Strictly Come Dancing Semi Final

Strictly Come Dancing Semi Final week 10

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Artem Chigvinstev & Holly Valance Photograph : BBC Pictures

Strictly Come Dancing reaches the semi final stage this week, with each couple dancing twice and a double elimination.

Harry & Aliona are first onto the floor with their Charleston. It looks as though they’ve been having fun in training but will it translate to the performance ? Harry is a little pigeon-toed but his charactersation is perfect, dressed in his Officer’s suit. Fantastic routine with some difficult lifts. Len loved the routine; none of the other judges were asked to comment (I think they are running late after Brucie’s long opening jokes but couldn’t they just cut the VT’s ? I’m sure no-one would mind).

They score : 39 (only a 9 from Craig)

Alex & James dance the Waltz.  Alex is dressed in champagne and silver sequins and begins on her own, her dress fluting out at the hem by miles once in James’s hold. At least it shouldn’t get stuck in her heel again! It’s hard to see Alex’s feet under the miles of dress, so voluminous it’s almost obscuring James too, but it’s a simple and smooth routine.  Alesha said that her routine is good enough to be in the semi final and Bruno said “darling Alex, you really are the Belle of the ball.”  Craig missed some heel leads but noticed Alex’s improvement since the start.  Len said that Alex danced beautifully.

They score : 34

Chelsee & Pasha take on the American Smooth as their first dance. Off to a flying start, the dance shows off Chelsee’s elegant arm placement and it’s a lovely romantic dance, something that Chelsee has struggled to emote previously. Bruno said that Chelsee is like a “South Sea pearl” because she has a natural instinct with the music that would usually take years and years to master and that the dance was excellent.  Craig loved Chelsee’s arms, saying they were exquisite though he didn’t like the bent leg coming out of the shoulder lift. The bent leg on the drag split wasn’t great either. Len said “it was like the Chelsea flower show – like daffodils blowing in the breeze.”

They score : 36 (a 10 from Alesha who called it a first class performance)

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Alex Jones & james Jordan Photograph : BBC Pictures

Holly and Artem take on the Argentine Tango, a dance that Holly has been looking forwward to in the same vein as last week’s Paso Doble. Holly is exhausted during training and their schedule has slipped a bit.  Holly knows that she needs to be on her A game this week to stay in the competition and reach the final in Blackpool. Holly is in siren red, sat on a bar stool, with a sharply suited Artem paying close attention. Artem’s choreography is as clever and inventive as ever, especially in the sections where Holly is sat on the stool in seductive fashion, and they finish with a really sharp flourish. It’s not easy to control a moving prop! Craig said “quiet, controlled, [Holly] you were reacting completely to Artem’s lead.” Bruno said “beautiful, bad and dangerous.”

They score : 36

Is that a little undermarked ?

Jason and Kristina take on the Samba to Michael Jackson, which they hope will keep them out of the bottom two this week. Starting on the mezzanine in loud pink, Jason is a bit too skippy when trying to master that Samba bounce. Is it a conincidence that no-one has tried the Samba roll this season ? Kristina’s skirt and the wild camera angles are doing all the work. Jason looks too pointed, both in his feet and his arms; it’s not as relaxed or as fun as he wanted it to be. Len liked the steps but said that timing was lost a bit in all the excitement of the whole thing. Bruno picked up on the lost timing which is so hard to recover in such a rhythmical dance. Craig didn’t like the “awkward daddy dancing.”

They score : 34

Half way through, Harry & Aliona lead the couples, and they are next up with their second dance – the Viennese Waltz. Lovely turns to start – straight into a contra check and Fleckel; Harry’s frame is so solid. It’s a very beautiful dance filled with just the right amount of rise and fall. Bruno said “the Prince and the Showgirl. Every step was so perfectly placed and so perfectly driven.  I’m telling you, you’re dancing royalty.” Craig found the melancholy flavour an interesting choice.

They score : 39

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Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev Photograph : BBC Pictures

Alex & James return with the Salsa.  Whatever is Alex wearing ? Floor mop and pea green coat. Until… James arrives and Alex shimmies out of the coat and out bursts feathers and sequins. It’s a fast dance and Alex does look confident. James has choreographed sections on her own to show that off, but the actual Salsa steps are a bit hesitant; she’s a little stiff in the legs despite all the lifts. Bruno said that it was good to see her let her hair down, but he picked up on the moments of uncertainty. Craig thought the routine was a big challenge for Alex and beyond her skill-set but he loved that Alex undeniably threw herself into it.

They score : 31

Chelsee & Pasha’s Paso Doble begins with Spanish arms and again, Chelsee on her own. Such confidence. Fantastic rhythm and syncopation. Chelsee’s blue and silver slivers of a striped dress is a big change from the norm, but it suits her youth and vitality. Craig said “Paso personified. Gobsmackingly good.” Len loved the focus of the ‘Pasha Doble!” Bruno is fanning himself.  He “felt the continous flow of heat, pressure and steam.”

They score : 40 and they are over the moon!!!!

Holly & Artem dance the Charleston as their second dance. Can she make it to the final with fire and energy ? Starting on the decks, they pop up and spin a few tunes and then they are off on a very contemporary context with a swing Charleston.  It looks exhausting and has such a strong rhythm which probably helps overcome the tiredness that Holly is feeling with just a week to go to the final (potentially). I’m not sure that Holly’s outfit of gold sparkly high waisted shorts really suits her but Len enjoyed the Charleston flavour and said it was very entertaining. A modern take on a Charleston. Bruno loved the contemporary feeling of the dance, which he’s never seen before and “it’s great to see people trying new things.” Craig congratulated Artem on the concept and for taking “those humungous risks otherwise we’d still be stuck in the fifties.”

They score : 34

Jason & Kristina round things off with their Argentine Tango. Can Jason relax and not make any mistakes in this routine ? Kristina is working the black sequined lace though the nappy shape at the hem isn’t flattering her at all. Jason looks intense but his frame can’t match Harry’s in strength and so the ambitious lifts look slightly less secure though they are still impressive. Bruno said it was “a relentless attack on the senses.” Craig said, “I’d put that woman on an assault charge.”

They score : 40

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Harry Judd & Aliona Vilani Photograph : BBC Pictures

Tonight’s music was :

Harry Judd & Aliona Vilani dance the Charleston to I’m Just Wild About Harry by Peggy Lee

Alex Jones & James Jordan dance the Waltz to You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin

Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev dance the American Smooth to Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper

Holly Valance & Artem Chigvintsev dance the Argentine Tango to Por Una Cabeza by Itzhak Perlman, John Williams & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Jason Donovan & Kristina Rihanoff dance the Samba to Blame It On The Boogie by Michael Jackson

Harry Judd & Aliona Vilani dance the Viennese Waltz to This Year’s Love by David Gray

Alex Jones & James Jordan dance the Salsa to 1-2-3-4 by Gloria Estefan

Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev dance the Paso Doble to Malaguena by 101 Strings Orchestra

Holly Valance & Artem Chigvintsev dance the Charleston to We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool

Jason Donovan & Kristina Rihanoff dance the Argentine Tango to Assassin’s Tango (Traditional arrangement)

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Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev Photograph : BBC Pictures


All photographs © BBC Pictures. No unauthorized reproduction.

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Strictly catch up

Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth Photograph : BBC Pictures

There’s no need to miss so much as a sequin on Strictly; if you didn’t catch any of the shows, you can catch up here!

The Strictly launch show

Strictly week’s 1, 2, Strictly’s Broadway night, week 4, Halloween week 5, Bonfire Night week 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Strictly Results show

Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


In other Strictly News

Strictly final in 3D and in cinemas

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2011

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visits Strictly studio

Ex-Strictly professional dancers Darren Bennett & Lilia Kopylova

Strictly’s Artem to join Strictly Cinderella

Strict in the rehearsal room ? Interview with Artem Chigvintsev

Strictly Come Dancing on Swan Lake

Things you don’t know about Swan Lake

The Strictly Come Dancing Annual

The Strictly Judges

Guest Judge Jennifer Grey

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