Natalie Gumede dominated the Strictly Come Dancing scoreboard on Saturday night as she notched up the first perfect tens of the series.
The former Corontaion Street actress won top marks from both Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli on the Halloween special for her ‘lady in the lake’-themed Viennese Waltz with partner Artem Chigvintsev.
In total she picked up 38 points – the highest score of any celebrity so far this series.
And not only did she wow the audience in the studio, who gave the dry ice-shrouded performance a standing ovation – but she also left the judges spellbound.
“I don’t think there is a person in the country right now who isn’t screaming ‘THIS WAS MAGIC’” Bruno Tonioli told her, while Craig Revel Horwood offered up his trademark verdict of “fab-u-lous!”
Saturday was also a good night for Patrick Robinson, Abbey Clancy and Susanna Reid, all of whom were snapping at Natalie’s heels with 34 points apiece.
Patrick, who was attempting to bounce back after being in the dance-off last weekend, picked up his highest score so far for his quickstep with partner Anya Garnis.
“The choreography was brilliant, it was spell-binding footwork – well done,” said Darcey Bussell, while Len Goodman declared: “If you are in the dance-off again after tonight I will pickle my walnuts!”
However it was a disappointing week for Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who stumbled to the lower end of the scoreboard with 26 points following her devilish jive with Brendan Cole.
“You are a very competent dancer, the thing is you need to come out and really perform,” Len Goodman said while Bruno added: “You have a wonderful sense of style, great performance value, but at this stage now there are certain requirements needed with much more precision.”
There was also bad news for Mark Benton and Dave Myers, who propped up the leaderboard with 24 and 19 points respectively.
Mark won a mixed response from the judges for his intergalactic paso doble – which saw him flying on to the dancefloor suspended on wires – while Dave failed to make a splash with his creepy jive.
Craig complained: It was a little bit like the weather today, overcast, cloudy, grey and a little bit dismal.”
Meanwhile Len added: “I think you excelled yourself, last week your salsa was scary, this one frightened the life out of me.”