Strictly Come Dancing week 9
It seems to be taking forever and a day for this series of Strictly to lift-off. The vastness of Wembley last week served only to highlight the yawning gap between the quality of this series and some of those from earlier years at this stage in the competition. Bigger is not necessarily better. More than half way through, some of the celebrities are still making schoolboy errors and none of them have really lit up the dance floor with their routines. We’ve had high camp outflanking the dancing for half of the series with Russell Grant and now the remaining celebrities seem even more exposed as far as the quality of their dancing goes. The pro dancers have come up with some eye-catching routines but they are not being danced to their maximum potential by their celebrity partners.
Will tonight be any different ? On paper, the cartoonish music for some of the routines isn’t encouraging and it’s perhaps only Holly Valance who has a chance to Foxtrot (to Mamma Knows Best by Jessie J) and Chelsee Healey to Argentine Tango (to Una Musica Brutal by Gotan Project) in some style. But can Holly drag up some visible enthusiasm for the dance so that she looks less like a dancing leaf ? Will the Swingathon live up to its billing as ballroom chaos?
Anita and Brendan Cole (stepping in for an injured Robin this week) are first on the floor with their Cha Cha Cha. Up on the stairs, Uptown Anita is certainly working it! It’s a little stilted and her arm placement is a bit wooden but she’s using her whole body to create the movement and she doesn’t mind shaking her booty on her own. Plus, she looks a million dollars and spins like a top! Len commended Brendan for coming to Anita’s aid in a difficult dance where quite a bit of it was choreographed on her own. She does need to straighten her legs and then she’ll have more hip action. Bruno says “the Uptown Girl doesn’t mind a bit of grease, does she ?” and Anita agreed. Craig missed the sharpness and found “no true dynamic.”
They score : 30
Holly & Artem follow with the Foxtrot. After their shock bottom two position last week, will Holly pull her very considerable talent out of the bag and really pack a punch ? Will she let go ? In Vermillion red with a feather boa quickly dispensed with, the pair screech off the stairs and high kicking Holly is letting it all out. It seems to be over in a second. Bruno said “Holly, you sassy teaser. You did it. Breathtaking. Sexy, Hot. That’s the way to go.” Craig didn’t like the music but thought the dance was “fantastic.” Len was disturbed by the music “I’m a Timex watch in a digital age I guess.”
They score : 34
Alex and James dance the Charleston this week, Alex’s dream dance. In mint green and sequinned black bowlers it’s a lot of fun despite the repetitive nature of the lyrics. Alex gets the character and she’s much sharper and faster than she’s been before. Bruno says “Alex, the funny girl. So funny.” Craig said ” I felt you took a major step backwards tonight” and he didn’t see the extreme movement he was looking for at all. Len found it “fun and entertaining. Just lacking in the detail.”
They score : 29
Robbie & Ola tackle the Samba. It’s really not bad. Ola is working the black sequins. The Samba bounce is there, but overdone. But then, oh dear. The black trousers come off to reveal blue football shorts and socks. Craig is looking perturbed. He picks up on the exaggerated bounce. Len says “Shamba.” But he just doesn’t need all that other stuff in the routine. Bruno suggests that Robbie’s look is “interesting” and that his Samba was like a “kangaroo with left feet.” It wasn’t entirely successful but it wasn’t bad either.
They score : 25
Chelsee and Pasha dance the Argentine Tango; will the passion be there or will Chelsee find it too cheesy ? The purple and silver colours of her dress suit Chelsee, with flashing turquoise lining, but she’s not sharp enough in her footwork and she looks like she’s concentrating so hard there is no passion there at all. Most of the time they are so far apart, how can there be any connection from the solar plexus ? They started and finished on their own, Pasha relegated to a lamppost. Len said it was good but he just didn’t get it. There was no intensity about it, and as an actress he can’t see why Chelsee can’t pretend the passion. Bruno wants it to be “badder.” Craig said that the A-frame was missing completely, but the routine was full of complexity.
They score : 35 (why is this score so high ?)
Jason and Kristina dance the second Charleston of the night. Will he get the exaggeration that Craig is looking for in this dance ? It’s more lively, with greater characterisation. Jason has a touch of Robert Redord about him. The judges thought it was nearly perfect. Bruno enjoyed the slapstick and said “nobody could acuse you of using Botox.” Craig was willing it to be perfect but there was a mistake. Len said “it was truly fabulous, well done.”
They score : 36
Harry & Aliona dance the Quickstep and training is looking promising. Harry is another celebrity who hasn’t quite set the floor alight yet with his dancing, good though it is. The varying beats of the dance should work in Harry’s favour, as a drummer he should be used to the changes. But it’s a live show…. They are in hold from the start and it’s light and fluffy with pin-sharp footwork. Craig picks up a lazy left foot which sickles but that was the only thing that he could find wrong with it. Len loved the sway, which is hard to get. Bruno “tremendous assurance. You can sway away with anyone.”
They score (a ten from Len, Alesha and Bruno) 39
The Strictly Swingathon looms. This is more like a ballroom competition, where the dancers are on the floor together. The Swing dance contains a bit of Jive, Lindy hop etc,. They need lots of energy and they have to maintain it all the way through. The last couple standing will get 7 points added to their score tonight (so everyone is marked out of 47 in total).
Robbie and Ola are first to be voted off by the judges , followed by Anita and Brendan, Holly and Artem, Jason and Kristina, Alex and James, Chelsee and Pasha – leaving Harry and Aliona the winners – and they really did stand out from the crowd.
Strictly catch up
There’s no need to miss so much as a sequin on Strictly; if you didn’t catch any of the shows, you can catch up here! All the Strictly production photographs from the dress rehearsals and live shows can be found under their respective week numbers below. Next week it’s movie week on Strictly!
The Strictly launch show
Strictly Results show
Tonight’s music was :
Jason Donovan and Kristina Rhianoff dance the Charleston to Yes Sir That’s My Baby by Firehouse Five
Anita Dobson and Brendan Cole dance the Cha Cha Cha to Uptown Girl by Billy Joel
Holly Valance and Artem Chigvinstev dance the Foxtrot to Mamma Knows Best by Jessie J
Robbie Savage and Ola Jordan dance the Samba to You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate
Chelsee Healey and Pasha Kovalev dance the Argentine Tango to Una Musica Brutal by Gotan Project
Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani dance the Quickstep to Don’t Get Me Wrong by The Pretenders
Alex Jones and James Jordan dance the Charleston to Me and My Baby by Liza Minelli
All photographs © BBC Pictures. No unauthorized reproduction.