Alexandra Burke stakes early claim for Strictly crown with perfect 40
Alexandra Burke staked an early claim for the Strictly Come Dancing glitterball as she hit the top of the leaderboard after the finalists’ initial performances.
The singer and partner Gorka Marquez scored full marks for their American smooth to Wouldn’t It Be Loverly from My Fair Lady as they opened the show on Saturday night with the judges’ choice dance.
Offering feedback, Craig Revel Horwood told the couple he “thought it was absolutely dreadful because I couldn’t find a single thing wrong” while head judge Shirley Ballas labelled it “exquisite”.
In second after their first dance was radio presenter Debbie McGee and actor Joe McFadden, who both scored 39.
Each would become the oldest-ever winner in Strictly history if they take the trophy.
McGee and partner Giovanni Pernice collected a near-perfect score for their salsa to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Boys Town Gang, which they initially performed in week eight.
McFadden and partner Katya Jones collected their three tens and a nine from Revel Horwood for their Viennese waltz, which they first performed in movie week.
Meanwhile, actress Gemma Atkinson and Aljaz Skorjanec scored 38 points from the judges for their paso doble to Viva La Vida by Coldplay.
Revel Horwood said the routine had strong lines and fantastic intent and purpose, adding: “This dance really suits your frame.”
Bussell said Atkinson was “on fire” and applauded her shaping while Ballas praised the actress for taking “criticism on the chin”.
The judges scores during the final are only used as guidance, with the winner being voted for by a public vote.