The 13 remaining contestants on Strictly Come Dancing 2011 have tackled Broadway themed routines as the competition hots up – and it was another triumphant night for Jason Donovan.
The former Neighbours star landed the biggest judges’ score of the series yet, racking up an impressive 36 points for his tango with Kristina Rihanoff, which was inspired by the musical hit Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.
Bruno Tonioli described the routine as “fantastic”, while Craig Revel Horwood was similarly enthusiastic, calling his performance “stupendous”.
The night – which saw the couples perform a variety of different ballroom and Latin routines – was also a good one for Harry Judd, who finished in second place with 33 out of 40.
The McFly drummer won praise for his jive with Aliona Vilani, inspired by the hit musical Grease, with Len Goodman telling him, “That’s your best dance.”
And Craig was also keen. “You have finally arrived,” he told Harry.
One Show presenter Alex Jones and impressionist Rory Bremner was also among those upping their game on Saturday night, with Alex’s Viennese waltz landing her in third place with 32 points and Rory finishing just behind on 31 for his quickstep with partner Erin Boag.
Bruno described Alex’s routine as “beautiful in its simplicity”, while even Craig was impressed. “I would have liked it to be a little more daring,” he admitted, “but I loved it.”
Elsewhere, Holly Valance once again put up a good show with her interpretation of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango, scoring 30 points to tie with Chelsee Healey, who performed a cha cha cha to the Jersey Boys song Beggin’, and Robbie Savage, who danced a tango with Ola Jordan to Lay All Your Love On Me from Mamma Mia.
Craig complained Chelsee’s routine was ‘too disco’ but Len had some words of praise for the Waterloo Road star. “You need to pay more attention to the details,” he said, “but I love that you came out and gave it some welly.”
However Robbie’s routine was a hit with Alesha Dixon who said the footballer was “turning into a contender”.
Meanwhile Russell Grant once again impressed the judges as he tackled ballroom for the first time, donning a bright yellow bow tie to perform a foxtrot with partner Flavia Cacace to the Funny Girl song Don’t Rain On My Parade.
“You are my guilty pleasure, I adore you,” Alesha said. “And it’s such a pleasure to have a celebrity contestant who is so positive and grateful to be in this competition!”
And Anita Dobson and Lulu each had to settle for a mid-table finish, with the former scoring 27 to her colourful jive inspired by the musical Hairspray, while the latter tackled a rumba to the Phantom Of The Opera hit All I Ask Of You.
“You did it again,” Alesha said of Lulu’s routine, “it was a great story and you told it brilliantly.”
However, it wasn’t such a good night for Dan Lobb and Audley Harrison, finishing joint second last with 24 points apiece for their Viennese Waltz and quickstep routines – while Nancy dell ‘Olio once again propped up the scoreboard with just 20 points for her tango with Anton du Beke.
“It was like watching a plodding mule,” Craig complained, while Len was equally unimpressed. “There was a lot of style in that but no substance,” he said of the performance.
The results will be revealed on Sunday night’s show, with one more couple set to be voted out of the competition.