Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard surged to the top of the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard after earning a standing ovation.

The pair offered a rousing finale to the latest live show with a near-prefect foxtrot.

Judges and audience alike were on their feet to applaud the dance which earned a score of 38 and placed the couple firmly at the top of the table.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
David James and Nadiya Bychkova look set for the exit (Guy Levy/BBC)

David James and Nadiya Bychkova were left languishing once again at the other end with a score of 16, placing them back in the bottom two after their recent recovery.

Motsi Mabuse said of the night’s stars Pritchard and Barker: “Today you brought it on, you gave me a show, you gave me beautiful technique, you gave me music, you gave me everything I needed.”

Returning guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro added: “That was awesome. Your rise and fall was spectacular. I loved it.”

Judges were not so impressed with the regression from former goalkeeper James, who is now the bookies’ firm favourite to leave the show.

Paralympian Will Bayley and Janette Manrara had the judges weeping with their emotional, storytelling performance.

Mabuse and Ribeiro wiped away tears as they delivered their assessment of the dance, which was awarded a score of 32.

Craig Revel Horwood said it showed: “Clear emotional storytelling. A real inspiration. It was great, it really, really was.”

Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec, spared in the dance-off, made a startling recovering from their previous week and surged up the leaderboard with 36 for their waltz.

Mabuse said: “Every aspect of that dance was so beautiful today. Thank you.”

Ballas added: “I’ve never seen such an improvement in one week.”

Kelvin Flether and Oti Mabuse earned a score of 33 after they opened the latest show with a cha cha.

CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden earned a standing ovation for their performance, which saw them given 36 on the night.

Ballas said: “You just set the bar even higher, this is like off the chart. You’re just a delight to watch in every way.”

EastEnders star Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke were criticised by Horwood for lacking “fire” and “passion” in their paso doble, adding they looked like a “bag of potatoes”.

The pair earned a score of 26 for their efforts.

Alex Scott and Neil Jones were in raptures after managing a score of 33 with an impressive Charleston.

Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe were given 28 by the judges.

Mike Bushell and Katya Jones earned a score of 21. Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer were given 25.

Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice danced the rumba, and managed a score of 29 despite judges appearing unimpressed with the performance.

Strictly returns tomorrow night.