Strictly 2020 – Semi-Final, Results Show: Jazzy Cranes

This is my favourite Heironamous Bosche painting.

It’s a shenanigans filled semi-final results show and an inevitable night of doom for a fan favourite – but don’t worry there’s another whacky-schmacky high concept pro dance to look forward to!

We open our scene on a dark and stormy night, or at least I think it was a dark and stormy night, Karen is wandering the streets wearing a massive trench coat so it must have been a bit nippy and drizzly

but Luba and Graziano are out chilling on a coastal cliffside photo hotspot wearing very unsuitable clothing

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WE? And then Graziano brings out one of the ugliest statement necklaces I have ever seen and gives it to Luba

That could ONLY be from M&S and is a major red flag that Luba should RUN AWAY.
Karen is captivated by this high street branded display of affection and sensing his time to strike Aljaz shows up looking like a vampire magician from a Cassandra Clare novel

ARE WE IN SANTA CARLA? Also Aljaz coven of vampires wears an alarming amount of bike shorts

Shout out to Oti who has the thinnest ankles wearing MASSIVE boots and looking like a literal Bratz doll – that’s the dream.
Karen makes some sort of deal with him, I assume she gave him her soul – who amongst us wouldn’t? And he gives her a replica necklace but it’s CURSED

which transforms Karen to transform in Luba, by which we mean she gets to put on the same dress and who are we kidding, most men would fall for that

This became a Princess Switch Creepypasta within SECONDS.
So for her soul, Karen gets her wish of spending one night only with Graziano’s nipple

I think it’s a fair price to pay. This of course means Luba is now relegated to Trench Coat Wearing Waif

In many ways, I think she’s the real winner in this situation – she got a lovely coat out of it and escaped a relationship with a pirate who plunders the jewellery section of Marks and Spencer.
And yes, this routine is delightfully high concept and a level of insanity usually only found in FanFiction but even with this sprawling plot the dancers also have to contend with a Lazy Susan

Which on paper sounds amazing and probably was if you watched in person but the camerawork COMPLETELY destroyed the illusion and effect that having two counter-rotating platforms would have given. The stand out move is the moment Karen runs up the backs of the other pros and it’s quite spectacular

Are they practicing for a Matrix themed dance next year? I know Katya and Seann did one, but have the pros? I can’t remember, there’s been so many grungey, leather-clad dances over the last 5 or so years. They’ve all become the same one.
Despite this being a big group number, I did find it funny that they only roles they could find for Nadiya and Dianne was to bang two drums at the back of the stage for the entire routine

Even Anton got to be a vampire! Although he did look more like your dad having a midlife crisis.

Now if The Simpsons taught me anything over their billion season run it’s that a deal with the devil eventually always goes awry and of course Karen’s dreams are shattered when Graziano realises her duplicity and the mistake he has made, leaving Karen out in the cold pulling the woobiest and wooby faces I have EVER seen

And just to make sure that The Express or The Daily Mail don’t take this dance literally Luba and Karen kiss and make up at the end

There is no need for a headline reading “Strictly Vixen STEALS Rival’s Husband with EVIL Magic!”.
And with that cautionary tale about M&S’s statement jewellery line over and done with, it’s time for sanity to prevail

Nice of Claudia to come ready to give you a quick shampoo and a trim and Tess appears to be wearing a repurposed naval signal flag – where’s THAT episode of Sewing Bee?
And now for our judges with Shirley looking just plain regal

I mean if you’re about to end someone’s dreams of reaching the Strictly final you might as well look glamorous doing it.
And then Motsi comes out

At first you might be inclined to think “She looks like the stepmother in a Victorian gothic fairy tale from Tim Burton’s 90s period” and yo would be correct UNTIL the camera pans out and reveals the hemline

Business on top, party on the bottom! What an honest to God icon Motsi Mabuse is.
And then Craig looks fine

I know he doesn’t have *a lot* of choices but he had more choices than this. This is Strictly! I don’t want to see you dressed like Anton on dress-down Fridays.

And then it’s straight on on to the reveal our first finalists and we’re sadly down to only 2 Saftey Sex Faces!

The Monkseal Memorial Safety Sex Face Gallery

Well that was the least surprising result of the series so far, or at least for us because Janette is very excited to reach her first Final and leaves a smear of lipstick on HRVY’s cheek

And thus means a Fan Favourite will be going this evening and the first to find themselves in the bottom two is:

I’m not going to lie, I’m now a little bit sad that this is their first time in the bottom 2 because Giovanni glowering out from that red light is DELIGHTFUL.
We kind of all knew this was going to happen after that Jive and I wonder how quickly Ranvir changed back into her Waltz gear once it was over with – t must have broken some sort of Guinness World Record.
Motsi’s only words of advice to Ranvir are pretty much just “Enjoy yourself, I’m going to save you no matter what, I mean Jamie has been in the bottom 3 times already. You’ll be fine, watch out for those other two schmucks though.”

Up with Claudia and Maisie is celebrating the fact she has made history by being the youngest finalist in the show’s history

and somehow I always forget Joe Sugg was 27 years old when he competed on the show and that HRVY is 21 (mostly because the show treated them like an actual toddlers.) It’s also revealed that Maisie has chosen to re-dance her Quickstep in the final which has been my personal favourite of her routine and I am willing to be a lot of cold, hard cash that the judges will have chosen her opening night Samba.

HRVY and Janette meanwhile are celebrating Janette’s first final in her 8 year Strictly career – although let’s be honest, Janette was handed a golden ticket to the final with Aston Merrygold and she screwed that up herself with that weird Barbershop Viennese Waltz choreography.
I did find HRVY giving the most delightfully dorky speech to the public, thanking them for voting for him and reaching “my first final. My only final in fact.” to be very endearing. He doesn’t reveal his re-dance choice but I imagine it’s his Couple’s Choice routine and that the judges will make him redo either his tango or that American Smooth – Vicky Gill do not pay for 70 yards of gold sequinned fabric for it to only be used once.

And for our special guest performers: LITTLE MIX (sans Jesy, THE BEST ONE) and I’m so glad they’ve got through that stage of all dressing the same because we’ve got Leigh-Anne Little-Mix looking amazing in an emerald green jumpsuit

Perri Little-Mix looking lovely in Trixie Mattel’s Ugliest Dress Runway

and then there’s Jade Little-Mix who has emerged victorious from a war against Fraggle Rock and scalped her victims and wears their pelts as trophies

It’s easily the best guest performance we’ve had on the show, I’m not so sure that Johannes and Luba’s jive suited the song so well but I do enjoy seeing them dance together – it’s fun watching two people who are 80% legs dance together like a pair of jazzy cranes

I am afraid to admit that that sort of fringe trimmed crotch will only ever make me think of SNOWDANCE – it twinkling in the studio lights as Brendan struggled to swing Lisa Snowdon will haunt me until my dying day.

And now for the last Judges’ Debrief of the series (small mercies) and Bruno right off the bat reveals he would have scored Jamie and Karen a 9 for their Country Bumpkin Quickstep

Can you imagine how chaotic this series’ scoring would have been with Bruno there as well?
Claudia then comes to Shirley and points out she loved Ranvir’s waltz and her her a 9 for it – this ages incredibly badly within the next 20 minutes. To score a 10, Ranvir needs to show a lot more drive in her steps which Shirley does demonstrate but because of the fixed camera set up we can’t see a damn thing

Motsi meanwhile focuses on HRVY’s lack of Cuban Transitions which is why his Rumba kept stopping and starting like a Limewire download in 2003. I do very much enjoy the term “Cuban Transition” though.
Craig gets to do another demonstration, this time of a Charleston and Shirley rightfully cowers fear as she knows where this is about to go

And it’s quite something

And thus we see why Charlestons keep getting 10s.

And now it’s time to advertise the Strictly Come Dancing online content such as podcast interviews with HRVY in a stairwell

I’m sure the audio quality wasn’t echo-y and awful at all!
And the Drag Queen review show which looks increasingly insane and weird

I’m sure it’s the necessary social distancing that is killing it but it’s just such a lazy attempt to mimic Trixie and Katya watching and reacting to Netflix shows without understanding why that as a concept works or the necessary editing techniques to pull it off. I just struggle to believe that the BBC doesn’t know how to make or distribute online content in the year 2020. And they literally have Joe Sugg working for them who made his entire career on YouTube. I could write a whole dissertation on it.

And now it’s time to find out who will join Ranvir in the bottom two, and it’s obviously Jamie – we all saw that coming except for Jamie who absolutely thought he had just been called safe

Karen’s death grip on his hand to make him stop <3
And then gets VERY embarrassed the moment the light turns red

It must have been surprise only to him because they did have to force Karen back into that Last Dance disco costume like that mahcine that dresses Wallace in The Wrong Trousers

Jamie quickly points out that he has been in over 50% of the dance offs now and is claiming that as his badge of honour and is CLEARLY telling the judges that it’s ok to send him home, he knows. It’s fine. Old Yeller him. Put him out of his misery. But we still have to go through the motions of the judges giving him advice and it’s basically the same old thing of “Enjoy yourself, we love you.” Maybe SOME of you love him a little *too much*.

Bill and Oti get a quick interview with Claudia which is mainly Bill practicing his Winner’s Speech by talking about how it’s worth the gruelling training and physical demand to get to dance with someone like Oti. It’s getting increasingly hard to imagine Bill not winning, especially with the judges’ scores counting for nothing next week. They don’t reveal their re-dances but I imagine it’ll be their Couple’s Choice and maybe that Western Paso Doble. Or that Doctor Doolittle Quickstep from Week 2 is a contender but Maisie is doing hers and I imagine they wont double up.

And now for our dance off and we’re starting with Jamie and Karen

And it has to be said, this was pretty great. It was much smoother than the first time around, his bum spin didn’t look like he had injured himself slipping on a water spill in the staff kitchen and their fumbld penultimate lift (and amuse-bouche to the cunnilingus lift) goes without a hitch this time

And everyone goes BONKERS for it

And I’m beginning to understand the judges’ decision because it would be hard not to be totally glamoured by this sort of a raucous reaction.
Ranvir’s waltz is as lovely as ever, it’s smooth, calm and well executed but here’s where a waltz in the semi-final really bites you in the ass – it’s not very interesting, the stand out moment is a drag across the dance floor

And it’s great that you can reduce Motsi Mabuse to tears but when Shirley is hooked up to an IV of gin and looking for a party to go to and Craig is starved for camp you’re kind of sitting pretty in the dead zone with an operatic waltz.
So while I love Ranvir and I was entirely prepared to let Jamie go after FIVE DANCE OFFS, I’m not entirely surprised that Ranvir was sent home in this particular match up, the only way it would have changed would be if she came out and did her Jive and managed to improve it even modestly.
It at least wasn’t a cut and dry decision, Craig dithered for the longest time he has ever dithered and Motsi opted for Ranvir, which is a bit at odds with honkingly delighted reaction to Jamie being safe

I guess she’s as excited as I am to see the return of the Twinning Mariachi Samba next weekend.

Ranvir is mainly apologising to Giovanni because she couldn’t make him a More-often-than-not Finalist and Giovanni, rightfully, tells her to stop being silly and rolls his eyes so far back into his head I thought he was going to lose them

It’s then a lot of telling her that he’s very proud of how much she has grown as not only a dancer but a person and that she deserves to happy a life which does sound a bit like he’s about to put her on a boat and ship her to America but the thought is sweet!

So our finalists are:

And it’s up to Ranvir and Giovanni to hug it out us

To think if Nicola hadn’t had to drop out we’d have a Maisie, HRVY, Bill, Jamie and Ranvir finale. I’m honestly shocked they didn’t pull a Wicked Wango Card at some point and refuse to eliminate someone.

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