Rhys Stephenson Tops Strictly Leaderboard For First Time With 'Astounding' Charleston

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Rhys Stephenson shot to the top of the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard on Saturday night, with what was described as “the Charleston of the season”.

The CBBC presenter and his partner Nancy Xu took to the floor to perform a lively routine packed with tricks and lifts to The Charleston by Bob Wilson and his Varsity Rhythm Boys.

The pair picked up a perfect score of 40 from the judges, with head judge Shirley Ballas describing the routine as “astounding”.

“I’ve never ever seen a Charleston like that, and the choreography was astounding,” she said.

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.”

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

Host Claudia Winkleman revealed the couple had actually made Strictly history with the performance, as it was the earliest point in the competition that anyone had received a perfect 40 for the Charleston.

The couple were closely followed on the leaderboard by Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice with 39 points for their emotional Couple’s Choice routine.

The pair had viewers in tears with the routine, which saw music paused during the performance as they continued to dance in silence as a tribute to the deaf community.

At the other end of this week’s leaderboard was AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington, who fell from the top spot after their near-perfect Charleston last week.

Their Paso Doble scored 28 points from the judges, with Craig admitting he was “a little bit disappointed” with the number, adding: “I felt like you were less connected in this dance to one another.”

Find out who is next to leave Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday at 7.20pm on BBC One.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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