Sunday, 20 November 2011

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!

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