So that’s it for another week on Strictly – we’ve now got our four semi-finalists and next week AJ, Rose, John and Rhys will battle it out for a place in the Grand Final. That feels like the right four based on performances across the series, but feel free to air your grievances in the comment box below if you feel like there’s been a terrible Strictly injustice.
Each couple has TWO DANCES next week, so there’s everything to play for – join me at 7.05pm on Saturday. Thanks for joining in and I’ll see you then! Hx
Dan and Nadiya say lovely things about the show and the other contestants and each other, including an obligatory FRIENDS FOR LIFE from Dan and some tears from Nadiya. They take to the floor for their final dance, to ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ by The Four Tops.
All the judges vote to save AJ and Kai, although they make a valiant effort to pretend it was a difficult decision.
Dan says he would have saved AJ and Kai too, which I kind of love him for.
Time for AJ and Kai to perform in the dance off
Party Latin definitely isn’t AJ’s forte, but I think if this season of Strictly has taught us anything, it’s that Party Latin is NOBODY’S forte. And when we remind ourselves that AJ is a TV presenter from Blackburn rather than a Salsa goddess from Havana, it’s a pretty impressive effort.
NAILED that final lift. Good work, AJ. Fab to see what that ending was supposed to look like.
Dance-off time! Dan and Nadiya are up first.
I actually quite liked this Tango last night, and I think Dan actually does a pretty decent job. It’s still a bit ploddy and lacks drive, but it’s also a long way from the kind of dancing he was doing in the early weeks. He should be really proud of his Strictly journey, Nadiya’s made a dancer of him.
Ooh, next week John and Johannes are doing their Couple’s Choice, to ‘Hometown Glory’ by Adele. Reckon that might be one to watch. I mean, obviously I’ll be watching either way, it’s my job. But still, might keep both eyes on the telly rather than just the one.
So who’s joining AJ and Kai in the bottom two? It’s DAN AND NADIYA, so John and Johannes are safe!
Well, that’s a done deal, surely (SHIRLEY). Dan’s had an incredible run and has improved immensely, but neither he nor AJ have any dance experience and I think we can all sensibly agree that AJ is in a different league. So unless she and Kai manage to entirely stuff this up, it’s less of a dance-off and more of a…Dan’s Off.
Time for a musical interlude, courtesy of the finest X Factor runners up EVER (sorry One Direction and Olly Murs). I’ve only been to one gig this year and it was JLS at the O2 a few weeks ago, so I’m happy to declare myself a FAN. They’re singing their new single ‘Postcard’ while Neil and Dianne do some contemporary wrestling.
Yeah, OK. That was kind of horrible. Let’s pretend it never happened.
So which couples are through to next week’s MASSIVE SEMI? Rhys and Nancy are safe, and you’ve never seen two people so relieved and excited. Rose and Giovanni are also safe.
First couple in the bottom two: AJ AND KAI. Well, that’s not entirely unexpected, but at least she now has a chance to do that routine again without the shambolic final lift.
The big questions is...will she be up against Dan and Nadiya or JoJo? EEEEK.
Incidentally, I watched Rhys’s Argentine again this morning and decided my issue wasn’t Rhys’s dancing per se, it was the sheer number of lifts in that routine. For me an Argentine is a close contact dance, where any lifts are part of the push-and-pull tension of the whole thing. So the beginning and middle were great, but the acrobatic lifts in between broke that tension and spoiled the flow.
It’s just my opinion, and it doesn’t detract from the fact that Rhys delivered outstanding control and some really great footwork. He absolutely deserves to be in the semi-final next week.
Last night on Strictly – short, sweet and emotionally draining.
Highlights: Rose and Gio’s swan dive American Smooth, moody Rhys, Oti and Graziano emoting, Claudia’s red disco frock (possibly my favourite of the season so far).
Lowlights: this lift is not currently working, please use the stairs.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Tess in the darts scoreboard from your local pub. Claudia in black trousers and festive sparkles. LOVE that shirt.
And we’re off! Tonight’s opening pro dance has a ‘leading ladies’ theme, to a medley of Janet Jackson bangers. There are a lot of bad wigs and trashy ponytail hairography, but Aljaz in a white suit is the early Christmas gift we didn’t know we needed.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back for this week’s Results Show! Tension is running high at Liveblog Towers after a rollercoaster of a show last night, but by the end of this evening we’ll have our four semi-finalists and we’ll all be able to breathe out in relief/throw things at our tellies/remember that it’s only a gameshow*.
*delete as appropriate.
Kick-off is at 7.20pm – tonight’s dress code is a hoodie in either yellow, green, red or blue according to your favourite member of JLS, who are performing later. Obviously the correct answer is blue for Aston – it’s never too late to show our solidarity for one of the biggest Strictly injustices of all time. Until tonight, possibly. See you later!
Thank you as ever for joining in – I’ll be back tomorrow evening from 7.20pm for the results show, when JLS will be performing live (YAAAS). In the meantime you can find me on Twitter @heidistephens, so feel free to swing by and say hello. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! Hx
Vote for your favourites now!
The dancing is done and the voting is open! Time for a (very short) recap – Rhys and Nancy and Rose and Giovanni are at the top of the leaderboard, with AJ and Kai and Dan and Nadiya in line for the dance-off.
Will it be them, or will the voting public give the pack a shuffle? It could well end up being a John/AJ Salsa dance off, which would be a real shame. What do we all think is going to happen??
Scores: 7,8,8,7 - a total of 30 for AJ and Kai.
Shirley thought it had pure sass and full of energy, even though the ending went wrong. Anton agrees - the ending was a nightmare but otherwise great. Craig thought the landings from the lifts were generally heavy and the ending was a DISASTER, but it was very watchable. The ending killed Motsi, but the rest of it gave her goosebumps and it was a powerful Latin dance. Eek, this scoring is going to be BRUTAL.
AJ is NOT here to play - this is a fabulous opening from her. Great footwork and timing in a really complex routine, with bags of energy and some amazing lifts.
Ah, I say that, but the final lift was an absolute dog. Not a great night for final Salsa lifts, apparently. Eek.
And finally, it's AJ and Kai!
This week they’re dancing the Salsa to ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You/Get On Your Feet’ by Gloria Estefan. Love an Estefan mash-up, and have high hopes for this being a legendary party Salsa. Who wouldn’t want to go to AJ and Kai’s party? I’d be there with bells on.
Scores: 7,8,9,7 - a total of 31 for Dan and Nadiya. Shirley giving that more than John and Johannes is just RUDE.
Motsi was mesmerised by the intent (drink) at the beginning but he lost control a bit in the second half. Given time Dan will shine, says Shirley - he was focussed and it took on an independent feeling. Anton thought Dan’s frame wasn’t great in hold and it wasn’t all that good. Craig agreed that Dan has stepped it up but it was littered with balance issues. That said, it was his favourite of the dances Dan has done. I would agree with that.
This has a slo-mo Matrix vibe and Dan is doing a very decent job, albeit it lacks drive and precision and he gets a bit shuffly and off-balance in the transitions. Nice Tango mood and definitely one of his better dances - mostly not in any way terrible.
Next up it's Dan and Nadiya!
This week they’re dancing the Tango to ‘Santa Maria’ by Gotan Project. Always great to hear proper Tango music, and I have every expectation that Nadiya is going to do a brilliant job of this.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for Rose and Giovanni.
Craig thought it was gorgeous and he loved the storytelling. Motsi thought it was so well connected and she loved the changes of pace and mood - there was something for everyone. Shirley loved how Rose blocked out all the noise and clapping from Rhys’s performance and delivered an amazing performance. It touched Anton’s heart and he loved it.
Loving cheesy Giovanni, and as expected this has bags of sugary charm. Rose looks like she’s having the time of her life, and is taking the rest of us along with her. Amazing lift/catch from Giovanni too. Really enjoyed that, I can’t stop smiling.
It's time for Rose and Giovanni!
This week they’re dancing the American Smooth to ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’ by Natalie Cole. Love this song, love this pairing, have every expectation that this is going to joyful and uplifting from start to finish.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for Rhys and Nancy. OK, will definitely watch that again later.
Anton thought Rhys absolutely nailed it, it was intense, involved and mature. Craig thought Rhys did a fantastic job, it had all the drama even though the grapevines got a bit out of sync. Motsi loved the connection Rhys and Nancy had and Argentine Tango is Rhys’s dance. Shirley just wants to hold Rhys right now and say well done. I mean, just say it, Shirley. No need for the holding.
Maybe I missed something? I’ll watch it again later.
This is quite moody and Nancy is giving it a lot of leg. I like the mood of this from Rhys, but the first round of ganchos are a bit heavy and there’s not nearly enough Argentine accents. Some nice lifts, but that’s not really what Argentine Tango is about for me. Bit disappointed.
Next up it's Rhys and Nancy!
They’re dancing the Argentine Tango to ‘In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins. A few weeks ago I’d have said that Rhys didn’t have the control and tension in his body for a dance like this, but he’s come a really long way in this competition and this might actually be amazing. Weird song choice though – am generally not a huge fan of experimental 80s pop/rock Argentines, but each to their own.
Scores: 7,8,8,9 - a total of 32 for John and Johannes. Feels a bit mean to punish John for Johannes mucking up the lift, no?
Also much energy of party and energy. DRINK.
Shirley loved the tricks and knee slide and John recovered well from Johannes giving him the wrong hand in the lift. Anton loved the disco feel, he hasn’t seen a Salsa danced in this style before. Hang on, where’s he been all these years? Craig loved the hips even though it lacked a tiny bit of dynamic, but John is a terrific dancer. Motsi loved that it was clean and rehearsed and John took some risks, it was a fantastic start to the show.
Well this is right up my disco alley. I feel like John is finally letting go and properly enjoying himself, and as a result this has great party Salsa energy and fab footwork and timing. The final lift is a bit like John’s lugging a railway sleeper but otherwise marvellous. LOVED THAT.
First up tonight it's John and Johannes!
This week they’re dancing the Salsa to ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge. Very much hoping John gives this full tipsy wedding dancefloor energy, it’s what we all need in these dark times.
Out come the judges! Loving Shirley and Motsi both in white, and Motsi’s hair is incredible as ever.
Out come the stars! Great outfits this week, everyone looks FAB.U.LUSS.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH
Tess oven-ready in torn Bacofoil, Claudia in a scarlet strapless disco frock. One of these is lovely.
Bonus pro dance! Oti and Graziano are having some kind of wintry fever dream to ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ by Celine Dion. It’s all quite intense but also rather gorgeous. Ooh, amazing leap off a chaise longue, I bet they nailed that down.
And we’re off! It’s showday on Strictly, and there’s a fabulous magical energy behind the scenes. There’s only five of them left and it all comes down to THIS. EXCITING.
This week’s Strictly Come Bingo – it’s a Salsa/Tango buzzword special!
There’s going to be more Salsa/Tango buzzwords than feathers at the Rio Carnival this evening, so mix yourself a fresh caipirinha for any mention of the following:
BONUS DRINK for early mentions of TWO DANCES.
This week’s Heidi’s Hunches!
Might be Dan, might be Rhys, might be a big old upset. My crystal snowglobe is largely useless from this point on.
Salsa this way for the Strictly quarter-final!
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing liveblog! It’s Week 11, which means the quarter-final is upon us. Only five couples remain, and it’s the shortest show of the season at only 57 minutes. As a long-time liveblogger, I thank you from the bottom of my worn fingers.
We’re Salsa/Tango heavy this evening – two Salsas, one Tango, an Argentine Tango and a token American Smooth. That’s what happens when you practise Difficult Dance Avoidance for the whole series – next week’s two-dance Semi is going to be like a Boxing Day buffet of unwanted Latin leftovers.
Random kick-off time tonight is at 6.40pm, so bring snacks, beverages, pets, children and your preferred electronic device. I’ll see you then!