It has been an eventful time in the world of Strictly on and off the ballroom; so let’s catch you up on what’s been going on. During Brig’s sabbatical of last week, Rose and Giovanni were at the top of the leaderboard with their emotional couples choice dance. That, for a portion of the dance was silent in order to reflect deaf people like Rose’s experiences. Unfortunately last week, we waved goodbye to Sara and Alijaz after a difficult dance-off between the judges’ favourite Tilly and Nikita.
This week the ballroom is getting a healthy dose of theatre magic. You can smell the greasepaint; the cast is waiting in the wings, the dress rehearsal was a nightmare, so you know it will be a good show. You can be sure to expect a fair few jazz hands, high kicks and emotional numbers that will leave you booking tickets to your next show.
The cast has taken the Westend to Elm Street, embodying musical stars like Maria Von Trapp and Matilda. Let’s hope they won’t call curtain on this production. So put your crisps away sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
The understudy must go
What’s musical week in the Strictly ballroom without a bit of drama; this time not from the contestants but from the judges panel, as resident ‘baddie’ Craig has tested positive for Covid 19. However, in true theatre fashion the show must go on, and an understudy is always waiting in the wings. No offence to Craig but we are in for a treat tonight, as Tony award-winner, Cythina Erivo, most known for her show stopping performance in The Colour Purple and for playing Elfaba in the upcoming movie version of Wicked. She gave a brilliant insight into the performance aspect of the dances this week and her presence pushed the contestants to connect with their inner actor. A quality that the judges push each week.
Something good, came out of AJ and Kai’s performance
After being at the bottom of the leaderboard last week the couple are keen to get back on top, as consistency is not this couples strong suit; being in every position of the leaderboard through the competition. The couple are embodying everyone’s favorite Austrians, as Maria and Captain Von trapp and dancing a Waltz to Eldiwiezz from The Sound of Music. In my and the viewers opinion this couple will have no trouble playing lovers, as by the day their are more rumours that these two are more than dance partners, could they be the new strictly lovers too?
It’s clear that the pair are playing up to these claims in their rehearsal footage, where they get increasingly close and flirty. Let’s hope this connection can translate onto the dance floor.
The waltz is a stand out favourite for its simplistic beauty, however this deceivingly easy dance is far from it, as the technique is imperative, one wrong step and you will stick out like Maria in the chapel. You best believe that Shirley will be on your footwork and frame like a hawk.
However, the pair had nothing to fear as the waltz was completely effortless, there timing was perfection as the two were glued together, dancing as one which maintained the steady flow throughout the dance putting the audience at ease. A special mention needs to be given to AJ as she tackled a chanllgeing and uncomfortable frame position, flawlessly keeping her lines and posture clean and precise. Unsuprisely the pair pulled of a mesmerising connection that had you believing they were truly in love.
The judges whole heartedly agreed, thanking her for opening the show with a bang and, prasing her for her effort on her footwork. Anton commended her for keeping her characterisation and selling the new found love that the two characters are discovering.
The judges praise left AJ in tears and tributes her dance to all the people that voted last week to keep them in when they were vulnerable. The scores show that last week was just a blip, awarding her a brilliant, 38. Proving that their is no problem to solve here.
There were no empty chairs after Tom’s couple choice dance
Tom and Amy are performing their couple choice dance to On My Own from Les Miserables this week. Tom attributes his career to his love for musicals, as his first big break was playing Oliver when he was only ten, on the West End. Tom is dedicating this perofmance to not only his love for musical theatre but to his little sister, Carrie Hope Flechter whose first big role was playing Eponie from Les Miserables. He said he only wanted to pick this song for his couple choice because this song was the moment he saw his sister’s dreams come true. Which was one of the proudest moments of his life.
This barefoot comtemopary number beautifully captured the essence of the musical, expressing the feeling of wanting and desire through each move, as well as being filled with difficult technical moves you would see on the West End stage. You can tell that Tom has come a long way from a couple of Jazz hands as Oliver, as he is executing overhead and one handed spinning lifts flawflessly.
Major props have to be given to Amy for choreographing a mixture of sharp precise moves with emotive flowing lines which highlights the technical growth of Tom as dancer wonderfully. I know I’m not alone in saying he has made his sister very proud.
It was clear when he came off the stage that he left his heart on the floor, as he was in tears after a very rewarding but emotional week of training. However, Cythnia expressed that the emotion he was displaying after that dance should of been incorporated on a higher level within the dance.
However, they could not fault the technique they expressed. The high level of technique and power almost held him back through expressing himself fully and encouraged him to let it go in his future performances, awarding him a respectable, 31.
Tilly was not on the naughty list this week
It’s fair to say that Tilly and partner Nikita have had a rollercoaster journey throughout the competition being equally at the top of the leaderboard and in the dance-off. The resilience and determination she has shown in her everyday life, being in the public eye from a young age has clearly gone into her couples choice dance to Revolting Children from Matilda the musical.
The couples choice dance is the perfect time where we learn more about the contestants as people and it’s clear that family is the most important thing to her. The support they have given her through Strictly (partnered with her university) has been the thing getting her through each morning. Her VT highlighted her happy childhood memories and it’s clear that she is a true daddy’s girl at heart. As she dedicates this dance to her family as a massive thank you for everything they have done for her.
The dance was a brilliant opportunity for Tilly to show her fun side and attack the dance with energy and the freedom to look stupid, which is a massive change from her normal composed disposition. The dance was filled with characterisation and jam packed with jumps and crisp isolation that added a professional quality to her dance. She travels across the dance floor effortlessly and truly became the character of a rebellious child. Tilly and her partner Nikita also showed immense trust in each another, as they executed challenging lifts with perfection.
The judges commended her fight as she bounced backed with avengeance from the dance-off last week. Anton calling her a role model and thanking her for being an inspiration for his children to look up to, Cythnia was speechless. As Shirley praised her for her professionalism stating that it would be a performance that belongs on the West End stage. It was clear that the dance was anything but revolting with an amazing score of 40, putting them at the top of the leaderboard.
Footloose vs Les Miserables
After the awarding winning performances that the celebrities and their partners gave on Saturday night it is hard to predict who will end up in bottom two, especially at this stage of the competition. However it has to be done, and it was clear by the public reaction that the decision was not a popular one. With fan favourite Tom Flecther landing in the bottom two with resident of the dance-off, Rhys Steveson joining him.
It was a shock to see Tom in the dance-off this week despite the negative comments from the judges it was clear from his support online that the dance was a hit with the public. Nevertheless he was excited to dance again. Sadly the same can’t be said for Rhys and partner Nancy who performed the title track from smash-hit movie musical, Footloose. Despite a good performance, Rhys is known for falling short on technique and isn’t a favourite with the public. Despite this there is no secret that they are a personal favourite with the judging pannel, which does give them an advantage.
However, after a fiercely fought dance-off the judges decided to save Rhys and Nancy for a second time which means we sadly waved goodbye to Tom and Amy.
Well, we hope you have enjoyed all the twists, turns and handfuls of glitter from Strictly‘s fabulous Musical week. We will see you here next week for another Brig Stritcly catch-up.
Featured Image Credit: The Telegraph