EastEnders star Jake “Snake Hips” Wood was top of the leader board again after a hip-swiveling jive that had the audience roaring and the judges scoring him 33/40.
“The energy and performance was absolutely awesome,” Craig Revel Horwood told Jake of his dance with his pro partner Janette Manrara.
“A full-on, dynamic performance,” added Len Goodman. “You went from the Queen Vic to King of Rock ’n’ Roll.”
TV presenter Caroline Flack had her best round, also scoring 33/40 and so joining Jake in first place.
Caroline danced a quickstep with Pasha Kovalev that Craig felt suffered from a “couple of incidents. But I thought it was gorgeous,” he told Caroline.
Despite the mistakes, Len thought it was “the best dance of the night”.
The worst performances went to DJ Scott Mills, who scored just 15/40 for his American Smooth.
“You are an exception to the rule that anyone can learn to dance, Scott. It wasn’t smooth,” Craig told him.
Singer/songwriter Pixie Lott was right behind Jake and Caroline, with 32/40 for her rumba with Trent Whiddon – a dance that moved her to tears. “I just really got into it,” she explained.
So did Craig. “The performance was exquisite. I loved it,” he told Pixie.
That’s not what he told tennis coach Judy Murray, who’s the bookies’ favourite to be voted off this week. She scored 22/40 for her tango with Anton Du Beke. But Craig said: “Your stiffness came in handy for this dance.”
Len was more enthusiastic. “Plenty of punch, Judy,” he told her. “I knew you’d be good at the tango; watching tennis gives you the head-turning movement.”
Pop star Simon Webbe, who was in last week’s dance-off, redeemed himself with the judges, performing a Charleston that impressed even Craig. “I knew there was a star dancer in there,” Darcey Bussell said.
Reality TV star Mark Wright had a good night, too, scoring 29/40 with Karen Hauer for his quickstep.
“I saw a fancy Wright White Knight taking the quickstep at full gallop,” Bruno Tonioli said.
Everyone saw a bit more than they bargained for in Casualty star Sunetra Sarker‘s salsa when her dance partner, Brendan Cole, had a wardrobe malfunction, splitting his trousers at the crotch.
Also an eye-opener was This Morning’s Alison Hammond, who scored 27/40 for her samba with Alijaz Skorjanec.
“That rhythm was cool,” Darcey told Alison. “And you’re good going down to funky town,” added Bruno.
Click here for our picture special on all the remaining contestants and more judges’ comments.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1, Sunday, October 19, 7.20pm, with the results show.