Strictly Come Dancing lit up Wembley Arena tonight with “jewel of the Nile” Denise Van Outen achieving the highest score of the series.
Along with her partner James Jordan, the 38-year-old stage and TV star danced a Charleston to the Bangles song Walk Like An Egyptian, scoring 39 out of 40.
With her musical star husband Lee Mead looking on, judge Len Goodman described the routine as “the dance of the series so far”, while judge Bruno Tonioli called Van Outen the “jewel of the Nile”.
Van Outen looked elated when she scored three 10s and described it as “the best feeling in the world”.
Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh, who found herself in the dance-off last Sunday night, wore a dress with a 30-metre train and received a score of 32 for her samba with partner Pasha Kovalev.
Goodman said after her performance: “If you’re in the dance-off tomorrow night I’ll pickle my walnuts.”
Dressed in red, white and blue, Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton descended from the ceiling on a bicycle and danced to Queen’s Bicycle Race with her partner Brendan Cole.
Despite the extravagant entrance, their Paso Doble failed to impress all the judges, with Darcey Bussell suggesting Pendleton may have been “overwhelmed” by the size of Wembley, and the pair scored 24 – sharing bottom place with presenter Richard Arnold and Erin Boag.
Meanwhile, Lisa Riley drew gasps from the crowd as she finished her samba routine by doing the splits, and she and partner Robin Windsor were awarded 32 points by the judges.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood described the performance as “beautiful” and “absolutely amazing”, and the actress looked overcome by the response she got from the Wembley crowd.
Gymnast Louis Smith’s American Smooth with partner Flavia Cacace left Goodman “underwhelmed” and the pair scored 30 – but bookmaker William Hill yesterday reported its biggest ever flutter on the dance contest as one punter put a £10,000 stake on Smith, at a price of 10/11.
Girls Aloud and Kylie Minogue will perform on tomorrow night’s results show.