Strictly underwhelmed

I’ll admit that I am a tad obsessed with Strictly – I watch It Takes Two every weekday and love settling down to watch the main Saturday show with a cocktail and access to Twitter. I drive Mike mad from about May onwards with my excitement about the new series, and usually by the end of November I start to get depressed that the end is in sight. Mike thinks it’s funny that I don’t look forward to Christmas as it means Strictly will be over!

That’s why it breaks my heart to say this but…..this year’s Strictly Come Dancing is not wowing me. Oh yes, I’m watching it avidly and for the most part enjoying it but it’s lacking in that special Strictly ‘magic’. There have been some very good dancers, with Ali and Ricky through to the semi final, but no-one has been the complete package, like Alesha was a couple of years ago.

It’s not that I miss Arlene, as I was never really bothered that they replaced her in the first place (my favourite judge is Craig). I don’t think Alesha has been too bad – I loved her as a competitor and think she did try at first to give some constructive criticism, although now she does tend to be a bit patronising and her grammar drives me potty.

I think for me the magic died when Jade had to withdraw through injury. She wasn’t the best dancer but she was improving week on week – her foxtrot was lovely and she and Ian were actually fun to watch. I’d just made up my mind to start voting for her (if the dances deserved it) when she left. Since then, well…..I just don’t really care who wins. I have voted once, last week, for Ali and Brian’s Charleston, but normally by this point in the competition I am voting like a mad woman. There just haven’t been any dances that I’ll remember after the series finishes, not like Mark and Karen’s Argentine tango or Alesha and Matthew’s cha-cha. Maybe the last couple of weeks will produce some corkers…I really hope so.

Ali and Brian are great at the ballroom dances, but for me their latin always looks a little polite – each week the judges say they want Ali to go a bit wild, let go a bit more, but I think she’s just too nice, and she gets self conscious. Maybe she should have a couple of vodkas, or an ‘encounter’ with Brian in the dressing room before going on?

Ricky Whittle frustrates me – he is so talented but until tonight he kept cocking up. Even tonight, although I enjoyed his two dances, they didn’t give me goosebumps (which a truly great Strictly dance should). And I just can’t warm to Natalie….

Mike, if you’re reading this look away now…..I do like Chris and Ola. Not enough that I want them to win, as he’s definitely not the best dancer, but their partnership is very sweet and they do entertain. Now they’re through to the semi-final they could actually win – they’ve grown in popularity and he could ‘do a Darren Gough’. And my husband will leave the country.

What have I loved about this year’s Strictly? The tweeting (hello Keris!) and the lovely Claudia Winkleman. It’s great to come home from work a bit grumpy and know that I’ve got It Takes Two to watch (I record it religiously). Claudia is simply fabulous and it’s It Takes Two I’ll miss the most.

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