Male celebrities' first dance: 6th September 2007
There are three things I should probably tell you before starting this recap. 1) I actually like this show, [Everyone likes Strictly, because it's brilliant. - Carrie] so I'm not going to be as mean about it as I am about The X Factor, although that doesn't mean I won't still give it a good deflating if I deem it necessary. 2) I know diddly-squat about dancing from a technical point of view. When I watch this show, everything I think about a performance is almost always directly contradicted by the judges, so don't set too much store by what I have to say in that regard. [A clue: sometimes the judges are WRONG WRONG WRONG. - Carrie] 3) I am definitely not an unbiased source, since I have Alesha in my work sweepstake, and I have a massive crush on Gethin, so I may be favouring them slightly. And with that out of the way: onwards!
The show started early, so my video didn't record the opening titles. Boo! I love the Strictly theme music; it reminds me just how gay I am. [I love it too. It's like the Bat-call for the gays and fag-hags. - Carrie] Anyway, Bruce and Tess welcome us to the show with the usual embarrassingly tired jokes. This week, Bruce Forsyth does a Catherine Tate impression. No, really. [It's horrific. The stunned silences after Bruce's jokes these days make me hide behind a cushion. - Carrie]
Let's meet the contestants! Even though we met them last week. Couple number one: EastEnders star Matt Di Angelo dancing with Flavia Cacace. Couple number two: star of stage and screen Stephanie Beacham dancing with Vincent Simone. Couple number three: actor Brian Capron dancing with Karen Hardy. Couple number four: GMTV's Kate Garraway dancing with Anton Du Beke. Couple number five: TV presenter Dominic Littlewood dancing with Lilia Kopylova. Couple number six: model and TV presenter Kelly Brook dancing with Brendan Cole. Couple number seven: snooker legend Willie Thorne dancing with Erin Boag. Couple number eight: actress Letitia Dean dancing with Darren Bennett. Couple number nine: Blue Peter's Gethin Jones dancing with Camilla Dallerup. Couple number ten: singer Alesha Dixon dancing with Matthew Cutler. Couple number eleven: rugby star Kenny Logan dancing with Ola Jordan. Couple number twelve: TV presenter Gabby Logan dancing with James Jordan. Couple number thirteen: football legend John Barnes dancing with Nicole Cutler. Couple number fourteen: model and photographer Penny Lancaster-Stewart dancing with Ian Waite. Got all of that? Phew. Rapturous applause.
Bruce fluffs the reading of the autocue, as he does at least once an episode, bless him, [Note to BBC: surely it's time to put Brucie out to pasture? - Georgi] and tells us that it will be the male celebrities dancing tonight, performing either a waltz or a cha-cha-cha. The women will be doing a group dance at the end of the episode. Up first are Matt and Flavia. Matt's chest is a lot hairier than I would've expected. [I was wondering if Flavia will make him wax that if they progress. - Carrie] He gets Supergrass's 'Alright' as his theme music, because he's the young'un. Flavia says it's easier to dance with Matt than Jimmy Tarbuck last year because Matt is quite fit [and unlikely to have a heart attack and die - Georgi]. Matt says he learns better from pretty teachers. This should go well. Matt is wearing some green Adidas bottoms that I quite want. Matt and Flavia take to the floor. Louisa Lytton is in the audience. They're dancing to 'Mama Told Me Not To Come'. To my untrained eye, it looks like Matt is slightly ahead of Flavia in certain parts of the routine, and he's a little stiff, but no more than is probably to be expected on the first night. He's not bad, actually. He needs to work on his arm movements, I think. He does a random backward roll. And there's a very nice move at the end where Flavia slides between his legs and he catches her. I don't know the technical terms for any of this, sorry. Bruce makes fun of the judges, as is only fair, calling them Craig Revel-Horrid, Arlene Fusspot, Len Goodmoan and Bruno Mussolini. Ouch! [Only two of those puns even vaguely work. Gah. - Carrie]
Len tells us we need interplay from the routine, which Matt gave us. He says it was exact, but it didn't sparkle - it was careful, but a good job for the first one out. Bruno calls it "the look and don't touch cha-cha-cha" - too remote, there needs to be more performance to it. Craig tells Matt he has all the bits and pieces, he just needs to use them - there was no hip action, and he doesn't know what a backward roll has to do with the "char-char-char". Bruce makes fun of his pronunciation. Arlene tells him not to be afraid of Flavia, she doesn't bite, [Wouldn't be so sure about that. - Carrie] and rather strains an attempt to reference the song by telling him that this mama says he should be coming to the dancefloor and improving week after week, or something. I think that was meant to be a compliment, but with Arlene, who knows? [With Arlene, it's best to assume that she's being a drunken, pervy old hag at all times, I find. -Georgi] Backstage with Tess: Matt calls Arlene "cha-cha-charming", which was so scripted I can't even tell you. [Is it me, or is this the most scripted series of SCD ever? - Georgi] It's a six from everyone except Craig who gives a five, for a total of 23. Not a bad score, for the first week.
Next up are Brian and Karen. Brian gets a few whoops from the housewives in the audience. Brian's theme music is 'Murder on the Dancefloor', which is hilarious. Shots of him as Richard trying to murder Gail. Whee! He tells us about how he was the grannies' crumpet in Corrie, and how they all used to chase him down the street. [I didn't hear this properly, and thought he'd claimed to be the 'Ronnie's trumpet', and was thoroughly confused. - Carrie] Karen wants to keep her trophy from last year, but early rehearsals do not look good when she calls him "the worst student I have ever had". She gives him zero out of ten for his memory, but vows to transform him. They are waltzing, to a traditional song that I don't know. Brian's not a natural dancer, I would say. A lot of the time he seems to be walking in a vaguely rhythmic fashion as opposed to actually dancing. He's clearly trying quite hard though, and he's not too bad, all things considered. Len says that the hold is the key to the waltz, which he thinks Brian did very well. The footwork wasn't good, but the waltz is difficult and he coped well. Bruno calls it "funereal" and says it lacked romance, and he looked like he was going to kill her, which is actually sort of true. [I think we can all understand having homicidal feelings towards Karen. - Georgi] I think the Mafia suit Brian's wearing doesn't help matters. [I thought that was the point of the routine - it was a Mafia-esque waltz so that Brian could do acting and get in character. - Carrie] Craig liked the choreography at the top, but thought the actual waltz wasn't good. He warns Brian about maintaining the hold and against raising his right shoulder. Arlene says there was no rise and fall, and agrees with Bruno that it was more like a wake than a dance. Backstage with Tess: Brian says he enjoyed it, but it was difficult. It's a mixture of fours and fives from the judges, for a total of 18. Karen says that it's very hard for the celebrities [Duh. Wouldn't be much of a show otherwise, would it? - Georgi], and tells Brian that he was brilliant.
On third are Dominic and Lilia. Dominic's theme is 'Parklife', because he's a geeza, innit. He says that he'd resort to cheating if he can't win fair and square. I suppose I've got to admire that sort of competitive spirit. Lilia says people see her as the Russian minx. Yep, that sounds about right. [I love Lilia. She is fabulous. - Carrie] Lilia wants the trophy back. In rehearsals, Lilia tells Dominic off for joking around too much. And punches him. Hee. They're dancing the cha-cha-cha to 'The Shoop Shoop Song'. Dominic's not too bad, actually. Again, could do with a bit of loosening up, but he's better than I expected him to be. It's a nice routine from these two, actually - really fun to watch, with bags of character. Len agrees with me, calling it "fun" and compliments Dominic's "personality" [I seem to have deja vu on Len's "You've got something everyone else has got, but yours is bigger" line - are they recycling the script from 'Dancing with the Stars, perchance? - Georgi], but tells him to watch his timing because he kept slipping off the second beat. Bruno says that Dominic's arms were very good, but he lost the timing, though his performance overall was great. Craig calls it "camper than this show", which is surely not possible? He says that Dominic's "sticky-out bottom" was good for this, but he wants to see Dominic waltzing. Arlene tells Dominic that she loves what he's doing, but he won't last long unless he can keep track of the rhythm and the music better. There's banter backstage, which is all very cheeky, but not really worth recapping. It's three sixes and a seven from Len, for 25 in total.
Random insert of the male dancers "playing poker" interspersed with shots of them rehearsing. [This was hideous. Hated the stupid scripted plays-on-words from the pros about their partners. - Carrie] Shots of Letitia cackling. Vincent calls Stephanie the biggest diva on the show, naturellement. Ian thinks he and Penny are head and shoulders above everyone else. [Because they are both tall. Do you see? - Carrie] James calls Gabby the most competitive celebrity Strictly has ever seen. Matthew says Alesha never shuts up, and calls her a wild card. Anton calls Kate beautiful, and thinks they will be the most sophisticated couple on the floor. [Bless Anton. He is always the most sophisticated gentleman in the room. - Georgi] Brendan wants to win again, and thinks he and Kelly have passion and chemistry. Backstage with Tess: Kate's injured tendons are discussed, which means she can't dance tonight but will hopefully be back in action next week.
Willie and Erin are next. Shots of him snookering us tonight. He claims he's not a natural dancer, and that his wife tells him off for slow dancing too quickly. He mentions that Erin had Peter Schmeichel last year, who was a very similar build to him. [Except to be fair to both of them, Schmeichel is taller and also leaner. - Carrie] Erin says she's had a lot of big men on the show, [I screeched with laughter at this. Filthy mare. - Carrie] but they've all been fabulous. She thinks Willie could be a dark horse. Willie's big problem in rehearsals is lack of confidence, and Erin tells him he's much better than he thinks he is. Willie calls himself "a big fat oaf". Awww. They're waltzing to Whitney Houston's 'Run To You'. Considering a lot of people were predicting Willie to be the first out, he's actually a pretty good waltzer. His footwork seems pretty good, and I would say there's rise and fall going on, but let's see what the judges think. Arlene says he took his footwork cues from Erin brilliantly, but tells Erin she needs to work on Willie's posture. Len says that Willie's performance was outstanding for a first week on one of the most difficult ballroom dances. Bruno calls him Big Willie the Gentle Giant (sigh), and compliments him on being light on his feet, but echoes Arlene's request for posture work. Craig agrees that Willie's very light on his feet for a larger man, but needs to work on his line (which I assume is the dancing term for posture). Backstage with Tess: Willie says he got it a little bit wrong at the end but Erin got him out of it, and Erin shushes him in alarm. Hee! It's fives from Arlene and Craig and sevens from Len and Bruno, for a total of 24.
Next are Camilla and Gethin. Gethin is wearing a lovely purple shirt. Gethin likes being given the "action man" title. He thinks Strictly will be one of his hardest challenges to date, as he thinks Camilla wants to do really well this year. He calls her stunning and beautiful. Camilla says her girlfriends are teasing her for the hardship of spending four hours a day pressed up against Gethin. In rehearsals, Gethin is struggling with the intimacy. I can help you with that, Gethin! Call me! He says that when they first met, it was pretty much "Hi, I'm Camilla! Put your hand on my bum please." I don't think there's a woman or gay man alive that would blame Camilla for doing that, frankly. Gethin freaks out a little bit when Camilla gets all up in his fries. At one point, Camilla actually has to yell for him to catch her. Heh. Yeah, he's gonna need to work on that. They dance the cha-cha-cha to 'I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet'. To my untrained eye, it looks okay - a little hesitant. Skill-wise, it's about the same as Matt and Flavia - needs work on the hips and arms, but shows promise overall. Konnie Huq is in the audience, very familiar with this situation from her brief stint on Comic Relief does Fame Academy and that memorable rendition of 'Kids in America'. Craig basically says that he hated the dancing, but at least Gethin's gorgeous. And I know I've squeed about how fit Gethin is several times this evening already, but that's just gross and unnecessary. It's not acceptable to say "you sucked, but at least you're pretty, sugartits" to anyone, male or female, and it certainly doesn't count as constructive criticism. He calls it clumsy and square and there was no interaction between them. Again, it'd be nice if he actually gave the sort of concrit he gave to some of the other couples that would enable Gethin to improve, rather than just basically going "Boo! Hiss! Rubbish!" Arlene thought Blue Peter presenters were meant to be brave, but the whole thing was a bit timid. She also questions the lack of hip action, and tells Camilla to "get him there", whatever that means. [I think Camilla is going to have to do the dance-whore bit to break down Gethin's issues with intimacy. You can't dance properly if you're trying to avoid physical contact with your partner. It was frustrating to watch; everything was there, it was just, as Arlene said, timid. - Carrie] Len says Craig's bow tie's too tight, and that they need to remember it's the first week and they're looking for potential here more than anything. He agrees that Gethin's general technique needs work, particularly in terms of hip action, but he says that there was a good mix of steps and he found it an enjoyable routine to watch. Which I think is fair, and is at least useful as a critique. I love Len, he's so reliable. Bruno tells Gethin he needs passion and more than just executing a series of steps - he needs fire and connection and performance. Bruno is not happy. [I loved when Bruno pulled his "I am not happy" face. It's a kind of cross between a queeny pout and a glare at Len. - Carrie] Backstage with Tess: Gethin says that he did his best and realises he got a lot of things technically wrong which he hopes he made up for with effort, but he hopes he'll improve. It's a four from Craig, five from Arlene, seven from Len and six from Bruno for a total of 22. Really split the judges with that one, interestingly.
Kenny and Ola are next. Bruce cracks a "joke" about Kenny arriving in the same car as Gabby, and how there might be something going on there. Wah-wah-waaaaaah. [Would've worked better if Gabby hadn't changed her bloody name when she got married. Crashing on... - Carrie] Kenny admits he's basically on there because Gabby bullied him into it so she'd have someone to beat in the first round. Heh. Kenny says he wants to beat her, but I think Gabby's going to trample him somehow. Ola reminds us that James is her husband just so we're all up-to-speed on the whole married-couples-competing thing. In rehearsals, Kenny looks a tad inelegant. They're waltzing to 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?', and my first impression is that Kenny needs to stop sticking his chin out while he's dancing, or he'll have Ola's eye out. Tuck it in, Kenny; it's not that big. Kenny's concentrating quite hard, and he seems to be doing reasonably well. [All the concentration works against him, though; that's why he looks so stiff and has his chin sticking out. - Carrie] Some of the footwork is a bit laboured, but again: this is a hard dance, and he seems to be coping fairly well. Bruno says it lacked romance and was too rigid; there were a couple of good lines, but it wasn't good enough. Craig says it was blocky and wooden and a bit limpy. Arlene said his running around on the spot looked like he was running around in training, and in one word it was "stiff". Len compliments Kenny on keeping the body contact throughout, but tells him to work on the rise and fall, though he thought it was very good overall. Backstage with Tess: of course we go to "the wife" for feedback, and Gabby said she was very proud. Tess mentions it's the first time Kenny's danced since his wedding. Heh. It's a four from Craig, a five from Arlene and sixes from Bruno and Len, for a total of 21. [My favourite bits in this section were when Gabby and James kept wandering in to Kenny and Ola's rehearsal to piss them off. The furious looks and the snappish comments! The domestic disharmony! I think Kenny might have been overdoing it with the affectionate kisses to Ola just to annoy James. I don't know enough about Kenny Logan's personality to speculate on his homelife with Gabby, but I continue to have little daydreams about James and Ola throwing plates at each other across the kitchen on a regular basis, and then tangoing up the stairs to make up. Anyway... - Carrie]
Last to compete are John and Nicole. Bruce makes a laboured pun about John trying to score with Nicole, which goes down like a lead balloon and Bruce tries to salvage it by doing a funny walk. It doesn't really work. John says that he's known for his footballing career, and also for rapping on 'World in Motion', which he re-enacts for us a little bit. Hee. Bless him. Nicole is pleased to have John as a partner. John seems to be doing well in training, and is pretty focused. He wants to get fit and to win, which I think are fairly laudable ambitions. John's wearing a sequinned yellow shirt, which is a surprisingly good look for him. Not a lot of people could pull that off. They're cha-cha-cha-ing to a song which I think is called 'Alright'. You know the one "baby, everything is all right, uptight, outta sight." That one. I've got to say, I think John and Nicole are pretty good. He looks like he's enjoying himself, and he seems to have a good sense of rhythm. [Racialist! - Carrie] [Bitch, please. - Steve] Arlene tells John that he needs to get fit because he's not using his spine, and Nicole will never be able to see it unless he gets fit. That seemed a tad overly-personal. [If I were John, I'd work out a number of Botox-related insults ready for the next time Arlene bitches about personal appearance. - Carrie] Len said it was very pleasurable. Most of his comments are drowned out by applause, but they seem very complimentary. Bruno tells John he has a great sense of rhythm [Racialist! - Carrie], that he needs to be lighter on his feet, but he had lots of energy. Craig saw lots of potential and disagrees with Arlene, saying that he likes a man "with a bit of meat on him". [Craig has gone ridiculously gay this series already. - Carrie] The jokes here, they are legion, and Bruno cracks up. Craig warns John to watch his shoulders hunching. Backstage with Tess: John taps his gut and says it'll take a while "to lose all this". Heh. Sixes from Craig and Arlene and sevens from Len and Bruno, for a total of 26.
It's the moment "all the red-blooded men have been waiting for", according to Bruce. Cue to cut to Rod Stewart in the audience, natch. Rehearsal footage. Kelly Brook is in a leotard. Kate is on crutches. Stephanie says to Kelly "if you were my daughter, I'd say to you: one flash a day. And make it a good one." HEE! Love her. They're dancing to 'I Just Want To Make Love To You'. The women seem to be of a fairly consistent standard. Kelly Brook is singing her little heart out the whole way through, bless her. Letitia is a little awkward, but is giving it her all. The song turns into 'Grace Kelly' [the in-house band's interpretation of this is bizarre. - Carrie] , and Stephanie Beacham is looking pretty good, I'd say. Very elegant. Gabby is giving it her all, clearly. Some nice twists from Alesha and Matthew. Next week should be interesting. The judges give a bit of critique. Craig thinks Letitia stood out for campness and entertainment value. Arlene thought "gorgeous" Gabby had glorious technique, but Penny wiped the floor with everyone performance-wise. Len thinks if that's the standard, it'll be "go go girls" and "bye bye boys". Bruno says he can't pick a favourite, but does so anyway, picking Alesha and Kelly. Heh. Aw, no one picked Stephanie. That's a shame; I thought she was good! The only thing I can think to comment on. La Beacham jumped! I was very disturbed by how much I fancied Kelly Brook all a-shimmy. Alesha is hot. It appears I may be straight.-Joel
Recap: Matt and Flavia being good but a bit rusty, Brian and Karen's funereal waltz, Dominic and Lilia being camper than a row of pink tents, Willie and Erin surprising pretty much everyone, Gethin and Camilla being a bit awkward but showing promise, Kenny and Ola being very measured, and John and Nicole being yellow and energetic. And that's that! Results not due until Sunday night, which just feels weird, frankly.