Sunday, 19 December 2010

Strictly Come Dancing 2010: The Final ...Kara v Pamela V Matt

Nice opening number Strictly, after all these years  you would think they might have got used to the standard sweeping ballroom dancers we would have been equally happy to see. But instead we got a very slick theatrical set that would have been at home at the Oscars of old. And the boxing theme is of course apt as the last three represented a truly deserving final group of death. Very little separated these contenders and it would take more than a few slick moves to rise above the field.  

The judging panel made it quite clear that in their estimation ,the result was going to be untainted by even the smallest hint of scandal, because the absolute best dancers of what could be qualified , the best crop of contestants in years minus Ann Widdicombe, had produced a final three that matched the public vote and consistently the judge's best 4 from day one of Strictly 2010. Part of the success of this series was the continued presence of Dave Archer and hiss BBC house orchestra, these chameleons of music at times had us thinking Michael Buble or Annie Lennox were in the building. The other reason it worked outside of the unfunny Pink Elephant and Anton , was that the 2010 hopefuls were on the whole, current celebrities with a gig to go back to should they be hoyed off in week 4. The previous stink of desperation  from people who's careers had long since faded, was missing, even the old who's shagging whom focus seemed to have dissipated almost entirely, despite it being clear that at least two couples, possibly three were at it like bunnies, you know in between practices. If you want to know how Strictly can be fixed to be even better, read my thoughts on the matter, thoughts that by  the way are based on having had a neb around the chat rooms and seeing just what full on dance fans think would make for a better and more representative dance competition, without harming the entertainment value or weighing down the format with alleged freezing out the great unwashed.

So what you ask will separate the Phantasmagorical from the merely bloody brilliant? As a certain Meercat would say, Simples, the winners need to charm us into a trance of skill, emotion and make the hardest of skills look like child's play, ART!  I am on record as being on Team Kartem for several weeks now, but must admit that despite my own high confidence in Kara's abilities, she could still loose to Pamela Stephenson, how wrong was I?! 

And so without further ado the first ratings....

Matt Baker: Samba.  In a repeat of a routine attempted recently with far less favourable results, Matt stepped up the energy and concentration and produced a  prodigious technical effort of incredible skills. The problem was he and Aliona were like prey and predator, there was no chemistry, no sense they were even having a go for each other as friends, it was all business.  So in the end a fine technical display was reduced to a cold demonstration dance. Rating 9 

Kara Tointon: Rhumba. reprising the dance that had the nation entranced when they did it the first time, was just as gorgeous and brilliant if not even even better. If anything the personal chemistry was even stronger, I will always reward skill over personality in a competition, but this combination of both was enough to make the sentimental old fool in me equally happy. Same predictable result from Craig, the only one not to give her a 10. What did Kara and Artem ever do to you Craig, we want to know. Rating 10

Pamela Stephenson: Viennese Waltz Redux . Clearly nailed down to the nth degree Pamela and her partner squeezed every last once of joy and  artistry they could get from the complex routine, achieving in the end the same result as the last time, including the 40 points. pretty sure it was less flawed than the last time. As always a joy to watch. Rating 10

Show dance next. This is the one that will ultimately see which yeast will rise the best.  Len tells us he's looking for  the dance to  1-Feel good, 2- have interesting music 3- and be fun and entertaining. Given where this segment goes, a tall order.

Matt Baker: Athletic exercise routine with street dance elements mixed with classic dance bits the end result is a bit shaky and disconnected resulting in a distinct feeling of un-interconnectedness with the universe. A disappointing display that was less dance and more showing off.  Rating 8

Kara Tointon: To Queen's Don't stop me now, Kara's routine was difficult with loads of elements, some of which misfired ever so slightly. This however mattered  not as her and Artem managed to make the entire routine seem connected from first step to last. A spirited dance that from move to move was fun to watch most of the time. Rating 9

Pamela Stephenson: Dancing to Time of my life, in a routine distinctly different from the younger dancers, it was a compilation of of every dance done during the series. With no apparent missteps but less physically demanding as the other two couples. The dance was a pleasure to watch and that was perhaps the point. A lovely entertaining dance that took us on a ride through several styles and left us with a smile on our faces. Rating 9

Off for some food and to visit the internet for the latest craic.

Wellllllllllll it's and hour later like, and I'm ready to watch Kara and Pamela fight it out in a mud pit for the title of dance champ. What??????  Pamela's gone? Clearly people made their minds up long ago and wouldn't have been moved by that show dance unless Pamela had done it naked and sang I am the very model of a modern major general whilst juggling. So sorry to see her gone, she deserved to be the other last woman standing.  Classy exit and she has nothing to be ashamed of.

And so we come to the ultimate dance off where both dancers tackle a style they hadn't had to yet.

Matt Baker: Paso Doble. Pretty damn good, but not brilliant. Precisely there were passages where he moved very little despite the actual need to, his Paso while of a high quality, was not the outstanding performance that would have changed my mind about Kara being the most deserving to win. In the end he was still a great performer who I'm sure has gone on to inspire countless thousands of men or least their wives and girlfriends to sign them up for dance lessons. We should all be half as good as he is. Rating 9

Kara Tointon: Waltz. A dance of love and intimacy. one of the most romantic things you'll ever do with another human. Kara and Artem despite missing a great deal of holds, made it look easy. My father the ex dance champ of 1956 for his Polish Hall, was banging on about the steps and the transitions and I knew she was not  just dancing like a woman who is close to her dance partner. A joy to watch, Kartem gave us a master class in what a waltz should look like if you know what you're doing. Without the tricks and kicks that many other dances have, the waltz is about moving around gracefully and rhythmically to the music and looking like a ballet of fabric, arms and feet and heads and hearts. Rating 9

And while the voting continued apace, our challengers for top of the table now go on to their favourite dance from the entire series.

Matt Baker: Waltz. Nice effort, I want to dance like that. If people had been paying attention instead of voting, it might have made the result a tad different? I doubt it. But a wonderful display of skill , musicality and
rhythm. We did indeed have deserving people in the final. Thoroughly enjoyed the dance. Rating 9

Kara Tointon: American Smooth.  Quick get a towel, I'm about to gush some more about just how good this woman is. Smooth, admittedly her favourite dance and a risky one at that, you'll remember she injured Artem during practice for this one, one would even say it was a brave choice, where a safer one would have served just as well. In the end this was in fact the best choice, one of her best dances during the series it was also one of the most difficult and fraught with danger to both of them. Either could have slipped, been hurt or tried to take it easy . Doing the American Smooth was designed to get any stray votes that could have been in the balance. The dance itself you ask?  It was Kara gold and very possibly slightly better than the last time. Rating 10

What a final, honestly, not in years have I had such a feeling of deep satisfaction at the quality of the dance. This of course left us with about 15 or 20 minutes to kill till they could tally the votes for the last round. Paloma Faith , one of the best singers around and far better than Matt Cardle or One direction or any of the x factor  wannabes, sang up a storm  while the class of 2010 again minus Ann "Dalek in drag" Widdicombe, danced a brilliantly choreographed routine that blended contestant and amateur dancer so well it was hard to tell  who was who at times. then for a few gut wrenching eye averting moments, Widdi was dragged around the floor like a bag of rubbish that showed just how wrong it was to have her "entertain us" for sooo very long. Several of her victims, including Bendy Felecity, out danced her with little effort.  Strictly PLEASE listen to Ross Nobel  who speaks for all of us who love dance.......NEVER AGAIN , JUST DON'T... If somebody is as patently useless and without a shred of talent, make sure they aren't even asked to make the series. It's not like you hadn't had a clue after 6 weeks of practice did you? You would have great ratings without her and even better ones if the superior levels of dance were allowed to speak for themselves. Those tuning in for the train wrecks would not have been missed and replaced by people who enjoyed a decent turn on the dance floor even it wasn't them doing it.

Congratulations to Kara and Artem who won in a landslide if the turf accountants are to be believed. The absolute best dancer won the Glitterball Trophy. You have to be blind not to know that these two also have a thing going on for some time now and we wish them well in the years to come. I have no doubt that wasn't her last dance ever with Artem and assume that whatever bumps in the road they may encounter in the future, they are genuinely and deeply about as at one with each other as any couple can be.

Till next year and hopefully a new improved format with a new set of equally well chosen dancers. I for one am chuffed to bits it ended as well as it did and only got wrong the sending off of Pamela in the first half of tonight's show. Loads of Crimbo programmes to watch  and Doctor Who as well as Top Gear and the continuing quality on BBC4 history and science, use your BBC people or you will loose it.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you who followed Strictly 2010 with us through the blog.

To watch tonight's shows click here and to go to the Strictly homepage as always.


Mslovelost24 said...

Hi enjoyed your blog . Although i was one year late. However I do not agree with your comment that those who tuned in to watch anne wouldnt be missed. I wasnt a big anne fan myself, but a little humor along with the good dancers never hurt anyone. Your comment sounded a little elitiset. Anyway I hope you are enjoying this years strictly. ESP nacy ;p

Mietek Padowicz said...

Thanks for the comment MsLove. To explain my perspective. I am of those who tune in to watch real proper dance, while there is room for humour and entertainment outside of the enjoyment of pure great dance and technique, one has to draw the line at a contestant who clearly misses the point of the programme and who at the end of the day is depriving deserving contestants from competing as long as they could have without the presence of the massive waste of space that Anne (and her ilk) represent. If that is elitist, then call me guilty as charged. As for this year ( 2011 ) so far so good, but the crowds are ruder than ever. Not sure how much longer one can tolerate the sideshow freaks AND the in studio crowd who seem to not give a toss about proper structured criticism. Football supporters are more knowledgeable of their sport and less biased than most of the booers in the Strictly house. That lack of respect towards those who represent the dance community will eventually drive all but the most hard bitten from the format.