The eight finalists in Strictly Come Dancing 2008 have scored some of their highest marks so far this series – and even John Sergeant won praise.

And the show also saw its highest score so far this series, as Rachel and Vincent scored 39 out of a possible 40 for their rumba. All the judges except for Craig gave them full marks for their dance, which Len described as “fantastic”.

“If you are in the bottom two,” he ambitiously told the singer, “I will dance the Masterclass with Claudia Winkleman naked.”

There was also praise for Jodie and Ian, who kicked off the show with a spirited quickstep. “This is the way to go if you want to be a winner,” Bruno said.” And Christine Bleakley won raves for her Viennese Waltz. “Without doubt your best yet,” Arlene Phillips told her.

Cherie Lunghi, meanwhile, was described as “magnificent” following her cha cha cha, while Austin Healy won raves for his tango. “That was tingling with torrid passion,” Arlene declared.

And there was even some faint praise for John Sergeant, who performed an American Smooth with his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff.

“I’m suddenly starting to see why you’re appealing,” Bruno reluctantly told the political commentator – although Craig still had his doubts.

“However entertaining it is,” he pointed out, “the fact still remains that it lacks a certain drive.”

The results will be revealed on Sunday evening’s show, with one more couple leaving the contest.