Tag 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.

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!

Misdirection from the BBC?

marian.jpg

Tonight, sandwiched between the two parts of the spectacular Strictly Come Dancing final, with Mark and Karen worthy winners, we had an equally exciting episode of Robin Hood, which found the band of outlaws breaking up on the news that King Richard is returning from the Holy Land. Unfortunately, that also meant that Marian, who had previously only agreed to marry Gisborne when the King returned, was now going to have to go through with the marriage. As a result, Marian decides to have one last hurrah as the Night Watchman, and steal some of Gisborne’s money. Unfortunately it all goes wrong, and although the outlaws escape, Marian is critically injured.

The real surprise in this episode is that by the end of the episode, Marian is apparently dead, with Robin trapped in a cave with her body, and the Sheriff coming in. The reason it is a real surprise is that Lucy Griffiths is on the case list for next week – could it be a cunning bit of misdirection from the BBC, making sure that it is a real surprise when she dies, or is it all an elaborate ruse? I guess we’ll have to wait to next week to find out.

Much as with the new style Doctor Who, this was a real edge of the seat cliff-hanger – as with Bad Wolf and Army of Ghosts, this really was everything going wrong, and really left me wanting to see next week, which is a surprise in itself. Certainly if you look back two months I didn’t think much, and I was surprised when it was re-comissioned four weeks ago. Having said that, I genuinely think that it has improved over recent weeks. Keith Allen definitely seems to have hit his stride, with a Sheriff who has shown himself to be truly evil and sadistic at times, and yet incredibly weak, pitiful and snivelling when begging for his life as he has done in recent episodes. I still don’t think that it holds a candle to Robin of Sherwood, but as a bit of Saturday evening entertainment it is now pretty good. It still has the occasional annoying cheesy arrow sound effect with the captions though.