Performing with professional dancer Ola Jordan after just one week’s training, the singer wowed viewers with his jive to Rockin’ Robin.
Natural dancer JB was up against actress Sheila Hancock who danced with Ian Waite, comedian Bobby Ball who partnered Katya Virshilas, Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton who took to the floor with Artem Chigvintsev, comedienne Katy Brand who strutted her stuff with Anton Du Beke, and Footballer Fabrice Muamba who performed with Aliona Vilani.
The winner of this year’s festive special was decided by the studio audience, but JB was a hit with the judges too, scoring an impressive 39 points out of a possible 40.
After JB’s jive, head judge Len Goodman praised his performance, saying: “JB, I’ll tell you what it stands for – jive bunny! Hopping and bopping! It wasn’t contained; it was full on and flat-out. For one week of training, that was fantastic!”
The judging panel’s newest addition Darcey Bussell concurred, saying: “It had amazing energy, very fast rocking jive you gave us, thank you for that!”
And flamboyant Bruno Tonioli declared: “Oh yes, you set it all off with a real cracker of a jive! I tell you, the vitality, that will wake you up from your Christmas slumber. Don’t try that at home – not with a full stomach, it won’t be pretty. Leave it to the young ones. Len is right – excellent!”
Even Strictly’s own pantomine villan Craig Revel-Horwood, who was the only judge not to score JB a perfect 10, sung the star’s praises: “It was a little bit flat-footed, you had a nasty slip moment over there as well which ruined a little bit of it. But I’ve got to say – amazing amount of character in that dance. Rhythm, pivot-toes with the chasses, sharp kicks and flicks. I LOVED it!”
The festive edition of the hit BBC1 show also featured a group performance from former Strictly favourites Kelly Brook, Rachel Stevens, Tom Chambers, Chris Hollins, Chelsee Healey, Colin Jackson, Natasha Kaplinsky, Russell Grant and Ann Widdecombe.
The Christmas special waltzed onto our screens just days after the finale of Strictly Come Dancing 2012, which saw Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and his dance partner Flavia Cacace walk away with the glitterball.
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.