3 November 2011
So, she's gone at last, after three goes in the bottom two. I was starting to get worried, to be honest. But the dreaded Nancy Dell'Olio has made good her exit from Strictly Come Dancing and now the competition can begin without any further distractions.
And, even by her standards, she deserved it. It was clear from her attitude, her self-obsession and her known approach to the whole competition that she wasn't putting in the effort. The judges were kindly one week, claiming there could be some talent under all the posing and awkwardness, but I'm not so sure. Anton du Beke got a dud, yet again. And this time it was a dud whose ineptitude couldn't be turned into comedy and used as a tool for survival.
This is where we thought we were going to find Russell Grant, perhaps. However, the astrologer is showing a genuine aptitude for showmanship on the floor which, with a rough cut of the correct steps, could take him far. He garnered comic and sympathy points in the first couple of weeks, but that tango to Sweet Dreams was terrific as a showcase and had a technical competence to it, turning him from wooden spoon contender into someone for the longer term. He won't win, but in this vein, he may boot out a few of the more humourless duos on his way.
So now we have ten left. There are probably three who are currently nailed-on finalists - Jason Donovan, Chelsee Healey and Anita Dobson - a further four who could make the final but simultaneously are one rick away from being kicked out - Alex Jones, Harry Judd, Holly Valance and Robbie Savage - and three who will only get any further now through luck, charisma and application - Grant, Lulu and Audley Harrison.
My other beef at the moment is with the marks being handed to Judd, the drummer from McFly. I can't help but feel that Alesha Dixon is not happy about being in the papers too rarely these days, and so has given tens to him to garner some publicity. This will add fuel to the fire over the extent of her knowledge, as simultaneous to these perfect scores were criticisms from the other judges over the lack of traditional content his partner Aliona Vilani has put into the dances, something that Strictly connoisseurs claim cost Matt Baker the title in cahoots with her last year. Did McFly and Misteeq ever tour together, I wonder?
I still don't like Lulu very much, but there is something brilliant about watching a Scottish 1960s diva, dressed as a bat, flying through the air prior to doing a Spanish bullfighters' dance with a prickly New Zealander as a BBC orchestra and classically trained session singer perform Highway To Hell by AC/DC. That alone explains why Strictly is storming the ratings.