It has been an eventful week, a week dominated by change, upsets and challenges.
Mike Tindall’s gran is on her farewell tour of Australia.
Manchester City rolled over their more famous neighbours last Sunday netting six times. Are the reds now destined for relative obscurity?
France stood up to the plate in the Rugby World Cup final, their grit against the runaway favourites showing us that all is not what it seems even though they came up a point short.
Juddge Lulu came round and stayed for a few days. Always heaven.
I said to her, ‘He’s dead then?’
For sure the events in Africa of late have been tumultuous, the overthrowing of some tyrannical regimes, and who is to say that there aren’t more to come? It must have been a bit of a shock to old Muammar, one time host of Tony Blair and his entourage.
And that brings us on to Strictly, not the fight against tyranny exactly but there was rebellion in the air at the weekend, the pros, mainly those with the alpha male gene, heckling the juddgies, misplaced mouths stirring the controversy, barking in indignation, frustration lifting the lid.
There were three main protagonists.
You wouldn’t take Anthony Smith of Bristol as any sort of Judas but quick he is with the lip our Ant, castigating Twice Daly, rude really, for her inference that his partner was the bull in the Paso Doble. ‘She’s the cape! The cape! The cape! How long have you been doing this?’
Long enough to know that the girl can be either the cape or the bull. It wasn’t exactly a Geoffrey Howe moment but you sensed some turning.
Following an illegal lift already in this series Brendan Cole had his moment of fame defending his routine, sensitive love that he is, saying that of the 1 min 37 second routine that 1 min 15 seconds was content. And he was right if your idea of content includes running up and down stairs in a ‘The Price is Right’ sort of way. He knows, we know, that this was filling, to try and hide his partner’s dancing frailties. It was not content. Nor the viewer.
The final rebel, maybe with some cause, was James Jordan, no relation to big Joe, slightly miffed at getting a four from Australia’s finest Judgge. ‘I’ve forgotten more about dancing than he knows,’ stormed our Jim, back to his bad boy baddest. I’m sure that would be a fun debate. So too would be the one about the lack of basics, the time spent kneeling on the floor, and his over-reaction. ‘We know what we’re doing!’ he cried. If that is the case perhaps adding some dancing rather than acting like a baby might square his circle?
Talking of babies . . .
Saturday was worrying. Seeing a 60-year-old man sleeping with a teddy bear was a shock, not because I am anti-teddies or Russell Grant, though the combination stretches it, but it was disturbing to see this as the core of an aggressive Tango. How this was scored more than 5 by any juddge is anyone’s guess, 24 points belittling the dance. Russell walked rather than stalked, menace amiss, it was the wrong song, the wrong choreography, the wrong everything. Ye Gads! The Tango isn’t a party dance it is about dominance and aggression and this wouldn’t even have scared the teddy.
Amidst the trio of desperados it was a night of a fall in standard, in the main, and the rise to the surface of another contenda, Chelsee Healey wowing us with a quick step that was quick, that was full of speed and content, very fast indeed and her light little feet reminded you of a bird running on water, scatter chassées aplenty, Charleston and pendulums in harmony. Her core is still questionable but the story was great too, well played out, a passenja searching for an airline ticket. She got four nines, well deserved, more deserved than her first name, apparently chosen because her parents are fans of Chelsa FC. I’m not sure the spelling mistake was intentional.
Harry stepped up a gear too, like we knew he would dancing a beautiful Waltz to the beautiful Norah Jones song, ‘Come Away With Me’, a Waltz that was devoid of good old fashioned 1 – 2 – 3, and a dance that included the sad use of the stairs half way through. Perhaps we should all try that next time out? Dance a bit, head for the stairs, have a snog and back to the floor? I think another queue is forming, for Aliona, Harry, by the way, at the front.
We discovered that he could do some ballet turns too. Yup, you guessed, balletic. A move he could do so stick ‘em in a few times. I suppose doing ballet makes him a ballerino?
He was awarded the first ten of the show in his 35. Guess who? Right hand side of the panel. Not all the way. Alice luvved it. And we are starting to warm to the new her.
Anita and Holly came next on the leader board, an American Smooth that needed to be more darin’ and a Viennese Waltz that had more lamp posts than turns, 32 and 30 respectively.
Anita recognised her partner this week, his wig in its box, and she danced with control though I do fear for her. No, not the dancing or the acting, they are coming on well, but just her. Doesn’t she eat? This makes her look wobbly, unconvincing and we are left wondering whether her legs will take it, about her top line, when she will straighten her legs and when she will stop looking like a gran at a wedding. A high quality one at that. This might be harsh but there will be a tipping point when she clicks and then we are in for a real treat.
Holly hit her level again and the day will come too when she doesn’t have to rely on props to hide behind. I’m not sure if we saw a full set of 8 bars in this routine or four full complete circles, sort of normal in this dance, or enough in hold, but either way she has the looks, the elegance, the ability and the CV. Can’t wait for Christmas.
On 27 points were Jason and Robbie, not dancing with each other, I should add. Jase had a shocker of a Paso even bedecked in red and royal gold, his twist turns more Woody than Toy Story. Oh, how they creaked and let this be a leveller for JD and for the viewer. All that glisters is not gold.
Robbie practised his Jive at half-time at Reading FC in front of a full house, that’d be 189 fans, his heels getting stuck in the turf. He gave it a whack, added tempo, no basics, sorry for the repetition, but overall he applied himself brilliantly and it was great fun. Apart from the two knee slides, the latter resulting in a broken nose for our favourite footballer.
All that was was God saying, ‘Don’t do knee slides’.
Lulu, Audley and Alex all shared 25 points, the former and latter already mentioned in proxy, with the desperados.
Lulu did a Samba, Stevie Wonder sang, no sign of a promenade run, a walk or a bota fogo. Lots of running though. And party. Must have been good.
Apparently Brendan has exited the show before after a Samba. It was described as a curse. It wouldn’t have been out of place here.
Audley the Albatross was terrific, my highlight of the night, his pink tie matching her frock, his effort high, the rewards not so, but in his mind this will have been a win for Audley. He led the Fox Trot, mostly, except an underarm section, and his turning spin at the end was faster than the rinse cycle of a washing machine, whiplash a possibility. But in spite of his need to finish the routine he moved credibly, he is here for a while yet and I rejoiced with others, sitting here giving him a standing ovation.
What then of Alex, the new slinky, a net curtain of a cat suit, a little shy and maybe unaware of the hip movement needed for the dance. Of course, she looked amazing, her arms and lines were terrific, but the Rumba demands inclusion and courage, a public display of affection and lust, for sure the guy always gets the girl. The dance is about romance and publicly Alex struggled with that. She said she was dreddin’ the dance. Most do, the Rumba is technical and emotionally challenging.
And that leaves the cupple in the last two, Rory Bremner, 24 for a Cha, and our Lawrie’s step-mum, Nancy ‘Queen of the Paso‘ Dell’Olio, 20, a harsh call on Leeds United’s former captain of Scotland but not on the Brooklyn Italian.
I fear for Nancy; there are two things she struggles with – walking and keeping her head on her shoulders. Maybe it’s the heels? Either way she walks as if she is testing for land mines, clattering the floor with the ball of her lead foot. And her neck seems so weak that there must be odds of her head falling off?
Anthony Smith of Bristol provided the bandages for this routine throwing in a jump for him, a slightly misplaced foot nearly toppling The Master, lifts for her, one fantastic double throw, a bit like a plane coming in to land then heading straight for the sky again on touching the tarmac. The judggies agreed that she wasn’t good on her feet and was fabulous with her legs in the air. I’m saying nothing. We could ask others. Which would be nice if I could say the same about her. She is verbose when not dancing and even counted out loud during the routine. Not even a sliding throw could stop her mouth.
So what then of Rory, sitting at home now with his Chardonnay wondering where he went wrong. His average score in the show is 26; Nancy’s is 16.5. And he left the show. His final dance, the Cha, was flawed from the outset, but only in the choice of music, ‘Ride Sally Ride’, that well known belter of a Cha song. Nothing slightly Latin available then? Even ‘Sway’ would have hit the spot.
Rory’s application has been fine throughout the series and here was a man on the brink of a breakthrough, cool in the ballroom, not quite so in the Latin pally. Yes, his Cha was a little wooden and gawky, them there pigeon toes turning up again and the gyrating woodpecker move wasn’t for the feint hearted but he just about got away with it. He kept time, mostly, and it was a worthy effort. Maybe he didn’t do enough PR to get the votes of the public? Maybe he should have waxed his chest to complete the look? Either way, sadly, for he is an amiable and talented chap, he has gone and this once in a lifetime opportunity is now just a memory.
It does free up Erin to audition for the washing up rights at Travolta Towers though.
As for Rory, maybe he just failed to make a good impression.
I know, I’ve been waiting ages to say that. Doh!
October 28th 2011