Belfast Telegraph

Who will get their hands on the Glitterball trophy?

With just five couples left on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, we take a closer look at the celebrities battling it out in the ballroom and the standout moments of this year's series so far

Strictly Come Dancing's class of 2018 has only five couples left battling it out for Glitterball glory. Casualty star Charles Venn was the 10th celebrity to leave the BBC One series after taking on the dreaded rumba, going up against Ashley Roberts in the dance-off.

With time running out to impress on the dancefloor, we look at which celebrities are left and other highlights from this year's show so far.

Famous Five

Roberts (37) and professional partner Pasha Kovalev have survived the dance-off twice. Their most recent score of 38 was for their quickstep to Don't Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl during Musicals Week.

Steps star Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice landed top of the leaderboard for their Sound Of Music-themed Charleston, which earned them a perfect score of 40.

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Faye Tozer with Giovanni Pernice

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton danced the American smooth to I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables, and also ended on a score of 38.

YouTuber Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell danced a vibrant salsa to the Joseph Megamix from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, notching up a score of 36.

Paralympian Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard earned their highest score of the series so far - 35 - for their American smooth to I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy from the musical South Pacific.

Series highlights so far

Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules scored the first 10 of the current series for an energetic jive to Flip, Flop And Fly by Ellis Hallby.

He and Amy Dowden went on to become the seventh couple to be eliminated from the series after losing in the dance-off to Oti Mabuse and cricketer Graeme Swann.

The first perfect full score of 40 was earned by Roberts and Kovalev during the prestigious Blackpool leg of the series. The couple topped the leaderboard after a jive which Bruno Tonioli said had made "Strictly history".

Scandalous snog

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Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
 

The current series has not been without its fair share of headlines. Comedian and Strictly contestant Seann Walsh was photographed kissing professional dance partner Katya Jones, who is married, on the street during a night out.

The pair apologised on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two.

Walsh was publicly dumped by his girlfriend, actress Rebecca Humphries, in the wake of the scandal.

The Sugg life

Sugg (27) was a hot topic when the line-up was announced as he is the first vlogger to appear on Strictly.

He said he had been expecting the mixed reaction to his inclusion. "I know Strictly attracts a lot more of an older audience in the past, so I know there was a lot of people that aren't going to have a clue who I am," he added.

"I thought that if they have kids or grandkids or a niece or nephew or stuff, there's more of a chance (of them going), 'Ah okay, it's the guy that you watch on YouTube and stuff'. But it's been fine.

"I knew it would happen and what I'm really excited about, and one of the things that also made me really want to do this show, is the... thought of getting a younger generation and the old generation on a Saturday night together in front of the TV watching something together as a family. That's the goal."

Hopping about

Strictly judge Shirley Ballas apologised to professional dancer Karen Clifton after referring to her by the wrong name.

The confusion came as the judges faced a technical glitch during a live show when the iPad they were using to read scores for a group Lindy hop performance crashed.

Ballas called Clifton "Dianne" - a mistake believed to have been caused by confusing her with fellow dancer Dianne Buswell - when revealing the score for Clifton's routine with actor Charles Venn.

Talking about the incident on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Ballas said: "I did apologise to Karen, and she took it with a great sense of humour. It was just live TV."

Strictly Tour 2019

Stacey Dooley, Joe Sugg and Dr Ranj Singh have been confirmed as the first stars lined up for next year's Strictly Come Dancing UK Arena Tour.

This time, documentary maker Dooley will dance with Aljaz Skorjanec, instead of Kevin Clifton, who will be making his debut in the UK tour of musical Rock Of Ages.

The Strictly judges - Shirley Ballas, Dame Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli - have also confirmed they'll appear on the tour, which will be hosted by Strictly 2016 champion Ore Oduba.

Christmas special

This year's festive episode of Strictly (which airs on BBC One on Christmas Day) sees Anton du Beke reunited with previous partner Ann Widdecombe. She made it up until week 10 of the competition in 2010 when she was partnered with Du Beke.

The winner of 2014's series, Caroline Flack, is also returning to the glamour of the ballroom for the programme, and will be paired with Gorka Marquez. Anita Rani, who appeared on the show in 2015, will dance with Neil Jones, and 2017 competitor Aston Merrygold will be paired with Janette Manrara.

Also returning are EastEnders star Jake Wood and former England captain Michael Vaughan.

The remaining five couples will next take to the dancefloor on Saturday when Strictly Come Dancing continues at 6.35pm.

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