So another theme week, the one saving grace is we have no Donny Osmond but from past experience theme weeks need to be happy affairs with plenty of over marking and nonsensical love for everyone and everything.
Sometimes I laugh when people act like Strictly has ever truly been anything more then a personality competition. Yeah people like to see improvements week on week, some people like to see the best dancers dance and others like the train wrecks. None of us are right or wrong. But theme weeks really do seem much more scripted and ridiculous. I can honestly say week on week that I personally think that the judges possibly feel the way they do when they judge but theme weeks seem like there is a complete script of loveliness and boringness.
Sunetra & Brendan
Jive : Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
I actually think it was a good choice, maybe not perfect Jive music but better then it could have been (wasn’t it Patsy Palmer and Robin who got to Jive to Monster Mash?!) and I think that Sunetra did it really well.
Sunetra is one of those celebs that the public love. She’s humble, other then her arms there was a LOT of work to be done, she improves and doesn’t moan and whine about it being hard etc, she seems to love the experience and gets on well with her professional partner. They love her but they won’t necessarily vote for her, she could be the next shock exit to be honest. I loved her Jive, it was a bit flat footed and lacked bounce and attack, her kicks and flicks were stiff but she put the soul into the dance. She might be a actress but delivering a good line on TV must seem 100% easier to a actress then acting out a part in a dance when trying to remember a million moves all at once.
I gave her a score of 6. She’s improving, I don’t think Latin is her thing but the Jive always seems to be more difficult then some celebs make it look. She gave it a good go though.
Judges Scores : 6 7 7 7 = 27
Fair enough score. Around mid-table where I think she’ll belong tonight.
Alison & Aljaz
American Smooth : Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
There is very little smooth about Alison at the moment. Her footwork isn’t getting better, I didn’t see much of a difference between this week and other weeks. I will admit I fell in love with her personality right at the beginning and she has some rhythm when she’s in Latin but she has no grace in the ballroom and very little technique over all. It is starting to show.
Again Alison wins people over. Unlike Sunetra you can’t forget Alison. You can’t get to the end of the show and wonder what you liked and disliked about it. She’s so larger then life (personality) and has such chemistry with Aljaz that the personality, the act, that she brings to each dance remains with you and as long as you don’t dislike her and think she’s over the top REMEMBERING that personality makes you like the dance more then you possibly did to begin with.
Unfortunately for me personality alone doesn’t win me over, I gave her 4 as she’s still stagnating in the technical area. Also I love American Smooths and don’t like the artistic type that Artem popularised.
Judges Scores : 5 7 7 7 = 26
I think compared to Sunetra she was over marked. The technique just wasn’t there with Alison, it was with Sunetra it was just a bit dodgy. American Smooth isn’t the hardest dance in the world to perform, I guess some of the blame falls to Aljaz as he is meant to be teaching her all this but at the same time she needs to be listening to the judges and questioning what she’s doing.
Simon & Kristina
Paso Doble : Poison – Alice Cooper
Simon did look like he wanted to punch someone tonight, a half decent look for a Paso. I thought he brought the aggression to the Paso, the aggression they thought lacking in his Tango. Shame no one really mentioned that seeing that is what they babbled on and on about. He did seem to forget what he was doing from time to time and he could have finished his lines a lot more. The Paso needs the shaping and the silly posing and he kind of missed that a little. A improvement though.
I can see why people don’t like Simon. I like him a lot but he does have a very dry sense of humour and seems to beat himself up more then other celebs. I’ve noticed with my friends it puts them off him because he doesn’t look like he’s happy or enjoying himself. I personally think he is but it doesn’t come across that way and if you don’t look happy then people are hardly going to connect with your dancing.
Saying all this I gave him 5. I didn’t connect with this dance, I think there was improvement but I don’t think the music or choreography gave me anything to enjoy.
Judges Scores : 6 8 7 8 = 29
I’m not sure about that mark. Personally as you can tell I didn’t enjoy the dance or think it was as good as Sunetra’s attempted Jive, then again I expect a bit more from Simon then Sunetra. I think his placement on the leader board might be fine but I don’t think he deserved 8s.
Steve & Ola
Charleston : Dem Bones – Kay Starr
This wasn’t the dance for Steve though I guess I can see where the judges are coming from. He lost a lot of the fun and timing of the dance because he was so busy looking at Ola gearing himself up for the next big lift, and like Craig I was not impressed with them. The dance I don’t think was ambitious the lifts were too much. Sometimes I think whoever choreographs these dances (the AT, Charleston and Salsa, mainly because I believe these to be the ones that the pros look for help with) just want to out do each other and forget that an impressive lift is one thing but if it all goes wrong and the celeb is all pent up about the lift it makes them look bad.
Steve is a little bit of a cross between Chris Hollins and Darren Gough for me and I think the audience will like that. He isn’t someone that you think would be able to dance and he can’t really in the grand scheme of things, he learns the routines as well as he can and he shows a lot of promise, he has a “journey” that isn’t in your face but by the time the semis and all that come around will mean someone to even the people at home.
This week though I gave them a 2. Now Thom has gone I think Steve is one of my top picks for the glitter ball but I don’t appreciate dances danced around and for the lifts. I’d prefer people just left the lifts out altogether because half the time they just look laboured and I do find it unfair that you can face a dance with a lift in it that is obviously going to be more popular then a routine without.
Judges Scores : 5 7 7 7 = 26
A good score. I think he deserved the same as Alison who I think hasn’t improved. Thing is I know that I can trust Steve to come back kicking next week I don’t feel that way with Alison anymore.
Pixie & Trent
Tango : Danger! High Voltage – Electric Six
***Before I talk about Team Trixie I just wanted to talk about this music choice. Really whoever decided to use a song by Electric Six deserves a handshake. I love this song, even Anna was babbling on about only just listening to it today on the bus, it is the kind of music I think most people on here grew up listening to. It fit perfectly with the style of the dance they were doing, perfectly sang by the backing band. I really wish they’d use songs like this more often!****
Team Trixie is my team to win it. I like the people that go on journeys more then the accomplished dancers usually but I just find Team Trixie marvelous! There was something I didn’t love about this dance, it wasn’t as good as usual. They danced it a bit more over the top then I’d have liked and a little faster then I’d have liked. It wasn’t perfect but it was damned close. I’d love to see them dance it again (to the same music with the same costumes and everything.)
People don’t like Pixie because she has had a lot of dance training (apparently). I get that, I can be like that at times. I personally don’t see her being as good as Natalie was last year, Natalie LOOKED like a professional from week one, Pixie I think just looks too talented to be in this kind of competition. I love Trixie together though, their relationship I thought would have got them more love but online they seem to be disliked. I’m sad about that.
This week they got a 8 from me. I love her ballroom though, or should I say I love Trent’s ballroom choreography. If I’ve said it once (and so has everyone else) I’ll say it a million times, he reminds me so much of Ian Waite not only in looks but in the way he trains, the relationship he’s got with Pixie, the way he dances and his choreography. I always loved Ian’s way of teaching, I love Ian. I think Ian would make a great judge. Ian all the way.
Judges Scores : 8 8 8 9 = 33
I can feel it in my bones (or I did as I’m writing this after the fact) this is going to be underscored. I think they score Pixie completely differently from everyone else which I think is unfair (I might go into detail later in the competition about why I feel that.)
Judy & Anton
American Smooth : Cruella de Ville – 101 Dalmatians (Disney)
For a start I didn’t appreciate them bringing the dogs on, they looked petrified and I think it was unnecessary. Secondly there was nothing smooth about Judy’s attempt at a American Smooth. It was a perfect set up for it, great music and she looked the part BUT even though she’s starting to wake up as it were in her dances she’s still just not getting the technique.
I don’t get Judy. I got Ann, John and Dave but I don’t get Judy. She isn’t funny, her dancing isn’t funny. I don’t get why people like seeing Anton make a fool of her every week, she looks like she’s in on the joke but I don’t think she realizes just how big that joke is. I just don’t get it.
I gave her 3 because I felt generous and I do think it was her best dance… Actually no I quite liked her Waltz so maybe not.
Judges Scores : 3 6 6 5 = 20
For tonight it is about right. As in she’ll be on the bottom of the leader board but Darcey is incapable of voting lower then 6. Well so is Len. And Craig is the bad guy for being honest. Go figure.
Jake & Janette
Paso Doble : Black Betty – Ram Jam
A very stiff performance from Jake. I thought he’d be quite good at it but I didn’t feel the right energy from him. I can’t even say it was because of the music because it wasn’t the musics fault this time. I’m not sure I rate Janette’s choreography too highly, I like Janette she’s a great pro but I really think there is a lot more that Jake could be doing. I was happy that the judges seemed to agree with me this week on that. I do like Jake but I think he’s been quite stagnant. He hasn’t improved and he hasn’t got worse. I think because you don’t expect him to be good we keep being amazed by his performances but I don’t see any real improvement there.
I get why people like him though. Like Steve he’s not the type of man you’d look at and think “dancer”. Not only that but a lot of dances you need sex appeal and make people really connect to you and first looks (I say as a straight man of course) I don’t think people would get that vibe. The thing that works for Jake is that, as I said above, every week he comes out and we don’t expect him to be THAT good and we don’t expect women to fall to the floor because of the feels but he comes out and does that to us. So I get why people like him. Personally I’m a bit bored of his dances now and I don’t really rate Janette highly enough that I can say I want her back next season.
Jake got my midboard 5 this week. I’m hoping that there is something really shocking next week.
Judges Scores : 6 7 8 8 = 29
I think that is about the right score. He should be fairly placed on the leader board.
Caroline & Pasha
Samba : Le Freak – Chic
Let me get this out of the way before someone comes along and moans at me. No I am not a professionally trained dancer, no I don’t write this blog to give insightful thoughts into the inner workings of the dances, yes I have admitted that I PERSONALLY rate the dances differently to how I expect the JUDGES to rate it. So when I say that a dance was over marked I don’t just mean it was over marked because I didn’t like it I think it was over marked compared to what little I do know (I have had dancing lessons) whether or not there are giant leaps in believably to that score (illegal lifts not penalised being one, dances that just don’t look like what they are expected to look being another, big mistakes over looked, or worse big mistakes MENTIONED and not penalised… I could go on.) So when I PERSONALLY score someone low it doesn’t always mean I think their dancing sucked but that I disliked it.
Now let me be honest. I can not stand to watch Caroline (and Karen to be honest) dance. I don’t like it. I find her dancing to be bland, she never (for me) brings out the character in any dance, she has very little facial expression and even though she might dance what Pasha gives her perfectly she fails to bring a connection to me with her dancing.
The Samba was no different. I don’t get why they got off so lightly with the “theme” of the week, I didn’t like the dance and thought it was way too much disco in it.
I don’t care that even though she was on a show and learnt pretty much a handful of the dances (even though it was to partner someone in a wheelchair she had to learn about these dances) but then I’d expect people not to care that Pixie learnt some dance at school. I get why people would like Caroline but personally her (and Pasha) rub me up the wrong way.
I couldn’t stand their dance.
I gave it a 3.
And got scolded by Amanda for doing so.
But it was still a 3.
Judges Scores : 7 8 8 9 = 32
She’s about right on the leader board then again I’d like to see a little less fusion of dances. Just do a bloody samba!
Scott & Joanne
Foxtrot : The Addams Family – Vic Mizzy
Oh boy. I’m not even going to start on this one.
Like Judy I don’t get it. The difference being that I can see Scott doesn’t want to be part of the joke. Joanne doesn’t care because she just choreographs every dance to make herself look wonderful but Scott has looked miserable since week one when he realised that he wasn’t that good. And why people want to see a grown man being treated like a pop princess with a women that talks like a 6 year old I don’t know. He looks like he’s being tortured.
And I gave him a 1 because I don’t agree with the judges he did a terrible Uncle Fester impersonation as well as dancing horribly.
Judges Scores : 3 6 6 6 = 21
No jokes, he scored more then Judy. Go figure.
Mark & Karen
Jive : Prologue (Little Shop of Horrors) – Little Shop of Horrors
It can not just be me and Anna that felt that Mark stamped through the whole of his Jive? He didn’t have any bounce it looked more like a John Sargent Paso then a Jive of any kind. His kicks were lousy and Karen does this weird leg wobbling thing and seems to love to squat and kick to her side like its really sexy when actually it makes her dancing look really disgusting. Its weird. I’ve never seen any other pro look so ugly when they dance on the show. Is it some weird craze that I’ve missed?!
I’m not even sure why Mark would appeal to people anymore. We’re in week 6 and he’s already cried nearly EVERY SINGLE SHOW. I’m sure that in previous years if that was any female people would be calling her fake. In fact when Pixie bizarrely cried at the end of her Rumba people DID call her fake. But people seem to really feel for Mark and his woes and the fact that he can’t keep his crying (which doesn’t even look real) to himself. Or Karen for a matter of fact. I also think the crying is starting to mean he gets lenient comments and too many points from the judges.
I didn’t like it so I gave it a 2. Then again I think if it wasn’t for Karen I might have given it a 5. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t energetic or lively. And Karen. Well. This is the second week she did this leg wobble thing and if she does it again next week I’ll be giving them a 1 and vomiting into a bucket with her name on it.
Judges Scores : 8 9 9 9 = 35
Look above at my comments. I didn’t like it but the judges should have been giving that 7s not 9s. One 8 I wouldn’t have cared less but three 9s?! SOOO over marked. I wonder if Pixie (he scored more then Pixie for THAT!) started to blub more, or indeed if Sunetra did then would they get 9s?!
Frankie & Kevin
Tango : Defying Gravity – Wicked
I really honestly disliked this dance.
I want to like Kevin, in fact I think this week I did like Kevin, how much like Harry Potter did he look?
But that looked and felt nothing like a Tango. Maybe a Tango inspired AS but not a Tango. I never at one point felt like Frankie was doing a Tango. And then she was lofted into the air at the end. Isn’t that kind of thing for the non-dancers?!
She got my penalty points of 2 seeing I didn’t actually see a real Tango anywhere in sight! (Roll on the people who see differently but you won’t change my mind.)
Judges Scores : 9 9 9 10 = 37
Over marked. And this is why I feel they mark Pixie differently. Second undeserved 10 of the series for Frankie.
The scores for Mark and Frankie put me in a right bad mood. Not only that but the scoring in general has made me decide that next week is make or break for this years Strictly. I honestly like the celebs more then I have in recent years but the judges put me off.
I know, I know. Its all pantomime and I should just see it as irrelevant fluff. I get that. But I loved when professionals got told off for faffing about, I liked when a illegal lift meant penalised scores (heavens forbid some celebs doing it poor Kelly Brook!), I liked it when it looked like all the celebs had something to learn and they weren’t just going to get a 10 because the judge fancied them (OK there was a little bit of that in every series but I felt that people really EARNT a 7, now you have people like Caroline looking like they are going to start a fight for getting anything below 9.) I just am not enjoying it and its a big part on the judges this.
Or the production overall. I mean I don’t like theme weeks, I don’t like the way that the dances are all show dances with no real attempt to show people how to dance. I remember when Fiona Phillips and the like used to get a beat down from the judges (verbally) every week for not being very good. They used to HAVE to learn steps to avoid being told that they actually sucked. Now the moment it looks like a celeb is going to cry they have to be nice. Scott think he deserves more then he gets and suddenly he gets more then he deserves. Mark blubs like a baby week in week out and suddenly he’s second from the top!
It might be a little over the top of me and a bit “it used to be better back in the day” but for the last few series the “magic” of the show has left to be replaced by artificial sparkle. Maybe it wasn’t popular enough but I liked that people were actually there to learn about dancing not just show up do a show dance get nice marks and a pat on the back, everybody boo’s Craig and we all go home happy.
Whatever. I’ll be back tomorrow for the results show!