Strictly Come Dancing 2017 week 12 recap: Tears, fears, tiaras and Speedos in the semi-final

Someone missed the flight to Brazil and the judges placed some unlikely bets

Ella Kemp@ella_kemp
Saturday 09 December 2017 23:36
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While high emotions and dramatic scores aren't exactly groundbreaking on Strictly Come Dancing, the semi-final still packed a lot of punch this year.

From a perfect salsa to more painfully obvious innuendos, Joe McFadden, Gemma Atkinson, Alexandra Burke, Mollie King and Debbie McGee all fought for their place in the final.

Holby City actor Joe McFadden proved his worth as the certified "Dark Horse" of the competition. He kicked off the evening with a sensational, flowing American Smooth, yet again proving the glorious and ever inspiring talent of his partner Katya Jones with an exceptionally choreographed routine.

Later returning with the second Argentine Tango to be performed by a male celebrity this year, Joe and Katya continued to impress with what could be the most astonishing final move in a performance this year.

After her second spell in the bottom two last week, singer Alexandra Burke came back on top form with both of her performances. Now more ready to win than ever, Alexandra reminded viewers "I've just got to make sure my feet are in the right place at the right time".

It seems like her mantra paid off, as she scored a near-perfect '39' for an ethereal Viennese Waltz, before further impressing with a fiery salsa, adding the second '40' of the series to this year's collection of (Christmas) crackers.

The salsa channelled everything Alexandra has been praised for in the competition so far: speed, precision - and a whole lot of disco glamour.

Not necessarily related to technique, but mentioned nonetheless, radio presenter Gemma Atkisnon was praised for her "beautiful set of pins" by head judge Shirley Ballas. In a slow and sensual rumba followed by a sharp tango, Gemma sits in the middle of the leaderboard ahead of the final.

Frontrunner Debbie McGee continued to go from strength to strength following last week's mesmerising 'Memory' routine.

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Although most judges praised her fast-paced jive, Craig Revel Horwood pointed out his struggles with the performance, dubbing it "spiky" and "stiff". And, for once, Craig and fans on Twitter agreed.

Between Debbie and Alexandra, judge Darcey Bussell promised to wear Bruno Tonioli's speedos if the singer didn't make it to the final, while Bruno took this to the next level: he placed a bet on Darcey's tutu, tiara — and no knickers.

But back in the dance competition, it seems that pop singer Mollie King had the most uneven week. Her first performance was an energetic, bright samba to a Shakira classic, but was unfortunately met with comments including "discombobulated" and advice against her timing. In case it wasn't clear enough, "you missed the flight to Brazil!", Bruno suggested.

After some disappointing scores and some conspiracy-level teasing of her potential romance with her partner AJ Pritchard, Mollie danced a romantic (gasp) waltz which earned her the title of "Pivot Queen" from Shirley.

Following a emotional round of comments, Mollie picked herself back up and scored her highest numbers yet, with a strong '32' for her waltz.

With two performances on offer, the semi-finalists showed their strengths and weaknesses in equal measure. Humour, romance and tears twirled and tangoed all over the dancefloor, with every eye on that one prize — a place in the grand final next week. Tune in tomorrow evening to find out who makes it.

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