Strictly line-up


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21/12/2010 at 11:43
Not an avid Danciong on ice fan. I often dip in and out. Not sure about the line up this year though. I don't know a lot ofthem, mainly I think because it soudns like 805 are soap actors
21/12/2010 at 13:31

Here we go, enjoy!

Saturday 18th December

Excited? Me too - it’s the Grand Final and there are more questions than answers. Is this the most talented bunch of beautiful people we’ve ever had? Can it be true that the three most accomplished dancers have reached the final? Am I about to witness the first ever case of spontaneous hamster combustion? It’s too close to call, as they say, but it’s gonna be fun finding out.

We’re down to the final three and they all bring something different to the party.
There’s Matt and his muscles – he’s very intense is our Matt; I’m just hoping he doesn’t burst. There’s Aliona – off with the clothes and off with the pixies – how can you not like someone as cartoonishly exotic as this?
Kara – the thinking man’s crumpet, the stupid man’s crumpet, the crazy hamster’s crumpet – she’s hardly put a foot wrong, apart from the one she shoved into her dress on day one.
Then there’s Artem – talented, emotional, on a death list – just your average Russian, really.
There’s no one quite like Pamela, of course; elegant and graceful, she’s partnered with Ola’s other three-quarters, James. He’s played it canny and he knows how to show off his Ubergran to her best. Ooooh, shiver me timbers, it’s anyone’s game.

So we’re all lined up in bib, tucker and sparkly dickie but, to be honest, it’s not the best start. There’s a strange opening with a boxing motif that gets ditched before it gets going, Hammy’s up another 20p after Notdead actually made it to the end of the series and the geriatric blunderer assassinates the autocue and then repeats an unfunny punchline. It’s gonna be a long night and I’m sliding straight in to anxiety.

Matt and Aliona get the glitterball rolling with their Blackpool Samba and he looks so pumped up he does well not to lose all control. The ripples are still there, he looks like he’s been filleted from his neck to his knees and he finishes with a series of back flips and buries his face in Aliona’s cleavage. While I was wondering how you get a gig like that he carried her over to the judges. Len phoned in his appraisal – ‘you came out, full on etc...,’ Alesha thought it was ‘the best Samba of the series’, Bruno thought it was ‘hot’ and Craig thought it was ‘better than last time’ and promptly awarded the same score. He picked up 38 but as the judges scores don’t count, this being ‘The People’s Final’, we awarded scores of our own:
JfW - 10
Hammy – 4
Four? Jeez, tough crowd.

21/12/2010 at 13:32
Who’s next?’ I asked.
Kara’, said Mrs JfW and Hammy looked from me to the remote with an expression that said ‘go on, I dare you.’ Needless to say, I didn’t dare and I’m quite glad because their Rumba reprise was as good as the first time. Her arm extensions are fantastic and she’s willowy and seductive and melty all at the same time. ‘I need a tissue’, said Alesha, speaking for every bloke watching. ‘Glorious and hypnotically beautiful’, said Bruno. Craig agreed and then griped about the same illegal lift as last week and he was unable to overlook it in the face of such extraordinary elegance so they had to settle for topping the board with a measly 39. Back on earth, we made up our own minds:
JfW – 10
Hammy – 55
‘You can’t use all your paddles!’ I said, but after a quick perusal of the domestic rule book that just hit me in the face, it turns out you can.

Pamela and James close the first chapter with a sublime Viennese Waltz that is classy and understated, if a little saccharine at the end. It’s a belter of a dance though and if ‘beautiful’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘remarkable’ didn’t tell the judges’ story, a full house of tens did the trick and she squealed with delight as she pipped Kara to the top of the tree. ‘That was fantastic’, I said as we whipped out the paddles. The hamster was far from gruntled and it showed in his score:
JfW – 10
Hammy – 1
‘One? You’re disgruntled aren’t you?’

In a welcome break with tradition we get the Showdances before the eviction and Matt and Aliona come up with a hip-hoppy, break-dancing, gymnastic kind of thing that has lots of exciting individual bits but not much actual dancing and even less in the way of transitions. It’s certainly different, which is what you’d expect from Aliona; the timing’s good and it’s very athletic but it didn’t hang together as a cohesive dance so it was a bit underwhelming. It was never going to appeal to the likes of Len but none of the others could conjure much enthusiasm either so they prattled on about the ‘gymnastic extravaganza’ instead. Even so, it’s a bit of an eye-opener seeing Craig’s 7 in a Grand Final. Lacking the courage of their convictions, the rest of them wafted their nines so it was left to me to give him the right score:
JfW – 8
Hammy – 2 - He’s pretty laissez-faire when it comes to somersaults.
21/12/2010 at 13:33
‘If we make it to the end, this will be our crème-de-la-creme of the whole competition’, said Kara. Hammy looked up, I shrugged, Mrs JfW came to the rescue. ‘Piece de resistance’, she said. Aaaahhh. Unfortunately, after a flying start it turned out to be more rice pudding than crème brulee, partly because she turned up in a boiler suit and partly because they blew the spectacular lift, lost the timing that followed and forgot the ending completely. There was more recognisable dancing than Matt’s and while the effort and intent were obvious, the execution misfired. None of this got past Craig of course but he still thought it was ‘extraordinary’, Len and Bruno spotted the ‘one or two little incidents’ that stopped it from being a show-stopper and Alesha praised her stamina. Then, for some reason I watched the next bit standing on my head because the four sixes they deserved looked suspiciously like nines. Looking to the domestic environment for a touch of sanity I was badly, if unsurprisingly, let down.
JfW – 7
Hammy – 55
Yep, as it happens, being ten minutes late for the ending is more than offset by a neckline that fastens at the waist.

If you’re looking for someone to bring a touch of class to proceedings, James would not necessarily be your first port of call. Pamela, on the other hand, has enough for both of them and aided by a great frock and the Dirty Dancing theme, they produce a clever and classical dance that lacked the heroics of the previous two but was simple and beautifully done. ‘Spot on’, said Alesha, ‘terrific and uplifting – perfectly pitched’, said Bruno. Craig focused on a stumble that had completely passed me by and Len had a dig at the others by complimenting James on the fact that they’d actually thrown a bit of dancing into the mix; then he scored her the same as Kara. Once again, 37 put her top of the pops with the judges which I suspect was reflected in the scoring that followed:
JfW – 9
Hammy – 2

While we wait for the second instalment we all hit the phones. At least we would have done if 3 out of 4 SIM cards hadn’t mysteriously disappeared. We all looked at the hamster and were immediately disarmed by a picture of innocence that only a master criminal could have pulled off. ‘Look at his little twitchy face’, said Mrs JfW. ‘Look at his sharp, pointy crossbow’, I replied. Instead I had to content myself with assessing the prevailing public mood by checking the official scores from Part 1:
Pamela and James – 22
Matt and Aliona – 26
Kara and Artem – 127
21/12/2010 at 13:33
I fear we may be slightly out of step.

Back for the second half we get straight into a reminder of what happened an hour ago which includes the revelation that poor old Kara hurt her arm during her show dance; news that goes some way towards explaining why she was so hopeless for the second half of it but in no way excuses the addition of 73 ‘sympathy’ points bringing her total to a round 200. The penultimate Moment of Truth is soon upon us and it’s something of a surprise to hear that the youngsters get the nod while Pamela and James are the recipients of the bad news. The pensioner took it well though; possibly because she has a level head and good grace, possibly because she’d forgotten her hearing aid and thought she’d won – hard to tell at this distance. Either way, as she exits stage left we lose 60 years of experience and more natural poise than a dozen popstrels could scare up in a month of Sundays.

But there’s no room for sentiment on this show so it’s on with the dancing for the last two standing as Matt and Aliona take to the floor for a Paso Doble and after a season of new age, modern interpretations, Aliona finally goes for tradition with proper Spanish music and lots of stamping. Matt shoves his chest out and struts about while Aliona twirls around him like a sexy cape – and Len hated it. I don’t know what it was – he’d been in a bad mood all night – but he moaned, griped and grumbled and finished with ‘ok, but not fantastic’. I moaned, griped and grumbled too, while Hammy nodded sagely at Len’s words of wisdom. Alesha thought more of it and had the courage to say so, Bruno sided with Len because it ‘lacked artistry’ and Craig ‘rather liked it’. Len’s 8 held the score back to 35 and I would have redressed the balance in the People’s Vote but someone had stolen my paddles.
JfW – 2 – It was the only one I had left
Hammy – 1
21/12/2010 at 13:34
Kara’s new dance is a Waltz and it’s a beautiful example of how to do a simple dance without fuss. Or drama. Her movements are easy and relaxed and they look great together but, for reasons I couldn’t explain, it wasn’t perfect and I couldn’t find anything that stirred my soul either. When it eventually ran out of steam, Artem started welling up; I thought it was because they’d just done their weakest dance but it turned out he’s just a bit highly strung. I’m expecting the worst from the grumps but they chickened out. ‘I could watch you dance all night’, said Alesha. Well so could I, just not doing a ropey Waltz. ‘You can’t top quality’, said Bruno. Right again, if only we’d seen some. Craig spotted the ‘occasional wobble’ and ‘complete lack of heel leads’ but still thought she was wonderful and Len agreed on ‘a few foot things’ (steady mate, you’ll lose the plebs with that kind of jargon) but thought she was ‘great’. I looked at Mrs JfW: ‘No heel leads, some wobbling and a few foot things. Remind me again what ‘great’ means’. My incandescence wasn’t enough to derail their thought process, though, so she picked up a rather glossy 38. Luckily, I still had my one paddle:
JfW – 2 (Ouch!)
Hammy – 55

With the line in sight, Matt and Aliona’s last dance of the series is their Viennese Waltz that starts on a swing and proceeds through rise, fall, fleckerl and romance to a touching gesture where he kissed her hand at the end. ‘Dashing and elegant’, said Bruno, ‘gorgeous thumbs’, said Craig and ‘a lovely way to end’, said Alesha. In between, Len actually moaned about a faulty fleckerl. I mean, really? Now? Only Alesha saw perfection as they finished with a creditable 37 and in an attempt to redress the balance I waved the only paddle available:
JfW – 2
Hammy – 3
21/12/2010 at 13:34
The final dance of the season falls to Kara and Artem and it’s a return to their American Smooth which, if memory serves, doesn’t have any actual dancing in it. Yep, memory served all right. She looks a million dollars as he lifts her up and carries her about. She’s gorgeous as they waft around in perfect symmetry and she’s beautiful and elegant when she kicks and turns but at last Len has something to be genuinely grumpy about as he picks up on the lack of anything substantive to put a score to. Everyone else thought it was ‘first class’ and ‘incredible’ and, for all it lacked in the dance department, it was still a great way to finish. The hamster certainly thought so, retrieving every paddle he could put his paws on to express his professional opinion:
JfW – 2
Hammy – 108
‘What? You’re using mine too? Come on, put ‘em down and we’ll count ‘em up to see who’s won. I think it’ll be close.’

It wasn’t that close.
Matt – 34
Kara - 367

While we wait for the votes to be counted there’s another welcome break from tradition as the cast of evictees gather together for a remarkably good group dance which was way better than the 20-second encores of previous years. Patsy stood out in a witty development of the series trailer and in the unfortunate absence of Take That, Paloma Faith did what she does best without clamouring for attention. It was a joyous little number that led sweetly into the last Moment of Truth which had Hammy quaking in his boots on the basis that not everyone is as reasonable and fair minded as us. Luckily Notdead didn’t stumble over the autocue too much and the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2010 was revealed to be... KARA and ARTEM!
21/12/2010 at 13:34

Yaaaaay! She’s done it! Matt and Aliona were sporting in defeat as even he could see she was the best in show, even if she hadn’t been the best on the night. The streamers flew, the ticker tape swirled, there were a few tears from Kara and a lot from Artem and we all bounced up and down to celebrate the end of a brilliant series. Not knowing what to do with himself, Hammy ran round in circles and then took the ride of his life as he clutched onto the cork just as we popped the champagne.

‘That was brilliant!’ I shouted.
‘Yep’, said a delighted Mrs JfW, ‘but there’s just the one thing.’
‘What?’ I asked.
‘Well, how are we gonna get him down from there?’

Merry Christmas,


21/12/2010 at 14:21
Brilliant Little Nemo, thanks
21/12/2010 at 15:50
Wow, that is soooo funny LN. Brightens up a dreary afternoon
21/12/2010 at 16:34
It's a pity he isn't going to do one for the Christmas Special, but I guess half the beauty of his writings is the personalities he gives the contestants, which I suppose can't be done in a one off.

Speaking of Christmas specials, we will have to watch it here over the internet as our flight home today has been cancelled and cannot get another until Boxing Day
21/12/2010 at 17:24

Brilliant JfW - thanks LN.  I can't get excited about the Christmas special but will watch it. 

I miss Claudia.

Been great sharing the series with you all again.  Thanks for the company.  

Happy Christmas everyone.

21/12/2010 at 17:29
Happy Christmas All
22/12/2010 at 09:11

Yes, Merry Christmas to Everyone too!

Roll on 2011 and more ITT!

Edited for rubbish spelling

Edited: 22/12/2010 at 09:11
22/12/2010 at 18:41

Great end to the 2010 series

Merry Christmas all and see you next year

23/12/2010 at 07:13

right result in the end.

Merry Christmas everyone, roll on the next series! 

23/12/2010 at 07:54

I will echo the Merry Christmas greetings. It's been fun, as always.


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