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Strictly Come Dancing 2014 semi-final recap

Catch-up on all the action from tonight’s semi-final.

Kristina Rihanoff and Simon Webbe

Strictly Come Dancing 2014 reached the semi-final stage tonight and the five remaining couples had to dance twice for the judges’ votes.

Mark Wright, Frankie Bridge, Caroline Flack, Jake Wood and Simon Webbe are so close to the final now they can practically smell it but sadly one of them won’t make it that far. In what is looking to be the closest Strictly yet, any of the five could be leaving during tomorrow’s results show.

Tonight all five couples danced two routines in a bid to secure votes from the public and points from the judges. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman oversaw the events as usual whilst Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli were on hand to offer their critiques.

Keep reading to find out how all of the couples got on…

Round 1

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

EastEnders star Jake Wood redeemed himself last week by pulling out an incredible Charleston. He showed that he can deliver and he is still at a very high standard. Kicking off his two dances tonight, Jake and his partner Janette Manrara danced the cha cha. Was he still on form or did we hear the thud thud of the EastEnders drums of doom?

The dance: Well that was a hip-shaking start to the semi-final. We could have done without all the facial expressions though Jake, this is not the Charleston. Overall it was a great dance. Jake looked a little lost in places and we’re not sure that twist worked but a decent start.

The comments: Len said that the competition has got twice as difficult and told Jake there was ‘plenty of trunk in the funk’. Bruno said it was like being at a New Year’s Eve party at the Queen Vic and told him he got hyperactive tonight. Craig said it was a bit of an ‘unruly drunken explosion’ and told him he felt it was forced. Darcey said Jake’s hips were working hard and told him there could have been snappier leg action.

The score: 30 out of 40

Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton

Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Frankie Bridge didn’t have the best week last week and ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard after doing her Salsa. The Waltzathon helped pick her score up but it was the first time in the competition we thought they might not be safe. Frankie admitted she wasn’t at her best last week but she’s been working extra hard this week. Frankie and her partner Kevin Clifton kicked off their two dances with the Rumba.

The dance: That could well be the sweetest Rumba we’ve ever seen. We’re not sure the judges are going to love the lack of raunch but we enjoyed it. We liked the Christmas theme and thought Frankie danced it beautifully.

The comments: Bruno said he felt like a child on Christmas morning telling Frankie the routine was refreshing and eye opening. Craig said it was a sterile Rumba and told Frankie it was heavy in places. Darcey said the interpretation was magic and agreed with Bruno that it was a sweet love rather than lust. Len said that he liked the little touches and told Frankie and Kevin that he saluted them.

The score: 34 out of 40

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Mark Wright couldn’t believe his luck when he sailed through to the semi-final on the public vote last week. When he heard his name he looked at Karen Hauer in complete shock. During the week Mark saw his family during training and got emotional about the support he has. Tonight Mark and Karen’s first dance was the Viennese Waltz.

The dance: We loved that routine. The Viennese Waltz isn’t the most exciting dance in the world but they got the first standing ovation of the night. Mark’s timing is impeccable and he’s come so far.

The comments: Craig said it lacked a bit of grace within the transitions and told Mark he would have liked to see it a bit smoother. Darcey said that Mark’s dancing has improved without a doubt and told him it had a wonderful quality throughout. Len said that he admires Mark so much telling him his footwork was good and that he did good tonight. Bruno said that Mark has good intentions and told him it was a nice performance.

The score: 33 out of 40

Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff

Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Blue star Simon Webbe found himself in the bottom two for the third time last weekend and he lived to dance another day after Len sent Pixie Lott home. During training Simon admitted that it was hard getting to grips with two dances and Kristina Rihanoff invited some of his Blue bandmates into training. For their first dance Simon and Kristina danced the Samba.

The dance: There were quite a few mistakes there and that’s definitely not Simon’s best effort. He really needs to pull it out of the bag with his second dance to stay in the competition and make it to that final.

The comments: Darcey said it started off fantastically until Simon got out of sync but told him she liked the solo work. Len said it was a shame that they made a mistake. Bruno said that Simon let the animal out of the cage but couldn’t get him back in. Craig said it all went horribly wrong but told him he’s got a second dance to redeem himself.

The score: 30 out of 40

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Caroline Flack topped the leaderboard for the second consecutive week last week with her Argentine Tango. During training with her partner Pasha Kovalev, Caroline admitted to struggling with the Foxtrot. To perk her up Pasha showed Caroline video messages from the public vocalising their support. For their first dance tonight Caroline and Pasha danced the Foxtrot.

The dance: There was a little slip at the start but Caroline covered it up well. That was a beautiful and unusually intense Foxtrot. We think that is going to top round 1.

The comments: Len said the dance was like a diamond explaining there was plenty of sparkle but not completely flawless. Bruno said Caroline gave a lot of emotional intensity into the Foxtrot and called her a method dancer. Craig said there is a lack of consistency with Caroline’s head placement but told her she’s a fantastic dancer. Darcey said that Caroline gave an expressiveness she’s never seen in a Foxtrot but told her that her eye line was a bit low.

The score: 35 out of 40

The leaderboard for round 1 was:

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev – 35
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton – 34
Mark Wright & Karen Hauer – 33
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff – 30
Jake Wood & Janette Manrara – 30

Round 2

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara

Jake Wood & Janette Manrara

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

After round 1 Jake is at the bottom of the leaderboard with 30, the same score as Simon Webbe. The judges reflected back on his performances saying he doesn’t have a strong technique but he’s a good performer. Jake and Janette’s second dance tonight was the Viennese Waltz.

The dance: Ballroom isn’t Jake’s strongest style and we think he could be in trouble tonight. His Viennese Waltz was a little but messy and we’re pretty sure there were some mistakes in there. Such a shame as he had so much promise at the start of the competition.

The comments: Bruno said that Jake scrubs up well but told him he had a stiff neck throughout the performance. Craig said he enjoyed it more than the first dance and told Jake he has improved his frame. Darcey said that Jake’s Ballroom isn’t at the same standard as his Latin but agreed with Craig that his frame had improved. Len said that the celebs have to come out and dance in the semi-final and told Jake he was paralysed by thinking about the technique.

The score: 31 out of 40

Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton

Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Frankie finished second on the leaderboard in round 1 and she’s topped the leaderboard four times this series. The judges talked about Frankie’s consistency with Len saying he’s never scored her less than 8. Darcey said that Frankie is better at Ballroom than Latin and commended her Wicked themed Tango. Frankie and Kevin’s second dance tonight was the Argentine Tango.

The dance: Wow! Where did that come from? There was so much content in that Argentine Tango and Frankie and Kevin absolutely killed it. That is how you make sure you get through to the final. Good work!

The comments: Craig said that Frankie brought drama with her performance and told her it was ‘incredible’. Darcey said that Frankie told a story and created intensity with Kevin. Len said it was full of mood, intensity and passion. Bruno said Frankie exceeded his expectations and he told her she was brilliant.

The score: 38 out of 40

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer

Mark Wright & Karen Hauer

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Mark had a good first round placing third on the leaderboard. The judges reflected back on Mark’s performances over the series and said that he often gets caught up in the energy of the performance. They all agreed that he’s improved massively in the past few weeks. For Mark and Karen’s second dance tonight they danced the Rumba.

The dance: Stunning! Mark has had a very good night tonight and that was a beautiful Rumba. He’s come so far in the competition and we hope that’s enough to take him through to the final. What a progression.

The comments: Darcey said it was unbelievably emotional and told Mark she felt it calling it a special dance. Len said ‘a good effort’ and criticised the choreography. Bruno said it was like ‘a nice roll in the hay’ and told Mark he didn’t think there was enough basic Rumba. Craig said that because Mark broke tradition and upset Len he absolutely loved it.

The score: 33 out of 40

Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff

Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Simon really needed to pull it out of the bag with his second dance tonight. The judges called him ‘the comeback kid’ and discussed how his confidence has really improved over the course of the competition. For his second dance, Simon danced the Foxtrot with Kristina Rihanoff.

The dance: That was a nice enough dance from Simon. Was it enough to get him through to the final? We’re not so sure. It was a better effort than his first dance of the evening.

The comments: Len said that Simon was smooth and elegant with great technique in his feet. Bruno said that Ballroom suits Simon and told him he led with conviction. Craig said ‘you’re back’. Darcey said that it would be crazy after that performance if Simon didn’t make the final.

The score: 38 out of 40

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

The last to dance again tonight was Caroline. She had a fantastic first round topping the leaderboard with her Foxtrot. Len said that Caroline is a great dancer and talked about how amazing her Charleston was. For her second dance, Caroline did the Salsa with Pasha.

The dance: Caroline gave it her all with the Salsa. She was beaming and looked really comfortable on the floor. A fun ending to the show and a solid performance. Caroline is sailing straight through to the final.

The comments: Bruno said ‘she bangs, she bangs’ and told Caroline she was fuelled by ‘sex appeal’. Craig said it was ‘very good’. Darcey said ‘wow’ and told Caroline it was ‘one hot Salsa’. Len said it was full of rhythm and told Caroline he’ll see her in the final next week.

The score: 40 out of 40

The leaderboard for round two was:

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev – 40
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton – 38
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff – 38
Mark Wright & Karen Hauer – 33
Jake Wood & Janette Manrara – 31

The leaderboard for the evening was:

Caroline Flack & Pasha Kovalev – 75
Frankie Bridge & Kevin Clifton – 72
Simon Webbe & Kristina Rihanoff – 68
Mark Wright & Karen Hauer – 66
Jake Wood & Janette Manrara – 61

Strictly Come Dancing 2014 continues tomorrow night at 7.20pm on BBC. See all of the action from today’s dress rehearsal in our gallery:

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