Sunday, 15 November 2015
It's the week before Blackpool - the show everyone wants to get to. Well, apart from the final obviously. Nine couples hit the dancefloor on Saturday night, but only eight will be boarding the bus north. Pity the illuminations will have finished. Still, they can always read my blog experience if they want to know what they missed (so can you if you haven't already, you lucky things). And so to Strictly week nine.........
Anita Rani opened the show with a quirky little quickstep to Don't Get Me Wrong by The Pretenders. I don't have to pretend to like Anita - and not just because she's partnered by the Gorgeous Gleb who looks like he was used by Michelangelo as the template for the statue of David, but rejected in the end for being too damn handsome. (Damsome? Or is that a type of jam?) Erm...oh, yes, dancing. The routine was full of pace - fast and clean with exceptional timing and togetherness. There was a little stumble near the end where Anita went a little wrong-footed but there were enough kicks and tricks through the promenades to please. The judges scored it a decent 32 out of 40, but what does the poor girl have to do to score higher?
Genial Jay McGuinness followed with a flowing foxtrot to Lay Me Down by Sam Smith. This could have been a SPECTRE-actular dance (see what I did there? Proper up to date with culture, I am. Really home with the downies) but unfortunately there were clashes. It all started off so well with clean, crisp lines, fleet footwork and really good frame with no gapping, but then Jay tripped over Aliona's feet and didn't quite recover the momentum. He still needs some kind of acting lessons to engage his face. He's dancing with one of the most beautiful women in Strictly but there was no emotion or flicker of romance north of Jay's neck through the routine and he will need some character to progress. The panel enjoyed it warts and all and gave Jay 30 out of 40.
Jamelia came next with a sticky salsa to A Little Respect by Erasure. A bit of an odd song choice for a samba, maybe there's a hidden message in the title for the viewers? It was slow for a samba and a bit clunky. The timing was off somehow and the technique was, well, flabby. Jamelia was stompy in parts with flingy arms, the knees weren't bent enough to give the requisite double bounce and there was too much grinding than is good for someone my age to watch. Jamelia's efforts split the judges, but she still only scored 26 out of 40.
Midwife miss Helen George took to the floor with a tidy tango to Hold Back The River. There was no holding back in this routine. The dancefloor was flooded with fine technique, fast footwork and stunning staccato. There was plenty of drama and passion in the routine and bags of character (perhaps she can give Jay a few pointers), but Helen needed to bend her knees a bit more and she lost some frame in the turns which detracted from an otherwise fine showing. The overall performance was very good though and the judges awarded her a high-scoring 34 out of 40.
Katie Derham appeared to be back on form with a romantic rumba to Impossible. A comeback certainly wasn't impossible for Katie - we've seen she has the talent, it's been Anton's choreography that's been lacking. This, however, was a decent enough dance...well, for a rumba. It wasn't as engaging as Helen's version last week and Katie's dress was exceptionally split (deliberately, I mean) right up the front. At one point I swear I saw her treble clef! But I digress with the dress. There was plenty of traditional rumba content in the routine to please the judges and some storytelling, even a smattering of romance, which can't be easy when you're dancing with perma-grinned JFM (Just For Men) enthusiast Anton. The judges loved it and Katie - and probably Anton - got their best score to date with a whopping 31 out of 40.
Dance-off survivor Kellie Bright came next with a strange samba to Boom! Shake the Room by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (or Will Smith as he's been known for the last...oooh, twenty years or so). It was another odd song choice and didn't really suit the samba. OK, so the samba is a party dance, but this was like Kellie had turned up to the wrong party. Her hips were too hip-hop and the shimmies too street but there was plenty of attitude and energy. Kellie and KevinfromGrimsby were together throughout and the footwork was fairly fluid. It wasn't traditional enough for stickler Len and this was another routine that divided the dance score deciders, but they scored her a cracking 33 out of 40.
Tangerine tunester Peter Andre was the penultimate dancer, giving us an alleged Viennese waltz to You're My World by Cilla Black with partner Janette Manraratararabumdiyay. Odd one this. There wasn't a lorra, lorra actual Viennese content to this dance which seemed to be lacking in whirls and spins. Maybe turning the other way round was too difficult for the orange Ozzie (things spin differently in the Southern Hemisphere). Peter was Doing It For His Kids. If you weren't already aware (and if you weren't already aware where the heck have you been - Narnia??) Pete loves his kids. He mentions this about 20 times per interview. Like actually being slightly more than fond of your own offspring is a) unusual and b) something you should get a medal for - although with some of the little dears I've seen this is probably something the government should consider. Anyway, poppet preferring Pete was alright, but the dance was nothing spectacular. Low on content and too much out of hold, Peter stomped & clomped through the routine with smoke hiding his feet for much of the dance. Surprise, surprise - the judges loved it, with Darcy hysterically (and not the funny kind) over marking him yet again. Why does he get away with so much stuff like non-traditional content and dodgy framing when better dancers are marked down for it? Is he bribing the judges with frozen food? First dibs on his prawn ring or a pick at his party platter, perhaps? Despite not actually being that good or enjoyable to watch he was given 34 out of 40. And if his dance was as good as Helen's I'll eat my own cheesy nibbles!
Georgia May Foote was up next with an absolute corker of a Charleston to show tunes from Chicago. The girl certainly put the 'go' in Chicago. And the 'chic' as well, come to think of it. Which just leaves us with a spare 'a'. You can do with that what you will. Well, it's nearly Christmas, treat yourself. This was a spectacular routine, chock full of difficult content and really risky lifts and tricks. Georgia clearly loved the dance, piling on the charm and character right to the end. There was everything a Charleston aficionado could want - cross, swivel, scissors, flappy birds and monkey steps, head wobbles and cheeky winks all served with a wraparound smile. The judges were exceptionally impressed - although there was a moment where Georgia took a while to work things out when Craig spelled out L.U.V (his feelings on the dance). Georgia scored a sensational 39 out of 40 - and there's still weeks to go yet.
Poor Jeremy Vine had to follow - and close the show - with a quickstep to Going Underground by The Jam. Maybe Jeremy should have stayed underground and caught the tube home. He may have to Beat Surrender after this routine. This sticky routine was stiff and stilted and Jeremy was oddly hunched throughout. He started to look like a puppet with its strings cut about halfway through the dance and the traditional quickstep promenades ended up like looking like he was rushing to the loo. My friend remarked that he looked like a startled meerkat. It's as simples as that. The routine was strewn with errors and he seemed to lack the stamina to get to the end. If That's Entertainment I'll stick to daytime TV! Poor Jeremy failed to impress and scored a dismal 21 out of 40 - way, way down the leaderboard.
Sham Sunday rolled around, as it always does. A quick pro-dance while Darcy dons a different dress, Craig covers up the cracks, Len lounges and Bruno powders his nose. They probably shuffle the audience around as well so the same people aren't in shot. I wonder how many takes they have to do when people forget to say 'last night' to keep up the pretence? I'm still at a loss why they still do it - EVERYONE knows it's all done in one night.
Years And Years sang King at the opening of the show in a change to the usual format. Well, it must have been past their bedtime, bless 'em. I swear I've got underwear older than that lot. In a delightful double bill, Killers front man Brandon Flowers also appeared singing his new tune Still Want You. Brandon has a new look which makes him look weirdly like Guy Pearce in Iron Man 3. There was, of course, Len's Lens to stretch things out between the 'ba-bum' bits - they've got to make the show last forty minutes after all - and we were down to the dance-off again.
Jamelia was there again - honestly, she should just save the tension and go and stand in the dance off spot at the beginning of the show. The woman has been in the bottom two practically every week. Has she said something stupid on Loose Women again? Thankfully she was in the dunce, sorry dance-off with Jeremy and it was pretty much a sure thing who would be going. While neither celebrity set the floor alight the second time around, it was clear that Jezza had come to the end of the line. The judges made their decision and Jeremy was given his TFH (tube fare home).
Jamelia survives one more time, but how long will her luck - and her morale - last? There's only one way to find out - tune in next week for another exciting instalment of the Strictly round up blog, of course! But, until then my little sticks of Blackpool rock........KEEP DANCING!!!!!