Strictly Come Blogging

Louise. Lou. Loulabelle. Loulabelle44. Louby.
Proudly blogging about Strictly Come Dancing ALL YEAR ROUND since 2006.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strictly No Tan!

There's always one participant who struggles to embrace the very essence of Strictly - the tan.

This year it's Steve Backshall. He told the Daily Star “A friend had one done and they went green and had to have it re-applied every three days. And apparently if you do any exercise it goes streaky and looks like creosote. I also think I look like a Madame Tussauds doll with all that make-up on.”

How long until he caves?

Girl Bonding

Pixie Lott has revealed that the female celebrities have already started forming friendships, and are sharing their training stories.

The Belfast Teleraph reports that Pixie told The Sun"Me and the other Strictly celeb girls have set up our own WhatsApp chat group and we send each other selfies of us in training, as well as just having a gossip. It's been really nice. I've become good mates with Alison Hammond - she's hilarious, I love her. We've been texting each other. I can't wait to see her when we're back in the studio. I knew Frankie Bridge before, so it's nice to be able to hang out with her, too. At the moment all the girls are really supportive of each other."

First Steps...

The first steps of the Strictly couples are slowly being revealed.

Here's a look at Scott & Joanne...

Caroline & Pasha...

Mark & Karen...

Frankie & Kevin...

Jake & Janette...

Gaynor Faye Would Have Loved To Do Strictly

Emmerdale actress would like to take part in Strictly.

The actress, who won Dancing On Ice in 2006, told the Daily Record: “My feet are getting itchy again seeing all the preparations for Strictly. I absolutely love dancing. I’m always first on the dance floor. It makes me feel different and it makes me feel really happy. I’d have definitely done Strictly. There are a few reality shows around but for me it was learning a skill and learning how to dance with a partner.”

I never watched Dancing On Ice, but I imagine she'd be great on Strictly. She's such a lovely lady, very elegant. Maybe a Christmas special?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

"Round One" To Strictly

Round 1 in the annual TV ratings battle between Strictly and The X Factor has been won by Strictly.

According to overnight data from BARB, reported by the Daily MirrorStrictly brought in an average of 8.43m viewers (33.7% share of all veiweing at that time), peaking at 9.4m. While The X Factor could only manage 7.79m on average (31.1% share), with a peak of 9.2m.

X Factor judge Simon Cowell Tweeted: "So the numbers are in. Strictly peak 9.4. X Factor peak 9.2. Round one to them. Such a shame they were both on at the same time!"

Could Robin Be Back For Christmas Special?

Robin Windsor hopes to be back for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special if his back injury allows.

In an interview with Entertainment Focus, he said: "All going to plan I hope to make a few appearances on It Takes Two during the series. Hopefully I’ll be OK in time for the Christmas special but I can’t guarantee that yet because I have to get the doctor’s all-clear before I do anything."

And who does he wish he was dancing with?: "We have a much younger cast this year that’s much more energetic and so vibrant. If I had to pick someone I would have liked to have danced with I’d have to go with Alison Hammond because I know we’d have a lot of fun or Caroline Flack because I think she’s wonderful."

Read the full interview to find out what he thinks of the new pros, and who he thinks we should be watching out for this year.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Pairings

So, Tess has channeled her inner Cilla, and we have our couples. So, after some time to get used to them, here is my verdict.

Pixie Lott & Trent Whidden - this is one of the least interesting couples, in my opinion. Pixie, rightly or wrongly, has been given the 'ringer' tag and she is partnered with a new pro who hasn't had the chance to build up a fan base of his own. I think that no matter how good they are together, they might struggle to get votes. Still, they'll be good enough, and might convince the public by the time it starts to matter.

Jennifer Gibney & Tristan McManus - I'm sure they've only been partnered because they are both Irish. Like Trent, Tristan doesn't have a fan base yet, but somehow I think he might win over some female viewers (I am obviously above all that. Or something). I'll be interested to see how Jennifer gets on with the dancing.

Judy Murray & Anton DuBeke - they should be dynamite in the ballroom. You can tell from her natural poise that Judy will have brilliant posture. But I fear for her in the latin. It's always been Anton's downfall, and therefore his partner's downfall, too. If Judy claims she hates latin, we'll know what's driving it.

Alison Hammond & Aljaž Skorjanec - Alison proved in the group number that she can move, so Aljaž definitely has the chance to do well again. And no doubt that once the serious training starts, Alison will start shrinking. She will be this year's Lisa, but the comparisons could harm her. Lisa was so beloved during her series, can Alison live up to that?

Sunetra Sarker & Brendan Cole - I don't think Sunetra will have the same natural ability as Sophie last year, but Brendan has proved to be a brilliant and supportive teacher in recent years who has brought out the best in all of his partners. Except Lulu.

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev - this is an exciting pairing. They look great together, and Caroline clearly has some ability. I can't wait to see their journey (yes, I went there!).

Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton - Frankie could be good, but I worry that either she'll have confidence problems (think Victoria Pendleton), or she'll struggle to really let loose (like Holly Valance). Kevin was brilliant with Susanna last year, and I hope he can have a partnership as good with Frankie.

Gregg Wallace & Aliona Vilani - Gregg's heart is definitely in Strictly, but I'm not sure if his feet will be. Aliona is great with a talented partner, but seems to struggle when she has someone weaker. My expectations are not very high for them, I'm sorry to say.

Scott Mills & Joanne Clifton - Scott said in the Red Carpet show that he hoped to be pared with Joanne, so I'm please for him that his wish was granted. I just hope Joanne can stop Tweeting love to everyone long enough to teach him some dance moves. Scott didn't exactly shine in last night's group number, but as a Eurovision presenter, he's not going to be afraid of a sequin or two.

Tim Wonnacott & Natalie Lowe - Natalie is a patient and supportive teacher, as we saw in her sessions with the wedding couple last year. Natalie also doesn't judge her partners, at least not publicly, and always choreographs to match their ability. This could be enough to get them past the first couple of weeks.

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer - I really don't know how this will go. Karen was brilliant with Dave last year, but not so great with Nicky. I think they could end up in the middle of the table somewhere.

Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff - Simon should be a bit good, and Kristina thrives with a partner who takes it seriously. I think Simon will work hard, and if he has a determination to win, they could go far.

Thom Evans & Iveta Lukosiute - most of the female pros looked keen to get Thom, but Iveta was the lucky lady. Thom is a very different proposition to Mark, and I can't wait to see what she can do with a totally different kind of partner.

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara - I think Jake & Janette will have fun together, but I get the impression that Jake might struggle with the dancing. I just can't see him being a dark horse. The EastEnders vote should keep him in for a while, though.

Steve Backshall & Ola Jordan - Steve is a bit like a Blue Peter presenter, ready for anything, and I think he'll really throw himself into it. Ola is a taskmaster, and I think he'll respond well to her. If he can move, the'll do quite well.

So there we have it. See you on 26th September to get this party started!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Pasha And Rachel Dating In Secret

When Rachel Riley's marriage ended during last year's Strictly, there were denials all round that it had anything to do with her dancing partner Pasha Kovalev.

But according to the Sun on Sunday, the pair have now started dating in secret. Daily Mail says that the paper claims Rachel is "head over heels" for the Siberian dancer. When asked if they started dating over the summer, long after Rachel had left her husband, he responded: "That's what happened."

A source told the paper: "He is really excited and has been telling friends he is in love and she could be the one. They were definitely not an item at the time of the split but they stayed in touch and eventually romance blossomed."

Monday, September 01, 2014

Brucie Bonus

Sir Bruce Forsyth will return to Strictly, and is expected to hand the glitterball over to Tess Daly, symbolising her promotion to lead co-host of the show.

A source told the Daily Mirror: “It will be a symbolic ceremony. And knowing Bruce, it will be sure to involve a nifty dance move or two. It’s great to have him back. He is such an iconic part of the show.

Strictly The Best?

Is Emma the best Strictly participant ever?

Readers of the Radio Times seem to think so, as they have voted her the show's best dancer, taking 23% of the magazine's poll. Emma, who was partnered by Darren Bennett, only managed third place in Series 3.

Emma's best score was 37, achieved for both the waltz and paso doble in the same week.

Completing the top five were Kara Tointon, Jill Halfpenny, Mark Ramprakash and Matt Baker.

Emma was great, and it's good to see someone who took part such a long time ago recognised, but I am surprised that the crown wasn't taken by a series winner.

Final Four Participants

The final four celebrities were announced late last week (I really need to stop taking weekends away!).

First up is TV presenter Caroline Flack. Caroline is no stranger to 'reality' TV, having worked on the sister shows of some of TV's biggest programmes, most notably I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here Now! and The Xtra Factor. I fondly remember her on The Games: Live At Trackside with Justin Lee Collins.

It is not the first time Caroline has donned the sequins and hit the floor. Caroline won BBC Three's Dancing On Wheels competition with wheelchair dancer (and now Paralympic swimmer) James O'Shea in 2010. Judging by this clip, she could do pretty well again.

Caroline said: “Ever since I was a presenter on CBBC and used to see the Strictly judges walking around Television Centre I have wanted to be on the show. I am so excited to get started and I just want to get through the first dance with no mistakes….plus I really want to master my ‘dance face’!”

Actress Jennifer Gibney is next on the list. Jennifer plays Cathy Brown in Irish comedy Mrs. Brown's Boys, and is married to Brendan O'Carroll who plays the titular role.

Jennifer said: “As a child I wrote to Blue Peter asking could I dance with Pan's People. Now at last I get a chance to earn my badge - excited doesn't cover it!!"

Blue Peter isn't known for fixing it for children to fulfil their dreams. I have suspicions about this statement, but I cannot raise them for legal reasons...

MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace has been linked with Strictly on-and-off since 2010, and was always keen to do it, but was too busy. It seems he has now cleared his diary and is ready to rumba.

He said: “I absolutely love the show and I love dancing! I cannot wait to get engrossed and live in a Strictly bubble!”

The final celebrity to sign-up is Bargain Hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott. Tim is the second BH presenter to take part. Those who have watched the show since the start will have fond memories of David Dickenson's jazz hands.

Tim is having a go in the hope of impressing Mrs. W: "My wife and I are big fans of the show and this year we’ll be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. She loves dancing but it’s never really been my specialty. I would love to pick up even just a few moves so that come our anniversary, I can take her out and show her a good time!”

So there you have it. Fifteen participants. One glitterball.

To find out how the celebrities are feeling ahead of the first show, tune in to see Zoe Ball interviewing them on the Strictly Red Carpet programme, available via the red button from 7.30pm on Wednesday evening, and two find out which pro will be partnering each participant, don't miss the Strictly Come Dancing Launch Show on BBC One on Sunday at 8pm.

Keeeeeeep dancing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Celebrity No. 11: Pixie Lott

Singer Pixie Lott is the latest addition to the Strictly Come Dancing line-up.

Not only is Pixie a number-one recording artist, as a youngster she appeared on the West End stage in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She attended Italia Conti stage school, so should have a good grounding in the performing arts.

Pixie is looking forward to being a part of the show: “I'm so excited to be doing Strictly, it's going to be a lot of fun. I always want to push myself as a performer so can't wait to learn the routines.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Celebrity No. 10: Scott Mills

Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills is the tenth celebrity to join Strictly.

I really like Scott, and this is probably my favourite announcement so far. Scott has been doing a brilliant job covering the Eurovision Semi Finals on BBC Three for the past few years (unfortunately at the expense of Paddy O'Connell, but that's another story), and also did a lot of work for LivingTV (now Sky Living) in the past, including a couple of documentaries following around David Hasslehoff.

Scott said: "I’m honoured be part of the biggest show on television and hoping this could be the start of a brand new skill for me. When I was younger, my Nan danced the foxtrot and waltz and it would be great for me to learn those dances, but I will be out of my comfort zone. Whatever happens, I’m really looking forward to the weekly fake tans!”

I can't wait to see Scott, although something tells me he might get really nervous. I don't know why I think that. I get the feeling he's not used to being so exposed. But I think he'll work hard no matter what, and I can't wait to see who he is pared with. I think Janette might be a good match.

Scott Mills

Celebrity No. 9: Steve Backshall

Naturalist and presenter of Deadly 60 on CBBC, Steve Backshall, is the next celebrity lined-up for Strictly. For those old enough not to be current CBBC viewers, he was also a presenter of The Really Wild Show for four years.

He said: “My day job filming wildlife in jungles and swamps is nothing like as scary as what is ahead. I think Strictly Come Dancing is going to be my wildest challenge by far!”

He's taken on sharks, snakes, crocodiles and spiders. How will he manage against Craig Revel Horwood?

Steve Backshall

Celebrity No. 8: Jake Wood

Actor Jake Wood is celebrity number eight. He is best known for playing Max Branning in EastEnders, a role he has had since 2006.

Jake is hoping that the public will get the chance to get to know the real him.

He said: "I'm really relishing the prospect of hitting the Strictly dance floor this year. I'm doing it for all the dads out there and you never know, there's always a chance of being the first Walford resident to take home the glitterball... Bring it on!"

Poor Jake. Someone should tell him that Jill Halfpenny, who played regular character Kate Mitchell in EastEnders, already won it in Series 2...