I have watched Strictly since it started and I love it. Great programme full of old fashioned Saturday night entertainment even if we have to put up with the wooden Tess and Claudia's eccentricities which are now beginning to have a studied air about them. The glitter, the fake tan, the costumes etc all lovely.
There have been cries of Fix in the past but on the whole I have found them to be based on slight foundations. This series has seen a lot of dissatisfaction with some of the results. Peter Andre won in the dance off against Jamelia and there was uproar with Jamelia appearing on Loose Women and saying the standing ovation Peter received was fake and did not happen. Immediately contradicted by members of the audience who were there and said this was not true. Len had to appear on Strictly defending the judges and their decision and it all died down.While I do not think for one moment there is pressure on the judges to fix it so that a certain contestant gets through, it is clear that there is a subtle or not so subtle way of getting rid of those they do not want to make the final.
By this stage the comic turns have gone and so have the mediocre. There is always one Shock Departure and it usually involves somebody who no matter how good they are, has not connected with the public. Last year it was Pixi Lott and this year it was Helen George. At quarter and semi-final stage the contenders are almost on equal ground. And yet....
It has been clear for a few weeks now that the judges, in particular Craig, wants Anita Rani to go. Undermarked all the time this has been a talking point for weeks. Craig gave her a 6 last week, totally stupid score, and we all knew that the only way Anita would survive was for her to avoid the dance off. If she made the dance off she was gone and we all knew it.
General consensus on many of the forums last night was that Katie and Anton should go. Both their dances were poor and Anton's choreography was lackluster to say the least. Fond though I am of him I do think it is time he went, he is being shown up by the younger professionals coming along. Sadly Anita ended up in the dance off and I knew that was that, but hoping that the less deserving couple would go. I am totally appalled at the fact that Katie Derham has got through. She is one of the weakest dancers left. Craig gave her a four for heaven's sake. As Anita's routine was exactly the kind of dance Len does not like it left the final choice to him and of course he went for the ballroom. Craig actually voted for her - left it a bit late dahling....
So do not tell me the judges do not get their way. Time for a change I think. There have been rumblings and rumours about them this year with chat being that Bruno Tonioli is fed up with Craig as is Darcy and his 'negative' attitude. Len seems to be getting grumpier by the week though perhaps with Craig gone he might cheer up. I have always had the highest respect for Craig as I think he says it as it is but this series he has really gone too far in my opinion and perhaps it is time to go.
Kevin Clifton seems to be the favourite at the moment - he can do no wrong and his sister turns up on It takes Two with monotonous regularity. People like Kristina have been kept in the background the last few weeks and Ola has left in a huff. One gets the feeling that the show needs to be, in BBC parlance, 'refreshed' and taking a good hard look at some of the judges might be the place to start.
And of course if they decided to 'refresh' Tess I would be delighted. Her frenetic clutching and pawing of the Slebs is getting beyond acceptable and her patronising tone to Jay when she said 'oh look at the smile on his little face' was quite nauseating.
After all this, my thoughts on the show last night was that it was a bit sub standard. Probably having to do two dances was a bit much and of course poor Georgia had been poorly as we were told repeatedly; Jay denied dropping Aliona saying it was all part of the routine (got through of course); as I have already said team Kanton were poor; Anita and Gleb danced their socks off and were totally marked down; Kevin and Kellie did a totally sexless rumba which the judges thought was marvellous; they also did an American Smooth which I loved but overall it seemed a subdued evening and judges were tetchy.
Anita is the embodiment of what this show is all about. No dance training whatsoever and she turned herself into a great dancer. But when you are up against the usual Eastenders sleb and others who have all had dance training and know how to present themselves, the odds are stacked against you.
And the judges have made it so clear they want Jay to win, I would love it if the public decided to tell them to Get Stuffed and voted for somebody else.