Strictly Come Dancing 14 Week 1 – Performance (1) Summary

It’s Week 1! And you may find yourself saying that after a lot of the scores come in, as justification, as in many cases we’re looking at a lot more heat than light (although, yes, it is WEEK ONE!). And not just from the contestants, as three of the judges score exclusively with 6s and 7s, meaning the leaderboard ends up both lacking range and featuring a surplus of ties. Even Craig only uses three paddles all evening, and only goes as low as a 5 – maybe he’s saving himself for Ed Balls?

At the bottom of the leaderboard are the waltzes, both on 23. For Lesley this feels like a case of her performing above her level, mostly via the deployment of nuclear levels of schmaltz, sentiment, and Linda Robson sat at the side crying her face off the entire time. For Naga, a case of her performing below her potential level, as she stumbles a little through a fairly dull Wk1 waltz (has Pasha ever made an impact wk 1? In a way that doesn’t involve descending from the ceiling clutching a raincloud with his top off?). Still, as Darcey tells her, she has a beautiful neck. And that’s it. Meow.

In the middle, the cha chasm both on 25, the judges obviously not subscribing to the “I like when two people do the same dance because it means you get to really compare them” school of Strictly thought. Laura’s is fairly nice and safe, with a “GIOVANNI IS ITALIAN!” theme (again!) and very “week 1 cha cha from a demi-ringah”, although I can’t remember when they’ve ever leant on the showmance angle so hard this early, with the entire pre-dance VT featuring them gazing into one another’s eyes like a Love Is cartoon. Judge Rinder on the other hand goes to…other extremes, leaping around gurning harder than has been seen on the Strictly floor since the halcyon days of Karen Hardy and immediately getting his tits, abs, and back-rolls out. AND with an over the top judge theme with him banging his gavel in time to Duffy. Does he have anything left for future weeks? Does he need to have?

Sat at the top on 27? Ore and Greg both, and in both cases the judges are being quite kind. Natalie’s jive for Greg is a masterpiece of Goddess Natalie shammery as she does everything she can to stop him…well, jiving. Because his jiving isn’t pretty. But he sure can jump off some stairs and goose the judges with energy. Ore on the other hand is clearly being given sympathy for having to deal with Joanne’s choreography, which comes across like a Scott Mills routine. Several Scott Mills routines. Layered on top of one another. Bicycles and comic books and park benches and balloons and nerd glasses and trousers that are FAR too tight, and music that sounds nothing like a tango at all. This isnt even to mention a VT where Joanne meets Ore’s wife (GIVE ME A MINUTE) and they both look the same and then they go off and have a threesome? Everything about this couple needs to calm right down to be honest. Right down.


27 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 14 Week 1 – Performance (1) Summary

  1. Martin

    I had the Judge as the best dance of the night if for no other reason than it was superb entertainment! Looking forward to more Oksana choreography…

    I actually agreed with Len when he said that there wasn’t enough tango content in that Ore/Joanne Tango – nice story there although I did have the ‘Last Tango in Paris’ soundbite from Len rushing around my head, not an image for a family show, thank goodness it wasn’t GBBO where there might have been some butter around… 😉

    Not sure where they were all getting ‘Greg is a great dancer’ as his jive moves were pretty poor – I was so hoping that Natalie would get a decent celeb this year to get her that elusive win…

    The other main point that I hadn’t noticed before it was pointed out to me is the height difference between Lesley and Anton – might explain some of the issues she was having with posture and gapping..

    As for Naga and Laura – solid dances, should be safely mid-table after their second dances.

    Looking forward to tonight’s nine!

    1. monkseal Post author

      I feel a lot of the “GREG WAS AMAZING” stuff was 50/50 wanting Natalie to have more of a chance than she does and also realising that Greg is one of the bigger names this series and wanting to keep him in. And I’m sure a bit of diminished expectations didn’t go amiss either.

  2. KM

    Ah, it’s back….

    I will give Joanne a very tentative benefit of the doubt for this week in case she was lumbered with the whole concept against her will. But the fact that she’s turned out another Tango along the same lines as that Scott Mills Spice Girls fiasco, with somehow even less actual Tango-ing, is not filling me with confidence that ‘being alright on ITT’ was enough justification to be brought back into the pool of partnered pros.

    Laura looked very nice doing what she was doing, but at times it looked a bit more like striking a quick succession of poses than dancing. Greg was better than I expected, but I agree if you stripped back the jumping and energy levels then there wasn’t much jive technique or content there. I think the rumba is going to be interesting if they get a chance to do it…

  3. ChaChaChavvy

    The Good – Lesley’s posture was poor, which is mainly an age and skeletal thing she can’t do much about, but her footwork was the most disciplined of the night and she really captured the wistful and elegant mood of the dance.

    The Bad – That was the most abysmal tango choreography I have ever seen on Strictly. I know Joanne probably had nothing to do with the music and theming but, by god, nobody wants to see a cutesy tango. Ore was a pre-series favourite for me but they’re losing me already.

    The Lovely – Greg was overmarked but it’s a relief he has potential, and he and Natalie have adorable chemistry.

    I see they’ve replaced the comedy VTs with scripted-reality VTs. Oh for the days of a bit of natural interaction. Ore’s wife and Jo was a bit David Cronenberg though.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Yeah, I don’t think *every* tango has to be dark and brooding (see : Jason & Kristina, Mark & Iveta) but there were altogether too many ideas going on there. The best Wk 1 dances always stem from a very simple idea and look and “feel” like the dance they’re supposed to be – save the “playing a part” stuff for much later.

  4. Pops

    I’m with Len on not really seeing the point of a twee tango – I don’t really want storytelling in a tango unless the story is ‘I hate you but the sex is amazing.’ (Which might explain why three of my favourite tangos/ATs have been danced to When Doves Cry. I’m half hoping the break it out again this series for Naga due to her Prince ‘connection’.)

    1. monkseal Post author

      Given they’ve started the series with Neil Jones calling Louise’s jive “the best ever” and them trumpeting Rinder’s cha cha as the most popular dance ever on Strictly, it seems there’s a “poke the Jaypet Army” theme this year, so maybe.

  5. DJ Mikey

    I thought Joanne was going to be OK this series – but it’s fine, 1 episode in and I’ve already been cured of the wrong think..

    Poor song choice aside – why do the Clifton siblings have all the emotional range of a 6 year old who’s off their face on Sherbet. Ugh – those three letters sum up my reaction to THAT Tango, so I guess I’m now rooting against Kevin, Joanne and AJ – and obviously their partners, by extension.

    Lesley was great in her Waltz, the staging reminded me of Helen’s Viennese – last year – but that doesn’t detract from her performance, I’m glad that she’s shaping up to be something a little more than a comedy contestant – at least in ballroom.

    Laura is every bit as beige as I imaged – her arms were great, her legs were terrible, her personality is so non-descript it borders on non-existent.

    I think Greg is going to struggle with every Latin dance that isn’t the Cha Cha, good technique can cover up a multitude of sins in a Cha Cha – strongly suspect that ballroom is going to be his forte.

    I already LOVE Judge Rinder!! He owned the dancefloor, I’m still not sure if he owned it in a good way or bad way, but he still owned it – and Oksana, she’s so much amazingness..

    Tameka is my Goddess – a Paso in week 1, even if it’s a bit crap it will still be amazing.

    1. monkseal Post author

      As someone who always advocated for Joanne being given a second chance given her credentials…she’s now had it.

  6. Fenweasel

    They’re very keen to give Len one last sportsman on a journey before he leaves, aren’t they? God forbid Greg is actually just some Thom-style, nice but not very good candidate for an earlyish boot, or Ben-style slightly crap but saved by his abs mid-season boot (the less said about Iwan the better). With a bit of luck they can overmark him to at least the Robbie Savage stage and Len can shuffle off to pickle his walnuts in peace.

  7. Huriye

    LOL at the comments here! ❤ 😀

    I'm afraid I was OVER Ore before I had even seen him dancing! His hyperactivity in interviews and on Twitter, promoting his wife, and even tweeting me "But WHAT a biscuit!" when I told him Team Oreo was not appropriate for the BBC's biscuit advertising ban. Could a contestant have ever been more INTO Strictly before the show had even started than Ore? No. And the Tango just continued it all on in the same vein. He mentioned his chucked nerdy specs hitting an audience member, but not the abandoned bike that went crashing down. Too many props!!!!

    I had a pang of missing Bruce last night. I missed his "it's a standing ovation" for the Judge's Cha Cha, and "Welcome to our new Pro, all the way from Ukraine, it's Oksana". Tess is so inept at live TV. What a complete surprise that Dance was!!! ❤ I was going to say no surprise a gay man can move on the dancefloor, but then I remembered Scott Mills.
    That Cha Cha was truly fabulous, and I loved his orgasm facials and mouth, so appropriate! It's Ballroom Dancing Craig, for Gawd's sake! Not that you'd know. So looking forward to a few ding dongs between those two. Grindr even bashed his gavel in time to the music begging for Mercy.

    My second fave of the night was Lesley's Waltz. THIS is the reason why Anton is still a Pro, because he creates beautiful, flowing Ballroom, even for 70 year old beginners to look magical. ❤ I will miss Len commenting on those points, as crass Craig praises the "storytelling" in a naff, duller than ditchwater Tango, that has NOTHING to do with traditional Ballroom.
    I also LOVE how Len mocks and grimaces at other Judge's comments, especially Darcey's, who knows nowt about the technicalities of Ballroom critique, so drones on about Naga's neck like a wilting bride of Dracula at sunrise. Was she tipsy?

    My 3rd fave was Natalie's excitement and being able to Dance Jive full out for the first time since Scott, as she has a partner at long last who can move at more than pedestrian speed around the floor, albeit with strange looking feet and uncoordinated steps for now. But I've seen a photo of his Ballroom posture, and it looks sensational! I LOVE TALL COUPLES! ❤

  8. Sue Howarth

    I LOVE judge Rinder, totally love him.I have rewatched that cha cha many times and I have never done that before with a week 1 dance. Also I have totally forgiven Oksana for not being Iveta, she is an awesome monster
    If we look at what Natalie did from Michael’s Jive to his American smooth, then see how much better Greg was than expected, well great things are coming
    After the second show can we have a poll for who we want and who we think will be top 3.
    Looking forward to Mel and Janette a lot. Also suspect I will be a big fan of Anastcia and Anastacia, Brendon already looks checked out, she really should be with Gio

    1. monkseal Post author

      I try not to poll for who people think is going to win too often, because it gets a little redundant. I don’t think it’d be *too* different than the one done for the Launch Show at this point.

  9. jgcameron1992

    Putting my 2 cents in.

    Anton really screwed Lesley over. He can be sympathetic in his own top line to compensate for the height difference (as a ballroom dancer touching 6 feet myself I do this all the time). If Lesley is having to reach up all the time, she is rarely going to get the opportunity to lower her shoulders.

    I hated Joanne and Ore’s Tango and his posture was also poor. I’ve seen Joanne’s tango routines on YouTube and they are exceptional! Why isn’t she delivering???

    Everyone else showed a fair amount of potential. Greg was heavy but he has rhythym and can move well, which will work in his favour. I’m reserving judgement on Rinder.

    1. Stormy

      But wouldn’t it be the fault of the people who gave Leslie to a pro that’s way too tall for her, just so Anton can have the older lady again? She should have been paired with a pro that she didn’t have to strain so much to reach.

      1. jgcameron1992

        Surely the whole point of being a pro is that you can make both of you look as good as possible despite the difference in height. I feel that Anton can do this but he chooses not to. Maybe I’m wrong but I reckon it would be a different story if she got the likes of Brenda or Alijaz.

  10. BeyonceCastle

    Hello jgcam…when you say “sympathetic” do you mean stooping a bit?! The problem is so many people have a go at him, that if Anton’s own ballroom posture isn’t perfect, he’s going to get all the bullshit he gets for being crap at Latin. It won’t be seen as compensating (and I agree with you fwiw) it will be an excuse to get the knives out.

    1. jgcameron1992

      Heyyy, you don’t have to stoop – you can still maintain an upright topline whilst lowering your arms. Anton’s elbow was level with the top of Lesley’s head which obviously is going to do her no favours x


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