In 1982 I was on crickit tour in Somerset and Devon with my club, Whitley Bridge. Amidst the group was number two son, a cupple of years my senior, a brilliant fielder, a mediocre bowler and a great batter. At Budleigh Salterton I went in at number three, he at four, and we shared the crease for about an hour until he got out.
As I focused on my technique and timing, counting the balls, watching the fielders, I willed him to get out. I would have happily given a lecture to the opposition on his weaknesses, where to bowl at him and how best to send him back to the pavilion. I know what you’re thinking, childish, petty, vindictive almost. Of course. Such was the sibling rivalry I would have bowled for the other side myself. As is, that day, we both scored 31.
Bring on then the VT of the remaining dancers, the magnificent seven, wonders of the world, dwarves, deadly sins. Pick your match. To a man, and a woman, they all extolled the virtues of the others. ‘He is brilliant,’ ‘She is classy,’ ‘What a star cupple they are.’ Even the ultra competitive were spouting platitudes, niceness, affection and warmth. No one dared to say, ‘I hope he trips,’ ‘I hope she forgets it all,’ ‘I so want that smug smile wiped off his face.’
Amidst all the mollycoddling lest us not forget there is a competition to be won and with that, gladly, the show was brought back home, Wembley long forgotten, even though the show grossed 12.5 million viewers, 12% higher than the Opportunity Knocks thing on the other channel. As a reward the set was visited by Camilla.
The Duchess of Cornwall.
We were expecting some proper dancing at last, what with the multi-millionaire dancing disaster back at home in Wales, and the last seven ought to be able to deliver, now, three or four months hard training in the bag with a professional. In the main that is what we got.
However, there was one Russell moment.
A moment that just begged, ‘Eliminate me!’
Another VT showed Robbie and Ooh-la-la messing around, chatting, saying how he’d bagged his Salsa, nailed it, performed, and now it was the turn of the Samba.
If you were to study Robbie’s scores, should you have nothing else to do with your life, you would find that his Ballroom dances average 5.2 more than his Latin. His ‘bagged’ Salsa scored a five from one juddge, and sympathetic sevens from the others. In comparison, his nailed Samba, or Shamba, beautifully described by the Head Juddge, scored one point less, just the nailed 25.
Dancing to ‘Sexy Thing’, popular in down town Ipanema, I looked for bare flesh, none to be seen. No arms in a waistcoat. No navel or waxed chest. Excellent. Maybe the chance to dance then. And he did, huge steps, exaggerated bounce, kangarooesque, without the pouch. The routine had a few basics, a fairly revolting volta, plenty of promenade runs, pivots and Robbie, a picture of concentration, standing still as Ooh-la writhed about. There was another lap of honour, clapping and whooping, the closest whisk the one on the set of Saturday Kitchen. Oh, and there was a gratuitous fondle that looked unchoreographed.
The moment came ten seconds from the end when Robbie whipped off his trousers in a Full Monty styley, revealing his blue soccer socks and shorts, numbered 8, a hint to the juddgies. This was a bit like adding tonic to vodka. No point at all. It created nothing but a shake of the head. I am told by a source close to the show that this is Robbie’s normal clothing; every football game he goes to he is ready at an instant should either team be a player short.
Robbie’s heart is in the right place, just left centre of his chest, his attitude commendable, he will give anything a go, but he will have to actually start to add some substance to his dancing should he survive another week. Did I not tell you? No Death By Samba for Robbie. The GBP have taken to Robbie, he is fortunate, for as the juddgies on the panel get harsher, looking for more, for proper lines, for great extensions and finishing, the GBP are just looking for heart.
Bring on then Holly, in the bottom two again, in spite of 34 points, her third in five weeks along with a 35 and a 31. Fair dinkum scoring you’d say. So what has this gorgeous hotty done to upset the viewers?
I have some theories.
Apart from Andy Capp and on pensioners, who likes a bloke in a hat? There’s a dancer locally who looks like a rat with a beret. Not great. Is it style? Is it to cover a balding pate? Either way, prat in the hat doesn’t do it for me.
And there is old R-Tem, back on the floor, cured from rabies and scurvy, wearing a hat. I think the voat is against his pork pie head.
Of course, it could be the trashy music that R-Tem chose to Fox Trot to, ‘Mamma Knows Best’ by Jessie J. That would be more believable. Most folks I know are traditional in their choices of tune to attach to each specific dance. Moon River is a given for a Waltz. For example, only a numpty would Waltz to ‘Die Another Day’ by Madonna. See my direction?
So when Artie and Holly Hot Lips kicked in to their dance they’d had it.
Add in a floor slide and it’s time to engage a sniper in the rafters.
Oh, yeah, add in braces too.
And yet for all that the routine was brilliant. He is a smart choreographer, old Chiggy, and she looked resplendent in red, seductive, saucy, tempting, but not tempting enough to get people to voat. Holly is still there though and she ought to have the comfort knowing that there are worse dancers who remain.
There were two Charlestons during the evening, Alex 29 and Jason 36. Was there really that much difference between the two?
As long as Alex doesn’t talk, her voice not geared to TV or radio, she is likeable, improving and still hanging on in there. Her dance was fun, goofy and Juddge Alice called it a good job, along with another three routines. I commend her for that; she was right.
The judggies are picking on the detail and the sharpness but to score this a six, far left, cheap seats of the panel, was an insult, an underscore and one not worthy of such a bright routine. There was bags of content, good tempo, some intricate hat work and she never lost her timing or the routine.
Compare this to star of stage and screen . . . here’s an idea for you, let’s give a bloke with twenty years’ experience on stage the chance to do a hammy Charleston. Doesn’t seem right does it? Of course Jason was good. Why wouldn’t he be? What are they going to ask him to do next, sing?
I thought the routine was pretty darned faultless but someone pointed out a small section of errors. Maybe the studio audience get to see all the feet? Certainly didn’t pick up on it in BS6.
Also flying again, thankfulla without a wire, was Chelsa, a point shy of Jase of Oz, for what was the most intricate Argentine Tango the show has seen from a celeb. Technically it was really strong, the speed and accuracy dominating, her placement again sharp.
But that was an issue. Mayba too sharp, too precise. The Argie Tango is supposed to be a freestyle dance, and this, like Harry before her, was mayba just too placed and too nice. Where was the smell of the brothel?
There were times when Miss Wobberla resorted to form, not many, but her A-Frame is still an issue, months after it was first mentioned. But the main barrier seems to be her heart and how she can give it for two minutes every week, a girl shy for an actress. Alice urged her to lose her inhibitions, Len to act, for this was a touch loveless, sinless, Chelsa held back, scared of being badda on the tella.
The star performance of the night came from you know who, three tens to add to his tally, seven in total. On screen Harry is charming, affable, a really nice boy. But behind the scenes he’s probably the sort of kid at school who captained every sports team, got a Michelin Star by the age of sixteen, ten A pluses in his GCSEs and could break ten seconds for the hundred metres. Damn, he has talent.
What a Quick Step!
Fast, furious, faultless, apart from the music. Traditionalist, blah, blah. ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong,’ the song said. Oh, shut up . . .
Of course. This really was a brilliant performance, neat, tidy, fast, precise, smart . . . I could go on and on. Smart work on his toes, brilliant syncopations, great timing and synchronisation. Harry added sway, elegance and he mesmerised an already punch drunk audience, four dances topping 34.
That said, this was the same audience that gives a standing ovation for breathing.
To try and freshen things up, and to give the talented something to do, this week a Swingathon was added where the best cupple could earn 7 points to their tally, and the worst just one. It was a sort of ‘Let’s Jive Lindy Hop’ meets ‘Let’s Le Roc and Charleston’ meets ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They’, each cupple implored to battle in the war on the floor. For sure not a punch was thrown. Even if Audley had still been there that would have been the case.
The cupples went at it, twenty or thirty seconds to survive the metaphoric tap on the shoulder as a name paddle was raised to invite dancers to leave the floor. This is the tale of first to last to leave: Robbie, Anita, Holly, Jason, Alex, Chelsa and Harry. If you were predicting you could easily think that is how the main contest might end in December.
And just to compound that theory, or some of it, we know that Robbie survived, it was Anita who bowed out with grace and dignity, a credit to her age group thus leaving Jason as the old man of the survivors at 43.
Robin, Anita’s partner was wheeled to hospital in a Reliant, his foot infected. Apart from the verruca pool at the swimming baths, how on earth do you get a foot infection? Trod on a nail? No idea. But it flummoxed the not so reliable Robin and his place was taken by rent-a-boy Brendan, willing every male pro to catch malaria by Christmas.
R-Tem’s bound to.
Brendan now has the unfortunate tag of being the only male pro to be eliminated twice in a series.
To the rather slow tempo, non Cha Cha song, ‘Uptown Girl’ – I just don’t get it – Anita’s routine was simple, full of basics, bright, breezy, and she had the courage to do a solo but it was pedantically paced and the aforementioned finishing and lines weren’t there and she had the tendency to not straighten her legs, something that helps the rhythm and the hip movement.
Whilst Brendan was suitably proud of her, and why not, maybe the delivery was wrong. Maybe she should have danced it like a vamp with power and pace and added more to her character. Was it too safe? At this stage of the show, probably. Maybe she should have whipped off her drawers in a Full Monty styley?
It worked for Robbie . . .
But then again . . .
November 30th 2011