The remaining four couples in Strictly Come Dancing 2009 have each performed a ballroom and Latin routine in a bid for a semi-final place.

And this week they had five judges to impress, as ballerina Darcey Bussell joined the panel.

First on to the dancefloor were Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna, who wowed the judges with their feisty tango – especially newcomer Bussell. “There was a great tension between you and Brian, she said, “which was very passionate.

Alesha Dixon also approved of the routine. “I’m not sure you were born to be wild but I loved it,” she told the actress.

Dixon also liked Bastian’s samba, her second performance of the night. “For me that was the best samba of the series,” she said.

However Laila Rouass and Anton du Beke fared less well with their American Smooth in the first half of the show and salsa in the second.

“It was a little on the clumsy side,” Craig Revel Horwood said of the pair’s first dance, “and very disappointing at this point in the competition.”

Bruno Tonioli, meanwhile, was unimpressed by their salsa. “A deflated balloon would have had more rhythm,” he complained.

Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan did better, firstly with a waltz and second with a samba.

“I’m seeing signs of a dancer emerging here,” Len Goodman said of his waltz, while Bussell loved his samba. “Of all the four celebrities here,” she said, “you come out and sell it.”

Finally Ricky Whittle, who was in the bottom two last week, fought back and emerged at the top of the judges’ scoreboard after his two routines, a foxtrot and a cha cha cha.

“That’s a foxtrot that hits all the spots,” Tonioli told the pair, while Revel Horwood said their second dance “was masculine and sexy”.