Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Dancing on Ice: Solo can you go?

Solo night and as Robin said: The girls were dreading it; the boys loving it.

Ray, solo down dirty

Beth had an awful week with illness yet still managed to pull it together in both skates. Dancing to 'Burn' with Lukasz, you could feel the connection between them, it was beautiful. The performance element and the energy needed for Man, I Feel Like A Woman just weren't there but technically, she was proficient enough - and a nice hydraglide. It kept her bottom of the table and her support must be worrying Ray a bit.

Hayley's performance level of course, is always top notch and Maybe This Time did nothing to damage that, but she was slow compared to the others and there was a stumble, which knocked her scores down. Back in Daniel's arms though and a mighty salsa to Conga - loved the Latino walks - with incredible timing earned her a smattering of tens. 

Sam had another good night, very nifty and expressive and smooth throughout Still Got The Blues, fantastic spinny things all through it. A lovely lyrical piece with Vicky to All of Me was very together and well interpreted, but the girls' support still put him in the skate off, alongside ...

Kyran, with a competent clean skate to Dancing in the Dark, after his best with Nina, a personality piece to King of the Swingers gaining him a 9 from Jason, still not enough to escape the skate off. Chasing Cars with additional awesome lifts and a *squeezes toes* headbanger couldn't beat the electricity of Sam's Riverdance and we said goodbye to the 2007 champion.

Now then, Mr Quinn - are you actually old enough to be doing all that raunchy stuff? Goodness me - Prince would be mightily impressed to see Kiss interpreted like that, I'm sure. I wonder how many complaints ITV got? Still, who cares. Another maximum score of 40, and only half a point less in his skate with Maria to Counting Stars, which was delicious - totally agree with Ashley and Karen on that. Jason with the 9.5 because Ray forgot to wink at him, apparently. But I'd still be concerned about how popular the girls are - at least one of the Big 3 is going to be in next week's skate off. Everyone say "Oooooooh". Till then x

Monday, 24 February 2014

The Voice: Get Ready for Nomakhosi

The one I've been waiting for: Nomakhosi is the name. Awesome audition with the Temptations song - I could actually hear it playing on Jazz FM - and with added scatting. I was a little concerned Kylie wasn't going to turn, but *phew* relief as she finally did. In my team battle, Nomakhosi gets a bye!

In other news, Tom Barnwell made me smile, even after he'd left the stage, as did Gary Poole's neat version of Valerie - another terrific audience reaction got Tom and Ricky turning, with Tom landing another man. Another one for Tom and for me, as nice guy, Kenny Thompson's raw but lovely tone, saw Tom oust Ricky at the last second. I also like what Jamie Lovatt did with his song - this time Ricky got his man. The only other female joining me was Cherri Prince, Will's last hope. Jazzy yet different.

A host of last show 'NOs': Johnny - flat; Jane Frazer - club singer; Roxanne Yarnold - good but not fresh; Angie Brown - why? Why? Fantastic and awesome voice - but why do the hit? It just dated her. A different choice would've probably secured her Tom's final spot; Likewise, Teresa Vasiliou - sad story but still a 70s vocal - Tom was tempted; Bianca Nicholas very good but lacking appeal; Aaliyah - fresh lyrical and rapping but not quite there vocally; Joe West, another lovely lad but again, not strong enough vocally; Liz Oki had us all in tears when she set Will off - reminding him of his not-long-passed-away auntie - with a beautiful rendition of George Michael's Different Corner; A groovy version of Roxanne from Pete Davies wasn't enough, though very good; had Erin been earlier, I'm sure she'd have got through - Tom hitting his button in annoyance, having already filled his team.

The only 'Yes' not in my team (I guess I should have just waited until the judges sorted themselves out and then did it, but hey ...) was Luciee Marie Closier, who I felt tried too hard to be quirky, and much preferred her lower register when she slowed down - glad Ricky turned for her, a lot of potential.

How many have I got? Only 25! Let battle commence then - how to shred them down to 12 from:

Jazz; Nathan; Emily; Amelia; Femi; James; Chris; Max; Joe; Jade; Leverne; Jermain; Mairead; Sophie-May; Beth; Anna; Tila & Tavelah; Rachael; Jamie; Tom; Nomakhosi; Kenny; Jamie L; Cherri; Gary.

So, I listened to them all again and made two lists: The ones I definitely couldn't bear to let go, and the others. I bet the coaches wish they could do that - Team Scatty is:

Nomakhosi; Rachael (Team Kylie) - Beth; Emily; Jamie L; Jazz (Team Ricky) Kenny (Team Tom) Anna; Femi; James B; Jermain; Sophie-May; Tom (Team Will).

See the coaches'complete teams here and roll on the Battle weekend! Till then x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Dancing on Ice: Sayonara Suzatte

Well, GUTTED would be the word I'm after! After an excellent individual performance, Suzatte found themselves in the bottom half of the leaderboard and from there, in the skate off, where a nervy performance with a couple of stumbles cost them dearly to a near perfect Billie Jean routine from Kyrina.

Maray do it again

I confess myself a little surprised that they were less popular than Bethasz and Hayliel, as I think Suzanne combines the best of both of them. But there you go ...

Individually, they were all very strong, with Bethasz maintaining the personality of the week before, an exhilarating performance to You Can't Stop the Beat, excellent tricks and terrific timing. Hayliel given an emotionally charged routine again, showing some beautiful lines to Skycraper, while Suzatte got all sultry and showcased her skating skill, with just one sticky transition, skating to Black Velvet.

Kyrina's Can't Hold Us routine I found a little manic but full of attack, while Maray did what they do i.e. be utterly fantastic, this time to Lego House and scoring another perfect 40. Samvick were indeed extremely Happy - easily their best so far, brilliant nifty footwork - Chris Dean said his was the toughest skating of the night and he'd have given it a 10!

Onward then, to the Team Challenge, which made all the difference to the overall result: Kyrina moving from bottom to third, and Bethasz dropping from second to last to dead last. The boys skate to Uptown Girl considered unanimously by the judges to have topped the girls Walk Like an Egyptian. I enjoyed both, so I was quite glad I didn't have to decide. Still gutted about Suzatte.

It seems Bethasz are a shoe in for the final - they must have scored at least 5 points from the public vote to avoid the skate off and push Kyrina and Suzatte down there. I'm not one for betting, personally, but if you fancy a flutter ...

Till next time x

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Voice: Thought there'd be more feathers

I'm going to have to have a serious whittling session after next week, because I've added another four to my team!

Top of my keep list is Jazz Bates-Chambers. No idea what was going through the coaches' minds, but how happy was Ricky that none bar him turned for her? He was on the edge of his seat at the end and jumping straight out of it once they blew it. Brave song choice, brilliantly delivered and very different - shades of Erykah Badu/Jill Scott.

Ricky was also the only judge to turn for two of my other choices (what a mega team he's going to have!) Nathan Amzi, a versatile show voice, full of emotion, and Emily Adams with a great song choice showcasing a very mature and confident old soul voice - the audience reaction sold Ricky. Kylie nabbed the other, Amelia O'Connell's pure (apart from one little wobble) vocal has awesome potential and gave me goosebumps.

Country and Western singers has mixed success, with John Rafferty showing a nice range but being just too well, nice - some good critique for him from Will though. Talia Smith had a coupla dodgy moments in an attacking performance and Tom couldn't help himself.

I think I might audition for the next series, just so I can get a consolation hug and kiss from Ricky ... amazing eyes. #newcrush.

More family affairs, with us not seeing enough of Buheiji and Leanne & Natalie - I liked what I heard -while the Dixon boys had centre stage individually. We knew one would make it and one wouldn't but which one? Shenton was very much a club singer tribute act and it showed, even though it should've been my thing. Bizzi began too low but unexpectedly went for a rock song instead of the R&B he'd had recording success with - I didn't think his range was big enough but Tom and Kylie turned - he's now Tom's only guy.

Will added another two, very different acts to his team, both with huge potential. Kiki DeVille. I was unsure about, but the last notes got me thinking "oh, she's gooooood" while Callum Crowley showed great range but I felt weakened towards the end - it might have been Kylie and Will turning in tandem that put him off. Ricky also went - but Tom hit his button too late!

Three 'Nos' that were so, so close: Marc William, a definite original but looked like he was in real pain throughout, which I found pretty off putting; Paul Raj, who got everyone groovin' but couldn't maintain a great start. Some lovely notes, some real duff'ns. And Amrick Channa was completely and utterly fabulous, fun and groovy but drew the "I thought there'd be more feathers" comment from Ricky - very Diva, very camp club act - not for this, but I'd pay to see him at an all in one Xmas do!

I have one tiny criticism of the coaches: I'm getting annoyed that they don't turn for a voice, but then kick themselves when they see how young/pretty they are. And how their faces fall when who they have turned for isn't as attractive to them. PTB, you need to address that.

You can view all the clips again on the website, where there's also the news that Zoe Ball will be hosting an It Takes Two type magazine show for The Voice. It'll be on daily in the hallowed 6.30pm midweek slot, from the first live show up to the final. Because I've got nothing better to do ... oh, jeez.

Team Scatty: Jazz; Nathan; Emily; Amelia; Femi; James; Chris; Max; Joe; Jade; Leverne; Jermain; Mairead; Sophie-May; Beth; Anna; Tila & Tavelah; Rachael; Jamie. It's looking likely I'll have to stage my own private battle round!

Till next time x

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Dancing on Ice: Freedom for Garianne

1984 and all that, so we get Wild Boys and Dr.Beats to open, plus re-living Bolero again. And Garianne go out on a high, with their top scoring routine to Freedom, and a recap of Beautiful Day.

My clear favourites are now Suzatte and Maray. Loved Suzanne's characterisation in Let's Hear it for the Boy, she got the Lovesick Teenager spot on. Bright and lively, with neat tricks. And Ray, fully committed as ever and loving every minute of 'Jump' - the heavy metal one, not the other one. Fantastic energy and dynamicism.

I was expecting to hate Samvick's Radio GaGa but actually thought it was brilliantly done - great musicality. But their skate off routine to Dream Catch Me is my favourite of theirs to date; gorgeous, lovely dancing on ice and an excellent steps sequence.

Hayliel put aside the jazz hands and treated us to a mini melodrama to Here Comes The Rain again - could have been a little more sensitive to all the flood victim fans really - or maybe that was the story? While Kyrina, meanwhile, finally managed to bring an expressive and soft performance - even Jason was impressed. Bethasz had a bit of fun off the ice, Beth in her comfort zone, Lukasz really not but the Girl Just Wanted to Have Fun, and so she did.

A great night of skating, with the only iffy moments the pathetic spats between Jason, Karen and Nicky. Next week, it's Team Time. Only Champions left and the mixed up leader board will make all the difference. Till then x

The Lock In at the Gulbenkian

A clash of dance cultures set in an old English pub with live music by BBC Radio 2 award-winning folk powerhouse The Demon Barbers.

The show sees a group of street dancers arrive at an apparently deserted pub. Local rumour has it that The Fighting Cocks is the place to be after hours but as the regulars arrive a clash of cultures turns into a dance floor stand-off.
The skill, speed and athleticism of the dancers on both sides soon wins the others over as the old and new are brought together in an exciting and dynamic dance-off. Sword dances are performed with snooker-cues, pub bouncers dance the Morris and B-boys flirt with clog girls. Meanwhile house band, The Demon Barbers, takes English Folk music on a new journey with friends Hip Hop, House, Funk and Ska and even says hello to Burlesque and Drum & Bass along the way!

Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury on Friday, February 14th. 7.30pm.

Street Dance and Hip Hop half term classes in Gillingham

Medway Council Arts Team is offering some free workshops with award-winning hip-hop dance company, Boy Blue Entertainment, during the February half term. They take place at either Mid Kent College or Woodlands Youth Centre in Gillingham, and aim to provide professional and aspiring dancers a unique opportunity to improve dance techniques and train with the award winning hip-hop dance company.

Classes are open to dance artists, teachers and tutors and young people aged 13+ years.

Advanced Master Class for Artists and Tutors (11am - 1pm)
This session is designed for Dance Artists and Tutors to improve dance skills and techniques with advice from the Boy Blue Entertainment Company.

Dance Workshop (2pm – 4pm)
This workshop is open to both Dance Artists, Tutors and aspiring dancers aged 13+ and will involve Street Dance techniques and choreography.

Professional Development Master Class (4.10pm – 5.30pm)
This class will focus on choreography, transitions, rhythm and musicality and is suitable for Artists, Tutors, the R’enc Arts Dance Group and aspiring dancers aged 13+.

If you are interested, available and want to come along, please book your place via arts@medway.gov.uk or call 01634 338319.

Monday, 17 and Tuesday, 18 February
Mid Kent College, Medway Campus, Medway Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 1FN.

Wednesday, 19 February
Woodlands Youth Centre, Lower Woodlands Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 2BX.

All sessions are FREE and run over all three days.

The tutors:

Jason FM Hull began dancing when he was in secondary school and has never looked back since. Contemporary dance classes were his first experience in the world of dance, moving into Street Dance and eventually, b-boying.

Theo 'Mr Godson' Oloyade's unforgettable Krumping saw him whizz straight through to the live finals of Got to Dance in 2013. He has been dancing since he was 15 and has already performed alongside Plan B, Tinie Tempah Rita Ora and Stooshe, to name a few.

Boy Blue Entertainment is an award winning hip-hop dance company founded in London by choreographer Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante. As joint Artistic Directors, they work together on the creation and development of all of Boy Blue Entertainment’s productions and projects.

The company are critically acclaimed and in 2007 won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for their full-length hip hop dance theatre work Pied Piper. Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy has created choreography for a wide range of artists including Rita Ora, Plan B, Dizzee Rascal, and Leona Lewis.

The Voice: Sneaky Will adds two to watch

Finally, the numbers seem to be evening up, with me adding five guys and one girl to my team!

It was mainly thanks to Will though, that my top two guys made it through - turning right at the very last nano second, when it seemed the other coaches were going to let them walk.

Femi Santiago (above) melted me totally, with Stevie Wonder's My Cherie Amour - and I thought, put his own spin on it, rather than it be the classic interpretation - he gave it a modern feel. Nice guy, and a real inspiration for others to not give up when sh*t happens. And how lovely to see someone smiling when they sing with emotion, rather than appear angst ridden.

Likewise, James Byron was also a last-second Will catch. Loved his voice, plenty of guts and determination too and I think Will can bring out lots more. Chris Royal did a terrific version of Avicii's Wake Me Up, very refreshing, and a lovely tone. Ricky beat Tom and Kylie for him, and also chose Max Murphy, a British judo champion. I wasn't so keen on the quieter moments but loved him when he rocked it out. Irish dancer Joe Keegan had some quality about his voice which I really really liked - almost Chet Baker-ish, I dunno - just something about his voice. Kylie beat Ricky for this one.

The only female who made it through for me was Jade Mayjean Peters - good diction, didn't go manic - got all four turning. My only concern is how controlled was that? Has she just been practising that and nothing else? I hope not - fabulous potential. Kylie V Ricky (again) and she went for Kylie.

Returnee Nick Dixon sadly missed out again. After a promising clip from last year, it just didn't sound as sweet. I wonder whether, when the  'Nos' go away, do they take lessons or gig to improve or just wait it out till the next time? Because that's what they need to do - sometimes it's not having the live experience that lets them down. Fiona Kelly wasn't a spectacular enough opera singer for them to take a punt on, while my One That Got Away was Lucy Winter. She had club singer written all over her, but no, she was terrific - vibrant, passionate and a great, great voice. Reece Bahia went with One D - that's a no no, really, no-one is going to get through singing it exactly the same as them; Jolan and Yinka Williams, I'd have loved to hear more from - two more possibles for the Ones That Got Away award.

Successful auditionees included Steven Alexander (Kylie) whose voice sadly didn't match the style, just not strong enough. Kylie: "We would probably work on ..." the actual singing, eh, Kylie, hm?  Elesha Paul Moses, one half of Nutarna last year, improved towards the end and Tom signed her up - Will remembered her but didn't turn this time.

Team Scatty: Femi; James; Chris; Max; Joe; Jade; Leverne; Jermain; Mairead; Sophie-May; Beth; Anna; Tila & Tavelah; Rachael; Jamie. I appear to have too many - I shall cull at the end of the Blind Auditions!

Check out the coaches teams and all the other news here.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Dancing on Ice: Bye bye Bondrei

I dunno, but the losers' three skates to the duel winners' one skate seemed a little unfair to me! But hey ho ...

Maray and Suzatte face off

It was Bondrei who ultimately lost out, losing the duel to Garianne, then the public vote and finally, the judges' votes. Even a storming second skate to DevilGate Drive wasn't enough, as her final skate off wasn't so sharp.

Samvick put in a clean skate to get the judges on side, after their second skate - a romantic smooth number - didn't cut it with the public. Although, up against Bethasz and Suzatte, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

Bethasz's skate to Think wasn't the most exciting but almost faultless as always and I'm not ready to lose her yet. Suzatte was unfortunate to get stuck together coming out of the first big lift - but what a fantastic recovery, not losing a beat in one of my favourite routines ever - lyrical hip hop and attitude - I'd love to see it again (only not in a skate off. And without the stumble.)

In the duels, we had two unanimous decisions and two split. Garianne I'd have said, on paper, would've lost to Bondrei - how wrong can you be? A delightful routine in which I think Gareth's skating was much stronger and more varied than Bonnie's. Ashley and Jason voted Bondrei; Karen and Robin went Garianne, with Robin's casting vote given due to the big step-up lift.

A split likewise, with Kyrina versus Samvick - I couldn't call it, though the leap from Kyran was terrific, he had a couple of sticky moments, while Sam wasn't quite as smooth. Ashley and Jason again in agreement with Sam; Karen and Robin opting for Kyran, with Robin calling it: "Came down to technicalities below the ankle."

At the business end, Bethasz versus Hayliel was Hayley all the way - far more feisty and fierce, resulting in a 4-0 win for her. Suzatte and Maray's duel was completely awesome, full of zing and energy but again, there was only one winner, with Ray's assurance on the ice just pipping Suzanne.

So there we go, back to normal again next week and things should start to shake out a bit, so we get a clue as to who really has got the public in their corner! Till then x

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Voice: Saving the best till last

I say the best, Rachael O'Connor was pretty much the only standout. And where are the men? Only four in the whole show last night and all the teams so far are very female heavy, which ain't contributing to a variety of styles much.

Vela the folk duo were part man, but nerves maybe meant they sounded a bit flat. Bunny, bless him, was nice, and you could sit and listen to him quite happily without your socks blowing off. John Quinn I liked and was hoping they'd pick, just because he's a bloke, but no. Great voice but not fresh enough, sadly. Likewise the bluesy Charlie Wood - very much enjoyed his version of "I can't stand the rain". West End singer Leanne Jones (Hairspray) fared no better than Kerry Ellis - this isn't the style they're looking for, too trained - the coaches figure they won't be able to do much with them.

Rachael's voice was unique but also musical, pure and gorgeous. And I liked her family. I know I shouldn't judge on that, but seriously, there are some auditions where I'm embarrassed for Emma and Marvin, having to be in the same room as the screamers. There's happy and excited, and then there's hysterical.

The only others I picked were twins Tila and Tavelah. It was refreshing to have a bit of R'n'B and it'll be interesting to see what Ricky can do with them. The opera-jazz of Milly J was the only other one I might have turned for, had we heard her from the start.

Will added Jessica Steele, a returnee from last year - I wasn't complete convinced, found her a bit warbly, and Sarah Eden-Winn, a powerful voice but too similar to a host of others - could well be the safe karaoke song choice, as Will pointed out.

Tom added Melissa, who all but Will turned for, and who I thought was absolutely dreadful! Different doesn't equal good, guys! I can show you different and I'm tone deaf!

Kylie picked up another three, including the aforementioned Rachael. Gemyni, another set of twins (Tila and Tavelah the others) - but while one was good, the other wasn't so -and Jai McConnell, an acquired taste I need to hear more from: she didn't seem to actually sing much, but all four turned and they're the experts, right? She's likeable though: To Will: "You got a lot of chat, haven't you?" Will: "?" Ricky tried to explain, but not too hard.

The coaches teams can be found here. Who can tell me who Lesher Haughton is, please? I thought they sneaked one through one week, without saying who she was - just appeared in the role call of Will's team but it was sooooo quick. I've no mention of her previously and don't recall the name. And I'm pretty good with names *suspicious mode* Foxy?

Team Scatty: Laverne; Jermain; Mairead; Sophie-May; Beth; Anna; Tila & Tavelah; Rachael.

Bye for now :)