Strictly Come Dancing 2012 – Week 6

BBC Strictly 2012 Line-up
30 seconds in to the opening VT and Emma (the wife) has already declared the pairing of Tess & Claudia to be better than Brucie & Tess…think I’ll reserve judgement for now but I think I’m probably going to agree with her.

Is Tess playing Brucie today, or has she dressed as a pseudo-man just for fun?

Anyway our stars are introduced, Artem has his chest out again so obviously their dance must be bad again this week, but everyone else doesn’t look too bad…apart from Brendan’s hat???

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan – Paso Doble

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan
James injured himself just before last week’s show and so Ian Waite had stepped in this week to help them train, let’s hope the lack of training together doesn’t hinder them this week after last week’s excellent Viennese Waltz.

Ah, the obligatory cape-waving…and possibly a slight stumble from Denise at the start. A great song choice though I think.

They certainly have the mood down, though Denise’s facial expressions are a bit questionable at times. Something doesn’t feel quite right with this routine at points, and she looks a bit too rigid during the underarm spins.

Some good chassé capes and a good ending. I can’t quite decide what mark to give this one but I think I will give them another 9.

Craig: 9 “One balance issue…but I’ve got to say, drama, passion…shaping, really strong appels…I think working with Ian has done you wonders!”
Darcy: 9 “It’s the most exciting role I’ve seen you dance and perform”
Len: 9 “I thought it was fantastic…flair in the movements…care in the technique…captured the character of the dance”
Bruno: 9 “Conquering power of a firestorm…you’ve got it all together…finishing lines with slight hints of flamenco”

Total = 36

Richard Arnold & Erin Boag – Charleston

Richard Arnold & Erin Boag
This really could be Richard’s dance, a great chance to be camp, fun and entertaining…though I really hope he doesn’t drop her on her head.

Walks down the stairs look slightly out of time but he quickly recovers, though he does still go out of time on a couple of occasions.

Not a fan of the mouth open look, and the first lift feels laboured. There’s certainly a lot of content there though which he manages to remember this week. Is it just me or does Erin’s smile not really extend to her eyes on this one?

Infinitely better than his Foxtrot last week but just a 7 for me.

Craig: 7 “Quirky, eccentric, goofy…very character driven which suits you…however I could have done without the spanking bottom…did lose a little bit of timing…best dance to date”
Darcey: 8 “Fab Charleston, so many moves in there…enjoyed the choreography…just watch your flat feet”
Len: 7 “If a dance is going to suit anyone, it’s this…you did a good job, well done”
Bruno: 7 “High on hairspray…definitely plenty of highlights…Charleston is all about performance, slapstick, comedy – and that was all there”

Total = 29

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace – Waltz

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace
I really wish Louis could work on his facial expressions, the indifferent look really detracts from the dancing and he still needs to work on his head placement.

Must make sure he comes out of steps such as the open telemark on a toe though, not a heel, though generally his footwork is good. Great to see two double reverse spins in a row too.

A very nice Waltz marred by a few head and foot placement issues but I’m going to give them a 9 too…what a start to the show so far!

Craig: 6 “I didn’t like [the turn at the top] it was very pedestrian…I felt you were getting a little bit out of time in the middle of it…there wasn’t a clear downbeat…beautiful amount of rise and fall…however your head needs to go to the left more”
Darcey: 9 “Do not listen to him…when you get into hold your posture is beautiful, it’s true you do have a slight wondering head”
Len: 9 “What a load of bolo—gnese [at Craig]…you handled that well…top was great…honestly I thought it was lovely…great, well done”
Bruno: 9 “You waltzed your way into the heart of the nation…have to glide through it [which you did]”

Total = 33, definitely not a 6 though Craig

Fern Britton & Artem Chigvintsev – Salsa

Fern Britton & Artem Chigvintsev
Isn’t Bambaleo a Samba…! Must explain why Artem’s got his chest out again if they’re going to Salsa to a Samba track!

Craig unimpressed with Fern’s dusting, though she’s obviously taking a leaf out of Kimberley’s book that if you shake around in front of the judges [especially Len] they might just give you a few extra marks.

Fern does look good…though not necessarily when it comes to her dancing I’m afraid. Even though this isn’t Bambaleo playing, it’s still a Samba rhythm – what on Earth were they thinking choosing this?

It feels very pedestrian at times with lots of walking around and strutting and a few awkward looking moments. She definitely gives it some gusto though. Would still like to see more dancing but I’ll give them a 7 this week.

Craig: 6
Darcy: 7 “This is your party…I like it…underarm passes don’t lose your concentration”
Len: 7 “This was a party…thought you were going to have my eye out at one point…best dance so far”
Bruno: 7 “From casual duster to saucy scrumpet…letting yourself go…look great doing it”

Total = 27

Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole – Quickstep

Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole
Why do we have to have these silly props and time wasters?!!

The transition into the first step is messy but once they settle int it it looks good, and her head is very well placed. A few gapping issues here and there and she needs to watch her left arm and shoulder.

Would like to see a bit more bounce from Victoria and why Brendan has included yet another solo spin for her when she’s really not confident with them I don’t know. Brendan actually falls over at the end and then they end with a really bad skit where Brendan passes Craig a box (which he initially can’t get open) and inside is a dusty, cobweb covered ’10’ paddle.

Quite possibly her best dance but still making mistakes and losing confidence as the dance progresses so just a 7 for me.

Craig: 7 “Left shoulder raises slightly sometimes…but I thought you moved across the floor with gusto”
Darcy: 7 “Each week you grow with confidence…does show in the shoulders [they come up a bit]…I really enjoyed it”
Len: 8 “It was a Quickstep…it was quick, and there was lots of steps…very slick in the footwork…upper body could be a little bit more toned”
Bruno: 8 “A strong man holding you all the way through and things change dramatically…have to maintain that feeling…deliver again next week”

Total = 30

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone – Tango

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone
Some faffing about at the start but they don’t spend too long thankfully before they actually start dancing.

It’s a bit stompy at times and I think that’s because she’s needs to soften her knees more. There’s some nice quick choreography and the ending (though more Argentine Tango than Ballroom) is well executed.

Something just feels a little bit off for me but I’m going to give them an 8.

Craig: 8 “You are a lovely technician…shame the dance finished earlier than the music…small thing, you’re a fantastic dancer”
Darcey: 8 “I didn’t like the beginning…came across a little like a moody teenager…but then it got better, and better, and cleaner and crisper”
Len: 9 “I liked the light and shade about it…some parts were so fast and so clever…some parts were so slow and still…Vincent, great choreography”
Bruno: 9 “It started with a strop, and ended with a drop…what you did was so clean…so sharp…retained all the drama and passion of the dance”

Total = 34

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer – Foxtrot

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer
That’s what you do when you’re not getting high scores, introduce props to waste time!

The main problem is Nicky dancing on his own highlights all of his posture issues in one go, he actually improves once they’re in hold, though does stick his chin forward during pivots.

I’d rather they’d worked on his footwork than messed around with that intro. There’s misplaced heels, and the impetus turn was flat footed rather than a heel turn.

I think actually his best dance yet though and I’m going to give him a 7.

Craig: 7 “No, I saw a vast improvement…promising so much excitement…when you got in hold you delivered that excitement…could have done with a bit more drive around the floor”
Darcy: 7 “I really liked the start…I did miss a little drive…I missed the slow, quick quick”
Len: 8 “Got to move more…you don’t drive off your standing leg and straighten…the best is yet to come”
Bruno: 8 “Rising to the occasion…need a little more drive, especially when in hold…getting better every week”

Total = 30

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev – Viennese Waltz

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev

I do like this song.

A nice elegant start on the stage and not long until they get into hold, though I didn’t like the contra check out of hold.

I think Kimberley forgets that she’s supposed to be doing a fleckerl at one point and jumps into an Eros spin which makes it very messy, either than or she got caught in her dress.

Also doesn’t look like she’s crossing during her reverse turns.

Not as good as Denise’s Viennese from last week but I think I’ll give her an 8.

Craig: 8 “Head was just a little bit too high…snout pointed towards the ceiling…hopped three times in that back attitude turn…actually thought it was a delicious Viennese”
Darcey: 8 “That was such an emotive performance…beautiful extended long neck…recovered very well [from the mistake in the turns]”
Len: 9 “Kimberley Waltz…more spins than Alistair Campbell…it was gentle, it was whimsical and I really really enjoyed it…didn’t cross your feet on your reverse turns”
Bruno: 9 “Achingly romantic…fantastic sequence of spins…near perfection except for a tiny wobble”

Total = 34

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe – Salsa

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe
Latin hasn’t been Michael’s forte, and I’m expecting a Jive car crash here.

Slightly fast on the stage but actually not too bad with a nice attempt at hip action but then it goes to pot as they’ve obviously missed an arm wrap and Natalie pushes Michael away from her to force him back into routine.

It improves then after that with some tight and intricate choreography and some good lifts.

Vastly improved on any of his previous Latin attempts but just a 6 for the mistakes.

Craig: 5 “I could see the mechanics of every single movement…still littered with timing issues…but I loved the lifts, loved the energy and loved your commitment”
Darcy: 7 “Not a saucy salsa…you’re quite cute actually…well done, I liked it”
Len: 7 “Bit mechanical…somewhere in the middle there was a serious incident…great content…lifts were excellent…come out and given it a proper go”
Bruno: 7 “You can bat for the Latin team as well as the Ballroom team…timing still far from perfect…need lubrication in the hip department”

Total = 26

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor – Foxtrot

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor
There’s only two heel turns in their routine according to the VT…so not going to see a lot of basics then!

Slightly too long an intro for my liking, though she does perform it wonderfully, but it still feels like more of the same from their Jive, Charleston et al.

This is incredibly fast for a Foxtrot and Lisa has a tendency to look down at her feet whenever she’s in promenade.

The trouble with it being so fast is that her heel turns just aren’t there because she doesn’t have the time to fit them in and I can’t really see if she’s releasing her toe when she walks back.

Robin’s choreography is entertaining but he really needs to start looking at doing slower songs that allow Lisa to actually use all that technique he’s trying to teach her.

Could have been better but I’m going to give them a 7.

Craig: 8 “Impeccable timing, ferocious footwork…loved the line you made on the throwaway oversway”
Darcey: 8 “You have worked hard…I noticed everything…fastest foxtrot I’ve seen [that’s not necessarily a good thing Darcey!]”
Len: 8 “You’ve got the ‘F’ factor: Good Foxtrot, good footwork and fun!”
Bruno: 8 “Feet on fire…showbiz pazazz…pure Broadway…you’re not supposed to lead!…energy & enthusiasm so wonderful”

Total = 32, another pro falls over as Robin runs towards the balcony – I’m surprised it hasn’t happened in the past to be honest

Much better week and performances this week, that puts the final leader board (my score in brackets) as:

1. 36 – Denise & James [9]
2. 34 – Kimberley & Pasha [8]
2. 34 – Dani & Vincent [8]
4. 33 – Louis & Flavia [9]
5. 32 – Lisa & Robin [7]
6. 30 – Victoria & Brendan [7]
6. 30 – Nicky & Karen [7]
8. 29 – Richard & Erin [7]
9. 27 – Fern & Artem [7]
10. 26 – Michael & Natalie [6]

I think our bottom two, could be our bottom two, though Artem’s chest may just push Richard back into the bottom two.

The Results Show

The show starts off with the cast of Midnight Tango doing an excellent performance, we’re arranging a trip to see them in May and I know our students can’t wait to go and see it (that’ll be our second time).

The first couples safe were as follows:

Victoria & Brendan
Lisa & Robin
Louis & Flavia
Nicky & Karen
Denise & James

We have to wait until later to find out who’s in the dance off.

Talk with the Judges

Len’s Lens

  • The judges dancing
  • Vincent ‘phoning’ Darcy
  • Richard’s facial expressions
  • Richard slapping Erin on the bum, bongo style
  • Victoria being guided through her Quickstep by Brendan
  • Brendan falling over, but still finishing on time

First couple in the dance off are Fern & Artem

Couples safe are:

Dani & Vincent
Richard & Erin (possibly the campest celebration ever)

That leaves Kimberley & Pasha, or Michael & Natalie as the final couple in the bottom two. Joining Fern & Artem in the dance off is Kimberley & Pasha.

Well that was a surprise, but I think it’s the end of the road for the ‘Pec’inator. I think even if Kimberley trips over, kicks Pasha in the face, and impales Len in the forehead with her heel they still won’t send her home out of these two.

Fern & Artem – Salsa

They manage the middle arm section better and it’s a better performance than the earlier one, but I just don’t think it’s going to be strong enough.

Kimberley & Pasha – Viennese Waltz

Still hopping during the Eros spins but better than the first time round. But I think they would have really needed to have had a catastrophe to be in danger. I predict a 4-0 here.

Judges Votes

Craig: Kimberley “A no-brainer”
Darcey: Kimberley “Cleanest performance”
Len: Kimberley “I did agree”
Bruno: Kimberley “One couple really was outstanding”

Kimberley: 4
Fern: 0

Going Home: Fern Britton

Fern: “The best party on the television…thrilled to have been part of it [trying not to cry as she says it]”