10 Reasons You're Not Too Good For Strictly Come Dancing
You may have heard whispers of an experimental little documentary following the lives of 13 relative-unknowns as they venture into the peculiar and deeply secretive world of ballroom dance.
Though the grainy and often harrowing footage has attracted a minor cult following thanks to its avant-garde conceptuality, the unorthodox series has been widely criticised by sceptics who recoil at the 'immoral' choreography, 'illegal' lifts and 'sinful misuse' of sequins.
ONLY JOKING! EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!
And if you happen to disagree, here is a list of the 10 best things about SCD:
1) Claudia Winkleman's fringe
Obviously the tragic loss of Tess Daly's original co-host has left a chin-shaped hole in all our hearts, but one thing Brucie couldn't offer was a statement hairstyle.
To truly appreciate Claud we must staunchly ignore her unfortunate 'comedy' props (which were surely not her idea; the producers have to keep the Forsyth cheese alive somehow).
Deadpan, dishevelled and straying from the autocue (limited vision beneath the bangs?) Claudia's friendship with her co-star helps us warm to the otherwise inscrutably spotless Tess.
Just the fact two female besties are in charge of some BBC Prime Time is #feministgoals AF. (The F stands for fleckle, obvs. It's a family show.)
Hair in her eyes, lip a shade or two lighter than cheek and sometimes perplexingly dressed, Claudia does a good job of nursing the teary and humouring the vapid with one be-fringed eyebrow raised at the whole sparkly affair.
2) Slips of the TANGO💃🏻
And you thought Strictly Come Dancing was about dancing! Dig a little deeper, Ross, it's actually a detailed exploration of the English language.
Let's start with the judges: Aside from his unrivalled hip action and inability to speak while sitting down, Bruno Tonioli is a master of puns, metaphors, and gleaming-toothed putdowns.
While Craig Revel-Horwood displays a devil-may-care attitude to phonology (FAB-U-LOUS is just one word, darling), the evolution of some of the pros from monosyllabic to practically Shakespearean is a poignant Strictly storyline. Teach a celeb to rumba, and pick up some slang on the way. It's win-win. ('Smeshin' it' - Giovanni Pernice 2016.)
3) The rise of the underdog
The real reason Alexandra Burke has not quickstepped her way into our hearts this year is (in my humble opinion) because she's too bloody good.
The glory of Strictly is, the oft-confused British public are actually pretty discerning when it comes to ballroom and tend to favour a trier over someone who's already done four years as a backing-peasant in Les Mis.
Danny-off-of-Hollyoaks was immaculate last year, but it was Ore's steady clamber from average to outstanding that charmed us instead.
Pixie Lott was a million times better than everyone ever, but she went to Italia Conti so no one gave a shit.
The truest joy of Strictlolz is watching a complete beginner fall over on the red carpet in week one before falling in love with dance (and ideally their professional partner too. More on that later.)
Shock exits (Aston who?) and surprise frontrunners are also telly gold. Here is Giovanni's face when he learned he'd be dancing with 59-year-old Debbie McGee:
And look at them now. Even though dear Debs is not remotely decrepit, (and went to the Royal Ballet School which is definitely cheating) we love the less likely celebs to prove us wrong. See Ed Balls & Susan Calman for details.
4) The sheer ridiculousness of it all
If you think you're above the pure, unadulterated camp of Strictly, I'm afraid I can't help you. Taking this hour-long fake tan fest too seriously is a fatal error.
The whole point of this show is it brings out the inner jazz hands of sullen-faced politicians and East-End villains alike.
Max Branning living his life:
Strictly Week 3: Of course going to an indoor skydive during rehearsals isn't going to improve anybody's posture.
The bit where each contestant stares down the camera in black and white and whispers 'DETERMINATION' is there so everyone has time to make themselves a lovely cup of wine.
5) It's pure. But it's filth. It's pure filth.
The most suspenseful element of Strictly (apart from the pin-drop silence before Tess reveals who's in the dance-off) is the will-they-won't-they/have-they-haven't-they tension between the celebrities and their professional partners.
Of course, the target audience for this sensible Saturday night fun is your Nan. That means (to the untrained eye) Strictly has to be utterly virtuous, wholesome and chaste.
And that's what makes all the hip-thrusting, bump-and-grinding, face-stroking and longing eye contact so much bloody fun.
We can harp on about 'chemistry' for as long as the phone lines are open, but the truth is choosing our favourite couple is only ever going to be based on the question: 'When are they going to bang?'
The Strictly Curse is like crack to anyone who devours a scandal yet refuses to read Heat magazine unless pushed/at the dentist.
No one hopes for a marriage to be torn apart, obviously. But if all that twirling and clutching in the rehearsal room happens to blossom into lust...
6) The bit where the judges dance their way to their desk
Possibly buried the lead a bit here, but Strictly is an adventure through the musical, magical universe of ballroom dance.
And you can develop an encyclopaedic knowledge of the whole lot from the safety of your settee.
Invite a Strictly virgin over on Saturday night and watch them transform before your eyes from slumped and sarcastic to a low-key expert on Latin footwork.
You may feel guilty for shouting abuse at Joe McFadden's arm-ography while cradling the remote control and a family size bag of flaming hot Doritos, but don't!
Just watch Craig, Darcey, Bruno and Shirley shimmy their awkward way across the ice-rink smooth dance floor and still manage a weekly stumble. If these guys can critique the Charleston swivels and scold the Samba rolls.. anyone can.
7) It's a sparkly eye-gasm
Look, I know. Visually, it's a bit much. Zoe Ball presents Strictly (It Takes Two!) on weekday evenings wearing a sequinned cardie, on a sequinned sofa, surrounded by sequinned cushions in front of a sequinned wall. Literally the only non-reflective surfaces involved are the woman's cheeks.
But what about some less abrasive treats to feast your eyes on?
There have been some show-stoppers in the Strictly wardrobe this year like Shirley's Cruella DeVil costume, Joe's Dr Zhivago inspired blouse and Gorka's six pack (an accessory in and of itself).
Anton DuBeke made sleeve history in this ruffly masterpiece:
Not to objectify anyone but there are also some exceptionally attractive humans involved.
Many of them are leggy or impossibly flexible (or both) and some of them even have their nipples out.
8) Craig's 10 paddle
It's a rare and beautiful moment when Craig Revel-Horwood actually likes anything. While we secretly know the man who slices dreams and self-esteem for a living probably hasn't danced a decent chaw-chaw-chaw for at least a decade, we fully respect Craig's unique blend of catty, cutting and cold.
Unlike his ITV 'bad-cop' counterpart (a few chairs along from Louis Walsh) we feel Craig knows and loves his subject deeply.
His victims are merely simpletons who deserve to hear how massively they've fucked up, which is surely more noble than seeing them as dollar signs with eyebrows.
9) The rhythm is (eventually) going to get you
Week after week the eliminated celebrity delivers a misty-eyed speech thanking hair, make-up and Brendan Cole for the unforgettable journey. Of course it's changed your life babes, no one had heard of you in August.
Some spoilsports claim they're just not that thrilled by ballroom dance (boo you whores.)
But if the fairytale glide of the Viennese Waltz or the arched backs and scowling of the Paso Doble don't make you gasp, applaud and pirouette off to the kitchen while Shania Twain mimes her new single, you're dead inside.
There's a certain delicious schadenfreude to watching a world champ drag a limp newsreader across a dancefloor, that's a given, but don't forget they let the pros perform un-hindered from time to time too.
The Sunday night results show (because you can't possibly have other plans) opens with a routine that's actually kind of magnificent.
Resist if you like but the fact remains, music has the power to move us in bizarre and beautiful ways, and seeing a load of people hurling themselves about exquisitely in time to the drumbeat equals maximum happiness. (Apart from actually joining in, but who can be bothered with that when you're full of snacks and the heating's on?)
10) It's the perfect antidote to Winter
It's wet. It's freezing. You're poor and have run out of clean tights. Panic-buy some rosé from the corner shop and mute Pointless until the Strictly trumpets commence. When post-Summer gloom melts into Autumn and gets chillier still, this show is the ultimate barrel of camp to point all your furniture at.
Force people over to your living room, feed them booze and thrust a scribbled Strictly Bingo board into their arms. Demand colleagues give you a detailed breakdown of their favourites if conversation is lulled near the photocopier. You can't go wrong with a sweepstake to bring the gang together.
For Strictly perfection, take one vaguely discredited politician. Add an extremely basic knowledge of salsa and some sub-standard wiggling. Multiply by a fearless and slightly bananas professional with the legs of a gazelle and the choreographic ambitions of Bob Fosse and you have indisputable telly magic.
Keep dancing 😘