Joanne Clifton predicts who will make the Strictly 2017 final with just six celebrities left
Joanne says now was the right time for Susan Calman to leave as she looks ahead to a vital few weeks in Strictly Come Dancing
Although I loved their routine and it would have been great to see them go further, it was definitely Susan and Kevin's time to leave Strictly Come Dancing this week.
Susan definitely improved during her time on the show and I know that she worked hard, but I think it gets to a point where the public go, ‘Do you know what, let’s start voting for the actual dancing now and not just the entertainment.'
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Their American Smooth was worth more than the 4 Craig gave them, but it was their time. We could all see she was the least talented dancer left in the competition.
Because Alexandra Burke did have a weak week, when she landed in the dance off it wasn’t as shocking as when Aston Merrygold was in the bottom two.
It could have been anybody this week. At the end of the day, all of the celebrities left are so close in level. They’ve all got their strengths and their weaknesses and they’re all really close.
Alexandra's Rumba was very exposing and I did agree with the judges, it wasn’t her best – although I was a bit shocked at her 7 from Craig, It was still good, it just wasn’t her best one.
Debbie McGee was absolutely out of this world and it was a great comeback from when she was in the dance off last week. She had all the posture, all the legs, there were no slip ups at all. It was so precise and it was quite a difficult routine. She should have had all 10s, hands down. I wish I could dance an Argentine Tango like that!
Debbie is a little bit more polished in her performances. With Alexandra, even though she goes for it 150 per cent each time, she’s not as precise and not as technically good as Debbie. Although I think Alexandra will definitely make the final, I don’t think she’ll win.
For me, the final four are Alexandra, Debbie, Joe McFadden and Mollie King – but my fourth person keeps on changing. I thought it was Davood Ghadami who has come up very quietly. I did love his Waltz this week but he is more reserved than Mollie so I don’t know if the audience will love him as much as they love her.
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I'm really, really warming to Mollie. Although she’s isn’t the best dancer, if she’s having this effect on me as a professional, maybe the whole of the nation is seeing this as well? And that Quickstep! It looked like her and AJ Pritchard were in an actual ballroom competition. She was great, and so genuinely happy that she got her first 9.
Mollie has been in a heck of a lot of dance offs and she’s come out the other end. She’s not the best but she’s taking it on the chin and I think maybe the public will see that and vote for her.
I don't know about those romance rumours between Mollie and AJ; I haven’t heard anything and I am quite in the loop with the Strictly lot but I haven’t heard that. None of the pros have said to me that there’s something going on – and I’d normally know!
There was still some under marking with the judges this week, too. I think Debbie, Mollie, Alexandra and Gemma Atkinson were scored lower than they should have been. Gemma got 6s and a 7 but I would have probably given her an 8. I know the judges were commenting on her arms, but wasn't that the concept of the routine? She was meant to be sleepwalking and I thought she did quite well. They were perhaps marking her down on the choreography because although she could have had a bit more bounce, it was there. She had the hips, she had her feet turned out: I thought it was quite good.
However, she’s not a finalist for me. She impressed me a lot early on but she’s been up and down. Maybe she’ll come back fighting next week?
I do love Musicals Week - and I'm into musical theatre now as well so it is probably my favourite week. I really enjoyed dancing the Foxtrot last year with Ore to Pure Imagination - even though we were in the dance off. It's going to be nice, and I'm looking forward to the big group dances.
I think the winner of Strictly 2017 will be between Joe McFadden and Debbie. But if I had to put money on it? It’d be Joe.
The Paso-Doblethon was probably the best group dance challenge that I’ve ever seen. It looked and felt like a proper dance competition; I think Shirley was the one who said that it looked like it could have been in the Winter Gardens. Everybody really went for it and it was good to see them moving around the floor and dancing quite close to one another.
At this stage the final is in sight, and everybody would love to make it. It is tiring though - you’ve done 10 weeks, plus the three weeks of training before the first dance, so you’ve done so much work and now the final is just around the corner and you really want to get there. It can be a little bit stressful because when you’re so close you don’t want to be knocked out.
I remember that I did shed a few tears, but it was just because I was so tired! But when you get in the training room and you see that your celeb partner wants to do well and you’re still having a great time, it is lovely. Even if you're tired and stressed, you feel like you’re really achieving something.
Joanne Clifton currently stars in Flashdance – The Musical in theatres across the UK.