Grace Under Fire

Nov 27, 2020 by

Grace Under Fire

Week 5 was one of those strange, ‘twilight zone’, Strictly weeks during which you spend most of the evening sporting an expression the Astonished Face emoticon was made for 😲

The big question coming out of last Saturday: was that an attempted assassination of Clara or, had Clara landed in the dance-off versus Caroline, would they have contrived to save her?

Clara’s samba routine clearly went wrong on the night so there was some wiggle room for the judges to save her in the dance-off despite the fact she was scored 6pts below Caroline. But this also looked a routine tailor-made to trip her up. The song, while uptempo, was too slow for samba and as such, exposing, and her and Aljaz’s styling and the incoherent chef theme looked like intentional skullduggery.

On the other hand, 2 leaderboard ties above her made her escape from the bottom two that much easier. They were heavy handed with their criticism and overly harsh with her scores compared to the treatment dished out to others on the night, so they did instil a big vote motivation among her fans. Our week 5 exit poll hinted at a strong pv for Clara, and she may well have polled in the top 3 along with Bill and Ranvir.

The big question coming out of last Saturday: was that an attempted assassination of Clara or, had Clara landed in the dance-off versus Caroline, would they have contrived to save her?

It was also surprising to see Maisie turn up in the 2 slot, and this immediately told us they weren’t trying very hard to instigate a bounce for her after being in the dance-off the week before.

The show has to take a lot of responsibility for what has happened to Maisie so far in this series. She has endured running orders of 7, 6, 2, 5, 2 and despite producing some of the very best routines you wouldn’t know it from the scoring, or critiques, with Maisie still to receive a single 10. She is the only remaining contestant, along with JJ, not to receive a 10, highlighting how ludicrous the scoring and manipulation of the leaderboard has become.

Shirley has led the way with the punitive critiques of Maisie and the simple fact of Strictly is, viewers largely get their voting cues from the judges and the treatment each contestant receives on the night. Maisie now has a QS and you would have to think this routine is all teed up for the pimp slot and not just a first 10 for her but feasibly a first 30 of the series. It could be the start of Maisie’s big redemption on the show.

Clara has been given another fast latin in jive and this looks an obvious show opener. It’s a good tune for an impactful, vote-winning number and she has looked promising in training. It remains to be seen what they do by way of Tina Turner styling and how Clara is scored in relation to others on the night.

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For whatever reason, the overriding sense as of now is, Clara is persona non grata for this year’s final. The only counter-argument for her week 5 treatment would be, Aljaz has a poor record for samba, it was plotted up all along as her big dip in form, and to have her flirting with the dance-off and potential elimination helps build a more compelling series narrative. The show has certainly enjoyed focusing on Clara’s expressions of sheer terror as Tess reveals who is safe each week.

Maisie now has a QS and you would have to think this routine is all teed up for the pimp slot and not just a first 10 for her but feasibly a first 30 of the series

Ranvir, meanwhile, is being given every possible assistance. Her dancing flaws were apparent once more during that AT but the scoring and critiques told a different story, and this has been the trend throughout the series. She now has AS, a great song to sell it with, and high scores and glowing praise have to be anticipated.

The show’s focus on her and Giovanni’s chemistry appears to have charmed a certain section of Strictly voters, and Ranvir has established a position on the show as an every woman. The main issue that remains is, her dancing has looked below the usual winning standard, and will be exposed if she is tasked with another fast Latin routine.

Bill continues to enjoy producer backing as well. Based on training footage this week, it’s doubtful his jive will achieve the same heights as Clara’s on the night, and he could easily be scored last but even if he is, his popularity should propel him to safety.

Jamie has been given the role on the show as the fun, uptempo entertainer since that position was firmly vacated by Bill in week 1, and was somewhat bizarrely given top score last week.

Week 5 judges’ leaderboard:
Jamie and Karen: Couple’s Choice: Street/Commercial – (5) – 9, 10, 10 = 29
Maisie and Gorka: Salsa – (2) – 9, 9, 9 = 27 – bottom 2
Ranvir and Giovanni: AT – (8) – 8, 9, 10 = 27
HRVY and Janette: Tango – (6) – 8, 9, 9 = 26
JJ and Amy: QS – (3) – 7, 9, 9 = 25
Bill and Oti: AS – (1) – 8, 9, 8 = 25
Caroline and Johannes: CCC – (7) – 8, 8, 8 = 24 – eliminated
Clara and Aljaž: Samba – (4) – 5, 6, 7 = 18

After Charleston, samba and Street the breaks appear to be firmly applied with his first ballroom dance, in tango, since his week 2 AS. It’s a good track to sell the drama of a tango but the script could be focused on his technical failures as Jamie doesn’t look comfortable in hold and it’s the sort of thing they can very easily nit-pick to death.

JJ will be wearing a kilt dancing VW to an emotive track. It looks another enchanting vote-winner for JJ and Amy’s audience which presumably resides among older viewers not expressing an opinion online.

HRVY has Couple’s Choice and while Street/Commercial looked a perfect moment for him to shine, as this is his ace card as a dancer, that Coldplay track hints at something more artistic in nature. Training footage suggests a Street routine fused with Contemporary elements, and its success or failure will come down to whatever lies in the script.

Jamie has been given the role on the show as the fun, uptempo entertainer since that position was firmly vacated by Bill in week 1, and was somewhat bizarrely given top score last week

If we presume Maisie is top of the leaderboard and Bill potentially last, it looks more likely the 2 who land in the dance-off will be lurking somewhere in between, and a couple of leaderboard ties, like last week, would mean even the contestant 2nd top could be under threat of a dance-off appearance.

Please do keep letting us know who earned your vote(s) on the night on our week 6 exit poll found here.

Week 6 songs and dances:
Clara and Aljaž: Jive to River Deep Mountain High by Tina Turner
Ranvir and Giovanni: American Smooth to I Say a Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin
Maisie and Gorka: Quickstep to When You’re Smiling by Andy Williams
HRVY and Janette: Couple’s Choice: Street/Commercial to A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay
Bill and Oti: Jive to One Way Or Another by Blondie
Jamie and Karen: Tango to Tanguera by Sextets Mayor
JJ and Amy: Viennese Waltz to Rescue by Lauren Daigle

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