Strictly Come Dancing 2012 – Week 4 "Halloween"

BBC Strictly 2012 Line-up
Forget Strictly Halloween, this is how we roll at Learn To Dance when we have a Halloween Theme, that’s two Zumba outfits and our Halloween Social!

Anyway, back to Strictly and our Thriller of an evening ahead…

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone – Cha Cha Cha

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone
I haven’t seen any training footage this week so I’m going into all these routines blind, should make it interesting!

Never thought I’d see a Cha Cha Cha to the Scooby Doo theme tune. For me Dani feels like she’s doing too good an impression of Velma through this routine, it feels very introverted and careful, which is a shame as it seems to show some promise at the start.

Dani looks unsteady on her feet at times, though there is a lot of choreography in the routine which she pulls off generally with aplomb.

It didn’t really excite me though and so I’m only giving them a 6 for this week’s performance.

Craig: 6 “Clean, fantastic spins, very fast footwork…you must extend through your lines…accentuate those finishes…very late with your arms in the first New York”
Darcey: 6 “That was amazing…[Craig] you’re wrong…with that speed you got so much in there”
Len: 8 “If that dance was food it would be a sausage sandwich: tasty, satisfying & sets you up for the day ahead…I thought it was terrific”
Bruno: 7 “It was really spirited fun…nice & tight footwork…sometimes you tend to tighten up a bit”

Total = 27

Richard Arnold & Erin Boag – Paso Doble

Richard Arnold & Erin Boag
So Richard, the campest contestant on the show, has to dance the masculine Paso Doble…this should be interesting.

Ah the Strictly fallback, cape-work in Paso. Richard actually doesn’t look too bad doing it, though his upper body is just a little bit too stiff.

He’s certainly got the facial expressions down, but I can’t help drawing comparisons with a Bobbler Head Toy as he’s dancing towards the camera. Richard is trying for the aggression but it does still feel a little camp at times.

The main problem is with his posture, he needs to keep his shoulders down and stretch out more…oh and keep his bottom in! A better Paso then I expected from Richard, quite possibly his best dance, but just a 6 for me

Craig: 5 “Cape work at the top was very good…needs to be a lot more earthed…needs a lot more arch…spot on your turns…I’m disappointed”
Darcey: 5 “You definitely were spooky…worked very hard…need more [tilt in the hips]…clench your bottom muscles”
Len: 7 “You great big butch bull fighter…right into character…got to get those tight buttocks”
Bruno: 5 “The drama…you’re like Gary Newman in a temper…posture and timing weren’t quite there…execution not as refined as it should have been…shoulders have to be down”

Total = 22

Lisa & Robin – Charleston

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor
Another dance that allows Robin & Lisa to jump around waving arms and shaking their ‘thang’, I expect another entertaining performance, but I do fear for her once they have to start doing some more traditional dances.

Lisa needs a bit more swivel in her actual Charleston basics, though at this speed that would be a bit more difficult.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this performance as much as some of her previous ones, though the part where she ‘flips’ Robin into a cartwheel was interesting.

I think Lisa and Robin need to start showing us some variations in the theme…or at least a bit more actual dancing would be nice. Not her best and I’m going to be controversial and give her a 5 (my Emma agrees with me!)

Craig: 6 “Acted well but danced poorly…no cross whatsoever…swivel on your left foot was not happening at all…otherwise it’s not a Charleston”
Darcey: 6 “Fastest Charleston that I’ve ever seen…pulled it off ‘just’…did give me back your spring and your energy”
Len: 7 “Fun, speedy, lots of energy…a parody of a Charleston”
Bruno: 7 “Going at it like a spinning banshee…facial aerobics…nobody would ever be scared of you because you’re so much fun…God it’s enjoyable to watch”

Total = 26

Sid Owen & Ola Jordan – Cha Cha Cha

Sid Owen & Ola Jordan
A Cha Cha to Ghostbusters…

What’s with the awful breakdancing at the start, the exit looks a complete mess as Ola steps over Sid’s prone self.

I’m sorry Sid but Latin just really isn’t your strong point. The slow locks at the start are painful to watch and I can’t help feeling like they’re out of time.

He mucks up his footwork quite a few times and skips throughout his chassés. The gratuitous hip action is too OTT and his arms are often held a little too high – keep it below the shoulders and try to think about what you’re doing with your fingers too.

I like Sid as a person, but his dancing feels like it’s getting worse. I appreciate they couldn’t train that much this week due to Ola’s mum having a heart attack but I can’t really give this more than a 4 I’m afraid.

Craig: 2 “Halloween nightmare”
Darcey: 5 “Fabulous to see more dance content…don’t worry about going wrong…I want to see that cheeky Sid that we love”
Len: 5 “It’s all too safe…take risks…if you’re going to go down, go down fighting…get out there and give it some”
Bruno: 5 “You have to break the spell…lacked detail, power and accuracy…you proved a few weeks back that you can do it, get back there”

Total = 17

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer – Tango

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer
Nicky really does like playing the part…though the pointing section at the beginning looks awkward as Nicky tries to negotiate the stairs.

Nicky still has a problem with stomping at the start, we want staccato Nicky. I don’t understand the flicking/leg kicking/twitching section. It’s definitely weird [they danced to Weird Science], and it feels more like a Tango than say Sid’s from last week, but I’m kind of unsure how I feel about it.

A 6 from me.

Craig: 6 “You need to sort your posture out…picking your feet up way too much…but I really liked the routine”
Darcy: 6 “Entertaining all round…you lift the knees so it looks like you’re marching…narrative”
Len: 7 “Far more good than bad…stomped a bit with your footwork…sharp, crisp…got through it”
Bruno: 7 “Went at it like a rooster with a booster…don’t forget it’s still a Tango”

Total = 26

Fern Britton & Artem Chigvintsev – American Smooth

Fern Britton & Artem Chigvintsev
Well seeing as Artem’s been pretty much dancing an American Smooth in every Ballroom dance this shouldn’t be too hard for them!

Unfortunately Fern looks to have a slight slip on the stairs, and then starts out of time – saved by the first lift coming straight afterwards.

I can’t say the song makes me want to Foxtrot…not that Artem has choreographed more than 7 bars of actual Foxtrot (half of the requirement for this dance really) and of which 3-4 bars were lines anyway.

Fern’s arms are too high at points, and they really should be mirroring each other in the side-by-side sections. I still feel that Artem is avoiding giving Fern too much actual dancing. I can only assume that he doesn’t think she’s capable of it, but I’m hoping the judges let him know that if he wants Fern to progress he needs to start actually teaching her to dance, not just pose.

A disappointing routine, not within the rules for length of time in hold, I’m only giving them a 4 I’m afraid.

Craig: 4
Darcy: 5 “For me it was smooth…I like the bad queen in you…when you’re picked up don’t lift the shoulders”
Len: 6 “Neat and precise…hasn’t got the WOW…Artem you’ve got to push Fern more…I would’ve loved to have seen your feet together [in the heel turn]”
Bruno: 6 “A bit too nicey-nicey, too beige for me…didn’t have the impact that it should have had”

Total = 21

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan – Cha Cha Cha

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan
Denise’s first spin looks messy and i’m not sure on the hip rolls at the start. Denise needs to keep her shoulders down and I’m not seeing much hip action.

There seems to be a mistake after Denise walks around James but it’s well covered if it is. It’s not their most polished performance, with a few uncomfortable looking sections and some missed parts.

Denise needs to really develop her hip action and keep those shoulders down. Just a 6 from me (though part of me does wonder if this was calculated to get some audience sympathy after all the ‘she can already dance she shouldn’t be in this competition’…).

Craig: 7 “Leg to hip action was a little bit jolty…timing superb…energy, spins brilliant”
Darcy: 7
Len: 7 “You never disappoint…if you’re going to wear a short skirt you’ve got to have really fabulous leg action…wasn’t quite as crisp as I’d have like it”
Bruno: 7 “Kinky & slinky…the most theatrical parts went very well…but it’s the basics…really need to work on that”

Total = 28

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe – Quickstep

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe
I think Michael is going to have a better week this week, now he’s back to Ballroom.

Has a tendency to lift his shoulder at times, especially in promenade, which he needs to control.

Quick moving feet and a much softer action than, say, Nicky’s from last week. Slightly off balance at the first throwaway oversway but recovers well. His pendulum swings are really quite impressive.

Needs to watch his hands in the ending but by far his best performance, and the best dance of the night so far, an 8.

Craig: 8 “[Claps, much to Michael’s jubilation]”
Darcy: 8 “Ballroom is your thing…hold all the way through was beautiful…tired a little at the end…feet light, precise, no messy transitions”
Len: 8 “Last week you were so close to going out of the competition…I’m so glad you didn’t”
Bruno: 7 “More than magical, it was a miracle…in hold you were just incredible…what a transformation”

Total = 31, current top of the leader board

Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole – Tango

Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole
Even though you’re crouching Victoria, make sure you don’t let your shoulders rise too much.

Come on Victoria, this is looking good don’t make a mistake…bugger I have literally just jinxed her but she recovers much better than previously!

Slightly stompy in places, Victoria needs to make sure she doesn’t pick her feet up off the floor, there should always be some part of the foot in contact with the floor.

Surprise, surprise, Brendan keeps her in hold and Victoria actually dances really well.

Without doubt her best performance. Needs to work on her posture still but starting to show some of the potential she’s capable of. I’m going to give her a 7 for this one.

Craig: 7 “Lost a little bit of posture…really thought the routine was brilliant”
Darcy: 8 “Wonderful to see that fight in you…true Tango woman of the night”
Len: 8 “This was a proper Tango…sharp & crisp…there was a little moment…but I don’t care”
Bruno: 8 “Teen beauty with a hint of madness…I absolutely loved it”

Total = 31, joint highest with Michael…who’d have thunk it…

Colin Salmon & Kristina Rihanoff – Salsa

Colin Salmon & Kristina Rihanoff
“I’m playing a wizard, and Kristina my cat” any excuse to put her into a catsuit I imagine.

Ok so it’s not a catsuit!

The dismount from the first lift is a bit dodgy, and Colin has some strange hand movements during the solo cucaracha sections. As my Emma puts it, it’s a bit like dad dancing.

A few mistakes start to creep in, but (as is usually the case with Kristina’s routines), it goes from one lift to the next. They’re impressive lifts but it just doesn’t feel like enough of a Salsa for me.

He’s got rhythm, there’s no doubting that, but I’m only giving them a 6 this week.

Craig: 5 “Need to concentrate a little bit more on your footwork…looked a bit messy…very flat footed…do have that disco groove going on”
Darcy: 7 “I liked the long arms…wasn’t a dirty salsa, but it was definitely a saucy salsa”
Len: 6 “It had a lovely rhythmic tick…but there was a major incident…if it was just a small mistake”
Bruno: 6

Total = 24

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace – Tango

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace
Louis’ head position is looking much better this week, and his lack of facial expression is actually fitting for this characterisation.

It’s sharp and has attack, and it looks like Louis is leading…though he does drop his arms at times. A nice use of his gymnastic abilities at the ending.

Rivals Michael for the best dance of the night so far, an 8 from me.

Craig: 8 “Ineffable darling…I loved it…however your thumb bothered me [sticking up]”
Darcey: 9 “Wonderful beginning, great end, but even more fabulous middle…just watch it in the kicks, you musn’t have a higher leg than your girl…best Tango of the night”
Len: 9 “Wish I could have another look at that, it was fabulous”
Bruno: 9 “Really was a Tango with a bite…first killer Tango of the season”

Total = 35, first nines of the series and puts them on top, just Kimberley & Pasha with the opportunity to knock them off

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev – Paso Doble

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev
I can see Paso steps but it’s not really feeling like a Paso for me. There’s quite a few slips and messy parts from Kimberley too.

A strange routine, and a strange song, it just didn’t do it for me this week and yet another 6 from me this evening

Craig: 8 “Fiery, punchy, fantastic shaping”
Darcey: 8 “Intensity…sold it for me…generally very very nice”
Len: 7 “It was a very confident performance…I would’ve liked a tad more aggression…once you got into the dance, lovely”
Bruno: 8 “It was a bit like Twilight at times…beauty and the beast…lines were excellent…very well danced”

Total = 31, well there’s always at least one dance that the judges and I don’t see eye-to-eye on!

It’s been a fairly low scoring week this week (from both me and the judges), that puts the final leader board (my score in brackets) as:

1. 35 – Louis & Flavia [8]
2. 31 – Michael & Natalie [8]
2. 31 – Victoria & Brendan [7]
2. 31 – Kimberley & Pasha [6]
5. 28 – Denise & James [6]
6. 27 – Dani & Vincent [6]
7. 26 – Lisa & Robin [5]
7. 26 – Nicky & Karen [6]
9. 24 – Colin & Kristina [6]
10. 22 – Richard & Erin [6]
11. 21 – Fern & Artem [4]
12. 17 – Sid & Ola [4]

Sid is definitely the worst dancer of the night, Fern is let down by the choreography, but I think Richard could be in trouble tonight.

The first couples safe were as follows:

Louis & Flavia
Victoria & Brendan
Kimberley & Pasha
Lisa & Robin
Michael & Natalie

First couple in the dance off is Sid & Ola

Talk with the Judges

Len’s Lens

  • Judges taking part in the Thriller opener…except for Len
  • Len singing along to The Witch Doctor
  • Lisa flipping Robin
  • Louis’ final back-flip…Darcy’s reaction…can’t describe it
  • Richard’s Paso facial expressions
  • Bruno’s reaction to seeing Michael’s dancing transformation
  • Brucie going Gangnam Style, then Tess joining in

Other couples safe are:

Richard & Erin
Dani & Vincent
Denise & James
Nicky & Karen

That leaves Colin & Kristina, or Fern & Artem as the final couple in the bottom two. Joining Sid & Ola in the dance off is Colin & Kristina.

Out of these two Sid should really be going home but there’s still the dance off with the potential to save them.

Sid & Ola – Cha Cha Cha

Ah so that’s almost how that first breakdance move was supposed to look!

It’s a better performance than their first one, Sid definitely wants to stay in this competition.

Colin & Kristina – Salsa

Colin makes a bit of a hash of it midway through but overall not a bad performance.

Judges Votes

Craig: Colin “This couple were more dynamic, and simply better dancers”
Darcey: Colin “They both performed so much better”
Len: Sid “No I didn’t agree, I would’ve saved Sid & Ola, [Colin went wrong in the exact same point and it’s a big mistake”
Bruno: Colin “It’s good to see that both switched up a gear”

Sid: 1
Colin: 3

Going Home: Sid Owen

Sid: “I’ve loved every minute of it…thanks to Ola…she’s a hard task-master…I can feel confident going out now and having a little dance”