How are they dancing? Halfway through Strictly's 2011 battle

Published November 21, 2011

I think the Beeb would say the halfway point was a week or so ago, but I’m working on the fact that 14 dancers started the competition and only seven remain. Several will make it into the final, but here’s my thoughts on the dancing so far.

Those that have been knocked out

Dan and Katya

Edwina Currie

I sort of missed her big outburst during the show itself, but wasn’t particularly sad to see her go either. It’s always hard to be the first one to leave the competition, and it’s not always clear whether the right person has gone or not, but I think it would have been hard to keep on watching the show with so many Ann Widdecombe comparisons.

Dan Lobb

I always felt that Dan was really undermarked and the judges were exceptionally harsh. I don’t know much about dancing but he didn’t seem that much worse than others around him, Audley and Nancy in particular. He seemed like a really nice chap too, so I would have liked to see more from him.

Rory Bremner

It was at this point that the Great British Public started to split into two - those that were keen on Russell Grant and those who thought he shouldn’t be allowed to continue in the competition much longer. Rory Bremner wasn’t the very best dancer on the day, and I don’t think he would have had the potential to get to finale standard in the time allowed, but it could still have been a bit early for him to go out.

Nancy Dell’Olio

Not much to say about Nancy. She was a little scary, and I do think that Anton didn’t really treat her that fairly. He does have to work with some of the hardest partners, but he dragged her around a lot when I thought the routines could be a bit simpler to help her stand on her own two feet. Nevertheless, I was relieved when she was voted out too.


I was pretty much baffled by Lulu right from the start. Her reaction to being partnered with Brendan was bizarre, and in the very first routine she let the situation overwhelm her and forgot all the steps. She was good at pulling off a routine, using that showmanship that she must have crafted over the years, but I didn’t ever think she was a strong candidate.

Audley Harrison

Audley turned out to be a really lovely guy, and I think his sweet personality and relationship with Natalie got him as far through the competition as it did. He didn’t really have the rhythm for latin dancing, and whilst better at the ballroom, it was all a little bit clumsy. I mean, as they never ceased to say, he does have size gazillion feet which can’t have helped.

Russell Grant

I think Russell, although originally intended to be the comedy angle, actually provided some decent entertainment and did pick up the steps better than a lot of previous participants have. However, I wasn’t really a fan of his habit of jumping around and keeping his mouth open in faux surprise. Equally, spending half of your dancing time flying through the air lying on a board is not the way to win a dancing competition.

Those that are still in with a chance

Brendan and Holly

Anita Dobson

It pains me to say it, but MayWatch will not last much longer, I’m sure of it. She’s been in the bottom two a couple of times, and some of the dancing has been ropey at best. In fact, I’m really surprised that she wasn’t in the bottom two this past weekend - it’s a little bit of grace, but I think Anita will be out in the next week or two. And then I will be sad.

Chelsee Healey

I think Chelsee will make it to the final. She keeps on improving every week, and Pasha is turning out to be another popular chap, just like Artem. He crafts great routines for her, and she’s growing in confidence and skills every week. Personally, I don’t really want her to win. Actually I’m not sure who I want to win. She would deserve it based on what we’ve seen so far though.

Harry Judd

I’m getting a little bit fed up of Bruno’s lewd comments every time Harry comes out. So the guy has a chest, deal with it. He seems good, he’s got great musical skills and rhythm, being a drummer and all, but I’m never completely convinced when he’s dancing. There’s no great passion, it’s all quite mechanical. The judges do not agree, it seems.

Holly Valance

Mr C wavers in his affections for Ms Valance each week, depending on what she’s wearing. The green monstrosity she wore this week did her no favours, particularly when paired with a clashing blue Artem. I love Artem enormously so it’s good to see him back, but being in the bottom two is no good. Swapping partners can’t have helped her that much, but I think any sympathy vote has already been expended. She’s got skills, like Harry, but has yet to be able to let go fully. Maybe she never will.

Jason Donovan

I think Jason will also make it to the final, he’s definitely very, very good - if you don’t count that major wobble in the jive this weekend. I do find him to be a bit overtalkative, he certainly likes to keep on about how fair the judges are being and how he’s working on it all. I’m not a big fan of Kristina, she seems a bit desperate to win. Granted, she’s not had great partners in the past, but that could be said of many of the other pro dancers as well.

Alex Jones

I love Alex, and I really love the relationship between her and James. He can be a bit hit or miss, sometimes funny, sometimes a bit obnoxious, but I think Alex brings out the best in him. Seeing them together on It Takes Two is usually an amusing experience. She’s really come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks, and I love seeing what she can do on the floor. I can’t remember how many finalists there usually are. If it’s three, then Alex is right up there for me.

Robbie Savage

Robbie has done a good job, and seems to have overcome a lot of insecurities to get as far as he has. I’m not sure if he has reached a level where he can’t get too much better. Ola works out some fabulous routines and sometimes he does them well, sometimes he doesn’t. It’s hard to say, but he seems to have grabbed the public’s attention for now at least.

Overall, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks. Now that Russell has gone, it’s going to really become about the dancing - there’s always that turning point every year and I think we’ve got there now. I haven’t been much of a fan of the production on the BBC show, and the constant need to theme and prop everything is doing my head in. But at its core, I love the dances and seeing how the relationships grow and develop. Plenty more of that to come, I think.

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