Fleur East finished top of the leaderboard on an emotional night on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday.
The latest edition of the BBC ballroom show – which saw the remaining contestants hoping to impress the judges and progress to next week’s Blackpool special – was dominated by tearful performances full of personal meaning.
Fleur and her professional dance partner Vito Coppola earned 39 points for their Samba to Hot Hot Hot by Arrow, which left judge Motsi Mabuse in tears.
“I’m so proud of you right now. I’m so, so proud of you,” she told Fleur.
“You did your work, you did everything and you put everything on that dancefloor and that Samba deserves absolutely everything!”
Motsi was also left emotional by Hamza Yassin’s routine, which saw him and partner Jowita Przystal performing Couple’s Choice to Jerusalema – Remix by Master KG featuring Burna Boy and Nomcebo Zikode.
It bagged the couple 38 points, and joint-second place on the leaderboard, alongside Will Mellor and Nancy Xu.
Motsi told Hamza, who was also in tears after performing: “I just feel like this is a very difficult dance to speak about. I feel like maybe sometimes some people will not even understand. I never in my life thought I would see this on Strictly Come Dancing.
“As you know I come from South Africa and you know the origins of so many of our dances, even today, Charleston, Salsa, Rumba, Jive, all of these dances from where they originated from and to have this acknowledgment on this big stage, and remind people we are here, we are dancing, we are celebrating and to see you do that, for me is such a special, special, special feeling.”
Meanwhile, Will and Nancy performed a Waltz to Three Times A Lady by Commodores in memory of his father Bill, who died in April 2020 after being diagnosed with cancer two weeks earlier.
After the dance, he wiped away a tear and admitted he was unable to speak.
Stepping in for him, Nancy also cried as she said: “We wanted to dedicate this dance to anyone who has lost loved ones and didn’t get to say goodbye.”
Kym Marsh was also left in tears after she dedicated her American Smooth to Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol to her late son Archie, who was born prematurely and died shortly afterwards.
Before taking to the stage, she said: “I feel like by doing this dance, not only is it going to be in memory of Archie but it also hopefully might get people talking about their experiences because it is the right road to putting your life back together.”
The judges praised her “fragility” and “vulnerability” but noted a mistake at the halfway point, with the routine ultimately earning her and partner Graziano Di Prima 31 out of a possible 40 points, placing her joint fifth.
Elsewhere, former footballer Tony Adams and partner Katya Jones were left at risk of ending up in the dance-off after his Jive to Land Of 1,000 Dances by Wilson Pickett fell flat with the judges, earning him just 24 and bottom place on the leaderboard.
Find out who is next to leave Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday at 7.20pm on BBC One.