Strictly Come Dancing 2015: semi-final – live blog

Join Strictly superfan Ellie Walker-Arnott as she dissects the dancing during Strictly's semi-final, when the remaining five celebrities perform TWO dances each for a spot in the Grand Final

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It’s the Strictly Come Dancing semi finals! Just five celebrities remain in the competition, and after Helen George’s shock departure last week it’s all to play for.

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As if the pressure wasn’t high enough already, with the coveted Glitterball Trophy well within reach, this week the pairs must dance TWO solo dances. Yes, two. The excitement is almost too much to bear. 

Pick up that metaphorical score paddle and join me, Ellie Walker-Arnott – RadioTimes.com’s official Strictly superfan – live from 6:50pm tonight to dissect the dancing, the judges’ catty comments and those occasionally cringe-worthy VTs. 

You can tweet me your comments, questions, queries and snap judgements on tonight’s dances @Ellie_Wa or post in the comments box below. 


20:26

Time is up for one of our celebrities. Find out who it’ll be at 7:20pm tomorrow night on BBC1. 

As for me, I’ll see you back here, same time, same place, on Saturday for the Grand Final. We’ve been together since the start of September. Let’s end this series in style, superfans! 

Ellie x


20:24

So who were your favourites? And who do you think deserves a spot in next week’s Grand Final? 

Let me know in the comment box below or tell me on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa. 


20:21

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. Voting is now open so get on with it if you want to save your fave. 


20:20

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. 


20:17

“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. 


20:15

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. 


20:14

Kellie’s back on the floor next. She’s dancing an American Smooth and it’s our last chance of a 40 tonight, so fingers crossed it’s a winner! 


20:12

The scores are in. 8s across the board for a total of 32. 


20:10

“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.”


20:08

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!


20:06

Next up? Anita and a saucy Salsa. 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. 


20:05

The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 10 from Darcey, 9 from Len and 10 from Bruno. Total of 38. Tonight’s best score. 

But it’s not a 40. When are we going to get our 40, meanies?


20:03

“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,” smiles 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. 


20:02

Their’s is 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. 


20:00

Georgia’s dancing next. The judges reckon her topline is crucial to her path to next week’s final. 

Can she control it in this Viennese Waltz?


19:53

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… 


19:50

Jay is next. While he does a swift costume change the judges are appraising Jay’s Strictly journey. Fair to say they are big fans of him and his brilliant technique. 

“All he’s got to do to get to the final is use a little more face,” says Craig. 

It’s all about those facial expressions. And he’s dancing a Charleston for his second performance so it’s the perfect opportunity to prove he can do it… 


19:49

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… 


19:42

Katie and Anton are taking to the floor for the second time tonight. Their 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.” 


19:40

We are half way through so it’s time to take a sly glimpse at the leaderboard. Kellie and Jay are not joint top, while Katie and Anton are down at the bottom with a score of 25. 

Fingers crossed we get some higher scores second time around. I’d love a full 40 tonight! 


19:39

The scores are in… 9 from Craig, 8 from Darcey, 9 from Len, 8 from Bruno. Total of 34. That’s the joint highest score of the night so far. 


19:36

“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.” 


19:33

Kellie’s up next, dancing a Rumba. It’s a notoriously tricky number. But it’s sweet, smooth and enjoyable to watch. 

The audience are on their feet but what will the judges think? 


19:30

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 the kind of score you hope for in the semi-final.

Tonight’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far. Are the judges being mean, or has the pressure of double dances got to our contestants? Let me know what you think in the comments box below, or on Twitter. I’m @Ellie_Wa


19:27

“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. 


19:23

Anita and Gleb are dancing next. Her 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 that floor spin. 


19:22

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. 


19:19

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, who cares?!” 


19:16

Georgia and Giovanni are up next. Despite coming joint second on the leaderboard last week, she found herself in the dreaded dance-off. She’ll be hoping to win over the public tonight with a charming Cha Cha. 


19:14

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. 


19:11

“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 my into a pickle. As much as I loved it, I have to be true to myself.” 


19:10

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… 


19:07

Jay McGuiness is up next, dancing 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. 


19:05

The scores are in… A 4 from Craig, 7 from Darcey, 7 from Len and 7 from Bruno. They’ve got a 25, which for the semi-final isn’t ideal. Anton du Beke wants to get Donny Osmond on the phone. Sharpish. 


19:02

“The song was hot but the dace 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 th enex 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.” 


19:02

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. 


18:58

Katie Derham and Anton du Beke are up first this week, dancing a Charleston. This will be an interesting one, as Katie always excels in ballroom, looking gorgeous and glam. 

This dance has got to be fun, silly and zany, though and we haven’t seen much of that from her yet… 


18:56

The floor is looking a little bare now we are down to just five couples. 


18:53

And we’re off! This is the Strictly semi-final. And, without Peter Andre and Helen George, the line-up doesn’t look how we expected it would at the beginning. But the dancers that remain are worthy competitors – and they all want to get their fake tan mitts on the Glitterball Trophy. 

Who would you like to see in the final? Let me know in the comments box or tweet me. I’m @Ellie_Wa. 


18:38

Tonight we are in for a treat: two dances from each remaining pair. 

Georgia is sending a defiant message to Strictly fans with her Cha Cha to I Will Survive, while Kellie and Kevin will be facing the music for an American Smooth to Irving Berlin’s tune. Meanwhile Anita and Gleb will be dancing a Salsa to Feel This Moment by Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera, and both Jay and Katie will be tackling the Charleston to Doctor Jazz and Too Darn Hot

Here’s the full list of performances:

Anita and Gleb will dance the Foxtrot to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York and a Salsa to Feel This Moment by Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera.

Georgia and Giovanni will dance a Viennese Waltz to Runaway by The Corrs and a Cha Cha to I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor.

Jay and Aliona are going to dance the Charleston to Doctor Jazz from musical Jelly’s Last Jam and a Viennese Waltz to Bryan Adams’ Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?

Katie and Anton are dancing the Waltz to O Mio Babbino Caro by Puccini as well as dance the Charleston to Too Darn Hot from the musical Kiss Me Kate.

Kellie and Kevin are performing the American Smooth to Let’s Face The Music And Dance by Irving Berlin and a Rumba to Songbird by Eva Cassidy.


18:05

Fancy a sneak peek at tonight’s performances? Here’s what the celebrities will be wearing, for their first dances at least…


17:50

An hour to go until the semi-final, Strictly lovers. Hope you’re suitably excited. 

Here’s a reminder of how things went last week. Jay McGuiness topped the leaderboard with 39, the joint highest score so far. Kellie and Georgia came in joint second, while Anita was down in last place. Helen George found herself in the bottom two, dancing with Georgia in the dreaded dance-off before being sent home by the judges. 


16:01

Can you believe we’ve only got two glitter-filled weekends left before it’s all over for another year? Where has the time gone? 

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Tonight our five remaining celebs are battling it out for a place in next week’s GRAND FINAL. It’s all to play for, so we can expect a corker of a show. And while the standard has been undeniably high this year we are yet to see a celeb score a full 40 points. Tonight is the night, people. I can feel it in the air/hairspray fumes…