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'Strictly' finally awards its first 40 points of 2019 - and Karim Zeroual is the lucky winner

Katie Archer
Contributor
(BBC)

Karim Zeroual has become the first celebrity of Strictly Come Dancing 2019 to be awarded a perfect 40 with a Jive that the judges called the show’s best ever.

The CBBC presenter and his partner Amy Dowden picked up the coveted first full marks in the musicals themed quarter final, with even Craig Revel Horwood simply standing up to applaud at the end of their Hairspray-inspired dance.

Read more: Craig Revel Horwood steals the show by performing in drag

Zeroual and Dowden’s success was even more impressive as they had been in last week’s dance off, and their co-stars couldn’t have been more pleased for them, grabbing the couple and jumping around in excitement as the four 10s were read out.

Revel Horwood tried to bluff that he was not going to award full marks during the critique, starting: “It’s such a terrible shame darling, it really is...” before getting to his feet and applauding them.

Motsi Mabuse didn’t play her cards quite so close to her chest - she even handed Zeroual her 10 paddle in place of critiquing him.

Bruno Tonioli told them: “I have shivers going down my spine, that was a mind-blowing bravado performance.

“I’ve seen a lot of Jives, but that was the best Jive we’ve ever seen.”

Shirley Ballas added: “I teach a lot of high level professionals, but I tell you, that inspired me today.”

Zeroual and his closest rival Kelvin Fletcher have been battling it out for weeks to achieve the series’ first 40, and in the preceding dance it seemed that actor Fletcher might just pip him to the post as three of the judges declared his Beauty and the Beast-themed American Smooth was perfect.

Read more: Craig Revel Horwood says Len Goodman is ‘living in Dark Ages’

However, Revel Horwood still only awarded him nine points, claiming there was an issue with timing which the other judges said they didn’t see.

Fletcher was joined on 39 points by Emma Barton and Anton du Beke, who closed the show with a Charleston danced to Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Meanwhile, Chris Ramsey and Alex Scott lagged behind at the bottom of the leaderboard on 28 and 27 points respectively.

Strictly Come Dancing returns for the results show on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.