Alexandra Burke shakes off tough week to top Strictly semi-final leaderboard
The former X Factor winner and partner Gorka Marquez scored a total of 79 points.
Strictly’s Alexandra Burke scored her first full marks of the series as she hit the top of the semi-final leaderboard to round off a tough week.
The former X Factor winner and partner Gorka Marquez scored a total of 79 points out of 80 after two routines, with the second, a salsa, given a 40 by the judges.
It was described as “absolutely fabulous” by Craig Revel Horwood, while Darcey Bussell vowed: “If you are not in the final I’m going to get into (Bruno’s) speedos.”
The result came after a tough seven days for Burke who finished in the bottom two last week despite topping the leaderboard, having failed to secure enough votes from viewers.
She was cheered on by last year’s champion Ore Oduba, who made an appearance with the glitterball trophy and was joined in the audience by fellow 2016 Strictly contestants Judge Robert Rinder, actor Danny Mac and radio DJ Melvin Odoom.
Elsewhere on the leaderboard, former magician’s assistant Debbie McGee and partner Giovanni Pernice scored 70 points combined for their two dances, putting them joint second with Holby actor and Joe McFadden and partner Katya Jones.
McGee performed a jive and a foxtrot while McFadden, the last man to be left in the competition, danced an American smooth and an Argentine tango.
The Saturdays’ singer Mollie King was left in tears after finishing bottom of the leaderboard with her first performance, a samba, described as “jerky” by Bussell.
But the real criticism came from Bruno Tonioli who told King that “Southern Rail had better timing”.
She and partner AJ Pritchard scored 56 to finish behind former Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson and Aljaz Skorjanec who picked up 62 for their two routines.
Despite salvaging her performance with a record-scoring waltz for her second routine, King is favourite to head home before next week’s final, according to the bookies.
She is at 2/5 to exit according to Coral while McFadden, previously described by head judge Shirley Ballas as the dark horse of the competition, is now favourite to win at 5/4.
McGee is at 7/4 while Burke is 7/1 to win and Atkinson can be backed at 10/1.
– Strictly Come Dancing’s semi-final results show is on BBC One at 7.15pm on Sunday.