Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

What a roller coaster for actress Nina Wadia and partner Neil Jones. Last week, they feared beginning with the tricky samba, but wound up with great comments from the judges. This week, it was Wadia’s dream dance, the tango, but the dream became a nightmare: mistakes and technical issues saw the judges pounce, and the couple tumbled down the leaderboard. And now, after losing out to Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez in the dance-off, their Strictly journey has ended.

A split decision from the judges

It was a close contest between the two actresses, though they were dancing very different styles. Call it a generational clash: a moody tango from Wadia, whose furious character had discovered lipstick on her husband’s collar, set to the Eurythmics, versus McGlynn’s high school-based jive, soundtracked by teen star Olivia Rodrigo.

Craig Revel Horwood said both had upped their game but voted for McGlynn, who he felt had kept the energy up all the way through her dance. Motsi Mabuse also gave McGlynn her vote, saying she found her a bit more convincing. But new judge Anton De Beke disagreed: he thought Wadia had performed best in the dance-off.  

It was up to head judge Shirley Ballas to deliver her casting vote. And she went for McGlynn, on the basis that her routine had more advanced technique. I personally thought Wadia had edged it, but perhaps the judges were taking into account what McGlynn might bring to the series in future dances.

Farewell to Wadia – and to Ginger Neil

The clearly disappointed departing celebrity said she’d had fun in her brief stint on the show, and praised her “incredible” partner, Neil Jones. The latter thanked his second ever celebrity partner (following footballer Alex Scott in 2019) for two fantastic dances, and told her he was really proud of her performance.

It’s a shame to see them leave so soon: that samba showed enormous potential, and the quick-witted Wadia was a lovely match for Jones in entertainment terms, too. The latter, known fondly by the audience as Ginger Neil, would surely have been hoping for a longer run after being benched last year. Hopefully he’ll get another chance to prove himself.

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Wizadclick | WAC MAG 2021