Lisa Riley, Strictly Come DancingFormer Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley said a tearful farewell to Strictly Come Dancing as she just misses out on next week’s grand final after the judges vote to save presenter and actress Denise Van Outen.

“It’s been the best time of my entire life, I can’t thank you enough. From the costume to the makeup, everybody backstage is just beyond belief, and all the judges, I’ve had the time of my life. And one person has made that and that’s Robin Windsor. He has just been amazing.” Riley said, adding, “What you don’t all know is having me as a partner is a really, really tough ask and every week, week in week out he’s done it…and he’s helped me through one of the toughest times of my life. I owe every inch of Strictly to him, he’s just amazing.”

With the final just one week away, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly had invited the five remaining couples to take to the dance floor to perform two dances in a bid to impress the judges – Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli & Craig Revel Horwood – and the viewers at home.

The judges’ scores were combined with the results of the viewers’ votes to decide the lowest scoring two couples. When all the judges scores and viewers votes were combined, Lisa Riley and Robin Windsor and Denise Van Outen and James Jordan became the next two couples to face the final and most important Dance-off of the series.

Craig chose to save Denise and James saying: “Purely based on technique, Denise and James.” Darcey also chose to save Denise and James saying: “This is so hard but yes, technically, the ones I’m going to save are Denise and James.”

Bruno became the third judge to save Denise and James saying: “First I have to say you’ve both done so well to come this far, great dancing, great entertainment but I have to go for the best dance and that was delivered by Denise and James.”

With this unanimous vote, it meant that Riley became the tenth celebrity to leave the competition – falling at the final hurdle and leaving Denise and James to join Louis and Flavia, Kimberley and Pasha and Dani and Vincent in the grand final.

A clearly very choked Robin fought back tears to praise Lisa: “I just want to say from day one this whole experience this year has been absolutely amazing, and Lisa has come out and shown you don’t have to be a certain size to dance, and she’s inspired so many people around the country. She is one of the loveliest, nicest people I’ve ever met.”

Also on tonight’s results show, opera singer Katherine Jenkins performed Santa Baby. She also performed the jive with her pro dance partner Mark Ballas from the American version of Strictly, Dancing With The Stars.

Next week the Strictly Come Dancing grand final is on Saturday 22nd December at 7pm with the results show later that night at 9.10pm on BBC One and BBC One HD.

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