Monday, 4 October 2010

Strictly Come Dancing 2010 survival guide

EDIT: read the review for Week 2 , Week 3 and Week 4 plus who was voted off. I waited till all the contestants had had at least one turn on the dance floor before I made this handy guide to the latest and possibly so far, best edition of Strictly Come Dancing. Since next week they start hoying people off, this week end was your only time to see all of them on one show. Seem lots of you took the time do just that, according to my own personal private source for such things, over 9 million people tuned in to watch Strictly over it's direct competition, the sad and past it's sell by date X-Factor. How reassuring to know I am not alone in choosing  Strictly for the next dozen or so weeks.

If you're new to the annual two left feet festival, a number of celebrities ( actual ones, not the losers who go on I'm a celebrity) gather at  BBC Television Centre to train with professional dancers. They are paired off in two distinct groups. Group A is composed of healthy heterosexual couples who are destined to "get intimate", some even get married. Group B is a mixture of committed to other people who are there to , have a good time dancing, prove that old people are able to dance and lastly the filler people. Filler as in, we needed a dozen but could only get 8, so we cast around for people who will entertain, but won't be missed when they get voted off early. In theory this formula works, but sometimes you get a competitor who is so beloved, despite the complete lack of talent, or are so disliked , that some jokers think it's funny to keep them in at the expense of genuinely talented folk. I leave it to you to figure out who is who this year.

As always the same judges are with us, Dalek Judge, Picky Judge who hates Dalek Judge, Whinny sensitive Judge who loves everybody and lastly Bubbly expressive judge. My personal favourite is Dalek Judge, Craig Revel Horwood. He tells it like it is, even if it hurts. I don't see the point of treating the dancers with kid gloves if they are making mistakes. How else are we supposed to know what to look for? Every time the audience boos him for being honest, they betray their ignorance and lack of objectivity. They should demand excellence, they gave up an evening somewhere else to be sat in the hall, I would hope they expected quality. If said celebs were as bad at acting, singing or football, most of that crowd would not hesitate to turn on them, so why should this be any different? The fact is that the contestants as professional entertainers, are prepared to admit the man is right, so please show the same decorum and dignity as the contestants and let the man talk, you might learn something.

Last thing.... I have been enjoying the all rounder showmanship of Bruce Forsythe most of my life. You don't get the entertainment triple threat singer dancer actor combination like him any more. In fact if we were to flip over to ITV to witness the shallow talentless hacks with no vocal range, less dance talent and the emotional depth of a fish tank, we would see what talent means now. I'm of course referring to the judging/mentoring panel in case you were wondering. As for the current crop of nutters on X-Factor, they are more suited for Big Brother than a talent competition. One can hope this doesn't bode ill for future recruiting at Strictly and other such programmes.

And now without further ado, the list of this year's dancers and their placement  on the league table of twinkle toes talent and entertainment value .

Felicity Kendal, most famous for her work as half of a family living the green life before it was cool to do so. As a lad in my 20's then, I would have been more than happy to give up the cushy urban life we all lived to be with her. Years on, she's still not unattractive and  has a presence that soothes you with her smile and genuine desire to be a better dancer. I think she will be around for some time and could grow to be a contender for mid table or higher. I gave her a 4.5 on the first day, but suspect it was more nerves than ineptitude.

Woodenders's Scott Maslen, is not bad at all. He seems to know what he's doing and will quickly rise to compete for European spots. His Spicy Waltz is a certainty to set ladies hearts a flutter and cause Bruno to go into convulsions of passion. 6.5 with a bullet.

Goldie, DJ actor and personality. If I'm honest, he's close to dead man walking but less arrogant. His talent by his own admission has not been dancing, and the only reason he'll stay longer than he should is down to others crowding the drop zone at the minute. 4.5 Boxy stiff and not likely to get any better. Gone week 3

Patsy Kensit actress and serial wife, has a lot of promise, Along with Scott Maslen, she is the raw dancing talent  judges want to see. I can tell she can only get better and rival for middle of the pack. 6 maybe 7. Watch her for potential romance with her partner .

Matt Baker from Country files, is spectacular. Jaw dropping good. The costumes the moves and the attitude were WOW! Top of the table. Arsenal when they were great, he is. 8 with no reason to worry he will be caught up for now. What really appeals with him is his lack of an attitude for now. If he can keep that up he'll be a vote getter as well as a great dancer.

Dr. Pamela Stephenson aka Mrs Billy Connelly. A good dancer , great natural flow with a rhythm that seems free of nerves. She's a 7 and will fill out the top 4 short of a disaster.

Paul Daniels, magician and other Tory in the group , is so stiff he makes Peter Shilton look like Fred Astaire. Armed with charm and humour, and perhaps some, pardon the pun, magic, he may avoid early relegation by virtue of not being as disliked or quite as bad as two ladies who are yet to be mentioned. A 4 and little hope of improvement.

Jimmi Mistry, resident Asian actor and fun guy. Bollywood boy will be near the top from day one to the final I reckon. Natural talent and a partner Flavia should not be dancing around like some demented Gypsy trying to rise above an amateur. A 7 and better if Flavia takes him seriously.
Peter Shilton, football hero and victim of the hand of G-d. Ok dancer who should at least stay in till the group of eight. . I'd be harsher , but in comparison to a certain boxer last year, he's positively adequate. A 5.5,  he won't embarrass himself. Gone week 4
Michelle Williams ex Destiny's Child is a train wreck. Dances like Amy Winehouse and talks like her too. This girl appears to be in the grips of the same problems afflicting Amy. She was off her head on something, bouncing around and gibbering 1000 miles an hour while her partner had to hold her tight to keep her still she was so "animated".  I could be wrong, but I suspect there is more to her than long dangerously skinny legs she can't control. Sooner she's in care the better. A 3 who should be put out of her misery.

 Gavin Henson, yet another rugby player, should be good for a few weeks, mid table fodder to be sacrificed when the less talented have departed. A 5

Tina O'Brien, Corrie cutie  has lorry loads of talent and was wasted by her partner. There is room to grow if he ramps up the difficulty. She can and will improve perhaps even despite him. 5.5 for now but one for the long haul.

Ann Widdicombe. What can I say without being harsh or nasty. It was like dancing with your Nan. In fact it reminded me of  when I last danced with mine, G-d rest her soul. I'll give her this, she's taken a page from Alan Davies by playing the gracious loser and taking the mick out herself before any judge utters a word. This may even save her for a week or three. And again it may not. A 2, dropping like a stone.

Lastly Kara Tointon.  Sexy soap actress paired off with a flamboyant pro who is as eager to check her out as she is to be checked out. Her dancing puts her in the same top table spot as Matt Baker. If I were forced to predict the top two. They would be it. An 8  as flashy and proud as Chelsea.

I hope this entirely biased and personal guide helps you at least get past the names and reputations to see the dancers inside. For more details go to the 2010 Strictly Come Dancing home page. Week 2 review, Week 3 , and Week 4 as well as who was voted off.

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