On a rare Saturday night off, I was able to watch Strictly Come Dancing live with my family (and dance to every song with my daughter – I'm her dance partner and Zoe has to score us). I have to say I, like many others on social media and on the odd forum was rather unsatisfied with the whole show especially the farcical "Lindy-a-thon" where the head judge read out the wrong result leaving no jeopardy. Why they needed an iPad to tell them the result that the four of them had just decided on we, the viewer, will never know but it all seemed a little odd. I guess we will never know what really went on with this but the constant over marking and hiccups like this one aren't doing our beloved Strictly any favours.
Having said this there were some lovely moments during the show. The Paso Doblé performed by Stacey and Kevin was strong in performance and choreography, well executed by Stacey and with great music and costuming! They deserved their high score even if the technique wasn’t perfect and it’s lucky they were there otherwise it may have been a very rough show indeed.
Graeme and Oti's costumes didn't fit their dance
The costuming and theming that did not fit the dance however was the show opener from Graeme and Oti! They had a real chance to do a beautiful Quickstep with elegance and class but for some reason went for almost a comedy theme with Graeme dressed as a sailor? Oti looked beautiful but there seemed to be no reason for the theme. He danced elements really well and then others he really messed up. Oti clearly taught him good technique but with the look and mistakes the dance fell flat for me and not the best show opener after a massive week in Blackpool last week.
Whilst I’m on a bit of a negative I'm going to say it again… Joe and and Dianne are once again being over marked and over praised for their number. Don't get me wrong as he danced it well even though I for one didn't really like it. The fact that Shirley can say that they were completely in sync and give it a 10 (alongside Bruno) and then Craig states the complete opposite (and thank goodness he did) is beyond me. They clearly were not in sync and it clearly wasn't perfect. He did dance it well and some of the choreography was very clever. I still don’t like this style on Strictly but it seems that it’s here to stay so I’ll try not to bang on about it over the coming weeks.
Lauren and AJ's comments from the judges were generous
Lauren and AJ's salsa stood out as the weak link last night. It was a slow song, lacked vibrancy and detail. Should they stay in, she really needs to put some effort into cleaning up her feet and understanding the flamboyance of Strictly. It is too 'two-dimensional' and just seems flat. The judges' comments were generous although they were pretty fair with their scores. I was really hoping after last week's breakthrough she would do another good dance but unfortunately it wasn’t great.
Ok here we go…The Wow Factor! Ashley and Pasha. There are so many aspects to learn in a Samba that to achieve even a small amount of them is nothing short of a miracle on Strictly. What Ashley achieved was brilliant and it is definitely one of the best Sambas we've ever seen on the show. Having said that, it should be! She is a trained dancer and they've made no secret of that. I for one love that she's there and really pushing the limits. It was a great dance, they looked amazing, it was proper Strictly and I can tell you from seeing that, they worked ridiculously hard to achieve what they did and they deserved nothing but praise.
Ashley and Pasha had the wow factor!
The other magical dance of the night was the Waltz by Faye and Giovanni. Beautifully dressed, beautifully set and danced with sophistication. I have two criticisms however. In Ballroom you have to dance with your feet parallel to each other. If you don’t your knees turn out and it makes it very difficult to dance with a partner as knees knock as well as losing power as the legs don’t work together properly. Why this hasn’t been addressed or fixed in any of her Ballroom dances so far I'll never know? It's the first thing I teach and is fundamental to any Ballroom dance. The other is the size of step when dancing on beat three out of promenade position (both people going forward in the same direction at the same time). Every time within their dance they both took a tiny step. To create power, this step needs to be about a meter in stride and then as you lower into it you create the power (feet parallel) to allow yourself to move on beat one. The fact that this didn't happen means the power wasn’t created and the dance didn’t flow as much as it could have. I don’t blame her for this but I'm surprised it’s not being taught or commented on as it stood out a mile to me. I still think this was a beautiful dance and Gio's Choreography was lovely. Her position was almost perfect and there is no doubt she is a beautiful dancer.
Faye and Giovanni's dance didn't flow as much as it could have
All in all, the dances that were good were great and the ones that weren't up to the standard that we'd expect at this stage of the competition were still fun. I don't suppose it matters that much as by now we’ve all chosen our favourites but favourites aside, they do need to sort out the blunders on the show and stop the politics! Let’s face it, the political agendas going on outside of Strictly are enough for all of us to cope with, I’m not sure we need it on our screens on a Saturday night as well.
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