Strictly Come Dancing 2012 – Week 9

BBC Strictly 2012 Line-up
So we’re down to 7 contestants and Michael has a Samba…that’s got bottom two written all over it!

We actually managed to watch the show on Saturday night for once, though we didn’t start until ridiculously late so thought we’d leave the update til Monday morning as usual.

3 weeks to go until the final, and it’s starting to get harder to say “they should definitely go this week” so we’ll just have to wait for their performances to be sure!

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev – Jive

Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev
Kimberley has knee, and now it appears hip, issues and Jive is probably one of the worst dances she could have been performing.

It’s a fast and lively song they’re performing to and a great way to get the night started…if anything though it feels just a little too fast. They’ve sacrificed polish for speed and it shows at times – especially with the lift/throw between the legs where Pasha nearly falls over.

Starts to lose a bit of energy near the end and Kimberley doesn’t look entirely balanced when she spins.

An energetic but frantic performance. I think I’ll give them an 8.

Craig: 9 “Absolutely brilliant…fast efficient footwork…going through the legs was very very clumsy and that will lose you a point”
Darcey: 8 “Certainly matched Pasha’s energy level…accent in your legs was brilliant…well done”
Len: 8 “I thought you did a great job…one or two dodgy moments…I was a little bit anxious when you went flying through the legs…the spins were a bit off at one stage…overall well done”
Bruno: 9 “You were pumping it and bouncing it like a frisky rabbit…great energy, great timing…couple of moments that spoiled something that I thought was almost perfect”

Total = 34

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone – Viennese Waltz

Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone
I hope that’s not Vincent’s movember as otherwise it’s a pretty poor show!

I’m not seeing many heel leads but it’s a wonderfully choreographed piece…more than a few non-standard steps (including a couple of nice double reverse spins) but fitting the music perfectly.

Timing and musicality are excellent but there are a few shaky moments however I’m giving them a 9!

Craig: 8 “Back attitude turn wasn’t as pretty…full of musicality…for me it did not blow me away sadly”
Darcey: 8 “Everything in the lower part of your body was so clean…would have liked a better curve [in the upper body]…gliding very nice”
Len: 9 “I thought that was beautiful…wasn’t just a normal Viennese Waltz…whole thing had a charm about it”
Bruno: 9 “It really was a Viennese Waltz with Italian flair…absolutely enchanting”

Total = 34

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe – Samba

Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe
If that shirt’s anything to go by this is going to be a car crash 😯

Is it just me or is he clapping out of time right from the off…oh dear it’s back to dad dancing I fear!

Needs to do something better with the face and hands, and the bounce is a little too pronounced in his voltas. The whole dance lacks any really attack from Michael and it feels like he’s dancing a completely different dance to Natalie.

A moment of sheer panic when it looks like Michael is about to knock Natalie flying and it takes them a moment to recover, I think even the band were ready to stop!

Unfortunately the performance was pretty much as expected and I’m only going to give them a 5 I’m afraid.

Craig: 5 “It wasn’t completely dreadful…your Latin has slightly improved…still looks very awkward…I love the shirt darling, it’s what’s in it that bothers me”
Darcy: 7 “The improvement is outstanding…the amount of content is extraordinary…it is sad that those hips are never going to look natural…but I can see you’ve worked hard”
Len: 6 “You never let your right hip let your left hip know what it’s doing…lot of content in there…lot of movement going on…it wasn’t fantastic but it wasn’t that bad”
Bruno: 6 “It’s really good to see you finally let yourself go…turning into a one-hip wonder – everything was on one side…you’ve got to swing both ways my darling…with the hips!!!”

Total = 24, not bad considering!

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer – Argentine Tango

Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer
Nicky has proved on more than one occasion that he can act a part, and this seems no exception.

The fast grapevine section near the start feels a little messy but it’s generally a sharp and intense performance with some nice lifts…though the entry into the last looks a bit uncomfortable.

A second solid week from Nicky it seems…could we have a late dark horse developing? I wasn’t totally convinced of his lead at points but I think it’s worthy of an 8.

Craig: 7 “I thought the storytelling was absolutely superb throughout that…just too aggresive and stompy…like a little boy not getting his way and throwing a tantrum”
Darcy: 8 “Intensity was perfect…would have liked a more lustful Nicky towards Karen…you can get a little bit hard…topline is the only thing that bothers me”
Len: 7 “I thought the lifts were very good…overall feeling of the dance for me was too much ballroom tango, a little bit too much sharp and staccato…feet were a little bit steppy”
Bruno: 8 “I think a lot of people like it that hard…intense, purpose, determination…thought was great”

Total = 30

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor – Quickstep

Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor
Back to the fun and fast dances…I’m sure Lisa will feel more at home this week.

Good to see they don’t waste too much time before getting in hold, and it’s a fast and lively start. I can’t tell whether the flicks on opposite legs is deliberate or a well covered error, especially as they do the same thing later as well.

Gets very frantic as it nears the end though. An energetic performance but I think Lisa may have reached her talent threshold and just a 7 from me.

Craig: 7 “Your left hand needs a lot more shaping…pendulums a bit heavy…messy incident before the second Charleston…energy is incredible”
Darcey: 8 “You shine…love your energy…do get a little tired in the top line…fast and light”
Len: 8 “That’s what you bring to the show – sunshine…it was fast, it was fun…well done”
Bruno: 8 “Your personality couldn’t be more bright…totally captivating…I loved the comedy ending [to which Bruno actually falls off his chair trying to emulate]”

Total = 31, week 9 is as far as Robin has got in the competition and I fear they could be in trouble this week

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan – Salsa

Denise Van Outen & James Jordan
A fast and sharp routine but Denise actually looks a little uncomfortable at a few points, during solo spins and the shimmy.

Unfortunately they seem to lose it in the final third and for some inexplicable reason Denise ends up with her cheek against James’ crotch…not a wise position and I’m sure a photo of this will end up in the press! Also on a second viewing James’ finishing move to hit the end beat results in a final thrust into Denise’s cheek – no words can describe!

Started promisingly but I never felt Denise was comfortable and it really fell apart by the end. A disappointing outcome and I’m afraid I’m going to give them a 6.

Craig: 8 “Hip action could be a bit more fluid…make something up [if someone forgets]…best spins I have ever seen from any celebrity”
Darcy: 8 “Underarm turns were fast and clean…can look a bit clumsy…shimmys bothered me – you had your elbows in”
Len: 8 “It’s not if you go wrong, it’s how you recover…I thought you recovered very well…well done”
Bruno: 8 “Spins are fantastic…a couple of near misses…but you covered it well…hips have to be more luscious and fluid”

Total = 32

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace – Charleston

Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace
Hmm, a dance that requires bags of fun and personality, not really been Louis’ strong point on the dance floor thus far.

Well it finally happened, they gave Louis the acting lessons that everyone suggested about 5 weeks ago!

Some great swivelling in his basic Charleston movements but you really do feel that he’s trying too hard to show a persona, rather than actually enjoying the dance with gay abandon.

Moments of wonder and some excellent incorporation of Louis’ gymnastic abilities, as well as a brief Michael Jackson moment (though I don’t actually think it was good enough to have been included).

The actual Charleston sections were really good but I still can’t believe that Louis’ performances are totally free, he still holds back a little which detracts from the overall performance.

A good Charleston but just didn’t wow me and left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. However I think they deserve an 8.

Craig: 8 “I think your acrobatic skills were used wisely and to great effect…at long last some personality”
Darcey: 10 “You performed…I loved the insane doctor…tricks had the WOW factor”
Len: 9 “You’ve got a personality and you’ve come out and performed”
Bruno: 10 “Doctor, doctor my hear is pounding, do you do house calls?…the making of a true contender”

Total = 37

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

1. 37 – Louis & Flavia [8]
2. 34 – Dani & Vincent [9]
2. 34 – Kimberley & Pasha [8]
4. 32 – Denise & James [6]
5. 31 – Lisa & Robin [7]
6. 30 – Nicky & Karen [8]
7. 24 – Michael & Natalie [5]

Some real discrepancies between the judges and I this week. I don’t agree that Louis’ dance was perfect and I actually felt Nicky did a much better job than he’s been given credit for.

I think it could be anyone in the bottom two this week but Michael & Natalie are pretty much a given I feel. Given Nicky has already been in the bottom two this suggests his fan-base just isn’t large enough so I think they’ll be joining Michael.

The Results Show

The first couples safe were as follows:

Louis & Flavia
Lisa & Robin

First couple in the dance off are Michael & Natalie

Talk with the Judges

Len’s Lens

  • Len’s big grin during Lisa’s Quickstep
  • Lisa’s mess up of the ending
  • Louis’ facial expressions
  • Bruno & Darcey hi-fiving after they both gave Louis a 10
  • Kimberley’s Jive flicks
  • The ‘Jive Bunny’ showing everyone to their seats
  • Bruno playing with Natalie’s headdress
  • Bruno falling off his chair during his comments to Lisa

Other couples safe are:

Denise & James
Dani & Vincent

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

I don’t think Michael will survive a Samba dance-off.

Michael & Natalie – Samba

Michael starts by clapping in time…already an improvement on yesterday’s performance. Unfortunately everything else that was wrong with it is pretty much still there, I’m pretty sure they changed the dip but he still almost dropped her with that one too!

Nicky & Karen – Argentine Tango

If Nicky can get through this routine without incident I think he should be safe…and I think that’s Michael’s turn to call a cab – and Natalie knows it!

Judges Votes

Craig: Nicky “Absolutely sensational the second time around”
Darcey: Nicky “Both upped their game”
Len: Nicky “It was unanimous”
Bruno: Nicky “Really had the licence to thrill”

Michael: 0
Nicky: 4

Going Home: Michael Vaughan

Michael: “Everything about the show…contestants have been great…Nicky wiped the floor with me”