Strictly Come Blogging

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Service: Week 8

Week 8 of Strictly Come Dancing came live from Wembley Arena in front of its biggest audience ever. Lucky enough for me, I was able to get a ticket for this historic show. This means that for this week only, I am writing this already knowing the result.

Robbie & Ola kicked things off with a salsa. Robbie is a good showman, but not such a great dancer. His salsa was a bit flat footed. I found the lifts a little clunky, and he almost fell over when he leapfrogged Ola (and looked a lot worse from the angle I was sat at - behind the action above the 'Tess Pit'. Because of the size of the floor, I found it a bit slow to get going because of the area they had to cover.

I thought Alex & James (or Team Blur as I like to call them. Alex James, geddit?) did a good job with the tango. Alex continues to improve, especially on the performance side, although she still needs to tighten up her technique. A few heel leads would have been nice, and it could have been sharper still. I loved James' routine, which was content driven.

I really enjoyed Holly & Artem's quickstep. Holly's performance has improved a bit. She seemed a bit more connected to the dance, and less cool. They covered the floor well, although there were times you could have driven a bus through the middle of them. And, like Alex, she missed most heel leads. But if Holly wants to compete with the others at the top of the table, she needs to take the bull by the horns.

During Anita & Robin's samba, I could not take my eyes off Anita's face. She had the biggest smile ever, and it lit up the Arena. She oozed joy, and I genuinely had tears in my eyes watching her. Technically, she's not that great, but no-one loves it more than she does. No-one wants to be there more than Anita. She needs to watch her arm placement, as it can be a little scarecrow-like, and Craig is right that she needs to push her shoulders back. She needs more bounce and hip action too. My favourite moment was the little nose rub towards the end.

It was difficult to watch Harry & Aliona's salsa to I'm Still Standing without thinking about that jive. Someone should have said to Aliona, 'No, dear. Choose something else'. Anyway, I'm still having problems warming to Harry. He's so emotionless. He's the opposite of Alex - he's technically good but lacks personality on the floor. It's the strength of his dancing (and the McFly fans) that is keeping him in the competition. He needs an acting lesson. His hip action wasn't bad, but the lift was a little laboured. His timing is excellent, as you would expect from a drummer, and the side by side stuff was very tight.

In past weeks, Russell has danced quite well, but this week the jive action alluded him. He did little more than step kicks throughout the entire routine (well, the bits of the routine where his feet were on the ground). Flavia did all the work this week. But you still cannot fault Russell's joy on the floor, which is up there with Anita's. Russell's timing is usually good, but the peek-a-boo section at the end of the routine was a mess. I am surprised that they went for an Ann Widdecombe style entrance, when Russell actually can dance. Maybe the jive was just too energetic for him.

Chelsee did really well, especially with the opening of the samba, out on the big floor all by herself. There was a little mistake when Chelsee first joined up with Pasha, but otherwise it was good. Chelsee has lovely turns. Her work is neater than it was earlier in the competition. And I loved Pasha's routine which had lots of samba content (Aliona take note!), including a samba roll. Remember those? Now that Chelsee has finished filming Waterloo Road, she should have more rehearsal time, and could really climb the leaderboard.

Despite his performance background, Jason is not as naturally gifted as Chelsee or Harry. He works hard to achieve what he does. I thought the jive routine was good up until the mistake. More great choreography from Kristina. The drunken sailors looked a little laboured, but his side by side work was excellent and in perfect time. It was a real shame he made the mistake, and a bigger shame that it took him so long to pick up the routine again. However, once he did pick it up, he didn't seem thrown. If only he could have a do-over...

As I already know the result, I am not going to talk about who I think the bottom two should be. Tune in at BBC1 at 7.25pm to find out what I already know.

Here are the videos...

Robbie & Ola

Alex & James

Holly & Artem

Anita & Robin

Harry & Aliona

Russell & Flavia

Chelsee & Pasha

Jason & Kristina


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