Well I’ll certainly miss Ranjie.
We start with
Oti putting her records on, by way of introducing this week’s very special tribute to Aretha Franklin. Yes, before now the Queen Of Soul’s music has been used on Strictly for such memorable routines as…erm…well basically it’s just Lisa Riley’s cha cha, unless you’re one of those people who’s really really really into Alexandra Burke, and we all remember those people and don’t want to cross them so Alexandra’s waltz as well definitely, for sure, such a barnstormer. But now as WELL as those iconic performances, we also have the pros jigging about to I Say A Little Prayer For You, Natural Woman, Respect, and Think all flanked by the
Kingdom Choir. I do love this bit, it’s very “Jade Cole enters a party on America’s Next Top Model“. Oti is working every single member of the Kingdom Choir as she goes down those stairs, she IS Aretha and she is making her entrance. Fans of literal choreography will also be glad to hear that yes
they do do prayer hands when they say a little prayer, and they do tap their noggins when they “think”, fans of the pro line-up ever expanding to include every hoofer in a 10 mile radius will be glad to hear that this
lady in red is Ashleigh Hunter, who I’m fairly sure is the new Chloe in terms of sitting there playing with her Action Men and “helping” Jason Gilkison put together the pro routines, and fans of Pasha will be glad to know that
it is he who can make Oti feel like a Natural Woman. I never doubted it for a second. Anyway it’s all a lot of up-tempo fun with lots of lifts and bright colours
hooray for Aretha etc etc
Once everyone’s tucked away safely, it’s time for Tess and Claudia to emerge
with Claudia spangled up to the hilt as usual. They thank the choir and our pros for their tribute to Aretha, and Tess proclaims there to be no better way to honour the Queen Of Soul. Well better this than a 17 hour funeral where Ariana Grande gets publicly groped anyway. She then reminds us that it was a great night for the woman on Saturday, as Faye and Ashley both tossed some more 10s on their ever-growing pile, and Stacey and Lauren got their highest scores yet. And Kate got off her tits on nitrous. IT WAS LADIES NIGHT, AND THE FEELING WAS RIGHT! VERY VERY RIGHT! But on to tonight, where our menu features as ever, the Dance Debrief, music from Jess Glynne, a dance-off, a judges entrance where
it feels more and more like Bruno is being squeezed out of things and of course
Your Week In Greg.
Followed, as usual, by the first round of these
Yes, they have at last decided we’re at the point where we can run through the reveals in two runs rather than three. Hitting the dance-off in this half is
oh what a surprise. As Michelle Williams found out, the Time Warp effect can only last so long. And not even that if you’re Jamelia. He goes over to Tess, and tells her that it’s difficult to find himself in danger when the dance on Saturday was such a personal high, but this truly is a reminder that nobody is safe. I mean…the guy who’s already smacked into the dance-off twice and didn’t even get a Bottom 2 bounce would probably not be my choice to fulfil the “ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!” remit but
Chucky Venice is a chameleon Tess. He can play any role. Hunky nurse, hottie badminton player, Sexy Space Marine #3. He’s mastered them all. Tess next turns to Bruno for advice and bless him he’s trying for shocked
and ending up on “taken too many Nyquils”. He tells Charles to not get nervous, and also not to be insecure. That seems unlikely.
Up to Claud 9 now
for our first round of interviews with safe couples. Stacey’s first up, and we cover just how into Strictly her mum is. She has Strictly parties at work where they all wear masks apparently. Well yes very much the same thing happens at Kate’s house also, maybe they should combine their efforts? Apparently Stacey thinks they’ll need to stage an intervention to help her mum with the grieving process “when we get booted aht” which…I get not wanting to tempt fate, but you can say “if” Stacey, nobody will judge you. Faye’s next, and she reveals that she’ll be performing Giovanni’s favourite genre of dance next week, yes that’s right, it’s the one that injured Laura Whitmore (not that that factors into it you understand), it’s THE JIVE. Faye says that Giovanni’s shown her so many videos of him doing it. Also the jive.
Joe next, talking about how Dianne choreographs – apparently she stands on the spot
and does a manic little jig as she mentally maps out all the moves. That’s how Robin choreographed for Lisa Riley as well, but the whole routine. I also…would score Joe’s manic little jig higher than I would his paso, to be honest. Finally we get Kate’s dance and theme – it’s a quickstep with a weddingy twist. Aljaz jokes that quickstep is absolutely something you’d do for the first dance at a wedding as it’s so slow and sensual
and everyone’s very confused because Aljaz trying to do sarcasm is so so weird. Janette and Aljaz’s first dance at their wedding, of course, was to a megamix of Circle Of Life, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King and Can You Feel The Love Tonight, and yes they were in the costumes.
IT’S JESS GLYNNE! Fun fact – Jess Glynne has managed to have seven Number 1s, all with basically the same song. It’s a talent! This go around it’s called “Thursday” and it’s all about how she likes to just slob around on Thursdays not wearing any make-up and drinking coke. Not that she’s running out of ideas or anything. Embodying this ethos of just letting yourself go, being a schlub, and not caring about your appearance, via the medium of contemporumba are
Nadiya and Graziano. Yeah, makes sense. Bet they’re only in that make-up chair for 5 minutes each if that. All about the natural look. Also, Graziano’s Dance Mouth is
absolutely out-of-control here, it looks like he’s trying to inhale her. Not even Karen Hardy.
Another number 1 in the bag? Probably.
Upstairs now for another Dance Debrief, and it’s Darcey kicking us off, given the unenviable task of having to talk us through all of the clatters and collapses in Danny’s quickstep. Here’s one of the less painful ones
of him leaping a clear second after Amy does. Claudia says that it must be so much harder to hide your mistakes in a fast dance than in a slow one, when she knows full well if someone bums up a rumba or a foxtrot all of the judges will be saying the exact opposite. ALL OF THE DANCES ARE THE HARDEST TO DO EVERYTHING IN! Darcey says it’s a particular problem in the quickstep, because you’re so in-sync that your mistakes just ricochet off one another. Like that time she and Shirley got into that paddling pool full of jelly and every time one of them fell over the other one went down trying to pull them back up again. Just like that. Shirley herself follows, asked to gush over Ashley’s foxtrot, and she’s more than up to the challenge as she says that it’s the best foxtrot she’s ever seen on Strictly.
And that’s a Shirley Statement you can take to the bank. (Also what did we top out at last year, Debbie McGee being an adult baby?)
Craig’s next, and we’re reminded that he went full Simon Cowell on Saturday Night, and told Lauren to WATCH THE TAPES BACK to see that he was right that her kicks were hesitant. We then, of course, WATCH THE TAPES BACK and see that Lauren was kicking in the wrong direction, rather than that she was hesitant. Everyone crows like this means that Craig was wrong, and to be honest it kind of does, but also remember not a week ago when Bruno was telling people to do heel leads in a rumba? This feels like very small potatoes in the grand scheme of things if “Dance Debrief” is going to become “H’ACTUALLY THE JUDGES WERE WRONG”. IT LOOKED WRONG THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. We then close with Bruno grinning at slow-mo of what he calls Dr Ranj entering “Ricky Marting Mode” in his samba.
Yes it’s uncanny.
Back to the floor now for more reveals of who is and who isn’t safe
look at them fly! This leaves our Bottom 2 before the Bottom 2 as the exciting possibility of Danny having to nail that quickstep OR DIE or the much less exciting possibility of watching Dr Ranj do that salsambcha for the fourth time.
And never let it be said that the public isn’t doing the dullest possible thing at all junctures this year. Although it’s almost worth it for the look of absolute cold hard fury that passes over Danny’s face when he realises that he’s not going to get to show everyone he actually can do the quickstep. He’s fuming. I honestly think he’s on the verge of barging Ranjie out the way on his way to the judges desk and demanding they at least make the dance-off a threeway. HE WANTS TO DO THIS PROPERLY TESS, HE’S AN ENTERTAINER, NOT A CELEBRITY, IF HE FUCKS UP HE SHOULD FACE THE CONSEQUENCES! Sadly, again, too interesting, and instead Dr Ranj just gets to give Tess some benign chat about how he’s at least glad he gets to do the samba one more time. YAWN!
Up to Claud 9
where we’re right into Graeme reminding us that his waltz was dedicated to his grandparents, and saying he’s so glad he did them justice, even if they didn’t give him the Pimp Slot and instead wasted it on Joe roaming around doing Soor Ploom faces. Ashley’s next, revealing that she is doing Couples Choice next week, and has elected to pick contemporary. Claudia asks her if she wasn’t instead tempted to go for jazz, presumably on the grounds that…y’know, FAYE did it, and
Ashley’s attempt at a jazz hand illustrates fairly well why not. Personally I would have guessed at street/commercial given…y’know, dayjob and all. But no, contempowaft it is. Lauren’s next, saying it’s a true honour to be in “The Over 30s Club” like it’s even a real thing. And let’s be honest, any club that doesn’t have Dr Ranj in it isn’t really worth being part of. Finally Danny says that he was shocked and confused not to be in the dance-off, whilst Claudia talks with Amy about how the latter was having to hold back tears at the result. Danny meanwhile is holding back the urge to go pinwheeling at the dance-off all “LEMME AT IT! LEMME AT IT!” like Scrappy Doo.
It was not to be though, and instead
it’s Dr Ranj going home, on a 3-1 vote, with Craig the dissenter. Yes Shirley did stop favouring Ranj the second I decided to make a big deal about it, thank you, let’s move on. And we’re never going to get that Ranj & Charles bromance VT I wanted are we? FOR SHAME. Ranj and Janette hug for a good long time and then he gives a little speech about his being here and doing Strictly is a sign to anyone out there who wants to do the show, that they can too.
After full medical training and a 6 year career in the media. Janette follows this up by talking about what an inspiration Dr Ranj is as a human being, saving childrens live and constantly nobly resisting the urge to punch Eamon Holmes in the face. She thinks Strictly is a great platform to celebrate exceptional people doing something they’ve never done before – high standard ballroom dancing.
And also their celebrity partners as well, whoever they might be. Ranj and Janette very earnestly tell the other that they love them and ONLY GAYS FOR JANETTE FROM NOW ON PLEASE! The sight of her and Ranjie leaving the show whilst lip-sync’ing for their lives to “Turn Back Time” by Cher will live with me forever
Many thanks to whoever in the production gallery came up with that one.