Strictly Come Dancing star Annabel Croft has narrowly missed out on the final, as she has been eliminated from the competition.
The former tennis player and her professional partner Johannes Radebe became the tenth couple to leave after facing Bobby Brazier and his dance partner Dianne Buswell in the dreaded dance-off.
Both couples performed one of their dances from Saturday night for a second time, EastEnders ’ Bobby and Dianne went first and danced the Quickstep to Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin.
Annabel and Johannes then performed their Viennese Waltz to Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by Slow Moving Millie.
The performances divided the judges, with Craig Revel Horwood choosing to save Annabel and Johannes, but the remaining three sending Bobby and Dianne through to the final.
The news left the viewers at home gutted, with one person saying: "Awww gutted for her. At least Annabel went on a high. So beautifully emotive. Will miss Jo-Jo dancing with her. Very elegant pairing."
While another added: "So sorry to see #annabel go #Strictly – They deserved a place in the final, IMO."
A third tweeted: "I would be happy to see both couples in the final but I’m gutted for Annabelle and Johannes. Her story has been so incredibly moving and I wish her all the happiness in the world."
Craig said: “Well, one dance was flashy, one dance was quiet. I think both couples have equalised completely.
“I saw improvement in this one couple and based on this dance and nothing in the past but this dance alone, the person which I think had the most exquisite technique is Annabel and Johannes.”
Motsi Mabuse explained: “Well, first of all, I have to say this was a really tough one tonight, I think both couples danced really well, and after the dance off I stood there for a few seconds making my decision, there was one dance where there was a slight hesitation at a turn, one slight hesitation was the decision, and I will be saving Bobby and Dianne.”
Anton Du Beke then said: “Well the semi-final, I mean it’s going to be enormously disappointing for somebody, but I also think it's a celebration of how well you’ve both done and how far you’ve come and how wonderfully you’ve danced through the whole series.
“It was a very close run thing, and literally because of a coming out of a pivoting section wasn’t as clean as they would have liked and I would have liked, I’m going to be saving Bobby and Dianne.”
Head judge Shirley Ballas had the final vote and told the couples: “The semi-final 2023, I thought both couples were absolutely extraordinary, I felt that both couples lifted their performance,
“I thought there was technical qualities on both sides, improvements galore, but again, one tiny mistake coming out of a pivot turn, and therefore my decision would be to save Bobby and Dianne.”
After the judges gave their verdict, 57 year old Annabel revealed that doing the show has been the “most life-changing and extraordinary experience” of her life.
She told host Tess Daly: “It’s been the most life-changing and extraordinary experience of my life. I have to congratulate Bobby and Dianne and all the contestants that took part in it.
“But obviously, it’s been an amazing, magical experience for me. Johannes, you have been absolutely extraordinary.
“You have given me a reason to get out of bed and come and dance with you, distract me and to heal me. I can’t thank you enough for that. You have been so patient, so caring, and so loving. You are an unbelievably special human being. I simply adore you. Thank you so much.”
Johannes then shared his thoughts by saying: “I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making the decision to come here.
“Thank you to Strictly Come Dancing for sending her my way. My life is richer with you in it. I hope we dance long after this has ended. You know my heart, and I just want to tell you thank you, Annabel. Thank you, Lily, thank you, Amber, thank you, Charlie.”
Annabel added, “It’s been the most incredible rollercoaster ride, I have had every single emotion you can imagine.
“I really want to thank Strictly for letting me take part in this competition. Thank you to the judges for your amazing comments and guiding us all along.
“But, I also see this as a one-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, and I wish that everyone in the public could see what goes on behind the scenes because it’s quite extraordinary the machinery that makes it work and makes the show what it is.
“The most wholesome family entertainment magical show with so much glitz and glamour and so much enjoyment for everybody.
“It has been amazing, and I can’t thank everyone enough. Thank you so much, Johannes, for the most special time I have had with you.”
The Strictly Come Dancing final takes place on Saturday. 16 December at 7 pm live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
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