Monday, 17 September 2012

It's a 'Strictly...' X Factor Monday!

Yes, it's back! Well, it was back for the launch show anyway.  Strictly Come Dancing 2012 is here, although, having that one show last Saturday and then telling us we have to wait three weeks before the live shows start is a bit like dangling Bradley Cooper in front of me and telling me I can play with him for five minutes but then I have to give him back!  Can't those celebrities learn to dance that little bit quicker and make that gap between the launch show and the live shows that little bit shorter?  For one week only my Saturday evenings had started to look up, but now I've got to suffer X Factor-only Saturdays for another couple of weeks.  Bugger!

Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone
However, I absolutely loved the Strictly... 2012 launch show.  It's just so good to have it  back, although it doesn't seem like five minutes since last year's show.  But there you go.  Time seems to fly a hell of a lot quicker now I'm over 40!  Anyway, another good thing about this year's show is that I actually know who 99% of the celebrities are - the only one who passed me by, and that's probably because I don't have kids, know nothing about Tracy Beaker,  and therefore had no real reason to come across her, was Dani Harmer.  But she seems like fun - and she is so tiny!  So it was obvious that she'd be paired with the lovely Vincent Simone.  A good pairing, and I'm looking forward to watching those two dance together.

The Strictly... 2012 judges
As for the other pairings, there were no real surprises, although the height difference between Colin Salmon and his partner Kristina Rihanoff seems a little odd, but we can only wait and see how that works out.  I've heard rumblings in the press today that last year's semi-finalist Artem Chigvintsev isn't too happy to be paired with Fern Britton, though.  He assumes he's going to be out early on in the competition this year, and he might not be wrong there, but we'll see.  Maybe he should give Ms Britton a chance first.  Sometimes the least likely can be the ones who turn out to be the biggest surprise.  You never know.  I think he's just a bit pee'd off that he hasn't got a young and pretty partner this year.  Deal with it, Artem.  Poor Anton's had far more to complain about over the years than you ever have!

New judge Darcy Bussell with Ian Waite on Saturday's launch show
It was also lovely to see the gorgeous Ian Waite back on the dance floor.  He was always one of my favourite dancers and I've really missed him since he stopped appearing on the show as one of the professionals.  But it's good to see he's still involved with the show, and he danced beautifully with Darcy Bussell.  Which brings me on to the new judge.  I honestly didn't think I was going to take to her.  I'd really wanted another ex-Strictly professional to have that vacant seat on the judging panel - Karen Hardy would have been my first choice.  So when I found out Darcy Bussell was going to be joining the show I was less than impressed.  But she won me round on that launch show.  She seems excited to be there, she knows her stuff, and she came across as a really lovely person.  And she can dance!  Wow!  Those legs!  I can only wish...

I'd also been looking forward to seeing the group dance, which would be our first chance to see this new set of celebrities in action.  But, to be honest, there was so much going on in that dance that it was really difficult to keep your eye on anyone so I'm still really none-the-wiser as to who can throw a few shapes and who's got a hell of a lot of work to do.

So, we've had our little taster of what's to come.  And I really cannot wait for October 5th to get here and for the competition to kick-off properly with a weekend of Strictly... shows.  Absolute heaven!  Bring it on!

OK.  That's Strictly... dealt with.  Now let's move onto the X Factor.  I was still bored with the audition shows, so I was more than grateful to find out that they're over and done with now.  Next week we move onto the Boot Camp stage, where we might actually get a better look at what talent they've managed to unearth because those audition shows are nothing but a confusing and irritating vehicle for the judges rather than a way of weeding out the pointless from the potential stars-in-the-making.

X Factor hopeful Jade Ellis
There were, however, a couple of people who stood out for me over last weekend's audition shows - a girl called Jade Ellis was one of them.  She had one of those voices that actually made me sit up and take notice because it was just that little bit different to everything else that seems to stand on that stage.  She was good.  I liked her.  Another potential for the live shows, if Boot Camp works out for her.  Someone else that got my attention appeared on Sunday's show - an apparently homeless guy called Robbie Hance.  He was good.  Very good, in fact.  He had a voice that was slightly reminiscent of David Gray, and the fact my other half actually looked up from his laptop to listen to him sing must've meant he was good!  Hopefully he'll progress further too.

Another X Factor hopeful, Robbie Hance
But there was a lot of dross on those final two audition shows too, and don't even get me started on the appearance of Bianca Gascoigne!  However, the audition's are over, and we now move onto the business-end of things with a Boot Camp weekend double-bill next Saturday and Sunday, closely followed by judges houses.  And after that, well, it'll be time to play the annual X Factor versus Strictly Come Dancing ratings battle as Saturday nights finally kick into action and the countdown to Christmas begins.

Just for the record, though, Strictly... won the ratings war last Saturday.  And Simon Cowell is, apparently, not happy...

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