It’s a welcome back to the bad jokes and the occasional chuckly one, the good cop-bad cop judges, the camaraderie and above all, lots of sparkly stuff! We’ve the Red Button again this year – looks like Karen Hardy will be a feature, joined by celeb guest each week – this week, it’s comedian and Let’s Dance’s ‘Single Ladies’ Katy Brand. Tess’ dress – not so good for widescreen, Auntie Su, just sayin’. But I’m loving Kristina’s hair and right up until the stole er, stole the show, I thought Nancy’s was Dress of the Week!
Artolly are out with the cha cha first, to Who’s That Chick – good song choice, feels a bit slow though, nervy but good attempt, tight technique, present out – eyes front, Holly and let yourself go. Len – close to best 1st dance; Alesha – convincing; Bruno – footwork good, needs more bite, go for it, you’ve got it; Craig – needs sharper arm placement, flexed knees, lacked hip action, fantastic flexibility. Score: 6/7/8/7 = 28
Danya next with the waltz Katya promised would be beautiful, and it was. A gorgeous routine to Are You Lonesome Tonight and when he relaxed into it, Dan was smooth and elegant, good musicality, I thought. Len disagreed – bit wooden, lacked musicality, hold good, footwork good; Alesha very elegant, confident, relaxed, be proud; Bruno – technically quite accomplished; perform believably all the way through; Craig – tentative lead, top line hideously rigid, transitions, amalgamations *fingers in ears time* la la la la. Score: 4/7/7/6 = 24
Brendulu with their cha cha and a promising beginning full of attitude unfortunately deteriorated as Lulu decided to sing instead of dance to I Got The Music In Me! Quite a bit made up there, which is a real shame, apparently the rehearsal was fine. Full of energy but I was expecting more from them. Alesha – thanks for getting the party started; Bruno – Weeeeeeeeeeellllllllll – what the hell were you doing? Forget about the steps, nobody cares, energy great, steps down the toilet; Craig – darrnce disarrrster – you made it up from beginning to end; Len – plenty of boom-bang-a-bang but nothing to shout about. (see what he did there, I don’t care if it’s scripted!) Fun and entertaining. Score: 2/5/5/5/ = 17
Audalie in the arms of the Angel for their waltz, emotional song, nice start, not so fluid once they set off. Audley needs to straighten up, let Natalie dance up to him, quite light but a bit flat footed in the spins, good effort, potential there. Bruno – surprisingly light and graceful, refine footwork; Craig – spatulistic hands, standing spin flat footed; Len – a charm about a big geezer doing a waltz, punch Craig when you pass! Score: 3/5/6/6/ = 20
Robbiola’s paso – type cha cha to Bad Boys (I had that down as a jive!) and there’s no denying he went for it! Lacking a few steps but strong partnering and has clearly taken on board everything Ola asked for – there is potential though, I spied some rhythm so it’ll be nice to see what he can do in hold – but it seems that some of them cha cha-ing may have salsa next week, bit unfair. Len – the hair matches; tendency to stand, Ola a wasp at a picnic, best footballer we’ve had; Alesha – ‘A’ for effort, room for growth; Bruno – Robbie, you savage *groan* ravaged the cha cha, nice cleavage (Robbie!); Craig – all very Abercrombie and Fitch, all look no dancing. Score: 2/6/6/5 = 19
Robinita waltz to my favourite waltz song, Three Times a Lady – gorgeous lines, bit stuttery occasionally, emotionally connected, well acted, lovely, lovely routine and Anita lost in the moment, so appealing to an audience – my fave so far. Alesha – beautiful to watch, most sincere of the night; Bruno – elegant, poised, beautifully acted; Craig – whole routine gorgeous, watch head placement. Score: 7/7/7/7 = 28
Russia and the most eagerly awaited cha cha of any series, ever! Dancing to Venus and emerging from oyster shells - he’s got it, oh baby, he’s got it! Timing, that it! Who else is smiling? All the way through? Yeah. That’s what we want, seeing someone having a Good Time! Bruno – it’s uncanny, Frankie Howerd doing Bananarama (no, don’t think literally. Ew); Len – macho! Love it!; Alesha – first standation, let’s go clubbing! Craig – the birth of something, not Venus! Score: 4/5/6/6/ = 21.
Halfway through and they’ve reverted to black out material for Tess’ dress on Saturday night – where’s the sparkle? Harriona kicking us off, a cha cha to best song of the week, Move Like Jagger. Oh, I say, very sexy mover, our Harry, Timing. Smooth. Very proficient, using the drumsticks in training a good move. McFly (Sounds like a Scottish budget airline – Brucie) Oh. Yes. Well done! The band too, fab! Brucie announces that Craig is leaving us at the end of the series but he’s only joking – “we couldn’t manage without you ... we’d like to try but...” Len – Dirty Harry, made my day. Liked the mix, be more oily, bloomin’ good; Alesha – wasted behind the drums, focused, made it look easy; Bruno *eyebrow* very fit, tight, muscular performance, confidence, went for it; Craig – too placed; too clean; too straight; depositing the steps, lacked hip action. Score: 6/7/8/7 = 28
Rorin waltz to When Will I Hold You Again, lovely routine, performed very well, confident and smooth BUT – lose the static Tony Blair vacant smile!!! Alesha – not bad at all, beautiful transfixed smile?! Watch posture, beautifully played; Bruno – channelling Fred, relax the frozen smile, you’re good; Len – first class impression of a waltz; Craig – spot: head follows body, bottom sticks out in spins; turns exaggerated, danced with elegance and panache! Score: 27
Aleames cha cha to When Love Takes Over. But first – you saw it coming a mile off, it was still funny: “Alex says she’s related to Tom Jones/How do you know, there are so many Jones’, it must be quite common/It’s not unusual!” Moving quickly on, a good first effort, she had the attitude, needs more attack, too soft, loved the joint ripple (obviously!) Bruno – sometimes very good, sometimes right exit-left exit-crash position; Craig – incongruous, starchy, stiff, lacked excitement (James cuts in to chastise!) Len – parts really good, parts nearly good – for a first dance, excellent job; Alesha – fun and flirty, all the package, go for it. Score: 4/6/6/6 = 22
Pashee waltz to See The Day – fab vocal from Hayley – and a very confident, elegant start from Chelsee, little stumbly in places, but nice lines and a beautiful waltz, touching and a real connection. Craig – whirling dervish, phrasing excellent, great pivots, some balance issues; Len – started like Petula Clark, ended like Lady GaGa, liked it overall, elegant start, manic end, jolly good, well done; Alesha – a little princess, feminine, dramatic, romantic, placed it really well; Bruno- few stumbles but natural ability to extend lines through phrasing, musicality, looking forward to seeing you grow. Score: 7/6/7/7 = 27 Don’t often see Craig outscore Len!
Vinwina with their cha cha to Build Me Up Buttercup and I’m loving the fringe work on the dress for the most traditional cha cha we’ve seen so far, performed competently. Edwina clearly enjoying herself and not minding showing her knickers to the judges at all! Better than anticipated, tidy job. Len – great fun, danced with confidence, proud of you; Alesha – pitched perfectly, good rhythm; Bruno – the old cougar made the most of the merchandise. Score: 2/5/5/5 – 17
Antonollio waltz to In Napoli and I loved the start, looks like Nancy is up for a laugh. Unfortunately, the wardrobe malfunction doesn’t give us the chance to see whether she can really dance or not, or whether the mucking about was hiding the fact that she can’t, as they only stayed in one place spinning thereafter. Alesha – you carried on, we’ve all been there; Bruno – was looking forward to the storytelling, a curtain stuck on spin cycle; Craig – forget the props altogether; Len – too long messing about, let the lady dance. Score: 1/4/3/4 = 12 Ouch.
Wrapping up Week One, it’s Jastina, with a cha cha to Gimme Some Lovin’, which I had to convince myself was NOT ZZ Top ... great attitude “it’s life, man, nothing’s perfect” great movement and attack, fun, energetic, he’s totally in the zone – Kristina is one happy little bunny tonight! Brilliant to watch, really got the audience going! Bruno – JD in cha cha charge, Strictly’s in business; Craig – G’day, mate, bonza, beauty; Len – best dance of the night; Alesha – fantastic, super super fun, everything you want in a cha cha. Score: 8/8/8/8 = 32.
That’s it folks! Leaderboard stands thus:
But we all know the leader board positions mean zilch, no-one is ever safe – so I’ll hold judgement on who I think is in danger because it could all turn around next week!
Chemical Reactions: Robinita; Danya; Pashee; Jastina – clearly their relationships are already well forged, dancing as one, plenty of eye contact and comfortable around each other in training and in the live show. On the other hand, Artolly are never going to share what Artara did, whilst Brendan will soon revert to Bad Boy if Lulu can’t get it together on the night. Likewise Anton with Nancy, you could already see he was dragging her along.
Dark Horse – Danya. Katya proved her comic abilities last year and Dan is that quiet unassuming type who came out with a cracking little one liner – much likeability there and he can actually dance too, ballroom anyhow. Still may need the acting coach, but I’m sensing a Gethin-like journey.
Surprises of the week – Brendulu’s bad meltdown a big disappointment, let’s hope they’ve the foxtrot next week so Brendan can guide. Pashee – Chelsee so very sweet and overwhelmed by the reaction, made up for the annoying voice!
Don’t deprive yourself during the week – It Takes Two is back with new hostess Zoe Ball, 6.30pm BBC2. Keeeeep watching!