While I normally spend my Saturday nights curled up on the sofa watching Strictly with a spring roll in one hand and my notebook in the other, making meticulous notes on every performance and incident so that I can write it all up for your benefit, this week I ventured out.
In this cold weather I go out very reluctantly and normally my Strictly blog is the perfect excuse to get me out of unappealing social events. But this invitation was special. It came from the producers of Strictly themselves and got me into the live show.
So with my notebook in hand (but no spring rolls, much to my despair after sitting on an empty stomach for four-and-a-half hours), I braved the cold and made my way to BBC’s Television Centre.
The seat I was given was right next to the big sweeping staircase and behind quite a tall man, so I can only go on what I could see, which was mostly from the waist up. So, like Craig Revel Horwood, I became obsessed with arm placement and thumb positioning over the course of the evening (Harry – thumbs beautifully tucked in; Robbie – more hitch-hiker than ballroom dancer).
However, although my view of the dancers might have been a little limited, I was able to see some things the cameras didn’t show you at home. Consider this an exclusive sneak peek at what goes on in the studio:
– Tess is very, very skinny but somehow always manages to wear a very unflattering dress
– Bruce came out to warm up the crowd before the start of the show and gave a heartwarming performance of Let There Be Love (from his new album, which he also took the chance to plug!)
– Anita spent most of the swingathon with her legs in the air – and they are bloody fantastic
– Brian May wasn’t in the front row but when Anita found herself in the bottom two, he snuck down into the audience and sat behind me so that he could be the first to console her when she came off stage
– There has been speculation about Holly’s weight but it must be something to do with the camera adding pounds because, in person, she looked amazing in that red dress. She has also been accused of not investing enough in the competition but we did spot her shedding a tear when she found herself in the bottom two
– While waiting for the music to start, Robbie looked like he was doing bum-tensing exercises, which amused the people next to me no end
– Jason does not stop practising – while everyone else was joking about in Tess’s tower, he stood to the side going through his steps.
– Bruno nearly fell over the front of the judges’ desk at one point, he was staring so intently at Alex’s footwork
– Chelsee is tiny and watching her dance live really makes her stand out among the rest of the girls
– Harry’s performance was by far the most popular with the crowd and, if they are anything to go by, he will be walking away with the covetable glitterball trophy
– Craig is the only judge who goes to the bar after the show and talks to all of the celebs, dancers, friends and family – so much for Mr Nasty
It’s back to my sofa next week and, to be honest, I won’t mind too much. As glamorous as the studio is and as lovely as it was having a chance to dress up, I quite like being curled up in my tracksuit bottoms with a Chinese takeaway…