Strictly 2021 – Week 4, Main Show: Maximum Intensity Formal Mullet

Powerful shoulder pads lead to a powerful shrug.

Free of the weeds of Movie Week we run full tilt into Accidental School Disco Week so grab your supermarket own brand squash and ration your Pringles accordingly, we’ve got an Argentine Tango, A Sambarena and a plethora of insane trousers.

We come to Week 4 of the competition on a rather turbulent note as the show teeters on the verge of having its own Dancing On Ice Series (unlucky) 13 as Ugo and Oti find themselves withdrawing for the week due to Ugo’s back injury and Dianne and Robert find themselves feeling the divine wrath of the Gods for their Muppet routine. You couldn’t have realise your heart might be an issue BEFORE this happened, huh Robert?

We could have ended at the Pissed Off Sphynx Cat Tango but NO, we had to continue to The Quickstep of Porcine Horrors and reawaken my childhood trauma of watching the episode of Goosebumps where the pig prosthetics look like someone lumped a poor child’s face with unbaked dough

May I send you the bill for my therapy session, Mr. Webb? BECAUSE THAT’S ALL I TALKED ABOUT FOR AN HOUR.

We at least haven’t reached the point of having to scooter someone around the dancefloor like a fine dining Dalek yet

but it does seem like it’s only a matter of time and Halloween Week is but 2 weeks away… How much do I have to pay Vicky Gill to just put John in a snappy tweed suit and then Johannes in a recreation of this iconic Dalek outfit?

obviously for an Argentine Tango. And look, no ostrich feathers needed, so your blood debt to the Venezuelan ostrich farmers wont worsen. And you’ll certainly need the relief after you put Amy’s dress together this week.

I am rather impressed that given the very sudden removal of 2 couples from this week’s show that they managed to rejig the TV schedule in time, I’m not entirely sure anything from within The BBC Sitcom Vault is better or worse than Tess Daly trying to fill 20 minutes of excess airtime and sadly we’ll never find out, and boy was Tess dressed for vamping

the velvet industry’s strangle hold on this year’s series remains strong.
Claudia meanwhile was this week’s Designated Jumpsuit Driver

although, that has veered out of jumpsuit, into catsuit and narrowly missed turning into CATS (2019) Junction.

As for the judges, Shirley showed up in a practically celebratory shade of yellow

it is that particular shade of yellow that does make any outfit look a bit like something a little girl might wear on Easter Sunday, which is the second most dangerous shade of yellow to wear on television behind Distinctly Omelette Yellow where you can either find yourself compared to Rihanna’s iconic yellow MET Gala gown or… a greasy spoon’s fanciest menu item and it’s a knife’s edge between the two of them.
Craig and Anton continue their run of Not The Suits I Want, and Motsi continued her general trend of serving nothing but looks

as a broad shouldered woman, I feel seen and represented by her shoulder pads.

Bother In a Thrift Store
Cha Cha Cha / Raspberry Beret – Prince

Kicking off the show properly are Rose and Giovanni with a Cha Cha Cha to Prince’s Raspberry Beret, so naturally Vicky Gill had just the thing on hand

technically that’s more of a magenta, I can only imagine the actual raspberry coloured one Giovanni got her for her training sessions went AWOL

but to be honest, talking about the beret in this routine is burying the lede considering the fact Rose was wearing a pair of trousers that made her look spectacularly like Mr. Tumnus during his disco years

Narnia in the 80s was a wild place to be
Of course in keeping with the literalness of the song, the whole thing took place in a second-hand store, and it was very much a missed opportunity to not have Giovanni tumble out of the clothes rack like a lost Pevensie child. I would also like to point out that said thrift store was quite clearly closed, unless the entrance to it is some sort of labyrinthine corridor

so perhaps the dance was all about Giovanni just trying to get Emily In Paris to please leave his shop because he promised to meet the rest of his poetry appreciating biker gang at 6pm

They’re called The Oscar Wilde Hogs.
As for the dance, it was extremely competent, as you would expect from Rose. I thought it was the most nervous we had seen her in a routine which might have been because she went wrong a couple of times but she still coped with it incredibly well and Shirley made sure to praise Giovanni for managing to get her back on time because in their training sessions Rose’s friends had ROASTED him

The judges do commend her for the progress she’s made in her Latin routines though which is exactly why Motsi scored it one point less than her samba.
Her nervousness might have also had something to do with the fact during Tess’s opening bit with Craig, he had launched a 10 paddle almost directly at Rose’s grandparents who were this week in Dame Emma Thompson’s Spotlight


Judges’ Scores:
: 7
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 7
Anton: 8

Before we get to Giovanna Fletcher plotting revenge for the fact Tom and Amy were in The Death Slot™, Jamie McVities, The Biscuit Baron was on hand to read out the terms and conditions, and not from the back room of a Toby Carvery because I imagine he just haunts the Strictly ballroom now

I can’t believe they didn’t fly him off the balcony

IS THIS AMATEUR HOUR? You know he would have done it too.

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden
Foxtrot / Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra

This was of course Tom and Amy’s first ballroom dance of the series, which is a little wild considering it’s Week 4 but they did miss a week when I believe they were meant to have done this Foxtrot. Luckily the 2 week delay gave Vicky Gill enough time to barter with the Venezuelan ostrich farmers and put together a truly stunning dress for Amy

and with the dress, the hair and the VT that talked almost exclusively about technique, Amy was giving me some major Erin Boag vibes but without so much talk of torturing her dance partner. Which really probably isn’t hard when you’re doing a foxtrot in a particularly frothy dress to Fly Me To The Moon.
There was a little bit of pressure on the two of them because there have been a few very memorable Foxtrots already this series: Sara’s Origami Voyage, AJ Goes to the Deli, The Questionable Ethics of How We Romanticise The Titanic and of course Dan Walker’s Waking Nightmare. For the most part it was a very good routine, the classic steps that Amy wanted to focus on were performed very well but there are still issues with his posture, which I imagine is hard to correct when you’re made of nothing but straw and hessian sacks, give Worzel Gummidge a break Craig!
Sadly with a focus on classic Foxtrot and Fly Me To The Moon not featuring a shredding guitar, Tom didn’t get to give us an air guitar solo but there was a strange moment towards the ends where the two of them sort of shimmied at one another like two awkward teenagers at a school dance

I refuse to believe that Amy choreographed this bit, Tom just brain-farted and defaulted to octopod charades.

Judges’ Scores:
: 7
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Nikita, Nikita’s Hair and Tilly Ramsay Too
Paso Doble / Diablo Rojo – Rodrigo y Gabriela

I truly cannot believe that in a week where Tilly Ramsay was struggling to bring out her inner rage and anger that we didn’t get an entire VT dedicated to Gordon Ramsay teaching her how to shout at people. Because Tilly was struggling to get into the Paso mood as you might be able to tell from her attempt at a “paso face” on It Takes Two

It’s funnier if I don’t explain the plush ant to the fake fans who don’t watch It Takes Two. You’re missing out on some quality Ant Facts with Nikita Kuzmin.

With Tilly on the verge of doing an entire Paso Doble while in the throes of a giggle fit, Nikita decided that rather than consulting with Gordon on tips for unfathomably performative anger, he was instead going to follow in Oti Mabuse’s Samba Demon summoning footsteps and perform his own arcane ritual

The sacrificial guitars are very important to giving the summoning circle a bit of Spanish flair, you wouldn’t want to accidentally summon a sadistic salsa succubus.
So, was it helping Tilly?


Yeah, I’d lie down and die too if I’d just murdered two innocent stringed instruments only for my partner’s paso face to look like it could be in a Boots deodorant advert.

So with Tilly still quite clearly lacking a touch of the dramatic, Nikita had no choice but to perform the whole routine at an 11 like he was Michael Sheen chewing the scenery in the Twilight movies while everyone around him played mostly sullen immortal teenagers

I do think this routine went better than I had anticipated and while I’m more in agreement with Craig on the fact she lacked drama and intent, there were flashes of brilliance here and there

by which I mean, I really liked that one part.
While Craig wasn’t overly thrilled with her performance, the other judges were pretty adamant that she well and truly brought all of the necessary drama with Shirley and Anton not even waiting to get to Blackpool before they start the drunk judging – I don’t think even the most ardent of Tilly stans (of which I am one according to The Metro) would have considered this routine a 9, let alone Motsi’s 8, but she did seem to be judging it in comparison to her Jive during which she very nearly completely corpsed. Which sure, by that logic it was practically a 12.

Judges’ Scores:
: 6
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 9
Anton: 9

I have 2 very important questions for Nikita. Firstly, What conditioner do you use? And secondly, What Eldritch monstrosity have you made a blood pact with for this Paso to end up second on the leaderboard? Was it Danny Dyer?

How many guitars will his bloodlust desire?

Greg Wise and Karen Hauer: Sponsored by Kleenex!
Samba / Macarena – Los del Rio

Well first of all, the biggest mistake here was the fact we didn’t get a single bit of footage of Emma Thompson doing The Macarena because apparently she was too busy with the Earthshot Awards for the week. Is our potential planetary doom really worth more than me getting to make a Gif of you doing he Macarena in your London townhouse? IS IT EMMA? IS IT?
But I suppose if I knew my husband was about to do THIS on national television, I too would try and fill my life with something worthy and meaningful too

I can’t help but think my insistence that Greg Wise is the thirst trap of the series is somewhat to blame for this. I wished on The Monkey’s Paw and failed to see wildly thrusting while dressed as both your dad and your great aunt at a distant relative’s wedding as the consequences. I shall never manage to atone for the gravity of this sin.
And to think, this routine started so innocently

This is The Birth of Venus now. Botticelli is cancelled, Karen Hauer is the new Renaissance Master. This shall hang in Judi Love’s Nouveau Louvre. Cue everyone telling me that The Birth of Venus is actually in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. WELL GUESS WHAT? We’ll burn the Uffizi down too.
*record scratch*
*freeze frame*
I don’t quite know when my blog became the number 1 spot for art terrorism but here we are. TEAR DOWN THE GUGGENHEIM.

On It Takes Two, Karen just about swore on the Bible that she would not be making Greg Wise perform the Macarena on Saturday night and I think it’s safe to say we all knew she was telling a great big fib

Karen, you and Jamie McBiscuits dressed up as a pair of twinning mariachi band members, we can see right through you!
She did at least try her best to get it all out of system before Saturday night though

I appreciate the show’s ongoing attempt to reclaim Carpool Karaoke from The One Whomst Is Bad. It might take more than a bunch of petrol garage flowers in the backseat though.

The entire routine was pretty much a disaster, mostly because he started on the wrong foot right out of the gate so everything that followed was out of time or in the wrong place – but let’s be honest a Samba to The Macarena, was never meant to be good which Karen knew all too tell as her face spoke 1000 words for most of the routine

“You guys owe me a ringer next year or so help me God you will feel my WRATH!”
And the judges went IN on it because apparently Week 4 is Shirley’s cut off point for forgiving mistakes and Craig said it had all the movement of a double hip replacement which Karen obviously did not appreciate and once dismissed from the judging basically marched Greg off the dancefloor like she was one of the mothers on Dance Moms

the Kleenex sponsored trousers making it an even funnier sight, only Karen could fume while dressed like a new cleaning product developed by a team on The Apprentice.
Oh and if anyone is a mouth reader, I would LOVE to know what Katya was saying during the judging

I’m seeing “that’s crazy!” and then a POWERFUL sneer, which honestly could have been in regards to any of the judging comments or just the Sambarena in general.

Craig: 3
Motsi: 5
Shirley: 5
Anton: 6

Chapter 17 of My Jack Sparrow x Will Turner Fanfic
American Smooth / I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) – Aretha Franklin & George Michael

It seems our favourite pair of pirates have hung up their lives of plundering the seven seas and have settled on the shores of a Canadian lake

For some reason this sounds like a gay pirate stereotype and I don’t even know why.

This was easily John and Johannes’s weakest routine and I think a lot of that is down to their outfits

And not just because John appears to have layered a turtleneck, a silk shirt and a waistcoat (Vicky, u ok hun?) They’re just VERY fitted and it gave the dance a sense of rigidity and stiffness that made them seem uncomfortable dancing it.
The judges were similarly whelmed with it although only Craig could really say why because the others are still working out how to give negative critiques to these two without it sounding passively homophobic. Craig was mostly baffled by the story of the dance. Quite how you can be confused by a pair of pirates swapping their lives of piracy for mid-tear banking jobs in Toronto, I don’t know. It makes perfect sense to me AND I WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING STORY NOTES. I did love that he noted that the opening segment was like a dance down in Heaven and Motsi thought he meant Heaven as in…

and was evidently unaware of Heaven, the enduring and labyrinthine gay nightclub in London – that’s the TripAdvisor description and I love it so much.

Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 8
Anton: 8

Rhys and Nancy
Salsa / Butter – BTS

In order to prepare for their Salsa, Rhys and Nancy went to meet Karim, because who could ever forget his and Amy’s salsa in which they performed while being watched over by the benevolent Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in the sky

and what is Karim doing nowadays? Well, it turns out he haunts The Rex Cinema

to be honest “Cinema Ghost” sounds like my dream job, so good for him.

It turns out the cinema visit was because Rhys and Nancy are playing the parts of Worst Cinema Ushers In The Business

all I wanted was some popcorn and what I got was a frenzied salsa to BTS’s Butter, which I’m a little bit surprised by because I thought we had blown the BTS budget in the launch show with the Permission to Dance group number but apparently not!

As ever with Rhys there is a lot of… a lot. To the point where I find myself having to hold my breath whenever he dances because I’m terrified he’s going to lose control of his own feet and just become some sort of hot footed murder machine. I did feel like he had more control in this than in his Cha Cha where he danced like he had 1000 volts coursing through his body at any one given moment though.
Nancy however is challenging Jowita for the title of The New Janette with the amount of flinging around she put into this routine

it’s still not quite Janette’s steely defiance of the very concept of gravity but we’re getting there.

The judges once again find themselves locked into a constant praising of Rhys’s personality and energy, essentially writing some glowing letters of recommendation for the West End but they did feel like it required more containment to fully be a salsa. Craig meanwhile was just happy to have finally been shown something big and bombastic.
And if you’re wondering what the masculine version of a “pocket rocket” is, according to Motsi Mabuse, it’s a “power packet”. The things you learn on this show. None of it really about dancing.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 7
Anton: 8

Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec
Tango / Por una Cabeza – Carlos Gardel

I’m mostly surprised that Sara managed to learn a single step of this tango given that Aljaz seemed to insist on teaching her while wearing this hat

but learn it she certainly did! I’m not sure how much I really liked this routine, I didn’t find it particularly interesting beyond the fact it opened looking like a cover of an incredibly badly written but delightfully raunchy romance novel you tend to only find in charity shops

it’s all in the purple keying.
The show did unfortunately fail to mention the fact that Por una Cabeza was famously used in the tango scene from Scent of a Woman – SO DING MR. SKORJANEC, MOVIE WEEK WAS LAST WEEK. I would honestly admire anyone who came out onto the dancefloor and said, “Yes, our movie theme is Scent of a Woman.” luckily Aljaz didn’t lift the choreography from the film while insisting that it was meant to be awkward because they were after all preserving the historical integrity of Academy Awards darling, Al Pacino’s performance as a blind alcoholic.
Sara’s only real issue was with her head placement as she steadfastly tried not to look at her feet

Everything else though? Praised to the heavens (as in sky, not the nightclub) with Motsi giving us our first ART OF DAHNCE moment of the series as she thanks Sara for respecting dance and you know… not doing The Macarena.

Craig: 9
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 9
Anton: 9

Dan(iel) Walker and Nadiya Bychkova
Cha Cha Cha – Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

Fresh off the back of one waking nightmare, Dan was being forced into another and being made to relive a school disco which as it turns out, Nadiya never got to experience so she doesn’t know the thrilling highs of having to navigate a table of snacks mostly consisting of strangely soggy crisps.
In order to get into the school days spirit, Dan took Nadiya back to his old school and for some unknown reason they made the choice to accompany the whole thing to Starz In Their Eyes by Just Jack, a song explicitly about selling the hollowness of fame to the working class

the whole thing had major Big Church Camp Energy, but I think that’s just a Dan Walker thing.

So having successfully both inspired the children and doomed them to be tabloid fodder – at least according to the editors – Dan and Nadiya were ready to CBT their way through his first school disco

it’s weird how Strictly just somehow suits the discomfort of a school disco.
Also, Nadiya’s dress is that perfect embodiment of covetable retro hideousness that every school dance outfit is, and Dan looks like he might have mugged Paul Lynde which is how every boy in 1990 dressed…?

Dan being in an 80s gameshow host of a suit, didn’t really help with the fact the dance didn’t quite read as a Cha Cha because Nadiya apparently instead decided to just go ham on the Evolution of Dance choreography, which isn’t nearly as inspiring to Motsi as Sara’s Feminist Respect for DAHNCE apparently. But watching Nadiya and Dan embracing their inevitable carcinisation was mightily fun to watch

One day we will all indeed just be crabs, we might as well start practicing. And it got the seal of approval from AJ

and is that not what we all crave?
As for the non-crustacean components of the dance, it was all a little awkward, which you could potentially argue was Dan preserving the historical accuracy of being a 13 year old in even vague proximity to a girl, but you really can’t overlook the fact he just didn’t really know what he was meant to be doing with that free hand of his

very much the same energy as an actor trying to walk normally whenever a director directs them to walk normally in a scene and suddenly their normal walk becomes a sort of jaunty magpie-like strut. None of the judges bring it up though and Shirley commends him for being so coordinated, which in comparison to last week, where he almost wandered off like your dad in a supermarket, I suppose he was.

Craig: 5
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Judi Love and Graziano
Waltz / Hero – Mariah Carey

Fresh off the back of surviving the dance off Judi and Graziano were bringing out the big guns with a very sentimental Mariah Carey Waltz, the Mariah Carey-ness of it all apparently eating into the budget so significantly that unfortunately we had to cut The Waltz Bench from the number. BOO. And you know Graziano meant serious emotional business this week because his hair had been scraped back to within an inch of its life for a maximum intensity formal mullet

the dance was dedicated to Judi’s parents, having lost her father only 5 months ago it was a very emotional and raw performance for her and like the judges said, that side of the dance came across and it was a lovely performance to watch so of course everyone has to kind of tiptoe around their critiques – Craig even outright stating he’s not going to list the mistakes, of which there were apparently many


much like Greg’s Sentimental Disco Wafting, he lures them with a gentle critique and then SLICES them with an ice cold 4 while Shirley and Anton continue with their emotionally prescribed 7s. Truly a tale as old as time.

Craig: 4
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Adam Peaty and Katya Jones
Argentine Tango / Tango in the Night – Fleetwood Mac

With these two getting to dance another inaugural dance, Adam obviously needed to get into the mood of the Argentine Tango and what better way to do this than… force two experts in the field of the Argentine Tango to dance in an empty swimming pool on a day when Adam and Katya were wearing their puffiest coats?

not gonna lie, having the words “Splash by Hut” almost in constant view, did somewhat ruin the drama and seductiveness of the routine.

But Katya was determined to capture the turbulent beauty of The Swimming Pool of Pent Up Sexual Frustration

I love an Argentine Tango, week 4 is far too early for one, but I will cherish this routine forever for one very good reason and that’s because Katya made Adam mime out breaststroke

that is some galaxy brain choreography that could only come from the mind of the woman that choreographed a Matrix themed Paso Doble. God bless you Miss Jones, we are not worthy. I do however wish they had bitten the bullet and dressed Adam up in a full scuba suit, you were making him mime breaststroke Katya, GIVE ME ALL OR GIVE ME NOTHING.
Sadly the entire dance wasn’t just a game of poolside charades as they did have an actual Argentine Tango to dance – I have high hopes for their couple’s choice. And in true Katya style it was a delight of mostly insane lifts that looked like Adam trying to put a coat on in a howling gale

or scanning something at the Tesco self-checkout

hey, not all of them can be winners.
He does struggle a little bit when it comes to letting Katya out of a lift though, the dance almost coming to a momentary pause and somewhat losing its fluidity but as far as an Argentine Tango in week 4 goes? It was pretty fire. And how can we not talk about The Not-Kiss That Set The Express Alight

clearly SOMEBODY was a little mad that AJ and Kai racked up all of the Showmance headlines last week. The best part of it all being that Adam Peaty’s girlfriend is fully playing into the whole non-drama on all of her socials. I can’t wait for Janette to toss logs onto this tabloid inferno with as much glee as she did with Kai telling AJ he loved her after their American Smooth last week.
And TessBot’s review?

that tracks.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 8
Anton: 8

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington
Samba / Don’t Go Yet – Camila Cabello

I think the plan here was to end on a rowsing, big old party of a note with Aj’s glorious return to Latin dancing. Unfortunately AJ’s legs had other plans and decided they were just not going to work very well this week – she didn’t even manage to hit that signature strut very well! But as ever, she looked a vision

Shirley does vaguebook the wardrobe department again for giving AJ such a short dress which only highlighted her recalcitrant legs – but to be fair, that dress would’ve been knee length on just about anyone else. And it’s quite telling how bad this dance was considering the judges all mostly fell back on telling AJ she looked phenomenal, some more successfully than others as Anton uses the opportunity to execute a perfect backhanded compliment as he says “You need two things when you dance: you have to look good and move well. And you look good, so you’re halfway there.” – MEDIC FOR MISS ODUDU.
Despite their best attempts to bring the Brazilian Carnival vibe, the dance just never quite got there, not that making the dancefloor look like the Love Island villa was really taking us to the most exotic of climes

it does at least all make Kai look a little bit like he came from sometime within the last 2 decades and didn’t just suddenly appear here straight from the 50s.

Craig: 5
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 8
Anton: 8

And that’s that on that, leaving us with a fully bonkers leader board

  1. Sara and Aljaz’s Tango: A Typo Strewn Erotic Novel
  2. Nikita’s Hamtastic Paso ft. Tilly Ramsay
    • Adam And Katya’s Swimming Pool of Pent Up Sexual Frustration
  3. Rhys and Nancy, all I wanted was some popcorn.
  4. Tom and Amy’s Anton and Erin Cosplay
  5. John and Johannes as Reformed Pirates: In Canada!
  6. AJ and Kai vs AJ’s Legs
  7. Rose and Giovanni Visit 80s Narnia
  8. Dan Walker’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Session with Dr. Bychkova
  9. Judi and Graziano’s Benchless Waltz
  10. Greg Wise and Karen Hauer: Sponsored by Kleenex!

And so, 11 couples hope to avoid the Sunday dance-off

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of the Strictly’s fourth week and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

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