So. it’s Charleston or Tango week for the remaining Strictly contestants. Fun, or drama ? Tantalising or charming ?
All of the couples look happy and confident walking down the stairs, the celebrities in ever shrinking costumes ! Kara Tointon probably wins the award for the least amount of fabric.
Jimi Mistry, who is loving Strictly but had a mixed reaction from the judges last week, has worked hard in Charleston training (in between film premieres). The dance begins with Jimi and Flavia in silhouette behind two windows, which light up and set the couple off at a furious pace around the floor, ending up where they started, back behind the window. Len, predictably, didn’t like the windows element and missed the swing action of the Charleston, and Alesha also noticed the lack of technical ability. Bruno pointed out his loss of timing when he used the cane in one section, and Craig wants to see pointed feet though he loved the story and energy. Still, a score of 27 for opening the show leaves Jimi and Flavia happy.
Scott Maslen was awarded two nines last week, so much is expected of him and his partner Natalie. The tango suits him, he has such presence. Natalie, in canary yellow, swirls around him, and once in hold he looks in control and leading the dance – both things you want to see. Perhaps a touch more staccato in places, but the audience LOVE it, standing by the end, which is beautiful with both dancers on one knee, looking into each other’s eyes. Len, in a devil may care mood, said it was the best dance he’s seen in this series, even though he spotted that there was an ‘incident’ in one corner. Bruno exploded, with the power, passion and romance, and agreed with Len about it being the best dance so far. Craig found it dynamic and full of machismo. Hopefully Scott’s adorable son, who was seen in the training footage cringing with embarrassment at this father’s endeavours, will be more comfortable tonight. 3 nines, give them 35 out of 40, and they are ecstatic.
Tina O’Brien has recovered from Chicken Pox and is back in the competition with her dance partner Jared. The Charleston suits her personality, and she’s had a low week; watching last week’s show from her bed. She starts strongly, in an unflattering sliver and gold fringed dress. Her leg lines aren’t finished, but I can’t help thinking that the dress isn’t helping. She’s very flat-footed but seems happy with her performance. Bruno found her a “cute little flapper” but he wanted to see more energy with stronger timing. Craig found it very character driven but he noticed her footwork that needs work. Len agreed with Craig about Tina’s footwork but they go off to Tess’s area beaming. 29 is a respectable score – and their highest to date.
Felicity Kendall is really looking forward to the Tango, but she’s driving poor Vincent round the bend as she doens’t know her left from her right. She has bananas and apples on each feet – which works in training but on the night ? Fruit salad, anyone ? Felicity sips wine on the judges table, as Vincent smooches around her. Dressed in sparkling lilac, dipped in inky aubergine, she lacks a little staccato movement but her suppleness is on display again throughout. Both end up covered in red lipstick ! Bruno is excited with her mysterious lady and the gigolo, but Craig found her being seduced by a short hairy Italian less appealling. He loved the floor spin and the story, but picked up on the odd mistake. Len loved the start, but as the dance went on it lacked a bit of fire and movement. Felicity says that she has been waiting all her life to dance the Tango, and she achieves a score of 29.
Patsy Kensit has the Charleston this week, and her partner Robin has been working hard in training to make a great routine. In midnight blue with a shiny black bob, she gives it her all. Craig loved the start and her energy, but he didn’t find the energy continued all the way through and it got a little heavy. Len loved it, and is rewarded with a kiss from Patsy, and Alesha loves her look. Bruno thought her dance looked like a proper Charleston all the way through. Her score is 28, with an 8 from Len.
Gavin Henson says that the Tango is the dance to show them ! He finds it demoralising to be so far behind the other guys in the show. Could this be his forte ? He has nifty footwork, to Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’, and he seems to be feeling the dance so much better this week. Len liked his posture; flexed knees, body contact, but he wanted to see more passion and attack. Bruno finds a glimmer of greatness, and then it all crumbles. He wants to see Gavin deliver, after waiting for four weeks. Craig pointed out that he fell off the steps at the start, which lead to a succession of problems, but in hold he is better than on his own. Gavin is mostly biting his lip through the judges comments. He says he did get really nervous tonight but having talked up being at the business end of the leaderboard all week, a score of 23 is hard to take for both Gavin and Katya.
How will Peter Shilton get on with the Charleston ? Does he have the speed and the stamina ? Gary Lineker pops into training – one wonders why he hasn’t yet been signed to the show. Dressed in a pinstriped shirt, black sparkly bow tie and white braces and starting, with Erin, on a stool, he is tentative and quite slow. Erin has quite the gaudiest outfit of the night, stockings and suspenders and some positively gruesome lifts. I’m having flashbacks to that disastourous choreography she gave to Colin Jackson with the two dummies….. Alesha noticed the timing issues and felt that he’d taken a step backwards. Bruno thought he looked like a penguin stuck in the mud. Craig couldn’t wait for him to finish and Peter’s white gloves magnified every mistake. Len thought it wasn’t his finest hour. His score is probably going to help Gavin – it’s 17, with a 2 from Craig.
Pamela Stephenson, with husband Billy Connolly in the audience, has the Tango with it’s fiery negative emotions. She thinks it’s a great dance for her and James because it really matches their relationship. Pamela has a purple leopard print dress and starts off strongly. Great staccato movement and neat, fast footwork. Beautifully choreographed by James, everyone is on their feet by the end. Bruno called her Catwoman, in a game of cat and mouse. He called the dance stunning. Craig noticed that Pamela lost her neck line from time to time because she’s not always extended through the back, and Len picked up on her frame too, but also that she is consistently strong. She looks pleased. She says that the Tango is an argument. Who do you think won ?! Her score is 34, with two nines from Alesha and Bruno.
So much is expected of Matt Baker; a popular and talented dancer already. Will he have relaxed into the Charleston after a few days on his farm ? He starts off on a unicycle! He is so light on his feet, slipping once. Aliona has a pink tutu on, and Matt looks like Freddie Mercury with black trousers, vest and white braces, plus moustache ! The lifts at the end are very popular with another standing ovation. Craig found some timing issues and noticed the slip, but he LOVED it. Len agreed with Craig, but said it was the best Charleston of the night. Alesha was transported to another era. Bruno said the level of difficulty lead to the mistakes but the showmanship was exceptional. The judges give him a score of 3 nines and a total of 39.
Michelle Williams is dancing this week with Ian Waite, as her regular partner Brendan Cole has returned home for a family bereavement. Everyone wishes Brendan and his family best wishes, as do I. For Michelle, families come first, but Ian is her Knight in shining armour and she is really working hard for him in Tango training. She is dressed in sliver and magenta, and she looks much more comfortable on the dance floor. Ian’s height compliments her long legs, and she looks aggressive and strong. And very happy at the end! Bruno said she was much stronger and her performance was much better. Craig found her balance still an issue, but Ian owned up that this mistake was his. Len found her performance patchy, but overall she did very well. He said how gallant Ian was to own up to the mistake, and joked about how unlikely Brendan would have been to do that ! 27 is a respectable score for Michelle.
How much anticipation is there for Kara Tointon’s Charleston ? She starts off on her own, and so smoothly. Artem has choreographed a stunning routine, with a lovely, funny ending full of difficult lifts. Bruno loved the Cotton Club, jazzy feel, but wants more intention, fire and (he said it) sex! Craig loved it and Len said it lacked impact but was well danced. He wants more welly! Kara really enjoyed the dance, and her tiny fringed outfit, and her score is 32.
Ann Widdecombe launches her own Tango – nothing will ever be the same again. We are promised flying! Ann doesn’t want to impress the judges; she wants to entertain the public. Will she ? What has Anton done ? Anton starts off with a rose between his teeth, and Ann is launched skywards in a harness wearing a magenta jacket and sparkling black trousers. She does try some Tango steps, and the audience clap along, shouting their approval. Craig doesn’t look amused, as you can imagine, and likened her dance to the dancing hippo. He said it was light and beautiful until she landed. Len thought it was worth 50% of the TV licence. Bruno found it out of this world – Starship Widdecombe. though he thought her Tango moves were a bit like ET’s mum; a little stiff. Ann said that she is scared stiff of heights, but did it for Anton. Her score is 21, and Ann is overjoyed with a 7 from Len, for entertainment.
What did you think ? Which dance did you enjoy ? Do you agree that Scott and Natalie should be at the top of the leaderboard ? Who will you be voting for ?