Strictly Come Dancing – Week 8, Getting serious now!
After Richard and Erin’s departure from Wembley last week, who would be the next to fall victim to the dreaded dance off and who would step up and challenge Denise?
Dani Harmer & Vincent Simone (9, 9, 9, 9, Total 36)
Dancing the Salsa,this was another good, solid performance from her, looking increasingly confident too. It’s always good to see a bit of solo dancing from the celebrities to give a really clear idea of how they are “without influence” from their pro partners, and she coped well with a flamboyant opening. Sometimes she needs to use the middle body more, at the moment there is still some stiffness there, but overall not a bad dance. Good score for a very solid performance, well done Dani!
Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Pasha Kovalev (8, 9, 8, 9, Total 34)
Kimberley’s Tango showed some good qualities tonight – some of that characteristic staccato action, and really showed some feel for the dance. There was much to work on, with her left hand splayed, the head often too much rightwards and forwards, not following the curve of her back, and the footwork week, but this all was secondary to finding and setting the right mood with the dance.
Victoria Pendleton & Brendan Cole (4, 6,6, 5, Total 21)
Oh, Victoria! After her Paso from last week left us hoping for more (i.e. better!) this week, her salsa just didn’t tick the right boxes. There was plenty of salsa variations and arm stylings but this was too stiff and sometimes even looked a little awkward. She has to find a way of keeping movement through that strong body and not stiffening up. This wasn’t bad but for week 8, we need more dancing in that highly toned body of hers! Will she be on her bike soon? Maybe….
Louis Smith & Flavia Cacace (6, 7, 7, 7, Total 27)
For a few weeks now we’d been writing of an air of reservation in the dances from Louis and the same theme continued tonight with his Paso Doble. Unfortunately the Paso, of all the dances, is the last one to be reserved about, and should be overflowing with passion, strength, shaping and character. Louis has the ability with the shaping and movement but this one needed more from him – fuller shapes, stronger shapes, faster shapes and it needed to show through his facial expression too. He can do better, but getting the acting in to the dance is not easy for him and will need work.
Lisa Riley & Robin Windsor (7, 6, 7, 7, Total 27)
Our happy dancer needed to be passionate and seductive with her Rumba tonight and whilst she did a good job with her steps, this was another dance that didn’t really light up fully. The middle body action was missing greatly here to really show more movement and continuity of movement through the slow parts of the rhythm. Our fear for Lisa is that whilst she brings so much energy and personality to the floor, when there needs to be more sophistication in the character, that is her weakness. Come on Lisa!
Michael Vaughan & Natalie Lowe (6, 7, 7, 6, Total 26)
Michael had to take on the Argentine Tango tonight, quite a change from the high-kicking, show-closing spectacle of his outing last week. This dance, more than any other, should show the reactions of the lady to the leads of the man. Whilst Michael went through his choreography quite well, for us, it didn’t show that all important lead-follow look of the dance. It looks completely different if you watch two individual dancers side by side, compared to a dancer giving an action that causes a reaction in another, and this wasn’t close enough. OK, so in the space of a week he has to learn the dance and maybe it’s asking too much to learn a lead for all of that too but it needed at least some. Not bad, but a bit more needed to pull this dance off better.
Nicky Byrne & Karen Hauer (9, 9, 9, 9, Total 36)
Nicky had been improving over the last few weeks so how would he get on with a characterful dance, the Charleston? Well, actually excellent! This seemed to suit Nicky even though he had a slightly stomping style once again. This was fun-packed, classic choreography and full of character, cleanly danced. Possibly the most improved overall performance this week. Well done Nicky!
Denise Van Outen & James Jordan (9, 9, 9, 10, Total 37)
The problem is now we expect Denise to steal the show. No, let’s at least try to be neutral as we look at her American Smooth. This was a very classy looking dance, flowing nicely from one variation to the next, and some well executed lifts. Maybe the choreography didn’t quite absorb us enough but overall, you have to say she’s still the one to beat and has now a better grip of the dancers body than any of the others.
After a bit of a come down from the dizzy heights of Wembley, who came down to earth with a bump, and who raised their game? Well, at the top there’s no surprise with Denise on 37, but Nicky is up there for the first time too, with Dani, & Kimberley at the top. That left Victoria and Michael trailing at the bottom.