Norfolk’s Caroline Flack in pole position to win Strictly Come Dancing after perfect score
- Credit: PA
Flawless Caroline Flack's steamy salsa saw her shimmy her way into pole position to win Strictly Come Dancing, getting the first perfect score of the series.
A maximum 10 from each judge for the second of her two dances saw the 34-year-old television presenter top the leaderboard with a full house of 40 points as the audience - and social media - went wild.
The Thetford-born presenter and dance partner Pasha Kovalev even managed to wow the normally miserly Craig Revel Horwood, who simply told her with a sly grin: 'I thought it was very good.'
Bruno Tonioli was more effusive, highlighting her choice of a Ricky Martin track to say: 'As Ricky Martin would say 'She bangs, she bangs, she moves'.
'She is running like a super-charged engine fuelled by sex appeal!'
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And Len Goodman told her: 'If you are not in the final the world has gone mad.'
Last night's semi-final saw the two female contenders steal the day as the contestants struggled to overcome their nerves.
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None of the dancers performed well in the first set, but in the second the women managed to unlock their moves as the men continued to stutter.
Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge started with an OK rumba but the 25-year-old's energetic tango with Kevin Clifton to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was the second highest score of the programme, leaving Revel Horwood saying: 'I would go as far as to say it was absolutely incredible. A-maz-ing.'
Bookmakers William Hill and Paddy Power moved Flack to 11/10 favourite to win, with Bridge second at 5/2, while Coral had them at evens and 11/4 respectively.
Worst off was EastEnders star Jake Wood, whose lacklustre cha-cha-cha and Viennese waltz saw him move from a pre-show favourite to win Strictly to the bottom of the leaderboard and in danger of going out.
Not even the presence of former Queen Vic landlady Barbara Windsor helped. The actress, known for many years as Walford's Peggy Mitchell, headed to rehearsals to see Wood preparing for the penultimate round of the BBC1 dance show.
After Blue singer Simon Webbe saved his score with a funky foxtrot, Wood was joined at the bottom of the leaderboard by The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright, who failed to wow the judges with a wedding-themed waltz and a rumba.
The elimination will be announced in tonight's results show, when viewers learn who makes it through to next week's final.