Saturday, December 21, 2013

So this is what being a floating voter feels like...

I've never gone into a polling booth wondering how I'd vote. Even that time in 90s Edwinstowe when my choices were Labour and the Tories. There was no way I could ever vote Tory so I crossed my fingers behind my back, clicked my heels three times and ticked the red box. I had to have a shower afterwards but I'd had my say.

Even in party leadership elections, when I've wanted them to be scrabbling for my votes, I make my mind up far too soon then throw myself into the campaign of my chosen one.

But tonight, I approach the Strictly Come Dancing final, for the first time ever, with not a clue of which of the fantastic four finalists I want to win. They are all lovely and they are all very good. I can't wait for 6:30 to come. I just wish they could all win. I feel energised and enthusiastic.

I've only occasionally watched The X Factor or I'm a celebrity this year because I was significantly underwhelmed by the contestants. Neither show grabbed my attention, not even with Vincent from Strictly in the jungle.

I know that tv show polls are not the same as elections but even so, there are lessons here for political parties and referendum campaigns. None of it is rocket science. It's basic stuff around being likeable, engaging and connecting with people. Or not. 

The scratchy, grumpy independence referendum campaign is definitely more X Factor than Strictly. And so will the 2015 election be if we don't all pull up our socks and present a worthwhile choice with some properly radical ideas. 

And now I am going to talk dance with a brief summary of each of the Strictly finalists

Abbey and Alijaz

I never expected to like Abbey, which is really rubbish of me as all I'd heard abut her was viewed through the omnipresent prism of media misogyny. She's lovely, though. Warm, funny, hard-working, talented, she's partnered with a talented choreographer in Alijaz. Their quickstep to Walking on Sunshine was so bright and scrumptious.

Because of her lower profile, she is unlikely to have the core vote available to Natalie (Corrie) and Susanna (BBC). That's ended her up in the dance-off. She has been over-marked at times. Too. 

Natalie and Artem

Natalie gets a lot of stick online cos people think she's a professional dancer. Ballroom and Latin are completely new to her. She is an incredibly funny and pleasant person. She was replying to tweets from me long before she was in Strictly. She's also had some real struggles with illness and injury on the show, missing one week after collapsing in rehearsals. 

Artem's choreography is unique but I don't always like it or the music mash ups he has been known for. I just regret we didn't see their jive. 

I don't think their regular position as judges' favourites helps.

They were, shockingly, in the dance off last week after topping the leader board. I had voted for her every week till then but took the tactical decision to vote for Susanna and Sophie to keep them out of the dance off. I knew if Natalie got into the dance off against anyone, she was guaranteed a win so I needed to keep them out.

Sophie and Brendan

Brendan's choreography has been original and so creative - and difficult. Those lifts in last week's American Smooth were beautiful and showcased Sophie Ellis-Bextor to perfection. 

There is nothing I don't love about this partnership. Sophie's biggest enemy is her nerves but her fragile grace and sense of rhythm are such a delight to watch. There is nothing I wouldn't do to see their Charleston again. They must go through to the final 3.

Susanna and Kevin

Susanna Reid from BBC Breakfast and her partner ubiquitously known as Kevin from Grimsby are the pair we can all identify with. They are very down to earth and while their dancing may not be technically perfect but they've given me goosebumps more than anybody else. I love them. 

Good luck to them all. It'll be a brilliant final. 




1 comment:

Andrew Brown said...

After a whole two weeks of watching the show (new housemate, new Saturday viewing habits), Natalie (about whom I had no idea who she was) was my favourite!

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