Strictly Come Dancing 2012 – Week 8

BBC Strictly 2012 Line-up
Sorry for the delay in the blog this week but our hosting company appeared to have a major meltdown of their servers where our database is stored, the website still worked but the blog was unavailable even to draft a post.

Anyway on to Saturday night’s show.

Is it just me or should they really have waited until there were only 6 left before doing a friends skit?!

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone – Samba

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone
You gotta love Vincent, he’s got a bigger head than me!

I’m not liking Dani on her own during the intro, especially her hand actions and I’d like to see a few more straight legs at certain points, especially during the shadow ‘Beyonce’ section.

Dani definitely looks more at home when she’s bopping rather than actually dancing but we were so glad they didn’t incorporate a floor spin, I really hate that move.

One of the better Sambas on Strictly though and I think I’ll give her an 8.

Craig: 9 “One hot little dancer…loved the bounce action…very very tidy Samba darling”
Darcey: 9 “Extraordinary, such a clean Samba…saw every move…in your running promenades finish off the arms”
Len: 9 “Samba’s a party dance…you got this party started…loved the routine, lots of basic stuff going on”
Bruno: 9 “Charming and bubblier than Babycham…your feet, so well placed so exact…I love it”

Total = 36

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev – Tango

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev
Not sure on the gurn but at least she’s trying to keep the spirit of the Tango throughout the dance.

It’s sharp but her head needs to be out further, it looks to be almost pushed forward and too close to her shoulder at times.

There’s a few moments where they look off balance and this could be because it appears Kimberley is trying to lead, or at least pre-empt the next move.

A bit disjointed in the top half of the body which ruined the dance for me really, could have been higher but I’m only going to give her an 8.

Craig: 8 “You did see a slight wobble…but I absolutely loved the drama at the top…told that story all the way through…frame occasionally was a little bit loose”
Darcey: 9 “Storytelling was wonderful…topline…attack…was brilliant”
Len: 8 “I loved the mood of it…your hold goes in and out, it’s a little bit loose…never did one heel lead…but the feel of the dance was spot on”
Bruno: 9 “The ultra-vixen with a killer attitude…I haven’t seen such a mean pout since Joan Collins…you were going for it the way you really should…did I see a slight wobble in the middle?”

Total = 34

Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole – Salsa

Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole
It’s week 8 and Victoria is still training in lace up dance shoes, no wonder she’s always so unsteady by the time she puts on higher (and considerably thinner) heels!

Latin really isn’t Victoria’s strong point and I’m afraid we may not see much to improve on that this time around.

From the very strange outfit to the moment she walks down the stairs towards Brendan and appears to fling herself into his arms, in what I can only assume was not an expected way, my heart starts to drop.

It improves once they’re in hold but as soon as they break from hold she goes out of time and messes up but thankfully it’s not long before they’re back in hold and recovered.

Victoria still needs to work on selling the ‘fun’ but they have some quite intricate arm movements that they manage to pull off, and the final lift is impressive from just a core strength perspective if nothing else.

Not her worst Latin dance but I did feel an air of trepidation throughout which lowered my enjoyment so only a 6 from me I’m afraid.

Craig: 4 “The prop candy sticks had more fluidity”
Darcy: 6 “I was amazed you achieved all that armography…most amazing core [in the lifts]…distract from the hip action”
Len: 6 “A bit light…needed a bit more ‘go’ in it…lifts were very clean…bit more oomph”
Bruno: 5 “When you stand still you’re fabulous…so much to offer and you still don’t deliver”

Total = 21

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace – Paso Doble

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace
Louis needs to keep his shoulders down and I’m not sure on the song choice.

Still needs to work on his hands as he does tend to splay his fingers a lot, which Flavia has obviously tried to combat by having him hold his lapels at every opportunity.

Needs to have a bit more body shape throughout.

For me I like my Paso to have real aggression and passion, and the song is such an integral component of that which is where I feel this week just didn’t work for me.

Another underperforming week from Louis and just a 7 for me.

Craig: 6 “You have to learn to act these dances…you can go no further unless you give yourself up”
Darcey: 7 “You’ve got it all to give but I lost the storytelling in that…the attitude just wasn’t there for me…clean, exact, precise…I just missed the story”
Len: 7 “It’s thunder and lightening…you have to come out and attack and perform…nothing going on…no fire”
Bruno: 7 “You have the lines…but it’s what’s behind it…it’s a fight to the death and that’s what you have to produce”

Total = 27

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor – Rumba

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor
I’d like her to keep her feet in contact with the floor more, and I’m not sure she’s always straightening her legs.

She skips during the cucarachas and I’d like to see more hip action, which would be helped by dancing more through the floor and not picking the feet up.

One of the least cringy Rumbas we’ve seen on Strictly, although it does almost turn into Paso at one point.

Am I the only one who had memories of Team America, puppet love and ‘…I don’t want to mess anything up…’ at the end?

A decent attempt and I’m not sure what more she could have done with that choreography and song. I think I’ll give them a 7.

Craig: 7 “Slightly tempestuous…lost it’s sensuality…don’t think it’s a dance that actually suits you…I thought you danced it well”
Darcey: 6 “So hard to sustain those slow moves…this isn’t your dance sadly”
Len: 7 “I liked some of the detail…the feeling of the dance for me wasn’t there”
Bruno: 7 “It was nice, it was stylized…surprisingly understated…very careful with it…nice but not overwhelming”

Total = 27

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe – Argentine Tango

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe
A mixture of Ballroom (Michael’s strong point) and Latin (not quite so good) this could be a good performance if he can pull off the atmosphere of the dance.

They definitely have an intensity in the performance, though it’s a little unsteady at times and Michael still has a tendency to hunch over.

Michael tries to start a bit too early at one point and Natalie literally head butts him to keep him in time!

The running drag is quite good but I think the timing was out at the finish. A decent Argentine Tango, not quite Mark Ramprakash standard, but I think he should get 7’s.

Craig: 6 “Lacked any resistance and lead…didn’t feel that was happening…adornements were very stiff”
Darcy: 7 “Such an attentive partner…missed that domineering man…beautiful ease into those lifts…lovely lines”
Len: 7 “Two parts to every routine…maybe the performance was lacking a little bit but it was a full routine…so much good going on”
Bruno: 6 “The look of painful concentration on your face…looked like you were passing a kidney stone…no relationship between you…lost any sense of sexuality”

Total = 26

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer – Charleston

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer
Charleston could certainly fit Nicky’s personality and there’s a lot less technical requirements, which may benefit him greatly.

So we’re seeing a reprise of his The Mask performance from a few weeks ago!

It’s lively and precise, but I still wish he would straighten his back more and not stick his chin out. A good attempt at swivelling and some very impressive lifts/catches. Doesn’t quite match Karen for energy though at times.

Aside from the posture I think it was a good Charleston, I’ll give them an 8 this week.

Craig: 9 “It wasn’t a disaster dah-ling…that suited you down to the ground…your best yet”
Darcy: 9 “Magic…I loved it…quirky, fun, loved it”
Len: 9 “I liked the setup…the no stress express…bottom two last week, you’ll be top two this week”
Bruno: 9 “Character driven slapstick…you never lost the Charleston…brilliant”

Total = 36

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan – American Smooth

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan
A very painful looking VT when Denise spins in, almost knocking James in the face so he ducks out of the way, but Denise carries on by jumping into where she expects James to be…ending up smacking her head on the floor!

Their final lift is also the same as the one that broke James’ nose when he danced it with Ola a few weeks ago…so they’re really trying to keep upping the ante it seems…this could either be amazing or disastrous!

A nice elegant performance, Denise really knows how to finish off a move. Thanks to the camera angles I can’t see any footwork issues but the lifts are perfect.

There really is nothing I can say to fault this performance and I think this will be more 10’s.

Craig: 9 “James, your thumb was up on occasion, your bottom was sticking out, you lacked any rise and fall…Denise you were perfect…another triumph”
Darcy: 9 “Graceful, musical, you are a pleasure to watch…difficult lifts…how effortless you make them…create beautiful lines”
Len: 9 “Wave after wave of effortless motion…couple of foot things…but the look of it was class”
Bruno: 10 “Smooth and weightless…seamless flow of movement…emotional connection, for me it was perfection”

Total = 37, if Denise was perfect why didn’t she get a 10? I really wish the judges would give some constructive criticism in their comments though – how can she aim for 10’s if she doesn’t know what she did wrong?!

So the leader board (my score in brackets) stands at:

1. 37 – Denise & James [10]
2. 36 – Dani & Vincent [8]
2. 36 – Nicky & Karen [8]
4. 34 – Kimberley & Pasha [8]
5. 27 – Lisa & Robin [7]
5. 27 – Louis & Flavia [7]
7. 26 – Michael & Natalie [7]
8. 21 – Victoria & Brendan [6]

I think this could be Victoria’s week to go but I could see Lisa joining her in a bottom two but it will most likely be Michael & Natalie.

The Results Show

Flawless and the Strictly Pro girls…what could go wrong…well actually nothing really, quite enjoyed it!

The first couples safe were as follows:

Kimberley & Pasha
Louis & Flavia
Nicky & Karen

First couple in the dance off are Michael & Natalie

Talk with the Judges

Len’s Lens

  • Len Goodman arriving in the study, with a bottom spank!
  • Louis’ lack of emotion…only a moment of passion in the whole routine
  • Nicky’s facial expressions
  • Craig’s verbal faux pas with Kimberley & Pasha
  • Dani’s ‘Beyonce’, and Bruno’s dancing
  • Len & Bruno laughing after their reaction to Darcey’s 6 for Lisa’s Rumba

Other couples safe are:

Dani & Vincent
Denise & James

That leaves Lisa & Robin, or Victoria & Brendan as the final couple in the bottom two. Joining Michael & Natalie in the dance off is Victoria & Brendan.

I think Victoria will finally be leaving, unfortunately she has just never lived up to the early promise.

Victoria & Brendan – Salsa

Victoria starts on the wrong foot but doesn’t muck up in the same points…just completely different ones this time….and the final lift is nowhere near as smooth.

Michael & Natalie – Argentine Tango

For me pretty much the same performance as earlier but with a much better timed ending and definitely enough to send Victoria home

Judges Votes

Craig: Michael “This couple completely smashed it and I thought they were amazing”
Darcey: Michael “I’m going to save Michael & Natalie”
Len: Michael “I did agree”
Bruno: Michael “I’m going to save the best performance”

Michael: 4
Victoria: 0

Going Home: Victoria Pendleton

Victoria: “I think I need a holiday…it’s been so much fun…I’ve loved every second of it…hair, makeup, costumes I love…been a fantastic experience”