Friday, December 10, 2010

Kara Tointon's near-perfect score as she tops the leaderboard on Strictly semi-final opening night

By Daily Mail Reporter

Wowing the judges: Kara Tointon and her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev dancing the Viennese Waltz during last night's Strictly Come Dancing semi-final opening night for which they scored 39 out of 40

Former EastEnders star Kara Tointon will start tomorrow night's Strictly Come Dancing at the top of the leader board after impressing the judges with her Viennese waltz.

The actress was one point off a perfect score tonight after judge Bruno Tonioli said her dance was a 'work of art' in the first of the weekend's two semi-finals.

Tointon also received top marks for winning the Strictly swing-a-thon, which involved all five remaining couples dancing at the same time in a knock-out dance-off.

Underdog Gavin Henson was bottom of the judges' leader board by the end of the show after he was criticised for lacking rhythm in his samba.

Tonioli said: 'I still feel you don't quite connect with the music all the way.'

But Craig Revel Horwood quipped: 'The good thing is the rotation in the hips was well worth the 297.5 hours you have been rehearsing over the series.'

Lady in red: Pamela Stephenson donned fishnets as she and her dance partner James Jordan performed the Paso Doble

Sultry: The pair received a 35 points for their efforts, securing them second place after the group dance

Pamela Stephenson and her partner James Jordon earned a respectable 35 out of 40 for their paso doble, putting them in second place after the group dance.

Alesha Dixon said: 'It was dramatic, fast, you were determined, brilliantly controlled and you have maintained your standard from last week.'

Rival male contenders Scott Maslen and Matt Baker both fell from their high standards and drew criticism from the judges.

Best foot forward: Gavin Henson and Katya Virshilas came bottom of the scoreboard and was criticised for lacking rhythm while, right, Scott Maslen and Natalie Lowe performed the Argentine tango

After his dramatic Argentine tango with partner Natalie Lowe, Len Goodman told Maslen: 'I didn't get that feeling there was that sort of connection between the two of you.'

But Tonioli defended the pair, saying: 'I think I actually got it, Scott, because that was played like a film noir. It was very intense.'

The pair were given a score of 33 for their first dance and were the second couple to be knocked out of the swing-a-thon.

Slipping standards: Matt Baker and Aliona Vilani were second from bottom, receiving 28 points for their salsa

But the judges' harshest words came for Countryfile presenter Matt Baker, who performed a salsa with Aliona Vilani.

Goodman was clearly not impressed and said: 'You have been so good, your standard has been so high, you've been consistent but this was not that good.'

Tonioli said Baker had 'over-worked it' while Revel Horwood said: 'The whole thing was just a bit insipid.'

All together now: The five remaining contestants performed swing-a-thon which involved all the couples dancing at the same time in a knock-out dance-off

The 32-year-old looked emotional and disappointed when the judges gave him his lowest score of the competition with just 28 out of 40.

All of the couples will dance again tomorrow night before two couples are eliminated in Sunday's results show.

The remaining three couples will then battle it out in the grand final on Saturday, December 18.

The judges decide who to boot off next during the swing-a-thon, from left Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli

Top to bottom: The scoreboard including the scores from the first dance and from the swing-a-thon


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