I have to fess up here and say I am not a veteran SCD watcher, having only really got into it last season when I was researching Strictly Love, so my point of reference isn't huge in terms of how much bigger and better it actually is. I'd say they're going to be hard pushed to top Alesha, but then having seen Mark Ramprakash dance (I missed the year he won) I suppose it probably seemed hard to top him too.
To begin with on Saturday, I felt the whole thing lacked the sparkle and enthusiasm we've come to expect. Brucie's jokes fell as flat as a pancake (ok I have never been a Brucie fan, though I do think it is fantastic that an 8o something is fronting such a popular show, but crikey he was working hard for not a lot of return), the audience seemed lack lustre, and the judges were working overtime to use the most ridiculous metaphors/similes they could (well, ok maybe they always do that).
I managed to miss the first two dances as I was on rabbit and guinea pig cleaning duties (or rather I let the kids off finishing cleaning the pets so they wouldn't miss the beginning). I think I am probably very grateful to have missed Phil Daniel's dance judging by his stiffness in the Dance Off last night - he looked like a constipated turtle. Tom wotsit who is the cute one from Holby City was thoroughly demasculated by a horrible green shirt as far as I could tell (the children think alot of the contestants must have really upset someone in the costume department. It is hard not to disagree with this.), but I have no idea what his dancing is like.
Then it was dear old Don Warrington, who has the disadvantage of age, carrying excess weight and er, the fact that he can't actually do it against him. He looked distinctly uncomfortable, although I think Arlene was right that when he relaxed there was a sense that he could have been better.
So far so absolutely dire, then luckily Austin Healey came on and did a waltz, which was a bit of a revelation as he could actually dance. I'm clearly not an expert, but I didn't think it was THAT good to deserve Len's 9. Maybe he was suffering from it's-all-crap-so-anything-halfway-decent-looks-exceptional fatigue (anyone who has ever judged a writing competition will recognise this syndrome. The standard is so dire you are losing the will to live. Something turns up which catches your attention and you think you've discovered Dickens. You then realise when you go back to it you've actually got a rather poor Jeffrey Archer. I suspect Len was having a dance judge equivalent moment).
Both Gary Rhodes and Andrew Castle unwittingly supplied huge amounts of entertainment with their absolutely dire Cha Chas. They appear to have been taking lessons in how to be windmills. Maybe they're going green. It looked very odd is all I can say. And I fail to understand how Arlene could detect Andrew Castle could dance as we couldn't actually see him as he was completely obliterated by Orla and her astonishing Barbarella outfit.
Mark Foster did a passable but dull waltz. He really is a wet fish, and unless he cracks the performance side, I think his chances of reaching the final to sport his swimming trunks are probably about zero. Although of course, the fact that he is such a hunk will probably see him a very very long way.
I'm saving the best till last.
I now really really REALLY want to see John Sergeant in the final. He probably won't get there because he's too old to manage the faster dances, but his waltz was just fabulous. It was charming and romantic and old fashioned, and suddenly the older character I am writing in my latest book has metamorphosed into John Sergeant because he is so lovely and self deprecating and wise. I also think it would be GREAT if someone could win it who hadn't started off as a dancer and wasn't young , thin and beautiful. But that is probably too much to hope for and I expect Rachel Stevens will win...
Couldn't quite work out what is going on with the girls, though my fellow SCD blogger Marie Philips thinks they're all heffalumps, but I'd still like to see Jodie Kidd hang around for a few weeks as she's good value and can't dance at all. She looked like a very gangly stork. And what on earth did they dress her in? She must have REALLY pissed off the costume department...
So next week we get to see the girlies dance - are they going to be as bad as they look or will one of them turn out to be an Alesha in the making? Only time will tell.
Oh and I think the right person got booted out last night - Don may be crap, but at least he looked like he was enjoying himself and got a bit more hip action in. But I suspect he'll be off next time. Unless Gary Rhodes really cocks it up...