Harriona's charleston first and as promised by the training snapshots, it's brilliant. Very crisp, clean and he didn't miss a beat. Fabulous swivel action, seamless and exciting lifts, musicality and rhythm fused with energy all through, a real WOW. Wild about Harry? Plenty will be after that! Len - two things were revealed: Aliona's midriff and your talent. If your VW is to the same standard you'll be at the Tower ballroom. No time for the other judges, we're already running late! Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39 So what did Craig drop a point for - sweat droplets not synchronised, maybe, who knows?
Aleames waltz is delightful, a beautiful emotive song, elegantly performed and quite lovely. Alesha - dancing like that is why you're in the semi final; Bruno - Belle of the Ball, elegant, poised, graceful and so in touch with James; Craig - lost your neck on occasion, some closes missed but you have come such a long, long way; Len - looked beautiful, danced beautiful, deserve your place here. Score: 7/9/9/9 = 34
Pashee American Smooth to Time After Time, which, sung by Hayley is gorgeous and so different for an AS; it worked beautifully. Pasha's choreography is stunning and Chelsee is so smooth and natural and just oozes her way through it. Gorgeous. You could tell she was completely in the moment. Bruno - a natural shine like a South Sea pearl, upper body fluidity is extraordinary, musical phrasing instinctive, excellent; Craig - your arms are absolutely exquisite, for a short person, you still create beautiful lines; Len - Chelsee Healey, like the Chelsee flower show, in full bloom, like daffodils blowing through the breeze; Alesha - a first class performance. Score: 8/9/10/9 = 36.
Artolly Argentine Tango to one of my favourite pieces of Tango music, from True Lies and they captured the feel so well. Brave use of the chair, that could've gone horribly wrong but didn't and was therefore fab. Studied and seductive, every move spot on. Well placed, suited her personality. Craig - quiet control, seductive chair rotation, reacting completely to Artem's lead. Absolutely gorgeous; Len - chair worked really well, clever and clean; Alesha - beautiful lines and leg extensions stunning, still a real contender; Bruno - beautiful, bad and dangerous, coiled in the chair, ready to strike ... watch the video in full for all Bruno's comments! Score: 9/9/9/9 = 36
Jastina samba and there's a near slip catastrophe at the top of the stairs but he's ok! Good start, plenty of bounce, could do without the skirt flounce bit, that just seems like filler to me - and really should have gone with acting the chorus lines, like we did back in the day - you wouldn't do YMCA without signing the letters, would you? Everyone watching could've joined in then! Full of fun and his usual zest though, good effort. Len - all the steps I like to see, your bum going to town, got over-excited and lost timing but full of energy, well done; Alesha - fun, wonderful atmosphere, captured the spirit; Bruno - got carried away by the moment, bouncing and wiggling, messy but fun; Craig - massive fusion of energy 100% fantastic, bounce, could've done without the awkward daddy dancing, liked the fusion of samba and disco. Score: 8/9/9/8 = 34
Look, I was the Famous Five's biggest fan - in fact, my English teacher said I needed to "stop living in the fantasy land of Enid Blyton" - so I've no problem with The Search for the Glitterball, ok?
Harriona - Judges View: What a contender - the complete package - didn't realize how good he'd be - got the physique - great great rhythm - very rarely we see the sway. Their Viennese Waltz is simple, elegant, understated and emotive - why have I not noticed his beautiful hands so much before? Alesha - such a talented guy, exquisite, confident, effortless, beautifully played; Bruno - the Prince and the Showgirl, romance unfolding with every step, so perfectly placed, judged, driven, class, romance, style, dancing royalty; Craig - slightly odd, despondent and melancholy which was a very interesting take, just gorgeous to watch to the point of smouldering - move head to the left slightly; Len - beautifully executed, lovely natural turns, lovely sway, beautiful swing of the body throughout - take him to the Tower! Score: 9/10/10/10 = 39
Aleames - Judges View: Most improved - good on her - done really well - lacked confidence - a confident Alex could get to Blackpool - incredible personality and smile, you warm to her. Their salsa has the big Dirty Dancing lift - very impressive, lots of fun, good armography, salsa steps could've been smoother but totally sold it. Why with the broom and mac though, why? Bruno - can come and scrub my floor anytime, lovely to see you let your hair down, very good arm passes, some moments of uncertainty on your own; Craig - big challenge , beyond your skill set but what I love is that you throw yourself into it which is totally brilliant; Len - personality and gusto and hip hip hooray, came out full bore, lost finesse because of the attack; Alesha - full on and fun, little bit messy but be proud and smile, great job. Score: 7/8/8/8 = 31
Pashee - Judges View: What a surprise - ballroom and Latin, everything - didn't expect the level of technique, the QS convinced Len - she attacks - sense of rhythm - the revelation. Their Paso Doble is danced with lots of confidence, terrific flamenco section, much solo work, another heel caught in another skirt so a little stutter, overall her intent and lines were fab as ever. Craig - Paso personified, A-Maz-Ing. You are the most incredible dancer. Gobsmackingly good; Len - full of mood and attitude, lovely focus between the two of you, the shaping, whip it and wait, Pasha Doble - fantastic! Alesha - performing like a true dancer, so interesting to watch, full of content, I'm a little bit speechless, dynamic, deserve to be in the final; Bruno - watch the vid, he's off on one again! His descriptions are as colourful and splendid as the dances ... Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40!! She's gone, so's Pasha. What's the background laughter for? Brucie in his 3D specs!
Artolly - Judges View: a worthy semi-finalist - finishing strongly - everything you want in a dancer, lines good, placement good - needs to keep the energy levels up - Swan Lake so risky, so special. A Charleston with a modern twist, another fab creation from Artem, loved the happy and rhythmic feel, but she was pretty knackered by the end! Len - I grew to enjoy the modern twist, lovely swivels, a tad slicker but overall very entertaining; Alesha - I loved it, cool, fought your way through, stepped out of your comfort zone; Bruno - praise for taking risks, loved the contemporary concept; Craig - thank you Artem for taking the risks or we'd all be living in the 50s, loved the idea, loved the routine. Scores: 8/8/9/9 = 34.
Jastina - Judges View: Can sell it - a showman - natural performer - good technique - too much pressure on himself so he loses it. Their Argentine Tango. Well. Oh, I say - very intense, powerful, dramatic, moody, totally in character, mesmerising, fantastic partnering, Jason so strong there - reminded me of the feeling we got when we saw Mark and Karen's all those years ago! Well done Jastina, fab ending to the show and puts them right back in it for sure. A standation from Alesha - clean, sharp, seductive and built and built and built, so aggresive, owned that dance; Bruno - death by Kristina, relentless attack to the senses, a fight to the death - you won! Craig - I'd put that woman on an assault charge darling, incredible; Len - if you're gonna do your best dance of the series, what better time than the semi-final. Score: 10/10/10/10 = 40. You wait all series for a top score and then two come along at once ...
To the Leaderboard:
Harriona: 39+39 = 78 = 5
Pashee: 36 + 40 = 76 = 4
Jastina: 34 + 40 = 74 = 3
Artolly: 36 + 34 = 70 = 2
Aleames: 34 + 31 = 65 = 1
I think we can assume that Harriona and Pashee will make it through - who'll be joining them? On to the results ... where Tess just apparated onto our screens! Ah, the Magic of Strictly ... *settles back*
Pro Dance opener to Paint it Black, a Paso, mainly, with Artem&Aliona; Robin&Kristina; James&Ola. Clever as ever.
Aloe Blacc is still in need of a dollar, fantastic vocal with Brendan and Natalie on major form with a cha cha inspired routine.
The Moment of Truth #1: Going to Blackpool Tower - Pashee and Harriona. No surprises there then. Alesha's advice to Chelsee - plenty of sleep and porridge; Bruno says Harry has everything it takes. Over to Claudia, where we learn it's a funky showdance for Pashee. "We'll go for that," says Clauds "nervously."
Craig Smith and Natalie someone, three times World Exhibition Champs. Boring. Get off. Bring on Tom and Camilla with a proper showdance. If Natalie had worn bacofoil we'd have had flashbacks to Lisa and Brendan *eek*. Please, Aliona, Pasha, AN Other - please do not attempt this! To be fair, it's more emotive than others we've seen, they are at least telling a story to the music instead of just chucking her around. "Len and I do that at the wrap party every year" - Claudia.
Len's Lens - Len's reaction to Harry, he had to relieve himself vocally; Craig - tens! Jason's party face; Alex's Dirty Dancing lift - trust; Bruno and Alesha dancing in their seats; Series highlights - Ola's swingathon exit reaction; Bruno whacking Alesha at Wembley; Craig - Brucie jumping onto the floor with Holly; Bruno - Craig aka Brian May; Lulu and Brendan's missed high five. The Grant - the Faces.
The Military Wives sing Wherever You Are, Vincent and Flavia accompany with a floaty and dreamy Argentine Tango flavoured beautiful ballroom routine. Stunning lifts, it's been emotional, particularly as we've arrived at the final Moment of Truth:
Eliminated: Aleames! Aw *wells up* Moving tributes to each other *wells up more* Also out: Artolly! Holly says Artem is the most incredible choreographer she's ever met. She may have used a different adjective, but someone phoned *grrrr* Insensitive jerk. Oh, she's setting us all off too. Tears are all around us.
So the Blackpool Tower Ballroom welcomes Harriona, Pashee and Jastina for the Grand Final next week, available in 3D/HD or just normal telly as usual.
The countdown starts here: Five judges (including us); Four wicked dances (each); Three nervous couples; Two dancing partners; One Glitter Ball! Bring it on!