Rose and Giovanni show why politically correct television shouldn’t be forced
Strictly’s grand finale on Saturday will feature three of the most talented couples the show has ever seen. In any year before, John and Johannes or AJ and Kai could easily have triumphed – but for millions of us there can only be one winner: Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice.
What is Rose’s greatest achievement? Last week’s sublime Argentine tango where his flicks were so fast and of fascinating continuity that his legs seemed bone-free? Or was it the Halloween tango where his imperious Ice Queen bewitched his shivering partner?
For me, the week we really realized how amazing the EastEnders actress is was the quarterfinal, when Rose and Gio did American Smooth. Chief Justice Shirley Ballas has been criticized by viewers for making a mistake, praising Rose for “blocking out the noise” after the previous performance. “Doesn’t she remember Rose being deaf?” one complained.
Ah, but therein resided his greatness. Rose made everyone forget that she can’t really hear music. During the first few weeks, we saw her count like crazy, but gradually, gaining self-confidence, she came to rely on an extraordinary symbiotic connection that she developed with her partner’s body. No one needed to take the deaf girl into account. She had passed them all.
When Judge Anton Du Beke pointed out the âmusicality of your headâ, he was paying homage to a remarkable natural grace, to an interior music that only Rose can hear.
One of the most amazing moments I’ve ever seen on TV happened in Rose and Gio’s Couple’s Choice in which Rose wanted to celebrate deafness. They twirled and twirled until the music suddenly stopped, then they continued to dance to the silence Rose lived in. Gio was offered a special device that would help him stay in tune with where the beat should have been. He refused. If Rose could do without her, so could he.
The word “travel” has become bland due to the abuse. Not here. With her remarkable progress in competition, Rose has inspired deaf children across the country and thousands of hearing people are learning sign language through her. Gio’s journey is, if anything more remarkable. For seven seasons, he was one of Strictly’s top choreographers and one of the sullest male professionals. The Italian stallion also seemed very happy with himself, but Rose, a very funny girl, laughed at this peacock vanity. âA nice break not to look at his face,â she teased during rehearsals for their Titanic dance. When Gio pointed out that their characters had fallen in love, she broke down like nothing could be more absurd. If Gio taught Rose to dance, Rose taught him humility and patience. He’s slightly in awe of her, as he should be.
Although their fans are ready to get involved in a romantic relationship, Rose has a longtime boyfriend. But dancing as well as they do together is akin to being in love – the thrill of discovery, the sheer joy they get, the remarkable confidence they’ve built. In a now famous moment, Rose performed a “diving lift”, throwing herself into the air until Gio grabs both of her hands and spins her on the floor. Boy, she’s fearless.
âHe does all the music for me. All I have to do is listen to his body, âRose said of him, too modest to understand howâ everything âis an extraordinary thing. When asked why she should be in the final, Gio turned to his partner, beaming with adoration and said, âYou come from Rose. You happiness. You joy.
I can’t wait for the final on Saturday except it will mean wasting my weekly dose of Rose and Gio. In a dark time, they shed so much light. It’s hard to remember something so pure, so magical. You happiness. You joy. You got up.