Marsh Harrier

Dec 1, 2022 by

Marsh Harrier

This series has developed into the curious case of the Hamza overscoring. If the 38 for his CCC had us scratching our heads a few weeks ago, then last Saturday’s AT and the two 10s from Shirley and Motsi in particular, were a mystery Mrs Marple would struggle to solve.

The eulogising being led by Shirley has started to feel excessive, with Jowita singled out for further praise on Saturday. If you believe the sentiment expressed on social media is an accurate barometer of the Strictly audience, then the favouritism being afforded to Hamza probably isn’t doing him any favours on the public vote.

It’s difficult to tell if the Hamza bias has good intentions or bad. Is it purely an early coronation of this year’s winner or a cunning means to suppress Hamza’s vote?

It gets more interesting when you set Hamza’s treatment alongside Helen’s. That 5 from Craig would have had middle England howling with derision last Saturday, especially in the context of a pre-dance VT in which the stoical Helen had a heart-felt, teary-eyed moment explaining how the show has given her confidence in herself again.

Week 10 judges’ leaderboard:

Will & Nancy: Charleston – (1) – 9, 10, 10, 9 = 38
Hamza & Jowita: Argentine Tango – (5) – 8, 10, 10, 9 = 37
Molly & Carlos: Tango – (2) – 8, 9, 9, 9 = 35
Fleur & Vito: Rumba – (4) – 8, 9, 9, 9 = 35 – bottom 2
Helen & Gorka: Samba – (6) – 5, 8, 8, 8 = 29
Ellie T & Johannes: Jive – (3) – 5, 7, 6, 7 = 25 – eliminated

The Helen journey is offering the audience something to get emotionally invested in and you get the impression it still has more distance to run, whereas the Hamza tens are starting to feel like Groundhog Day and an offshoot of this is, he is potentially stalling.

The sticking point for Helen as of now, however, is the lack of an outstanding routine to reprise in the final, whereas Hamza has his series-defining salsa.

Her Couple’s Choice tomorrow evening, a Musical Theatre routine choreographed by Elizabeth Honan incorporating extra dancers, could yet prove pivotal.

The Helen journey is offering the audience something to get emotionally invested in and you get the impression it still has more distance to run

Replicating Liza Minelli’s iconic performance in ‘Cabaret’ appears to fit nicely with the Helen narrative that has been teed up series-long of her getting rid of her inhibitions. By being centre stage and owning the performance, this could be sold as Helen’s empowering breakthrough.

Hamza, meanwhile, has another African-themed routine in samba set to The Lion King music. It’s not a song that screams party samba and there could be room for a Hamza deramp following four successive weeks of glowing eulogies and what has looked an unjustified at times plethora of ten paddles, ten in total.

Molly and Fleur have both been handed what look to be favourable dance/song combos. Simon Webbe (2014, week 7, 33pts) and Ore Oduba (2016, final, 40, showdance) have played the ‘I Got Rhythm’ ace with deadly aplomb in past series, while the ‘Hot Honey Rag’ Charleston was a previous triumph for Georgia May Foote (2015, week 8, 39).

Compare and contrast to Lauren Steadman attempting a CCC to ‘Fame’ (2018, week 3, 20) and you have to be concerned for Kym. It’s a general rule of Strictly if you get CCC out of the way early in the series run, it’s a sign of favour towards contestants with final potential, but if it is given to a contestant at the business end of the competition it’s usually to trip them up.

Kym is returning from her week 10 bye due to Covid which caused a degree of grumbling resentment on social media. Factor in couples having one less day to perfect this week’s routines, and CCC being a dance genre that is near impossible to perform to a high standard, and Kym looks firmly up against it.

The optics of Lycra and leg warmers could prove red flags, and hint at a Kym and Graziano take down

Irene Cara recently passing away perhaps offers a tiny glimmer of hope it ends up a highly-scored and positively-critiqued tribute to a dance icon, but the optics of Lycra and leg warmers could equally prove red flags, and hint at a Kym and Graziano take down.

Sun And Moon. No, not the South Korean strike partnership at this year’s Fifa World Cup, but Will’s foxtrot music. Will enjoyed his joint-highest score of the series last Saturday with Charleston.

Will’s foxtrot, however, looks like being one of the lowlights tomorrow night, and as a technical dance there is room for the judges to nitpick and score him down.

With Molly, Fleur and Helen looking set to shine, and Hamza undoubtedly flying high on the public vote regardless of leaderboard position tomorrow night, this might prove the week when Will finds himself under greatest threat so far of landing in the dance-off.

This might prove the week when Will finds himself under greatest threat so far of landing in the dance-off

Pre-show, you would have to anticipate a Will foxtrot being scored higher than a Kym CCC, and given Will is touring next year he would be favourite to survive if he lands in the dance-off vs Kym.

Please do let us know who got your vote(s) when our Week 11 exit poll opens at the end of tomorrow night’s show.

Strictly 2022 Exit Poll – Week 11 (QF)

Last week’s exit poll was telling once more in indicating an Ellie vs Fleur dance-off.

Musicals Week – quarter-final – dances & songs:

Fleur & Vito: Quickstep to I Got Rhythm from An American In Paris
Helen & Gorka: Couple’s Choice to Mein Herr from Cabaret
Kym & Graziano: Cha Cha Cha to Fame from Fame
Molly & Carlos: Charleston to Hot Honey Rag from Chicago
Hamza & Jowita: Samba to They Live In You from The Lion King
Will & Nancy: Foxtrot to Sun And Moon from Miss Saigon


  1. Stoney

    The Helen Journey story ploughs on. Perfect night last night for Helen backers. Could we see a flip in the odds when the market reopens. Possibly not but I still remain sure Hamza will be around evens possibly odds against on final night

    • Rob

      Hi Stoney. Things are hotting up & getting a lot more interesting. I did think the price disparity between Hamza and Helen was too big going into last night. It was an inspired routine, which always looked on the cards, and it fitted the Helen back story perfectly. This was backed up by one of the strongest VTs you’ll ever see. It’ll be interesting to see how the market reacts when it re-opens tonight but it’s game on as of now.

      • Stoney

        Hi Rob I’ll be totally honest I’ve rewatched it a few times now, and the actually amount of dancing is fairly limited. But it was a routine of pure genius. The audience reaction was massive. There are lots of comments online that this was the dance of the series. Middle England will be right behind Helen now for sure. I have said time and time again that strictly is traditionally a journey won show. And we are due both a journey winner and also a female winner. Hamza doesn’t have the same voting demographics that Kelvin had to be able to be pretty much top end of the leader board and still win.

        • Stoney

          Not to mention the fact that the 40 wasn’t given which is causing outrage. Another positive for Helen.

  2. Stoney

    I would be interested to hear what Hamza backers are saying right now. Think it was M8 that said months ago this was a done deal. Let’s here the other side of the argument 🙂

  3. Stoney

    So Helens couples choice is now the most viewed dance of the series almost 1.5 million views in 5 days. Almost certain she goes into the final as favorite.

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