Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dancing on Ice: Face Off!

Or, The Duel, as they're calling it! Immunity up for grabs, the judges will save 6 and there are NO scores tonight - it will be public vote only that pits two against each other in the skate off!

Looks like Heidi might be going for a headbanger tonight - only, they've dispensed with the crash hat and used her hair instead!

It's Samandra versus Chiceyne up first, to Under Pressure, and yes, all they needed was a couple of moustaches! Great interpretation and partnering by both; Sam's timing better but Chico the most advanced tricks, although Sam's death spiral is impressive. Excellent movement across the ice by both, and big personalities too - anyone's guess! Louie tells Sam he's showing elegance and grace, with nice lines and good speed; he tells Chico he came out a little stronger and it's 1-0 to Chiceyne. Robin calls Sam tidy, strong and neat; Chico he calls controlled, contained and speedy - it's 2-0 and immunity to Chico. Katarina advises Sam she enjoys him and he's smoother and says both were great. She says Chico has a natural presence and she makes it unanimous.

Sebianne versus Dannifer to I Just Can't Get Enough - Black Eyed Peas, not Depeche Mode ... you don't remember them? Oh. Moves on quickly. Jennifer's timing is fantastic, so rhythmic, emotionally she's got it, and plenty of attack; Sebastien's spins are awesome! And jumps, a little less finesse but again with the attack - wow, they were both on it tonight! Jayne calls Jennifer graceful and balletic; Seb, urban and athletic. Robin says Jen is glamorous and elegant; Seb is fun, free and exciting - spintastic! He votes Sebianne. Katarina commends Jen's beautiful ballerina lines and loves Seb's raw free spirit and the entire corkscrew spin. She also votes Sebianne - they're immune. Louie says Seb found his personality and makes a 123 for Sebianne.

Cookey versus Semmy and this one should be a no-brainer. They're skating to Opposite's Attract and Corey is completely lacking in fluidity where dancing on the ice is concerned. And the arguments with Brooke do not bode well ... Semmy perform a lovely reclining showgirl lift, there's attack and personality and the slower tune gives her time to finesse - it's surely got be safe Semmy? Two broken fingers?! She's superwoman! They all agree it's Corey's best performance and that Chemmy's back, commending the pairs spin (Katarina) beautiful straight leg (Louie) and her sassiness (Robin) - unanimous decision again.

Torvill and Dean's new routine to Christina Perry and Jar of Hearts is haunting and ethereal (helped by a wonderfully lit set) intricate and serene, emotional and heartbreaking.

Next up, Andi versus Mattene to Islands in the Stream, with lovely spirals from Charlene and a smooth opening combination; the genuine connection now forged between Heidi and Andrei is fully realised, a stunning lift, so elegant  - interesting who'll take this, I preferred Andi. Jayne says Charlene is a natural performer and Heidi has grown in confidence.Robin says it's difficult and that Heidi really pushed herself but they love Charlene - he chooses Andi; Louie praises the good performances by both but says Charlene was a little safe whereas Heidi - those split lifts win his vote. Andi immune. Katarina impressed by Charlene spirals but Heidi looks more comfortable and she gets the vote.

The Big Fight: Mattina versus Jorgatt and the buzz of them being on the ice together has completely drowned out the song, I have no idea what it was - simply didn't hear it! Matthew was perfectly in time with it though, down on the ice, back up again - seamless, so smooth, nailed the big drape lift, rhythm and timing fantastic. Jorgie so feisty, excellent lifts, full of attitude - on balance though, I think it's a tougher job for Matthew, especially with the back problem. Chris says you can't separate them and asks the judges to put them both through! Louie calls them both phenomenal, the way Jorgie moves; the support Matt gives Nina - he votes Mattina. Katarina calls them both incredible, Matt so complex; Jorgie, magical, cute, sexy, cool - Jorgatt get her vote - the first split decision of the evening, it's all down to Robin! Who says that Matt acts, skates and lifts like a skater; He loved Jorgie's new rough and ready, hot and sassy image - but it's Mattina he votes for!

Romark versus Vindy to Baby, It's Cold Outside. Andy a little more nervous than usual but still solid skating and partnering; Rosemary almost made it through without any stumbles, just a teensy tiny one right at the last. It must have been a teensy tiny one because no-one seemed to see it except me ... but still very elegant, lovely skating. Did I hear right? Andy trumped on the ice and broke it? Isn't that slang for farting? And it broke the ice? Oh, well, it normally does in the kitchen at parties ... Katarina said Vindy worked well as a couple with beautiful ballroom dancing, while Romark told a story and had their strongest skate - she votes Romark; Louie gives Romark a round of applause but said Andy challenged himself - he saves Vindy; Another split decision! Great skating from Andy, according to Robin, although tense and nervous; elegant by Rosemary - he saves Romark!

So immune from the skate off tonight: Chiceyne; Sebianne; Semmy; Andi; Mattina and Romark.

At risk: Samandra; Dannifer; Cookey; Mattene; Jorgatt and Vindy. On form, the judges will probably have them in this order: Jorgatt; Dannifer Samandra; Mattene; Vindy; Cookey so we have an intelligent stab at who'll be saved over whom - as long as no-one stumbles ...

The drama will unfold at 9.30pm! And here we go - recap first; we see Philip slumming it with the audience. Robin was pleased they all came out competitive but concentrated on their own performance; Katarina's most difficult decision was Andy v Rosemary; Louie says the ones at risk who stood out for him were Jorgatt, Dannifer and Samandra.

Safe - Jorgatt - Samandra - Jennifer's in a right old state - but no need, Dannifer are called next, I'm happy, I'm with Louie is respect of those three; Final safe place - oh, come on Philip - Vindy, thank you.

So it's Bye Bye Cookey - but the formalities first - Mattene's going to kick some ice. Of course Brooke's happy - she's up for parole and knows she got a great case. Charlene performs that lovely Ina Bauer move, with added lassooing - very nervy though, I hope they forgive her for the moment at the end.

Katrina - Mattene; Robin - Cookey!!!!!!!! Eh!! Eh!! Robin, Robin, Robin, please, cut them a little slack! Louie - Mattene, thank goodness! *shakes head in amazement* He may have improved but it was still painful to watch! Phew, till next week - catch updates from T&D on the website!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

National Television Awards: Observations

Well, I was going to tweet my thoughts as we went along, but we'd moved on three categories before I'd finished the first tweet ... so I'm putting them here instead!

I hope Dermot's got plenty of throat lozenges back stage.

Sir Brucie with Ant and Dec: British Ratpack; #trulyjoyful.

Lady Ga Ga got caned for her meat dress but Tulisa gets away with wearing a dead flamingo.

I want one of those beaded curtains.

I didn't realise Karen Gillan was played by the original little Amelia Pond and is, in actual fact, only ten years old.

According to Dermot, the votes were independently adjudicated by independent adjudicators. #needstoworkondelivery

That's the nicest dress I've ever seen Fearne Cotton wear, even taking into account the lampshade fringing.

David Walliams: #totalhero

Please can Thierry Henry can do all the compering, announcing and voice overs for all future award shows?#vavavoom #forgiven

The Chatty Man clip of the Strictly judges was just as funny second time around.

I very much enjoyed Little Mix's version of En Vogue's Don't Let Go.

Matt Smith is a closet hippy.

Let's face it, Ant and Dec are the only real reason we watch I'm A Celeb #forgoneconclusion

Lara Pulver did actually do that Sherlock scene naked - and wouldn't cover up until Benedict had had an eyeful. #cumberbitchesunite

Wishful Thinking or Freudian Slip - on X-Factor #Dermotchat

Those T.O.W.I.E girls have the fakest Essex accents I've ever heard in my life. #ex-essex-ishgirl

Fatima: White stilettos. No. #someonetelltheessexgirlaboutstereotyping

Hilary Devane #moneycan'tbuyyoutaste

Loving Holly and Philip's mirror image 'O' faces at their win.

The Military Wives made me cry. Again.

The Knights of Camelot, scrubbed up #unexpectedtreat

Best Talent Show: X-Factor? In the deafening silence that followed, only Little Mix and Tulisa's clodhoppers applaud the most unexpected victory of the night. #iblamedemographics #shouldvebeenstrictly

A proper boy's reaction of "Yes!" and a punch in the air #outnumbered. Get in!

Playing the signature tune to this blog, as Strictly Come Dancing's Sir Brucie enters for the Special Recognition Award to Jonathan Ross. Who started out in cereal adverts. Who knew? His wife, Jane Goldman, wrote the film Stardust, whose title track was sung by Take That, whose Gary Barlow won the Landmark Award for a mountain trek with, amongst others, Alesha Dixon, whose new boss, Simon Cowell, poached her from ... Strictly Come Dancing! #comingfullcircle.

For a full list of winners from the NTA's, see here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Snippets: Strictly Russell the Wizard; Brucie at the NTA's;

Flamboyant Strictly Come Dancing star, Russell Grant will be replacing Michael Crawford in The Wizard of Oz, after his run in the reality dance show brought him back to the attention of West End agents.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber production, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, will see Russell will take over the role of Professor Marvel/The Wizard from Phantom of the Opera star Michael.

Sophie Evans is now playing the lead role of Dorothy. She was runner up to winner Danielle Hope, in the search for Dorothy show, Over the Rainbow, who began the show's run at the London Palladium.

The National Television Awards is on ITV tonight at 7.30pm, with The Sun reporting that Sir Brucie is flying in specially from Puerto Rico to perform 'Let There Be Love' - with Ant and Dec!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dancing on Ice Twist!

The promised twist alluded to by Philip has been announced - a series of head to head performances will take place on Sunday, with the judges choosing which of each pairing will be safe from elimination!

The producers have matched the contestants with their nearest competitors from Movie Week's leaderboard - which means Jorgatt versus Mattina! I don't envy the judges on that one!

At the bottom end, it's Cookey versus Semmy, which, if they play to Chemmy's strengths this week, should see her through without much trouble. Elsewhere though, it's closer than close, with Romark versus Vindy, Dannifer against Sebianne and Andi taking on Mattene. Toughie.

In other news, Alesha is her normal down to earth self on the red carpet and Ola talks about life as she knows it.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Move It 2012

The UK's biggest dance exhibition/festival, Move It, the show for dancers, teachers, students and enthusiasts, will be held at Olympia from March 9th to 11th.

With 20,000 dancers taking part over three days across three stages, this amazing spectacle has performances from Flawless and the English National Ballet - together, fusing streetdance and ballet; Got To Dance's Akai, Alleviate and Chris & Wes; Britain's Got Talent stars James Hobley and Twist & Pulse and many more, including performances from the best performing arts colleges and streetdance crews.

The Big Dance Interview Sofa returns, with ex-Strictly Come Dancing champions Darren Bennett (with Jill "The Halfpenny", Series 2) and Lilia Kopylova (Darren Gough, Series 3) guests at 12.30pm on the Sunday.

There's a Dance Teachers' Convention, as well as the chance to grab a bargain in the leg warmer department and take part in a variety of different classes, so check out the website today to book your tickets.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Dancing on Ice: Movie Week

It was all so Hollywood until Matthew opened his mouth ...mind those steps in that dress, Christine *phew* she made it! Guess the movie - Vindy with Grease; Jorgatt Legally Blonde; Chiceyne Top Gun; Markie Blues Brothers; Andi Goldfinger; Mattene Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Mattina Saturday Night Fever?

Chiceyne are indeed Top Gun, not the song you'd expect but You've Lost That Loving Feeling and he's cool, fluid, smoooooth, very nice, strong partnering, confident, great movement over the ice. Score: 6.5/5.5/6 = 18. Chris says he wanted to turn him into a traditional pairs skater and he did; Kristina commended the really big crossovers, speed and control and  Louie asked, Tom Cruise who? He certainly got that loving feeling, was pleased he captured the mood and interpreted the character well. Robin says he commands the ice with confidence but not arrogance.

Romark with the Beaches song, Wind Beneath My Wings - she'll get piles, sat on the ice too long, lovely lift off to begin though, elegant until the stumble out of the lift and ooh, badly into that one, some nice lines but not an awful lot going on to be honest - and she seemed petrified all through, a little bit stiff. Score: 3/3.5/4 = 10.5 Jayne says she did everything asked of her; Robin wants her to understand her talent and allow herself to skate and praised her perfect lines and glide. She breaks Katarina's heart to see her joy turn to fear and Louie could see the stress in her body and wants her to let rip!

Samandra with Kung Fu Fighting - loved the concept, the attack, the execution and attiude and especially his reaction to landing the big flip at the end! Great skating again, with personality.  4.5/5/6.5 = 16 Chris calls him his guilty pleasure this week; Katarina respected the backward step sequence and the flawless performance but said he reminded her more of a cuddly panda than a kung fu one! Robin liked his confidence on the skates but could see it in his eyes he was focused on the flip; Louie said his arms were a bit sloppy (and aimed it at everyone) and that Sam hasn't improved on last week.

Semmy skating to Rescue Me from Sister Act - that costume's awful. Another energetic start, tiny stumble - think they went a bit wrong and sadly, the big lift that was proving difficult beat them on the night. Having to stop after starting and remove a big costume can't help the concentration and I've said it before - bearing in mind especially it's only their second week - if they're struggling that much, simplify. This is what happened to Sinitta, lovely skater, a bad lift cost her her place. Score: 3/3/4.5 = 10.5 Jayne's going to make her try it again in a few weeks, if she gets through. Louie commends her for trying, tells her not to lose spirit; Kristina begs her not to do them, be the hurricane on the ice and Robin says she doesn't need the trickery, she can skate. Philip lets on that it went perfectly in rehearsal.

Cookey to Stand By Me and I did not like that start, he's not as good a mover as he thinks, timing's well off, it was a disjointed performance, Brooke may as well not have been there. Meh. Score: 2.5/2.5/3 = 8 Philip's Strand is more exciting. Chris says Corey turned a corner with his mental attitude this week but Robin is disappointed, Louie's points were for the facial performance and Katarina tells him to skate with less eggshells under his feet and he'll need the audience to stand by him.

Dannifer to Listen from Dream Girls - she's still in pain, you can see, almost in tears, so fantastic that she managed such gorgeous lifts, mega kudos on that performance. Score: 6.5/5/6.5 = 18 Jayne concurs with fantastic while Chris trots out No Pain No Gain. Louie loved the drama and emotion and her beautiful arched back; Robin tells her to allow the same confidence in the side by sides as she does in the lifts; Katarina said the pained expression worked well in the programme and she was drawn into the story.

Markie have the obligatory matching trousers suits for the Blues Brothers Everybody Needs Somebody. He's much improved, more confident, steadier on the ice, great timing and personality, the routine totally suited him. He can watch with pride this week! Score: 3.4/3/4 = 10.5 Chris says he has the desire to be better; Katarina praises the clever choreography and the performance skill but says he needs to cover the ice; Robin praises the huge improvement, says he's going in the right direction and it was fun to watch. Louie likes the connection and the improvement, called it a bit ploddy but he enjoyed it.

Jorgatt skate to Nine To Five and it's another wow performance, so fast and tricky, brilliantly acted, she really dances her way across the ice, lots of lifts and tricks. Score: 7.5/6.5/7.5 = 21.5 Jayne says she proved how talented she is, Louie called it fun, fast and fabulous, jam packed with choreography, so complete and asks where are they gonna go with her? Katarina thanks her for being a shining jewel; Robin says she absolutely on the button and praises her fantastic versatility.

Mattina follow that with Night Fever and it is excellent, completely Fever on Ice, musical, fluid, rhythmic, wonderful movement, another to capture the feel totally. Score: 6/8/7.5 = 21.5 Chris says he delivered; Robin wasn't expecting to give an 8, acted, danced, most importantly, if you cut the top of the picture, the bladework would'nt tell  you who was the pro! Katarina calls him natural, strong effortless, relaxed and sexy. Louie says it was well executed but missing the spark.

Mattene skate to Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend and she's in full Marilyn Mode with a little bit of quickstep and a couple of nice lifts. Score: 5/4/6 = 15 Jayne said she made a great Marilyn; Katarina liked that she stayed in character and called it charming and pure enjoyment with nice lines in the lifts; Louie praised the fabulous characterisation and Robin says she's lovely over the ice and looked fabulous.

Sebianne to Mad World from Donnie Darko and I'm loving the sway start and the butterfly, haunting and atmospheric routine, a lovely arabesque, smooth across the ice. Score: 5/6.5/6.5 = 18 Chris he's a gentle spirit and they're together now; Louie thought he lacked emotion but called the arabesque beautiful; Robin said his lines are great, there's nothing contrived, the quirkyness of his style worked. Katarina didn't get to speak as Philip let Seb challenge Louie!

Vindy to Grease Is The Word and there's great skating again but I didn't feel the performance was a convincing as it could be - think the wig got in the way! Low key compared to last week - dare I say it, the title track was probably the least played? Score: 4.5/4.5/5 = 14 Jayne called it a great job, she's shocked how good his basic skating is; Katarina says he keeps surprising her with his constant skating but he needs rhythm. Robin said he entertained for the right reasons. Louie called it clean and tidy with good pace.

Andi skate to a jazzed up Goldfinger which added some attitude, lovely extension into the back roll up and reclining spy (check me out,Tony Gubba's daughter!) I really enjoyed that, much stronger with more energy. Score: 5/5/5.5 = 15.5 Chris says she's getting better all the time, specially now the partnership is gelling. Louie said it was softer and more confident, she eased across the ice; Robin liked the attack and Katarina praised the spectacular ending and steadier skating but asked her to spice it up more. There was an explosion of double entendre and innuendo, starting with Heidi saying it's hard to be sexy when Andrei's telling you to get on your knees ...

The leader board: Jorgatt & Mattina 21.5; Chiceyne, Sebianne & Dannifer 18; Samandra 16; Andi 15.5; Mattene 15; Vindy 14; Markie, Romark & Semmy 10.5; Cookey 8.

I fear for Semmy, and if pushed I'd have to say I hope it's Romark v Cookey in the skate off. Back at 9.30pm! Major recap, half of 'em in physio or having a cry somewhere before Philip's off ... Safe: Cookey!!!! Sebianne; Chiceyne; Mattina; Jorgatt; Samandra; Andi; Romark! *Shock Alert* Semmy *Phew* Dannifer; Vindy. It's Markie v Mattene and I think Charlene's basic skating skills will see her through (although I do like her, I do like Mark too and there was more improvement to come) I confess myself surprised that Corey is more popular than him. I'm officially out of touch this year! Bless, Mark made a mistake too, the pressure got to him so not as good as earlier. So unless Charlene falls flat on her face and refuses to get up again, I think she'll go safely through. Yep, utterly delightful and better than before. It's unanimous - Mattene skate next week! Aw, bless, Mark's a bit of a sweetie. I'll just have to make do with Copy Cats.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Dancing on Ice - Second Wave

Pixie Lott opens the show, accompanied by Mark & Maria and Matt & Nina (I think) before the remaining eight competitors go head to head - saying hello to the ice panel and Louie tries to look all stern but he can't keep it up ...

Dannifer up first - Dan hopefully recovered from the hamstring - skating to ... I didn't catch the song but it was well characterised, a charleston feel although a little slow. She has fabulous leg extensions, and great musicality. Louie praised the beautiful choreography playing to her strengths; Katarina said her dance background showed, so professional looking if a little careful and Robin enjoyed the lovely naturalness of it, although they all agreed there's a bit of shoulder tension. Score: 15.5

Samandra next and he's already looking more adept than Mark. Skating to Fascination, with tricky footwork for week one, strong partnering, confident and cheeky and maintained the balance between personality and technique, excellent skate. Jayne said he's come a long way, Robin pointed out his comfortable natural stance over the blade, Louie praised the partnering and musicality, while Katarina was impressed with the step sequences. Score: 15.5

Romark follow with Fernando and an early stumble leaves her a tad jittery but still elegant, the double stag lift was lovely and her basic skating very smooth. Chris was impressed the speed over the ice, Louie could feel her fear but said she exuded elegance and grace. Robin called the quality of footwork exquisite and Katarina called her charming and inspirational. Score: 12.5

Lula skating to My Guy and I'm loving her grit and that she's singing along! Timing and character, elegant in the lifts and a simple routine nicely done considering the pain and lack of training. Jayne confirmed the determination to be there. Robin wouldn't have know she was injured going by performance, Katarina called her courageous but would like more skating and less singing! Louie said she was dancing by numbers at the start but he enjoyed it once they got going. Score: 9.5

Sebianne to Clocks and he's strong and exciting and therefore untidy in some places but I'm liking him A. Lot! Some terrific moves in there, really showed him off. Chris said he brings the passion, Katarina tells him to keep experimenting and taking risks, Louie liked the speed and aggression and enjoyed the contemporary feel but Robin pointed out that while great, he will have to pay attention to his partner too. Score: 17.5

Chiceyne to Wild Thing and he will not be denied! So groovy, fluid and the grin didn't leave his face, excellent speed and partnering, strong and confident - I could end up being a big fan! He's 40? I'm gobsmacked. Jodeyne says when they got together it wasn't pretty and Jayne says he's so bubbly but focused. Robin called him the Wild But in Control Thing; Katarina said he has the potential to be a thoroughbred and Louie declared the ice to be melting and that he's EXCITED! Score: 18.5, straight to the top of the leader board and well deserved!

Cookey skating to Summer of '69 and he's pretty scared but gave it a good go with attitude in the performance - and he didn't fall over or drop Brooke (which looked like could happen at any time!) Chris said he was on the edge of his seat and Robin pointed out the tension but liked the intensity; Louie gave 3 points for the interpretation and Katarina said it was hard to criticise - but she was worried for Brooke and so happy they finished in one piece! Score: 11

Mattina and they saved the best till last, in terms of skating and song - Give Me Everything and he did, great musical performance, loved the dancing section, strong and exciting gymnast, dancer, skater, controlled - his pleather trousers were trending apparently! Jayne called him a fantastic contender, for the life of me I didn't catch what either Matthew or Nina said but Katarina said her score of 7 was purely for the skating and nothing to do with their sexiness or looks and she'd prefer him in jeans and a white t-shirt (add a burgundy leather box jacket and a gold belcher chain and that was my preferred man's look in 1980.) Louie said the points were for the pleather but he was only joking, he loved the exciting and almost perfect execution. Robin said it was a fantastic end to the show and he can't wait for the rest of the series, there are some terrific competitors.

So the leader board: Mattina 20.5; Chiceyne 18.5; Sebianne 17; Dannifer 15.5; Samandra 15.5; Romark 12.5; Cookey 11; Lula 9.5 and I'm not even going there and putting the mockers on this week! Till after Sherlock then, see ya later :)

You didn't really think he was dead, did you? Tut tut ...

No surprises in the skate off: Cookey versus Lula, no shocks tonight as we've all learnt our lesson! Although you'd have thought the might of Eastenders may have seen her through, it didn't and we say farewell to Laila, as the judges vote unanimously for the steadier performance of Corey. I presume it'll be all remaining thirteen  on the ice next week, so prepare for a mammoth episode!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sad news for the Strictly family

The close knit family that is Strictly Come Dancing is in mourning, with the loss of their founding producer, Richard Hopkins, who succumbed to cancer at just 47 years old this weekend.

Richard was responsible for reviving the show, which had ceased being produced as Come Dancing in 1998, with the new format featuring celebrities going live in 2004. He leaves a wife and three daughters.

On a happier note, Jason Donovan is back in the recording studio, while Robin Cousins will step into the dainty shoes of the Teen Angel in the touring stage production of Grease.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Snippets: Ladies Who Lunge

Kirsty Swain, the partially deaf dancer who took part in Series 2 of So you Think You Can Dance, is one of the first people in the UK to use a newly designed water and shock proof hearing aid.

The Siemens Aquaris is the first instrument Kirsty has found that doesn't slip or move when she's dancing, meaning she can hear the music properly now, instead of relying on sound vibration or copying fellow dancers.

NO WAY! You have got to love those quotes ... Nancy, Nancy, who does your PR? They're brilliant! And little Chelsee, love her loads but really, no. Channelling positive thoughts to the BBC: *KarenHardy*KarenHardy*KarenHardy*KarenHardy* Seriously, an actual proper dance judge; a former professional winner on the show; the Queen of ITT Choreography; World Champion dancer; already in situ - why would they even begin to look elsewhere?

And depending on which paper you read, Christine Bleakley was a hit .. or a miss ... with Dancing on Ice fans! I just don't get the bitchiness towards presenters just doing a job, I really don't! Tess, and even Claudia, get stick too. Christine did as well as any other professional presenter would have done: she's warm, she didn't muck up - what is the problem with some people? There seems to be a section of our society that take to disliking people they don't even know with such venom, I find it so strange. There are those I don't admire, who I wouldn't switch the telly on to watch, but I don't feel the need to criticise every little thing about them in newspaper comment boxes or forums. Rant over. Off to get a life ...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dancing on Ice 7 - Curtain Raiser

The Ice is Back proclaims the headline and training snapshots follow: Cheggers OUT; Chesney OUT; Sylvain OUT - but! Robin IN; Katarina IN; Louie IN, out and no doubt shaking it all about!

T&D bring us mid air suspense, Viennese Waltz, all very dramatic and theatrical as they go Ga Ga to Edge of Glory with a show stopping, imaginative opening. Is that Philip and Christine spinning down to meet us? No, they're safely on their gantry.

Are you ready? Follow me along with the live blog - unless my connection goes, obviously!

Heidi and Andrei (Andi) out first to Exra-Terrestrial and she's neat and tidy, except for the leg in the big lift, nice swing lifts, a bit on the slow, staid side but she comes across really well and kudos for managing the partner change, potential with more confidence. Robin commended her too for coping with the change and called it very strong and solid although a little clinical. Katarina said she set a  really good standard and to trust her partner - Russian men will always catch you! Louie like the musicality and fluidity but said it was safe. Score: 12.5.

Mark and Frankie (Markie) to I'm Still Standing  - aw, bless he struggled through, very hesitant ad probably the easiest choreography they could produce. But he didn't drop her and he's improved, said Jayne. Although she also said that his legs aren't moving as fast as his face! Which sums it up! Louie said he has a winning smile but remedial dad dancing, no strength or power; Robin tells him to be careful with the mugging and Katarina got a kick out of his performance. Score: 8

Charlene and Matt (Mattene) to Guilty - with some lovely solo glides called Ina Bowers? I'll look it up later, it's a lady German skater *Later* It's Ina Bauer. Very nicely played, confident and loving every minute. She'd so bubbly, belies the sorrow in her life. Katarina was totally amazed at a 150 year old being so comfortable on the ice, while Robin noticed she was having a ball and reckons she'll be a guilty pleasure. Louie said she packed a punch with nice lines. Score: 13

Jorgie and Matt (Jorgatt) to Skinny Love. She has the most gorgeous arms, very balletic and elegant, pretty lifts, a very accomplished performance. Ah, she's been to ballet school. Well, she made good use of what she learned, it was lovely. Robin called it exquisite and one of the strongest openers ever; Louie agreed, saying it was a beautiful performance with stunning finishes but would have liked her to have eye contact with Matt. Katarina said it was the first spark of magic tonight. Score: 18.5

Meeting the rest of the contestants and Laila Morse, where did you get that laugh?! That's got to be worth a vote on its own!

Chemmy and Sean (Semmy) to Raise Your Glass - indeed, after all she's been through I'm so pleased for her - confident and full of attack, good clean skating, loved the execution of the side split drop flyaway! Katarina, as a fellow athlete is impressed with the speed and energy and calls her an explosion of excitement. Robin says she had power and speed with charisma and personality; Louie said she's a powerhouse that needs finesse, but when she gets it she'll be Shimmy Shaky Chemmy, one to watch out for! Score: 16

Andy and Maria (Mariandy) dancing to Move Like Jagger! Check out that groovy rhythm and that smashing exuberant smile (just don't get so excited you lose the timing!) Full of fun and joy, potential to be super! Louie pulls him up about the timing and sloppy limbs but Katarina loved it, said he's a natural and Robin praised his partnering, looking after Maria in the lifts. Scores reflected the differences in opinion, with a 3.5 from Louie, 5 from Robin and 5.5 from Katarina. He'll be safe though, made the biggest impression. Score: 14

Andy and Vicky (Vindy) to Walk This Way and it's fab, nailed a big lift, terrific timing - I don't watch Corrie, but who knew? Needs to work on basic skating but full of personality again and thoroughly enjoyable. Robin loved it, the skills are there, let the competitive skater out. Katarina said he was a surprise and he has so much more potential and Louie said he had strong arms, was entertaining and made him smile. Score: 12

So that's it - who'll get your vote? The scoreboard shows: Jorgatt 18.5; Semmy 16; Mariandy 14; Mattene 13; Andi 12.5; Vindy 12; Markie 8. Mine are going to Semmy, Vindy and Mariandy. I think Markie will be in trouble and that Sugababes fans need to get on it, because Andi could be in trouble, it was a very quiet routine. Lines close at the start of the results show - 9.30pm, see you then.

Results - and to say I'm gobsmacked and amazed would be an understatement. I'll never be predicting anything again, that's for sure. Ok, yes, I was right about Andi - but Mariandy? I totally take responsibility and will make sure I don't put the mockers on my favourite next week! Gutted for Maria and Andy and a teensy bit surprised they weren't saved over Andi, going by their scores. Ah well, it won't be the last shock of the series. The other eight skate next week, keep up with the news and gossip on the website.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Strictly Come Dancing Goes Virtual Reality!

Strictly Come Dancing has signed a deal with the virtual reality website, Stardoll, aimed at its teenage girl market.

The site allows users to design their own 'medolls' which they can dress in the finest of sequinned and bejewelled frocks as they participate in their very own version of the show and engage with a like minded community.

Simon Hutson of BBC Worldwide said: "Attracting new audiences as well as building strong relationships with some of the show's most passionate young fans in new and engaging ways marks a very exciting move for the Strictly brand.

"This digital world allows fans to experience the glamour of the ballroom before, during and after the show's transmission, and ensures they have their own way of interacting with the show in an environment they already socialise in."

Do you remember those paper doll books you used to get, where you cut out the paper doll figure and the paper clothes, hooking them on with little paper tabs - I guess this is the version for the 21st century! Until I found they're still going strong, if you know where to look!

picture via I Love Mel

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Snippets: Strictly Come Dancing on Ice!

Nicole Scherzinger's name has been dropped into the mix for the vacant judge's spot on Strictly Come Dancing.

Reports are that the Beeb want to 'get their own back' on Simon Cowell for pinching Alesha, by enticing the ex-PussyCat Doll to Strictly from the US X-Factor. Seriously, do they really think the people at the Beeb have nothing better to do?

More likely is an approach because a) Nicole is a former winner of the US version Dancing With The Stars b) rumours are that her and Lewis Hamilton split up because of the Cowell X-Factor pressure but they're still good friends yada yada yada so maybe she'd welcome an excuse to come back to Blighty c) She was a good guest judge on X-Factor: Nurturing and supportive, generous with her praise and constructive in her criticism d) she's an industry professional dancer/performer and knows what it takes. So at least a serious contender - but it should still be Karen!

In Dancing on Ice, Chesney Hawkes has had to pull out due to injuries - sprained ankle, broken bone -  and his place is being taken by Chico, previously of X-Factor 'fame' - which means Cheseyne become Chiceyne. And which also means endless cries of "It's Chico Time". *Sighs*

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dancing on Ice Line Up Revealed!

We're all set for 6.30pm on ITV1 this coming Sunday! Philip is back and will be joined by Christine Bleakely; Head Judge is still Robin Cousins, this series joined by Louie Spence and Katarina Witt, in a more skating biased panel. As it should be!

Who will you be rooting for? My sporty leanings mean I'm hoping Chemmy Alcott, our top female skier, has a good run (that's a pun, btw, if you know nothing about skiing) - she's partnered by Sean Rice, which makes them Team Semmy. After a broken neck when she was 12, suffering bone spurs for years and a broken leg in 2010, her determination and dedication are not in doubt!

BBC presenters Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes (Copy Cats) should be fun. I don't watch Copy Cats, honestly, but my son does occasionally and it's hard not to shout at the idiotic families when they can't follow a simple tune on the toy bugle ... er, anyway. Sam is with Alexandra Schauman and therefore becomes Samandra; Mark is with Frankie Poultney, although she seems to have become a single name entity this time round; they'll be Mankie. No, maybe not. Let's go with Markie instead!

Another Blue Peter presenter doing their bit - Andy Akinwolere follows Gethin Jones and Zoe Salmon down the reality dancing route - I suspect that Helen feels it'd be a bit too easy for her! Although Andy's also following the route of quitting Blue Peter! He's with the lovely Maria Filippov - Team Andia or Mandy or Mariandy? Mariandy it is.

Soap Stars Section: Andy Whyment (Coronation Street) is paired with Hilda's daughter, Vicky, obviously. Vindy for them, I think; Laila Morse of Eastenders (not Rouass, as reported elsewhere *sniggers*) is with Lukasz and becomes Lula; Charlene Tilton (Dallas - I know, she's probably done other stuff since but I've not seen anything else) partners Matt Gonzalez to create Team Mattene; Jorgie Porter (Hollyoaks) has landed the delectable Matt Evers and therefore, Team Jorgatt will no doubt bring us the first headbanger of the series; she's totally up for it. The headbanger, that is.  Hm, now, Matthew Wolfenden of Emmerdale - they're talking about him in the same hushed tones reserved for Ray Quinn and Chris Fountain. And he's good looking. Double Hm. Could be Nina Ulanova's year then, as part of Team Mattina!

And the rest of the cast: Chesney Hawkes, yes, that one, skates with Jodeyne Higgins as Cheseyne; American actor, Corey Feldman with Brooke Castile - Cookey; The Sugababe's Heidi Range, was with Sylvian Longchambon, now with Andrei Lipanov - would've been Syldi, now Andi; Actress Jennifer Ellison - she's lost a lot of weight, did you know? She's quite sparky and with The Man himself, Daniel Whiston, Dannifer will be popular; Fitness guru Rosemary Conley is probably still pretty bendy, she's partnering Mark Hanretty and therefore, Romark could surprise. Finally, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the founder of free running, Sebastien Foucan, doing a Todd Carty, only heading off up the side of the exit with a couple of back flips and landing on the side of the rink. But I'm not sure what Brianne Delcourt will make of it. Team Sebianne could be ones to watch. Now I've said that he'll turn out to be Bambi.

Visit the Dancing on Ice website here for all the up to date news and gossip, plus bios of the couples and - enjoy the show!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Alesha Leaves Strictly Come Dancing for Britain's Got Talent

After three years judging on Strictly Come Dancing, former winner Alesha Dixon has left the show for ITV's Britain's Got Talent.

With Simon Cowell returning to the ITV production and the demographic being more in tune with her preferred audience - plus a reported £350,000 wage, music has won out over dancing as Alesha looks to focus on her singing career in 2012. David Walliams and Amanda Holden will complete the four judge panel. There were rumours last year that Alesha would replace Cheryl on the X-Factor - one year too soon and a different show but hey, they were almost there!

Alesha said: "Music is my great passion and the reason for the other incredible opportunities that have come my way and I am looking forward to getting back into the studio and focusing on making a new record in 2012.

"After three incredible years on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel I have decided that it is time to move on. Strictly Come Dancing will always hold a special place in my heart as it has been such an amazing experience, both as a winning competitor and as a judge. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the show, the production team, my fellow judges, and a very special thank you to the fans for their support."

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: "Alesha has had three very successful series and we wish her well for the future. The BBC gave her a fantastic opportunity and she has really grown her career and she is now off for a different challenge. We are now looking forward to announcing our new panel in due course."

I hope that 'new' panel doesn't mean entirely new! I loved the dynamic between Alesha and Bruno and they'll be hard pressed to re-produce that with someone else. Series 8 winner Kara Tointon and Series 2 winner, Jill Halfpenny have been suggested, along with retired ballerina and former guest judge, Darcey Bussell, and Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey, also a guest judge. The favourite will undoubtedly be the fabulous Karen Hardy and don't discount a return for Arlene either. There's no new series of So You Think You Can Dance and I don't think either she or the Beeb have ever denied the door would always be open - as long as she can keep a lid on those awful alliterative appraisals and avoid calling anyone a dancing pig, she'll be welcomed back. I know Alesha wasn't universally liked (as a judge) but at least she was encouraging and positive. Of the 2 or 3 occasions when she wasn't, she was pretty much saying aloud what everyone else was thinking! My main hope is that the Beeb don't try to fix something that is so clearly NOT broken - that will be a huge mistake. One replacement we can cope with, wholesale changes for change's sake are very unpopular!


Monday, 2 January 2012

Snippets: So You Think You Can Dance; National Television Awards

Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed on Twitter that the new US series will not have a separate results show like before - let's hope this doesn't signal the beginning of the end of the series in the US. I still can't believe they axed it here, there's definitely an audience for it, even if not on prime time Beeb 1 on a Saturday.

The National Television Awards shortlist has been released and it's the usual suspects against each other for  Best Talent Show: Strictly Come Dancing; X-Factor; Dancing on Ice; Britain's Got Talent. It's a no-brainer this year isn't it - got to be Strictly?