Rhys Stephenson has topped the Strictly leaderboard with perfect score of 40

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Rhys Stephenson has topped the leaderboard on Strictly Come Dancing after receiving a perfect score of 40 for his Charleston.

The CBBC presenter, 28 performed a lively number with flips, lifts and kicks with his professional partner Nancy Xu to The Charleston by Bob Wilson and his Varsity Rhythm Boys.

Head judge Shirley Ballas said she wanted to join Stephenson on the dancefloor, adding: “I’ve never ever seen a Charleston like that, and the choreography was astounding.”

Motsi Mabuse added: “This has to be the Charleston of the season, up until now that is the best Charleston we’ve seen. Light on your feet, authentic, energy, and it had this kind of entertainment.”

Notoriously strict Craig Revel Horwood also praised the presenter, simply commenting: “A-maz-ing”.

Co-host Claudia Winkleman also told the couple they had made Strictly history with the performance as she said it was the earliest that anyone had received a perfect 40 for the Charleston.

Rose Ayling-Ellis came in second with her partner Giovanni Pernice after they scored 39 for their emotional couple’s choice dance which was dedicated to the deaf community.

The actress, who is the first deaf contestant in the show’s history, danced to Symphony by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson.

During the middle of the performance, the music was paused as the couple continued to dance in silence as a tribute to the deaf community.

The judges were visibly moved by the performance, with an emotional Anton Du Beke, who has been on the dance competition since its beginning in 2004, saying: “That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on the show.”

Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite and Johannes Radebe secured themselves third place after performing an energetic samba to Acuyuye by DLG, which scored them 38.

Mabuse was impressed with the number, saying: “I mean that was the party to be (at), I want to be there.

“What I love is that we had a combination of rhythmical dances and then we had really slightly elegant parts of the dance. But the connection between you two – everything.”

TV presenter AJ Odudu and her partner Kai Widdrington suffered a fall from grace after topping the leaderboard last week with a score of 39 for their Charleston, to then dropping to the bottom of it this week.

Their paso doble to Game Of Survival by Ruelle did not go down as well with the judges and received a score of 28.

Revel Horwood admitted he was “a little bit disappointed” with the number, adding: “I felt like you were less connected in this dance to one another”.

Tilly Ramsay also returned to the dancefloor after she was saved from elimination by the judges last week when she ended up in the dance-off against Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty.

The social media star, who took a break from rehearsals on Monday to celebrate her 20th birthday, danced a quickstep to Damita Jo’s I Won’t Dance with her professional partner Nikita Kuzmin, which was scored 29.

Her celebrity chef father, Gordon Ramsay, was also in the audience for the live Saturday show.

Ballas said: “It’s always difficult to come back from a dance-off but I think that you did it very well today.

“This is a difficult dance the quickstep. I think in certain places you kept extremely light, your frame is definitely getting better.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Sunday at 7.20pm.

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