Tag Archives: Craig Revel Horwood

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.

Five Years on the Show – And Still Doesn’t Understand How the Public Vote

Digital Spy this morning picked up on a Craig Revel Horwood interview in the News of the World where he lets rip over a number of the contestants in Strictly Come Dancing. It’s not until you’ve seen the recorded results show that is now held over from Saturday to Sunday night that you realise quite why he is so annoyed.

This year the rules were changed to give the judges the final decision over who is going to leave, apparently as a result of a number of the shock exits last year where the struggling couple scraped through at the expense of much better competition. The problem is that it has backfired, and is just not working like that. Tonight in particular all the struggling couples were lifted well out of the bottom two by the voting public leaving the couples placed fourth and sixth by the judges to dance it out.

This resulted in much head scratching from most people in the audience, all sorts of discussion on the fan forums, and some decidedly frustrated judges. But the dynamics of the way the public votes haven’t changed, and as always the judges, and Craig especially just don’t seem to get it. Craig seems to think that the public are out to humiliate Kate Garraway but it’s nothing of the sort. Essentially the judges will mark on aptitude (although there is always a bit of favouritism too) and the public tend to vote on effort, however they’ll also tend to vote to protect contestants who have had an unfairly hard time from the judges. Essentially all the judges have to do is deliver a low mark, or in particular come out with a pithy one-liner or rude comparison at the expense of a contestant, and they’re pretty well guaranteeing they’ll go into the next round. It was clear right from the start of the first series with Christopher Parker being carried through all the way to the final for exactly that reason. Usually it’s someone who finishes mid-table who ends up being voted off as the public vote for people they think have been given a hard time, and it was much the same tonight.

Kate and Anton’s performance gets called a Samba nightmare, and she gets called a dancing quail – that’s ensured they’re through. Kenny and Ola’s performance is described as a dance disaster, and he gets told he has the grace of a vacuum cleaner and again they’re through. John and Nicole get heavily marked down by Craig, and again they go through, until it gets to the middle table where people had hiccups so missed out on the top spot, but didn’t get a hard time from the judges that the public feel like they need help so they don’t get votes and end up in the dance off.

All the judges have been doing the show for five years, and they just don’t seem to get it! Although the forum fans are calling it a farce, what makes it fascinating to watch is the interplay between the dance, the comments from the judges, and the public appeal, as such it has, and still is incredibly difficult to predict. After last night I knew it probably wouldn’t be any of the bottom three or four, just a question of how far up the table it would go…

When Will Craig Learn?

We’ve just watched the Strictly Come Dancing results show. This series the judges have got the final say in order to enable them to boot off people they don’t think can dance that the audience keep saving. However tonight you could see the obvious frustration as the weakest dancer was lifted out of the danger zone once again by a sympathy vote from the viewing public. Time after time the judges get frustrated by this, but time after time they mark in such a way that the audience wouldn’t do anything else. This time it was Craig who marked Kate Garraway – who was on crutches three days ago – so low that even some of the other judges commented on it being a cruel mark. The more he does that, the more the public vote to save the targets of his cruelty!