Happy 10th birthday to Bruno Tonioli! They grow up so fast.
With another bungled up three way tie and a fan favourites languishing at the bottom of the leaderboard this was always going to be a bit of a ride of a Results Show but don’t worry we’ve got 2 special guests! (Or do worry, I don’t know how you feel about Gary Barlow and dancers from that show I kept forgetting to watch).
This week we’re kicking off the how with Graziano, everyone’s favourite double denim pirate
Looking like a pirate is just the cross he has to bear for the rest of his life – I think no matter what he wears he’ll always just look like some sort of niche side character from Pirates of the Caribbean 24: Jamaican Me Crazy!
But this is the pinball themed routine (there goes those blindfolded ferrets again) that It Takes Two has been plugging all week in which Graziano gets Jumanji’d into a pinball machine and Nancy has the plum role of playing… “The Boss of the Pinball Machine”? – I will gladly accept that spinoff of The Apprentice please. And if you wondered what it looks like inside a pinball machine, apparently they’re operated by the souls of a few 80s mallrats and some glowsticks
Despite this show leaning into literalism at almost every opportunity, this is somehow not being danced to Pinball Wizard and I feel slightly short changed – instead it’s to Blinding Lights by The Weeknd (who needs to work on his disemvoweling) which certainly explains the neon glowsticks that everyone is having a lot of fun with. I would greatly appreciate being told quite how many of them were broken during this because I worked with them on student films and we weren’t dancing like a malfunctioning pinball machine and we managed to break 3 in a day. You might be thinking, with everyone dressed like they’re going to a themed party during Freshers Week, what is Anton wearing? Well:
It’s as close to a tuxedo as a shell suit will allow. Overall, I did really love the styling of this routine, it is a touch weird that Janette just looks like the girl from Lazy Town
and I am deeply sorry to Black Widow Chess Champion Karen but Acid Rave Be-Mohawked 80s Karen might be my new favourite Karen
But they all pale into obscurity against Cybergoth Pinball Witch Nancy
I for one welcome her as our new supreme overlord.
So from the neon-grunge of 80s Americana, where are Tess and Claudia taking us?
OH NO. We’ve split the timeline, Claudia is full funereal 80s Chanel and Tess just murdered her husband and is escaping to the French Riviera in the 70s! So where are the judges in all this wibbly wobbly timey-wimey chaos?
I can’t think of a time period where everyone decided to wear slightly damp sandwich ham, but if it was a trend in the 1940s let me know!
And then Motsi is just being Motsi and really testing the limits of a hemline
God bless her showing up every week looking like she’s ready to spend an evening roasting someone in a viral Instagram Live video. Craig is suffering from a severe headache and indigestion
Anton is polishing off those 10 paddles as we speak.
To the first lot of the results, and as I gained a lot of new readers over the last week (thanks Zoe Ball) I just want to re-iterate that because the beloved Strictly recapper, Monkseal, sadly hung up his recapping cap this year – I wanted to continue a very popular tradition of his – The Safety Sex Face and that is why this section is called The Monkseal Memorial Safety Sex Face Gallery – which might sound like he died but he is very much alive and an absolute JOY on Twitter – so onto the gurning!
The Monkseal Memorial Safety Sex Face Gallery
The entire cast going absolutely ballistic with joy as Maisie was called safe was very heart-warming and she really deserved it!
And then our first couple in the dance off:
Well that’s just a straight up terrible decision, but on the plus side that red light does suit Karen – that’s a movie poster right there. Motsi’s advice to him is just to remain present and really embody the music – which I thought he was doing last time but maybe I was just so glamoured by Karen’s shoulders.
Up to Claudia’s Covid Safe Carousel an she’s with Maisie who is still on the verge of going Full Tozer in her quest to “Find the Real Maisie” – I will admit I was very distracted throughout her answering because of the 3 crystals they’ve stuck along her lower lashline
It looks great in the dancefloor lighting but the moment it’s in regular studio lighting, it does look slightly unhinged.
Next is HRVY and Janette who I keep thinking are wearing those hospital shoe covers
He’s here to talk about the Strictly record he has broken for the earliest full score but more importantly he reveals he will be doing the American Smooth next week and is desperate to show us his bulging biceps ahead of his incredible lifts
It’s very “Go girl! Give us nothing!” but they are at least less of a noodle than they once were and Janette wont be relying on her core strength to do all the work.
In another exciting dance reveal JJ and Amy will be doing The Charleston next week which is at least a change in tempo! But also it’s Musicals Week next week and it’s (another) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang themed Charleston. It may be Musicals Week next week, but when 6 of the 11 movies for Movie Week were musicals or music adjacent, and of those 6, four of them even have some form of stage production, they basically become the same thing do they not?
And now for this interlude: a performance from the winners of The Greatest Dancer, Michael and Jowita and they’re here to show us what Lisa Snowden and Brendan Cole’s Show Dance could have been:
You just know that this was the level of elegance, grace and fluidity that Brendan was desperately hoping to achieve before his dance became Him vs The Christmas Turkey.
Bruno is back for his Zoom call and his microphone has just completely given up the ghost and it sounds like he’s doing a phone call with them over a walkie-talkie in the 60s. He just about manages to crackle over that he really loved the sexy chess tango – who could have guessed that Bruno who takes a regular mid-series break to go to his sex mansion on the coast of Italy would enjoy the tantric sex chess routine?
Shirley is a big fan of Ranvir’s “Lady-Frame” – HAS SHE BEEN READING ZOE BALL’S FANFIC TOO?
Motsi gets to explain auras to Claudia like she the problematic woman at the annual Christmas Market who is selling dreamcatchers and essential oils that she claims can cure your depression.
Craig meanwhile finds himself having to justify the premature 10 he gave HRVY – it seems to have a lot to do with his appreciating the lighting of the routine, how do we feel about that? That’s a part of the dance that none of the pros or celebrities have any control over so for it be taken into account seems weird – I can understand the reasoning but did Maisie’s routine not get a 10 because the bench was the wrong shade of blue?
Of course because it’s HRVY we get a live reaction from his family
SHOW THEM REACTING TO THE BONER YOU COWARDS. I do like just how invested his two older brothers are though – it was quite sweet.
The Monkseal Memorial Safety Sex Face Gallery
This means it’s between Bill and Clara (and if we’re being honest with ourselves, these two really should have been in the bottom together – Bill’s jive just wasn’t good.) And finding themselves alongside Jamie are:
Craig gives Clara a really lovely rallying pep-talk about how the jive is a dance made for and she should put the nightmare of Saturday firmly behind her and just relish this opportunity to showcase her talent. Or that’s what I think he said, I was very distracted by Aljaz’s quiff:
That is a just a guinea pig.
Back to Claudia’s Covid Safe Carousel and Bill waxes lyrical about the wonderful cooking his wife has been doing for him and Oti, Oti’s face suggests a bit of a different story:
That is the face of a woman with half a curry discretely hidden in her shoes. If you were wondering how cursed a routine Musicals Week could possibly spawn, Bill and Oti will be doing an Argentine Tango themed around The Phantom of the Opera, Bill looks as sceptical as I do
Giovanni and Ranvir get a very rushed interview, most of it is just Giovanni saying “push. push. push” over and over again while doing this:
Sounds like a fun night.
And now it’s the moment I know everyone has been waiting for, Gary Barlow and his TOTALLY NOT A RIP OFF OF TOM JONES’ ENTIRE BACK CATALOGUE single “Elita” which has the same energy as someone who orders a shepherd’s pie while on holiday in Spain. And he’s accompanied by Luba and Nadiya who are dressed like the tiny little table lamps you find in jazz bars:
The whole thing is an aesthetic confusion seemingly spawned entirely by Gary Barlow’s monochromatic red outfit
Sir, are you playing a tax evading jazzy devil on Broadway?
With Barlow out the way the first to go into the dance off is Clara and, as faint praise as this is, she is better than she was on Saturday night! I get why they didn’t, but I wish they had allowed her to change her shoes because the glitzy trainers are doing nothing but weigh her down. But it may have been better for Aljaz’s shins because Clara is still just kicking in any and every direction like she’s been possessed by the ghost of Muffin the Mule and spends a lot of the routine looking at the floor in a desperate attempt to at least try and limit the amount of bruising she inflicts
The routine still has the distinct feeling of chaos and like it could rend a hole in the fabric of reality and unleash a demonic hoard and Aljaz doesn’t have to tell her to stop trying to Jive and just do the Tina Turner choreography from Proud Mary for the last 15 seconds again.
Jamie and Karen then have to chess-off again and their routine is as good as it was the first time. It’s difficult to compare a jive and a tango and I wont say one is easier than the other but Jamie’s was certainly the easier one to watch because you can feel the heightened sense of control that the tango calls for. Although I do feel sorry for the poor studio assistant who had to spend another hour scrabbling around in the darkened studio looking for the chess pieces that Jamie slaps across studio at the end of their routine. He has quite the tennis arm.
It’s an interesting set of votes from the judges though as Craig opts to save Clara and Motsi goes for Jamie leaving them with one glitter ball each and it’s rather devastating to see Clara just slump as Shirley reveals she is saving Jamie and Karen
I’m gutted for Clara, it was absolutely the right decision based on this week but it’s always hard to see someone who is so in love with the show get the boot and I just wish it had been in a routine that wasn’t worse than her attempt at a cheesecake
I will use that picture at any opportunity by the way – I’m in love with it. But we’ll always have that powerhouse of a Charleston and the sheer joy of that Lady Claramalade Tango – she definitely goes down in my Pantheon of Strictly All Stars – if even for her personality alone. And then Aljaz gives one of the best send-off to a contestant I think the show has ever had, it’s just very sweet and even touches the cold android heart of TessBot
*Simulate human emotion, phase 10 initiate*.
But worst of all is the fact Janette can’t even go across the room and hug her husband because of the Covid rules and it’s like watching the “Not Penny’s Boat” scene in Lost all over again
And then it’s down to Clara and Aljaz to close out the show with a tornado of a spin that breaks Tess and just a nice pleasant chat