Belfast Telegraph

'Perfect' routine from Ellis-Bextor

Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor was compared to a heroine from the Great Gatsby as she danced her way to glowing praise from the judges on Strictly Come Dancing.

The songwriter and model, dressed in a gold tasselled 1920s flapper-style dress, performed the Charleston on the hit BBC One show with dance partner Brendan Cole, to the music of Rock it To Me by Caravan Palace.

The pair were given the score of nine - a total of 36 - from all four judges in spite of Brendan admitting that he had never danced the Charleston on the show before.

He told Sophie he had "never really liked it" - but added "I do now, now I am dancing it with you."

Strictly's judges gave the pair's performance rave reviews with Darcey Bussell describing 34-year-old Sophie's performance as "just perfect" and Brendan's choreography as "brilliant". Len Goodman said: "It was a great routine and it was just beautifully done, full stop."

Bruno Tonioli told Sophie: "Scott Fitzgerald himself could not have drawn a better image of a flapper, stylistically perfect, you popped out of the Great Gatsby, all guns blazing."

The couple's peformance put them in second place behind former Coronation Street star Natalie Gumede and her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev in a league table of combined scores including those from last weekend.

Natalie, who has complained of dizziness during rehearsals, and who performed a waltz with Artem to Alicia Key's If I Ain't Got You had her performance described by judge Craig Revel Horwood as "breathtaking". Len said: "As a dance, and as a performance, absolutely corking."

Sir Bruce Forsyth, who pulled out of hosting the show tonight after being taken ill with flu was wished a "speedy recovery" by co-host Tess Daly.

The 85-year-old showbiz veteran, who has hosted the series since 2004, was replaced by Claudia Winkleman, who usually co-hosts the results programme and has stood in on other occasions.

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