Strictly’s Shirley Ballas gives Debbie McGee her ‘Queen of Latin’ crown after near-perfect performance

Debbie topped the leaderboard with her Charleston routine

Strictly Come Dancing’s Halloween special proved to be a memorable night for viewers and contestants alike after Debbie McGee earned the highest honour from judge Shirley Ballas.

Debbie and dance partner Giovanni Pernice impressed the panel so much with their energetic Charleston that Shirley – who joined the show this year in place of Len Goodman – awarded the 58-year-old her ‘Queen of Latin’ crown.

After receiving glowing praise from Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli, Shirley beckoned Debbie over to the table.

“I’m going to give you my Queen of Latin crown – you deserve it!” the head judge explained.

“You were fantastic. I loved everything about what you did – everything. There was nothing that I didn’t like.

“You went for it, you executed it. You were brilliant, well done.”

A thrilled Giovanni playfully bowed down to Debbie as the crowd cheered following her positive feedback.

Shirley’s fellow judges were also very complimentary – Bruno said there was “nothing horrible” about it despite it being Halloween week and Darcey called it “fantastic” and hailed Debbie for being “fearless”.

The performance was certainly impressive, with the duo including several daring lifts in the spookily-themed routine.

When it came to the scoring Debbie and Giovanni were given a near-perfect 39 out of 40 after Darcey, Shirley and Bruno all awarded the dance the highest mark of 10.

The duo were ecstatic when they were given the results and ended up topping the leaderboard at the end of Saturday night’s show, the third time they’ve done so throughout the competition.

Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara followed closely behind though with their score of 38 for their Paso Doble whilst Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez’s Tango earned them third place with a mark of 35.

At the other end of the leaderboard were Simon Rimmer and Karen Clifton, who scored just 16 for their American Smooth routine.

We’ll get to find out who stays and who goes when the Strictly Come Dancing results show airs at 7.15pm on Sunday 29 October on BBC One.

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