Life in the Fast Lane

Oct 15, 2021 by

Life in the Fast Lane

A Strictly Saturday last week when you felt like you had entered a strange twilight zone regarding the judges’ interpretation and scoring of some of the dances put forward for their delectation and dissection. Also an evening when, if you stared too long at some of the Movie Week make-overs and costumes, you could have been fooled into thinking someone had put a mind-altering substance in your mid-afternoon cuppa.

An extra point for carrying on after going wrong appears to be a handy new tool to pull out from the Strictly dark arts box of tricks, when required. While Dan was a beneficiary of Shirley’s generosity, Katie and Adam certainly were not as their highly respectable routines endured tough love and poor scores.

It was more than enough to highlight Katie was in the crosshairs regardless of the late r.o. slot of 12, with Rhys and John sending her firmly down the memory plughole.

Adam’s harshly treated rumba, following on from his week 2 harshly treated QS, seems to highlight he is persona non grata on this year’s preferred winners’ list. He did eye-catchingly well on our exit poll last week which might explain why TPTB are so eager to try and keep a lid on his vote.

Strictly 2021 Exit Poll – Week 3

He now gets to ‘enjoy’ the first AT of the series but given the script in play with him so far this could prove a poisoned chalice. Adam backers can cling to the notion, probably only by their fingertips, this is all an intentional journey builder. If it is badly received, it won’t be for the want of trying with Adam and Katya putting in 40-50hrs of training together.

Week 4 dances & songs:
Adam & Katya: Argentine Tango to Tango in the Night by Fleetwood Mac
AJ & Kai: Samba to Don’t Go Yet by Camila Cabello
Dan & Nadiya: Cha Cha Cha to U Can’t Touch This/Superfreak by MC Hammer/Rick James
Greg & Karen: Samba to Macarena by Los Del Rio
John & Johannes: American Smooth to I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) by George Michael and Aretha Franklin
Judi & Graziano: Waltz to Hero by Mariah Carey
Rhys & Nancy: Salsa to Butter by BTS
Rose & Giovanni: Cha Cha Cha to Raspberry Beret by Prince
Sara & Aljaž: Tango to Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel
Tilly & Nikita: Paso Doble to Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Tom & Amy: Foxtrot to Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra

Generous scores of 31 for Ugo and 28 for Sara, in particular, told us they were being offered dance-off protection last Saturday. A show opener isn’t usually an intended target for the dance-off either and it looked more like Judi fell into the bottom 2 by accident. With Katie lined up for an execution the producers probably didn’t care that much who out of Tilly, Greg, Robert and Judi joined her in the dance-off. They were always going to save her opponent.

John’s 39-scoring paso from the pimp slot was enough to seduce the Outright in making him favourite, matched as low as 2.52. As much as John is a contender for the Glitterball Trophy this did look something of an over-reaction and the market has since corrected. An AS for John may turn out to be less of a headline week 4 performance for him, with AJ and Rhys potentially set to shine with samba and salsa respectively.

A show opener isn’t usually an intended target for the dance-off and it looked more like Judi fell into the bottom 2 by accident

It’s all about life in the fast lane tomorrow night. Having two of the series’ outstanding dancers dance what appear to be suitable fast Latins on the same week Greg is tasked with samba looks a troubling development for his survival chances.

Greg may well have been close to dropping into the bottom 2 in week 3. He’s now had his CC tribute to his sister and requested Bond-themed paso. He also had his wife appearing in the studio and in his VT to aid him last Saturday.

Rose has the dreaded CCC which proved to be the banana skin that tripped up Stacey Dooley in week 2 back in 2018. Much like rumba, it’s a dance that typically ends up being a miss rather than a hit. Training footage looked encouraging though, and a glass half full interpretation of a potentially poor scoring night for Rose would be, a bump in the road can add to a contestant’s journey, and Rose backers should be pleased she is getting it out of the way early in the series.

Rose has the dreaded CCC which proved to be the banana skin that tripped up Stacey Dooley in week 2 back in 2018

Dan also has CCC set to MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t Touch This’. It looks, on paper, as much of a car crash waiting to happen as Greg’s ‘Macarena’ samba, but it would come as no surprise to see Dan’s routine on late, lauded, and over-scored by the judges, perhaps by focusing on the entertainment value. Equally, that is a potential script in play with Greg, who may be including a twerking section, but given the logjam of fast Latin routines on the night, it does feel like something has to give.

Dan has paid a visit to his former primary school in Crawley for his VT and this week’s show theme is ‘School Disco’. The hope here is to see Dan going the full MC Hammer complete with baggy pants and signature moves as seen in the official video:

If that comes to pass it could prove tv gold, and following Robert Webb’s withdrawal there may now be more onus on Dan bringing the fun to the show.

Robert pulling out from the competition has big implications in terms of the composition of this year’s final. It will now likely be a 3-couple affair, presuming no further withdrawals, as happened in 2019 after Will Bayley had to pull out due to injury.

Judi looks like being teed up for a bounce with her waltz. My guess is an emotional dedication to Judi’s dad who passed away earlier this year, set to ‘Hero’ by Mariah Carey.

They have been focusing on the successful characterisation Tilly has been bringing to her dances, so paso looks an open goal for her to continue along that path but she could find herself in potential dance-off territory.

Sara returns to ballroom with a tango. Based on the reception her week 2 foxtrot enjoyed, that can only mean more eulogies and generous scores, while back problems for Ugo have resulted in him earning a week 4 injury bye.

Random, further musings: it’s interesting how they are making AJ’s mum a regular character in the studio, while they are also keen to stress what AJ is achieving is remarkable given she has no dance or performance background.

They have been focusing on the successful characterisation Tilly has been bringing to her dances, so paso looks an open goal for her to continue along that path

‘I cannot believe you’ve never danced before. For someone that has never danced that was absolutely incredible,’ said Craig. ‘I just wish you’d started dancing as a child, you’d be an absolute pro. That was spectacular’. But only an 8 followed from Craig, which would surely turn into a 10 in a final.

In John’s paso, AJ’s AS and Rose’s foxtrot, 3 of this year’s big guns all have Movie Week dances to consider reprising if they make the final. AJ’s or Rose’s may end up being selected by the judges under the cunning guise of ‘a dance we think can be improved upon’.

AJ has had a couple of early r.o. positions in the last 2 weeks, so her samba to Camilla Cabello’s ‘Don’t Go Yet’ may well be teed up for a late r.o. slot tomorrow night, possibly the pimp.

Nearly forgot to mention Tom, who gets a first ballroom routine in foxtrot. Him and Amy have a classic Sinatra track to sell the routine with and while Tom was struggling with the frame at the start of the week, it looks like he has been able to put in a full week of training for the first time, and him and Amy were sounding quietly confident on last night’s The One Show.

Please do keep registering your votes on our exit poll which will go live during tomorrow night’s show.

Strictly 2021 Exit Poll – Week 4

Week 3 (Movie Week) judges’ leaderboard:
John and Johannes: Paso Doble – (14) – 9, 10, 10, 10 = 39
Rhys and Nancy: Couple’s Choice (Street) – (13) – 9, 10, 9, 9 = 37
Rose and Giovanni: Foxtrot – (8) – 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36
AJ and Kai: American Smooth – (4) – 8, 9, 9, 9 = 35
Tom and Amy: Jive – (10) – 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32
Ugo and Oti: Couple’s Choice (Commercial) – (9) – 7, 8, 8, 8 = 31
Sara and Aljaž: Samba – (3) – 7, 7, 7, 7 = 28
Tilly and Nikita: Jive – (7) – 6, 7, 7, 7 = 27
Greg and Karen: Paso Doble – (6) – 6, 6, 7, 7 = 26
Robert and Dianne: Quickstep – (5) – 6, 6, 7, 6 = 25
Judi and Graziano: Charleston – (1) – 4, 7, 7, 6 = 24 – bottom 2
Katie and Gorka: American Smooth – (12) – 5, 7, 6, 6 = 24 – eliminated
Dan and Nadiya: Foxtrot – (2) – 3, 5, 7, 6 = 21
Adam and Katya: Rumba – (11) – 4, 5, 5, 6 = 20

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