He’s the only dancer to have taken part in every series of Strictly Come Dancing, and now Anton Du Beke has finally made it to the judges’ table.
Ever since former head judge Len Goodman retired from the BBC One show, fans have clamoured for pro dancer Du Beke to be promoted to the judging panel.
But Shirley Ballas, Darcey Bussell and Motsi Mabuse have all been signed up to critique the couples ahead of him - until tonight.
For once, it was a good thing that Du Beke had crashed out of the contest first with novice dancer Jacqui Smith as it meant he was free to cover for Mabuse, who is self-isolating for two weeks after a trip to Germany.
Host Claudia Winkleman joked that he had joined the line-up “after much persuasion”, but Du Beke promised to be kind to his fellow dancers.
He said: “I will endeavour to be much more generous than these two (Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood) have been to me over the years.”
The ballroom dancer made good on his promise, awarding 10s to Clara Amfo, Bill Bailey, and HRVY in the highest scores of the series so far.
He told HRVY: “You are a dream as a partner. You keep dancing like that, [Janette Manrara] is going to love you forever.”
Commenting on Bailey’s Couple’s Choice routine to Rapper’s Delight, he said: “What I loved about it the most, you didn’t do it with any sense of irony.”
Du Beke was generous in his scoring, giving both Ranvir Singh and Max George eights even though Revel Horwood scored both just five.
He told George: “It’s difficult ignoring Craig but I think it’s worth persevering with as I thought it was marvellous.”
It would have been welcome praise for The Wanted singer George, who had been caught swearing on camera as he celebrated the end of his American Smooth, prompting a show apology.
Mabuse wasn’t the only star missing from the live show - Olympic boxer Nicola Adams is out of the contest after her dance partner Katya Jones tested positive for COVID-19.
Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman said: “As you may have noticed, we are missing a couple.
“They both feel fine and are self isolating separately.
“We are so sorry your time on the show has come to an end and we send all our love.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Sunday at 7.25pm on BBC One.