The celebrity dancing contest’s penultimate stage saw two maximum scores, while Holly Valance and Alex Jones failed to make the final.
During his 80s pop idol incarnation, the chorus of Jason Donovan’s biggest hit declared there were “too many broken hearts in the world”. Well, Donovan himself broke two more tonight as he tango-ed into the grand final of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One).
It was semi-finals weekend and on Saturday, the remaining quintet performed two different routines – a test of stamina, versatility and the strength of their deodorant.
Donovan started with a disco dad samba and looked bound for the exit until saving himself with a steamy, spinny Argentine Tango that saw all four judges brandishing their “10” scoring paddles. Head judge Len Goodman said: "If you're going to do your best dance of the series, what better time than the semi final?"
Instead, it was Alex Jones and Holly Valance who fell at the final hurdle on Sunday’s results show. Jones’s waltz and salsa were both valiant, especially bearing in mind her bad back, but distinctly messy. Even though she’s improved enormously over the past three months, she had gone as far as she could - namely, not quite as far as her One Show co-host Matt Baker, a finalist last year. Jones looked a nervous wreck tonight, sweetly emotional and croaky-voiced, but said upon her exit that she and partner James Jordan had “laughed 80% of the time” in training, which must have made it tricky to get much work done. Less hilarity, more hoofing and who knows?
Valance was the other glamorous female to bow out. She opened with an Argentine Tango full of gorgeous lines, then followed it with a contemporary take on the Charleston, cleverly choreographed by partner Artem Chigvintsev. She can consider herself unlucky. If compatriot Donovan hadn’t come up trumps, she might have been slinking her leggy way up to Blackpool, but it wasn’t to be. She now goes home to mega-rich boyfriend Nick Candy. To paraphrase Mrs Merton’s question to “the lovely” Debbie McGee: I wonder what first attracted Valance to the billionaire property developer?
Harry Judd and Chelsee Healey breezed through to the Blackpool final and look to be in a two-way battle for the glitterball trophy. Judd’s marks err on the side of generous and he’s a tad dull, yet he missed out on a maximum by a single point – not once but twice, as both his Charleston and Viennese Waltz got 39 points from the judges.
Healey, meanwhile, started with a romantic American Smooth, then got a perfect 40 for her passionate Paso Doble with a flamenco twist. Judgely panto dame Craig Revel Horwood described the Waterloo Road starlet as "gob-smackingly good". She got adorably excited when she was put through, too.
Elsewhere, there were some scantily-clad group dances from the professionals, soul sensation Aloe Blacc made an impressively slick guest appearance and the military wives from Gareth Malone’s latest BBC series performed their Christmas song Wherever You Are, which was both rousing and moving. Malone, conducting, got the loudest cheer of the night. Wonder if he can dance?
And for the second week running, Revel Horwood was unnervingly complimentary in his comments. He’d better have some extra-sharp festive barbs saved up for Blackpool or we’ll be demanding a slice of our licence fee back.