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Strictly - Transatlantic

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zico
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Strictly - Transatlantic

#175370

Postby zico » October 21st, 2018, 5:39 pm

No Bruno this week and the BBC have searched the length and breadth of UK and Europe for another excitable person with a Latin name and a vague dancing connection, but the nearest person they could find is Alfonso Ribero from USA. Like Will Smith, Alfonso first became famous in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but unlike Will, Alfonso is still best known for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He did win the US version of Strictly a few years ago, so BBC think that qualifies him as a replacement judge. It’s a bit like us sending Darren Gough over to US Strictly to tell bemused celebs “By heck, tha got thee trotters in a reet pickle there”. Alfonso tells Tess he’s a half-full glass kind of guy, which presumably means that after every routine he’ll say “gee, you guys are just awesome” and overmark wildly.

Ranj & Janette (American Smooth). Dancing to “Wouldn’t it be nice” by the Beach Boys, and he’s back to being his usual cheery self. This is OK but not great. Ranj is making slow improvements, but starting from zero dance experience. Shirley praises his frame for being a bit better. Alfonso says he likes to look for positives, though he's struggling here, and his main positive seems to be that it’s hard to open the show, and Ranj did it without falling over. 5,6,7,7 for 25 points.

Lauren & AJ (Couple’s choice). Their choice is “contemporary”. Let’s hope it’s better than contemporary art, theatre or music, as “contemporary” tends to mean pretentious and boring, at least to my uncultured Philistine tastes. We’re told contemporary dance requires strong emotions and postures. I can hardly wait. For this routine, AJ will play the part of Lauren’s family and support group, and of course he needs to meet them all to portray them accurately through the medium of dance. Meanwhile, Lauren will play the part of Lauren. Routine starts with Lauren in a reaching for the sky pose, then AJ floats on in a shirt with no buttons, pushes and pulls her about a bit, does a few lifts while Lauren does different poses, then we have some faux-ballet running about the floor. My watch appears to have stopped completely, but mercifully the routine does eventually end after what seems an eternity.

Alfonso is first to comment and he addresses the question that has gripped the nation “how many points did Alfonso score when he did contemporary?”. You just know it’ll have been a perfect 40 for him. Craig and Shirley say it looked just like a load of placed poses and she needs to be less stiff, while Darcey tells her to breathe more which will make her moves smoother. They applaud her effort in trying to express her emotions, but basically tell her to be more expressive. 4,6,7,7 for 24 points. Alfonso is simply copying Shirley’s marks, so this week, her marks in effect count double.

Graeme & Oti (Tango). Rehearsal coverage is dominated by Graeme’s 3 young kids and the cute things they say. Oti dangles one of them on her knee, let’s hope she’s been CRB-checked. For the routine they’re in traditional red and black costumes, and after a bit of nonsense with passing a rose in their teeth between them, it’s quite a serviceable tango with Graeme giving it plenty of attack. Quite enjoyed that. He seems to have dived headfirst in the greasepaint tin this week. Craig and Darcey like his attack and fierceness and hail a big improvement, then Graeme gives Tess the rose, and also plants a smacker on her cheek which she wasn’t expecting but laughs off rather than saying “whoa, back off feller”. In the Clauditorium, Oti tells us Graeme “makes all of us tired”. I can imagine. 6,7,8,8 for 29 points.

Ashley & Pasha (Rumba). When learning the rumba, Ashley once again tells hard how dancing is hard, she has no confidence and doesn’t understand Pasha’s instructions. Oh please, it’s like Lewis Hamilton moaning about all the tricky corners on a new circuit and how hard it is to drive a fast car really quickly. To nobody’s surprise, Ashley is very competent at the rumba, and appears to be saving her expressions for the camera rather than Pasha. It’s quite a fast, athletic sort of rumba but leaves me a bit cold. The judges really like it. Oh my goodness, Darcey is saying “oh my goodness” quite a lot tonight, using it twice to describe how good Ashley was. She has a very minor picky point about Ashley being a bit jerky. Craig simply says a-ma-zing. Four nines for 36. They should give Alfonso a paddle which says “I agree with Shirley”.

Sean & Katya (Quickstep). Disappointingly, they aren’t dancing to “Fool (If you think it’s over)” or "Misunderstood". Routine starts with Sean as a busker holding a guitar, and it looks like the guitar is a useful prop to help him with his frame. They ditch the guitar after a bit, but this all looks a bit like Sean just about averting disaster, rather than enjoying the routine. Judges aren’t impressed. Even Alfonso is slightly critical, consoling Sean by confiding that quickstep was Alfonso’s worst dance. Craig gives the simple honest truth – very messy footwork, looked a bit like a hoe-down but at least it was lively. Katya is smiling, but it’s like all the fun and life has gone out of her. 5,6,6,7 for 24 points put them bottom of the leaderboard. Alfonso marks one higher than Shirley, the little scamp.

Stacey & Kevin (Samba). For this routine, Shirley is dancing as a be-feathered show girl and shaking her feathers enthusiastically. They dance to “Tequila” and it looks like Stacey’s had some tequila before the dance as she’s giving it plenty but it looks all quite messy to me and I can’t see the judges liking this. But what do I know, the judges like it a lot and Craig says he wants her at his next party, though “oh my goodness” Darcey says that all Stacey’s energy made her limbs a bit wild and flailing. 8,7,9,9 gives Stacey 33, with Darcey marking lower than Craig, which is a bit of a collector’s item.

Joe & Dianne (Waltz). Joe is talking about her gran yet again and how this is her favourite dance. They’re dancing to a “Kermit the Frog” song and he starts sitting on a log in a Forrest Gump pose, before getting up and doing a routine that is dull, dull, dull. And boring. Dianne’s Jessica Rabbit wig is the most entertaining thing on display here. Craig says Joe had good movement but the log had more expression, and Joe needs to get more expressive and interesting. Darcey chucks in another “Oh, my goodness” to give her time to think of something to say about the dance other than “dull”. 6,7,8,8 for 29 points.

Vick & Graziano (Cha-cha). Vick treats Graziano to a week in her hometown of Newcastle, which appears to have been spent teaching him Geordie, and not spent practising a routine. Lots of posing, preening and messing about at the start, to allow us to appreciate how fabulous Vick is, then she walks down the stairs and does lots more posing, preening and messing, followed by a few very half-hearted attempts at a cha-cha, while Graziano does the actual dancing and pulls some weird faces. She thinks she’s done well, but this is just like her content-light week 1 dance, and she’s supposed to be having a Journey. Darcey says she sold it but wasn’t consistent.

Shirley is really not impressed and settles down to tell her 50 different ways it was bad – 16 bars of music before any recognisable cha-cha steps, the expression on her face didn’t match what was happening with her body, there was no body action, hip movement – no, didn’t see any of that, and quite a lot more in the same vein. During these comments, Graziano is entertaining us with 50 different exaggerated facial expressions of shock and dismay – he’d be a great silent movie actor. Quite an epic dressing-down from Shirl, and one of her best moments on the show. Shirley does have one positive for Vick "You're a beautiful girl." (Just not a beautiful girl who dances well). After Shirley's broadside Alfonso simply tells her “you were having fun” which is also damning in its way with very faint praise. Craig tells her she had passion and energy, but bad technique, making it a dance disaster. Vick clearly wasn’t expecting those comments! With Claudia, Vick tries to be humble and also says to Graziano “sometimes I get a bit impatient because I get frustrated” which sounds like a sort-of apology perhaps for being a diva and throwing a tantrum in rehearsal. 4,6,4,6 for 20 points, harsh but fair marks.

Kate & Aljaz (Viennese Waltz). Even though it’s just a waltz with extra turning bits, I’m quite enjoying this. It’s quite lyrical and there’s something strong and elegant about Kate that’s good to watch. She’s very relieved to get to the end without major mishaps. Alfonso tells her she was elegant, and Craig says it wasn’t good, but not bad either, simply mediocre and encourages her to stop being mediocre and be better, but at least he says it in a supportive way. 6,6,6,8 for 26 points.

Danny & Amy (Jive). Amy decides that to give a shot of adrenaline it was be a good idea to be strapped on top of a biplane – Danny, not her. Danny looks appropriately terrified, but eventually relaxes enough to try a few dance moves while strapped on the plane. They are dressed as old-time flying aces with leather jackets and helmets. Their prop is a plane with a prop, and after they pretend to start the prop, they launch into their jive. Well, this is just great. They are both really sharp and well-matched with their moves and it’s a full-on routine with masses of kicks and flicks, and loads of energy. Usually in jives, there’s a mid-dance bit of faffing to give the celeb chance to catch their breath, but not here, it’s action all the way. The best jive for years, and Amy’s usually false excitement at the end of the routine appears genuine for once.

Danny spoils the effect a bit by looking old and grumpy like he’s been worn out by it all. 3 out of the 4 judges are on their feet, and the fourth judge is of course Craig. He tells Danny “that’s a dance, I think, for the final” and Danny pretends to be amazed. Shirley says “amazing” and it’s the first 10 of the series from Darcey, and well-deserved too. 3 9’s from the others give them 37 points.

Faye & Giovanni (Foxtrot). They deliver an unusual take on the foxtrot, with a faster section near the end. Interesting, but didn’t quite work for me, though Faye is elegant as always. Darcey tells her something about getting an even better frame. The chemistry between F & G is still notable by its complete absence. 8,9,8,8 for 33.

Charles & Karen (Couple’s Choice). Praise the lord, they don’t pick contemporary dance, but choose street dance, so bonus points for them already with me. The VT has a lot about Charles’ tough upbringing in West London with strict parents, and how he eventually made his now departed dad proud of him. He gets a bit emotional about this. For the routine, both he and Karen are dressed in brightly coloured sharp suits with matching trilbies, reminiscent of Jim Carrey in “The Mask”. Another great routine to a strong beat, really snappy and perfectly synchronised, including some tricky handkerchief work, and Charles also throws in the full splits without missing a beat of the music. This is really joyous and they both seem to be having a great time here. Loved that.

Darcey inevitably says “oh, my goodness” and hails his performance as a major breakthrough, while Shirley says he reacted to being really unloved by the public and always in the dance-off with “true gentleship”. Talking to Claudia, he points to the ceiling and says “Dad, I’ve done you proud”. 4 9’s for 36. Karen jumps on him, then appears to be unprepared for him letting go and she falls full-length on the floor, but happily for all concerned, she's undamaged. Nice to see ex-husband Kevin giving Karen a big hug.

Oh my goodness, one of the best shows this season with 2 real stand-out dances from Danny and Charles and a critical tour-de-force from Shirley to Vick that was all the better for being completely accurate and justified. On the down side, we learned a lot more than we ever wanted to about Alfonso’s dance scores in Dancing with the Stars, and the contemporary routine was every bit as awful as I’d feared. Dr. Ranj is looking to be reaching the limit of his dancing capability, while we’ll see whether bottom-placed Vick is popular with viewers. I suspect not and pretty sure she’ll be in the bottom 2, along with Sean who hasn’t been protected this week by the judges. I’m so confident about this, I’m even posting it before the results show, hopefully so I can say “told you so” later – though my bottom 2 prediction record is patchy to say the least.

Meanwhile, Stacey is fast becoming my favourite, no dance experience, gives it a go, and seems a genuinely nice person.

zico
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Re: Strictly - Transatlantic

#175436

Postby zico » October 21st, 2018, 11:49 pm

Presumably in homage to Alfonso, the pros are dressed in close-fitting baseball outfits for the opening routine, then it’s onto the results. Charles is put through first, which is a nice touch after his last few weeks in the bottom 2, though given the judges’ scores from this week he was never in danger, though he thanks the viewers as if their devoted support has saved him. Faye and Graeme through next, then it’s Sean(n) and Katya in the bottom two, which doesn’t come as any surprise to them. Alfonso is asked what they need to do in the dance-off, and he takes a couple of minutes and several hundred words to say they need to be better.

More results put Danny, Stacey, Joe and Ashley through. Paloma Faith provides the music tonight, although her new single isn’t much and she’s less wacky than usual, despite her dress owing something to the Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

Judges’ corner is worth a brief mention this week as they come on in a co-ordinated silly dance which is good fun. Alfonso hams up his part well. He’s been a frothy but entertaining guest judge, and a nice change from Bruno who can get a bit too personal and hurtful at times with his negative comments.

Last few results – Kate and Ranj are through, so it’s between Lauren and Vick, but Vick is in the bottom two. Darcey is asked to give Vick some advice, and she replies “You’re a beautiful girl, just enjoy yourself”. Judging from that comment, it seems Darcey doesn’t expect Vick to be better than second place in the dance-off.

Lauren is interviewed by Claudia and tells us that with her dance this week she told a story about her that not many people knew beforehand. As she shared it through the medium of contemporary dance, I still don’t know it, and I doubt many other people will either.

The dance-off is competitive as both couples manage to be 50% worse than first time round. Katya does well just to avoid being trodden on by Sean(n)’s wildly flailing feet, while Vick is even less energetic than before. She does have one move where she grinds briefly against Graziano, and this may be my last chance to refer to this move as a Vick rub. After they finish, Tess refers to Vick as a gorgeous girl. Her looks have won her a lot more praise than her dancing this week, so either she's really beautiful or her dancing is terrible.

I have a feeling the voting won’t be unanimous. Craig goes for Vick, but the other 3 go for Sean(n) so Vick is out. She’s gracious in defeat, and Graziano says something nice about her, but I suspect he’s not too unhappy about spending all week getting Vick to learn a new dance. Halloween next week - usually a good show.

zico
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Re: Strictly - Transatlantic

#175586

Postby zico » October 22nd, 2018, 6:00 pm

I half-expected Vick might have had a strop about being booted off last night, so it's no surprise to learn that Vick hasn't taken her exit well on her radio show this morning, implying the producers told the judges to put Sean(n) through.

To quote Vick "After the dance off, the judges have to give their decisions. There was a conflab with the producers and then they gave their decision. There was this stunned silence, it was a really weird atmosphere." (The producers have since confirmed that this is standard practice, the judges transmit their votes, and the producers remind them how long they have for their comments, and to give reasons for their choice).

Her co-presenter asked her "Why does Shirley hate you" and Vick replied "I wish I knew. I've got to be careful what I say her...but people were suggesting from week one there was something there....I've never been spoken to like that, she really relished in it" - referring to Shirley's criticism.

For what it's worth, I think maybe if she's really never been "spoken to like that" - i.e. given detailed criticism about her performance - maybe that's part of the problem.

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Re: Strictly - Transatlantic

#175653

Postby dionaeamuscipula » October 23rd, 2018, 12:24 am

It was a shame Vick went, but unusually all the weakest dancers have already been chopped, so we are into the middle rankers already, and one bad dance could see anyone out (well, probably not Ashley (has she had her lips done? a couple of times on Saturday she looked very trouty) or Danny).

We thought Charles was undermarked for his dance. DMJr said he thought it was the best dance he had seen on Strictly. Ever.

Is Kate doing the Rhumba this week? she might be a good bet to be next out.

We liked Lauren's dance and thought it was choreographed beautifully.

DM


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