What a travesty! Pamela and James were absolutely robbed in tonight’s Strictly final. At least the best three couples were the ones that made it to the final but we need to take into account the fact that two of them had prior experience which put them at a distinct advantage – Matt with his gymnastic background and Kara as a stage school trained-triple threat performer. And Pamela not only held her own, she excelled – artistically, technically and musically. The partnership between her and James was inspired (and wasn’t counting on spinning a fairytale ending to woo the voting public).
Pamela is an inspiration to people everywhere, particularly women of a certain age. She is proof that neither the potential to learn new skills, nor attractiveness have a sell by date.
But more than all of that, it is my opinion that she was certainly the most improved and I believe, the best dancer. The Viennese Waltz is one of the hardest of the Ballroom dances and the rendition of Unchained Melody was so touching, so perfectly danced and had the most incredible story telling.
And then we come to the show dances – one couple pulled out a Street Dance meets gymnastics display with a tiny smattering of Cha-Cha. Very entertaining and a real crowd pleaser. But it didn’t quite come together – great constituent parts that didn’t come over as a holistic performance. And with very little Ballroom/Latin content. If I had to describe it in one word I’d have to say ‘bitty’.
The other was another entertaining performance – basically a technical jazz number liberally peppered with acro and lifts. Enjoyable but obvious technical mistakes and wobbles and a terrible throwaway ending. And again not much actual content.
Pamela and James created feeling, storytelling and a stylish performance. It had a couple of lovely, technically demanding lifts (that were equally challenging for both dancers) but they merely added to what was fundamentally a Ballroom dance. Let’s not forget that that is what the competition is about. It takes a lot of bottle to dance to Time of My Life, as I know only too well. And they nailed it.
Top of the judges leaderboard. Top with me. Pamela and James, you should have been lifting that glitter ball. Mr Swayze would have been proud.
We’d love to hear your comments, opinions and thoughts on the Strictly final!
I couldn’t agree more. It’s a sad case of affairs when the nation judges a dance competition on the narrative merits of a couple rather than the quality of their concept, performance and choreography. Both Pamela and James fly the flag for the older dancer, people who carry a few injuries or haven’t persued dance professionally but are still able to attain professional standards through perseverance, determination and creativity. The dances I saw tonight would have made me an extremely proud man were I a part of them. The Viennese Waltz was a favourite of mine when I first saw it, if only for the concept and ending. It had class, creativity and a hook without losing focus of the criteria: fundamentally, a high quality ballroom dance routine. Their show dance was the only one that fully met the unspoken brief of the show i.e to use the skills acquired across the season to create Ballroom and Latin show dance. Matt’s acro and Kara and Artem’s performativity were undeniably high quality but failed to deliver on the promise of the show, a criticism the judges shared. Were I James or Pamela I would feel quietly proud that the trained dance professionals (minus a certain ex-contestant) had ear-marked me as a winner. Sadly, the BBC themselves have claimed the show has moved closer to the earlier format by granting the power of vito to the audience once again, and removing it from the judges.
“Strictly Come Dancing is an entertainment dance show, and audiences will vote for who entertains them the most on a Saturday night – whether that be a couple who dance amazingly well, or a couple who dance to the best of their ability and who bring enjoyment to viewers.” from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing website
I think these words sum up their want for drama over talent or acquired skill. Its a shame that dancers and choreographers of James Jordan’s and Pamela Stephensons’ skill are the ones to pay the price. As for Time of My Life – it was one of the hardest performances I’ve done carrying the most responsibility to the source material. I performed it to 300 people. I can’t imagine the pressure brought about by 14 million viewers and a broadcast on national TV. A great shame.