Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood has been booed at Blackpool for not scoring Karim Zeroual a 10 - despite the TV presenter dancing a Charleston so good that Motsi Mabuse offered to give him her hairpiece.
The BBC contest hit its annual highlight this week with a visit to Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom and it looked like we might finally see series 17’s first perfect 40 as the celebrity contestants upped their game for the home of ballroom dancing.
But despite performing a Charleston that was deemed “flawless” by the judges and that looked set for top marks from everyone, Revel Horwood only gave it a nine, prompting a chorus of boos from the audience and the show’s stars.
Judge Motsi Mabuse gave away her score early, telling Zeroual and his partner Amy Dowden: “I can’t not give you more than this 10 because it doesn’t justify how well you danced. I’m going to give you my hairpiece.”
Shirley Ballas called it “absolutely flawless”, adding “I couldn’t tell you from the professional”, while Bruno Tonioli said: “We’re witnessing one of those performances that will go back in history, we’ll say, ‘oh I was there when that Charleston was danced’.”
But despite Revel Horwood appearing to agree by calling it “clean, tight and precise”, Zeroual looked devastated that he was the only judge not to score the routine a 10.
This was the first time that pro dancer Dowden had made it to Blackpool week with a celebrity partner, and the first Charleston she has danced on Strictly.
It was also a night of firsts for the show’s longest-standing pro Anton du Beke, who scored 10 points for the first time ever after having taken part in every one of the 17 series since it launched in 2004.
As Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli both gave him and partner Emma Barton top marks, he declared: “This is how Kevin Clifton feels.”
There was disappointment for Michelle Visage, too, who landed at the bottom of the leaderboard with 32 points for her Couple’s Choice Vogue-inspired routine after an emotional explanation of how much the dance meant to her.
Meanwhile, Alex Scott got her highest score of 34 points for a Paso Doble, Chris Ramsey opened the episode with a Salsa that scored two nines, and Kelvin Fletcher tied with Zeroual at the top of the leaderboard on 39 points.
Strictly Come Dancing returns for the results show on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.