This week’s theme is Broadway. The show starts with the pros dancing to One from A Chorus Line. It’s not bad, especially as half the pros are clearly working outside their comfort zone. Lots of mirror work, lots of hat action, lots of vamping from Natalie. It’s perfectly enjoyable, until the celebs come out, and then it collapses like cheap wedding cake. This is pretty much the theme for the rest of the show.
Because the thing with Theme Weeks, is that they’re all well and good once we know which celebs have good basic technique and which don’t, across all three Strictly genres (elegant, party, passionate I mean. Ballroom and Latin what now?) so we can appareciate it when they subvert it with the more general choreography and stupid costumes but at this stage…what do we know? Not a lot.
Top of the leaderboard for the evening is taken pretty decisively by the boys. Whoever said straight boys couldn’t appreciate Musical Theatre. Even if, like Jason, they do it by doing a self-consciously camp tango to Gloria Gaynor. The faces go all the way through camp and right out the other side to unbearable. Other than that it’s a riot. Not much of a tango, but it is a Theme Week. Speaking of loose themes, Aliona pushes Harry through a Grease themed jiveish with great physical commitment but very little from the face. Also his hand is in his crotch at all times. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Aliona has made him wax as well. This is definitively a very bad thing. Rory meanwhile benefits from Erin autopilot and the reaction it always produces from the judges, and James Jordan operates via the empty vessel that is Alex Jones in his usual stirling Viennese work. Rumbas and Viennese Waltzes. Those he can do.
The melange in the middle meanwhile is a mixed affair. Holly does some decent cage-work in her Chicago themed tango, but the rest is genuinely awful, and I can only imagine she’s coasting on reputation to score 30. Also scoring 30 somehow are Robbie doing some truly deadly chair work whilst walking around in a nominal tango to Gimme Gimme Gimme, and Chelsee whose general wrigglines and unsteadiness continues, and who appears on the verge of pissing Craig off forever with it. Pasha reamins, as ever, impeccable. Russell is also pulled up to mid-table, mostly by virtue of Bruno giving him an 8 for campness (Bruno scores by a small distance the highest this week. Try to look surprised). The routine is to Streisand and Flavia looks more beautiful than ever. Russell is a mixture of exuberant and awkward out of hold, but flat and poised in it. It’s his best dance yet, I guess. Very definitely not doing her best dance yet though is Anita who provides an invitation with Austin’s jive via music choice, and then sets it on fire by tottering around even worse than last week.
Oh and Robin wears a wig. But that’s really going to work better as a picture joke.
Stacked up in the bottom are the usual suspects : Audley being awkward and lumpy and charming through a quickstep ; Bloody Lulu just about performing Brendan’s one piece of genuine choreographical inspiration per series (See also : Vampire paso, the Kerplunk samba, TIME WARP) but walking into the annual tedious lift “controversy” at the same time ; Nancy being…Nancy. Just dipping down to join them is an increasingly ratty Dan, who is in a huff over Craig’s comments, overtalks Katya entirely, and tries too hard through a fairly bog-standard Katya Queen-themed Viennese Waltz. Billy Connolly will not be impressed. Maybe her going goo-goo eyes over someone is actually a sign she’s not fussed? Maybe Katya is just that different.
Here’s to the next theme week being…better. Generally.