Fleur East has secured the first perfect 40 of Strictly Come Dancing 2022 after channelling her inner Destiny’s Child during the show’s Blackpool special.
Saturday’s episode saw the BBC competition return to the town’s prestigious Tower Ballroom for the first time since 2019 after a break due to the pandemic.
The singer and radio DJ performed her couple’s choice dance with her partner Vito Coppola to a megamix of songs by the 90s US girl group to land the top mark of the series.
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.
East 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”.
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 as the presenter dressed in a pink and black petticoat dress and the professional dancer donned a leather jacket.
Ballas praised how Skelton 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.
Ballas 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.
Du Beke described their dance as “tremendous” and that he felt he was getting to see more of Rainford’s personality during the routines.
Revel Horwood felt it needed to be “lighter” and “more precise” but praised her for selling the number.
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.”
Will Mellor and Nancy Xu delivered a vibrant samba in homage to the Rio Carnival to secure their 35 points.
Accompanied by a host of backing dancers, feathers and sparkles, the Coronation Street star performed to I Go To Rio by Hugh Jackman with Ballas describing him as a “very well-oiled machine”.
Kym Marsh brought drama to the Blackpool stage as she performed a powerful paso doble to We Found Love by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris.
Accompanied by supporting dancers, the actress and presenter moved fiercely across the dancefloor alongside her partner Graziano Di Prima to land a score of 33.
Motsi Mabuse said Marsh looked “amazing” and praised her control and energy.
After a competitive show, Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe placed bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 31 for their American smooth to You’re My World by Cilla Black.
Du Beke described the Ted Lasso star as the “Belle of the ballroom floor” while Revel Horwood said her dance was “elegant and sophisticated” but said she needed to work on her arm placement.
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.