My father, a secondary school teacher, was a marvellous man in many ways, but he had some mysterious prejudices. Back in the 1984, when Frankie Go To Hollywood released ‘Relax’ and, thanks to DJ Mike Read, it was banned from Radio 1 and Top of the Pops, dad announced how nonsensical a decision it was. “A harmless song,” he said. The song that he thought was filthy, explicit muck that would cause terrible damage to innocent young minds was ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ by WHAM.No, I have no idea what he was on about either. But both songs were featured in this week’s Strictly, live from Wembley Arena, and I don’t think any youthful minds were irredeemably corrupted by Dave Arch and his orchestra.
The best way to watch Strictly, other than knocking back a shot every time Brucie makes a crap pun or Tess gives a rictus grin, is to follow the witty comments on Twitter. Despite all the build-up, Wembley is a ghastly place for this week’s show. It all came across as very Saturday Night Special to me, especially the opening group dance number to a Queen medley. I thought the dance floor far too big, and the sound quality dreadful. Sue Perkins tweeted: “Judging by the sound, this week’s Strictly is coming live from a municipal swimming pool”.
But leaving that aside, what of our dancers? Robbie and Ola kicked off quite literally on rather odd podiums that looked like giant drums. Ola sported a big curly hair ‘do and a skintight, blue and silver catsuit which showed off her pierced bellybutton. In fact, other than whiskers and a tail, she looked like a character from Cats. It was certainly an outfit that drew the attention of all heterosexual males (“one for the dads” as a friend put it), although when Robbie ripped his shirt open, it was a pleasant distraction for some of the rest of us. Their routine included a scary leapfrog and some lifts that looked, from my perspective, like his face was buried in her crotch. But then again, I know nothing about dancing. I’ve come to quite like Robbie, but I expect him to be in the bottom two this week, and he might go (either him or Anita is my guess).
Alex and James performed an excellent tango to ‘Relax’ (and I’m sorry, but it’s a belter of a song, and needs a more throbbing bass than Dave Arch and his lovely orchestra can produce. It also needs the fine and filthy voice of Holly Johnson). But Alex and James’ tango was superb, and her confidence in their dance relationship has vastly improved. I liked the use of vast, white floor-to-ceiling ribbons in the routine, it broke up the vast echoey ‘sports hall’ feeling of the place. In terms of their dance, Craig said, it was “sharp, staccato, theatrical and intense” and it was. I like Alex and I want her to do well. Many are suggesting Jason and Harry as potential overall winners, but I’m hoping to see Alex or Chelsee up there myself.
Next up, Holly dancing with Artem, after a week of practising with Brendan. What a triangle. It can’t have been easy for any of them, coping with the uncertainty about Artem’s back injury, and Holly wasn’t on top form. Not her fault, but I thought her outfit was most peculiar. With the leopard scarf and the hair style, it was all a bit Bet Lynch meets Edna Krabappel.
Anita and Robin next doing the samba. Loved her hot pink long gloves and matching shoes. Then we had Russell Grant being fired from a ‘cannon’. Very theatrical and dramatic. Not much dancing. “Dumbo springs to mind” said Craig. Hmm. Next, Harry and Aliona resplendent in red and black. His shirt was open and the routine also featured an amusing Bucks Fizz ‘Making Your Mind Up’ moment with Harry ripping half of Aliona’s outfit off. Deliberately I think. Then came Chelsee in a Ginger Spice pinked-up Union Jack outfit with added tail feathers to shake, dancing to the Spice Girls’ ‘Spice Up Your Life’. Jason finished it all off dancing to ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, which didn’t help my understanding of why my dad thought the song was obscene, but their routine was “amazing”, according to Craig, but I didn’t like it that much, and it featured a wobbly moment as well.
The judges behaviour towards each other was much more cordial this week. Perhaps Sepp Blatter had staged an intervention. But as with my blog colleagues Jo-the-Hat, Velocity Girl and Our Man in the South, I’m finding the overblown, lengthy nature of the competition a bit wearing and the lame VTs are just embarrassing. But I was pleased to see Alex finish at the top of the leaderboard, and at the moment, I think the competition is still wide open, and that’s a good thing.
Posted by Inkface