Strictly 2022, Week 4, Main Show: Unclimbable Cow

Do you even lift, bro?

I hope you’re got your CVs ready because we’re off to the careers fair!

Given last week’s shocking bottom two, I thought we were in for a very melodramatic opening montage about being SCARED and SHOCKED because this could be anyone’s last week but apparently the only person in the mood for it was Tess Daly who had come dressed as Clifford The Big Red Spotlight

and then camping it up over on the judging table was Motsi dressed like the newest resident of Bedrock who inexplicably tries to have an affair with Fred Flinstone

You can do better girl! You could have… Barney Rubble? I’m not wasting time googling hot men from The Flintstones, I have 13 dances to recap and I’ve woken up feeling like I’m being forced to dance a rumba with a head cold so I apologise profusely for anything that happens hereafter in what turned out to be Unofficial Careers Week – we’ve got dentists, barmen, shepherds, sexy tour guides, a holistic therapist, fruit sellers and whatever I can figure out for James Bye being dressed as James Bye in a lovely suit.

Ellie Simmonds & Nikita Kuzmin
Salsa / I Love Your Smile – Shanice

We kick Unofficial Careers Week off with Ellie Simmonds doing dentistry because apparently the Strictly Medical School is continuing to branch out, having already established Debbie McGee’s Haus of Optometry

and Dr. Ranj’s Medical Practice where every check-up ends in a fountain of metaphorical orgasmic fire

and so they now bring you, Ellie Simmonds’s Gold Medal Dentistry, where the dental x-ray stockphoto informs us that Nikita has a severely infected molar

and Ellie’s been buying illicit mouthwash from evil scientist, Dr. Patsy Kensitstein

many moons ago, this routine would have meant Ellie and Nikita would have been packed off to have a dental inspection and then have some zany, salsa themed adventure when they were dosed up with nitrous oxide in the name of a training VT, they now instead receive a visit from Lauren Steadman who was on her own personal mission to finally confront the lingering trauma of AJ Pritchard trying to be really cool but failing to pass a health and safety inspection and having to be padded out like a 5 year old

she did have some good advice for Ellie in that she shouldn’t overthink things, which is very true because if you think too hard about a dental themed salsa your brain begins to leak out of your ears.

Instead of stealing the teeth of her favourite patients and wearing them as a dress like a normal dentist (Vicky Gill just couldn’t find enough incisors on the black market for that outfit) she instead makes them dance a salsa with her, her one kindness being that she lets them take out the cheek retractor – much like Aljaz’s BDSM gear for Sara Davies’s Sex Dungeon Couple’s Choice Dedicated To Her Family™ (a routine that began to look saner and saner as this evening went by) we don’t ask where they got Nikita’s cheek retractor from, but they did it for all of us

and I’m sure there were more graceful ways of disposing of it than just flinging it to the back of the stage

I will be waiting for Dave Arch’s idle bassoonist to pop that up on Ebay, for scientific reasons of course.

A salsa does of course mean tricks and Ellie’s were certainly tricky, starting relatively tame with this very cute little somersault

and then becoming utterly unhinged by the end of it

somehow they did the whole thing holding constant eye contact with Jowita, daring her and her hollow bones to outdo them, little did they know the storm that was coming their way – I guess they’ll just have to go bigger and better in their inevitable Charleston, each couple trying to outdo the other until we’re scraping either Jowita or Ellie out of the rafters like one of Monique Heart’s wigs

There are still aspects that Ellie struggles with, some of her movements aren’t quite pronounced enough and her isolation between her torso and legs is still a little stiff, but for the odontophobia of it all, I think it was a pretty good show opening Salsa and certainly set the pace quite high – both for the quality of dancing and the post-dance inspirational speeches with Nikita stopping Claudia and Ellie’s conversation to give a full matinee performance of his speech on It Takes Two about how amazing Ellie is – which he definitely did very organically and not because Ellie was threatening to release his mugshots for that time he was arrested for illegally ballooning around Paris with Tilly Ramsay

it must have been a home printing job, they would never have done colour printing in the BBC Towers.

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

Will Mellor’s Cold & Nancy Xu
A Very Phlegmy Rumba / The Joker and The Queen – Ed Sheeran & Taylor Swift

What do we think came first: the Mental health Week Rumba or the head cold? Because not to be flippant about mental health (and the specific nuances of men accessing mental health resources) but with everyone expecting SEX AND RAUNCH after you just performed An American Smooth That Fucks™, saying “my rumba is about mental health” is just an ostensibly very funny thing to have to say – and I say that as someone who is currently on sertraline to cope with her own rumbagoraphobia. But also saying you meant to look depressed because you look like you want to be in bed with a Lemsip is one Hell of cheat code to try out

Oh, you thought my samba was a little erratic? Well guess what? It was about my manic depressive disorder, are you happy with your 3 now Craig? ARE YOU?

It does also seem a tad irresponsible to send someone out, clearly suffering from Covid-like symptoms (I know he didn’t have Covid), onto TV with no social distancing parameters when we know he could have just taken a bye for the week – I mean, he (mercifully) got excused from the social media content for the week, which involved singing the secret Strictly Come Dancing theme tune lyrics like you were in an Ipod advert from 2004

but Nancy just really wanted to wear the sexy swamp monster negligee and she was going to do it come hell or bronchitis

so she had been funneling Strepsils down his throat like a foie gras goose with laryngitis all day and Will had been practicing his sad faces all week because it was the only thing he could do in bed and it would have been a shame to waste all that effort

but it really was not a good rumba (I’m not sure a phlegmy Ed Sheeran rumba is ever going to be a good rumba) because his legs were refusing to do what his amylmetacresol addled mind told them to do and given the fact he was stumbling about the place on purpose and definitely not because Nancy had swapped his honey tea for a hot toddy, when he went for the melodramatic fall I genuinely thought we were a man down and I began to come out in a cold sweat at the thought of Tess having to vamp her way through 5 minutes of extra showtime

much emotion, such acting.

And with the judges confronted with a very touching, sentimental routine that was performed with all the dance ability of, well… a clearly very sick man, they defaulted to talking more about the mood and tone of the routine and waxing lyrical about Nancy’s holistic healing internship – except for Craig who was all too glad to put this rumba out of its misery

remember Will, it’s ok not to be ok.

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

Matt Goss & Nadiya Bychkova
Jive / All Shook Up – Paul McCartney

When it comes to his dances, there is only ever one specific part of the routines Matt Goss will devote any love and care to each week – in his quickstep it was the little spin

in his samba it was very much the excessive thrusting

in his Viennese Waltz it was that tone ruining fighter jet that careened through the ballroom at 200mph

As for what his favourite part of his jive routine was, he was having the time of his life polishing that countertop jukebox for his Career Week routine as the slightly weird guy who owns a 1950s themed bar and keeps saying he was born in wrong era and you’re pretty sure it’s as much about the the misogyny and racism as it as about the bowling shirts and pleated trousers

he’s been practicing for it all week, there isn’t a shinier toaster in Christendom than the Smeg x Dolce & Gabbana 2-slot toaster costing £499 that I imagine Casa del Goss has. Eat the rich and their toast.

Most of everything post-polishing simply didn’t matter and was nothing but white noise and a fugue state as he danced this jive with all the ferocity and coordination of a man in a Womble suit

but it was a deceptive beginning because the solo work in the was actually marginally alright (the bar is quite low) and gave me the false hope that Matt Goss was about to be reborn as at least as competent a jiver as James Bye furiously stomping around a vintage record shop because Amy said her favourite band was Bananarama

I mean he cleared that bar counter really quite admirably

and here he is doing it in the corduroy trousers he insisted on doing all of his jive training in

The man simply refuses to own anything that doesn’t have to be buttoned or belted.

But then he comes into contact with Nadiya and he turns to jelly and seemingly forgets what feet are or that he can decide what they do – which isn’t that big a surprise because the man has apparently spent his entire life being completely ambivalent about his own limbs.

Given that we’re in week 4 though and Shirley pretty much pointed a glock at Ellie Taylor’s feet for doing some heel leads in a cha cha cha, the judges were all VERY gentle on what was really quite a terrible dance and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact there’s a distinct air that if anyone withdraws from the competition for a sudden hamstring injury before being photographed having a great time in Cannes, it’s probably Matt Goss. Except for Craig who was taking no prisoners

sadly we’ll never know what would have happened if he had reached the point of giving Matt a 2.

Craig: 3
Motsi: 6
Shirley: 5
Anton: 6
Total: 20

Jayde Adams & Karen Hauer
American Smooth / Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler

Oh God, I can’t believe I have to recap both a mental health rumba and a mournful American Smooth to The Wind Beneath My Wings ON THE SAME NIGHT – do they not think of the people who write snarky recaps as a coping mechanism for the world’s horrors? Some people dance their feelings out, others spend their time editing Matt Goss’s face onto Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat

we’re all valid.

I am a little surprised that given Jayde and her sister did disco dancing together that they weren’t saving this particular story for her couple’s choice, but it might have also been a little unfair on Karen to make her the Patron Saint of Contemporary Sympathetic DiscoWafting

so instead we got an American Smooth to The Wind Beneath My Wings with all the trappings you would expect from an American Smooth to The Wind Beneath My Wind that’s dedicated to memorialising your sister – there’s heavenly foot fog, there’s a heart-shaped moon that looks like Hallmark might sure you over

and there’s one hell of a keychange and enough pyrotechnics to completely swallow one of their lifts alive

Jayde’s PR Team simply dropped a comedic sack of money on the desk of the Strictly production crew and told them to spend it all, and a good deal of it went on the licensing of Elsa’s likeness

the things the Movie Week tide leaves behind.

Much like the Mental Health Rumba, a lot of the critique is about the sentimentality of the routine with Anton going as far as to say he didn’t care about the category of the dance which… *points at my conspiracy theory pasteboard about why this should have been a Couple’s Choice routine*

and apparently Tess has still not learned to not go to Craig last when someone dances one of these emotionally heavy routines as he launched into a full on critique of the dance because I guess he was a little stung that people keep saying the show is “too soft” now.

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

Molly Rainford & Carlos Gu
Cha-Cha-Cha / Do What I Do – Lady Bri

Having grown tired of Carlos panther crawling around the training room shouting “POOM!” at her, a move that never made it into their cha cha cha and seemed to be for his own personal enjoyment

Molly decided it was time to deploy the I’m A Real Girl™ VT to go and play indoor mini golf with her REAL LIFE FRIENDS, neither of which are a socket puppet or on the BBC payroll and because she’s a CBBC star, it is an entirely sober affair

it was quite funny that just as the rumours that Molly and Nikita are having a very blonde sordid romance, Molly’s REAL LIFE FRIENDS spent an excessive amount of time talking about how cute Molly and Carlos were together as they desperately shovelled logs onto that dead Daily Mail fire before Carlos finally showed up to have someone take the worst photograph of him in existence

I genuinely didn’t know it was possible, so it’s nice to know he is a fallible human being after all – and that Molly’s friends can be photographed and weren’t summoned from a vampiric plane for VT purposes only. Tilly Ramsay has no such evidence.

Disappointingly their Cha Cha Cha didn’t involve trying to hit a ball through a medium-sized windmill because the ferrets in the ballpit of theme ideas are apparently keeping that for when they manage to convince Rory McIlroy to sign up. So instead, for Unofficial Careers Week, Time Traveller Kai had taken Molly and Carlos back in time to be the author of the Great American Novel and Easily Bored Socialite Wife as they took on the roles of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald during their Biltmore Hotel period (after This Side of Paradise but before the infamous Broadway Vegetable failure)

sucks to be the person who gets the Ellerslie themed Tango, but Amy will do it if it means she can drive a novelty car into a tree. Although this was very much the tailend of their time in New York because the therapy chaise was in full session

hurry up and process the trauma of losing your mini golf tournament to two girls Molly made up and The Great Gatsby being your greatest legacy, Will Mellor really needs somewhere to lie down because nobody thought to get the four poster bed out of the prop warehouse this week.

The Cha Cha Cha has thus far been underperforming quite a bit with Shirley making enemies with every subtalar joint in Elstree so it was about time someone rose to the top and this was a pretty magnificent performance and she made the tricky straight leg look pretty effortless

I really loved the 1930s of it all, Craig had some issues with how coherent the theme was because there was a part where she was chasing Carlos around the dancefloor like some sort of terrestrial bird in a Fosse production

and he questioned whether this was truly a cha cha cha but as it turned out, this was one of the more coherent dances of the night and if you’d stuck her in some Barbados blue glass beads and given her a high ponytail with its own sentience, I don’t think there would have been much of a debate about it, they did after all have this weird favourite move that keeps rearing its head in various Latin numbers

I’m not sure the gynaecological conveyor belt is ever going to be a good move, so maybe we hang that one up now?

But Craig did admit it was a welcome change because apparently coating everything in an art deco veneer is the “welcome and refreshing change” that everyone seems to think out of hold ballroom dances are, ARE YOU HEARING THIS VITO? Dab like a Chiparus sculpture, that’s what the kids want!

As much as this was probably my second favourite routine of the night, I did have issues with the way it felt quite a bit like a Meghan Trainor music video – there was just a very 2015 Gaslight.Gatekeep.Girlboss energy about it

and the ending was very of the ilk of low effort feminist iconography that Meghan tends to favour – you see, it’s the men who are in the position of being judged and that’s ~fEMinISm~

I’ll be honest, quite why Carlos had to end the routine on his knees like a starlet of the Jazz Age was damning him to an eternity in Hell for the crime of serving burnt champagne does somewhat escape me, but I can’t say he didn’t deserve it for making me have to read Tender Is The Night.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 9
Anton: 9
Total: 35

James Bye & Amy Dowden
Quickstep / Don’t Get Me Wrong – The Pretenders

James and Amy were apparently too busy filming VTs with his adorable children to send in their applications for work experience placements and were thus banished to stained glass prison that John Waite had to salsa his way out of

and because I’m not sure James Bye is at a point in his Strictly career where he can be trusted to salsa his way out of a paper bag, he and Amy were just going to make do and quickstep around it forever and be content with just being kind of OK

he does look VERY good in that suit though and as much as I agree with the judges that this was by far his best performance, it was a very low content quickstep and there wasn’t anything in it to make it particularly memorable – there was no side by side work, there was only a single very polite canter down the ballroom but my God did James love doing the little hoppy kicky things (it’s a technical term)

I’ve honestly not seen him this happy since he got a free jacket

also a fan was Gorka, who definitely wasn’t doing a very sarcastic round of applause at the end of it

what did Maisie Smith do to make Gorka hate soap actors so much?

On the other end of the enjoyment spectrum was the spin which James came out of looking like he’d just found out he was going to be doing a foxtrot to the Eastenders theme tune

it all felt a little bit like some very basic quickstep pieces rather haphazardly glued together and it could have done with just a little something to make it a bit more special, there’s only so far a really good suit can get you.
Craig did finally call out the fact that Amy is absolutely leading 90% of their routines

Hey if you’re not going to give Amy a novelty car to drive, she’s going to drive a man around that ballroom at a sensible 25 miles per hour.

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

Fleur West & Vito Coppola
Argentine Tango / Paint It, Black – Ciara

As it is the inaugural Argentine Tango, we of course have to bring in the Argentine Tango specialists to give a demonstration in the oddest of places, having previously been dumped in the bottom of an empty pool like a pair of alligators that need rescuing in the Floridian suburbs by a man with a mullet called Crayfish Frank on Animal Planet

they do at least seem to have learned that making two people very much not dressed for the cold dance outdoors in the middle of October was maybe not the best idea, so they were at least granted the barren warmth of the Taskmaster Garage

You have 10 minutes to open all of the garage doors without leaving the circle of lightsabers we set up to make this look slightly less silly.

Fleur and Vito weren’t however getting to dance in the middle of a Jedi’s religious ceremony and were instead working as the tour guides of The Giant’s Causeway ~but sexily~

I really loved this staging and for the most part I think it made the beginning of their routine that little bit more dynamic, however I do wish the final stage of getting off it looked slightly less like Vito was helping Fleur over a fence during a countryside stroll

YOU’RE STILL DANCING GUYS! You can’t just stop for 3 whole seconds! Thankfully the general sexiness of the whole routine very much continued

apparently Fleur’s husband was the one responsible for pushing them to go sexier and sexier with the routine as he watched their training if you wanted to know who to thank for all of this, even if it was kind of just the same move over and over again

I shan’t kink shame but I can’t believe we got cuckoldry onto Strictly Come Dancing.
Speaking of kinks, I spent the whole routine waiting for Vito to sniff a limb, the Argentine Tango is practically made for a fibulaphile and just as my hopes were dying, Vito went in for a big old whiff of the neck

and in true Argentine Tango fashion, by the end of it Horndog Tess was out in full force and being a big bisexual disaster

and she was not the only one with Motsi just about panther crawling across the table shouting “POOM!” and taking out her chair in the process

Craig being gallant enough to set it (and her booster seat) back up for her before we got another Bruno Tonioli definitely accidentally falling off of his seat

and then Shirley called Fleur a musical instrument and told her “you play yourself beautifully” which is a bit like saying “You’re a beautiful oyster and you shuck yourself beautifully” and sounds just as much like a mastabatory euphamism – Shirley might want to work on her metaphors because that would not have flown in GCSE english.

It was nice to see Fleur bouncing back from a bottom 2 placement with a pair of tens and a test of just how wide her mouth could go

Dr. Simmonds, you’re going to need a bigger cheek retractor.

Craig: 9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 9
Anton: 10
Total: 38

A Very Busy Kym Marsh & Graziano Di Prima
Samba / Volare – Gipsy Kings

Given that it’s just about all she talks about whenever she’s on the show, Graziano was finally getting to see the Waterloo Road set, which apparently has the same secrecy protocols as Menwith Hill and we couldn’t see her in action – it’s that or she really the buried the lede about the fact she’s only working craft services

in which case, I take back everything I’ve ever said about her being busy because on-set caterers are the hardest working people in show business and deserve nothing but praise and admiration.
And of course she had to practice in front her colleagues who she very pointedly does not call friends, and how could she after she nearly took them and the vending machines out with a very haphazard samba roll

and for all her hard work, Graziano had decided he was going to make this samba into a jet set holiday, or a trip to the supermarket if you’re Taylor Swift, on a medium-sized private jet because the graphics department apparently downloaded the Flight Simulator Expansion Pack

they didn’t even bother to write “Strictly Airways” on it or anything! KYM Airways is RIGHT THERE! But no, it’s just an entirely brandless plane, Jayde’s PR Team would have had them photoshop a photo of Jayde’s face onto one of those World War II pin-ups that soldiers painted onto their spitfires because if you’re going to go down in a blaze of glory, you might as well make it a sexy blaze of glory.

Apparently Kym’s role in all of this was to play the personification of a hen party that had just finished terrorising Malaga for a week and Graziano was the poor beleaguered flight attendant that has to deal with the fact they’ve just downed 6 martinis on a three hour flight

which might explain why the first round of samba rolls looked a bit like me trying to find my way down the stairs after a bottomless brunch

as well as the fact the whole thing felt like it as on the verge of becoming the macarena at any given moment

and if there’s one thing the British love punishing it’s the macarena and anything macarena adjacent

but I do think by the last third of the routine Kym had warmed up and was much less stiff but it might have just been because she was happy it was all about to be over and she could move on to martini number 7

very much hoping that Kym’s whole gig on Waterloo Road is playing a gin swigging PE teacher and this all counts as overtime for her.

Craig: 7
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 8
Anton: 9
Total: 32

Tony Adams & Katya Jones
American Smooth / With A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker

So I wished upon the Monkey’s Paw that Tony Adams would get to do a completely normal ballroom routine and I got what I wished for, it does however mean I have to try and sensitively recap another quite highly emotional dance as Tony had indeed been following Will Mellor’s Emotions For Men Masterclass

however, I do think Tony’s was a much more solidified concept with his routine being to With A Little Help From My Friends and referencing his recovery from addiction, which the show never said outright but if you’ve spent enough time on Tony’s wikipedia page checking to see if descending from the ceiling on a golden cannon counted as a midlife crisis or not, you would be aware of. Given the theme of the routine he was treated to a visit from Lee Dixon and David Seaman

the latter mercifully blacklisted from the show for both participating on Dancing On Ice and marrying one of their professional skaters, so Lee Dixon was very much walking into a potential 2023 casting trap – the glittery footballs flashing before his very eyes.

With an American Smooth obviously come lifts and Katya could have made these as easy as she possibly could, but this is Katya Jones and what’s life with risk of a severe neck injury? Kicking things off with a lift that had all the grace and elegance of Edward Cullen whispering “hold tight spidermonkey” before zooming through the trees in some distinctly 2008 special effects

and then the second lift was… fine, it still looked like a man losing a fight to a marlin that he’d just reeled in but Katya’s face t least stayed 3 inches away from the floor at all times

and then the third lift was just a disaster and Katya ended up looking like one of those tropical sea slugs trying to escape a predatory crab

it’s the frantic scuttling that really gets me every time I watch it, but I’m also not sure how how much it went wrong considering this was their training footage

I think it’s always going to look like the the wave of yoga-snot logo from The Apprentice became all too aware of its own existence

but the lifts aside, this was reasonably good and Tony is good with his timings, he hit this emotional beat where he spins Katya to the ground perfectly on time and with a lot of emotional strength

and I genuinely found his whole performance to be very effective, quite how much of him and Katya hobbling away into the distance was acting and how much of it was because Katya had just taken a good mouthful out of the dancefloor and couldn’t see straight I don’t know but I was just relieved they were both upright

As were the judges who were all very kind, I mean all Craig said was “better” and Tony went absolutely loopy about it

and clearly had more to say but didn’t want to ruin the moment for Tony who was falling just short of spinning around on the floor like Homer Simpson

I imagine Katya has that one penned in for their Cha Cha Cha.
And in Tony’s excitement, he almost ran off before Motsi could give her critique, at which point he very loudly cried “Oh shit!” which both momentarily broke Tess and means the episode comes with an age restricted content warning on Iplayer

now they have to reboot her language algorithm or she’ll be saying “oh shit!” every time someone finishes an American Smooth.

Craig: 5
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7
Total: 26

Hamza Yassin & Jowita “Hollow Bones” Pryzstal
Salsa / Ecuador – Sash!

In an effort to show that the Carpool Karaoke style song reveals can be done responsibly, Jowita revealed to Hamza that he’d be doing a salsa to Ecuador by Sash! and despite every nerve ending in his body telling him to shimmy and scream “ESCUCHA ME!” and “ECUAAAAADOOOOOOOOORRRRRR!” he did not take his eyes off the road during any of his shimmying

he would simply not be able to live with the guilt of accidentally running over a road safety conscious hedgehog, he is a good man. I still want them to stop doing this though.

Out on the dancefloor and Hamza had apparently found a good use for Nancy’s comically large and cumbersome watermelon

and he’s very kindly going to whip Will Mellor up a vitamin C heavy smoothie as soon as he’s finished blending Jowita up in this insane salsa, because we have been looking for a new Salsa Maverick ever since Janette entered her Post-HRVY retirement plan, and given Jowita’s shit eating grin as their VT ended with her being consumed by angelic light like she was a part of a sentimental American Smooth, she knew this was going to be MEGA

and there wasn’t a single second of it that wasn’t riotously entertaining and you knew it was going to be from the moment Hamza started swinging his arms, no doubt thinking about baby elephants and their trunks while doing it

and Jowita really came in swinging for Janette’s Bonkers Salsa Crown, every lift topping the last, so it’s no wonder that given she was going to be swung around like a baby monkey in a gyroscope

that Hamza’s braids had to be pinned to his shirt like he was a Toby Jug

and just because I also came across this in my efforts to find an image of a Toby Jug to use, here’s Matt Goss doing his own impression of one

I’ll stop before I start a whole Strictly Cast Members as Toby Jugs thread on Twitter.

And the whole thing culminating in a very impressive bench pressing of Jowita

my absolute favourite part of it being the moment just before he does the lift where he nods, knowing what’s about to happen and almost not believing it himself, and naturally everyone went wild, including Jowita

the only thing keeping Motsi from jumping up and down on her seat being the threat of having to pay for any further damage to her custom-made booster seat, so he almost threw a book at him

and I was reminded of Motsi once scoring Rose “a 10 with a crown on it” and coming up with the idea of Motsi having 1 crown to give away at any point in the competition

and this very much would have been that 10 with a crown on it – this has winner’s salsa written all over it, and is in fact the highest scoring salsa performed outside of a series finale.

As for their post-dance inspirational speech, apparently Hamza wasn’t well at all this week and they didn’t get to train much…

hello darkness my old friend.

Craig: 9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10
Total: 39

Helen Skelton & A Blousy Pirate
Paso Doble / Tamacun – Rodrigo y Gabriel

Following Hamza’s salsa was going to be a tough act for anyone and with Helen Skelton doing a paso and being the nice lady on Countryfile with a disposition that doesn’t make sheep feel scared, I really, REALLY think they should have sent her to an acting class, especially if you’re going to start the routine off with a camp as tits telenovella opening

and it was in those terrified deer-like eyes that I realised this was going to be a bit of a damp squib despite her training footage looking incredibly good and her footwork was still pretty great

but as it turns out, it really had to be as they were going to do a pretty damning close up of them during their bigged up crescendo

I honestly never expected them to do this to someone, IN WEEK FOUR, after the close up in Rhys’s jive during which the poor boy was having an existential crisis

and it hadn’t helped that Gorka had really pushed the finale bit of foot tappin’ in this routine as being something special so when Helen flew up that ramp, I thought we were in for another Mabuse Chaise Dive

and then Helen kind of just stood there and did the hot shoe shuffle for a little bit

not helped at all by the fact Gorka had about 3 whole series worth of pent up Paso Doble waiting to come out because he hasn’t done one since he was partnered with Katie Piper and was selling the ever loving God out of his portion of it

it was kind of just his routine though, and I very much enjoyed his backwards knee hops which felt like futilely making your video game character jump into a wall because you’re convinced there must be a secret entrance hidden there

and given that he had watched the whole thing unfold from his barrel-top eyrie like an eagle waiting for someone to throw a scrap of meat into the air (Sorry Helen, I’m sure you’re a lovely piece of luxury venison)

I think he knew how the judging was going to go

and Craig very much dug into the general politeness of the whole routine but commending her for her overall technique and the other judges all echoing the sentiment that she doesn’t realise how good she is, which then lead into Gorka giving his obligatory inspirational speech by kind of addressing the tabloid news about Helen’s personal life during which Helen looked like all she wanted nothing more in the world than for him to stop talking immediately

and then to prove that she’s a bad girl at heart she joined Motsi in the ruination of the Strictly branded furniture

somewhere someone is working on a Dead Poets Society Movie Week routine.
None of this of course doing anything to convince Craig not to score it a 6 and therefore summoning Pissy Gorka from the depths like a leviathan of snark and spite

get ready for a passive aggressive *checks notes* Blue Peter Charleston?

Craig: 6
Motsi: 8
Shirley: 7
Anton: 8
Total: 29

Little Bo Peep, Some Lost Sheep & A Farmer walk into a baa…
Viennese Waltz / Boom Bang-a-Bang – Lulu

I feel it. A disturbance in the force. It awakens. The looming threat of the Comedy VT rises as Ellie and Johannes Go The Farm, not euphemistically, they’re both still alive and having a great time milking a medium-sized dairy cow that you must, under no circumstances, sit on

medium-sized horses however are fair game apparently

Johannes of course turning up for a morning of comedic manual labour dressed like a 1950s starlet doing a terrible job of going undercover while on a safari holiday

in hells, obviously

he did sadly have to ditch them while they danced a Viennese waltz around a particularly bemused sheep

Ma’am, this is an inner city community farm, all I want is a salt lick and the fine relaxing company of Helen Skelton.

The reason for their farmyard work experience visit? Apparently someone at Strictly Towers is convinced that Boom Bang-a-Bang by Lulu is in fact a pastoral banger because this is not the first time we’ve had an alpine dairy version of it, the previous rendition being Judge Rinder’s bovinophilia

Oksana, you were only with us for 1 series but my God, you did the absolute most with it and you can rest safe in the knowledge that at least you didn’t look quite so infantilised in your Heidi cosplay

I blame the headdress and the painted on freckles entirely, because I think the dress on its own is really quite pretty and it moved wonderfully in her spins

and yes, every Boom Bang-a-Bang Viennese Waltz apparently needs its own farm, which is sadly a horse-free zone

Who’s going to pull the cart to market? That unclimbable cow isn’t going to pull it (I am talking about the medium-sized cow prop and not Ellie Taylor, if that wasn’t entirely clear) and despite having a couple of prop sheep on hand, they still felt the need to upload some Age of Empires quality sheep and ground texture into the CGI machine

if you cannot render a decent private jet, what hope do have for rendering moving sheep? Delete the gummy ovine disasters from your graphics package IMMEDIATELY.

These two had obviously concentrated a lot on Ellie’s technique this week after being sent out as the sacrificial Cha Cha Cha to appease Shirley’s bloodthirst for good footwork and I think their hard work clearly paid off because it was very clean and smooth along the floor

I don’t think it was the most complicated routine in the world and they certainly got the fleckerls out of the way within the first few seconds of the routine before Ellie could get too into the characterisation of her incredibly horny and possibly murerous shepherdess

I’m convinced that with a little bit of colour correcting and enough random violin strings you could edit this whole routine to look like the trailer for a horror movie, there was just something very Pearl-like about the way Ellie smiled her entire way through the routine

but it was nice to see that after a dip into the lower end of the scoring spectrum that they returned to something a little higher and I very much enjoyed Ellie eating her pigtails in a mix of glee and shock

it’s certainly one way of guaranteeing you never see them again.

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

Tyler West & Dianne Buswell
Couple’s Choice – A Megamix In The Garage

Had I not known they were about to do this to a Garage Megamix, I would have said we were about to get a very sweet contempowaft routine dedicated to his mother and it’s the closest we’ll ever get to having someone dressing up as Dipsy for a routine to I Feel Like A Woman

that is until they accept that me being recognised on the street three times means I’m a celebrity and cast me on the show.

With the Teletubby routine having been nixed even for 100 Years of The BBC Week, Tyler and Dianne were instead doing a routine as a pair of DJing Borrowers

there were a lot of things going against this routine, none of which were Tyler’s fault, the biggest issue for me was the way they filmed it because they had banked on the whole set up looking like a DJ’s turntable and in order to fully get that effect they had to use super zoomed out shots from weird angles, looking right into a spotlight which then meant Tyler and Dianne’s movements weren’t really reading and it was like Dan Walker trying to work out if he was partnered with Nadiya or Luba

and the very nature of the Garage Megamix is quite stoppy-starty (a technical term) and I have no issue with the music or street dance being on Strictly HOWEVER, with the music changing between different tempos and styles, it would have made sense for the dancing to change tempos and styles but it kind of didn’t – a lot of it was very good and there were some fun tricks

I particularly liked the bit that looked like the pretzel making technical challenge on Bake Off

but there were other bits where I think they thought it looked more dynamic than it did, because I’m not sure Tyler West really wanted to be evoking images of Jamie Laing kind of just lying down like a dead fly

but of course the biggest elephant in the room (put the peanuts back in your pockets Hamza, it’s just metaphorical) is that if you’re going to have street dance on the show, it would be nice to have someone who can fully appreciate the technicalities of it on the judging panel rather than having Shirley talking about Garage music like your grandmother who won’t use the self-checkouts because the voice sounds too aggressive

and then defaulting to a 10 out of ignorance more than anything else which I think does the genre and the show a disservice.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10
Total: 37

And there we have it and now I know exactly how Will Mellor felt as he stumbled his way through that rumba – nothing but respect my Patient Zero.

I apologise that this one was delayed, but the results show will be up on Thursday as usual.

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of Strictly 2022’s Week 4 show and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

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