola, they danced for a year before dating, morphed into a proper lion, married four years later. He seriously used to overdo the spray tan. And thankfully got his hair cut! SCD approached after a Blackpool comp and we witnessed wild to mild James!

Ricalie training update, QS and Cha Cha, a lot to remember! 314 hours training through the series so far.

The Masterclass: Claudia helps recreate probably the most well-remembered dance (for all the wrong reasons!) Erin and Colin's puppet dance - Len's called his Claudia, as she's all limp and cuddly; Claudia's calling hers Brendan. Here we go: Four little sways, a long lingering kiss, come up, don for a second helping, a little run backwards 123 123, come across cha cha. cock your leg, back, cock your leg, run over, lift frock and show knickers! Cue music!

Forum Q&A: Fave TV show: Len - New Tricks, Bargain Hunt, QI; Phil - Question of Sport; Erin - Desperate Houswives; Laila - Only Fools and Horses; Brian - Goldenballs; James - Hole in the Wall.

Do you cook/fave dish: Flavia - pasta; Lilia - no (Darren does it) Darren: Tuna and pesto bake; Natalie C - roast; Ali - lasagne, shepherds pie; Brian - barbecue; Anton - no!

Lindy Hop group training: Intricate, got to be on the beat, it's got everything in it, it's a showpiece welcome to the final. The hunk versus the hobbit!

Ex-contestants panel, Mark Foster, Jodie Kidd and Mark Ramprakash, agreeing that once you've been a part of it, you never really leave. Ramps (Ramping up the blood pressure) says there'll be mixed emotions - so much going on; Jodie (2 marks for Jodie) hoped Ian and Jade would go all the way, so upset; Mark (fostering the finalists) you have to push'n'push'n'push. Their highlights - Tuffer's salsa for Ramps, he's a WYSIWYG guy; Jodie loved Alian's American Smooth, thats' her territory, she taught her everything! Mark rooted for Ricky and Erin, he set out to entertain, loved his tango. *Whispers* He talked about the comedy in it, so I think he meant the Paso!

A trip down Memory Lane over the past sixteen weeks; the celebs feelings: tension - hardest ever thing - an honour - spirit to capture - nerves - challenge - live and breathe it - addictive - wrapped up - embrace it - a little magic - special - more magic - once in a lifetime opportunity.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

News in Brief: SYTYCD, GTD, DOI,

The final rundown of the US So You Think You Can Dance, courtesy of MJ, with accompanying videos of the guests acts too and judges fave performances.

Interview with Got To Dance judge and Pussycat Doll Kimberley Wyatt.

"Dad" dancing an evolutionary device according to scientists! They can test the theory by having a Strictly special in 20 years time with Ramps, Austin and the rest!

Philip Schofield confirmed Spice Girl and Strictly Come Dancing semi-finalist Emma Bunton as the new judge on Dancing on Ice - and sprung to her defence before she was subjected to an Alesha-like backlash - she's there to judge the dancing aspect, as is Jason - Karen, Nicky and Robin take care of the skating!

Dance owned the last decade, this review says so - and is predominantly speaking of ballet - but I'd suggest all forms have upped their profile, certainly in the last five years!

Age is no excuse from now on! Check out Mrs Paddy Power!

Move Like Michael Jackson: Semi Final 2

All out together for Smooth Criminal, some wicked moves going down (hark at me!) Kudos to Lavelle, I assume it's him putting these groups dances together.

First pairing is soloist Daniel Ovell versus the sick, slick Peridot crew. Toughie. Daniel out for ABC, explosive start, unusual floor work (moving headstand with wiggly feet!?) bit untidy in places, good effort. JJ: You have a lot of ability but not hit full potential, did a great job.

Peridot and Dangerous - spot on with an MJ signature move, tight, that guy with the neck thing - I was waiting for that! Inventive. JJ: Absolutely (all as one) type of performance I'm looking for. I think they'll make this ... they do indeed.

Next up soloist Luke Holingsworth versus Unity. Luke - Too Bad, one of the best soloists in terms of dancing but the routine lacking something. JJ: great dancer, very exciting, you've got to be possessed, definitely entertained.

Unity consist of three guys and five girls - Billie Jean a good choice - yes, slick, tight, inventive - they make use of the girls as girls but as a part of the whole, if you get what I'm driving at (crews generally being predominantly male) They know they smashed it. Mark and Jamelia have just said what I was trying to say - they show the punking bit again. JJ: very very explosive, confidence, took control, great. They should have this I think - encourging words for Luke before JJ confirms Unity are through.

Solist Leroy Bailey versus soloist Kirsten Crane - is that the only solo pairing we've had? I think so! Kirsten performs to Can You Feel It - my fave solo performance across both semi's - different but with elements of MJ stood out, fantastic energy. JJ: energetic, hitting the moves, confident, so different, strong.

Leroy has You Rock My World, break dancing, tight, spirit of MJ again but own stamp. Windmills world record holder! Jamelia and Mark dissing him quite unfairly. JJ: explosive, disagree with them, nailed it, entertaining. I prefer Kirsten but who's it going to be? It's Leroy!

One place left - QMS versus my other faves Animaineax - QMS perform to PYT, great energy, not sure they're original enough though. JJ: enjoyed the performance, very very hot, be a little more aware of each other.

Animaineax dance to Don't Stop Till You Get Enough. Yes, loved it - total performance, slick, fast, fun, brilliant quirkness and originality. JJ: flawless, dynamic, great routine, cool, reminded me of the Jackson Five! Have they got it then? Of course they have, eventually!

The final dance off, Blood on the Dancefloor! JJ puts through Unity - and they're joined by Animaineax! So we have our finalists and - considering I thought they'd have an advantage, the soloists have only the one representative in Ash Mukherjee, the one who is completely different to anyone else. Making up the four are Plague. Live Final 9pm on BBC3 Sunday - we get to choose!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two: Dress sense

The Lindy Hop appeared in 1927 - Charles Lindbergh hopped across the Atlantic - Lindy Hop, geddit? Rhythm, strength, stamina and speed are required, a cross between the Charleston and jitterbug, air steps and jumping jive type stuff should suit both couples. Lilia (Lindy Hopping Mad) and Darren (Bennett, seen it, danced it) are on the sofa for the midweek report. Embrace the final, the hardest bit was getting there. And leave the hardest dance till the end. Ricalie's QS is Lilia's favourite from the whole series - should be fantastic; Chrola have their foxtrot, iron out the movement across the floor, hands/face etc and no reason why it can't compete. Ricalie's cha cha - he's 100% capable of matching Natalie - best male celeb ever for his movement and musicality; Both doing the Lindy Hop at the same time, possibly will suit Chrola more looking at the training and the similarities with the Charleston. A small concern there - if Chrola are doing the Charleston as their Latin, plus a Charleston inspired Lindy Hop, what will that leave them for their showdance?

Forum Q&A: Fave cheese? (I may have some of these names/spellings wrong!) Ali - Camzola; Erin - Eughh; Brian - Forgierro Reggiano (jeez, and what's wrong with cheddar, hm?) Len - Montgomery. Who would play you in a movie? Laila - Kathy Burke!? Darren - Ronnie Corbett; Flavia - Penelope Cruz; Vincent - Al Pacino; James - Me; Anton - George Clooney, lol; Brian - Leo di Caprio. Greatest Xmas pressie ever: Vincent - Motorbike; Lilia - one day it will be a dog; Laila - my daughter, a late one in Feb; Brian - quality time with family; Ali - a jumper!

Matt (Rage Against the dance machine) and Brian (brian to be wild) are on the sofa for Claudia to tease about the Dance Machine challenge - James is in their sights, can they get close? Score: Matt - 36,000; Brian - 37,100 - 3rd and 2nd respectively but nowhere near The Jordan!

The costume department get a shout out and we find out the boys favourite dresses - Brian's was Ali's samba dress, although that's probably too strong a word for it! James loves all Ola's Latin costumes; Chris loved the catsuit! Ricky's fave is Nat's AT dress. 'Hot' was the word ... Lilia's fave this year was her Lindy Hop outfit. It's Strictly through the looking glass, with Zandra Rhodes (The Queen of Hearts/ Barbara Cartland's wayward teenager) and Hilary Alexander (Metal Mickey's Mum/Catwoman) on the sofa to tell us why these costumes work so well - and they're the experts, just look at them. No, seriously, they get paid for this sort of stuff. It's certainly not Auntie Su's hands at work there. They're off to a fancy dress party after their stint on the sofa. I mean, they must be. Surely. Why else ...

The Shock Exit Panel: Gabby (Logans' short run) Spoony (left too spoony) Zoe (chopped Zoe) - Spoony still in shock by the look of him, he says he left a legacy - the dance off was brought in because of him! There'snow an adjective "Doing a Logan" as in "Zoe's done a Logan) - they're all going for a Chrola win - but then, they did all partner a Jordan!

Vision On gallery to end - budding dress designers have sent in their sketches, one even did a showdance outfit;, another designed for the boys too, bless.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two: Mr. Saturday Night is in the House

You know, when Bruce said he'd stepped into Claudia's shoes, the production crew really missed and opportunity there. I'm sure her black strappy numbers would've suited him. He's taken her gag off now. That little lad in the picture - Vincent, yes?

The stars of Strictly pay homage to Brucie, in a montage with his Saturday night spectaculars - I swear I just saw the Queen on the Gen Game! Brucie (he's the daddy) on the sofa now, wanting his cocoa. This series has been staggering, he says, it's built to a climax and we're in for a great final. Highlights include Chrola's Charleston, their charisma stands out, also Ricalie's Quickstep, you could see his potential immediately. A Q&A session from stars and forum: Brian - Fave catchprase? You're my favourite! (It's actually something Nat King Cole said to him in 1961!) Brucie Bonus Becky - Who did you aspire to be like? Fred Astaire, would love to have met him. Chris - dressing room demands? Champagne he buys himself, maybe some digestives, tea and capuccino! What do you want for Xmas? (apologies to Forumite, Brucie was still talking so I missed your name) Nothing, maybe some peace and quiet, taking a three month break in Puerto Rico, with his digestives. Len - what football team do you support? Arsenal and Spurs. Boo - Len'll be disappointed, he's a Hammer like me! Brucie's going to brave a masterclass with Claudia but doesn't want to tread on Len's toes ... like Claudia has the past few weeks!

Strictly dance life and of course it was Vincent! Won his first competition age 10, moved to UK in '95, found instant connection with Flavia, turned Pro won the Ten Dance and the Showdance and World Champ AT two times in a row, got the SCD call, lucked out with Louisa, then Rachel, then Natalie, all very different but a long way in the competition.

Choreography Corner with Flavia (Cacace falling star) and James (The Mane man) Chrola AT - the chemistry, great performance, nice gancho section, he sells it so well for someone with no acting skills. Ricalie lots of content, a section on his heels - man's decoration in the AT, very difficult. Nat hasn't given him an easy ride - but makes it look easy. Chrola rumba starts off contemporary, not normally seen, setting the mood (too close at the end, says James). A double reverse spin in Ricalie's waltz is very tricky, very brave, pulled it off.

Brucie moments: Natalie C: Bruce kissing her hand on one knee when she left; Chris: The 'never mind, never mind" quote they hoped not to hear! Ali: The striptease, cut off too soon, Brucie! Erin: Dancing with him in Series One; Bruno and Ian: taking charge when it all went wrong with the mike in Mark and Karen's salsa.

Brucie's Masterclass, brave man, he loves a challenge - he's giving Claudia a tap lesson: Flap ball change, flap ball change or just flap ... she's gone Nordic ski-ing instead. Then a glide, that's glide Clauds, not glide-r! Cue music!

Final reminder, a montage of Ricalie and Chrola to finish. If you're having a final party, you can download paddles and judges from the website. Really, Claudia just said!

Move Like Michael Jackson: Semi Final 1

All eight acts on stage for 'Wanna Be Starting Something' and they certainly did! Only two acts to go through to Sunday's final? Eek! Jermaine Jackson himself will choose who makes it. They go head to head to eliminate four and first up it's soloist Thomas Roche versus crew Plague. The group know how to WOW alright, that was fantastic, performed to Beat It and Thomas will have to go some to do so. JJ says: strong, high energy,you stuck it, worked the stage. Apparently, that move they do, where they loop through each other is 'sick'. I really need to get down with the kids, because sick to me is yellow gooey stuff ... Thomas aquits himself well, to my favourite Jacko track, Off The Wall, love him, full of personality but not as slick - I think Plague have this. JJ: great, so much to offer, work on feeling the music more, reminded me of MJ when he threw my jacket into the crowd (the anecdote was a lot more detailed!) Plague get the nod.

Solo Arnold Metsana versus all girl group Blok. Arnold dances to Black or White and there's an infectious joy about him, lots of arobatics, didn't always land them though, seems very improvised. Blok dance to Shake Your Body, a good job, nothing spectacular though - Plague have spoilt me I think. Wouldn't like to call this one, neither a wow factor. Blok take it.

Soloist Ash Mukherjee versus duo Urban Jokers (my faves from last night) they're out first to Blame it on the Boogie - love these guys, terrific dancing, original and so much fun - complete with 'I Love U Jermaine' and 'I Love U More' tee-shirts *chuckles* JJ: originality, in sync, different, entertaining, made me laugh, enjoyed very very much. Ash performs to Man in the Mirror, emotional, precise, very different from anything else, not really for me but ... JJ: unbelievable, out of the box, special. He puts Ash through. My faves out at the second hurdle!

Final pairing, five strong group Trilogy against 16 year old soloist Naoimh (think Neve) Morgan, who's out first, with chair, to The Way You Make Me Feel. She's brilliant, so confident, contemporary meets street. JJ: My God, you're amazing, confidence, you stuck the moves, a bright future. You'd think Trilogy may as well not bother, but they do, to Scream and it's fab, synchronisation, really on it. JJ: loved it, the movement matched the hook in the song, powerful. It's a tough one to call - Trilogy take it.

It's gonna be one crowded stage for Blood on the Dance Floor, as the four acts come back for the dance off to whittle them down to the two finalists. Plague a shoe-in and yep, they're through - JJ also sticks with Ash. Second Semi tomorrow night - you can check out more details on the show on the official BBC website. And here's the trailer about the show, featuring none other than Brian Fortuna, amongst others!

News in Brief: SCD, DOI, Diversity,

Craig is auctioning off a special tie for Boogie for your Bones ... another interview with Darcey ... Heather Mills may be out of Dancing on Ice ... Diversity surprise shoppers in West London in a promo for Got To Dance ... interview with Austin Healey ... rumours that Derek Hough from DWTS may join Strictly for next year, their loss our gain, he's amazing. Len and Bruno are best of friends ... Strictly Come Gossiping for the Pro dancers ...behind the scenes at Strictly with hair and make up ...

No time to watch Strictly on Saturday? See it here in sixty seconds!

Strictly Come Dancing Official Result and Clips

Actress Ali Bastian became the thirteenth celebrity to be voted off the seventh series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing.

In week thirteen and the semi finals of the competition, the three remaining celebrity contestants and their professional dance partners took to the floor to perform an Argentine Tango plus another dance of their choice.

Adding to the pressure of tonight’s semi final, the couples did not get a chance to be saved in the dance off. Instead, the lowest scoring couple from the combination of the judges’ scores and viewers’ votes was automatically eliminated from the competition.

After performing the Argentine Tango and the American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s Come Dance With Me, Ali Bastian and her professional partner Brian Fortuna found themselves at the bottom of the leader board and therefore left the competition for good.

Ali Bastian (on how it felt to have come so close to the final) said: “It’s devastating but at the same time I feel like we’re going out on a tremendous high and it’s been the most incredible experience and I’ve loved every minute of it. I want to thank everybody, thank you everyone at home for your support and thank you to all the crew and to everyone who makes this awesome show for us to be a part of. Can I just say thank you so much to Brian, thanks for everything.”
Brian Fortuna said: “Ali, you’ve made this season absolutely magical for me. Thank you for that.”

Ali and Brian were awarded a total of 42 points for their Argentine Tango and the maximum score of 50 points for their American Smooth by the judges, giving them a final total of 92 points out of 100, but sadly it was not enough to keep them in the competition.

At the top of this week’s main show, Strictly’s professional dancers performed a Showdance to Red Light Spells Danger by Billy Ocean . Viewers were also treated to a spectacular jive from guest judge Darcey Bussell and Ian Waite, who performed to Stuff Like That There by Bette Midler.

On tonight’s separate results show, special guest Lily Allen performed her hit song Not Fair. In addition to this, the World Showdance Champions, Craig Smith and Natalie Woolf, gave an electric performance to Alanis Morrisette’s Uninvited and the cast of the hit musical Hairspray joined Strictly’s professional dancers to perform You Can’t Stop The Beat, accompanied by surprise guest and former Strictly Come Dancing star, Austin Healey.

In next week’s series finale, it will be tougher than ever as Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan and Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe will be required to do a mammoth four dances each: Their highest scoring ballroom dance, their highest scoring latin dance, a ‘No Holds Barred’ Showdance and a Lindy Hop as they compete for their last chance to win over the public and lift the coveted 2009 Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy.

Strictly Come Dancing is available on BBC One and BBC HD. Tune in to the series finale on Saturday 19 December 2009, 6.35pm with the results show at 8.40pm. Don't forget you can get all the up-to-date gossip on Strictly Come Dancing’s sister show It Takes Two, weekdays at 6.30pm on BBC Two. For more information and gossip, visit bbc.co.uk/strictlycomedancing or follow us on Twitter: @bbcstrictly.

Ricalie




Chrola




Alian




Pro Jive

Monday, 14 December 2009

Move Like Michael Jackson ...

... begins tonight with a two hour show on BBC 3 at 8.30, presented by Jamelia and Reggie Yates.

Update: I managed to catch most of it AND found it much better than I was expecting. Some terrific dancers and they didn't dwell on those less able! Two acts that stood out for me were Animaniax (I think that's what it was) and Urban Jokers. Fantastic dancers but also quirkily original and creative. The first of the semi's is tonight, BBC 3 at 9pm. The acts are vying for the chance to take part in the official Michael Jackson tribute next year.

Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two: We're going to need bigger sofas.

Lilia has the backstage pass and manages to nab them all looking their worst first thing in the morning. But into make up they go and emerge looking Fab-U-Lous. There's nervous energy all over the place, witness James drop to his knees with a 'YES!' at the final result!

Alain on the sofa; Ali (nify fifty) always knew there was a chance they'd be going home; Brian (Cryin' Fortuna) thought it could be them, but really had no idea. They wouldn't have done anything differently. Clauds asks the question re the kiss - Brian said he just wanted to see if he could get away with it. Yeah, right! A big shout out to all their supporters, paticularly of course, the Fortuna's Fantastics. A foray through the highlights and now we're all welling up again. Ali takes the time to thank everyone behind the scenes, they do an amazing job.

Judges subtitles - oh, it's good to see the writer of these has their finger on the pulse, lol. Len (likes a ten) and Bruno (Holymoly Tonioli) on the sofa, agreeing that Craig was too picky on Ricalie's AT - it was technically better than Mark's, he nailed the look, Ricky was the real deal. Praise for Chris too, Len says the others look too much for hands and face. Claudia apologises to anyone with a twitch. Ricky's musicality in the waltz explained.

Chrola on the sofa, allowed to say the 'F' word now! Chris (Fish face) feels guilty for Alian - you can stop that now, Mr.Hollins, it had to be one of you! Ola (Jumping for Jordan) is still in shock. The whole journey based on enjoyment. How will they beat Ricalie? They'll just do their best.

Ricalie on the sofa - totally convinced they were going home, she looked physically and emotionally shattered at the end of the night in the VT there. Ricky (Muscles sprout) said the AT was his goal, right from the start; Nat (on a high) couldn't have done it that well without him (as opposed to someone else, not like, physically on her own, see?) On making it look easy - they've trained until 2am some nights - the QS wasn't right until the Saturday morning! How are they going to be Chrola? They can't affect what another couple can do - they'll go out to thank the public by doing the best they can.

Oh, and it sounds like the Lindy Hop will be a joint dance, all out together!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing Running Commentary - Semi Final

Driving home Sunday, fingers in ears (not me driving, obviously) singing la la la la la la la, much to the amusement of OH and Littlun, so I didn't hear the result and then straight to I-Player! Apologies for any spelling mistakes but it's almost time for ITT! Fighting talk form Chris and Ricky, the pressure telling on Ali though. Pro dance up first again, a total Latin fest to Red Light Spells Danger.

Chrola out for their re-vamped rumba and it's ok to play with her bum, they're family now! Gorgeous un-self-conscious start, passionate, lovely performance and a standing ovation. Craig: no real improvement, dreadful hands, loved the routine, love the opening, emotion fantastic - but ruined by hands. Darcey good partner, passing Ola around, was expecting more (a tray of hors d'oeuvres? Some champers?) Len: You put your heart into every dance you do; Alesha: clever choice, showed the sincerity and chemistry between you, but did expose lack of hip action; Bruno: went for it like a sex-starved fiend - ooh la la - can never fault what you put into it. Score: 38 Good start.

Alian next for their AT; Ali looks even more lovely than normal, what have they done differently with her make up? Quite a negative VT won't do her any favours, showing her struggling and getting emotional but - an excellent routine, the music worked well and more intimacy between them. Kept the tone of the dance and her best non-floaty performance to date, even with a little nervy mistake. Darcey: Put everything technical into , like it; Len: Kiss goodbye to your nerves, just relax; Alesha; tried to play the temptress, lovely intricate moments; Bruno: Cool blonde, slick and deadly, the nerves stop you, really good routine. Score: 42

Ricalie and their second waltz - Nat looks more nervous than Ricky - he knows he just has to go for it. A mixture of fighting talk and raw emotion and it brings out a beautiful, haunting and understated routine with lovely choreography. Alesha: beautifully executed, the way you lead, incredible; Bruno: smooth, refined, romatice, timeless elegance, fabulous, went through the music (he explained); Craig: phrasing exceptional, simple elegant, gorgeous; Darcey: Beautiful choreography, stunning, quality and class, a real man. Score: 47 (10's from Len and Bruno). They look a little stunned, not least because of the backstage standing ovation from the rest of the Pro's; Ricky thanks them for their support.

Chrola and a VT of his emotional journey so far - on top of the world week one, then lost confidence, got it back at Blackpool and their AT, as expected, full of chemistry, music much better than I thought it would be (majo credit to the singer, good job!) Showed he can dance, plenty of steps, confident, full of attitude. Bruno: a heroic effort - the face blah blah blah - Len's head in his hands; Craig: finding the trout mouth endearing, loved the choreography, danced it really well; Darcey: you moulded into that tango, became one person; Len: you epitomise what I love about Strictly, no experience, come out and have a go, and what a go, fire and passion, fantastic. Score: 42. Combo 80.

Alian AS and another emotional VT but more about the people in her life, including Brian! Are they, are they not? Can she hold her nerve? Pretty much, musical and smooth, did become a little stiffer mid way through, lovely choreography, very Fred and Ginger. Brian caught her by surprise with a kiss at the end, awww. So I think that's a resounding 'Yes' then! Len: Loved the first (AS), this was better! Alesha: My favourite dance from you, simple, elegant, class, classic; Bruno: the ballroom dazzler is back, showcased your quality, radiant; Craig: Fab-U-Lous. More 10's? Wow, yes - x 5! Score: 50. Combo 92.

Ricalie AT has to follow that; their VT shows they're very much a partnership, doing it for each other. She is very emotional - knows that regardless of how hard they've worked it could all end, if true to form in recent weeks. Now then - this wowed me! the choreography was fantastic and he so nailed it completely, there's a electric charge in the air; it's so close to the end. A standing ovation and I'm not surprised. If that's their last dance, it's the best they could have done. There's one very proud dad there. Craig: I loved it - absolutely amazing. Pure tango, the works. Darcey: the intensity, timing, musicality - couldn't tell you weren't a pro; Alesha: Sexy, hot, passionate, intent, hairs on my arms standing up; Len: Britain loves an underdog but we love justice too - and if you're not in the final, there's no justice. Would love to have heard comments from Bruno! Another standing ovation from the Pro's. Ricky thanks Flavia and Vincent for the inspiration - and does a brilliant impression of Vincent! Score: 49 Craig docked a point because they were out of time coming down the steps at the start! Combo: 96 What else can they do? Incredible partnership.

So after all that, how are we supposed to choose? I'm glad I didn't have to! Although, on reflection now, as I'm typing, I'd probably have voted for Ricalie. Darcey trips out with Ian, making a dream come true for him, a balletic jive to Stuff Like That There. Sort of an oxymoron, there's no getting down and dirty in this jive!

Results Show: Classic Pro foxtrot by Ian and Natalie to You Don't Bring Me Flowers, very emotional, stunning performance. Ian's loving dancing with Natalie; she's been a fab addition, I hope she returns. Wonderful by the band and singers too.

The World Exhibition Rhythmic Gymnasts, Craig and Natalie. Or, The Incredible Hulk and Beth Tweddle, whatever. Apart from some rumba like writhings, where's the dancing? Why do they think we like this? Give us a Hollywood AS anytime. I'm glad our three couples can't do that. I hope to God they don't attempt it anyway. If the title is up for grabs, a routine like that would surely lose it. Where's his hand gone? Eeeuuwwwww.

Oooh, new dance in the final - the Lindyhop (another type of r'n'r/jive??) Speedy IT trailer; Hairpsray with the Pros' and surprise visit from Austin. Vincent is bouncing around like a kangaroo with a sugar-rush. Lily Allen sings Not Fair; Matt and Aliona show out with another hip hop inspired Latin.

The Moment of Truth: Through - Ricalie! Wow, that's a ... a ... wow - what a turn up?! Oooooh, now there's tension ... it's Chrola! Such a shame to see Alian go, but someone had to - at least they've got each other. Please let them come back and do a showdance, PTB. Please. Ricalie still in shock. Well, that was unexpected - they've overturned the vote for Alian - by how much, enough to put them past Chrola too? Game on!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two: Press Pack Panel

But firstly, out on the street for the taxi drivers, butchers and hairdressers to have their say. They all want either Ricky, Ali or Chris to win ... John Pienaar (political correspondent) tells us that Lord Mandelson wants to do Strictly, there's incredulous laughter at the phrase "he's a laugh a minute guy" or some such. Claudia says the look of Death would work for the tango. He briefs Gordon on the show! Come on, seriously - how far would he get? Would we keep him in it to see him humiliate himself? Would we vote him off first chance? Or would we actually see how he goes? Robert Jobson (royal correspondent) confirms HRH's Charles and Camilla's love for the show and even called Buck House to try and find out who the Queen is voting for, as she's a fan too. Surely they could squeeze them in on the front row of the celebrity seats some time? Oliver Holt (sports correspondent) says the sporting world is still a little reticent about their love of SCD (except those that have done it, of course, Dawson's totally over excited at the mere mention of sequins these days!) All three are rooting for Chris.

Ola's journey - the story of the dance: Hear the song Saturday night, sorting the choreography on Sunday makes for a stress-free Monday. Chris learns it in two parts. Tuesday evening should be going all through to music, after spending the day remembering. Wednesday all done, time to polish. Thursday last full day, if you don't know it now, you don't know it! Don't stop, if you make a mistake recover and keep going. Friday at TV centre in front of everyone. Stressful. Saturday, first time with the band, then dress rehearsal, then Showtime! Mouth dry, legs trembling!

Friday Panel: Matt Di A (Dance matters) Natalie Cassidy (Square smile) and Bruno (Highly sprung) he wants to be overwhelmed with a torrent of emotion. Ali will master the technique, will she ignite the rest? Heavy music, need to hear more. Dress is black lace over nude fabric, think Gaulthier. Chrola needs to tape the hands together again, music sounded good to me, Matt says it's quite R&B, didn't hear enough, but I thought it suited them. Ricalie have got it all going for them, could nail it - and proper AT music should please the purists. A three couple semi a la Matt, Alesha and Gethin: a scary place to be, agrees Matt, I had to take Gethin down!

The point of no return, how time has flown, they still can't believe they've made it this far. And Ali appears to have no thoughts of retiring! Claudia has made it to the ballroom; James is up in the lights, dusting the huge glitter ball. There are 92000 mirrors on that, he tells the stunned Claudia, as he descends singing I Believe I Can Fly. He quite possibly just won the next series with that; they winch him back up, she pops over to Alian and Ricalie; Brian enjoying being with all the others again; Ricky says Natalie has drawn blood in their training, what the long legs in the AT! They're waltzing again to see how far he's progressed since week one and it's a beautiful song they've got.

As far as I know, James is still suspended up at the glitter ball, dusting.