Strictly Come Dancing semi-final results – as it happened

Last modified: 07: 59 PM GMT+0

The competition got serious with a two-dance semi-final, but which of the five remaining celebrities performed best under pressure, and who didn’t make the Grand Final?

Thank you all for joining in and being amazing as always – you can find me on Twitter @heidistephens if you’d like to say hello, otherwise I’ll see you back here next Saturday for a 6.30pm start. Dress code: FULL GLITTER. See you then!

So that’s it for Strictly until next week’s GRAND FINAL – never mind the celebs, what could be better than Gorka, Giovanni, Aljaz and Katya? It’s going to be a good-un, I reckon, despite the fact that they’ve messed with the format and it’s now a non-stop 2.5 HOURS WITH NO BREAK. My fingers will be worn down to NUBS.

Mollie and AJ dance their final dance to Can’t Smile Without You by Barry Manilow. I really want them to snog each other’s faces off, but they don’t.

Mollie and AJ say lovely things about each other, and because it’s the semi-final, they get a Best Bits.

Poor AJ, another Strictly ending with a semi.

Which means MOLLIE AND AJ are leaving Strictly. On the upside, it gives them more time for heavy petting. On the downside, they’ve been kind of adorable and incredibly likeable, and I feel like Mollie has genuinely had a ‘Journey’.

Craig saves Gemma and Aljaz, but clearly a tough decision. Darcey and Bruno do the same, so GEMMA AND ALJAZ are through to the final.

Time for Gemma and Aljaz’s Tango. Feels like Gemma is doing her best to find another gear; she’s not going without a fight.

I totally can’t call this. What will the judges do?

OK, time for another spin of Mollie and AJ’s Waltz. Regardless of whether these two are a couple or it’s all for show, you can’t deny they have incredible chemistry, and it makes all the difference in a dance like this. Definitely better than last night, but will it be enough?

“Strictly has brought happiness back into my life” says Debbie. After spending decades in the shadow of her husband and clearly struggling to cope with his loss, it makes me incredibly happy to see her sparkling in the spotlight. GO DEBBIE.

OOOH, this is going to be interesting – really can’t predict how this is going to go. Both dances scored the same, but it felt like the judges preferred Mollie and AJ’s Waltz to Gemma and Aljaz’s Tango. I LOVE a bit of dance off peril.

(Also well done public voters, you did the right thing).

So who is joining Gemma and Aljaz in tonight’s dance off? DEBBIE AND GIOVANNI are safely through to the final, which means MOLLIE AND AJ in the bottom two.

We must be getting near the end of the series; we’ve already started rolling out the montages. It’s been a valiant effort to make ‘dance debrief’ stick, but it never quite worked.

I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than watching Aljaz and Janette contempo-wafting to Craig David.

Just me? FINE.

The lyrics suggest Craig and Dan from Bastille hit the Strictly Come Bingo last night. In fact, I might make this our liveblog anthem:

This gonna be a heavy night/Way too many drinks for me to start it

Never need to apologize/We already know we’re far from perfect

I fall to the kerb/You laugh ‘til it hurts

Who cares we’ve been here so many times


Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of Craig David and Bastille, who have done a duet called “I Know You”. As mentioned in last night’s comment box, I’m a massive fan of Craig David and absolutely love this song, so shush.

Don’t know about you, but I could watch half-naked Gorka talking about his feelings all day.

I’ve realised what Claudia’s dress reminds me of – it’s from the Beauty and The Beast dance scene, worn by the Beast.

Tale as old as time...


First couple in tonight’s dance off: GEMMA AND ALJAZ.

If they’re up against Mollie and AJ, they could stay. But if it’s Debbie and Giovanni, they’re on their way home.

As you all mentioned last night, Aljaz is the world’s most positive and enthusiastic man. I love him.

So who is the first couple safely through to next week’s GRAND FINAL? It’s JOE AND KATYA (hooray!). They’re joined by ALEXANDRA AND GORKA (double hooray!).

Well done great British public.


Joe and Katya, Alexandra and Gorka and Debbie and Giovanni all shone, whilst Mollie and Gemma didn’t quite make the grade, but still great to watch. I watched Mollie and AJ’s Samba again today and still thoroughly enjoyed it, I think I’m just a sucker for a Samba (of any quality).

Last night on Strictly: an absolute corker of a semi. Great dancing, fab costumes, brilliant (and dance-appropriate) music, stunning choreography, no comedy VTs – my idea of Strictly heaven, long may it continue.


TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in a black shroud with her head through the wrong hole, Claudia in the most bizarre turquoise number with a frilly bib. NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Tonight’s pro dance is a Lindyhop special, just to remind us that it’s a great dance and should probably replace the Rumba. Strictly dancers are accompanied by some Lindyhop pros, who manage to make it look like the coolest thing ever. Look at the adorable breakdancing kiddies!

I imagine Aston’s showdance would have looked a bit like this. Bring back Aston.

And we’re off! Absorb the joy of these opening credits, you only get to see Brian’s thumb one more time.

That’s it for this year’s Countryfile liveblog. It was a bit half-hearted, but frankly nobody was paying and I was usually eating dinner at the same time.

Tonight’s Countryfile Casual Weatherperson is the delightful Sarah Keith-Lucas in ill-fitting coral polyester. A whole season without a single sighting of Tomasz Schafernaker. I am bereft.

Imagine being a slightly confused senior in a care home and finding an alpaca in the TV room. It would finish you off.

How to order a Countryfile calendar:

  • Spend four days hunting for your cheque book
  • Write a cheque
  • Put it in an envelope
  • Forget to post it
  • Find it in February, and send it to Melton Mowbray
  • Get a letter saying they’re out of stock, but here’s a signed photo of John Craven hugging an alpaca.
  • Repeat next December

Tiny piglets on Countryfile! They might all be dead from piggie plague soon, but lovely nonetheless.


Evening all, and welcome back for tonight’s semi-final results! We have five couples left, but only four can make the Grand Final next weekend. It should be Mollie and AJ to go really, but nobody is safe in the sequinned world of Strictly.

Kick off is at 7.15pm – in the meantime enjoy our FINAL pre-Strictly Countryfile of the year. If you haven’t bought your Countryfile naked weathermen cute animals calendar yet, you’re leaving it a bit late.

Goodness, that was intense. Thank you all for joining in and being marvellous – I’m back tomorrow at 7.20pm for the very last Countryfile round-up/Sunday Results show of the season. Wear something casual, maybe in plaid. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

And Mollie said Journey! DRINK DRINK DRINK HOUSE

Time for a begging VT - all we need is for someone to say the ‘J’ word and we’ve got a Bingo full house.

So who isn’t making next week’s Grand Final? By rights it should be Gemma and Aljaz and Mollie and AJ in the bottom two this week, but to be honest nobody is safe these days.

If it did come down to these two, however, I really couldn’t call who would go - Mollie and AJ’s Waltz could very easily trump Gemma and Aljaz’s Tango (I can’t imagine either of them going near the Samba/Rumba again, they’re not MAD).


The dancing is over, and the voting lines are open. I take back everything I said about semi-final quality – I thought there was some great dancing this evening. Also Oti’s dress gets a ten from me.

Scores: 8,9,9,10 (DRINK) - a total of 36 for Debbie and Giovanni.

Bruno thought it was Strictly gorgeous, and if Debbie doesn’t make the final he’ll wear Darcey’s tutu, no knickers and a tiara. OKAY THEN. Craig is deducting a point for being too long out of hold (TEN SECOND RULE ILLEGAL LIFT DRINK), but other than that he loved it. Darcey thought it was stunningly effortless and elegant. Shirley thought it was an amazing way to close the show. I concur.

Giovanni is also in tails, Strictly you are spoiling us. Some gorgeous outfits this evening, and Debbie’s is no exception.

As expected, this Foxtrot is glorious - Debbie and Giovanni have the most unexpected chemistry and I’ve loved watching them dance. Debbie totally deserves to be in the final, she’s incredible.

Debbie and Giovanni
Debbie and Giovanni Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


And finally, it’s Debbie and Giovanni! Their second dance is the Foxtrot to ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder. I love this song, and on the coldest of cold winter nights, have every hope that this Foxtrot is going to be filled with sunshine and rainbows.

Scores: 8,8,8,8 - a total of 32 for Gemma and Aljaz.

Shirley thought Gemma did very well, and Bruno thought it had a great sense of purpose, but it got a bit steppy. Craig wanted more v-shaping and Gemma’s hand wasn’t quite right, but it had great attack. Darcey loved the determination from Gemma, very nice work.

Loving Gemma’s don’t-mess-with-me dress and hair, it’s a great look for her. This Tango has plenty of punch and some nice footwork from Gemma, but it needs about 25% more for me – just a bit lacking in drive and attitude. But still love this partnership; Aljaz can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.

Gemma and Aljaz
Gemma and Aljaz Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


It’s time for Gemma and Aljaz! Their second dance is the Tango to ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack (but it’s the Dave Arch version of the Royal Blood cover, so don’t shout at me). After a fair-to-middling Rumba, Gemma needs to put her game face on and give it full Tango fierceness.

SO much hugging. DRINK.

Scores: 8,8,8,8 - a total of 32 for Mollie and AJ.

Darcey thought it had all the elements of a serene, romantic waltz, and Mollie held her posture until the very end (apart from the final bit). Shirley thought it was much better than the Samba, and Mollie’s pivots were lovely despite the little mistake. Bruno liked the control and it was classic ballroom waltz - much much better. Craig agrees that there were a couple of issues, but Mollie has redeemed herself.

Apparently being AJ’s partner comes with a free shoulder massage. Bonus.

Oh goodness me, Mollie’s dress is glorious, and AJ is actually in tails. You can’t deny these two look hopelessly in love. Lovely frame from Mollie, but a couple of wobbly moments. That said, full of romance and entirely beautiful - enjoyed that very much.

Mollie and AJ
Mollie and AJ Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


How do you follow that? It’s Mollie and AJ! Their second dance this evening is the Waltz to ‘Angel’ by Sarah McLachlan. This is basically a first-dance-at-a-wedding song, so let’s assume Mollie and AJ’s showmance is on a fast track, and she’ll be pregnant by next Saturday.

If Alexandra is still in the dance-off, I will be very sad.

Scores: 10,10,10,10 - drink until you can drink no more.

Craig thought it was FAB.U.LOUS. Darcey wanted to be at Alexandra’s private disco, it was a great routine and if Alex isn’t in the final, Darcey will wear Bruno’s speedos (Ew. EWW). Shirley loved the rhythm, and it was party time all the way. Bruno could feel the heat, and starts singing Whitney Houston. He’s properly lost it.


After last week’s dress horror, Alex has been rewarded by wardrobe this week. Loads of Salsa style and great basics, lovely footwork, tons of energy and fabulous lifts, including a crotch/face spin that goes on for about a week. LOVED that.

Alexandra and Gorka
Alexandra and Gorka Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Next up it’s Alexandra and Gorka! Their second dance is the Salsa to ‘Finally’ by Cece Peniston. This is a solid gold choon, and Alex’s Latin has improved significantly over the course of this series, so I have high hopes for this.

Scores: 8,9,9,9 - a total of 35 for Joe and Katya. Can’t imagine him not being in the final, somehow.


Bruno liked the modern twist, but it still true to the Argentine Tango. Shame about Joe losing balance at the end. Craig thought the walking steps were a bit ploddy and it needed a looser leg in the ganchos, but the inventiveness played off. Darcey (OMG how big is her ring?) loved how daring it was, and Shirley liked how Joe and Katya pushed the boundaries despite the wobbly bit.

Oh hello casual BDSM Joe, dancing in front of a mirror AGAIN. This is all quite intense, but a bit bouncy for an Argentine and not nearly sharp enough. Some lovely timing though, but a bit wobbly on the lifts and not sure about the “how strong is my core” seesaw lift at the end. Call me old-fashioned, but I like my Argentines to be more Buenos Aires than James Bond(age).

Joe and Katya
Joe and Katya Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Time for some second dances, and up first it’s Joe and Katya! Their second dance this evening is the Argentine Tango to ‘Human’ by Rag n’ Bone Man. I question the wisdom of attempting an Argentine at this point of the series, but Katya’s choreography hasn’t let Joe down yet this series, so let’s assume they’re going to pull this off with bells on.

It feels like ages since we last had a comedy VT. I’m SO happy about this, thank you Strictly big cheeses.


Scores: 7,9,9,9 - a total of 34 for Debbie and Giovanni.

Shirley loved Debbie’s bending standing leg and it had some nice swing - a grand job. Bruno loved Debbie’s timing, and she was as “crispy as a kettle crisp” (can someone take a look at Bruno’s meds?). Craig thought it lacked retraction and looked a bit spiky and stiff, and he didn’t like Debbie’s Judge Rinder face. Darcey thought it was fast and sweet, and Debbie’s energy is extraordinary.

I love Debbie’s dress, she looks absolutely fabulous. Loads of personality and some very decent kicks and flicks, but it feels quite stiff and laboured in places - a problem Debbie has had with Latin all season. Great fun thought, and shirtless Giovanni is making up for the fact my heating isn’t working properly.

Debbie and Giovanni
Debbie and Giovanni Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


It’s time for Debbie and Giovanni! Their first dance is the Jive to ‘I’m So Excited’ by the Pointer Sisters. This raises the terrifying prospect of a ‘disco Jive’ which should not and never has been A Thing.

Scores: 7,8,7,8 - a total of 30 for Gemma and Aljaz.

Darcey liked the intensity of their eye contact, but she needs to bring that through her body. Shirley thought Gemma has lovely legs, but it lacked musicality and continuous movement. Bruno thought it was sensual but not smutty - even grandma would approve - but it needed more flow. Craig thought Gemma’s upper body was inanimate, but the hip action was great.

Not sure about Gemma’s muppet dress, but she has some lovely hip action. It’s very pretty, but like every other Rumba this season it’s all rather platonic and safe. I remain unmoved.

Gemma and Aljaz
Gemma and Aljaz Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


It’s time for Gemma and Aljaž! Their first dance is the Rumba to ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ by Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé. I’m a bit worried about this – a Rumba in a semi-final is a very dangerous game indeed, and I’m not sure Gemma has the grace to do it justice.

Scores: 4,7,7,6 - a total of 24 for Mollie and AJ. Oh come on Craig, that was a bit mean.

Craig thought the palm trees had more bounce and the timing was awful, he basically hated it. Darcey thought Mollie looked like a gold goddess, but it wasn’t Mollie’s dance. Shirley loved the solo pieces, and how Mollie was going for it. Bruno thought that Mollie missed the flight to Brazil, and the timing was all over the place.

I didn’t actually think it was that bad, at least Mollie looked like she was having fun.

Mollie is giving it full Shakira hips and she means BUSINESS. I quite like drunken abandon Mollie - a bit clunky in the footwork and the Samba rolls could be more pronounced, but I actually really enjoyed that.

Mollie and AJ
Mollie and AJ Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Next up it’s Mollie and AJ! Their first dance tonight is the Samba to ‘Whenever, Wherever’ by Shakira. This is the one that includes the lyrics “lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains”. I mean, it’s an easy mistake to make.

Scores: 9,10,10,10 (DRINK) - a total of 39 for Alex and Gorka.

Bruno loved the soft, dreamy quality, like the softest pashmina you want to hug all night (OK BRUNO). Craig points out that her feet didn’t come together at one point, but otherwise beautiful. Darcey loved the ethereal quality - it was graceful and elegant. Shirley thought it was an emotional experience, it was sincere and stunning.

Well this is divine. A heartfelt dance of love and joy and pain and everything in between. I couldn’t give the smallest hoot how much dancing she’s done before this show, I could watch these two dance all night. That was beautiful.

Alexandra and Gorka
Alexandra and Gorka Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Next up it’s Alexandra and Gorka! Their first dance this evening is a Viennese Waltz to the Dave Arch version of Tina Arena’s version of R.E.M’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ (do keep up). I suspect this is going to be incredibly emotional and haunting after the couple of weeks Burko has had, and I have tissues on standby.

Ore has brought his Glitterball back, and does the Terms & Conditions while he’s there. Thanks Ore.

Scores: 8,9,9,9 - a total of 35 for Joe and Katya.

Shirley thought it was a glorious way to open the semi-final - it had exquisite timing. Bruno loved the complicated lifts and the side-to-side sections. Craig thought it lost a little balance and it needed to be smoother, but otherwise charismatic and wonderful. Darcey (BUDGIE CAGE EARRINGS) loved the style and glamour.

Katya’s dress is to die for, and Joe doesn’t look so bad either. This is a rather lovely jazzy affair, with plenty of swing and sway and a nice section out of hold from Joe. The transitions into the lifts are a bit clunky, but otherwise rather fabulous. Enjoyed very much.

Joe and Katya
Joe and Katya Photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA


Anyway, let’s get on with some dancing.

First up it’s Joe and Katya! Their first dance is the American Smooth to ‘Have You Met Miss Jones?’ By Robbie Williams. This should obviously have been their Week 1 literal dance number, but instead they’ve decided to keep it for Week 12, which makes it look like Joe has got a bit forgetful. Incidentally I’ve never actually met Katya Jones, but I suspect she’s an absolute hoot to go drinking with.

YAY, it’s random public support VT week!

Oh Tess, what were you thinking? It’s just so...unflattering.

This week’s show appears to be sponsored by fringing. Giovanni has forgotten to do his shirt up again, tsk.

Meanwhile Darcey looks like she has some kind of skin complaint, but Shirley is winning in mermaid sequins.

TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in festive wrapping paper, Claudia in a fringy jumpsuit. Both terrible.

And we’re off! More moody VTs, with bonus dramatic music. They need to be focussed, fearless, fast, flexible, dedicated, determined, disciplined, strong and READY.

COME ON. I’m excited.


No Pointless win for me this week, BOO.

John Cleese was in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, the Romans did irrigation, and Michael Palin did the Pacific Rim.

Have the got the hang of how Pointless works, do you think?


Ooh, I’d go for Charlotte Dujardin, the horse lady.

Re. tonight’s Pointless, is there anything more deathly tedious than chefs and food writers plugging their restaurants/cook books/food ranges? I’m practically comatose.

This week’s Stricty Come Bingo – a swing of something you were saving for Christmas for any occurrence of the following:

  • Any mention of Debbie’s age
  • Any mention of ‘journey’
  • Illegal lifts
  • Excessive hugging
  • A ten from Bruno

Evening glitter gang, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing liveblog! Despite the first half of this series dragging more than Darcey’s earrings, the second half has flown by and we’ve made it to the SEMI-FINALS. On the upside, it’s nearly Christmas (woo); but on the downside, Strictly finishes next weekend (boo). But no need to cry tinsel tears just yet, we’ve still got this massive semi to look forward to.

Tonight’s show is shaping up to be a defining moment of this series, with each couple tackling TWO DANCES. Strictly history tells us that, much as we’d like this to be 90 minutes of showstopping, toe-tapping dance joy, it’s much more likely to be an under-rehearsed, over-scored hot mess, overseen by a panel of judges who have their coat half on and the engine running. But this year’s Strictly has been full of surprises so far, so you never know.

What we do know is that not one of the remaining five couples are guaranteed a place in this year’s final, so there’s still everything to dance for.

I’ll be here from 6.45pm to keep an eye on things up here, and would be delighted if you could add plenty of wit and sparkle in the comment box below. It’s the final push, so let’s make it count. See you in a bit!


Heidi Stephens

The GuardianTramp

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