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Strictly Speaking – Week 1

Strictly Speaking – Week 1

Posted on September 24, 2018

Whats up, new younger individuals viewers to Strictly Come Dancing! Snapchat this in your Tide Pod slime, amiright? Sure, in Joe Sugg’s honour, the BBC has – I’m sorry to say – determined it should turn into hip to the youngsters of immediately. Please God let the try-hard bathe of emojis that accompanied Joe’s dance by no means seem once more, nor Auntie Tess yelp out “Trending! Likes! Am I doing it right? I hit the button but it took a picture of my ear!”.

That horror apart, this was a delightfully partaking Week 1 present, with just one contestant visibly suffering from nerves, and loads of enjoyable performances – plus a couple of surprises. This is probably not probably the most well-known forged in Strictly historical past, however it’s establishing an intriguing mixture of contenders.

Sadly, not all the professionals honoured their companions’ potential, with our new Italian Stallion making a trick-filled jive that was approach an excessive amount of about him, Karen choreographing disco slightly than cha cha, and Anton making the choice for Susannah that she WILL be a comedy contestant, by no means thoughts if she got here in with a real want to study to bop – or keep a shred of dignity. Has the latter professional, a minimum of, outstayed his welcome?


Different hits and misses:

  • “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, turning off that tap…” A relatively good group ballroom opening, marred solely by inexplicably bringing these fountains into the studio. HIT
  • Do you know the BBC have successful drama referred to as Bodyguard? WELL THEY DO! A number of the most painful cross-promotion in current reminiscence – although I might 100% watch a second collection with Bruno because the Residence Secretary. MISS
  • Why so many montages, trailers and sideline interviews in an already packed present? At the least jam all of them collectively and provides us an honest tea break. MISS
  • Guys, please cease gaslighting us. LOADS of celebs have had quickstep as their first dance (4 in every of Collection four and 5 – technically in ‘Week 2’ as a result of the group was cut up over two weeks, nevertheless it was their first dance). Plus it’s nowhere close to the technical nightmare of samba. MISS
  • Equally – what occurred to Ye Olde Ten Second Rule, by no means to be disobeyed so long as we stay, amen? Loads of lengthy sections out of maintain within the ballroom routines… MISS
  • With yet one more new male professional disappointing, I ask once more: why not give Ginger Neil a shot? MISS


Greatest in Present

  • Greatest efficiency: Dr Ranj and Janette A camp, sunshine-y pleasure of a cha cha. Runners-up: the twin surprises of Lauren and Joe.
  • Greatest costume: Oti makes cricket cool Who knew such a factor was potential?
  • Greatest transfer: Seann’s “chuck” Significantly, Katya has NO FEAR. Or GREAT INSURANCE.
  • Greatest line: Shirley calling out the invasive species that’s disco Attagirl.


Tess’s gown: impressed or depressed?

Claudia Winkleman, Tess Daly – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

The asymmetry love, it’s going to by no means finish, this time paired with Simon Cowell-level excessive trousers. Claud: LBD with sparkles.


Danny and Amy – Cool cat

Amy Dowden, Danny John-Jules – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Who knew Danny was additionally the Pink Energy Ranger? He mixed his easy mastery of the hue with the Cat’s suavity, and – by way of some encouragingly strict coaching from Amy – produced a promising foxtrot. Undoubtedly extra snug out of maintain, exhibiting his dance background by way of assured turns, fleet footwork and balletic leaps. In maintain, body appeared tense, lacked drive and gapping – plus must develop extra of a connection together with his associate. However nice jazzy musicality, presentation and confidence, so there’s a robust basis there. Sidenote: will we ultimately study one thing about Amy aside from “Welsh”?

Track: “Top Cat Theme”, Hoyt Curtin

Judges’ feedback: Shirley praised his shoulder line and dapper touches, however work on the ft. Bruno beloved the showmanship, however tightened up in maintain. Craig discovered it spiky and too American clean, however impeccable timing. Darcey was impressed by his agility and aptitude.

Judges’ scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27




Kate and Aljaž – Breaking information

Aljaž Skorjanec, Kate Silverton – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Ah, the normal “Here’s my CV in dance form” Week 1 routine. Aljaž visited the newsroom and apparently intuited some critical sexual pressure between presenters and digital camera crew, ensuing on this entertainingly vampy quantity (extra the sort of factor Susannah had in thoughts when she signed on, one imagines). Cha cha sensible, Kate didn’t work by way of the ground to get the leg motion, so smooth, no dynamics and bent legs, and a few awkward arm placement. However good timing, they usually each bought the hell of out it, cementing a enjoyable pairing – plus a bonus level for Aljaž’s “serious” glasses.

Track: “Kiss”, Tom Jones (COPYCAT KLAXON: Spoony and Ola,Lulu and Brendan)

Judges’ feedback: Bruno beloved the saucy efficiency, however she didn’t end actions. Craig discovered it stompy, no hip motion, however implausible character. Darcey agreed on the efficiency. Shirley needed extra physique rotation and dealing by way of the foot, however loads of promise.

Judges’ scores: four, 6, four, 6 – 20




Lauren and AJ – A advantageous romance

AJ Pritchard, Lauren Steadman – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

My expectations for this one have been principally nil, what with Lauren competing in Australia for a lot of the coaching time. However this was truly a really charming waltz. Sickly-sweet framing apart – and AJ von Trapp, please burn that flowery curtain shirt instantly – it was a routine with loads of respiration room, demonstrating Lauren’s ease with the fundamentals. Time aside may even have helped, as she held her personal body and generated energy, slightly than clinging to her professional. Although historical past suggests not, I actually hope AJ retains their numbers on the serene aspect; she doesn’t want frantic content material to impress.

Track: “I’m Kissing You”, Des’ree (COPYCAT KLAXON: Ricky Whittle and Natalie, Abbey Clancy and Aljaž)

Judges’ feedback: Craig famous a raised left shoulder, however spectacular. Darcey praised her management and serenity, however discover a grander body. Shirley needs improved footwork, although liked their chemistry. Bruno referred to as them Romeo and Juliet (ah, that famously glad story).

Judges’ scores: 6, 6, 6, 7 – 25




Seann and Katya – Battle of the sexes

Katya Jones, Seann Walsh – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Properly, Seann’s definitely bringing SOMETHING again. Not a lot attractive as a bone-deep rage on the tango, which clearly wronged him in a previous life. Or probably poor Katya, yanked round like an unruly kite on a blustery hill. Fairly flat-footed and stompy, dancing lots together with his hair and tooth, and completely bypassing finesse, plus not a lot in maintain. Nevertheless, he truly had good timing, focussed (/homicidal) partnering, a fearlessness to match Katya’s, and caught the touchdown higher than Bodyguard for my part. Protected to say their Latin shall be An Occasion.

Track: “SexyBack”, Justin Timberlake

Judges’ feedback: Darcey favored the fierce efficiency, however an excessive amount of grabbing. Shirley famous the unlawful carry (/chuck), advised him to tidy himself up hair clever. Bruno praised the eagerness, however wants management. Craig discovered it OTT.

Judges’ scores: three, 5, four, 6 – 18




Vick and Graziano – Catch me when you can

Graziano Di Prima, Vick Hope – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Properly, this was simply maddening. No offence to Capital FM, however Vick isn’t precisely a family identify, so we actually want her delivering on the dance entrance. And – ugh – a bizarre routine from “Gosh, no shirt buttons!” new boy Graziano. May work for a longtime aggressive couple doing cabaret, however not a novice celeb, because it put concentrate on the tips (primarily from him) and breaking the move to play to the gang, quite than supporting her and letting her get into the rhythm of the fundamentals. Which have been shoddy – doubtful timing, no spring, weak kicks. Do higher, Graziano.

Music: “Feel It Still”, Portugal. The Man

Judges’ feedback: Shirley famous technical points and missed chasses. Bruno stated it lacked precision, however she stored up with him (so not the purpose of the present…). Craig thought it was too Graziano-focussed. Darcey agreed she struggled to maintain up.

Judges’ scores: three, 5, four, 6 – 18




Susannah and Anton – What to not put on

Susannah Constantine, Anton Du Beke – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Additionally maddening. The VT prompt Susannah had gained confidence because the group dance, however we had no method of figuring out in a routine that was all about Anton’s ruffles and Anton’s maracas and Anton’s tangerine bum GOOD GOD MY EYES. Now, samba is hard and Susannah isn’t precisely the Second Coming of Shirley Ballas, however neither is she a Widdy-esque misplaced trigger – although technically inept, she did reveal a obscure means to listen to music and match steps to it. Strictly’s message has all the time been that everybody can study to bop; her instructor making her an immediate punchline negates that. Do higher, Anton.

Track: “Tico-Tico No Fubá”, Carmen Miranda

Judges’ feedback: Bruno referred to as it “Car crash Miranda”. Craig thought she appeared misplaced. Darcey stated she enjoys leisure, however Susannah can truly dance. Shirley famous some fundamentals in there.

Judges’ scores: 1, four, three, four – 12




Charles and Karen – D-I-S-C-NO

Karen Clifton, Charles Venn – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Maddening x3. Charles (who BTW was a lot hotter dancing in his Casualty scrubs than that bizarre tomato shirt) has a great deal of promise, so there’s completely no have to skip previous the technical Latin and take the straightforward, crowd-pleasing disco route. The precise cha cha fundamentals have been too informal – flat ft, turned in, no hip motion, and lacked the characterisation of the type. Although hardly shocking, as they have been snuck in amidst the (sure, very confidently delivered) disco. Endurance will quickly put on skinny in the event that they maintain straying this removed from the dance. Do higher, Karen.

Music: “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)”, Sub Sub feat. Melanie Williams

Judges’ feedback: Craig praised his confidence, however hips too tight. Darcey famous it wasn’t a typical cha cha, however nice rhythm and relaxed. Shirley referred to as it disco, not cha cha. Bruno…did some disco.

Judges’ scores: 6, 6, 6, 7 – 25




Ashley and Pasha – Virtually good

Ashley Roberts, Pasha Kovalev – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Sure sure, your earlier dance expertise is a horrible handicap, as a result of it’s VERY DIFFERENT dancing. In the event that they actually need to promote that one, Pasha in all probability shouldn’t choreograph a lot out of maintain, because it simply lets us see Ashley in acquainted territory – a lot better to maintain to strict ballroom and actually present how that’s a problem. Or, you realize, simply hand over and enjoy her pure, unadulterated ringer-dom. Take pleasure in it whereas it lasts, Pash! Ah sure, so this was a dry ice-soaked Viennese, not fairly flat sufficient and lacked heel leads, however superbly managed, lyrical and wonderful partnering.

Music: “Perfect”, Ed Sheeran feat. Beyoncé

Judges’ feedback: Darcey praised her artistry, however raised shoulder in maintain. Shirley beloved the musicality and a few good footwork, however informed her to maintain her centre up. Bruno thought it was seamlessly lovely. Craig famous an excessive amount of rise and fall, however beautiful.

Judges’ scores: 7, eight, 7, 7 – 29




Dr Ranj and Janette – Right here comes the solar

Janette Manrara, Dr Ranj Singh – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Is Dr Ranj a physician? I do want they’d point out it extra. So, this was the Carry On of cha chas, the waggled eyebrow, the smirk to digital camera, the camp-stravaganza of all our Strictly goals. I imply, the patently phallic thermometer truly exploded in pleasure. Cha cha clever, picked his ft up fairly than working by means of the ground and steps too massive on fundamentals, which in flip hampered hip motion, however no less than there was cha cha (AHEM), plus impeccable timing, nice partnering, and an enormous, brilliant hug of a efficiency. Can they translate this enthusiasm into managed ballroom? We will see…

Track: “How Will I Know”, Whitney Houston (COPYCAT KLAXON: Danny Mac and Oti)

Judges’ feedback: Shirley praised the enjoyable efficiency and cha cha content material. Bruno thought it was neat, sharp and crisp. Craig was felled by the sheer campness – liked it. Darcey agreed.

Judges’ scores: 6, 6, eight, 7 – 27




Katie and Gorka – Warfare of nerves

Katie Piper, Gorka Marquez – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

Some precise challenges now (relatively than “My dance training might get in the way of my other dance training!”), as Katie dealt with the restrictions of her accidents, plus evident nerves. Gorka shrewdly choreographed a candy, honest waltz that made a advantage of her tentativeness, although they’ll want to seek out one other answer for Latin – ideally with out the sodding Emotions Bench. Some promising footwork and the beginnings of a pleasant body, however wants to complete strikes and discover extra power and stability on her personal, plus iron out bumpy transitions and begin promoting the dance – this felt extra marked than carried out.

Music: “When We Were Young”, Adele

Judges’ feedback: Bruno advised her to loosen up and never overthink. Craig famous stability issues and topline too shut, however good hand placement out of maintain. Darcey praised her strains, however consider a story to provide the strikes function. Shirley stated there have been errors, however nice promise.

Judges’ scores: four, four, four, 5 – 17




Graeme and Oti – Proper off the bat

Oti Mabuse, Graeme Swann – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

“Nottingham-themed samba” doesn’t precisely encourage confidence, nor a dance starting with Graeme mounting an enormous cricket bat. And sure, some particular dorky dad dancing parts right here – the floss, the spatulistic arms, the decrease lip biting, that finish pose. BUT precise hip rotation, a very good stab on the totally different samba rhythms, attentive partnering, and a way more assured efficiency than I used to be anticipating. If Oti retains tailoring routines this properly, they might properly, er, knock us for six, bowl us over, is that the lot? Sidenote: in fact Oti is casually sensible at cricket, Oti is a goddess.

Music: “Soul Limbo”, Booker T and The M.G.’s (AKA the Check Match Particular theme tune)

Judges’ feedback: Craig stated his palms have been flat as cricket bats, however immense power. Darcey thought his rhythm was distinctive and he’s put the work in. Shirley was impressed together with his fundamentals and character. Bruno celebrated Graeme’s ahead hip thrust by launching his personal groin on the digital camera in alarming style.

Judges’ scores: 5, 6, 6, 5 – 22




Stacey and Kevin – First impression

Kevin Clifton, Stacey Dooley – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

As mentioned, this entire “No one has ever dared look quickstep in the eye before the semi-finals!” factor is nonsense – plus it’s arguably a neater type for the nervy first week than one thing that requires extra assorted method, like samba, or extra management, just like the slower dances. Additionally pointless, since Stacey was spectacular with out the additional increase. A bit an excessive amount of out of maintain and out of favor, although she was assured and had nice timing on her personal. In maintain, moved rather well spherical the ground, however gapping and too sq. – might want to work on the body. Excited to see her Latin.

Track: “Dancing”, Kylie Minogue

Judges’ feedback: Darcey praised her enjoyment and lightweight on her ft, however some messy moments. Shirley famous good placement and footwork, however dropped her arms. Bruno agreed. Craig discovered it floppy, however loved it.

Judges’ scores: 6, 6, 6, 6 – 24




Lee and Nadiya – Off limits

Nadiya Bychkova, Lee Ryan – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

So, Lee is hoping to comply with bandmate Simon into the ultimate, which…hmm. Not on this proof. A wonderfully OK waltz, however yet one more routine affected by copious breaks of maintain – this time leading to a fairly disjointed really feel. Too many theatrics from Nadiya, plus infinite spins, and, in maintain, gapping, timing points and lacked form and drive. Additionally took some time to get well from a slip. On the plus aspect, good pivots and particular potential, however, provided that Lee is a considerably divisive character, they could have been higher off going for extra basic and extra endearing.

Music: “Take It to the Limit”, The Eagles (COPYCAT KLAXON: Peter Shilton and Erin, Dave Myers and Karen)

Judges’ feedback: Shirley forgave the journey, however footwork and timing each want work. Bruno praised his main. Craig needed rise and fall by way of the ft, not knees, and lacked driving heel leads. Darcey discovered it too lustful – after which the judges all collapsed into giggles, as a result of the present had lasted round 46 hours by this level.

Judges’ scores: four, 6, 6, 6 – 22




Joe and Dianne – Shock package deal

Diane Buswell, Joe Sugg – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

I’m making an attempt to take Joe significantly, truthfully I’m, however then you definitely get a VT line like “Joe is known for his pranks!” and I simply need to throw issues on the display. So, all of the social media framing of the routine was Theresa Might dancing ranges of cringe-worthy, however the precise jive was…actually quite good. I do know!! Good toe heel swivels (regardless of the hi-tops), punchy kicks, exact side-by-side sync, good timing and significantly spectacular power. Might have completed with out the leapfrog and clapping video games (sure, we get it, he’s younger, the remainder of us are choosing out gravestones), however shock of the night time.

Music: “Take On Me”, A-ha

Judges’ feedback: Bruno, too was pleasantly stunned. Craig didn’t have excessive hopes after the launch present, however nice. Darcey stated his stamina was superb. Shirley performed the nan card AND invoked the ghost of Len, so you already know she liked it.

Judges’ scores: 6, 7, 7, 7 – 27




Faye and Giovanni – First steps

Giovanni Pernice, Faye Tozer – (C) BBC – Photographer: Man Levy

On the one hand, yay, you get to shut the present. On the opposite…by this level, we have been all turning into one with the couch, plus Faye’s respectable pop-y Latin – from the pop star, gasp – suffered from following the genuinely beautiful stay second of Joe one way or the other nailing that jive. The Steps strikes didn’t assist, feeling extra compulsory than impressed, and reminding us of her ringer standing. Precise cha cha: good timing, crisp motion, good interplay with Giovanni and nice turns, however truly straightened her legs an excessive amount of, or at odd occasions, throwing her off stability and stunting the hip motion. Nonetheless, clearly a robust contender.

Track: “Lullaby”, Sigala that includes Paloma Religion

Judges’ feedback: Craig needs her to work on the hips, however superb. Darcey thought it was cheeky, enjoyable and dynamic finishes. Shirley referred to as it “relatively musical” (LOL), however leg motion points and didn’t just like the cease/begin parts. Bruno referred to as it polished, and praised the night time’s efficiency degree.

Judges’ scores: 7, eight, 7, 7 – 29





Ashley and Pasha – 29

Faye and Giovanni – 29

Danny and Amy – 27

Dr Ranj and Janette – 27

Joe and Dianne – 27

Lauren and AJ – 25

Charles and Karen – 25

Stacey and Kevin – 24

Graeme and Oti – 22

Lee and Nadiya – 22

Kate and Aljaž – 20

Seann and Katya – 18

Vick and Graziano – 18

Katie and Gorka – 17

Susannah and Anton – 12


As anticipated, our ringers prime the leaderboard, however loads of contenders in that center part.


Who impressed you in Week 1? Did you’ve gotten a favorite quantity? And who’s in peril of going house? Get in contact on Twitter: @mkmswain


See you subsequent week for our first elimination. Within the meantime…maintain dancing!

Marianka Swain

Marianka Swain is a contract author and social dancer at a number of London venues. You will discover extra of her work at