Strictly Come Blogging

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Glitterball Is Almost In Reach...

It’s two days before the final. Ore & Joanne, Louise & Kevin and Danny & Oti are sitting on sofas in the BBC Radio Theatre looking relaxed and happy, considering they are missing valuable training time to address the nation’s press, and a few bloggers. The glitterball trophy sits just behind Joanne, literally almost within reach. This is the Strictly final press conference.

The conversation covers lots of areas such as nerves and pressure, the cast’s comradery, and some of the best and worst moments of their experiences.

The nerves and self-consciousness were a problem at the start of the competition. Oti recalls meeting Danny: “He was sitting under a table, on his phone, not talking to anybody because he thought he wasn’t good enough to be there, and he didn’t belong.”

Louise is the one who looks the least comfortable of the six, shrinking into her seat, or often into Kevin. The same Louise whose eyeline is down on the floor during her routines. But when she speaks, she is so confident and clear, at odds with the body language. She is quick to point out that she doesn’t, and never did, have self-confidence issues, but admits that she was nervous about getting involved in the programme after focusing on her children for so long. “For ten years, you don’t go on stage, you’re at home, and for me it was just getting back into it.” The inevitable Strictly scrutiny is tough. “When you do a show like Strictly, you know that everyone is going to have an opinion on you, and it had been a long time since anyone had had a major opinion about me that I had to read about, and that is what I was kind of nervous of… The first day I did feel overwhelmed by everything.”

Ore admitted to feeling the pressure sometimes, but the humour among the cast often helps, like looking at your colleagues and the realisation you’re all dressed as Von Trapps. “When you can split the tension with a knife, and you’re just about to go on stage, and you can hear the theme tune, there’s the pre-titles film and then all of a sudden you’re out. It’s those funny moments that just make you go ‘OK, relax’, because it’s easy to get really het-up and to be overly focused”.

The emotion of Strictly is apparent. Louise describes one of her lows. “It was when I cried in rehearsals trying to learn the rumba, and I’m not that person. I don’t cry when I can’t get something, I just go with it. I thought ‘Wow, this is really affecting me’. I never thought Strictly would affect me like that”.

The pros get emotional too. We saw how Natalie reacted after the judges didn’t like her rumba choreography. They all feel a responsibility, which spills over into emotion. Oti felt the same way when she and Danny landed in the bottom two. “I remember apologising to him, like ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t do a good enough job to get you to that final, and I wish I’d done more so we weren’t in this situation’. You do take it all on.”

It’s not all emotional, though. The brother-sister banter between Joanne and Kevin is fun to watch. Joanne claims their parents “vote for me more because I’m the favourite child”. Kevin quips “They told me they were going to vote for Danny & Oti.” When asked if they would like to replace Len as a judge, Joanne would jump at the opportunity. “I’d like to be on the panel. I’d love to criticise my own brother. Yeah, it’d be great.” On choreographing the show dances, Kevin explains the challenge. “The show dance is the most difficult to choreograph… You can pick any song in existence, any kind of props, any kind of style. It’s almost too blank a sheet of paper, so it’s quite difficult”. “Finding it difficult, Kev?”, Joanne interrupts.

Looking forward to the final, Danny is asked about his perceived professional background. “It was three years at drama school. Never before, never since.” He points out that his limited past training should get not get credit for getting him the final, but rather his partner. “It’s completely, 100% down to her. I was never going to be a dancer, that was never going to happen. I’ve never been employed as one.”

Saturday will give Kevin a forth chance to raise the glitterball. "I'm starting to think I’m running out of chances.”

But Oti sings Kevin’s praises: “We look up to people like Kevin (“I don’t!” Joanne interrupts), who’s been in the final four times. How do I make it four times into the final? And you have to admire that because it’s three months, non-stop. We don’t get days off, you still have to be creative.”

So, show dances. What can we expect? No-one reveals more than we already know from It Takes Two. Joanne explains she chose I Got Rhythm because Ore suits the Gene Kelly style dances. All she will say is “We’ve got massive props”.

Kevin has taken the journey angle. “It’s going to be based on Louise… Her story and how she’s developed since the beginning to the end.”

“I think we might have been in the same dream”
says Oti. “Ours is about Louise as well” Danny exclaims, leading to laughter throughout the crowd. Oti continues, “Ours is about Danny. We tried to make it about the journey that not a lot of people got to see."

Picture: ©BBC


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