This weekend is of course the semi-finals of Strictly Come Dancing, and with the end now very much in sight, judge Bruno Tonioli has given his verdicts on the finalists as well as on fellow judge – and newbie this year – Darcey Bussell.
He also had a few kind words to say about veteran host and entertainer, Sir Bruce Forsyth, who it was feared may have had to miss last night’s show due to having ‘flu, but he of course rallied and did in fact appear.
Of Bruce, and the prospect that this could be the 82 year old star’s last year on SCD, Bruno said, “Bruce is very professional. He won’t let his audience down and will know when he can’t deliver any more.
“But he is a national treasure and it is only up to him to make that decision…
“The show would miss him terribly. He is treasured by the nation, and is an autumn and winter treat.
“I would certainly miss him — I have such a giggle with him. But we will have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
“I haven’t heard anything, though — I’m always the last person to know something!”
Next, he revealed that he’s loving working with Darcey.
He said, “Darcey’s dancing is unmatched. She has achieved so much worldwide, she’s an incredible artist.
“She fits with the panel as though she has always been there. Her personality fits beautifully and she knows what she is talking about.
“There’s nothing uncomfortable between us, the chemistry is wonderful. What Darcey brings is her achievement in the world of dance — which nobody could ever doubt.”
He then moved on to what he thinks of the remaining finalists and what they need to do to win.
Of Denise Van Outen, he said, “Came out of the blocks the strongest, but has had some wobbles and bad luck of late.
“Must regroup and recapture the performances she had mid-season.”
Of Lisa Riley, Bruno added, “Has entertainment value oozing from every pore. Her face does so much work, she’s an explosion of energy you love watching.”
Louis Smith was next, of whom Bruno said, “He’s a late developer but has an incredible natural ability. It looks like it is too easy for him.
“Lately we have seen what he can do when he puts some fire into his performance. He has to keep doing it and cannot be complacent.”
next up for critique was Kimberley Walsh. He said of her, “Has always been on the edge of greatness with a wobble here and there…
“But last week was a huge breakthrough for her and it showed what she can do. She must build on that.”
And finally, of Dani Harmer, Bruno said, “She has been consistently good – but has to surprise and dazzle us even more.”
Who do you think will win this year?
For now, here’s a reminder of one of last night’s performances…