Strictly Saturdays | The One Where Ed Balls Makes Frank Spencer Look Butch

It’s that time of year again – dust off your ballgowns, get out those sequins and glitter I know you have, or just get the snacks in and settle down for this year’s Strictly Come DancingThat’s right folks, everyone’s favourite prime-time British TV show is back! No, not Bake Off, the other one – the one where celebrities of varying degrees of apparent “fame” are paired up with dancers who have the thankless task of teaching them how to stop tripping over their feet and actually look graceful instead.

For this year’s Strictly, I happen to be in the fortune position of officially living with a fellow Strictly Come Dancing fan. This means only one thing – doubled-up live-blogging… because just bitching comments to each other verbally clearly isn’t enough – in this technological age, they must be recorded for posterity’s sake. So… that’s what this thing is.

Here’s how it works:
Each week myself and Liz are bringing you a tag-team live-blog of Strictly Come Dancing. We are alternating whose blog it is posted on so if you want to keep up-to-date with our clearly deeply insightful commentaries, then you should make sure you’re following both of our blogs. (/end shameless promotion)

For those who missed it, last week’s recap of Movie Week can be found here on Liz’s blog.

Last week was an upset for both of us – Tameka left and we spent the rest of the night seething (one of us more than the other) that Laura managed to be saved, despite the fact the dance-off dance she did was sloppier than her first performance whereas Tameka’s improved, having taken the judges’ comments on-board and adjusted in the space of five minutes between finding out she was in the dance-off and actually dancing again. We are also mourning the loss of having an excuse to see Gorka every week – though I’m sure he will be involved in the pro dances for the rest of the series, it’s just not the same, unless he is front and centre always.

Strictly drama has also made its way into tabloids this week as Will Young quit the show amidst ridiculous rumours that slowly cleared to reveal “personal reasons” (stress, anxiety etc.) for leaving. This means Will and Karen are no more and there’s one less couple left dancing. Our first thought upon hearing this? Does this mean we can bring back Gorka and Tameka?!!? Seems not. Shame.


Opening Credits

Liz: Let it be known I am still fucking furious about last week. I want that on record right now.

Walkdowns & Intro

Emma: Awww look at Kevin’s little suit and face.

Liz: Oh what is that dress Tess is wearing? That looks like she’s recycled the foil off last year’s Christmas turkey, there’s no mistaking it.

Emma: Ohh that was an awkward situation dealt with relatively well.

Liz: Oh Bruno looks good tonight.

Emma: And we have Darcey trying to be flirty to camera…

Liz (her response to Kevin and Louise): Awwww!

Emma: Liz just threw whatever she had to hand at the TV at the appearance of Laura and Giovanni… yeah I still don’t think she’s over it.

Liz: Ooof!

Emma: Ore and Joanne are dancing along to the music, awww.

Liz: Proper tails and scarf from Danny…

Emma: Oh hang on she (Anatasia) looks a bit stunning there. Damn.

Liz: Omg Danny looks good.

Emma: Her mood was quickly soured by the remembrance that Greg is paired with Natalie…

Liz: Ugh. She looks like that person in an American high school who you hope gets hit.


Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe Samba to ‘Wrapped Up’ (watch here)

Emma: Ohh, a lift.

Liz: I like a good lift, this could be exciting… I hope he drops her.

Oh Jesus, Bruno’s eyes.

Emma: Oh that did not look smooth, that looked forced.

Liz: Very.

Emma: Bless him, look at his face, he’s enjoying himself at least.

Liz: I can’t tell if he just fell over or he meant that.

Where are these “big lifts”? Come on. Here we go!

Emma: Ha, Greg’s singing along there.

Liz: She was unceremoniously dumped on the floor there.

Emma: That wasn’t smooth.

Liz: That literally looked like he was lifting a sack of flour.

Emma: A sack of something for sure – you were nicer.

Oh, his arm is shaking there.

You know, I’m starting to really hate her because you hate it, when she screams like that at the end of every dance.

Natalie: It wasn’t even that good.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Liz: Oh Tommy, I love Tommy, there he is. My main man from Japan.

Emma: “Tasty but a little bit sticky in the footwork” Yeah, Len! “but your bum was going to town” Oh that’s alright then.

Liz: “not your best but certainly not your worst” – but he’s only done about four dances!

Emma: Mmm, it’s like what you said about Bruno though – he does harass them but then he calms down and he actually gives the best advice.

Liz: He gives the most understandable advice as well, he doesn’t say like “improve your frame” and they don’t know what that means.

Emma: Craig says it could use more “vigorate rotation in the hips” Vigorate rotation, eh?

“Lost a bit of dignity” Dignity?! It’s Strictly! It’s a programme that has Ed Balls in it, I don’t think it’s “dignified” is it?

Liz: No he wasn’t in control, that’s just a lie.

Emma: See everybody’s got distracted by the fact he’s got his arse out again.

Liz: Oh his pants are a bit tight.

Emma: A bit?

Liz: I was talking on the front crotchal region, not the arse.

Craig: 7 | Darcey: 7 | Len: 7 | Bruno: 7 | Total: 28

Liz: Aww AJ in the background literally looks like a kid they’ve dragged in out of the audience!


Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice Quickstep to ‘Ballroom Blitz’ (watch here)

As soon as Laura and Giovanni are announced…

Liz: Oh, for fuck’s sake, I’ve gone off my food.

Emma: Giovanni’s shirt pattern is the pattern that I like but not on clothing.

Liz: Do you know what the worst bit about this is? This is my favourite dance and I love this song and I know that it’s going to be ruined.

“The Rolling Stones is the best band ever” says Giovanni. Oh for fuck’s sake he even has good taste in- fuck’s sake.

Emma: What?

Liz (deadpan): I used to like The Rolling Stones.

Emma (finding out that Laura’s dog is called Mick): That is the least “Mick Jagger” looking dog I have ever seen, it’s an inappropriate name.

Liz: Do you know how much I don’t like them? It’s not even cute with the dog.

Emma: Something about that didn’t look right. Why are they running across the floor? Is it just me or should you be able to get from one end of the dance floor to the other without running across it? It should be incorporated… that’s kind of Giovanni’s fault though.

Liz (singing, despite Laura’s involvement in any part of this): Ballroom Blitz!

In the actual dance part of it, it’s not quick enough.

Emma: It just looks awkward. I feel like Len’s going to hate this bit.

Liz: The actual ballroom bit of the ballroom dance wasn’t quick.

Emma: Well all that where they were making it all rocky, I bet Len absolutely loathes it.

Liz: I hope so.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Liz: It wasn’t that quick.

Emma: With Laura I do just feel, not to be rude, but if she were bigger or older, people would not like her as much, they’d think she couldn’t dance as well.

Liz: I’m sorry it just wasn’t that good.

Giovanni’s shirt would make a really nice cushion cover though.

Emma: Darcey says “God it was busy down below” … cough.

Liz: I think that’s the reason they’re getting on so well, the down below.

Emma: Yeah, Darcey, they were “travelling” because they ran at one point.

Liz: “If you’re in the bottom two I’m going to pickle my walnuts” Oh, there we go, pickle my walnuts is back!

Craig: 8 | Darcey: 8 | Len: 8 | Bruno: 9 | Total: 33

Emma: Nine?! That wasn’t a nine! I think someone should confiscate Bruno’s nine paddle.

Liz: No because then he’d give it a 10!


Anastasia & Brendan Cole Rumba to ‘The Way We Were’ (watch here)

Emma: Oh great, they are dancing still.

Liz: I don’t like the rumba.

Emma: I hate the rumba. Len says he wants the dance to be a “courtship”, not necessarily raunchy.

Liz: Len’s gonna be disappointed then.

Emma: Ugh, I feel physically repulsed by her calling Brendan “big daddy”.

Emma (begrudgingly): She does look good though.

Will you wake me up if I fall asleep during this dance?

Liz: Did Brendan just mess up then?

(We rewound, to rewatch, obviously, because watching Brendan mess up is constantly hilarious)

Emma: Ohhhh, someone made a mistake!

You know, I think I don’t like the rumba because it’s just-

Liz: – a bit flouncy?

Emma: Well the woman just wraps her legs around the man and that’s it.

Liz: That rumba was not nearly as raunchy than I expected though.

Emma: I’m pleasantly surprised by that aspect of it. “I didn’t mind it at all” says Len, which isn’t really a glowing compliment but also isn’t.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Craig: 6 | Darcey: 7 | Len: 7 | Bruno: 7 | Total: 27


Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard Foxtrot to ‘I Really Like You’ (watch here)

Liz: I wonder where they got the school hallway idea… is it cos they’re still in school?

Emma: She left school a couple of years ago? Really? Don’t think so.

Liz: That sounds like a lie.

Emma: Ohh I forgot it was this song, I love a bit of Carly Rae.

Liz: I don’t feel like the dance fits to the song. It should be a quickstep.

Emma: The speed isn’t right but the tone isn’t either.

Liz: That “young love”, yeah emphasis on the “young”

Emma: God, Len is obsessed with heel turns.

Liz (after some moments of silence): I feel like AJ would make a brilliant drag queen.

Emma (splutters): Uh… yeah…

She looks like she’s going to cry.

Liz: Who was that, was it Bruno squawking or one of the dancers?

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Craig: 6 | Darcey: 8 | Len: 8 | Bruno: 8  | Total: 30


Ed Balls & Katya Jones Paso Doble to ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ (watch here)

Emma: Omg what is he wearing. He’s not Sir Lancelot material though, is he? With the best will in the world… just no.

Liz: I don’t feel like we see as much of Katya as the other dance partners. I still don’t know a thing about her.

Emma: Awww he’s so proud of his shitty marks. He does not look like twirling a cape comes easy. I’m not trying to be rude but this is reminding me so much of Shrek rescuing Princess Fiona. Is that what they’re going for?

Liz: That’s very much what I’m getting too.

Emma: I like the paso so please don’t fuck this up too much.

Liz: Oh GOD.

Emma: Oh my god. This is the campest paso ever. How’s he managed to make the paso camp?!

Liz: I dont think the song helps. This is by far his worst dance. Oh dear. I might have to vote for him. I don’t want him to go.

Emma: What the shit is that? That’s not a flamenco move! Oh god is he going to attempt cape work…

Liz: Ohhh he’s gonna go for- he’s not bad at twirling the cape!

Emma: “What a marvellous knight you make” says Tess. Everyone is laughing, including judges and Ed. He knows he’s shit, that’s a very redeeming quality.

Liz: “you won’t lose it for lack of trying” says Len, that’s very true.

Emma: I have to repeat all of Bruno’s comments here because they’re priceless… ahem… “Ah Mr Ed Balls presents the dragon slayer, a true epic tinged in tragedy… mostly because of the shaping. Keep going… it looked like you were directing traffic. That’s not paso, that’s like a demented traffic warden. And then you had a tantrum with the cape, you didn’t know where the hell it was gonna end up. It looked like a spin dryer. But I have to say… for a strange reason somehow I liked it.”

Liz: Oh god I feel like the two panel could come out here.

Emma: “You made Frank Spencer look butch” – god I love Craig. “Plenty of performance in there… just some of the wrong performance” says Darcey… oh it started so well.

Liz: I feel like they accepted he was gonna be no good at that dance so went for comedy value, you know what I mean, to keep him in .Like they went with dad dancing with his daughter in first week because they weren’t sure if he could dance.

Emma: “today was not the best”… that’s such a politician thing to say. “It was so much better in rehearsals”… really tho?

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Craig: 2 | Darcey: 5 | Len: 5 | Bruno: 4 | Total: 16


Naga Munchetty & Pasha Kovalev Charleston to ‘Minnie the Mermaid’ (watch here)

Emma: oh, oh!

Liz: Pasha’s got his arms out. Oh god he’s gonna be in a wetsuit with his arms out. Breathe-

Emma: I’ll try.  Do you think she’ll let go enough?

Liz: I really hope this is the dance where she goes “I’ve just go to let go”, but I worry she won’t.

Emma: Pasha admirably fake laughing at a terrible joke there.

Liz: Wow her legs.

Emma: Aww look at Pash’a little charleston face. She’s trying isn’t she.

Liz: She’s done much better in this. Ok I feel like I’ve just seen more of Naga than I wanted to.

Emma: Bless.

Liz: She’s certainly giving it a lot.

Emma: I feel like that last lift went… wrong.

Liz: I feel like they’re unnecessarily harsh on her.

Emma: Maybe it was purposely messy? Like she was saying about a mermaid finding her legs! Totally intentional… Woah, defensive, “Did it make you smile” asks Pasha in the nicest way possible, and gets Craig’s bitchy response “that lift looked like you were being harpooned”. Ouch, Craig, ouch!

Liz: Aww that was really cute. She looks so happy.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Craig: 5 | Darcey: 6 | Len: 7 | Bruno: 6 | Total: 24

Emma: Brendan shouting “Undermarked”… this might be the first (and probably only) time I’ve ever liked Brendan’s presence on this show.


Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton Foxtrot to ‘Tears Dry On My Own’ (watch here)

Liz (softly): I love these two.

Emma: Aww, Louise.

Liz: Hang on, I’ve just noticed Kevin has a jawline!

Emma: How did you not notice that?

Liz: Look at it! Her dress is stunning. Len’s not gonna like this.

This arsing around.

Liz: Ohh. Now they’ve got dancing –  Ohh his arse.

Emma: cough

Liz: Well they are very tight pants.

Emma: Awww.

Liz: Oh Len’s not gonna like these out of hold bits.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Emma: Ha, Kevin looks so surprised Craig enjoyed it, his face!

Liz: I see what Len means though about her being too far on his side, she reaches. Their fistbump is just the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

Emma: They are easily the most likeable couple. Look at their faces.

Craig: 8 | Darcey: 8 | Len: 8 | Bruno: 9 | Total: 33

Emma: That‘s their first nine? Outrageous.


Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse Quickstep to ‘I Won’t Dance’ (watch here)

Danny is announced…

Liz: Gasp! I’ll put my laptop down!

Emma: Ohh being reminded of last week’s dance they did, we need to watch it again once this is finished.

Liz: Quickstep this week, my favourite dance.

Her dress…  ohhh. Awwww.

Emma: I love the concept of this and she looks so amazing.

Liz: Now that’s a quickstep, they’re actually dancing quickly, the steps are quick.

Emma: You might have to excuse Liz, she’s just making soft noises and gasps.

Liz: That’s the first time I’ve went – that should get a 10.

Emma: Yeah he looked in control of the dance, not even “for a male celebrity” but genuinely just amazing and in control and he looks like a professional dancer. The Fred Astaire phrase is thrown about too lightly sometimes but Danny is genuinely the one I agree he has that class and talent and deserves the compliment.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Liz: Wow Craig just applauded him.

Craig: 9 | Darcey: 9 | Len: 9 | Bruno: 9 | Total: 36

Liz: Can you imagine if they hadn’t fannied about at the start? Could’ve been a ten.

Emma: If this is it now though, god imagine the final week.


Daisy Lowe & Aljaz Skorjanec Rumba to ‘Careless Whisper’ (watch here)

Emma: Well if they’re doing a rumba and it’s all legs and she is all leg, all she has to do is swish her legs about a bit.

Liz: Jesus that’s a short dress.

Emma: Well she’s getting used to having her legs out.

Liz: I feel like Aljaz saying “i’m gonna be very strict” is like a rabbit coming up to you and going “Grr!”

Emma: Literally all she has to do is sway here and not fuck that up.

Liz: She’s got the sultry look down, jesus, she’s practically fucking the camera lens.

Emma: I’m not sure how I feel about Aljaz’s slicked back hair. God this dance is just boring isn’t it. That’s no reflection on them it’s just the dance itself.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Liz: Aww Aljaz is so excited someone noticed the tiny step.

Emma: If anyone would, it’s Len.

Liz: I feel like me judging a rumba is like me trying to follow the sailing, I’ve got no idea who’s in the lead or what’s happening.

Emma: I just hate  the dance.

Liz: “Her feeling insecure”? Jesus if she feels insecure there’s no hope in the world.

Emma: “Long languid moves” – well she is fucking long, that’s why.

Craig: 7 | Darcey: 8 | Len: 8 | Bruno: 8 | Total: 31

Oh he wasn’t happy with the 7, he pulled a face.

Even so though, he can’t stop

Liz: Look at Claudia standing next to Aljaz and Daisy, she looks like a pixie.


Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero Viennese Waltz to ‘Boom Bang A Bang’ (watch here)

Liz: I feel like their look does not go with the song does not go with the dance.

Emma: “two woman are competing for me”, that’s a phrase I thought I’d never use”… god he’s so camp, love it. Are they gonna do as lightly comical waltz? I don’t know how but…

Liz: I hope not, the waltz should be classical.

Emma: Oh jeez. I know he does his face thing but really, does this fit the tone of the dance? We’ll see if all the moves are there. Craig’s gonna hate his face.

Liz: I love her dress.

Emma: The thing is – even if Len hates the tone or whatever, they can’t hate the dance completely if it has Viennese Waltz content and steps.

Liz: The Viennese Waltz bit is nice, just the shit in between that isn’t.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Emma: Him getting excited at Boris Becker being in the audience, bless.

Liz: He doesn’t need the goofiness, I agree with Darcy that he’s better than having to hide behind a goofy act or over-exaggerating.

Emma: Oh, I thought Len would hate that but they’ve really taken to Judge Rinder and I like that. Probably because he can still dance.

Liz: I think it’s because he does the joking but the dancing bits are also very good.

Craig: 6 | Darcey: 7 | Len: 7 | Bruno: 7 | Total: 27


Lesley Joseph & Anton Du Beke Charleston to ‘Won’t You Charleston With Me’ (watch here)

Liz: I feel like Anton’s casualised his wardrobe, I don’t think Iv’e seen him wear a t-shirt ever. Oh filming in Malta, oh it’s alright for some.

Emma: Oh there you go, he’s back in a shirt and trousers.

Liz: Heyyy, she’s got swivel.

Emma: She has hasn’t she. I’m impressed with the height of the kicks. Do you know what I’m quite impressed with?

Liz: Everything?

Emma: No, well yes but, her control and stiffness into the lifts.

Liz: I love that, I really did, I really like her, I’m so impressed by her, she’s like 95 million years older than should be dancing like that.

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Emma: That wasn’t “good for her age”, it was just good. But I bet she won’t end up with scores as high as, uh, Laura.

Craig: 7 | Darcey: 8 | Len: 8 | Bruno: 8 | Total: 31


Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton Jive to ‘Runaway Baby’ (watch here)

Emma: “Gene Kelly’s widow commented saying Gene would be proud” says Joanne. Jesus, I’m so emotional over that, genuinely I’m feeling a little bit teary.

Liz: Ohhh tune.

Emma: Oh shit this gonna be good.

Liz: Oof.

Emma: This is gonna sound stupid But I’m so impressed with him when he dances on those steps so in time and perfect.

Liz: Oh, those flicks!

Emma: Jesus, this is perfect.

Liz: Perfectly in time, damn.

Emma: He manages to be like –

Liz: -Cool!

Emma: You know what I like about this, she almost choreographs more steps for him than her-

Liz: -yeah she showcases him really well. Aww a false ending, nice. I want a ten. I want a ten.

Emma: So you want a ten then? (let it be known, Liz just nodded)

Judges’ Comments & Scores:

Emma: Darcey sounds bereft like she can’t quite believe he can do it, and is jealous and annoyed he can because she couldn’t.

Liz:”Move over Jay-” says Len. Ohh, it’s gotta be tens. It’s gotta be.

Emma: Oh he’s crying again.

Liz: I predict 2 or 3 10s there. Gotta be, they got a standing ovation from 2 judges there.

Emma: Oh he’s still crying.

Liz: Awww Kevin looks so proud of her!

Craig: 9 | Darcey: 10 | Len: 10 | Bruno: 10 | Total: 29

Emma: someone yelled 10 at Craig, yeah Craig.

Liz: Haha I love how violently Darcey stood up and gave the 10 score.

Emma: Are we going to get 2… or 3 10s even maybe??

Liz: He’s openly weeping, he’s actually weeping.

Emma: Claudia says “oh that was better than my own wedding ” – I fucking love Claudia’s candour.


Conclusion:
Emma: I loved Ore’s dance, obv, it was so much better than Jay’s jive because Jay’s had a pre-determined character but Ore had to work at it, that’s a true dancer. I really liked Danny too, obviously, and I hope Naga gets public votes because she is such a good dancer when she’s confident. Any comment Liz?

Liz: Danny should’ve got 10s. I don’t ever wanna hear the song ‘Ballroom Blitz’ again, unless it’s because Laura is in the dance off.

Emma: well that seems like a succinct and useful ending… until next time… keep dancing!


Results Show:

To come, tomorrow night…

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