Sunday, 5 October 2014

Strictly Come Dancing, Week 2: The Lady Celebs

Week 2, my friends, and I’m on Lady Celeb duty this week. On the upside, this means I don’t have to talk about Scott Mills. On the downside, I get ALL THE RINGERS. Seriously. So many damn Lady Ringers. As usual, a few general observations before we get going. 

Firstly, what is up with the bleached-out VT at the top of the show? It was a bit like someone died. Wait, did someone die? I think in fact it was all meant to set up some sort of Scott Mills-orientated joke, but that didn’t work, so let’s all move on. 

Secondly, here is my credits report this week – Joanne’s face is as mental in the credits as it is while she actually dances. And I think Chap Irish has kind eyes.

Thirdly, I am very not keen on this whole Tess and Claudia being walked down the stairs by male dancers thing. It’s like the producers want us to know that even though they have breached protocol by having two female presenters in their 40s, unsupervised by an older gent, there are still men around to help them if they falter. Mind you, Tess doesn’t help me with this mini-blast of feminist fervour by losing a shoe and actually needing help. THANKS A BUNCH, TESS.

On with the show!

Lady Irish & Chap Irish
Her frame is pretty terrible, I am sorry to say. There are moments where you can see Chap Irish tightening his grip super-hard to remind her to stay upright. I have to say, though, I was surprisingly charmed by it – she might not have been able to keep her arms or feet in the right place, but the whole thing had lovely flow, and I like her, and next week I might even use her real name, after I figure out what the hell Mrs Brown’s Boys is (I LIVE IN AMERICA OK?). She was trying so hard, and working like mad in rehearsals, and that’s not often true of the cannon fodder, so I find myself oddly in favour. 

(Quick aside – I was strangely unsettled by the use of this song – (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman, for those of you who can’t recall – so I googled it. Sure enough, bloody JORDAN danced to it a few series ago, and obviously this has cast a long shadow.)

(Another quick aside – I had, like, five blissful minutes early on week 1 where I thought there was a chance that we might not be subjected to a bellow of THEY’RE ON THEIR FEET every eight minutes, but those hopes have been tragically dashed. TESS HOW COULD YOU.)

(And one more – here is my suggestion for a new plan. Let’s get Tess to bellow NOBODY IS STANDING UP whenever there is no standing ovation. It would be rare, but astonishingly cruel. I’m in favour.)

Alison & Aljaz
OK, dance first, rant second. This was another tremendously enjoyable dance from Alison  (no mean feat for a foxtrot, well done Aljaz) – her top line is fab, her movements are lovely and sharp, and I have a shameful soft spot for a hot male dancer playing it geeky. I will say that I totally get why she’s not wearing higher heels, but I wish she would try – I think it would help with the drive of the dance. 

OK – here comes the rant, and it gets sweary, so if you’re reading this blog aloud to your children, step away now – when Len had the fucking temerity in WEEK BLOODY TWO to say to this woman that she was a Latin specialist, I just about smashed my TV screen. This is EXACTLY what they did to Riley – oh, the party dances are more your thing, my darling, oh it just wasn’t your dance this week my love – and it is utterly uncalled for this early in the show. This was a fantastic, fun foxtrot, and if they Riley Alison into the party dance corner, I will LOSE MY SHIT with this show. IT IS WEEK BLOODY TWO I HATE YOU LEN.

(Quick aside – why is it charming when Claudia says, “Good girl,” and unutterably patronizing when Tess does? KateTF, pondering the imponderables.)

Judy & Anton
Judy, I love you. I get immensely angry on your behalf whenever stupid people or the stupid press talk about pushy mothers because really, have they seen tennis dads? They’re mental! They get banned from tennis tournaments because they are so mental and often horribly abusive of their tennis-playing daughters. You, on the other hand, sit in the stands and criminally actually look like you want your son to win OUTRAGEOUS I AM OUTRAGED HOW DARE YOU.

But much as I love you, this was not good. 20 seconds before there was any dancing, and there really wasn’t much after that. Nerves nerves nerves, and not much natural talent, and well, there we have it. If you survive elimination today, I suggest an immediate visit from a Wimbledon champion son, if you can manage it, and probably Jamie, because he seems a bit more Strictly-audience friendly.

Caroline & Pasha
She’s a ringer, she danced the tango well. So here are my other thoughts:
  1. Bad choice of music – this was totally anonymous and horribly sung. Pasha is usually a bit more savvy than this – be more interesting, please.
  2. Was there any need to mention ex-boyfriends. Do we really want the shade of teenaged Harry One Direction hovering over our tangos?
  3. I am NOT a fan of how they are dressing Caroline. Both dresses so far have had weird overlays or fringing, so you can’t see any of her movement and I have been constantly distracted by swishes of material getting trapped between her and Pasha. As she is one of the few who can actually dance right now, this seems counter-intuitive.
Sunetra & Brendan
Sunetra makes an early play for the “busy and exhausted” storyline – good luck with that, Sunetra. Frankie Saturday and Pixie the Pixie are going for that too, and they are much more in need of a distraction from their ringerness, and fairly obviously pretty steely, so I wouldn’t get in their way. She also made a cha cha pun (cha-cha-charming, for the record) so obviously I am now a fan. This started well, though I found the arms (heavily praised by the judges) rather distracting, but it got a little sloppy as she got tired, so her lines started to go. I like her though – she seems nice, and also normal, and I am just lame enough to be swayed by that at this stage.

(Quick aside – every single time Craig delivers actual praise, Tess says, “And that means a lot coming from him.” I mean, she might as well just add, “unlike the rest of these fools.”)

Pixie the Pixie and The Other Pixie
Such a ringer. Can’t really argue with the fact that this was a pretty waltz, though it had an odd contemporary dance feel, which I didn’t really enjoy. But The Other Pixie was wearing brown, and everything else was sort of muted as well, and I can’t honestly say I was that engaged – I was rather hoping she would get her heel caught in her dress for some Wardrobe Malfunction Dramz, but no such luck. Can’t really argue with the scores, but I will argue that I was bored, and will remain so until these two little pixies kick it up a few notches personality-wise.

(Quick aside – I have a soft spot for Norah Jones. I once spent a blissful summer in northern California trying to write a book, and I listened to Norah Jones incessantly. The book was terrible, but I still can’t listen to Come Away With Me without remembering how nice it was not to have a job for a summer. Now I’ve made myself sad.)

Frankie & Kevin
Fun? Definitely. Well-danced? Sure. A bit joyless? Maybe. A Charleston? Not so much. This felt at least 50% jive to me, so why not just save this for jive week? It’s not as though she’s not going to get there. Of all the Lady Ringers, I think Frankie Saturday might be the best bet for dancing with some personality (Caroline might get there as well, though I sense an acting coach in her future week 7-ish), so why not give her a trad 20s Charleston where she can actually SHOW some personality, rather than burying her under a concept?

I’m being harsh. It’s just that all these ringers sort of exhaust me. They’re so good at the dancing, but where is the verve, where is the joy? I’ll tell you where – it’s with Alison, and it’s with Tim, and it’s with Jake, and it’s with Simon. It’s not here.

So, there we have it. Miss Jones is reporting on the chaps this week. Delighted to see Jake at the top of the leaderboard, because the 2-3-4 of Pixie-Frankie-Caroline that follows gives me a case of the mighty eyerolls. Very worried that Judy is already on her way home – Scott’s in trouble too, but he might have the Radio 1 fan base to survive. We’ll see…. 


  1. Three comments:
    1) La flack's hair appeared to be styled as an underbaked Danish;
    2) No-one needs to see Mrs Brown's Boys. Ever. Please trust me.
    3) Please publish a book to accompany strictly 2015 entitled "The Jordan Loathing Archives - the angry years."

  2. Do you think anyone would commission that book? Or should I crowdsource? Because believe me, I would be ALL OVER IT.