Strictly Talking: Week 11 – Dancing Occasions

Posted on December 6, 2021

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Thank the Strictly gods for that! Sure, our lengthy nationwide nightmare is over – Dan Walker has lastly exited the ballroom. It was the primary correctly riveting dance-off since… properly, just about ever, with Dan a degree up however AJ in a position to redeem herself with that ultimate raise. Even then, the judges have made some insane calls this sequence (Shirley giving that tango a 9??), so I couldn’t fairly consider it till they really saved AJ.

It really would have been a travesty in any other case. AJ and Kai have constantly pushed themselves on the present, taking thrilling artistic dangers. To punish them for that, and to see Dan amble by way of but once more for doing the naked minimal, would have been enraging. To not point out persevering with an unlucky sample on the present of over-rewarding the white males over everybody else.

Nevertheless, after a superb dose of the judges killing-with-kindness, and even Anton seeing sense (twist!), the Dan followers lastly deserted their trolling undertaking. Which means we’re now left with kind of the proper ultimate 4, and will but see the three strongest reaching the final stage. Subsequent week’s two-dance take a look at ought to hopefully lead to top-of-the-line finals in years. Onwards!

Different hits and misses:

  • A wierd dance pile-up, with two salsas and two tangos in 5 dances, plus John’s Couple’s Alternative will come simply forward of a equally freestyle showdance. Poor planning, guys. MISS
  • Extra irritating music picks. That Phil Collins wished to be a rumba, Gotan Challenge wished to be Argentine (and was wasted on Dan), and disco IS NOT SALSA. MISS
  • Associated: Anton’s assertion that he’d by no means seen disco Latin on Strictly earlier than? Reader, I screamed. MISS
  • To get together or to not get together: that’s our Christmas coronavirus dilemma as soon as once more. The professionals got here down on the facet of partying, however solely whereas sporting preventative lengthy gloves and dreaming of happier occasions. HIT
  • The second professional quantity was set to a Janet Jackson medley. Huh and why? Nobody is aware of. MISS
  • Ts and Cs rando: Professor Brian Cox, including to our stack of proof that studying out an autocue on an leisure programme is an underrated ability. MISS
  • JLS… are apparently nonetheless a factor. Neil and Dianne gave us some red-headed bopping. Transferring swiftly on. MISS

Greatest in Present

  • Greatest efficiency: Rose’s American clean Complete pleasure.
  • Greatest costume: AJ’s gold fringe Runner-up: John and Johannes’s sparkly shirts.
  • Greatest transfer: Rose’s diving raise One other wow second.
  • Greatest line: Craig’s “I find it irresistible when it goes mistaken.” At the least somebody had a superb evening.


Tess’s gown: impressed or depressed?

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Tortured foil mini gown. Claud in wet-look ketchup.

John and Johannes – Emergency touchdown

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“There’s no room for error!” stated John in his VT, after outlining his hopes of nabbing that elusive Craig 10. Was that sufficient to jinx it? Or was some disco-salsa-hating particular person on the market with a voodoo doll? (It wasn’t me, I promise.) Anyway, the majority of this routine was a delight, with John including a newly liberated efficiency to his nice hip motion and pristine timing. Their sync work continues to be insanely good, even when Johannes provides the odd flourish that upstages him. What a disgrace, then, that it grew to become all about The Raise, which, following a fumbled entry, noticed John holding his companion like an ungainly pile of kindling after which dumping him on the hearth. At the least Johannes styled it out. OF COURSE.

Tune: “We Are Household”, Sister Sledge

Judges’ feedback: Shirley praised the methods and leisure. Anton liked the novel disco model (…) and thought John conquered his inhibitions. Craig appreciated the hip motion however wished extra dynamics. Motsi stated it was properly rehearsed and you must take dangers.

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 8, 9 – 32

Rhys and Nancy – Elevate me up

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No wobbly lamppost, although we did get its cousin: the very crimson site visitors mild, including to a quantity that solely about 50 per cent seen. This was in all probability my favorite of their dances since their manic power was reined in by the model – or simply about. Nonetheless moments the place Rhys rushed and misplaced his steadiness, and his toes had been too flat and wild. Nevertheless, thrilling lifts wherein Nancy really inherited the Janette mantle of “No actually, you may juggle me like a set of golf equipment whereas my insane core does all of the work”, plus that strangle spin (don’t strive it at house, youngsters) and a few nice ganchos and sharp musical accents from Rhys. Extra in regards to the methods than the emotional connection, and undoubtedly didn’t want the ground spin, however a powerful efficiency general. 

Tune: “Within the Air Tonight”, Phil Collins

Judges’ feedback: Anton liked the depth. Craig loved the drama and ganchos, however the grapevines acquired out of sync. Motsi appreciated the stillness of Rhys’s higher physique. Shirley stated he’d discovered from being within the backside and praised the lifts.

Judges’ scores: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 

Rose and Giovanni – Leap of religion

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That this American Easy employed a gazebo and the sentiments bench and a jazz normal and Love Truly and a fluffy white frock and STILL managed to be wonderful fairly than sick-inducing was frankly a Christmas miracle. It’s watching this beautiful pair in ballroom that simply overrides every part: they really transfer and categorical as one, just like the platonic perfect of the dance type. Stunning body and footwork from Rose – although, sure, lacking some heel leads – nice ground protection and musicality, and I liked the giddy dance breaks that actually confirmed her character. Plus that dive! Braver than getting into a department of Waitrose on December 24, however gasp-inducing because it was, it additionally stayed in step with the fashionable, clean quantity. Simply pure sunshine. I’ll fortunately rewatch it on each gloomy winter night.

Tune: “This Will Be (An Eternal Love)”, Natalie Cole 

Judges’ feedback: Craig was wowed by the raise and the storytelling, simply famous the pivots weren’t on a heel. Motsi liked the adjustments of temper. Shirley, that means properly, stated she’d achieved properly to dam out the noise round Rhys’ routine… Anton adored the traces and musicality. 

Judges’ scores: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 

Dan and Nadiya – Time to tan-go

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Yeah. Perhaps not the very best concept to spend your VT explaining how not remaining flat actually impacts the stream of the tango… after which spend the entire efficiency arising and down like a rabbit on a trampoline. Ditto calling consideration to Dan’s proper hand, which did certainly resemble fish fingers. Anyway, because the judges stated, it began OK: Dan performing as a solemn pinstriped pole for Nadiya to seize onto whereas growing smouldering chemistry with a close-by desk. That stated, the precise ballroom part confirmed he’d trailed far behind the others in technical phrases – too upright, distracting rise and fall, lacked cleanly outlined staccato, and really troubled posture, notably going into promenade. Not actively horrendous, simply not ok for this stage of the competitors.

Tune: “Santa Maria”, Gotan Challenge

Judges’ feedback: Motsi stated he misplaced management within the second half – too hasty and leaning too far ahead. Shirley famous a sensual really feel (?!) and he stayed targeted. Anton liked the opening however his body went, rise and fall, and his hand opened. Craig stated it was affected by steadiness points, which made him really feel uncomfortable. 

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 9, 7 – 31 

AJ and Kai – The ending is gonna get you

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What’s it about ultimate salsa lifts? The curse descended as soon as once more on poor AJ and Kai, who nonetheless, crazily, have but to hit that excellent rating (and jinxed themselves by bringing it up beforehand – mainly that is all of the producers’ fault for crafting gremlin-ridden VTs). Now, I’m unsure they might have gotten there anyway with this highly effective but messy salsa, a lot as I liked AJ in her glittering gold fringe giving it perspective, plus that fabulous solo entrance and the massive cartwheel raise. Craig is correct that the dismounts weren’t nice and he or she stored choosing her toes up fairly than working into the ground. However oh, that finish raise. It actually did go on ceaselessly, with AJ wanting like she was caught on a barbed-wire fence in between two circles of Hell.

Tune: “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You/Get On Your Ft”, Gloria Estefan 

Judges’ feedback: Shirley liked the sass and braveness – a disgrace it went mistaken. Anton stated the remainder was terrific however yelped for hours in regards to the finish raise (we’ve suffered a lot worse from you, love). Craig famous the transitions had been ropy and too flat-footed, however completely watchable. Motsi known as AJ a queen, however the ending killed her.

Judges’ scores: 7, 8, 8, 7 – 30 


Rose and Giovanni – 39

Rhys and Nancy – 39

John and Johannes – 32

Dan and Nadiya – 31

AJ and Kai – 30

One other week, one other swap: Rhys and Rose are up, John and AJ are down.


Tess’s gown: impressed or depressed?

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Bizarrely chopped black tube with bedazzled stripes. Claud in a fab-u-lous glitterball-esque high.


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AJ and Kai versus… Dan and Nadiya, lastly!! This was genuinely tense: sure, AJ had the better job of an apparent error to right, however she needed to repeat an extremely complicated and high-risk dance and overcome the trauma of that first dance disahhhster, whereas Dan simply needed to potter by way of a fairly fundamental tango. 

So, HURRAH! I truly yelped when AJ and Kai nailed it second time spherical, securing a much-deserved place within the semi-final – and concurrently ridding us of Dan earlier than his ego acquired any greater and he challenged Craig to a dance-fight, West Aspect Story model. Medal for AJ, please.

In all seriousness, I do perceive the attraction of the underdog and the J phrase – I simply don’t suppose Dan was a really optimistic instance of both, or that he ought to have lasted this lengthy. Nevertheless, I liked attending to know Nadiya higher this yr. She was humorous, sort, artistic and an exquisite performer and companion, and he or she’s undoubtedly earned a hunky younger ringer in 2022.

What did you make of the quarter-final? Did you agree with the judges? Did the fitting pair go house? Get in contact on Twitter to share your ideas: @mkmswain

See you once more quickly for the semi-final. Within the meantime… maintain dancing!

{Photograph}: Man Levy courtesy of the BBC.