About a year ago I was preparing my research, Bonfire Night looming. I was going to tell tales of mischief night, kids in a village building their own pyre, stories of hot potatoes, parkin and playing chicken, that’s throwing fireworks at each other, bangers mainly. I’d lined up the inside gossip on Guy Fawkes, a Yorksher mercenary, and the history of treason.
Also a year ago Lord Len was missing a week, thankfully fully recovered now, Jennifer Grey added colour if nothing else to the show and Russell Grant was full of bull, the bucking type.
And this year I was ready again but except for the odd bit of reference to sparklers and burnnin’ the floor, that was it, apart from poppies aplenty, no opium in sight, over a week before Remembrance Sunday. Talk about a damp squib. And talking of damp the tears flowed late on Sunday night as Double O Salmon didn’t survive another day, wasn’t given the chance to live and let live, the sky really falling onto his head. Maybe the producer who mismatched him and Kristina was crying too? Ought to be. Gross miscasting.
After six shows, five weeks and an extra month to practice you can see why leaving the show is such a big deal. A nice fee, a beautiful partner, noticeably thinner since her break up with Boxer Joe, another mismatch if ever there was one, and the chance to learn a life skill, totally out of the comfort zone of many gods and goddesses let alone mere mortals. Colin’s acceptance of his exit was gracious, heartfelt and well intentioned. A few days later Barry O’Bama, the famous Irishman, was re-elected President of the USA and the guy who came second was also gracious and eloquent in defeat.
I suppose the main problem for Colin was the shock. He finished 6th on the night, from eleven, 27 his highest score of the series. Having suffered the dance off last week surely he would be safe? But, no, the GBP had a funny turn, not unusual, and he was dumped to dance again along with Richard, interestingly both of them dancing a Fox Trot. Richard had scored just 17 to ‘Big Spender’, a testimony to his memory, or lack of it, as he unfortunately blanked half way through his routine, forgetting everything. We’ve all done this; please don’t juddge until you’ve tasted that poisoned chalice.
He wore plain slacks and a pin stripe jacket with a blue tie, an odd mix. It made him look like Mr Parlinchin, the toy ventriloquist’s dummy. How fortuitous then that Erin spent the last 45 seconds of the routine talking through gritted teeth, trying not to move her lips? But in the dance off Richard held his nerve and he produced the goods. The pressure was on Colin.
Dancing to ‘Accentuate the Positive’ Colin’s first effort was a smidgen ungainly but it was gentle and not badly done. The size difference was too apparent, even though he stood tall and as elegant as required. But with such long legs he does need to move around the floor more. Had he done this Kristina would have been at one side of the room and he at another.
In the dance off things weren’t so smooth, nerves dominated and the spoiler was probably Colin’s kicks. They will be on YouTube forever. The Fox Trot is about subtlety, beauty and charisma. When a bloke of six foot five launches his pins higher than his own head the last words you would use to describe such kicks would have been subtle or beautiful. Kristina shouldn’t have allowed it. It left the wrong taste and was probably the nail in his coffin. Sorry, that was last week’s theme.
The best Fox Trot of the night came from the rejuvenated Vaughany, grey tail suit, daffodil yellow tie, having practised in the Long Room at Lords – that’s a crickit ground – scoring 31 giving him the chance to bat at number 4, opening the batting his target. Whilst the ‘Sweetest Feeling’ was a contentious choice of music, okay appalling, his ballroom gives him the chance to hide behind the hold, away from the terrors of public gyrations or dance affection, that is showing emotion during a performance, emotion that is a vital part of the dance but desperately difficult for the squeamish to capture.
Which brings us perfectly on cue for the introduction, in week 5, of the Samba, the Brazilian party dance, full of bounce and peril; DBS is a very common ailment on the social dance floor, Death by Samba.
Two cupples had a go and they survived, Louis with a credible 29 and Vic with a less than credible 23. This is a tuff dance full of different rhythms, changeable timing and one where it is best danced after half a bottle of rum. Or more. With control needed too the essence of this dance is fun, going for it, giving it some wapatumba, but with technique hidden in there somewhere.
In fairness both dancers struggled with this in spite of their scores, Louis looking like he was dancing but not showing that he was feeling it, Vic approaching it with the same dread as visiting the dentist. As usual Louis looked the part and the performance had some great basics, La Bomba by Ricky Martin, more of a Salsa song than Samba. But there were some mistakes, especially in the promenade runs at the end and the routine left you short changed; it was all a little heartless.
As for Vic she had the guts to dance on the judggies’ desk, all copping a look whether they wanted to or not, Tom Jones, the famous Brazilian, helping with the song ‘It’s Not Unusual’. As brave as this was it was more of a gimmick, just as it was when her partner threw himself into a spin on the floor hand in hand with her, reversing the roles. They were delighted this dance is now locked away for another twelve months. Us too.
The next three cupples are struggling a little, if only in comparison with the three high flyers of tonight’s show. Nicky got 25 for a Rumba, sort of a Rumba anyway, Fern scraped 24 in a Paso and Lisa bagged 27 for a Tango.
The Rumba is a dance of seduction so when it came to dancing loive why Nicky spent 50 seconds gurning is anyone’s guess. It is also a dance about movement even with Aerosmith providing the back drop and Hottie Hauer, in the frock of the night, sky blue, chocolate and orange slash, moved plenty but somehow Nicky didn’t, doing a presentation, not PowerPoint, and then another and then another. Personally Nick, I’d have seduced her.
Dancing the Paso to a smashing tune, ‘Espana Cani’, a genuine bull fighters’ paradise, in a Fox Trot dress was hardly a great start for Fern whipping out the Shake N’Vac again whenever she needed a prop. As for Artie, will someone please club together and buy him a shirt? In black pants with a gold belt he looked destined for the boxing ring as the cape was whooshed away, his ber-serk (Viking, look it up) glistening under the lights, too much swooning in the crowd, and that was just the blokes. I was waiting for the gloves and the ding-dong of the bell to start round one. It was a distraction to hide her. Maybe he should just teach her some steps?
Lisa did a Tango to Roxy Music’s ‘Let’s Stick Together’. You couldn’t make it up. Dressed in purple, her partner too, it was like pick and mix at the Quality Street shop. That said I liked it even though looking at her makes me think of a brothel. Don’t know why. Her feet were good, nice and neat, and she offered another performance. What it lacked in refinement it made up for in effort.
It was Henry Winkler’s 67th birthday last week. To most of you you’ll know him as The Fonz. Most of you won’t need any further explanation. Blue jeans, white t-shirt, black leather jacket, the coolest of the cool, the hardest bloke on the planet, the one the girls queue for. How odd then that Vinnie would be dressed to copy him, the total antithesis. At least this week his wig was the right colour. That said The Fonz never wore black and white shoes.
Olly Murs’ song ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ was perfect for Dani and Vince’s Jive and she blasted her way to 33, Lord Len nining, as she whacked out a routine full of speed, content, great bounce, happiness and joy, a great fifties feel, the floor even hosting a giant juke box.
Dressed in a leopard skin frock with pink braid, very coffee shop, she caused Craig one moment of consternation. When she passed between Vinnie’s legs she failed to keep her feet together meaning that the Aussie copped a ‘massive eyeful’. There was a time when this would have excited Craig, but not these days.
‘It was bubbly,’ he continued, referring to the routine.
Dani really is becoming a contender.
So too young Kimberley. She launched the show with a 33 too, high on a trapeze ring, dancing Salsa to ‘Naughty Girl’ by Beyoncé with her partner Pasta. Yup, that’s what Brucie read on the autocue. You’d have thought that he’d have known who her partner was by now? You’d also have thought by now that the entire team would know that there is no such thing as ‘THE’ as far as Salsa is concerned.
Twenty feet up it took twenty seconds to descend and then to get going. Then there were a cupple of ruff transitions and a comb that she fought and won, but it was a smart, sultry routine, full of polish, content, a nice lift, swaying hips, warm intent and latent promise, something you might expect where stage experience is on display. Kim had a bad knee all week and she thought that the twistin’ and twitchin’ might kinda be a problem. It wasn’t for her dancing, only her elocution.
Thankfully, so far, Denise Kathleen, hasn’t done as she promised and she has kept Essex firmly in Essex. Sadly her partner also kept the Viennese Waltz locked away in Vienna, and again no one spotted it. Or didn’t mention it. This 35 was a beautiful dance, absolutely beautiful, Etta James providing the soundtrack with ‘At Last’. But it was no more a VW than a walk to my local chippy, it was Fools’ Gold in a gold rush.
James filled the routine with repetition, pivots, three times, pull ins, chuck outs, cuppla times, some nice changes of place, some basic Waltz but there wasn’t a reverse cross to be seen. Remember, VW, three steps, natural turn, reverse turn, Fleckerl. They fleckerled beautifully and the grace with which they covered the floor has been matchless in this series, a romantic dream set to music full of poise and posture. So why no Viennese crosses? I implore you to watch it again, and if you find one, please let me know. Maybe I missed it?
Next week Brucie is on holiday, a visit to Autocue-Savers in the offing and we are treated to our hostess being joined by Claudia Winkleman, no relation to The Fonz.Should the producers decide otherwise me and my twin are available at very short notice.
November 8th 2012