AJ Odudu scores best-rated Strictly waltz of the series after ending up bottom of leaderboard
The TV presenter struggled last week, but made a triumphant comeback opening Musicals Week.
Last week, AJ struggled while performing her Paso after slipping on her dress, later saying that the mishap had left her "gutted".
But when it came to opening the show for the first time for Musicals Week, AJ and her partner Kai Widdrington soared, performing a stylish waltz to the song Edelweiss from The Sound of Music.
The judges awarded the duo a near-perfect score of 38, the highest waltz score of the series, with head judge Shirley Ballas – who gave 10 points – describing the routine as "absolutely sensational". "I can tell that you’ve worked very, very hard on your technique," she told AJ, adding, "I feel like I want to put you in a Christmas snow globe, you are so beautiful – it was stunning."
Anton du Beke – who awarded 10 points – added that AJ was "back with a bang", while Motsi Mabuse – who gave 9 points – also called the waltz "beautiful" and guest judge Cynthia Erivo said she was "really proud" of AJ, adding: "How do you solve a problem like Maria? You cast AJ, that’s how!"
Afterwards, a tearful AJ dedicated the dance to all the Strictly viewers who had voted for her and Kai last week despite their mishap. "Last week we were so vulnerable," she said. "I don’t take a single vote or message of support for granted.
"It just makes you realise how much I’m enjoying this whole experience – I don’t want it to end."