Category Archives: Strictly Come Dancing

The Band You Know Well – But Have Never Heard Of

Of late I’ve been listening to a new album, called Don’t Ya Love Life, I’ll venture that you’ll not have heard of the band, the Tommy Blaize Band, although like me you’ll probably find the name a little familiar.

Of course the reason you’ll not have heard of them, is because you know them as something else, something that becomes clearer when you realise that the keyboards on Don’t Ya Love Life are being played by a certain Dave Arch, a name familiar to many millions of people as being in charge of the house band on Strictly Come Dancing. Then when you take a look at the Strictly Come Dancing album and find that Tommy Blaize is one of the regular singers on the show, suddenly all the pieces start to fit together.

At it’s core the Tommy Blaize Band is the same group of singers and musicians that we see every Saturday night on BBC1 during the autumn, but this is them playing mainly their own music and under their own name. Whilst on the show they turn their hands to pretty much any style the dancers throw at them, on their own there is a definite motown, old school feel to the music on the album, with brass sections and an orchestra in evidence on certain tracks. Across the whole album it is easily up to the quality of the cover versions they produce week by week on our televisions.

The album justifiably deserves to do well, and give an excellent bunch of musicians a bit of recognition in their own right, rather than just as the Strictly Come Dancing house band.

You can find the album in a number of places, including from Amazon – buying from the link below gives us a little help funding the site here.

Can the Week One Strictly Results Predict the Final?

Watching the final Strictly It Takes Two last night I noticed something interesting. A look at the scoring chart confirmed that the scoring in week one, the week nobody was voted off, correctly predicted the semi-finalists. More than that it correctly predicts the final three, and the placing of fourth and fifth place to Scott Maslen and Gavin Henson.

The question is, will it correctly predict the placing of the final three tonight?

On the basis of the week one results either Matt Baker or Pamela Stephenson should win it as they tied for first place in week one, with Kara Tointon being placed third. This disagrees with the scoring over the rest of the series where Kara Tointon has consistently scored best followed by Pamela Stephenson and Matt Baker.

As to who we’d like to win, for once though we’d be happy for any of the final three to win, as they would all be worthy winners. Come back tomorrow and see if my prediction based on the week one scores will be correct!

Update: So the results last night were Kara Tointon first, Matt Baker second and Pamela Stephenson third. Interesting in that the judges scored Pamela Stephenson into first place, indeed we were surprised that Kara Tointon got through having noticeably messed up her rather over ambitious show dance.

Whilst Kara Tointon is most definitely the best dancer of the three, on the night she produced two out of four routines that had a rule break – illegal (but unintentional) lift in the Rumba and not enough dancing in hold in the American Smooth – and noticeable mistakes in the other two – losing timing in the show dance and footwork mistakes in the Waltz. We certainly thought that Pamela Stephenson deserved better than third place too.

The Unwritten Rule

There is an almost unwritten rule with the phone vote on Strictly Come Dancing that if the judges mark someone overly harshly, or seem to be being unfair, the general public will pick up the phones and vote. It’s pretty obvious really, you’ve seen your favourite celebrity trying their hardest and really not getting credit for the effort, and you want to support them, and moans from the judges criticising the public just makes them do it all the more. Looking back there are regularly characters who get a lot further than could be expected because of this effect – people like Fiona Phillips and Kate Garraway – both of whom were regularly at the bottom of the scoring, but saved from being booted out – and much better dancers lost out because of it.

So last night we had the first outing of the new series, and it happened again.

In the past, the source of the harsh marks has always been the double act of judges Craig Revel Horwood and Arlene Phillips. Last year on It Takes Two the unwritten rule was spelled out pretty clearly, especially on a couple of occasions when hot favourites had a bad week, and the judges were left with an impossible choice. From the marking this week, it certainly seems that Arlene Phillips had taken it on board – people were getting positive comments, and the scores were less harsh. Unfortunately no such luck with Craig Revel Horwood. Chef Gary Rhodes came out with a performance that was a bit of a mess, nowhere near as bad as some first week performances I’ve seen – but Craig handed down a score of 1, and in doing so handed him a passport to the next round. This left the couples placed in sixth and seventh places above him facing the drop, resulting in actor Phil Daniels being shown the door. Needless to say I’m sure we’ll get Craig Revel Horwood moaning about it on It Takes Two, but he’s only got himself to blame. I mean, Gary wasn’t great – but he wasn’t as bad as a 1 either. Arlene Phillips seems to have finally understood, how many shock exits is it going to take for Craig Revel Horwood to understand how it works and stop handing out loony marks.

Enough of the grumbling, what of the rest of the show? Surprise of the night has to be political commentator John Sergeant who produced a great performance. I’m pretty certain he’ll struggle with the latin, but then I was pretty sure he’d be the one bottom of the pile before the show started.

What was also really great was to see Erin get a good partner with a lot of potential in the form of rugby player Austin Healey, certainly it would be great to see her with a good run again this year.

It’s not going to be for a couple of weeks, once men and women are dancing against each other before we can see how things are going to go, but certainly it looks like a slightly more even field than maybe it was at the beginning last year. On first impressions though, amongst the boys Austin Healey and Tom Chambers seem like good bets, and amongst the girls Rachel Stevens and Lisa Snowdon seem like good bets. Having said that, the professional partners can make a big difference – for example I wouldn’t be surprised to see Darren Bennett going a long way with Jessie Wallace – and it’s also foolish to totally rule out any of the sportsmen, so people like Andrew Castle and Mark Foster could certainly be in there for a while.

Whoever wins though, we’re certainly back for another autumn of armchair ballroom dance criticism.