Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Week 11 Performance Summary

So it’s Musicals Week, and if you’re wondering if the show has learnt from the problems of last year’s iteration (overproduction, backing dancers a poppin’ all up in everyone’s faces, routines that look entirely like auditions for work in the West End rather than ballroom/latin) then wonder no more, as they absolutely have not. For the overproduction, the show starts with an interminable tribute to musicals that’s 50% costumes and 50% Anton singing like someone’s dad at a wedding who is “surprisingly good” for the first 30 seconds and then it lasts through 8 songs and a costume change and CAN THEY BRING THE STARTERS OUT ALREADY I WANT MY BAKED CAMEMBERT. For the routines that look more like West End numbers, then marvel at Kevin’s cowboy “quickstep” for Louise which makes me long for the authenticity of Kellie Bright Oompa Viennese Waltz where she just jumped up and down on a table swinging her tankards. It combines the choreography of the classic pop videos “5-6-7-8” by Steps and “(Boom!) I Want Your Love” by Atomic Kitten and about three bars worth of quickstep. It’s quite fun but there’s no disguising the fact it’s gone more off-piste than Sonny Bono. As for the pro dancers? I feel like I saw more of Neil Jones this evening than I saw of people who actually were supposed to be the routines. (Chloe meanwhile gets to be a giant flower, somewhere towards the back, once)

Our other celebs? The scripting to give Cloudia a 10 to correct the undermarking she got last week to correct the overmarking she got the week before (keep up at the back) ends up having the untidiest of possible endings – a Lion King salsambcha routine that’s all lifts because they’re what she does best, that are executed spectacularly but with awkward transitions, that ends up getting a Bruno 10 because nobody else can really get the pep up but they’ve been promising her one all week. Oti meanwhile has made more effort than most to get her routine looking like what it’s supposed to be (a disco Dreamgirls tango) than most, so it’s a shame Danny doesn’t seem particularly mindful that what makes a tango is the heel leads, because otherwise it looks like so much angry walking. Ore’s Willy Wonka foxtrot is quite cute, and very appropriate, but is the most stymied by backing dancers, because their costumes make them actively about 10 feet tall and they’re wandering between him and the camera-lens constantly. They also can’t hide his slightly skippy technique. Finally Rinder is just pushed out there to dance, mostly, with a Jersey Boys themed samba with three “seasons” as backing dancers who all outdance him outrageously but no other staging to distract. In the death slot. It feels like the last clod of dirt thrown on the grave of this year’s Underdog Males, but I guess stranger things have happened on this show. Mostly this week.

Finally we get a West Side Story themed pro dance. If Will Young had to die for anything, then it might as well be quality dance filler like that.


48 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Week 11 Performance Summary

  1. Neio

    I was a little confused as to why Cloudia had a ‘mane’ and AJ didn’t. So she was Simba and he was Nala? Interesting…

    I couldn’t agree with the judges at all that Louise evoked the character of Calamity Jane. At no moment did she remotely act like tomboyish Calamity.

    1. Gerry

      Mind you, Claudia seemed to possess *two* manes if you count the one around her waist — very strange I agree for a supposed lioness! This particularly annoyed me because it obscured the fabulous hip and midriff action that the training shots from It Takes Two were promising.

      If only wardrobe had put her in a leopard, oops, I mean leotard (or do I mean catsuit?) Anyway, I thought she was GRRRRRREAT — if only AJ hadn’t cocked up the final lift!

  2. Martin

    Louise was obviously ‘Transition Calamity’ – Tomboy phase without trousers or cutesy girlie in tassles!

    As for Neil, seemed the only thing he didn’t do this week was hold up a paddle…

  3. Emma

    I started at ‘at those backing dancers for Ore supposed to be vaginas?’ and the night never really recovered for me, to be honest. Honourable mention for Kevin’s sheer GLEE at getting to wear chaps.

      1. BeyonceCastle

        Yep. The bit where he was doing Danny Zuko again was ill advised. He looks more like Robbie Rotten from Lazytown than even Craig does these days.

      2. DJ Mikey

        I say this for Kevin – as much as I loathe him at times – he has the ass for Chaps.

        When he can no longer dance he can become a porno Leather Daddy..

  4. Georgina

    After Rindy most likely gets the boot tonight the only thing left for me look forward to in this series will be the recaps.

  5. catherinehirst

    Show was dire tonight. No energy from the audience, ridiculously themed/backing dancer’d routines that had little in common with the genre of dance they were supposed to be, and no real standout moments. I did like Cloudia’s routine (mostly because of her fuzzy little ears, I’ll be honest), thought Louise was way too mimsy to be Calamity Jane, Ore was so dull I forgot his routine the minute it finished, Rinder was AWFUL (omg those slow-motion samba rolls, JESUS), and Danny was only ok.

    Musicals Week can DIAF as far as I’m concerned. Blergh.

    1. ChaChaChavvy

      The audience failing to react to Ore and Joanne’s routine so much that you could actually hear her thanking them, like a headmistress after the weekly staff-meeting, was a highlight.

      I reckon Louise Rainbow will have drugged Tim Peake’s prosecco and then locked him in a prop-chest backstage. The next thing he’ll remember is emerging from a glittery spaceship, dressed as Buzz Lightyear, while Natalie, head-to-toe in Martian-green sequins, whirls on top of a space-rock to the tune of Rocket Man and points a prop laser-gun at him. Those front-row tickets come at a price, Tim.

  6. Aoife

    Musicals Week just doesn’t work. The only dance that sticks in my mind is Natalie Gumede with her dance that went on to touch the divine in the final.

    Such a relief that there was no Ore tears or thumb biting. Seemed a definite possibility based on his own reaction to it on ITT.

    1. Katie

      Word. The definitive Musicals Week Dreamgirls routine. Also ‘Touching the Divine’ is perhaps the most I have ever laughed. Ever.

  7. ChaChaChavvy

    This week really felt like it needed a number from Anything Goes or Swing Time or, you know, a proper musical. Even the West Side Story routine just reminded me how good the dancers were in that film.

    Cloudier – AJ was meant to be one of those ila pika thingies, right?

    Louise – the quickstep is my favourite dance, and I’ve come to the conclusion Kevin is incapable of choreographing one.

    Ore – this year’s bloody giant teapot sabotaged dance, although, unlike Georgia, he fumbled the foxtrot quite a bit.

    Danny – Jason and Kristina still rule the disco-tango.

    Rinder – thrown under a bus in every way.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Frankie’s quickstep was alright in a “it’s Blackpool so let’s just run around” sort of way.

  8. John

    Poor week. Only Claudia and Danny were fun. Ore was off balance and Rinder has hit a wall.

    I guess Rinder, probably, goes this week. Which leaves two sets of four next week? More chances to get some actual fun dances that’s for sure!

    Chaps Kevin is just about the only Kevin I can get on board with.

  9. Plinkiplonk

    During that opening number I got a very clear feeling that this was planned a loooong time ago. As in, before it was clear that Brucie wasn’t well enough to do it. So as much as you hate Anton,I think we may have dodged a bullet there…

      1. Gerry

        But would you want him as a Compere or Judge or anything that steps out of the realm of non Latin based traditional ballroom dancing

    1. monkseal Post author

      They would never have given Bruce that much to do. Ever. Even in the early years if he sang he just stood there whilst the female pros draped themselves off him and played with their nipples.

  10. Marcela

    What is it with Ore and those skippity steps he does? He’s doing them at an alarming rate now, I’d like to know if it’s Joanne’s or his idea. Either way it’s horrible.
    And I’ve also seen enough of Neil for a lifetime now.

    1. Carl

      I would have thought this one was a tribute to Veruca Salt but he did it at Blackpool too. Maybe it’s part of how bizarrely gurning and garish Joanne is – either way it’s like something out of a bad old musical that helped kill off the genre…

    2. monkseal Post author

      I think it’s that “speed over accuracy” thing that’s been going around this(/all of the last three) series.

  11. RhetoricAlley

    If I was a contestant on Strictly and was FINALLY getting to do my tango, only to be informed it was to a disco track, I would pull a Will Young so fast…

    If a tango isn’t going to be dramatic and moody then really what’s the point? Thought Claudia had the best routine tonight anyway – it might not have looked a lot like salsa but at least it was fun.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Who even would be left if everyone who got a crap tango track this series quit? Would we be looking at Champion Laura Whitmore what a thought.

  12. Carl

    Is it me or is this the worst lineup of new pro dancers? I have a soft spot for AJ and Oksana is OK too, I guess, but neither are very memorable in personality or choreography. And Neil just sticks out in a bad way. He was so out of place in the West Side Story number – he seemed to still be doing the Cossack dancing he tried on It Takes Two.

    The Anton pro dance – where I’m sure halfway through he looked at the camera with a “when the fuck will this end?” expression was the greatest example of what Strictly has become – what they see as a tribute, but what actually feels endless, dull, and self-important.

  13. Tal27

    I thought Rinder was pretty good actually. Oksana choreographs well for him. But he dances better than the average viewer would which makes him relateable. And certainly he is way better than anything Pondray ever did!

  14. Isolde

    Two questions. I’ve never seen The Lion King, so what part does Winnie-the-Pooh play in the story?
    I’ve never seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so who was Joanne meant to be?

      1. DJ Mikey

        She can’t have been “The Purple One” in Quality Street – I like “The Purple One” in Quality Street..

      2. Gerry

        DJ Mikey, might I point out that just because she was meant to be “The Purple One” doesn’t meant the target was attained — after all Louise was *meant* to be Calamity Jane! 😉

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