Saturday 24 August 2019

Claudia Fragapane quicksteps out of Strictly semi-final

AJ Pritchard and Claudia Fragapane
AJ Pritchard and Claudia Fragapane

Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane has narrowly missed out on a place in the Strictly Come Dancing final as she became the 12th celebrity to depart the dance floor.

Fragapane got the boot after facing actor Danny Mac in the dance-off, but credited the show for boosting her confidence.

After hearing the news she said: "I can't believe I made it this far to be honest. Everyone is so lovely and I'm just so happy that I've made it this far and everyone has just been incredible people, and to come out and not be as confident as I was, I feel like a different person now, all thanks to this show."

All four couples left in the competition performed two routines in the semi-final.

Fragapane and her professional partner AJ Pritchard opted to perform their quickstep to When You're Smiling by Andy Williams in the dance-off, and Mac and his partner Oti Mabuse chose to repeat their American smooth to Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore.

The judges unanimously opted to save Mac, who has topped the leaderboard in previous weeks and was the first contestant in the history of the show to score a perfect 40 for a samba.

Paying tribute to Pritchard, Fragapane said: " Oh you have been absolutely amazing, you really have pushed me to the best of my ability. You have been so lovely to me and you've really boosted my confidence and it's all thanks to you."

Pritchard told host Tess Daly: "I'm just so proud of her, so proud of how far you've come and just how confident you are now. Thank you."

After the dance-off, judge Craig Revel Horwood said both couples were worthy of full marks, before opting to save Mac and Mabuse.

His fellow panellist Darcey Bussell added: "Both performed to such an outstanding level and it makes it very hard to choose," while Bruno Tonioli also praised both couples but said Mac and Mabuse had " an edge in artistry and emotional impact".

Head judge Len Goodman said he was in agreement with his fellow judges.

On Saturday sports presenter Ore Oduba reached the top of the leaderboard for the first time since week five.

The BBC broadcaster, who had no dancing experience before taking part in the competition, received his best ever scores with partner Joanne Clifton.

Oduba, whose parents had flown over from Nigeria to watch from the studio audience, scooped a combined 77 for his two dances.

Next Saturday, Oduba, Mac and singer Louise Redknapp will perform three routines in the battle to lift the glitterball trophy in the show's grand final.

They will perform their favourite dance, the judges' choice, and a spectacular show dance, in a bid to win the viewers' votes.

Fans will also be treated to group performances, musical moments and surprises as the series draws to a close.

It has been reported that Goodman, who will depart the show after the final but will appear in the pre-recorded Christmas special, will be putting on his dancing shoes for the event.

Strictly Come Dancing - The Final will air on December 17 at 6.40pm on BBC One.

PA Media

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