by Jenny Minard
BBC Berkshire reporter
Ricky Whittle and dance partner Natalie are in the contest to win
Strictly Come Dancing is gearing up for a showdown at the semi-finals - and Berkshire's Ricky Whittle is in it to win it.
"Lots of people say that Natalie and I are competitive because we talk about the final and we want to win," Burghfield's Ricky said.
"But I don't join a competition to come fourth place."
"I think you're foolish and not very ambitious if you've joined a competition not to win.
"Everyone wants to win and behind the camera everyone says they want to win but as soon as the camera comes on they are like 'oh it's all about the journey and I'm just having fun and taking it a week at a time'.
"No-one is taking it a week at a time, everyone wants to be in the final and everyone wants to win," Ricky told BBC Berkshire's Andrew Peach.
Ali Bastian is delighted to be in the semi-finals
Maidenhead's Ali Bastian is delighted to be in the top three.
"I can't believe it," she said.
"When you start this it seems like an impossible dream and seems so far into the future. I never thought we would make it this far."
"I'm just so proud of us. I want this more than anything - for us to get though the weekend and make it to the final."
Ali will be dancing the Argentinean tango. "It's an amazing dance," she said. "I really like it and we've spent a lot of time on it.
"It's a really sexy, sensual beautiful dance," she told BBC Berkshire's Phil Kennedy.
"Chemistry is good. It's definitely useful if you have it."
But this week it's Ali who has been putting on the teaching hat. "Brian has never even pulled a Christmas cracker before," she said.
"They don't have them in the States. So that was strange and unusual, having to explain to someone how you pull a Christmas cracker.
"He has never seen mistletoe or had it in his hand, so I handed him some mistletoe - I won't tell you why there was mistletoe floating around - and he tried to eat it.
"I said no, it's poisonous," she laughed.
Ali and Ricky will be competing against BBC sport reporter Chris Hollins for a place in the finals.
Erin Boag says Ricky is very, very talented
And Strictly professional dancer Erin Boag doesn't think it will be an easy ride for Ricky.
"The thing is when you start really good, people don't see a journey," she said.
"People love to see someone improve and go up and down, which Chris has. Ricky hasn't, he started off so well.
"Ricky is one of the best boys that has ever danced on Strictly," she said. "He is very, very talented and very, very good. But he doesn't have that wow factor that Chris has.
"And then you've got Ali who is graceful and very elegant and maybe she did a dance that didn't suit her with the tango.
"But now she has a beautiful Viennese waltz, so she'll be back on top. It really could be any one of them to go this week.
Ian Waite had to pull out when dance partner Jade Johnson was injured
Reading's Ian Waite, who had to leave the competition when partner Jade Johnson was injured, said it's anyone's game now it's down to the public vote.
"If there had been a dance off I would have said we would have had the two good dancers in the final," he told Andrew Peach.
"But now it's on public vote, I doubt that. I think Chris and Ola will get through, if the past weeks are anything to do with it, it should be Ricky who goes home.
"He has been having the lowest public vote. But you never know because the public have been known to change because they know that somebody might go, in the past, they have been known to change in the last minute."
All the dancers will do an Argentinean tango. Ricky will also dance the waltz, Chris a rumba and Ali an American smooth.
"The rumba is renowned to be a difficult dance," Ian said. "But Chris did it in first week and did a really good job because he enjoyed it so much. Ola is giving him chance to do it again. I think it will be a good dance for him.
"I'm hoping that the best dancer wins and I'm hoping the public gets behind the best dancer."
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