Silence Is Golden

Dec 17, 2021 by

Silence Is Golden

The ‘will she/won’t she take part?’ AJ injury saga has at least livened up the final week of Strictly 2021. Given the ongoing fitness concerns surrounding AJ, TPTB probably regret not initiating a bye week following Robert Webb’s exit from the show, as this would have allowed them more wiggle room regarding this year’s final.

It was a huge shame for Rhys and Nancy that Webb’s withdrawal from this series robbed them of a final place. There is no doubt we would have been watching a Rose, AJ, John, Rhys final under normal circumstances.

Semi-final judges’ leaderboard:

Rose and Giovanni: Waltz – (4) – 9, 10, 10, 10 = 39 – Argentine Tango – (8) – 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40 = 79
AJ and Kai: Quickstep – (2) – 10, 10, 10, 10 = 40 – Rumba – (6) – 9, 10, 10, 10 = 39 = 79
John and Johannes: Couple’s Choice (Contemporary) – (3) – 9, 10, 10, 10 = 39 – Jive – (7) – 9, 10, 10, 10 = 39 = 78 – bottom 2
Rhys and Nancy: Tango – (1) – 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36 – Samba – (5) – 9, 10, 10, 9 = 38 = 74 – eliminated

On the eve of the final, it remains unclear whether AJ will be able to take to the floor tomorrow night. Whether it ends up a 3-couple final or 2-couple final it is hard to see how either AJ & Kai or John & Johannes can land a significant blow, with Rose & Giovanni winning the hearts of the nation and looking unassailable on the public vote.

The first routines of the night will be the judges’ choices. They have gone with John’s Week 7 rumba, which scored 35 (8, 8, 10, 9), AJ’s week 1, 34-scoring jive (8, 8, 9, 9), and Rose’s Week 9 quickstep which scored 37 (10, 9, 9, 9), the 10 coming courtesy of Cynthia Erivo. Votelines will open after all three couples have performed their first dance of the night.

The second round of dances will be the showdances, with the house gospel choir called upon for all three songs. Rose’s showdance will incorporate the biggest prop in Strictly history. Her and Giovanni’s routine has been described as an elegant, romantic number, lyrical in nature, and involving lifts set to ‘The Rose’ by Bette Midler.

John’s showdance, accompanied by ‘You’ve Got The Love’, has been choreographed by Jason Gilkison, with Argentine tango, Charleston and some other genres also featuring in their dance medley.

It is hard to see how either AJ & Kai or John & Johannes can land a significant blow, with Rose & Giovanni winning the hearts of the nation and looking unassailable on the public vote

Pre-injury, AJ suggested her and Kai would be throwing the kitchen sink at their routine involving lifts, tricks, and a mix of ballroom and Latin set to Beyonce’s ‘Runnin’’, but that was before a serious ligament injury put AJ’s final participation in doubt.

In the last round of dances on the evening, the couple’s choices, Rose and Giovanni will reprise their heartstrings-tugging Couple’s Choice (Contemporary) routine from week 8 which was the moment of the series. You could argue it won’t resonate quite as powerfully second time around but it will still have huge impact and be enjoyed by the audience.

AJ and Kai will reprise their Week 7 Charleston, and John and Johannes their Week 3 paso doble. All three of these routines scored 39 first time round, so we can probably anticipate Craig dusting off his 10 paddle and some maximum scores being awarded to climax the series on a feel-good note.

There could easily be a degree of sympathy that creeps into the AJ vote, especially if we see her going through some physical and emotional turmoil during the evening.

That is, as long as AJ is able to get through her three routines unscathed on the night, and without her injury flaring up. She really couldn’t have asked for three more punishing routines in jive, a showdance and Charleston, and the quality may well suffer due to severely restricted training hours this week.

One of the most intelligent ideas put forward this week came from Vithun on Twitter:

There could easily be a degree of sympathy that creeps into the AJ vote, especially if we see her going through some physical and emotional turmoil during the evening. But even if AJ comes out to perform her showdance on crutches it still looks unlikely this will be enough for her to outpoll Rose, with John’s semi-final dance-off appearance confirming he has it all to do from third place going into the pv-only final.

Please do let us know who got your Strictly 2021 final vote on our exit poll which will open during tomorrow night’s show:

Strictly 2021 Exit Poll – Grand Final

Final dances and songs:

Judges’ choice –

AJ & Kai – Jive to ‘Gold Dust’ by DJ Fresh (week 1, 34 – 8, 8, 9, 9)
John & Johannes – Rumba to ’Shape of My Heart’ by Sting (week 7, 35 – 8, 8, 10, 9)
Rose & Giovanni – Quickstep to ‘Love is an Open Door’ from Frozen (week 9, 37 – 10, 9, 9, 9)


AJ & Kai – medley of ballroom and Latin to Beyonce’s ‘Runnin’’
John & Johannes – medley inc. Charleston and AT to ‘You Got The Love’ by Florence + The Machine
Rose & Giovanni – romantic, lyrical routine incorporating giant prop to ‘The Rose’ by Bette Midler

Couple’s choice –

AJ & Kai – Charleston to ‘Don’t Bring Lulu’ by Dorothy Provine (week 7, 39 – 9, 10, 10, 10)
John & Johannes – Paso doble to ‘He’s a Pirate’ from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (week 3, 39 – 9, 10, 10, 10)
Rose & Giovanni – Couple’s Choice (Contemporary) to ’Symphony’ by Clean Bandit feat. Zara Larsson (week 8, 39 – 9, 10, 10, 10)


  1. James

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for providing another year of thoughtful, entertaining and (most importantly!) profitable betting advice on Strictly.

    Assuming Rose wins today, it will turn out to be a decent series for me. Before the launch show, my ‘backs’ were Adam, Rhys & Rose; and ‘lays’ were Dan, Tom & Ugo.

    The shows bizarre treatment of Adam (lauding him in week 1, before burying him the rest of way) remains a head scratcher.

    Looking back through my records, it’s interesting to see how rarely the initial betting favourite goes on to win the show, with Tom joining the likes of Will, Aston, Vick, Alex & Maisie in failing to win.

    For me, Kai’s debut season has been the most impressive from a new pro since Katya’s in 2016. He is the one pro I would be confident saying it’s a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ he will win a Glitterball.

    • Rob

      Thanks James and good luck ahead of tonight’s final.

      My take on Adam is, TPTB were extremely wary of him as a pv threat, so they needed to put the handbreak on pronto after the big week 1 fanfare of the Olympian.

      Kai was immediately earmarked as a great addition this year, & the pairing with AJ increased her chance. I think you always need to look very carefully at the optics and he has ideal, middle England-friendly looks. The footage of him on DWTS Ireland also suggested he would be a very good teacher and choreographer.

      He immediately jumped up to among the top 3 male pros on the show for me, alongside Giovanni and Aljaz.

      Wouldn’t be surprised to see him paired with another contender next year.

  2. Stoney

    Hi Rob fantastic analysis as always. In the end the winner was decided from about week 4, and the only nerves I had were the dreaded 10 days before the final just praying that covid didn’t stop Rose from hosing up in the most 1 sided final ever. Would have had her at at least 80% last night.
    Happy Christmas to all.

    • Rob

      Thanks Stoney & well done to you with your Rose investments. It did feel a bit of a procession from early on in the series. You always have some doubts heading into week 1 re. the level Rose could attain dancing-wise & also how well she would come across to the audience & gel with Giovanni. As it turned out, all these elements coalesced to such a high level, you will probably never find a more pv-friendly contestant in the history of the show.
      Have a great Christmas.

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