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Recap: Strictly Come Dancing 2012 semi-final

All the action from this year’s semi-final in our recap.

Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor

Strictly Come Dancing has also reached its climax for 2012 and tonight the remaining five couples fought for their place in next week’s live final.

Last week Denise Van Outen found herself in the bottom two but claimed victory over Nicky Byrne to dance for another week. Could she stay out of the bottom two this weekend? Each couple had to perform two routines in the hopes of winning over the judges and the public.

Kicking off the 2012 semi-final was Dani Harmer and her partner Vincent Simone. Last week Dani impressed with her combination of the Quickstep and the Charleston. Tonight Dani expressed concern over having to learn two dances. First up was the American Smooth. Could Dani soar to the top of the leaderboard? Len said the more he sees Dani dance the more he likes her and called the routine ‘fabulous’. Bruno said the footwork was very good and the flair of the side-by-side sections was great. Craig said he liked the beginning part but criticised Dani’s head positioning above her head. Darcey said there was a lovely quality all the way through but said she missed a little bit of sparkle.

Second to dance tonight was Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace. Last week Louis’ fusion of the Rumba and the Tango wowed the judges and scored him fantastic points. Tonight the couple danced the Jive for their first dance of the evening. Bruno said the crowd was ‘falling in love’ with him and said his improvement as a performer was incredible but admitted he thought the kicks and flicks lacked precision. Craig said he agreed about the performance but criticised Louis’ snaps and feet placement. Darcey said the routine was ‘fun’ but said Louis needed more strength in his kicks but admitted she was expecting more. Len said the routine didn’t cut it and felt it was too ‘casual’ with a loss of speed throughout.

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Denise Van Outen found herself in the bottom two with partner James Jordan last week after their Jive and Quickstep fusion. Thankfully they survived after Nicky Byrne left the competition following the judges’ votes. Dancing the Tango could the couple keep themselves out of the bottom two? Craig said the routine got off to a flying start and carried on with gusto. Darcey said the attack was ‘extraordinary’ but said some of the kicks had a bent leg. Len argued that some of the other judges’ comments were trivial and said once the routine went into hold he saw a ‘proper Tango’. Bruno said the Tango was fantastic and said the build-up was sensational.

Kimberley Walsh was the fourth onto the dance floor and last week she scored a perfect 40 for her Tango and Cha Cha fusion. The first dance for the evening was the American Smooth. Could Kimberley and her partner Pasha Kovalev get another perfect score? Darcey said Kimberley looked like a film star on the floor and said she loved it. Len said he got a bit of fever but would have liked more ballroom hold in the routine. Bruno said that Kimberley could cause an ‘epidemic’ and said the way that she interprets the music is fantastic. Craig said he would put the routine on stage in one of his shows.

The fifth couple to dance was Lisa Riley and her professional partner Robin Windsor. Last week Lisa got a mixed reception from the judges for her Tango and Cha Cha fusion. Regardless the couple sailed through on the public vote into the semi-final. Could their first dance of the evening, the Salsa, land them in the final? Len said that Lisa makes him into a ‘happy chappy’ but said the technique was a bit laboured. Bruno called Lisa a ‘good-time girl’ and said it was pointless making a technical assessment saying he loved it. Craig laughed hysterically and couldn’t pass comment. Darcey said the ‘energy’ was fabulous but said she ‘loved’ her.

Dani Harmer returned to the floor for her second dance of the evening. Her first dance saw her land in the middle of the leaderboard but could her second dance help her climb the leaderboard? With partner Vincent Simone, Dani danced the Argentine Tango.  The audience gave the couple a standing ovation but what did the judges think? Len said he loved the start without music and said Dani ‘stole’ his heart. Bruno said that Dani has become ‘the lady of the night’ and commented that the execution was ‘clean and precise’. Craig said that Vincent had taught Dani well. Darcey said she would have liked more strength in the legs but said it was an impressive performance.

Louis Smith was next to prove that he has what it takes to get through to the final. He scored joint-bottom in the leaderboard for his Jive but could his second dance help him climb? In an attempt to impress the judges Louis danced the Foxtrot with his partner Flavia Cacace. Craig made a thumb gesture suggesting that Louis’ thumbs still needed work but said he loved it. Darcey said the routine was ‘superb’ and said Louis made it look easy. Len said he thought the rise and fall wasn’t smooth enough but agreed that Louis’ performance was strong. Bruno called it ‘smooth, elegant and graceful’ claiming that Louis was ‘back on top’.

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Denise Van Outen was next to try her dancing skills on the judges and the audience at home. In her first dance she shot to the top of the leaderboard and it’s clear that she’s one of the judges’ favourites. For her second dance she danced the Rumba with her partner James Jordan. Darcey said that Denise has ‘the most stunning arms’ but commented that the story wasn’t passionate enough. Len said the final wouldn’t be a proper final without Denise. Bruno said he was ‘deeply moved’ by Denise’s Rumba. Craig said the storytelling was ‘fantastic’ but said he missed Denise’s hip action.

Kimberley Walsh and her partner Pasha Kovalev returned to the dance floor to perform for the second time this evening. For her first dance Kimberley came second on the leaderboard and over the series she’s established herself as one of the best dancers in the competition. Len’s admitted that he loves her but could she win over the public with her second dance? Dancing the Charleston Kimberley was hoping that she could soar up the leaderboard but did she impress the judges? Len said it was ‘fun’ and ‘happy-go-luck’ saying Kimberley was flying ‘first-class’. Bruno said Kimberley looked good from every angle. Craig simply said ‘fabulous’. Darcey said Kimberley was a ‘naughty flapper’ and commented on how difficult the routine was.

The last couple to dance tonight was Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor. For their first dance there was a few mistakes but their energy won through. If they wanted to get through to next week’s final the couple had to up their game. For their second dance the couple danced the American Smooth Foxtrot. The audience loved it and gave Team RiRo a standing ovation. Bruno said the routine had plenty of ‘jazz and pizazz’. Craig said he loved all the stylised Fosse parts of the routine and said he loved watching her dance. Darcey said that Lisa was the ‘next musical star’ and commented that she matched Robin well. Len said he thought he saw Lisa’s ‘razzle dazzle’ when she kicked her leg up and admitted she’s the ‘people’s champion’.

The leaderboard for the evening was:

Kimberley Walsh and Pasha Kovalev – 78

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Denise Van Outen and James Jordan – 77

Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone – 72

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace – 69

Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor – 63

Tune into the Strictly results show at 6.50pm tomorrow night to find out which couple leaves the competition.

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