Strictly unveils Musicals Week dances – as Bobby Brazier takes on show’s third Dirty Dancing Salsa

‘EastEnders’ star Brazier follows on from Louis Smith and Ashley Roberts in dancing to ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 28 November 2023 16:10 GMT
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

It’s time to dust off your jazz hands, because Strictly Come Dancing has reached its annual Musicals Week celebration of all things theatrical.

This Saturday (2 December), the dance competition series heads into the quarter-final, with the remaining five couples competing to get that step closer to the Glitterball Trophy. With the leaderboard growing tighter every week, and a high-scoring contestants like Layton Williams finding himself in the dance-off last weekend, the competition has never been closer.

As well as being the third week from the final, the quarter-final doubles up as Strictly’s Musicals Week spectacular, where the show pays homage to the West End and beyond with themed dances to well-known musical theatre tunes.

On Tuesday (28 November), the dance line-up was unveiled, revealing the songs, musicals and dance styles each couple will be performing on Saturday.

None of the pairs will be performing their Couples Choice routine, meaning all dances are traditional ballroom or Latin styles.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones will be dancing a Charleston to “Step in Time” from Mary Poppins, while Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola will also be making a nod to Disney with a Quickstep to “Belle”, the opening number from Beauty and the Beast.

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe are also doing ballroom, and are dancing a Foxtrot to “For Good” from Wicked.

Williams and Kuzmin will be dancing to ‘Backstage Romance’ from ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’
Williams and Kuzmin will be dancing to ‘Backstage Romance’ from ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ (BBC/Guy Levy)

In the Latin corner, Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell are performing a Salsa to the iconic “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing. Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, meanwhile, will be doing a Paso Doble to “Backstage Romance” from Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

As the list was shared, fans were quick to praise the song choices. However, the big musical theatre fans among the viewership implored Strictly bosses to choose new musicals to highlight during musicals week.

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Over the years, celebrity couples have inhabited all the 2023 musicals. Back in 2015, Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice dressed as Beauty and the Beast for a Foxtrot, although this time to the film’s titular song.

Mary Poppins has also featured a couple of times. Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez danced a Charleston to “Supercalifragilistic” in 2017, while John Whaite and Radebe performed a Viennese Waltz to “Chim Chim Cheree” two years ago.

Back in 2014, Frankie Bridge was the one to don the green paint associated with Wicked for a memorable Tango to “Defying Gravity” with Kevin Clifton.

While in reference to the film rather than the musical, Moulin Rouge! has also featured a number of times. Clara Amfo and Aljaž Skorjanec danced to “Lady Marmalade” in 2020, and Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff performed a legendary Argentine Tango to “El Tango de Roxanne” in 2014.

But it’s Dirty Dancing that has featured on the show most heavily. Both 2012 winners Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace and 2018 finalists Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev have, like Brazier, danced Salsas to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

The repeated song choice didn’t go unnoticed by fans – many of whom claimed that Dirty Dancing technically isn’t a musical. While the original 1987 film isn’t, it was adapted for the stage in 2004.

“I swear that song’s been danced to 2-3 times on Strictly already!” one viewer commented, while another echoed: “So bored of Dirty Dancing being used… Other musicals exist!! I didn’t even consider DD a musical anyway. And Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast again too. Come on SCD.”

“Gah! Almost all of these musicals were films first. Come on. If you have a theme, have a theme & do it properly or don’t bother. Dirty Dancing Salsa [has] been done to death,” another wrote.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 2 December at 7.25pm on BBC One.

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