And that’s IT for Sunday nights on Strictly, and we’ve got the final three we predicted when Robert Webb left the show two months ago and we knew we were lining up for a three-way Grand Final - AJ and Kai, John and Johannes, and Rose and Giovanni.
Thank you for joining me for a lovely season of Sunday fun, I will obviously be back next Saturday for the GRAND FINAL, which starts at 7pm and is lining up to be an amazing show. Give me your thoughts in the comment box – who do you WANT to win, and who do you think WILL win?
I’ve also kicked off my annual poll for the winner on Twitter if you fancy joining in – you can find me @heidistephens, so come and say hello and cast your vote.
Also if you’re waiting to watch the smoking wreckage of a high emissions clunker that can’t quite accommodate a large family, our Prime Minister is up next. Then Top Gear is on afterwards.
See you next week for the Grand Final, whoop whoop! Hx
Nancy and Rhys say lovely things about each other and the Strictly experience, including FRIENDS FOR LIFE.
’It’s good to cry, it’s good to feel,’ says Rhys. ‘Strictly makes you feel things, you feel so much and sometimes that’s overwhelming.’ Cry it out, Rhys, we’re all here sobbing along with you. Honestly, we’re all going to need to rehydrate after next week’s Final. Bring Dioralyte.
Rhys and Nancy take to the floor for their final dance, to ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley. A dancefloor classic.
I’m gutted for Rhys and Nancy, they’ve been amazing contenders and he should be hugely proud of how far he’s come – he started out all legs and arms, and now he’s an exceptional dancer.
All four judges save John and Johannes, although it’s clear that it was (genuinely) a very tough decision that none of them wanted to make. Which means RHYS AND NANCY are leaving Strictly.
Shirley would have saved them too, so that’s pretty conclusive.
Time for John and Johannes’ to Jive again
And now it’s JoJo’s turn to Jive. This time I’m going to block out the dreadful music and focus on the technicalities. The harder thing is blocking out Johannes and watching John – Johannes has incredible stage presence and is mesmerising to watch.
I think the thing I love about this most is the sheer joy on John’s face - he’s got nothing to lose and he’s giving it everything. If he goes out tonight, it’s on the highest of highs, but on the basis of that performance, I’d say he had the edge over Rhys.
Dance off time! Rhys and Nancy are up first!
What happened to the musical interlude? It was supposed to be Mabel, but she never showed. How strange, does anyone know? I was really looking forward to that.
ANYWAY, Rhys is up first in the dance-off. I loved this Samba last night, it was great fun and definitely the best Samba we’ve seen this season. Rhys is the Latin god we’ve been waiting for, although I would say that this footwork isn’t quite as polished this time round.
Time for another montage! I’m afraid montages WILL be included in next week’s Bingo, so please come prepared.
I didn’t get a proper chance to examine AJ’s frock last night - how fabulous is that? Loving the arm pompoms.
‘Kai has ignited something inside me that I have not felt in years,’ says AJ. Bit early in the evening for that kind of thing, but I’m here for it anyway.
Well, there we are. I think that’s the right call based on last night’s performances, and I’m delighted for Rose and AJ that they’re through to the Grand Final – that’s very well deserved.
As for John and Rhys, they were incredibly close on the leaderboard last night – John and Johannes scored 39 to Rhys and Nancy’s 38. So it’s hard to know which of them the judges will save – this could well come down to a Shirley vote. EEK.
So who is joining John and Johannes in the dance off? AJ and Kai are safe, which means RHYS AND NANCY are in the bottom two.
‘I love being on your show, Anton,’ says Craig witheringly as Anton blathers on about nothing. I love him.
Ooh, time for a judges’ montage! ‘Craig, you are obsessed with me we knoooow,’ from Motsi was one of my highlights.
Rose’s reaction to being in the Final is so joyous - she’s SO excited. It’s Gio’s fourth time but he’s never won, but 2021 is definitely Italy’s year - Eurovision, the football thing, Guiseppe in Bake Off. It HAS to be Giovanni, surely?
Rose and Giovanni are safe, and JOHN AND JOHANNES are in the bottom two.
I’m not hugely surprised, but realistically being up against Rhys and Nancy is their only chance of staying. If it’s AJ and Kai in the dance off with them, JoJo will almost certainly be going home.
So who is the first couple safely through to next week’s Grand Final? Interesting to note which dances they’re lining up for the dance-off – we can tell from the outfits. Samba for Rhys, Jive for JoJo, Quickstep for AJ and Argentine for Rose.
Last night on Strictly: an absolutely MASSIVE semi. Brilliant dancing all round, tens being thrown around like confetti, many of them justified. Usually two dances means cutting corners, but very clearly all our couples had been working their sparkly butts off. It was very much appreciated.
Highlights: Motsi’s afro, John Whaite’s ‘I feel like I’ve been dipped in UHU and rolled in Claire’s Accessories’, AJ and Kai’s super-hot Rumba, Rose and Gio’s Argentine fabulousness, Rhys’s Samba and Nancy’s swan knickers.
Lowlights: other than choosing Coldplay for a Jive, I don’t think there were any. It was just the right length for a liveblogger, had a great mix of dances, a few emotional moments, and we were all Bingo drunk by the end. My kind of Saturday night.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Tess in a fabulous hot pink frock with dangerous thigh split , Claudia in a leopard print catsuit and black jacket ensemble. Love both.
And we’re OFF! Tonight’s opening pro dance is called *checks notes from the BBC* ‘The Library’, and features a medley of ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ by Noise For Pretend, ‘This Is How We Do It’ by Montell Jordan and ‘Boom! Shake The Room’ by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
If this sounds like A Lot, throw in Aljaz in a beret and Neil in an ugly tank top leading a street dance crew, proving that People Who Like Books Can Also Be Cool. Sigh.
Incidentally Montell Jordan is often the cool down track at my Tuesday night aerobics class, so this is making me want to stretch my hamstrings.
Tonight’s Countryfile Casual Weatherperson is the sublime Stav Danaos, in 80s purple neon plaid and stonewashed denim. With those sleeves rolled up and an extra button undone, he’d qualify for the 2022 Countryfile Casual Weather Calendar.
7/10 - you had your chance Stav, but you blew it. I’m not angry, just disappointed.
SUNDAY NIGHT RESULTS SHOW UPDATE!
Evening all, and welcome back to our very last Sunday Night Results of the season! I’ll miss this little end-of-weekend interlude, although I’d like to register a polite request for the BBC to could put Countryfile back in the pre-Strictly slot every Sunday next year. This liveblog isn’t the same without sheep tupping, the Countryfile Casual Weather and John Craven aggressively hawking a calendar featuring an acorn superglued to a squirrel.
Tonight we’re saying goodbye to one more couple, leaving just three for next week’s Strictly Grand Final. It’s sad but necessary, and all four remaining couples should be hugely proud of how far they’ve come. I’m reasonably confident that Rose will be through to next week after last night’s two dances, but the dance-off could be any two of the other three. If you’ve seen a spoiler, please keep it to yourself.
Also I was looking at the line-up for the Christmas Show earlier, which looks brilliant this year. As usual we’ll open a liveblog you can all have a party in the comment box, but due to Covid regulations you all have to lie about whether it actually happened.
Kick off is at 7.20pm, so please join me then!
And that’s Strictly done for our penultimate Saturday – I’ll be back tomorrow at 7.20pm for our very last Sunday Night Results Show, so please come back then. Thank you for joining in and being sparkly and brilliant as always, enjoy the rest of your Saturday! Hx
The dancing is done, and the voting is open!
The dancing is over! Phew, that felt like a marathon. With both sets of scores added together, we’ve got AJ And Kai and Rose and Giovanni drawn at the top of the leaderboard, and Rhys and Nancy currently at the bottom. So now it’s over to you now guys, but how do you choose? All four couples belong in the Final.
It looks very much like it will be Rhys vs. John in the dance off tomorrow, but it’s impossible to call how that might go - it will all come down to that final performance. I’m already tense. Sebby’s verdict - Rhys was the best and Rumbas are boring. Flo went to bed after three dances, because being five is exhausting.
Scores: 10,10,10,10 - DRINK.
Motsi thought it was the dance of the season, and Shirley wanted to put it in a basket and keep it forever. Anton thought it was unbelievable - it was serene and calm and amazing. Craig thought that was a dance that belonged in the final.
Love a traditional Argentine, and I love hot Latin Gio in guyliner even more. Some really gorgeous accents in this from Rose and you can’t fault the connection between these two. The wafty legs in the middle are amazing and she climbs up and down Gio like an extremely elegant rat up a pole. Outstanding, I was mesmerised by that from start to finish.
And finally tonight, it's Rose and Giovanni!
Their second dance is the Argentine Tango to ‘A Evaristo Carriego’ by Eduardo Rovira. Rose has a great track record with dances that require acting skills, but I’m interested to see if she and Giovanni can break out of their ‘best mates/mild crush’ space to deliver the intense connection of an Argentine Tango. Particularly without much time for rehearsal – it’s a big ask in a two-dance week, but the standard tonight has been INCREDIBLE.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for John and Johannes.
Johannes is crying. DRINK.
Craig wanted more retraction in the kicks but otherwise amazing. Motsi loved how John took the brakes off and it had great attack from beginning to end. Shirley loved how not-safe that was - John simmered, bubbled and boiled and it was absolutely superb. Anton thought it was marvellous and the sychro was great, he loved it.
John and Johnannes are on top of the world, in a CGI sense anyway. Loving the matching sparkly tops and this Jive is great fun, but John has a few tiny timing issues at the beginning. Nice leg retraction and some lovely kicks and flicks - another dance that would have benefitted from a couple of days of extra rehearsal, but an amazing effort. LOVED that.
Incidentally, a Coldplay Jive is an absolute no from me.
It’s time for John and Johannes!
Their second dance is the Jive to ‘Higher Power’ by Coldplay. It’s an oddly middle-of-the-road choice for a Jive from these two, I was very much hoping for something a bit more…extra, especially after Adele in round one. Have John and Johannes been possessed by the spirit of Radio 2?
I’ve seen a lot of discussion about the main issue John faces, which is being paired with Johannes – as two men dancing a lot of side-by-side synchro moves, you can’t help but compare them in a way you probably wouldn’t with a traditional male/female couple. So it would be helpful if perhaps Johannes could dial down the details a bit in this Jive and give John a chance to shine.
I’ve just looked up ‘the full bifta’ and it means going for it and giving it your best. Every day is a school day, no?
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for AJ and Kai. There are only two paddles available this evening, apparently.
Anton goes full Len - he loved the lovely lines and the ‘full bifta’ - I’m not even sure what that is but I want some. Craig congratulates AJ on an amazing achievement, it was a difficult dance. Motsi loved the connection, the dance came together perfectly. Shirley bows to AJ in awe, she loved the nuances and the tracking of AJ’s legs and feet.
Lovin AJ in sparkly chiffon, and despite the excess of ankle fog this Rumba is strictly post-watershed. Some nice shaping and lovely leg work from AJ - she’s got great fluidity and poise in this dance and she and Kai are smoking hot. Kind of sad they don’t snog at the end, not gonna lie.
Next up it's AJ and Kai!
Their second dance is the Rumba to ‘Show Me Heaven’ by Maria McKee. We’ve not any truly brilliant Rumbas this year, possibly because the Rumba is a hellish nightmare of a dance that mostly involves moving around the dancefloor like a human slinky. But if any couple is going to deliver something sizzlingly hot, it’s these two. I’ve got my smelling salts at the ready just in case.
Scores: 9,10,10.9 - a total of 38 for Rhys and Nancy.
Shirley’s going full shimmy and she’s not even wearing a sports bra, it’s pure danger. Anton thought it was a marvellous effort, it had amazing rhythm through the body and the hips apart from a clunky bit. Craig thought have Rhys absolutely smashed it, even though it needed a smoother bounce. Motsi could see how hard Rhys fought for that Samba and he deserves a huge well done.
Goodness, they’ve killed a lot of neons swans for this dance, most of which are stuffed in Nancy’s knickers. Rhys is actually doing a very decent job of this, but it’s got his usual level of absolute loose-limbed Latin chaos and I’m not even sure that’s a bad thing. Bonus points for the twerking at the end, actually kind of loved that.
it's time for Round 2 - and first up is Rhys and Nancy!
Their second dance is a Samba. EEEEK. This could be amazing, or it could be a dance DISASTER. I’m excited and also terrified. Come on Rhys, you can do it.
That’s the first round of dancing done, and AJ and Kai are currently at the top of the leaderboard. But there’s another round to go, so let’s not count our glitterchickens just yet.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for Rose and Giovanni. Ignore the sticky foot and drink anyway, we’ve come this far.
Motsi wants a ten with a star or a crown so she can communicate how much more than a ten that was. Shirley thought it was quality personified and it warmed her heart. Anton starts crying (DRINK) because he believes in their dancing. Craig points out a sticky right foot but otherwise it was one of the most amazing waltzes he’s seen.
Rose’s pin dress is gorgeous, and as expected this is a stunning Waltz with beautiful changes of pace and lovely rise and fall. Sweet without being saccharine, charming without being mawkish. Possibly my favourite Waltz of the season.
Next up it's Rose and Giovanni!
Their first dance is the Waltz to ‘How Long Will I Love You’ by Ellie Goulding. I think we’ll possibly love this coupling forever, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway it’s a lovely song and it’s great to see some classic ballroom this late in the competition; usually we’re down to the dregs by now. If Strictly was a tin of Quality Street, there’d be nothing left but Coconut Eclairs and the odd Strawberry Crème.
Scores: 9,10,10,10 - a total of 39 for John and Johannes.
Craig loved how John was leading the dance and telling the story. Motsi loved how much John let go and gave himself to that dance, and Shirley loved how John put his soul and emotion into it. Anton thought it was strong and powerful and the number demonstrated so much about John the man as well as John the dancer.
I know I’ve slagged off Couple’s Choice over the years, but this is a beautiful and heartfelt and powerful piece ofcContemporary dance and it brings home how important representation on shows like Strictly is. Just stunning.
It's time for John and Johannes!
Their first dance tonight is Couple’s Choice to ‘Hometown Glory’ by Adele. It’s a risky strategy, leaving Couple’s Choice this late in the competition. If John and Johannes do make the final, they’ve got to deliver something completely different for their Showdance, otherwise it might fall flat. And at this stage in the competition the expectation for Couple’s Choice is HIGH, because the judges have everyone else’s to compare it to. Bit of a nail biter, this.
John’s story is so lovely and his family are incredible. So much crying, please drink everything. I’m in bits at this dedication.
Scores: 10,10,10,10 - a full house for AJ and Kai.
DRINK for that, and the ugly crying. Sorry, tonight’s Bingo is a killer.
My liveblog helper Sebby loved that, but Rhys and Nancy are his favourite and he has a bad feeling they’re going to go this week. Don’t give up, Sebby, there’s a long way to go.
Anton thought it was a triumphant return from last week’s dance-off, it was worth of the Blackpool ballroom. OMG says Craig, it was incredible, AJ ripped that floor up. Motsi is so proud of AJ - it was a difficult dance and AJ looked beautiful. Shirley was in absolute awe, the whole dance came together like pure Strictly magic. AJ was sensational.
Loving AJ’s fabulous dead swan frock, and this is a proper old-school Hollywood Quickstep with style and flair. Nice footwork from AJ and lovely timing as always, although it gets a bit gappy in places.
Like every dance we’re going to see this evening, it could have done with a couple more days of rehearsal, but there’s plenty to love about this. FAB.U.LUSS.
Next up it's AJ and Kai!
Their first dance tonight is the Quickstep to ‘ Sing, Sing, Sing’ by Benny Goodman. We’ve seen a few Quicksteps to this over the years – Denise and Ian, Chelsee and Pasha, Graeme and Oti. I’m very much hoping this is going to be a classic crowd-pleaser, without any unnecessary tricks and nonsense that might get messed up and lose AJ points from the judges. If these two can nail the basics and bring some sparkle, they’ll bag a well-earned space in next week’s Final.
Dad message! DRINK. Ugly crying! DRINK!
Scores: 9,9,9,9 - a total of 36 for Rhys and Nancy. Bonus drink for all the screaming.
Shirley thought it was a fabulous way to open the semi-final - Rhys came out on fire and is mastering his craft, but he struggled to get back into hold after the solo bits. Anton thought the in-hold parts were better than out of hold tonight, Rhys’s frame was immaculate. Craig loved it too - it has power and drama and Rhys was definitely in charge. Motsi loved Rhys’s control and his improvement is sensational.
See, I know nothing. Other than I have the biggest girl crush on Motsi and would kill for that disco sequin outfit.
This takes FOREVER to get into hold, and Rhys’s timing is all over the shop. He’s got some nice shaping out of hold but it feels more Paso than Tango, and his feet are turned in as well. Not Rhys’s greatest dance, at least from where I’m sitting. But what do I know??
First up it's Rhys and Nancy!
Their first dance tonight is the Tango to ‘One Vision’ by Queen. They’ve got a Samba later, but this is much more Rhys’s kind of dance. Very much hoping he and Nancy can pull this off.
Out come the judges! Motsi ‘s hair has absolutely been the star of this year’s Strictly.
Out come the stars! Loving JoJo in matching hipster yoga outfits.
TESS AND CLAUDIA DRESS WATCH!
Tess in a scarlet pantsuit that’s all pants and no suit, Claudia in black sparkles. Pretty sure we’ve seen both outfits before?
And we’re off! Time for a slo-mo VT, and it’s time for the semi-final! There’s only one show between our four remaining couples and the final. They’re exhausted. DRINK.
Strictly Come Bingo - it's a semi-final special!
Take a semi-sip of your favourite festive semi-tipple for any occurrence of the following:
- Four tens
- People being exhausted
- Last chance messages from family members
- Ugly crying
Heidi’s Hunches – who will be the final three?
Goodness, this is a tough one. The good news is that we’ve got the correct final four based on performances across the series; I think we’re mostly agreed on that, anyway.
The bad news is that one couple isn’t going to make it to the Grand Final – the journey so far suggests that might be Rhys, who also has a Cursed Samba this evening. But the judges’ scores could make a huge difference, so there’s never been a better time to deploy some FAIRNESS AND CONSISTENCY.
Watching the Festive Hit List - trying to imagine any circumstances where I might look at a poo-brown pleather flasher mac and think ‘that will look nice on telly’.
Liveblog on location!
I’m in lovely Eastbourne for tonight’s liveblog, spending the weekend with my partner’s brother and his family. So Heidi’s Little Helpers for this evening are Strictly superfans Sebby (8) and Florence (5). If I fail to notice something hilarious or write things like ‘xfdgiosu!idfjdf@’, it’s because I’m not in my usual Liveblog Zen Lounge. Feel free to use the comment box to fill in the gaps, hopefully between us we’ll give readers the general gist.
It's Strictly semi-final time!
Evening all, and welcome to this week’s Strictly Come Dancing liveblog! It’s a MASSIVE semi-final, with the four remaining couples performing TWO DANCES in a bid to win a coveted place in the Grand Final next Saturday. It’s the final push, glitterpals, so please stick around for what is already lining up to be the most nail-biting weekend of the season.
Historically this week has been very much about quantity over quality, but I’m one of life’s optimists and am hoping 2021 might bring us a surprise or two. Tonight’s kick-off is at 7.05pm, so please join me then for the penultimate spin around the Strictly dancefloor. Who’s excited? MEEEEEEE.