Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Part 1
With each successive season of Strictly Come Dancing there appears to be more and more celebrity participants who seem to be “good”, right from the get-go. For many years now there have been ongoing debates about whether those from certain backgrounds, IE music, acting and possibly even sport, have an advantage over the usual chefs, astrologers and ageing minor celebrities. Although I can see the initial sense of such arguments, I don’t think they hold up to close scrutiny. Having performed a few arbitrary dance moves whilst touring or having done a stilted routine for a TV drama or play is not the same as the rigour and scrutiny that comes with Strictly Come Dancing. However, setting aside this perennial question, despite only being three weeks into series sixteen, we saw some extremely strong movie themed performances last night and the potential emergence of several dark horses. Subsequently tonight’s results were interesting.
As many expected, the top of the leaderboard was occupied by Faye and Giovanni, along with Ashley and Pasha. Both couples delivered, innovative, polished and spirited performances with their respective Quick Step and Salsa. However, Vick Hope struggled with aspects of her Salsa and similarly Joe Sugg did not deliver a strong American smooth. Although commendable performances, the technical deficiencies were reflected in their scores, which was surprising considering both have been already identified as potential finalists. Conversely, several other couples who as of last week appeared to still be in the early stages of their Strictly Come Dancing journey, came out fighting with robust performances. Graeme and Oti’s Spider-man themed Charleston was both entertaining and delivered with style. Stacey and Kevin’s jive was also a major crowd pleaser. And just as pundits and online commentators were beginning to write off comedian Seann Walsh, he came back with an intense Paso Doble, cunningly choreographed by Katya Jones.
The net result of this was that a lot of couples that the public expected to do well were pushed further down the leaderboard and found themselves in danger of getting their marching orders. I was surprised to see both Lauren and Dr. Ranj so near the bottom. And as ever with Strictly Come Dancing, there is the public vote to consider which varies from being at times utterly predictable and at others a real wild card. Hence, I was not expecting to find Charles Venn in the dance off this evening. Despite his penchant to referring to himself in the third person I think he so far shown potential as a dancer and certainly has the performance as well as charisma parts covered. As for Lee Ryan, he’s had two problematic dances in a row. Yes, there has certainly been some technical issues, but he cannot be accused of not trying. But again, it comes down to the whether or not he has a fan base or not and it would appear that he has not. I am not aware of any major transgression he may have made in his personal life that may have upset the public but then again, I’m not of an age or mindset to be interested in the murky world of tabloid celebrity tittle-tattle.
So, as Mr Ryan leaves the show, I’m left thinking that we may have further upsets in the weeks to come. I suspect that Katie Piper may out stay her welcome by being championed by the public as this year’s underdog. She’s a lovely lady but I think her lack of confidence is here to stay. I also think Dr Ranj may also plateau quite quickly. Enthusiasm can only carry you so far if the ability doesn’t improve. Then there is the issue of specific professional dancers who sometimes make poor choices when it comes to creating routines. Too much content, trying too hard, and breaking rules with regards to lifts are common pitfalls. Such mistakes always antagonise me as they are not the celebrity partners fault, but they suffer. I suspect that AJ Pritchard will once again go down this road, instead of letting his partner find her confidence. But all of these aspects and considerations are part of the excitement and joy of the annual Strictly Come Dancing journey. Although the show has a formula, it’s nice to have these unpredictable elements from time to time. Roll on next Saturday.