Reversal Of Fortune

Nov 19, 2021 by

Reversal Of Fortune

It was apparent from the get-go last Saturday, almost identical to Adam the week before, that Tilly was heading back to the dance-off. It was all very deflating from the opening slot and a miserly score of 29 left her looking in big trouble.

The way they have used the 1 slot and actively avoided the bounce has been a new dynamic in this series, along with the, observed four times to date, deflating pimp slot.

If Tilly was hard done by, AJ was even more of a scapegoat on the night. Everything about her paso from the lighting, to her dress, to the track seemed to be intentionally put there to trip her up.

In the case of the dress, it literally did. It was still a decent effort and looked the sort of routine destined for 8s and 9s, only for her to be scored in last place with 28 and informed by all the judges it was a massive fail.

Week 8 judges’ leaderboard:
Rhys and Nancy: Charleston – (4) – 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40
Rose and Giovanni: Couple’s Choice (Contemporary) – (8) – 9, 10, 10, 10 = 39
John and Johannes: Samba – (6) – 9, 10, 10, 9 = 38
Sara and Aljaž: Argentine Tango – (5) – 7, 8, 8, 9 = 32 – eliminated
Tom and Amy: Viennese Waltz – (7) – 7, 8, 7, 8 = 30
Tilly and Nikita: Quickstep – (1) – 7, 7, 7, 8 = 29 – bottom 2
Dan and Nadiya: American Smooth – (3) – 4, 8, 8, 9 = 29
AJ and Kai: Paso Doble – (2) – 6, 7, 7, 8 = 28

This sort of extreme treatment is a great way to generate viewer engagement. It would have been a huge vote motivator and AJ probably polled 2nd behind Rose.

The slight oddity came when Motsi made a point of telling viewers Rhys’s Charleston was the greatest ever on the show, with the judges seeming to suffer collective amnesia in erasing AJ’s 39-scoring Charleston from the week before. This is where you start to wonder if something more sinister is afoot.

This sort of extreme treatment is a great way to generate viewer engagement. It would have been a huge vote motivator and AJ probably polled 2nd behind Rose

This is the time of year when contestants either commit to the live Strictly tour, or not, and there might be the vague scent of AJ’s non-participation in the air. AJ now has a waltz to ‘Edelweiss’ from The Sound Of Music, and given she earned a 37 for her week 6 VW, this does look the sort of thing that will have her back in contention for top score.

Week 9 (Musicals Week) dances and songs:
AJ and Kai Waltz to Edelweiss from The Sound Of Music
Rose and Giovanni Quickstep to Love Is An Open Door from Frozen The Musical
Tilly and Nikita Couple’s Choice (Theatre) to Revolting Children from Matilda
Dan and Nadiya Charleston to Good Morning from Singin’ In The Rain
John and Johannes Viennese Waltz to Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins
Rhys and Nancy Jive to Footloose from Footloose
Tom and Amy Couple’s Choice (Contemporary) to On My Own from Les Misérables

In that scenario, the topsy-turvy nature of this series would be reinforced but if they get the knives out for it from the 1 slot – she is the only remaining contestant not to have opened the show – then you would have to be concerned for AJ’s future.

It could also purely be journey building for AJ. She has had something of a rollercoaster ride in this series and the show is probably happy to throw in some jeopardy to proceedings, to leave viewers guessing over the composition of this year’s final and fretting over their favourites. They have, after all, been trying to forcefully tell viewers this is the strongest ever series of Strictly and also painting a picture of unpredictability from one week to the next.

Rhys’s Charleston earning a dubious 40 reinforces the belief he is polling last in this series and they needed to place him clear at the top to ensure he didn’t drop into the dance-off. A jive to ‘Footloose’ looks, on paper, right up his street but he didn’t convince in training footage shown on last night’s ITT.

John seems to consistently be landing 10s in this series, and earning Motsi and Shirley standing ovations, but you get the distinct impression the wider Strictly audience isn’t particularly invested in his progress.

Rhys’s Charleston earning a dubious 40 reinforces the belief he is polling last in this series and they needed to place him clear at the top to ensure he didn’t drop into the dance-off

It doesn’t help when Johannes steals the limelight in the routines as he clearly did with their samba. A VW to ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’ from Mary Poppins does not have the look of a stand-out on the night but John seems to score consistently in the top 3 on the judges’ leaderboard. There may come a week soon when his pv is more tested.

Rose enjoyed a proper, traditional, what pimp slots are usually used for, monumental ramp last Saturday. The Outright market considers it game, set and match, with Rose hitting a low of 1.22 on Betfair. The slight worry for Rose backers is that everything we heard and saw would have ideally been saved for the final, and not used up in week 8.

That Contemporary number, with the ingenious silent segment in it, won’t be nearly as resonant if it is chosen by her and Giovanni to reprise in the final, even with the Craig 10 to potentially cap it all off. And rather than doing it as a CC, it would have made a great showdance:

It will be fascinating to see what happens with Rose’s QS to ‘Love Is An Open Door’ from Frozen. Having seen what they did to AJ last Saturday, if we are ever going to see a bump in the road for Rose, and for her to come crashing back to earth after that 39-scoring, defining moment of the series for her, then it has to be tomorrow night.

If we do see Rose endure tough appraisals and low scores, it would partly serve to reassure that AJ’a paso blip was merely part of this unfolding, intentional, unpredictability narrative they are seeking to build up.

Dan has Charleston to a classic track from Singin’ In The Rain. The timing certainly isn’t great for him on the back of AJ and Rhys’s Charlestons, but Dan is the last remaining contestant not to have earned a pimp slot, and a pimp slot Charleston, while the pimp slot in this series has been used on occasion to deramp, would look more likely to go well for him. That bizarre 4 from Craig did conveniently result in Dan scoring 29 only, so the narrative might be there for Dan to finally break through the 30 barrier.

This week Tom has been trying his best, once more, to build a narrative for his CC set to ‘On My Own’ from Les Misérables. It was the first song his sister sang professionally in the West End. He seems to be trying to follow the reality tv rulebook and knowingly conjure up emotive back stories for his dances. Whether TPTB play ball with his Contemporary routine remains to be seen.

That bizarre 4 from Craig did conveniently result in Dan scoring 29 only, so the narrative might be there for Dan to finally break through the 30 barrier

Tilly also has CC and a character-led, Theatre-style routine to ‘Revolting Children’ from Matilda that could play to her strengths. Described as energetic, fast, fun, and with freestyle choreo thrown in, her and Nikita are trying hard to ensure they are not in the dance-off for a third successive week, and this could be a narrative the judges decide to run with, pushing her high on the leaderboard to aid her survival.

Craig has gone down with Covid and stage and screen actress Cynthia Erivo will replace him on tomorrow night’s judging panel. Without Craig acting as party-pooper, Musicals Week should be a feel-good show with an emphasis on positivity, while leaderboard ordering will still be clinically carried out.

There looks a strong case to be made for both Dan and Tilly making it through to Week 10, which means either Tom or Rhys could find themselves in danger.

Please do keep your votes coming in on our week 9 exit poll which will open during tomorrow night’s show.

Strictly 2021 Exit Poll – Week 9

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