Strictly Speaking: Week 1

Friday Live Show

At long last, this year’s Strictly is finally under way. Heads up, this post is long, so grab yourself a hot beverage. The competition started with the first live show on Friday night at 9pm. This felt like odd scheduling for a family show – would there be swearing and nudity, I pondered on Twitter (to which Diane replied “PLEASE NOT BRUCIE!” Ha ha! *vomits at the thought*). And, lo, Brucie rolls out a routine where his introductions of the judges are ‘hilariously’ bleeped. GROAN.

The first couple to dance were Felicity Kendal and Vincent, performing a cha-cha to Sunny. I found this a bit sedate and lacking in hip action, but I do think that once Felicity has relaxed a bit and gained confidence she could be good, especially in the ballroom dances. They scored 23 out of 40.

Next up were Scott Maslen and his robot overlord partner Natalie. Natalie is determined to lift the trophy this year. I fear if she doesn’t lasers will shoot from her eyes, the skies will darken and we will all be ASSIMILATED. They performed a ‘sexy’ waltz, which I rather liked. Scott had good posture and hold, although his hands were a bit flappy, which of course Craig picked up on but he still called it ‘dangerously romantic’. Len, predictably, wasn’t keen on the raunch. Bruno and Alesha both gave 8s, which was frankly ridiculous – yes it was pretty good for week 1 but 8s?  Now that’s just silly. Len gave his first SEVEN of the series, and Craig gave a sensible 6. Thank god for Craig.

Goldie and Kristina gave us a cha-cha that seemed to lack any actual cha-cha-ing (yeah, I know all the proper dance words, me). It was all very disco. Still, Goldie looked like he was having fun – he can move, I just think he needs to knuckle down and focus in training. Craig gave them a 3, which as much as I normally think his scoring is spot on (see above), I thought a little harsh. The other scores brought them up to 20 out of 40.

Poor Patsy Kensit has had a terrible year and her confidence is in shreds. I don’t think her Strictly wardrobe is helping as after the boxing belt dress she wore on the launch show they put her in a red dress with THE most unflattering waistline. There were glimmers of promise in her waltz with Robin the bouncer, but she was clearly terrified and the body contact was poor. At least this gave Craig the opportunity to dust off his phrase “dance disaaaaaster”. They scored 24 out of 40.

Before Matt Baker and Aliona started to dance I scribbled in my notes “TERRIBLE OUTFITS!!” My heart sank even further when their cha-cha started with Matt looking through binoculars and Aliona posing behind a cut-out of some wellies. I’m not a fan of gimmicky themed dances. BUT! Wow, Matt’s got some MOVES. I knew that he had been a gymnast in his teens, but really was not expecting to see such a confident performance. No problems with hip action there! It’s a shame he just is not sexy. They scored 31, with even Craig busting out a 7. We could all have done without Brucie repeating his lame “lovely hose” joke (referring to Aliona’s tights and a play on farm implements) 3 times. Retire, now, please.

Pamela Stevenson sees Strictly as a license to flirt and have fun. The fact that she’s having to flirt with James doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s married to BILLY CONNELLY, did you know that? I wasn’t expecting an awful lot from her waltz, so was pleasantly surprised that it was so lyrical and graceful. Pamela looked joyous all the way through, all twinkly smiles and beautiful lines. Another 7 from Craig contributed to their overall score of 31.

The final dancers of the night were Paul Daniels and Ola, with more gimmicky themed business at the start of their cha cha – this time, surprise surprise, with Paul revealing Ola from a magic box. To labour the point even further they danced to Could it be Magic. Of course. After wasting about 8 bars messing about with magic props the ‘dancing’ began. Well, Ola was dancing – Paul sort of skipped about and posed a lot. Saying that, it wasn’t *quite* as bad as I thought it would be. Bruno made me laugh when he said “Could it be magic? Could it be tragic more like!” Heh. They scored 16 out of 40. I thought Paul made a homophobic remark to Craig about “eating sausages”, but apparently that was just a reference to Craig being crowned King of the Sizzle for Sausage Week (really). I don’t think Paul will be here for long.

(you may need another beverage now)

Saturday Live Show


I rather liked Tess’s purple frock, but I’m not paying any attention to what comes out of her mouth after reading this. I’m trying the same approach with Brucie, but the odd badly timed attempt at a joke still gets through. Stupid brain.

Jimi Mistry and Flavia were up first. The way they keep banging on about him being a ‘Hollywood star’ you’d think he was bloomin’ George Clooney. He’s not. Would you see George wringing out a sweat-soaked t-shirt on television? No. It would be lovely sweat though, if he did. Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, Jimi and Flavia’s cha-cha. It was alright – he’s got good hip action but there were mistakes, and I thought the tempo was off, but that was probably because the Dave Arch ‘band’ were busy ANNIHILATING Don’t Upset the Rhythm by the Noisettes. Why are they so bad? It’s aural torture every week. Jimi and Flavia got 26 out of 40.

I think I fell asleep during Peter Shilton and Erin’s waltz, although I did catch the glittery footballs on his jacket and her dress (yeesh – cheesy themed costumes seem to be ‘in’ this year), and the bit where he nearly dropped her at the end. I made a note that Craig said it was ‘pothole-ish’ but haven’t the first clue what he meant by that. A bit bumpy? They scored 21 out of 40. Ha, Erin’s never going to win this is she?

The evening’s major let-down was Michelle William’s cha-cha with Brendan. She seems entertainingly bats, joking that give her a microphone and she’ll “sing for the Queen over tea and biscuits”, but also competitive – nothing less than an 8 will do. And then, well, she danced like a newborn gazelle. Unfocussed, unbalanced and tentative. As Len said, “long legs, short skirt and bad technique”. The only judge not to criticize was Alesha, who awarded a 7 (they got 24 out of 40) – I think because she can’t bear to slate someone who’s breathed the same air as Beyonce. Michelle looked a little shell shocked, and I’m sure Brendan is furious.

Gavin Henson talks…reaaallllllly……slooooooooowly, and is another emotionally wounded contestant. Bless, he seems very shy and a bit dull. I was prepared to nod off again during his waltz with Katya but actually it was pretty good, with strong hold and nice musicality. Katya needs to work on his hands, but if he can relax I think he could go far. Len, as ever, loves a sportsman and gave them an 8, adding up to a total of 28.

Aaand we’re back to gimmicks with Tina O’Brien and Jared’s cha-cha, which started with Jared sporting geeky glasses and consulting a physics textbook. Jared looks like one of those wobble-head dolls, don’t you think? Tina was clearly very nervous, there were lots of mistakes and not enough content. And her dress was hideous – seriously, what are the Strictly wardrobe people ON this year? Another score of 28 for this one, which was a bit on the high side in my opinion (Craig was bang on with his 5).

The moment we were all waiting for arrived as Widdy and Anton took to the floor. It was a pretty simple routine and I was surprised to see that Widdy actually looked like she was enjoying herself (although she also looked mightily relieved when it was over). It wasn’t good though (shocker!) – the height difference is just silly and her arms were all over the place. Craig’s comment that it was “all a bit local authority, daaarling” earned the retort from Widdy “if you think that’s bad, you should see the salsa”, which made me chortle (I’m scared to watch her salsa). With 17 out of 40 she’s just above Paul Daniels at the bottom of the leader board.

Finally, the last couple – Kara Tointon and Artem with their cha-cha. I refuse to find him sexy, despite the constant attempts to cast him as man-candy (Air’s Sexy Boy during the VT, the refusal to let him wear a shirt). They certainly went all out with Kara’s dominatrix-leopard outfit, complete with gaffer tape choker. However, said outfit caused some problems when Kara’s shoe got caught in the ’tail’ and she almost fell over. This was a shame as it was quite a spicy cha cha, with great hip action and good chemistry (which no doubt the papers will have fun with). They scored 30.

The show finished with a performance by ROBBIE WILLIAMS AND GARY BARLOW of their new single “Shame”. I don’t care that it was cheesy and the lyrics are terrible, it made me go “awwww”. I would have liked a pro dance on at least one of the two shows but that was not to be – I guess that’s something to look forward to for next week. Let’s hope someone has a word with Alesha and tells her to stop being so bleedin’ patronising and start giving some constructive criticism, she’s really started to get right on my wick. Matt and Aliona and Pamela and James are joint at the top of the leader board, rightly I think. All the contestants dance again on Saturday, with the results show on Sunday. I’m rubbish at predictions but I think (and hope) Paul will be the first to go – what do you think? One final thing to note: CLAUDIA’S BACK TONIGHT!! 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Strictly Speaking: Week 1

  1. Fab recap, Anne-Marie, and spot on. I watched this whole dance disaaaaaster yesterday (which was TOO MUCH!) and I think I might stick to your recaps for the next few weeks cos there’s so many boring dancers still in. Plus, I feel like the BBC is wringing the joy from it every series. I really miss Arlene, and the way the show used to be, including the old dancers (Darren, Lilia, Matthew… sob).

    I think Paul should go (I hated his performance the most) and agree Matt and Pamela were the best. (I’ve always thought she was lovely and very wise, SCD better not abuse me of this notion.) Michelle Williams was… not good. (Alesha’s clearly a fan. But I’ve gone completely off Alesha since she started this job.)

    And I turned off when Robbie and Gary came on because Robbie seems to have lost all ability to sing live on telly and fluffed the beginning a bit.

    I then watched DWTS on Youtube, and that was just… more fun.

    • Thanks Diane! Yes, it was all a bit TOO MUCH – that post took me forever to write. I think the show on this coming Saturday is around 2 hours *weeps*. It does lack something, certainly – although I don’t actually miss Arlene I do, like you, really miss the ‘old’ dancers. And I really think it’s time Brucie went – watching DWTS has made me love Tom Bergeron, I wish we could swap!

    • Thanks Helen! To each her own – I’m afraid not even the accent made him float my boat. It is only week 1 though, I reserve the right to change my mind 😉

  2. Really great recap, Anne-Marie.

    Ohhhhhh, King of Sizzle, eh? I should stop hating on Paul for being a homophobe then. (Or should I?)

    I thought Michelle was dreadful. I was thinking, “Ah. So legs can be TOO long!” That’s kind of a comfort to a stumpy person like me.

    I can’t STAND Alesha. Which is such a shame, cos I loved her as a contestant.

    As for Robbie and Gary – the lyrics are supposed to be cheesy and terrible, aren’t they? I don’t think we’re supposed to take it seriously. I mean, you’ve seen the video, right?

    • Thank you! I’ve really gone off Alesha this year – like you I absolutely loved her as a contestant, and I was even pretty forgiving of her comments last year. But she really annoyed me this weekend – I was ranting at the telly (not unusual in general).

      I’ve only seen snippets of the Robbie and Gary video…must watch properly soon.

    • I’m not sure the lyrics are any worse than any Take That song (“whirling like a cyclone in my mind!”) but the video had me fascinated. It’s very homoerotic.

      And yep, Anne-Marie, we should totally import Tom Bergeron and force him to do the show. He’s so charming.

      • Er. That’s a Barry Manilow song! (Not that he wrote it, mind.)

        And I think the video’s meant to be a homage to Brokeback Mountain, isn’t it? Seriously!

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