Strictly celebrities battle it out for a place in the semi-finals

Strictly Come Dancing contestants received mostly positive reviews from the judges in the final week of the competition as they battled to secure a place in the semi-finals.

this week’s Strictly show was moved a day early from Saturday to Friday due to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Coronation Street actor Will Mellor and presenter Helen Skelton received the highest scores from the judges, both receiving 39 points during musical week.

This makes it the second week that Mellor, 46, has won top spot in the chart as he received widespread praise from the judges for his slow and emotional foxtrot to Miss Saigon’s Sun And Moon.

Shirley Ballas, 62, applauded the “heartfelt performance from the soul” along with his footwork.

Anton Du Beke also said that Mellor got a complicated dance move, the three steps, right, which “nobody does”.

After Skelton and her partner Gorka Marquez performed a spirited and fun couple’s choice – meaning they didn’t have to do a traditional dance this time – to Cabaret’s Mein Herr, they received a standing ovation from the Ballas.

Ballas told the 39-year-old: “Am I looking at a mummy of three children?

“Am I watching a young lady who has grown from a timid shy girl from the first week to this sensual performance.

“It gave me goosebumps…it was a memory I will cherish forever.”

Since being in the Strictly dance-off last week, radio presenter Fleur East and her dance partner Vito Coppola returned to form with a quick quickstep to An American In Paris’s I Got Rhythm.

The 35-year-old singer received a standing ovation from judges Ballas and Motsi Mabuse, while Du Beke, 56, said “as far as I’m concerned, you’re in” for next week’s semi-final.

Mabuse, 41, said: “At the end of the day, we sprinkle a little magic on top (the end of the show) and that was you.”

Both East and fellow singer Molly Rainford earned 38 points for their performances.

Rainford, 22, and her partner Carlos Gu performed an upbeat Charleston to Chicago’s Hot Honey Rag and also received a standing ovation from Ballas and Mabuse.

Ballas said: “What a way to open the show, I wasn’t expecting it … it looked like you were having a ball.”

She was criticized by Craig Revel Horwood, 57, for her ‘low elbow’ but also praised for her transformation as a dancer during the competition.

Meanwhile, wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin scored 36 points for his samba to The Lion King’s They Live in You with his professional partner Jovita Przystal.

The 32-year-old received a standing ovation from Mabuse, who said he had made her “happy”, while Du Beke said he was “a bit overwhelmed” by the performance.

Horwood said it was “brilliant” but criticized Yassin for some of his technique.

Former Hear’Say singer Kim Marsh, who returned to the dance floor after having to miss last week’s show after testing positive for Covid-19, came bottom with 34 points.

The 46-year-old, who is also a former Coronation Street actress, performed a spirited Eighties-style cha-cha to Fame from Fame with her partner Graziano Di Prima.

Mabuse said she was “shining all the time” but said she would “like more rotation” as she said Marsh was “back with a bang”.

Meanwhile, Ballas said: “There’s no hiding behind a suit here (in leotard) … you haven’t missed a beat.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.

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