Strictly 2022, Week 2, Main Show: Medium Sized Carrot Cake

Matt Goss is living my dream – dancing with Nadiya, wearing nice hats, eating entire cakes by himself while wearing nice hats.

I apologise for the amount of thrusting in this recap.

First off, I really can’t believe the response to last week’s recap, which is both exciting and a little anxiety inducing. So in order to help alleviate some of the pressure, for these first few weeks I might take a little longer on the recaps, just to make sure I’m reasonably happy with them and I hope that’ll translate to them being better reads.

As we approach the first elimination of the series, production thought it would be a good idea to test out what everyone looks like when they’re bathed in Clifford The Big Red Spotlight, with an alarming amount of them looking like they’re about to have Ryan Murphy write a tonally insensitive true crime series about the grisly murders they all committed in a small backwater town

and then some of the others look a bit like you bumped into them in the back room of the bathhouse and they have big plans for you and a rubber glove

Matt Goss has the range.

With their lighting checks done, it’s to the studio and if you’ve ever wondered why Tess and Claudia opt for black a lot of the time, it’s so that they don’t look like a pair of lemons if they come to the wide shot 3 seconds too early

but Tess has never been more in her Gwyneth Paltrow bag than she was tonight and Claudia has swapped her legs for marshmallows

over with the judges and they’ve changed the order in which they welcomed them all out having finally learned that ending the parade on Craig in an all black suit every week is a bit like when a restaurant gives you a strawberry flavoured boiled sweet with the bill, especially when you have the likes of Motsi dressed in the pelts of 300 tennis balls

and Shirley in an electric pink suit

however Shirley is still having to get used to trying to get to her chair in time now that she’s walking on third, which apparently isn’t long enough so when Tess tried to handover to her for a pithy anecdote Shirley was still getting her Burn Book ready

to be fair, it might have made her Viennese Waltz a little more interesting.
The show would very much continue in this fashion of awkward pauses and a general air of unpreparedness all culminating in a sort of Bootleg Movie Week.

Will Mellor & Nancy Xu
Salsa / Never Too Much – Luther Vandross

In what is becoming a Nancy tradition, her first post-dance debrief took place over drinks at 9am in the morning, except this time at least she and Will could both have drinks and she wasn’t having to buy Rhys a cranberry juice because Hacker T. Dog had eaten his ID

and with the two of them riding high off a 34 scoring Jive and pint glasses of mimosas, they blindly agreed to opening Week 2 with a thirst trap salsa which went wrong almost from the get-go as Will “turned on” the radio too early and had to click it twice like he genuinely thought he was responsible for cueing the music

he was very immersed in the ~character~
By his own admission he missed a couple of steps and was just generally in a state of panic the moment they dismounted their I Stand With Ukraine beach house

which explains why there were certain segments where he had the look of a man desperately trying to force a cat to take its medicine because the damn thing worked out he was lacing the cheese with antibiotics

which is far from the absolute filth we were promised throughout the week when their training footage led us to believe that 80% of this routine was gratuitous pelvic thrusting, which isn’t to say there was zero filth, this wasn’t a Dan Walker Chastity Latin routine

big fan of the fact that he later announced his kids were having a Strictly party so his two daughters had to sit with their friends and watch their father grind on another woman, their mortification was worth at least an extra mark from the judges though – you can’t ruin a kid’s 2 hour party only 10 minutes in. But Despite the wild fluctuating between panic and sex, the lifts they did worked really nicely and I thought their getting in and out of them was some of the cleanest we’ve seen, which is impressive for week 2

and of course there was the threat of Will going The Full Kuzmin in the last second of the routine

he was just showing solidarity for Nancy’s earring that went skittering across the floor, and Jayde Adams had to physically hold Matt Goss back from chasing after it like a cat – he just likes shiny things. It is however nice to see Nancy in actual dance outfits considering last year her entire run was basically just occupational fancy dress.
The judges were clearly a little deflated having expected big things after his jive and only kind of getting this tepid simmer of a salsa, but Shirley highly appreciated the wink of nip he gave her as she very much struggled to make “you’re easy on the eye” sound like a professional critique – Ma’am, there is an HR department – which did then make Motsi saying “this is not a professional show” sound like a dig, which I think Shirley’s reaction might agree with

you’re the one starting rumours about Fleur East and hotdogs, Shirley.
But not even Shirley’s thirst couldn’t quite forgive the fact Will’s arse and hips had apparently gone for a two week jaunt in Miami leaving Nancy having to Weekend At Bernie’s his pelvis through 50% of the routine.

Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 6
Anton: 7
Total: 26

In exciting news, the in-person Terms and Conditions guests are back and not weirdly skyping in from a Toby Carvery with audio that’s woefully out of sync, EMILIA FOX

and so, the first special guest was Rob Beckett, very much not saying “count”

it’s a strong start.

James Bye & Amy Dowden
Tango / Bad Habits –  Ed Sheeran

If ever there was a spot for an Ed Sheeran Tango, it’s the death slot, however the blow was being softened with a pre-dance VT dedicated entirely to how hard James is finding it to train because his Eastenders schedule is insane and every regional panto director that needs to stunt cast a Buttons has been ringing him nonstop for WEEKS now. So he and Amy have been finding any opportunity to train, including in the middle of the Eastenders breakroom, much to a still extremely intense Emma Barton’s utter delight

that’s the face a woman on the verge of turning to witchcraft to try and swap hers and James’s lives – you can have that plotline for free Eastenders.

Out on the dancefloor and this routine was a little bit of a dud, it just really struggled to read as a Tango, which I think was mostly down to the production side of it – the singer sounded like he started the song at least 2 keys higher than he should have done, the instrumental lacked impact, Vicky Gill had unfairly inflicted what is absolutely just a bedazzled wetsuit upon Amy

and the lighting looked like it was trying to sell us Madonna’s MDNA album

which I think that as much as anything kind of stunted the drama required for a tango because for a dance that was meant to be about a passionate argument, this was a little more of a minor disagreement in the soft furnishings aisle of Homebase – James really wanted the suede throw pillows but Amy knows they’ll be ruined in just a few weeks, so now he’s mad and gone to sulk in the plumbing section.
The judges however put it mostly down to James’s posture with Anton saying he needs to “dominate Amy through posture” and I would just like to add “dominate” to the ever-growing list of words I never want Anton Du Beke to say ever again, but this might make for an exciting field trip for Amy and James next week in which they visit London’s premier leather bar for the most 7pm friendly sexy routine they can muster.

Craig: 5
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 6
Anton: 7
Total: 24

Ellie Simmonds & Nikita Kuzmin
Waltz / Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley

A rare waltz sighting! Despite having at one point being the go-to first ballroom dance, last year we only got 5 waltzes, three of which appeared in Week 9 and beyond. I give it another year or two before they take it out back and Ol’ Yeller it completely and replace it with a Contemporary Ballroom category so that Vito has a better outlet for all his ~modern emotions~ and we can preserve the nauseous authenticity of the Viennese Waltz.

The waltz was a good option for Ellie and Nikita’s first ballroom because they are having to work out how to adapt ballroom frames and pacing for their height differences, and apparently in order to do so Nikita was going on an expedition to plunder the Egyptian pyramids in the hopes they may hold the answer

does The Mummy have a big enough soundtrack to warrant doing it for Movie Week? I mean they’ve burned through the movie musical canon so quickly they’re turning to Guardians of the Galexy as a theme. Ellie can choose if she wants to be Nikita’s Rachel Weisz or do a paso as the lumpy and upsetting half-Dwayne-Johnson-Half-Scorpion CGI nightmare, we can recycle Nadiya’s lobster claws

she has time to decide though, but for now it’s a thoroughly elegant waltz in which she looks absolutely stunning and Nikita looks a bit like Princess Diana


The whole thing was as saccharine sweet as you could hope for from a waltz and thoroughly elegant with the judges drawing particular attention to Ellie’s frame, almost certainly causing intense psychic damage to Allison Pearson who hasn’t been able to keep Ellie out of her mouth for more than 5 minutes this week. Motsi also commended them on their chemistry, noting one moment when Ellie had the biggest smile on her face and I too would have had a great big smile if I knew I was about to be swung around like I was on a chair-o-plane ride

I did worry that the judges were going to call them up on the fact that both of Ellie’s feet left the ground at one point

about 13 series ago this would have been the big drama of the week and Craig would have started a series long blood feud with Nikita over it. But hat picture also just really tickles me – Nikita’s look of utter placidity while Ellie is almost entirely horizontal and full on motion blurring like she’s moving at 100 miles per hour. Their Charleston is going to be great fun for both of them next week.

Craig: 7
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 7
Anton: 8
Total: 30

Helen Skelton & Gorka Marquez
Cha Cha Cha / Rain On Me – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande

Having not thrown a single sequin at Helen at all last week, this week she had seemingly swallowed the entire embellishment budget and was dressed in nothing but blue glass beads, they couldn’t even afford buttons for a very draughty Gorka, it’s such a shame

but don’t worry, his medallion was on hand to provide some post-dance modesty, like a little nipple lens cap

Helen was of course dressed as the titular rain in the song because sadly Strictly is yet to embrace the full camp insanity of a rain machine, I reckon it’s only a couple of years before Gorka runs out of sexy gimmicks and insists on it.

Their big obstacle for Helen’s first Latin routine was trying to get her to feel sexy which was apparently an uphill struggle because despite Helen being the only reason your dad watches CountryFile, she talks about herself like her life is completely over at the age of 39, repeatedly mentioning that she has “reached an age of being functional and healthy and that’s it” which caused an only 1 year younger Jayde Adams to have a full on existential crisis

Sorry Jayde, you only have one year left before the only thing worth living for is CountryFile.
Gorka’s idea for helping Helen through this unsexy roadblock was to sit her in front of mirrors to make her more aware of her body

and every time they do this on this show I just remember the guy on Come Dine With Me who would apparently sit and watch himself eating yoghurt in the mirror, which is only moderately less sexy than Helen’s go-to sexy pose being this

guess who’s getting an acting lesson!

As for how Gorka’s Masterclass in Sexiness payed off, it was all very good until her high ponytail turned against her and I can safely say nobody feels sexy with hair tangled in their lipgloss, you just feel like that Bratz doll meme

the panic in her eyes throughout these 10 seconds was palpable as she desperately wanted to use her free hand to get it out and Gorka was clearly whispering that if she dared even try she’d never run another ultra marathon in her life! Nobody ruins Gorka’s topless routine and gets away with it!
The judges all point out the fact that from that point it lost a little bit of coordination but Shirley and Motsi praise her leg work which Craig then rains all over and tells her that her Latin will never look good if she doesn’t straighten her legs and hers were bent ALL THE WAY THROUGH, which Shirley wastes no time in making him rescind – she’s the Judge Judy of the ballroom, she’ll just shout at you until you agree.
Anton naturaly doesn’t comment on the technique in a latin routine and instead tells her he wants more heart from her, which is just a very funny thing to say after some gratuitous party Latin that was mostly about showing off the results of Gorka’s pec routine

so guess who’s DEFINITELY getting an acting lesson!

Craig: 5
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 8
Total: 27

Tony Adams & Katya Jones
Charleston / My Old Man’s A Dustman – Foster & Allen

There are two kinds of Charleston in the world: Vintage Miscellania referencing anything of cultural significance between the years 1920 and 1955 (where’s my Battle of Dunkirk Charleston, huh?) and Oh God, We Need a Gimmick – this was very much the latter with the gimmick being, to quote Jasmine Masters: “just as I thought, trash”

it’s also hard to tell if Tony is intentionally being a comedic contestant whose main appeal is the fact there’s a 40% chance that every time he moves one of his feet it wont do what he thinks it will or if he’s truly invested. His reaction to Anton mentioning the yellow peril that was Ann Widdecombe being thrown across the room like bra at the end of the day very much suggests he doesn’t want to be Britain’s Next Top John Sergeant

and then you know, Katya choreographs in a fart joke

but at least the sheer amount of gags in it did show that his timing was better because he was, however regrettably, perfectly on time with the slide whistle fart – which is kind of a miracle given that about halfway through the routine he just completely stopped dancing like Starlet in Drag Race UK’s girl group challenge this week

I bet Starlet didn’t count on herself being the Tony Adams of Drag Race but there you are.
However, to Tony’s credit he did pick the routine back up, not that he was in time with Katya but Shirley generously called it “a polyrhythm” which I believe is also what the Strictly Pros call their relationship.
It was obviously a much more character driven Charleston than it was a dance driven Charleston and the showmanship of it all suited Tony well and, as before, he recovered well from his mistakes, such as the trick in the middle because Katya woefully overestimated how low Tony could bend over after 6 days of this

I’m just glad Katya didn’t drop Tony during her lift of him because she was straining like the 12 Steps scene from Men of Honour

one more step and you earn yourself freedom from a duffer next year, Miss Jones.

Craig: 4
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 6
Anton: 6
Total: 22

Ellie Taylor & Johannes Radebe
Paso Doble / Les Toreadors – Georges Bizet

The first Paso of the series, which of course means we were treated to the annual Paso PSA, and who better to give the lesson than Johannes who claims it as his favourite dance, clearly sending the fear of God into Ellie from day one

and where better to give this lesson than a converted wine cellar that looks a little bit like it could either be the coolest bar in London or be routinely used for human sacrifices

either way the £12 worth of Sainsbury’s Home tea lights really give it that authentic Spanish feel.

With the lesson in Paso and Spanish Military influence over with, it’s over to Johannes and Ellie’s paso which was a series of previous Strictly paso stitched together, somewhat setting themselves against it by using Los Toreadors as their music, Kevin & Susanna’s paso to the song being one of the most memorable routines in the franchise and Johannes was wearing Gorka’s little pink vest

I love it when we get a lather, rinse, repeat outfit.

The routine got off to a GREAT start with a very striking opening shot that was very The Cell (2000) and just incredibly sexy

or at least I was excited because I am a fan of the bonkers paso doble era of the America’s Next Top Paso in which the dance very much prioritises style over authenticity. However, in the end this tried to be more traditional and it was working for the first bit with Ellie doing some very slow solo work and looking a bit like Mrs. Tweedy with a bit of Spanish flair

however, then the music kicked up and the tone of the routine just fell apart, it’s very hard for a routine to seem dark and brooding when there’s a trumpet gleefully parping along, visually the routine was very Brendan Cole’s Evanescence Paso coded but yet apparently everyone is too scared to fully commit to the late 2000s melodrama, STOP BEING COWARDS.
The biggest issue was the fact that Ellie rushed the punctuations of the routine, every pose and accent just felt like it finished that little bit too early and didn’t give enough impact

but like I said, I loved the beginning and their final drop was pretty stunning

you know, until she collapsed onto the floor like a newly born giraffe on Animal Park, Jayde having to let go of Matt Goss to hold Hamza back from running onto the floor with the bottle of milk I imagine he carries around in his pocket in case he runs into some orphaned wildlife

Craig did give her kudos for the final stunt, except Tess thought that when he said “my favourite part was the ending” that he meant it because Ellie had stopped dancing, which he didn’t entirely *not* mean because he did give her a very rude 4

MATE. You gave Tony Adams a 4 and he stopped in the middle of the routine because he thought he’d left the oven on! Ellie at least did all of it!

Craig: 4
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 5
Anton: 7
Total: 23

A Definitely Not Feuding Richie Anderson & Giovanni Pernice
Quickstep / Dancin’ Fool – Barry Manilow

With people having mistaken some mild awkwardness on The One Show for a great big feud between Richie and Giovanni and not that just being how interviews on The One Show are, this was your good old damage control VT featuring TWO WHOLE HUGS!


With Richie on ballroom and the man having the posture of an anxious coat rack, Giovanni’s main focus was on his frame and this being Giovanni his go-to reference was James Bond, except I don’t remember James Bond ever being played by a porpoise

which could well have been a move that featured in this quickstep given that there was a whole Beyonce breakdown in the middle of it

which I would deride as having absolutely no place in a quickstep (and I do, I really do) but it did mean that once they were finished, in an effort to expand her replication of human motion, TessBot did it too

my conspiracy theory about Tess is that she won’t ever leave Strictly because her contract specifically stipulates that the moment she does she has to do a series of it as a contestant and she KNOWS it will be a disaster. And it’s definitely nothing to do with it being a cushy enough job for her to only work weekends for like 4 months of the year… Sorry Tess, we might have to eat you come the revolution.

The Quicksteppification of Beyonce aside, the routine was really fun in a grand bombastic sort of way, it felt very Blackpool which probably hints that Giovanni doesn’t think they’ll make it that far, as does the fact he’s just chewing through his pyrotechnics budget like Matt Goss encountering carrot cake for the first time

there were some minor issues with his frame every now and again and it did lean more towards being a quickstep inspired showdance but again, I liked it and I didn’t think his cartwheel was THAT bad

I certainly wouldn’t put it on a 10 minute YouTube compilation of awful cartwheels, especially considering some of the other cartwheels that have been committed to film

I think Richie worked really hard this week and I imagine a lot of that hard work was because of The Discourse™ and the pressure of having to come out with a great routine lest your disappointment over scores be used as clickbait headline images for the rest of the series, instead we got pure shock and delight

Anton giving them an 8 wasn’t that surprising given he gives you an automatic 6 just for having a cane in a routine and a 9 if you use it to dominate Amy, but still PURE DELIGHT AND SHOCK

good for them.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 8
Anton: 8
Total: 32

Fleur East & Vito Coppola
Viennese Waltz / Glimpse of You – Joji

With their biggest critique last week being that Fleur was a little bit too intense, they were going in completely the other direction this week with a Lo-fi Viennese Waltz To Study To, and they really needed it to be soft and gentle because Fleur has been forcing Vito to wake up at 4am, at which time she’s all bright eyed and bushy tailed and Vito looks like a newborn puppy

so it’s no wonder he choreographed specific moments for them in the routine in which he and Fleur could both grab a quick moment of sleep

although truly nothing about this routine was quick, except for the few fleeting moments of actual Viennese Waltz content, which fell by the wayside for such beautifully emotional scenes as Vito looking like he was about to chow down on Fleur’s arm like he’s Armie Hammer at a family barbecue

it’s no wonder Fleur never complained about dizziness, she barely had to do any spinning, meanwhile Graziano’s got Kym riding The Teacups and slipping the ride operator £20 to make it go faster.
It was VERY heavy on the contempowaft, from the longing looks to camera

the stuttering arm movements that I’m sure have a deeper meaning to these two than just looking a bit like the actors in M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender trying to make elemental bending look cool and not like they were trying to swat a fly

and then of course there’s the obligatory ghostly beige negligee because there is no fun in contemporary dance, only sadness and pining

they may not have gone the full barefootedness that contemporary dance calls for on Strictly but watching this very much felt like I was back in 2008 watching a barefoot Diana Vickers gasp and honk her way through U2’s With or Without You.

The judges all insist they have absolutely no problem with going for more contemporary takes on ballroom, and I kind of wish they would have a problem with it because I’m not looking forward to an onslaught of increasingly fay ballroom routines, the sole purpose of which are to try and make you cry so Tess goes full baby voice and gets one of the Loose Women in the front row to pass you a tissue. I reject the era of ContempoWaft Ballroom entirely.

Craig: 7
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 6
Anton: 7
Total: 28

Michigan Kaye Frog & Kai Widdrington
Charleston / Music! Music! Music! – Dorothy Provine

Allegedly Kaye has been gagging to do the Charleston ever since she signed up for the show, I say allegedly because this was her reaction to Kai telling her she would be doing the Charleston

Strictly’s new mission statement is to just physically and emotionally destroy the Loose Women panel one member at a time (YOU’RE NEXT CHARLENE).
And boy was Kai going to break Kaye with this Charleston, having seemingly organised a system in which he would send her a text message and she’d have to send him a 5 second clip of her doing some footwork, like 50 Shades of Grey for 1950s enthusiasts

it’s not *my* thing but it’s still more erotic than anything James and Amy managed in their HMV advert of a Tango.
So come Saturday night she was a bit of a broken woman and entirely ready to burn the whole ballroom to the ground, but remember she definitely Lives The Charleston, Loves The Charleston, Laughs The Charleston

and she was going to do it the only way she knew how, by kind of just not doing it at all

It’s strange because throughout the week her training footage has actually looked pretty good and the likelihood of a strong comeback Charleston was looking relatively positive, then you know… She gets put in front of an entire audience of people and like Michigan J Frog seemed to just refuse to dance and would only move at half speed which is a shame because I genuinely think she could have done this routine pretty fabulously, she certainly looks the part – she’s practically built for one of these overtly vintage Charlestons, what with her cigarette girl figure

but while her legs could have been her biggest asset in this routine, she just had no power or strength to them and only had marginally more stability than an udon noodle – the only time she truly felt alive was when she got to spank Kai


Kai dropping hints to Nadiya aside, I did like a lot of this choreography, particularly the comedic beat of Kai doing a move which would then ordinarily be repeated by his partner, a bit like the famous Gene Kelly and Jerry Mouse dance but because Kaye doesn’t possess the dancing ability of a cartoon mouse, she just jumped up and down like a newly born blackbird on Springwatch begging its mother to shove a whole grasshopper in its mouth

Hamza enjoyed it immensely and had to be stopped from pelting her with earthworms from the balcony. Why are there earthworms on the balcony? Matt Goss keeps bringing them in as presents.

I do agree with most of the judges in that it was a vast improvement from her Tango but there still being a number of technical faults and her timing was causing Anton to smell burnt toast

but Craig was not having it and gave a particularly damning one line critique of “Under-danced and underwhelming” and imaginably had to narrowly dodge Nadia Sawalha, who was on on Loose Women Support Duty, throwing a shoe at him when he boomeranged the 4 Kaye somehow avoided last week at her

I can only assume he had had one too many dry ice martinis last week, and that he must get a bonus for every Loose Women panelist he sends to therapy

Craig was a savage last year – there were no sympathy bonus points.

Craig: 4
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 6
Anton: 6
Total: 22

Ranger Hamza & Jowita Prysztal
Jive / Blinding Lights – The Weeknd

It would be a tough job for anybody to beat last year’s Barmiest Prop Award winner, Sara Davies’s Origami Warship

AND YET, this week Hamza and Jowita opened their jive straddling a needlessly detailed Tron Bike AND IT’S NOT EVEN MOVIE WEEK

it has a neon hydraulic system! Not that I think that’s going to do much for you in cyberspace, the prop master was just going the full Changing Rooms and testing the limits of LED lights and MDF.

I just wish the actual jive was as impressive as the Tron bike or the all out war that Hamza and Jowita’s ponytails were waging behind their bikes

That’s the real feud! Because having trained for 9 hours a day, Hamza was putting some serious hours into this routine and sadly it didn’t quite come together – there were however a few moments of brilliance, their synchronicity in this section was great and worked really well with the camera movement

but there were just a few too many moments where Hamza would just completely stop dancing and watch Jowita like she was a continental seabird that accidentally found itself on the Cornish coast

and there was a sort of centrifugal spin that the two of them did which should have looked impressive but Hamza had THIS look on his face the entire way through it

which is the same face I had when a bus hit a pigeon and the dead corpse ricocheted off the front of the bus and onto the shoe of a Chinese business student and I was having to console her through streaming tears and a language barrier. Which speaks to the main problem, it didn’t feel like Hamza was having fun in this routine and Hamza’s main selling point is that he’s adorable and fun – but it was probably good to get this routine out of the way early on, I just hope they get a salsa sometime soon lest they become a cropper to that later on.

Craig: 4
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 6
Anton: 7
Total: 24

Kym Marsh & Graziano Di Prima
Viennese Waltz / Runaway – The Corrs

It’s officially Strictly Season because nothing screams it more than Kym and Graziano being bussed out to some godforsaken wishing well to film a 20 second bit about Kym wishing she wont chunder all over Nadia Sawalha and Graziano to wish for at least one non-disappointing Italian meal at the Marsh Household

meanwhile Tess, all dressed up for a hastily arranged Ibiza beach wedding on Don’t Tell the Bride, had bigger plans for her go at the well

Harold, they’re lesbi-

it was not a good night for the sapphics.

Tess’s wish may have gone awry, but both Kym and Graziano got theirs: Kym was miraculously not ill despite most of her training footage having the glazed expression of someone trying to order a kebab at the end of a night out and barely being able to read the word “chips”

and Kym just could not find the time to cook this week what with filming Waterloo road, visiting wishing wells in the rain and her 11 year old rudely insisting on going to school every day so she had to buy a Charlie Bigham lasagne for two. They cost £9 Graziano, you better be thrilled.

Despite the judges making absolutely sure that they definitely had no problem with Fleur and Vito’s contemporary Viennese Waltz (they promised) they do make a particular point of praising the amount of Viennese Waltz content in this routine while making unbreaking eye contact with Vito across the dancefloor

and there was some very pretty Viennese in there, I loved the floor-spin, which the camerawork really helped with

and there was just a good sense of nausea throughout, as you would expect from any dance to a Corrs track.
She does needs to work a little on her frame, particularly her shoulders because she has a tendency to hold them like Graziano just asked her who Tyler West is

or if you asked Motsi to tell the difference between three Italian men that look nothing alike

Motsi complaining about too many Italian options like your dad who still calls lattes “milky coffees” at a café that dares to have a macchiato on the menu <3.

Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7
Total: 27

Matt Goss’s Trousers & Nadiya Bychkova’s Wig
Samba / Night Fever – Bee Gees

Kym and Tess weren’t the only making wishes this week as Matt Goss was blowing out the candles on the birthday cake Nadiya has brought him, except there were only two candles because, as is the Strictly way, it was only a medium sized carrot cake

but Matt was thrilled because I’m not entirely sure he’s ever encountered cake before considering he just went at it like it was a sandwich with the candles being very close to going up his nose and sending him to A&E

I’m just fascinated by him.

As for what his birthday wish was, apparently his long held dream has been to recreate John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever moment with a replica white suit, and given how hard pressed the costume department were with 15 couples to dress and the general… smallness of the resulting suit, I fully believe they just raided Helen Skelton’s wardrobe

but he had also wished for a puppy and the wires got a little crossed which is why Nadiya looked a bit like she had accidentally been cast on Dog Grooming Bake Off

it could have been worse, had we been closer to November she might have ended up with an Are Troopz stenciled into it too

it’s what they would have wanted.

As for the dancing… I’m honestly more mystified by it than Matt Goss is by his own hands

but I don’t think having him open the routine by throwing his hat away like Delilah cutting Samson’s hair helped matters

although saying that his hat holds all his dance ability is patently not true considering even when he was wearing it he was moving with the bodily awareness of a barely walking baby

It’s like his arms have been possessed by a wacky inflatable flailing arm tube man! But it’s also pretty clear that the only bit of the routine Matt was particularly invested in was his “little” John Travolta moment, which was certainly memorable

and a harbinger of doom because like a Bobbit Worm patiently waiting for its prey, Anton has been waiting for any excuse to stand up and thrust from behind that judging desk which was a bit much when you’ve still got him saying “dominate Amy with your posture” ringing in your ears

I am imposing a firm moratorium on Saturday Night Fever – I can’t be doing this anymore. Let’s just cancel disco sambas all together, go cold turkey on the siren’s song of Studio 54 – I think we’ve peaked with Nadiya’s jumpsuit this week anyway

Tess of course having never met a jumpsuit she wouldn’t tear off another person to wear and then mount on the wall of her study like the head of a prize deer.

Craig: 4
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 6
Anton: 6
Total: 22

Ray Ray Johnson and Wife
Jive / Hit The Road Jack – Buster Poindexter

For their Jive, Dianne and Tyler were going all out, theatrical guns blazing Bonnie and Clyde inspired Jive the likes of which would ordinarily be reserved for Movie or Musicals Week, or when Strictly decides to jump on a bandwagon 5 years too late and we get True Crime Week in 2024. But for now Tyler was creating his own AU Bonnie and Clyde with himself playing Ray Ray Johnson and in true Men Writing Women fashion Dianne was merely Wife – it’s the role she was born to play!
And every pair of bank robbers needs a getaway vehicle

Amy is furious, novelty vehicles that look like they belong in Wacky Races are HER thing

she only has that and tea dresses in November! Don’t worry Amy, you can ride the Tesla Cybertruck that looks like the Strictly props department made it anyway for Halloween Week when you and James play the worst horror of the 2020s (so far), Elon Musk and his Twitter account

it serves briefly as a boat in the same way that Fleur’s Viennese Waltz served briefly as a Viennese Waltz.

Out on the dancefloor and Tyler really went for it which was a surprise both because the tepid American Smooth last week didn’t make any sort of impact and he was running the marathon the next day – couldn’t have just lobbed him a kindly waltz, huh?
It was a very character driven jive, with it very nearly slipping into full on Charleston, the only thing keeping it tethered to the realms of jive being the lack of gurning

the real MVP of the routine of course being the military grade bobby pins keeping Dianne’s beret pinned to her head for the entire high speed chase.
And apparently Nikita was the inside man and payed off for his silence

he was just happy to earn a little pocket money, Ellie stopped giving him any because he wasted it all on Haribo.

I was a little surprised this didn’t score higher just given how polished and entertaining it was after a slew of not great routines, especially from Shirley who was so overcome by the Spirit of DAHNCE that she gave her entire critique standing up

but someone clearly had a little word with her about the fact her male bias was flapping in the wind again and tongues were wagging over on Twitter so she scored him a surprisingly reserved 8.

Craig: 7
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 8
Anton: 8
Total: 31

The Affair of the Plastic Necklace
Tango / Rumour Has It – Adele

With week one having been about making Karen’s obviously long held dream of dancing with another woman to Xtina’s Dirrty, this week was all about making Jayde’s dreams come true and getting to dance a tango to Adele’s Rumour Has It while looking like Adele dressed as your average TumblrSexyMan

and doing it with all the lesbian melodrama of the far superior Glee version. Everybody wins!

The theme of their tango was that Jayde had done something bad and was in the process of trying to gaslight Karen into believing her emotions weren’t real, which is hell of a concept for primetime family viewing. And you might be wondering what this ambiguous bad thing is – an affair with Dave Arch? Having a middle aged moment and liking a problematic tweet? Accidentally deleting their TiVo recording of Gentleman Jack? All heinous acts but no, it was unimaginably worse! Jayde had bought Karen a necklace from Claire’s

God bless Karen trying to look absolutely livid while clutching a £3 plastic necklace. WHERE’S HER BAFTA?
However, I do think having the prop and a more ~defined story~ really helped their routine, as did the New York Apartment of Relationship Woes staging

I did really appreciate that Jayde had donned a cuban heel for the dance, I think it very much helped her seem much more dancerly, there was still quite a lot of it, particularly out of hold, that was just straight up walking but I got the necessary emotions and I was significantly more invested in this tango than James’s, who upon seeing Jayde’s face as she stood there looking like a ringmaster whose last clown had just quit the circus

looked as thought he had just seen an Oscar winning performance and suddenly realised that he had relied a little too much on his smidge of eyeliner

because, as is want to happen in the most cursed penthouse in New York City, it did end up with one of them storming out

and in true young adult television fashion, they obviously bumped into each other in the hallway and are now dating and planning to ruin Jayde and Giovanni’s lives. XOXO Gossip Girl.

My favourite part of the whole thing though was after the judges had given their critiques and Tess was dismissing them and the limitations of AI facial recognition were really showing


Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 6
Anton: 7
Total: 26

Molly Rainford & Carlos Gu
Quickstep / Love On Top – Beyonce

After a bit of a Week 2 slump in which the difference in quality between having 2 weeks to prepare against 1 week became rather apparent, this was a much needed final performance, I still have some reservations about the Quicksteppification of Love On Top but I’ll let The Hague sort that out.
However I did love that because Molly was doing Love On Top, one of her favourite songs, and people at home who are completely unaware of the insane masterpiece of children’s television that is Nova Jones are quite clearly still saying “who?” whenever she appears on screen, they made her sing a bit of the song

we’re still not allowed to mention that she came sixth on Britain’s Got Talent though, anything pre-Nova Jones was lost in a sad CV fire.

Carlos had also decided that he wasn’t going to be beaten by a couple of measly canes in the rival quickstep and raided the BBC umbrella stand

his training outfit fascinates me and the umbrella only makes him look even more like a slightly confused old man waiting for the newsagent to open. Molly meanwhile has some sharp observations about said umbrellas

BE HAPPY YOUR ARMS OPERATE AT ALL! Matt Goss is still figuring limbs out

And if you’re wondering why they had umbrellas in this routine at all, it’s because the music video for Taylor Swift’s Me! had umbrellas in it and this was unabashedly just the music video for Taylor Swift’s Me! except without the off-putting energy of Brendon Uri

how dare they not wear these outfits

the video also had a cute kitten, a CGI snake and Taylor yelling “HEY KIDS! SPELLING IS FUN!” halfway through it – Carlos! You can ask for more stuff, you’ve got the CBBC ingénue that they’re highly invested in upping the profile of! GO BIGGER!

They did have a few blipsed moments, particularly the grabbing onto one another’s umbrellas which they had feared would happen

but it didn’t throw them off at all and they had clearly made a plan for what they would do in the event that it did happen so it barely registered for a lot of people, and they just carried merrily on, to a rousing standing ovation, potentially a little bit because we had finally reached the end of the show but it was also a great routine and I thoroughly expect we’ll see it again in the final.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 9
Anton: 8
Total: 34

And there we have it! The results show recap will either be out on Wednesday or Thursday morning!

But for now, I give you the introductory Elimination Wall

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

2 thoughts on “Strictly 2022, Week 2, Main Show: Medium Sized Carrot Cake

  1. kriswhoblogs

    Do you think waltzes have gone out of fashion because it needs to be done to a song in 3/4 time signature, and there are a lot less of those than songs in standard 4/4?

    1. Ariadne

      That hadn’t crossed my mind but it explains a lot – I do also think the waltz is just a generally unpopular choice with viewers with it having a bit of a dated reputation

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