November 24, 2016 22:53

A damp squib of a paso doble, strangely British in its limp half-heartedness, spelled the end of the road for a talented couple in the semi-final of So You Think You Can Dance.
Those of us who returned to dancing in middle age have been so invested in Mandy, who came out of retirement at 30 to be the oldest dancer in this competition. She survived time and again in the dance-offs, and was lucky to find herself paired for a second time with athletic Alastair, the gorgeous farm boy who became a ballet virtuoso.
They should have been able to tackle any step thrown at them, and indeed their contemporary dance, graphically playing out a couple’s sulky tiff, was phenomenal: “Like watching a domestic in an episode of Eastenders,” said Sisquo, who believed their chemistry on stage was the best in the show.
So their paso doble, one of the sexiest and most passionate of all Latin steps, should have been phenomenal too - instead of which this pale pair, whose dancing was as anaemic as their sickly purple
costumes, simply went through the motions. “You looked like a farm boy down the pub in Magaluf with a pint of beer....I did not feel your passion in any way,” Nigel told Alastair, calling this listless effort “the worst routine I have seen the pair of you do.”
No surprise, then, that Robbie, the gangly “Stockport Spider” who has also been in the dance-off before, easily outleapt Alastair when he reprised his athletic solo - but he will still have a hard job to beat Tommy, the street star, in Saturday’s final. Arlene felt Tommy’s was the only truly outstanding solo of the night - but unfortunately for him Charlie, his current partner, is looking like a bit of a loose cannon.
“Grow up - don’t play the little girl,” judges and choregraphers alike have been urging the cutesy 17-year-old who doesn’t seem to be able to shrug off the “cheeky Charlie” nickname which has followed her through the show. She is an accomplished dancer whose mother and grandmother trod the boards before her, but she lacks experience, and can be inconsistent.
Charlie’s jazz routine with Tommy was just so-so - though the couple certainly dazzled in a pacey and accomplished quickstep which blew the judges away. This difficult dance was a tour de force particularly for Tommy, who had never encountered this complicated step before.
The two will no doubt dance their hearts out next weekend, as will Lizzie and Robbie, who also had an uneven contest last week. Their Vaudeville number, in which they dressed as bellhops and cavorted over luggage, was spectacular, but their hip-hop nothing to write home about, in spite of that genre being Lizzie’s forte.
My money is on Lizzie to win for the girls, even though she found herself in the dance-off for the first time last week. Not for nothing did Arlene call her a “breathtaking” dancer - but little Charlie may still pull a surprise out of the hat. It can happen when dancing is in your blood.

November 24, 2016 22:53

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