Strictly 2023, Week 7, Main Show: The Bank of the British Lip

Catch of the day!

This is Recapography.

I apologise for last week’s complete radio silence – I came down with something on Tuesday and was completely dead to the world for the next three days – and getting over that lurgee and one or two other critical failure triggered events this week meant this recap was a little delayed, but it’s here (I did have to drop the Retro Recap Supplement this week purely for time) but onwards with Week 7!

Previously on Halloween Week, most barely survived the hair and makeup department but many survived the vote:

and it was a close shave for Adam and Luba as they went nipple tassels to sternum with Zara and Graziano

ultimately the tragedy of Halloween Week was Zara and Graziano

at least she got a spa day out of it.

Layton Williams & Nikita Kuzmin
Jive / Shake Ur Body – Shy FX feat. Di

Obviously it is that time of year when someone in the production team has to spend most of their day making sure that everyone has poppies pinned to their training clothes and while the BBC mandate was strong enough to force Vito into a shirt, nothing was going to overcome the trickery of a string vest

but I would pay for the 20 minutes of footage as that poor PA sweats like someone trying to disarm a bomb in an action movie – accidentally snip the wrong string and there’s no vest to speak of.

The string vest was absolutely necessary because this Jive called for something incredibly breathable – it was a very fast paced and physically demanding Jive resulting in what might be the sweatiest post-dance celeb since that time they clogged every single one of Dev Griffin’s pores with Smurf-coloured paint and he blue’d all over Dianne

although with Layton it’s hard to adequately discern where the sweat stops and the highlighter stops – he does tend to constantly shine like a glazed doughnut.

This Jive was incredibly slick, the whole thing had a very Tightrope era Janelle Monae vibe to it and I suspect if Helen Skelton hadn’t literally done that exact routine last year, they would have been dancing to Tightrope but they also wanted to get in on the shoehorned balletic content that Angela and Carlos brought last week with their Paso DoBallet and even the flimsiest excuse to have Layton spin like a whirling dervish is enough for them

Anton and Craig were both a bit picky about the latter parts of the routine which they thought got a little heavy – Motsi and Shirley very much did not agree

and most importantly of all, Nadiya was having the time of her life

I think she was also just euphoric that she wasn’t dressed as a bowl of haunted fettucini this week

I wrote half a Halloween Week recap, I’ve got to use some of its content somehow.

Craig: 8
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 8

Angela Rippon & Kai Widdrington
Waltz / Fascination – Nat King Cole

Are you ready for a dance I’m pretty sure we’ve seen god knows how many times before?

I do have to applaud them for the valiant attempt at setting the scene for a Parisian cafe in their training VT, although it’s hard to convey the romance of Paris when you’re dancing between a Kath Kidston tote bag and a Royal Mail van

but it was the only cafe with a giftshop large enough to waltz in, and Angela even let Kai buy a pen with his name on it

Nadiya never lets him.

And as everyone began to roll their eyes at another Angela Rippon ballroom number to a song that feels like it was a part of an episode of “Angela Rippon, this is your life…”

the dance that unfolded was not the easily praised and highly marked slice of uppercrust sophistication we expected – it was weird, juttery and it feels odd to say about a waltz but “the vibes were off”

this by no means meant the judges wouldn’t overmark it – Craig gave last week’s Charleston that had two whole section that were WILDLY out of sync a 9, but they were not so lucky this time

and as they all rather dug in this time, Kai was not a happy bunny, the man does not have a set of lips at the best of time, but upon being told “they played it safe” the man was in serious debt to the Bank of the British Lip

Angela also assures us that that is her “listening face”

sure Jan

you could have just blamed it on Mirror Rippon

at least Adam was on hand to cool Kai down before he exploded like a ruddy-faced nuclear war arm (he knew better than to mop the brow of a very intently listening Angela)

sadly it was too late for him to find a new purpose on this show after they used up all his special dance requests, but if he wants to stay on to bring the oranges and moist towelettes on during half-time, I’m sure they’ll let him for the work experience.

If Angela wasn’t going to win the Waltz Wars, she was damn well going to get a headstart in the Poppy Wars

the only way up from here is to dress her up as the Tranmere Poppy

how that fits with a Paso to Madonna’s Hung Up is for Kai to work out.

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

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones
Tango / Nothing Breaks Like A Heart – Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus

Nigel has been bubbling under for a little bit now, especially in ballroom so I was worried for everyone’s favourite sentient dad anecdote when he came up against the tango, which as Katya stresses is the Ferrari of Ballroom (it and Shirley’s Rolls Royce Foxtrot can have a race over on Top Gear)

and Nigel is by all means the Vauxhall Astra of men – reliable and easy to park but you will lose it very easily in a supermarket carpark. But in order to overcome the Medium-sized Family Car of it all, Katya was playing the Patrick Swayze hail Mary again, or at least that’s the only reason I can fathom for the fact Nigel was dressed like a nightclub bouncer

it at least worked on Tess

I applaud the tactics but I think you only get 1 Wicked Wango Swayze Card a series. The general pared backness of both Nigel and Katya’s outfits did mean the whole routine was slightly contempowaft coded but I did *really* like this routine, if potentially only because Katya was performing this like she was in a one woman production of every Shakespearean tragedy going while Nigel hovered in the background like he was the lighting director

she just really hates losing a game of Musical Chairs

but it was a very one-sided argument of a dance, so I can understand what Craig meant when he said Nigel lacked a bit of drama but in every argument someone has to be the insatiably hungry lioness looking for a fight and someone has to be the petrified little antelope and Katya will be damned if she’s going to be a dikdik

her one concession was the faint, and even then Nigel knew he was dead meat if her coccyx so much as grazed that ballroom floor

that was more than enough to impress Motsi who was out to cause more than a little drama of her own

no jury would convict her.

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

Angela Scanlon & Carlos Gu
Samba / Ain’t It Fun – Jennifer Lopez

And the award for Least Convincing Attempt At Sounding Excited About a Samba goes to…

being dressed like someone who owns a haberdashery-cum-Lord of the Rings LARPing café really heightens the feeling of innate dread that anyone who is impervious to the fake tanning booth feels whenever they come up against a Latin routine

BUT, considering she was trying to tear her own face off anytime Carlos demonstrated even the simplest of steps

or did anything weird with his feet

she did manage to smile through more of this routine than I thought she would be physically able to

and as someone who has been begging for them to do routines that lean out of the twee, I’ve been delighted by their last two weeks with their Black Swan Paso and this samba that started like it was the cover of a piece of historical romance fiction that has only a passing concern for facts and might be slightly culturally insensitive because everyone’s Spanish accents are written phonetically

so at least the 6 Moulin Rouge costumes from Party City that Vicky Gill killed in order to make Angela’s outfit didn’t die in vain

it is teetering a dangerously fine edge of either being Flamenco or bawdy pirate wench, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up in the future for a Halloween Week Cha-Cha-Cha to Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum – Graziano already has the pirate costume ready to go

the routine that never dies.

The judges were not too hot on the samba and you knew things were going to go badly because Motsi hadn’t even had time to load a half-baked compliment and acted like Tess had somehow snuck up on her

and then proceeded to stall like she was buying time for someone who was backstage trying to steal the Hope Diamond and imaginably internally praying that her shoulder pad wasn’t going to fully dislodge itself as it was threatening to do

The main contention was that her upper body didn’t seem to know what it was doing a lot of the time and that she needed to “find a home for her arms” which is a little ironic all things considered

Carlos is going to tear down her elbows and make them into a lovely modern mediterranean-style kitchen-diner with a skylight and authentic maiolica tile floor.
Obviously they took the critique very seriously

I personally blame Nigel Harman

and while last week Angela may have escaped the 28 Holding Pen [tone indicator positive] this week she had escaped the 28 Holding Pen [tone indicator negative]


Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Bobby Brazier & Dianne Buswell
Argentine Tango / SAIL – AWOLNATION

Next to present her year 8 Geography assignment on the culture of Argentina with a PowerPoint presentation consisting mostly of images of varying quality and one badly copied and pasted in graph that’s not at all up to date because it’s from a scanned 1975 edition of a school textbook, is Miss Dianne Buswell

and their Argentine Tango Field Trip was to an abandoned warehouse that has probably been used for a scene in a BBC drama about a serial killer because that’s… sexy?

it’s giving 2009 Tumblr Fashion Blog and does add at least explain a little bi as to why Bobby was performing this dance like a mechanic that was about to smash Dianne’s head in with a wrench

it’s the overly clenched fists, for me

I don’t understand that particular postural choice – I don’t watch Eastenders, I assume he must have had at least one scene where he has dramatically stormed up to someone in the middle of the market – does he always do it like this?

and the fact his body looked like it was playing host to a civil war between his bones and muscular system was not going to help him in an Argentine Tango because it was, as ironic as this sounds, too rigid to be sexy. It was kind of performed a little by-numbers – like that scene in Friends where Monica numbered all of the erogenous zones

he hit every mark he needed to but it’s a dance that lives by the fact it feels at least a little bit unrehearsed and improvised, which most of the judges brought up – thus gutting him like a fish because *someone* decided he was going to talk up a big game about the ~sexy~ dances on the launch show – the folder of Men’s Souls Being Destroyed grows more powerful every day

and thus slowly vanished his plans on riding that social media wave with a steaming hot Argentine Tango because there’s nothing wildly erotic about having people say you gancho’d like a Disneyland animatronic (I say that, but I have seen the Five Nights at Freddy’s fanart in The Nikita’s Sketchbook)

they’re going to try to give him a sex appeal redeeming Rumba at some point so… brace for that while you still can, it can only be half as bad as HRVY’s.

Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Ellie Leach & Vito Coppola With A Shirt
American Smooth / Ain’t That A Kick In The Head – Robbie Williams

Given that Ellie has taken out Vito’s toes and teeth, this week’s music choice sounded more of a challenge than anything else

the training room Cosmos do help TO numb the pain of taking a roundhouse kick to the jaw

they also really helped Ellie practice the all important opening in which she plays my favourite kind of character: The Martini Sipping Bitch Plotting to Ruin The Life of The Young Up and Coming Actress Threatening To Steal Her Roles

I was IMMEDIATELY sold on the routine – the rest of it could have been garbage and I still would have thrown a 10 at it , if Ellie knows how to do one thing it’s start a dance before the dance has even started. Luckily the rest of the routine held up to the Cocktailography (I GOT THERE BEFORE YOU, CARLOS “WIKIFEETOGRAPHY” GU.) – and Vito really went all out with this routine which does feel *a little bit* like it should probably have been saved for Blackpool, it had the right vibe and glitz and glamour for it but could have been even more spectacular with the extra dancers and the grandeur of the ballroom

and then they might have also given the wardrobe enough time to realise that making Ellie carry around The Snowths on her shoulders might not have been the best idea

it just made her look a little shruggy when she wasn’t.

Given how absolutely pitch perfect it was (save for an apparent single point deductible missed heel lead – BOO!) the pair of them do continue to dominate the top of the leaderboard

she’s winning this right? A couple of weeks ago I was resigned to the fact it was an inevitable Bobby win but I think he’s peaked too early in terms of public interest whereas Ellie has kind of slowly bubbled up with a journey arc and a very sweet personality to become a firm fan favourite. Also…. KISS DAMMIT

he’s already willing to let you fart in front of him

it’s practically giving you your own key.

Craig: 9
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10

Adam Thomas and Wife Cosplay
The World’s Most Ill-advised Rumba / Dancing On My Own(??????) – ROBYN (and none for Calum Scott)

There are many things about The Heterosexuals that remain a complete mystery to the natural world – the insistence of walking half pace on any given high street, their spiritual bonds with Fiat 500s and the annual blood sacrifices that keep Mrs. Brown’s Boys coming back (yeah, you’re ALL getting blamed for that one) but NOTHING is more of a riddle wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in a glittery enigma than the persistent insistence of performing a dance to their wedding song on Strictly Come Dancing as their spouse watches on from the side lines

I’m in the corner watching you kiss her…

except you know, most of them have the decency for it to be a simpering waltz to Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion and not a rumba, a dance that routinely looks like the mating ritual of a pair of fitted sheets, to DANCING ON MY OWN, a song that is explicitly an anthem for the broken up with at worst and a pointed jab at the maid of honour at best

don’t worry Becky, you can date any one of his clone batches 34 through 56 – they’re all very eligible, you just have to not mind that they all have an ear growing on their lower backs.

This is definitely the look of love and not the slow dawning realisation that the song opens with the lyrics “Somebody said you got a new friend / Does she love you better than I can?”

The Strictly Come Cucking of it all aside

although truly I find the whole thing more weird than ever and I may never recover from the level of psychic damage I took when I found out not only was this his wedding song, he’d also paid Calum Scott (Robyn would never) to sing it live at his wedding

it’s both a big brag and a couple’s therapist’s first paycheck.

This was not great, it was a little bit of a romantic handbagging, which you can kind of get away with in a more fast paced Cha Cha Cha, there’s not really much space to hide when most of his action is kind of watching Luba walk around and then passing her through his legs like he’s sending her down the tube ride at Tenerife’s Siam Park

I think there were two factors as to why: his Rumba walks were not great, as everyone pulled him up on them, so Luba decided to park him in the middle of that floor and distract them with her very good attempt at miming a koala

and we all know he was a bit sick last weekend and I suspect may not have fully recovered given he got to the end of this not overly demanding rumba and looked like Luba had just taken a fistful of Ibuprofen, thrown them at his mouth and decided however many went in was the correct dosage and found herself in a Weekend At Bernies situation

but that look may have also been because Motsi was critiquing him like a post-coital praying mantis who was about to eat his face

and you can all go ahead and ring that Hard For The Man Bell – a staple of the first male celebrity rumba of the series

if anyone deserved the accolade, it was everyone favourite Default Setting male Sim.

Verdict on the Faux Wedding First dance?

there’s always the faux honeymoon, I guess?

Craig: 6
Motsi: 7
Shirley: 7
Anton: 7

Krishnan Guru-Murthy & Lauren Oakley
A Jaunty Walk / You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon

As ever, the Couple’s Choice had to be intrinsically tied to Krishnan’s family life – does this impact the dance? No not really, but it did mean more Jay airtime

as well as the other members of Krishnan’s family – his wife Lisa and his daughter Jasmine who the camera operator will waste no time in cropping out for the sake of a good Jay gag

you guys are creating a super villain, you’re going to doom us all the wrath of Jasmine just because Claudia didn’t make a novelty t-shirt for her. At least add a parenthetical (and Jasmine, I guess) punchline to the back!

As for Krishnan’s routine… it was kind of just a load of guff, as most of the Couple’s Choices have been thus far, and walking around was very much to Krishnan as jumping around was to Adam and Luba’s Backstreet Boys medley as Krishnan mostly just walked from one side of the dance floor, picked up Lauren, did a pose and then walked in a different direction

you can’t tell me you spent 5 days training for a routine that looked mostly like your dad trying to get in the last of his 500 daily steps in while getting ready for bed – you can’t even really call much of it choreography beyond the breakdown where he danced like someone at a wedding who hadn’t realised the punch was actually alcoholic

I think everyone has said it by this point but MY GOD do we need some new specialist choreographers for the street/commercial routines because I cannot imagine that anyone familiar with the genre is watching the recent offerings and thinking “Wow, this is really impressive!” because they’re not even making the professional dancers look good and they certainly aren’t bringing the cool factor the whole genre was incepted into the show for

Strictly is inherently uncool, it’s part of its charm, and when it tries to be cool it has the same vibe as a church youth leader giving a lesson about chastity in which they refer to Jesus as “Mr. J.C.” and sit on a chair backwards to be relatable to 13 years olds and they don’t seem aware of it.

Was Krishnan having an absolute ball during the routine? Yes. Could Krishnan have been having an absolute ball during a better routine? YES – God I hated this routine, and so did Craig

the Couple’s Choice armour is slowly cracking.

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

And that’s it for Week 7 – I’ll see you for the Results Show Recap in a couple of days!

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3 thoughts on “Strictly 2023, Week 7, Main Show: The Bank of the British Lip

  1. Helen Zaltzman

    if there anything in this world less cool than a Strictly pro doing the Street Pose where they lean their shoulders back and cross their arms and do a Facial Expression, I will perish upon sight

  2. Momchil

    Krishnan’s poppy came off mid dance. He went last in week 7 so they’ll put him on 1 or 3 in week 8. Now we know he has a Samba. Vicky Gill might as well put a sign on him saying “going out this week”.

  3. hnotters

    “his body looked like it was playing host to a civil war between his bones and muscular system” had me howling, it is so accurate!

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