Strictly Semi Final, Abbey and Natalie Looking Good For a Place in the Final – often on these sort of nights the hype dictates that the script will say this is the best semi final we have ever seen in this show, tonight that was actually true.
There would be little disagreement from many of the Strictly fans that between them and the judges the best 5 celebrities have made their way through to the semi final stage of series 11 of the dance competition.
Nerves looked to be running high tonight even before the couples took to the dance floor and Abbey, who is always on edge anyway, looked to be almost too nervous to come out at one stage. However if, as several sources reported before tonight’s semi, Abbey was indeed ‘terrified’ then she used that anxiety of hers to pull off her best performances of the series so far.
First on the floor tonight though was Natalie Gumede who it has to be said has not looked overawed by the show in the least. This might however go a little way to explain why she is not perhaps so popular with the public as her performances should have made her. The Strictly fans always like a few stumbles early on from their celebrities and enjoy the whole ‘journey’ from having 2 left feet to being a very good dancer.
Natalie and Artem started the show off with a brilliant Salsa to Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ which was full of great moves and was so slick and exciting that even Craig had to bring out that dusty old 10 paddle of his. As is nearly always the case when you spot a 10 from Craig you can be fairly sure that the rest of the judges will be joining him and so it was tonight and Natalie and Artem started the semi final off with a brilliant maximum 40 points.
Somewhat surprisingly Artem revealed this was actually his first 40 point score in his 4 years on the show. Although he won Series 8 of Strictly in 2010, his first time on the show, he and partner Kara Tointon only ever managed a score of 39 points.
The next 2 couples danced very well but after such a strong start from Natalie and Artem they looked to be a little way off the standard that had been set. Patrick and Anya scored 36 points for their Waltz to Unchained Melody and Sophie and Brendan scored 35 points for their Paso Doble danced to Prokofiev’s Montagues and Capulets ( perhaps better known to many BBC viewers as the theme from The Apprentice).
Next up was the celebrity who was the pre-show bookie’s favourite to lift that glitterball trophy, newsreader and presenter Susanna and her dance partner Kevin. They danced a Foxtrot to Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You that was a hit with both the audience and the judges and scored 38 points.
Finally finishing off the first half of the show tonight Abbey and Aljaz danced a Samba to George Michael’s Faith. It was a great performance and the model has never looked better on the dance floor as she showed off plenty of cleavage and her long shapely legs with a sizzling routine. In fact Bruno Tonioli appeared even more animated than usual and was raving about her performance calling the model ‘sex on legs’ and ‘like a young Brigitte Bardot.’ Craig even accused his fellow judge of being on the turn!
Abbey and Aljaz score 39 points for their Samba and are looking on course to take a place in the final.
The second set of dances tonight saw another great dance from Natalie and Artem who scored 38 points for their Argentine Tango danced to Montserrat by Bajofondo. Judges comments ranged from ‘sensual’ to a criticism that Natalie took the lead instead of Artem.
Patrick and Anya then danced a Paso Doble to Because The Night that may well prove to be their undoing. Patrick seemed ill at ease during the routine and mostly watched Anya twirl around him. The judges were not impressed and a score of 33 points looks to be sending them to tomorrow’s dance-off.
Next up it was Sophie and Brendan who danced a stylish American Smooth to The Can’t Take That Away From Me. Sophie looked poised but Brendan had the stand out move from the dance when he slid all the way down the bannister, pretty brave on a live show.Mixed comments from the judges and a total of 36 points.
Susanna and Kevin then danced a rather disappointing and messy Salsa to Move Your Feet that was a long way from her best performance. The judges agreed and her score of 32 points would surely mean an appearance in the dance-off without those loyal voting supporters of theirs. In fact it is being quoted that Susanna is actually receiving twice as many votes from the public as any of the other celebrities so we would be surprised to see her feature in tomorrow night’s dance-off.
The semi final was finished off by Abbey and Aljaz scoring another 39 points for a beautiful American Smooth danced to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Her total of 78 points from both of tonight’s dances put Abbey in joint 1st place on the leaderboard with Natalie. However unlike Susanna there is some talk that the stunning looking model has not been taken to the public’s heart and she may still be in danger of making an appearance in the dance-off. We would say on the evidence of tonight’s showing though that there is little doubt she would be put through by the judges if this happens.
So we would predict that as many people thought a few weeks ago we are likely to see an all female Strictly final this year. As always the results show is on BBC1 tomorrow evening as will be hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.