EastEnders star Jake Wood has been eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing 2014 in his first dance-off.
Jake and his partner Janette Manrara were voted off after losing out to former TOWIE star turned radio DJ Mark Wright and his partner Karen Hauer and so failing to secure a place in next week’s final.
It was Mark and Karen’s third time in the dance-off and their success sets them up for a mouthwatering final next weekend.
They will compete against Caroline Flack and partner Pasha Kovalev, Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton, and Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff for the glitterball trophy.
This weekend the five semi-finalists each danced twice, performing one Latin and one ballroom number. The judges’ overall scores were then combined with the viewers’ votes to decide the lowest-scoring two couples facing the dreaded dance-off.
Jake and Janette chose to perform their cha-cha-cha to Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band, while Mark and Karen opted to perform their rumba to Eva Cassidy’s version of Fields of Gold.
Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Mark and Karen, whereas Darcey Bussell opted to rescue Jake and Janette saying: “For me, this is very difficult.”
Bruno Tonioli also favoured Jake and Janette with the words: “I love both my boys but I have to save Jake and Janette.”
This meant head judge Len Goodman had the deciding vote.
He said: “This is very difficult. The cha-cha-cha had little cha-cha-cha content and the rumba had little rumba content, so in that respect it’s a very level playing field. One was totally performance driven, the other was more about artistry and this is for me the toughest of all. But I’m going to save Mark and Karen.”
Jake, who plays bad boy Max Branning in the Walford soap, said of his experience on the show: “It’s a huge disappointment to go out in the semi-finals but for a 42-year-old dad of two, who’s never danced before, Janette has worked wonders.
“It’s been a real privilege to watch her work and she’s so passionate about what she does that it’s infectious. I’d like to thank all the people at home who voted – it’s just meant the world. And I’d like to thank my wife Alison and my two children Amber and Buster as well. Without their support I couldn’t have done this.”
Janette added: “I don’t have enough words to say how proud I am of him. He’s come from nowhere and gotten all the way to the semi-final. He’s been an absolute pleasure to work with – so driven, so focussed. He’s just phenomenal. Thank-you, Jake, for making this such an amazing experience. He’s my friend for life now. For real.”
Sunday’s results show featured a special performance by Paloma Faith.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1 next Saturday (20th December) at 6:30pm with two live shows as the four finalists compete for the ultimate prize. Next Saturday’s entertainment will also include a special performance from Take That.