Strictly 2022, It Takes Two, Week 3: A Swirling Vortex of 3/4 Timing

Wanted. Dead or alive.

Welcome to Salsa Wars, we’ve got lifts and pain.

MONDAY: Alpine Milkmaid Energy

Richie & Giovanni
Oof. So this was a hard watch with Richie just looking off into the middle distance every time Rylan said the words “Lion King”

and then when Rylan tried to cheer the clearly very morose Richie up by jollily saying “At you least you got to go out dressed as a meerkat!”, he only made things worse as Richie had flashbacks to his suricatian nightmare

because he clearly HATED that costume and wasted no time in throwing an entire eclipse-worth of shade by saying “We look like we’re dressed up for a stag-do!” when they replayed parts of their dance.
I do really hope that Richie enjoyed the experience, I can’t imagine it was easy being the tabloid fodder of the series with the show doing very little to call out what was pretty blatant homophobia, and he can go home safe in the knowledge that he has an invite to a Christmas special because someone has to wear the Olaf and Sven onesies for the Frozen themed American Smooth, you know: for the kids!

Hamza & Jowita
Having very nearly resigned himself to going home on Sunday night before Tess had bathed a Meerkat and a Warthog in the blood red light, the general sense between these two was the relief that they’ll probably never have to do the Jurassic Park rumba ever again unless they make the final and the judges feel particularly evil, and it’s on to a Salsa to Ecuador by Sash! and given how confident Jowita was sounding on a Monday, she’s gunning HARD for Janette’s title as Queen of Bonkers Salsas

it’s a tough job, but I trust in Jowita.

Choanne’s Choreography Corner:

Ellie & Johannes
Much like Hamza and Jowita, there was an overwhelming sense of relief from these two as they were joint bottom runners-up on the leaderboard – but you know, some of us poured all of our votes into saving her and perhaps-maybe-definitely doomed Fleur to a critically low televote number in the process – sacrifices had to be made. But with Ellie back in ballroom this week, hopefully we won’t have to panic-vote again as she’s doing a Viennese Waltz to Boom Bang A Bang, which is not the first time a Boom Bang A Bang Viennese Waltz has ever graced the ballroom

and if Ellie’s Instagram stories are anything to go by, the well kissed Medium-sized Dairy Cow is making a triumphant return

what is it about Boom Bang A Bang that just radiates alpine milkmaid energy? I downloaded the instrumental sheet music – there isn’t even a cowbell in it!

TUESDAY: Thirst Induced Bottom Two Bounce

Fleur & Vito

Well, someone’s clearly deploying the Emergency Extra Chest, which is nice because Nikita seems to have realised he doesn’t have to play that game this year and has invested in having more than 2 buttons on each shirt. And with these two being on Inaugural Argentine Tango duty, I think we’re bargaining on the thirst induced Bottom Two Bounce – it’s that or you could deploy a mood ruining CGI fighter jet to careen through your routine at the end, just to test if correlation does indeed mean causation

or as Fleur, VERY GENEROUSLY, called it “augmented reality” and I’m going to need her to stop encouraging the graphics department, who are very much under Vito’s spell and will do anything he asks

he’s actually asked them to mo-cap a digital rendering of himself onto Fleur for their Argentine Tango, it’s a Doppio de Vito Argentine Tango everyone.

Ellie & Nikita
A very swift glossing over of the judges comments about being disappointed with the quality of Ellie’s quickstep footwork with there being more of a discussion about Nikita going Incognito Mode for Saturday night and it’s on to Salsas anew, which does mean we’re getting Ellie and Nikita lifts, which might explain why Jowita is apparently going guns ablazing in hers and Hamza’s Salsa. Sadly they’re keeping the training footage under wraps, but we did get to see Ellie having an exhaustion-induced mental collapse

I’ve not seen someone talking to themself so deliriously since my university flatmate took too many edibles and I found him having a very colourful conversation with a dinner plate.

Joagraphy’s Choreography Cornography

James & Amy
Much like a child that put on their Batman costume and has subsequently not taken it off for 5 whole days, James has lain claim to and slept in his Starlord jacket ever since Saturday night

and it was nice of Amy to repurpose the extremely baggy trousers into her own outfit, just to make sure we never ever see them again when someone gets cajoled into another ill-advised biker themed tango.
As Amy tries to put the Cha Cha Cha behind her, James is only too happy to give a full demonstration as to how and why he went wrong in it and I genuinely thought he might conduct the whole interview standing up like Shirley critiquing Tyler West

he did eventually sit down though to discuss this week’s dance, which is your bog-standard quickstep to a song by The Pretenders as James continues to be a distinctly unexciting contestant but at least Amy will get to wear a nice dress. All he really wants is a standing ovation from Motsi but he doesn’t seem to realise that to get that he needs to either do a FILTHY quickstep or go off the wall bonkers in a way that would only be possible if Katya was his partner.

WEDNESDAY: Everything and the Revolving Sink

Matt & Nadiya
With James deploying The Kids™ and Vito activating the Emergency Chest in an effort to corral votes, Nadiya just did away with her trousers apparently

that or they’re getting refitted for Matt’s jive this week – the incredibly restrictive white trousers might only be a tad more absurd for a jive than the fact Matt seems to be doing all of his jive training like your dad got dressed up for brunch

the training footage was not great – I don’t know if Matt is capable of jive speed, he’s a swirling vortex of 3/4 timing so it’s been a good 4 weeks Matt, nice getting to knowing you, your hat and your trousers.

Molly & Carlos
They’ve drawn the Cha Cha Cha this week, which has now officially become the dance that the audience has to boo and hiss at because it’s been deemed cursed because nobody has scored over 30 for it – we’ve only had three weeks guys, calm down. It’s something of a relief that she’s back to Party Latin because wardrobe have been itching to put someone in something that looks like it was made by a panicked Sewing Bee contestant in the Tropical Vacation Week transformation challenge

if Nova Jones gets a second series, Carlos has to guest star, I need to see him in some heinous CBBC sci-fi garb, I’m sure he’d be down to clown.

Bid For a 2023 Main Cast Billing
With Lauren and Michelle being added to the Pro dancer Roster this year, it was only fair to give them a chance to bid for main billing next year – especially as I get the distinct vibe that this might be Karen’s last hurrah which is why they’re going so ham on the Jayde Is A Superfan angle. If I had to place money on who I think would get the spot, it would be Lauren – she’s very comfortable on camera and seems much more “media trained” than Michelle who comes across as a reserved Eurovision balladier who scores 40 odd points and finishes 18th – give her a question and she will almost always inevitably sound like she’s going to end it with “…and world peace.” and it would have been nice if someone warned her about not coming dressed as the chair she was about to sit in

it’s not really helping the whole blending into the background thing, but hopefully she’ll warm up to the Strictly of it all. Although Lauren did make the faux pas of mentioning Aliona’s name on air so that’s another series in the sin bin.

Tyler & Dianne
He’s not quite a pile of dust yet but by the sounds of it, Tyler will be lucky to make it out of this couple’s choice in one piece because Dianne has thrown everything and the revolving sink into it

but the details are still very hushed up – I’ve got my fingers crossed for some extensive torchography during the Re-rewind section – don’t let me down Buswell.

THURSDAY: Rumbagoraphobia

Nancy STILL has no idea why she’s carrying around watermelons.

Will’s Cold & Nancy
Ruh roh. Will’s ill with a virus and by the sounds of things hasn’t managed to put in much training, so quite why they pulled him into the studio sounding like a clogged drain is beyond me – Skype him in from his death bed guys, we have the technology! Or at the very least, you could’ve book him in for monday when you had Ellie and Johannes dressed as a duality of duvets he could have snuggled under

and while Will died on camera trying to hold in a cough, Nancy looked like a woman that was about to funnel Strepsils down his throat like a foie gras goose with laryngitis

she’s not going to lose this free ticket to the final – he’s going to dance this rumba on saturday night if it’s the most miserable, phlegmiest rumba you’ve ever seen. Which might not be all that unfitting given that the theme of the rumba, according to Will, is mental health, it’s a new one to me but solidarity with anyone out there dealing with rumbagoraphobia.

Helen & Gorka
Given everything that’s currently happening in Helen’s, I’ll admit surprisingly, dramatic personal life, I’m glad that her partnership with Gorka is working out so well because last year Gorka could not have cared less about Katie McGlynn and was simply cashing a paycheck – I really thought he was going to leave or take a benching this year. But he’s back and he’s in his Nouveau Goofy Era

it does help that Helen can dance very well, and the training footage for her paso looked really rather incredible – I also imagine she’s very excited to have a routine she can get away with screaming her way through – the paso face *might* need some work though

it’s a little bit “Welcome to Glossier, may I interest you in some sheer lipgloss?” but she could always study from incorrect-aspect ratio 720p Matt Baker’s paso doble

I am simply begging the BBC to post the entire archive on YouTube, I can’t keeping relying on teenagers from the early 2010s illegally downloading torrents for footage of these routines.

Frock Me Amadeus
In a change of pace, we get a glimpse of a male costume for this saturday, with Johannes being dressed up as a farmer

now we just have to wait and see where on the Heidi to Oktoberfest scale Ellie’s dirndl lands.
Kym and Graziano’s samba apparently involves an airline, so unless it’s themed around JetPop

I assume Kym is the personification of a Malaga hen-do and Graziano the beleaguered airline attendant – DRESS HIM UP AS BRITNEY SPEARS IN TOXIC YOU COWARDS

which does probably mean sadly no pretend guitar playing.
Fleur’s Argentine Tango dress is predictably black and red, it’s still very much a work in progress but I hope it gets more than just a few stones and then we get Nancy coming face to face with her sexy swamp monster negligee and she LOVES IT

it would be a crying shame if Will had to take a bye and sit this week out.

Pro Dance: Harold, They’re Lesbians
So Strictly is well and truly in its Big Queer Dance Era with this week’s pro dance being between Karen and Luba

with the vague description being “they’re getting ready for a night out and there’s an air of distrust between them” so buckle in because we’re in for yet more Gay Angst – it’s Gilkison’s catnip.

Jayde & Karen
Given that on the Results Show, Molly was given the privilege of singing the three bars of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep that the BBC were willing to pay for because we’re still having to tell people why Molly is famous outside of Nova Jones without saying “Britain’s Got Talent”

Jayde was allowed to give a drive-by performance of What A Feeling

AND as many verses of The Wind Beneath My Wings she could get through before the production team managed to regain control from her PR person

which is their American Smooth song, suggesting we’re going full camp with Karen being lifted every time that chorus comes around in whatever butchered 90 second version Dave Arch comes up with.

FRIDAY: Will Mellor Thirst Circle

Tony & Katya
With the two having apparently gone through lengthy debates on quite how much leg Tony Adams was allowed to show last weekend, they seem to be playing their American Smooth completely normally – or at least I don’t see how you could possibly work any overshadowing props or tear-away trousers into Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends but Katya has done weirder things in the past.
The focus for the week seem to be on the difference between Tony in week 1 and Tony coming into Week 4 and he certainly looks MUCH more relaxed

if you had told Tony in week 1 that he’d be doing a routine involving three lifts the man would have turned to jelly in a three piece velvet suit – although I do have concerns about the lifts considering the training footage

a little part of me kind of hopes Tony goes out on this routine – I just don’t want another Greg Wise situation in which he gets eliminated looking like a sentient pile of tissue paper doing a macarena

go out in a top hat and tails and keep your dignity if you can, that’s the best tactic.

A Very Busy Kym & Graziano
In what I’m considering a declaration of war with Sheridan Smith, Kym’s interview opens with her doing an alarmingly spot on Cilla Black impression and then most of the interview devolves into talking about how busy Kym is and yes, with her dance training she is doing 15 hour days, but I’m going to need these two to get some new patter because you can only get so much mileage out of “I’ve got a big commitment to Waterloo Road” before it begins to sound like you’re resenting being on Strictly. Which I don’t want to be thinking because I’m really enjoying them together and it’s nice to see Graziano being a genuine contender for a spot in the final – although he drove Vick Hope off that cliff in Series 16 and that’s on him entirely.
She’s Very Busy Count: 5.

Friday Panel
Every now and again you get a Friday Panel that’s testing the waters for future contestants and this week being Richard Madeley, Dr. Zoe Williams and Dean McCullough was VERY much that – I would gladly see Zoe on the show, she seems like a blast, Richard seems to be wisely keeping himself (and Judy) well away from that dancefloor but I’m sure he’d gladly throw Chloe Madeley at them if she wasn’t on the Dancing On Ice Blacklist. As for Dean, I just liked how obvious it is that he’s one of those people that that looks up the spoiler on Twitter and doesn’t bother with the Results Show given his shock that Tyler was dancing to a Garage Megamix despite it being made a big deal of on the night.
As for their opinions, once Zoe had finished diagnosing everyone with bruised ribs, hernias and giving them 5 months to live, they have a prolonged Will Mellor Thirst Circle before uniformly all throwing Matt and Nadiya’s jive into the shredder

they have been uniformly wrong for the last 2 weeks so the trend suggests Matt and Nadiya are safe this week – you never know! Miracles can happen and the Brosettes are mobilising.

As for what I think is going to happen – Tyler West will score 39 (Craig being the abstaining judge), Will Mellor is going to have a coughing fit halfway his rumba, Helen’s paso will get at least one 10 and the bottom two will be Matt and James, both of whom are going to have their routines eaten alive by Shirley Ballas as she enters Week 4 Monster Mode.


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