Belfast Telegraph

Denise wows Strictly judges

Scarlet woman Denise Van Outen was told to ditch her regular partner after wowing the judges on Strictly Come Dancing.

The 38-year-old stage and TV star's dancefloor partner, James Jordan, missed days of rehearsals after suffering ankle injuries falling down stairs, leaving her to practice with stand-in Ian Waite.

Jordan and former Big Breakfast host Van Outen, who was dressed in a sultry red, received the highest score of the series so far, with Craig Revel Horwood joking to her: "I would consider swapping partners." But after scoring straight nines from the judges, Van Outen insisted "No, I'm keeping James."

He had pledged to dance through the pain rather than miss the BBC1 show and on Thursday a specialist finally gave the go-ahead for him to perform on the show, where he and Van Outen performed to The White Stripes' hit Seven Nation Army.

Former X Factor judge Cheryl Cole was in the audience to watch Girls Aloud bandmate Kimberley Walsh in action. The glamorous singer, dressed in a stylish Audrey Hepburn-like black dress, looked on as Walsh, 30, scored an impressive 33 waltzing with her partner Pasha Kovalev.

After the performance Cole tweeted: "She was AMAZING !!!!! Should have been all 9s if you ask me !!!! Lol #proud." She had earlier tweeted about judge Bruno Tonioli, writing: "I LOVE Bruno !!!!!! Lol."

Former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash - himself a former Strictly star - was also in the audience to watch former skipper Michael Vaughan, who danced the salsa with Natalie Lowe to I Want You Back by The Jackson 5, scoring 26.

The judges had earlier almost come to blows arguing over Olympic silver-medallist Louis Smith's waltz. Gymnast Smith, 23, is the bookies' favourite to take the Strictly crown and was given nines by all the judges bar Revel Horwood, who gave him a six for a total score of 33.

Showbiz reporter Richard Arnold impressed the judges with a camp Charleston and former Emmerdale and You've Been Framed star Lisa Riley continued to shine with a score of 33.

Regular host Sir Bruce Forsyth, 84, took a break from presenting duties this week, with Claudia Winkleman - who co-hosts the Sunday results programme - stepping in alongside Tess Daly. All the dancers were battling to get through to next week's shows, which swap the studio for Wembley Arena and an audience of 6,000.


From Belfast Telegraph