Fleur East has secured the first perfect 40 of this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing as the BBC show returned to Blackpool.
Saturday’s episode saw the competition back at the town’s prestigious Tower Ballroom for the first time since 2019 after a break due to the pandemic.
Fleur received 10s from all four judges after channelling her inner Destiny’s Child for her couple’s choice dance with her partner Vito Coppola to a megamix of songs by the 90s US girl group.
Dressed in a silver, sequined outfit, the singer and radio DJ delivered an energetic routine with slick movements reminiscent of the band’s former members – Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
Fleur described it as a full-circle moment as she said she grew up listening to Destiny’s Child and they had inspired her to become a singer.
Head judge Shirley Ballas said it was “an iconic routine that will go down in history” and praised her confidence to do a dramatic lean during the routine.
Craig Revel Horwood simply described it as “fab-u-lous”.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) November 19, 2022
Meanwhile, Helen Skelton and her partner Gorka Marquez came a close second with 39 points for their quickstep to Valerie by Amy Winehouse.
The routine gave a nod to Grease with the presenter dressed in a pink and black petticoat dress and Gorka in a leather jacket.
Shirley praised how Helen has grown, saying she had been left speechless by the performance.
Anton Du Beke said the reaction to her dance is the reason the show comes to Blackpool, adding: “You were amazing. You have been brilliant from the neck down throughout this whole competition. Tonight you were great from the neck up.”
Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal placed third after opening the Blackpool special in sophisticated style by performing an elegant American smooth to New York, New York by Frank Sinatra.
Dressed in a tail suit, the wildlife cameraman performed dizzying lifts and spins to secure a score of 38.
Shirley tipped him as the one to beat, saying: “Hamza shone brighter than all the baubles and beads and bangles in the world.”
Molly Rainford delivered a vibrant, upbeat jive to Bandstand Boogie by Barry Manilow alongside her partner Carlos Gu to achieve a score of 35.
Tyler West also achieved a score of 35 after dancing the salsa to Megamix by KC and The Sunshine Band while donning an afro wig and flared trousers.
The Kiss FM DJ grooved and performed challenging lifts with his partner Dianne Buswell with Ballas praising him for attempting the lifts and for his fluidity, adding: “You are a star.”
At the other end of the scoreboard were Ellie Taylor with a score of 31 for her American smooth to You’re My World by Cilla Black.
The dance competition kicked off its Blackpool special in dazzling fashion with the professional dancers performing amongst the seaside resort’s funfair attractions in a special opening number.
The show opened with a dedication to the area by local people who reflected on the importance of their town’s relationship with the show.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One with the results show on Sunday at 7.20pm