Zoe Ball talks to the lucky couple who managed to avoid elimination at the weekend. In Choreography Corner Natalie Lowe takes a closer look at the weekend's performances.
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This is Strictly It Takes Two!
Please welcome your host, Zoe Ball.
Hello, and welcome to It Takes Two !
After waving goodbye to Darvood
and Nadiya last night, all eyes
are on the semifinal.
And the countdown starts here.
They secured their place
on Sunday night after
a show-stopping dance-off.
It's the supercalifragilisticexpi...
Alexandra and Gorka!
And, hoping to be practically
perfect in the Pro Challenge,
it's Brendan Cole!
But first, like a spoonful of sugar
she helps the medicine go
Natalie Lowe returns
for Choreography Corner!
Give it up for Natalie
Always gorgeous, you look amazing.
Was Musicals Week
a smash hit for you?
It was a smash hit, unbelievable,
the props, lighting, hair, make-up.
They really complimented the
routine. All the extra dancers.
Let's start with Alexandra
and Gorka's Charleston.
Somehow they still ended
up in the bottom two.
Even though the judges couldn't
tell who the pro was!
Just how polished was this routine?
I said the same, she is
unbelievable. Her swivelling action,
she danced her socks off, her energy
levels in her legs were
unbelievable, we have some footage
It takes a lot of power to have that
height through the lakes. Incredible
swivelling action which I've never
seen on any other celebrity. Amazing
characterisation. She was like Santa
Claus, she kept on giving.
And it went on, the energy.
What next. It was continuous. One of
the best Charleston dancers I have
Debbie and Giovanni's
American Smooth next.
They were praised
for their storytelling.
What made it so memorable?
for their storytelling.
For me, it was just an immaculate
performance, and it was magical from
beginning to end, I felt transported
and transfixed. Her poise, elegance,
the support she is giving herself
because Giovanni is not really there
for her, a lot of it was out of
holes. She is exquisite. Moving
forward I would like to see her have
a bit more fullness through the
frame, with her online is in
tension, with purpose. I want more
extension. She has some great
dancers next week so she can express
herself more in her upper body.
Next up, Mollie and AJ's rumba.
Mixed comments for this one.
And an illegal lift!
Craig thought she was
"dancing by numbers".
What did he mean by that?
I loved it as well. For me, because
the music was so slow, it was just
like, two, three,... She was
stepping to the beat. If she was
settling into the hip, if she had
thought about the, and three, and
Argue OK. I am following, I am
-- are you locate?
Can I just show you?
I think you need to, it it is time.
With that section we slowed down, it
was very sideways. Counting slowly.
A bit better performed than that.
You need to think about the figure
eight action, as you are closing
Oh! That is how it is done,
Years to perfect that. I thought the
lift worked for them. You need to
pull out all the stops.
Even though it was illegal.
On to Gemma and Aljaz who opened
the show with a quickstep.
The judges were divided on
characterisation versus technique.
What did you think?
She looked like $1 million, she came
out firing on all cylinders as you
should. They were first out. I loved
this combination of flicks, she
needed a lot of upper body strength
to make it look elegant.
I do feel like there was quite a lot
of content which overrode her
She came out firing, lost it in the
middle, a bit of frame
characterisation. And energy. But
she finished strong. So much to
think about coming in her defence,
syncopation, there are other dancers
on the floor.
But I thought she did a good
I loved the big finish.
And finally, let's talk about Joe
and Katya's cabaret-inspired samba.
Why was this concept
so on the money?
People loved it. I see what you did
For me, this was a really risky
song, for a samba there needs to be
a take action, the music didn't give
that for me. I think Katya is a
genius with her technical ability
and the way she teaches. That
enabled this routine to shine and
get top marks. He had some fantastic
action. Better action than I have
seen on any male celebrity doing the
That is good! I think I have a
little demo to do.
Again, it is about the mid section
and utilising the full beat of the
music. He had a moment where he
You don't normally see this
settling, this contraption and
rotation section through the hip. Do
you want to see it again?
I think that was amazing.
at the wedding, getting married!
Now, the Strictly playlist
is endless, but we don't
just pop it on shuffle.
Our songs are carefully selected
to bring sweet music to your ears.
So, without further ado,
it's time for Tunes On Tuesday.
One of my favourites. It is
And I reckon this next
song is really going
to get us in the mood.
MUSIC: I'm So Excited.
It's I'm So Excited,
by the Pointer Sisters!
Released in 1984, it just missed out
on the top ten, but has
since become a club classic!
Now, if like three-quarters
of Brits, you don't feel
like you're getting
enough excitement in your life,
here are some top tips on how
to boost your excitement levels.
Get out of bed right away!
Find wonder in the most
It's all so exciting!
We can't contain
ourselves any longer.
Who's going to be dancing to this?
It's Debbie and Giovanni.
And they'll be dancing a jive.
Thank you. Give it up for Gorka and
Right, what's next?
MUSIC: Have You Met Miss Jones?
It's Have You Met Miss Jones?
Originally recorded in 1937,
this classic has been
sung by Frank Sinatra,
Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett,
to name a few.
But it's the Robbie Williams'
version we're interested in.
As featured on the soundtrack
to Bridget Jones's Diary!
Thanks to that very film,
sales of granny knickers
went through the roof!
So, who'll be hoping to charm
the pants off the judges with this?
Look at them, it is a beautiful
thing. Thank you
Let's find out.
The clue was in the title all along.
It's Joe and Katya...
They'll be dancing
an American Smooth.
Natalie and Hawker, beautiful work.
Right, time for one last song.
Finally, a CeCe Peniston song!
This was released in 1991
when it reached number one
in the Billboard charts.
CeCe penned this song in college.
She wasn't dating much,
and tried to imagine
what her future man
look like when she finally met him.
Well, it worked a treat because,
not long after, she got her man!
Who will be hoping to strike gold
with this on Saturday?
It's Alexandra and Gorka!
And what will you be
dancing to this epic tune?
We can't wait.
To find out the rest of the songs,
head over to the Strictly website.
Now, enough of that
semifinal nonsense, we've
got bigger fish to fry!
It's time for the Pro Challenge!
This year, the Pro Challenge
is heading back to the Roaring '20s
where our pros will attempt to set
a record for the most Charleston
swivel steps in 30 seconds.
To qualify, our pros
have to complete
one forward and one backward step.
If there is no swivel in the feet
or ankles, or if they fail
to complete the forward and backward
will be disqualified.
The challenge will be
the hardest and most
technical our pros have faced.
But only one person
can claim the title.
Welcome to the Strictly
Pro Challenge 2017.
Time to welcome our next contender.
He hails all the way
from Christchurch, New Zealand
where, at the age of six,
he took his first dance steps.
Years later, he would win
the first ever series
of Strictly Come Dancing.
Give it up for the
legendary Brendan Cole!
Here he comes!
Thank you so much.
15 series of Strictly.
That's a lot of swivels.
Surely your entire career has been
building to this challenge?
Yes, I can tell.
Listen, I'm always want to see, it
doesn't really matter this Pro
Challenge. Deep down, it does, but
I'm not very good.
I go for quality and not quantity.
I like that.
If you don't mind me saying,
you are a veteran among the pros.
Have they been showing
you the respect you deserve?
On this show, you must be joking! I
have a great relationship with
everyone on the show.
The prose on the show, we all love
each other and help each other.
When it comes to the Pro Challenge,
the elbows are out. Have you seen
Katia? She has a look on her face,
what to do?
She is top of the Leader Board.
What are you hoping for?
to be at the bottom. I don't believe
in trying to beat Katia because she
might kill me. I muffled it in the
Shall we see?
My tactic is
to use these bounty little legs and
go faster than anyone else. Who
There he is, hello, Brendan, welcome
to the Pro Challenge.
How are you feeling?
Just because you are one of the more
mature prose we still eat you can do
this. We still think!
I am going to give this my best,
don't you worry.
Take your position on the dance
OK. Your official attempt begins...
Come on, Brendan, keep going. Push
it. Keep the swivel.
15 seconds. Shut up!
Not you, personally.
Keep the swivel.
I am too old for this.
What happened there? I don't know.
I'd like another crack at that but
we only get one chance, that is a
Thank you for joining in. Thank you,
Today I put on my lucky Charleston
shoes and frankly, they are going in
That made me laugh a lot.
get one chance, do not miss your
It made me look much better.
I know I stumbled in the middle, it
was pretty atrocious. That was
It was very funny. Have you
thrown away your Charleston shoes
because I would have given you a
They are gone, they are
in the bin.
I'm legally required to inform
you that, after each
of the professionals had
made their attempt, the footage
was watched back by adjudicators
in slow motion to verify every
single swivel to make sure
they were all accurate.
You finished a little more
horizontal than you may've liked.
Did you underestimate the challenge?
I did, I didn't practice, I didn't
go in to it with the steely
determination to win. It's the
taking part that counts, children.
Exactly. I cannot give you in
suspense any longer.
Shall I lean
Yes. In 30 seconds, you
21 Charles Dance swivels.
to commercial! .
To commercial. Of
course, there were some
disqualifications. There were 14
illegal steps, giving you a total of
seven. You did say you wanted to be
top or bottom of the Leader Board.
You got your wish, it came true.
want a recount!
And now for something
When you think of computer game duos
some legendary partnerships
spring to mind - Mario &
Luigi, Sonic & Tails.
Chloe and Neil.
Kneel and I have come along to a
motion capture studio where they
create animations for video games.
I've always wanted to be in
a video, maybe I could be a warrior
or a superhero.
OK, Neil, we're on
Strictly, we are going to be
But maybe we could be
dancing super heroes.
on, let's go.
In fact we are going
to be starring in a dancing game.
Nick is going to be showing us the
What I need you to do first
is go and get suited up and when you
get back I will explain everything
we are going to do.
I feel like a
You look like ping-pong
That is mean, let's get on with
it. Why have I got so many ping-pong
balls all over meat?
The six to two
cameras in this theatre are
calibrated and working as one hand
they track the markers on your
bodies so we can capture the
I was expecting a green
screen so how does this work?
don't do Green screen stuff anymore
that was way back. It is 2007 Tina
Maze and computer technology
tracking you using the markers.
Do some practice moves to
see of the calibration is working
and then we will do some of the
Cool, definitely. Let's go,
Do that one.
around you, girl.
So, Nick, is this what you are
looking for, this type of thing?
was kind of looking for the Viennese
OK, come on, Chloe, let's
Awesome, looks great, thank you.
With the filming complete its over
to Nick and his team to work their
magic and put us into the game.
we have got the footage for the
motion capture studio it comes back
and we can look at it on the
computer. What we can see here is
the skeleton is dancing around the
floor and in the game you have to
wrap the skin around the skeletons
of Neil and Chloe. Next stage is we
start to add finer details. We have
to tailor the facial expressions to
the dance. So, for example, if it
was the tango it would be serious,
whereas with the Viennese waltz it
is much happier and smiling. The
last stage is to put a bit of colour
into the characters, and at this
point it starts to feel like the
characters are coming to life.
So there you have it, that's how the
magic happens, and how you transform
us dancing into the video game.
Chloe and kneel, that's amazing. --
Time to welcome my final guests.
They survived their second
dance off to earn a
place in the semifinal
with a Charleston
that was quite simply.
He almost got it!
It's Alexandra and Gorka!
Practically perfect in every
possible way. Well done.
of detail you gave us, I mean, it
didn't stop, you didn't even take a
You had better swivel than
Gorka in that, actually. I
absolutely loved it, brilliant.
Alexandra and Gorka! Amazing stuff.
I think Bruno put it perfectly when
he said your Charleston was the show
stopper everyone was waiting for. It
was awesome, how much fun did you
I had so much fun, for me the
Charleston is the one dance when I
was always saying to Gorka let's do
energetically and I'm always quite
hyper so he was giving me every
trick in the world to see if I could
do it and it was so much fun and it
was brilliant, I loved it.
love to re-enact those moves at
home. There you are joint top of the
Leader Board and then you go into
the bottom two. Last week you said
it was a shock, wasn't a shock, you
kind of expected it but this week I
could feel the pain on your little
face when it happened.
It's a scary
place to be and at this point in the
show as well, everybody wants to
make it that next step. I was really
frightened and so, you know when you
feel you haven't done your partner
proud and that's how I felt. I
always want to do Gorka crowd and I
felt we had such a great week and
performance, we felt we did, we got
great encouraging comments, and it
is a scary place.
It is a tough one.
Gorka, for you, when she has done
such an amazing performance, got
great comments from the judges, when
told you are in the bottom two, how
do you pick Alexandra up and get her
to go out there?
She's the one who
picks me up because she is such a
strong woman, because I was like,
OK, whatever but she was positive
and like, whatever, let's do it and
we both love the dance and wanted to
enjoy it and we take the positive
side, let's do it again and have
fun. So she's very positive and
strong so it's very good.
were in disbelief when that happens
as well. Why don't people vote? What
do you think?
I don't know, you just
can't take that moment for granted.
We were at the top of the Leader
Board at that point but maybe
they'll pull think you are safe and
that's why they don't vote for
survival was said it come I can't
stress enough, the votes really do
matter. It really matters no matter
where you are in the Leader Board.
We have to encourage people to
My friends want to
vote but they live in Spain.
them over, Gorka, it would be worth
it. Also, you said you have been
treated for an injury as well. Tell
us about that.
before we went on for the actual
show I injured my leg, my left hip,
so I was industry -- in excruciating
pain during the dance. And the
dance-off, I just had to go for it.
You are amazing.
Like a pro dancer. Craig said your
swivel was better than Gorka's and
it shows how good a teacher he is.
It's better than his too.
You could have done the
Pro Challenge. You were swivelling
in your sleep?
Yes, to be honest, I
think I was over thinking everything
that we could because I just wanted
to go out there and have the best
time. I'm sorry but the Charleston,
if anybody in life gets the chance
to practice a Charleston it's the
happiest dance you will ever do. You
get to go into a little world of
your own and it's so much fun.
Someone is doing it in the audience
Darcey compel you
to a professional and when you hear
that from a prima ballerina that has
got to be good.
It's amazing, I'm
having the best experience with
Gorka and loving every single moment
of it. I don't want it to end.
It's just beyond what I thought it
would be. It's even better than what
I thought this experience would be.
We take the comments and come back
It is the semifinal, two
dancers, my goodness, one of them we
know, salsa to CeCe Peniston I know
you love a party dance, how excited
I'm so excited, I know I
say that about every dance but this
also, with Gorka, he is the king of
salsa, isn't he?
I'm just so
excited to do a salsa with this
amazing man right here. I can't
So, salsa and what is the
other dance, Gorka, por favor?
are doing the Viennese waltz.
does this compare?
It is the same
rhythm but it is quite fast compared
to the normal English waltz. It is
going to be faster. This one is very
beautiful, classic and romantic. It
is good we are doing the Viennese
waltz and a salsa and as we show in
the semifinal but two different
sides of Alexandra, strong, crazy
and fun and sexy, with the classic,
elegant, sophisticated woman.
that he recognises you have those
And mind too.
Do you get
to be a bit of a beast coming out on
Oh, yes, it's going to be
all bars down, just go for it, I'm
just going to go for gold in this
one. King of salsa and I'm just
trying to keep up.
He's trying to
keep up with you at the end of this!
How do you train for two? How do you
approach this week, what is the
The most important thing is
planning the day in two parts, so
that she doesn't get confused. I
don't want to mix dancers between
the day, so we will do half a day on
one routine and half a day on the
other routine and make it easy for
I'm scared. I want to have fun
but I'm definitely scared about this
week because it's a lot to take on.
It's not like we know a dance this
week, the week of the paso doble, we
knew what we were doing in one dance
but this week scares me, I'm not
going to lie.
Hold tight, I say.
Good luck with the hip as well. We
love you, go on, Alexandra and
That's all we have time for tonight!
Join me tomorrow at 6:30pm
when I'll be joined by
Mollie & AJ, Ian Waite
warms us up and
the wonderful Strictly
Singers pop in for
Plus, Mr Neil Jones takes
on the Pro Challenge!
Until then, goodnight!
Zoe Ball talks to the lucky couple who managed to avoid elimination at the weekend. There is Choreography Corner where Natalie Lowe takes a closer look at the weekend's performances. And we find out exclusively what songs the couples will be dancing to this weekend in Tunes on Tuesday.