Strictly come to dance it has come to mean more than the sum of its shining parts. What was once a fun Saturday night show is now the vehicle that carries our hopes. As the days get shorter and the bills skyrocket, some unlikely champion dons a leotard, pastes a smile on fear, and walks toward his destiny.
In the bleak winter of 2020, when comedian Bill Bailey lifted the trophy with Oti Mabuse, he was being rewarded as much for his willingness to throw himself into the unknown as his growing skill on the dance floor. In that ballroom, the power of collective hope becomes transformative. A powerless population, locked in their homes, carried a hero on their shoulders and felt good.
This weekend, 15 applicants surrender to the exercise of national confidence that Strictly. Because when they fall backwards, we must catch them. That is the deal. We sheath our slings and arrows if they promise to try harder than they have before.
If you’re trash, but you push yourself until your toes scream, the crowd will love you. They will love you more than a natural talent who accepts it immediately and puts his leg behind his head in the first week.
Those rehearsal room glimpses of bleeding feet and sobbing on the floor just prove how much they love him. But “that” is no longer the trophy, it is being worthy. Worth the time spent on them, the departments working to beautify and beautify them, the public watching at home, the families not seeing them during daylight hours for months.
Obviously, show business dictates that there is no one to give you “40 to 45 percent.” Each wide-eyed one is a cheerful and helpful cog in a more powerful machine. Regardless of what might be going on behind the scenes – and God knows the gossip columns spend many inches speculating about it – the on-screen camaraderie is vital, because it tells us that celebrity egos have parked and the crew will. that’s it.
When they show up on Saturday night and immediately start crying, it’s because those endless hours in a sweaty, mirrored room at North Circular weren’t faked.
It’s more than dancing. It’s like walking into Wembley Stadium in your pants and romping through the air with “The Birdie Song.” They have to dance knowing that the whole world is watching. And they have to trust that their open-hearted vulnerability will be responded to in kind.
Every year, we watch the opening montage of the contestants, shrugging at some if we don’t know their soap opera or follow their TikTok. But in the end we are proud parents, urging them to shine as we gave birth to them. His vulnerability is not fabricated. The emotion is real and the exposure, in both directions, is total.
Last year’s final was like Christmas and the 2012 Olympics combined, as Rose Ayling-Ellis and John Whaite effectively won by flipping through prejudice in the weeks leading up to it: her, dancing to music she couldn’t hear and him, bringing sensuality to the fore. and the center of the first pair of men of the program. For one night, stuffed shirters and anti-progressives were drowned out by cannons of glitter and cheers. And all we want is to feel like that again.
Another year of global anxiety has left us desperate for a hit of something golden. If that guy on the radio show and the woman who swims give us unremitting joy, even when blisters burn under his spandex, we’ll love them equally. It doesn’t matter who wins.
When you remove the sequins and tight smiles, the functional parts of Strictly they are the originals: traditional, solid machinery, driven by hands of jazz and hard work and, above all, illusion.