Each year we are blessed with the wonderful programme that is Strictly Come Dancing. I’ve watched the show for as long as I can remember because there ain’t nothing better than dancing and I get to see professional dancers, interesting choreographing and learning and progression each week? Smashing. This year’s batch of contestants have been super interesting and we’ve had a lot of those capital J ‘Journeys’. I don’t really watch a lot of television etc so I had no idea who most of them were, but by this stage I’m loving it! Strictly is the most popular show on television with literal millions of viewers so there’s obviously a wide range of people in that group. This blog post is about those that get very invested in the show.
As I said, I like watching the show and I even follow the Strictly accounts on Twitter and Instagram but I don’t normally engage too much more. However, sometimes I’m interested to see what all the super fans are commenting about under the posts. Between the social media rants and the trashy tabloids there has been a whole lotta problems this year, but here’s why it’s bugging me: it happens literally every year. The three types of problems I’m going to talk about have literally happened so many times over the past 16 years, so I don’t get where these people find fresh outrage. These viewers are clearly distressed so my advice is to drop the drama, let it go and just enjoy the dance!
- The Strictly Curse
Maybe not every year, but there are several occasions where the curse has had effect. When the couples spend all day every day together, with almost constant body contact, sometimes a little showmance may develop. You can understand how this situation may come about, and yay for the romantic power of dance, right? The problem occurs when the celeb or dancers involved in these rendezvous’ are in committed relationships with a partner or spouse… Now hear me out, I’m not defending cheating, it is not a nice thing to do at all. But my point here is that it is none of our business as a viewer, is it? How do these trolls figure it’s their right to comment on other people’s personal lives? ‘They put themselves in the public eye so they have a responsibility to behave properly’ Sure they do, but their job is to be judged by you for how they dance or entertain you, not for every single element of their lives, so back off! ‘That’s just inappropriate for people on a family show!’ If your fear here, mothers, is that your children will be corrupted – what planet are you on? It’s not like they’re getting it on on screen, are they? If dances are sexy (because some innately are), then it’s no more sensual than dances that occur every week between platonic dance partners, so back off.
This year the Curse hit Seann Walsh and Katya Jones pretty hard and the tabloids went mad for it, especially because they had photographic and video evidence. I can understand why these publications would be interested in content like that, sensationalising it is their job. But the couple were made to apologise on air on It Takes Two in the most uncomfortable interview you’ve ever seen. The thing is, they said it was a one time mistake and that they have apologised to the people who they need to and that Katya and Neil were working through it, all fine and factual. But then you have ‘fans’ deciding that isn’t the truth and that they, as viewers, deserve more. ‘Whip out the pitchforks, we’re on a man hunt for that slut whose incredible skill and choreography now mean nothing, they must be eliminated!’ Again, just back off and leave people to deal with their personal lives personally, all you need to be concerned with is the dancing.
- Partner Problems
On the other end of the scale, you get the rumours that partners aren’t getting on/secretly hate each other/have had squabbles etc. This is very plausible, just because you’re paired with someone, doesn’t mean you’ll become best friends, some people just aren’t compatible. But viewers feel slighted when they hear this because obviously the happy format of the show means that the contestants have to appear eternally happy/grateful/upbeat, even if that isn’t necessarily true 100% of the time. It can be tough to spend all of your time with one person, even if you do get on, you can get irritable and tense and just want a minute by yourself. With cameras all over the studio and paps at every turn trying to sniff out a story, it’s no wonder that little disagreements evolve into tales of partner abuse.
This year ‘sources’ informed the paps that Danny John Jules was having arguments with partner Amy Dowden who ‘couldn’t do it anymore!’ or something to that effect. They criticised him for being too rough with his partner. Now this was another one that was addressed on It Takes Two, where Amy had to announce that she has never felt bullied by her partner – question here if she said this because Strictly told her to or if she genuinely means it all you want, but the point is that’s what she’s telling you. Nevertheless the paps and online warriors scrapped Danny to the point that he didn’t feel the need to fuel them more by attending his exit ITT interview. Like I said these could all be situations that are dragged out of proportion from an angry sentence flying out of a tired and frustrated person, but I honestly believe that a dancer wouldn’t say they were fine if they were being abused, get real.
- Being Too Good
The final problem exists literally every year and literally every year people moan about it. ‘This is supposed to be a competition for amateurs’ which I really doubt considering the fact that every year, the cast is programmed with a wide range of starting abilities. This exists so that at each stage of the competition, you still have something good to watch. If everyone started off as amateurs, dance enthusiasts would be so bored from watching the beginner routines, it makes for a more interesting show to have a mixture of dancers. I do get what the audience are saying, when they pick their favourites they most enjoy seeing someone’s Journey, as you have a greater respect for the improvement they make, potentially because viewers watching like to think aw I can’t dance, so if they can do it, maybe I could too. As a dancer, I always appreciate the quality of the experienced contestants (because they are good) but often find that I don’t relate to them much. I find the VTs where they pretend to find it really hard, and the shock of another high score to feel quite inauthentic. But do I think they shouldn’t be in the competition in the first place? No! We need some good shit to look at because then it shows the improvers what they should be working towards and that’s what enables and encourages them to go on that Journey.
This year the sword has fallen on Faye Tozer, but especially Ashley Roberts. THe Pussycat Dolls are considered more as dancers than Steps with their Tragedy movements and Ashley has most consistently topped the leaderboard, in addition to that she’s American and I think us Brits prickle up a bit at their mannerism and confidence, as opposed to the humble self-deprecation that Faye shows. There are hoardes of people complaining that it’s unfair for the professional to be there and to stay in the competition but the fact is she is a great dancer, should be there to continue driving the others and no, she’s not going to win in the end because that decision comes from the voters, so take a chill pill.
In general, I find all of the complaints about the show to be rather tedious and pointless. Let it go, stop have a moan for the sake of it and just enjoy this beautiful programme cause she doesn’t last that much longer now.