Strictly Come Dancing: Week 11- Musicals Week

I have a general mistrust of musicals. Despite the fact that my sister and I were brought up to the greatest hits of Andrew Lloyd Webber (and I could probably still sing ‘Magical Mister Mistoffelees’ perfectly), I personally just don’t really think most modern musicals are much cop. I may make an exception for Chicago and I did enjoy Moulin Rouge, but you would have to pay me quite a lot of money to watch Les Miserables; if you’re a musical fan, I’m not knocking you- it’s just not for me.

Anyway, so last week we lost Peter and now is the time that those who have been excellent start dropping like flies; it can be quite hard to predict who will win, although apparently Jay is still favourite. We’ll see.

Shall we proceed? I have mulled wine and I’m ready to GO.

Georgia and Giovanni- Foxtrot (Beauty & The Beast)

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It’s customary for the youngest female celebrity to dress as a princess, preferably Disney-based, at some point in the competition and so it’s Georgia’s turn. She has brown hair, so I guess it makes sense she’s Belle?  I’d be miffed if I was a dancer paid to stand there dressed as a teapot though. Awks. (She looked quite murderous, mind, which cheered me up NO END.) Pretty dance, though, even if it was on the slower side for a foxtrot.

Scores: Craig- 9 Darcey- 9 Len- 9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 36

Anita and Gleb – Argentine Tango (Cell Block Tango)

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I have vague recollections of this song being used for a tango/Argentine tango in the past and it’s a good fit (if a little predictable?) Last week, Gleb was criticised for not sticking to the rules, but the Argentine Tango should be right up his street; his choreography is passionate and he likes to challenge Anita. I loved Gleb’s camp guard at the start and this definitely had brilliant elements of an Argentine Tango- even if I did think there was too little in hold (for me) and that Anita was a bit TOO smiley at points! Also, Len’s using weird compliments again: two weeks after comparing Jamelia to a tram, he compares Anita to a cowpat…

Scores: Craig- 6 Darcey- 8 Len- 9 Bruno- 8 TOTAL: 31

Kellie and Kevin-Viennese Waltz (Oom Pah Pah)

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These two have had a bad few weeks and the comments on the Strictly blog were saying that this is a really weird choice for the Viennese Waltz (I’ve only ever seen snippets of Oliver!) I did enjoy the Victorian Barbara Windsor impression and the whole thing felt like a raucous party at a gin palace in 1880. I thought it was a good job, considering it was more in your face than a usual light-and-airy Viennese Waltz. A working class cockney Viennese Waltz, if you will. HUGE FUN. (Although, Craig was all “It’s common as muck!” and then Darcey complimented Kevin on producing a dance that suited Kellie’s personality… ha!)

Scores: Craig- 9 Darcey- 9 Len- 9 Bruno-  9 TOTAL: 36

Jay and Aliona- Rumba (Falling Slowly)

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Brilliant. Another rumba. Fabulous.

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I mean, I’m not sure how many rumbas are performed in jeans. I do think Jay’s getting better at expressing his emotions though, so that’s nice. As an interesting aside, I *think* this goes down as the highest scoring rumba ever.

Scores: Craig-9 Darcey-10 Len- 10 Bruno- 10 TOTAL: 39

Katie and Anton-Foxtrot (Maybe This Time)

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I reckon Anton is THRILLED to have got this far, but I’m not sure that he and Katie will make it to the final; as a pairing they have been a bit too inconsistent and, of the two couples doing foxtrot tonight, they are the perhaps the weakest. This was fine, as it goes, but there was a lot of faffing about at the start. Still, it’s nice to see Anita’s Ghost wig make its third appearance this series. I predict that next year it’ll be dancing with Aljaz as a contestant in its own right.

Scores: Craig- 8 Darcey- 9 Len- 9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 35

Helen and Aljaz- Paso Doble (At The End Of The Day)

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When I saw that Helen was doing a paso, I did wonder if she could channel all that passion, anger and sexuality needed to do a really good job. I’ll also confess that I did wonder if it might be the dance that led her to the dance-off. I felt that she looked a bit forced and in pain at times, but then I didn’t go to drama school, so then who knows. It was so busy that I didn’t actually enjoy watching it, which is a shame

Scores: Craig- 8 Darcey- 8 Len- 9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL: 34

So we end with JAY at the top and ANITA at the bottom, but my money’s on Katie and Helen in the dance off… Disagree? Let me know!

 

 

#PaperHaul Featured: Helz-Illustrates

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November’s #PaperHaul box couldn’t contrast more with last month’s if it tried. To go from 40s Film Noir to 80s Lisa Frank-inspired design is bonkers, but it’s one of the reasons I love getting my monthly stationery fix. As a kid who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s, this batch of paper goodies is giving me a serious nostalgia fix.

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The cards this month are BRILLIANT. I have already given the big ‘You’re Fabulous’ card to one of my friends for her birthday. She works too hard and is a lovely person- when you’re stressed, it’s a good thing to be reminded of your fabulosity. I’ve sent the rainbow card to a friend who’s readjusting to life back in Germany after an amazing few months working on a scientific study of whales in Iceland. I figured a cute card might cheer her up. The rest of these cards will be saved for future moments of unexpected cheer.

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Can I just say how much I LOVE the monthly addition of the notebook? I mean, I’m firmly of the opinion that you can’t have too many notebooks. I did give this one to my fabulous-yet-stressed friend though. I thought the design would make her smile and how can you not be cheered up by a cute unicorn on your Notebook Of Important To Do Lists? The little card reminds me a bit of Jem (the old 80s cartoon, not the recent disastrous film.)

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The sticky bits have yet to be deployed- but never fear, they will be! The stickers are bigger than the usual #PaperHaul offering, but I like it.

Now please excuse me while I go and watch old episodes of Rainbow Brite on YouTube. x

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You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.

 

 

 

Strictly Come Dancing: Week #9- Blackpool

Ah, Blackpool. It’s become a cliche that all the celebs taking part in Strictly say that this is the week they’re aiming for. We know it’s a blatant lie- they’re all desperate for the final (although, a thought… do they get paid more the longer they’re in the competition? Do they get a bonus for winning?) I am ambivalent about Blackpool. As a kid, I remember my parents loading us up in the car to look at the Illuminations and rides on despondent donkeys on days that felt like they were freezing. Even in July. That’s Lancashire for you.

Anyway, apparently this is the mecca of dancing and everyone who’s ever danced has wanted to dance at the tower. Unfortunately, Jeremy won’t be there; Jamelia was quite lucky that he was finally knocked out last week, although I confidently predict that this week is her last in the competition. Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Jay and Aliona- Salsa (Cuba)

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I’m hoping that, after a strong start, Jay doesn’t start going downhill and gets knocked out before the final. His little face every time he feels like he’s done badly and gets negative feedback makes my Twitter timeline go all a-flutter and I’m not sure that all of those women feel maternal about him. Tut tut. Anyway, the salsa is a BEAST of a dance and I was admittedly nervous; Jay hasn’t really repeated his excellent performance in the jive- although he’s always good- and I didn’t know how this one would go. Thankfully, despite the fact that he was the living embodiment of George Michael in the Club Tropicana video, this was back up there with Jay’s jive (although I’m not sure it was AS good, but hey, splitting hairs.) Thank goodness- and long may it continue.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-9 TOTAL:36

Jamelia and Tristan- Quickstep (I’m A Believer)

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This is one of my all-time favourite songs (shut up, I loved The Monkees TV show as a kid. It used to be the last programme on Nickelodeon), so of course I was waiting to see how the band would lovingly murder it.

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Actually, when I thought about it, it’s a good fit for a quickstep. Tristan looks like a fella who’s expecting to go every week and delighted the week after that he’s still there- hence the reason he keeps hold of Jamelia so tightly. Plus she’s a bit all over the place when left to her own devices. Thankfully, Jamelia was in hold most of the time and looked OK, even in the side by sides- she’s definitely improved. I loved her dress, too. But I don’t think it will be enough to save her from her FIFTH dance-off. It’s tricky at this point. And, Len, word of advice: never compare a woman to a tram, even if you’re trying to be nice.

SCORES: Craig-7 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 TOTAL: 31

Anita and Gleb- Paso Doble (Malaguena)

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I always have high expectations of these two, but always with a slight cringe of ‘oh, PLEASE don’t do something wacky!’ The paso is always a great dance to see on the Blackpool floor, as the setting fits the high drama demanded of the dance. This was definitely dramatic- and passionate and sexy, too. I wasn’t keen on all the extra dudes (but then, I’m not a fan of all the extra dancers anyway) and the weird body stocking-ness of their trousers, but I appreciate that they highlighted Anita’s brilliance. A fantastic paso.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey- 10 Len-9 Bruno- 9 TOTAL:37

Katie and Anton- American Smooth (Ain’t That A Kick In The Head)

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Anton’s back on familiar territory here and it’s the first time he’s made it to Blackpool with a decent partner in YEARS, so I was expecting him to make the most of it. It was nice to Erin Boag too! I was predisposed to love this, as I love all the Golden Age of Hollywood glamour and this was beautiful, properly classy and just like something out of a musical. And you can’t go wrong with a bit of Dean Martin, can you?

SCORES: Craig- 8 Darcey- 9 Len- 9 Bruno-9 TOTAL:35

Peter and Janette- Jive (River Deep, Mountain High)

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DING DING DING! This week’s odd music choice goes to this one. I mean, a JIVE to River Deep, Mountain High? What? It’s a brilliant song, but hardly ‘jaunty’. Mind you, Peter’s been having a bit of a renaissance of late and so I have thought he’s back in the game. I was thinking wrongly. This was OK, although I worried that Peter was spasming at one point, but then I realised it was part of the dance and maybe he was just meant to be looking a bit sexy? Who knows. And let’s not get started on his mouth hanging open with the tongue out, like a labrador who’s just rolled in fox poo.  Also, it’s nice to see Tweety Pie as a sartorial influence.

SCORES: Craig-6 Darcey- 7 Len- 8 Bruno- 8 TOTAL: 29

Georgia and Giovanni- American Smooth (I Have Nothing)

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Well, last week Georgia knocked the socks off the judges with that Charleston and I wondered how they would respond this week- would she be the golden girl, or would they be super picky? I get the impression that she’s not one of the judges favourites (oh, hi, Helen and Kellie!), so I wasn’t sure. Plus we’ve seen couples tumble from top of the table to mid-table obscurity before. Benn will be so proud I’ve managed to shoehorn a football reference into this. I’d just like to add that these two have grown on me- Georgia’s “‘Ave ya finished?” to Giovanni in the kareoke booth was great. The dance was beautiful, but I found it tricky to concentrate with all the other dancers on the floor.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-10 Bruno-10 TOTAL: 38

Helen and Aljaž- Charleston (Anything Goes)

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Helen is a beautiful dancer, but she’s a bit like Peter, I think. I worried that she wouldn’t be able to let it go (Ha! Another Helen/Elsa reference. I’m here til the bitter end of this competition, kids! But if wardrobe will insist on dressing her in pale blue…) enough to give the Charleston the relaxed feel it needs. This was light and fun, with elements of screwball comedy. Benn was a bit underwhelmed and I wonder if Helen really was as relaxed as she seemed. I don’t think this is Helen’s best dance and I think that, in a year of strong Charlestons, it wasn’t the best.

SCORES: Craig- 8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 TOTAL:34

Kellie and Kevin- Quickstep (Nine To Five)

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OK, I get the pairing and the music- and we all expect Good Things every week from these two. I just… wish they didn’t rely on props so much. This wasn’t prop-heavy, but did take a while to get cracking. Oncec it did start though, a lot of it felt… static and I’m not sure the extra dancers added anything apart from that bit dragging Kellie across the floor that ended in a lift. The steps were good and clean though and the judges loved it. They’re charismatic and everyone loves them, so they’re guaranteed to be forgiven.

SCORES: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-10 TOTAL:37

So to end- GEORGIA is at the top of the leader board again and PETER is at the bottom. I reckon Jamelia and Peter will be in the bottom two- but will Jamelia live to see another day? Who knows? I’ve given up trying to work out what’s going on in my own life, let alone a bonkers celebrity talent contest. See you next week!

 

Strictly Come Dancing: Week #8

Morning all. I’m blogging this the morning after the night before, as I was at a fancy dress party last night, drinking gin and lemonade. It’s quite weird writing this the day after, as I’ve sort of seen bits about last night, but I’m going to approach this the way I do if I’m watching live. Except I can fast forward those annoying VTs. We’re over halfway through! Next week is Blackpool! (Never, ever play a shot based game in the week before Blackpool, in which you drink every time its mentioned. You will have a stinking hangover the next day. Ask me how I know. AHA- TESS AND CLAUDIA MENTIONED IT LATER ON! I write my intro before watching, so you can imagine my delight when I saw this skit.) I’m also OBVIOUSLY gutted that The Nicest Man In The World, Pasha, is now longer in the competition.

Enjoy! Or not. I’m not the boss of you.

Anita and Gleb- Quickstep (Don’t Get Me Wrong)

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This is a good song for the quickstep- light and bouncy (and I have a feeling it’s been used before?) I continue to love Anita and feel ambivalent towards Gleb… is it because, in the words of Derek Zoolander, he’s ‘really, really ridiculously good looking’ and he knows it? Perhaps. I mean, what must it be like to go through life with that face? (See also: Aljaz, Artem.) This was pretty, accomplished and lovely to watch- a bit like Anita herself!

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total: 32 Mentions of Blackpool: 3

Jay and Aliona- Foxtrot (Lay Me Down)

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Obviously there are high expectations here, as usual. Jay is a good, technical dancer- although I was a bit disappointed by the Argentine Tango last week (not flicky enough for me.) But then, I’m often the only person who thinks this and who cares what I think? Anyway, the choice of song was a bit rumba-y for me- I like a cheery foxtrot, personally- but you could tell Jay was really trying to incorporate the judges’ advice from last week. Benn noticed the trip, but at least Jay was able to recover quickly. His little face though after the dance had finished 😦 Still my favourite though. Also side note: I LOVE IT WHEN DARCEY GETS ALL ANGRY.

Scores: Craig-6 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total:31  Mentions of Blackpool: 0

Jamelia and Tristan- Samba (A Little Respect)

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I love this song. (Fun fact: after showing my media students the Scrubs episode where the song ‘infects’ everyone and they can’t stop singing it, the same thing happened around the school where I work. I heard snippets of it in the staffroom for WEEKS.) Anyway, Samba doesn’t have a good track record and I was expecting that Tristan would be holding on to Jamelia for dear life. Also, why is she dressed as a three-year-old at a princess party? Do wardrobe hate her? I like that this dance basically told the story of the Wheatus version of the song’s video (geeky lad pulls popular girl.) Not bad for Jamelia, either- a few clunky bits, but overall good- even if, according to Craig, some of the grinding was ‘unnecessary’…!

Scores: Craig-5 Darcey-7 Len-7 Bruno-7 Total:26  Mentions of Blackpool: 1

Helen and Aljaz- Tango (Hold Back The River)

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OK, before watching this, I was expecting high drama and lots Serious Tango Face. This week, Helen is giving serious Jean Harlow vibes (I think it’s the hair.) But why was Aljaz dressed like a room designed by Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen? As expected, a competent tango, although a weird song choice (but then, hey Georgia danced a tango to Ghostbusters, so what do I know?)

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 Total:34  Mentions of Blackpool: 1

Katie and Anton- Rumba (Never, Never, Never)

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Firstly, I’d like to point out I’m not a fan of the picture above. But hey, you get what you’re given. Also, at this stage in the game, I am tolerating the rumba and hoping it dies out quite quickly as everyone ends up having danced it. I just then have to hope that no one chooses it as their choice in the final (unlikely?) However, this is the highest scoring rumba of the series, which shows how annoyingly difficult it seems to be. Anyway, Katie had a definite sexy Audrey Hepburn thing going on and this almost had a bit of a tango feeling (or am I going mad?) I didn’t actually mind this too much, as it wasn’t raunchy and in your face; as Katie and Anton said, it was a grown up rumba. God, I’m such a prude.

Scores: Craig-7 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total:31  Mentions of Blackpool:1

Kellie and Kevin- Samba (Boom Shake The Room)

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So when I was putting this together, I made sure I didn’t see the scores, but just grabbed pictures from the Strictly feed- I’d guessed that, by this comment it wasn’t Kellie’s best. After her shocking place in the bottom two last week, I wondered whether her confidence was low (and I’ve talked about the awkwardness of having a samba/salsa- the dances of death- the week after a dance off before.) I’m not ashamed to admit that I got it wrong! I love the relationship between these two and their sense of humour was a lot fun to watch, I even found the mauling of the song by the singers funny. I’m pretty sure I had a Barbie dressed like Kellie was last night.

Scores: Craig-9 Darcey-8 Len-7 Bruno-9 Total:33  Mentions of Blackpool:0

Peter and Janette- Viennese Waltz (You’re My World)

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Ooh, I do love an abundance of tuille. After last week’s fun Charleston, these two must have been riding high- has Peter put himself back in the game, I wonder? Based on this dance: quite possibly, but I’m not convinced. We’ll see, eh? This felt a bit ‘modern’ for a Viennese waltz, so I did wonder what the judges would say about it… and yep, more hold seemed to be the main feedback.

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-9 Len-8 Bruno-9 Total:34  Mentions of Blackpool:3

Georgia and Giovanni- Charleston (Hot Honey Rag)

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OK, I already know that this is the highest scoring dance of the series, beating Peter’s Charleston last week- this year really does feel like year of the Charleston and I love it. This fizzed with flapper-ish energy and pizazz; they made it look easy. LOVED IT.

Scores: Craig-9 Darcey-10 Len-10 Bruno-10 Total:39  Mentions of Blackpool:4

Jeremy and Karen- Quickstep (Going Underground)

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I predicted a couple of weeks ago that Jeremy will probably make it to Blackpool and then leave at that stage; the ‘comedy’ acts usually do as well as that and then afterwards, it gets properly serious as we move towards the final. Karen is basically having fun coming up with more and more outlandish storylines each week, so God knows what she’ll come up with next week if they do make it. I’m not sure how much of this was dance steps and how much was just Jeremy walking/running. Bless him. I liked the ‘Wheels On The Bus’ section especially.

Scores: Craig-4 Darcey-6 Len-6 Bruno-5 Total:21  Mentions of Blackpool:6

So we have GEORGIA at the top of leaderboard and JEREMY at the bottom. Jamelia, Katie and Jay (boo!) are all at risk. If you’d been taking shots, your liver would be shot and you’d be pretty much dead…

#PaperHaul: Featured- Rory J. Murphy

It was a stormy grey day when this month’s #PaperHaul landed in my mailbox. I tried to resist it, but as any stationery lover knows, these little boxes are as hard to resist as a dame in a silk dress. What would the box yield to closer inspection, I wondered?

Oh, Ava Gardner, I love you.

Oh, Ava Gardner, I love you.

And then I had it. It was a collaboration between #PaperHaul and Rory J. Murphy. I knew then that all hope was lost; that I was drawn in to something beyond my control. You see, this box held something inspired by a weakness of mine- a love of film noir, of broads and dames, detectives and bad guys; of Bogey and Bacall.

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Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

ITEM 1: The Whole Shebang

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Here you can see all the evidence together, clear as day. Paints a pretty picture, don’t it? It’s Film Noir with a bit of Frank Miller (but without the violence.)

Item 2: The Notebook

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Every detective needs a book to keep a note of hoodlums, dames need a book to keep track of conquests. I just need a book to keep track of boring things like budgets and how many rows I’ve knitted. Whatever, I’m channelling my inner crimefighter with this.

Item 2: The Calling Cards

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Everyone has a vice. What’s yours? Liquor? Lipstick? A pistol? Your calling card is here, my friend, in the form of these mini-cards.

Item 3: The Main Event

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Film noir needs its femme fatale and this one appears to be influenced by Rita Hayworth in Gilda. Is that a stocking brandished sexily or… with murder in mind? Only you and the recipient can decide.

Item 4: The Mugshots

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That bobby pin shows that a woman’s been in the interrogating room… has she been up to NO GOOD?

You’ll never get anywhere in this town if you’re not good with faces, kid. Helpfully, you can stick these wherever you like. And the cards are cool; the top one reminds me of Ava Gardner and the bottom one, of course, has more than an air of Bogey and Bacall.

Item 5: The Tape

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Tape’s important. It seals crime scenes and holds your anatomy in its place when needed. This tape will declare your love of the hard stuff AND stick paper together. What more could you want?

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You can register for #PaperHaul here.

Disclaimer: I get my box at a discounted rate, but my reviews are honest and reflect my own opinions.

Strictly Come Dancing 2015: Week #4

Last week, Anthony left the show after a tense dance-off against a man with penguin markings painted painted on his bald head. Welcome, once again, to the delightful absurdity of Strictly Come Dancing!

As things stand for me this week- I’m still astounded by the coolness of Jay’s jive (and rooting for him in a massive way) and I’m still not convinced by Kirsty. And just how will The Lovely Carol perform an aggressive paso- and will it somehow be spuriously linked to the weather?

Anita and Gleb- Samba (Hips Don’t Lie)

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Who can forget that weird bug-like movement from last week? (It wasn’t sexy. It was creepy. Twitter doesn’t seem to agree with me.) Gleb really likes sliding round on the floor, doesn’t he? Anyway, it was OK, but not amazing- for me, anyway. And what do I know? Pleased to see Gleb’s growing facial hair again though.

Scores: Craig-6, Darcey-7, Len-7, Bruno-7. Total: 27

Daniel and Kristina- American Smooth (Fly Me to The Moon)

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This feels much more like Daniel’s natural home and also more of where I like my American Smooth to be- none of the fancy sexy lunge-y stuff of Anita and Gleb last week. American Smooth should be all Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. He actually suits the pilot-y look, too. This was great and felt more in keeping with Daniel’s character. Nice going. Although I’m not sure Daniel O’Donnell will ever be ‘more dynamic’, Craig. HE’S DANIEL O’DONNELL.

Scores: Craig-5, Darcey-6, Len-6, Bruno-6. Total: 23

 Kirsty and Brendan- Paso Doble (Beautiful Day)

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I have yet to meet anyone who’s rooting for Kirsty (please let me know if you are). My mind did baffle a bit at the pairing of the paso with this song. Brendan does generally perform a good paso, but this is definitely an odd choice of song. Brendan kept Kirsty very close and she seemed desperate to get back to him when he released her (paso is about fighting him off, no?) Meh.

Scores: Craig-4, Darcey-6, Len-6, Bruno-5. Total: 21

Georgia and Giovanni- Quickstep (Reach)

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Ah, appealing to Georgia’s youth here by playing this classic from every school disco since the late 90s. This was on my running playlist for a while, but it was too bloody chirpy for when I felt murderous as I ran around hilly Brighton on a cold day. Did this dance make me feel murderous? Not really. It was.. cute. Even if the set dressing looked like that time Ashley and Cheryl (then) Cole advertised the National Lottery.

Scores: Craig-7, Darcey-7, Len-9, Bruno-8. Total: 31

Jeremy and Karen- Jive (Splish Splash)

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Karen has definitely been casting Jeremy in a sort of old-school, gentlemanly style of dancer and this fits that pattern. I think he’s certainly improving in confidence (although I’d say he’s always been enthusiastic!) and whether his technique was improving remained to be seen. This was definitely back in dad dancing territory- and we all got to fight off the mental image of Jeremy in the bath. Karen looked nice though. It definitely looks like Jeremy is now in the ‘comedy dancers’ categories, with the likes of Ann Widdecombe. Fun.

Scores: Craig-3, Darcey-6, Len-6, Bruno-5. Total: 20

Kellie and Kevin- Foxtrot (Dream a Little Dream)

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I love this song- I used to sing it to D when he was colic riddled as a tiny baby- and so I’m glad that it’s being danced to by two of the better dancers! Expectations are going to be high all through the series and I’m glad. It’s impossible to not like them. I loved the story behind this dance (imagining her grandparents’ first dance) and this was gorgeous. Beautiful- proper lump in the throat stuff. If Kellie’s not in the final, it’ll be a travesty.

Scores: Craig-8, Darcey-8, Len-8, Bruno-8. Total: 32

Jamelia and Tristan- Charleston (Straight Up)

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The Charleston is meant to look a bit messy, but should still be precise. Jamelia has tended to look a little uncoordinated in previous weeks, which I think has surprised a lot of people (me included.) However, this week, I thought she looked much improved and did a great job. Also, EXCELLENT FRINGING.

Scores: Craig-8, Darcey-8, Len-8, Bruno-8. Total: 32

Jay and Aliona- Quickstep (My Generation)

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Jay had a LOT to live up to after last week’s brilliant, brilliant jive, so the pressure has definitely been on. This took a long time to get into the actual dance, but looked really good once it got started- although the mistakes happened. Mind you, the quickstep looks properly brutal. Let’s hope he’s back on form next week.

Scores: Craig-5, Darcey-7, Len-6, Bruno-7. Total: 25

Carol and Pasha- Paso Doble (Espana Cani)

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My first thought when seeing that The Lovely Carol was dancing the paso- can she really be as fierce as the dance requires? Can ANYONE in their right mind see her as a bull? Will she forget she’s meant to LITERALLY BE A COW and break into her sunny smile? She did give it a good go, even if it’s hard to believe she’s meant to be fierce. She’s just TOO NICE. And it must be hard to dance in a glitter version of those M&S fuller bust bras you get in boxes.

Scores: Craig-5, Darcey-6, Len-6, Bruno-5. Total: 22

Ainsley and Natalie- Waltz (What a Wonderful World)

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I always feel sorry for the surviving couple from the dance-off, as it must be really difficult to go in again knowing that enough people didn’t vote for you the week before. However, a waltz is a really safe bet, right? Especially with such a classic song- how can you go wrong? This was lovely- Ainsley was trying so hard and Natalie’s dress was beautiful.

Scores: Craig-6, Darcey-7, Len-7, Bruno-6. Total: 26

Helen and Aljaz- Salsa (Doctor Beat)

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Helen does both Latin and ballroom so well- and she has looked so beautiful so far. This salsa was a bit Carry On: fun and flirty and, despite the fact that she says she finds it hard to do ‘sexy’, Helen definitely manages to be. Every week so far, I’ve joked that Helen has resembled a film star- and this week it was definitely Barbara Windsor!

Scores: Craig-8, Darcey-8, Len-8, Bruno-8. Total: 32

Peter and Janette- Tango (Blue Monday)

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TANGO! And actually a weird, but very interestingly workable song choice for this. This was a much better dance this week, but I feel like Peter is being lost in the crowd- it was assumed he’d be a shoo-in for a winner, but the field is much better than I think many counted on. Anyway, a fine tango and a brilliant dance to watch.

Scores: Craig-8, Darcey-8, Len-8, Bruno-8. Total: 32

Katie and Anton- Viennese Waltz (If I Can Dream)

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Anton was under pressure this week not to waste Katie again like he did in that disastrous cha cha last week. The thing is, Katie can do so much more… maybe Anton was so used to having slightly duff partners and forgot that he had someone who actually can work their feet in a vaguely rhythmic way. But then, no one does a Viennese Waltz like Anton- this is firmly his territory and it shows. Lovely stuff.

Scores: Craig-8, Darcey-9, Len-8, Bruno-8. Total: 33

So we have a cluster of couples in second place with 32 points: Jamelia, Helen, Peter and Kellie, with Katie and Anton at the top. At the bottom there’s Jeremy and Kirsty, with last week’s leader Jay firmly in the middle. I think Jeremy and Kirsty will be in the dance off and it’s 50/50 who will be coming back next week.

Let me know your thoughts!

Strictly Come Dancing 2015: Week #3- Movie Night

Movie Night. The annual event in which a host of mild celebrities attempt to dance to songs with vague connections to films as the beloved Strictly singers murder cinematic classics. Last week, Iwan made a not-sad- exit from the show… who will go this week?

Carol and Pasha- Quickstep (Wash That Man, South Pacific)

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Thank God they didn’t foist yet another weather related song/routine on The Lovely Carol this week (Singing in the Rain, The Rain in Spain etc. Any other suggestions in the comments, please.) I do, however, think this is a good song choice for The Loveliest Couple To Ever Grace Strictly. Also, Carol has done much better in hold than when, er, ‘freestyling’. Anyway, tonight she looks very 50s Hollywood costume-wise (who doesn’t love a polka dot?), if not quite Ginger Rogers when out of hold. When she’s on her own, she looks a bit lost and as stiff as the bamboo shower screen behind her. What she lacks in skill, she makes up for in enthusiasm and LOVELINESS.

Scores: Craig-3 Darcey-5 Len-5 Bruno -4 Total- 17

Anthony and Oti- Paso Doble (Eye of the Tiger, Rocky)

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I LOVE HOW SUBTLE Strictly is when it comes to reminding us what occupation a contestant has. The Paso is one of my favourite dances (who doesn’t love a pretend bull and wooshy skirts?) Nice use of something he’s good at- er, boxing and standing still- though. Also wondering if Shock Absorber make spangly running bras like Oti’s.

Scores: Craig-4 Darcey-6 Len-5 Bruno-4 Total:19

Katie and Anton- Cha Cha (Pretty Woman, Pretty Woman)

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Oh, it wouldn’t be Strictly without either this or Dirty Dancing being rolled out at least once; both films I was forced to watch on a hen weekend for a doomed wedding (I was LITERALLY sat on so I watched it.) Did anyone else think this took ages to actually get started? Lots of Katie not doing much, which is a shame, because she’s really good. The judges were also disappointed and my Twitter feed seemed so too.

Scores: Craig-4 Darcey-6 Len-5 Bruno-5 Total:20

Kellie and Kevin- Charleston (Cantina Band, Star Wars)

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Here’s a shocking confession: I have never, in my 31 years on this earth, seen Star Wars. I did wonder if Charleston/Star Wars would work and… yep, it did- I especially liked the light sabres as canes; imagine what Charlie Chaplin could’ve done with one of those bad boys. The music was perfect and fun- and I might even watch the films now (but maybe not the one with Jar Jar Binks in.) These two are just. brilliant. Even Craig liked it.

Scores: Craig-8 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total:32

Ainsley and Natalie- Cha Cha (Boogie Wonderland, Happy Feet)

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Ah, the Cha Cha, a dance that virtually guarantees UN-happy feet (wasn’t it, at one stage, the dance that saw people eliminated?) Apparently this is one of Ainsley’s favourite films. I liked that this didn’t have a faffy intro and that these two just look like they love EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of their routine. Plus bonus points for Natalie’s fringing, obviously. Ainsley did look like he was watching and waiting for Natalie a couple of times and forgot himself a bit, but overall it was loads of fun.

Scores: Craig-3 Darcey-6 Len-6 Bruno-5 Total:20

Georgia and Giovanni- Rumba (Writing’s On The Wall, Spectre)

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I heard this song yesterday. God, it’s dull. Mind you, so’s the rumba and these two aren’t that interesting either. For me, the Argentine Tango is the better ‘passionate’ dance. They did at least look the part though, so that’s something I guess? I do like it when Len puts his ‘Boss of Dance’ hat on and gets cross like he did with this though.

Score: Craig-7 Darcey-7 Len-6 Bruno-7 Total:27

Helen and Aljaz- Foxtrot (I Wanna Be Loved By You, Some Like It Hot)

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OF COURSE they paired Helen with a song made famous by Marilyn Monroe (what else were they going to do? Have her dance to Let It Go?) Some Like It Hot happens to be a favourite film of mine and many have tread the Marilyn shaped path before, so expectations were high. I thought she channelled Miss Monroe well- elegant and stylish- and the whole dance was very Old Hollywood. Divine.

Score: Craig-8 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-8 Total:32

Daniel and Kristina- Cha Cha (Summer Nights, Grease)

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When I first saw this choice of song, I thought- hang on, Daniel O’Donnell playing the part of a teenager? Then I remembered that most of the actual cast were probably older than he is now when they filmed Grease, so I gave him a pass. His Charleston last week was a) weirdly hypnotic and b) strangely good, so I had high hopes for this. So Daniel looked like Morrissey if he didn’t work out and follow a vegan diet and the dance itself seemed a bit… stiff? I dunno. I enjoyed singing along. I will never unsee him doing that lip lick though.

Score: Craig-4 Darcey-6 Len-6 Bruno-5 Total:21

Kirsty and Brendan- American Smooth (He’s a Tramp, Lady and the Tramp)

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One of the more underrated Disney films, but a good song (I like the floozy dog who sings the song.) Kirsty seemed a bit better this week, but Brendan did keep a grip on her and looked to be guiding at one point- although at times she seemed out of sync a bit. She’s going to really struggle in Latin dances if she progresses further. It was also nice to see my hairdo from circa 1994 making a comeback.

Score: Craig-5 Darcey-6 Len-6 Bruno-6 Total:23

Peter and Janette- Paso Doble (He’s a Pirate, Pirates of the Caribbean)

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Let’s admit it- we all have high hope for these two, don’t we? So would a dance inspired by the high seas be a success? Well, I certainly didn’t expect to enjoy seeing Peter as Jack Sparrow quite so much. There were definitely some cool tricks in there and it looked the part, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as his other dances so far. It’s also the first week he’s not been at the top of the leader board.

Scores: Craig-7 Darcey-7 Len-7 Bruno-7 Total:28

Jamelia and Tristan- Salsa (Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Charlie’s Angels)

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I feel that this is scraping the barrel a bit, song/movie choice wise. Last week Jamelia was in the bottom two, despite looking like a beautiful Christmas tree, and that has to affect confidence. This was OK, definitely an improvement, but still felt a bit clumsy again at points… I love that she cried when she got a better score than the criticism hinted at though.

Scores: Craig-6 Darcey-7 Len-6 Bruno-6 Total: 25

Jeremy and Karen- Charleston (Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Top Hat)

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Imagine, if you will, if Fred Astaire was your slightly inebriated but favourite male relative and was trying to show you a dance from his ‘youth’. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jeremy. His facial expressions were brilliant and his technique actually wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. He’s really improved and I look forward to seeing how he progresses. I love it when they come out and confound our expectations. Craig was a bit harsh, I thought.

Scores: Craig-3 Darcey-7 Len-7 Bruno-7 Total: 24

Anita and Gleb- American Smooth (Unchained Melody, Ghost)

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Ghost is one of those films I remember seeing at a sleepover when I was about twelve and not really getting. It’s also a film I’ve never felt the need to re-watch. To be honest, I was hoping that the team picked the Robson and Jerome version of Unchained Melody, which hinted at their future glorious careers as Channel 5 fishing experts and characters-in-quite-good-series-who-would-beat-you-up, respectively. This felt more like a rumba at points, than an American Smooth (I prefer my American Smooths to be a bit more Fred ‘n’ Ginger.) Also, was that actually Gleb? Where was the facial hair?

Scores: Craig-6 Darcey-8 Len-8 Bruno-7 Total: 29

Jay and Aliona- Jive (Misirlou/You Never Can Tell, Pulp Fiction)

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I recently saw Pulp Fiction properly for the first time and loved it. This could’ve gone one of two ways- really, really cool or really, really awful. Thankfully, it was the former. Jay perfectly channelled Travolta (no Morrissey, this time!) and it was just brilliant. A fantastic end to the show. Possibly one of my favourite dances on Strictly ever. Jay started as a terrified fella, but is swiftly becoming one to watch. I love him, becaue he seems genuinely unassuming. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

Scores: Craig-9 Darcey-9 Len-9 Bruno-10 Total: 37

So we find Jay at the top of the leaderboard by a country mile (well, five points) and Carol at the bottom. I’m not sure she’ll be in the bottom two tomorrow as she’s quite popular… it’s always the ones in the middle that are at risk. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Anthony, Kirsty, Katie (although will that happen?) or any of the others. Bit of a cop out, but I can’t honestly call it.