It's finally here!! Strictly Come Dancing 2015 has started and that can only mean one thing - it's nearly Christmas! Last night was the first show of the new season and so here's my round-up of what went on. WARNING!! This piece may contain puns. Very bad puns. If you are allergic to puns or are of a nervous disposition you may want to look away now.
Now. let me say from the start, I can't dance. Not dance dance. I can flail my way round a dancefloor at a family do after a few beverages. I can Macarena, Locomotion, Cha Cha Slide and Time Warp as well as anyone else (these being the tribal dances of our culture & generation). A man once told me I had 'a very Latin bottom', which I'm assured was a compliment. But no, Arctic Monkeys, I do not look good on the dancefloor. Which is fine, as neither do most of the celebrities.
And so it began. Everything was as familiar as an old sweater and As It Should Be. Claudia - the perky panda-eyed pixie, as orange as the love child of an Oompa Loompa and a cheesy wotsit. Leggy Lancashire lass Tess, looking far more comfortable these days now she's not being mauled by Brucie and his Shredded Wheat toupee. Even Phill Jupitus was there. Well, not actually Phill, but the bassist is the orchestra is his doppleganger. You look next time and you'll see what I mean. The judges slipped into their usual roles - Bonkers Bruno, Lothario Len, Dahling Darcy and Cruella de Revel Horwood. Let the magic begin...do do do do do do doooo, do do do do do..............
This season started last night with six of the fifteen celebrities showing us what they'd learned over the past three weeks between their day jobs. No-one is leaving this week (which is probably just as well looking at half of 'em) but the judges' scores will roll over to next week to be added to those scores and the public vote.
Kellie Bright kicked off with Kevin to the Kinks. Marvellous alliteration but murder on my 'k' key. The pair danced a tango to 'You Really Got Me'. But....I sort of didn't. the music didn't really match a decent tango. There was far too much grinning and mugging at the camera instead of the passion and performance you normally expect with the dance. Kev's got form for 'fusion' dances but this one didn't pay off. He seemed to be giving the Eastenders actress instructions through his rictus grin as the clomped through the routine. Still, the judges were kind enough - even Craig, who had been mock-threatened by Kellie's screen husband hardman Danny Dyer. I secretly think he's from Kensington Money, you know. No-one is that Cockney! Craig handled it with the aplomb only a drag queen can muster and it was all in good fun. Kellie's opener scored a respectable 27 out of 40.
Up next was boxer Anthony Agogo. Poor Anthony is carrying a bad shoulder injury and has to limit the use of his right arm, which detracted from his dancing. He danced to Wham's 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go', which proves the show's producers' sense of humour is as bad as mine. I wonder if all his routines will be to suitably themed music? Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Boxer'? 'Theme from Rocky'? 'Eye Of The Tiger'? It'd be interesting but would probably grate after a while. Anthony gave it his best shot. At times he was more Hugo Agogo (Batfink's arch-enemy) than anything else, which was a shame as his jive showed promise. It was punchy and although not a total knockout was full of energy. Unfortunately, there were timing issues and he had flat feet sometimes and there was a wardrobe malfunction too as he split his trousers. Not a great start but he'll get a second chance now the gloves are off. The judges' decision was final, scoring just 21 out of 40.
Call The Midwife's Helen George followed with a wonderful, whimsical waltz with partner Aljaz to 'With You I'm Born Again' (see what they did there?). Well, Helen certainly delivered in this routine. There was no need for Aljaz to labour as they swept around the dancefloor. It was elegant, graceful and polished. Helen was impressive and she acted the piece as well as danced it - a great opening performance. Could we be witnessing the birth of a beautiful partnership? The judges were certainly impressed giving Helen a whopping 29 out of 40, putting her in first placenta, sorry, place.
Woeful weathergirl Carol Kirkwood unfortunately had to follow that. She danced an alleged Cha Cha Cha to Thunder In My Heart (I'm not making this up) with former champ Pasha. It seems to be an unwritten rule on Strictly that if you win one year you get stuck with a lemon the year after (witness - Aljaz & Abby Clancy, then partnered with Alison Hammond, Aliona & Harry Judd, then Johnny Ball, Tony Jacklin and Gregg Wallace - she must have really upset someone). Poor Carol. The normally cheery Cha Cha Cha was more like a wet weekend in <insert choice of resort here - I'm not offending anyone!>. I have seen more hip action in the snake house at Chester Zoo. She went wrong almost immediately and was dragged through the rest of the routine like a bewildered auntie in the mosh pit at a Metallica gig, with poor Pasha grimacing gamely as all his hard worked choreography was completely undone before his eyes. It's not 'weather' Carol will stay in, but how (mon)soon she will go. An awful score of 16 out of 40 placed her below freezing on the scoreboard.
Crooner Daniel O'Donnell has been paired with Kristina Rihanoff allegedly to prevent romance between the pair (the dancer has had relationships with former partners Joe Calzaghe and Ben Cohen as well as dancer Vincent Simone all during Strictly runs). I can't see anything developing here. There was no chemistry between them at all. It was flatter than a week old cola and a Dover Sole pancake in Norfolk (all very flat in their own right). Flatter, even, than Katie Price's singing - and that's going some. Personality vacuum O'Donell plodded round the floor in an awful waltz to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. Well, no-one was smiling with this routine. Dreary Dan shuffled about like he was wearing carpet slippers and resembled one of those boring uncles your mum makes you dance with at family weddings. Even Craig called it 'uneventful'. I'm looking forward to Daniel's Latin dance, though. Like I look forward to root canal surgery or an ear syringing. The judges' verdict? They obviously saw some potential, giving him 24 out of 40.
Rounding off the show was Anita Rani and newcomer Gleb. I can't actually read the notes I made last night about the Russian dancer. They sort of look like 'prfhpthpnnnmmmmm' and the ink has run where I drooled. The man is ridiculously attractive. There might have been some dancing or something, possibly involving a woman? Oh, yes, right. Anita. Gleb had choreographed a charming Cha Cha Cha. This was more like it - lots of hip swivel, pep and bounce to No Place I'd Rather Be (I BET there wasn't Anita). There was armography and plenty of wiggle, everything Carol's wasn't, in fact. This looks to be a very promising partnership and even the judges were suitably impressed at how well Countryfile's presenter had done (let's not forget fellow presenter Matt Baker was a Strictly runner-up). All good and the judges gave a very respectable 27 out of 40.
And so it was for Part One of the opening weekend. Some highs, some very lows. A definite mixed bag. Part Two showcases the remaining nine celebrities and apparently gives us Ainsley doing a tango and Jeremy Vine flashing his chest and strutting his stuff in a Latin dance. Bet his Latin bottom won't be as good as mine, though!
Until tomorrow....................keep dancing!