Caroline Flack leads the pack in the Strictly quarter-finals with ‘outstanding’ Argentine tango

As the six remaining contestants lined up for the Strictly Come Dancing quarter-finals, they faced a “night of two halves”, as head judge Len Goodman described it.

First, they had to do their solo dances, then they all had to take to the floor for a “waltz-a-thon”.

“And it can change everything,” said Len, as the winner would get a further six points, second placed would score five points and so on.

In the end, though, it didn’t change the fact that, for the second week in a row, TV presenter Caroline Flack topped the leaderboard with a score of 42 points – 39 for her Argentine tango with Pasha Kovalev and three for her waltz.

Craig Revel Horwood was the only judge not to score her a 10 for her tango, but he described it as “one of the most thrilling Argentine tangos I have ever seen”.

“You’re capable of magic,” Bruno Tonioli told Caroline.

Just one point behind Caroline was singer/songwriter Pixie Lott, who won the six points for the “waltz-a-thon” but scored 35 for her cha cha cha with Trent Whiddon.

Pixie hasn’t scored a 10 since week seven and Len was particularly critical of the three lifts in the cha cha cha, as it is a dance that shouldn’t have any.

“This is a warning to all the couples,” Len said. “I’ll let it go this week but I won’t be lenient in the semi-finals.”

EastEnders star Jake Wood, Blue singer Simon Webbe and Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge were all tied on 39 points.

Jake scored 38 for his Charleston with Janette Manrara, but came last in the “waltz-a-thon”.

Dressed as a circus ringmaster, there was less hip action but plenty of muscle on show from Jake, in a Charleston that Bruno described as “the turn of the night”.

Even more encouragingly, Len told Jake: “You’ve just taken a giant step towards the semi-finals.”

Simon finished third in the “waltz-a-thon” and scored 35 points for his American smooth with Kristina Rihanoff.

“You’ve got the ‘wow’ factor with that one,” Bruno told Simon. “You could open in Vegas with that!”

Frankie came second in the “waltz-a-thon” and scored 34 for her salsa with Kevin Clifton that was “hot, spicy and packed full of moves”, said Darcey Bussell.

Reality TV star Mark Wright was bottom of the leaderboard, coming fifth in the “waltz-a-thon” and scoring 35 for his foxtrot with Karen Hauer.

“It’s a romantic dance and I’m dancing it for Michelle [Keegan, his fianceé],” Mark said.

Mark, who was in last week’s dance-off, also said he didn’t want to be in that position again.

Will he be?

Click here for our quarter-finals photo special.

The Strictly Come Dancing results show is on BBC1, Sunday, December 7, 7.20pm.