Please believe me when I say that I was so happy not to have won. And normally, like World Class Olympian competitor Mark, this would not normally be the case.
The standing ovation that we received for our Quick Step: Almost Like Being in Love, was, and is still to this day, one of the most wonderful moments of my life.
Do I think the judges made the right decision? Yes – at that time (July 2009) for the following reasons, which include what I consider to be the reasons behind their decision:
James and Ola are both Latin Ballroom dancers (they are, of course, brilliant at ‘ballroom’ dances) – they are professionals after all, but their principle field is Latin.
James Jordan, (although I believe him to be a ‘good’ friend of Mark's) did not ‘like’ Mark's dancing from the outset. The production have cut many of the James’ comments about Mark’s dancing from the final edits.
Backstage we had a tv where we could watch – and the few occasions that I could see James and Caroline dance, realised that I did not take my eyes off Caroline – she has the ‘it’ factor visually – and when I first saw wheelchair dancing on youtube before the first audition, realised back then, that it looks better ‘visually’ if there is little height discrepancy between the combi couples.
(Mark Foster - 6'6" – hello!)
This, of course, again, is a ‘visual’ factor – v imp for tv – not so important for competitions where the judges would base on ability and connection of and between the couple. And as Pippa (dance trainer) Roberts kept saying: ‘Mark’s height would be an advantage in wheelchair dance competitions – on the tightly packed dancefloor, all the judges would have no problem in seeing him!’
It was regarded (so I believe) that I was the most proficient mover/dancer in the dancing wheelchair from the outset.
comfirmed by Judge Ade Adepitan's comments
on all of my performances
However, skills aside (please notice that during the Quickstep, Mark and I are moving so fast, all five wheels of the wheelchair come off the floor!) this year I will turn 50. There, I have said it, one of the possible key factors in the final result is age.
And this is my party/blog so I will cry/make statements if I want to.
We were told from the beginning that BBC3’s remit (amongst others) was to produce programming for the ‘difficult to reach’ audience of 18-34 year olds. (Look back and one of first posts to see how I felt at the first audition.)
And this fact was re-enforced throughout the whole of making of DOW. During the break backstage, before we were due to go out to receive the judge’s deliberations, Harry Lansdowne (BBC3 Commissioning Editor) interviewed me on camera – and from what I recall, every one of his questions related to age. Perhaps he was worried, that due to the reception to our Quickstep, the Judges would announce us the winners. Certainly, that was the ‘backstage’ vibe.
But it was not to be.
And all I can say that not to win – the relief was incredible. Mark and I had done our best, in the circumstances, and that is good enough for me.
Let's boil it all down to the most important key fact: Mark and I were adept at Ballroom, but not at Latin. James and Caroline were excellent in each – they deserved to win.
I was on a high for two weeks after the finals. Never before (apart from giving birth to my beautiful daughter, Lara) have I felt such a sense of achievement.
So, dearest WOW Watchers, and to those of you who still feel that we should have won – wait till you see next week’s episode the ‘final’ final.