Brendan Cole: Charles and Karen's 'Strictly' street dance was a disappointment

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton (Credit: BBC)
Charles Venn and Karen Clifton (Credit: BBC)

It might have scored them all nines, received a standing ovation from the judges and saved Charles Venn and Karen Clifton from Strictly jeopardy, but there’s seemingly one person who didn’t approve of the pair’s street dance at the weekend.

Former pro-dancer Brendan Cole, who was axed from the show earlier this year, has said that the style doesn’t have a place in the competition, and called it ‘a disappointment’.

Casualty star Charles and veteran Strictly dancer Karen had found themselves in the bottom two for two weeks in a row, narrowly avoiding being kicked off the show in the dance-offs.

But they stunned the judges and viewers with a routine to James Brown’s Get Up Offa That Thing, as part of the new ‘couple’s choice’ category, in which contestants can choose new dance styles to perform.

In a column in Hello! magazine, Cole wrote: “The other disappointment to me (and call me old fashioned) is the major change in the show by introducing the new dance styles!

Brendan Cole (Credit: PA)
Brendan Cole (Credit: PA)

“Don’t get me wrong, change is inevitable and in most cases can be a good thing but Strictly is magic because of the two people creating a story together within Ballroom and Latin dance and if you step too far away from this magic (two people hand in hand creating a story with one another), then you change what makes the show special.

“Charles and Karen were one couple introducing a new element to the show last night with ‘Street Commercial’. Now they danced it superbly and it was one of the best of the night! He matched her throughout and for the first time he looked like he belonged on the dance floor and at the top of this competition instead of fighting to stay in it.

“I loved his energy, the choreography was great, the look was great but tell me where this sits within a Ballroom dancing competition? It’s too far removed from the heart of the show which to me is Ballroom and Latin or a variant of! Ok yes, I’m old fashioned!”

The judges clearly thought differently, with each giving a nine for the performance, while guest judge, Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro adding that Charles could now be a contender to win the series.

Cole was axed from the show after 15 seasons, after reportedly clashing with head judge Shirley Ballas. He also was said to have broken protocol by dancing with the Duchess of Cornwall during a Strictly event at Buckingham Palace.

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