Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"This is supposed to be a dance contest": Strictly Come Dancing, week 9

Thus pleaded James Jordan, yer man with the unsettlingly blue eyes holding up Cherie Lunghi in the above picture, as the pair were eliminated in this week's dance-off. They'd got the third-lowest score of the week, which saw them facing off against Snowflake Snowdon and Filthy Brendan - the second-lowest scorers - to stay in the competition, and so the camel's back finally broke and the rest of the competition turned, in an ever-so-BBC One-on-a-Saturday-night kind of way, on John Sergeant, with everyone ignoring him as they bid Cherie farewell at the end of the Sunday show.

Or that's what I've heard, at least. Maybe it's cos I was a bit under the weather this weekend, I dunno, but I just couldn't sit through SCD on Saturday night. I tried, but I think the tipping point came, oddly enough, with Cherie's routine:

Now, James Jordan is perfectly free to complain that this should be a dance contest, and people should vote for the dancing. However, if he's gonna do that, perhaps he shouldn't be starting his routine by pretending to play his partner's leg like the guitar bit in the intro to "Play That Funky Music". And if he's gonna pretend to play his partner's leg like the guitar bit in the intro to "Play That Funky Music", he could perhaps try doing it IN TIME WITH THE FUCKING MUSIC FOR CHRIST'S SAKES. It doesn't have to be a note-perfect thing or owt, no, but just pulling your arm up and down like you're in fucking Metallica or something and then getting pissed off when people at home are not digging your superior footwork or what have you... I mean, Christ on a fucking bike, eh?

Back in the realm of the programme itself, it was high scores aplenty, with Rachel Stevens rebounding from her dalliance with the dance-off last week to score 39 - one point off full marks, and the highest score of the competition so far - for her rumba. Austin Healey was one point behind after doing a tango whilst looking slightly unshaven. Our Tom got 36 for his cha cha cha, Christine Bleakley got 34 for her waltz, Jodie Kidd got 33 for her... something or other. Quickstep, I think it was. I remember Arlene Phillips saying something like "You looked like you were training for the 100 metres at the Olympics at the 2012!", so I'm fairly sure that's right. Her best dance so far, according to the judges; I personally thought it looked like Ian Waite was attempting to manoeuvre a particularly awkward door up a fire escape, but, well.

Anyway... this week, it'd be fair to say, I fell out of love with the thing. There is a show going on outside The John Sergeant Farrago; the trouble is, it's a bloated old trout that's getting more and more repetitive with every week. The Farrago itself offers up two sides, neither of whom are especially worth cheering for.

Except it's just ended now cos Sergeant's decided to withdraw in case he winds up winning the whole thing. The head of BBC One has said she's sad to see him go, and you can see why. I'm writing about this programme on a Wednesday (having started on, er, Monday), which is some exceedingly poor citizen journalism on my part. The Telegraph website has published no fewer than nine separate pieces on John Sergeant's participation in the competition in the same period. Opinions range somewhere between "yes" and "no". On Saturday, SCD got 9.5m viewers, ahead of 8.9m for I'm A Celebrity... Etc. Etc.!. Now Sergeant's left, one wonders how many of the viewers will go with him. The story once again becomes about who's gonna win. The BBC is going to have to rely on people giving a shit about Austin Healey, which is entirely possible - he's not been in a dance-off yet, so some bugger must be voting for him.

So we're back to a plain old light entertainment programme, and Strictly finally gets to stand on its own two feet again. Those feet, however, are looking increasingly unsteady. One of the less interesting recurring themes has been removed, but as to whether or not that makes any of the other recurring themes more interesting remains to be seen.

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