Strictly 2020 – Week 6, Main Show: Modesty Fog

This remake of Aladdin is a little racially insensitive.

This week we return to our regularly scheduled nonsense with The Triumphant Return of Miss Motsi Mabuse, no more pretending we aren’t in London and the Jive being the scourge of the ballroom.

With Netflix beginning to roll out their additions to The NCU (The Netflix Christmas Universe – a web of increasingly surreal and Doctor Whovian timelines and intricacies, and about 10 actors playing 50 parts) it was only right that Strictly began dipping its toe in the Christmas Movie Fare – we have Claudia as Noelle Holly-Day the overworked fashion blogger who hates Christmas and Tess as Carol McPiggin-Blankette the Christmas obsessed socialite that Noelle will be writing a piece on as she puts on her Annual Non-Denominational Christmas Charity Ball To Feed Underfed Donkeys and Miniature Ponies

Over the course of Noelle’s piece she will gradually learn to love, not only the welfare of donkeys and miniature ponies, but also the spirit of Christmas. But not before Motsi as Bethesda Humbug, The Villain who just really hates donkeys for some reason throws a spanner in the works by inviting all of Carol’s guests to a rival Non-Denominational Christmas Charity Ball To Fund The New York Chapter of Turkey Liberation Effort

And Shirley will be Tess’s mother who will close out the show with a cheeky wink to camera which may or may not mean she was Mrs. Claus this whole time

Craig is a waiter at the ball

YOU CAN’T BE MAIN CAST IF YOU’RE JUST WEARING BLACK, THIS IS A CHRISTMAS FILM.

Chaos, Havoc and Aljaz Skorjanec
Jive / River Deep Mountain High – Tina Turner

Remember how excited Clara was at the prospect of doing a dance to a Tina Turner song? And you know the saying “Don’t meet your heroes”? Well… And as some rather foreboding foreshadowing in her pre-dance VT Clara says “If you miss a little bit of technique, it just ruins the whole thing.” and if by the power of her own manifestation (and I’m sure a wrathful God being angry at Nick Grimshaw being compared to Beyonce might also be involved) Clara goes wrong within the first bar of the song as she trips on her landing from the opening jump

Granted at this point she manages to regain a semblance of composure – she’s still quite clearly shaken and flat-footedly stomping around like a duck having a tantrum but it’s not awful! Vicky Gill’s Patented Boob Fringe is doing A LOT of heavy lifting throughout the routine – it’s thankfully very distracting, although Clara’s outfit does make her look a bit like she’s wearing a schoolgirl

And I cannot even begin to process what Aljaz is wearing – it’s hard to style 7 pairs of people, someone is always going to inevitably have to wear the last dregs of the ASOS Black Friday Sale.

Disaster really strikes in a series of spins and Clara goes the wrong way and really that’s the end of the routine. Clara’s boggled, Aljaz, The Human Labrador, is as confused as she is – it’s like when you’re baking with a toddler and you turn your back for ONE SECOND and suddenly they’re covered in flour and have consumed 90% of the ingredients.
He puts in a valiant effort at trying to guide Clara back to safety like someone herding 20 cats who are currently on one Hell of an acid trip – but at some point it might have been more humane to pull a Matt Di Angelo and just sit on the stairs and have a little cry.

I do think there is a routine here that Clara can do very well but just by a series of unfortunate events it just didn’t come together and I’ll be interested to see if she can pull it together when this is inevitably in the bottom 2. Similarly I will be interested to see if any of this is usable in the montage that they put up on Instagram of everything the dancers’ mics pick up during the routines because I imagine A LOT of this was “FUCK! SHIT! WANK! BOLLOCKS! HELP! OUCH!”.

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 6
Shirley: 6
Motsi: 7
TOTAL: 19

I do feel like the judges went very easy on her because was her Samba really worse than this?

Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer’s Shoulders
Tango / Tanguera – Sexteto Mayor

Did I know I needed a mash up of The Queen’s Gambit and Moulin Rouge? No. Do I unreservedly love and cherish this dance with a certain bizarre intensity? YES.
We had been hearing all week about how much Jamie HATED the tango and that, combined with his training footage of him looking like a cat wearing shoes

it wasn’t looking great. AND THEN, Karen’s shoulders hit that spotlight

and the game of Tantric Sex Chess began

I’m not sure any of the moves on that chessboard were actually legal – I’m going to need the World Chess Federation to weigh in on that one but I’m pretty sure a Rook can’t move like that Jamie.
It needs to be said that the correct music and styling (NO MORE TANGO ANKLE BOOTS) makes a world of difference – Karen as this corseted black widow spider and Jamie looking like he’s about to try and block out the sun to the ratchetting tension of the tradition tango music? It’s so theatrically good that I would argue it deserved 9s. The fact that Karen and Jamie do still look far too similar quite how this is the case when one is a Venezuelan woman and the other is the heir to the McVitie’s fortune, I’m not sure but it does bring a certain V.C. Andrews derangement to the proceedings – but in many concerning ways that does kind of only makes it better.

My one gripe is that I wish Jamie had held character for a spot longer before absolutely losing it and celebrating like someone who had actually managed to purchase a PS5 after waiting for 5 hours in the online queue

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 8
Shirley: 8
Motsi: 8
TOTAL: 24

VPL and Janette Manrara
Contemporary / A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay

Well if we thought Aljaz got the dregs of a Black Friday Sale poor HRVY was sent to the lost property bin in a community centre and could only find a t-shirt that’s been in there since 1993

What is this Vicky? I’m going to need a clear and concise 500 word piece on why this was chosen and while you’re there explain Janette’s tiny little butt cape to me:

Are they the world’s most milquetoast superheroes? Because this rooftop hopping couple’s choice routine to a Coldplay song would suggest yes. I’m not going to deny HRVY’s talent – the moves were well executed and as crisp as ever HOWEVER – the ~emotion~ of the routine never really read on his face after they eventually got up and started dancing – he’s pretty obviously counting the beat out loud and just generally looks a little blank

But it might have something to do with him desperately trying to think unsexy thoughts. Stupid, sexy Janette. Only HRVY could get a boner during a Coldplay song. (I did have to double check his age before writing this much about his boner lest I be put on The List)

I know to some it may seem like it but I honestly don’t hate HRVY (she looks in a hand mirror, gliding a finger over the first formation of a wrinkle on her forehead, she hisses “I don’t hate the youth!”) His dances have been enjoyable enough, I think his biggest crime has been that he’s kind of boring – he’s the Flake 99 – hold the Flake of the series and if you’re interested here’s a full rundown of contestants and their ice cream personalities:

  • Jamie – An Oyster Delight: it’s just a very silly ice cream.
  • Clara – A Fab: zany, fun, loud and perfectly serviceable.
  • Ranvir – A Solero: grown up, the one your mum orders.
  • Bill – That Weird Melty Foot One: it tastes surprisingly nice, is kind of a mess but it’s fun.
  • Maisie – A Cornetto: well being name brand seems unfair.
  • JJ – A Knickerbocker Glory: (it’s because of the shorts) but also it’s the one your gran likes because it reminds her of her childhood.

And then just to top off the HRVY is a Very Good Nice Family Boy UwU VT, which talked at length not only about his social presence (down your drinks) but also his career spanning *check’s notes* 6 years he gets a Zoom call from his family because apparently they’re the only ones that know how to operate Zoom? I might be being cynical (Me? Cynical? NEVER.) but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that HRVY is the most marketable after the show so they’re really trying to build his TV watching audience. I’m putting a £5 bet on a BBC series about making the next big influencer a la Stacey Dooley’s Make Up Show hosted by HRVY.

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 10
Shirley: 10
Motsi: 10
TOTAL: 30

I have to say a Contemporary Dance to a Coldplay song getting the first perfect score of the series is rather anticlimactic, and we’re all perfectly fine with saying it doesn’t count right? Great, moving along.

Mrs. de Winter and George Fortescue Maximilian “Maxim” de Winter, owner of Manderley.
American Smooth / I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin

Well if last week was Teacher / Student play, this week was a bit of Hobbit / Human roleplaying

I’m not here to kink shame – I’m only here to support and uplift them and Zoe Ball’s increasingly weird fanfiction.

They’re doing a foxtrot based American Smooth – a good choice seeing as Ranvir has already done a very good foxtrot so had a good solid base for it, and apparently the theme this week is the first 15 minutes of Rebecca:

That is a man with a dead wife, an insane housekeeper and a fire hazard of a mansion on the Cornish coast if there ever was one. Sorry if I just spoiled Rebecca for you by the way.
I appreciate that Giovanni is really pushing Ranvir to confront a lot of her personal confidence issues – he has her opening a lot of their routines completely on her own and she’s certainly getting better at it – I’m sure it helps that she’s dressed like she’s going to a lovely garden party in the 1950s

but kudos to her for still going for it. It’s a strong dance, there’s a few moments where she stops while Giovanni moves into position and it’s a little awkward

Just a bit more flourish would really have helped – but the rest of it is incredibly elegant and, as the dance calls for, smooth. I think the unanimous 8s that it got scored are very much because the routine as a whole wasn’t very inventive or technically advanced which is a surprise from Giovanni and I’d hazard a guess there was originally more to it that got scrapped because Ranvir either couldn’t get to grips with or stop laughing like a mad woman during the lifts.

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 8
Shirley: 8
Motsi: 8
TOTAL: 24

Where is everyone else on the whole Giovanni saying “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” front? Because to me it is beginning to sound increasingly like Pingu saying “Noot noot”.

Bill Teach and His Beatnik Pirate Muse
Jive / One Way Or Another – Blondie

Well they say you reap what you sow – I’ve been cracking jokes all series about Bill’s BBC4 History of Music Documentary and here we are, a comedy VT about music history with Bill and Oti doing accents more absurd than any that Matt Lucas showcased on Bake Off this year

This time it’s about the history of Jive and Dance Halls and the jive being referred to as a sort of infectious phenomenon… *eye twitch* I do however love that Oti listened to all of this with the most passive aggressive jumper I’ve ever seen:

My absolute favourite part of the series hitting week 6 is that by this point they’ve used up all the normal themes and it’s down to a ball pit and some blindfolded ferrets to select the themes, which is the only explanation as to how we ended up with A Leather Daddy Paints a Portrait of His Beatnik Pirate Muse and She Hates It So They Angry Jive

Also they’re in Paris. BUT WAIT, it was all a joke, Bill Actually painted a lovely portrait of Oti

And like so many arguments, it’s resolved with oral sex

My gran reads these recaps, why am I writing this?
It’s potentially the most Dad Dance that Bill has done since his week one Cha Cha Cha – it’s just a little clunky because he quite obviously lacks the stamina to get through a full on Oti Jive without needing a bit of a breather halfway through and I think it was a over marked by a couple of points, it certainly wasn’t on the same level as Ranvir and Jamie.

They did also use a very unfortunate font on their shirts which just reads as “Shitty” to me:

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 8
Shirley: 8
Motsi: 8
TOTAL: 24

SKIRT WARS: The Tartan Menace
Viennese Waltz / Rescue – Lauren Daigle

I’m not saying I’m this influential but after a week in which JJ spent a lot of time liking all my tweets about his tiny little training shorts and a demand for his legs to be appropriately pasty, him giving a flash of his thighs felt, in many ways, just for me. That’s my truth, don’t ruin it for me.

JJ gets a lovely videocall from his wife and kids – it’s a touch morose and could be read as a beg for elimination

it must be hard to be away from your family for this long and in such weird circumstances but with them going absolutely HAM JJ’s VTs what with Captain Tom launching his own TOTALLY NOT A GRIFT gin this week, can I place a bet of £10 on JJ getting a VT from him next week presuming he survives this week? (That’s JJ surviving the dance off, not Captain Tom managing to see sunset on Friday).

JJ would be hard pressed to get eliminated for this routine – it’s just a very pleasant routine, and I mean come on, Amy, how does it feel to be Vicky Gill’s favourite?

AND THE BACK:

It’s a little like a bear raked its claws down Amy’s back which leads me to believe that this routine takes place moments after JJ revealed himself to be a Scottish Werebear on his and Amy’s wedding day and she is now to trying to come to terms with this revelation in a romantic and expansive Twilightian YA saga that will be positively ShakesBEARean.

Once again we kick off with an excessive amount of floor-fog or as we may have to call it from now on: Modesty Fog

I said Ranvir’s American Smooth was boring and I can’t really say this was much more exciting – the emotiveness of the performance did a lot of the heavy lifting so it’s probably a good thing that JJ didn’t lipsync for his life again this week because it really would have killed the mood, not that Amy clawing at her own face like a Disney villain in the middle of their EVIL PLAAAAAAAAAN didn’t

Coming to terms with your new part-time bear of a husband comes with a lot of emotional turmoil.

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 8
Shirley: 9
Motsi: 8
TOTAL: 25

Maisie Smith’s PR Scramble and Gorka Marquez
Quickstep / When You’re Smiling – Andy Williams

The elephant in the room all week has been “Why is nobody voting for Maisie?” and yes, a certainly obvious amount of it is that women who are incredibly talented and show a certain amount of confidence in their ability are treated like dirt – I wouldn’t know because I’m 100% that mediocre bitch – but I’m reliably informed.
It is wilfully obtuse for them to ponder this while simultaneously doing absolutely NOTHING to endear us to Maisie. When you look at the VTs, the family messages and the It Takes Two segments that CKL BBY HRVY gets and compare it to Maisie’s it’s night and day – one is the Very Nice Family Boy That Your Nan Loves while the other just Maisie Who Is Good, Very Good, HAVE WE MENTIONED HOW GOOD SHE IS? RINGAH RINGAH, CHICKEN DINNER!
So this week when Maisie suddenly gets a message from her school it just felt like a flagrantly obvious PR sympathy scramble and I’m entirely sure it’s only going to alienate the audience even more – a pep talk from her family would probably have been the better angle guys.

She’s back in the Ballroom this week, she hasn’t been here since her Frozen themed battle against the AR Graphics in her American Smooth that seemingly sparked Shirley Ballas’s One Woman War Against Maisie’s Feet so Maisie had a little something to prove when it comes to her classic, frothy ballroom and she came out swinging for the fence and I think hit a home run (are these baseball sayings doing anything for anyone?) It helps that her dress is an absolute dream and I will take one in every colour, just to do the vacuuming in

The routine is packed with personality and charm and when I say this I only mean it as a compliment but it was like something out of The Muppets. I really can’t sing the praises of this routine high enough and I’m just happy for Maisie because this felt like a revelatory moment for her and I’m just sad that she didn’t get a perfect 30.

JUDGES’ SCORES:
Craig: 9
Shirley: 10
Motsi: 10
TOTAL: 29

And with that it’s only time to open the votes and for Giovanni and Ranvir to reveal their relationship status:

JUST LET THEM DO A RUMBA.

Our Leaderboard:

  1. Butt Capes and Boners
  2. Maisie Can Have a Little Redemption as a Treat?
  3. Jane McEyre and the Werebear
  4. TANTRIC SEX CHESS
    • Rock and Roll Pirate Artists. IN FRANCE.
    • Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
  5. A Tina Turner For the Worse

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