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.