Strictly Come Blogging

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday Service: Week 6

Strictly's Halloween week was a show of two halves. Some ropy old performances in the first half, some terrible ones in the second.

Jonnie & Oti's cha cha wasn't that great. It was very ploddy. Jonnie's been pretty good in recent weeks, but this week he seemed to just stand around while Oti danced around him. It was just a bit off. And I couldn't get past how much he looked like Tim Minchin.

Ruth & Anton's quickstep was really bumpy. There was a big gap between them for a lot of the routine. They seemed to go up and down at different times as they trotted around the floor, it looked as though Ruth was fighting against Anton instead of dancing with him. It was messy and heavy. Hard to watch.

Simon & Karen left the smooth out of their American smooth. The whole thing was flat and walky. The fleckerl was pretty weak, but at least he attempted it and didn't do a standing spin cop-out. Again, it wasn't nice to watch.

Gemma & Aljaž's jive wasn't the best. I enjoyed the routine, but it all felt a bit heavy. I can't put my finger on why. Gemma's leg action was lovely, proper retraction. There was lots of content in the routine. It just missed the mark.

Joe & Katya's foxtrot was kind of strange, and I can't decide if I liked it or not. It took a bit long to get going, although I did like the opening section. Joe has good timing, but the performance didn't look as confident has it has in past weeks. I liked the armography section in the middle, but it detracted from the foxtrot content a bit. Great pivots, though.

Mollie's cha cha was really wooden. I kept waiting for it to get going, and it just never did. Lots of wriggling, but not much hip action. Maybe they suffered with AJ being poorly at the start of the week. I don't know. But I didn't enjoy it.

Alexandra & Gorka's tango put things back on track. It was sharp. It had loads of drive and drama. My only criticism is that she needs to make sure she points her toes on all of the kicks. She does it some of the time, but not all of the time. Loved the part where she held her frame and Gorka walked around her.

I loved Davood & Nadiya's rumba. It was haunting and beautiful. I thought Davood did pretty well for a male celebrity. I agree with Shirley that the routine lacked content, but that's on Nadiya, not Davood. I hate it when the judges punish the celebrities when they don't like the routine. The same happened to Greg & Natalie last year. It's not fair on the celebs.

I thought Susan & Kevin's foxtrot was decent enough. It was a bit walky, not amazing. It was confident, though. I think the judges were a bit harsh on Susan tonight. It wasn't as bad as they made out.

Debbie & Giovanni's Charleston was fun and lively. It was enjoyable to watch, and packed with steps. Debbie had a lovely swivel, better than most celebs. However, the lifts weren't perfect, and she nearly fell over at the end of the routine. Good, but not worth tens.

Aston was doing very odd things with his upper body on the appels, especially at the beginning of the paso routine. The second half of the routine was better. His lines were pretty good, and he showed great strength. Janette's make-up was the best of the night, too.

Davood and Alexandra were my favourites tonight.

I think it will be an injustice if Simon is not back in the bottom two tomorrow. But who else? Could be Ruth, could be Jonnie, could be Mollie. There is no doubt in my mind, though, that Simon should be going home now.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

AJ Will Dance On Saturday

AJ missed training earlier in the week as he was ill, so Mollie began the week training with professional dancer Patrick Helm instead.

But no reference was made to this on It Takes Two tonight, where AJ appeared with Mollie, and looked to be fighting fit.

Blue Peter Presenters Join CIN Special

Following in the footsteps of newsreaders, Call The Midwife cast members and Olympians, this year Blue Peter presenters will take the Strictly plunge for Children In Need.

The couples are:

Anthea Turner & Brendan Cole

Dianne-Louise Jordan & Pasha Kovalev
Konnie Huq & Neil Jones
Radzi Chinyanganya & Chloe Hewitt
Tim Vincent & Dianne Buswell

The couples will perform a group number, and a winner will be selected from that.

Gethin Jones is the only Blue Peter presenter to have participated in the main series of Strictly so far, but as we've seen many celebrities make the leap from specials to the main series, maybe this will open the door for one of them if they prove popular.

Their performance will be broadcast as part of Children In Need night, 17th November, on BBC One.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Service: Week 5

Bruno, Bruno, wherefore art thou Bruno? A three-judge panel for the first time ever on Strictly. Scores out of 30 only. Strange old week.

Davood & Nadiya's jive was fun and energetic. It didn't set the floor alight, but I enjoyed the routine. Some nice tricks, although should cartwheels be in the jive? I think they should have done enough to stay out of the dance off this week.

Mollie & AJ's Viennese waltz was gorgeous. A lovely underarm turn on the bridge was beautiful. It too way to long to get in to hold, but I didn't really mind because I enjoyed watching it so much. In hold, it was lovely. Smooth, elegant, dreamy. Loved it.

Simon & Karen's Charleston was very clever. Simon generally stayed on the spot while Karen ran around him. It was pretty together. A few little errors. No swivel at all. I liked the routine, but Simon's performance wasn't wacky enough.

I'm afraid I wasn't that keen on Debbie & Giovanni's rumba. It lacked chemistry for me. It was better than last week - Debbie had worked on her legs, and it was was more earthy than before. I'm afraid it just didn't move me as much as the judges. Can we just take a moment to appreciate Craig's Bruno impression though? Brilliant.

Brian & Amy's jive was OK, but not great. Brian was way too flat-footed and stompy. It was slightly behind the music at times, not exactly out of time, but just a split-second out in places.

Susan & Kevin's cha cha was quite fun, but lacked technique. She needs to bring her feet toegther - you could drive a bus between her legs at times. She lacks hip action. The steps got away from her. Great performance, but not her best.

Aston & Janette's waltz spent way too much time out of hold for my liking. I liked the chemistry, but not so much the routine. Aston was leaning forward over Janette in places, particularly during the pivots. He needs to keep his upper body back a little more.

I did not enjoy Ruth & Anton's campy samba. Ruth spent most of the routine looking at Anton to see what came next. It lacked confidence. Ruth's hip action was hit and miss. Voltas were not pretty. Nope.

The only thing I didn't like about Gemma & Aljaž's foxtrot was her face. It was a bit dead, and her eyeline was way too high. As Darcey noted, she was looking at the ceiling. Her eyes were rolled back in her head. The quality of her dancing was lovely, however. A very nice routine.

I loved Joe & Katya's paso. Outstanding. With that hair and outfit, Joe totally looked like Darren Bennett... I loved the content. Joe danced it incredibly well. He was in control, and was so good that I really didn't look at Katya very much. Totally undermarked by Craig.

Another great performance from Alexandra & Gorka. It lacked a bit of flow for me. Like last week, she's still not always bringing her feet together. She has great isolations, body rolls to die for. She is a lovely dancer, so it's hard not to be super-critical.

Jonnie & Oti's routine was pure quickstep. No faffing about. No filler. Jonnie did a brilliant job. His topline is looking better. It was confident. A great end to the show.

Joe was the best of the night for me, followed by Jonnie and Mollie.

Brian, Simon and Ruth could all be in trouble this week. They were all the the bottom of the leaderboard, and I don't think any of their routines were good enough to save them. I think I'd like to see Simon go. I think he was better this week - Charleston is not as technical as other dances - but he lacks some of the quality and performance than help Brian and Ruth get away with dodgy dancing.

I guess we'll find out tonight.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bruno To Miss Saturday's Show

Bruno Tonioli will miss this week's Strictly Come Dancing.

According to The Sun, Bruno was always scheduled to miss this week's show due to another engagement. It is the first time Bruno has ever missed a recording.

A spokeswoman told the paper: “As was always the plan, Bruno Tonioli is not on the judging panel this weekend due to a very busy work schedule. He will be back as normal for our Halloween special and the rest of the series."

There will be no guest judge, so presumably scores will be out of 30 for this week only.

I wonder if the participants are a bit gutted, as they realise they are less likely to get cheeky 10s without Bruno.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

James & Ola Announce Debut Tour

Former Strictly pros James & Ola Jordan have announced their first live theatre tour.

James & Ola Uncensored: It's Hot, Dirty & Dancing!
The show, James & Ola Uncensored: It's Hot, Dirty & Dancing!, will tell the couple's 18-year personal story and career through dance. They will be joined by a company of dancers, and will perform numbers in a number of styles.

The couple said: “It’s great to be able to do our own tour, our way, and to offer something totally different to any other dance show. We want to perform a sexy, edgy interpretation of our life story, whilst still having all the sparkle and fun people expect from us - and the best part is that we get to dance together again, we cannot wait! ”

I'm quite shocked it has taken them so long to head out on tour. Most other Strictly pros have toured, some for many years. Having waited so long, I'm sure the nation's expectations are high.

The tour will begin in Blackpool on 3rd March, and visit 22 venues, ending in Liverpool on 2nd April. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow (20th October), and will be available from Ticketmaster.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ball vs Villani

A strange spat between former Strictly contestant Johnny Ball and his pro partner Aliona Villani has unfolded this week.

Johnny was the first celebrity voted off of Strictly in 2012. Early in the week before the elimination, Aliona fractured her ankle and was not able to perform. Iveta Lukosiute was drafted in to replace her, but they were voted off the show after the first performance.

This week, Johnny stated to the Sun on Sunday that his exit was fixed. He said: “It was a fix and it broke my heart. Aliona fell on a flat floor in flat shoes and said she had broken her leg. The next day she flew to the South of France for a pre-arranged weekend with her boyfriend.”

Johnny was voted off that weekend: “When I was knocked out [Iveta] said, ‘That’s funny, my contract ends on Tuesday’.”

It's possible that Iveta was only drafted in for a week, as the production didn't know exactly how long they would need her. If Johnny had gone through, they would have signed her for another week. I don't think her protracted contract is related to his exit. It just makes business sense.

Aliona has taken exception to the accusation that she faked her injury, and claims she has not instructed her solicitors to take action. She tweeted:

I suspect that it will all blow over, but I shall be keeping an eye on this one.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Service: Week 4

A few changes to the leaderboard this week, and an entertaining Saturday.

Debbie & Giovanni started the show with their cha cha. As always, Debbie was in time with the music. The routine had lots of good cha cha content. In fact, Debbie kind of reminded me of Camilla Dallerup on the floor. Her développé in the middle of the dance was gorgeous. However, her knees were too straight throughout, which gave the whole thing an odd look. Not Debbie's best.

Brian & Amy's punky paso was quite good fun. Brian was quite commanding. It wasn't technically correct, but there were a nice mix of steps and I liked that they used the mic stand as a cape stand-in. Odd, but it kind of worked. And I liked Amy's Michelle Visage look.

Mollie & AJ's salsa lacked fluidity. There were some really clunky transitions. There were some nice moments, but it just didn't flow. Before the series started, I really thought Mollie would be riding high, but she's got some work ahead of her if she's going to be a contender.

Davood looked really gorgeous in hold. His Viennese waltz was graceful and smooth when Nadiya was in his arms. I liked the lyrical elements in the choreography, but there was just too much out of hold for my taste. And there was an illegal lift, which since Craig 'Guardian of The Rules' Revel Horwood mentioned it, must still be a thing. He needs to take care not to lift Nadiya too high.

Charlotte & Brendon's jive took way too long to get going, although you have to love seeing Brendan slide down the banister. They used up a lot of music on the close, too. The whole middle part was a stompfest. Charlotte was really heavy footed for someone so light. She seemed to be chasing the music throughout the dance. She also needs to watch her arms, which looked a bit odd, and she needs to point her feet on the kicks.

Joe & Katya were not as strong as last week. He needs to be careful with his arms when they're not working. They looked really awkward, just dangling rather than being placed. He also had a few weird facial expressions, like he didn't know what a cha cha face should be. I wasn't that taken with the choreography this week. OK, but not great.

Ruth & Anton's tango got better as it went along. There was a lot of gapping early on, but they got closer, and then it started to really flow. It had great drama. Ruth needs to be careful not to go up and down in places and keep it flat. But it was pretty good, her best dance to date.

Aston & Janette's quickstep had good musicality - I liked the little chorus break. It was light and bright throughout, and Aston had great timing. He just needs to point his toes, and watch out for occasional gapping.

Simon & Karen's samba was a low-point of the night. There was a noticeable mistake at the end, and was there one near the start too? Something weird definitely happened. There were lots of basic steps - voltas, botofogos, walks, promenade runs - Karen did a good job choreographically. But there were timing issues. Simon tried hard, but it wasn't his dance.

Gemma & Aljaž's paso had lots of content.  It was strong. Gemma's timing was brilliant. She was on it all the way through. I liked the little break with the claps in the middle, and the confetti claps at the end were one of my favourite use of props (is glitter confetti a prop?) ever. A good job.

I feel a bit bad. I didn't like Alexandra & Gorka's jive as much as the judges, or most people of Twitter. That doesn't mean it was bad, it certainly wasn't. Alexandra is one of the strongest celebrities in the competition. I think Alexandra needs to make sure she keeps her feet together to make it neater, and she needs to straighten her legs a bit more in places too. I liked the jive, I just didn't love it.

I felt as though Jonnie & Oti's American smooth was a bit messy. He needs to watch his top line in places. He also needs to keep watching his bottom, which was stuck out at the beginning of the routine. His footwork was nice, and I liked the lifts in the middle. But it just felt a bit all over the place.

Susan & Kevin's quickstep was a lovely end to the show, which left me with a big smile on my face. It was better than I expected. It was light and fast. Such fun! It was a proper quickstep, very energetic, and very together. Susan & Kevin have such a great partnership. Loved the nod to Morecambe & Wise toward the end. A complete delight.

Susan and Gemma were my favourites of the night, and I really enjoyed the improvement that Ruth had made. I think the bottom two on the leaderboard should face the dance-off - Simon and Charlotte. They were definitely the weakest of the night. I'd probably send Simon home, but it would depend on the dance-0ff performance.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

NTAs: Vote For Strictly

It's time to vote for your favourites for the National Television Awards once again. This is the longlist vote.

Strictly is, as always, in the Talent category, against The Voice Kids, Britain's Got Talent, Let It Shine, The Voice UK, Pitch Battle, Sing: Ultimate A Capella and The X Factor.

Tess and Claudia are both in the TV Presenter category.

Craig, Darcey, Bruno and Shirley are all in the TV Judge category.

A a tribute to Sir Bruce, the Entertainment Award has now been named in his honour.

Click here to cast your votes. You have until 11pm on 23rd October. The shortlist will be announced in January, and voting will re-open then.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Saturday Service: Week 3

Theme weeks are always filled with expectation. Sometimes they hit. Sometimes they miss. This year's movie week was a show of two halves.

Karen & Simon kicked things off with their quickstep. Quite why Jessie would be dancing with Buzz I'm not sure. Well, unless he was in Spanish mode. Anyway, their quickstep wasn't that great. There was so much gapping, Bullseye the horse could have run straight between them. The whole thing lacked finesse. It was all a bit bumpy, and lacked sophistication.

Ruth & Anton had a tough job, performing the first rumba of the series. There were a few things wrong with it - Ruth lacked hip action, her running promenades lacked conviction and there were a few timing issues. But I still kind of enjoyed it.

Mollie & AJ's American smooth was all a bit dull. It was elegant and controlled, but lacked any wow factor. Frankly, my mind wandered while watching the routine. I should be caught up in their performance, not in my own thoughts.

March, pose, march, pose. Rev. Richard & Diane's paso had some recognisable steps, but there was no technique on the Rev's part. I like Richard as a person, but as a dancer, he lacks the charm that is required to keep a weak celebrity in. I think he'll stick around for a few weeks, but may not make Blackpool.

Debbie & Giovanni perked up the night with their quickstep. Some proper dancing! The routine was very light. Debbie is fleet of foot. Unlike Simon & Karen, they maintained good body contact. The whole thing was charming.

Brian & Amy were much better this week. Brian definitely seemed to have taken the American smooth much more seriously than the cha cha. It was quite sweet. You could see he had worked on his technique. However, there was too much out of hold for me. But in hold, everything fell a bit flat.

I enjoyed Gemma & Aljaž's Charleston. It was cheeky, lively, fun and energetic. Gemma is very watchable. She's quietly getting on with it, and I think she could be around for a good while.

Charlotte & Brendan's tango was much better than last week's dance disaster. They had good chemistry. It was a big improvement, although there were still some mis-steps in the middle. It wasn't quite staccato and sharp enough.

Jonnie's paso lacked passion for me. I thought his performance was a bit wooden. He needs to watch his bottom, which he had a tendency to stick out. I hope Oti was nagging him about it. It made for an unattractive line. Also unattractive was the Keith Lemon/early James Jordan vibe I was getting from his look. Just me?

Susan's Wonder Woman samba was a ray of light, finally making me smile. Kevin had put lots of recognisable samba content in the routine. OK, so Susan lacked hip action, but she was so entertaining. I loved it. Although lacking technique, Susan did all the correct steps, and kept up with a quick routine.

Joe & Katya's Viennese waltz was lovely. It had lots of content, which Joe executed well. Joe looked in control throughout, and was able to lead Katya. A fantastic job. Like Gemma, Joe is just quietly getting on with things.

Aston & Janette were awesome again. There was so much content in their cha cha routine, which was well presented throughout. They are just so watchable. Appropriately, Janette seems to have Troll-ed Brendan with a beautiful pot stir.

Alexandra & Gorka were gorgeous once again. Their American smooth was so smooth. It was all musical theatre loveliness. It was a great dance for Alexandra, and it gave me a loverly warm glow. I missed Len for the first time tonight, as their props were begging for a 'barrowboy' reference.

Davood & Nadiya's samba was too disco for my taste. There were some nice walks and promenade runs, but it had far less samba content than Susan & Kevin's routine. What he lacked in content, he made up for in hip action, though. The look on Darcey and Shirley's faces when he was up on the judges' desk was a picture.

My votes went to Aston, Joe and Susan, who all entertained me in their own ways. For me, the bottom was Simon. I just did not enjoy his quickstep at all. I'd probably put Charlotte or Rev. Richard in the bottom two with him.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Strictly Result - Chizzy's Elimination

I don't usually feel the need to write anything after the results show. The judges generally make the correct decision. But last night's decision to save Brian Conley over Chizzy Akudolu is completely wrong in my opinion.

I wasn't exactly been a fan of Chizzy's two performances. Chizzy has a big personality, and I guess that is what Pasha was trying to showcase in their numbers. I found that this presented Chizzy as a bit of a show-off - 'The Chizzy Show' - rather than their numbers being a partnership.

However, Chizzy danced her steps correctly and in time with the music. Her technique wasn't great, but being able to remember the steps and dance them in time with the music are the most important elements to begin with. The technique can be improved with time.

Brian's tango in week 1 was just OK. But the cha cha was terrible. He forgot the steps in places, and was out of time. This was most noticeable on the flick ball-changes at the beginning when he was side-by-side with Amy. Nothing shows up timing errors more than side-by-side sections.

The dance-off is supposed to be the performance upon which the couples are judges. So when one celebrity is noticeably out of time and making mistakes like Brian did, why didn't he go home?

I really don't get it.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sunday Service: Week 2

I am writing this at 1.30am, so I'll try to be brief. My bed is calling me...

Chizzy & Pasha were up first this week with their foxtrot. Welcome back to the Chizzy show. It wasn't my cup of tea. All about Chizzy and not about the partnership. She kept shrugging her shoulders as she went across the floor. She did release her toes in places, but some of the footwork was iffy. It wasn't smooth. I didn't enjoy it.

Aston & Janette showed how much they trust each other in their salsa routine. Drops, lifts, great hips, and it's only Week 2. Remember Mark & Karen? No, me neither any more. This was an amazing, showstopping salsa. There was one dodgy moment where you thought he would drop her, bur otherwise amazing.

Susan & Kevin's Charleston was a bit messy. She lacked swivel, and missed a few steps. Kevin looked like he was just chasing her about. It didn't feel like a partnership this week. I wanted to love them, but I just didn't.

Charlotte & Brendan's cha cha was a bit of a disaster. She looks great, but that's where the fun stops. Bent knees, missed steps. It was over long before the spin on the floor. Brendan could not cover up the mistakes. I don't think latin is her thing.

Joe & Katya's tango was a bit bumpy and skippy. It was frantic, but not in a good way. You could see Katya leading him in places. He was leading with his shoulder, which made his frame really weird. It lacked control and fluidity. Too much gapping. Just not a pretty thing.

Brian & Amy's cha cha had too much disco, and not enough cha cha. Brian looked like a drunk uncle at a wedding. There were lots of mistakes. His hands were splayed. The moonwalk was the best part, but had no place in the cha cha. I wasn't even that entertained.

Gemma & Aljaž's waltz wasn't perfect, but it was a breath of fresh air after the drivel which had come before. There were a few wobbles, her footwork wasn't all there, but it was a good job. She had some nice lines, and looked elegant when not wobbling.

Rev. Richard & Diane were not quite as much fun as last week. The lifts in their American smooth were quite simple. His posture was not great. He did OK, but he's going to have to improve if he wants to stay in.

Ruth's Charleston technique stared off well. She had the swivel, although everything was a bit too 'small' and compact for my liking. She still needs to work on her core strength. She and Anton didn't seem 100% together. There were a few errors.

For the most part, Simon & Karen's waltz was better than their paso. Good basic steps. But then it started to unravel, and he couldn't recover. Such a shame.

I think ballroom might be better for Mollie than latin. AJ had packed their tango with steps, and she coped well. It had drive and intensity. Darcey was right about her shoulders, which she needs to keep pinned down. Their chemistry was good. I liked it.

I liked Jonnie & Oti's jive. It had lots of energy, and was pretty tidy. Jonnie needs to watch his free arm which was left dangling in places. I thought his weight was too far forward, making him look bent over in places.

Debbie & Giovanni's Viennese waltz was gorgeous. She is so elegant. Gorgeous balletic arms and spins. Romantic and charming. It was a delight, and one of the few dances that entertained.

Davood & Nadiya's quickstep spent too much time out of hold in my opinion. I could have managed without the costume adjustments too. In hold, he needs to watch his timing, watch the gapping and try to keep things smooth rather than bumpy.

After a mediocre night, I was looking forward to seeing what Alexandra & Gorka's paso would bring. It didn't disappoint. It was sharp, intense, packed with steps, driven and dramatic. This girl can dance! Great content, too. A good job by Gorka.

There's no doubt that Debbie, Aston and Alexandra deserve their places at the top of the leaderboard. They have all brough their A game for two weeks. The bottom half of the table was also about right, although Rev. Richard is more entertaining than his bottom place. Charlotte was unlucky with a weak week, and shouldn't really have been second from bottom.

I think it's likely that Brian or Simon will be the first one out. They were my bottom two by a country mile.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Service: Week 1

I hope you're sitting comfortably. This is going to be a long one...

Gemma & Aljaž had the unenviable task of going first, with a cha cha. For someone with no dance experience, Gemma did really well. She had to start the routine by herself, and looked a tad nervous, but who wouldn't? Her timing was good. It was powerful. She needs more control, but that will come. Great start.

Brian & Amy had the tango, a pretty challenging dance for week 1. Brian definitely had the performance, but the dancing wasn't so good. His timing was OK, but his topline was iffy. We'll see how he goes with the next dance.

There was no doubting that Alexandra & Gorka were going to be good, and they were. The chemistry between them was lovely, romantic and intimate, but I didn't feel excluded from the moment. Nice rise and fall, as you would expect in the waltz. A lovely start.

Those fingers. That stamping. Simon & Karen's paso was not pretty. I found myself literally saying "Oh my!" several times early in the performance. Four dances in, and I'm already thinking he could be bottom two material.

I definitely think Charlotte & Brendan drew the short straw with the foxtrot. There were some heel leads missing, but she definitely got some of them. There were some awkward arm transitions, but I'm sure the fluidity will come with time. She looked beautiful, like Debbie Reynolds. And we've already had a "this girl" from Brendan. Drink!

I enjoyed Chizzy's performance, but she didn't seem that connected with Pasha. It was like we were watching the Chizzy show. She was having fun. Her cha cha walks over to the desk were not very pretty. Her timing was off in places. A mixed bag. I hope she gets the chance to show us more.

I enjoyed Jonnie & Oti's waltz. Jonnie looks great, nice poise, although it started to sink as the dance went on. I liked the chemistry between them. I can't wait to see how he does with some of the more aggressive dances.

Joe & Katya's jive was high energy. Joe coped well with a packed routine. Great performance. It was cute and fun. Good timing. I think he'll be around for a while.

I didn't expect Susan to be that good, but she surprised me. The Viennese waltz was always going to be difficult with her little legs, and she did look like she was clinging on to Kevin for dear life. I enjoyed the story. It was enjoyable to watch.

Debbie's legs are amazing! Those kicks and splits were incredible. Her balance was off in one or two places, but otherwise it was a good performance. An aggressive and strong paso. A brilliant start for Debbie & Giovanni

Davood & Nadiya's cha cha was a bit frantic. I totally agreed with Darcey that Davood was leading the dance. He looked good, and I think he has heaps of potential. Transparent shirt for the first week is also a winner.

Ruth & Anton's waltz was very woolly. She really needs to work on her core strength. It would help with her posture and her balance. When you're with the ballroom king, the end result should be better. I really didn't like it as much as the judges seemed to.

There wasn't that much basic cha cha in Rev. Richard & Dianne's routine. His timing was good, but his technique wasn't. It was very camp, very stompy, but actually very enjoyable too. I want to see more.

Mollie's facial expressions were wonderful. Her timing was good. Her legs were too bent, which made it feel a bit stompy. I felt that routine was a bit too focused on AJ in places, I don't think he showed her off that well.

I'm not surprised that they saved Aston & Janette until last. What a performance! It felt more like an American smooth than a foxtrot. Aston lead Janette around the floor, and was in total control. A strong performance.

Aston is definitely the one to beat. Alexandra and Debbie will be nipping at his heels. If I was sending someone home tonight, it would be Simon. It's a good thing they all get another dance next week.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

First Steps: Chizzy, Richard And Charlotte

Chizzy & Pasha have been working on a cha cha to Boogie Fever by The Sylvers.

They really don't give much away in this video. We will have to wait until Saturday night to see how Chizzy has got on.

Rev. Richard & Dianne will perform a cha cha to There Must Be An Angel by the Eurythmics, which is one of my favourite song choices of the week.

I still believe the public will love Richard, but I don't think he's going to be a natural dancer. There are some flat feet and some peculiar arm waving going on in the clip. But that was only day one. Let's hope he's had some time to tidy things up since then.

Charlotte & Brendan have a challenging one - a foxtrot to The Best Is Yet To Come by Michael Bublé. Giving anyone a foxtrot on week 1 is pretty mean.

Being in hold is going to be good for Charlotte, I think. Her topline looks good. Let's hope her feet end up looking good, too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Recommended Listening

If you missed Puttin' On The Glitz: The Strictly Story on BBC Radio 5 Live on Saturday night, try and make time to listen. It's definitely worth it.

As a Strictly fan since day 1, there's not much that I don't already know about the show. I started blogging at Series 4, more than 10 years ago. I've seen and heard it all.

Nevertheless, when entertainment Emma Bullimore tweeted that she had a show about Strictly going out, I had to listen. And I'm glad I did.

The show covers how Strictly has changed since the start (obvious to those of us who have been watching), but not just in the obvious ways. Anton talks about the very first press launch. There are interviews with the unsung and unseen heroes of Strictly - props, the celebrity booker, the executive producer.

There in insight into costume, and Vicky Gill notes how costume fitting and design has changed over the years.

Of course, there are also archive clips of Sir Bruce.

It's an interesting show, which you can listen to on BBC iPlayer, or download and listen offline using the BBC radio app.

Another interesting recording, if you haven't heard it before, is the BAFTA masterclass with Lisa Armstrong (make-up), Vicky Gill (costume), Mark Kenyon (lighting), Nikki Parsons (direction) and Brendan Cole (on-screen talent). It was recorded in 2014, but it still relevant. You can listen on Soundcloud. You might even hear me clapping, as I attended the event which was recorded at BAFTA's headquarters in London.