Thursday, 3 September 2009

Strictly Come Dancing Season Sevennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Preview

After a hectic Bank Holiday weekend, I was struggling for a topic to cover this week in the blog, so I decided to revisit one of my musings from last week and delve deeper beyond the original thoughts I had about the upcoming seventh season of my favourite drunken, post-pub TV fodder ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

Here, I will be evaluating each contestant in this year’s show individually and being the gambling man that I am, giving you my odds on them winning.

‘Strictly’ has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past few months with the sacking of Arlene Phillips, and people have been focussing on the whole age thing, but no one seems to have said what everyone is actually thinking, and that is that Arlene Phillips is one of the most irritating women in the world with a voice that only pre-pubescent dogs can here and is in fact the only woman who could’ve rivalled Paula Abdul in the reality show judge incoherent babbling stakes.

In spite of The Daily Mail brigade whipping up another media shit storm over Alesha Dixon sashaying onto the judging panel, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ remains the finest reality show on the box and I for one can’t wait for it to return so I can drunkenly start doing lame impressions of Len Goodman and Brendan Cole and yelling at the TV at how good or shockingly awful the contestants are.

So without further ado, here is my rundown of this year’s contestants:

The Men:

Joe Calzaghe – early favourite with the bookies for some bizarre reason. Lovely bloke who should win over a great deal of people with his charisma and given his boxing background should be especially quick with his feet.

I can only assume this is why he has shot to the top of the betting, after all Floyd Mayweather Jnr. was a revelation on the American alternative ‘Dancing with the Stars’ – but Calzaghe is no Mayweather and has a rather bulky frame to move around that dancefloor.

I think he is very much worth taking on in the betting because 4/1 which he is as low as is quite frankly a ridiculous price. He should do well, don’t get me wrong, and barring him dancing like Lurch from ‘The Addams Family’ he should still be around as the numbers start to dwindle but, as much as I’d like to see it, I don’t think he’s your winner.

Prediction: Narrowly misses out on the Semi-Final


Ricky Whittle – the former Ryan Naysmith on the brilliantly rubbish ‘Dream Team’ and the current Calvin something or other on ‘Hollyoaks’, Ricky Whittle should do well thanks to the heart-throb vote.

Flash a bit of chest and you’ve won over 90% of the voting demographic, men always do well on ‘Strictly’ thanks to the strong female voting contingent and Whittle also seems to be a rather nice guy too, which should definitely help, because after all ‘Strictly’ is a popularity contest (read, Chambers, Tom)

Apparently Whittle had professional dance training along with his ‘Hollyoaks’ buddies for ‘Let’s Dance for Comic Relief’, and I don’t recall him being terrible on that show so he could be a good bet to go far – I definitely see him as a more worthy favourite than Calzaghe.

Prediction: Last man standing

Richard Dunwoody – I’d love to see Dunwoody win ‘Strictly’ but I think there’s more chance of Josef Fritzl winning it to be honest.

The retired jockey is a lovely man who is still fitter than most of his much younger opponents and if his extensive charity work counts for anything he should have some good karma that may help stick around a while.

I think his personality could catch on with people if given enough time to come through and he is seriously dedicated - he’ll train harder and longer than anyone.

Sadly though, I just feel that he is slightly too old and coming from a sport that no one who watches ‘Strictly’ (other than me) gives a shit about will probably see him, unfairly, gone before some of the worse dancers with better sob stories/more public exposure.

Prediction: Out by Week 5

Rav Wilding – the first of the who? brigade for me. Being a supposed TV blogger, I probably should have heard about this guy before he signed on for ‘Strictly’ given that he hosts ‘Crimewatch’.

But given the fact that I don’t enjoy being scared witless before bed every night I have never watched an episode of ‘Crimewatch’ and don’t intend to. Wilding also apparently does bits on ‘The One Show’, making him this year’s token ‘One Show’ entrant – when’s Chiles going to step up?

Supposedly popular with the ladies and being well known to a BBC audience, will no doubt see him lasting longer than he deserves to.

Prediction: Will last longer than he should, but could be the men’s best hope beyond Calzaghe and Whittle.

Phil Tufnell – I get the feeling that old Tuffers is just crossing reality TV shows off a list, it wouldn’t surprise me if he turned up as a contestant on next year’s ‘Big Brother’.

He’ll instantly win the viewers over with his larger than life personality, but will probably be more lifeless than Craig Revel-Horwood’s face when he gets on the dancefloor.

Tufnell could be this year’s John Sergeant, although his cricket background could be significant as sportsmen do tend to do well on ‘Strictly’, especially cricketers (if you can class cricket as a sport that is – I’ll await your hate mail) just look at past winners Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash.

I think Tufnell will be around long enough to entertain us but won’t make too much of an impact on the leaderboard.

Prediction: Out by Week 7

Craig Kelly – Step forward who? number 2. I have no idea who this guy is and even as I’m typing I’m having to google him to remember whether he’s the one from ‘Coronation Street’ or whether that’s Chris Hollins (who? number 3)

Kelly IS in fact the guy from ‘Corrie’, in which he plays factory boss Luke Strong. He has also been seen in ‘Queer as Folk’ and doing various narration gigs across the four main terrestrial channels.

Will probably do okay on the strength of the ‘Corrie’ vote, and if he can move could surprise a lot of people. I don’t know enough to draw much of an informed opinion so he’ll definitely be one to watch.

Prediction: Dark Horse. Could cause a few shocks… Then again, could go out in week 1.

Chris Hollins – the final member of my who? brigade. Hollins is another one of my unknowns who could spring a surprise.

A former footballer and cricketer, although not majorly successful at either he is now a sports journalist and broadcaster currently working for, yes you guessed it, the BBC.

In fact, I actually would love to see this guy go all the way, not for him but for the fact that he is partnered with the delectable Ola Jordan who was tragically out very early last year and we’d all like to see a repeat of the catsuit she rocked with Andrew Castle the other year. See opposite.

Prediction: Another Dark Horse who could surprise a few people. Should still be in at Week 8 at least.

Ricky Groves – Surprisingly, having never watched an episode of ‘Eastenders’ properly (apart from the old Who Shot Phil Mitchell storyline) I actually know who Ricky Groves is!

He plays lovable loser Garry Hobbs on the long-running soap, which should ensure him plenty of votes from the ‘Eastenders’ loyalists – much like Chambers last year with the ‘Holby City’ obsessives.

Groves strikes me as very much a jack-the-lad sort and his personality should see him through maybe slightly longer than he should stick around, because I have a very strong feeling that he could be a truly shocking dancer.

Prediction: Out by the end of Week 4.

The Women:

Jade Johnson – My initial tip to win, Johnson is an Olympic athlete who has won medals in long jump.

Athletes always do well and Johnson should only add to that theory, her only undoing could be her personality. Women are notoriously at a disadvantage on ‘Strictly’ because the majority of voters are in fact women who like to vote for hunky men.

I even thought that Alesha Dixon would end up losing due to this bias, but Alesha’s personality and journey won over the public, and I can’t see Johnson doing that, albeit I know very little about her.

If she can charm the viewers she could win it, but if she doesn’t she could be out sooner than she deserves.

Prediction: Runner-up

Martina Hingis – Disgraced Tennis star, who I always confuse with Monica Selles, so you can imagine my surprise when I see photos of Hingis and she’s actually quite attractive.

Another athlete and one that should have excellent footwork, she is quite low in the betting for some reason and could represent the best value.

If people can get best the drug cheat tag, which she will have to charm them into forgetting about she could spring a major surprise. She is also partnered with one of the better male dancers in Matthew Cutler which can only go in her favour because he is an extremely likable guy who could bring out the best in the Swiss Miss.

Prediction: Johnson’s biggest rival to be top female. Could make the Semis at least.

Laila Rouass – One of the token pieces of eye candy, Rouass is one of two former ‘Footballer’s Wives’ stars taking part in this year’s ‘Strictly’.

On a nice note, she is partnered with the brilliant Anton Du Beke who normally gets saddled with the dead wood, so providing Rouass isn’t shockingly awful on the dancefloor, this could be Anton’s best chance to do well.

Rouass recently appeared in ITV1’s gash dinosaur drama ‘Primeval’ so she should be plenty prepared to deal with another dinosaur in the shape of Bruce Forsyth. With an Indian background Rouass should, in theory, have some sort of aptitude for dance and she could go very well… on the show that is.

Prediction: Could go as far as Week 10(ish)

Ali Bastian – Another dose of eye candy, and another former ‘Hollyoaks’ star for this year’s line-up.

Ali Bastian moved from one poorly written, British television mainstay to another when she joined the cast of ‘The Bill’.

I think she could fill the Gemma Bissix-‘Dancing on Ice’ role of thinking she’s a lot better than she is, I see her as a definite candidate to fill the Jodie Kidd-Penny Lancaster gangly and uncoordinated role.

She could turn out to be a world-beater on the dancefloor though and surprise me and lot of people.

Prediction: Gone by Week 9

Zoe Lucker – The second of the ex-‘Footballer’s Wives’ stars to make-up this year’s line-up, Zoe Lucker played super-slut Tanya Turner on the ITV tack-fest.

Lucker strikes me as another one of those who you would expect to be quite good but is actually probably going to suck, much like her old character in that respect then.

She seems like a nice woman but I don’t think she has the charisma or the sympathy vote factor to go on a Kate Garraway style run.

Prediction: One of the first women to go.

Natalie Cassidy – Pie-faced former ‘Eastenders’ figure of ridicule, marks yet another BBC/former BBC star to be included in the line-up for this hit BBC show.

I know it’s shallow and mean-spirited but, looking at Natalie Cassidy makes me want to vomit. The thought of seeing her waddle around the dancefloor in tight revealing outfits gives me nightmares – boob job and weight loss or not.

Much like Jesse Wallace last year, Cassidy will probably go in to this thinking the ‘Eastenders’ loyalists will vote en mass and keep her in well past her sell-by date, but unless she can channel some of that Sonia Jackson sympathy vote then I think Cassidy will, thankfully be waltzing off pretty early doors, or at least I hope she does.

Prediction: Really depends how the ‘Eastenders’ vote plays out – could be gone in the first couple of weeks, or could make the final on ‘Eurovision’ style loyalist voting.

Jo Wood – Speaking of sympathy votes, we have Jo Wood. Husband and Rolling Stones legend Ronnie ditched her for a younger, Russian model, no doubt earning her the feminist vote for this year.

Doubt the power of the feminist vote? Just look at this year’s ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, how else do you explain Ulrika Jonsson winning?

Wood is striking while the iron is hot and she’ll be milking that sympathy for all it’s worth, it won’t see her win but she’ll survive far longer than she deserves to.

Her only saving grace is that she is partnered with the geniusly smarmy and obnoxious Brendan Cole, who I rather enjoy doing really bad, nasally impressions of, so for no other reason than that, I hope she sticks around for a while.

Prediction: Gone by the half-way point, but will deserve to be gone long before.

Lynda Bellingham – What can you say about Lynda Bellingham? Keep your clothes on would be a start…

Everyone’s favourite homely Mum is getting on a bit now, so props to her for giving this a go, but lets be honest she’s got more chance of coming in top on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women poll than winning this.

She will probably be out in week one, unless she throws some serious shapes out there, but so long as she keeps her wrinkly boobies under wraps I’ll be happy.

Prediction: First woman out.

Other Musings this Week:

- ‘Jamie’s American Road Trip’ began this week and although he has a fat tongue, speaks in continuous innuendo and sounds as though he spits every time he talks, he is actually a good chef and can make quite interesting shows (when he’s not in preacher man mode).

I’ve not yet managed to catch the first instalment, but I will be doing and you should to, besides how can anyone make a boring show travelling across America?

- Can Jordan get any lower? The answer to that question is a resounding YES.

Losing the PR battle with estranged husband Peter Andre, so out comes the miscarriage… Wait that didn’t get her the sympathy she needed, so here we go – I was raped…

If she was in fact raped “more than once” then I genuinely feel a great deal of sympathy for her, but the way she has finally disclosed it is truly shameless – What’s next? Cancer? Well it worked for Jade Goddy huh Katie…

She truly is a sorry excuse for a human being.

- ‘Harper’s Island’ looks gash as. Good old BBC3, a show gets mauled by critics Stateside, pulls in little to no viewers and BBC3 signs it up. With everyday that passes I become a little more convinced that the people who run that channel are mentally handicapped.

The fact that shit like this gets rammed down our throats on the Beeb, yet brilliant shows like ‘Breaking Bad’ get hidden away on the likes of Five USA is a fucking travesty.

TV Moment of the Week:

- Bob Saget’s sleazier than sleazy reappearance on the fantastic new season of Entourage. The show just keeps getting better and better.

TV or not TV takes an extended hiatus for the rest of September as I move house and then take a much needed holiday, albeit to Las Vegas…

…TV or not TV shall return though at the beginning of October with a ‘What I Learned from Watching US TV’ Special.

See you then.


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