Latin Test

Nov 13, 2020 by

Latin Test

It’s been a dramatic week in Strictly land with Nicola and Katya having to pull out of the competition due to Katya’s positive Covid test and news today Motsi has had to return to Germany and will only be involved in tomorrow night’s show in a remote capacity.

This also means she will have to self-isolate on her return to the UK and with Motsi absent from the studio there has been speculation Anton Du Beke could be drafted in to the judging panel.

Nicola’s withdrawal leaves us with a field of 9 heading into week 4 and presuming no more drop outs and a single elimination each week, which is required for Strictly to have a Sunday night results show, we are now back in a 4-couple final scenario.

Following Week 3 (Movie Week), Bill has consolidated as Outright favourite, backed as low as 2.78 on Betfair. Is he already looking a good thing or are there chinks in his armour?

His paso, as predicted, was another high impact performance and understandably ended up in the pimp slot. While it earned Bill a 26, second top on the leaderboard, most notable was the total lack of criticism from Craig who chose instead to namecheck him for the final.

Nicola’s withdrawal leaves us with a field of 9 and presuming no more drop outs and a single elimination each week, we are now back in a 4-couple final scenario

One wonders if this is all part of the new look, ‘feel good’ 2020 lockdown/Covid Strictly. Craig has been kinder to contestants with all his critiques, always trying to end on a positive note, and the scoring on Saturday was noticeably generous towards not just Bill, but arguably a few others too.

Bill’s momentum looks set to continue now he has been handed a Couple’s Choice (Street) routine to Rapper’s Delight. It’s another highly anticipated number and it’s hard not to see it playing well for him again, though we may see lower scores than his paso.

But is this all too much too soon and might Bill’s USP start to wear off as we head closer to the business end of the series? In this shortened 9-week run, after tomorrow night only 5 more dances will stand between Bill and him potentially taking his place in this year’s final, but the competition just got a little tougher assuming only 4 finalist spots are now up for grabs.

It’s going to be enlightening to see what lies in store in tomorrow night’s script, in particular, for JJ and Ranvir. In the first 3 weeks of the series both of them have enjoyed noticeably favourable treatment in terms of dances, critiques and scores. However, they are now tasked with their first fast Latin routines, on a night when the show’s two star turns, HRVY and Maisie, are also performing fast Latins.

In training VTs, JJ has looked all at sea with the jive. Ranvir, you sense, is going to try and bluff her way through the CCC aided by Giovanni’s clever, smoke and mirrors choreo but it looks likely to be a night on which she experiences a significant comedown from the high of last week’s top scoring foxtrot.

Movie Week (Week 3) judges’ leaderboard:

Ranvir & Giovanni – Foxtrot – (7) – 9, 9, 9 = 27
Bill & Oti – Paso Doble – (11) – 8, 9, 9 = 26
JJ & Amy – Foxtrot – (5) – 8, 8, 8 = 24
Max & Dianne – Couple’s Choice (Street) – (10) – 8, 8, 8 = 24
Maisie & Gorka – American Smooth – (2) – 8, 7, 9 = 24
Jamie & Karen – Charleston – (8) – 7, 8, 8 = 23
HRVY & Janette – Cha Cha Cha – (6) – 6, 7, 8 = 21
Caroline & Johannes – Couple’s Choice (Theatre/Jazz) – (3) – 6, 7, 8 = 21
Clara & Aljaz – Tango – (9) – 7, 6, 7 = 20
Nicola & Katya – Jive – (1) – 6, 7, 6 = 19 – bottom 2
Jason & Luba – Paso Doble – (4) – 3, 4, 5 = 12 – eliminated

Jamie also takes on a fast Latin in samba. While Ian Waite was critical of his technique in training earlier in the week, set to that Gypsy Kings track he has the chance to entertain, much like last week’s Charleston.

JJ and Ranvir are tasked with their first fast Latin routines, on a night when the show’s two star turns, HRVY and Maisie, are also performing fast Latins

Following Nicola’s unfortunate default, Max now has American Smooth all to himself on the night. He was struggling with the footwork in early training VTs but if Dianne has knocked him into shape, visually it has the chance to look stylish, and set to that Harry Connick Jr song, it should hit the right sort of notes for the voting audience.

Caroline is tasked with a waltz which means after tomorrow night she will be the only contestant not to have danced a fast Latin routine. Set to that classic Billy Preston & Syreeta Wright track it should have a dreamy, romantic tone and it is hard to imagine the judges getting their knives out over it.

Heading into tomorrow night, Clara has endured harsh critiques and scoring for competent routines and, somewhat bizarrely, is the only remaining contestant not to have a landed an 8. In terms of series-long scoring she is only ahead of Jamie, and that doesn’t seem to remotely tally with the dance ability she possesses.

Now she has the chance to shine with a Charleston which has looked full of promise in training. This does appear poised for her to earn a series best score.

With 5 male celebs remaining and only 4 female, this points to it being more likely for a male to depart tomorrow night for the sake of gender balance. As always it is all going to hinge on the script but taken at face value JJ’s jive should be scoring less than Jamie’s samba and Max’s AS.

Clara has endured harsh critiques and scoring for competent routines and, somewhat bizarrely, is the only remaining contestant not to have a landed an 8

We are then looking at a popularity contest between those 3, and the possibility of leaderboard positions changing, but post-Remembrance Sunday you do sense JJ might now be surplus to the show’s requirements despite (presumably) military styling for his jive offering a reminder of his war hero status.

Please do register your vote(s) for tomorrow night’s Week 4 exit poll, which will open towards show end and can be found here.

Week 4 songs & dances:

Bill and Oti: Couple’s Choice to Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang
Caroline and Johannes: Waltz to With You I’m Born Again by Billy Preston and Syreeta Wright
Clara and Aljaž: Charleston to Baby Face by Julie Andrews
HRVY and Janette: Salsa to Dynamite by BTS
Jamie and Karen: Samba to Bamboleo by Gipsy Kings
JJ and Amy: Jive to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by Bette Midler
Maisie and Gorka: Cha Cha to Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Max and Dianne: American Smooth to It Had To Be You by Harry Connick Jr.
Ranvir and Giovanni: Cha Cha to Oye Como Va / I Like It Like That by Santana / Pete Rodriguez


  1. James

    Hi Rob

    We have seen the first ‘10’ of the series awarded at some point during weeks 3-5 in each of the last six series. So Motsi’s absence for the next two weeks is likely to take her out of the running in this market.

    Something unprecedented would have to happen for Craig to issue the first ‘10’, which leaves us with Shirley & Anton.

    Having been passed over for a spot on the judging panel twice already, Anton will want to make a good impression in this unexpected opportunity. It’s possible that he may issue a ‘10’ over the next two weeks, but I don’t think it will be the equivalent of a ‘Donny 10’, whereby he would be the only judge to award a particular dance the maximum.

    So I think it will be a case of “It’s never too early, for a 10 from Shirley”, and 5/4 on Shirley to award the first ‘10’ seems the value bet.

    In terms of this weeks elimination, the Samba is a notoriously difficult dance for male celebrities of Jamie’s standard. His training footage has not looked bad, but as we saw with both his Cha cha & Charleston, he can get a little over-excited on the live show, and timing can become an issue. I have bet on him for the elimination and lowest score of the week.

    • Rob

      Many thanks for posting your week 4 thoughts, James. Agree, Shirley 1st 10 looking something of a good thing. We could even see it tonight.
      I think 3rd elimination is 1 to trade mainly ‘in-running’ – could go a few different ways & I’m expecting some clever dark arts.

      In other news, DWTS has reached sf stage, double elimination. Skai, Kaitlyn & Nev all still in, though PP now makes Justina 4-5 fav to win. Well done to M8 for flagging up her chance when the odds were bigger. One to cover on if (like me) you are on the other 3 at bigger odds. Maybe the Shirley 1st 10 & Justina DWTS win 1 to consider as a double.

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