Claudia Fragapane is eliminated from the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final 2016

The Olympic gymnast lost out on a spot in the final after a dance-off against Danny Mac

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Claudia Fragapane struggled to hold back her tears as she became the twelfth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing 2016.

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The Olympic gymnast and her partner AJ Pritchard will not be going through to next week’s final after a dance-off against Danny Mac and his partner Oti Mabuse. This means the finalists for Strictly 2016 are Danny, Ore Oduba and Louise Redknapp. 

With two semi-final routines to choose from, Claudia opted to perform the Quickstep to When You’re Smiling by Andy Williams – a dance which earned 38 on the Saturday night as Len Goodman said she had gone from “gymnastic to fantastic”.

But the judges unanimously voted to save Danny after he performed his American Smooth to Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore, featuring THAT jaw-dropping leap at the end.

The 19-year-old said she felt like Strictly had transformed her into a different person. 

“I can’t believe I made it this far to be honest,” she told Tess Daly. “Everyone is so lovely and I’m just so happy that I’ve made it this far and everyone has just been incredible… and to come out and not be as confident as I was, I feel like a different person now, all thanks to this show.”

Also struggling not to cry as he faced his first-ever Strictly elimination, AJ told Tess: “I’m just so proud of her, so proud of how far you’ve come and just how confident you are now. Thank you.”

With competition so tight, the judges were filled with praise for Claudia and her final performance, which Darcey Bussell called “outstanding”.

Craig Revel Horwood said: “Well both couples I have to say in that dance-off were worth 10s equally so it is so difficult, but I would really like to save Danny and Oti.”

Next Saturday’s show will feature not one, not two, but three routines: the couples’ favourites, the judges’ choice, and a spectacular show-dance. 

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The Strictly Come Dancing final will air live on Saturday 17th December at 6:40pm on BBC1