Belfast Telegraph

Karim Zeroual early leaderboard frontrunner in Strictly final

The children’s TV presenter is up against actors Emma Barton and Kelvin Fletcher in the last episode of the series.

Karim Zeroual is the early leaderboard frontrunner (Guy Levy/BBC)
Karim Zeroual is the early leaderboard frontrunner (Guy Levy/BBC)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Karim Zeroual is the frontrunner on the leaderboard after the first set of dances in the Strictly Come Dancing final.

The children’s TV presenter and his partner Amy Dowden scored a full 40 points for their upbeat and colourful quickstep.

His fellow finalists Kelvin Fletcher and Emma Barton were awarded 39 points each from the panel following their first performances of the night, each of which was a judges’ pick from the series.

Zeroual and Dowden repeated their quickstep to Mr Pinstripe Suit as their judges’ pick routine, opening the show in colourful style.

Head judge Shirley Ballas was up on her feet for a standing ovation at the end of the fast-paced routine.

She told Zeroual that he was a “star” and had “everything from the footwork to the leg action” correct, while Bruno Tonioli praised him for making the ballroom routine feel “fresh, relevant, exciting, now” and that it was “pure ballroom bliss”.

Motsi Mabuse said the routine was better from the first time they performed it, and all of the judges awarded Zeroual and Dowden 10 points, giving them a perfect score of 40.

Next up were Barton and Anton Du Beke, who repeated their Charleston to Thoroughly Modern Millie from musicals week, chosen for them by the judges.

There was another standing ovation from Ballas for the couple, with the head judge remaining on her feet for several moments after it had finished.

Tonioli told the EastEnders star that she is his “favourite flapper ever”, while Craig Revel Horwood commented on a “sync issue” but added: “I have to say that routine would be right at home in the West End my darling, it was absolutely fantastic.”

Barton and Du Beke were awarded 39 points for the routine, with a nine coming from Revel Horwood, their second attempt at the routine failing to get the 10 from him.

Former Emmerdale star Fletcher and his partner Oti Mabuse were the third to perform their judges’ pick routine, a rumba to Ain’t No Sunshine.

The judges were impressed with the saucy routine, with Ballas jokingly fanning herself with her notepad and praising Fletcher for being “oily like a lava lamp” with “perfectly timed synchronised body movements”.

Revel Horwood said he was “rather hot under the collar” and that he was “watchable, believable, but above all masculine”, and Tonioli hailed the “sensual and romantic” dance.

The judges scored them 39 points, with Revel Horwood again being the only one to give a nine rather than a 10.

Earlier in the episode presenter Claudia Winkleman reminded viewers that the judges’ scores are for guidance only, as the public vote will decide the winner.

The final three couples will also each perform a showdance – described by host Tess Daly as being a routine “where there are no rules, anything goes” – and their own favourite dance from the series.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph