LIVE: Strictly Come Dancing’s Layton Williams risks elimination with challenging routines for semi-finals

As the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final looms, join OK! as we keep you updated on the remaining four couples and their hopes at dancing their way into next week’s grand final

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ByPhoebe TonksLifestyle and Features Writer

  • Updated17:16, 8 DEC 2023
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  • With just two weeks left to go until Strictly Come Dancing crowns its 2023 glitter-ball champion, our favourite celebrities will be dancing for their lives during Saturday’s live show, as they try to overcome the final hurdle and secure a place in the all-important final.

    Following last week’s sad news that Nigel Harman had injured his ribs and was unable to continue in the competition, no elimination took place during the week 11 live show, meaning all four remaining stars, Layton Williams, Ellie Leach, Annabel Croft and Bobby Brazier automatically progressed to the semi-finals.

    Crucially however, last week’s scores will be combined with the scores from their semi-final performances this week to determine who tops the leaderboard and who is at risk of going home.

    For the first time this series, the semi-final show will see each of the remaining couples take on not one, but two dances – something which will really test their ability to absorb drastically different choreography styles in such a compact amount of time.

    This week’s show will also see Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola take on their Couple’s Choice dance, making them the last pair to do so, as they perform a unique piece of choreography set to a Dua Lipa Medley, followed by a Cha Cha Cha to Mambo Italiano by Bette Midler

    Meanwhile last week’s leaderboard toppers Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, fresh from their perfect scoring performance, will be hoping to repeat their success with a Charleston set to Fit as a Fiddle by Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor and a Rumba to Lift Me Up by Rihanna.

    EastEnders star Bobby Brazier and his partner Dianne Buswell will also be hoping for a strong comeback after last week’s Dirty Dancing inspired performance failed to hit the mark following a lacklustre lift.

    Unwilling to be defeated, the duo will be performing a lively Quickstep to Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin and a Paso Doble to Run Boy Run by Woodkid.

    Fans also won’t want to miss Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe’ s performance, as the couple, who have since become friends for life, take on a Salsa to You'll Be Mine (Party Time) by Gloria Estefan and a Viennese Waltz to Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want by Slow Moving Millie.

    Ahead of Strictly Come Dancing’s series semi-final on Saturday 9 Decemberat 7:35pm on BBC One, OK! will be here live-blogging with you every step of the way.

    So without further ado…let’s get dancing!

    Key Events

    • Week 12 Song & Dance List Announced

    Shirley Ballas becomes grandmother for first time as baby boy’s name is revealed

    Shirley Ballas is celebrating a new arrival to the family after the birth of her first grandchild, a baby boy named Banksi Wylde Ballas, on 5 November.

    The Strictly Come Dancing judge's only child Mark, who is married to singer-songwriter BC Jean, celebrated becoming a father with a sweet Instagram post a month after Banksi's birth.

    "Welcome to Earth my son. Banksi Wylde Ballas 11 / 5 / 23," wrote Mark, who is a professional dancer on US showDancing With The Stars.

    Meanwhile his wife shared the same picture, which sweetly shows the family of 3 holding hands, and wrote: "Banksi Wylde Ballas. Joined us earthside 11•5•23. Happy one month sweet boy. You are so loved".

    Proving that she is over the moon, Shirley commented on her daughter-in-law's post gushing over baby Banksi, as she wrote: "He is the best most beautiful baby ever. We are all blessed."

    Shirley has previously referred to Banksi as a 'miracle baby', after BC and Mark sadly suffered a miscarriage during their first pregnancy.

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    Bobby Brazier talks ‘weddings’ with Dianne Buswell who admits ‘I’m so proud’

    Ahead of this week’s semi-final, Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell sat down on the It Takes Two sofa to discuss their feedback for last week’s Dirty Dancing inspired performance which failed to impress the judges.

    During musicals week, the couple performed a Salsa to I’ve had the Time of My Life, however while recreating the iconic lift, sadly fell short of what was expected.

    However, despite failing to nail the lift, Dianne revealed that Bobby had mastered another tricky move instead, the pretzel.

    “There was a lot of technique, it wasn’t an easy ride. We worked really, really hard to get all of those steps,” explained Dianne.

    “What I wanted him to do all weak was lead me. I would stop whenever I wouldn’t feel a lead and he’d be like “what are you doing” and I’d tell him, I didn’t feel the lead Bobby.”

    The pro dancer then added: “So I feel, that if any girl came up to you now, you’d know how to do that pretzel on your own! Because he really did – and Shirley mentioned this too – lead me through that dance and that’s a really neat skill. I’m so proud of him, because he’s literally leading me around!”

    However, Bobby soon sheepishly clapped back as he told Dianne: “ But you’re a professional dancer, not my mate’s mum at a wedding,” before bursting out laughing. The young star then added: “But I can’t wait to try it!”

    Host Fleur East then cheekily weighed in as she told him: “I’ve got to see you at these weddings now!”

    Prompting Bobby to grin as he admitted: “Weddings have changed for the rest of my life now. I’ve got this image…” and mimed out the lift he had failed to achieve at the weekend.

    All three stars then broke down laughing as Fleur added: “They’ll all be queuing up. Forget the bouquet!”

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    Ellie and Vito put on passionate display as they prepare for semi-finals

    Rehearsals have been underway for Saturday night's Strictly Come Dancing semi-final, with Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola snapped practising a rather passionate routine.

    During a gruelling 13-year rehearsal session, rumoured lovebirds Ellie, 22, and Vito, 31, could be seen concentrating hard as they practised their two dance routines, which they hope will see them to the final.

    Despite the long hours, both Ellie and Vito appeared in high spirits as they departed the dance studio, with Ellie looking rather happy as she wrapped up warm in a black-and-white patterned coat and black scarf.

    Vito also looked rather cosy as he sported a black jacket, which he paired with black and brown scarf as he headed into a taxi before heading home.

    It comes as romance rumours continue to surround the dancing partners.

    Last week, their relationship was labelled a "showmance" to help win votes by some sceptics. But a pal of Ellie's insisted on Saturday that they have been together since November and the romance is genuine, as first reported by the Mirror.

    To read the full story click here

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    Layton Williams dealt huge blow days before semi-final

    Strictly Come Dancing fans believe Layton Williams could have been handed a ‘death sentence’ by the show’s producers ahead of the semi-final.

    The 29 year old actor and his pro dance partner Nikita Kuzmin have been told they have to dance a Rumba and a Charleston on Saturday night’s showdown – and viewers of the hit BBC programme know they are among some of the most demanding routines contestants can face.

    The pair found themselves in the dance-off two weeks ago but survived thanks to the votes of judges Craig Revel-Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton du Beke – with TV presenter Angela Scanlon sent home instead.

    However, Layton and Nikita were given a free pass to the semi-final after the public vote was cancelled at the weekend because former EastEnders actor Nigel Harman injured a rib in rehearsals – leaving him unable to continue in the competition.

    But fans believe that, while the challenging nature of the Rumba and the Charleston give Layton and Nikita the chance to shine, the routines could also spell the end for them in the competition.

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    Week 12 is officially here!

    It’s hard to believe that we’re just two live shows away from discovering the winner of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, as one of the four remaining couples looks set to take home the glitter ball trophy next weekend.

    But before they can make it to that all important final, the stars have one more hurdle to cross – and that is, of course, Saturday’s semi-final.

    The four remaining stars, Layton Williams, Ellie Leach, Bobby Brazier and Annabel Croft, were all granted a reprieve last week, when Nigel Harman’s shock decision to withdraw from the competition meant that no elimination took place and all four remaining stars automatically progressed.

    However, no such leniency will be expected in this week’s show, with their previous judges scores now carried over to decide who will top the leaderboard and who risks going home.

    As always we’ll be here live blogging every step of the way to keep you up to date with the latest news, behind the scenes gossip and expert commentary.

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    Week 12 Song & Dance List Announced

    This week's song and dance list is as follows:

    Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe

    • Salsa to You'll Be Mine (Party Time) by Gloria Estefan
    • Viennese Waltz to Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want by Slow Moving Millie

    Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell

    • Quickstep to Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin
    • Paso Doble to Run Boy Run by Woodkid

    Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

    • Couple's Choice to Dua Lipa Medley
    • Cha Cha Cha to Mambo Italiano by Bette Midler

    Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin

    • Charleston to Fit as a Fiddle by Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor
    • Rumba to Lift Me Up by Rihanna
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