Have you ever done this exercise? Close your eyes. Think of a colour. Open your eyes and notice how much that colour is now the dominant shade in all that you see.
Here’s another version. Back in the early noughties I dated a girl who drove a soft top Mazda. I’d never seen the car before but from that moment on they were everywhere. Round every corner, in every car park, on every drive. It was like an epidemic of soft tops.
So, last week a friend of mine pointed out the latest craze on Strictly. No, not the producers deciding on pap themes and tripe to dance to, more later, but the advent of a new dance move, the point. A point at your partner, at the camera, at the judggies, bouncing in time at every member of the audience. And I had missed it.
Can’t see how because once you know they are there they are all over the place. Harder to spot who didn’t point. Have a look next week.
This week the show was a serious test of the viewer, a one hundred and thirty minute marathon, no natural pauses or time to put the chips on for tea. I’m sure the schedules would have allowed a half hour loo break but we are forgetting that this week the results show is back and that is filmed on Saturday to be shown on Sunday so time was scarce. Wish I’d bought that commode on eBay . . .
Our two hostesses were chaperoned down the stairs, one like Cinders, a silver shoe in her hand, the other fresh from mass criticism of her fringe. Surely the world has other things to worry about? The judggies danced on again and then ‘Our Strictly Stars’ entered the amphitheatre ready to battle the dance, not each other, a battle that some won and that some didn’t. Oh, Judy. Oh, Gregg. Oh, Scotty. Oh Jenny.
Thom and Iveta got the party started dancing Salsa to ‘Hot Hot Hot’, a dance that our blonde hostess called Solsa. Perhaps she’s never seen the word in print? Ready for the GB Gymnastics team Thom was dressed in a red vest, white pants and shoes, showing off his over-developed musculature, a frame that didn’t lend itself to fluidity in a dance that begs for it. His 25 points reflected great effort, a one-armed lift and a straddle by Iveta where she extended back to offer a shape the same as the cross of St Andrews, something you sense she may have done before. And then Thom circled, Iveta stretching, the G-force and her core holding her horizontal and rendering the move spectacular.
He pointed twice, just for the record.
Having been stitched up with the Jive last week Jenny and the dashing Tristan had the chance of redemption dancing a Waltz to ‘You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman’. She looked stunning in a full length pink frock with a red sash. The mood was gentle, a bit like dancing with your mam, and apart from a bit of gapping all was going well. Until he threw in a gyrating knee roll. You wouldn’t have been more horrified had he actually done that with his mam. It was so out of place, unnecessary and totally misjuddged. Put me off my dinner. 19 points edged her towards the bottom on the leader board and the dance off.
Did you know that Simon Webbe has a 17 year old daughter? No, me neither. He’s only 36! Well, Simon’s daughter would probably have heard of Ed Sheeran, a prolific singer-songwriter who has rocketed to stardom since the launch of his single ‘The A Team’ in 2011. Ed’s latest offering is a song called ‘Sing’ and this is the tune that Simon and Kristina were asked to dance to. Did I forget to say? Oh, yeah, the Tango.
In a misguided bid to appease the masses the producers do this and it destroys the dance. Enough said. Simon wanted to Tango and I’m sure he was begging for a traditional tune. Ed Sheeran? You couldn’t make it up.
Not only has this destroyed the dance it ruined Simon’s experience and he will never know what a real Tango is like. 26 points seems irrelevant now.
So too Gregg’s Charleston, a score of 18, the highlight of which was Aliona dressed as a French maid, ready to audition for a porn movie. She would get the part. Dressed in chef’s whites and black and white checks Gregg’s glasses were back until the end when he dipped his face into a cream cake. Before that he had pranced and partied like a manic professor, ‘Hey Good Looking’ the backdrop to his fun and mistiming. Lord Len said that Gregg danced like Len cooked. One can only hope Len is better in the kitchen than that.
Having messed up Simon’s Tango the producers were at it again with Alison and Ali Ash’s Fox Trot. Instead of opting for class and grace we were delivered a hybrid of farce to ‘I Just Wanna Make Love to You’, a Fox Trot full of shimmies, ochos, outside swivels, side sways, another misplaced knee gyration, him being dipped at the end, Alison playing the boss, Ali Ash, the assistant. There was a period of twenty seconds or so when they were in hold but that was it. The juddgies were kind with their words but not their paddles, 21 a disappointment.
To brighten the mood Jake and Janette blitzed the night with a super fast Salsa to a full-paced ‘Mambo No5’, no Lou Bega here, 35 points sending tremors throughout the rest of the cast. Jake began on his own, huge steps, exaggerated hips and shoulder shimmies, the latter repeated and repeated, the first knee slide appeared from its dungeon. The first fifty seconds were unexceptional except for one cartwheel from Janette. The dancing in contact wasn’t fluid either but the tricks and courage of the last third of the dance brought the house down. Janette was dipped backwards, her body arching, her head inches from the floor. There she stayed as Jake used his hand to support her. On letting go he circled underneath her as she remained dipped. Then he flicked her with his ankle, stepped over her and did it again with his left foot, three flicks in total. A pressed lift above his head and a rolling dismount down his body concluded the show. Jake had showed great heart and gusto but you’re only as good as the girl. And she was very good.
Not so our Judy who has had four weeks to perfect the art of bad dancing. Couldn’t be worse if she tried, poor lamb, her comfort zone somewhere in SW19, 17 points for a Cha a retrograde step. Dressed like a flapper in sky blue Judy looked the part, ‘She’s a Lady’ booming from Dave Arch and his troops. Antony Smith of Bristol was dapper, braces and cravat completing a strange look.
Did I mention the tennis racket? The serve? The tennis court and net? A more bizarre Cha you couldn’t have invented. Would it really have been too much to ask for the precision of a side, close, side? 160 hours to master it.
The Tango Destruction Force were at it again. Caroline looked sumptuous in a flame red frock, Pasta in black complemented her perfectly. The routine was full, her performance accomplished, though 29 points didn’t reflect this; it was as good as anything on the night.
How they managed you’ll never know because the music, ‘Blame’, was a disaster. It began alright only for an electro disco beat to transfer you to a rave, pills and alcopops fuelling the pogoing clientele. Boom, boom, boom, boom. At the end Caroline was supposedly kicking her partner out, in doing so almost smacking him in the orchestras with a suitcase. I guess he was to blame. Though not for the appalling soundtrack.
In the post dance interview Tim quickly cuddled the stunning Natalie with his left arm. At the same time he grabbed for Claudia with his right knowing that they couldn’t move for thirty seconds; he revelled in the moment. If only he’d got into hold that fast during the dance, thirty seconds passing, before they deigned to cupple up. Prior there had been some Salsa arms, a curious bow and some solo steps, some not captured by the cameraman concentrating on the sight of Natalie in full flow. You couldn’t really blame them.
23 points to ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ was a fair return for Tim. In a waistcoat and pink bow tie he coped well though he may have tired at the end, this offering graceful and dignified. Some pointers though. She is beautiful and the dance is meant to be performed with body contact. Get some Velcro so that she never leaves your side. And tell your face you’re enjoying it. You are allowed to smile.
From smiling to tears of joy as Sunetra completed her Cha to ‘Million Dollar Bill’ a lesser known Whitney Houston song with as gentle a tempo as you could ask for, the perfect antidote to nerves, a pace safe, a safe place. Starting inside a white ball chair, she appeared in a white tassel frock. Could this have been a chicken and an egg? Certainly looked that way though you never know the intent.
What followed was quite a funky routine, (funky chicken?), where Sunetra showed her natural rhythm and timing, letting her hips work for her whilst her legs needed to straighten to enhance the technique. Brendan danced within himself to make her look better and the score of 26 should see her to November.
Having destroyed the Tango the Smooth got the treatment next, Mark and Hottie the unfortunate beneficiaries. Hottie looked everything that she is: stunning. A glitzy frock, a girl ready for a classy date. Bring on Mark dressed in jeans and a sweater looking like he was going on a bender with the lads in downtown Ilford. He might as well have put on a shell suit to complete the look. Rather than being a Michelin starred dinner this ventured towards breakfast at a greasy spoon.
The Jason Mraz song – I’m sure the registrar was dyslexic – ‘I’m Yours’ ended any hope of sophistication which was a shame because Mark can dance. He has timing, he likes being in the spotlight, he is relaxed in and out of hold though he did hunch at one stage, walking forwards like a baboon. But he deserves more than this. Get him a tail coat and top hat. Give him a chance. 27 points could easily have been 30.
Ah, my friends the Tango Destruction Force. They only went and did it again, this time offering ‘Stop’ by the Spice Girls as the song of choice for Scotty and Jo from Grimsby. ‘Stop’ is a pop song. That’s it. It isn’t a Tango nor a Fox Trot nor a Waltz. It’s a pop song, handbags on the disco floor, girls playing hard to get until the vodka kicks in.
Perhaps Scotty should have had a few bloody Marys to calm his nerves and to give him some frame. Hunched at times, pigeon toes aplenty, his head ticked through the phases. It was probably the campest Tango ever seen though it had the ingredients to be the best Charleston of the night. 20 points was generous.
‘It’s Natalie Gumede again.’ And then the quietly spoken Juddge Aggie added a rare expletive on seeing Pixie Lott and Trent of Oz score 35 points for a Waltz to ‘Come Away With Me’, Norah Jones’s song quickly out of the starter blocks, used every series since its release over a decade ago. With a blonde beehive haircut, midriff showing, Pixie danced with beauty and precision, her lines stunning, arms and hands graceful, her rondés (rond de jambes) the product of years at stage school, hence Juddge Aggie’s outburst. And of course, it isn’t right.
How can someone like Steve Backshall compete with that, fresh from the wilds of the Arctic? The theme for Steve’s Cha was a treasure hunt hence the song ‘Treasure’, Steve wearing jungle brown, Indiana Jones meets Tarzan. And he gave it a lash. A few heel leads didn’t endear him to the judggies, in typical Ola fashion this was ‘look at me eye candy time’ from the diminutive sex bomb, anything to distract from Steve.
That said he danced on his own without fear, gyrated at Adam Woodyatt/Ian Beale (Eastenders) in the audience, who he didn’t recognise, and he put together a jaw dropping dip and an eye raising knee slide. 21 points dipped five under his Tango score. Shirt off next week?
Earlier this year I went to see ‘Happy Days, The Musical’ a show put together on the backdrop of the TV show featuring The Fonz, Richie, Ralph, Potsy, Mr & Mrs C, Joanie and Arnold’s Diner. In fairness the show wasn’t that good, in fact it was so bad it was good and by the end the audience were all up bopping away to the theme tune.
I thought that would be it for the year only to be surprised by Kevin from Grimsby dressed as the super cool Fonz – black jacket, white T, blue jeans – and Frankie dressed as a waitress. This was supposed to be a Charleston but if you add in some Rock ‘n’ Roll and Jive and Lindy Hop and Le Roc what you ended with was a fusion of dance that was more confusion than anything.
Light, bouncy, fun, yes, all those things, and the waitress did well, a high energy effort, but the mix didn’t work. Still got 30 points though even if there was no Charleston swivel.Caroline and Pasta[/image]And so to the dreaded dance off. Perm one from the failing four and we got Gregg and Jenny into the lions’ den, Scotty and Judy positively collapsing with the shock that it wasn’t them. Both were better second time around but it was Gregg who got the chop, Aliona condemned to being the first off again for the second year on the trot, cursed following her outburst a cupple of years ago.
As for Gregg this will come as a massive relief. His stage fright and nerves brought tears and nearly caused a panic attack, his visits to the hypnotist just about getting him through it.
‘That’s right, Gregg, that’s right. Sleep. Now.’
October 6th 2014