Strictly is back, and it's creating a storm
It's that time of year again, or does it seem to be getting earlier? Getting off to a spine-tingling start, BBC's Strictly Come Dancing dominates our screens once again, filling living rooms nationwide with sequin-reflected light and Tess Daly's warm northern notes.
If you missed last week's drama: here's the sixty second round-up:
This year's series, the seventh since is birth in 2004, has taken a few blows in the first week - most notably the reshuffle of judges causing a tirade of criticism for the replacement of Strictly stalwart Arlene Phillips, with dancer newbie Alesha Dixon.
Arlene was much-loved for her sympathetic viewpoint - often giving encouragement to dancers while retaining a level of expert insight, and having a little flirt with male contestants along the way.
Alesha, 30, was criticised not only by loyal Strictly fans, but insiders and the professional dancers who said Arlene, 66, was 'one of the family', revealed in the Daily Mirror after a briefing note was released from BBC officials. The note also told judges, stars and celebs what to say when asked about the fury over replacing older TV figures with their younger counterparts - another hot topic spurred on by Arlene's departure.
What's more, the Daily Telegraph revealed last week's viewers complained the Strictly costumes were too raunchy and gave the wrong impression to younger viewers. Indeed even Len Goodman found Zoe Lucker's steamy rumba 'distasteful', reflecting the views of some audience members.
The show is also still battling against reality rival X-factor on ITV - seeing a peak of 10.1 million viewers on Saturday night averaging at 8.9 million viewers compared to Strictly's average of 7.9 million.
But Alesha still seems to be the biggest issue surrounding Strictly. One of the fundamental gripes about Alesha's addition to the judging panel, from a dancer's point of view, is she adds nothing critically constructive to the debate - which will become more apparent as the show goes on and decisions over dancers get more difficult. She was clearly placed there by the BBC to give an opinion which reflects the something of what celeb dancers go through when learning new steps and dance styles. But this role would perhaps be more suited to having her take over Tess Daly's position - and talking with the celebs backstage about the hardships of learning to dance from scratch.
Darcy Bussell, the now-retired British prima ballerina, was a breath of fresh air in last week's show - demonstrating the hard work and commitment needed to become a truly great dancer. Her short piece on body conditioning even went as far to break down some of the stigma of ballet dancing - her informal chatty style and impressive form brought it to audiences who have never seen ballet on stage, let alone some of the training involved backstage.
As the weeks go on and the celeb dancers get better and more refined (Ricky from Hollyoaks is sure to demonstrate some excellence), it is tricky to see how Alesha will be able to contribute to the debate without some knowledge of dance, and it is quite possible Darcy might have been a better choice and given the show the new slant it was looking for.
She will have to fall back on giving the public's verdict - and of course there is a place for highlighting how the untrained eye might view a dance - but that place is not on the judging panel. So far Strictly has seen quite the perfect storm for columnists and bloggers, and being only week two of the show - it looks set to be a tumultuous year.