Sunday, 10 October 2010

Strictly Week 2: THAT salsa!

Things I never thought I'd say: I love Ann Widdecombe. And, let's be honest, the build up to Week 2 was all about Widdy. How on earth would she cope with the sex of a salsa? Would we see some Widdy hip action? And just how much of Anton's chest would we be treated to? Of the latter not enough, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Week 2 saw the couples taking on a salsa or a foxtrot, with varying degrees of success. Generally I thought the standard this week was much improved (apart from Bruce who had a bit of a nightmare) and it's nice to see so many of the celebs improving already. The foxtrot is one of my favourite dances, the salsa is my least favourite. As Anton said, it's just nonsense. Still, I thought the live show was great and saw some really outstanding performances for this stage in the competition...

Matt and Aliona - foxtrot
Let's be honest: Matt is just a great dancer. His foxtrot was no exception. Apart from a tacky ending (and, at the risk of sounding like Widdy, the fact it was a bit too sexy for me) this routine was fabulous and a joy to watch. An 8 from me.

Peter and Erin - salsa
Oh dear. I found this excruciating to watch. I love Erin to bits but Peter just couldn't cope with the choreography she'd given him. He was left on his own too much and his hip action was just nauseating. On the plus side he was clearly much more confident this week which stands him in good stead for a return to ballroom next week. They get a 3.

Tina and Jared - foxtrot
Another celeb who came out with much more confidence. I really liked this routine. It was elegant and classy with far fewer mistakes. She still needs to relax a bit but has bags of
potential. A 6 from me, and I can't wait to see how they get on in future weeks. They're so cute!

Patsy and Robin - salsa
Patsy was almost unrecognisable from the nervous wreck that danced last week! A confident and sexy salsa but still had some dodgy footwork. That said, if she can keep her confidence up she will be wicked. One to watch in future weeks, a 6 for this week.

Paul and Ola - foxtrot
Not as awful as I was expecting, but still not good. An improvement from last week though and quite cute in parts. Generally looked like dad dancing and there was a bit near the end when Paul was left to dance on his own that he just looked completely confused! A 4 from me.

Scott and Natalie - salsa
This disappointed me. The problem I have with Scott and Natalie as a couple is that, so far, all the choreography has been about showing off what Nat can do at Scott's expense. Which is a real shame because when he was given something to do in this routine he was really very good. Hopefully this will change in future weeks. An underwhelmed 7.

Michelle and Brendan - foxtrot
I loved this choreography. Good use of the stairs and a prop leading to a beautiful classic foxtrot. Michelle was still a bit shaky though; if she could just loosen up a bit she'd be brilliant. Either way, I enjoyed this. An adequate 7 with massive potential for more.

Goldie and Kristina - foxtrot
A routine full of character and individuality. Sadly not completely full of good technique. Definitely needed to be more polished, but good fun. A 6 from me.

Pamela and James - salsa
Pamela is such an amazing dancer. I have to admit I thought her Latin would be a bit dodgy. I was massively wrong. Apart from a hideously naff beginning and a slip after one of the floor turns this routine was amazing. Really quick and complex choreography executed incredibly well. Brilliant routine, brilliant execution and a brilliant couple. An 8 - and by far the best (conventional) salsa of the night.

Felicity and Vincent - foxtrot
Felicity is another celeb with loads of potential. This routine was elegant and beautiful, but all a bit safe for me. Can't wait to see more of her and Vincent, they work fabulously well together. For this week a 7.

Ann and Anton - salsa
Well, I say salsa... There are no words to describe how much I loved this performance (and I'm choosing my words very carefully there). Clearly there was no way Ann was going to agree to do a conventional salsa, although I thought the steps she attempted were done no worse than Peter. The genius of this routine was to build it entirely on the force of her personality and Anton's natural showmanship. I loved the shirt rip (obviously!), I loved the lift (who cares if it was technically illegal) and I loved the way Ann completely camped it up. More than anything I loved how much this routine made me smile.
There is a tendency amongst the Strictly faithful to be incredibly serious and stoic about the routines. This is a dancing competition, they'll shout, not a popularity contest! Well, I'm sorry, I disagree. What Strictly is is a prime time light entertainment show. It is not an international dance championship. It is, as Ann has correctly observed, fun. Eventually Ann and Anton will be voted off and the better dancers will be allowed to have the limelight to themselves. And that's completely as it should be. Until then can we all stop taking
everything so seriously?! One of the reasons I love watching these two is that they are clearly having a blast. The routine this week was hilarious and incredibly entertaining. Long may they continue!

Kara and Artem - foxtrot
My second favourite dance of the night. This was completely gorgeous, elegant and classy. The footwork was very strong - loved the heel turn - and the choreography was beautiful. Not as good as the 9 that Alesha gave them, but definitely worthy of an 8.

Gavin and Katya - salsa
Oh dear. Gavin was so painfully uncomfortable with this routine, which bodes ill for future Latin endeavours. This was so stiff and so nervous that not even a flash of Gavin's lovely abs could save it. Not as bad as the 3 that Craig gave them, but really uncomfortable viewing. A 5 from me.

Jimi and Flavia - foxtrot
Last but definitely not least! Another gorgeous foxtrot, dubious pseudo-Latin beginning excepted. I like Jimi a lot and this routine was fab. Another one to watch, and a 7 from me.

So that was Saturday. Fastforward to Sunday and the results show.

Time for my weekly moan: BBC what have you done to the results show?! In case you missed this, the dance off is no more. The couple with the lowest combined score from the judges and public just go. Now, to get one thing straight, it's not that I mind the public having more say in and of itself. I may disagree with the decision that the public at large comes to, I certainly did this week, but that's not my main problem. My problem is that the dance off was the only thing that really made the results show worth watching. It gave it some drama and a bit of an emotional core. Without the dance off the whole show just felt completely flat and ultimately quite pointless. This week was particularly bad with the musical 'special performance' being a pre-recorded and frankly not very good Robbie Williams. Bad move BBC. Bad move.

This week we had to had to wave goodbye to Goldie and Kristina, which was a horrible result. Especially when the other couple in the bottom two were Peter and Erin. Completely unfair, but such is the way with democracy. I can't help feeling Peter is on borrowed time now - he needs to massively up his game for next week.

On the plus side all my favourites lived to dance another day. Next week's show is going to be a cracker too with the couples tackling a quickstep or a rumba.

And let's be honest, whichever Ann and Anton gets is going to be... Well... Unique!

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