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Brendan Cole on Strictly: Have this year's winners already claimed the trophy?

It won't be long before we find out...

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Who doesn't like a themed week on Strictly! I for one love them and I always think we see better dances from both the celebrities and professionals, from choreography to colour, the detail in the dance and attention to detail within everyone’s theming is normally spot on. The celebs also get into character which normally helps. I have to start with Stacey and Kevin. Last week they danced a very strong Paso which possibly guaranteed them a spot in the final and last night I think they all but engraved their names on the trophy! Superb choreography and an emotional and dramatic piece of theatre, the perfect recipe for a musicals special and the choice of Le Miserablés…perfect! I believe the show have wanted them to do well from the start and have given them the best of everything but they still have to deliver and deliver they did. She was by no means technically perfect but he has been clever and their journey has been a dream. Watch this space.

Stacey and Kevin gave a great performance

Another lovely performance from a big night at the theatre was AJ and Lauren. They opened the solo performances with South Pacific. Occasionally she comes alive and really gets what she is there to do and I am loving their blossoming chemistry on the dance floor. Again, technically not perfect but the feeling between them and brilliant choreography from AJ gave them a really beautiful dance that you just wanted to be a part of. I still have the same critique for them though. Lauren's transitions between movements and lack of foot detail really bother me. If they could recognise this and go some way to fixing it, it would change everything but with just two shows left and with many strong contestants around them, I fear that it may not be enough to save them should they find themselves in the bottom two!

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I love AJ and Lauren's chemistry

One of my favourite couples this year (and from the very first show) have been Faye and Giovanni. I have loved everything that they’ve done so far. However, as well as they executed their Charleston to The Sound of Music’s 'Yodeladyyodeladyooo', they didn't dance enough in this one for my liking. Where's Len when you need him? 24 seconds before they took a step, even though it was clever, is too long. 37 seconds before they touch, too long and just not enough Charleston. I still loved it, still love them and she’s still my favourite but on a night when marking is so high across the board, there needs to be a real honesty from the four with the power and sometimes I feel that they get carried away. In fact my only real issue on what was a great night in the Ballroom are the high scores still being given for dances that were either lacking in content or poorly executed, especially when it comes to technique. I know one can be excited by a theme or an emotional feeling within a dance but ultimately, if the aspects of what make that dance a dance are lacking or badly executed then that should be reflected in the scores and comments. One point too many can really help when things are so tight which can make the difference between someone being safe or dancing for their semi-final lives!

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Faye and Giovanni didn't dance enough for my liking

Charles and Karen danced a Rumba to the song Maria from West Side Story. I had to watch this twice to find out if I actually liked it or not and it turns out that I really liked it. Initially when I watched, there was something odd about the legs and feet throughout the dance which is what threw me. Legs in Rumba have to work against each other which is what helps create the action within the dance and allows the feet to caress the floor and push from foot to foot. This was lacking for me and Charles was somewhat pigeon toed throughout but what he did do was to be completely in the dance. His emotion, the way they danced every step completely focussed on her, his strength and power, strong but soft, it was actually a lovely number.

Charles and Karen's dance was really nice

On to Strictly's most polished performer ever. Ashley really is a beautiful dancer and I loved seeing her in this pretty, soft, elegant look as she and Pasha danced the Quickstep to Funny Girl’s 'Don’t Rain On My Parade'. My critique here is with my old mate Pash! The choreography was way too quick and seemed to be in front of the music and actually not particularly phrased properly. Sorry PK, just my opinion, but it needed to slow down and breath. She matched him perfectly and nailed everything to perfection (apart from her left arm which the judged picked up on). I still loved the number and love the partnership.

Ashley and Pasha dance the Quickstep

Joe and Dianne certainly performed out of their dream coat skins with their rendition of Joseph. The look was great and his personality suited the role. I really liked the choreography but not sure the execution was there. It didn't have a smooth, earthy feel which Salsa needs but it was flamboyant as you'd expect from a technicolour theme! In my opinion, there isn’t enough work going in to the actual dancing but the judges don’t seem to care about that so I guess overall it was a great way to finish the show and he is very likeable!

Joe and Dianne were the final pair to dance

The marks throughout the show were high and the leader board tight which means that no one is safe this week with just 3 points separating the top and bottom. Once the Audience vote is added the leader board could potentially flip on its head. This happened last week and I’d expect much of the same for tonight’s results. Should be a very tense results show indeed!

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