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… nicely, just about ever, with Dan a degree up however AJ capable of redeem herself with that ultimate carry. 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 actually 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 means 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 dose of the judges killing-with-kindness, and even Anton seeing sense (twist!), the Dan followers lastly deserted their trolling challenge. Meaning we’re now left with roughly 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 end in 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 tune picks. That Phil Collins needed to be a rumba, Gotan Mission needed 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 occasion or to not occasion: that’s our Christmas coronavirus dilemma as soon as once more. The professionals got here down on the facet of partying, however solely whereas carrying preventative lengthy gloves and dreaming of happier instances. 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 talent. 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 Whole pleasure.
  • Greatest costume: AJ’s gold fringe Runner-up: John and Johannes’s sparkly shirts.
  • Greatest transfer: Rose’s diving carry One other wow second.
  • Greatest line: Craig’s “I like it when it goes fallacious.” At the least somebody had night time.


Tess’s costume: impressed or depressed?

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

John and Johannes – Emergency touchdown

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“There’s no room for error!” mentioned 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 individual 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 Carry, which, following a fumbled entry, noticed John holding his associate like a clumsy pile of kindling after which dumping him on the fireplace. At the least Johannes styled it out. OF COURSE.

Track: “We Are Household”, Sister Sledge

Judges’ feedback: Shirley praised the tips and leisure. Anton cherished the novel disco fashion (…) and thought John conquered his inhibitions. Craig appreciated the hip motion however needed extra dynamics. Motsi mentioned it was nicely rehearsed and it’s best to 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 pink visitors gentle, including to a quantity that solely about 50 per cent seen. This was most likely my favorite of their dances since their manic power was reined in by the fashion – or simply about. Nonetheless moments the place Rhys rushed and misplaced his steadiness, and his ft have been too flat and wild. Nevertheless, thrilling lifts by which Nancy actually inherited the Janette mantle of “No actually, you’ll be able to juggle me like a set of golf equipment whereas my insane core does all of the work”, plus that strangle spin (don’t attempt it at residence, youngsters) and a few nice ganchos and sharp musical accents from Rhys. Extra concerning the tips than the emotional connection, and positively didn’t want the ground spin, however a powerful efficiency general. 

Track: “Within the Air Tonight”, Phil Collins

Judges’ feedback: Anton cherished the depth. Craig loved the drama and ganchos, however the grapevines bought out of sync. Motsi appreciated the stillness of Rhys’s higher physique. Shirley mentioned he’d realized 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 customary and Love Truly and a fluffy white frock and STILL managed to be superb fairly than sick-inducing was frankly a Christmas miracle. It’s watching this beautiful pair in ballroom that simply overrides all the things: they really transfer and categorical as one, just like the platonic superb of the dance kind. Stunning body and footwork from Rose – although, sure, lacking some heel leads – nice ground protection and musicality, and I cherished the giddy dance breaks that actually confirmed her character. Plus that dive! Braver than coming into a department of Waitrose on December 24, however gasp-inducing because it was, it additionally stayed consistent with the stylish, clean quantity. Simply pure sunshine. I’ll fortunately rewatch it on each gloomy winter night.

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

Judges’ feedback: Craig was wowed by the carry and the storytelling, simply famous the pivots weren’t on a heel. Motsi cherished the adjustments of temper. Shirley, which means nicely, mentioned she’d finished nicely 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. Possibly not one of the best thought to spend your VT explaining how not remaining flat actually impacts the move of the tango… after which spend the entire efficiency coming up 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 mentioned, it began OK: Dan appearing as a solemn pinstriped pole for Nadiya to seize onto whereas growing smouldering chemistry with a close-by desk. That mentioned, 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.

Track: “Santa Maria”, Gotan Mission

Judges’ feedback: Motsi mentioned 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 cherished the opening however his body went, rise and fall, and his hand opened. Craig mentioned it was suffering from 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 – principally that is all of the producers’ fault for crafting gremlin-ridden VTs). Now, I’m undecided they’d have gotten there anyway with this highly effective but messy salsa, a lot as I cherished AJ in her glittering gold fringe giving it angle, plus that fabulous solo entrance and the large cartwheel carry. Craig is correct that the dismounts weren’t nice and he or she stored selecting her ft up fairly than working into the ground. However oh, that finish carry. It actually did go on endlessly, with AJ wanting like she was caught on a barbed-wire fence in between two circles of Hell.

Track: “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You/Get On Your Toes”, Gloria Estefan 

Judges’ feedback: Shirley cherished the sass and braveness – a disgrace it went fallacious. Anton mentioned the remaining was terrific however yelped for hours concerning the finish carry (we’ve suffered a lot worse from you, love). Craig famous the transitions have 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 costume: 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 simpler job of an apparent error to appropriate, 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 means of a fairly primary 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 bought any larger and he challenged Craig to a dance-fight, West Facet Story fashion. Medal for AJ, please.

In all seriousness, I do perceive the attraction of the underdog and the J phrase – I simply don’t assume Dan was a really optimistic instance of both, or that he ought to have lasted this lengthy. Nevertheless, I cherished attending to know Nadiya higher this yr. She was humorous, form, artistic and an exquisite performer and associate, and he or she’s positively 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 residence? 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.