Lisa Riley dazzles with uplifting display

First published in News

Former soap star Lisa Riley wowed the judges in Saturday's episode of Strictly Come Dancing after lifting her partner at the end of a cha-cha-cha, helping her to top the leaderboard.

Riley and her partner Robin Windsor gave a lively performance to Think by Aretha Franklin on the second night of the first week of performances. Windsor then jumped on Riley, wrapping his legs around her waist for a theatrical ending.

The pair scored a total of 30 points, the highest score of the weekend, and received praise from all the judges.

Tough judge Craig Revel Horwood said: "Three words darling - you can dance." Riley then kissed and hugged him and he gave the couple a score of eight out of 10.

Fellow judge Darcey Bussell said: "I love someone who can take risks - that was a great end."

Bruno Tonioli said the performance was "big, beautiful and exuberant".

Popstar Kimberley Walsh and Olympic medallist Louis Smith also impressed the judges.

Walsh and her partner Pasha Kovalev received an audience standing ovation after their cha-cha-cha. They received a total score of 28, with Revel Horwood saying there was "finally some dance talent" on the show.

Smith and partner Flavia Cacace scored 27 after the Olympic gymnast did the splits at the end of their cha-cha-cha.

However, judge Len Goodman had some criticism for the couple. He said: "It wasn't a gold medal performance ... it's got to be slightly crisper."

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