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Jake Wood’s ‘whamba of a samba’ puts him top of Strictly leaderboard with Frankie Bridge

EastEnders star Jake Wood soared back to the top of the leaderboard with what head judge Len Goodman (opens in new tab) called a “whamba of a samba”.

Last week,  Jake danced the American Smooth and Bruno Tonioli (opens in new tab)  told him he was “back in the game big time” after a couple of not-so-good weeks in the contest. 

This week, EastEnders star Jake Wood (opens in new tab) swung his hips back into action in a samba with Janette Manrara -  and the judges and audience went wild.

As Strictly Come Dancing reached the final eight contestants, Jake scored two 10s - from Len and Darcey Bussell (opens in new tab) - as he not only swivelled those hips, he twerked and shook his booty, too.

“Your bottom went off like a jackhammer!” Craig Revel Horwood (opens in new tab) beamed. “And your shoulder shimmies were fantastic. Loved the routine.”

“Jake-o the twerking wonder. I loved it!” shouted Bruno.

“It’s so strange that you can pull off twerking like that,” Darcey giggled.

Joining Jake at the top of the leaderboard on 38/40, with 10s from Len and Bruno, was Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge (opens in new tab), who danced a Viennese Waltz that Craig said was “gorgeous”.

“Absolutely beautiful,” said Darcey. “You do not make one mistake.”

“You make it look easy and natural,” added Bruno.

One point behind Jake and Frankie was singer/songwriter Pixie Lott (opens in new tab), who danced a Charleston with Trent Whiddon.

“I was out of breath just watching it,” said Len. “It was full of razzle-dazzle. Well done.”

“I have never seen anybody fit so many steps into one dance - and you still found time to add detail and style. Incredibly impressive,” added Darcey.

Last week’s top scorer, Blue singer Simon Webbe (opens in new tab), was fourth this week, with 36 points for his salsa with Kristina Rihanoff.

“You came close to being as good as last week,” Darcey told Simon.

“You’ve come on in leaps and bounds,” added Craig.

TV presenter Caroline Flack (opens in new tab) would have scored more than her 33 points for her American Smooth with Pasha Kovalev if she hadn’t nearly fallen over at one point.

“It was fantastic until the stumble,” Craig told Caroline. “But you made a great save and got back into it. Classy.”

Reality TV star Mark Wright (opens in new tab) danced what Bruno called a “very convincing” tango with Karen Hauer to score 32 points.

“The strong, serious Mark suits you,” Darcey told him.

Casualty star Sunetra Sarker (opens in new tab), who was in the dance-off last week, is sitting precariously in second-last position on the leaderboard ahead of the public vote, with 30 points.

Sunetra’s waltz with Brendan Cole was described as “definitely better” by Craig and “improved” by Bruno - but not in the same league as Jake, Frankie and Pixie.

She was ahead of wildlife expert Steve Backshall (opens in new tab), though, who scored just 23 points for his jive with Ola Jordan.

“It was very stumpy, sadly,” Craig told Steve. “Your timing was atrocious.”

Does that mean Steve’s time’s up in the competition?

The Strictly Come Dancing (opens in new tab) results show is on BBC1, Sunday, November 23, 7.15pm.

Click here (opens in new tab) for our photo special on the final eight dancers