Wheeeee, it’s Christmas! Let’s go mad on the sherry, dish out ridiculous scores because we feel sorry for someone – even though they count in proclaiming a winner – and not worry that all the couples have put in an equal amount of work and so, y’know, it’s really not that fair.
Yes, it’s Christmas and having a good time is the most important thing and it really doesn’t matter who wins except, actually, it does. As with the main series, inconsistent scoring leaves people confused and dissatisfied. We love Strictly and don’t want to feel cheated – and if it continues into the next series, there’s a danger even obsessives like me will say “Aw, d’you know what, I can’t be bothered with it anymore.”
If the judges weren’t going to take their scoring seriously, then the decision should have been made solely by the studio audience. Melvin and Janette may well still have won – but then so may Ainsley and Karen, who entertained us equally.
Tens from Len for everyone is perfectly acceptable and consistent under the circumstances, but since when has Craig ever forgiven a complete lack of swivel? It takes the edge off the warm fuzzy feeling we generally enjoy and leaves many of us a little, well, meh.
Concerns laid bare, the six couples nevertheless did a wonderful job of entertaining us, from the aforementioned Ainsley and Karen’s fun filled jive to ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ from Home Alone, with Ainsley every inch the gleeful robber with brilliant timing and those wonderful Elvis knees, to Gethin showing us he hasn’t lost it at all – he hasn’t looked back since that acting coach came into his life – delivering a crisp and light quickstep with Chloe to the Polar Express theme.
Pamela always loved to party and showed great technique in her cha cha with Pasha to ‘Jump’ from Love Actually. Denise never changes, as elegant and lovely in Anton’s arms as she’d been in Ian’s, with a slightly skippy but still gorgeous Viennese Waltz to Meet Me in St.Louis.
Frankie and Gorka channelled Frankie’s Defying Gravity tango (still gives me goosebumps) with an American Smooth (which Frankie never got to do on the main series, incredibly) to the now iconic ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen. She’s such a beautiful dancer – I bet there are a lot of little girls copying the routine this morning in their favourite princess dress! And I expect I’m not the only one replaying Gorka’s brilliant little solo …
Melvin and Janette danced the Charleston to ‘Sparklejollytwinklejingly’ from Elf which suited Melvin’s personality perfectly. Containing an awesome double cartwheel lift executed faultlessly, it was bright and fun enough to have won the audience vote on its own, it didn’t need a 40 score from the judges, which just served to confuse us all and led to the inevitable Twitter question: How did he get voted off the main series first? To which the simple answer is: He wasn’t very good in the technical dances.
If you’re taking the opportunity of Len leaving to move away from proper ballroom and Latin, be wary. Your audience has grown (in knowledge) with the show and we know what a particular dance should look like.
Strictly’s USP is the ballroom and Latin – no other dance show is doing that, and ITV’s new Dance Dance Dance show will feature celebrities dancing iconic pop and movie sequences, with three expert judges and probably no duff dancers. So if you’re going down that route, you will be going head to head needlessly.
You own the dance audience at the moment but if you’re not careful you may begin to lose them, particularly those like myself who are now ballroom and Latin fans. Consider Danny and Oti’s samba being not only the best dance technically this year, but also the public’s favourite dance this year – they understood what they were watching and why it was so damn technically good, as well as it ticking all the other boxes. So Strictly PTB, please get yourselves and the judges back on track with the programme, and replace Len with a ballroom expert to maintain your credibility.
Have a Happy New Year.
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