It wasn’t only the dancers who were in the spotlight this weekend with the debut of Strictly Come Dancing. New judge Alesha Dixon was under pressure to prove herself a worthy successor to oldie-but-goodie Arlene Phillips. And did she pull it off? NO, if BBC message boards are anything to go. Viewers described the newbie as, “Nice but rubbish” and “banal” whilst one wrote 'She is rather like thousands of other gals her age who like dancing and chatting but know nothing about the technicalities necessary to achieve a standard. I feel a bit sorry for her, but sorrier for the celebs who look for help.” Sadly it seems Alesha (who let's face it, was employed as a token piece of totty) is more Kelly Brook then Chezz Cheryl. It could have swung either way, of course. When Cheryl was hired by Simon Cowell we watched with baited breath to see if she would sink or swim – and now look at her, the darling of primetime TV. On Saturday evening’s show she even jumped on stage during one tearful singer's audition and duetted a Girls Aloud number after the poor girl flunked her first go (X-Factor producers must have rubbed their hands in glee. Oh Simon, what a publicity coup!)
We hope the likeable Alesha will get come into her own as the series continues, but our cynical side is inclined to agree with the SCD viewer who said “Alesha is simply out of her depth”. The criteria for becoming a reality TV judge is hazy these days (less ‘who has the know-how’ more ‘who has the best legs’), but is a pretty face enough to hold an audience’s attention for an entire series? Arlene may have a few more wrinkles but her endless flow of witty one-liners (and flirtatious banter with the male contestants) is truly entertaining. Do you think Alesha has been judged too harshly (it was her first day on the job, after all) or should producers do a Brook, write her off as a ‘guest judge’ and reinstate the old team (Arlene and all) pronto?
- Amy Molloy