I was meant to be in Atlanta this week, you guys, but in a moment of reckless abandon I cancelled the trip, which means two things: a) I am still in New York and it is BLOODY FREEZING and b) IT’S PREVIEW TIME.
We’re down to the final eight (yes, still eight) this weekend, and we are surely into the Likely Finalists, Outside Chances, and Only A Matter of Times. We all have our own views of who fits into each, but for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts:
Likely Finalists: Caroline, Frankie, Jake and Pixie.
Outside Chances: Mark and Simon (though all it takes is the wrong bottom two and either one of them could swap in with Caroline, who is the riskiest of the above bets).
Only A Matter of Time: Steve and Sunetra (obviously).
So, hopes and fears for this week:
Caroline and Pasha – American Smooth to Mack the Knife (the website says “Robbie Williams’ version of Mack the Knife, but if you want me calm and not homicidal, we’ll just ignore that).
We’ve only really seen two shades of Caroline so far – concentrated attack (paso, jive, samba, tango, cha cha, quickstep) and dreamy emotional totes in love with Pasha (waltz, rumba) (we’ve all been there). I really, really hope that they do well this week - I continue to have faith in Pasha’s choreography, but it’s all going to depend on whether Caroline looks like she’s having fun, or looks like she’s marking out the dance with every step. The only week where she seemed to be dancing freely was Paso week – perhaps not a coincidence that that was the dance I have liked the most so far.
Frankie and Kevin – Viennese Waltz to What’s New, Pussycat?
Hmmmm. Not sure about this. I worry about Kevin’s tendency towards the twee, which we’ve already seen in their Foxtrot, and to some extent their Cha cha and even the beloved Wicked Tango. If Kevin reigns in the cheese, and Frankie keeps her frame, I will probably love it. They will do a fleckerl. Len will talk about this and heel leads, and probably score them lower than everyone else will, because that’s just how he rolls.
Jake and Janette – Samba to the Macarena
I am pretty sure you should do the Macarena to the Macarena, but what the hell do I know? Everyone was very excited on the results show that Jake is doing wiggly Latin again, but I do not particularly share this excitement, partly because his hip movement was the least exciting thing about their mental Salsa, and partly because even if you get the hips right in the Samba, there are still ONE MILLION more things you need to figure out, and you can’t rescue it with lifts like you can in the Salsa. I have been pretty tough on Jake recently, and this is largely down to Janette’s choreography, which I think is all show and little substance. I would love it if he had a good week this week, but I would be surprised.
Mark and Karen – Tango to Love Runs Out
Mark has had a very good run recently, even though Karen’s choreography continues to be a little pedestrian. I don’t think the Tango is going to suit him though – I imagine we will revisit his terrible Paso face, he will be commended for his attack and for how much progress he has made and OH MARK YOU WERE REALLY LEADING KAREN AROUND THE FLOOR, and I will have been terribly bored by the whole thing.
Pixie and Trent – Charleston to Sparkling Diamonds (whatever the hell that is)
OK, you guys, this is the week when I try to get on board with the Pixies. Trent has shown some willingness to be inventive with his choreography and his music choices, and my boredom at the blandness of their blondness is starting to depress even me. So, I predict great swivel, mad lifts, and JUST SO MUCH FUN.
Simon and Kristina – Salsa to Let’s Hear it For the Boy
I don’t really like Kristina’s Salsas. Remember this egregious mess? These two are terrifically good at lifts, though, so provided they keep it tight and don’t overdo it (what am I talking about, this is Simon in the Latin) it might even be good. Boring choice of song, though – I wouldn’t dance to anything Natalie Lowe had already danced to, just on principle.
Steve and Ola – Jive to Little Bitty Pretty One
I am fairly sure that this is going to be a disaster. I read a lengthy interview with Steve in which there was much talk about his having had bones fused together in his ankle or something (I read it, I didn’t memorise it, yeah?) which I suspect can only be bad news for anything that requires top speed flicking and kicking. Poor Steve – luck of the draw, or are the production team just super-done with him and Ola?
Sunetra and Brendan - Waltz to Last Request
ARMS ARMS ARMS. I like Sunetra in the ballroom, and I loved her Viennese Waltz, so I bet this will be good, provided Brendan engages his brain.
So it really ought to be down to Steve or Sunetra for the boot this week, and with Steve in the Latin and Sunetra in the Ballroom, it is almost certainly going to be Steve. The Pixies will probably be top of the pops, and I am really hoping for Caroline and Pasha to shine. And that, you guys, is that. See you at the weekend. I might even go for a live watch if I can find the energy – I’ll be on Twitter (@katetf) if so…