The latest edition of Strictly Come Dancing saw Dani Harmer go from strength to strength as she further cemented her position as a potential finalist.
While favourites Louis Smith and Denise Van Outen continued to fare well, the Tracy Beaker star showed herself to be a serious contender as she took to the floor for a feisty samba with partner Vincent Simone.
And she scored a quartet of nines from the judges, equalling the 36 she scored at last Saturday’s Wembley show and leading Craig Revel Horwood to admit, “You are one hot little dancer.”
And Darcey Bussell agreed. “The boys are right Dani, I loved it, and your attitude and confidence at this point in the competition is brilliant.
Denise Van Outen, meanwhile, continued her winning streak with an American Smooth which wowed the judges once again.
“The look of it was class,” Len Goodman told her, while Bruno Tonioli agreed. “For me, it was perfection.”
The TV presenter once again finished top of the scoreboard with 37 – picking up another 10 from Bruno
It was also a great night for Kimberley Walsh, whose tango with Pasha Kovalev won rave reviews from the judges. Despite Bruno Tonioli noticing a ‘slight wobble,’ Craig loved the routine, saying, “The story was set up brilliantly, well done.”
Nicky Byrne also fared well, bouncing back from his brush with the bottom two last week with a Charleston which Craig described as his “best yet”, and led Len Goodman to say, “Bottom two last week, you’ll be top two this week.”
The Westlife singer went on to score four nines from the judges to tie with Dani Harmer – giving him his best mark yet.
Elsewhere it was a night of mixed fortunes for the other dancers, with Louis Smith picking up a lukewarm response from the judges for his moody paso doble to the Michael Jackson hit Dirty Diana. “It’s not cupcakes and ice-cream, it’s thunder and lightning,” Len told him, complaining, “there was no fire.”
Bruno agreed, saying, “We should be left breathless, a Paso Doble should be a fight to the death and that’s what you should produce because you’re able to.”
Lisa Riley also won mixed reviews for her rumba with Robin Windsor, with Bruno calling the routine “nice, but not overwhelming,” and Craig describing it as “aggressive…I don’t think it’s a dance that suits you.”
And Michael Vaughan’s Argentine Tango failed to make an impact with the judges, with Darcey saying “I missed the domineering man, you have to be more arrogant,” – although Len disagreed, saying, “It was a full routine,” and arguing the case with Craig.
it was another rough night for Victoria Pendleton, whose salsa to Robbie Williams’ Candy led Craig to say, “The prop candy sticks had more fluidity.”
The other judges were kinder to the Olympic cyclist, with Len describing her as a “light Victoria sponge” but adding, “You came out and worked it – it needs a bit more oomph that’s all.”
Victoria later found it hard to hide her emotions backstage afterwards – and went on to pick up just 21 points from the judges.