Normally the gossip surrounding Strictly is about the so called “Curse of Strictly”. The idea that every year a happily married couple will split because one or other of them has fallen for their strictly partner. The tabloids are littered with proof this curse is an actual thing. This year however most of the gossip seems to relate to fighting behind the scenes between the producers and the judges. Why? Two words
Yes, him. Ex-MP Ed Balls. Married to Yvette, Shadow Home Secretary, Cooper. That Ed Balls. He is this year’s John Sergeant or Anne Widdicombe, a contestant picked for their physique. And that is not necessarily a compliment. Anne Widdecombe was likened to a Hoover the way her partner pushed her around the dancefloor and and at one point was likened to being dragged like a fridge. And it is these scenes that I am sure the producers had in mind when they approached Mr Balls.
Strictly is, after all, an entertainment show. And this is something that the judges are swiftly seeming to forget.
It is Saturday night, the clocks have gone back, it is dark at 4pm and by 7.30pm we want to turn on the TV and be entertained. A slim and beautiful actress who danced at stage school doesn’t entertain me. Yes, I can appreciate the beauty, grace and elegance and inwardly clap that they have got the coveted four tens but what I really want to see is some overweight middle aged famous person who’s only dance history to date is pissed at a party.
I want to see those people so out of their comfort zones they should need a passport to get back there. Those people that are not models aware of their stature and deportment but those that you can see have no clue but who get a little better every week.
Ed Balls has been a joy to watch and is clearly popular with the viewing public because not once has he been in the bottom two, which would be the judge’s opportunity to get rid of him. Despite regularly being bottom of the leader board he is being voted through by the public and not facing the judges in the dreaded dance off. For if he did, they would vote him off, even if the other couple came on to the dance floor and fluffed ever fleckle.
And this is beginning to wind the judges up. They keep saying this is a dance competition. That whilst the underdog is kept in, better dancers, are being sacrificed as there must be an elimination ever week. The judges are telling producers that this is turning the show into a farce. That if, god forbid, such a dancer should win the coveted glitter ball it turns the show into a mockery.
Not so I say. This is entertainment. It is not a dancing competition, it is an hour of Saturday night entertainment for the whole family. It is great alternative to X-Factor, a show I cannot stand. Money raised from the phone calls to vote is donated to Children in Need, unlike X-Factor where it goes to Simon Cowell’s production company or the ITV coffers.
The likes of Ed Balls train just as hard, if not more so, than any other dancer on the show, he deserves to be there. The public are voting for him to be there. Every week he puts himself in front of the public and judges to dance, live. I cannot begin to imagine how nerve wracking that must be. Yet week after week he has done it, and yes he has put a foot wrong every now and again (let’s not even talk about that lift during the American Smooth a couple of weeks ago) but he has done it. He came back the following week and put himself out there again.
And for that he should be applauded.
Judges, his presence is not making a mockery of the show. He, therefore, has every right to be in it. The public are voting him in. Yes you can argue “better dancers are being voted out” but that is because the public are voting in their droves for the other dancers. Dancers such as Ed Balls.
Who is now going to Blackpool, where I am sincerely hoping it gets renamed the Ed Ballsroom when he lifts the glitter ball trophy in the final.
PS if you didn’t see him doing Gangnam Style on Saturday night, take a look at this: Utter joy at the end of the most depressing week that saw Trump elected American President. This is the sort of thing we need on a Saturday night. More of this please!