Natalie Gumede regained her place at the top of the Strictly Come Dancing scoreboard on Saturday night as the show took on a love theme.
The former Coronation Street actress scored a quartet of nines from the judges – equalling Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s score of 36 from the previous week – as she took to the floor with Artem Chigvintsev for one of the first rumbas of the series.
And the judges could barely hide their delight at her efforts.
Len Goodman told her simply: “That was fabulous,” while Craig Revel Horwood simply said: “Love, love, love.”
Natalie fought off competition from Susanna Reid, Ashley Taylor Dawson and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, all of whom also won high praise from the judges as Strictly‘s 14 remaining couples performed.
“I think you’re going to go very very far my darling,” Bruno Tonioli told Susanna following her Viennese waltz with partner Kevin Clifton, while Len added: “This is love week and I’m in love with that Viennese waltz….it was the best we’ve seen tonight.”
Meanwhile Sophie made a big impression as she swapped the Charleston for a samba with partner Brendan Cole.
The pop singer – who topped the scoreboard last weekend – put up yet another good showing with a score of 31 for her efforts, delivering a routine which Bruno described as a ‘sophisticated samba’.
Craig, meanwhile, added: “I really loved it. Cleaner finish would have been great, but well done.”
The notoriously hard to please judge also approved of Ashley Taylor-Dawson’s efforts with the samba, telling him: “Those hip rolls were absolute filth and I loved them.”
Darcey Bussell, meanwhile, commented: “Maybe just do the shirt up next week and I won’t be distracted.”
However it wasn’t such good news for Dave Myers, who landed bottom of the heap once again with just 16 points for his paso doble with partner Karen Hauer.
The Hairy Biker chef delivered such a bizarre riff on the Spanish-flavoured dance – to the Meat Loaf chart-topper I Would Do Anything For Love – that Craig summed it up in simply one word: “Dreadful”.
However Bruno remarked: “This tops everything I’ve ever seen” – while Dave won a resounding standing ovation from the audience in spite of finishing last.
The second couple will make their exit from the show on Sunday evening.
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