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Cohen's Charleston fails to charm

Rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen will be hoping Strictly Come Dancing viewers are kinder to him than the judges after he scored the lowest from the panel.

The former England star racked up just 27 points from the four dancing experts in last night's show, but he will avoid the chop tonight if he beats two other celebrities in the public vote.

Cohen's Charleston with professional partner Kristina Rihanoff received cheers from the audience - but judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood gave them a mixed response.

Tonioli found some positives, telling the bulky winger: "Your timing was good. I think for a guy of your size, it was wonderful what you did."

But Revel Horwood told him he "lacked any sort of freedom of movement" and said it "wasn't the most electrifying Charleston" he had seen.

With just four weeks left and only eight couples remaining, the judges told host Sir Bruce Forsyth they would be less forgiving on the contestants as the competition intensified.

Former Coronation Street star Natalie Gumede set the standard in the show.

The actress and her partner, Artem Chigvintsev, scored 37 out of 40 - including a perfect 10 from Tonioli - for their "fabulous" tango.

Commenting on her long purple dress that looked like his favourite Quality Street chocolate, head judge Goodman called it a "truly quality performance".

Tonioli said: "For me you set off like the Tango Express. Destination: the final. For me it was fabulous."

Revel Horwood, however, criticised the positioning of Gumede's left arm and said: "I thought the whole thing lacked a little bit of drama, to be honest."

But Bussell told her: "Ignore Craig. For me, I loved that classic tango."

In second place after Gumede, with a score of 35, was Ashley Taylor Dawson, who danced the waltz with his partner Ola Jordan.

Tonioli told the Hollyoaks actor he thought it was a "wonderful, wonderful waltz" and "beautifully good".

Goodman said: "I thought you did a terrific job. The waltz is not an easy dance. Overall, I'm telling you, that was terrific."

But the ever-critical Revel Horwood told him: "Your head is driving me absolutely mad, darling."

Bussell said: "It was so slick, Ashley. You really rose to the occasion. For me I think it was one of your best dances."

Model Abbey Clancy and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec scored 31 for their paso doble.

Revel Horwood had some minor criticisms, but said: "I loved the dance."

Bussell told the Liverpudlian: "I just wanted a bit more. I wanted to see something different from you."

Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis danced the Viennese Waltz and also scored 32.

Goodman said: "It's not your best but it's certainly not your worst. It's somewhere in the middle."

Bussell said: "That was very difficult. You put a lot in there. It's just a shame you don't look as comfortable."

Giving BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid and her partner Kevin Clifton a score of 31 for their cha-cha-cha, the judges told the couple there was room for improvement.

"It was acceptable," said Goodman. "It wasn't exceptional. It was good enough, I guess."

Labelling the dance mumsy, Revel Horwood said: "For me it did not pop, it did not zing."

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole's rumba split the judges from the audience.

After a standing ovation from the crowd, the panel awarded the pair just 31 points.

Goodman told them it was a "very very pretty dance" but it "lacked a bit of flair", while Tonioli said: "I like my rumba a bit raunchier."

Cole disagreed with the judges, telling them he was aiming for sensuality over sexuality in his choreography.

Actor Mark Benton and partner Iveta Lukosiute scored 28 for their foxtrot.

Bussell said she "loved" the performance, while Goodman told Benton he needed "more swing".

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