“Will you be home in time to see it tonight?” writer Katharine Robb asked me at an event today. I have rarely been so certain in my answer yes, so rarely correct and yet simultaneously so entirely wrong. While you were enjoying Kara Tointon and the best dance of the night, I was at home. Asleep.
It hits you at odd times, the post-travel jetlag zero-exercise no-stamina need for a pillow, but it is the first time Strictly has sent me nodding off.
Bless the wonder that is Sky+, though: I got to watch the whole thing, as live but delayed by an hour or so. And the only consequence was that as I reached for the phone to vote for Kara, Tess Daly said on the telly: “No, William, you’ve messed it up again, voting closed about a minute ago.”
I may be paraphrasing there.
Funny night, don’t you think? Blackpool feels very different: we got many more camera angles from behind a row or two of audience and somehow I had a sense throughout that all the dancers were farther away than usual. I felt the distance, felt less connected at times.
And I can only account for the scoring by assuming the judges have finer eyesight and better seats than I do. Matt Baker’s tens were kind, Pamela and James’s ones were a kind of stock clearance, using up the tens before the show finished for the night. And while I could well accept Len’s logic about Kara’s dance not being as advertised, I was disappointed with Craig only giving her a 9.
But as my mind wandered during Ann Widdencombe’s Canary Waif routine,I kept coming back to Anonymous’s comment last week: the point that I was wrong about celebrity dancers and the Argentine Tango. I’d posited that Kara Tointon’s was the first time a celebrity had done it that well and Anon said no: what about Mark Ramprakash?
It’s a true and a good point. I’d forgotten him - and yet I hadn’t forgotten that dance. He and Karen Hardy dancing the Argentine Tango back in series 4, way back in 2006, that was one of the highlights of the whole of Strictly. I can see it now, vividly clearly remember her dance steps, his lifting her, her stroking a leg against him like a preying mantis.
Yet I forgot him because I realise now that I see the Argentine Tango as the woman’s dance. The man is there to frame, to support, the woman does all the work.
Which means Anonymous sent me off doubting my memory and brings me back ever more sure of what I said: Kara Tointon isn’t a pro but I really think she dances like one.
I’ll say it again: give her the trophy now.
Not that she really stands a chance at beating Ann Widdecombe. Seriously.