Tensions reached a new high during Strictly Come Dancing’s movie week as professional dancer Brendan Cole kicked off an awkward argument with head judge Shirley Ballas.
The face-off came during Saturday night’s episode of the BBC One contest, which saw singer Aston Merrygold and partner Janette Manrara top the leaderboard again as they scored 35 points out of 40 for their hip-hop-infused Cha Cha to Can’t Stop The Feeling from family film Trolls.
Ballas, who joined the BBC One show panel for the first time this year criticised the “rise and fall” in Cole and partner Charlotte Hawkins’ Top Gun-themed tango.
But the former Queen of Latin dancing barely got to the end of her sentence before Cole interrupted: “I’m really sorry, but there was no rise and fall.”
She told him to look back over the footage, to which Cole firmly responded: “I will, my dear”.
Co-judge Bruno Tonioli then reminded the dancer to be “more respectful” towards the chief of the panel, while newsreader Hawkins firmly avoided comment. The pair received a total score of 17 out of 40.
Saturday night’s episode was a whirlwind of nostalgic big-screen moments.
Actor Joe McFadden and Katya Jones particularly impressed with their Russian-inspired Viennese Waltz to Somewhere My Love from Doctor Zhivago. They were given a full hand of eights as judge Bruno Tonioli commented that he was “swept away by a romantic blizzard”.
Also among the highest scorers was singer Alexandra Burke, who channelled Audrey Hepburn as she and Gorka Marquez danced their American Smooth to My Fair Lady’s Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.
Judge Darcey Bussell’s comments were met with cheers from the audience as she told Burke: “I really loved you…you are one to watch,” before the judges awarded the couple a score of 33.
Other highlights included comedian Susan Calman, who transformed into Wonder Woman to dance the first samba of the series with partner Kevin Clifton.
Their rip-roaring performance included strutting, Beyonce body-pumps and one impressive moment where Calman span her professional partner on the floor.
Reverend Richard Coles also delivered on the superhero drama, donning a blond wig and bright red cape for his Paso Doble to the Flash Gordon theme with partner Dianne Buswell.
Unfortunately, however, his technical skill placed him at the bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 16, with judge Craig Revel Horwood describing his performance as like “a three-year-old having a tantrum”.
There was more graphic feedback from Tonioli, who was ruffled by actor Davood Ghadami’s pelvic thrusts as he discovered his inner John Travolta for his Saturday Night Fever samba.
“It looked like a ferret in your pants,” he cried, before awarding the EastEnders star a seven, contributing to his overall score of 25.
Paralympian Jonnie Peacock and Oti Mabuse, meanwhile, were awarded a healthy 26 for their Indiana Jones-themes Paso Doble – even though Peacock admitted it had been his “nightmare dance”.
Among the most impressive outfits were Simon Rimmer’s Buzz Lightyear costume, and Ruth Langsford’s Bond girl wig of gorgeous golden locks.
The dancers also gave a special mention to former contestant Chizzy Akudolu, wishing her a happy birthday just days after she was booted off the show.