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Brendan Cole on Strictly: Tacky VTs, bad unnecessary acting, but some outstanding Halloween performances!

Halloween week has come around again!

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Halloween was always my favourite week on the Strictly calendar and it was certainly a big opening number. I caught the whole show on iPlayer this morning as I was on stage myself last night and this particular show was always going to be a hard one to watch for me. I loved it so much but the show does feel quite different to what I knew and loved so wasn’t as bad as I thought. A big, colourful and energetic start to the show, not as scary as I would've liked, a little too happy for my taste but as Len Goodman used to say full of flavour and a little something for everyone.

It was down to Graeme and Oti to kick off the competition last night and clever is not the word. As a combination, Oti chose Cha Cha to Thriller. What a clever Pro she was! Cha Cha is notoriously difficult for the contestants and that certainly seemed the case for Graeme as the Cha Cha he danced was pretty bad. However, doing Thriller and the whole look of the number was fantastic! Any time he was in character he shone so not to worry, I believe they’ll be safe!

Graeme and Oti opened the show

Speaking of clever…Kevin and Stacey! Doctor Who, the first female Doctor in history and the new heavily publicised BBC show. I loved this number. She danced brilliantly, Kevin choreographed really well and must have taught her superbly. Great to see a clever, proper Tango. Unlike Graeme and Oti, they got both aspects spot on, they're not going anywhere either. Dr. Ranj and Janette could be in danger this week. It's all just a little timid. Their jive was pretty average. As usual they looked sweet and the kids will be voting in their droves but unfortunately it was a jive that was lacking in execution and ability. A real shame, it needs to be a lot better.

Kate and Aljaz I almost liked. The theme and the song suited them but as Shirley said, it's week 6 and it needs to be getting better by now. What the judges didn’t pick up on was the lack of three dimension within the dance. The body has to breath and create shape within it, especially at the moments you are stood holding through beats 4 and 1 but Kate was two dimensional which makes it look still and stiff. Maybe a little too frozen!

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Halloween is my favourite week in Strictly Come Dancing

Just a little note on the Video Tapes… I know they like to be a bit silly on the themed week but all of the bad acting and set up nonsense isn't doing it for me and I don't know many people who do like it. Having said that, it was nice to see that they had Anton making an appearance in Danny’s VT (oddly with a rag on his head).

Danny and Amy have been getting better each week and I loved the start of their American Smooth. It was cleverly choreographed and set the dance up really well. However, the American smooth should be just that…smooth and beautiful. It was too stiff and it was quite jerky throughout. In a funny way it suited the dance and Halloween but I want great dancing as well. He has the capability but needs to start understanding the actions he’s doing to make it happen. Anton should’ve helped with that rather than just making a VT appearance. Still a good dance though.

Ashley and Pasha's VT was embarrassing

If Ashley and Pasha hadn’t had such an awful VT their Strictly Halloween night would’ve been almost perfect. She danced brilliantly and last night established herself as one of the true front runners of this year’s Strictly. Many will say she’s a dancer and it’s easy for her but at the same time, as long as she’s getting better, who cares! Strictly is about where your journey starts and finishes and as long as you’re getting better week after week, that’s what counts. As I said, she was almost perfect in her Charleston. One criticism, (because I can), when you come out of a lift, it has to look effortless and clean which they could have executed better. Actually… can we mention the Kiss? Nice one guys but I think that’s already been done this series… ;)

And…seamlessly onto Seann and Katya! As a performance and perfectly choreographed yet again by Katya, it was perfect for Halloween week. The action of the Viennese Waltz wasn't perfect however. He holds a good frame and I love watching them but he had very little of the correct action, it was all a bit flat footed and he’s still not in the music. I’ll be upset if they are in the dance off again as I love what they do and it’s interesting to see what they do each week but the dancing needs to improve.

Me and Michelle Williams in series 7

Charles and Karen I loved. I had a flash back to when I danced to Time Warp with Michelle Williams in series 7. This was one of my favourite ever numbers that I performed in my 15 series. In fact there was funny moment after our dance where I had a big on air argument with Len with my glued on hair flapping about. Back to C & K… good action, lost his timing occasionally but I really liked it and don’t think it will matter for them. Hopefully straight through to next week with this one and he’s really starting to show promise.

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Faye and Giovani. Wow! I have to take back a little of what I said about the extra added dance styles. Theatre Jazz works for Strictly and whoever choreographed this did an incredible job, as did Faye and Gio! I also loved their VT. Very personal and heart-warming. I'm loving her performances and think she’s a real find for Strictly. Well done Faye, I'd have you in my theatre shows any day!

Faye was amazing!

Joe and Dianne surprised me. Foxtrot is a tricky dance to deliver but I think they got it about right throughout. This one didn’t blow me away like some of the others but a really good action, a smooth foxtrot and a great relationship between them when they had their creative, break away moments. I really liked it but I can’t understand why there is this big push from the judges? Mentioning the final in week 6? I don't get it and I feel it’s disrespectful to the other contestants and the voting public! To end on a positive though, this was a really good dance.

Feel bad ending on a negative with Lauren and AJ but I’m surprised this dance closed the show as it was pretty average.. Not usual for Strictly as they normally want a show stopper but nice to see that they’re sharing the spotlight to everyone as there is no better feeling than closing the show. Lauren and AJ needed to be better and this should’ve been her dance. For me she’s not understanding the actual dance element of the competition and I'm thinking it's possibly the dance off after this performance. Paso should still be smooth and worked but she stomped around, very much in character but certainly not dancing. Sorry to be so harsh but I want to see her doing well and learning to understand the dance, but that’s not happened yet.

On a personal note, I definitely missed dancing the pro dance for tonight’s result show as I was always the lead but I'm sure it will be a great number and I’m looking forward to seeing it (kind of) ;)

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