Strictly celebrities compete for a place in the semi-final

During musicals week two couples topped the leader board with scores of 39 points.
During musicals week two couples topped the leader board with scores of 39 points. During musicals week two couples topped the leader board with scores of 39 points.

The Strictly Come Dancing contestants mostly received positive feedback from the judges in the latest week of the competition as they fought to secure a place in the semi-final.

The performance show of Strictly was moved this week to be a day early from Saturday to Friday due to the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Both Coronation Street actor Will Mellor and presenter Helen Skelton received the top scores from the judges with both getting 39 points during musicals week.

This makes it the second week that Mellor, 46, got a top spot on the leader board as he received widespread praise from the judges for his slow and emotional foxtrot to Sun And Moon from Miss Saigon.

Shirley Ballas, 62, applauded the “heartfelt performance from the soul” along with his footwork.

Anton Du Beke also said Mellor got a tricky dance move, the three-step, right which “no one does”.

After Skelton and her partner Gorka Marquez performed an energetic and fun couple’s choice – meaning they did not have to do a traditional dance this time – to Mein Herr from Cabaret, they received a standing ovation from Ballas.

The 39-year-old was told by Ballas: “Am I looking at a mummy of three?

“Am I looking at a young lady that has grown from a timid shy girl from week one to this sensual performance.

“I’ve got goosebumps … it was a memory I’ll treasure forever.”

Since being in the Strictly dance-off last week, radio presenter Fleur East and her dance partner Vito Coppola returned to form with a fast quickstep to An American In Paris’s I Got Rhythm.

The 35-year-old singer got standing ovations from judges Ballas and Motsi Mabuse as Du Beke, 56, said “as far as I’m concerned you’re in” next week’s semi-final.

Mabuse, 41, said: “At the end of the day we sprinkle some magic on top of (the end of the show) and that was you.”

Both East and fellow singer Molly Rainford earned 38 points for their performances.

Rainford, 22, and her partner Carlos Gu performed an upbeat Charleston to Hot Honey Rag from Chicago and also got a standing ovation from Ballas and Mabuse.

Ballas said: “What a way to open the show, I wasn’t expecting that … you looked like you were having a ball.”

She was criticised by Craig Revel Horwood, 57, for her “low elbow” but also praised by her transformation as a dancer during the competition.

Meanwhile, wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin earned a score of 36 points for his samba to They Live In You from The Lion King with his professional partner Jowita Przystal.

The 32-year-old got a standing ovation from Mabuse who said he made her “happy” as Du Beke said he was “a bit overwhelmed” by the performance.

Horwood said it was “brilliant” but criticised Yassin for some of his technique.

Former Hear’Say singer Kym Marsh, who returned to the dancefloor after she had to skip last week’s show after a positive Covid-19 test, found herself bottom on 34 points.

The 46-year-old, who is also a former Coronation Street actress, performed an energetic Eighties-style cha-cha to Fame from Fame with her partner Graziano Di Prima.

Mabuse said she was “shining all of the time” but said she “would have liked more rotation” as she said Marsh “came back with a bang”.

Meanwhile Ballas said: “There is no hiding behind a costume here (in a leotard)… you didn’t miss a beat.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.