Strictly Come Dancing Week 2

For the first time in a few series I’ve been really enthralled in the series so far. It is only week 2 and I already look forward to the show from the moment it ends on the Saturday.

So how did I feel about this week?

Thom & Iveta
Salsa : Hot Hot Hot – Arrow

I think he started off really promising. There were moments that I thought looked great. Unfortunately for him this week his stiffness really was on show. At times, especially when they were in “hold” he felt like he locked up his body and stopped naturally moving and froze.

It is a shame, I don’t think he has natural rhytme like I seem to be hearing/seeing people say about him and he really seems to lack confidence on the dance floor. I think it is a hurdle he can over come but it’ll also make him vunerable because his dances won’t always score highly.

I gave him a 5.

Judges Scores : 5 7 7 6 = 25

To be honest I over marked him myself, thinking back I don’t think it deserved more then his Waltz. Obviously I was very cheerful when the show started. I think it should have been a 2 as well and I think it was over marked by the judges.

Jennifer & Tristan
Waltz : (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women – Aretha Franklin

This could have been great for her. She showed a little more confidence. She hunched up again but it was a small mistake (she looked like she stood on Tristan) and that was it. She totally went wrong. She lost confidence and then it felt like Tristan had to drag her a little. Her footwork was getting better but she kept losing timing and every time you saw it on her face.

It was a great attempt though and I feel she deserves a lot of credit for not just giving in. It is obvious that she spent a lot of time doing what the judges told her to and she really does listen to Tristan and I think he can get her to a better standard I first thought she’d get to. She just needs to clear her mind.

She got a 2 from me.

Judges Scores : 4 5 5 5 = 19

One mark higher. I gave her lower. I’m not sure if I’m being overly cruel or not. I thought she got through the Jive much better then she did the Waltz though I think technically she was better at the Waltz. The mistakes she never got over and she then had it on her mind and really started to hunch forward.

Simon & Kristina
Tango : Sing – Ed Sheeran

I really enjoyed his dance. I totally disagree that did not get into character, my main concern was his bloody stupid music choice. Really whoever thinks these songs up needs a reality check.

I do agree however that I felt that he was rushing a little therefore out of time and sometimes he felt like he was lunging forward in front of Kristina. He never really looked in control of the dance because he was leading, more like he was in charge because Kristina was to slow to keep up with him. I still think it showed a great deal of confidence and he really is a strong dancer. Now he just needs to calm down and get onto Kristina’s level.

I scored him a 5 which was lower then last week mainly because he matched Kristina perfectly last week but  lost his timing with her this week. He’s still impressive though.

Judges Scores : 5 7 7 7 = 26

It was one less then last week. I thought he was under marked compared to Frankie last week. This week? I think he deserved the lower marks then Jake who actually took complete control of his Tango.

Gregg & Aliona
Charleston : Hey, Good Lookin’ – Ray Charles

He really suffers from nerves this man. But he came out and did a great job. He looked a lot more natural in training, he lost a bit of the charm on the night but it was still a big improvement on last week.

Again I’m not going to pretend I know what goes on behind closed doors but compared to the VT and her reaction in the launch show I could see she really warmed to Gregg and I feel you could see that in the dancing. She did what all the best pros do and worked WITH Gregg instead of begrudgingly being a part of the partnership.

I gave him 2 which was higher then I’d given him the week before. He really did improve and 90% of it was just having the confidence to do the routine.

Judges Scores : 3 5 5 5 = 18

Same score. Totally identical to last week. I think that it is a fair score but it doesn’t show just how much he did improve. He barely remembered the dance last week this week he really went for it. Fair but unfair.

Alison & Aljaz
Foxtrot : I Just Want to Make Love to You – Etta James

Please don’t get me wrong. I love Alison and I loved this dance routine. I think she has natural rythme and I think she uses her body well. I think her and Aljaz have a great partnership and I think the bits of the Foxtrot she did she did well.

There wasn’t enough though and I don’t think the comments reflected that. I love Foxtrots and I kind of looked at the song choice when it was announced and tried to think what kind of Foxtrot it could be. It looked more like a American Smooth infused with Latin elements without the lifts then a Foxtrot.

For that reason alone I gave her a 4. I mean the actual dance content she did do would have been on par with her 7 but I like to see more in hold then out of hold and I think the best dancers stay in hold more. For me at least.

Judges Scores : 5 5 6 6 = 22

Down from her 26 which I think is fair. Her Cha-Cha had much more content then this did. I think it was over marked slightly but then she was also the only Foxtrot so it isn’t like we have much to compare it to.

Jake & Janette
Salsa : Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega

I hated the dance choice for a few celebs this week and the salsa (along with the Charlestons and American Smooth) was one of them. The thing is I think Jake did brilliantly BUT when it wasn’t showy I felt a little underwhelmed. The middle section started to bog me down a little.

Because it was a Salsa though the lifts and the showiness of the dance won over. I think this is unfair on celebs that had more basic dances (this will be my rant for the week below*) but I can’t take it away from the man. He moved. He moved well. He was confident, he took control, in fact most of the time I forgot he was dancing with Janette. The last segment into the last lift was amazing and showed his true showmanship.

I couldn’t help but get carried away and give it a 7.

Judges Scores : 8 9 9 9 = 35

Hard to say. The way the judges score it was deserved, but as I said last week I truly believe no celeb should be getting above at least a 7 in week one, two, three or even four unless they were just PERFECT. I think the judges need to use a wider range of paddles and the audience need to stop being told to boo things under 5. As it was totally deserved but that is only because Darcey, Len and Bruno refuse to mark below 5 half the time.

Judy & Anton
Cha-Cha-Cha : She’s a Lady – Tom Jones

This dance made me truly angry. I’ll need to go back and time exactly how long Judy was left just standing on her own holding a tennis racket. So Cha-Cha-Cha of course. She then had Anton dance around her whilst she stood nearly static in the same place. She then started to move in a rather non-Cha-Cha-Cha way before being dragged around hell of a lot by Anton and ending not by dancing but by picking up the racket and hitting a ball at Anton.

And I felt like hitting a ball at Anton for allowing Judy to go out on a Saturday live show with nothing to show for the week. I truly felt sorry for her. I don’t care how good or bad a celeb is if the professional doesn’t give them the choreography to learn then what is she meant to do? Am I meant to believe that Judy WANTED to stand static for what felt like half the dance?

Of course I gave them a 1 because there is a lack of 0. It is way down from what I felt was a gutsy attempt at the Waltz last week. Give the women something to do Anton.

Judges Scores : 2 5 5 5 = 17

Over marked by nearly a good 10 points there. I like Judy and I like Anton as a professional but that was appalling. More appalling that the judges could mark that a 5 and then give ANYONE else a 5 on the night!

Caroline & Pasha
Tango : Blame – Calvin Harris & John Newman

I’ll be brave and say I don’t think she was as good as many of the boys. I know she has a great top line and a great hold. She’s good at that I agree. But she wasn’t as sharp and she had little attack. I could tell she was trying with a Tango face but most of the time she looked like she was trying to remember what she was doing (I know she probably was but you have to act the dance!)

Again the music was terrible (not the worst choice of the night by far!) so maybe my problem stemmed more from the lack of urgency surrounding the dance. Pasha is a great teacher though. She was more in time with Pasha then Simon was with Kristina but to be fair on Simon he had to lead, if Caroline started to speed up or slow down Pasha is professional enough to either drag her back to his pace or speed up/slow down to look like he was leading. That isn’t a slight on Kristina but she can’t be seen to lead so leaving Simon to lead whether he’s making a mistake or not at least shows he’s leading. I’m not sure I made the point very well though.

I gave them a 5 because I enjoyed it. I gave her 6 last week and really do believe she’ll be suited more for a latin number then a ballroom one.

Judges Scores : 7 7 7 8 = 29

7s I think are fair, though a full set of 7s maybe pushing it. No where near where it needed to be for a 8.

Tim & Natalie
Waltz : When You Wish Upon a Star – Cliff Edwards

Wasn’t it lovely?

I’m a big fan of Tim and one of the reasons I am is he doesn’t play with the panto. Tim is eccentric enough for two full nights of Strictly on his lonesome. He doesn’t need to play up to the judges or anything like that he just can be himself and he comes over more charming and believable then 90% of the people you’ll see on the show. That means that Tim actually listens. He made a good point on ITT this week when he said behind the silly way the judges make the comments there was good criticism there that he’ll take on board and take on board he did.

His footwork was better, he seemed to have much more control over himself. He played the part and told a wonderful story. I think he had nice rise and fall and I felt like he glided over the floor. He needs to work a lot more then some celebs, he’ll be the first to admit it, but he has great potential AND HE’S LIVING UP TO IT. He’s putting the hours in and getting better. The worst bit was his hunching, I was expecting Hunchback comments (I was relieved he didn’t!) but it gives him a good place to work from. Great Waltz.

I gave him a 3 which is a improvement on last week at least! I think he could surprise us.

Judges Scores : 5 6 6 6 = 23

Improvement. I think it is fair. Again compared to the other scores around him. Good attempt and he is improving.

Sunetra & Brendan
Cha-Cha-Cha : Million Dollar Bill – Whitney Houston

The girl really got into it this week. She was brilliant. Her arms improved but she still has work to do. She seemed to start really well and then end before she needed too. Some places felt a little stompy and other places felt a little stop/startey but other then that she gave a lot of personality.

I was surprised that she had much more confidence in the Latin then the Ballroom. I still think that she’ll be better in the long run in the Ballroom the only problem she really will have will be keeping her top line straight and pulling herself back.

She got a 5 this week which was actually lower then last week. I did like the Tango a lot.

Judges Scores : 6 6 7 7 = 26

The judges scored higher then last week. I think a fair score.

Mark & Karen
American Smooth : I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

I like American Smooths but I really didn’t like Mark’s. There was something about it that didn’t feel smooth and didn’t feel like he was even dancing.

It is a very personal opinion because I’ve always felt like American Smooths are much more a personal thing. You either love one or hate it. This one I really didn’t like but I appreciated how well he did do in places.

My score 4 but it was very personal.

Judges Scores : 6 7 7 7 = 27

No way better then his Cha-Cha. Not sure why it got a good mark but then again I’ve already said I personally didn’t like it.

Scott & Joanne
Tango : Stop – The Spice Girls

A pop Princess Tango. It sucked. It had no drama or tension. I still feel that Joanne emphasised herself over Scott. she seemed to dance around him so that no one could see him.

I’m not sure if he’s terrible, if she’s a terrible teacher or if she’s not giving him the time he needs. Whatever. I hated it.

I felt like I had to give him a 2 because he at least moved which is more then Judy did so 2 he got.

Judges Scores : 4 5 6 5 = 20

WAY over marked and Len giving a 6? Silly. Then again Judy belongs at the bottom so far so yeah, whatever.

Pixie & Trent
Waltz : Come Away With Me – Norah Jones

I really liked it. I thought it was by far the best Waltz so far. She got into character really well and she looked fantastic.

I was so in love with it I can’t really say much about it other then I loved it.

Gave it a 7 because it was one of my favourite dances of the night.

Judges Scores : 8 9 9 9 = 35

Think it might have been slightly over marked. Then again it was as good as Jakes Salsa so maybe not.

Steve & Ola
Cha-Cha-Cha : Treasure – Bruno Mars

I will be absolutely fair here. It bored me. And as such I just randomly typed any number I could be bothered to find on the keyboard to mark him with. I thought he looked fine but then when listening to the judges I changed my mind. I’ll have to report back some other time with this one.

Judges Scores : 3 6 6 6 = 21

Down on last week. I apologise but I have nothing more to add.

Frankie & Kevin
Charleston : Happy Days – Pratt & McClain

Oh dear. “Hybrid” Charleston. Why would you want to do a hybrid Charleston?! A Charleston is a bloody show dance itself so it doesn’t need anything else added to it.

She danced what she was given well. There were small things like her feet and I agree she could have been more “goofy” but I HATE with a passion when we hear “Couple X Dancing the Charleston” and we don’t see a Charleston but a Charles ‘N’ Roll… I didn’t want to see that.

I gave them a 5 because I think Frankie did it well but it wasn’t Charleston enough for me.

Judges Scores : 7 7 8 8 = 30

Over marked for  something that the judges admitted was a “hybrid”. It needs to be less hybrid and more the dance it is supposed to be.

 

I still enjoyed the show a considerable amount and really don’t want to see any of the couples go. I’m not just saying that to get into the swing of the campness of the competition but because there is so much potential (on their own levels) that I would love to see where they could all go. Tim and Jennifer in particular have so much to give but they aren’t the best so we are soon going to hear the “these two need to go” comments and I find it sad because they really have the potential to surprise us more then Caroline, Pixie, Simon and Mark have.

It is the one thing I hate about having REALLY good dancers from week one. I don’t mind good dancers from the beginning but when there is such a gap between Good – Alright – Bad it kind of sucks the fun out of it because you know if people start voting for what they like (which could very well be Tim) then the nastiness starts.

I wish I could see how far Tim could improve but I know that he’s got about three or four weeks. So I actually really genuinely want them all to stay.

My predication is Gregg and Scott bottom two and Gregg to go.

 

* Week 2 rant?

I hate that they have some couples doing Salsa, American Smooth and Charleston from the beginning. They are show dances more so then the traditional 10 Ballroom/Latin dances. You can have lifts and you aren’t restricted as much. I really hate that you have someone like Jennifer who had to do a Waltz and a Jive (a bloody Jive) and yet we have to mark that against Frankie’s Charleston come Rock ‘n’ Roll number or Gregs Charleston or Jakes Salsa. They aren’t anywhere near comparable because the three “showy” dances has more room for entertainment which obviously is going to gain more support then a well done Jive or Waltz.

Personally I think if you aren’t voting anyone out in week one then week one half the couples should do Waltz and the other half should do Cha-Cha then the week after they swap. Then you can actually compare them and no one has a big showy dance that people remember the flash and bang of and not much more. I mean whether or not I liked the “hybrid” Charleston I liked watching what Frankie and Kevin were doing, they got good marks even though they didn’t do a proper Charleston (something I always felt happened with Artem) and people will remember it because whether or not it was a Charleston its the kind of dance people want to see.

That isn’t anything against any of the contestants who don’t choose the dances they do and who all danced well and improved.

It is just a pet peeve alongside terrible choices of music for dances (whoever decided Stop was a Tango song should be fired. Now.)

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