I got into watching Strictly come dancing last year - because for the previous however-many-years I'd been a bit stuck at Christmas when I'd not watched any of the other episodes but watched the final with my mam, and someone - often a cricketer - won... Last year, I realised I knew more than 50% of the "celebrities", which astonished me; and this year although my hit rate was lower, Michael Vaughan was in the mix.
After the first couple of weeks, I was absolutely convinced he was going out. I mean, you know... erm.
The last couple of weeks though, he's been great...
I also got heavily distracted by Great British bake-off this year. Similarly, people did incredibly well one week and then totally flubbed it the following week. People who were excellent at pastry didn't make nice meringue; people who were intuitive about one kind of cake just couldn't work out when another kind was ready.
I think the thing I've liked most about both shows is that nobody's horribly desperate, and there seems to be a lot of friendship washing about. In GBBO nobody's heard of you, but you have a life and you like baking. If you run out of butter, or vanilla, or whatever, it's very likely that another competitor will bail you out. If you're not sure whether something's cooked, you might well be able to enlist a rival to sit in front of your oven and second-guess whether your bread's done...
Strikes me as a lot like knitting groups. There's a lot of advice, and sympathy, and "well, if you rip it out at least you can get the yarn back" or "you might be able to salvage that". Nobody's totally useless, and everyone has stuff they're good and bad at. Thankfully, though, nobody has to do a dance-off at the end or be graded on their knitting.
I've just read an article which says that X-Factor is dropping down in the polls while Strictly and GBBO have been big hits. I'd love to think that means that programmes where someone's Entire Future is paraded on TV are less popular... Who knows.