Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special: Rockin robins and molten tinsel

Jives to the left of us, American Smooths to the right, with a Salsa and Viennese Waltz chucked in the middle just for the fun of it!

JLS's JB Gill the winner of the night, partnering Ola in a bright and lively jive to Rockin Robin'. We won't harp on about it being grossly overmarked (a little flat footed, raggedy technique, a slip) because it was damn good fun, full of personality with magnificent timing and musicality. But the judges weren't holding back with the 10s, considering he was first out! 39 put them top of the judges board; support from the audience gave them the trophy.

Also dancing a jive were Blue Peter's action girl, Helen Skelton, with Arten Chigvintsev, to All I Want For Christmas is You. As you'd expect, there were well executed flips but also a few hiccups. However, these didn't detract from an overall great routine and 37 points gave them second on the board.

There were American Smooths from Bobby Ball and partner Katya Virshilas and Sheila Hancock with Ian Waite; Bobby and Katya's charming routine to a jaunty version of White Christmas (with his famous braces getting a starring role) while 79 year old - I can't believe that - Sheila brought us a gorgeous mini panto of The Ice Queen to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, danced with a wonderful top line, very elegant and classy. 29 points and 36 points put them third and sixth respectively on the leader board.

An outing, finally, for my favourite Christmas song which sums up the Strictly season - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, as Anton du Beke whirled Katy Brand around the floor beautifully for a delightful Viennese Waltz. Fluid, lovely extensions, great footwork, movement and timing - we knew she could dance anyway - but as Len put it: "Like Christmas snow: deep and crisp and even." Anton's jumper deserved a ten on its own and Katy said the whole experience was like "being dipped in molten tinsel". Only 33 points felt undermarked!

When Fabrice Muamba apparently rejected Dancing On Ice and said he'd rather dance a salsa on Strictly, we just knew he'd pitch up here somewhere! Recovering amazingly from a cardiac arrest, Fabrice partnered Aliona Vilani in a wonderfully groovy routine to Christmas Wrappin', showing the nifty footwork that had served him so well in his previous career. Brilliant natural rhythm; he had a ton of fun and so did we. Mid table respectability with 35 points!

Rod Stewart got the judges swaying with a finger snappin' toe tappin' rendition of Let It Snow, before there was no faffing about with eliminations and b-boom music, instead, it was straight out with the Moment of Truth naming JB and Ola as winners.

Another season gone then *sob* and the finale bringing not only the cast of this series and the judges out on the floor, but the Strictly All Stars revisiting their signature moves: Kelly and Brendan; Erin and Colin; Chelsee and Pasha; Chris and Ola; Rachel and Vincent; Tom and Natasha paired with Kristina and Ian.

Time to wrap up those glittery paddles and stick them back in the loft till next year, awaiting the the return of Strictly. But feel free to join me for Dancing on Ice, which begins on Sunday, January 6th. See you then :)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Flouvia win!

Olympian Louis Smith and partner Flavia Cacace won the battle of the best on .Saturday, as Strictly Come Dancing Series 10 came to a nail biting, jaw dropping close.

Their magnificent charleston topped off a silky performance, with the salsa that previously split the judges wowing everyone this time around. "OMG that was incredible" is what I have written down here. It wasn't just slinky, it was marinaded in extra virgin olive oil. The big lift was perfect and there was plenty of salsa content and personality while still retaining the feel of the original film. The charleston stormed the floor, with a back somersault - standing start - added to the fizz. As for the show dance, you know I'm not a fan of the gymnastic non dancing freestylers but this was so much better. The emotive music helped, and possibly Louis being topless - but the control and artistry in his body, coupled with an Argentine Tango influenced rumba and that gravity defying lift (below) which, literally, made my jaw drop - meant I was transfixed. Awesome stuff.

Flouvia didn't have it all their own way, as Kisha also gained three votes from me, with their fierce, exciting tango, the romantic and beautifully danced Viennese Waltz - gorgeous transition from steps to floor, and my favourite show dance of the night to Crazy in Love, channelling Beyonce brilliantly. I remember more of their dances than anyone else; they will always be one of my favourite pairings. Had their Charleston and American Smooth been in the final, the outcome may have been different. Technically adept yet retaining a hint of rawness, with Kimberley able to 'let go' in every performance in a way the others never quite managed.

Jamise's jive will go down as one of those Strictly classics, they were on fire and carried it through into the immense show dance with awesome lifts - James was actually overcome at Craig's 10 - before finishing on the brilliant, perfectly executed charleston. Vani, the fourth placed couple, were unable to perform their jive (why do the producers do that?) but the tango was more elegant this time, terrific, stylish and plenty of attack. Their show dance, to Dani's "favourite song of all time" ("Westlife!" interjected Nicky) opened as a rumba before taking shape as a paso but did have a few sticky transitions. Adorable as they were, I did feel it may not be enough for them.

The score board (just for guidance) read:

Jamise 39 + 40 + 40 = 119
Kisha 39 + 39 + 40 = 118
Flouvia 39 + 40 + 39 = 118
Vani 36 + 35 = 71 (eliminated at the beginning of the results show)

The show opened with an extreme Paso by the professionals, with lots of golden spangles on show, although "Tess's dress feels like a Brillo Pad" - Brucie.

The class of 2012 joined us, Nicky and Michael behaving like naughty schoolboys, while Artem and Aliona perfomed a dangerously seductive routine to Robbie Williams's new single Different.

In the immortal words of The Funkmasters: I can't believe it's over. For nine months at least - keep an eye on the website for details of series 11!

Or you could tune into the Christmas Special, 6.15pm, BBC1 on Christmas Day!

Photos: BBC.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - last minute shimmies

All four finalists on the sofa tonight!

Denise with a dislocated rib and James with the missing salsa step in their show dance; Denise with a Del-boy impression of James. Family VT alert - they're gonna need a bigger box of tissues.

Louis was a lot more nervous at the Olympics; he hasn't trained 19 years for Strictly. And he has a bad back :( Even he's welling up at The Family VT. Dasher the meerkat chooses them to win.

Vani's jouney - they've barely sat down and Vincent's crying already. He's still going to choreograph for Dani on Sunday - and send her a video of himself doing it. Zoe and Dani both in bits at The Family VT.

Kisha's journey, from limp to perfection. "I've got to smout" - Kimberley, her Fusion face of smiling with a pout in their Chango. Her brother is pretty lush! #FamilyVT

The judges, with Darcey and Bruno in matching outfits. Craig's in panto: "Oh no he isn't". Darcey and Bruno compare leg extensions. Their highlights included the unveiling and matching up of the contestants (Len) and Halloween (Bruno).

Down in the studio, the cast have reunited for highlights and one big Strictly Shimmy, with Zoe in her "ridiculous" shoes.

I have to say I'm slightly disappointed in the music for the show dances - they've all been used before. What A Feeling will just remind me of Robert Webb. Crazy in Love, Alesha's cha cha; Rule The World (much as I love it) was Anton and Laila's rumba - so in fairness, it deserves another outing. And Bohemian Rhapsody I'm not sure has, actually, but picture the scene: At a party, the floor is rocking to Mambo No.5 and Livin' La Vida Local, everyone in a groovy Latin mood ... and then the DJ puts on BH. Never seen a floor empty so fast. Except for the few die hards who hung around just for *that* guitar bit a la Wayne's World. I just don't hear it as a dance song. So the routines will really need to blow me away.

But, 320 points up for grabs tomorrow and barring no mistakes, a real possibility. On paper, Flouvia is looking most likely to get three votes from me, with their charleston, salsa and tricky AT/rumba to Take That. Kisha's VW I loved - some concern though, as it's the one that landed them in the bottom two. But the romantic ballroom mixed with the feisty tango and a party Latin combo appeals. Jamise and Vani with terrific jives and multi stranded show dances will be split only by the charleston and tango.

Only *checks clock* twenty hours and five minutes to go!! If you really can't contain yourself, go visit the official website here and fill up on the previous ten weeks!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two final week highlights

Louis was warned by Flav that His Crowning Glory would be subject to a VT - and so it came to pass!

Their dances are firm crowd favourites: Judges Pick - the Dirty Dancing Salsa, with added oil; their choice is the charleston and a show dance to Rule The World. Going to be tough to beat that combo!

Ramps on the red button this week!

Lisa in hair and make up said Robin is the bane of her life - they make up, then tan up and then don't match - he's the worst!

Julien McDonald with the costume stats so far: over 400 metres of fringing; over 700 godets; over 15000 bugle beads - and over 250,000 crystals! Dani's American Smooth dress alone had 150metres of ruffles and 5000 crystals! "What have I got left?" asked Vicky in wardrobe "let's chuck it all on!"

Darcey wants a feisty woman in Vani's tango, the judges pick. "I'm taking care of that" - Vincent. Their choice is their jive, just so Vincent's wig can come out again.

Ian showing a nice line in Christmas jumpers.

In Karen's crib, sniffing candles and leaving ash on her nose. Funny lady!

Ian put a bet on someone - they went out, so he won't say who he wants to win.

Chris Hollins: "I'm glad I wasn't in it this year." He also enjoyed the week James forgot his routine, after the grief he was given when he did it.

Jill would be shocked if Jamise don't get 40 for their jive.

Spreading the Strictly Shimmy - Natalie gets the plum job of the rugby club.

The Kelp - the Kimberley Yelp precedes the Kimberlicious Lips, with a very funny slo-mo raspberry.


Vani to Bohemian Rhapsody, a complicated and powerful paso inspired mix of tango and rumba with wow lifts and Dani in a little black and white number which isn't quite finished yet.

Jamise to What a Feeling, a mix of their fave moments from various dances, with unbelievable lifts and a knee slide; Denise in black catsuit.

Kisha to Crazy in Love, a Latin combo with different, intricate lift work and her in a 5000 crystal covered colour block short flared skirt for booty shaking.

Flouvia to Rule The World rumba style with AT references and unusual dangerous lifts promising something different. Louis will be topless.

Note: All four professionals have been in the final before but never won!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two - Monday mourning

It's the final week, as in last and as in The Final - and I just discovered, there will be an interview with the winners on the It Takes Two blog next week, for those of us bereft of closure.

Robisa, on the sad sofa, I'm already tearing up. We have extended highlights because there were so many in this emotional, roller coaster of a journey - because if ever there was a time to use that well worn phrase, this is it. And they're off ... *passes tissues* ... we're all off. They stick up for Denise, and Lisa wants her double DD's to win - Denise and Dani.

Backstage pass - Louis spreading rumours about the competition - Kimberley's hairnet is to contain the nits, lol.

It's wonderful to have Bruno on the sofa, his critiques are so engaging, descriptive and poetic.

The secret to Jamise's relationship - brutal honesty, with plenty of insults! They tell us their dances for the Final: Judges' Pick - Jive; their choice - charleston.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Semi Final!

It couldn't be closer: we know the weakest technically has strong public support so anything could happen, anyone could go!

Vani lead the way, with a flowing and romantic American Smooth, happy and charming with lovely lifts which scored them a respectable 34. Their Argentine Tango was always going to be their strongest and gave us a strength we hadn't seen before from Dani, which resulted in their first 10 from Len. My only teensy criticism is that both were maybe a little too placed, too precise. That sounds a bit daft, doesn't it?

Next up were Flouvia with a jive and what he lacked in technique, Louis made up for in personality and a genuinely fun routine, showing his natural rhythm. Their foxtrot had gorgeous choreography, very well danced, very smooth - while I like that song though, I couldn't marry it with the foxtrot so the overall effect left me a little flat.

Jamise went all on out frontal assault; luckily, it was a tango and the intent, attack, timing and drama was perfect in a paso inspired routine. I loved it. They followed with a tender rumba, beautifully choreographed, danced and acted. I think they'll make the final, deservedly - I can't see anyone else beating them in a dance off, if they find themselves there again.

Kisha were my favourites of the night - Nimble Kimble has, since their dance off appearance, given everything. Their American Smooth was sensual, sultry and spectacular all through. Loved the classy shimmy. And that dress. Following with something completely different, a fantastically themed charleston with brilliant tricks - those linked cartwheels were fabulous. Consistent and exciting.

People's favourite, possibly, Robisa, led off with a salsa, fun and funky but oh, dear - why did  they persist with the floor spin? Inelegant and stopped the flow of the routine dead, but Flippin' Hell, Robin - that was awesome! However, I do feel that Lisa's energy have dropped off as the contest has gone on and the Latin has begun to labour a bit. The American Smooth was better, classy and feel good, with their customary side by side sections full of joy.

The leader board (which also happens to be my order too)
Kisha 38 + 40 = 78 = 5 pts
Jamise 39 + 38 = 77 = 4 pts
Vani 34 + 38 = 72 = 3 pts
Flouvia 31 + 38 = 69 = 2 pts
Robisa 31 + 32 = 63 = 1 pt

Now, I'm no mathematician, as you know ... but, assuming, going by last week, that Denise is the least popular, she'll be on 5 points overall. Lisa, if the most popular, would be on 6 points overall, which means that the least Kimberley could have would be 7 pts - and which would make her safe.  But who knows, support grows and wavers, Flouvia and Vani have strong public support - we could end up with a reversed leader board - which would give us a Kisha v Jamise dance off. Good luck with that one, judges!

We'll find out in ooh, 5 ish hours time! While away the time by enjoying your favourite routines again on the official BBC website. See you then :)

One last, little note - a lot of people knock Tess, but how good was she when the pros were getting out of hand behind her? Carries on with the script, references hem but straight back on it without a single duff word or loss of concentration.

So, I'm back -- after the extended break for the Sports Personality of the Year Award, the toughest in British sporting history (I ended up voting for five different living legends and Bradley Wiggins was one of them).

Opening the results show, a beautiful ballroom from Anton & Erin; Natalie & Brendan and Artem & Ola, before we have it confirmed that Kisha are safe and that Robisa will be in the Dance Off.  Katherine Jenkins sings Santa Baby for us - and with Gethin in the audience, what do we think? Back on? Robin and Kristina accompany before we switch to Len's Lens: Kisha's charleston; Jamise's attack; finger wagging at Craig for no ten; Vincent flipping a coin into the fountain and wishing to make the final, aw. Bruce, drinking at said fountain "of youth" - Bruno. And the general party atmosphere that's pervaded the judges' desk this season :)

Back to the Moment of Truth and Flouvia are called safe; Jamise are in the dance off and Vincent sinks to his knees in relief.

Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas reprise their jive from Kath's brilliant stint on Dancing With the Stars, before the judges, as expected, save Jamise over Robisa, with regret. Then it all gets very emotional, especially with Lisa's tribute to Robin - and I swear I saw Darcey wiping her eyes.

Phew! So, an unprecedented four couple final this year - apparently, it should have been a double elimination this week, so either a) someone wanted to ensure Jamise made it through or b) someone wanted us all to enjoy all the top couples for as long as possible because there's very little to choose between them. As a positive kind of person, I'm going with the second option - because life's just too short.

Next week, they'll all dance a Judges' Pick; a Show Dance and the top three then dance their favourite. Get that bubbly on ice and plenty of chocolatey nibbles in!

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

On the sofa this week ...

It's raining 10s, Hallelujah!

"Look at all those mirrir balls; I think I'm in heaven!" - Robin

Adrenalin overdrive backstage, also Louis's dishy stagehand double, Liam.

Craig needs a hug (Karen) or a slap (Nicky) who won't be going to see him in panto.

Richard on Karen's slwo, gentle and controlled kick ball changes in the pro dance challenge: "It's a world record attempt but why rush."

Louis, being the last man standing, is getting ganged up on by the girls in the make up room.

Vincent on his challenge: "I should be fast , the only problem was I was rubbish." It was an Italian take on Irish dancing, as Zoe said. Flavia stormed it with blurry feet, to win it for the girls.

Vincent said even though he was bottle fed, he still manages to do what he does. It took Dani a minute to realise what he meant! Very pleased with their "ultimate ovulation"! AT going well, except Dani keeps kicking herself.!

Strictly Global - it's now in over 40 countries and the biggest show on the box in some.

Pasha treats us to a solo dance to fever in training - he's free for private viewings after the show on Saturdays.

JLS are big fans and clued up on all the techy talk - they were the Friday panel.

This week's dances:
Robisa: Salsa to Best Years of our Lives; American Smooth to All That Jazz
Jamise: Tango to Roxanne; Rumba to First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Flouvia: Jive to Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Foxtrot to Somebody That I Used to Know
Vani: American Smooth to Just Haven't Met You Yet; Argentine Tango to Libertango
Kisha: American Smooth to Fever; Charleston to Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

Check out all the rest of the gossip on the official BBC It Takes Two site.

Apologies again for the late postings this week, I'll be back on course after the results show tonight!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Kisha's perfect dancemotion

After the plethora of 34s, Dance Fusion week saw Kisha smash through that barrier to score a perfect 40 and top the leader board.

Fantastic attitude and energy, sublime transitions in a skilfully crafted routine, all backed up by an outstanding performance - Kimberley switching from attacking pout to abandoned laughter effortlessly. And a standation from Len! Come on! I love that she hugs everyone. And then cries - a tale of two emotions, just like the dance!

Vani's Happy Feet Charlstep routine was just adorable, so them, and earned them their first 10s, while Flouvia's dynamic tamba incorporated a free flowing rumba with lovely arms. Strong tango element and a stunning lift hit right on the high light and ... isn't he bendy? A 10 for them too.

Robisa suffered a mishap in the slightly sloppy cha cha section of their Tancha - and I agreed with Darcey, I thought the tango element was far stronger for her. I'm still smiling all through - and the band were fab, I almost forgot it wasn't actually Abba!

Kicky were unfortunate with the draw - an American Smooth/Samba was always going to be tough to marry. I really enjoyed it though, a very groovy Americamba but you kind of knew it wouldn't be enough.

A wardrobe malfunction for Jamise meant they slid to fourth on the leader board and into the dance off. Personally, I thought it was a stunning Jivestep routine - so she's a performer; they all are, apart from Louis. To Chris Evans et al - why don't you just belt up and enjoy these terrific routines? I remember, back in the day, during Series 5 - when the same accusations were levelled at all the other "performers" - some of us jokingly said that Gethin had an unfair advantage: his violin playing gave him such good posture. Yep, they ran with it ...

Leader Board:
Kisha 40 = 6; Vani 38 = 5; Flouvia 37 = 4; Jamise 35 = 3; Robisa 30 = 2; Kicky 27 = 1.

Sadly, we knew that Kicky wouldn't be saved, not up against Jamise without a wardrobe malfunction, although there were a couple of tiny mistakes. I'm going to miss that lovely Irish lilt and cheeky grin.

Also on the results show, a beautiful quirkiness to the opening pro number, very different to anything we've seen before. Seeing the mutual respect between guest performer, The Buble, and Anton and Erin. Len's Lens: Darcey's reaction to Craig's 10 and the mini party at the judges table; Louis's arms, tender and long and we saw that exquisite birdwing shadow moment.

Sorry about the lateness of this week's reports; just a bit of ITT to sort and then we're back tomorrow for the semi-final: One dance floor, two dances each, three safe from the dreaded dance off, four places, five couples. Read all about it on the official BBC website.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

From behind the sofa ...

Michael, bless him: "I think it was the right time for me to go" but he would have loved to do the Viennese Waltz. They clocked 325 hours of training and it's been Nat's favourite so far - huge compliment to Michael, considering she made the final in her first, with Ricky Whittle. She's doing a Gwyneth ...

Michael Buble was on the sofa! *calm down Foxy* The band have covered his songs over twenty times. So, when a certain radio DJ says to you, after you've answered the first easy peasy SCD question: "Q2, it's not strictly a Strictly question" thereby implying there's at least a tenuous link, and gives you a choice between The Buble and Bryan Adams, who're ya gonna go for? Hm? Jamie bloody Theakston, yes, talking to you! I've never listened to you since, except when I have no choice. So the woman after me gets that one right, obviously, struggles with the final one which was so damn easy she couldn't have been a real fan if she didn't know it immediately and stole my prize of a photo shoot with Brendan in a spangly frock*. I hate you, Theakston. Get me up at 6am and leave me hanging on the phone for half an hour just to ruin my day. Git. *Brendan wouldn't have been wearing frock; that would've been me.

Anyway, moving on ... Craig was still taking the mickey out of James ... it's a running theme.

Karen Hauer has the Latin American footballing skill, now all Nicky has to do is master the samba with a spot of American Smooth, which he's confident he will. "Fighting talk," says Zoe. "Make Tee-shirts and go on a rally!"

The other Karen, in Choreography Corner says they were under marked in their Argentine Tango "there was a lot going on downstairs" Ooh er missus.

You never forget your first nine from Craig.

The coati picked Robisa.

Power Panel Friday: Matthew Morrison; Katherine Jenkins; Mark Ballas. There'll be no hiding from this lot!

The Pro Dance challenge (Kick Ball Changes) Erin topping to board with 71; Brendan into second place with 65, leaving Robin in third on 62.

The dances this week:

Quickstep/Charleston (Charlestep): Vani, to Happy Feet. On the VW, Dani says she managed to take her eyes off him. "How did you do that? Other women need to know." - Vincent.

Jive/Quickstep (Jivestep): Jamise to Reet Petite. It looks awesome. Completely awesome.

Rumba/Tango (Tamba): Flouvia to With or Without You. Interesting.

Cha Cha/Tango (Chango): Kisha to It's Raining Men. Kimberley's got herself a fan - Mark Ballas clearly knocked out!

American Smooth/Samba (Americamba): Kicky to Troublemaker

Tango/Cha Cha (Tancha): Robisa to Voulez Vous

I'm exhausted just writing them down. Catch up with the gossip and clips on the official ITT website if you can't control yourself till tomorrow :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Stumped!

Michalie succumbed to a figurative one finger from the third umpire (ie, our judges) and samba'd their way out of the competition this week.

Up against his BFF, Nicky, in the dance off, Michael did perform his best Latin of the series but sadly, the overall standard and general likeability of everybody meant that bottom of the board would always be tough to break out of.

Natalie worked the wonders we knew she would with a partner willing to work hard. Michael totally captured the spirit of the show, I've loved watching them every week and am sad to see them go. I smiled throughout their samba and if the hips were wonky it didn't stop his great fluid movement around the floor with both musicality and the bounce there. I thought Craig was unduly harsh on him - how many male celeb's sambas are that watchable? Bruno got a bit carried away, with the whole "need to swing both ways" (hips) The phrase you're looking for is "batting for the other side" Bruno, if you want to be even more blunt/saucy/topical.

Kicky made it a unanimous vote in their favour when their already intense and atmospheric Argentine Tango to Skyfall was softened to be more sensual as demanded by the judges.

Overall, the couples left are all fab and we're at the point now where I can sit back and enjoy everyone, with no particular favourites. Kisha's jive was lively (understatement!) and how Kimberley kept up I'll never know; amazing. Vani produced a gorgeous VW, courtesy of Dani's delightful dancing and Vincent's extraordinary and beautiful choreography.

Robisa brought back memories of Christmas Past, with their fun quickstep to Eric and Ernie's Bring Me Sunshine, and yes, they did the ending - although the roly poly onto the sofa at the end went a bit awry, somehow, with Lisa, it doesn't matter - up she gets, smiling away. Jamise had a rare issue when James went blank! I thought it was just a sticky transition into a big lift, but he admitted he'd blanked and they had to improvise with more shimmying! As Craig said: "We do have to blame you, darling. This is marvellous!" Still a great routine as ever, although not as fluid as it could have been.

Surprise of the night for me - a happy surprise - was Flouvia's charleston. Brilliant routine and I was mesmerised by Louis, he danced with every single sinew in his body - and I loved the nod to MJ, he's been dying to get that in somewhere. That acting coach worked miracles, we've seen it before (Gethin) and finally, we saw Louis enjoying himself and letting go. "Shut up close the door and call me Mary" exclaimed Len. Which just about summed it up! There were acrobatics but they slotted in perfectly in the routine and maintained the flow. Wonderful.

Flouvia 37 = 7; Kisha/Vani 34 = 6; Jamise 32 = 5; Robisa 31 = 4; Kicky 30 = 3; Michalie 24 = 2

On the results show we were treated to a sleazy 20s jazz club routine by the pro dancers and Len's Lens showed Len's happy face through Robisa's routine and Bruno's fascination with Nat's feathery head dress. Vincent confided that "people in the street shout at us cos they think we're far away, cos we're so little!"

And next week - Dance Fusion! One piece of music, two styles of dance for the couples to master. And possibly a double elimination? I think they should drop the dance off when they get to that point, because those at the bottom board have no hope of escaping it. They may save that for the semi - no doubt it will all be revealed on the official BBC site - stay in touch.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Friday panel; Xmas Special

On the It Takes Two sofa; the Friday panel consisted of Miranda Hart (Security! Security!) June Whitfield and Alfie Boe, who genuinely didn't seem to know why he was there but soon got the hang of it. Brought it home, you might say. *groan*

They ran us through this week's dances, which are:

Salsa: Jamise - watch out for Shimmy Jimmy Jordan. Denise said that the American Smooth was the first time her mum has cried when watching them dance. Although she then added "but I wasn't feeling very well."

Samba: Michalie to Tequila. Good call! Hopefully his best Latin to date - what I saw looked Ok!

Argentine Tango: Kicky to Skyfall *fingers crossed*

Quickstep: Robisa and oh, how I cannot wait! Bring Me Sunshine, complete with Eric and Ernie tribute at the end we hope! My music choice for some time, in a so far unpublished list that may appear soon!

Charleston: Flouvia. "Reserved and wooden." As a natural dancer, Miranda was able to say that. It's not looking good. He'll nail the footwork but I think facial expressions figure highly in the technique on this one. And there weren't any in training.

Jive: Kisha. Wilson Pickett, Night of a Thousand Dances. Looking gooooood. "Alfie, do you like Girls Aloud?" "I have all their albums." "Do you?" "No." The lemur likes them; its picked them to top the leader board.

Viennese Waltz: Vani. Dean Martin. That's Amore. Vincent's looking in a mirror again.

Elsewhere, the Christmas Special cast list has been revealed!
Bobby Ball will partner a returning Katya Virshilas
Katy Brand will partner Anton du Beke
JB Gill (JLS) will partner Ola Jordan
Sheila Hancock will partner Ian Waite
Fabrice Muamba will partner Aliona Vilani
Helen Skelton will partner Artem Chigvintsev

And returning for a group number will be former champions Tom Chambers (partnered by Kristina), Chris Hollins (Ola) and Natasha Kaplinksky (Ian), along with runners up Rachel Stevens (Vincent), Chelsee Healey (Pasha) Colin Jackson (Erin Boag). Kelly Brook will also take part, once again partnered by Brendan. And if that wasn't enough for you, Russell Grant and Ann Widdecombe will make guest appearances! Just what you want when you're vegging out after all that excess.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Kicky turn it around

Loving the opening take on Friends and the fun clearly had a knock on effect for Kicky, who wowed with my favourite dance of the night, a charleston of Team Cola proportions!

Fun and fast, lots of characterisation - it reminded Darcey of The Artist - a truly exhilarating dance.

Also on form and again topping the table were Jamise with an elegant and floaty American Smooth containing perfect, awesome lifts, although they're being closed down by Vani, whose samba worked, despite the song really not being a samba song. Single Ladies generated excitement though and Dani was terrific. I loved the energy and attack in Kisha's tango, which led to one of Craig's most hilariously misconstrued comments "thumb wedged firmly in his crack (in his armpit)" and Darcey and Bruno high-fiving each other for a matching pair of nines.

Robisa hit a block with the judges finally - we knew it would happen (Mark's jive, anyone?) their rumba not finding favour. I thought she could've been given credit for the fluidity and she still maintained her musicality, which is about as good as it gets with me and rumba. This time with Flouvia, the judges agreed with me. Comments throughout both shows regarding the lack of emotion, as the lovely lines weren't supported by the moodiness I thought Louis would nail. Their Paso should have exploded at some point but sadly, it never did.

Brendleton and Michalie, as we know, were the bottom two tonight. Personally, I agreed with Len that Michael wasn't given enough credit for tackling a tough dance with excellent lifts. It was as much an Argentine Tango as I've seen from others. Victoria never really found the confidence to match her undoubted ability, ending the show thinking she can't dance. You Can! But throwing yourself about with your mates on a party night out or winning gold medals at cycling championships is a whole lot different to being out there, out of your comfort zone, on your own in front of millions! Our Olympic Queen Victoria will hopefully look back and see all the good stuff she did. Perhaps Brendan can sort out a first dance for her and Scott's wedding :)

Also on the results show: Flawless are, as ever, exactly that - and how brilliant with the pro girls? Check out Darcey and Craig's ripples - which reminds me, there's one waiting for me in  the fridge - and is Claudia moonlighting as a waitress after the show? Kimberley's squeal of delight when her name was called was heard by - according to Claudia - "dolpins, asking, what was that? Oh, Walshey's through!" Len's Lens shows us Bruno joining in Single Ladies and he and Len cracking up after giving Lisa the same score and going "Oooooh!"

Down to the last seven and as usual, the media are all over the forums, quoting them like they speak for the majority. Most viewers/voters won't care how experienced Denise is, they'll just be enjoying the dancing. Likewise, top scoring and leading the board doesn't automatically guarantee a win. I still wouldn't like to guess at who's actually most popular with the viewers!

Keep up to date with all the news and gossip on the BBC official website.

This week's leader board: Jamise 37 = 8; Vani 36 = 7; Kicky 36 = 7; Kisha 34 = 6; Flouvia 27 = 5; Robisa 27 = 5; Michalie 26 = 4; Brendleton 21 = 3.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

The post-Wembley sofa ...

Backstage pass - Robin and Pasha asleep, rudely awakened by James and Vincent.

Richard: "I'm going to have to tape certain phrases by you (Erin). I can't do a thing without you." *hands out tissues*

Craig's entrance to Rude Boy: "I was out of time but I shall I overlook that."

"Being told we'd finish the show gave us a lot of confidence" - Michael.

"What was more exciting: Being carried in by four burly men or the 10s?" Zoe to Denise. "Toughie."

Jamise had a boobie malfunction in the dress rehearsal - James did try to tell her. He does a fantastic impression of Vincent.

Julien McDonald on Lisa's dress: "A lace base on a tulle illusion." I want one.

Brendan on Bruno's "over ambitious" statement - "... a nonsense comment ..."

"I look up to Robbie Williams as a performer and an entertainer" - Brendan. "He says the same about you" - Zoe.

"So manly in your matching shirt and tie" Zoe to Ian, demonstrating Paso Doble. "I'm doing my best, dear."

Vaughny gave Nicky a pep talk before the dance off *bromance*

"I'm speechless ... even though I'm still talking!" - Dani

Zoe: "How do you keep her motivated, Vincent?" Who indicates himself: "Hellllooo?!"

"It's all about him pulling me towards him. Which is nice." Lisa on their rumba. Following Splitgate, Lisa has no pelvis, since she left it on the floor at Wembley.

Top Ten stuffage:
The quickstep has accumulated the most 10s - 36.
There have been 288 altogether: 1 in series 1; 7 in S2; 13 in S3; 14 in S4; 37 in S5; 59 in S6; 46 in S7; 51 in S8 and 57 in S9.
Judges have given: Darcey 7; Craig 24; Len 74; Bruno 93.
Celebs: Ricky 28; Rachel 25; Harry 25; Kara 21; Lisa 20; Alesha 19; Chelsea 18; Pamela 17; Jason 12; Ali 11. So what does that tell us, bearing in mind only three winners feature in that?

This week's dances:
Paso Doble: Flouvia
Tango: Kisha
Charleston: Kicky
Rumba: Robisa
Samba: Vani
Argentine Tango: Michalie
Salsa: Brendleton
American Smooth: Jamise

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Dancing Through The Decades

We're at that big arena place ... oh, you the one I mean. Yes, I think we can safely leave it unsaid, don't you ... loving all the frocks tonight, and another dose of Gangnam Style to get the crowd fired up. Like they need it!

Robisa were again my stars of the night, putting the fun into funky with their samba to Car Wash - which I didn't think would work but you know what - I'm smiling before they even begin. Love them to pieces. A great score still only leaves them 5th on the leader board in an exceptionally close night.

Kisha also dancing a samba, and likewise I wasn't keen on the song (Livin' La Vida Loca) - great for a salsa but exceptionally fast for a samba - they did an excellent job, Kimberley really knows how to sell it. "Hotter to the point of fusion; my core is imploding" - Bruno. Let's hope it's enough. Richin's salsa was the weakest of the night but even so, it was still a good performance, although I was completely distracted by the Men in Trunks. And not in a good way. Erin: "1-2-3 don't give me jelly arms."

A Jailhouse rock'n'roll jive from Kicky carried on the party mood; terrific attitude and performance from Nicky, he really let fly, if a little scrappy in places, while Bendleton's Paso Doble I enjoyed - I'd have preferred if they'd left the bike out of it but she had some nice lyrical shape, though it could've been a little stronger through the core.

Little folk doing the quickstep at Wembley - Mr and Mrs Consistent, Vani, and another great showing in a stylish and elegant quickstep with an excellent transition onto the centre piece. Vincent to Dani: "I couldn't do it without you" Dani: "Yes, you could." Vincent: "Yeah, I could." Jamise you just knew were going to score tens - they didn't put a foot, arm or head wrong in a stunning charleston routine, a little left of field than normal, with a modern pop song. Overall though, it really worked - and Denise is having such a good time. Which brings me onto the American Smooths ...

Louis! Really, everyone else at the beginning and at the end of the show are Having A God Time. And he's Mr Cool Straight Face. It pains me, it really does, I wanted so much to like him and see him do well but if he doesn't start looking like he's enjoying himself anytime soon, he's out. And at equal second from bottom, he could be the shocker in the Bottom Two this week. Flouvia's American Smooth wasn't. It was a quickstep with a modern twist that really didn't work for me at all. A bit stiff, tacky transitions, a change in music style made it very disjointed. Craig called it "refreshing"; Len was bewildered. I'm with Len.

Michalie's was the complete opposite. Traditional Frank Sinatra song, showbizzy and "put the oo in smooth" said Len. Michael said: "I'm just happy to be here each week" And there you have it - the attitude the public want: working hard, loving every minute and it shows. Let's hope I haven't just put the mockers on.

Score Board:
Jamise 39 = 9; Vani 36 = 8; Michalie 35 = 7; Kisha 34 = 6; Robisa 32 = 5; Kicky 30 = 4; Flouvia 30 = 4; Brendleton 24 = 3; Richin 24 = 3

Back tomorrow night for the results; relive the show tonight on the official BBC website till then :)

And the results are in - we bid farewell to Richin. No major shock in the dance off, where they were joined by Kicky, just one place up the leaderboard. A unanimous decision, with Craig, Darcey and Bruno all citing Nicky's exuberance, energy, content and power as the difference. Wasn't expecting the Westlife vote to dip this early though! And how cruel to leave Kisha so late!

Elsewhere, a candy floss 50s opening with bumper cars and Len "all trembley at Wembley"; facial expressions highlighted: Bruno homing in viciously on Tess and Claudia in the bumper car; Michael lifting Natalie; high flyers on the high wires, Craig, taking pics; Bruno petrified.

And what on earth were those two blokes with Kylie wearing? They looked like Helga from 'Allo 'Allo, in her more intimate moments with Herr Flick!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

Sofa, so good ...

Loved up Arfer on the sofa. "It's a bummer" says Artem, then presents Fern with a bouquet.

Zoe: "I feel like I shouldn't be here!" Everyone a bit teary.

"In a moment, Craig will be here to cheer us all up" says Zoe, to an ironic LOL in the studio.

Craig says what we all know: "If you enjoy a dance, you'll perform it so much better."

Flouvia's partnership, or lack of it, is why I'm not warming to them. They just don't have the closeness of other couples on the sofa.

"I'm saying that face to face, man to man, darling." Craig to Louis on the issues he needs to improve on.

Craig on Brendan's fall: "Brendan was an absolute joy, I can't tell you."

Zoe to Pasha "It's your first time in the bottom two!"
Pasha to Kimberley *meaningful look* "Yes." He was only kidding ...

"Could've been a mouse lifting an elephant" - Karen on Michalie. (It wasn't.)

How the hell does Zoe stand, let alone walk, in those shoes.

Denise, Ian and Zoe all winding up James!

"26 metres of tulle *squeaks* all ruffled up!" Mr. Exciteable, Julien McDonald, on Kimberley's dress.

Fern's salsa fringes were hand sewn by real live angels.

Billingsgate Market gets Strictlyfied!

Brendleton have a bicycle! And a Team GB inspired dress for Victoria.

Vincent, James and Brendan admit to, respectively, wearing fancy pants, tying the pro girls cloaks together and holding people back so they miss their cue. Bad boys!

Lisa almost won a topless Artem!

Zoe and Ian show how to volta.

Michael again looks so much smoother and more rhythmic in ballroom than Latin - he's going to get it eventually.

Karen the cat, hissing at Nicky.

There will be Men In Trunks at Wembley. And roller skates!

"(we got a)... Standing ovulation!" - Vincent

According to stats man Russell, there have now been 906 competitive dances in Strictly; the unluckiest, with more couples exiting on them, were samba (unsurprising) and charleston (very surprising!)

This weeks's dances:

American Smooth: Michalie; Flouvia
Salsa: Richin
Samba: Robisa; Kisha
Jive: Kicky
Charleston: Jamise
Quickstep: Vani
Paso Doble: Brendleton

We're all on the road to Wembley! Catch up with more gossip on the official It Takes Two website until we get there :)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Strong performances mean shocks in store!

Yes, oh yes - brace yourselves tonight, because I suspect that someone in the top half of the leader board will be in the Dreaded Dance Off! Have you even known bottom of the board to be scoring mid 20s at this point in the competition?

We know that those at the bottom have a great fan base, because most of them have avoided the bottom two most weeks. Two draws on the board also give them a leg up - but the public can't save them all!

Being week 6,  we've had the chance to get to know them all a lot more, and those at the top end with the judges vote aren't necessarily those with the personalities and partnerships winning the public over.

Step forward Michalie, who chucked a couple of fab lifts into a credible, recognisable salsa which may not have the flow of some but certainly had the fun and the enthusiasm I'm looking for. Likewise Arfer's, who I reckon must have been watching Alesha's for inspiration, looking at the frock and some of the choreography! Kicky's foxtrot put a huge smile on my face, a beautiful beginning and stylishly performed. He hasn't got the artistry of Louis but he looks like he's enjoying himself with that gorgeous cheeky smile. Flouvia, take note. The gorgeous opening and arms and Flavia's exquisite choreography are not enough if Louis looks like he's holding his breath all through it. I need to see some warmth and connection. I'm just sayin' ...

Jamise were again, fantastic. A proper Paso, strong and full of attitude, she really captured the mood and style and I loved the original twist in the end move. Richin had the fun and character demanded in the charleston "I could drop Erin on her head - I'm not sure in Strictly law if that's worse than forgetting your routine!" - Richard. Brendleton are definitely enjoying the ballroom more, a terrific quickstep and it was a shame the quite heavy flounces on her dress hid the lightness and speed of Victoria's feet somewhat. Vani's fantastic attitude and brilliant choreography made for a sharp and dramatic tango, while Kisha's Viennese Waltz was ultra romantic; she was completely lost in the moment. Saving my favourite till last again, Robisa's very quick foxtrot had me gasping for air! So joyful, so musical and just a pleasure to watch.

The problem for top of the board at this stage, is voter complacency. Every year we have a shock bottom two, because voters assume their favourite is safe if in the top half. No-one is safe! Don't assume Westlife and Girls Aloud fans will vote consistently every week, especially if they like other couples lower down the board and want to save them too. Even Jamise will feel threatened this week, reliant as they are on viewers, rather than a fan base of sports fans or children's tv!

The Score Board:
Jamise 36 = 10; Vani 34 = 9; Kisha 34 = 9; Flouvia 33 = 8; Robisa 32 = 7; Brendleton 30 = 6; Kicky 30 = 6; Richin 29 = 5; Arfer 27 = 4; Michalie 26 = 3

On another note, the BBC can stop looking for a replacement for Bruce - Tess and Claudia are brilliant together, a seamless transition for when the inevitable retirement is announced.

Results show at 7.20pm tonight - relive the dances on the website in the meantime!

There you go - poor Kisha in the dance-off, joined by Arfer. And there the tension ended, because clearly the judges would go for Kisha and quite rightly so. A real shame for Arfer but at least they go out on their best performance.

That's why I don't like the dance off. Without the dance off, the voters vote to save their favourite only and are happy to let nature takes its course with those at the bottom of the board. With it, we vote for the couple we know won't be saved by the judges, ie. Michalie. Without the dance off, the public's favourite dancers make it through; with the dance off we'll end up with another Series 6 fiasco and the two least favourites out of the final six making it through. Thankfully, because of the fiasco in S6, the right couple won and we weren't denied seeing the best ever Strictly showdance. Let's take a moment to enjoy it again, shall we?

Earlier, Midnight Tango and floating Maltesers. Craig "needs a check up from the neck up". Len's Lens - the judges partying; Richard's faces and bumography "I'm sure it was that rear view (that saved us) I'll never forget it!" Natalie and Brendan's breathtaking performance with Andre Rieu.

I'm sure Kisha will be fine next week. See you then!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

On the sofa this week...

Watch out for the sparklers "there's a lot of hairspray and cheap man made fibres in here" - Zoe

Breaking news - James danced with an injury and is now laid up; Ian Waite to the rescue!

Backstage Saturday: "They're going to vajazel my forehead - don't quite know what that means but all the girls are talking about it!" - Fern.

Posticulation? *note to self* Looks it up and no, doesn't exist Craig!

Zoe to Craig: "I just like making you do the dances ... we should get you a podium."

Artem was supposed to be wearing a top last week but it didn't suit him. No-one's owning up to the decision to lose it.

Darcey on the sofa. "Ok, everybody, 5th position. Port de bra ... that's port de bra not padded bra" - Zoe

Brendan: "I want Victoria to copy me ... sometimes, I will look like a girl."

"I'm always hungry when you're around!" Zoe to Pasta/Pasha.

Robisa dancing to This Will Be ... stunning, can't wait!

The dances:

Foxtrot: Kicky; Robisa
Salsa: Arfer; Michalie
VW: Kisha;
Quickstep: Brendleton
Waltz: Flouvia
Tango: Vani
Paso Doble: Jamise
Charleston: Richin

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Tulip the meerkat prediction spot on!

Week 5, no themes, just pure danceability - and the leaderboard toppers predicted by a meerkat! Who'd a thought?

Except of course, watching Jamise's training footage, you knew that if Denise could nail the spins it was pretty much a given! A stunning routine to a stunning song, a real emotional connection producing gorgeous and elegant warm floatiness around the ballroom. A equal top score of the series 35 set them firmly at the head of the board.

Robisa again, even in serious mode, still showed enough personality in their tango, with a rousing Let's Get Together driving them on in a well executed, sharp yet rhythmic and focused routine which I loved. "It's lovely to see us all grow, week after week." - Lisa. "Except Vincent!" - wisecracker at the back!

Michalie's VT, complete with cricket commentary to Jerusalem got me anticipating their foxtrot and it didn't disappoint. The dark horses - brilliant partnership, goes for it in the Latin, lovely ballroom - I Got The Sweetest Feeling about this delightful routine - they're having fun and I sense a bit of Goughieness, i.e. falling in love with dance.

The sambas and salsas were a pick'n'mix - Kisha's performance was stunning, channeling Alesha unleashed without the abandon but with an awesome lift - I'd have just preferred them to have danced to Flouvia's music to lift it up my list. Flouvia delivered on the hips and the lovely, fluid bouncy rhythm but where oh where was the fun, the laughter, the gaiety of a samba? Playing with your zip upstairs is too late! Brendleton was hot one minute and not the next but overall a good performance - brave to be out on her own on the judges desk to begin with. She still needs to trust in her ability and let go like she did in the tango - we're running out of weeks!

Bruce: "A little bit of what you fancy does you good - in your case, Darcey, it doesn't include Louis!"
Brendan: "That wasn't batucadas, that was walking backwards funny!"

Kicky's rumba I engaged with. Now, considering I'm not a Westlife fan, nor a rumba fan, this surprised me. It was well acted and had great partnering and chemistry. A great song helped - well done Kicky! "I spoke to James and Brendan before we went on and they gave me tips - obviously the wrong ones!" - Nicky, in response to mixed judges comments.

Proper Paso Doble music for Arfer certainly helped, although I'd have liked a bit more attack from Fern - loved the look of disdain she held all through, while Vani delivered again. A superb jive, spot on in every department: costume, song, content, feel, togetherness. Craig: "You need to keep your feet together when you go through his legs; I copped a massive eyeful!"

Colina and Richin, foxtrots both, one a good, solid performance, the other a shambles. Prompting Richard's "The camera's are rolling, this is live, this is no dress rehearsal - we're gonna be on the internet forever!"

The Scoreboard:
Jamise 35 = 11; Kisha 33 = 10; Vani 33 = 10; Michalie 31 = 9; Flouvia 29 = 8; Robisa 27 = 7; Colina 27 = 7; Kicky 25 = 6; Arfer 24 =5; Brendleton 23 = 4; Richin 17 = 3.

Onto the results and a little less conversation, as all the women in the audience stop to admire the male pro dancers athleticism in the opening routine *coughs*. Backstage, Claudia was trying to dance - jive with Dani; tango with Lisa; samba with Victoria, rumba with Kicky - and Gangnam style with Lionel Blair.

Safe: Jamise; Arfer; Vani; Kisha; Flouvia
Dance off: Colina

Claudia: "Louis, you disappointed Darcey - what will you do next week, bring her kittens?"

The Malcolm in the Middle lookalike in The Wanted has a powerful voice, doesn't he? I'm quite impressed. Pasha and Karen beautifully accompany Andrea Bocelli for Nessun Dorma.

Len's lens: Lisa's eyes; Colin's legs; Richin's "Go on!" "Go left" *gets giggles* Len's "Pull yourself together!" at them. Bruno laughing. Darcey and Craig playing with his quiff; Len flaunting his 9 for Vani. Bruno's reaction to Kimberley flaunting herself at Len!

Safe: Michalie; Brendleton; Kicky; Robisa
Dance off: Richin

It's Battle of the Foxtrots! Richin versus Colina and it's a reversal of fortune - Richin remembered and Colina struggled after a good start - evens Hollywood actors get nervous; Colin's reconciled to his fate. It's unanimous in favour of Richin and we say Ciao Colina.

Bruce is taking next week off and The Corbett is on a cruise, according to Clauds - so she'll be joining Tess next week. Yay! See you then, and if you need a fix, visit the official BBC Strictly Come Dancing website.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

On the sofa this week ...

Behind the scenes, Victoria on her Halloween dress: "Sampling ideas for my wedding next year - you don't know till you've tried it!"

Craig on Michalie's quickstep: "Just a joy ... in seventh heaven."

Consensus was, Vincent looked like Boris Johnson with that wig on.

Dani: "I feel so dizzy."

Vincent: "That's because you're dancing with me!"

How excitable in Julien Macdonald? Get him on the show next series! I love people who're so enthusiastic about their subject; I'm immediately more interested.

Lisa, on O'dur Robine: "My scents will just smell of chips and gravy!"

Both Artem and Louis want more flesh on show - theirs! I think they should get what they want *coughs*

Russell Grant, Statsman. Zoe asks: "Is it hard to see Flavia in the arms of another man?"
"Not really."

Michalie top with training hours so far on 197 1/2; Jamise demand a recount and they find today's wasn't included. "I've had Russell flogged" -  Zoe.

Brendan on Samba: "Toughest to learn; toughest to teach." But to learn it "Embrace the Womble!"

Tulip the meerkat  chooses Jamise to top the leaderboard.

Vernon Kay on Tess, Saturday night live: "I'm happy the moment she gets to the bottom of the stairs."

Sarah Millican: "I don't watch the results show so as far as I'm concerned they're all still dancing."

Zoe says she's a big fan of Colin; Sarah agrees. Zoe tells her his voice makes the sofa vibrate. Cue lots of saucy laughter. Sarah also likes how Louis always gets the "broken shirt!" and asks: "Do you always have to have a relationship with the male dancer?" "Yes, do you want to do the show now?" asks Zoe. "Yes" is the reply and Brendan volunteers himself!

Michael received a glittery cricket bat for his birthday this week.

Salsa: Kisha (Beyonce)
Samba: Brendleton (It's Not Unusual); Flouvia (Ricky Martin)
Tango: Robisa (Let's Get Together - Roxy Music)
Foxtrot: Richin (Hey, Big Spender); Michalie (Sweetest Feeling); Colina (Aretha)
Viennese Waltz: Jamise (At Last)
Jive: Vani (Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight)
Rumba: Kicky (Don't Wanna Miss a Thing)
Paso Doble: Arfer (proper matador music!)

Catch up with all the It Takes Two news on the official BBC website :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Night of the Living Sportstars

Yes, tonight was the night our three sporting superstars finally came to life. Ok, Louis was almost there but I needed more expression and the tango to Rihanna's Disturbia brought out the best in him. Great routine, plenty of movement, nifty footwork and character, I loved it. Great storytelling and a top score of 35 (three 9s) saw Flouvia at the top of the board.

Close behind, another excellent tango but this one from Brendleton, to Billy Idol's White Wedding, easily Victoria's best. Great performance and technicality - she spotted properly and only one tiny little moment. As Bruno put it: "Haunting beauty with a hint of madness". Very strong, Brendan must be thrilled! 31 put them equal second on the leader board, with our third, previously struggling cricketer, Michael. A brilliant quickstep, lots of movement, light footwork, bright and lively - Bravo! He's definitely a ballroom boy - Michalie's top score and let's hope they and Brendleton can build on these massive confidence boosting routines.

Non sporty peeps, Robisa, were also my favourites of the night, with a smashing charleston - who cares about the swivel? I enjoyed every second - her timing and musicality is so good and they're so much fun.

Cha Cha wise, Vani's Scooby Dooby Doo song seemed rather slow, although the routine was actually fast - and a cameo from Anton. Bruno said Vincent looked like Denise Welch, which thankfully didn't distract from the overall performance. Loved the attitude and theatrical performance from Jamise to Superfreak "Kinky and slinky" - Bruno. Alas, Sola, considering they had one of the best Halloween themed songs ever, failed to really ignite - Sid seems so worried. He needs to let go and recapture that joy he began with.

Kisha and Richin with a couple of decent, traditional Paso Dobles - Richard with good characterization, just needing a bit more drive to match the Omen/Old Spice music (O Fortuna from Carmina Burana in real life) and Kimberley impressive with strong shaping, attack and intent and a great story to Hungry Like The Wolf.

Kicky was given a Bruno "rooster with a booster" comment to their nice traditional tango, with a few original touches, while Arfer got the seemingly obligatory Queen song (which did for Katya and Dan in the Hollywood show last year)  this one, Killer Queen for their American Smooth and it did need a bit more attack but was very well danced. Colina and a Stevie Wonder special 'Superstition' which was always going to be a popular song choice for me, but not a salsa, sadly. Too funky and not Latin enough so I found this a little disjointed in places. Which frustrates me because I so want them to do well. Very groovy, lots of lifts - but I'm sensing they're not getting much basic training time in.

Loving the mass Gangnam Style at the beginning, they managed to make it seem completely impromptu!

Scoreboard: Flouvia 35 = 12; Brendleton 31 = 11; Michalie 31 = 11; Kisha 31 = 11; Jamise 28 = 10; Vani 27 = 9; Robisa 26 = 8; Kicky 26 = 8; Colina 24 = 7; Richin 22 = 6; Arfer 21 = 5; Sola 17 = 4

No point worrying tonight - somebody popular with both judges and public is going to go from now on in! See all the dances again on the official BBC website while you await the results :)

Results are in!

But first up, a fab gothic Toxic routine from the Pro dancers, and get Claudia – how nice to not see her in her oversized bin liner and in a wonderful lacy leggings-come-dress! I want one.

Safe: Flouvia; Brendleton; Kisha; Robisa; Michalie – whoop, all my faves this week safely through!
Dance off: Sola

Len’s Lens: Craig, Darcey and Bruno doing Thriller; Len singing along to Robisa; Lisa’s pure joy in the dance; Darcey’s reaction to Louis. Again! Richard’s Paso face; Bruno’s reaction to Michalie – to the audience – what’s happening?! Bruce and Tess, going for it, Gangnam Style!

Safe: Richin; Vani; Jamise; Kicky; Arfer. The relief of Fern, although “In a way ... I have got a big pile of ironing” (Clauds offered!)

It’s Colina versus Sola!
Both nervy and make mistakes, Colina particularly, but it’s Sid and Ola who lose out - although their overall performance was better than first time around -  when Craig, Darcey and Bruno all vote to save Colina. Len pointed out Colin’s mistakes and would have saved Sola.

Sayonara Sola, see you on the ITT sofa on Monday.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

Sofa so good ...

Betty (Toto) made her telly debut in Eastenders!

"Next to Team Vani, Betty looks like a Great Dane" - James

Denise: "I said to use a hamster."

"I was sad to leave but my kids are delighted - the refrigerator was always empty!" - Jerry

Anton: "You are my friend for life - whether you want to be or not!"

"She slunk like a panther down the stairs and went Bang!" Craig on Lisa.

Craig on Nicky's bent quickstep legs: "He looked like he'd pooped himself!"

Vincent: "Betty the dog looked a bit like me ... like a little brother from another mother."

"Magic ruby sho ...slip...sho... magic ruby slippers! In your face!" - Vincent

Robin showing off in high heels, but not so much when Lisa forgot to bow her head for the leap frog *Ouch*

"Iveta is so different from Ola, it's like being on holiday" - Sid
"It's an Oladay" - Zoe
Iveta likes a bit of animal print!

Wardrobe will be doing 60 costume fittings tomorrow!

Karen, inspiring Nicky: "Oh my God, I just gave a speech from Braveheart."

The dances:
Paso Doble: Kisha; Richin
American Smooth: Arfer (to Killer Queen, with mirrorography)
Cha Cha: Jamise; Vani; Sola (to Ghostbusters!)
Tango: Brendleton; Flouvia; Kicky
Charleston: Robisa
Quickstep: Michalie
Salsa: Colina

Keep an eye on the news, gossip and clips on the official It Takes Two website.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Thirteen go to Tinsel Town

... but only 12 will come back!

You have to feel sorry for the couples who don't have such iconic songs to dance to - when we think Hollywood, we tend to think the Busby Berkeley era don't we, (well, I do) perfectly encapsulated by the opening pro dance, or the big blockbuster dance movies. So Sola, with a Tango to Whitesnake - Here I Go Again, which is a great rousing song - were never going to compete, sadly, with the showbizzy quicksteps or Flouvia's Dirty Dancing salsa swede to Time of My Life, which hooked me into them for the first time this series. The mood and and attitude were made for Louis. Very sexily arrogant and what about that flying split jump? "Like Concorde taking off" said Bruno. Gasps of shock though, as Louis is outed as never having seen the original, but then, as he says, Flavia hasn't even seen Transformers 3!

Gorgeous foxtrots from Jamise and Vani, both beautifully danced. Jamise with lovely swing and sway to 'You've Got a Friend in Me' and Vani captivating to 'Over the Rainbow', with Vincent particularly looking so in the moment. Brucie told Dani not to worry about clearing up after the dog, he's done it - and deposited the poo bag on Bruno's desk, who seemed to think it was real and wheeled away. Len threw it along to Craig, who offed it into the audience. Bruno cracks me up.

Those showbizzy quicksteps were a joy: Kisha topped my chart with their razzle-dazzling routine to 'Get Happy', while Kicky, apart from the bent knees, finally lived up to potential, channelling Nicky's inner Jim Carrey to the fabulous 'Hey Pachuco' from The Mask. Richin performed a bright and breezily to 'Nine to Five' and, as Jerry said, Arry's QS was "one for HRT" - her posture still needs work but it was much better than last week. Loved that they played on her previous role as Mrs Robinson, allowing her and Anton to have a lot of fun with it.

Colina's Argentine Tango to Goldeneye "only doing two lifts... cos You Only Lift Twice" (Brucie) was credible and thankfully, completely different to Mark and Karen's in feel and performance, sticking with the Spy theme as opposed to Dirty Gaucho theme, with exceptional partnering by Colin. I do think they could've chosen a different song though, as my mind kept travelling back to series 4. Craig really liked it: "Full of authority, full of dominance which I absolutely loved. I adored the lifts, thought they were spectacular and you really went for it; fantastic."

Robisa impressed again, with a jive to 'Hanky Panky' from Dick Tracey, a real feel good factor, she has great timing and musicality - Len called her a "A great big bundle of joy".  Arfer's charleston to Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious was fun if a little sedate and Spit Spot-On for characterization: "Hollywood into Jollygood" said Len but Darcey? "I don't think her mic is on" said Brucie. "She's saying I'm fabulous" quipped Fern!

Brendleton were doing so well until that bloody dress got in the way! Some lovely rumba lines but still needs to believe in herself more "I see an actress emerging" - Craig. Len to Bruno, who criticized: "You're talking nonsense and now you're touching me as well!" Michalie's cha cha has some good basics in it so it's a shame they elected to play more instead of dance - he possibly would have scored higher with more basic content. Even with the prop malfunction at the end: "I nearly went flying on that chair ... would've been the best bit!" - Michael.

Scoreboard: Jamise 32 = 13; Flouvia 30 = 12; Kisha/Vani/Robisa 29 = 11; Kicky 27 = 10; Colina 26 = 9; Richin 25 = 8; Arfer 23 = 7; Brendleton 22 = 6; Michalie 19 = 5; Arry 18 = 4; Sola 17 = 3

Anyone safe? I think probably the top 5, maybe 6, but everyone below that is in danger - I'd say we could be in for a shock but there's no obvious contender for the chop, so it's going to be sad whatever the outcome. Only four hours to go but if you can't wait that long, re-visit the routines on the official BBC website. Back later!

Fabulous opening to the results show, with Series 6 champion Tom Chambers and the cast of Top Hat tap dancing us to heaven, following a wonderful quickstep from Anton and Erin to Let's Face the Music and Dance.

Behind the scenes with Claudia - James lifting Vincent, Dirty Dancing style. Claudia to Michael: "What do the cricket boys think of you dressing up?" "They all dress up anyway!" Claudia gets the big lift from Louis. Snapshot of those moving splits by Kimberley, very well done.

Safe: Kisha; Flouvia; Kicky; Sola; Colina; Vani.
Dance off: Arry

Claudia to Sid: "You were so emotional" Sid's reply: "I'm a nit of a wuss."
Len's Lens - Betty the dog's impressive footwork; Bruno critiquing the Tin Man's entrance: "Limp. Lacklustre. Listless. Dull. You didn't spot when you turned. Footwork poor. Placement disgusting. No posture whatsoever."

Safe: Jamise; Arfer; Robisa; Brendleton - she'd nicked his hat to hide her tears, fearing the worst.
Dance off: Michalie. Richard in shock.

Dionne Warick singing Always Something There to Remind Me, accompanied by Pasha and Iveta with a ballroom Latin mix. For a moment, the spotlight made it look like Dionne was wearing thigh length black boots. Get in there, girl, I thought, You're never too old *thumbs through catalogue*

The Dreaded Dance Off: Arry still made me smile; Michalie were more in time. Over to the judges: Craig - both improved slightly, encouraging - Michalie; Darcey - both nervy - Michalie; Bruno - mistakes by both - Michalie; Len - neither impressed, really difficult - Michalie.

So it's Arriverderci Arry, as Jerry and Anton take to the floor for You've Lost That Loving Feeling.

Halloween next week! *WooOOOooooOOOooo* 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

On the ITT sofa this week ...

Pecs appeal - James versus Nicky (Man versus Boy!)

Zoe received Richard's quiff with appreciation. I lie, she received it delicately between two fingers and called for it to be taken away and destroyed.

"When your fishnets are as shredded as your nerves..." Richard on Erin's almost wardrobe malfunction.

Fern: "We laughed for a couple of ... seconds?"
Artem: "One and a half."

Amazing leg extensions from Fern!

Mum's Organic Baked Beans, now with added Flavia, just for Louis. They're dancing mambo stylee to The Time of My Life on Saturday - and there will be crash mats in attendance!

Choreography Corner: Karen - "Jamise's jive was better than the Halfpenny's" *Shock Horror* and "Sid was living the Shakira DVD dream"

Waite's Wednesday Warm Up - impressive lovely lines from Dani; Colina AT - Bond theme (Goldeneye - will draw inevitable comparisons though, with Mark and Karen) Ian, on Michael's cha cha hands: "He looks like he's bowling a maiden over" Zoe: "Do you even know what that means?" Ian: "No idea."

Zoe on Ian tech-speak: "Just pretend we know what he's talking about!"

Ian on Lisa wearing boots to train in: "I don't like them, they're pink. I don't like the colour."

Anton on Arry's QS, trying to please the judges: "We're working on the posture and not bothering with any steps ."

Jerry, on Anton's army of female fans: "I felt like an accessory. I was his feather boa constrictor. It's like the days with the Stones, I had to mark my territory."

Brendleton role reversal - Victoria bench pressing Brendan outside TV Centre. The Zoe making him cycle in a gold, sequinned helmet, him collapsing on the floor and her jumping on him to administer the kiss of life!

"Her singing is atrocious but it keeps me in sync." Michael on Natalie's new found method of helping him get  it.

Michaale's two Strictly ambitions - a se-ven off Len and Bruce telling him "You're my favourites" One down, one to go!

James getting 32 grapes in his mouth!

Anton looking like Woody from Toy Story freaks out Zoe.

"Just because he can't do them himself; his double chins gets in the way" Vincent on Craig criticizing their salsa lifts.

There will be a real life Toto in the studio for Vani's 'Over the Rainbow' foxtrot!

"What girl does not want to dress up as Madonna on a Saturday night?" Lisa on Robisa's Dick Tracey jive.

Robin, on Lisa's foot woes: "I've spent most of my life with corns."

Jimmy the meerkat picks out Kisha to top score!

Friday Panel: Dionne Warwick, Rufus Hound and Nancy Dell'Olio. Zoe introduces Dionne, new album; Rufus, new stage show and Nancy, panto for you? *Quizzical look* "No."

Zoe, on Flouvia's salsa: "Dionne, can anyone recreate the magic of Swayze and Grey?"
Dionne *beat* "No."

Rufus on Richin's cha cha: "If you looked at his shirt and crossed your eyes slightly and imagined looking through it, you could see a sail boat."

Dionne Warwick giggling at every Rufus Hound joke.

Zoe asking Dionne about Colin: "He's hot!" Zoe: "I'll tell  him." Dionne: "So will I."

Eight types of dance this week:

Quickstep: Kicky; Richin; Arry; Kisha - who have 'Get Happy'
Tango: Sola -  Ola: "What's after 4?" Sid "5?" Ola: "Yes, good!"
Salsa: Flouvia - that big lift is in!
Cha Cha: Michalie - "I can't believe they didn't le me do the jive again!"
Foxtrot: Jamise; Vani
Jive: Robisa
Rumba: Brendleton
Charleston: Arfer - to Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!
Argentine Tango: Colina

More news and gossip on the official BBC website here.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Strictly Come Nail-Biting!

Two ties on the scoreboard! At this stage of the competition when there aren't any obvious stand-out bad contestants, nail-biting doesn't get any bitier than this!

Last week's leaders, Robisa, brought us a gorgeous and elegant VW this week. With personality and joy in the dance, plus a wonderful partnership, I don't think they need to be worrying unduly. Joining them at the top of my leaderboard were Jamise with their sharp, fun and traditional jive, executed perfectly. Tutti-Fruttily terrific, full of attack and fun.

Talking of fun, Richin and Sola may not be the most technically proficient but I'm loving that they're loving it and throwing themselves into it. Richin's cha cha even got the singers doing the Mashed Potato with them, and Richard's little throwaway quips "You've got to throw a shimmy; it's Saturday night" and "I'm gonna need another one" (pointing to Erin in training) means he's growing on me. Sola already have a great partnership and his enthusiasm and that huge big grin at the end of his routine work for me.

Arfer's VW I thought particularly lovely - their partnership on the dance floor is wonderful and warm, while Kisha's foxtrot was moody and atmospheric - not being a dance teacher, I didn't understand what Len meant by "limp" although I noted the gapping. NimbleKimble's dress, along with Tess' and Denise's, were my favourites of the night, very incidentally! Colina's VW I enjoyed very much but I'm a little concerned as I don't think they've fully warmed up yet; he's quite quiet.

Onto a little Latin - which of course means Vani and while their salsa was a great effort, I'd have preferred one with a more fluid Latin feel. Terrific armography though and overall well done. Flouvia danced to probably my very first favourite song ever and I would have completely melted into it had Louis smiled throughout as Flavia did. He lights up when he does but saving it till the end of the dance is Not Enough!

Brendleton showed us what they can do, with a more than capable foxtrot, just a couple of wobbly turns needing work. Elegance and musicality and the additional confidence boost should bring them on again for next week. Kicky had a bit of a disaster, to be fair, with their cha cha more boy band than cha cha, as Len said. Far too soft in legs and body, bustin' some funky moves with enthusiasm but if he didn't have the Westlife army of fans on redial, I think he'd be in danger.

As it is, I think Michalie will be one partnership in the DreadedDanceOff, as that jive really was er, unusual?! They're a great team though and the ballroom showed potential - I'm wondering if they're allowed to dance the higher scoring of their two dances, which would make things even more difficult for the judges. Arry and Johniveta seem the likely other two at risk - but then, Anton has his army and Zoe's fans will be loyal, so who knows? As I said, there are no bad contestants, they've all got plus points that will find support.

The Leaderboard

Flouvia 27 + 30 = 57 = 14; Jamise 25 + 32 = 57 = 14; Robisa 30 + 25 = 55 = 13; Kisha 28 + 26 = 54 = 12; Vani 21 + 27 = 48 = 11; Sola 26 + 22 = 48 = 11; Colina 23 + 24 = 47 = 10; Arfer 19 + 24 = 43 = 9; Brendleton 16 + 26 = 42 = 8; Richin  22 + 19 = 41 = 7; Johniveta 17 + 20 = 37 = 6; Arry 18 + 18 = 36 = 5; Kicky 17 + 18 = 35 = 4; Michalie 20 = 15 = 35 = 4.

Back in a bit! Results on now - full gossip and news on the Strictly website here.

Results Show: Johniveta voted out!

Johnny Ball and partner Iveta Lukosiute are the first couple to leave Series 10 of Strcitly Come Dancing, after the judges voted unanimously to save Richard Arnold and Erin Boag (Team Richin).

Both couples were more nervous, with Richin's cha cha lacking the energy of the first time and Johniveta less certain. However, basing their decision purely on content and, in Darcey's case, confidence, Richin are through to dance in next week's Hollywood extravaganza.

Was that a shock, Richin being in the Dance Off? I'm quite shocked - audience complacency or the camp act not as appealing as it was with Russell Grant? Or something else?

Brilliant opening to the show too, with the pro dancers Light Versus Shade; Ballroom Versus Latin dance off routine now one of my favourite of all time; stunning.

Strictly Hollywood next week! Just when you thought the show couldn't get more blingier! Till then :)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two

Little nuggets on the It Takes Two sofa so far this week...

Darcy's very appreciative reactions throughout Louis's cha cha.

"I'm the fat one and he's more out of breath than me!" Lisa on Robin.

Zoe "Look at those cha cha choo choo roo gos or whatever they are."

Artem's gone soft; Natalie is sneakily clever.

Victoria has got to think of Brendan as her bicycle.

"That's the hardest part of the routine; we'll have to do it again." Lisa on the body rub down Robin.

The cha cha is a wine bar; the VW is the library.

Karen: "Footwork is the foundation of movement."

James: "I wanted someone who knows what winning is all about."
Denise: "So did I!"

Vincent has the best pants.

Iveta: "The BBC is the most organised company I've ever worked for." #welovebbc
Johnny: "She's looking foxy and I'm trotting behind."

Breaking news Thursday - Aliona will be out for another four weeks but is pencilled in for the Christmas show.

"Your voice has made my sofa shake!" Zoe to Colin

More breaking news - Denise has got whiplash from jive practice!

Louis: "I need to loosen up a bit" and minces along.
Flavia: "Not girlyfied though."

On their first night: "I was sweating like Judith Chalmers** without her passport!" Richard.

"I never would've given him a camp waltz. Not on purpose." Erin.

Richard's the most tactile man ever "Compared to Anton, Richard's like Superglue!" Erin.

This week's dances:

Viennese Waltz
Colina; Robisa; Arfer; Flouvia.

Johniveta; Kisha; Arry; Brendleton

Cha Cha
Kicky; Richin.

Jamise; Michalie.

Vani; Sola.

Lots of clips and catch ups on the BBC website!

** Showing his age. Google her.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: Team Robisa Strictlyfy the nation!

Who's still wearing a smile following Team Robisa's cha cha on Saturday night then? *me me me*

With the band on top form with Aretha's Think, Lisa really let herself go - the only one, except for maybe Colin, who really went for it and just got out there and danced. Musicality, energy, enthusiasm and pure fun. Even Robin's eyes were leaking. With a score of 30 - including an 8 from Craig - Team Robisa topped the leaderboard.

Cuban Breaks did for a few of the others, sadly, but all were credible performances for week one. Even bottom of the board scored 16 - Brendleton's cha cha  plagued by nerves but showed enough potential to go into next week with more confidence. Arfer had similar issues but all done with a smile, with Darcey praising the leg extension: "I borrowed someone else" quipped Fern! Johnny, considering the last minute changes to the routine and dance partner did incredibly well. Arry surprised - sedate but watchable with some nicely placed basics.

Impressive cha chas came from Kisha, who were very clean and precise, accomplished and sassy, and earned Best Nickname of the Night - Nimble Kimble, courtesy of Len. Colina were groovy and full of attitude; Flouvia were tight but I think he could've been a little more fluid - please can we see that smile more!

The waltzes were all quite lovely, although it appears Karen may be the new Aliona, trying to pass off a definite lift as a swoosh during Kicky's. Lovely musicality though. Bruno with quote of the night "Your butt sticks out like a hanging basket" to Michalie, was swiftly followed by "And your face - like Shane Warne's after the makeover" and gurning a tight facelift at them, leaving them in hysterics, knowing that Warney was watching.

Jamise shone with a beautifully delivered, beautifully crafted waltz - becoming James's trademark; Sola's was atmospheric; Vani's charming and I'm so glad that Richin resisted trying to camp it up - warm and classy and fluid - why ruin it? We need to see versatility and not let him descend into the panto role. The only other criticism I have is Darcey's over use of 'Yeah'. And they need to cut her time down too - let the pro advise in training how to implement the suggested improvement.

The Scoreboard going into next week's show:

Robisa 30; Kisha 28; Flouvia 27; Sola 26; Jamise 25; Colina 23; Richin 22; Vani 21; Michalie 20; Arfer 19; Arry 18; Kicky 17; Johniveta 17; Brendleton 16.

With the controversy over on the Dark Side, wasn't it wonderful to be able to sit back and enjoy our Strictly, knowing we won't have to deal with any of that rubbish? I can imagine Len's face if a producer told him to string out his decision in the dance off (the only thing I disagree with, incidentally - it won't save a better dancer, it'll put two of them up against each other). While we may not always agree with the judges' decision, we do know that an obviously better dancer will be saved.

It's back on Saturday at 6.30pm, with all fourteen dancing to stay out of that Dreaded Dance Off. Keep up with all the news, clips and gossip on the Strictly website.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

We're gonna party - the Strictly Come Dancing launch show

Normal service is finally resumed on my telly - it's back!

Strictly Come Dancing unveiled the partnerships on Saturday night, welcomed a couple of new faces, danced us through television centre to a funky theme tune - relax, it's only a one off (although I actually really enjoyed the vocals - the band are on form) and let us settle down for more bad Brucie jokes (although the one about the new face on the judging panel - Craig had more work done over the summer - did make me chuckle) tons of fake tan, sequins and the best feel-good show on the telly. I'll say it now - if you're just going to moan your way through it, SWITCH OVER AND LET THE REST OF US ENJOY IT!

I must apologise to Johnny Ball, as I think I may have labelled him a musician before, when he's actually best known as a TV presenter. So I thought, I've mixed him up with Kenny but ... he is actually a musician too, writing the songs and music to accompany his live maths shows - which must be what's stuck in my mind since I was a kid! So there's something you maybe didn't know before!

So which teams are looking strong and which teams will be looking on, enviously?

Fern and Artem - Team Arfer: No dodgy dealings here - why would Artem be moaning, after Fern showed out on the Xmas floor and Sport Relief? She's fun, she can move - be grateful for that, Artem.

Dani and Vincent - Team Vani, the Dancing Munchkins, two small but perfectly formed packages will be looking to follow the yellow brick road all the way.

Victoria and Brendan - Team Brendleton. Brendan thinks he's fit *sniggers* it'll be like Gabby and James all over again! Except hopefully not with the early exit.

Sid and Ola - Team Sola, bringing a ray of sunshine to the floor.

Nicky and Karen - Team Kicky, looking forward to the Jive.

Johnny and Aliona - Team Johniona. A chance to see some less adventurous choreography from Aliona? Will it all add up to some decent scores?

Kimberley and Pasha - Team Kisha already are high on people's lists; if her personality can match her moves - and on the VTs we saw, it looks like it, they should be right up there.

Jerry and Anton - Team Arry should be elegant, shouldn't they? Loved the "I'm hoping to inspire drag queens all over the world" - if she's got a sense of humour, we'll have fun.

Lisa and Robin - Team Robisa we'll all end up adoring, I just know it. Have we ever yet not loved Robin and his partners?

Denise and James - Team Jamise, Essex and Kent come together. She's a pro so he'll have no complaints. I expect some great routines. No pressure.

Michael and Natalie - Team Michalie. I hope she didn't see the World Twenty20 warm up yesterday or Michael will be hit for six ... although if Michael's not sledging* her I'd be very disappointed. *not a euphemism

Louis and Flavia - Team Flouvia should be one to watch - he's fit and can move but he needs to not be too cool.

Richard and Erin - Team Richin will have fun, I think he'll be a great partner for her.

Colin and Kristina - Team Colina are already the ones I want to see do well - Kristina deserved a top 2 finish last year and Colin's just, well, he hangs around with James Bond!

So there they are! I believe it's a similar format to last year, an opening weekend of two shows and no elimination till they've had the chance to dance twice. Keep up to date with all the news and exclusive clips on the official BBC Strictly site here.

Come on!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Strictly Come Dancing: It's Official - Series 10 celebrity line up

After all the speculation, Auntie has finally released the full line up of celebrities for Series 10.

We've been drip fed many of them over the past week or so and little snippets here and there suggested a couple of others had made a mad dash for the line late on. You know I won't chose my favourite now - but who do you have your eye on?

Actor Colin Salmon (a good guy in the Brosnan Bond films and a bad one in Death in Paradise); Dani Harmer, Little Miss Tracy Beaker, following a good showing in Let's Dance for Sport Relief; Showbiz veteran Denise Van Outen; presenter Fern Britton - high hopes for her, always been on my list for a stint in this; former model and rock star beau-ess, Jerry Hall; Zoe's dad, musician Johnny Ball; Girls Aloud band mate Kimberley Walsh; ex-Emmerdale and You've Been Framed star, Lisa Riley; Olympic hero and all round fit guy, Louis Smith; former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, who set us on a road to glory with Ashes victory in 2005; Westlife's Nicky Byrne; Daybreak presenter and Let's Dance finalist, Richard Arnold; cheeky chappie Sid Owen and our Olympic Queen of the Cycling Track, Victoria Pendleton.

Obviously, I will be willing the sportspeeps on as usual, this always being so much more out of their comfort zone than anyone else's - but I will also admit to a sneaky liking for Colin Salmon. I think he'll do justice to a tuxedo. How many days to go? Saturday, 6.30pm, for the Pairing UP - don''t be late!