Strictly Come Prancing?

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“Oh no, not another year of watching celebrities prancing around, looking ridiculous.”: my friend’s cynical response to an advert for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. I could not see why she was so against an evening’s entertainment of sophistication, sparkle and glamour? I must say that my friend is an avid fan of The X Factor so I doubt that anything could compete with her Saturday night viewing, but is Strictly really that awful?

Although the usual X Factor/Strictly rivalry continues, I think it’s great that the BBC is enlightening our dreary winter weekends with a traditional entertainment programme which can be enjoyed by the whole family. The mix of the celebrities’ dances, interspersed with the outstanding routines of the professionals, provides a wonderful night-in in front of the telly. However, I have heard people disagree, arguing that the show is more about enhancing the celebrities’ bank balance and public image rather than being a dance competition. It is true that almost every magazine seems to have a section entitled ‘Strictly scandal’, updating us on the latest love affairs and gossip within the Strictly camp, proving that the celebs are enhancing their publicity. However, surely this is what we want? Everyone loves a bit of scandal and so what if they’re helping their public image? And as for them “only doing it for the money”, would you turn down the offer of £30,000, the salary reportedly earned by last year’s celebrities, to learn some beautiful dances by the best teachers in the business?

However, despite the entertainment, it cannot be denied that certain celebrities do look a bit ridiculous on the dance floor. Last year’s John Sergeant charmed the nation but left us all aching from laughter with his highly memorable Paso Doble, in which he literally dragged poor little Kristina Rihanoff across the floor. This year, it seems that feisty politician, Ann Widdecombe, is Series 8’s ridiculed contestant. However, instead of making fun of Ann, we should commend her for trying her best with something completely unknown. Personally I have great respect for Ann Widdecombe to have even danced in last week’s show after her brother died earlier in the week. I think that all Strictly viewers hold the same view that her and Anton Du Beke make a wonderfully entertaining partnership! The mix of Ann’s fiery temper and Anton’s fun-loving nature makes them, in my opinion, Strictly’s most adorable couple. Although it would be fair to say that Ann has a slim chance of winning the Strictly glitterball, she looks like she’s having fun and is enjoying just giving it a go.

In June, I had the delightful experience of seeing Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals. It is honestly the best production that I have ever seen. The mind-blowing routines, gorgeous costumes and brilliant live music combined to make a fabulous high-energy show. After watching the professionals’ magnificent performances, I have definitely been hit with Strictly fever. Although having religiously followed The X Factor in previous years, Strictly Come Dancing is definitely my favourite talent show this winter.

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