Strictly 2022, Musicals Week, Main Show: The Uncanny Cat Moon

Well, we’ve all had this dream.

Welcome to Musicals Week where the boots aren’t the only things that are kinky.

Of course Musicals Week had to kick off with a big, extravagant, pointedly Andrew Lloyd-Webberless West End Medley that basically screamed “COME SEE OUR SHOWS, NOT THAT TOAD MEISTER’S!” with all the subtlety of Kristina and Ben’s Paso Doble

I fell down a rabbithole of male celebrity paso dobles because SOMEONE wont give them to me this year.

The Medley starts in An Ambiguous Sheffield Highschool, for the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie portion of the production where Nikita really wants you to know that he still fits into his Matilda costume from last year

and it did feel a little bit mean to make it quite so obvious that Neil peaked in high school guys…

surprisingly though, Johannes was not going to be playing the role of the titular Jamie that everybody was talking about and instead had to wait for his drag opportunity (dragortunity? You can have that one for free, RuPaul) in their attempt to make Grease seem a little more modern and less tired

on a scale of 1 to ABSOLUTELY LIVID, how upset do we think Johannes was that they weren’t even going to let him stomp around in the boots from Kinky boots and instead was relegated to Background Hamilton No. 4 for the entire weird, weird mash-up at the end that felt like a theatre kid’s fanfic had gotten out of control

HE DIDN’T EVEN GET TO BE GAY, OR EUROPEAN!

Well… that’s certainly *a* use of your Neil Jones. Textbook use of your Nadiya Bychkova though – I imagine Luba lost the thumb war for Elle Woods.

This whole thing did remind me that we’re on a ticking timebomb as we inch closer and closer to Dave Arch and his Merry Men having to attempt a Hamilton which can only end badly for us and whichever poor unfortunate soul gets dealt that nightmarish couple’s choice. But in good news, Strictly knows Six exists

there’s a really fun Jive to be had with No Way.

Sadly Cynthia Erivo wasn’t invited back for a second taste of Musicals Week blood – Will Mellor would not have been a safe man – so we’re still with our judgey foursome all dressed as a before and after Changing Rooms disaster in which the couple only ever said the admire the work of Chanel and Marilyn Monroe

while Claudia and Tess were their own clashing personalities

Hamza had to be given a beta-blocker because he was very nervous that the tabby cat would eat the canary.

Roxie Hart & Mary Sunshine (I Guess?)
Charleston / Hot Honey Rag – Chicago

Nobody. Mention. Georgia. May. Foote.

All week Carlos has had to insist that he’s not going to be playing the Velma Kelly to Molly’s Roxie Hart, to the point where it genuinely became a little suspicious, so when we cut to the “backstage” of Molly’s routine there was a brief moment where I did really think Lauren was Carlos

and now all I want is a Carlos Gu drag number and the only way I’m going to get that is if they cast Tia Kofi next year, which the BBC kind of have to do considering Dancing With the Stars: America, Ireland and Australia have all had Shangela, Panti Bliss and Courtney Act respectively and Dancing On Ice has announced The Vivienne for their next line-up… Big fan of Strictly championing itself as a great display of diversity but every bit of inclusion feels like a different franchise forced their hand first… But mark my words, they will be the first ones to partner someone with a cartoon character – it’s Luba’s destiny to dance with Duggee.
Instead Carlos was Handsome Man in a suit

and the routine was pretty much everything you could want from a Chicago themed Charleston, there wasn’t anything wildly innovative about it, except for the spin through the legs at the beginning

the particular highlight being Molly’s shit eating grin when she pulled it off absolutely perfectly

but of course it had to be a very Chicago Themed Charleston because this did feel like the cruscendo of Molly’s Strictly storyline, much like Rhys getting the Musicals Week Jive last year (AND BOY HAD THAT WENT DOWNHILL REAL QUICK) this definitely felt the most like they were basically creating a showreel for Molly to send to every West End casting agent in the business – complete with her name in lights

although from certain angles the bannisters obscured details of it and it did look a bit like Moi’u was the next big star of the vaudeville world

might as well open yourself up to French audiences too.

So of course most of the critique was about how good a West End performer she would be – and she would be, she’d make a fantastic Roxie Hart if this routine is anything to go by – but when you go quite so hard on pointing out the professionalism of Molly’s dancing, especially comparing her directly to Lauren, it’s not the most endearing comparison for the casual voting audience who are already a little suspicious ever since you sent Molly back to her theatre school during their Not At All A Couple’s Choice Couple’s Choice – they have done Molly no favours this year, just letting the ringer bleed out into shark infested waters while they admire the seagulls with Hamza.

SCORES:
Craig:
9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 9
TOTAL: 38

Simba McLion & Nyala McLion
Samba / They Live In You – The Lion King

My personal favourite thing about this being the second Lion King themed Samba of the series was the fact on Friday’s It Takes Two, Richie Anderson, of The Meerkat Onesie Infamy, was playing the role of backstage reporter like he’d won a competition on The One Show and so he had to interview Hamza about it

in Hamza’s favour though was that by this point in the competition wardrobe is having to make incredibly specific costumes for 8 less couples, so Hamza at least managed to dodge a onesie, BUT, I think we can still debate whether THIS

was a worse option than THIS

because while Richie and Giovanni looked like they got dressed using only the cheapest items in a Disney store, Hamza looks like he’s about to be eliminated in a Drag Race sewing challenge and Jowita looks like the teenage daughter of a villain from Power Rangers. I can only guess that they didn’t go more feline with Hamza’s costume because they wanted to avoid any comparisons with CATS (2019) – COWARDS! – but you know, when you shoot to miss The Uncanny Cat Moon, you land amongst the Cockroach Marching Band Stars

Gorka however was fully embracing his inner weird, confusing feline sensuality

That gif is basically Strictly’s Last Supper and deserves to be hanging in The Louvre – Helen’s pose, Luba’s careful appraisal, Jowita’s slow creeping horror, Hamza not wanting to frighten the man-cat, Carlos’s dissociation, Fleur’s dropped jaw, Amy looking distinctly out of place and of course the all important butt wiggle. Leonardo Da Vinci could NEVER.

Hamza’s outfit was also, kind of what they wear in the Musical, not that Hamza knows that because he’s never seen a musical and still hasn’t, nor can he use Google – he relies on all his news to be relayed to him through starling murmurations like an ancient Augur

but at a certain point you have to take into consideration that he’s dancing a samba and dressing his torso up like the most glamorous oak tree in the Forest of Dean might not be such a good idea – with any other couple this would have been a deliberate set up for elimination, so it’s a testament to Hamza’s phone vote really because I don’t think it was a great routine – I’m not sure an emotionally vulnerable samba can ever be a great routine – but I did like his little solo moment which did manage to evoke an essense of goosebumps

I did also enjoy the extra dancer doing a series of roly-polys across the floor in order to distract you from the fact Hamza was struggling to samba roll in his uncommitted corset

I imagine Cameron was standing on the sidelines with his hands clenched in a fist

and given that they’ve been threatening to VR an entire safari into Hamza’s routines since week one, we were lucky to get away with a very tasteful interstellar Mufasa

I can only imagine that they’ve held back on the Zoo Tycoon Expansion Pack because Hamza would have far too many notes to give them about the authenticity of their choices – it’s why Jowita couldn’t show him The Lion King, he kept questioning why the mandrill had a tail and the less said about the size discrepancies of the ostriches and flamingos the better.

SCORES:
Craig:
9
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 9
Anton: 9
TOTAL: 36

Nonspecific Kids From Fame
Cha Cha Cha / Fame – Fame

They’re back! Kym and Graziano got to move straight onto a new routine, unlike last year in which Judi and Graziano and to force their Physical Cha Cha Cha into a zombie-shaped hole

unfortunately for Graziano, this week’s routine was another Cha Cha Cha, again involving aerobics gear.

As a card carrying member of the Fame/Flashdance Blindness community who for a good portion of their life just thought they were the same thing, the fact we’ve now had both a Flashdance and Fame Cha Cha Cha in the same series is not doing me any favours, but does feel a little vindicating, especially given that the legwarmers were back out

I feel like all the ingredients for a CATS routine were in this episode, just strewn across different routines like pieces of William Wallace. I did also love that Shirley said Kym “chose” to wear the aerobics costume, and that she definitely wasn’t walked into a room by an exhausted Vicky Gill holding a gun to her head, demanding she put on whatever she could get in the Decathlon sale while Graziano was given a £20 ASOS voucher

and if you’re wondering what the hanky indicates in the grand scheme of the hanky code, they’ve actually already answered that question for you

a lot of the questions being asked about the Strictly kink department are already being answered by the Strictly kink department.

On It Takes Two, Kym and Graziano had kind of indicated that they’d only been able to get into the training room on about Tuesday and with the main show on Friday this week because we have given The Football™ too much power, they were really up against it, and as such the routine did feel a little bit under-rehearsed and it’s definitely not because they devoted a large amount of time to practicing anything else…

but they did her a solid by cutting out her feet for a good potion of the routine

and there were moments where Kym looked a little panicked but this was also prior to the moment she knew she was about to Cha Cha across the floor to climb aboard the half-a-taxi knowing everyone was going to make the inevitable “Taxi for Kym!” joke

I do find it interesting that in the Strictly Cinematic Universe everything is medium-sized except for fire hydrants which are 1.75 size

I found it a little distracting, I thought for sure it was going to erupt into a shower of pyro-technics during the end, but instead the whole routine ended with Graziano being hit by the taxi

if you’re going to go out, you might as well do it while making an insurance claim.

It was also a little damning that most of the praise for Kym was about her looking great – which she does, I’m furious at her abs – and most importantly, Nikita was having a great time

and truly, that’s all that matters.

SCORES:
Craig:
8
Motsi: 9
Shirley: 9
Anton: 8
TOTAL: 34

Miss Saigon Discourse
Foxtrot / Sun and Moon – Miss Saigon

OH NO. Completely out of left field, Will Mellor has decided that his Big Ticket Item is Miss Saigon, but like… he’s a full on stan – look at his little face as he watches it!

Don’t look at Nancy looking slightly pained, make sure you only concentrated on Will’s happiness AND DON’T LOOK AT THE CHINESE DRAGON TATTOO EITHER. There’s a whole 6 month vacation to unpack here.
It’s a dubious choice, especially considering a big production has recently been protested and boycotted by a British East and South East Asian theatre company in Sheffield (and multiple times before that.) It turns out musical theatre is a minefield and we’re just running through it an hoping for the best at this point.

Obviously Will and Nancy were not doing a full on production of Miss Saigon (although Will Mellor will do it, he made that much abundantly clear) so for now we live in the little Sun and Moon Foxtrot Bubble, completely removed from the Racism, Orientalism and Misogyny that haunts the full show. And doing Sun and Moon did mean that Will could do his favourite move: emotional sitting

and it was a very tender and heartfelt routine, which mostly relied on the classiness of Nancy’s choreography than anything really big and impactful, which was catnip for the judges, especially Anton who acted like he’d just witnessed the second coming of Jesus Christ (Superstar), which almost had Will’s heart giving out

“I’m just a really emotional guy!” he bellows again – WE KNOW WILL! We watched the mental health week rumba. We’ve seen your sitting! it’s also hard to tell where the sweat starts and the Vietnam war vet makeup starts – OH NO WE’RE SLIPPING INTO DISCOURSE AGAIN-

The judges may have loved it, however Art Critic Giovanni was giving the whole thing a firm side eye

he found the sentimentality rather droll.

SCORES:
Craig:
9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10
TOTAL: 39

Sally Bowles & Emcee
Couple’s Choice / Mein Herr – Cabaret

Well then. It wasn’t quite Sara Davies talking about how important her family are to her before cutting to the dancefloor trussed up like some sort of Game of Thrones themed sex dungeon

but I did enjoy Helen talking about how much she loves her family and how their enjoyment of her dancing and the whole Strictly process has taught her what she’s all about again before cutting to a shot directly up Gorka’s arse

and as it turns out, what’s she’s all about is PURE FILTH

the SHRIEK that went up in that ballroom after Helen and Gorka dropped in that split plank was almost as deafening as the boos Craig received for giving them only a 9 – it was like Nadiya and Dianne were 6 mojitos in to a hen party, and by the end of it Nikita was having some sort of religious experience

and who could blame him, it was an INCREDIBLE routine and a bloody fantastic performance, the only slight miss coming from one of the assisting pros who failed to Bend and Snap on time so it just looked like Michelle was pegging him

but he made up for it with a fantastic performance as one of the wheels on Helen’s Kinkmobile

which was Helen’s portion of the dismembered Cats routine as that’s pretty close to how they do the Skimbleshanks routine in the stage show

will I ever get my Skimbleshanks Charleston?

Of course there was a pointedness to all the sexy, silly fun – all of it culminating in Helen doing one hell of a strut before sarcastically singing “You’ll be better off without me!” directly to camera

I hope the grotty ex-husband felt every bit of that. Just utterly aethered, a psychic damage knockout. DESTROY. THE. MAN.

It may have only scored 39, but THE Balconied pros were ready TO launch a dirty protest and just started chanting “FORTY! FORTY! FORTY!” afterwards

so, I guess it’s a 40 then?

It was going to be hard for anyone to beat Hamza’s Salsa as the dance of the series, but this was a cultural reset and has already amassed over half a million views on YouTube in just two days, whereas Hamza’s Salsa is at 850k after 7 weeks. It’s the first time I’ve felt like what feels like Hamza’s inevitable win could be challenged, so game on Skelton.

SCORES:
Craig:
9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10
TOTAL: 39

Lisa Bouvier & Jerry Mulligan
Quickstep / I’ve Got Rhythm – An Italian American In Paris

It was going to be hard for anyone to follow up Helen’s descent into Cabaret revenge, and the best way to do it was probably with a very jolly, giddy Quickstep – with Fleur assuring us that her Quickstep was taking place in Paris as though we wouldn’t have got that from the medium-sized Eiffel Tower, the immobile French Poodle, a baguette, the three berets and a stripy shirted artist all on the floor with her

well, it certainly shows how tasteful their approach to Miss Saigon was.

Fleur was also keen to point out that the tempo for I Got Rhythm is actually faster than the standard quickstep, which explains the deservedly smug look she gave as she nailed every single part of this routine like it was second nature

that wink to camera before heading straight into the rapid duck paddling was SO GOOD

and it’ll be an overlooked part of the routine but the speed at which she went down the stairs in a pair of heels deserves a shout out – I put on a pair of heels and I have to descend the stairs like I’m a cat wearing snowshoes – it’s one carefully placed foot after the other, and I’ll be downstairs in about 30 minutes.

She also just played very well with the other dancers and out of all the routines, this one felt the most musical theatre and I really hope there’s a place on that West End for Fleur – even it’s just for the East Meets West headlines. But speaking of the other dancers, my particular highlight was Cameron lipsycning along to the trumpet parps

the only unfortunate thing about going last is the fact the judges don’t have much time to give actual critiques, so why Craig and Shirley didn’t give her 10s will forever remain a mystery (and it’s definitely not to just cause maximum Molly vs Fleur Drama) because we had to make time for as much Vote Open nonsense as they could

Yeah Craig, that’s how I feel after writing recaps when there’s more than 10 couples in the competition.

SCORES:
Craig:
9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 9
Anton: 10
TOTAL: 38

And so, to the leaderboard!

1st Cabaret Revenge!39
=It’s A Yikes From Me, Will.39
3rdMoi’u’s West End Debut38
=An Italian In Paris38
5th The Lion Kind Of36
6thJazzercise!34

And I’ll see you in The Results Show recap as 6 become 5

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