High drama as SABC3’s Strictly Come Dancing enters Semi Final stage

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Zakeeya Patel & Ryan Hammond; Thapelo Mokoena & Hayley Bennet; Graeme Richards & Lindsey Muckle; and Lalla Hirayama & Grant Esterhuizen are through to the semi-finals while dance-off supremos Mpho Popps and Nombulelo Hlathi are the latest casualties from Strictly Come Dancing and were eliminated after they lost a fierce and unforgiving dance-off against Graeme Richards & Lindsey Muckle.

Although competition favourite Lalla Hiriyama and Grant Esterhuizen did not participate in this week’s episode, competition rules allow them to proceed to the semi-final round. The couple could not compete because celebrity entrant Lalla took ill and had to be hospitalized.

Strictly Come Dancing South Africa executive producer Kee-Leen Irvine explained how the rules operate at this stage.

“While this has been an exciting series, we have been beset by some unusual and unfortunate circumstances. Celebrity contestants are allowed to be absent from the competition due to illness or injury as prescribed by a doctor for one episode only in any week up to the quarter-finals. For the semi-finals however, all eligible celebrity contestants must compete and should they fail to do so they are automatically disqualified from the competition.

“Should it be a professional dancer that is incapacitated, he or she will simply be replaced to allow the celebrity to continue competing.
“Any contestant who is given a bye has to be certified by a doctor (A bye is a free pass to the next round, as in sport) Lalla will thus be allowed to miss the quarter-final but she will have to participate in the semi-final to be eligible for a place in the finals.
“Having trained every single day for the last week to learn her 2 dances, between 8 – 9 hours a day, Lalla is absolutely devastated to be missing out on this week’s show”.

The dance floor was the scene of intense dancing as couples had to tackle both the lively and rhythmical Brazilian Samba and the fast, powerful and syncopated Quick Step.

Zakeeya Patel and Ryan Hammond took to these like a duck to water. The judges were unanimous that the couple never fails to disappoint. They look, work and deliver like a solid couple. The duo is described as dynamic, the dancing was spectacular and they still managed to keep it all under control. Both their Quickstep and Samba was flawless, world-class and spectacular.

Serial dance-off survivors Mpho Popps and Nombulelo Hlathi pulled out two performances that wowed the judges, audience and themselves. While their Samba was great, the judges raised a few timing and technical issues. Despite these, their Quickstep was refreshing and electric.

The consistently fantastic duo of Thapelo Mokoena and Hayley Bennet continued to captivate and wow the audience with their performances. They set the stage on fire with their hot Samba and garnered compliments from the judges. Their Quickstep was out of this world and through the roof with a spiderman theme.

Reeling from a less than satisfactory performance last week, Graeme Richards and Lindsey Muckle upped the game, charmed the judges and put on an impressive Quickstep. While the judges pointed out Graeme’s dance weaknesses, they did commend him for effort on the Samba.

With the competition now at its business end, the couples will need to pull every last ounce of energy and enthusiasm from their drained bodies to impress not only the judges but also the powerful viewers at home.

At the end of the night the leader board read as follows;
Zakeeya Patel & Ryan Hammond  55
Thapelo Mokoena & Hayley Bennet 48
Mpho Popps & Nombulelo Hlathi  43
Graeme Richards & Lindsey Muckle 42

Strictly Come Dancing airs on SABC 3 Wednesdays from 20:00 to 22:00.

Dance-off supremos Mpho Popps and Nombulelo Hlathi are the latest casualties from Strictly Come Dancing who were eliminated after they lost a fierce and unforgiving dance-off against Graeme Richards & Lindsey Muckle last night.
Dance-off supremos Mpho Popps and Nombulelo Hlathi are the latest casualties from Strictly Come Dancing who were eliminated after they lost a fierce and unforgiving dance-off against Graeme Richards & Lindsey Muckle last night.
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