We suspected it would be bad news for someone named Adams – and so it came to pass, with Kaye Adams losing out to Matt Goss in the first dreaded dance-off of series 20. But the audience did save another Adams: Tony, who was hoisted out of danger by viewer votes following his Cockney dustman Charleston. How long can he play that cheeky-chappy card? Not long, I suspect. But he and his flat cap do survive for at least one more week.
Farewell to Kaye Adams
So, it’s the Loose Women presenter who was first to lose her grip on a Strictly place. She reprised her Charleston to Dorothy Provine’s Music! Music! Music! in the dance-off – a slightly more game effort than her Week 1 ABBA tango, but strewn with errors. Mind, Matt Goss didn’t fare much better with his similarly shaky Saturday Night Fever-styled samba.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Goss and partner Nadiya Bychkova, because he felt they “danced the best on the night.” Motsi Mabuse agreed, noting both couples made mistakes, but one was slightly stronger. Anton Du Beke rightly observed that it wasn’t a vintage dance-off, but thought Adams lost her performance as well as making mistakes, so saved Goss.
In truth, Adams seemed heartily relieved. She’s basically been signalling from the start that this was all a terrible misunderstanding and she’d meant to sign up for Celebrity Bake Off instead. She told presenter Tess Daly that she was just sorry for her partner Kai Widdrington, and added that it was “a hell of a lot of fun. Actually I have seen a whole new side to myself – it’s opened a little door.”
Widdrington called his partner “a trooper” who had put the hard work in, adding: “I am proud of you, I know that your girls and your other half are proud of you, but the most important thing is that you should be proud of yourself, because you are a superstar.”
But was it the right result?
Adams seemed very happy to accept the panel’s verdict. I wasn’t quite so convinced, and nor was head judge Shirly Ballas. The latter’s vote didn’t count on this occasion, since the other judges had reached a majority verdict, but Ballas told Daly that actually she would have saved Kaye and Kai due to “a little better quality” in their dancing.
Neither performance was great, but I’d argue that Adams attempted a lot of Charleston content and should be rewarded for that – whereas Goss took the easy way out by leaning into the disco styling of his dance, instead of properly committing to the tricky samba steps. It was more Bee Gees tribute than Latin number. He might be an eye-catching booking for this year's series, but if he continues in that vein, both viewers and judges will soon tire of him.
Kai deserves better
Though a gentleman to the end, this year’s Strictly was a sad waste of English professional dancer Kai Widdrington, who had such a glorious debut run in 2021 with AJ Odudu – and would have been in the final if it wasn’t for her injury. Surely he should have been given another opportunity to glimpse the latter stages of the competition?
Strictly has recently seen an exodus of popular pros, like Oti Mabuse, Aljaž Škorjanec and Pasha Kovalev. It needs to nurture the talents it has remaining – and Widdrington was a big audience favourite last year. Hopefully justice will prevail and he’ll get a strong contender for the 2023 series.
Popcorn at the ready
Not only is it rather humiliating to be booted out first, but you miss out on the inaugural rummage through the dressing-up box. Yes, the theme shows begin next week with Strictly’s trip to the movies – which, in past years, has featured everything from the blindingly obvious (yet another moody James Bond dance) to the oddly obscure (er, Gnomeo and Juliet, anyone?).
Movie Week generally favours the thespians in the cast, although it can be helpful for shyer celebrities too, since they have a character – and about six layers of lurid face paint – to hide behind. In this crop, it could be a breakthrough moment for someone like Helen Skelton. Either that or you traumatise the viewing audience forever, as The Wanted singer Max George did with his hellish Simpsons routine. D’oh!
We already know that Hamza Yassin is dancing to the Jurassic Park theme – despite not having seen the movie, because it's too scary. Bless. Meanwhile Jayde Adams is wielding the welding torch: yes, it's Flashdance. James Bye is tackling Guardians of the Galaxy, for the kids, while Tony Adams goes the adult route with You Sexy Thing from The Full Monty. Ye gods.
Art house Strictly is back – unfortunately
Hoping to see our professional dancers showing off their waltz or rumba skills? Well, you're out of luck. Strictly’s resident group dance guru, Jason Gilkison – clearly a frustrated pop video choreographer – has, in recent years, set the tone for tedious numbers that prize style and concept over actual movement.
This week’s effort, choreographed by Elizabeth Honan, was heavy on the feathers, PVC and strutting to a mash-up of INXS’s Need You Tonight and Lizzo’s About Damn Time. It was fun, it was gif-able...and it was a waste of all those years of ballroom training, and of this primetime platform for dance. It also felt like a weaker version of the similarly themed, and costumed, number we had back in 2019. As Miranda Priestly might say: “Spike heels? In fashion? How groundbreaking.”
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) October 2, 2022
Let Robbie Williams entertain you
The sometime-Take That-member, who recently overtook Elvis Presley to become the solo artist with the most number-one UK albums with his latest release XXV (and just one off matching the Beatles), certainly knows what the people want. Williams graced the ballroom to perform not some new song that we can’t hum along to, but his 1999 hit She’s the One – proper nostalgia value. He also borrowed Ballas's hot-pink pant suit, possibly as a dare, possibly to prove once and for all that he's a bigger man than Gary Barlow.
Joining him for some acrobatic wafting, with glimmers of rumba, in fetching formalwear (non-hot-pink edition) were spare pros Neil “Ginger” Jones and newcomer Lauren Oakley.