Strictly Come Blogging

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

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Strictly Come Dancing Live: A Few Thoughts

Last Friday and Saturday, I went to see the Strictly Come Dancing tour at Wembley Arena.

For those who have not already seen it, you may wish to skip this review for now, as it will contain spoilers.













Although I saw it three times in two days, I still could have watched it a million times more. It was just magical.

Bizarrely for a live show, it kicks off with a warm-up man. This may be an arena tour, but it's like being at a recording!

The show proper starts with the judges and host Kate Thornton coming on stage. And we got a special dance treat from Craig!

Once the judges were settled and we got a video message from Bruno it was "time to meet the stars of our show".

Each of the eight couples performed a ballroom and Latin dance each. Ballroom was first.

Darren & Lilia were on good form with their foxtrot - their famous Big Spender routine.

Denise & Matthew performed Ian's Sing Sing Sing quickstep routine, which is fantastic and I enjoyed seeing it again.

Louisa & Vincent opted for Argentine tango, which they never had the chance to perform on the show. In the VT, Louisa said "I want to make my dad feel really uncomfortable with this dance". I thought she did a fabulous job, but it seemed to get mixed reviews at every performance. We chatted to Vincent between the two shows on Saturday, and he said he didn't get it either. One night it was totally wrong and they loved it, but when they nail it, the judges are cold.

Next up were Martin & Camilla. I felt that the partnership lacked a bit of chemistry, but one has to remember that they didn't perform as a couple on the show, and are only dancing together part-time (Camilla also dances with James Martin, but he has Saturday Kitchen commitments at the weekends). Martin was marked poorly on Friday night, and ended the first round at the bottom of the leaderboard. However, on Saturday afternoon, Craig commented on the improvement from the night before.

Christopher & Nicole danced tango next. There have been worse dancers on the show since Christopher, and despite the judges comment, Christopher had performed well. It was all-new choreography to Somebody Told Me.

Letitia & Darren performed the foxtrot, and it was wonderful to see Letitia in that beautiful aqua and nude dress once again. Her ballroom performances were all excellent, and she truly lives and breathes it.

Matt & Flavia performed the fabulous American Smooth again. I always loved the ending of the dance where they sit on the floor. So cute.

Then it was the moment I had personally been waiting for. Ian, Zoe and that tango. The tango is simply stunning, and I wouldn't tire of seeing it. I've always loved this couple, and they were magical on the dancefloor.

The half finished with a pro group Latin dance, and the audience was given a chance to vote via phone for their favourites. Voting continued throughout most of the second half.

The second half opened with a romantic group Viennese waltz. Then it was back into the competition.

Darren & Lilia opened with their excellent paso doble. Darren is without doubt one of the better male celebrities, and appears to be a strong lead.

Denise & Matthew performed the rumba, which is hard to sell on such a large dancefloor, but they did a super job and the crowd loved it.

Louisa & Vincent were next with their fantastic 'bouncing baby' jive. It was great to see it live. Louisa is a very neat dancer and Vincent compliments her beautifully.

Martin & Camilla danced a cha cha, which saw the return of Martin's famous red outfit. Sadly, Martin's performance didn't really live up to the costume. The judges were very critical too.

Christopher & Nicole were next with the famous 'Caped Crusader' paso doble. To give Christopher his dues, he did cover the whole floor! The routine was a crowd-pleaser, but not a judge-pleaser.

Letitia & Darren opted for the jive, which I think was Letitia's strongest Latin dance of the series. What I love about Letitia is she gives the routine everything. She may not be so strong at Latin, but her performance and personality just win you over.

Matt & Flavia turned up the heat with their excellent salsa. It wasn't faultless every time, but it is entertaining, and everyone goes wild for Matt's shimmy!

Finally, Ian & Zoe perform their samba to Aquarius. Like Letitia, Zoe's strength is in ballroom, but she appears to enjoy the samba, and you get swept away by the couple.

We were then treated to a stunning Argentine tango from Vincent & Flavia. I do hope that their partnership continues, because they are such a pleasure to watch.

On the Friday evening, there was also a chat with Alesha Dixon, who was watching. I'd put money on her being a part of next year's tour.

Next there was a group Dirty Dancing number, similar to that danced on the most recent series.

While the marks were being counted and verified, James & Ola performed a show dance covering various Latin disciplines.

Then came the moment of truth. Every single performance I saw had Zoe & Ian in second place. Matt & Flavia won on Friday and Saturday night, while Darren & Lilia won on Saturday afternoon.

The format transfers well to the arena, although the floor appears very large and is not always covered that well.

The judges were really good, and although some content was scripted, much of the discussion was different each time. They really do judge the performance they have just watched.

Kate Thornton did an excellent job. She was much better than I expected. She did enough to keep things moving, but seemed to understand that she was the hired MC and this is not her show. For that, I really respect her approach.

I shall be seeing another couple of performances before the tour ends, so there is still a chance for me to see Zoe & Ian lift the glitterball! But everyone who copes with the tour's demanding schedule is a winner.


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