Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Snippets: SCD, SYTYCD, DOI, Cee Lo Green

Firstly, especially for anyone in the North Kent area - Pasha Kovalev and Katya Virshilas will be appearing at the Central Theatre, Chatham, on April 1st. No, I kid you not. I've got my tickets - funnily enough I checked out their itinerary before and there was no mention - I found it by accident from my job as local news hound! In Dancing on Ice, Heidi Range's partner, Sylvain Longchambon, has sadly been injured and will miss the first few weeks. Heidi will skate with a replacement - no news on who that might be yet. The incomparably fabulous choreography team of NappyTabs are now aptly expecting a little nappy wearer, Tweeting the news over Christmas that Tabitha is pregnant! Congratulations to them both - and now I've changed the template on this blog, expect to see more Showtime vids which I'm sure will be featuring plenty of their work. And judge from the American version of The Voice, Cee Lo Green, is apparently going to have a British based reality show, about his critically acclaimed band, Goodie Mob, recording their reunion album in London where they will "soak up the local customs" - will we see them as Pearly Kings, scoffing pie and mash? Might be worth a butchers ...

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

The partaking pros jive us in and introduce us to their partners: Katya and Simon Webbe (Simya); Anton and Su Pollard(Suton); Erin and Barry McGuigan (Barrin); Ian and Debra (Debran); Vincent and Charlie (Chincie). Tess is channelling the turkey. Seriously, a feathery dress on Christmas Day, I bet I'm not the only one! Craig enters down the chimney, playing the Grinch and shows us the briefest charleston! Simya hit the floor with a cha cha cha to Merry Christmas Everybody and, well, cor - he's fit! Great hips, powerful, strong partnering, lots of rhythm, attitude and personality, massive energy, what a fabulous start! Len - crisp like fallen snow, sharp like Xmas morning air, hot like mulled wine. Tutti Frutti what a booty! Alesha - strong, animalistic, great movement, totally in control, owned it; Bruno - Ssssssssimon, it feels like midsummer, so much hot toddy I feel dizzy; Craig - a powerhouse of strength, sharp, Amazonian! Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36 Simon for the next series please Powers That Be! Debrian have the American Smooth to Baby, It's Cold Outside and it's lovely and schmaltzy, she's a little bit cheesy and *dons Craig hat* her hands need attention, but confident and sophisticated, enjoyable. Alesha - lovely lines, nice turns, good control, fantastic; Bruno - light and sparkly, elegant, full of flavour a taste to savour; Craig - nasty flat thumbs, gaping you could drive a sleigh through, loved the story, lines and fantastic lifts; Len - like a fairy on the top of the tree, light and fluffy, you warmed me up. Score: 8/9/10/10 = 37 Puzzled, much? Simon got much better comments?! Barrin quickstep to Jingle Bells with a fab charleston section and a stunning cartwheel lift, light and crisp - best boxer by a mile - great timing too and full of personality, really let himself go. Loved it. Bruno - the bells are ringing, more spirit than a well stocked drinks cabinet, fantastic; Craig - loss of balance, spatulistic hands need shaping but great posture, fantastic rhythm, loved the charleston section; Len - knockout but should've danced tomorrow *groans* snow snow thick thick snow, jingled my bells! Alesha - surprisingly good, full of content, great posture, timing, wonderful. Score: 8/9/10/9 = 36 Suton with a foxtrot to White Christmas which is very sedate and they couldn't resist the slight comic end, not a lot of all you'd expect in terms of elegance and flow but pleasant enough to watch. Craig - did lack some fundamentals and essentials (elegance, grace etc) and Su's after him! Len - came out like the Snow Queen, white and gorgeous, turned into a Christmas Tree (ie wooden) a sheer delight; Alesha - an extra point for the attack on Craig, like a lovely Xmas tree (it's the green layered dress) Anton - "I love Alesha" Bruno - such a range, crackers in the sledge to smitten kitten on the dance floor. It's threatening to get out of hand - Bruce - "Just Take her up the stairs, Anton" Su - "Oh, hello ..." Score: 6/9/7/8 = 30. Chincie jive to Santa Claus is Coming To Town, she got a bit excited at the start and then flagged but lovely bright routine, full of content and joy, little untidy in places but really well done. Len - sharp and tasty like a pickled walnut and cheese; Alesha - fast paced, great energy, full of action, pure fun; Bruno - flickering like a flame, sexy santa; Craig - Fab-U-Lous. Score: 9/9/9/10 = 37. Scoreboard: Debrian/Chincie on 37 with 5 points; Simya/Barrin on 36 with 4 points, Suton with 30 on 3 points. My order; Simya; Barrin; Chincie; Debrian; Suton. Shakin' Stevens sings Merry Christmas Everyone and is joined by The Grant and Flavia, snowball throwing gives way to a bit of quickstep, promenade runs and even a fleckerl of sorts followed by jive! The Moment of Truth: It's ... Chincie! Yay for Vincent, a Glitterball at last! The stars of Strictly 2011 take to the floor for a gentle glide - not all though, there's no Edwina, Dan, Rory or Nancy - maybe because their pros were taking part - but no Lulu or Audley either! Maybe there is something in all the rumours? Or more likely because Brendan's on tour and Audley probably went back to America. Let's not start gossip where there isn't any! Another slice of glittery escapism all over for this year then, roll on SCD10!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Jastina's Salsa!

Those kindly folk at the BBC have posted the dress rehearsal video of Jason and Kristina's salsa routine, which we were prevented from seeing in the final! There's some seriously rapid armography going on there and it's a great song - no atmosphere with no audience there which is a real shame, as it would have put everyone in the party mood! Next year, pretty please, let them do their showdance and the unseen dance first; makes much more sense! In other news, Dancing on Ice is scheduled to start on January 8th!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Voice - how it works!

The new BBC show, The Voice, will be aired in the new year and although, on the surface it seems to be just another X-Factor, the format is quite different.

The Voice UK will see four critically acclaimed recording artists seek out the nation's best vocal talent. With looks playing no role in the selection process, the coaches will be looking purely for contestants who boast genuinely amazing voices, even at the audition stage. There's no room for comedy performances, sob stories or people who rely on looks to get them through – this is the first talent show that focuses on what really matters when you're a singer; The Voice! The format features three key stages: the unique Blind Auditions, the Battle Rounds and the Live Performances.

The initial auditions have the four coaches (Tom Jones, Jessie J, and Danny O'Donoghue) sitting with their backs to the contestants. When they hear a voice they like, they'll swivel their chair to face them and take them through to the next round. If more than one coach swivels, the auditionee gets to choose who'd they'd prefer!

If no coach chooses that contestant, they're eliminated - but can be recalled if any of the coaches doesn't reach their allocation; each coach should end up with 8 contestants in their group.

The next phase sounds pretty brutal, for coaches and contestants: The 8 in each group are split into pairs, who sing off against each other - the same song in front of a studio audience. The coach then chooses who stays and who goes from each pair, ending up with a team of four to take through to the live rounds.

The audience will help choose who goes through in the live rounds until each coach has just one act left and then - it's time for the Big Final!

Excited much? There's a website and The Voice are also on Twitter and Facebook, so you can join in with all the gossip and #thevoice stuffage in the best tradition of reality shows!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: The Grand Final 2011

Live from the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and it's all up to us tonight! The judges scores are just for our guidance, their self importance and the contestants thrill of getting lots of tens! (We hope!)

Gladiators out first, as the pros take to the floor for a Livin' on a Prayer Paso; the finalists wheeled out in chariots pulled by Artem, Brendan and Vincent.

Bruce and Tess arrive, with Tess in a stunning sequin and chiffon confection, my favourite of hers all series!

Harriona is leading off with their quickstep and what a way to kick start the finale - better than first time around, maybe because the camera had more room, we see more, fantastic sway, so sublime, goosebump city. Len - you came out all guns blazing, loved it first time, that was brilliant; Alesha - stunning, maximised floor space brilliantly; Bruno - Harry in the Temple Ballroom, he came, he danced, he conquered, delivered with flash and dash; Craig - I only had one problem with it before, you've improved it thankfully. Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40 (I'd already written it down!)

Jastina's Priscilla tango is brilliant, I appreciated it much more this time around, loved the whole camp aggression thing, one to savour, so much drive and energy and fun. Alesha - excelled for me, clever choreography, showcased personality; Bruno - pushed to the limit, a tango with split personality, Wolverine versus disco diva, incredible, barking mad, loved it; Craig - your bottom was sticking out and chasses a bit skippy but fantastic routine; Len - You've survived 14 weeks of blood, sweat and tears, giving the others 20 years, fantastic. Score: 9/10/10/9 = 38. They won't be the first 9s booed tonight!

Pashee jive with controlled abandon, absolutely fab as before, the firecracker was all ablaze. Bruno - a premium grade jive of eyepopping vibrancy; Craig - bundle of joy to watch; Len - I've judged here many times and watching you gives me as much pleasure as judging world champions; Alesha - adorable, my fave jive of the series. Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39 And finally, Chelsee believes she can dance - but not without Pasha!

So at the moment they're all equal in my eyes! No votes yet! Or one each but not much point in that!

Showdances next, Harriona's Great Balls of Fire - I'm hoping it's not all lifts but sadly, it is - loved the song and the attitude, he performed brilliantly but I would have liked more actual kicking and flicking and swing - so I'm a little disappointed, I thought it was building up to a frenzy of dance but it never happened, we had the static posing again. :( Len - if you were a stick of rock you'd have talent written through your middle, one sticky lift but everyone impressed; Alesha - loved the concept, jiving fabulous(?) lifts dangerous; Bruno - it's great guns Harry, Rock God, loved the mix, performance magnificent; Craig - enormous amount of talent, transitions could've been smoother but an amazing routine. Score: 9/9/10/9 = 37. You see, more dancing, less lifting - would've got more tens I reckon.

Jastina could steal it for me here, because they actually danced the show dance instead of lifting their way through it - Dancing Fool, a brilliant choice for a quickstep come charleston come jazz hands medley, with fluid lifts and costume changes that didn't intrude, stunning musical routine, completely loved it! Alesha - razzmatazz, energy, the canes, the quickstep. That was a showDANCE! Bruno - a showbiz extravaganza, theatrical spectacular, break box office records, brilliant; Craig - ferocious and full on, get her a restraining order, A-MAZ-ING; Len - you're a showman, that was a showdance - a perfect combination. Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40

Pashee and their funky One Night Only with the dangerous lifts - see, they just don't work on me - and no recognisable Latin or Ballroom, after everything she's learned, it was like we were back in week one. Again, I'm disappointed, sadly. I don't want to be but ... Bruno - a vision of seductive beauty emerging from the mist; vibrant performance; Craig - loved the lifts, so dangerous, competition is so close; Len - liked the element of hustle, bright and shiny like Blackpool Tower; Alesha - loved that you were set free, totally natural, you dance with your heart. Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36.

The leaderboard: Jastina on 78; Harriona 77; Pashee 75 Jastina edge ahead with me with a vote for their show dance. And now, we wait. We watch Merlin. Arthur's back together with Guinevere, yay! They'll have a Moment of Truth next week, methinks - with the discovery of Excalibur, Merlin's secret will finally be out!

But now, it's The Moment of Truth #1 and it's Jastina who fall. Aw. I'd love to have seen their quickstep again but sadly it's not to be (I know, there's always Youtube). I have enjoyed so many of their dances this year and been so glad that Kristina's efforts over the past few series were rewarded with a final. It's still not fair that they train for a new dance and don't get to do it though, Powers That Be. It's cruel! Go back to two dances plus showdance, please, so they get to do all three!

On we go with Round Two: Harriona's American Smooth with a VW base. It's gorgeous, effortless, perfect musical phrasing, romantic, the lifts not intrusive, nice transitions, beautifully played. Len - the added elements to the VW made a great dance unbelievable; Alesha - so accomplished, the nation has fallen in love with you; Bruno - the perfect fit for your princely charms, irresistible, beautiful, salute you; Craig - quiet, gentle, romantic, contemporary, gorgeous (it it wasn't the final, would have said something about the hands!) Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39

Pashee rumba to Because of You is dramatic, passionate and emotive, she's finally got the Pashan, lovely split slides this time, she put everything into that, wonderful arm and leg lines as usual. Alesha - put your heart and soul into dancing, dramatically romantic; Bruno - you nailed that rumba, expressive, fluid, musical, acted like a movie star; Craig - magnificent; Len - Saw nothing I didn't like. Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39

Jessie J sings Price Tag while they change and catch their breath. She's been at the crystal cupboard too and how many metres in that skirt? Shame they ran out before they did the front; could've hidden the sparkly cod piece. Great vocal as ever though, I'll even forgive her bringing her own dancers.

Harriona's Agentine Tango and their timing is wonderful. Intricate and powerful - and he's more experienced, so what was missing before is there now! Excellent, all the intensity you could want. Bruno - so cool, so sharp, cutting like a steel blade, sensuality, repressed lust. I've been tangoed! Craig - I have fallen in love with you too; Len - last time I criticised, you listened- came out and it was, go on my son! Alesha - Loved it even more now, perfect final choice, exquisite. Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40

Who's that glum looking woman behind Brucie? Cheer up love, you're witnessing one of the best Strictly finals ever from one of the best seats in the house. Maybe she's one of those landladys Brucie alluded too earlier and someone did a runner, who knows? Pashee's quickstep is a joy, loved that routine, so musical and tight, what a note to finish on, wonderful. Craig - as before - first class; Len - it's your favourite, it could well be mine, fabulous; Alesha - perfect combination, the frock, the music, the routine; Bruno - Strictly stunning, musicality, precision. Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39.

Now this is tricky, I've loved all four of those last dances, so I've nothing between them. I sometimes miss being obsessive over one particular couple (Mark&Karen; Gethin&Camilla; Tom&Camilla) - being neutral does let you enjoy the show and still keep your finger nails, but it makes it exceedingly difficult to vote! The deciding factor? That I voted for Aliona and Matt last year and she missed out and that Harriona's quickstep was my most favourite dance overall! So there you have it - Harriona get my vote.

The People of Britain speak, sharing the Strictly love and their favourite moments, like Russell and FlaBia *loud guffaws* and then the whole cast are back for a final dance to I Wanna Dance With Somebody, all with their signature moves - a fine effort, all in time and having a ball out there.

The Final Moment of Truth: Strictly Come Dancing Champions 2011 are: Harriona!

And the McFloy boys invade the floor! "Get off!" orders Brucie!

"I've been on the best show on TV and I'm honoured" - Harry.

Congratulations to everyone involved for a fantastically awesome series! All they have to do now is top it! They'll start with the Christmas Special on Christmas Day - BBC One, 8pm, don't be late!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Friday Finale

Ok, hands up who almost missed the earlier start ... Karen and Ian in the judges chairs, telling the finalists it's a simple matter of getting twelve million people on their feet!

Pashee's journey shows how much their relationship has grown, they're so together on and off the dance floor. I thought I was going to find her incredibly annoying, a mouthy air head, and how completely wrong I was, she's a total sweetie. On the sofa with them and Chelsee (she's Healey got us going) says rehearsals are going Ok, a little doubt in the show dance, which is to Beyonce's One Night Only. Before the elimination, it's the showdance and the judges favourite, which for them will be their jive. They've changed nothing, except Pasha (Pash for Gold) won't be sporting the full make up. His advice to Chelsee: "Look into my eyes and dance with me" Cue friends and family video, cue Glitter tissues, cue Chelsee as Scary Spice. Pasha givers her a hanky, what a gent. He'd better be back next year, he's been a brilliant addition to the show.

Zoe heads off to see Vicky, head designer, who shows us Chelsee's cracker of a showdance dress, bejewelled, golden, sparkly, fringy. Aliona's AS dress also incredible "no limit to the crystal cupboard" 8 metres of feather boa, godets. Harriona's showdance is to Great Balls of Fire, a swing jive, the guns will be coming out of the fiery red concoction. Kristina's teensy salsa costume, turquoise, sequins, fringing.

Past celebs and pros converge in the ballroom, with Russell telling us he coach got stuck in a snow drift, and how, the last time he was at the Tower Ballroom, he climbed up on a big organ. I'll stop there. Nancy confirms her stuckupedness by refusing to go on the coach with the rest. Just don't get it, do they, some people. The pros, specifically, Brendan, James (who else) Vincent and Erin, of all people, are mucking about behind Zoe and the celebs, diving into shot and gurning behind whoever is being interviewed. Natalie joins in, closely followed by Katya and Ola. Brendan falls over in the scrum to catch up with Zoe and Dan, who gets together with Audley to eject him - Vincent, I think it is, disappears down in between the seats in the rush to get away!

Harriona's journey and it's a great decision to have the jive based showdance, they were so fab in the swingathon and a top song to boot. Aliona says she's going to miss his adorable little face. They're on the sofa and Harry (Super McFly Guy) is consumed by anxiety. Aliona (The Vil to Win) says he has pushed himself even harder this week. The American Smooth looks quite fast, to The Buble's version of I Can't Help Falling in Love With You and he's got the dance down, just needs to polish and then enjoy. We'll see quickstep and showdance before elimination. Cue friends and family vid, cue Glitter tissues, cue best friend James, bringing fresh tears - he was very ill when they were young.

The Glitter Ball Awards - nominations for Most Expressive Verbalisation: Bruno was robbed, totally. Craig won it for "Lumpestuous" but Bruno is the highlight of the judges critique. When he loves something, he really loves it.

Ian and Karen on the sofa, complaining of the cold and looking for a big showdance, it's what we're all waiting for. Pashee's strengths - her confident solo work, the partnership. Ian reckons he took the balloons from their samba home with him! Harriona's strengths - came alive with the tango, not all of us can carry off the vampire thing! Jastina strengths, came out week 1, cha cha set the bar right back then. Great couple. "If you think you're doing your best, push it a bit more." Karens'a advice worthy of a Jason slogan!

Jastina's journey, a fantastic few weeks then, as per usual, the knockers start knocking you down, can't bear someone to be consistently good too soon - I think he's delivered every week, so many excellent routines, so much personality in them, brings the fun and the intensity when needed. They're on the sofa. What's it like to be in the final at the Tower Ballroom, Jason (The boy Don' good). "It's cold!" He's very impressed, the whole place is incredible, especially the springy floor. Kristina (Kris-mas cracker) is thrilled with her first final and thanks Jason for getting her there. Their salsa looks fast and rhythmic and they felt the love in rehearsal. There are goosebumps when the dances all come together. The showdance has jazz hands, quickstep, charleston, it's showbiz and fun! Cue friends and family vid, cue Glitter tissues and cue lovely, chubby, cuddly baby pic!

Zoe's becoming quite inconsolable now, she's setting me off. It is the last ITT of the year after all, and we've been with her (almost!) every day. Alesha, wearing a gorgeous salsa type, feathery effort, joins her on the sofa to advise there is the most enormous comedown when it's all finished and that the hardest thing is to stay focused through the fatigue. They beg Craig to get that 10 paddle out!

All the cast are out of the dance floor for a chorus of It Takes Two! The Big One all kicks off tonight, 7pm on BBC1, with the second half beginning at 9.05pm! Excited much?!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Wednesday Warm Up

Zoe all Christmassy in glittery red, running out of entrances! Harriona on the sofa, Harry admits it was quite terrifying to go first, everyone seem so quiet, so tense. Felt much better once the charleston was out of the way and settled into the VW. He was thinking of the song "What have I got to do to make you love me" after not getting a 10 from Craig. Again. And he could hear his heart thumping throughout the elimination. Their final dances: Judges favourite - the quickstep; their favourite - the Argentine Tango, with added intensity; the new dance - a VW based American Smooth; the showdance - 78 lifts and much danger for the front row! Looks to be jive based from the training! Zoe doesn't want him back behind the McFly drums, he should dance out front instead. Aliona says she'd pay to see that; he says the McFly boys will pay to put him back!

The Glitter Balls: The Naughty Step Award - nominations are: Aliona for not listening to the judges; Robbie, for being Robbie; Bruno for being naughty with Alesha; James for not being able to keep it zipped. And James is the clear winner!

Ian's Wednesday Warm Up: Two old, two new - Pashee rumba, very impressed, doing the sliding split again, amazing transitions, complicated, wonderful leg action (straightlegness!) Showdance - upbeat, synchronicity, compact, body action, looking goooood. Music needs lots of highs and lows, highlights and a BIG Finish! Jastina salsa - lovely hips, fab armography, hoping the lift will smooth out, it's very dangerous! Showdance - old school, putting on the ritz, canes, using the charleston and Smooth moves, lifting Kristina on cane, like with the umbrella. Zoe: Get the broom out Norm, we're trying that when I get home! Harriona American Smooth - natural turns, look at the lines; show dance - fantastic creative lifts into jive, lively, kickey, flicky and fast.

Strictly Final Party: A #Bobbywaiter is what everyone on Twitter seemed to want at theirs! That would be Robin. In an apron. Mm.

Back to Ian and Jastina: Judges' choice: Tango, the Priscilla one, a great audience pleaser; their favourite - the magical quickstep, brilliant! Pashee - Judges choice - the jive; theirs - the quickstep. And with Harriona's quickstep, Ian reckons if he doesn't get 10s across the board, he's streaking across the Tower Ballroom Floor, thereby leaving all his fans in an eternal quandry ...

This is going to be one serious final - we could easily see a three way tie, all on maximum points each! Fab-u-lous!

In other news - Harry in pants. That is all.

In depth interview with Kristina. The headline is a bit misleading until you read through and realise she's talking about when she was 14 years old!

Interview with Russell - he's playing the Genie of the Lamp in Aladdin, a role just made for him, I can picture the turban, bolero and flimsy net curtain trousers already ...

Has James' mouth got him and Ola into trouble - they're not needed for the tour and were told this via email!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Mixed emotions.

Pashee on the sofa and Chelsee (fan-tastic paso) is only just getting her head around being in the final, let alone win! Pasha (life begins at 40) told her to think about Craig's 8 for her smooth and put the aggression into the paso! The splits issue was down to nerves, even worse than normal, and the fan failed to open like they'd practised! Paso was also the hardest dance for her and at this moment in time she's feeling shock, surprise, overwhelmed and happy. They have rumba as their new dance - she reckons she's getting the sexiness out of Pasha, he reckons she's coping very well and is very sexy. She's picking the fluff off his chin - we could have a wedding yet, says Zoe. Showdance is funky and disco-ey, spiced up with tricks. Quote of the week: "Is the Blackpool one big?" - Chelsee. And we see Pasha fall over - but he calls it choreography!

The Glitter Ball Awards - Most Showstopping Costume. The nominations are: Chelsee's tango bra strap; Nancy's feather boa; Alex's rebellious hemline; Holly's misbehaving braces. And the winner is: Nancy's feather boa!

Karen Hardy's Choreography Corner: Harry's charleston lifted his character, he leaves us wanting more. Spellbinding VW, fleckerl to start, beautifully in harmony with Tommy's voice, incredible, CRAIG! Jason's samba full of content, one ace - party dance, pulled the audience in and delivered fantastic choreography. They set up the storyline on the steps in the AT, music so sensuous, only the two of them, story built up till Kristina's eating him alive. That's what the AT is all about! Passion and realness: "Dance like no-one is watching." Chelsee AS - arms, how she uses them, nailed. Paso - incredible - got to take the choreography and answer him back, snarled back at him, demanding the floor equally. Sent her out on her own again. Assertive energy, passionate. The Showdance advice: Music - has got to get you on your feet, live, pumping, buzzing. Lifts - couple of big ones we haven't seen before. Sell that number - connect, entertain, it's not aerobics!

Katya's Step by Step Guide to rumba: Slow -sweet - romantic - your chance to enjoy dancing, no rushing. Rumba walks - forward and back basics - New Yorkers - fan position - tricks - hip action - good lines - good chemistry; if he's not hot, forget it ;)

Top of the Frocks with Julian Macdonald, Holly's biggest fan, and Oonagh O'Hagan. Holly's charleston outfit his favourite from Saturday, modern and young; Holly's foxtrot Lady in Red his series favourite, ultra modern, refined, sophisticated; Holly's AT dress, a dangerous red devil, a Bond girl, electric bolt of crystal strips across, diamantes put on by hand, fantastic eye make up too. Chelsee's paso dress a complicated confection of pattern cutting, contrasts, stole the night, elongated her, crystals of all colours; Alex's salsa dress, red into pastel, six layers of ostrich feather boa, 6000 crystals.

In other news - Strictly have teamed up with on-line merchandiser, Spreadshirt, so you can design your own personalised gear featuring your favourite couple from this year's series. Now that's what I call Christmas for a Strictly addict!

Zoe says that landing the It Takes Two job felt like coming home - I'm amazed she had to audition, surely she was a shoe-in to replace Claudia?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Au Revoir Aleames; Adios Artolly

Backstage Pass -early a.m. and Harry is too tired to be nervous; Chelsee tripping down the stairs in rehearsal - injuries for her and Holly. The McFly boys - Harry has to do well, says Dougie, there's Royalty in the house!

Aleames on the sofa and Alex (not the won show) decide to get a grip and went to pot. It was never about the winning, it was always just the doing it. The three dancers through deserve to be there. James (see you Jimmy) says he's normally a grumpy bloke and said her easy going nature rubbed off on him. Lovely highlights - it was an honour and a privilege to work with Alex. The tissues are out, Zoe's off too. James loves all three finalist but rooting for Harry - reckons he's been undermarked!

Points of You - 50 year old ex-boxer Cliff, crying over Harriona's VW; James' face pulling, Chelsee's lift behind Tess.

Artolly on the sofa - Johnny Ball is furious that Holly (Kiss Kiss Bye Bye) didn't make it through and she wishes she'd gone out on the AT. Artem (DJ AC has left the building) admits that even he sometimes forgets which step is next. Holly may keep up with the AT and Paso and is taking away new buddies, health and fitness and strengthened character. Whoever is most committed deserves to win. Artem says that people don't realise how difficult it is to step into this show.

The Glitter Balls, hosted by Ian Waite and Karen Hardy.
The nominees for Biggest Entrance are: Craig - aka Brian May at Wembley and the broomstick entrance on Halloween; Lulu in her Paso and The Grant cannon shot - it's a no-brainer, of course it's The Grant!

Bruno's dance debrief - He's gone all Fosse - all three finalists are brillliant, all five were fabulous on Saturday. Chelsee's AS - her musical phrasing, natural feel for music, exciting, like an instrument played by a God. Paso totally focused, danced beautifully. Jason's samba, technically difficult but you have to have performance power - salsa in the final! The AT - so into it, going for an Oscar, ever step full of passion and intent - both really gelled, wanting the same thing at the same time, like watching a thriller. Harry's charleston lived up to expectation, incredible swivel and performance, he's going to go for it now. Come out and be spectacular. Created a mood of love in the VW, no-one watching wasn't moved. On Saturday, it's two new dances, including the show dance, and two they've done before. If they get it wrong, the judges can turn! Be very smart: Colin and Erin - Nah! Tom and Camilla - Yay!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Semi Final! High Fives!

Harry in a sailor suit. Oh, Yes. But Chelsee and Aliona steal dresses of the night with their ballroom frocks.

Harriona's charleston first and as promised by the training snapshots, it's brilliant. Very crisp, clean and he didn't miss a beat. Fabulous swivel action, seamless and exciting lifts, musicality and rhythm fused with energy all through, a real WOW. Wild about Harry? Plenty will be after that! Len - two things were revealed: Aliona's midriff and your talent. If your VW is to the same standard you'll be at the Tower ballroom. No time for the other judges, we're already running late! Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39 So what did Craig drop a point for - sweat droplets not synchronised, maybe, who knows?

Aleames waltz is delightful, a beautiful emotive song, elegantly performed and quite lovely. Alesha - dancing like that is why you're in the semi final; Bruno - Belle of the Ball, elegant, poised, graceful and so in touch with James; Craig - lost your neck on occasion, some closes missed but you have come such a long, long way; Len - looked beautiful, danced beautiful, deserve your place here. Score: 7/9/9/9 = 34

Pashee American Smooth to Time After Time, which, sung by Hayley is gorgeous and so different for an AS; it worked beautifully. Pasha's choreography is stunning and Chelsee is so smooth and natural and just oozes her way through it. Gorgeous. You could tell she was completely in the moment. Bruno - a natural shine like a South Sea pearl, upper body fluidity is extraordinary, musical phrasing instinctive, excellent; Craig - your arms are absolutely exquisite, for a short person, you still create beautiful lines; Len - Chelsee Healey, like the Chelsee flower show, in full bloom, like daffodils blowing through the breeze; Alesha - a first class performance. Score: 8/9/10/9 = 36.

Artolly Argentine Tango to one of my favourite pieces of Tango music, from True Lies and they captured the feel so well. Brave use of the chair, that could've gone horribly wrong but didn't and was therefore fab. Studied and seductive, every move spot on. Well placed, suited her personality. Craig - quiet control, seductive chair rotation, reacting completely to Artem's lead. Absolutely gorgeous; Len - chair worked really well, clever and clean; Alesha - beautiful lines and leg extensions stunning, still a real contender; Bruno - beautiful, bad and dangerous, coiled in the chair, ready to strike ... watch the video in full for all Bruno's comments! Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36

Jastina samba and there's a near slip catastrophe at the top of the stairs but he's ok! Good start, plenty of bounce, could do without the skirt flounce bit, that just seems like filler to me - and really should have gone with acting the chorus lines, like we did back in the day - you wouldn't do YMCA without signing the letters, would you? Everyone watching could've joined in then! Full of fun and his usual zest though, good effort. Len - all the steps I like to see, your bum going to town, got over-excited and lost timing but full of energy, well done; Alesha - fun, wonderful atmosphere, captured the spirit; Bruno - got carried away by the moment, bouncing and wiggling, messy but fun; Craig - massive fusion of energy 100% fantastic, bounce, could've done without the awkward daddy dancing, liked the fusion of samba and disco. Score: 8/9/9/8 = 34

Look, I was the Famous Five's biggest fan - in fact, my English teacher said I needed to "stop living in the fantasy land of Enid Blyton" - so I've no problem with The Search for the Glitterball, ok?

Harriona - Judges View: What a contender - the complete package - didn't realize how good he'd be - got the physique - great great rhythm - very rarely we see the sway. Their Viennese Waltz is simple, elegant, understated and emotive - why have I not noticed his beautiful hands so much before? Alesha - such a talented guy, exquisite, confident, effortless, beautifully played; Bruno - the Prince and the Showgirl, romance unfolding with every step, so perfectly placed, judged, driven, class, romance, style, dancing royalty; Craig - slightly odd, despondent and melancholy which was a very interesting take, just gorgeous to watch to the point of smouldering - move head to the left slightly; Len - beautifully executed, lovely natural turns, lovely sway, beautiful swing of the body throughout - take him to the Tower! Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39

Aleames - Judges View: Most improved - good on her - done really well - lacked confidence - a confident Alex could get to Blackpool - incredible personality and smile, you warm to her. Their salsa has the big Dirty Dancing lift - very impressive, lots of fun, good armography, salsa steps could've been smoother but totally sold it. Why with the broom and mac though, why? Bruno - can come and scrub my floor anytime, lovely to see you let your hair down, very good arm passes, some moments of uncertainty on your own; Craig - big challenge , beyond your skill set but what I love is that you throw yourself into it which is totally brilliant; Len - personality and gusto and hip hip hooray, came out full bore, lost finesse because of the attack; Alesha - full on and fun, little bit messy but be proud and smile, great job. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Pashee - Judges View: What a surprise - ballroom and Latin, everything - didn't expect the level of technique, the QS convinced Len - she attacks - sense of rhythm - the revelation. Their Paso Doble is danced with lots of confidence, terrific flamenco section, much solo work, another heel caught in another skirt so a little stutter, overall her intent and lines were fab as ever. Craig - Paso personified, A-Maz-Ing. You are the most incredible dancer. Gobsmackingly good; Len - full of mood and attitude, lovely focus between the two of you, the shaping, whip it and wait, Pasha Doble - fantastic! Alesha - performing like a true dancer, so interesting to watch, full of content, I'm a little bit speechless, dynamic, deserve to be in the final; Bruno - watch the vid, he's off on one again! His descriptions are as colourful and splendid as the dances ... Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40!! She's gone, so's Pasha. What's the background laughter for? Brucie in his 3D specs!

Artolly - Judges View: a worthy semi-finalist - finishing strongly - everything you want in a dancer, lines good, placement good - needs to keep the energy levels up - Swan Lake so risky, so special. A Charleston with a modern twist, another fab creation from Artem, loved the happy and rhythmic feel, but she was pretty knackered by the end! Len - I grew to enjoy the modern twist, lovely swivels, a tad slicker but overall very entertaining; Alesha - I loved it, cool, fought your way through, stepped out of your comfort zone; Bruno - praise for taking risks, loved the contemporary concept; Craig - thank you Artem for taking the risks or we'd all be living in the 50s, loved the idea, loved the routine. Scores: 8/8/9/9 = 34.

Jastina - Judges View: Can sell it - a showman - natural performer - good technique - too much pressure on himself so he loses it. Their Argentine Tango. Well. Oh, I say - very intense, powerful, dramatic, moody, totally in character, mesmerising, fantastic partnering, Jason so strong there - reminded me of the feeling we got when we saw Mark and Karen's all those years ago! Well done Jastina, fab ending to the show and puts them right back in it for sure. A standation from Alesha - clean, sharp, seductive and built and built and built, so aggresive, owned that dance; Bruno - death by Kristina, relentless attack to the senses, a fight to the death - you won! Craig - I'd put that woman on an assault charge darling, incredible; Len - if you're gonna do your best dance of the series, what better time than the semi-final. Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40. You wait all series for a top score and then two come along at once ...

To the Leaderboard:

Harriona: 39+39 = 78 = 5
Pashee: 36 + 40 = 76 = 4
Jastina: 34 + 40 = 74 = 3
Artolly: 36 + 34 = 70 = 2
Aleames: 34 + 31 = 65 = 1

I think we can assume that Harriona and Pashee will make it through - who'll be joining them? On to the results ... where Tess just apparated onto our screens! Ah, the Magic of Strictly ... *settles back*

Pro Dance opener to Paint it Black, a Paso, mainly, with Artem&Aliona; Robin&Kristina; James&Ola. Clever as ever.

Aloe Blacc is still in need of a dollar, fantastic vocal with Brendan and Natalie on major form with a cha cha inspired routine.

The Moment of Truth #1: Going to Blackpool Tower - Pashee and Harriona. No surprises there then. Alesha's advice to Chelsee - plenty of sleep and porridge; Bruno says Harry has everything it takes. Over to Claudia, where we learn it's a funky showdance for Pashee. "We'll go for that," says Clauds "nervously."

Craig Smith and Natalie someone, three times World Exhibition Champs. Boring. Get off. Bring on Tom and Camilla with a proper showdance. If Natalie had worn bacofoil we'd have had flashbacks to Lisa and Brendan *eek*. Please, Aliona, Pasha, AN Other - please do not attempt this! To be fair, it's more emotive than others we've seen, they are at least telling a story to the music instead of just chucking her around. "Len and I do that at the wrap party every year" - Claudia.

Len's Lens - Len's reaction to Harry, he had to relieve himself vocally; Craig - tens! Jason's party face; Alex's Dirty Dancing lift - trust; Bruno and Alesha dancing in their seats; Series highlights - Ola's swingathon exit reaction; Bruno whacking Alesha at Wembley; Craig - Brucie jumping onto the floor with Holly; Bruno - Craig aka Brian May; Lulu and Brendan's missed high five. The Grant - the Faces.

The Military Wives sing Wherever You Are, Vincent and Flavia accompany with a floaty and dreamy Argentine Tango flavoured beautiful ballroom routine. Stunning lifts, it's been emotional, particularly as we've arrived at the final Moment of Truth:

Eliminated: Aleames! Aw *wells up* Moving tributes to each other *wells up more* Also out: Artolly! Holly says Artem is the most incredible choreographer she's ever met. She may have used a different adjective, but someone phoned *grrrr* Insensitive jerk. Oh, she's setting us all off too. Tears are all around us.

So the Blackpool Tower Ballroom welcomes Harriona, Pashee and Jastina for the Grand Final next week, available in 3D/HD or just normal telly as usual.

The countdown starts here: Five judges (including us); Four wicked dances (each); Three nervous couples; Two dancing partners; One Glitter Ball! Bring it on!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Snippets

I see some people getting their knickers in a twist over the judges salaries - even though the vast majority of their earnings comes from other stuff! *rolls eyes*

Glenn Hoddle's guilty pleasure is our favourite dance show! Sign him up, sign him up, sign him up ...

Robbie has been offered a part in a touring musical, Hooray for Hollywood - the promoter recognises a crowd puller!

Russell will be dancing in London's New Year's Day Parade with Flavia.

Let's Dance for Sport Relief will be back next year, with Alex Jones and Steve Jones presenting.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Wednesday Warm Up

Jastina on the sofa, trying to guess the reasons why the ended up in the bottom two: Middle of the board; fab performance = assumptions of safety by fans! Kristina so worried they were out. Zoe cheers them up with the reminder that Alesha was bottom two in the quarter final and went on to win! Kristina very proud of Jason. The Magic of Dance keeps him going as each week gets toughter. Argentine Tango this week, he's connected with it immediately, learnt it in one day and training looks exceptionally strong and macho. Also has samba but to counter the dread dance, they're using Blame it on The Bookie and there'll be a disco break in it. Something for the judges, something for the public :) Jason's Motivational Merchandise, as worn by The Grant: T-shirt; tote bag; apron; placemat: Not available in any store near you!

Ian Waite's Wednesday Warm-Up: Aleames salsa - a challenge, hips need more rhythm. Waltz looking really good though; Pashee American Smooth - lovely lift/hug, becoming at one with Pasha, arms all finished, character, very smooth. Paso Doble has a prop - a fan! Not one of the two legged variety ... needs to create arm shapes; Artolly charleston has been changed, no footage available. Argentine Tango looking fab, lovely long leg lines, as demo'd by Zoe and Ian who may do a fitness DVD together, going by the stretching; Jastina samba - will be a challenge although the bounce action is there, keep arms compact. AT fantastic lines, very intense, clean and precise. Passion! Another demo, leaving Zoe all hot and flustered! Harriona Viennese Waltz - great hold, lower the legs slightly "D'you get that, Judd?" shouts Zoe. He acknowledges, they're waiting for their turn on the sofa! Charleston looking fantastic, hopefully lots of humour and razzamatazz, brilliant swivels.

A one hour It Takes Two coming-atcha live from Blackpool next week!

Brendan takes the Pro Dance Challenge and has TEN botafogos disallowed but still scores 70 and scoots to the top of the board, displacing Flavia who briefly topped the board yesterday with 67!

Harriona on the sofa. Nice Christmas jumper. Every man should have one. Really. Harry (Hip Hip Harry) will keep us informed of his dream scores this week. Aliona (Maid Mari-ona) so glad Craig pointed out the improved hips! They were scared on Saturday, even with a fab score, they were 4th on the board. Dancing the charleston to Wild About Harry, he's embracing the dance and looks so cute. VW really good, very smooth, dancing to David Gray. Congrats to Dougie in the jungle, who's back and will be watching this week!

In other news, it seems like Alesha, Craig and Bruno's visit to Chatty Man was pretty hilarious! I may head over to i-Player and check it out! The brilliant @LaylaTango found a YouTube clip - be warned, it contains explicit footage and the odd expletive! But it is completely hilarious :-D Allow an uninterrupted 20 minutes to appreciate it in full!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Robbiola Relegated

Robbiola on the sofa and Robbie (Mr. Blonde rockin' in a roll neck) knew it was their time to go, the others deserved to go through. Ola (It's Ola-over Robbiola) saw such a massive change, Robbie improved so much, he could never have done that quickstep in week one. Were Craig's final words "loved the concept, loved the performance" a consolation to leave with? "No!" says Robbie "Yes" says Ola, but Robbie's still bitter! Robbie takes his hat off to the older, less obviously fit contestants on how strenuous Strictly is - he lost 9lbs! I won't ask where, it might be rude, says Zoe. His mum's extremely proud (get well soon to his dad - she was with him at hospital today, he fell and broke a hip) his kids bawled their eyes out. Generous tributes from Holly and James, and Ola - and she's gone, says Zoe! Apart from the free spray tans, what will you miss? Everybody - from runners to judges (even Craig) make up and contestants. Harry to win. Or Alex. Or Chelsee. Or Jason. Or Holly!

Backstage Pass: Alex in agony; Harry, alternately feeling insignificant and then inspired, watching the pro dance; James, Vincent, Brendan and Erin picking on new boy Pasha, pinging his braces; Technically, Robin was never voted off - he's hooking up with Rent-a-Pro Brendan. It's fun tinged with panic tonight, says Len - it all comes down to this one performance!

Pasha in for the Pro Dance Challenge, not at all confident but he's very quick, nearly tripped himself up though and lost form, may be some disqualifications! Only three disallowed but some incomplete - he still scores 65 and edges into the lead! Only one above the girls, points out Zoe. Thanks, I didn't like to say so, he says! Not sure Flavia won't take him tomorrow "she's a fast cracker!"

Points of You: Julie from Didcot tells Len to Lighten Up! Face like a pickled walnut when Bruno's doing his thing. And Pork Pie hat bass man in the band is Trevor Barry!

Bruno on the sofa with the dance debrief - we have a montage of his colourful performance appraisals first, and Alesha being mauled on a regular basis! He and Len are zonked throughout the two months of Dancing With The Stars, but he feeds off the contestants energy, they provide his material. Even the bad performances have been good - those from the less technically adept, he means. Bigs up Robbie - he took it like a man, great posture! Harry's rumba was almost there, the basics just needed to be more slinky, figures were fantastic, simplest things are the hardest and it is a woman's dance, the man is just the frame, very difficult dance for the men. Alex so much more confident, movement and fluidity fantastic, at ease with herself; Holly's flamenco correct, the penny dropped, she had to ignite everything, good at Latin and ballroom, good arms and legs, needed the extra fire. Loved the concept of Jason's - did their own version, took inspiration rather than copy. Chelsee on fire, timing just brilliant, just performing, dancing and enjoying. Zoe's up with him now, dancing around. I love Claudia but I love Zoe's enthusiasm for all things dance, any excuse and she's up!

In other news: Emma Bunton and Jason Gardiner will not be returning as judges on Dancing on Ice - Pineapple Dance's Louie Spence and former Olympic champion skater, Katarina Witt, are replacing them. David Beckham is touted as a potential contestant!

Stevie Wonder may sign up for Dancing With The Stars - when he thinks he's lost enough weight!

Interview with Arlene Philips, which I think someone forgot to proof read, but still, it's an interview with Arlene.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Result Show, Quarter Final

Kicking off with a Flaptabulous charleston featuring Robin & Kristina, James & Ola and Aliona & Artem then launching straight into ...

The Moment of Truth #1: Safe - Aleames! Wow - ooh *prepares self for shock* Pashee, safe. Bottom Two - Jastina!!! There it is! After that performance, you thought he was safe, yes? Bruno very disappointed, Jason always gives everything he's got.

With Claudia, Alex wonders if they counted up properly!

Alfie Boe, James Bond medley. Surreal yet somehow so perfect. Not Strictly dancers though: Darren and Letitia's Paso I'd have preferred to see again.

Len's Lens: Bruno fantasizing over Kristina; Chelsee's kicks - Pow! Artem's knee spins, Holly's hands; Jastina's lift "flooping" is the word according to Clauds; Craig calls Kristina an immaculate choreographer; Alex's dress was caught for an hour, says Clauds; Len caught singing Saturday Night at the Movies - Claudia's taking that clip home to watch every morning.

The Moment of Truth #2: Safe - Harriona! Harry seemed to be a bit worried there! For dramatic effect they should have called Artolly and left us all thinking it might be Harry v Jason - producers, take note, that's no way to stage a cliffhanger. It's Robbiola in the Bottom Two and Len says he doesn't want him to go, he's enjoyed him so much - a revelation, he calls him.

The Glamour of Hollywood: Anton & Erin, Flavia & Vincent, Natalie & Brendan with Cheek to Cheek, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Way You Look Tonight. Gorgeous.

Jastina versus Robbiola. Kristina so upset - I would be too, after the stunning routines she's been putting together; Robbie setting everyone else off.

The Final Moment of Truth: It's Robbiola leaving tonight. Everyone on their feet. The boy played a blinder, sick as a parrot to go out but over the moon to get so far. There, that's my quota of footie cliches done and dusted. Keep up with all the news and gossip on the Strictly website until next week - when we say goodbye to two of our remaining five! Eek!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing, Week 10: Movie Night!

We've been keyed up all week and it's finally with us! Forget the BAFTA's, Emmys, Golden Globes and yes, even the Oscars - this is the movie event of the year!

Opening with the pro dancers and a gentle swing jive story to Saturday Night at the Movies, with Len and Bruno getting in on the act too! Tess is looking very Veronica Lake and Bruce has got Alison all excited. No, he doesn't know her either, she's a stalker. Kara and Brian Fortuna spotted in the audience, not canoodling together or anything, this isn't a tabloid. Subliminal advertising for Five Live from Brucie - was that to make up for Anitagate?

Not content with sticking a furry animal on Robin's head for his jive, they've now gone to town with Pasha and given him the full Shrek makeover - those ears are going to be seriously distracting when he's jumping around.

Robbiola out first and I've realised I do actually know this song. Good posture, clean and quick footwork, cool routine, proper dancing, his best yet I'd say, needed a little more polish and drive maybe but he really got the feel for the concept. Len - given me a lot of pleasure over the week and that didn't disappoint; Alesha - smooth operator, good posture, light footed, clean; Bruno - loved the combination of looks and attitude, cross between Kate Moss and Russell Brand; Craig - knee pulses out of time, lacked swing and sway but loved the concept and performance. Score: 7/7/8/8 = 30.

Harriona rumba, always difficult, always hard to please me cos I've yet to see one I feel the need to see again (except Colin's, and Zoe's Xmas one) but nice lines, intensity and purpose, scope for posing, nice basics. Alesha - best rumba from a male celeb, touching, sensitive, romantic, very natural and convincing; Bruno - a little bit of magic, pitched it right, great shapes, great job; Craig - obviously worked on hip action, loved it, simple, clean, basic, one wobbly moment; Len - a little bit spiky in the hands but your dreams won't be left on the cutting room floor. Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36.

Aleames American Smooth to Pretty Woman and Alex very much looking the part, lovely routine, tangoish foxtrot, elegant, classy and put a smile on my face. Bruno: gorgeous, great turns, fluid, tiny incident didn't spoil the gorgeousness; Craig - finally learned to put sexy into dance; Len - all going swimmingly until the moment, loved the dance, clean lifts, really sold it; Alesha - beautiful style, consistently improving (she and Bruno do their best to reassure Alex, who's upset over the slight incident - wardrobe malfunction?) Score: 8/8/9/9 = 34

Artolly Paso and I was willing them on to scale the heights of fiery passion! Arms and hands and Spanish lines terrific, wish I could have seen her feet stamping, the skirt a little too long, another great routine by Artem though, needs to score highly if they've any chance of staying. Craig - your personal best, shaping, skirtwork, bring the eye line up, darling! Len - you're finishing strongly; Alesha - rooting for you all the way, arms and hands superb, stepped it up; Bruno - finally, you Spanish sorceress, flamenco *he's up and demonstrating* brilliant! Score: 9/9/10/10 = 38 Oooh, top of the board!

Jastina American Smooth and I have been eagerly awaiting this! Fab opening solo, smooth, effortless, musical, full of character and fantastic seamless lifts - I thought Kristina was still in the air when she'd actually landed, magical. Len - I loved it, the entry, the actual foxtrot right on the money, filled Gene Kelly's shoes; Alesha - wonderful concept, fabulous beginning, elegantly played; Bruno - Jason goes to Hollywood, a huge risk as so iconic but made it your own, a very special performance; Craig - it's getting boring now, everyone's good! I really loved it, charisma, fantastic. Score: 9/9/9/10 = 37

Pashee jive to I'm a Believer - so glad no-one misheard and dressed Pasha up as Justin Bieber. How Chelsee kept up with that I've no idea, crisp, clean (mostly!) fast and furious, bags of personality, stunning routine full of action! Bruno - Oh my daring, the fairy tale has a happy ending - fast tracked to the semi! Craig - distracted by the ears, loved the routine, pick your knees up, incredible; Len - If you're not back next I'll pickle my walnuts; Alesha - cute, fun, punchy, playful, excellent turns, incredible. Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39

Over to the Scoreboard:

Pashee 39 = 6
Artolly 38 = 5
Jastina 37 = 4
Harriona 36 = 3
Aleames 34 = 2
Robbiola 30 = 1

That's going to mix things up a bit - unless Robbie is at least second with the public, Holly is safe. Alex could be the one losing out here - Harry is surely safe ... I think ... but exactly how popular is Jason? I think the only one I can be certain of being safe is Chelsee! Till the morrow!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two Double Bill!

Firstly, Thursday's It Takes Two, as seen on MSN! 24 Things We Learned last night, featuring Harry NOT wearing tights!

And tonight, 28 things we learned on ITT, including Harry bumping into a radiator. My final guest blog of the week for MSN!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Chelsee Wears Shoes in Training Shock!

I again blogged It Takes Two for MSN - view here for 26 Things We Learned on Wednesday's ITT!

In other news: Gary Barlow is well up for taking part in Strictly, according to best pal Jason Donovan! And having had a taster of the show in the last Christmas Special, Fern Britton wants to take part in the next series.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Hats off to Aleames

I guest blogged again for MSN - see here for 27 Things We Learned On It Takes Two tonight!

The Voice Judging Panel Revealed!

Jessie J will be joined on The Voice judging panel by the legendary Sir Tom Jones, the Black Eyed Peas front man and producer, and, subject to the contract being finalised, original Pop Idol, Will Young. If he doesn't sign up, rumours are his place will be taken by Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs (according to the Sun, so that could be complete nonsense!)

The news follows confirmation that Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yeates will be on presenting duties. I personally can't wait, I just hope it lives up to my expectations and the contestants truly are judged on their voices. And I can't imagine Sir Tom wanting any comparisons made with Louis so *lives in hope*

Monday, 28 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Robinita's run ends

But in a bit of a twist, tonight's ITT blog post is on the MSN Strictly Blog instead of here! So do please check it out - 19 things we learned tonight!

In other news: David Beckham has been touted for Dancing on Ice; Strictly's royal visit; Ex-Strictly Pros - where are they now?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Result Show, Week Nine

Quarter Final next week - so will we lose 2 then or 2 in the semi? Pro dance -Katya & Pasha and Brendan & Natalie with a very stylish and modern ballroom medley to Rolling in the Deep - dresses of the night also!

The Moment of Truth #1: Safe - Harriona; Pashee; Jastina - no particular order? That's left the highest tension there could possibly have been! Bottom Two: Artolly! Bruno bitterly disappointed to see Holly there again - she delivered everything they asked of her.

Over to Claudia, who asks if the Swingathon was fun, in the style of "Was it, really? Are you sure?" Movie Night theme next week, Pashee have Shrek "You do know about the green face and the ears, don't you" she asks Chelsee, who replies that as long as she's a princess, that's fine.

Cee Lo Green and his new song. Oh. He's brought his own dancers too. They seem to be channelling Brian May. Nice pinky peachy satin shell suit, CL, really.

Len's Lens: Brendan singing along to Uptown Girl; Harry, full bore, hold throughout, the jumps, still body contact, look at the line, fast, full on, great control, deserved a 10, Craig! Artolly, fab kicks, modern twist, doesn't deserve bottom two; Pashee gorgeous ganchos, look at the height in that lift! Aleames good time, her Finding Nemo face! She let herself go, undermarked says Alesha. Bruno's up, demonstrating the swivel; Ola's reaction to being booted off the Swingathon first - hands on hips, major poutage, lol!

Movie Week trailer: Dance Club - first rule, we don't talk about Dance Club says Harry. Oops, sorry, pipes up Chelsee, I've already texted everybody; Indiana Jones, with Alex and Anita lifting the tiny glitter ball, only to be chased by the huge glitter ball; The Matrix, with Jason and Holly; Star Wars and Robbie's fighting Darth Vader, who reveals himself to be Craig!

The Moment of Truth #2: Safe - Aleames! Lol, loving the shock reaction! Bottom Two - Brenita. So Robbie's fan base still strong!

An Anton/Erin treat, with a gorgeous routine to Mr Bojangles, courtesy of Lance out from behind the bandstand. Erin's gone back to the original Come Dancing for dress inspiration. It wasn't long enough. The routine, not the dress!

Brenita v Artolly, both 2nd time, both sad but glad they did it.

The Final Moment of Truth: Leaving tonight - Brenita. Aw, checkout Bruno's face! He's worse than me! Robin on the phone, so sorry he couldn't be there "you are one of the most incredible, enthusiastic and hard working people I've ever met and I'm going to miss you dearly." She says he made this the most humorous, enjoyable, fun and wonderful learning experience - and also many thanks to Brendan. All credit to Claudia and Tess cos I'd be hopeless at this point, can you imagine a hostess who's too choked to speak?

Strictly Come Dancing, Week 9: The Fittest Swingers in Town!

The Magnificent Se-Ven left and there's a rowdy lot in for them tonight! Tess looks nice but I dunno, sometimes it looks like they've taken bit of random scrap material, wrapped it round her and stapled it. I'm just sayin' - I know these high profile designers charge a lot for that: I'd do it for a backstage pass.

Brenita up first, their cha cha to Uptown Girl is perfect for them. Lady Anita quite sedate but her smile has lit up the room, a very creditable, confident performance with good timing, did very well with a lot of basic cha cha steps for a well placed routine. Len - commends Brendan, great routine, full of content, coped well, showed personality, straighten legs for more hip action; Alesha - a little messy in places, didn't embody the dance through your body, cute, pleasant, lot of basic steps; Bruno - the uptown girl doesn't mind a bit of grease, still plenty of fuel in the tank, bright, lively, great variety of steps, Brendan goes with everything, really enjoyed it; Craig - lacked pressure on the floor, lack of sharpness in finishes, no true dynamic but fantastic turns, absolutely brilliant. Score: 7/8/7/8 = 30 a good score. Message from Robin to say how overwhelmingly proud he is of her!

Artolly foxtrot with a big, lusty entrance, Mama Knows Best the song and it's a foxy, power driven, sexy foxtrot. Erm, I actually prefer a floaty romantic one to a song I know but still, she performed it very well. Alesha - seductive, demure, alluring, song worked, totally owned it; Bruno - sassy teaser, Gypsy Rose Lee let me entertain you, side by side breathtaking, sexy, hot; Craig - extremely concerned when the music cranked up but fantastic, well done; Len - I was a bit of a funkateer, the foxtrot you did was good, I did like it - but your eyes are looking at one thing and your ears are taking in something else (he's talking about the music's effect on him and that's how I felt with Pashee's foxtrot) I'm a Timex in a digital age! Score: 8/8/9/9 = 34

Aleames charleston was so completely them all over! Proper old time feel, cheeky and fun, could have been a little sharper, there was one little mistime but she did everything asked of her - and so much confidence! Charming routine! Bruno - the Funny Girl, good old days vaudeville feel, loved the goofyness, lost timing a couple of times, great to see the funny side of you; Craig - major step backwards this tonight, lack of swivel, precision and finishes, you didn't understand the nature of the dance, mediocre *boos* Len - fun and entertaining, enjoyable to watch, just lacking the detail; Alesha - quirky, sweet and funny, made for you, you've developed a great partnership, I look forward to you every week. Score: 6/7/8/8 = 29 seems a bit harsh.

Robbiola samba to You Sexy Thing and to be honest, we've seen the same grinding moves in every Latin dance he's done. The samba steps he did weren't bad, the bounce a bit exaggerated, but the stripping off gimmick I can do without now (down to footie shorts and socks); the others are giving me more with their clothes on. Craig - bounce way too exaggerated but was at least there, fingers belong in a ten pin bowling ball, mostly rectified, the gratuitous inane reveal to no avail, in-essential; Len - a shamba, there was a lot of good content, then you get possessed by Match of the Day - just dance! Alesha - love that you're relaxed and having fun, some nice moments, entertaining; Bruno - an interesting look, wasn't the lightest samba, a kangaroo with lead feet but you tried. You can always go stripping. Score: 5/7/7/6 =25

Pashee - Argentine Tango and another confident solo start, full of excellent, sharp and precise well performed content, great lifts, full of drama, maybe lacking the steaminess we expect but then, they set us up to look for the Pashan, didn't they! Len - good but act the dance more, no intensity, loved it though, best dance so far; Alesha - technically very strong, dynamic, sharp, executed very well, lose your inhibitions, excellent job; goody goody little girl, the footwork, the intricacy, well executed, great shapes, I loved it but be badder; Craig - The A frame was missing but coped well with a high level of difficulty - work on that frame if you do it again because it was fabulous! Score: 8/9/9/9 = 35

Jastina charleston is fabulous! There's the detail, crisp, great musicality, personality, sophisticated rather than goofy but great fun and very, very good technically - and only one teensy little bit of mis-timing, quickly caught up! Bruno - Ahhhhh! High energy, exuberance, slapstick, expression, no-one can accuse you of using Botox. Flying! Craig - willing it to be perfect but disastrous kick section. A Charleston! Len - truly fabulous, well done; Alesha - loved the character, the energy, the routine, it was fun. Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36

Harriona quickstep. One word: FINALLY! If ever there was a dance that would turn me on to someone after 9 weeks, this quickstep was it! Everything I love was here - timing, musicality, the sway, stunning routine making the most of every nuance in the music, brilliant non stop dancing all the way through - and possibly the quickest, trickiest footwork we've ever seen! Ali -luyah! Craig - you have a lazy left foot *Bruce: You'll have my lazy right foot in a minute* by that I mean it's oddly and strangely sickled and pigeon toed - but that's all I could find wrong with it; Len - posture, lovely movement, you've got the sway - highest I've given you is an 8, you might make it 9 tonight! Alesha - Outstanding; Bruno - tremendous assurance, quality of detail, elegant, moving beautifully, can sway away with anyone, superb! Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39 well deserved. And a bit cruel to have the Swingthon straight after, although at least he's well warmed up!

The Swingathon and I've no arguments with the judges order: Ps: 7 to Harriona, majorly on it, as Craig said, they had the stamina, athleticism, everything on time, great, which is what I saw, along with nifty footwork and terrific lifts; 6 to Pashee, again with plenty of exuberance although her footwork looked a little dodgy in places, beating Aleames to 5 who had a big lift and variation of steps; 4 to Jastina who tried manfully to recapture is jive but captured the mistakes and loss of timing again sadly, or they'd have got 6 for their content I'm sure; 3 to Artolly their good jive content but lacking in fluidity of movement (from the limited view I had of them all) 2 to Brenita for good content again but lacking the full-on-ness of the others and 1 to Robbiola because they didn't do enough to stand out from the rest, according to Alesha. To be fair, they didn't get much time!

The leaderboard:
Harriona 39 + 7 = 46 = 7
Pashee 35 + 6 = 41 = 6
Jastina 36 + 4 = 40 = 5
Artolly 34 +3 = 37 = 4
Aleames 29 + 5 = 34 = 3
Brenita 30 + 2 = 32 = 2
Robbiola 25 + 1 = 26 = 1

Aleames the winners from the Swingathon, moving up one place; Jastina drop down one - and with no draws on the board, that's bad news for Artolly, Brenita and possibly Robbiola! Aleames have been lower before and saved; I'm assuming their charleston will be enough to take them above Artolly.

My Ranking of Enjoyability: Harriona; Jastina; Pashee; Aleames; Brenita; Artolly; Robbiola.

Results tonight at 7.25pm, see the BBC Website to keep up with all the highlight, pictures and gossip!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Training Snapshots

Training snapshots #1 Aleames charleston - the one she fancied; James has a totally different approach to this one and she's not vain, but she'd like some of her face left at the end of that lift!
Pashee AT - very nervous, giggling and snorting through their big lift - she's finding the passion too cheesy! Robbiola samba - he needed ballroom this week, calling it the samba of doom. Has realised you can't teach natural rhythm.

Harriona quickstep - this could be The One for me this week - charging around, he feels like a horse! They're on the sofa, watching their competitors with interest. Harry (getting shirty) says Wembley was petrifying but Aliona (salsa sauce) "laughs in his face at his fear". And had he had any more hips he'd have been dancing like a girl! He'd seen Bruno in the Elton vid - turns out it's before his time - and Harry would wear a mankini! Great choice of song or their quickstep, one of those non-traditional bouncy ones that work, a la A Town Called Malice - The Pretenders. Aliona's never seen someone do so well with different rhythm patterns; he tried to ban her giggling - he has a dark side, cue Strictly Star Wars montage, featuring Ali Yoda and Harry Judi. Using a miniature punch ball to head butt in frustration? Lightweight. All in hold this week, should please Len but lifts in the swingathon designed to take out anyone within 5 metres!

Widdy asks: Who would you like to be locked in a room with for 24 hours? (Strictly related)
Robin and Holly both choose Artem; he says "None of them, they're all crazy!"

Strictly box of frocks: Chelsee's AT - sophisticated and elegant, purple and turquoise head to toe, full length slit either side, dramatic; Anita cha cha - nude, full skirt, long sleeves, coloured hem ribbons, completely covered in crystals, it's taking weeks! Jason - The Great Gatsby for him, white suit, blue short, brown tie and spats, that spangly hat isn't for him - it goes with the sparkly tasselly effort under cover.

Training snapshots #2: Brenita cha cha - her arms looking great, working the attitude "feel me up," says Brendan "it's the only chance you get!" Artolly foxtrot - working hard, they don't want that red light again. She's too fast - going with chocolate-quickquick -chocolate timing!

Jastina charleston - very, very good, loving the look of this - they're on the sofa, with Jason (choose SCD) explaining what happened on Saturday. In short, he's not sure, just one of the moments, it's live TV, folks! Kristina (jives Jason up the wall) still so proud of him. Cruel to leave them till last again during the results! Dancing to Yessir, That's My Baby - fabulous! His toes are black and blue - they've never been pleasant but he thinks it's time for a pedicure now. And he needs to learn to breathe. The things we take for granted, eh? The sweatathon, as he calls it, is all about spatial awareness, like how to reach Harry and Robbie with a karate kick. Diamond move? Watch out for the Joe Calzaghe!

Something funny this way comes - animal magic end credits!

Snippets: Dance documentaries; Dancing on Ice; The Voice

Radio 2 has lined up a series of dance documentaries, which will include Len Goodman presenting Swinging at the Savoy and The Gene Kelly Story, Arlene Philips giving us the lowdown on dance troupes and Stewart Lee exploring the world of Morris Dancing!

Dancing on Ice may see an overhaul of the judges, as neither Emma or Jason have yet to be offered a contract, according to reports, with Louie Spence lined up to take one spot. Ian Walker is being touted as a contestant.

And Reggie Yeates will be joining Holly Willoughby on The Voice.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Wednesday Warm Up

The final is only three weeks away!!!!

Brenita on the sofa and Anita (got a new model) was cooking when she found out about Robin, shocked but looking forward to dancing with Brendan - Superpro! Aliona: "What will you do if you drop me, who will you dance with?" Harry: "Brendan!" AKA Captain Big Boy. Moving swiftly on ... cha cha this week to Uptown Girl, character driven to suit her, Brendan loves her enthusiasm.

Dancer in disguise - another tough one, they've not danced like themselves since James and Vincent! No idea on this one - Kristina or Robin?!

Ian Waite's Wednesday Warm-Up and Zoe lets on it's her birthday, to show Ian the Lego Strictly set built by her son Woody. Harry looks suspiciously like Luke Skywalker. Robbiola samba - nice bounce, needs to strech back leg by bending into the front; Aleames charleston - looks like fun, great chemistry, individual uniqueness in the lift - aerial swimming! Harriona quickstep - smooth and speedy, great movement around the floor, loving the sway, like a pre champ amateur. If they get the song choice right and there's more than 8 bars; Jastina charleston - bit discombobulated and un-coordinated, but energetic, like to see them match up but then it isn't as regimented as other dances; Artolly foxtrot - fantastic poise, great posture and movement across the floor, release toes when going backwards; Brenita cha cha - out of her comfort zone, footwork sometimes a little muddled, needs to straighten her legs; Pashee Argentine Tango - needs to lean forward more - lovely demo from Ian and Zoe - they should let them do one on the Xmas Special! As for the swingathon - lots of energy right from the start, think floor craft and - you can nobble someone!

Pashee on the sofa and Chelsee (girl power) felt the audience love as soon as the music began on Saturday. The AT is sexy but comfortable, she's not thinking of Pasha, she's pretending he's someone else. Anyone else! Proper smouldering AT music, but she's not feeling it yet, more nervous about the swingathon. Pasha advises watching for the judges and then hitting the big moves.

Dancer in disguise is ... Zoe's dad, Johnny! Ian arrives with cake, Brendan with a Zoe Strictly Hunks calendar - they should so sell those!

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special Line Up

The stars of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special have been unveiled:

Alongside Charlie Brooks, who for some reason was leaked yesterday, we have Su Pollard, who played Hi De Hi's nutty chalet maid, Peggy - paired with Anton, obviously! Boxer Barry McGuigan, at the opposite end of the scale to Audley, Debra Stephenson, who so impressed in Let's Dance for Comic Relief, and Simon Webbe of boy band Blue.

The professional dancers pairing them will be Erin, Katya, Ian and Vincent. It doesn't say who with who so let's have a guess: Erin and Simon; Katya and Barry? Ian and Charlie; Vincent and Debra? What do you think?

No doubt more info will appear on the Strictly Come Dancing official website when all confirmed.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Choreography Centre Stage

Aleames on the sofa and Alex (Alex says Relax) is still speechless and can't remember anything except that she did enjoy it! James (Top of the whirled) says that as a teacher, to take her from Bambi to Wembley has made him very proud, properly emotional - no, it's dust in the air. Yeah right! Seriously, he went home and cried after their first three days training because he just didn't know what to do! The self-deprecating talk from Alex was because she was absolutely shocking! With them, Robinita, Robbiola and Russia all accounted for first during the Moment of Truth, the Big4 Gladiators would have known how they all feel every week! Less golf, more dancing - he's on his phone and she's having to nag - Charleston this week, should suit her quirky and scatty nature. He hadn't actually told her about the swingathon until today!

Who is it? Passionate about skincare - a slave to fake tan - catchphrase "this is the best thing ever" - it's a tall she: Has to be Natalie, and it is.

Karen Hardy's Choreography Corner: Take a snapshot of the arena - lots of choice: top stage, centre stage, surrounding arena floor - who made the most of it? Pashee brave, she owned her solo section, confident, strong; Jastina lifting it higher every week, the spring in the kicks the swing, he's learning everything, taking it deeper, we love it because of those little extras; Harriona unravelling, risky, lots of what ifs, always bringing more; Robbiola, if ever you'd pay to see an opening, that would be it, performed to the crowd, incredibly difficult lifts, physically in overdrive; Robinita clever rolling in/off the arms, the huge space a struggle for Anita to keep up, may have been better to keep her centre stage; Artolly tricky, near on impossible - the pirouette on the steps. Shot of the night, them heading towards centre stage, a Hollywood entrance! Big floor, big moment, perfect for pro dancers - fantastic first class routine, maybe a step too far for Holly.

Pashee have Argentine Tango this week, roving reporter Vincent tells us step by step: It's all about the man chasing the woman to possess her! Signature move: Ganchos - those snappy leg hooks; sacada - the displacement of each others feet; calesita - man lifts the lady slightly, she's still while he moves around her; planeo - standing on one leg, the other pointed to side while the partner runs around, turning them. Let yourself go with the music, feel each others heart beat!

Top of the Frocks with Amanda Wakely and Oonagh: Top tip - make the woman wear the dress, not the other way around. Chelsee's really clever, flattering, elongated, stretch satin, well designed so Union Jack not distorted, slits, 4000 crystals, feathers emphasising hips, 2 metres of boas cut into strips; Holly's not strictly a dress *groan* 2 pieces, leotard base echo of twinset, 5 layers, georgette, satin, organza, green and blue; Alex's rather beautiful, clever illusion of bare back, elegant, 8 panels of white satin, slight flare, organza, 42 metres, crinoline, writing to keep away from legs!

In other news: The line up so far for the live shows is all revealed - Nancy&Artem; Jastina; Harriona; Mark Foster and Katya; Pashee; Robbie&Natalie; Robinita. Len, Bruno and Craig are judging, with Kate Thornton presenting.

Sir Brucie will be appearing at the Royal Albert Hall in his own headline show on May 3rd next year.

Interview with former Strictly champ, Tom Chambers, about Top Hat.

It's dancing musical chairs, as Christine Bleakley is to replace Holly Willoughby in Dancing on Ice, while Holly signs up to present The Voice.

Eastender's Charlie Brooks has apparently signed for the Strictly Christmas Special

And last I heard, Keith Chegwin was still thereabouts in the Dancing on Ice mix, irrespective of injury!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Russia Relinquished!

BREAKING NEWS! Another male pro dancer is OUT on Saturday! On the Glitter Phone, it's ... Robin! Nooooooooo ... yes, an infection in his right foot, can't stand or walk, let alone dance. The pain began on Friday, adreanlin got him through Saturday - medical advice: no weight on it and keep raised. Very strong anti-biotics making him poorly *sends lots of hugs* Rent-A-Pro Brendan to the rescue again!

Russia on the sad sofa but Russell (Cannon Fodder) not devastated, left us wanting more, his time to go - had an inkling the day before. Thanks to Team Flavant for all the flowers! Simon Pegg tweeted he almost choked with joy at the 'rocketman', he's now an #scd fan! (We'll get everyone in the end!) Russell wasn't scared till he saw he was on a tea tray. Summing up The Grant on Strictly: Wow! Cue highlights, Flav's bawling, Zoe's welling up, so am I *wipes away a tear*

ErinCam - backstage snippets - lots of them!

Craig on the sofa surprised the audience didn't keep Russia, entertaining as well as dance talented. Larger dance floor did expose the less technical and the nerves. Harriona missing the hip action, adrenalin making his legs got too far back to achieve rotation, shame. Jastina he thought a ten but then disarrrster - tried to kick with the leg he was standing on. The judges are hoping and praying and willing the celebs to give them an excuse the pull out the tens! Robinita he was genuinely shocked, but gained a lot of support because of last week, can improve her footwork. Aleames - improved greatly since I told her off in that ghastly rumba, take the criticism, she's listening and putting in the work, extraordinary achievement; Pashee arms in the middle - up or out please! Robbiola missing the steps and as for that leap frog: preparation, elevation - up, prepare,up, open, land *demonstrates* He tells us there's a Swingathon this week - judges will deselect the couples one by one - score 7 to1, added to leaderboard points!

Artolly on the sofa and Holly (Valance-ing act) says it's good to shake things up, getting too comfortable. Artem (back for good) says the back is sore but not as painful as it was. They disagree with the judges re her timing, so do I! The thoroughbred not yet broken in - better that than a mule! Foxtrot next - they may be a lift! Naughty Artem!

*Via Twitter: Ola to Brendan: "Please come and dance with Robbie, he can be the girl" Brendan: "I'm saving the prettiest till last!"

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Result Show, Week Eight!

Strictly Beatlemania, with the celeb boys as the Fab4, the girls in minis - cars, not skirts, and the judges emerging from a telephone box; Craig appears to have had too many jelly babies during the intermission. Fab-u-lous opening!

The Moment of Truth #1: Safe - I'm actually shaking - Robinita! Go, TeamDobbin/Windsorfans on Twitter, well done! Major campaignage, all paid off! Robbiola! Even Aleames feeling the pressure - not now, though, they're safe! Bottom Two: Russia!! Ooh, shock or not? Bruno says that for entertainment, he's the tops - but it is a dance comp and it's getting tougher. Anita in need of a foil blanket. Robbie welling up and setting everyone off, Alex never thought she'd score a nine, James never thought a seven ...

James Morrison and Jessie J with Up: I'm too busy thinking about the possible shock to come that I didn't pay much attention; sounded pretty good.

Len's Lens: Craig as Brian May in the opening number last night; Bohemian Rhapsody rehearsal, joined by the real Brian May, who takes the chance to give Craig a three for his fandango! Len and Craig dancing the night away; Robbie's leap frog, touch and go if Ola'd had her hair up in a croissant; Jason's timing; Harriona's cartwheel into splits; Bruno on the desk at the beginning of the medley - totally nuts, now he's clouted Alesha round the head! The Grant Peek A Boo, eyes wide; mouth open!

The Moment of Truth #2: Safe - Pashee; Harriona; Jastina - it's Artolly in the bottom two, which I kind of figured it might be but was hoping if I didn't say so it wouldn't be true :( Loved that quickstep tonight #kissofdeath Alesha says they deserve to be in the top 7.

Il Divo sing Time to Say Goodbye - but to whom? And is that Steve Coogan moonlighting there? Russell not shocked, his goal was Wembley and he made it; Holly foresaw it a little bit - asked Russell what he could see - if it ends on a night like this, it's not so bad.

The Final Moment of Truth: It's ... Russia! Is that a shock? On balance, no. Stalwart fans of the show tend to start voting later on and the less technically gifted rarely make it past the last six or so. Choreographers, take note - gimmicks will no longer be enough! The seven left will have to deliver recognisable ballroom dances with flair and personality! Russell, on his way for his farewell dance, quips to Tess "I hope it's a good number." It's Simple Minds Don't You Forget About Me - we won't, Russell, we won't! Thank you for the joyous weeks you were with us :)

Strictly Come Dancing, Week 8: Wem-ber-ley, Wem-ber-ley!

It's live from Wembley Arena tonight, don'tcha know? The special about this special is that the paying audience have contributed a fantastic £102,000 to the Children in Need Appeal, so well done everybody!

Two more Brit songs I thought of, that could have been used for the Latin - Wham! Club Tropicana (yes, George and Andrew in skimpies, aren't I good to you?) and Culture Club I'll Tumble 4 Ya. Sorry, three - Jamiroquai Canned Heat or (4) Space Cowboy (there's probably loads more, very funky, that JK) How could you fail to bounce around in your seat, I'm doing it right now.

A pep talk from Graham Taylor and cue lots of footie related puns before the massive Queen number - listen to that crowd, you can hardly hear the theme! Costume of the night is Jason, just for the evocation of my youth!

Robbiola kicks us off *groan*, the song has worked better than I thought, mainly due to the lack of actual salsa - I think the cameraman focused on his top half right at the moment he did some - but full of energy and enthusiasm, great fun as ever. Glad to see they have a smaller stage to raise them up a bit. Not a bad effort and should be entertaining enough for Robbie's fans to see him through. Len - treated it like your cup final, all a bit wild and savage, but great entertainment and wonderful start to the show; Alesha - opened us like it was your own rock show, loved the energy and lifts, didn't have the salsa feel I'm used to; Bruno - Rrrrrrobbie, the dance of courtship, went at it like a primeval fertility rite, throwing Ola into unimaginable positions but lost slinkyness and timing; Craig - flat footed, hips wiggling side to side devoid of rotation, upper body and arms great, like the lift. Score: 5/7/7/7 = 26 Hm, pretty low score, could actually see him in trouble.

Aleames tango - she looks terrifed backstage but out front, there's another confident solo opening with drapes which I love, this partnership has also really grown on me and James delivers another traditional routine, good movement around the floor, a proper tango, seamless transitions, great posture, held the intent throughout, maybe could have been a little more aggressive, it seemed very smooth - but looking at it from far away sometimes, possibly up close in the studio would've shown it more. It won't be curtains for them tonight (I hope!). Alesha - transition from happy go lucky jive to seductive tango brilliant, atmospheric, dramatic, great use of steps, believable; Bruno - fascinating, alluring, poised, stylish "you can touch me but you can't afford me!" Craig - some improvement, point your foot in the drag but sharp, staccato, theatrical, intense, all of those wonderful things; Len - a proper tango, danced beautifully. Score: 8/9/9/9 = 35 their highest to date - and a lovely speech by James in praise of Alex, aw.

ARTolly - he's back for their quickstep, the costume really suits Holly, very her! Loving the dynamic between them and Brendan! Brilliant start to the routine, very smooth on and off the stage, fabulous mix of steps, - I'm partial to quickstep anyway, and this is one of my faves, full of rhythm and the creative choreography making full use of the set. My favourite routine of theirs so far - and I didn't notice her looking down so much! Bruno - at times thrilling, at times maddening, some splendid stuff; Craig - fantastic single pirouette, horribly wrong after that, loss of timing, gapping, keep your centre and straighten up but good job and fantastic routine; Len - what I like - terrific use of space, fast, intent, a little loss of control but full on, well done; Alesha - light and effortless, liked it. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Robinita dancing a samba and looking for inspiration in Albert Square. Come on Eileen has quite a bouncy nature to it actually and she's doing really well, the solo side by side on stage particularly good, looks stronger than in hold, far better than I was expecting, they left out most of the vocal and let the music work it. Well done! Craig - shoulders hunched, leaning too far forward, thumb sticking out, tuck it under, muddy murky footwork but timing very good, gorgeous rhythm; Len - you give it 100%, admirable, could've been sharper and crisper, thought your thumbs particularly attractive *thumbs up from everybody* Alesha - bundles of energy and full of personality, created a party atmosphere, lost some timing, spirit and enthusiasm; Bruno - always lookk it and play it, lots of fire above but forgot it down below, did well. Score: 6/7/7/7 = 27

Harriona salsa. Ok, the salsa steps he did were great, the overhead flip into the splits was incredible but it was still too much stop-start with posing - what do they have to do to win me over? Technically sound, but all my favourite SCD salsas have been those full of non stop rhythmic, flowing dancing - Mattesha, Mark & Karen; Tom & Camilla, Gethin & Camilla, Mavia, John & Nicole - and all to proper Latin music (Mattesha excepted - always very under-rated, had it had a Latin song I feel it would have scored more and been added to the annals - 'Alesha Unleashed' as it was) I think this is what I'm not getting from Harriona - Artolly's QS a good example tonight of what I'm mean in terms of fluid dancing without the stop-start posing. I love Aliona, I think Harry's a nice guy - why can't I love their dances? Len - a full on samba (Freudian slip?) went for it, performed with high energy, would like a little more hip in the back step, more compact, more clubby; Alesha - handled with ease, release, *that* lift brilliant; Bruno - overdressed, flirtatious, sexy, vibrant and playful, yes a little bit of work on your bum, but we can talk about it later! Craig - loved the routine, spectacular lift but it didn't have a groove, very placed, lack of hip action. (That's what I meant, only it took me a lot longer to think it!) Brendan and James rips off Harry's shirt on his return to Tess, to the grateful thanks of the nation's women. Score: 8/8/9/9 = 34

Russia - he's in the cannon, all ready to fly! Here he comes and to be fair, it was probably the best bit, since the jive was more of a can-can! He didn't really do much and without the intimacy of the studio audience it wasn't so much fun. But his joy is still there to see. Alesha - just when you think you've seen it all, definitely the best entrance ever. What you lack in technique you make up for in entertainment; Bruno - the incredible flying machine, a satellite circulating his own orbit of madness, nothing to do with jive but God, I loved it! Craig - Dumbo springs to mind *po faced* (not cruel, funny!) Revolutionary; "That covers everything," say Bruce, "anything to add, Len?" No, not really ... yes, no matter how many dances and series there are, people will always say "Did you remember when Russell Grant flew out of that cannon? Jive not great, but for entertainment you're the tops! Score: 5/6/6/7 = 24. We're having a lovely time - Russell give one of those drunken "I love everybody" speeches!

Pashee samba is a great effort, full of content, fabulous solo work to begin, shimmys need work, a little stuttery in places but great samba roll and walks and most importantly, it looked and felt like a samba! Bruno - ball of fire, so rhythmical, feeling for the music, near perfect; Craig - arms a little too high but your finishes are excellent, spins fantastic; Len - brave on your own, spiced up my life, full on, full of energy, proper samba; Alesha - brilliant turns, great arm placement captured the spirit. Score: 8/9/9/9 = 35

Jastina's jive to end - he got seduced by the moment and was like a little over-excited puppy, hence the loss of steps and timing at the end - but he had the presence of mind to wait and count himself back in, so kudos there. Plenty of bounce and rhythm, excellent kicks and flicks (when he remembered them!) Surely one to revisit in the later stages? Craig - would have been phenomenal had you not lost it or put two lifts in! Len - disappointed for you because you worked so hard on technique *agrees with Craig re lifts and warns the lot of them he'll be docking points after tonight*; Alesha - kicks and flicks, energy, side by sides were great and you picked yourself up so be proud, brilliant job; Bruno - energetic teenager going for it, the occasion overwhelmed you. A-maz-ing (up till that point!) Score: 8/8/9/9 = 34.

Let's take a look a the old scoreboard:
Aleames 35 = 8
Pashee 35 = 8
Harriona 34 = 7
Jastina 34 = 7
Artolly 31 = 6
Robinita 27 = 5
Robbiola 26 = 4
Russia 24 = 3

New! My ranking for overall enjoyability, first to last: Artolly; Pashee; Jastina; Aleames; Robinita; Harriona; Robbiola; Russia.

Those draws not good news for the middle/top of the board - we know Russia and Robbiola had enough support to overtake Robinita (as did Aleames) last week, so how galvanized are Team Windsor this week? And will it be enough to put one of the big five down in the bottom two? I was off shaking my booty at a wedding, so don't blame me! Shocks away, Ginger!