Saturday 19 January 2019

Alexandra Burke in tears for late mother after scoring 39 for Strictly jive

Melissa Bell died less than two months ago.

Alexandra Burke
Alexandra Burke

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Strictly Come Dancing’s Alexandra Burke broke down in tears over the death of her mother after scoring the show’s highest total so far this series.

The singer burst into tears after collecting three tens and a nine for her jive to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary as she said she wished her late mother, Melissa Bell, could have seen it.

Bell died on August 28, the day the stars filmed the launch of the BBC One programme.

Burke was comforted by partner Gorka Marquez and presenter Claudia Winkleman after her performance, which was described as “absolutely stunning” by judge Darcey Bussell.

Shirley Ballas was left “speechless” by the dance, while Bruno Tonioli said she captured the “force of nature” of Turner.

The former X Factor winner had previously said her mother would have wanted her to continue with the show and promised to do her proud.

“My being on the show was a dream of hers, as well as mine, so doing the best I can on Strictly means a lot to me. My mum was my biggest critic. And she has turned me into a perfectionist; everything I do is for her,” she told Radio Times.

Burke and Marquez’s score of 39 left them top of the leaderboard in week four, ahead of Gemma Atkinson and Aljaz Skorjanec, who received 35 for a paso doble to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.

Burke’s high score made her the bookies’ favourite to win the Strictly glitterball trophy, with the odds of her taking the crown dropping to 2/1, according to William Hill.

Aston Merrygold – who topped the table last week – is in third with partner Janette Manrara after a quickstep to Mr Blue Sky which scored 32.

In joint last are TV chef Simon Rimmer and partner Karen Clifton and journalist Charlotte Hawkins and Brendan Cole, who picked up 19 each from the judges for their respective performances.

Cole, who clashed with new head judge Ballas last week, remained quiet as his partner was critiqued on Saturday night’s show.

Despite calling Hawkins by the wrong name, Ballas said there had been “a little bit of improvement in there”.

Meanwhile, Susan Calman picked up a new high of 30 after a quickstep to Bring Me Sunshine, which she also danced on her wedding day.

The comedian attempted to lift partner Kevin Clifton into the air as she celebrated the judges’ scores.

And comedian Brian Conley’s efforts to transform into a rock star for a paso doble to The Darkness’s I Believe In A Thing Called Love left an impression, with Tonioli dubbing it a “punko doble”.

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