Strictly Come Dancing week 1 | Friday night
Due to a technical failure that was out of my hands last night, I wasn’t able to watch the show and report live as usual. Thank goodness for iPlayer!
Bruce & Tess introduce the couples this year, and this weekend there is no dance-off so no-one will be leaving. Karen Hardy and Harry Judd are on the red button – Harry won last years show.
Fern Britton is first up with her partner Artem Chigvintsev for the Cha Cha. No-one could say she isn’t working it ! She doesn’t look nervous or worried about the steps and her purple dress suits her. Len found more good than bad, and liked Fern’s confidence. The Cuban brake was messed up but he wasn’t keen on all the skirt wafting… Bruno didn’t mind the flirty wafting, and thought as the Cha Cha is a flirty dance it works well, but she needs to be sharper. Craig wants straighter legs and knees to achieve hip action, which Bruno noticed was missing. Good natural rhythm though. And what did new judge Darcey Bussell make of the dance ? She enjoyed the confidence but she spotted nerves. She loved the cheekiness and her grin. Darcey loved the last extension and high leg, and wants to see more of those.
They score 19
Nicky Byrne and new Strictly pro Karen Hauer dance the waltz. Hauer has the dress of the night – butter yellow and gold. Nicky isn’t great in the turns and seems a little unstable in hold but his feet look good, most of the time! He looks happy that it’s done. Bruno noticed that Nicky never missed the light once, and has terrible posture : a cardboard cutout. He looks good, but there is no connection with his partner. Craig isn’t happy with Karen and wants the rules abided by. No lifts in the waltz. Is she the female version of Brendan Cole ? They will be marked down, and he didn’t like the forced and mechanical action. Darcey eventually gets a word in, and finds Nicky’s strength is his musicality, and wants him to feel the music and breathe it, because that will help. His shoulders are up too high but he has lots of potential.
They score 17
Michael Vaughan and Natalie Lowe tackle the waltz; Natalie in flaming red. They both seem happy with the dance, and it’s smoother than Nicky’s. Craig found some timing issues and again raised posture – he wants a bit more grace. Darcey didn’t like Michael’s hold. His face looked strained and he looked stiff. Darcey gives great advice about using the whole body to move. Len wasn’t keen on the dance to start with & said he was mincing about but liked the section in hold. Bruno pointed out the posture issues and stiffness and said his face looked like Shane Warne after the make-over.
They score 20
Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole dance the Cha Cha in hot pink. It’s fast but not that together – probably too fast for Victoria. She looks quite lost at times and then the focus returns and she finds a better groove. Darcey was impressed with the dance content, but with the nerves of the first live show she wants Victoria to try a lower heel because she’s having trouble balancing. Len said she was a bit wobbly, and the nerves took over, but she has great potential. Bruno picks up on the parts that were messed up but he wants her to get back on it and use her potential and blow them off the street. But tonight it went wrong.
They score 16
Colin Salmon and Kristina Rihanoff dance the Cha Cha and he certainly goes for it. Shaking and strutting in leopard spots but a bit wooden all the same. Kristina seems happy with it. It’s a fun dance with lots of show, mostly from Kristina. Len said it was the best Cha Cha of the night. Craig wasn’t as happy.
They score 23
Denise van Outen and James Jordan dance the waltz gracefully and with feeling. Denise has lovely arms and she can turn quickly without losing her balance. She’s streets ahead of the other celebrities tonight. She blinks a lot ! But her extensions are strong and very beautiful. Bruno loves the expression and extended lines. Craig said the best was saved until last. Len said Denise has style with a smile. The double reverse spin was good but footwork was generally poor.
They score 25
All photographs © BBC Pictures. Strictly no unauthorized reproduction.
Tonight’s Strictly music was ….
Fern & Artem – Cha Cha to ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder
Densie & James – Waltz to ‘With You I’m Born Again’ by Billy Preston and Syreeta
Michael & Natalie – Waltz to ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ by Simply Red
Nicky & Karen – Waltz to ‘I Wonder Why’ by Curtis Stigers
Colin & Kristina – Cha Cha to ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ by James Brown
Victoria & Brendan – Cha Cha to ‘Spinning Around’ by Kylie Minogue