Belfast Telegraph

Quickstepping Jamelia gets her Strictly marching orders

By Billy Weir

My experiences of cranky women in Blackpool go back quite a long way. The first of my two and only visits to the 'Vegas of the North' - presumably that's Johnny Vegas - came not long after I had passed my 11-plus.

Things were different back then. Strictly was just plain old Come Dancing and, like the era, Bruce Forsyth was in his early 80s, while the woman of whom I speak was not a woman at all but a small boy dressed in his school uniform joined by a strange man. I think English schools got off later.

On closer inspection, but not too close, it transpired that the boy was a woman and man was her hubby, as the partnership that waltzed on to the stage on the Pier turned out to be the Krankies.

Fast forward a few decades and while I have made only one trip back in that time for a stag-do that also featured cranky women, Strictly made its annual pilgrimage to Blackpool. Not so much Mecca, more Mecca Bingo, but the eight brave souls seeking salvation tip-toed nervously into the Tower Ballroom on Saturday night.

You knew you were in for a classy evening when the judges entered the fray to the melodic magnificence of Agadoo, albeit minus Craig Revel Horwood, who, presumably, was otherwise engaged pushing a pineapple up something, hopefully a tree.

He was even higher, straddling a Stratocaster dangling from the ballroom ceiling with pyrotechnics spurting out of both ends, just as Jeremy Vine had prophesised last week before he was kicked out.

A brief trip to Cuba with Jay McGuiness's salsa allowed Len Goodman to make the first, but certainly not the last, Blackpool-related pun of the evening, with his comment that 'there's no end to your talents but I didn't know you could make Blackpool rock.' Suddenly, the Krankies material didn't seem so bad.

However real crankiness in this series has been the preserve of one Loose Woman (nothing to do with the stag-do), Jamelia, who had been in the dance-off four times, but was hoping her Quickstep to the Monkees' I'm A Believer wouldn't earn her a ticket on the first train to Outsville.

Ironically, it was probably her best dance of the series and Tess Daly asked Horwood, now finished with pineapples and guitars, if she and partner Tristan MacManus could avoid a fifth dance-off.

"No, they can't really," he said to a chorus of boos, prompting a response of 'oh, be quiet, honestly' as Jamelia's face turned like she'd just been given a lick of a poke covered in salt and vinegar.

"You deserve 100% to be here in Blackpool, you are like one of those trams outside, you keep rolling along," added Len Goodman but, just like Alan Bradley on Corrie, it wasn't going to end well.

It was no surprise that another more-modern and more-alive Corrie star, Georgia May Foote, topped the charts with 38 points from her American Smooth, although it was hard to concentrate with her mane of flowing hair seemingly full of white blobs. I know there are a lot of seagulls about, but honestly.

High scores were the name of the game, Anita Rani and Kellie Bright chalking up 37, Jay next on 36 and Katie Derham and Helen George on 35 and 34 respectively. If they're getting that now, then surely they'll get 40 next week.

Any wonder people are saying things aren't all they seem, but even more shockingly, bookies' favourite Peter Andre finished rock bottom with his Jive to Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High and meant a dance-off with Jamelia to keep his place.

But the man who made his name with Mysterious Girl won the day, a cranky one called Jamelia was last seen stomping off throwing sequins at seagulls and armed with a pineapple threatening all manner of nastiness. That would be fandabidozee.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph