Strictly Come Blogging

Louise. Lou. Loulabelle. Loulabelle44. Louby. loulabelle44@outlook.com.
Proudly blogging about Strictly Come Dancing ALL YEAR ROUND since 2006.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Time To Remember

This is the time of year when we stop and think about all those great servicemen and women who have served our country in various conflicts, in order that we can enjoy the lifestyles we have today. This year is especially significant, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War.

The Royal British Legion was set up in 1921 following the war, and each year sells poppies as a symbol of remembrance.

It can't have escaped your notice that the performers on Strictly Come Dancing all wear special, sparkly poppies.


Brendan & Sunetra wearing their poppies

Once again, the Royal British Legion have joined with Marks & Spencer, meaning you can wear the same poppy as the stars of Strictly. The range includes the sparkly poppies in two sizes, plus cufflinks, pins and a bracelet. The charity is hoping to raise £750,000 from the collection.


Sparkly poppy














The collection can be purchased in-sore or online at marksandspencer.com or poppyshop.org.uk.

The Royal British Legion is Registered Charity Number: 219279.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday Musings: Week 5

I have a slightly difference perspective on Strictly this week, since I was lucky enough to be in the studio.

Jake & Janette's quickstep was good, but I didn't think it was quite as good as some of his other performances. He was light on his feet, but his posture wasn't quite right. I liked the routine, and Jake continues to perform well, but I just didn't love it. Maybe it was the music. It's a brave person who uses the music from 'that' jive...

I enjoyed Sunetra & Brendan's Viennese waltz. I loved the story-telling between them. I disagreed with Craig about Sunetra's eyeline. The mood of the dance was sad and coy, so I thought it was legitimate for her to have her eyes to the floor. I don't think her lack of spotting impacted on her turns. It was also good to see them do a fleckerl. Well done, Brendan.

I thought Scott & Joanne did a good job this week. Their Charleston was cheeky and fun. As I have said before, Scott's timing is good, and he did well with the unusual timing in places which picked out the accents in the music. It was Scott's most enjoyable performance so far, only spoiled by the incident in the middle.

Thom & Iveta's cha cha was enjoyable. It was a very confident performance. However, I had to agree with Bruno's comment that it looked a bit more like a salsa than a cha cha. It was enjoyable, but not show-stopping.

Frankie & Kevin's foxtrot was very sweet. Frankie is so effortless when she dances, you can let the performance wash over you. I found the choreography a little odd, though. Frankie spent most of the dance travelling forward, or in promenade. I was looking to see if she would flick her toes up while travelling backwards, and it was that that made me notice that she barely went backwards.

Alison & Aljaž did not have a very good week. Their tango lacked drive and it wasn't sharp enough. Alison didn't pull up in the body and push her head back far enough. Her footwork lacked conviction and the whole thing was devoid of drama. I didn't enjoy it at all.

Mark & Karen were a pleasure to watch this week. After being in the bottom two last week, they came out fighting with their cha cha. It was fun and bouncy. I loved the samba rolls and butucadas. Mark was having a blast out there, and it was fantastic.

Simon & Kristina's Viennese waltz was solid, but uninspiring. No fleckerl. Simon's posture was lovely, and I loved the little underarm turns which Kristina put in near the end. It was good, but again, not showstopping.

Judy & Anton were a little better this week, although her Charleston was devoid of any swivel. But it was nice to see Judy using her face for once. Her timing was still off a little. I'm not sure a standing ovation was in order. I was glad to be sitting in a part of the studio where were weren't allowed to stand!

Caroline & Pasha were the couple of the night for me, and I felt their paso was slightly undermarked. The intent in Caroline's eyes was intense. Her lines are gorgeous, and she is confident both in and out of hold. I could watch that paso again and again.

Steve & Ola's waltz was gorgeous. It was so romantic. They glided around the floor as if on a cloud. It was lovely to see a slightly different side to Steve. He made a lovely leading man, and I loved the billowing chiffon on Ola's dress which added to the mood. Grand job. I thought they were undermarked, too.

I thought Pixie & Trent were overmarked. I liked that their samba was a little bit more traditional, and the samba rolls were good, but Pixie lacked the essential bounce action for me. I don't blame her for that, I was never able to get it, but it lacked that little undulation that I would like to see. Not that there was a lot of opportunity for her to demonstrate it, as the choreography wasn't exactly packed with classic basic steps. I'm afraid that she didn't do it for me.

Caroline and Steve were head and shoulders above the rest for me this week. I was convinced that Alison was going to end up in the bottom two this week, and I would have been quite happy to see her there, probably with Judy. There seems to be a growing feeling that Scott doesn't deserve to be there, but at least it's clear how hard he is working and how much fun he is having. Judy says she's enjoying herself, but really doesn't show it. And she doesn't have the fun factor of a Russell Grant. Judy out next, please...

Here are the videos...

Jake & Jeanette



Sunetra & Brendan



Scott & Joanne



Thom & Iveta



Frankie & Kevin



Alison & Aljaž 



Mark & Karen



Simon & Kristina



Judy & Anton



Caroline & Pasha



Steve & Ola



Pixie & Trent

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Robin Likely To Return For Christmas Special

Robin Windsor has revealed that he expects to be back for the Strictly Christmas special.

He told the Daily Mirror: “I had a chat with the producers to talk about Christmas and that will start rehearsals in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t been 100% confirmed but it’s looking very likely at the moment.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Service: Week 4

Week 4, the week where you had to try and suss out which dance it was from about three bars of actual dance content. I used to think Artem's routines lacked content, but against what we saw this week, his routines could have been serious competition routines! Come on pros, you can do better! It was also a week of good couples not being quite as good as they have been in the past.

Boosted by last week's scores and comments, Frankie seems to have found her mojo. She really went for the cha cha. I was disappointed with the content of the routine, however. Kevin could have given her lots more basic cha cha content. She performed what she was given well, but it could have been so much better. And Frankie needs to watch her free harm, which was slung around a bit wildly in places.

I really liked Mark & Karen's quickstep. The routine was full-on, and packed with steps. They kept together, and his timing was almost perfect, with only one tiny error. I think this was Mark's best dance so far, and for once it wasn't camp. Well done, Mark!

The tango got off to a bumpy start when Judy got flung across the floor by Anton. They didn't keep in character, and it was very 'walky'. I was distracted by the audience members sitting at the tables. I just didn't enjoy it at all. But fair play to her for throwing herself into the last lift.

I really enjoyed Simon & Kristina's Charleston. He had a lovely swivel action. It was cheeky and fun, with great facial expressions. I loved the lift at the end, brave and clean. A lovely routine, well performed.

I liked the parts of Alison & Aljaž's which were actually samba. She had nice botofogos and running promonades, but it was still flat-footed. I liked that they attempted a samba roll. But there was too much hip-rolling and not much else. A good effort, but Alison has never lived up to her Week 1 performance.

The American smooth really wasn't for Scott & Joanne. Scott seemed to not know the routine, and was looking to Joanne throughout. I would hate to have seen my face while I was watching it. I really don't know what to make of it, but it wasn't good. Scott is adorable, but this definitely wasn't his dance.

Steve & Ola's salsa was pretty good. I wasn't as wowed with Steve as I have been in previous weeks. I loved when Steve did the splits through Ola's legs, and the final lift was impressive. He kept the rhythms well, but it just lacked the flair we've seen from Steve in the past.

Pixie & Trent's rumba was lovely. I thought it was going to be a bit awkward, because of their brother-sister relationship, but it was lovely. I agree with Len that it was a bit lyrical, and there wasn't enough rumba content. It was tender and simple. Her legs were a bit hit and miss. But as always, Pixie delivered.

Tim & Natalie's paso doble lacked drive for me. It looked like Natalie was leading. He was leant over Natalie and needs to pull up more. I didn't enjoy it, and I'm starting to grow tired of Tim now.

Sunetra & Brendan are always so watchable, but I didn't enjoy their salsa as much as I have some of their other routines. She does strange things with her arms, and can be a bit flat-footed. She seemed to lose energy as the dance went on. But I love Sunetra, and hopefully she's done enough to stay.

All the dances seemed to be lacking in content this week, and Thom & Ivea's foxtrot continued that theme. Thom seems to perform better out of hold, he looks like he's concentrating when he is in hold. It was charming, but he didn't do it for me this week.

Jake & Janette's jive wasn't as good as some of the past routines. He needed to get up on the balls of his feet more. He seemed to raise his shoulders on the kick section. There was a stumble in the middle of the routine, but he 'styled it out', as we used to say at my south-east London comprehensive. Not quite as exciting as the salsa, but still a great performance.

One couple who didn't skimp on the content were Caroline & Pasha. They got straight into hold and covered the whole floor. It was high-energy, they captured the mood of the song and did a grand job. There were a couple of stumbles, but it was great otherwise.

My favourites of the week were Simon & Kristina, who I think were under-marked, and Caroline & Pasha. I think the the bottom of the leaderboard correctly reflected the bottom couples. I can't spilt Scott, Judy and Tim this week. I think I would have Scott and Judy in the dance-off. I would send Judy home, purely because I enjoy watching Scott more than Judy. Judy probably has more ability, but she's so cold, while Scott is so warm and charming.

I'm going to see Strictly next week, so I'm feeling nervous about the dance-off. I would rather see Judy or Tim leave, but I'm scared for Scott. I want to see Scott!

Here are the videos...

Frankie & Kevin



Mark & Karen



Judy & Anton



Simon & Kristina



Alison & Aljaž



Scott & Joanne



Steve & Ola



Pixie & Trent



Tim & Natalie



Sunetra & Brendan



Thom & Iveta



Jake & Janette



Caroline & Pasha

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Service: Week 3

Movie Week is upon us, and what an opening to the show! The opening number was fantastic, and set the bar for the rest of the programme.

I like the storytelling in Alison & Aljaž's jive, but I didn't like the content. It was almost like Aljaž was scared to let Alison come off the floor at all. I know there had been conversations in the week about her bouncing chest, but she could have been given so much more. If I had been Alison, I'd have demanded better content. I understand that she probably isn't as physically fit as some of the others, but it could have been so much better. As always, Alison sold the performance, but it was the content that let her down. She also needs to point her toes more.

I love watching Steve, and his quickstep with Ola was so much fun. He performed brilliantly. He kept the energy level up throughout and sold it. His footwork is a little iffy - heel leads where there should be toes and vice versa - and there was a little bit of gapping on the fast parts, but he totally owned it. I think the judges were a bit stingy with their marks.

I did not enjoy Jennifer & Tristan's foxtrot at all. In fact, there was so little content, it was a good job I knew which dance it was supposed to be. Terrible! Her posture needs a lot more work, and she stumbled quite a bit. Len called it "relaxed", I would call it messy and uncontrolled. It lacked performance, which really showed as she had to follow Steve.

I thought Simon & Kristina did a decent job with the rumba. It lacked polish, which I feel might have been there had the rumba come later in the series. His hands looked a bit odd in places. I think Bruno is right - he's presenting the dance rather than living it.

The quickstep was probably Judy & Anton's best dance so far, but it was still very tentative. Judy is very lucky that the dance was in hold and Anton could get her around the floor. There were no Charleston elements, which was a shame. I'm not even sure Judy is enjoying the experience...

Tim wasn't as enjoyable to watch this week. I found the Charleston very dull, and if it wasn't for Natalie I might have dropped off to sleep. The whole thing lacked the charm he's shown in the past. It was out of time a lot, and Tim didn't do much Charleston at all. He seemed under-rehearsed, as he kept looking to Natalie for prompting.

Caroline & Pasha's rumba was lovely. Caroline put all the passion into the dance, and they connected and performed so well together. It had the longing that the rumba needs. Caroline is just a natural dancer, and so lovely to watch.

I still maintain that Scott's timing is good, but sadly his body doesn't co-operate with this brain. It was difficult to identify that it was in fact a samba. Scott is trying really hard and is genuinely going for it and performing, and Joanne is putting in a decent amount of steps. Although perhaps if they both spent less time on Twitter and more time training, it might improve. Scott's so likeable, but his dancing is not.

I didn't like the music choice for Frankie & Kevin's paso, but they did a brilliant job. Like Bruno, I liked the nods to West Side Story, mixed with a paso. Frankie had lovely shaping and passion. It was good to see her fiery side. I can't wait to see what else she brings to the floor in the future.

Jake & Janette's waltz was definitely not traditional. But it would be hard to do a traditional dance to the Godfather Waltz. Once again, we saw Jake's acting skills used to the max. I liked it, but I'm now itching to see Jake's softer side in the ballroom. I want to see a flowing, driven foxtrot or a nippy quickstep.

Pixie makes a beautiful Disney princess, and her quickstep with Trent was lovely. The performance was great, and her moves were elegant and clean. It was a shame that the jeté didn't quite come off, but otherwise it was great.

Tom & Iveta gave a good Charleston performance. It's a shame the timing was off on the final kicks, as it undid what had otherwise been a good routine. It didn't blow me away, but it was good. It was interesting that Tom said he was trying to mimic Gene Kelly's facial expressions, because I think he nailed it. I don't love him on the floor, but I can't put my finger on why...

Sunetra continues to capture me. She just lights up the floor. Lovely choreography from Brendan. It was smooth, like an American smooth should be. The second lift looked a little heavy and there were a couple of odd arm movements, but that would be my only criticism. Sunetra is looking like she might be an all-rounder who can do both ballroom and latin.

Before I can talk about Mark & Karen's paso, I have to give kudos to the lighting team for the brilliant opening, with Karen hanging from the building. Awesome! Sadly, the dance didn't live up to the production. It was all a little embarrassing. Mark did go for it, and at first I thought Mark was going to be a bit more manly, but it descended into camp once again. As a party piece on a TOWIE Christmas special, it would have gone down a storm, but on Strictly it wasn't up to it. Bonkers, but in a very watchable way.

Caroline was the best of the night for me. There are so many that could be in the bottom two, but I think due to a lack of content, I would opt for Tim and Jennifer. While Judy and Scott were also pretty terrible, both had more content reflective of the dance they were performing, which therefore makes it more difficult to hide errors. Tim and Jennifer both stood around while their partners danced around them, while Judy and Scott were more involved. For that reason, Tim and Jennifer would be my bottom two. I'm not sure which of them I would send home, as I liked both of them more in previous weeks than I did this week. I would possibly be more likely to send Jennifer home, but there's not much to separate them.

Here are the videos...

Alison & Aljaž



Steve & Ola



Jennifer & Tristan



Simon & Kristina



Judy & Anton



Tim & Natalie



Caroline & Pasha



Scott & Joanne



Frankie & Kevin



Jake & Janette



Pixie & Trent



Thom & Iveta



Sunetra & Brendan



Mark & Karen

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Hayley Tamaddon Would Like To Do Strictly

Coronation Street actress Hayley Tamaddon would jump at the opportunity to do Strictly.

STV reports that Hayley, who previously competed in Dancing On Ice, said: "As a kid, because I lived in Blackpool, I danced as a kid but we never did ballroom, so I used to go with my mum to watch the ballroom dancers because they always used to dance in the Tower Ballroom. I'd just sit and watch four hours about how they did it, so yeah, in a heartbeat. Anything to do with dancing and performing, I would love to do, yeah.''

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Sunday Service: Week 2

Week 2 is always a marathon, with fifteen couples to watch...

Thom & Iveta kicked things off with a lukewarm salsa to Hot, Hot, Hot. It was quite a brave song choice, since the previous routine to that song is one that always comes up on lists of favourite Strictly dances ever. And Thom certainly did not live up to that. The performance was just OK. There was a mistake in the middle. The lift was impressive, but a little heavy handed. Overall, it was just alright.

Jennifer & Tristan's waltz was much better than their jive last week. Despite working on her posture, it was still a bit awkward. Her shoulders were lifted, especially the left one. There was a point where they were dancing in line, rather than being slightly offset from each other. It was still a bit nervous. She could be in danger.

Simon & Kristina's tango was interesting. It wasn't perfect - there was quite a lot of gapping. Simon captured the mood of the dance, but it didn't do it for me. Maybe it was the choreography I didn't like. I'm not sure. His hips were brilliant. Great swivels. I think Bruno is right, he needs to connect with the dance a bit more. He'll get there. Give him a few weeks and he'll be nailing.

Oh dear. Gregg & Aliona's Charleston wasn't much better than their cha cha. Gregg was off-time a lot. If you didn't know it was a Charleston, you probably wouldn't have sussed it out. He was still looking at Aliona for prompting. There were steps missing, and steps where they didn't belong. I've seen enough.

I didn't really enjoy Alison & Aljaž's foxtrot. There was not enough in hold for me, it was boarding on American smooth, and lacked content. Her footwork was poor. Her feet were too far apart. Her head position was not very pretty in hold. I like Alison, but I was looking for so much more from this routine.

Wow, wow, wow! Jake & Janette's salsa was phenomenal. Jake was in control the whole time. He had great hip action and timing. The neck-drop sequence was heart-stopping, one of the most difficult we have ever seen on Strictly. The drop from the last lift was very brave. It was a faultless performance, and I think the only reason it only got 9s was because it's week 2, and the judges are afraid to get their 10s out too early. What a great partnership.

Judy looked more comfortable as the cha cha progressed. She's certainly not as comfortable with the acting as Anton. It was better when it got quicker and had more content. Her timing was off in lots of places. She's less cringy than Gregg, but equally poor.

I think the music let down Caroline & Pasha's tango. Tangos to pop songs are rarely as good as traditional ones because they just don't have the same atmosphere. However, their whole routine was excellent. Loads and loads of content - Pasha didn't hold back. Caroline was sharp and staccato in her moves. An excellent performance, which I think was worthy of better than 7s. I can't wait to see what else they deliver.

I didn't like the opening to Tim & Natalie's walz. I think being out of hold exposed Tim. In hold was a little better, but not great. His footwork was poor, leading with the toes rather than the heels. He needs to watch his shoulders. It was good enough for a tea dance, but not good enough for Strictly. It wasn't as charming as his cha cha last week.

Sunetra is far from perfect, but she has something about her. I really enjoy watching her. Her cha cha with Brendan was very nice. She needs to watch her shoulders a bit, she lifts and drops them like it's a cockney knees-up. I think the judges were right about her legs, they need to be straighter, and she still needs more core strength. But as her fitness improves, she will improve too. I'm looking forward to seeing her grow as a dancer.

I think Mark & Karen had a really tough job to do this week. To have to do an American smooth without having done any other ballroom previously is very unfair. They had no base to work from. It wasn't very smooth, but I don't really blame Mark for that. I think he will be better in future once he gets the basics perfected.

Oh dear. Scott & Joanne. That tango was difficult to watch. Scott was hunched over Joanne. They were battling each other in hold, but not because it was a tango. It was definitely the wrong song, too jolly for tango. It was still stompy, and I didn't enjoy it as much as last week. Bruno's assertion that it was "weird" probably summed it up.

Pixie & Trent's waltz was very pretty. I loved the 'shawlography' near the beginning. Pixie made the dance look effortless. They covered the floor really well. It was clean and well placed. But I can't say they captivated me. It was lovely, but I wasn't moved. Time will tell if she's captivates anyone else.

I really enjoy watching Steve & Ola dance. His cha cha was lovely. He dances like a man, and is in control the whole time, but there's a lot of fun in the performance too. I enjoyed it so much that I didn't even look at his footwork. I don't agree with Craig that Steve's hips are wooden, I think for a blokey bloke they're pretty good.

I think the cheekiness of the Charleston was lost by having a 50s theme, but Frankie & Kevin did a decent job of it. Whoever decided on the music choice should be fired! Take away the fact that it was supposed to be a Charleston, and it was a good performance. It was high-energy and fun. Frankie is so capable, I can't wait to see what she brings in the coming weeks.

So, the winner for me was Jake. The bottom two should be Gregg and Judy or Scott. Judy is probably marginally better than Scott, but Scott has more personality. Either way, I would like to see Gregg go home.

Here are the videos...

Thom & Iveta



Jennifer & Tristan



Simon & Kristina



Gregg & Aliona



Alison & Aljaž



Judy & Anton



Jake & Janette



Caroline & Pasha



Tim & Natalie



Sunetra & Brendan



Mark & Karen



Scott & Joanne



Pixie & Trent



Steve & Ola



Frankie & Kevin

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Frankie Injures Ankle In Training

Frankie Bridge suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week, but has been cleared to dance on tonight's show.

A source told The Mirror: “It would have been gutting to see Frankie miss a show this soon – she made such a massive splash with her performance in week one – so we’re all relieved she’s back on form.”

Thursday, October 02, 2014

On The Radio...

I had the exciting opportunity to talk to various local BBC Radio stations on Saturday morning about Strictly Come Dancing.

Most of them are online here for the next couple of days:

BBC Radio Leicester - listen from 1hr 25mins
BBC Radio Bristol - listen from 1hr 29 mins
BBC Radio Northampton  - listen from 1hr 45 mins
BBC Radio Wales - listen from 25 mins
BBC Radio Cumbria - listen from 2hrs 18 mins
BBC Sussex - listen from 2hrs 40 mins
BBC Radio Derby - listen from 2hrs 46 mins
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire - listen from 2hrs 55 mins
BBC Radio Stoke - listen from 26 mins

There you go. Own trumpet suitably blown!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

We Love You, Miss Horwood!

Craig Revel Horwood will be getting back in touch with his feminine side next year, as he is set to join a touring company of Annie from July 2015.

Craig will play mistress of the orphanage Miss Hannigan in the production, which will visit Newcastle, Llandudno, Southampton, Southend, Eastbourne, Norwich and Cardiff, with other venues to be announced.











Congratulations, Karen!

Congratulations to Karen Hardy, who announced on Monday's Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two that she is four months pregnant.

This is Karen's second child with husband Conrad. They already have a son, Callum, who was born in 2005.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Service: Week 1

Here are my thoughts on the remaining couples in Week 1...

Mark was way better than I was expecting. His cha cha with Karen was pretty good. He was off time in places, but there was a lot of content and then he coped well. It was a little bit camp, and over-excited, but he definitely has potential.

Alison & Aljaž did a brilliant job with the cha cha. Alison had a brilliant time on the floor. She has excellent timing and rhythm, and lights up the floor. I think she could have done with more hip action. The dance suited her, but I'm not sure how she'll get on with the ballroom routines.

Steve & Ola's tango was delightful. He needs to pull his shoulders back a bit more, and not hunch over Ola. It was strong and confident. A brilliant start.

The jive was a bit too fast for Jennifer. She struggled to keep up with Tristan, or with the music. She was a bit flat-footed, and her shoulders were hunched up. She also seemed to truncate her arms at the elbows. She needs to open up her body a lot more. 

When Thom & Iveta started their waltz I thought it was going to be amazing, but it was a little flat for me. His timing was iffy in places. It was a bit boring. He needed to pull his shoulders back a bit. He tried hard with his footwork, but it lacked confidence. I think maybe latin will be more up his street.

Sunetra really surprised me. Based on the small about of training footage we'd seen, I thought Brendan might have his work cut-out. But it was pretty good start. She needs more core strength, especially for a dance like the tango. She shows potential.

There was nothing about Gregg & Aliona's cha cha that I enjoyed. It had no redeeming qualities at all. It was out of time, poorly danced and there was nothing enjoyable about it at all. Sorry!

Frankie & Kevin's waltz was just gorgeous. They looked great together. She has great arms, right down to the hand placement on Kevin's arm. Frankie will go far.

Simon & Kristina's jive was a good effort for week 1. He was a bit flat-footed, but otherwise it was excellent. He was in control and cool. I can't wait to see his ballroom.

Here are the videos...

Mark & Karen



Alison & Aljaž



Steve & Ola



Jennifer & Tristan



Thom & Iveta



Sunetra & Brendan



Gregg & Aliona



Frankie & Kevin



Simon & Kristina

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week 1: Friday Thoughts

Guess who's back, back again. Strictly's back. Tell a friend! And I'm also back to let you know what I thought about everything.

So, a varied show with quite a few surprises - good and bad. Including Claudia's hair, make up and bright pink dress. I did not expect that!

Caroline & Pasha had the tough job of going out first, and they totally nailed their cha cha. From the moment the music started, I had a good feeling. It was really impressive. It was packed with choreography, and apart from one small mistake, Caroline breezed though all of it. For week 1, it was fantastic, and should have been top of the leaderboard in my opinion.

Tim & Natalie were the night's first dancefloor surprise. Tim really gave it a decent effort. I loved how much he went for it. Their cha cha wasn't great, but it was fun to watch. It was a bit wild and uncontrolled, but a decent first try. Well done, Tim!

The next surprise was Jake. He and Janette had the tango, a really difficult dance to do first, but he did a really amazing job. I guess being an actor helps, because Jake was totally in character. His frame was fantastic and he maintained it throughout. His footwork was a bit iffy, and his legs were too bent in places, but overall it was a pleasant surprise. Even the way he used his head was brilliant.

Judy & Anton were also surprising, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. Her timing was terrible. She littered the waltz routine with stutter-steps which were not choreographed. It was very ploddy. Judy was lucky that she had Anton to pull her through the dance. Judy looked so lovely, and is so elegant when she's standing still, I really expected more. So disappointing.

I so wanted Scott & Joanne to be good, but it wasn't to be. Scott's cha cha was very stompy. Scott looked better when out of hold doing more 'freestyle' moves, but it was still pretty bad, and worse in hold. In his defense, he does have a sense of timing and that is the one thing no teacher can teach. All of his routine was in time, but it had no sense of flow. His arms and hands were not pretty. 

The last couple tonight were Pixie & Trent. It was no surprise that Pixie was great. Her jive had great style. There was a small mistake in the routine, but it was mostly spot on. She had lovely picked-up kicks, which you don't often see celebrities achieving. Unfortunately, I think the public are against Pixie, and it's going to be hard to win them over. She is heading to be this year's Denise van Outen.

So, what will tomorrow bring when the remaining couples take to the floor?

Here are the videos...

Caroline & Pasha



Tim & Natalie



Jake & Janette



Judy & Anton



Scott & Joanne



Pixie & Trent

Friday, September 26, 2014

More First Steps...

Here are the rest of the 'first steps' videos...

Steve & Ola...



Jenny & Tristan... (one, two, tree, four)



Alison & Aljaž...


Simon & Kristina...



Thom & Iveta...



Judy & Anton...



Tim & Natalie...




Sunetra & Brendan...


Gregg & Aliona...



Pixie & Trent...

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?