The semi-finalists for Strictly Come Dancing 2019 have been revealed, with Chris Ramsey just making it into the penultimate week alongside Karim Zeroual, Kelvin Fletcher, and Emma Barton.
Comedian Ramsey was in the bottom two, but won the dance off against Alex Scott by a tiny margin with a decision that split the judging panel down the middle.
At first, it seemed that the decision would go Scott’s way when the first two judges, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse, chose to save her and pro partner Neil Jones.
But when Bruno Tonioli opted for Ramsey and partner Karen Hauer, it took the elimination to a deciding vote from head judge Shirley Ballas, who also went for Ramsey.
Explaining that her choice came down to “personal taste”, Ballas added: “I’m going to go with the couples that I felt had the most content and more powerfully entertaining and therefore I am saving Chris and Karen.”
The quarter-final saw a musicals themed week where Ramsey and Hauer performed a Foxtrot based on Oliver!, and Scott and Jones danced a Samba inspired by Sister Act.
Judges had criticised the Samba for containing too many street/commercial influences, but during his dance off voting Revel Horwood said: “I really loved the refreshing fusion of this particular dance.”
Shirley was WRONG , she was totally Wrong , Alex was the better dancer without a doubt . #Strictly— Sam (@Sam24131317) December 1, 2019
Well I've hugely enjoyed Alex and Neil this year - a proper noticeable improvement, crazy drama with the injury and Alex suddenly gaining confidence, and a lovely partnership to watch develop. Huge well done to Neil for a great first series #strictly #scd— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) December 1, 2019
I didn't want either to go for different reasons, but GUTTED to see Alex going on an awkward week just as she'd found her stride #Strictly— Frankie and Clover (@strictlyblog) December 1, 2019
Strictly was clouded by a voting controversy this weekend as a technical glitch left some fans unable to cast their vote online, meaning that the time available to call in for their favourites had to be extended.
However, as the results episode opened, host Claudia Winkleman assured viewers that an independent adjudicator had said that the vote result was a fair one.
We are aware that there were some technical problems with the online vote this evening and apologise for that. The online vote is now working and voting will remain open until 9pm. #Strictly.— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) November 30, 2019
Given the fiasco that was last night's voting situation, I honestly don't see how it'd be fair to go ahead with the dance off. Some people got to vote a ton of times, some not at all & some of us aren't even sure if our votes counted or not. #Strictly— Lauren (@Cherish4) December 1, 2019
After that complete voting fiasco last night I hope @bbcstrictly haven’t eliminated any couples. It was a complete shambles and I have no faith that it was a fair vote at all. #StrictlyComeDancing2019 #Strictly— Dawn Smithyes (@dlsmithyes) December 1, 2019
Talking about her time on the show, Scott said: “I’ve been a fan of Strictly forever...I’ve literally lived out another dream, I had football and then this chapter.”
She added: “I’m proud of the whole process, I’m proud of the struggle and I’m proud that people got to see me. Thank you for having me.”
This was the first year that Jones was promoted from the supporting cast of dancers to having a celebrity partner, and he said: “I’ve been so lucky because I got a partner. And I got you, you were the best. You were so good. She’s taught me so much.”
Meanwhile, Barton’s partner Anton du Beke has made it to the semi-final for just the third time, despite being the only pro dancer to have taken part in all 17 series of Strictly.
On Saturday night, Zeroual and his partner Amy Dowden became the first pair to score a perfect 40 this series.
Strictly Come Dancing’s semi-final airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.