Strictly Come Dancing: The Quarter Finals

This week we have Dance Fusion. Looking at some of the proposed combinations I’m wondering who on earth chose them and whether there’s some sort of conspiracy going on. But whenever Strictly bloggers go mad and claim that BBC producers are out to get some dancers, I come to the conclusion that they probably couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery and drop thoughts of conspiracy for those of cock up. First up, we have someone who apparently should be excluded from the competition because she once made an exercise video (I looked it up on Amazon, it averages a two star review, I wouldn’t rush out to buy it if I were you).
Denise: dancing a quick step and jive to Reet Petite. It’s an amazingly fast routine with clean changes and good rhythm, incorporating some of the moves from her earlier jive. Len praises it as a proper fusion but remarks on a slip up. Denise confesses that her heel got caught in her skirt. Craig thought the jive part was incredible but that the QS could have been smoother. He is booed by the audience when he gives her an 8. Why is this? What do they do to the audience? It’s like they regress to the state of six year olds hopped up on slush puppies and E numbers.
Score: 35 (4th)
Lisa: fusing the Cha Cha with the tango. It’s not really tango music and her footwork is ropey to say the least. Robin rips off her skirt so that they can start to do the Cha Cha, just to ensure we know there’s a change in case Lisa’s technique failed to alert us to the fact. Bruno says the Cha Cha really suits her and the tango was good but not as good. Craig criticises her frame but praises the character of the dances. Darcey says she preferred the tango because the Cha Cha was not clean enough. Len picks up on an error and says she’s getting a bit predictable. I wonder if the judges are damning her with faint praise so we can wave goodbye to her this week. Don’t get me wrong – she’s done very well and she can move. However everyone else left in the competition has improved more significantly than she has.
Score: 30 (5th)
Nicky: gets the American Smooth and the Samba. If the producers chose those two dances, they hate him. If Karen chose them, she must have missed the bit where everybody goes home when they dance the samba. However, he makes a decent go of it. His shoulders are still stooped and he bends his knees when he shouldn’t but his footwork is fast and clean. The lift is gorgeous and Karen has tried to fuse the two by moving repeatedly between them. Craig says the samba needed more bounce and his posture in the AS was dreadful. He then comments that he thinks we’ll be seeing the dance again. Hmm. Darcey says it was well staged and well presented but his shoulders let him down. Len said those two styles gave him a great challenge and he liked the samba and the lift. Bruno praises his heroic effort.
Score: 27 (6th)
Dani: fusing the quick step with the Charleston. It is a genuine fusion and the two styles go very well together. Dani is wearing the most amazing dress. Well at least it’s part of a dress. It is gorgeous. The dances suit her and it is a lovely performance. She gets a standing ovation and Bruce does that amazingly annoying thing where he tells the couples to look and coos ‘it’s all for you’. I know he has good intentions but it comes across as odd and patronising. Darcey says the dance was extraordinary and the transitions were great. Len wanted a heel lead but he loved it. Bruno says that stylistically it was perfect.
Score: 38 (2nd)
Louis: dancing the rumba and tango. That might be a Tanga or a Rumbo, one of which is a pair of knickers, the other sounds like a back complaint. This does not bode well, especially given how difficult the rumba is for male celebrities. Fortunately, Louis does both superbly. They don’t actually fuse the two styles which given the difference between them is not surprising. They start with the rumba and then as the music reaches a crescendo they do an amazing lift and land into the tango. Bruno says it was masterful, Craig said he had effortless dexterity and then says his thumb was up. This is a good sign as it means it was the only thing he could see wrong with the dance. Darcey says it was one of his best.
Score: 37 (3rd)
Kimberley: with Cha Cha Cha and Tango. To me it looks odd but good. Perhaps the oddness is inevitable given the combination. Fortunately for Kimberley the judges completely disagree with me. Bruno says it was imaginative, inventive, seamless and the dance of the season. Craig said ‘that is dancing’, Len gave her a standing ovations and Darcey says it suited her perfectly.
Score: 40 (1st)
There was a certain amount of sniping on the internet and criticism of the judges’ scoring. Personally I don’t think Louis was undermarked. He is the only male celeb to get a 10 for the rumba (from Bruno). That and three 9s is a great score. However, I’m not sure what Craig was on when he gave Nicky a 5. Even if that had been an 8 he would still only have been level pegging with Lisa and would have been joint last. Lisa then was overmarked.
This was the first time in the series that no couples tied and the order on the leaderboard seemed to me to be right on the night, if Lisa and Nicky had been swapped around. It was more the judges’ comments to Nicky, particularly Craig’s, that seem off.
Onto the dance off show. Kimberley and Dani are announced as safe first and Nicky is in the dance off. Bruno objects and blames Craig for the scoring. Thing is, Nicky is one of the weakest two left, Craig’s score notwithstanding. Lisa is announced safe next, giving me a real wtf moment. She squeals the house down, forgetting that this means that a better dancer than her now has to be in the dance off. It’s Denise, who is visibly upset. Louis, realising he is safe, looks glad but is sporting enough not to shriek about it.
Denise goes for it in the dance off. Nicky relaxes, knowing as we all know that the judges are not going to send Denise home no matter who she dances against or how much she messes up. All four judges vote for her and Nicky bows out with good grace. Though I loved his comments on It Takes Two on Monday. I don’t blame you Nicky, I wouldn’t watch Craig in panto either, even though it’s fast becoming his natural home.

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