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All The Sequins In The World Couldn’t Help

October 18, 2009

In the scarily orange world of TV dance competitions, this week we had four first time dances in DWTS and the Viennese Waltz and Jive in Strictly. Things did not go entirely to plan.

DWTS

The professional dancers were outside their comfort zones this week, but only one person, Anna Demidova, took advantage of the fact that one of the eliminated professionals actually knew how to dance Bolero. The lovely Tony Dovolani (Tony, please get a haircut) is a former World Champion, and Anna has brought him in to choreograph their dance. It helps a little, but doesn’t hide the fact that Michael is just not a dancer. Unfortunately for them, they are up against Natalie and Alec, who are far, far better, but still manage to underwhelm the judges, which disappoints me a bit.

In the Lambada, we have Aaron, Mya and Joanna to choose from. Joanna and Derek are fantastic, it’s one of the hottest dances I’ve seen in a while, and Derek really hit the spot with his choreography. Aaron, however, spends most of the week with a gymnastics trainer so he can put a backflip in the opening. It really would be better if he had spent a small amount of time working on the dance. He does not look confident in it, so is overacting every move, which just makes the dance very hard to watch. He doesn’t take the criticism from the judges well, and I think Karina needs to get a grip on him for next week. Mya and Dmitry are as fabulous as I expected, but I actually preferred Joanna and Derek this week.

The Texas Two Step. Oh dear. I suspect this dance doesn’t translate well to the UK anyway, but really, Chuck, who is the first celeb to dance this, looks more like the bouncer he used to be. He does dance a few steps, and overall it’s quite entertaining (good job, Anna!), but it’s not a great dance. Mark and Lacey’s dance impresses me, for once Lacey has really done a good job, it’s fun but there is a good quantity of dance among the tricks, and they get the feel of it right. Louie and Chelsie however, are a real disappointment. Louis clearly didn’t like the look of this dance, and has not tried to do much of anything. He’s wandered slow round the floor while Chelsie dances here socks off. He doesn’t really try to hide that he did nothing, which is about the only redeeming feature. It’s a shame that Tom DeLay had to withdraw last week, as I strongly suspect Cheryl Burke would have nailed the choreography for this like no-one else.

The Charleston

We start with Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas. Mark has something strange growing on his face, and it pretty much ruins the dance for me. I know the Charleston is quite an exaggerated dance, but put that in the hands of Mark Ballas and it just goes nuts. However, the judges love it and they get two 10s. Crazy. Kelly Osbourne and Louis van Amstel have gone for the ‘Cabaret’ look, and if you didn’t know it was Louis under that makeup, you wouldn’t guess. Good effort by Kelly, but overall I think the dance lacked some of the fun I think it should have, it just felt a little maudlin. Donny Osmond and Kym, however, do not have that problem. From the start to the finish, this is 20s glamour and all the showmanship you’d expect from Donny. I absolutely love it. If we could get this kind of standard on Strictly, I’d love them to bring it in, but I just don’t think we would.

Aaron and Karina and Chuck and Anna are in the bottom two, which is not a great surprise, although I do think Louie and Chelsie were at risk, and Chuck and Anna leave. Bit sad to see them go, as he was fun, but he wasn’t a great dancer. Aaron needs to buck his ideas up for next week, which is either the Paso Doble or the Argentine Tango. DWTS Pasos are always great fun, if not great dances, and these will be the first ATs for some of the professionals, so could be fun. In other news, Derek has come down with flu, and it looks like Maks will stand in for him, if he is still too ill to dance. Oh, yes please!!

Strictly

It started out on the back foot, with the show being delayed by 20 minutes due to rain at Interlagos for the Formula One qualifying. Cue much foaming at the mouth by rabid Strictly fans across the net. It was 20 minutes, people, get a grip. For those of us who love the racing too, we had about 80 minutes of Eddie Jordan inanities. They should have just told him to do the jive! Anyway, it started eventually. And I kind of wish it hadn’t, for the first time. None of the jives were very good. Brian made Ali’s too complicated and she messed it up a lot. James made Zoe’s very slow, so she looked too flat. Ola got the flavour right with Chris, but he forgot half his steps. Ricky G started out by talking and messing about with a comb, but once the dance started it was ok. Joe and Kristina stuck to the previous weeks’ formula and Kristina tried to dazzle everyone to hide Joe’s complete lack of rhythm. They were in time at one point, but only because by that time Joe was two whole bars out on his timing. Craig and Flavia tried, and she had the best outfit, but it was still painful, only the spectre of Laila and Anton was worse. That was a truly pitiful attempt, and by any other couple would have been excoriated by the judges. Much of the blame has to go to Laila, who had a self-defeating mindset from the start of the week, and was determined that this dance would be no good. She was right, it wasn’t.

The Viennese Waltzes were better but it’s not a dance that has that much ‘wow’ at the best of times, so it couldn’t lift the show enough. Ricky W was better than last week, but the dance lacked heart. Jade and Ian were very good, and I think they probably should have been top of the leaderboard. Jo and Brendan were surprisingly good (for them), but we had Brendan’s annual tantrum, which will overshadow the fact that Jo was not being dragged around this week. Natalie and Vincent showed they can do serious dances, but also showed that Natalie hasn’t totally mastered gracefulness yet, and Phil and Katya showed that Phil can pick up a routine in a couple of hours, but really, they should probably work on it all week so it doesn’t look so rough around the edges.

Spandau Ballet murdered ‘Gold’ as the musical guests (I mean, this is a song every one loves. Why would you even think it was a good idea to slow it down, when your voice is 15 years past it’s best?), and then Vincent and Flavia performed a Tango Waltz, which was absolutely the highlight of the evening. Joe and Kristina and Zoe and James were the shock dance-off pairing, so we say goodbye to Joe, really, I thought you’d be a lot better, or at least a bit more fun. Bruce, you need a nap before next week. You were lechy with Tess at the start (even more than normal, and anyone who thinks Tess is a lousy presenter, just think of what she has to put up with, every week. They probably can’t replace her, even if they wanted to.), you picked a fight with Craig which you should have stayed out of (you are the anchor, not a fifth judge. Stay out of it), the snarky comments to Ali and Brian were not funny the first time, so why keep banging on, and you were sseriously snappy with the dance off couples. It’s live TV, it runs late. People were going to complain anyway. I know you wanted them to hurry up, but really, that just sounded petulant. If you can’t handle the gallery yelling at you to wrap it up, retire. Let someone new have a chance. They may not be any better, but at the moment, we can’t find out.

So, there it is. I didn’t really like either show this week, and it’s made me grumpy. The GP is on at tea time/bath time so I can’t watch it live, which doesn’t help either.

Next week, we have the American Smooth and Samba in Strictly, so at least the training footage with many dropped lifts should be entertaining. I’ll snap out of this mood now!

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