Strictly Come Dancing contestants battle it out for place in final

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Hamza Yassin fought off close competition from Molly Rainford to top the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard in the semi-finals of the competition.

The five remaining celebrities, who have each topped the leaderboard during their time on the BBC One show, performed two dances in a bid to secure their place in the final next week.

The dancing programme was moved from Saturday to Sunday this week due to the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, in which England lost to France.

Wildlife cameraman Yassin received 39, the joint highest score of the night, for his Scottish-themed Charleston to Pencil Full Of Lead by Paolo Nutini with partner Jowita Przysta.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood said his lifts were “absolutely crazy spectacular”, while head judge Shirley Ballas said: “You make everything look so light, airy, it can be powerful but there is never a heavy stuck feeling, I loved it.”

However his second performance, a waltz to What The World Needs Now by Burt Bacharach, failed to strike the same chord with Ballas, who noticed mistakes she has “never seen him make”.

Despite a score of 37, Yassin began shedding tears after his partner Przysta said: “First time when I met you, I asked your for the trust and the energy and you gave me much more than that.

“Seeing you every day going out of your comfort zone, giving me 120% every time… you dance from your heart – thank you for that.”

Actress and singer Rainford was just one point behind Yassin on the leaderboard following her “absolutely fantastic” paso doble to Survivor by 2WEI featuring Edda Hayes.

The judges, who scored her 39, said the song was fitting for the 21-year-old, who has survived four dance-offs during her time on the show.

Ballas said: “You are a survivor, you have been in that bottom two so many times. I’ve been in this industry a long, long time and studied this art… that is one of the best paso dobles I’ve seen.”

Anton Du Beke apologised to Rainford because he did not think she would be able to pull the dance off. “I was wrong,” he said.

The triumphant dance followed her emotional American smooth to Easy On Me by Adele which scored 36.

After the dance, professional partner Carlos Gu revealed he was a massive fan of Adele – showing a tattoo on his wrist dedicated to the singer.

The judges also scored actor Will Mellor a 39 for his couples choice dance, who had dedicated it to the nostalgia of his home town of Manchester with his partner Nancy Xu.

The 46-year-old actor performed to an assortment of 1990s tracks – including Happy Mondays’ track Step On. Bez from Happy Mondays was spotted waving his maracas in the audience.

Judge Motsi Mabuse said the dance was a “comeback” following his disappointing paso doble to Uccen by Taalbi brothers and DWTS – in which he scored 32.

Ballas told him the “basic fundamentals” were missing in the dance and the cape he used as a prop needed to be swung properly and not used “as a little scarf”.

Mellor, who suffered a wardrobe malfunction during the dance with a button popping off his trousers, said he was “feeling rubbish” after his performance.

He was at the bottom of the leader board after all the couples had danced.

Meanwhile Du Beke told 35-year-old Fleur East that she had had “exactly the night you want to have before a final”, impressing with her Charleston to Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano by Fiorello.

The singer and radio DJ, who trained for 47 hours this week, was praised by her partner Vito Coppola who said: “Fleur for me is one of the best person I have ever met in my life. She’s so humble.

“She doesn’t know but she saved me from my tough period that I had, so thank you. She is so brave but humble, she never says no…she’s so grateful. I am so proud of you.”

The comments came after she opened the show with a paso doble to The Time Is Now by Moloko, scoring 35.

Meanwhile, Blue Peter and Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton, 39, was praised for her “dreamy” waltz to Only One Road by Celine Dion.

Mabuse said she thought the dance was “magic” while Du Beke said it was “beautiful, soft and romantic” – which scored 35.

Skelton later performed the Argentine tango to Here Comes The Rain Again by Eurythmics with partner Gorka Marquez.

After the dance, Marquez said of his partner: “For me, you are an incredible person, an inspirational person. Positive with a smile, I think you inspire a lot of people, starting from me, to the whole nation.”

The last results show of the series will air on Monday at 8.15pm with a performance from Lewis Capaldi and a group number featuring Revel Horwood.

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