Sunday, 4 October 2015

It looks like I made the right decision on Saturday night when I decided to watch Strictly Come Dancing instead of the rugby. By all accounts, England gave Australia more ballroom than the dancers had, but at least I was entertained.

It's Week Two - time to say goodbye to someone as one of our celebrities left the show. The scores from the last two weeks were added together with the viewer vote - and we all know what a game-changer that can be. So what happened on Saturday night? Here's a (low) blow by blow account of the night as I saw it.

The show was opened by Jamelia who was dancing a Cha Cha Cha to the Pussycat Dolls' Dontcha. Jamelia must have misunderstood that as Don't Cha Cha Cha. She tried her best but there was no real technique - she stomped rather than strutted, her legs were wonky and her arms had gone to an entirely different party. She had sass and attitude in her character as a diva but, honestly, it was danced better by the bloke on the insurance ads (you know, the one with Sharon 'which face are we wearing this week' Osborne). Jamelia needs to put more work in if she's to stay and scored just 21 out of 40.

Next up was a doleful Daniel O'Donnell. Poor Dan was saddled with a Charleston supposedly set at the races. The Charleston is a really difficult dance and one Craig is always picky about. We all know Craig loves a good swivel. Dancing to Let's Misbehave, dreadful Daniel plodded round like a three-legged donkey, despite Kristina choreographing a relatively easy dance that was low on content. The clueless crooner lost track and there was some frantic bit in the middle where I almost called the vet. He's going to have to jockey for position for a while, but unless Kristina can nag him I don't think Dan will be in furlong. Still, he did better than last week with 23 out of 40.

Hot on his heels was Kirsty Gallacher, this week dancing a salsa to You Want A Little Of This. Sadly, it was more Mexican't than Mexican for Kirsty. She spent longer in the air than the International Space Station as partner Brendan resorted to Anton techniques to disguise the flaws on the floor. There was very little actual dance content, no wiggle, no sass and no sexy senorita in sight. Kirsty was too stiff and disjointed, still suffering badly with her nerves. There was no sauce to this salsa and she may dip to the bottom of the leaderboard after this. Just 20 out of 40 from the panel.

Up next was nervous newbie Jay McGuinness, dancing a wonderful waltz to See The Day. With newly shorn locks, Jay still looked like he'd rather have a full body wax than dance, but the boy shouldn't worry. His routine left Darcy speechless in admiration as he glided (glid?) around the dancefloor. He had great rise and fall, fabulous footwork and sublime spins. He still needs to relax, but when he made eye contact with Aliona he absolutely shone. We couldn't have Wanted for more - the boy done good. Are you Glad You Came? Jay should be - while Craig commented on this thumbs it was thumbs up from the judges - a whopping 31 out of 40.

Iwan Thomas hit the dancefloor next, giving us a Cha Cha Cha to Sexy And I Know It. Sadly, the runner was well off track. Partner Ola had provided wine gums as a reward for doing well, but this dance took the Pinot. Yet more timewasting with shirt ripping, knee slides and break-dancing before even a Cha Cha Cha step was attempted. Again, this was probably just as well. Iwan's race may already be run - this was a dance disaster. There was very little content, twerpy twerking and at one point he just forgot to move altogether. Stiffer than a Mary Berry meringue he clomped around the dancefloor with all the rhythm of a rhino in rhinestones. Already low on confidence after last week, Iwan scored a crushing 13 out of 40.

Following this was Corrie starlet Georgia May Foote, dancing a waltz to Georgia On My Mind. The Bury lass was no pudding and even Ray Charles would have been able to see she has potential. There were some elegant moves and sweeping steps, but she lost her top line a few times and ended up looking like Uncle Fester. She was a bit clippy in her transitions and needs to point her toes more but there will be plenty of time to work on these. Georgia will be on our mind for quite some time longer, I think. The judges agreed and gave her 25 out of 40.

Then along came Ainsley Harriott, who sold a salsa to Don't Touch Me Tomatoes (no, I've never heard of it either). The dance suited Ainsley's personality - cheeky and cheery with lots of energy. Not bad for a bloke knocking 60. It was a shame he messed up in the middle, but he covered it by cooking up his own moves - even though they were a bit wild, wacky and off menu. He's certainly not had his chips with this spicy little number, but - while it's obvious he's enjoying himself - lack of concentration could be his undoing in the later rounds. He was cooking with gas on Saturday though with a respectable 26 out of 40 from Len & Co.

Dancing next was Carol Kirkwood. The woeful weathergirl delivered a feeble foxtrot to Caught In The Rain. It was more Caught In The Headlights. Even an umbrella as a prop couldn't cover the fact that poor Carol was out of her depth. In fact, the brolly was a better dancer. She lacked rhythm, movement and musicality as partner Pasha pushed her around the dancefloor again. It's snow joke, I can tell you. 'Raining' champ Pasha should hand back the glitterball now as there's more chance of a heatwave in December than Carol lifting the trophy. It was a game attempt, but not scorching. She scored better than last week (though that's not saying much) with 20 out of 40.

Kellie Bright was alright on the night, dancing a charming Cha Cha Cha to Don't Go Breaking My Heart. The seaside themed dance had lots of content and Kellie 'shore' gave it a good go. There was plenty of hip action, but it got a bit spiky at times and lacked fluidity. But you can 'sea' there is potential here so I'm not going to 'beach' about it too much. KevinfromGrimsby reined it in this week and the future looks Bright for Kellie. She earned a respectable 27 out of 40.

Boxer Anthony Agogo followed with a weary-looking waltz to If You Don't Know Me By Now. If you don't know by now, he's still carrying that shoulder injury which restricts his arm movements. Not sure how it can be restricting the rest of his movement, though. Anthony was too stiff and upright throughout and lacked the rise and fall needed for the waltz. The dance lacked flow and elegance and he was flat-footed and wooden. There was no romance in this dance and he just looked uncomfortable. Not so much a Rumble In The Jungle as a Fumble With Bungle. Just 19 out of 40 for Anthony.

One Show wonder Anita Rani was up next with partner Gleb. Gleb Gleb Gleb Gleb Gleb, Gleb.....sorry, don't know what came over me there. Anita presented a controversial Charleston to Paolo Nutella - sorry, Nutini's  - Pencil Full Of Lead (I am NOT saying anything about the lead in Gleb's pencil. That's far too graphite, I mean, graphic). The robbery themed dance may have stolen the show with plenty of kicks & flicks, but not really a lot of traditional Charleston content, with Bruno calling it Swing Jive. It may not have scored the 'heist' on the night, but Anita was 'Bonnie' enough and saved an error in the 'nick' of time. She can have 'arrest' until next week - Anita will be One to watch for a few weeks with a healthy 27 out of 40.

Jeremy Vine took to the floor after Anita with a tango-based American Smooth. That's tango the dance, not the drink, but you could be forgiven for getting that mixed up. Jeremy may have danced to Happy Together, but he and his partner Karen (Mrs Kevinfromgrimsby, by the way) don't seem to be. It's always a bad sign when the VT before the dance wheels out the cute kids and family loyally supporting Daddy. Jeremy's young daughter featured heavily. Poor Jezza gave it good gusto, but had no gumption. At times he looked like Crazy Legs Crane as he flapped his arms wildly around, nowhere near the beat. This dance was more crunchy than smooth and, with its library theme, may show that Jeremy's departure is already overdue. This was dancing by numbers - and those numbers were 17 out of 40.

 Jezza giving it large

After Jeremy came classy Katie Derham dancing a terrific tango. This dance had plenty of attack, attitude and technique. Anton was like a dog with two.....tails. What's gone wrong? He's never had a partner with such talent. There was lots of content and Katie was really fleet of foot. There was a minor error, quickly covered up, but this Orchestral Manoeuvre doesn't need to be in the dark. A symphony of skill, though there are some tweaks to be made to Katie's core and frame. This masterpiece was awarded 28 out of 40. Anton has never scored so highly - cumulatively, never mind in one go. He may make it to Blackpool yet!

Peppy popster Peter Andre hit the floor with partner Janette Manraraskirt, giving us a quirky quickstep to Valerie by The Zutons (though this was the faster Amy Winehouse version). Peter gave it a good Aussie go - proving that the antipodeans could bring a better showing on the dancefloor as well as the rugby pitch on Saturday night. His knees were a bit too high on the traverses - at one point he looked like he was representing the Ministry of Silly Walks - and his free arm got a bit swingy, but overall it was a good attempt at a difficult dance. You'd be Insania if you thought Peter was going to take an early bath. The judges loved it and gave the orange tic-tac-toe tapper 30 out of 40.

Rounding off the show was Helen George. The Call The Midwife star finished with an accomplished Cha Cha Cha to Uptown Girl by Billy Joel. Aljaz had devised a mechanic theme and he may well have been engineering their way through to next week. This 'Trixie' little performance had lots of content and Helen provided plenty of wiggle, lovely locked legs and sexy swivel. Her former ballet training sometimes comes through with her foot placement, but it didn't put a spanner in the works as the judges said it was the best Cha Cha Cha of the night. There's 'womb' for improvement but, baby, Helen's good to watch.

And that was that. All the dances done. The contestants' scores were combined with the phone votes of the viewing public. After the (predictable) and the pretence that this was Sunday even though we all know the whole shebang is recorded on the Saturday night - the two couples in the dance off were (dun dun dunnnnnn) Iwan Thomas and Jamelia. No real surprises or utter shocks there, then.

Both had to dance again, with the judges making the final decision who was to stay and who would be the first to go. There was improvement from Jamelia, if anything Iwan was worse (if that's possible).  The judges certainly knew who they wanted to keep in the competition and their decision was unanimous.

So it's official. The first celebrity leaving Strictly Come Dancing 2015 is IWAN THOMAS. Again, it's not like this came as a massive surprise or that there were more deserving candidates for the chop. Sorry Iwan, it seems you're one of the sportsmen who can't translate the skills to the salsa, the talent to the tango, the win to the waltz (I could go on for a bit here, couldn't I?).

One down, fourteen couples left. Another week closer to Christmas. Until next week, my dears, KEEP DANCING!!

 Iwan me, Iwan me together.......

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