Strictly Come Dancing | Wembley Week 8

Strictly Come Dancing | Wembley Week 8 

strictly Russell Grant

Russell Grant and Flavia Cacace dance the Jive to Reach by S Club Photograph : BBC Pictures

So, here we are.  Wembley.

Appropriately, the Strictly pros open the show with We Will Rock You, Radio GaGa etc in a Queen medley. Even the judges have a cameo appearance. There are silk walkers high above the stage and a raised dias, but the space still looks HUGE.  The eight celebrities take to the floor among the mayhem, looking a bit apprehensive, as well they might.  The 6000+ crowd is roaring. Over £102,000 has been raised by the ticket-buying audience for Children in Need.

Tess & Bruce are slightly booming, though Tess is dressed appropriately this evening, in a long blue satin frock. Interestingly, to make the space smaller, the couples are dancing on a raised floor in the middle of the arena.

Anita Dobson

Anita Dobson and Robin Windsor Dance the Samba to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners Photograph : BBC Pictures

Robbie & Ola are first up with their salsa. Ola stands on a silver stand, Robbie on another.  Ola’s lace catusit probably has the edge and most of the attention, despite Robbie’s flashing teeth. It’s fast and crowd-pleasing; most of the lifts are a success though the last one ended with a bit of a thump on the floor for Ola! Bit stompy from Robbie but he looks like he’s loving it. Len thought it was “all a bit wild and savage.” Bruno said of Craig, “you really went for it full bore. It has to be a little bit more refined”.  Craig said “flat-footed” and hips devoid of rotation.

They score : 26

Alex and James have the Tango.  In training, James can be heard saying sternly, “stop smiling.” Does she have her Tango face on ? Wrestling with two white silks descended from heaven, she looks as intense as her purple jewelled dress. They are the first couple to move beyond the raised dias. It’s a pretty good, believable dance, which is echoed by Alesha’s comments. Craig liked the improvement but he does want some heel leads. Len liked the proper tango.

They score : 35 (3 nines to screams from Alex!)

Strictly Harry Judd

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani dance the Salsa to I'm Still Standing by Elton John Photograph : BBC Pictures

Holly is back with Artem this week, much to the crowd’s approval! They have the Quickstep to one of my very favourite tunes by the late Amy Winehouse. It’s a gorgeous dance, full of difficult, quick, steps. Holly has a big blue and green swirling knee length skirt and somehow it swirls with the dance!  Bruno says Holly is like a thoroughbred not quite broken in. Craig loved the single pirouette on the stairs (in heels) but he thought there was too much gapping between them.  Len loved the use of the space but because it was so fast, some of the control was lost. “Fast and full on.”

They score : 31

Anita and Robin look delighted to be at Wembley. First they head back to Albert Square for inspiration, and clips of Angie Watts! Samba time. Anita starts on her own up the stairs, meeting Robbie in the middle of the floor.  Both dressed in fluoro pink and black, breaking all the rules so that Anita has pink shoes too – Anita messes up a few turns and looks very lost on the stage. This dance exposes her poor footwork. Craig noticed Anita’s hunched shoulders and found the footwork “muddy and murky.” Len said it could have been a bit sharper and crisper here and there. Bruno says there was so much fire up above that Anita forgot the fire down below, but she did well.

They score : 27

Holly Valance and Artem Chigvintsev on Strictly

Holly Valance and Artem Chigvinstev dance the Quickstep to Valerie by Amy Winehouse Photograph : BBC Pictures

Harry and Aliona, dressed in fiery red, tackle their salsa, which they’ve found really tough in training. They had time for a skit on a famous scene from the film When Harry Met Sally, though.  They’ve got some difficult moves and it’s very fast, but you can see the work that they’ve put into training even though it still looks very placed. Len said very well done. He wanted a bit more hip action; his back step is too big, and needs to be more compact. Craig loved the routine and the spectacular lift, but found no groove.

They score : 34

Russell has a plan.  A cannon.  So their Jive begins with him thrust from the barrel once Flavia has lit the touchpaper. Canary yellow costumes, some Jive steps and they are really reaching for the stars. Alesha says “just when you think you’ve seen it all…” Bruno says “nothing to do with Jive but God I loved it.”  Craig says “Dumbo springs to mind.” Len thinks that no matter how may series of Strictly there are, people will always remember the moment that Russell burst from the cannon.

They score : 24 (a 7 from Bruno “for the sheer insanity of it all”)

Chelsee & Pasha dance the samba – so will there be a party ? Chelsee kicks off in silhouette, on her own until Pasha appears through the balloons.  Chelsee certainly is shaking a tail feather – pink ones and lots of them., attached to the back of her Union Jack glittery dress. Bruno loved Chelsee’s musicality and said it was near perfect.  Craig noticed the turn she missed but loved the routine.

They score : 35

strictly dancers

Strictly Celebrity dancers Photograph : BBC Pictures

Finally, Jason and Kristina round up the Wembley show with their Jive – which Ian Waite said during the week could rival Jill Halfpenny’s – still the standard to be beaten.  Will it ? Starting with a clock, the pair tick around before leaping out. Jason loses the routine, and shows that he’s lost it, which spoils an otherwise great performance. Craig said it would otherwise have been phenomenal.  Len is disappointed because he can tell how much work has gone into the dance. Len puts everyone on a warning – he doesn’t want lifts in every routine and he will dock points in future. Bruno said at the start, Jason looked as though he had turned back time, but that perhaps the occasion got the better of him.

They score : 34

Everyone congregates onto the stage – judges included – at the end, to We love to Boogie on a Saturday night.

Strictly catch up

strictly dance glitterThere’s no need to miss so much as a sequin on Strictly; if you didn’t catch any of the shows, you can catch up here!

The Strictly launch show

Strictly week’s 1, 2, Strictly’s Broadway night, week 4, Halloween week 5, Bonfire Night week 6, 7

Strictly Results show

Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Ex-Strictly professional dancers Darren Bennet & Lilia Kopylova

Strictly’s Artem to join Strictly Cinderella

Strict in the rehearsal room ? Interview with Artem Chigvintsev

Strictly Come Dancing on Swan Lake

Things you don’t know about Swan Lake

The Strictly Come Dancing Annual

The Strictly Judges

Guest Judge Jennifer Grey

Tonight’s music was :

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani dance the Salsa to I’m Still Standing by Elton John

Anita Dobson and Robin Windsor Dance the Samba to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners

Russell Grant and Flavia Cacace dance the Jive to Reach by S Club 

Chelsee Healey and Pascha Kovalev dance the Samba by Spice Up Your life by Spice Girls 

Jason Donovan and Kristina Rhianoff dance the Jive to Wake Me Up before You Go Go by Wham 

Robbie Savage and Ola Jordan dance the Salsa to Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams

Alex Jones and James Jordan dance the Tango to Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood 

Holly Valance and Artem Chigvinstev dance the Quickstep to Valerie by Amy Winehouse 


All photographs (a mixture of the dress rehearsal and the live show) © BBC Productions.  No unauthorized reproduction.

[nggallery id=42]

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to Strictly Come Dancing | Wembley Week 8

  1. Vanja November 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I know it was for a good cause, Children in Need, but I’m glad that this was a one off. The venue was too big and I wish, they would stop with the 360 degrees camera turns. It will be an interesting finale because there doesn’t seem to be a clear favourite.

  2. Ballet News November 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    @Vanja I’m inclined to agree with you. Wembley was far too large a venue for the show. The dancers had difficulty with the space because they didn’t have a studio in which to replicate it while rehearsing, and the raised dias in the middle seemed pointless. Why go somewhere with a stage so big you have to try to make it smaller to dance on ?

  3. Ballet News November 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    And yes, I agree, the camera swirling about is getting ridiculous. I guess at Wembley they tried to make the space seem smaller by panning around, but it does nothing to highlight the dance.