Strictly 2022, It Takes Two, Week 1: Gravity Averse Core

OH, there’s more!?

So this is new! So much happens during the week with Strictly that I never manage to fit into the recaps and so I thought I would make a ~short~ sort of It Takes Two Digestif every week. Also, I need somewhere to catalogue all of the screenshots I take – during Strictly season I take roughly 1600 a week. DON’T LOOK AT ME.

Monday: Reject Modernity, Embrace Gossism

Jayde & Karen
Jayde is very much on the Miss Congeniality Campaign Trail – I don’t think there’s a single publication in all of Britain that hasn’t had an interview with her this week and she’s probably done press for Guam too, it is after all absolutely essential to secure the Micronesian voting bloc. In order to continue her foraging for public goodwill, she had come dressed as a politician doing a very apologetic press tour for claiming an AGA on expenses

She wastes absolutely no time in praising everyone behind the scenes – a move usually reserved for a tearful goodbye, but I’d be grateful too to anybody that decided not to leak the footage of my reveal going horribly wrong in rehearsals as they admit happened. Or at least Jayde admits it, Karen is completely consumed by the memory of Jayde losing a wrestling match against a magnetised boilersuit

I think she’ll at least be spared the risk this week as the two of them are doing the Tango to Adele’s Rumour Has It and Jayde will probably be doing some alarmingly convincing Adele cosplay


James & Amy
These two will also be tangoing this weekend, theirs being to Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits and speaking of bad habits, James struck his tango pose and Amy seemed physically pained by it

but to be fair to the poor guy, he only has so much time to practice his dancing because his Eastenders schedule is insane AND he’s chosen to do his own patio

so guess who’s getting the Bob The Builder cha cha cha for 100 Years of the BBC Week.
James does also continue to be the most accidentally queer man in existence by giving a transmasc demonstration in binder etiquette with the aid of an increasingly enigmatic Tyler West

what an ally.

Joreography Jorner
Having finally relented that getting a new pro in to do every installment of Choreography Corner was like herding tap dancing cats, they have locked down Joanne Clifton as the face of Choreography Corner

this does of course mean that the whole thing does now feel a little bit like nursery school as Joanne makes Rylan mime walking on grapes, but how else are they meant to get the clips for that ~adorable~ children dancing along to the routines montage?
She of course thinks everything is fabulous and the judges are all a bunch of big meanies – I was a big fan of her insisting Craig was too harsh about calling Kym’s jive “sluggish” just as the footage on the monitor hits the moment she does the slo-mo bit that sucked all of the energy out of the routine. But even Joanne’s unflappable positivity wavered when Rylan made her confront the tapestry of horrors that was Tony Adams’s Tango

they are however still insisting that Tony is having a great time and loving life despite the fact he clearly wanted the world to swallow him up on Saturday night

I’m sure his Charleston is going to be fine…

After last year in which Nadiya’s approach to It Takes Two was to wear increasingly couture negligees to cause Dan Walker as much religious guilt as possible, I can only hope that this twinning outfit is a sign of things to come

put Matt in a satin slip dress if you have to – he’d probably be up for it considering this week he’s dancing a Samba to Night Fever by The Bee Gees and has requested a suit so tight it almost looks sprayed on which alongside his very impressive cat-like yowling only fuels my hunger for SkimbleGoss

we have to strike now while the iron that is Nadiya’s Goofy Era is hot, because it’s rapidly cooling down as Nadiya decides she’s going to beef with the judges over their scores – although Matt clarifies that Craig and Motsi are cool because they gave constructive critiques, completely neglecting the fact they ALL scored him 5.

Tuesday: Quicksteppifying Beyoncé

Have you ever seen a nude illusion silk shirt?

Matt Goss will take 15 in increasingly deep shades of orange.

Things We Learned About The Enigmatic Tyler West This Week:
1. His Achilles Heel is a literal Achilles Heel.
2. He has a deep rooted fear of becoming a meme, which I suppose makes me his inevitable Judas.
3. His mother has started a blood feud with Craig.
4. He doesn’t know how long a marathon is and can easily be tricked into doing charity events so guess who’s going to be trekking across the Atacama Desert for Children In Need with nothing but a Swiss Army knife and Ronan Keating for company.
5. He has a loose ring

Call me a detective in a Prestige BBC drama who wears nice coats and does lots of sighing in the cold, probably played by Suranne Jones, because I feel like I’m finally beginning to piece his life together.

It’s Carlos Gu And Molly’s There Too
In rather exciting news, the word of Gossism seems to be spreading faster than initially anticipated with Carlos being the latest convert

and it’s a strong 90s nostalgia assist from Molly who, being born in 2001, I imagine looks over a collection of second hand Atomic Kitten and B*Witched CDs and muses how she was born in the wrong decade, oblivious to the perils of LimeWire and CraigsList.
Carlos is still on the Rumba Revivalism Campaign, however Molly doesn’t have to worry about clearing that hurdle yet and instead will have to wade her way through a Quicksteppified version Beyonce’s Love On Top that involves umbrellas

Dave Arch may have gone a little too far this time.
But more importantly Molly is giving us the classic “I’m just a normal girl, me” schtick so expect a VT with her friends meeting up at an eerily empty bowling alley and awkwardly pretending they haven’t accidentally liked that shirtless picture Carlos posted on Instagram in 2017 any week now just to prove she has friends that aren’t on the BBC payroll or some sort of sock puppet.

Joreography Jorner 2:

Joanne’s armpit is shouting at us.

Ellie and Johannes
Despite Ellie pulling off a very successful Quickstep routine, her daughter had one minor complaint and is the only person in the world currently writing Ellie Taylor X Johannes Radebe fanfiction over on AO3

someone’s going to have to sit her down and explain a few things before she has her hopes firmly dashed in an Argentine Tango that is 90% limb and 10% Ellie desperately trying not to laugh; a losing battle if her attempt at Paso Face is anything to go by

but Ellie does continue to serve great Reaction Face and her It Takes Two interviews are exactly as unhinged as I wanted them to be – she’s like the AntiGoss

that last face being her immediate reaction to Rylan mentioning the Paso Doble, which they’re doing to Les Toreadors – a traditional paso potentially heralding the end of last year’s short-lived venture into the category of paso doble I call “America’s Next Top Paso” in which the theme and music choice is so baffling none of it makes sense and generally feels like something that came from the fevered mind of Tyra Banks in 2008.

Wednesday: Golden Himbo Ratios

Will & Nancy
I did think Nancy would be made of stronger stuff but apparently only one week in and she’s already broken

but to be fair, I think I would be this elated too if I successfully got through my week 1 Jive with my ankles still in tact after my last jive was Rhys Stephenson, a man practically cast ONLY to do the Jive, massively cocking it up and just about shattering my tibia.
By contrast, Will just looks like he’s preparing for a fireside M&S photoshoot with a golden retriever and a plate of luxury mince pies

but he’s very pleased with the reaction to his jive and I’m sure is ready to heavily lean into his hard earned title of The Hips and Arse of Series 20 with this week’s Salsa to Luther Vandross’s Never Too Much. Meanwhile the chyron writers already feel like they’ve hit the Week 7 wall of trying to think of punny things to write

If it’s not Two Pints of Salsa and a Packet of Hips next week I’ll eat one of Matt Goss’s many hats.

Fleur & Vito
Most of the interview is spent welcoming Vito into the fold of It Takes Two and I have to say, I think he’s an excellent replacement for Aljaz – they have the same golden retriever ratio of Handsome to Goofball making them the perfect Himbos

This week Fleur is doing the Viennese Waltz with absolutely no mention of motion sickness because we all saw that cha cha cha and know that Fleur could go through a 140 minute eco wash and come out of it not feeling even slightly dizzy. They assure us that things are being slowed down for their Viennese Waltz, which they’re doing to the lo-fi-est of Lo-Fi tracks, Glimpse of You by Joji.

Ranger Hamza & Jowita
I was fully prepared to give Fleur the Best Dressed Guest award for gold snakeskin suit, but then Hamza rocked up in his lavender toned kilt and kind of blew the fashion game out of the water

and was as charming as he was dashing, I think my heart melted a little bit when Jowita congratulated him for getting such a high mark for his foxtrot and he leaned in to say “we did that”

I haven’t become this emotionally invested in a couple since I watched The Animals of Farthing Wood and had to take a solid 2 days off from school because I was mourning Mr. and Mrs. Pheasant – HE DIED LOOKING AT HIS WIFE’S COOKED CORPSE. Here’s hoping this doesn’t end in similar tragedy although the fact Hamza is already having to tape his knees after one week is a bad sign

but he is also doing 9 hours of jive training a day which is madness that even rocks Janette to her gravity averse core

and if you’re wondering how Hamza is going to manage his hair with the franticness of a jive, the answer is Rapunzel braids

do a gender-swapped Tangled quickstep to When Wil My Life Begin for Movies Week YOU COWARDS, and not least of all because the Medium Sized Horse could come out of retirement for it.

Richie & Giovanni
So, the elephant in the room with these two is that they’re allegedly having a Lulu and Brendan behind the scenes and are not getting along at all, this is all based entirely off of an interview they did on The One Show which has been described as “awkward”, entirely forgetting the fact The One Show is awkward in it’s very nature – the two of them were being interviewed by Alex Jones while sitting on hastily arranged bar stools in a back-of-the-facility BBC studio for god’s sake

this interview of course being sandwiched between another interview with Sue Barker and a segment on giant vegetable growers because of course it was, this is The One Show.
And for all his machismo and the Am I Having a Rollicking Affair With My Partner?-ness of Giovanni, he is kind of just an awkward guy – and yeah, I imagine it does take a little time to get used to Richie’s enthusiasm but it’s unignorable that a fair amount of this assumption of a feud is based on homophobia and the idea of Richie “forcing himself” on Giovanni. The biggest red flag being that the ghoul that is Allison Pearson is the one fanning these flames, having bizarrely chosen queerness and disability as the things that are killing Strictly despite the fact the only two finalists left able to stand last year were a gay man and a deaf woman.
But Giovanni is dealing with it in the most Giovanni way he could, by asking where his camera is

it doesn’t *not* look like a contractual hostage situation but I have a hard time feeling that THIS Giovanni is that upset about being in a male/male partnership

and the last thing I want is for Richie, a self-confessed Strictly superfan, to have a bad experience.
With the rumours set straight, they get to talk about their routine this week and apparently the Quicksteppification of Beyoncé is in full swing despite the fact they’re dancing to Barry Manilow’s Dancin’ Fool

What have we done to piss God off so much? Why is this happening? Does Beyonce know?

Thursday: Gorka’s Bandwagon

Kaye & Kai:
With early clips of their training footage looking good, it’s all gone a bit south as upon playing their Charleston music in the studio Kai had to hiss at Kaye in order to get her to do some arm swaying with him, Kaye however couldn’t get it in sync him and so Kai’s hopes for a strong comeback Charleston were dashed as he watched the mess unfold on the in-studio monitor

but they’re training footage still looks alright so it seems that if, like Michigan J. Frog, nobody looks at her, she can dance. And it sounds like Kai has quite the Charleston planned, promising us the “Cirque du Soleil of Charlestons” – a brave thing to promise after your dance partner just spent 40% of a Tango trying to order a drink.

Helen & Gorka
With Helen’s natural dance talent, Gorka is well and truly checked into the competition and will not be spending his It Takes Two interviews imagining he was in The Bahamas while Katie McGlynn honks away like a goose next to him. In order to minimise injuries, he has taken to transporting Helen around Elstree Studios like a MasterChef contestant having to travel 45 canapés across Alexandra’s Palace

I did enjoy the anecdote about Helen shouting “RAMP! RAMP! RAMP!” but with Gorka’s accent it sounded like “RUMP! RUMP! RUMP!” which would also have been appropriate

oh, Helen knows.
They’ve got a cha-cha-cha this week to Lady Gaga’s Rain On Me, so it seems a bit rude of Molly and Carlos to have stolen the umbrellas for their increasingly cluttered sounding Quickstep.

Pro Routine: It’s Called Fashion, Sweaty.
Truly we have been blessed with an early deployment of the Strictly Fashion Week Routine, with Nancy being the Paris Hilton to Strictly’s Versace Spring/Summer 2022, let’s just hope she doesn’t walk like she’s a perpetual motion device with a grudge.
I’m so excited for this routine, they’re amongst the best pro routines, and often the most insane outside of Jason Gilkison throwing Halloween Spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks

I will never be over Nadiya dressed as Sexy Saruman – she might be in more familiar waters with this routine though as someone has to fill the Victoria’s Secret quota for the evening.

Let’s Get Frocked
Nadiya is in a gold jumpsuit and it is confirmed that Matt Goss is going Full Bee Gees with a white suit, as modelled by Helen Skelton

Ellie Taylor is in bright pink which I hope someone warns Hamza about lest he try and rehome her to the Slimbridge Wetlands and Wildfowl Centre.
Amy has very much drawn the short straw this week and will be dancing a tango in what is absolutely a bedazzled wetsuit

and Helen comes face-to-face with her little beaded number and was extremely excited about it

that was until Vicky Gill started explaining all the different coloured beads to her like Valentina in the average episode of Drag Race: Untucked and Helen sort of glazed over.

Ellie & Nikita:
The standard discussion about how Strictly is more nerve-wracking and intense than an Olympic swimming event, which is understandable given that Ellie’s cha-cha-cha training mostly involved Nikita shining bright lights into her eyes and demanding if she could identify the triangle in Dance by DNCE all in the name of teacing her musicality. This would also explain why for significant portions of their saturday night Cha Cha Cha Ellie did look a bit like she was trying to solve a particularly hard cryptic crossword. And her only relief from the intense music lessons was a little sleep behind the sofa, not on the sofa, BEHIND the sofa

the things you can do to your partner when their dad isn’t Gordon Ramsay.
They’re the first couple to dance a waltz this year as the show seems to be increasingly trying to phase them out of existence but it was probably the best option to allow them time to work out how to pace and adjust the hold for their ballroom routines.

Friday: Samba War Flashbacks

Tony & Katya, now with wings:

In the wake of their Tango, their approach to discussing it is mostly for Katya to just cackle every time they mention it while Tony vaguely hints at the whole thing being a little bit traumatic and needing to schedule a session with Dr. Winkleman on the therapy chaise, which might help him take less of his aggression out on Katya’s ankles

this of course being as much of an excuse to show off the Louboutins as the bruises, which are of course the result of their Charleston to My Old Man’s A Dustman, in which Katya promises us bins, tricks and legs everywhere – the last time we saw Katya like that being the heady days of KissGate.

Kym & Graziano
These two were obviously very disappointed with their Jive score with Graziano still too shy to commit to fully beefing with Craig over a 4 because he knows there’s a benched Neil Jones in the wings waiting to take a spot next year, so instead he just mumbles something inaudible about it and they move swiftly on to Kym listing off reasons that she’s struggling to train, with filming Waterloo Road and her 11 year old rudely insisting on going to school being the main problems – James is going to need more than a patio. The biggest obstacles seems to be Kym’s confidence with Graziano stopping the interview halfway through to give her a motivational speech but because it’s Graziano the whole thing felt a bit like he was about to declare his undying love for her

Like Fleur, it’s a Viennese Waltz for these two, unlike Fleur though, Kym is struggling with the spinning because she does suffer from vertigo and there’s a significant amount of training footage in which she has the same facial expression as a carsick dog that knows it’s about to absolutely ruin the backseat

and no motivational speech is going to help with.

The Friday Panel: A King Amongst Men
It was a strong start to the Friday Panel series with Ugo Monye, Dr. Ranj and Mollie King all on the duty, the last of which was threatening us with an on-air birth, a real possibility as Rylan repeatedly yodelled at her giving her war flashbacks to her salsa

meanwhile Ugo has to field questions for dances he never danced and Ranj was there because there’s nobody better at finding a compliment when you’re looking at the panicked rehearsal footage of Tony Adams and an assortment of bins – but it was nice that everyone on the panel had actually watched the show on Saturday night, we’ll see how long that lasts. There’s big support for Will and Nancy’s salsa based purely on how filthy it looks and we learnt that Ugo is friends with The Enigmatic Tyler West, I wonder if they put on vests together?
Apparently it’s too early to start predicting winners, however all three of them were very game to throw Tony under the sparkly bus

HE WAS IN THE STUDIO GUYS! One of you couldn’t have thrown in a charitable Kaye to soften the blow?

And so, we head into our first elimination weekend…

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