Strictly Come Blogging

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Service: Week 3

We're now at week 3, which means I am slipping back into my regular Strictly routine. Snuggle up on the sofa, dim the lights, crack open a bottle of wine and order in yet another Domino's (should I be ashamed that my local Domino's ends up being one of the most frequently called phone numbers by the end of the series, alongside my mother and the Strictly voting? But who can resist their extensive pizza menu on a cold autumn night?). But enough of my evening, on to Broadway week...

Graphic: BBC

I have to say that last night's show was one of the worst episodes of Strictly Come Dancing I have ever witnessed. Theme weeks are hit and miss, anyway. You needed a map to find the dance steps and actually work out which dance each couple was doing, since there was so little to go on. And then Len Goodman, rule obsessive in the past (remember the 6 for Kara & Artem's American Smooth which didn't have enough foxtrot?), says "Sometimes you have to break rules to make a routine complete". For goodness sake. This has just gone beyond a joke. Why not just call the show Dancing With The Stars and be done with it? Everything which made Strictly so much better than its international franchisees seems to have been eroded away.

Anyway, I'll try to evaluate the couples as best I can.

Holly & Artem kicked things off with their tango. Holly still looked nervous. You could drive a bus between them in hold. It lacked passion for me, and did not have enough attack. Or tango. Holly shows potential, but needs to raise her game soon.

Dan & Katya's Viennese waltz was quite nice. But remember when there was lots of talk about the dreaded fleckerl, and the technical challenge it posed? It was so hard, they only did it at the end of the series. Now they don't even bother to put it in. But then, none of us are expected to remember past series. Natasha who? Anyway, I liked the storytelling, which was quite romantic. Dan still needs to pull his shoulders back and keep them down. They seemed to creep up as the routine went on.

How much was Anita loving it? Almost as much as I was loving Robin's wig! Anita's jive was a little stompy. She needs to be up on the balls of her feet more, and needs to point her toes on the flicks and kicks. She needs to keep her legs together more to keep it neater. But I love how Anita sells everything she does. Often it's not the most technical dancer who gets the job, but the one who draws you in with their performance. That's Anita.

Alex & James made me feel a bit better about the world. Their routine was elegant, and actually resembled a Viennese waltz. It was simple, but effective. If only the standing spin at the end had been a fleckerl (I presume it was a standing spin, the cameraman cut off their feet), it would have been one of the best dances of the night. I liked the continuity of the open and close. Of course, Len thought it was too simple, but a few years back, he'd have loved it. Maybe when he has his week off in America, he should stay over there...

Rory & Erin's quickstep was lovely, very showbiz. It had excellent choreography from ballroom queen Erin, and a solid performance from Rory. Like Dan, Rory needs to watch his top line still, as he often becomes hunched over.

Lulu & Brendan's rumba was very lyrical and romantic, but was a bit lacking in content. But hey, it's Broadway week, so we weren't supposed to notice between all the smoke and mirrors. It was Lulu's best performance so far. She looked confident and in control.

I loved the song choice for Nancy & Anton's tango - Be Italian. It's a shame that was the best thing about it. Nancy was very limp. She had no attack. Nothing was staccato. She stomped around the floor like she was walking to the bus stop (not that Nancy ever does that, but you know what I mean). But at least it was a tango, and Nancy did seem to be getting into the character of the dance. Her best dance so far.

Bless Audley. He almost tripped over his own feet. Audley was very nippy on his feet during the fast sections of the quickstep. Natalie needs to work on his posture. He also needs to pull his shoulders back.

I'm not sure what Robbie & Ola's tango had a paso opening. Just one of the many questions I was left with after this week's show. Once they got into hold, Robbie did a decent job. Robbie is quietly getting on with things, and could be around for a good while yet.

Russell was nervous about doing his first ballroom dance, but he didn't need to be. He did a great job. He just lights up the floor whenever he is on it. He has so much charisma that you just love to watch him. Flavia's foxtrot choreography was lovely. The routine was pure Broadway. Russell is one of the most popular Strictly participants ever, and unlike Ann or John Seargent, it's for the right reasons. Russell deserves his place in the competition.

When Jason & Kristina's tango got going, I was pleased to finally see what I wanted to see from Jason. The cheesy Strictly Ballroom guy was gone, and had been replaced with a fiery, passionate tango dancer. I was so impressed. But then the illusion was shattered by that ridiculous, camp, Priscilla interlude. That totally killed it for me. What was Kristina thinking? I'm not sure why everyone thought it was so clever. I thought it was dance suicide. Still, even though I hated that, it was still the best tango of the evening.

Chelsee is so good. I think she's underrated. There were a couple of wee mistakes in her and Pasha's cha cha. She needs to watch her arm placement at times, as she can throw them around a bit too much, but I love her attitude and sass on the floor. Also, you have to remember that Chelsee & Pasha are regularly training at 10pm. Chelsee has the toughest schedule of any of the celebrities. Yet she gets it done every week without complaint.

The jive was Harry & Aliona's best performance so far, despite the routine's lack of content. It was actually a nice routine, but just not really a jive. Maybe it was because Harry could play Danny rather than be himself. He seemed to find the character. Can someone please explain to me Aliona's obsession with bodyrolls, though? They seem to be in every latin routine she does.

I think that Jason (aside from the interlude), Chelsee and Russell were the best this week. Of course, Nancy is still the worst, despite the improvement. But who else in the bottom two? It's so difficult to pick. Maybe Dan or Audley. I don't think it would be a miscarriage of justice if either of them were sent home.

Here are the videos...

Holly & Artem

Dan & Katya

Anita & Robin

Alex & James

Rory & Erin

Lulu & Brendan

Nancy & Anton

Audley & Natalie

Robbie & Ola

Russell & Flavia

Jason & Kristina

Chelsee & Pasha

Harry & Aliona


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