There are only two weeks left for Strictly Come Dancing 2014 and this weekend the pressure is going to be almost unbearable for the five remaining couples.
For the semi-final each couple will dance two routines and they’ll have to learn them in 1 week. Someone who knows that pressure only too well is Robin Windsor who reached the semi-final back in 2012 with his partner Lisa Riley.
We caught up with Robin to talk about Pixie Lott’s shock elimination, Caroline Flack’s second week of topping the leaderboard, and the pressures of the semi-final.
Pixie Lott left the competition at the weekend. That was a bit of a shock wasn’t it?
The shock of the series so far! We’ve had a couple of shocks this series but this one was a complete shock. I think we all expected Pixie to make the final however the cha cha cha wasn’t her best dance. We’ve come to expect almost perfection from Pixie every week because she’s so good but the cha cha cha really just wasn’t a natural dance for her. Mainly I think it’s because a lot of it was done on two straight legs and she didn’t have much hip action so it was a little awkward to watch.
It doesn’t take away from it that it was actually a good dance. If anyone else had danced it to that standard we would have been wowed but we’ve come to expect amazing things from Pixie and it just didn’t pop as much as other dances have popped.
Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff also found themselves in the bottom two for the third time this series. Do you think they were the right choice to accompany Pixie at the weekend?
I knew it was going to be extremely tight and the judges have always said they will judge the dance-off purely on the dance-off. With that in mind I do think that Simon did the better job. He danced like his life depended on it. I think it was going to be a very close call. If it had been any other dance Pixie would have been straight through but unfortunately she had a dance that just wasn’t her best.
Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev topped the leaderboard for the second consecutive week. What did you make of their Argentine Tango?
For the second week running Caroline and Pasha stole the show. It was an incredible Argentine Tango. There were amazing lifts but I would have loved to see a bit more fire between the two of them. At this stage in the competition I’m only picking out little things and she was brilliant. She’s going to sail straight through to the final.
Someone who had a very good week during the quarter-final was EastEnders star Jake Wood. He came back fighting didn’t he?
Jake had me in stitches in a good way. I was laughing and his facial expressions were TV gold. The whole concept suited him down to the ground. Jake’s not the most technical dancer but he’s by far the best performer. This is a competition of not only technique but performance. If it’s based purely on performance he’d win.
Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton had their first real stumble of the series and they ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard prior to the Waltzathon. What do you think went wrong for them?
I don’t think the Salsa was perhaps Frankie’s dance. When you’re going to do lifts you really need to throw yourself into them and to me she seemed a little bit hesitant. It all felt a little bit rushed. At this stage in the game I think nerves and tiredness are starting to kick in. However, during the Waltazthon wherever on the floor she was I couldn’t stop looking at her beautiful frame. She has a lovely top line in the ballroom.
Mark Wright really is the underdog in the competition now isn’t he as we enter the semi-final on Saturday?
Mark has had the clichéd journey that we always talk about, probably more than I’ve seen in many series. He’s come to this having never danced really and he’s got better and better and better. The British public always love an underdog. Now we’re at this stage of the competition where you’ve got Mark who’s the most improved, Caroline who is the best in the girls at the Latin, Frankie who is the best in the girls at the Ballroom, Simon who is the best in the boys at the Ballroom, and Jake best in the Latin dances of the boys. I really can’t call it.
Out of the semi-finalists there are only Frankie and Jake who haven’t been in the bottom two yet…
I think nearly everybody has been at the top of the leaderboard too. We’ve got 5 couples left and every one of them has stolen the show at one point throughout the series. It’s all about what dance you’re doing. They need to think about what dances they are doing and what order they do them in. Unfortunately Pixie got a dance that wasn’t great but we’re expecting such high standards now. Everyone is going to have to up their game for the semi-final. The hardest thing is to leave in the semi-final. I was there with Lisa Riley and you want so bad to get to that final that it’s heartbreaking to go at the final hurdle.
Just to pile the pressure on further all of the couples will be dancing two routines this weekend. How hard is that for the couples?
Everyone has two dances to do for the semi-final and it’s the hardest week of the series. You have about 4 days to get both routines done and it’s a tough ask. Everyone is going to be tired but they’re going to have to just push through.
We hear you’ve got some perfect stocking filler gifts for sale ahead of Christmas…
If anyone is looking for a Strictly stocking filler or a Secret Santa gift for Christmas they can get a personalised signed photo of me from my website www.robinwindsor.com.
Strictly Come Dancing 2014 continues at 6.50pm Saturday on BBC One. Watch Caroline and Pasha’s Argentine Tango from the quarter-final: