Greg Wise released after his Macarena samba – .

Greg Wise released after his Macarena samba – .

So, farewell to charming Greg Wise, who brought bags of charm to Strictly. It was a great pleasure to follow his “journey”, both in the show and through his beautiful chronicles. And he had a good run: channeling Fred Astaire, living his acting dream of playing 007, and paying homage to his late sister Clare, the disco diva who inspired him to participate. His heartfelt words about the loss of loved ones and the importance of end-of-life care will surely resonate with millions of viewers.

We also got the bonus of several sightings from Emma Thompson, as she toured the studio and practice room to support her saboteur husband. A brief glimpse into her dancing with Wise’s partner Karen Hauer suggested she would be a dream signing – though, admittedly, highly unlikely.

Wise said he felt “incredibly privileged” to have participated and that he had an amazing time on Strictly. Hauer added a special thank you for the homemade breakfasts that Chef Wise brought to his training every day. What a man.

You can’t touch Dan Walker

Like Wise, he performed a technically questionable Latin dance to a pop classic: in his case, a cha cha cha by MC Hammer. A rather generous score of 26, however, allowed him to finish third from the bottom of the standings. Can he improve his game next week? It’s already more serious in the ballroom, perhaps because we’re suddenly a much smaller cast with the loss of Robert Webb and the temporary absence of Ugo Monye.

There are also Rose Ayling-Ellis and AJ Odudu, who had a slight loss of form with their cha cha cha and their samba respectively. But, strategically, it’s a good idea to start some of these difficult dances early if you hope to last until the final. Conversely, Rhys Stephenson has just gone from a Freestyle Couple’s Choice to a fast and loose salsa. But he can’t go on avoiding slower, more technically demanding ballroom styles forever.

Bring the funk

Led by Giovanni Pernice and new addition Jowita Przystal, the strictly professional dancers opened the proceedings with a funky and stylized group number in a gallery of mirrors, on Like Sugar by Chaka Khan. Dressed in matching monochrome suits with black hats and gaiters, it was like the Blues Brothers-meets-Michael Jackson.

It was a fun concept but, again, some viewers wondered why we rarely see ballroom performances from our ballroom specialists these days. Surely that would also be inspiring for famous candidates? As the judges begin to delve deeper into the technique, it could help tremendously to see how this is to be done. Unless someone chose Thriller Live for Music Week, this routine was rather less informative.

Back to the 90s – again


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