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!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Samba de North Circular

Transformers - from Studio One to Wembley, with 15 cameras and 20km of cables and major trussing.

Roving reporter Vincent with Aleames - James is eating an 'ambooger but even so, Vincent reckons they're looking amazing. Alex says "we slipped a bit" "who slipped?" says James "Ah, yes, it was just me!" Make sure you call Zoe, Vincent!

Pashee on the sofa - loving her hair like that! Chelsee (The perfect 10) says Wembley makes you feel so small and Pasha (Treading the keyboards) concurs and says they have to adjust. Both buzzin after the ten! How many boxes has Craig got? Possibly 27 but Chelsee's ticked 25. Pasha's 4 boxes are choreography, technique, performance, choice of music and their music for this weekend is about the only proper-ish one for the samba - Spice Up Your Life, looking groovy too, with her costume an homage to Ginger Spice; so cute, says Pasha, he's so smooth with his styling tips.

Wishful Wembley videos!

Back to Vincent, who shows us what is surely Russell's big entrance *coughs* a sparkly CANNON! A bit of a jive demo with Jason (looking terrific!) Artem there too, in good spirits! And a sneaky peak of the pro dance medley to Queen!

Friday panel with Westlife and let's not worry about choreography, training or costumes, let's turn our attention to quite possibly the worst selection of samba and salsa songs they could fit into one programme: Harriona are attempting to salsa to The Halfpenny's immortalised jive song I'm Still Standing and Robinita samba to ... Dexy's Midnight Runners? Come on Eileen is the archetypal let's-stand-in-a-drunken-half-circle-and-hokeycokey song. Are they nuts, they're on dodgy enough ground as it is!? And much as I like Robbie Williams, Let Me Entertain You is so far removed from a salsa that Goughie will be turning in his crease! Did Ola really agree to that? On a positive note, Relax for Aleames' Tango is an inspired choice, and the two jive songs are perfect, cheesy choices - for Jastina and Russia!

I know they like to have a theme, but seriously, there are plenty of rhythmic Brits whose stuff they could have used: Georgie Fame - New York Afternoon? Matt Bianco - Half a Minute? Even, dammit, Spandau Ballet could have gone in there - Chant No.1! Or - how about Emma Bunton, ex-Strictly Spice star, with Crickets Sing for Ana Maria (my personal salsa fave but by Marcos Valle.) They all say how difficult those dances are, surely the proper music would make it so much easier for them? I look forward to being proven completely wrong, in fact, I'm keeping my fingers crossed I am.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Thursday Training Snapshots

Pashee samba - when she gets it, it'll be fab!
Aleames tango - great in hold, needs to keep sharp out of it.
Robinita samba - routine looks good, loosen up a bit.
Brend/Artolly quickstep - coping well, creative routine.
Harriona salsa - hips, fluid, if he lets go it'll be a treat.
Jastina jive - looking fabulous, quick quick, he can't stop smiling.
Russia jive - timing good, great flicks!
Robbiola salsa - working hard, hair looks lovely, enjoying himself.

Artem on the glitterphone from Wembley - Doc said he thinks Yes! BUT - depends on the pain levels. Has done a rehearsal, will see how it is tomorrow - final decision on Saturday.

Widdy's QT - which supermarket section would you be in? Brendan - shelfstacking; Anton - bakery boy; Artem - butcher's counter; Holly - the till. James hits on Ann.

Dress Alert - Chelsee, Union flag, hot and pale pinks, maximum plumage; Holly - emerald and turquoise, 5 layers, nude base, strictlyfied (covered in crystals); Anita - black base accented with hot pink feathers; Jason - 80s vibe, pale blue suit, rolled up sleeves; Russell - yellow and blue, very bright, lots of stars and - sparkly head detail?!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Wembley Warm Up

Brend/Artolly on the sofa and Artem (on the bench) was feeling the hurt, Holly (Match fit) felt she was cheating and Brendan (free transfer) was feeling the pressure! In training, Holly's the gooseberry and Brendan's the girl, there's a bromance going on, they speak the same language, Holly just nods - Brendan's dying of embarrassment. Artem's back is definitely better but no decision on him dancing yet. Quickstep to Valerie (Mattesha's) it's a Best of British theme to the music this week. Leaving straight for hospital, Brendan said he'll go with him, throw a few banana skins his way!

Dancer in disguise is a lady I think, quite tall - Natalie or Erin?

Ian Waite's Wembley Warm Up - Think big, don't forget face and technique! Robinita samba, walking through at the moment, needs more bounce. Ian and Zoe demonstrate with a quick chorus of Aquarius! Robbiola salsa looking fantastic, spectacular lift, needs to work on finesse, fluidity and rhythm; Aleames tango - looking extremely good, fast, compact, lower the knees a little more into the floor; Pashee samba having more practice than normal, impressed all the moves are finished, lot of content but she remembers; Harriona salsa and look at Harry's Hips, releasing, continue throughout and it should be spectacular; Jastina jive looks like it's on fast forward, very strong, very light - almost as good as The Halfpenny!! Shock; Gasp!! No pressure then, Jas ... They're matching very well at full speed, posture good, slightly stooped. Ian says: My teacher used to grab me by the breeches - Let's not talk about that, interjects Zoe! Brendolly quickstep, lots of different styles with charleston and lindy hop in there, lovely turn, coping well, looking good; Russia jive looking amazing, one of his best, lose the nodding dog head!

The Children in Need Strictly Special with the newsreaders - Susanna Reid and Robin; Sophie Raworth with Ian; Sian Williams with Vincent and Emily Maitlis with Pasha - and Angela Rippon in for good measure. Karen Bruce choreographed, it looks good fun!

Points of You: Phil asks "Where did Craig get those heels from? I want some!" "1982" replies Zoe!

Russia on the sofa and Russell thanks the wardrobe people, Ezra and Billy, for their help behind the screen - chocs on their way. Re his celebration, Flavia (American Smoothie) says she told him to slide down the banister! In the event, he rushed downstairs to tell someone and there was no-one there! Role reversal in training, Russell's becoming quite the expert! Loving the jive, dancing to Reach by S Club, knows he has the nodding dog problem. Also thanks Michael Ball for the loan of his hair?! Watch for massive, mammoth, huge entry on Saturday!

Dancer in disguise - was Erin!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - All kicking off!

Robinita on the sofa and Anita (Show must go on) relieved for self but feeling dreadful for Audley, it's how they all feel. Not a good place on the leaderboard, many would have thought they were safe. Loved the AT, forgot everyone else, became so involved. They heard the collective gasp of everyone else when the bottom two place was revealed and they were very moved by that. Samba this week, needs bounce, timing variations and steps - they're all going in!

Who is it? Spanish mum - Hungarian dad - bakery boy - golf with Brucie - father (grand) figure - modern day Fred Astaire - it's Anton, the golf thing gave it away!

Karen's Choreography Corner - Choreography is the pencil outline then you add the content and colour: Harriona - fantastic, amazing performance, incredible BUT what Len was getting at was that it's very much 'Aliona's told me to do this/that/the other (specially that)' the technique and the moves are all there but character needs to be more real. I totally agree. Brendolly - Artem in the director's chair, will Holly connect with Brendan? Yes! Jastina - intricate, lots of detail, underarms turns, shadow positions, slightly overchoreographed - big points for the fleckerl! Pashee - handles whatever he throws at her, emotional dance, the foxtrot should be like a monkey swinging through the trees *demonstrates* so why with the push through the legs? Take care not to disrupt the performance; Robbiola - the Fred and Ginger Latin and Ballroom effect, look at that recovery after the lift into the ballroom hold, all round great performance, personality back!

Aleames on the sofa - the best form for dance is attack! Alex (jiving queen) going for it every week from now on in. James (Exjordanary) says Craig was incorrect re the kicks and flicks, Alex was doing them properly, would have concurred if he'd said the chasses were a little skippy but he'll happily have a kick off with him; her kicks and flicks were lovely! She finds it easier when there's a character to draw on, and this weeks costume was really comfy! Mini James got involved all night - although someone thought it was B**** J******. Sorry, he's a four-letter word if you live in North Kent ... onwards with Aleames and it's Tango this week - master the posture, the steps are the easiest (probably) of all the ballroom dances, tension, flexing and ooh, check them out, with their staccato heads in sync and lusty faces!

A very quick countdown of Top of the Frocks, with Oona and Melissa Odabash: Chelsee could've done with a little less fabric in the skirt - and only 800 crystals?! Metallic champagne, contoured, flowing and elegant, chiffon skirt attached to arms, wired hem, swirly swirly seven metres; Holly needed more bling, crepe skirt (I wasn't so keen either, if I'm honest ... ) cut on the bias, hand sewn; Russell 100% Blinging, the colour, the sequins all over, changed in 12 seconds, so very Him!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Au Revoir, Audalie

Recap and then it's Audalie on the sad sofa and Audley (Out but not down) didn't want to knock out a competitor of Anita's calibre - and says he would've stepped down! He tells Anita to get on the Social Media campaign trail. He'll miss the opportunity to perform, the dressing up, the sequins - and he'll be using the Strictly theme to come out to at the start of his bouts! The public reaction warmed his heart, he'll take all the positives away with him - and says he'd like Chelsee to win!

Points of You: Have Len and Craig been taking grumpy pills?

Craig's dance debrief in man heels - glad Len's back? Rather ugly, much preferred being Head Judge! A lot of hard work went into achieving those scores on Saturday: Harriona - Passion, much, don't know what Len was not seeing, intent, purpose and passion! What did he need to do for a 10? Lead with his solar plexus and instigate every move and to loosen up kicks and flicks. Jastina - moves his arms like a wooden block, planking his arm up and down rather than lengthening through. Works hardest as he's the least naturally talented. But once he's got the arms, he'll never forget them. Robinita needs more cross and throwaway, how surprised to see them there - not, really, had to be someone, did belong there in a way - controversial? The Grant has entertainment - roller skates next week? *yes yes squeaks Zoe*. Aleames needs to point or flex, not dangle - in between a no no, not pretty. Precision and direction needed. Fantastic job but not precise! Pashee's loss of centre caused the hopping, Pasha should've kept her in check, a case of fabulous, fabulous, love it, love it - ugh! Russia - West Side Story in gold sequins, like him but can't bump up points just for the entertainment value. But he can actually dance!

Harriona on the sofa and Harry (Gaucho Marks) worried that he wouldn't perform and his mum, in the audience for the first time, would blame herself. How'd mum and girlfriend like the filth? You have to go for it, whoever's there. The Sloth Slot - they know, being from the South American jungle, what's hot and steamy and it was meaty and well done! Aliona (Don't McFly For Me Argentina - caption man loving this week) says the AT matched his personality but it's salsa this week: He needs to work on everything, he says. She agrees. He says: I was joking! Quote of the day: "She's so brave, she just chucks herself on me" - Harry about Aliona.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing Result Show, Week Seven

As ever on Remembrance Sunday, we begin with a terrific Pro jitterbug - James and Ola, Flavia and Vincent and Pasha and Katya, brilliant opening to the show. Tess appears to have cut herself on the sweet wrapper; she's now sporting a bandage.

The Moment of Truth #1: Safe - Robbiola; Pashee; Jastina; Brendolly
Bottom Two: Audalie. Alesha says he's been a star and he can hold his head high. Len says so many are outstanding, he can't wait for the show to go on.

Clauds is calling Robbie Mr Arm Placement; he says Craig's been playing hard to get with him. Chelsee still doesn't think she's a dancer, despite the 10. Clauds buries her head. Jason says even in Australia as a kid he'd heard of Wembley, so very excited.

Christina Perri and Jar of Hearts, accompanied by Robin and Kristina with the most amazing contemporary rumba. I said "Wow" twice - did you see that lift/drop?! Wow!

Len's Lens: Audley's microphone, who let the dogs out, bless, loving the whoos; Jastina fleckerl, too high on his balls, but at least he did it; Chelsee makes it look effortless, how amazing will she be when not working on Waterloo Road; Alex needs to either flex or point her feet, not in between; Bruno fanning himself and loosening his collar over Anita; Harriona like a rampant stallion; The Grant - he's off, and again, like a Golden Glitterball.

The Moment of Truth #2: Safe - Harriona; Russia; Aleames - it's Robinita in the Bottom Two - Alex in shock. My vote for them paid off then! But I had a feeling it'd be Robinita, or possibly Brendolly, with Audalie. Bruni is stunned, shocked and appalled, performance so focused, so professional, a pleasure to watch.

Vincent and Flavia snippet from Silence in the Square, leading an emotional day, which is continued now with We'll Meet Again, performed by the Johann Strauss Orchestra led by Andre Rieu - accompanied by Anton and Erin, with a beautiful and classy American Smooth. Oh those pivots! Wonderful.

Audalie versus Robinita and Audley says Anita deserves to go through, what a gent. Anita's almost in tears: "Hug her" Clauds instructs Robin.

The Final Moment of Truth: It's Audalie. He's so gracious to Anita, nice one Audley. They are seriously not playing the Rocky theme? They are ... but since it's called Gonna Fly Now, it's actually pretty apt!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing, Week 7: Jangles and Bling

And Tess is wearing a dress by Noisette de Quality Street tonight ... proper dress of the night goes to Flavia.

Aleames jive to River Deep Mountain High and what she lacked in technique she made up for in energy, enthusiasm and joy in the dance. Fab song to get everyone going, I'm overlooking the missed pass and wrong step. Len - you've blossomed, busted out all over, so full of verve and gusto, terrific; Alesha - energy fantastic, just refine, a joy to watch; Bruno - Oh, yes, bring on the fun, enthusiasm, bright, lively, missed pass, wrong foot but so much fun with you; Craig - the effigy a remarkable likeness of James, extremely confident performance but point your toes. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Robbiola American Smooth to Sway is lovely, romantic, charming and musical but his spinning feet did make me laugh, they were so quick! Alesha - great use of steps, great lifts; Bruno - smooth operator, variety, you can sway both ways, elements of Latin, isn't that true Ola? *Er, yes, eyes to camera* says Ola, bemused. Craig - beautiful arm placement, mix of styles fantastic, whole routine rather good. Len - great once you got cracking, getting better and better. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Audalie cha cha to Uptight, great rhythm as ever but really needed to drive and attack it this week, just too casual and quiet, he got the routine but needed to sell it. Bruno - no timing or precision, great personality, needed to be sharper and cleaner; Craig - leaden, heavy, not your finest; Len - only way you;re going to Wembley is on the Jubilee line (didn't mean it cruelly) timing and rhythm good, did your best; Alesha - exposed you, working hard but didn't suit. Score: 3/6/6/5 = 20 sadly, I don't think it'll be 4th time lucky.

Harriona Argentine Tango and going by the training vid, the other McFlys are so up for doing this next year. Serious, intense Harry was made for this - will be in trouble with the missus again, I think. Strong and manly, felt a little rushed in places and not particularly intimate, AT normally makes you feel like a voyeur, but, very well done. Craig - authority, dominance, command and filth, I loved it; Len - very clever routine, no intensity or mood, neat and placed *cue argument culminating in Len calling Craig and silly little sod* that's another 300 complaints this week, we like to keep the complaints department busy! Alesha - intense, strong, passionate, strength, you delivered it, great job; Bruno - moodier than a thunderstorm in the pampas, strong and manly with a mean streak. Score: 9/8/10/10 = 37

Jastina Viennesse Waltz to Iris - gorgeous choreography, stunning routine, beautifully performed, lyrical with lots of drive. Len - lovely footwork, lyrical movement, fleckerl - liked it a lot; Alesha - dramatic, great movement, connection; Bruno - such drive, back in the zone, intricate, everything had meaning; Craig - could be a ten, arms let you down, hands flat, arms wooden *cue another argument with Len* Jason diffuses! Score: 8/9/9/9 = 35 James is gagging Brendan behind them!

Pashee foxtrot and Pasha mimes the piano brilliantly, like the song but not for a foxtrot, couldn't connect it to the routine at all, which is a real shame, as they were elegant, floaty and classy. Alesha - elegant and graceful, wonderful placement, truly a lady; Bruno - my fair Chelsee, sophisticated, arms like soft wings of a dove; Craig - hopping, lost centre but starting to tick all my boxes; Len - work on footwork a little, love watching your ease and elegance. Score: 9/8/10/9 = 36.

Robinita Argentine Tango and this has the mood Len was alluding to, the sleazy club, great connection, much stronger in the body now, excellent effort! Bruno - Anita unleashes her basic instinct, sexy mama queen of drama; Craig - not responding to Robin but loved the amazing spinning, stunning routine; Len - it smouldered, those little touches, loved the feeling, that's what it's about, creating the mood and atmosphere; Alesha - drew me in, loved the drama, intensity and mood, wonderful. Score: 7/9/8/9 = 33

Brendolly rumba nice lines in places, some others not so elegant but great routine and good partnership considering how long they've had - infuriatingly she's still looking downwards! Craig - loving the new partnership; Len - nice and precise, get a little more emotionally involved and Look Up! Alesha - did exceptionally well, all the basics and more to come; Bruno - moved beautifully, very very good. Score: 8/8/9/9 = 34

Russia all blinged up for the American Smooth to I Am What I Am - I wondered what they'd do about lifts, instead he skipped and gambolled and brought out more bling! Len - like a giant Ferrero Rocher, well done; Alesha - first half a good mix of steps, second half a snapshot of your mind; Bruno - exploded like the star turn of La Cage Au Follies; Craig - immortal, darling. Score: 5/7/7/7 = 26.

The Scoreboard:
Harriona - 37 = 9
Pashee - 36 = 8
Jastina - 35 = 7
Brendolly - 34 = 6
Robinita - 33 = 5
Aleames - 31 = 4
Robbiola - 31 = 4
Russia - 26 = 3
Audalie -20 =2

The shock won't be at Audalie in the bottom two - it'll be at who's there with him, because I don't think it'll be Russia this week! Till the morrow, young padawans ...

Friday, 11 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - June is busting out all over!

Robinita on the sofa and Robin (Dobson's Choice) admits to rewinding and rewatching their charleston over and over, he was so taken with how much she loved it, he wanted to see her smile again. Anita (A-neat-a mover) just wanted to do it all again! Argentine Tango this week, very different feel, no jazz hands but magic shoes - half an inch makes all the difference apparently *straight face* The atmosphere is changing but it's all about the taking part, not the winning, though they'd all love to - and getting to play Wembley is the big goal, says Anita, scary but exciting - Brian May, eat your heart out!

Points of You - Strictly lookalikes: Audalie - Disney's Beauty and the Beast; Anton - Toy Story's Woody; Natalie with dark hair - Kate Middleton!

Friday Panel: June Brown (East End Girl) Tamzin Outhwaite (No end to her talent) and Michael Ball (West End Boy) and I am a little wistful for the panels of old, when one concentrated on the costume, one the music and one the technique - because these panels are just way out of hand! Who cares what they're dancing too, wearing or doing, June Brown needs to reminisce! About Robinita's charleston and the twenties in general, mainly, when we're supposed to be watching Aleames jive ...

Robbiola American Smooth - good lines, Sway the song, top line and footwork but broken wrists detracting; Audalie cha cha to Uptight - they're loving their Stevie Wonder, aren't they? So who's got Overjoyed for a waltz and Do I Do for a samba? Needs some swagger, moves well, just needs techy skill; Aleames jive to River Deep Mountain High, most improved, developing well; Jastina Viennnese Waltz, didn't catch what the song was, far too distracted by June now and suffering complete loss of concentration - but it sounded like they said the Goo Goo Dolls?? Oh, they do exist! Keep the face working then no-one looks at the feet! Brendolly rumba to Leave Right Now, Antipodean rapport and solidarity, we hope, she'll be stronger.

Gatecrashing jitterbug rehearsal in the studio - Ola, Flavia and Katya, with salsa queen Jaci, joined by James, Vincent and Pasha. Pashee on the steps, everything went according to plan last week, foxtrot this week, bit worried but it's sophisticated, smooth, extended, elegant, passionate and romantic. It's all good!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Wednesday Warm Up

I don't like the sound of breaking news - Artem the casualty probably but Russell also on the at risk register ... no, it's definitely Artem out, they're on the sofa. It happened on Friday, at the point in the original jive where Artem (back soon) dives and rolls. First Holly (live and let jive) knew of it was during dress rehearsal when she was on her own - apart from Brucie! Under careful questioning from Zoe "did it snap, crackle, pop etc" Artem says it was a gradual build up of pain until he couldn't move! Fractured spine, soft tissue damage - don't dance you could be paralysed, says the doctor, so he goes ahead and dances anyway *tuts* Any turn, rotation, bending - all painful, so, Brendan is stepping in for the rumba with Holly - it'll be Brendolly then, for (hopefully) one week only; Artem wants to be back for Wembley. And he won't lie, he's grumpy and jealous that another man is dancing with his woman! Leave Right Now is the song, we hope it isn't an omen *eek*!

Dancer is disguise - I have absolutely no idea since they're not dancing like they normally would!

Ian Waite's Wednesday Warm-up: Brendolly rumba - an advantage, 2 pros to help, she's long legged, will suit her; Robinita Argentine Tango - little worried but wonderful legawraparound, pleasantly surprised, looking strong; Robbiola American Smooth - looks good, upright, straight, pulled up, needs to dance through to the end of his arms, bring expression to avoid looking mechanical and clinical; Aleames jive -looking really good, bouncy, great kicks, maintaining the energy from the quickstep; Pashee foxtrot - great things but practice wearing your shoes! Intricate, coping brilliantly; Audalie cha cha - knee in a brace, got to straighten, he's musical and doesn't go wrong; Russia American Smooth quickstep, drop shoulders, lift arms, check out the little pinky, mannerisms add personality; Harriona Argentine Tango - he's leading, could be his week; Jastina Viennese Waltz - looking really good, natural, a fleckerl, arms in right place, sway, correct footwork - Len will love!

Points of You: Alesha matches her dress to her pen; Russell's reaction to going through making Robbie laugh.

Jastina on the sofa and they were happy with the rumba, Jason (rum-ba punch) enjoyed it very much, disappointed the judges couldn't say anything positive. Kristina (Kris' cross) was annoyed, all the basics in there, they never gave credit - yet the pro boys all told her - best male celeb rumba they've seen! Thank you! *self satisfied smirk/told you so/glad I'm not mental/* Lots of layers in the VW, song from Meg Ryan film, City of Angels - that's their theme!

Dance in disguise was ... Ola!? Looked a lot bigger than Ola! She's enjoying that chicken suit a little too much ...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Introducing Janet Jordan!

But first ...

Audalie on the sofa, cha cha coming up but Audley (boxing clever) raises his game under pressure; Nat (swing lowe sweet chariot) says they haven't played it safe but they're working on him taking charge this week.

Who is it? Fashion - drawing - pussycat - camping - hiking - white water rafting - custard = Aliona! Not even going to revisit that one!

Karen's choreography corner - Saturday was like Irish stew, it's all in the preparation, lots of content! Robinita - interesting solo work makers her stronger, timing slightly off but coming together as a team as she speeds up; Jastina - clever Kristina put the basic steps in for the judges, rumba notorious for catching out even the best male celebs; Russia - comedy and content, shocked by how good his arms were, which he maintained, power, all the basic lines, strong marching, great big shapes; Artolly - very special, flicking, rotating, turning underarm, alternative swing style jive; Harriona - choreography brilliant, missing the party element: Layer 1 choreography, layer 2 timing, layer 3 technique, layer 4 body action - would've traded that for a big smile; Robbiola - everything stripped away, pure dancing, look at my celeb, the rise and fall, beautiful walk across the floor - best top line in the competition! Pashee - tricky, side by side, arms and legs doing different things, incredible number, great finale, technique getting stronger, so exciting!

Aleames on the sofa and Alex (the one on show) is thrilled at the 'thank you' from Craig and that he'd noticed the caught heel and made everyone aware of it. Cut to shot of Bruno, Alesha and Jen cracking up when they fell at the end, with Craig looking on sternly and making a note! Jive this week and finding the basics difficult, learning the routine comes easier now though and pushing the nerves aside to make the most of their time left. James (quickstep to success) says her lindy kicks are ok but syncopated ones an issue. James does a damn fine impression of a female dancer, so fine in fact, that Alex is now calling him Janet. And I think it's going to stick ... thinking back, didn't he stand in for Kara with Artem last year, in training?

Top of the Frocks with Sadie Frost and Jemima French: Chelsee - cute, cheeky, very Betty Boop, untypical; Anita - classic drop waist, art deco, beautiful detail, very Gatsby, 8000 stones; Alex - quite mermaidy, great colours, lighter material but 35 metres of it, 16 godets, 10,000 stones; Holly - androgynous, boyfriend jacket, gangster with a twist, splash of red, funnest outfit. Given the choice, they're going out tonight in Anita's and Holly's!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Bye Bye, Brendulu

Brendulu on the sofa and Lulu (Tangoing, going, gone) figured they'd be in the bottom two, but she still cried all day yesterday, specially following texts from the others. Brendan (It started with a lift) was pleased with how it went, by and large, did the best they could. Lulu still sad but loved the whole experience and her fave part was the lift in the rumba! They all know gossip about Robbie but won't reveal! So unfair!

Craig's (Deputy Dawg) dancing debrief, once he's settled into his chair following the hiptastic entrance, and Bruno turned horribly ugly, lots of tension at the head judge business but he is bizarre. Lulu should have stayed, she was very dance talented and Brendan taught her a lot.
Artolly devised an immaculate jive we never got to see due to Artem's injury, she did brilliantly - Brendan is going to practice this week with her while Artem rests up. Aleames routine gorgeous, Alex a pro to keep going and not be put off by the caught heel, would've liked them to maintain their dignity instead of falling at the end; Robinita and swivel loss, everyone has a lazy leg, Craig's is his left, she needs to master a little more technique, it got a little lazy towards the end. Bill Deamer choreographed the charlestons! Harriona - he should have taken the top off completely, needs to involve himself emotionally in the dance, all place, no improvisation, less exciting than Chelsee who lives dance life on the edge; Audalie's tongue a grotesque cow lick, ha ha, he's in the studio, he's taking Craig for a walk ...

Robbiola on the sofa - he's proud of the waltz and we did all notice the tear in his eye, it's back again now. Disappointed that he can't please Craig but he'll carry on dancing after the series. Ola proud of him, clean, better posture and more to come. American Smooth this week, with an upside down shoulder spin, scary!

End credits - keeeeeeeep clapping!

Strictly Come Dancing: Week Six - Bonfire of the Eventualities

Because eventually, all of them bar three are going before the final! Love Tess' hair and Alex's dress!

Brendulu tango to Kiss, nice opening on the balcony, a funky tango, couple of mistakes but she stayed on it, good timing, got the spirit of the dance although still needs core strength, good effort. Jen - how gorgeous are you? Was looking forward to your dance and not disappointed; Alesha - always little slips ups but commend you for carrying on, character of the dance present; Bruno - you drive me crazy, started so well. queen of mean, heart of stone then frame went; Craig - head and neck placement poor, shoulders loose, lovely moment on the bridge, beautiful ronde, loved the routine. Score: 5/8/7/7 = 27 Love that Brendan and Bruno were going to leave in a huff at Craig being made Head Judge!

Audalie VW to I'm With You, a lovely choice for a totally charming routine, delicate and gentle - who'd a thought that'd be a description of Audley? Light, pretty and lyrical, well choreographed routine by Natalie, they've really warmed up as a partnership now. Alesha - everything well placed, endearing and charming, be more confident; Bruno - so delicate*, treated her like a princess, drive through the dance, overall very good effort; Craig - head, feet, hands, tongue need work; Jen - oddly endearing, mix of masculinity and elegance. *I'm glad I didn't imagine it! Score: 5/8/7/7 = 27 two good scores to begin!

Harriona samba to I Wish and the shirt is a goodly start, nice samba walks, not as fluid and bouncy, he's back to placing everything just so, sometimes too static with poses again, a good effort but not enough bounce and partyness. Bruno - samba full of pecs appeal, intriguing hint of hips, has to be full of abandon, all there but slightly forced, let it flow; Craig - the shirt a slight distraction, bounce action almost non existent on the voltas, everything else fantastic; Jennifer *flirts* exciting, let go a little more; Alesha - the samba steps you were given you did very well, kick it up a notch. Score: 8/9/8/8 = 33

Robinita charleston to I Got Rhythm and she's totally at home with that, really suited her, could have been a little sharper in places but in others, spot on, overall a great routine, maintained the rhythm and character throughout. Craig - lost a little bit of swivel, a little behind but brought the dance to life; Jen - can see why you're a national treasure, great spirit, point toes a little more; Alesha - totally captured the dance, you're transforming into a dancer; Bruno - characterisation, jazz, booze and fun, loved it! Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Jastina rumba to Killing Me Softly and for a male celeb, I thought this was probably the best we've seen since Colin Jackson - plenty of fluid movement, great partnering, beautiful shapes, an interesting routine packed full of content for Jason, rather than the bloke just standing there for the pro to drape herself around - loved it. And I dislike the rumba as you know, if you're a returning reader! So I am completely mystified by the judges comments! Jen - love that song, love what you did with it, connect more to your partner, more lust; Alesha - got a little bored, felt contrived, lacking chemistry; Buno - didn't feel anything tonight, too much placement, didn't gel; Craig - too serious and earnest, did expose you. Score: 6/8/7/7 = 28 No way was that worth just 1pt more than Brendulu and Audalie and 4 pts less than Harriona. I reckon Len would've loved it. Well said, Kristina, they can't be full on every week - and the rumba doesn't call for that, by definition it's more understated. What do they want? Bored, Alesha, seriously?

Aleames quickstep to It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing there's gapping but I don't care, there's a footwork issue (turns out to be a caught heel) but it's bright. breezy, fun , they're clearly enjoying themselves, so am I, even the fall over at the end was in spirit! Alesha - few mistakes, classy, sophisticated, in full flow now; Bruno - in sparkling form, frisson of excitement, elegant, dynamic, messed up but overall great; Craig - some small timing issues due to the hell being caught, coped amazingly well with that, packed a punch, full of personality; Jennifer - bubbly, effervescent, made me giddy. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Robbiola waltz to Love Ain't Here Anymore - Ola's dress is gorgeous - musicality, nice hand shaping, aw, he's broken hearted, well acted, but one little sad smile would be nice, lovely routine, terrific rise and fall. Bruno - controlled, polished, heartbroken, needs more sweep and musical phrasing; Craig - fantastic rise and fall, tense, devoid of any emotion; Jen - athleticism and grace, loosen up, connect; Alesha - danced very well, a little tension, great partnership. Score: 6/8/8/7 = 29

Russia paso to The Toreador Song from Carmen and they couldn't have had any other song, could they? Good arm shaping and timing, intent and purpose, if camp, too much faffing around at the start because he's doing a good paso, he could perform the whole piece, lots of character. Craig - astonishing; Jen - looking at your stars, you'll be here for a while; Alesha - I always love your version and interpretation; Bruno - once you started it was a proper paso - a Benny Hill Paso, but the lines, the promenades and hands that do dishes *demonstrates* hands that do dishes, demented but fabulous, loved it! Score: 4/7/6/7 = 24 deserved 28!

Pashee charleston to Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue with the wax on, wax off method - Pasha needs to remember she isn't a pro and slow down a bit though, keep to her pace, it's fast and intricate and losing her jacket lost her momentum, technically she was fab, energy and fun - had they been together all through it would've been a ten dance. Jen - keep dancing like that and nobody is gonna put you in the corner; Alesha - really suits you, musicality, natural dancer, leg kicks brilliant, incredible stamina, stunning; Bruno - fabulous flapper, dancing to the limit; Craig - synchronicity brilliant apart from where costume came off, fabulous. Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36.

Artolly jive to Runaway Baby and the routine is excellent, enjoyed it much more than I was expecting to, very cool and technically Holly was great - I do wish she'd look up though, it still makes her look like she's not letting go enough - but how about Artem, you could see the pain he was in, respect! Alesha - full of energy, cool and sophisticated; Bruno - a twist and swagger, rock and swing, creative; Craig - loved that concept, brilliant, finally some energy from you; Jen - not traditional, took chances, paid off; Score: 8/9/8/9 = 34

The Scoreboard:
Pashee - 36 = 10
Artolly - 34 = 9
Harriona - 33 = 8
Robinita - 31 = 7
Aleames - 31 = 7
Robbiola - 29 = 6
Jastina - 28 = 5
Brendulu - 27 = 4
Audalie - 27 = 4
Russia - 24 = 3

I think, sadly, following good routines, it will be Audalie and Brendulu in the bottom two - Russia, Jastina and Robbiola will rise away from it. So straight on with the results:

The Pro challenge, ladies first, doing their best Beyonce impressions, Tess looking fab too, before the recap and ...

The Moment of Truth #1: Safe - Robinita; Artolly; Russia; Harriona
Bottom Two: Audalie. Craig says the competition is stiff and although he has done amazingly well, it is time to go.

Question of the night - Claudia to Anita: Are you secretly 14?

Westlife, Flying Without Wings, a great opportunity for an airborne James and Ola rumba but sadly, they don't take it. There are candles instead. And they're splitting up, did you know? Westlife, not James and Ola. No staying power these modern bands; it's not like they have to cart their gear around in a mini-bus, is it?

Jen's Lens: Brendulu making Craig smile; Harry's deltoids; Anita's passion-for-dance-face; Pashee's detail, on the offbeat; Aleames caught heel, fall and content delivery; Brucie joining Holly in her solo rehearsal; The Grant - look at his face!

Sir Brucie song and dance, bet Dermot can't do that. Erin and Katya join him, Erin's gone back to the 80s ... though a hedge.

The Moment of Truth #2: Safe - Aleames; Pashee; Robbiola; Jastina
Bottom Two: Brendulu - Brendan nodding, he knew. None of us saw it coming, Tess? Really? It wasn't going to be Jastina or Robbiola. Bruno blames Lulu's lack of consistency.

The Pro boys challenge to Feeling Good and it's a welcome return to my TV screen for So You Think You Can Dance runaway winner, Matt Flint, assistant choreographer, standing in for Artem. It's all very macho and sexy and gets my vote!

Lulu surprised she made it so far, Audley hoping to survive. The Final Moment of Truth: It's Brendulu! Aw. Yes, Tess, we really did see it coming! It's next week there'll be a shock, if Audalie puts in another strong performance and moves up the board! Keep up to date with all the gossip on the BBC Strictly website until 6.55pm next Saturday!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Daly Dance Views

This week is the halfway point! Pashee on the sofa and Chelsey (Healey Toe Lead) watched it back and realised things weren't as bad as she thought and she feels a bit daft now for crying. Pasha (Tango and Pash) said he had checked everything, he's a pro ;) They've had a bit more time for polishing this week and they're enjoying the charleston, it's fast and bouncy - just like you, Pasha says to Chelsey and she thinks he's referencing her *ahem* malfunctioning parts again, but he's not. Dancing to Has Anybody Seen My Gal, he's the mechanic in a car breakdown story who fixes her car for a wiggle - rhinestone overalls? He calls her Textzilla because she's still spending too long on the phone!

Points of You -Anyone notice a) Robin kick Pasha in the head during the pro dance or b) Anton's amazing resemblance to Wallace (of W and Gromit!)

The Panel: Mr Tess Daly, Vernon Kaye, who, along with their two girls dances around the living room on a Saturday night - Tess is dripfed news throughout the week; Jungle King/Queen Christopher Biggins, in the blingiest of blingy jackets this side of Russell's wardrobe; Spice Girl, Melanie C, who would love to do the show, although Emma and Mel B are tough acts to follow.

Biggins says Jason was never a dancer, a disaster in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Aleames quickstep to It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, brilliant, play the character of the dance - Vern's go the techy terms down, they didn't need Jennifer, they could've had him - much cheaper! Harriona, they say the final 3 is calling, he needs to relax and smile more. Vern says Harry's better at golf than drumming. Robinita goes for it 100%, she just wanted to learn to dance, says Mel, who met her before the start of the series. They tout the idea of a Xmas special where Anita dances while Brian May plays and Mel sings ... Audalie VW to Avril Lavigne, beautiful emotive ballad - could be a big surprise, still smiling, band and vocalists amazing. Artolly jive in matching outfits, no idea what this song is, don't like it, not relating it to their jive at all. Russia paso to the Toreador music, I think, the Da Da Dada Da Dumdi Dumdi Da - you know the one - fantastic! Mel and Biggins reckon a Jason win, Vern thinks Chelsee! Shocking panel in terms of dancing critique but brilliant for entertainment value!

The celeb/pro relationship buzz words: Delightful - good feeling - adore - good mates - special - perfect balance - respect, bond - brother/sister - make her proud - understanding - being themselves.

Robbiola in the studio - the leap from dance floor to judges desk was over four feet! And he didn't nail it in rehearsal! They were worried during the Moment of Truth, they were left so late. Robbie's wife cried when she saw their waltz in training, it's a Take That Gary Barlow song, we get a little snippet, looking good ... No No No - tell me they're joking with the stairs - thank you Zoe *phew* the credits roll and he's still spinning her around the dance floor ...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Training snapshots

Training snapshot #1: Audalie VW - nice hands, fluid; Artolly jive - groovy, keeping up; Robbiola waltz - nice frame, good movement; Brendulu tango - no tricks, pure content, a little stuttery; Jastina rumba - hip action, momentum - they're on the sofa:

Jason (the Wizard of Oz) liked their charming, bright fun routine against the backdrop of the darkness. Kristina (Sheila's heels) so happy to get a 10! The rumba is simpler, not so showbiz, Jason chose the music, it's his dad's fave - Roberta Flack and Killing Me Softly. There will be lots of shapes, love, divorce, passion, desire ...

Top of the frocks - Anita's charleston dress chic, classic, elegant, pewter, crystals; Holly's in a pinstripe suit with spats! Russell traditional matador silhoutte with cape - in spots! Sneak preview of a gorgeous turquoise quickstep dress - it's Alex!

Jennifer Grey on the sofa, this week's stand in judge for Len, original Dirty Dancing star and last year's Dancing With The Stars champion - she's likely going to be more like Alesha. She says taking part in the show is like childbirth: at times you think you're going to die but it's all worth it in the end. It's very intense, you want to quit, your body gives up due to the pressure being so great. Our current crop have all impressed with their charm and charisma. Yes, of course she had a crush on Patrick Swayze, along with the rest of us!

Training snapshot #2: Aleames quickstep - nice charleston rhythm, got to keep up; Robinita charleston - full of character, little tentative; Harriona samba - samba walks, he's worried re campness; Pashee charleston - suits her, bubbly, ball of energy; Russia paso - strong stamp, nice footwork, mucho character, they're on the sofa.

Russell (Russo Doble) says Kylie's been in touch on Twitter, and the knee is fine, he's not leaving till we vote them off. Flavia (taking nothing for Grant-ed) says there'll be comedy, drama and high camp, they've introduced a character called Sergei who is slick and cool, bringing drama and attack. And Benny Hill.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Wednesday Warm Up

Harriona on the sofa and Aliona (Duchess of Dance) explains that it was because it was Halloween with the costumes and make up etc, that theatrical production was the way to go. Harry (Judd-ges love him) praises her for bringing out his latent dance talent. They train the most hours and yet ... he's nicknamed sloth. They have samba - and it's back to Stevie Wonder again, this time with I Wish. My wish is that they stick to a decent samba and let me enjoy the dance all the way through ... you see, I can strike poses but I cannot do a samba roll - I want to see Harry do all the stuff I can't do, not a bunch of Vogue moves I can. And if they go any where near those bloody stairs I'm switching off. His mum's on the phone and tells him to do as he's told for once.

Who Am I? Highest heels - chocoholic - quicket, sharpest AT - Flavia then!

Ian Waite's Wednesday Warm Up: Saturday was Fang-dabeedozi *groan* Moving on ... Brendulu tango doing very well, upright but as she does her Viennese crosses she gets into the banana position, needs to balance head with hips (having read that back I'm wondering if I should rephrase?) Russia Paso Doble another characterful dance, look at his arms, fantastic arms and fingers, clutching castanets, curved shape of the bull fighter and flamenco dance, worry he'll forget the steps; Robbiola waltz suits him, hold improved, quality of movement, clonking great big heel leads, needs to do heel-toe-toe, the basic technique for rise and fall - Len might pick up on it - but he won't be there! Jastina rumba with amazing rumba walks, he has the dance in him, look at that leg, straight, turned out, lovely arms creating space, has to sustain the movement; Aleames quickstep needs more balls, slightly flat footed, struggling to keep up. But he said that last week; Pashee Charleston, so in sync, every arm and leg, special bond, really encouraging; Audalie Viennese Waltz, his musicality is extremely good, exceptional, great quality of movement, attention to arms needed.

Robinita on the sofa and Anita (good girl gone bad) has to unlearn standing straight and tall to rectify top line. Doodleflap? Doodleflip? If it works for her ... Charleston to I Got Rhythm, fabulous! Challenging but looking good in training. Will she be lifting Robin? (Windsor takes it all) The face says 'No'! Len or Jennifer Grey? She'll be great, says Robin, as long as nobody puts her in the corner *double groan*.

Points of You: Did anyone else think that Brendan with make up looked like Aled Jones? Or that Craig resembles Tin Tin?

Artolly on the sofa and Holly (not so ugly duckling) was really flattered by Alesha's comments. Artem (wish he'd worn tights) says the song was a big challenge. Jive this week to Bruno Mars, loving it, they're exhausted, Artem looks like he's about to nod off. They're at the polishing stage. Is she allowed input into the choreography? *Tumbleweed moment* She faxes suggestions to him overnight, that's safest.

Who was it? Flavia, of course - even Vincent couldn't carry off three and a half inch heels.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - 17 Seconds of Stuuuufffff!

You'll only get that title if you listen to KissFM's brekkie show ...

Audalie on the sofa and their expectations have been exceeded that they're still here, yet more to learn. Nat (Lowe Point) is glad to see the back of the jive, they only had 11 hours to train, due to Audley (Tickles our ivories) having a trip back home to the US of A. Back in ballroom with Viennese Waltz, already an improvement and looking to create swing and sway, says Nat, with a very husky voice - a lot of shouting in training?!

Karen's Choreography Corner: Jastina so risky, like magic, perfect partnership, chemistry and timing, so powerful, two people dancing together in ballroom, brilliant; Artolly so great, original, unique, beautiful top line, balletic, so different you love or hate, huge gamble, fresh and new, Tchaikovsky, who'd a thought? Standing ovation from Princess Bea (a personal friend of Holly!); Harriona really powerful, strong, tango but only 17 seconds worth, we don't want a show dance every week, we want to see it for at least a minute - first class show dance, not a tango; Brendulu had everything, strong big shapes, brilliant, use the energy in the next dance; Pashee so clever, strong head flicks, choosing the elements that will please the judges and then adding the performance; Robbiola put everything in, big shapes, tricks, very clever, not the strongest but flash and razzmatazz, character excellent; Robinita on the edge, lots of content, gives the judges a chance to critically appraise the dance, we can see improvement.

Widdy's Question Time: What animal do you most resemble when dancing? Vincent - chipanzee, light and hairy; Aliona - cheetah or panther, powerful and graceful; Robin - bulldog, self explanatory; Katya - cat, ditto!

Aleames on the sofa and Alex (in James fang club) found the paso character much easier to get into, she loved the narrative and James (bites back) was properly scary which helped! And who knew skirt wafting could be so difficult! Quickstep next!

Ben de Lisi and Oona on the sofa for the frock spot. Ben's fave was Alex's white paramesh confection, fluid fabric, 16 metres worth, 8 godets, 8 flared panels, plunges, on the right side of being dangerous; Anita pulled it off - I must have missed that bit - oh, the volume, McQueen influence, flamed beading, 5000 crystals just on the top, the hem took half a day for the pleated, wired crinoline, horns would have been too much, the cornetto fascinator perfect; Chelsee's barely there number could have perhaps had a corset with boning underneath, graphic, fun, bubbly, asymetric, kooky with ion oxide crystals. That's all folks!

Strictly Come Dancing, Week 5: Halloween Special

We're in the Monsters' Ballroom and the class of 2011 are the Addams Family! And there's a stately home in West London missing their chandeliers, Tess! Fab dress though. Wicked Queen Craig makes a flying entrance on a glittery broomstick. And oooh *heartfluttermoment* - tap dancing legend, Adam Garcia, is on the red button. If only I'd been in to see it ...

Russia samba to Kylie's Better The Devil You Know - how can you not smile, couple of mistakes but at least we have rhythm, bounce and fun - and what a shimmmyyy! Len - you caught your bum alight, feel good factor; Alesha - Kylie and Russell, what more do we want, great bounce action; Bruno - Camp Heaven, couldn't have squeezed more fun out if you tried; Craig - One wig away from Mystic Meg, so much slap, timing out, great double bounce action. Score: 4/6/6/6 = 22 spooky score, eh, if you ignore Craig!

Pashee tango to Love Potion No.9 is a fab routine, great technique, musical and stylish, full of attack until the end, such a shame she had to compromise cos of the wardrobe malfunction - admit it, girls, isn't that our worst nightmare? It's polo necks all the way from here ... although she was conscious of it she needn't have worried, all remained decorous. Aw, bless, she's so upset. Alesha - nothing to cry about, raised your game, clean, sharp, full of attack; Bruno - wicked little dancer, great musicality and feel for performance; Craig - could be a little more grounded with flexed knees, feisty and fiery, coped well; Len - a Lancashire hot pot, satisfying and delicious, fabulous, well done. Robin - what a gent, he's draped a scarf over her, Tess reassures too. Score: 7/8/9/8 = 32.

Audalie jive to Little Shop of Horrors. Clearly not as light and crisp as it should be but he's having a great time, good effort, timing and rhythm and at least he lets himself go! Bruno - big smile, great personality, terrible footwork; Craig - gallant effort, physically unsuited, heavy, flat footed, cumbersome, lovely smile; Len - rhythm, good timing, kept on the dance, well done; Alesha - loved the concept, needed to be more bouncy and light, out of comfort zone. Score: 3/6/6/5 = 20

Aleames Paso Doble to Bring Me to Life, it's ethereal, brave on her own, attitude this time, nice shaping, full of drama and loving the hair, I completely forgot it wasn't her own! Craig - I quite liked the idea of Dracula chasing the blood of an innocent virgin, played extremely well, complete antithesis of last week, almost erotic; Len - expecting Hammer House of Horror but ... confident, intense, drama, attack, bit too much frock wafting but terrific; Alesha - back on form, loved the risky beginning, atmospheric, a breakthrough; Bruno - haunting, voluptuous, a hint of madness, linking the lines, assertive, in character. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31

Artolly American Smooth to Swan Lake - amazing concept, so unusual to see in Strictly, so fluid, gorgeous lines, captivating foxtrot to begin - who doesn't know the story (it's the only ballet I've ever been to). A bit of a Strictly Wow moment. Beautiful finish and that extended knee slide backwards, lovely choreography. Artem is truly a genius. Len - would like the clocks to go back right now so we can see it all again, terrific, a little more in hold, but I loved it; Alesha - look incredible, favourite concept, so far, nothing conventional, beautiful lines and shapes, you were magnificent Holly; Bruno - style and artistry, top lines, exquisite; Craig - high risk, perilous concept but you made it work! Kudos to the band. Score: 8/9/9/9 = 35.

Antonollio rumba to Spooky - a waste of a fab rumba song, sadly, there's no Blackbyrds hit from her. But, she didn't stumble so much, an improvement. Alesha - a sexy woman who knows how to work it but a walking disaster, should've stayed in the coffin; Bruno - look like a queen, dance like the walking dead, hear the music, feel it; Craig - dance horribilis, all went horribly wrong when you stepped out the coffin; Len - the dance of love, moments of Mills and Boon and moments of meals on wheels, it wasn't all bad. Score: 2/5/3/4 = 14 Anton got the giggles over meals on wheels!

Harriona tango to Psychokiller, stylish start on the chairs, fantastic hands, terrific technique when they got going - but again, not enough of it?! Brilliantly acted, great intensity but nowhere near enough actual tango! Harry's such a good dancer it's becoming incredibly frustrating, it's so unsatisfying and just when I'm thinking they might get my vote**, they blow it. Bruno - intense, hypnotic, erotic, can feel your power getting stronger and stronger; Craig - intent, purpose, aggression, loved the storytelling, however, would like to see more in hold, tango you did done very well; Len - I wanna see more than 8 bars in hold, sharp, crisp and enjoyable, when you're in hold you're fantastic; Alesha - do agree with Len a little bit, too cool for school, art is subjective and you created a beautiful dance. Score: 8/7/10/9 = 34 Please Aliona, be as creative but within the parameters of an actual dance, before you cost Harry his place. **would've considered had I been in!

Robbiola Paso Doble to Bad and again, he sells it so brilliantly, even a bit of MJ crutch grabbing - and that was before he jumped upon the judges table. Could've been a bit more attack but some good lines and timing, neat trick with the throwy, swingy, swirly Ola around the floor! Craig - could've done without the lascivious hip thrusts, particularly the one in my face, needed more drive, soup ladle hands, apart from that, amazing! Len - a bit disconcerting, the thrusting of the wobbly bits, would've liked a bit more savage Alesha - keep thrusting, out it in every dance, purpose and intent, cape work excellent; Bruno - go for it, you got it. Score: 4/7/8/7 = 26

Robinita tango to Devil Woman - loved the characterisation but felt it needed to be a bit sharper, it was a melodic but proper tango routine; Len - liked it, lots of content, lost timing a bit, posture weak but enjoyed - proper tango (I'm morphing into Len) far more gruelling than standing side by side mincing around; Alesha - fantastic actress, drama, scary, master the hold; Bruno - portayed very aspect of the character but work on frame; Craig - acting 10, top line 3 - meet the two. Loved the routine. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31.

Brendulu Paso Doble to Highway to Hell, terrific entrance, working those batwings, needs to look up and present more, thoroughly enjoyable, great job. Bruno - handled the tricks with great panache, strong and powerful; Craig - concept great, fantastic work, a battle for supremacy in hold, I loved it; Len - Lots of tricks and quite a few treats, little bit soft in the body but what entertainment; Alesha - an amazing entrance, loved your determination. Score: 6/7/8/8 = 29

Jastina - quickstep to Bewitched and what an utterly brilliant beginning - now that's proper faffing about, telling the story musically, their timing is fantastic, sheer joy, he hasn't got the best top line but his feet are working it and he draws you in with it. Wonderful stuff. Craig - absolutely fab-u-lous; Len - you were fantastic, you're back! Alesha - so cute, charming, interesting, brilliant routine; Bruno - bewitchingly brilliant and slightly barmy, great concept, great choreography. Score: 9/9/10/9 = 37 Sooooooo happy for Kristina, we're finally seeing what a fab choreographer she is.


Jastina 37 = 11
Artolly 35 = 10
Harriona 34 = 9
Pashee 32 = 8
Aleames 31 = 7
Robinita 31 = 7
Brendulu 29 = 6
Robbiola 26 = 5
Russia 22 = 4
Audalie 20 = 3
Antonollio 14 = 2

Only one draw on the board means less protection for Antonollio, it will be between them and Audalie as I'm sure Russia and Robbiola will be safe. And after her comment about it not being her idea to do the lift, even Anton's fans may desert Nancy tonight.

And since I've been watching on i-player I'm straight into results! Nerdy guys and vampy girls - Someone's watching them. The pro boys are unrecognisable. Creative and quirky, the girls and judges magically swap places at the end!

The Moment of Truth #1: Safe - Brendulu; Aleames; Jastina; Artolly; Pashee.
Bottom Two: Audalie

The Wanted, accompanied by the vampy ladies - but not our ones so *loses interest* seriously, how bad were they compared to the standard we're used to, from the pro's accompanying the musical guests?

Len's Lens - Len, trying to twitch his nose; Alex's confidence; Alesha's trick or treat face; Artolly unconventional, original; Craig and Len's faces when Robbie jumped up on their desk; the musical interlude, Audley's piano, Russell's bongos, everybody had wonderful concepts and embraced the spirit. The Grant, the devil's tail, hellboy meets hellgirl!

The Moment of Truth #2: Safe - Robinita; Russia; Harriona; Robbiola.
Bottom Two - Antonollio

It's all as predicted - by pretty much everyone I imagine - Audalie v Antonollio.

Pro American Smooth with Vincent and Flavia, Erin and Anton and Natalie and Brendan to Witchcraft. Gorgeous routine to a gorgeous song, beautiful by the band.

The Final Moment of Truth: It's Arrivederci Antonollio!

6.25pm next week, Jennifer Grey replacing Len - no ballroom expert on the panel, the pros can now really fill their boots with show dances!