Louise Redknapp tops Strictly but Ed Balls bottom of scoreboard

Katya Jones and Ed Balls show support for BBC Children in Need  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)Katya Jones and Ed Balls show support for BBC Children in Need  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Katya Jones and Ed Balls show support for BBC Children in Need (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Louise Redknapp has flown to the top of the Strictly Come Dancing scoreboard after earning three 10s for her Argentine Tango, the first of the series.

Former singer Redknapp and her professional partner Kevin Clifton performed a sizzling routine that had head judge Len Goodman raving that “there was nothing I didn’t like”.

The competition between the remaining nine celebrity contestants is hotting up with the famous Blackpool ballroom special just two weeks away.

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Ex-shadow chancellor Ed Balls did not manage to repeat his record score from last week, and is once again at the bottom of the scoreboard with 27 points.

Mr Balls and his professional partner Katya Jones were dressed as Laurel and Hardy for their Quickstep to Help! by The Beatles.

While their routine did not earn them a top spot, it did prompt Judge Craig Revel-Horwood to praise Mr Balls’s dancing efforts.

He said: “I can’t believe I’m actually saying this - you are actually improving, which is brilliant to see.”

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TV star Judge Rinder was berated by judges Revel-Horwood and Bruno Tonioli over his facial expressions.

The barrister tackled the quickstep with partner Oksana Platero to Chantz Powell’s version of It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), and pulled his usual array of faces mid-dance.

Tonioli told him: “You look very good, you don’t need to do the trout pout. You don’t need it.”

TV presenter Laura Whitmore was emotional after she made a small mistake during her samba to Bamboleo by Gipsy Kings.

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Judge Darcey Bussell lightened the mood by commenting on a solo section of the dance by Whitmore’s professional partner, Giovanni Pernice.

Bussell quipped: “I quite enjoyed Giovanni’s end.”

Early favourite Danny Mac opened the show with a sizzling jive to Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally, which earned him two 10s.

Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford and his partner Natalie Lowe were overjoyed as they managed to reclaim their higher spot on the leaderboard.

Rutherford became tearful last week after receiving very low scores, but was praised by Goodman this week.

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The head judge told him: “Well, it’s firework night and you’ve come back with a bang. You’re back, well done.”

Following her sassy performance, Redknapp has become the favourite to win the show.

“Louise Redknapp’s performance tonight prompted a huge gamble on the singer going all the way in the competition where her odds were slashed in half this evening,” said Coral bookmaker John Hill.

Hill added: “Laura Whitmore is the favourite to leave this weekend and miss out on a place in Blackpool, while the betting suggests either Ed Balls or Daisy Lowe will be in the dance-off with her.”

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