I’m not sure that many folk reading this missive will remember the good old days, those quondam days when your fun was playing out till it got dark, summer holidays that went on forever, grass cuttings that reminded you of Wimbledon and village crickit, when you went to bed exhausted and listened to a tranny in the bedroom, that’d be a radio, not Eddie Izzard. There was one telly in our house, it caused innumerable fights and tears, and any sort of recording of TV shows wasn’t even a sparkle in an inventor’s eye. There were no video machines, no Sky Plus or Tevo box – other brands are available – no DVD recorders, no iPlayers, and apples were found in the orchard behind our house.
So on Saturday I took the gamble of being able to work the modern technology and I went to a wedding party instead, missing the live mammoth show, the bumper, ballroom bill, 14 cupples ready to perform, one to leave, so soon, hoping the programming would work.
It was a sweet evening born from both the happy cupple turning up to the Registry Office this time, where I learnt the Welsh for bird, the Czech for hare, and where I bumped into numerous faces and names, some great folk, Lola there with her bowling ball, dancing syncopations already, Charlie Farley with her two, Puskas with her one, Jenny waiting for hers, The Dodger being charming, Juddge Lulu craving an early exit, a dance here, a dance there, an occasional obstruction on the dance floor, the red and black of the twin Princesses, Aggie and Apeth, glittering with style. All I needed was to catch the culprit that stole my bottle of Crest and all would have been well.
Modern technology supported my decision to party and I watched Show 3 at leisure as the stars made it, or didn’t, as trends were emerging, as real pretenders to the crown set out their stall. Again we had two dances, the Fabulous Fox Trot and a sexy Salsa, that would be a sexy Salsa, not THE Solsa as spoken by the female hostess, tarty in her orange lippo, dressed in a sweet wrapper. People just dance Salsa. As mentioned in a recent film about The Facebook phenomenon, lose the THE.
I say just dance. Some did. The Salsa scores ranged from 30 to 14, the latter score being awarded to Laurence Dallaglio’s long lost mum, Nancy, for a startling display, and that was just of her knickers.
One of the keys to dancing Salsa is to have a partner who can do it and for that reason alone you would have some sympathy with Nancy. This is just not Anthony Smith of Bristol’s dance. Anthony trains in a tie, cardigan and a proper shirt, pastel coloured with a white collar. He also won rear of the year recently something that Juddge Lulu aptly described as ‘disturbing’.
In Salsa he dances on five sometimes rather than one. His choreography is from Camberley, not Cuba. Nancy was game, brave, stompy, frenetic and funny, the latter causing Juddge Alice to break her duck. After over three and a half hours of TV we got the first, ‘you was… ‘
Katya Vershilas is a naughty minx. Forgetting any teaching of technique she went for the powerhouse, the lust and the lifts, an offer gleefully accepted by big Dan Lobb.
On his entry to the floor he did a hand spring, a huge man with confidence and talent, but with little dance sophistication. The choreography was a sex fest, close ups of most of her body, touches partout, anywhere he wanted, one cup too many for a family show, gyrations, and a position for which most of us would queue. Or swap. 21 was harsh but Dan wasn’t over concerned.
Rory threw in a point more, Audley another on top of that and Russell two more again.
These three are really what the show is about in week 2, lest us, nor the juddgies, forget. Years ago, in a school locally, they would happily have fitted into the numpties’ class, learning, making mistakes, getting on with it, talking better steps than their feet would allow. And that is how it should be. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become world class; these lads have had 100 at most. We all need to give them a bit of time and space, where Rory can learn to control the size of his steps and his Tony Blair eyes, where Audley can lift up his feet a little without the fear of not being vertical and where Russell can be slightly less camp and not come to the dance floor dressed like a lightshade. Personally, I think he could be gay?
One massive plus was Rory’s choice of music, something fondly known in Travolta Towers as ‘Verkal’, first played in 1970 by The Ides of March. Fabulous.
The three girls who completed the 8 Salsas, the second week that we have had an imbalance between Latin & Ballroom, 8 dances to 6, scored 28, 29 and 30, Anita, Chelsee and Holly, in that order.
As a proven actress Anita engaged in the dance immediately even though she too wore a lightshade and was dancing with the 102nd Dalmatian. Whilst she added her proven pedigree – actors and actresses should always do well on this show – she made a huge error and the choreography wasn’t exactly challenging.
Chelsee went at it like a Tasmanian Devil even though she was absolutela terrified and was very happa with her effort and her score. There was a floor spin, where she was used like a mop, two lifts, the second not so pretty, her core challenged again, but she managed to keep her £3,000 chest in control. Her partner was trying to win the battle of the cleavage, not the greatest look.
I didn’t enjoy Holly’s routine though that doesn’t mean that it didn’t exude some qualities. The shoulder rolls and shimmies were a little rigid, at times her spare arm was like a three month old stick of celery, she was off time, mostly in front, and she and R-Tem spent more time sliding on the floor than kids at a wedding, like an engineer looking for an oil leak, quipped Head Juddge Len, on brilliant form. And he’s another that could do with putting a shirt on. R-Tem, not Len. And tucking it in. But apart from that it wasn’t half bad.
The only other concern I have for her is her ethnicity. Born in New Zealand and called an Aussie? Maybe she’s hedging her bets for Sunday’s rugby semi-final?
Now, a veritable Aussie has dominated the leader board for the first two shows, proof if ever you needed it that being in the West End might just give you an edge in this show. So too extra lessons that he has allegedly taken since his agent tipped him the wink.
To be honest if you knew you were going to be in the show you would look to get an advantage wouldn’t you? I can’t imagine singers not getting voice coaches or doing a bit of karaoke when the chance is there if they are practising for a gig. It’s no different with Jason and Kristina, her first view from the top of the shop. After John Sergeant and Joe Calzaghe she deserved a good partner.
Jason is exactly that, a showman, with a great work ethic, charm aplenty, just picturing himself in ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ again. Maybe.
There was only one major critique of this Fox Trot. The hat, braces and bow tie matched beautifully with Kristina’s prostitute red version of Jessica Rabbit. But it was his head position that caused the malaise. There am I thinking that on his shoulders was the right spot? He still managed 33 and already a gap is opening between him and the others, not in a Usain Bolt way, but a gap nonetheless.
The highlight for me was the great effort and justifiable reward to Robbie Savage, another Fox Trotter, no relation, who bagged 29 for a charismatic effort, nerves hidden as he played the part of the Hollywood A-Lister. To see this guy so far out of his comfort zone and having a real go is also what this show is all about. He’s a footballer. Well, was. Not the greatest, though he did play for Wales. As said, not the greatest. But his performance was terrific, the standing ovation deserved and it will add confidence to his inner fragility for he too, like us, luvved it.
Alex Jones was awarded the same score, Harry The Drummer two less and that puts Robbie’s effort into perspective. Alex is a girl. She has all the requisite bumps and mighty fine they are but the Fox Trot is easy if you are being led and you don’t have to be the leader. (Lola, please stop shouting at me now.) Of course a girl has to get the timing, the sway, the flow and she has to have nice feet as well as a nice top line, but if the lead is driving this it is just like posh walking. Alex has a few frame issues, there was gapping and at times I’m sure we could hear her thinking through the routine but her course is set for December.
So too young Harry, a man at the start of his learning curve, but one who is developing well, a sapling, an oak in the making. That said if Aliona gets any more gimmicky, adding double turns, dips and a floor spin, in a Fox Trot, then the fledgling might not leave the nursery. Perhaps I should send her the syllabus?
Lulu just about escaped her nursery in an over-marked 25 of a dance, the biggest compliment being that she completed the routine. Ouch. It was a nice story, great use of the huge mirror, a song by The Script, and all the credentials were there, the scene set for an actress, and as she acted it seemed that people forgot her dancing, her fragile posture and her left hand digging into her partner’s shoulder, her nails nearly drawing blood.
And that leaves one Fox Trot, the worst dance of the night by far.
Vincent, Vincent, what has become of you?
I saw him and Flav dance at the local pally during the summer and he was half decent. Sadly I wasn’t there when a dancer fell from a balcony but that is another story.
In the show, Midnight Tango, the dancing is set in a bar. The story is fragile. It is a boy meets girl thing. A boy wins girl thing. A vehicle produced by a girl called Arlene Phillips, a vehicle for the Argentine Tango world champs to enhance their Cayman Island bank accounts.
So, switch to October and Vincent replays the scene but this time in a café. The boy, Vincent, takes 55 seconds to get the girl, Edwina, away from her bacon sandwich and G & T. They dance an arm lock, a circle, and then they start to dance properly. Sort of. It was wobbly, heavy, laboured, 46 seconds of dancing produced after a week’s training. It is as unbelievable as it is true. A week! Even the juddgers muttered about the fact that this is a dance show so there should actually be some dancing. 19 points could easily have been 9.
There is little wonder that the Great British Public didn’t buy it, especially the housewives and domestic gods and goddesses who still have unfond memories of the late 80s and sadly Edwina’s high point in politics.
If it took you that long to get served in a café you’d have got up and left.
The audience did and so did she.
October 12th 2011