Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Kiely claims spot in Splash! final

Diversity's Perri Kiely has made it through to the Splash! finals

Pint-sized street dancer Perri Kiely flipped his way into the Splash! finals after a sensational double-dive on the ITV reality show.

The 18-year-old, best known for being thrown through the air during performances with urban dance troupe Diversity, soared to the top of the judges' leader board after a couple of textbook manoeuvres.

He posted the best score of the series - 27.5 out of 30 - for his first dive from 7.5m, and compounded the achievement with a technically fiendish running twist from 5m as all four contestants were instructed to complete two descents.

The dancer was joined in the last round by pop star Keith Duffy who triumphed over wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan in a splash-off. Glamour model Danielle Lloyd completed the quartet but left judges and the voting public uninspired as she exited the competition.

Perri, described by Olympic bronze medallist and co-host Tom Daley as the "stand out" diver in the competition, said he found it difficult diving without his high-strength spectacles.

But he was described as "courageous" and "fearless" by judges, with Andy Banks commending his backwards somersault from 7.5m as "nearly as professional as the European gold medallist".

Fellow panellist Leon Taylor said the teenager was "a few lessons away from being a professional".

Perri, cheered on by his Diversity colleagues at the poolside in Luton, said: "I have put so much hard work in to this, so to get a comment like that means the world."

He said he would tackle the hardest dive ever attempted on Splash! when he competes in the final in two weeks' time, where he will be joined by Irishman Keith, who progressed ahead of Michaela despite battling back spasms.

And the 39-year-old singer repeatedly gave viewers a sneaky peak at his own boy-zone after a wardrobe malfunction as his emerald green trunks sagged loose upon entry.

Really Wild Show host Michaela, who at 47 was the oldest diver left in the competition, conceded the better athlete was put through.

Former glamour model Daniella, 30, was commended for facing her fears by jumping form the higher 7.5m board after a taking to the water from a lower level for the first dive.

But the ex-Miss Great Britain, married to Wolves midfielder Jamie O'Hara, was twice guilty of over-rotation and missed out on the competition finale.

Perri and Keith will be joined in the final by two further contestants, drawn from next weekend's second semi-final.

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