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Strictly stars in semi-final battle

Strictly Come Dancing's semi-finalists will be decided today as the contest hots up.

It comes after the ballroom hopefuls and their pro partners yesterday mixed the lindy hop, jive and jitterbug to elbow for space on the dance floor and a place in the semi-finals in a swing-a-thon.

Cartwheeling former Coronation Street star Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev were the last pair standing as the judges knocked out their rivals.

Casualty actor Patrick Robinson and partner Anya Garnis won silver in the swing-a-thon and ended the night joint top leaders of the table.

Earlier they had performed a steamy rumba to the sound of Bruno Mars' When I Was Your Man, which provoked a mixed reaction.

"This is a ballroom, not a bedroom, it was a little bit full on," Len Goodman complained, but Darcey Bussell lavished their performance with full marks.

"You were in control of your lady," Bussell told the 50-year-old actor before dishing out a 10. "The tension and the focus you gave Anya was like none of us even existed in this room - I Ioved it."

Things are looking much less promising for Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton, who were left bottom of the table after their tango to Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal failed to impress.

"I feel that I was in a different dance to the one the judges were watching because I felt so kind of intense about it," she said.

The BBC Breakfast presenter and her partner were also the first to be booted off the swing-a-thon, leaving their chances of going further in the competition up in the air.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor played the mannequin as she performed a tango to Madonna hit Material Girl in her latest Strictly Come Dancing performance.

In order to prepare for the part, partner Brendan Cole persuaded her to practise by standing in the window of London store Harvey Nichols.

Meanwhile, Abbey Clancy celebrated her footballer husband Peter Crouch's win with Stoke City over Chelsea by performing to the club's anthem - Tom Jones's Delilah.

After her Viennese waltz, Bruno Tonioli told the Liverpudlian model: "You look like a movie star, you dance like a goddess."

Opening the show with a salsa, Hollyoaks actor Ashley Taylor Dawson and Ola Jordan scored another 35 with a risky routine which put the petite blonde's physical well-being on the line.

"I thought that if the timing went wrong you would be decapitated Ola," Bussell told the dancer.

Today's results show will feature a performance by girl group The Saturdays.


From Belfast Telegraph