This was the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final. We started the weekend with five celebrities, but only four will make it to next week’s Grand Final.
It was all to play for. We had near perfect performances as well as shockingly low scores, Doctor Who-inspired Charlestons, brave and brilliant Salsas and “delicious” dances.
Each celebrity pair danced two dances during tonight’s live show and Katie Derham was first to take to the floor…
Anton’s gone for a classy Charleston, which suits Katie’s style. It feels like it’s lacking in energy in places, though, and a few of the lifts are a little clunky and messy. I commend her for giving it a go though. There was a LOT of content in that dance.
“The song was hot but the dance was not… It wasn’t slick enough,” says Len. “You looked as though you were outside your comfort zone.”
“You have the looks and you have a figure. What more do you want? You just went a bit loosey goosey,” says Bruno. “It’s the semi-finals… you’re coming back for the next dance and you’re going to get it together.”
“The swivel was absolutely non-existent,” says Craig, calling it stiff and awkward. “I can’t see that dance getting into the final.”
“It was absolutely charming,” concludes Darcey. “I just saw you fade, that stamina, that energy… it’s a shame it wasn’t your best.”
The scores are in… They get a 4 from Craig, 7 from Darcey, 7 from Len and 7 from Bruno given them a total of 25, which for the semi-final isn’t ideal. Anton du Beke wants to get Donny Osmond on the phone. Sharpish.
Katie and Anton’s second performance is a Waltz. She’s clearly much more comfortable in Anton’s arms, twirling and swirling around the floor. It’s a confident and accomplished performance and the audience are back on their feet.
“You’re aiming to the artistic stratisphere,” says Bruno. “It has to be perfect and it wasn’t my darling.”
“I totally disagree,” says Craig. “I really enjoyed it and I think you redeemed yourself in this… well done.”
“You did such a better job in this. You have done wonders with your Waltz,” adds Darcey. “Overall, a lovely dance.”
“In a world of glitz and razzmatazz it’s nice to see something that’s quiet and understated,” says Len, but he’s noted their mistakes. “It was unstable and I’ve got to say that.”
The scores are in: 8 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, 7 from Len and 7 from Bruno. Total of 31. It’s higher than their Charleston. But it’s not going to top the leaderboard…
Jay McGuiness’s first dance of the night was a Viennese Waltz. Last week he topped the leaderboard, after his romantic Rumba to musical Once. If he can keep up that standard of dancing he’ll be through to the final, easy peasy.
Jay’s tugging at the nation’s heartstrings again with a romantic, tender performance. He’s graceful, elegant and light on his feet. Those spins! The audience are on their feet and I suspect the judges will be impressed too.
“It was simply beautiful,” smiles Bruno. “You take such care with everything you do… very nice.”
“I really loved the opening sequence,” says Craig. “It was simple, it was effective.” But he wasn’t convinced the the storytelling, criticising the lack of a smile on Jay’s face.
Darcey disagrees. “I could feel the romance between you,” she says. “How lyrical you were.”
“I loved that start,” says Len, but he’s not sure how he feels about it. “The natural turn you have to close your feet… you have to. You never did… that got me into a pickle. As much as I loved it, I have to be true to myself.”
The scores: 8 from Craig, 9 from Darcey, 8 from Len, 9 from Bruno. Total of 34. Jay looks a little bit shell-shocked. He was expecting a lot worse.
Jay’s second dance is a Charleston. His Doctor Who-inspired number is fast and fun. Him and Aliona are perfectly in time. And he’s kind of smiling through the swivels. There are moments where he makes dancing look completely effortless.
The audience absolutely love it. They woop for so long we can barely hear the judges.
“Jay, that was brilliant,” smirks Craig.
“It was energetic, it was alive and it was full of style,” says Darcey.
“You didn’t appear to be under pressure,” says Len. “You came out with confidence it was just a walk in the park. I thought it was a fantastic routine. Lovely jubbly!”
“Exhilarate! Exhilarate!” shouts Bruno.
The scores? It’s three 9s and a 10. That’s a total of 37. Not full marks, but it’s the highest we’ve seen tonight so far…
Georgia and Giovanni’s first dance of the night is a Cha Cha. Their performance to I Will Survive is flirty and fun, with lots of hair flicks and struts. The audience are on their feet, but what will the judges have to say?
“I adored the number. Disco fantastic, storytelling great,” says Craig.
“There could have been a lot more straight leg action, but basically… on the money,” adds Darcey.
“The hip action wasn’t there, but for somebody who had limited time I thought you did great,” says Len.
“I’m all shaken and stirred and ready for action,” purrs Bruno. “Wonderful, feisty, sexy… I had a great time.”
Scores are in… 8 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 8 from Len and a 9 from Bruno. They’ve got a total of 33, which is fine, but far from their highest.
Next up? A Viennese Waltz. It’s a romantic routine full of spins, graceful arms and floating hems. It’s sweet and smooth and the audience are back on their feet again.
“You are a breath of fresh air,” says Darcey praising her strong frame. “It was smooth, gliding… it was exquistite.”
“It was full of content, full of rotation, full of lyrical movement and I am just full of admiration. Well done,” smiles Len.
“Adorable sweethearts, swept away by the whirlwind of romance,” says Bruno. “Right on the money, honey.”
He’s threatening to do tomorrow’s show in speedos if she’s in the dreaded dance-off…
“I could watch you dance all night. Gorgeous,” smiles Craig.
The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, 9 from Len and 10 from Bruno. Total of 38.
Anita and Gleb’s first performance of the night is a Foxtrot, full of Hollywood glamour. She’s got ribbons on her wrists and starts the dance lying on a grand piano. Always a good way to start… It’s a glitzy number and she aces an impressive floor spin.
“A great understanding of the style, that was lovely,” says Darcey. Her topline could be improved but her extentions were lovely.
Len thinks it was too much like an American Smooth and it wasn’t quite to his taste. “The American Smooth you did was lovely, but it wasn’t a Foxtrot.”
“You got it right tonight… you understood what this dance required, not just as a dancer but as a performer,” purrs Bruno.
“I liked your Foxtrot stuff,” adds Craig, but he’s not sure about the rest of it. “That let you down… if you can’t do it, don’t do it.”
“But I loved it. I thought it was a beautiful dance,” he concludes.
The scores in… 7 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 8 from Len and 9 from Bruno. Total of 32. It’s more than last week but it’s not really the score you hope for in a semi-final.
Anita’s tackling the saucy Salsa next. The judges will be looking for fun vibes and perfect footwork if the Countryfile presenter is going to make it to next week’s Grand Final. And wow. Well, I wasn’t expecting that. It’s a quirky, brave, crowd-pleasing dance full of jaw-dropping moves. And contains nothing that I associate with a Salsa.
Loved it though. Absolutely loved it. It’s a 10 from me, not that that counts for anything!
“This was very athletic. It was full on, plenty of attack,” says Len, but he thinks they lost a bit of Salsa rythym.
“I feel like a cheerleader,” purrs Bruno. “I don’t think it’s actually legal!”
“You are certainly one brave woman… it was like watching the Olympics, darling,” says Craig. “Strangely, I really enjoyed that.”
“How did you learn all of that in one week with another dance as well?!” says Darcey. “I am so impressed… phenomenal.”
The scores are in. 8s across the board for a total of 32.
Kellie’s up next, dancing a Rumba. It’s a notoriously tricky number. But it’s sweet, smooth and enjoyable to watch.
“There were so many elements that I loved… proper, proper, lovely light and shade,” says Len. “Perfect mix of steps.”
There was a wobble, and it was a shame, says Len, because otherwise it would have been perfect.
“Prim, proper and correct,” says Bruno. “It was like a brother and sister dance…”
“I can tell that you have worked a lot on that dance,” says Craig. “Technically I thought it was absolutely brilliant… almost perfect.”
“I really wasn’t expecting that. You have worked hard,” concludes Darcey. “You did a very good job.”
The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 9 from Len, 8 from Bruno. Total of 34.
For the last dance of the evening, Kellie’s dancing an American Smooth. It’s classy, elegant and polished. Kellie’s light on her feet and those lifts, how do you even do that?! The dance is dramatic and ambitious but delicate at the same time.
“Absolutely delicious!” shouts Bruno.
“That was a classic, darling,” smiles Craig. “You danced it absolutely beautifully.”
“It had glamour, flair, all the Hollywood qualities we wanted,” says Darcey. “You’ve done it.”
“Tonight is all about who deserves to get to the final. 100%. If you’re not there, wow,” concludes Len.
The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, “from Len it’s a 10”, 10 from Bruno. 39. So close, so close. But we’re not going to get full marks in tonight’s semi-final.
So how does the leaderboard look? Kellie and Kevin are top with a combined score of 73. A few points below them we’ve got Jay and Aliona and Georgia and Giovanni – they are joint second with combined scores of 71.
Anita and Gleb have 64 points, while Katie and Anton are bottom with 56.
But, as we know, it’s not just about what those mean ol’ judges have to say. The judge’s verdicts will be combined with tonight’s votes and someone’s time will be up. Find out who it’ll be at 7:20pm tomorrow night on BBC1.
Strictly Come Dancing: the Results will be on tomorrow evening on BBC1