Strictly Come Dancing 2012 blog: Week 10

So we’re at the quarter-final stage of the competition and just to ensure we don’t delude ourselves into thinking we might be able to concentrate on a bit of good old plain dancing this week, it’s time to whip out from the BBC bright ideas cupboard a Strictly first: dance fusion! Sounding a hell of a lot like a hot-pant wearing Arlene Philips dance show of the 80s or some bright fluorescent hysteria-inducing cocktail, dance fusion is a chance to sample a bit of Strictly pick ‘n’ mix. With two dances for the price of one (the BBC love a good bargain), dance fusion might just be, as the opening VT tells us in dramatic X Factor-style capital letters, the TOUGHEST CHALLENGE YET, with the celebrities having to tackle two sets of timings, techniques and styles all to one track (mind=blown). So all set for Cha-dobles and Tang-trots, did Strictly dance fusion create the next chocolate Philly of the ballroom or leave just a messy hodgepodge of dance mongrels?

©BBC; Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy

First up was Denise and James ready to get fused with some Jive and Quickstep. With James still kicking himself for his mental blank in last week’s dance and Denise still trying her hardest to pretend she didn’t mind (these flipping professionals you know- bet they didn’t go to stage school), concentration had to be crucial for a dance likely to be as insanely fast as a Jivestep. Crammed with jazzy energy and boundless enthusiasm including great transitions between the styles, I was starting to quite like this dance fusion malarkey. Despite catching her heel in her moth-eaten curtains skirt (that’s right Denise cunning sabotage is the way forward for nicer costumes next time) and her Quickstep flicks being a little “jive-ified” (what a wordsmith you are Mr Len Goodman), Denise received mostly exuberant responses from the judges and a solid 35 points.

Following on from Denise was Lisa and Robin with a Tango and Cha-cha-cha fusion (A Tangocha? A Chango?) to ABBA’s ‘Voulez-Vous’. Opting for the half and half fusion approach with a bit of stripping off in the interval, this was another typical dance for team ‘Lobin’ (I’m so sorry, I can’t make myself stop) full of sequins, pazzazz and the wide-eyed goldfish impression. Whilst only the Cha-cha really impressed Bruno and Craig, Len thought it was all a bit too predictable (come on guys this is the BBC does edgy week!) leaving them with 30 points and second to bottom on the leader board.

Going from bad to worse, next was Nicky and Karen with a Samba and American Smooth that started off on Brighton Pier, passed through some strange sexy deckchair dancing and ended up a little bit at sea to be honest. Thanks to some bad posture and lacking bounce action, this dance gave Craig the ideal chance to dig out some pretty cutting comments, leaving Nicky stranded at the bottom of the leader board.

However, swimming her way up the leader board as fast her little arms and legs will carry her was Dani whose Quickstep-Charleston mash-up earned her her best score of the series so far with 38 points. Brilliantly in time and with seamless transitions, I did think however that this was missing some of the slapstick over-the-top charm of the Charleston that should have suited her acting abilities so well.

From the “yum yum pig’s bum fun” (no I don’t know what Len’s on either) of Dani, it was time to get serious and steamy for Louis and Flavia’s Tumba (Tango and Rumba). With a just plain daft VT of Louis pretending to bemoan his lack of female admirers, the dancing wasn’t on the bad side this week. A little bit too gung-ho I thought, throwing Flavia all over the place poor girl, Louis nonetheless showed off some beautiful arms and powerful energy.

Certainly finishing off the night with an explosive blast of energy was Kimberley and Pasha’s Cha Cha and Tango to ‘It’s Raining Men’. In a wowing Ola-like backless frock, this dance was dynamic, unstoppably intense and stamped with typical Pasha creativity. Whilst I thought the transitions between the two styles looked a bit maniacal at times with the Cheshire cat grin suddenly dropping into a moody pout and then back into a crazed teethy smile, the judges evidently didn’t mind granting her the first perfect score of 40 of the series.

Yet, for two couples not reaching the dizzying heights of the top of the leader board it was time for the dance-off. This week saw surprise dance-offers Denise and James and the not-so-surprising Nicky and Karen battle it out for the last place in next week’s semis. Despite both couples upping their fusion-ing on the dancefloor for the second time round and Nicky’s desperate reminders of his journey from West Life stool to Strictly dance floor (I think we’ve milked the stand-up for the key-change joke enough now Nicky thanks), the judges decided that the boy bander had had his day on Strictly Come Dancing leaving a tight and incredibly exciting line-up for us to feast upon for next week's Strictly war.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One next Saturday at 6.30pm

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