Strictly 2021 – Week 5, Main Show: Romancing a Cassowary

Welcome to Filth Week, your director for the evening will of course be Katya Jones.

We enter Week 5 and the weekly absences only continue as this week Judi and Graziano are sitting out the week because Judi tested positive for Covid – it’s certainly one way of avoiding the Dance Off. I wonder if they’ll be allowed to carry over their Olivia Newton-John Cha Cha? Who doesn’t want to see a pair of legwarmer wearing zombies? Pilates instructing ghouls?

Speaking of Halloween, I can only imagine Tess and Claudia have something spectacular up their sleeves considering this week was a bit of a nothing effort

if the two of them aren’t dressed as Georgian ghosts next week I will have stern words with their stylists.

Shirley was at least bringing it in her Duchess of The Emerald City get-up

but truly the night belonged to Motsi Mabuse who was dressed in what I can only describe as a screaming watermelon peril

I love every part of this insanity, it’s fun, it’s silly, it reminds of the time Tess wore a screaming vaginal hellscape in the days when she used to have fun with her outfits

WHERE IS THIS TESS? How do we bring her back?

Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova as Mrs. Walker
Viennese Waltz / She’s Always a Woman – Billy Joel

For the first time this series we’re kicking off the show with a traditional ballroom dance because as they said in 18th century Vienna, “nothing gets a party started like a Viennese Waltz”. And Dan was particularly excited for this waltz because Nadiya had cooked up the most amazing concept for it. And that concept? A traditional ballroom dance set in a park

The twist being that they didn’t have a bench. She’s an artist. A visionary. Strictly has truly entered its Cubist movement.
The dance was of course dedicated to Dan’s wife because they were dancing to She’s Always a Woman which is her favourite song and so for the evening Nadiya was playing the role of Mrs. Walker, which I thought was a bit daring for Dan – I wouldn’t have expected His Good Christian Self™ to be ok with even the illusion of adultery. Speaking of adultery, Dan was dressed up as Tory politician romancing a novelty Hawaiian lei

Vicky Gill, please supply me with a 1500 word essay about why this dress exists, and don’t you dare blame the Venezuelan ostrich farmers for this one.
Of course because the dance was being dedicated to Dan’s wife, who did have to sit in the audience watching him dance with another woman (I always find that delightfully weird), Dan has of course entered The Family Wars

A spouse is worth 1 point, Children over the age of 10 are worth 1 point each, the novelty dog breed is worth 3 points with a bonus point for being a nice colour. So Dan Walker is 8 points up. Ugo Monye still leads at 12.
As for the dance, it was certainly a more competent attempt at ballroom than the waking nightmare of a foxtrot but there’s still a stiffness and a reservation to Dan’s movements which really hampered the elegance and flow of the dance but I think it deserved the sweep of 7s that it got.

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

Before we get to The Death Slot™ we have to have out Ts&Cs cameo appearance, this time from John Bishop and his Slightly Yikes Crowd

an audience that packed in the midst of a pandemic is… well it’s more concerning than Emilia Fox being held hostage in a Toby Carvery. Has anyone heard from her? I still want to know if the Yorkshire Puddings were ok.

Adam Peaty and Katya Jones
Samba / Faith – George Michael

Being back in Latin had Adam a little worried and he was a little in his head over how to approach this week’s Samba but Katya had the perfect thing to perk him and get him into the groove of what was essentially an audition for Magic Mike 3: The Curse of Count Crotchula

the fact his grandmother and aunt had to come and watch him gyrate around a gymnasium with a woman that every tabloid in Britain is determined the portray as a man stealing harpy <3. Seemingly realising this, the show had to create some sort of a segue to make it Not Weird™ so Adam had to talk about how is grandmother has always given him faith in himself. Nice save Adam.

We might as well cut to the chase, here’s this week’s Adam Peaty Gif Archive

at least they know their audience. And bear in mind, his grandmother and aunt got a private viewing of all of this.
And while Adam’s hips can certainly not be criticised, in fact we should probably gild them, ensure them and put them in the Natural History Museum at this point, they’re the greatest relic that Britain has to offer. GIVE THE ELGIN MARBLES BACK AND REPLACE THEM WITH DISMEMBER’S PEATY HIPS.
As for the rest of the dance? I thought it was all a little bit too jerky and stiff, which I’m going to put down to the fact BELTED JEANS ARE NOT DANCE TROUSERS but also, what is this move?

I get it, Adam Peaty in tight acid wash jeans is a sure fire social media phenomenon – you could have just had him post a TikTok in them.
The jeans can’t quite be blamed for his chest thrusting though which looked like one of the weaker bit-actors on Holby City having a cardiac arrest

I think the judges were very generous with their scoring of this and while there were good moments, Anton giving it a 7 mostly because it wasn’t a ridiculous novelty samba the likes of THIS

is a bit weird.

As for TessBot’s review

she only continues to be The Audience Surrogate Horndog.

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

Accidental Carole Baskins and Sadly Not Joe Exotic
Rumba / You’re Still The One – Shania Twain

As everyone tiptoes around not wanting to be the first person to call Sara a “Girlboss”, her choice of training shirts only continue to signpost our way to the inevitable

SOMEONE JUST DO IT, TAKE THE PLUNGE, SHE’S CLEARLY BEGGING YOU TO. If only Tulisa was a judge, the two of them would have had matching “Gaslight. Gatekeep. Girlboss” tattoos by Week 3. Of course it never was going to happen this week because Sara had been demoted from Feminist Icon of the Week because of The Tilly Situation, which I will get to, believe me.

As Shirley said, there are 2 types of rumba you can do: “Balletic and Earthy” or the more common “two fornicating flamingos having a ruddy bad time” – she did however forget the super secret third type of rumba: “Hobbits wed beneath the watchful Eye of Sauron”

Aljaz only continues to stealth Movie Week.
Sara was of course the first of the female celebs to dance the rumba not that that gets treated with nearly as much reverence as a male celeb doing one – sadly you cannot Girlboss a rumba. This was also Sara’s first Latin number she’d be doing post-Shrekening and the first one she wouldn’t be doing as a character, despite the fact Vicky Gill and the Make-up department had styled her like Carole Baskins at a spring wedding

you could have just gone the whole hog and dressed Aljaz as Joe Exotic. Or at the very least a tiger. With the Nicolas Cage as Joe Exotic Tiger King movie in production, they’ll eventually be able to sneak that into Movie Week.
Sara could really have done with tapping into the blind confidence of Carole Baskins for this dance because it was all a little bit reserved – I’m with Craig on the emotive side of it, I didn’t see as much romance between the two of them as I did see Sara desperately trying to telepathically communicate with Aljaz about what the Hell she was meant to be doing. I do however disagree with his SEVERE undermarking of the dance – that 4 was a nonsense. Maybe Craig would have been a little more generous if Aljaz had used The Mirror Circle for his Cucaracha demonstration

you can’t half arse the dancerly arcane or those dance demons will curse you with the stickiest little rotation I’ve ever seen

Like a roomba stuck on a piece of LEGO <3
The other judges were a lot more positive praising her finishing of her lines and Motsi giving her spine a positive TripAdvisor review – 5 stars, would recommend to a friend.

Judges’ Scores:
: 4
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden
Salsa / Watermelon Sugar – Tom’s Best Mate Harry Styles

As it turns out, not even Tom Fletcher mentioning that he totally definitely knows Harry Styles and they are absolutely best mates every second sentence for an entire week was enough to so much as lure Harry Styles into sending in a portrait mode video message to the show. Harry has not returned a single one of Tom’s texts since 2015. And I’m not sure he’s going to start anytime soon after this dance – the judges seem to disagree with me though and thought it was a masterpiece, I found it to be a bit of a frenetic mess which is quite something considering they were salsa-ing to Watermelon Sugar, a song that is absolutely in no way a salsa tempo.

First of all, I cannot believe that with Tom and Amy dancing to Watermelon Sugar that it was instead Motsi dressed as the screaming watermelon peril. Although, that isn’t to say I didn’t very much enjoy Tom’s trans pride flag outfit

every trans man I follow on Twitter wore this exact outfit to Pride events this year.
Instead we had to settle for a few stickers and some pool inflatables hanging from the ceiling like the ballroom had been turned into a Newquay surf shop

glad they went for the literal interpretation of the song and not the you know… actual meaning of it all, although Amy knows

it’s easy to have forgotten that Amy even does Latin numbers after a year spent dodging them with JJ “All The Ballroom In The World, Please” Chalmers and of course she has some quite good Latin numbers in her Strictly history having Partnered Karim, whose haunted cinema was apparently not open for an advice session this week. Some say he’s trapped watching James Bond: No Time To Die Because This Film Is So Goddamn Long.
The judges mostly praise how natural Tom felt in this routine and I think that may have read better if you watched it live and were in the room and weren’t treated to close-ups of him having a thoroughly miserable time through each of the lifts Amy made him do, which to be fair he deserved the praise he got for them because they were good and even though Amy uppercut him with her knee during the first one he only lost timing for a couple of counts.
And perhaps Amy deserves some praise to for having the restraint to not put a guitar solo into the middle of all this.

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

Everyone blink twice if Giovanna Fletcher is holding you at gunpoint.

Designated Feminist Icon, Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin
Foxtrot / Little Things – One Direction

So, we all know that Tilly Ramsay has had A Week because professional 67 year old man, Steve Allen decided that it would be an OK thing to body shame a 19 year old girl. The show didn’t directly lean in to address it other than the fact she was dancing to Little Things by One Direction – I applaud the passive aggression of that song choice.
However, there was a significant increase in everyone telling Tilly how beautiful she looked and more 9s than she probably deserved but they were Positive Role Model 9s, so it’s ok.

Instead we were treated to one of my favourite TV competition show tropes of all time: the THIS PERSON HAS FRIENDS AND THEY TOTALLY DO FRIEND THINGS TOGETHER VT

These also always tend to either happen at a bowling alley or a fairground – they are after all the only two social arenas that the general public can relate to.
I am as shocked as you are that Nikita did not find away to unbutton his bowling shirt to at least the navel

he did at least make up for it on It Takes Two

at some point you just have to give up on shirts as a concept.

I was worried that the VT was a prelude to a foxtrot set in a bowling alley, the reality being even more absurd

They’re in prison aren’t they? Emotional prison, obviously. I don’t believe for a second that Tilly is capable of committing even a fictional crime. Nikita on the other hand… we all saw how he grated a sweet potato. POTATO JAIL FOR 1000 YEARS.
Like all jailed prom couples, they two of them were having a text conversation and clearly somebody in the graphics department doesn’t understand how message ordering works

that conversation very much reads as Tilly, Nikita, Tilly.

This foxtrot’s greatest strength was its simplicity because it meant that Tilly could dance it very well but it also somewhat hindered it because it’s just not a particularly memorable routine – there wasn’t a lot of panache to it, it was just kind of a by-the-numbers routine: technically excellent but sorely lacking in style and by Week 5 I think we should be seeing a touch more substance. Personally, I think this was more 8s than 9s, which would have only dropped her 2 places on the leader board and tied her with Rhys, which might have helped him out in the long run a little bit.

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

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington
Argentine Tango – Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks

Following The Samba That Shall Not Be Talked About, Kai had just the remedy for AJ and the upcoming Argentine Tango

I don’t think anything has given away the fact Kai is clearly a 40 year old bartender from the 1950s that fell through a tear in the fabric of space and time more than him calling a laptop “his little device that we can have a look at.”.

I have been looking forward to AJ doing the Argentine Tango ever since Sunday night – it is a dance by all means made for her – NOTHING BUT LEGS BABY! And then Thursday came along and Vicky Gill threatened me with a bird themed Argentine Tango and as someone who only ever does well on University Challenge during the ornithological rounds, well I was PUMPED. And then a sick dread filled me that the bird theming was… well, the avian equivalent of Bill Bailey’s Gummy Roomba Elephant

this pachyderm terror haunts me to this day.
Luckily all we had to deal with was a CGI birdcage and it was indeed AJ dressed as a sexy cassowary, it is after all a well known fact that a cassowary can kill a man with but a quick kick

whatever gets you hot under the collar Kai, I wont judge your romancing of a cassowary too harshly.
And good God was this GOOD – the band’s cover of Edge of Seventeen is one of the best the show has ever done, the lighting was SPOT ON and the two of them were just phenomenal together, and AJ’s legs delivered IN SPADES

I am quite frankly furious at how this got marked – for both Motsi and Anton to offer absolutely no negative critiques and praise the dance to the heavens and then to give it an 8 and 9 seems really, really odd to me. I mean, fair enough they weren’t exactly Shirley-ing it and applauding it with all the supressed rage of Charles Foster Kane

to be fair, I would have been furious too if everyone in the room wasn’t giving AJ Odudu a standing ovation at all times.
Craig at least offers a minor critique of wanting more action and follow-through, which I assume means he wanted them to have a big old snog at the end

SO CLOSE. Give in guys, do it for the headlines – you can’t let Adam and Katya win The Best Tabloid Fodder Couple of the Year award.

As for TessBot’s Argentine Tango Review

Eyes on stalks <3
Everything ok at home Vernon?

Judges’ Scores:
: 8
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 10
Anton: 9

Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse
Rumba / Leave The Door Open – Silk Sonic

It is VERY mean to give someone who has been out of the dancing loop for a week due to a back injury a rumba as their returning dance considering the fact it is a dance that, by all means, requires quite a lot of strain on the back – it may be slow and gentle looking but there’s a lot of posture work in there. It is then doubly mean to dress the two of them like a monochromatic Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen boudoir in the 90s

so many different textures, each more distracting than the last.
The interior decorating woes only continues though as the two of them had to compete on the dance floor with a pair of Ominous Kate Bush Curtains

and you know it’s not out of the realms of possibilities that this show is about to CGI in a giant gummy looking Kate Bush swooping through those curtains like a harbinger of doom. It might have actually helped the routine because Ugo was… not good. The rumba requires that fluid, almost molten movement from one move to the next and Ugo was sadly whipping his arms around like Jurgen McBake-Off’s childhood windmill of infinite sadness

it’s not the sexiest of imagery in evoke.
It just wasn’t a great dance for him but I certainly don’t think it’s the most unwatchable rumba in the world and I think that’s because there is a genuinely very good chemistry and relationship between Oti and Ugo – every time they’re on It Takes Two is an absolute joy – if you missed the episode where Rylan gives them this rock, you’ve truly missed out

But sadly this was a weaker rumba than Sara and Aljaz which meant Craig had rather boxed himself in and was forced to give them a 3 which felt a little harsher than necessary given the circumstances.

Judges’ Scores:
: 3
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 5
Anton: 6

Pie-rates Of The Caribbean 41: Cake by The Ocean
Charleston / Milord – Edith Piaf

It turns out that this week Johannes is coming for Bill Bailey’s History of DAHNCE gig, and you know Johannes means business because they’re in a haunted theatre on a distressed leather sofa

He’s going The Full Lucy Worsley!
We’re treated to a little run down on the history of the Charleston – which they do stress was commonly danced in male partnerships and often in groups – DO NOT GIVE THEM IDEAS FOR A CHARLESTON-A-THON, we’ve had enough injuries and health scares this year without the fear of someone taking a kicking from AJ.

My Jack Sparrow x Will Turner fanfic picks up with our two favourite retired pirates having realised that buccaneers of the open ocean just aren’t suited to negotiating the banking world of Canada and so the two of them have sought the most sophisticated life in Paris

I do have to admire the restraint shown by waiting until Week 5 to give John a baking themed routine. However, nothing else about the routine was very restrained as Johannes had PACKED it with Charleston content and John took to it immaculately – the footwork really was impeccable

and all my favourite moves were there, most excitingly The Angry Territorial Bird

it’s always a treat to watch two people going at it like a pair of rival swans and have it considered dancing – the glamour and sophistication of the 1920s is unsurpassable…
I do think that some of John’s legwork lacked strength and commitment but the joy and spirit of the routine was never lost.
And like many a rigorous baking session, it all ended in a cream pie

Also dangerous of them to use a Gregg Wallace gimmick

both because… it’s Gregg Wallace but also because Aliona was his partner for that routine and she has her lawyers on constant speed dial and a trigger happy finger.

And the Aljaz review?

Strumming his baguette in the back row.

Judges’ Scores:
: 9
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10

Serena van der Woodsen and Dan Humphrey, Who Might I Remind You Was Her Stepbrother
Viennese Waltz / Fallin’ – Alicia Keys

First of all, this is now a Rose’s Training Shoes Fanblog

I want them and I need them.

So far in the competition, Rose’s routine have all been quite cute and sedate – that does however depend on how you read the implied horror of the Titanic themed foxtrot. And so Giovanni was wanting to push her to show off her acting skills and he had the perfect plan! The two of them were going to be playing the role of A Teen Drama Couple Who Hate Fuck with Giovanni playing the role of Awful Husband™ and in detail reeling off all of his worst traits

which you know, given the tabloid gossip about Giovanni and Maura Higgins could maybe have been left on the cutting room floor. But ultimately Rose would manage to leave The Horrible, Horrible Husband™, a prospect that delighted her no end

I do love that the briefing of this routine took place in a very nice restaurant which I’m sure somewhat limited the staging budget, or that’s why I’m believing that these two Manhattan socialites’ penthouse apartment is furnished with BBC waiting room sofas

hey, at least the two of them look appropriately Gossip Girl-y

I cannot stress enough how much they’ve just dressed Rose up as Serena van der Woodsen at every formal event she ever attended and yet not a soul mentioned Gossip Girl or the fact every episode is available on BBC Iplayer, now! (not sponsored).
I adored this routine, it was delightfully camp melodrama the likes of which is lightning in a bottle on this show – we don’t get enough non-vampire related angst riddled ballroom numbers that fall outside of a tango or a paso doble and this just ticked all of the boxes for me.
I do love that we were kind of lead into this routine with the question of whether or not Rose would be able to play the role of Wife Whomst Has Had Enough Of Your Bullshit™ as though the only bit of Eastenders footage they’ve shown of Rose wasn’t her punching a guy square in the face. And she certainly took her big storming off moment at the end

and to perfectly illustrate the camp divinity of this routine, Harrison Brocklehurst on Twitter pointed out she had exactly the same energy as Scarlett Harlett storming off on Drag Race this week

I’m furious that I didn’t make the reference first, but credit where credit is due.
Obviously the judges love it, mostly because Shirley fully plans on watching it endlessly on YouTube while sipping the finest merlot and cursing her ex-husband to oblivion. Just the average Sunday night in the Ballas household, I imagine.

Judges’ Scores:
: 9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 9
Anton: 9

Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu
American Smooth / I’ve Got The World on a String – Michael Bublé

Having managed to dodge ballroom since their Week 1 Bus Stop Viennese Waltz, Rhys found himself having to tackle the American Smooth which Nancy could have very easily played as a Quickstep and allowed him be his unabashedly manic self, however she wanted to show a different side to Rhys and instead went down the slower Foxtrot route which Rhys clearly struggled with – we’re going to need a full scale Cbeebies exorcism if he ever gets to a waltz.

I do think that this routine suffered from the same hinderance as John and Johannes’s Canadian Banking American Smooth in that the outfits were just a touch to rigid and stiff

although it’s not quite three layers and a turtleneck levels of stiffness.
Shirley loved the choreography and the routine, personally I don’t find it particularly memorable beyond Nancy truly excelling in the role of Coyly Aroused Airline Pilot No. 2

I just think the theme got in the way a little bit and made it all feel a touch too gimmicky – I will however applaud Nancy for not having a whole section in the middle where Rhys just pretended to be a aeroplane like a toddler. They did also have to follow Rose and Giovanni destroying a Manhattan penthouse through the power of angry sexual frustration – Michael Bublé is always going to come off second best against that.
I’m also not sure anybody at the moment wants to particularly be reminded of airports or flying abroad – it seems a touch gauche. Should have settled for camping in Cornwall.
We’ll just expunge this routine from Rhys’s West End show reel, shall we? Unless someone’s producing Airplane!: The Sky-high Musical.

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

And so we come to our leader board

  1. The Gay British Bake Off
  2. Gossip Girl: A Two Person Stage Show
  3. Tilly and Nikita’s Prom Night Jailbirds
  4. Kai Widdrington Romancing a Cassowary
  5. Tom and Amy’s Very Family Friendly Version of Watermelon Sugar
  6. Cbeebies Airlines
  7. Adam Peaty, Adam Peaty’s Crotch and Katya Jones
  8. Nadiya’s High Concept Park
  9. Two Hobbits Defy Sauron Through The Power of Dance
  10. Doomed Interior Design

Check in tomorrow when we’ll find out which of our 11 couples had to face off in the Dance Off

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

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