So that’s it for this year’s semi-final, and we’re all done for Sunday nights! Thank you for joining in - I’ll be back next week for the GRAND FINAL, when Ashley, Stacey, Faye and Joe will take a final spin in pursuit of the Strictly Glitterball. Pretty sure we predicted that final four in about Week 3, and I have high hopes for some great dancing. Kick off is a 6.30pm next Saturday, so I’ll see you then! Have a great week, Hx
Lauren and AJ take to the floor to dance their final dance to Whitney’s ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’. Alright, don’t rub it in.
“It’s always been about ability, not disability,” says AJ. They’ve been an extraordinary partnership, and what a journey for Lauren. Felt like those words from both of them were truly heartfelt, bit dusty in here.
Obviously all the judges vote for Ashley and Pasha, which means LAUREN AND AJ are going home.
They’ve been phenomenal contestants – Lauren has grown in confidence and style every week, and AJ has shown what a great teacher and choreographer he is. I’ve loved watching them every week, and they’re hugely worthy semi-finalists.
And now time for Lauren and AJ’s Tango. This is considerably better than last night, with a good deal fewer mistakes. Sadly it won’t be enough, but lovely for Lauren to go out having nailed that routine.
First up in the dance off it’s Ashley and Pasha! I loved this American Smooth last night, am very happy to watch it again. It’s still gorgeous, albeit the one-legged lift didn’t look quite as confident.
Faye is having a cry - for their Showdance they’re doing something elegant and sophisticated. Yeah I want that from a Waltz, not a Showdance.
Another montage! I’m really looking forward to next week’s final - it’s going to be a corker.
It feels like a while since we last had a dance off featuring any kind of ‘who will it be?’ tension, doesn’t it? Alas tonight is not going to change that.
On the upside, we get to watch Pashley’s American Smooth again, and their Showdance next week will be EPIC – I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
So who is joining Ashley and Pasha in the bottom two? If it’s Faye, things are going to get interesting. If it’s Lauren, not so much.
In the bottom two: LAUREN AND AJ, which means Faye and Giovanni are through to the final!
Time for a judges’ montage - think of it as a warm up for next week.
Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of the world’s greatest girl band, Little Mix (yes they are, don’t @ me), Sadly they’re singing ‘Woman Like Me’, which is a shameless rip off of Ariana Grande’s ‘Side To Side’ and very much not my favourite Little Mix banger.
That said, I am very much enjoying this season’s Bonkers Workwear Collection from Zara and the all-female band and dancer combo.
Dianne has revealed that Joe will be a rock ‘n’ roll Fred Astaire in their Showdance, which is ... interesting. And of course he has to dye his hair to match Dianne’s, as he promised at the beginning.
Meanwhile Kevin is planning ‘the most ambitious thing ever done on Strictly’. He wants that glitterball BAD.
So who is through to next week’s GRAND FINAL? First couple through is JOE AND DIANNE. Behold the Joe Sugg fandom. Joining him will be STACEY AND KEVIN! Well, obviously
First couple in the dance off: ASHLEY AND PASHA. I feel for Ashley – it must be hard to smash it every week and still know that the public isn’t behind you. I hope she knows that it isn’t personal.
Last night on Strictly: TWO DANCES. A traditional semi-final mix of the under-rehearsed and the overmarked. Stacey and Kevin were the shining stars of the evening, and also loved Pashley’s American Smooth and Joe’s and Dianne’s Viennese Waltz.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in a black pantsuit with feathery boobs, Claudia in sparkly snakeskin.
Tonight’s opening pro routine features Graziano in yet another shirt without buttons. There’s lots of dramatic contempo-wafting in a red room to a rather strangled version of ‘In My Blood’ by Shawn Mendes. The room has limited furniture, but it does have a fridge. OK that was all a bit weird.
And we’re off! Only two weeks of these credits left, so give those BA BA BAs some welly.
Before I forget, doesn’t anyone want an blog for the Strictly Christmas Special? Obviously I’ll be in no fit state to do a liveblog on Christmas Day, but in previous years we’ve opened a thread where you can all comment and chat amongst yourselves while the festive edition is on. I can ask for this to be set up if you’d like, let me know in the comments or on Twitter @heidistephens.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back to this year’s semi-final results show! Tonight we find out who our four fabulous finalists are, and enjoy our final Sunday night liveblog of the season. I will miss this madness, but am equally looking forward to occasionally having one of those Sunday lunches which become afternoon tea and suddenly it’s 8pm and you’re still in the pub thinking about dinner.
So who is going to be? Whichever way I spin the numbers I can’t see Lauren making it through – she would require top votes from the public to stay out of the bottom two, which I really don’t think is going to happen. The big question is whether Joe will be in the dance off too, or will the Youtube fandom/North Wilts Massive send him sailing through to the Grand Final? And if so, who else is in the dance off? Not Stacey, so maybe Ashley again, despite being at the top of the leader board? Or even Faye? It feels mad, but it could happen.
Kick off is at 7.15pm, so grab a big mug of tea and your loved ones, and I’ll see you then!
So who is going out tomorrow? Lauren has to be in the danger zone, but will the fandom save Joe? Join me at 7.15pm tomorrow and we’ll find out – thank you so much for joining in and being brilliant and hilarious as always. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! Hx
So that’s it for the dancing! Pashley and Fayovanni are joint top of the leaderboard, with Joe and Lauren at the bottom. The voting lines are open! Time for a recap - my faves tonight were Stacey and Kevin – I’d give them a vote for being great, plus two votes for Joe and Dianne for being the local choice.
Becks is giving two votes to Stacey and Kevin and one to Ashley and Pasha.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for Faye and Giovanni.
Bruno uses ALL the metaphors, and it had the kind of musicality he rarely sees. Craig thought it had a clumsy moment, but Darcey loved the intense drama, and Giovanni gave her the freedom to express those lines. Shirley thought it was outstanding, and she is in love with Faye’s beautiful ankles and feet. Niche.
Well, this is more like it. Faye is the sexiest purple Quality Street known to man or woman, and this is a nice effort. A few balance issues, but some nice flicky leg action, and Giovanni is doing a great job of showcasing Faye. Would have liked a bit more intensity and Argentine filth, but great work.
And finally, it’s FAYE AND GIOVANNI! Their second dance is the Argentine Tango to ‘La Cumparsita’ by Machiko Ozawa. They’ve taken a huge risk this evening with two hugely complex dances, but hopefully they’ve put the effort into this one rather than the Samba earlier.
Scores: 5,6,6,6 - a total of 23 for Lauren and AJ.
Too many mistakes for Shirley too, there were lots of times when Lauren was on the wrong foot. Bruno really felt for Lauren, but she made it to the end. Craig thought it was a real shame, and sadly Lauren didn’t manage to cover it up by over-acting. Darcey agrees – this really wasn’t Lauren’s best night.
So much beige in those outfits. This isn’t giving me much hope, to be honest. They are on a boat, but it’s definitely not rocking. In fact, it’s barely left port. Nice soft knees from Lauren, but it all feels a bit tentative and there are quite a few mistakes and timing issues. Not her greatest effort, sadly.
Next up it’s LAUREN AND AJ! Their second dance is a Samba to ‘Rock The Boat’ by The Hues Corporation. I love this song, and have an inexplicable affection for the Samba, so very much hoping Lauren has downed three Caiprinhas and is ready to shake it.
Scores: 10,10,10,10 - a perfect score for Ashley and Pasha.
“I love Pasha, but he doesn’t believe in climate change”, says Becks. I have so many questions, but no time to ask them.
Darcey loved the shaping, it was glamorous with lovely fluid arms. Shirley thought it was stunning on every level, and Bruno thought the lifts were out of this world. Craig applauds, and has been rendered speechless. Tens all round, anyone?
Well this is marvellous - full of charm and joy. More teeth-aching sweetness and quite a lot of Ashley’s knickers, but some great lifts and outstanding dance quality. Good work.
It’s time for ASHLEY AND PASHA! Their second dance is an American Smooth to ‘Ain’t That a Kick In The Head’ by Dean Martin. I’ve been waiting for a Pashley Smooth, and fully expect this to be a picture-perfect affair packed with style, elegance and old-school Hollywood glamour.
Scores: 6,8,8,8 - a total of 30 for Joe and Dianne.
Craig thought it was too stompy and placed, and he didn’t feel that Joe was leading the dance. ARGENTINE HARD FOR A MAN DRINK. Darcey wanted it to be more aggressive and less attentive. Shirley doesn’t agree - it had lots of great qualities. Bruno could see how much work Joe has put in (DRINK), but it needed a bit of nastiness.
Tess just called Joe adorable - DRINK. And that’s a full house on this week’s bingo! Well done everyone.
Peaky Blinder Joe is mopping his sweaty neck, and for good reason. Mostly he’s a pole for Dianne to dance round, but it has some lovely pacing and storytelling. His sticky-out bum has made a comeback, but this still has a nice quality to it. Not sure how much of that was actual Argentine Tango, but quite enjoyed it.
Next up it’s JOE AND DIANNE! Their second dance this evening is an Argentine Tango to ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. This could either be the defining moment where Joe morphs into a macho gancho sex god, or three minutes of Dianne wrestling a deck chair.
Scores: 8,9,10,9 - a total of 36 for Stacey and Kevin. And now suddenly Bruno is the voice of reason.
Bruno loved the genuine, wholesome quality, but her free hand out of hold was flailing. Craig thought it was a dance of two halves - the first was more of an American Smooth and the second a Viennese - it was cheating a bit. Kevin looks LIVID. Darcey thought it had charm and an understated quality, and Shirley agrees - it was exquisite and fantastic.
This is pure prom night romance – lovely flow and beautiful storytelling from Stacey and Kevin. The sweetness is making my teeth hurt, but this is a beautiful Viennese despite a rogue arm from Stacey. GAWJUS.
Time for round two! First up it’s STACEY AND KEVIN! Their second dance is the Viennese Waltz to ‘You’re My World’ by Cilla Black. This is a lovely song for a Viennese, and a fitting tribute to what has been a lovely Strictly partnership. I have a sneaky feeling Joe is going to pip Stace to the post next week, but this has been one of my favourite couples to watch this year, and they’d be worthy Strictly winners.
This interminable VT has given me time to run to the loo – THANKS STRICTLY.
Scores: 9,9,9,10 (DRINK) - a total of 37 for Faye and Giovanni. Oh Bruno, really?
Shirley thought it had lovely steps, but it needed more flow in places. Bruno thought it had lots of quality content, but Craig wanted more hip action on the first set of voltas - the routine was incredible, however. Darcey thought it was a masterclass in technique in a really difficult routine - she loved it.
Faye’s dress is really quite horrific in every way – Becks just described it as “a highlighter multipack”. Nice footwork from Faye, but a bit stiff in the hip action and this feels a bit heavy in places. I think this could have done with a couple of extra days’ rehearsal – behold the curse of the semi final.
And finally for this round, it’s FAYE AND GIOVANNI! Their first dance is the Samba to ‘I Go To Rio’ by Pablo Cruise. I need to see these two back in the land of normal again after last week’s puppet horror, is still giving me nightmares.
Two dances, double the work. DRINK.
Scores: 7,8,8,8 - a total of 31 for Lauren and AJ.
Darcey thought it started well, and Lauren’s nerves added to the performance (SURE). Lauren wanted more clipped head positioning and for Lauren to maintain it to the very end. Shirley liked the character, but it got out of sync at the end. Bruno thought it was a grown up an mature performance (DRINK), but it was difficult to sustain. Craig thought it was a bit pedestrian in places, and a bit stiff and flat-footed in places.
I love how much confident Lauren has become, but this feels a bit stompy and laboured to me, with not nearly enough attack for a Tango. The music really doesn’t help, sadly.
Next up it’s LAUREN AND AJ! Their first dance is the Tango to ‘Nutbush City Limits’ by Tina Turner. This requires some heavy-duty attack and attitude from Lauren, who has used up all the wafty ballroom options and is left with the dances that are less in her comfort zone. I’m a bit worried for her.
Scores: 9,9,9,9 - a total of 36 for Ashley and Pasha.
Craig loved the ferocity and passion, although Ashley lost her balance at the end. Darcey loved the dramatic intent, but it felt a bit busy and frantic in places. Shirley wanted more passion and drama, but Ashley did a good job. Bruno though it was fierce and fearless, and Ashley’s power was irresistible.
Love Ashley’s BDSM Paso frock, less keen on Pasha’s Star Trek jumpsuit. Good caping, mind. This is 50 shades of fierce, with bags of attitude from Ashley. As usual this pudding is so over-egged it’s practically an omelette, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.
It’s time for ASHLEY AND PASHA! Their first dance is the Paso Doble to ‘Spectrum (Say My Name)‘ by Florence + The Machine. They were in the dance off for the second time last week, they’re going to need top marks from the Judges to stay out of the bottom two this week.
Scores: 6,8,7,8 - a total of 29 for Joe and Dianne.
Bruno thought it was caring and romantic, but it had too much rise and fall. Craig agrees - the movement was too exaggerated and it made it look a bit rigid. Darcey loved Joe’s posture, but he had difficulty with the continuous rotation. Shirley liked the footwork and the reverse turns, but it needed more glide - not Joe’s best dance, but a good effort.
Goodness, so much fog. Hard to see Joe’s feet, but perhaps that’s a good thing. He’s doing a very nice job of this Viennese, but it could do with a bit more glide and less rise and fall, I think. Lovely though, perfect Strictly showmance fodder.
Next up it’s JOE AND DIANNE! Their first dance this evening is the Viennese Waltz to ‘This Year’s Love’ by David Gray. Love a Viennese, and Joe needs to smash this to guarantee his place in the Final.
He’s a local boy and I’ve invited him round for tea and cake next week when he comes down to do the pre-final trip back to the shire, so would be nice if you could all not kick him out please.
Reading the Terms & Conditions this week: Huw Edwards. Sure, why not.
Move it along, Huw - it’s a long night and we’ve all got places to be.
Scores: 9.10,10,10 (DRINK) - a total of 39 for Stacey and Kevin. The judges have gone early.
Shirley thought it was a superb way to open the show, with full on energy - absolutely phenomenal. Bruno thought it had plenty of welly, it was 100% authentic 1920s flapper-style Charleston. Craig thought Stacey’s left foot didn’t swivel properly, but it was quirky and eccentric and he loved it. Darcey thought it was fun and crazy, with the perfect amount of fooling about. She loved the donkey, also known as the pony. The drink has kicked in early.
Stacey and Kev are old people, until they cast off the knitting to live their best Charleston life. This is all kinds of fabulous, helped enormously by the brilliant music. Stacey is made for this kind of madness, and is giving it everything she’s got. Great swivel, lovely character, LOVED that. Great start.
First up it’s STACEY AND KEVIN! Their first dance this evening is a Charleston to ‘Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue’ by Spike Jones. They have very sensibly picked proper Charleston music, which it feels like we haven’t seen in a while. I am here for this.
It’s good luck message week, featuring lots of cute kids and random members of the public who are Team Stacey.
Out come the judges! Shirley’s come as a mermaid, and I rather like it. Less keen on Darcey’s Saturday Night Fever getup.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH: Tess in a blue Grecian tablecloth, Claudia as a walking pasta maker. YUMMY.
And we’re off! Last week on Strictly: MUSICALS WEEK! It was all rather fabulous and we had a lovely time. Pashley ended up in the dance off for the second time, and saw off Charles and Karen. Only five couples remain, and it’s the final push for the final.
They’re working so hard! DRINK! But only in slow motion.
Becks has just observed that Barry Cryer looks like the old man from Up, and now I need her to leave because she’s clearly funnier than me.
Domestic status: I have my friend Becks staying this weekend, so may chip in with her thoughts on the dancing, or just steal her jokes without asking. Mostly her job is to keep my wine topped up and not get annoyed by my incessant tapping and talking to myself.
This week’s Strictly Come Bingo – a swing of something you were technically saving for Christmas for any occurrence of the following:
- Tess saying “look at his little face” to a functioning adult
- Any mention of how hard they’ve worked this week
- Any dance being difficult for a man
- A ten from Bruno
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing liveblog! It’s suddenly the semi-finals, despite the first half of this series dragging longer than Darcey and Shirley’s earring collection. This time next week we’ll be gearing up for the Grand Final, which is both sad and the sweet, sweet smell of weekend freedom.
Tonight’s show will answer a few burning questions – firstly, can Lauren do enough to take on the Joe Sugg fandom and steal a place in the final? And do any of our dancers have what it takes to deliver quality in TWO DANCES? Strictly history suggests not – usually the Semi is an under-rehearsed hot mess. It’s also usually the pinnacle of over-scoring, but I’m not sure the judges have anywhere left to go unless Bruno has a secret 11 paddle.
I’ll be here from 6.35pm to keep an eye on proceedings up here, and would be delighted if you could sprinkle a little magic and sparkle in the comment box below. It’s the final push, so unleash your glitter reserves. See you shortly!