Belfast Telegraph

Kara waltzes way to early lead

Former EastEnders star Kara Tointon will start Saturday night's Strictly Come Dancing at the top of the leader board after impressing the judges with her Viennese waltz.

The actress was one point off a perfect score after judge Bruno Tonioli said her dance was a "work of art" in the first of the weekend's two semi-finals.

Tointon also received top marks for winning the Strictly swing-a-thon, which involved all five remaining couples dancing at the same time in a knock-out dance-off.

Underdog Gavin Henson was bottom of the judges' leader board by the end of the show after he was criticised for lacking rhythm in his samba.

Pamela Stephenson and her partner James Jordon earned a respectable 35 out of 40 for their paso doble, putting them in second place after the group dance.

Rival male contenders Scott Maslen and Matt Baker both fell from their high standards and drew criticism from the judges.

After his dramatic Argentine tango with partner Natalie Lowe, Len Goodman told Maslen: "I didn't get that feeling there was that sort of connection between the two of you."

The pair were given a score of 33 for their first dance and were the second couple to be knocked out of the swing-a-thon.

But the judges' harshest words came for Countryfile presenter Matt Baker, who performed a salsa with Aliona Vilani.

Goodman was clearly not impressed and said: "You have been so good, your standard has been so high, you've been consistent but this was not that good."

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