Julien Macdonald exits Strictly Come Dancing

The fashion designer loses out to Countdown's Rachel Riley

Fashion designer Julien Macdonald became the third celebrity to exit Strictly Come Dancing tonight, describing the show as the "best experience of my life".

The Welshman found himself up against Countdown presenter Rachel Riley after they received the lowest amount of public votes combined with judges' scores.

But after each performed a dance-off, Macdonald was told by judges he would be going home.

The award-winning designer, who is known for his heavily embellished dresses, said: "I'd like to thank everyone at home for voting for me, all the audience and the judges - even Craig! Most of all I've had an amazing time and this has been the best experience of my life and I've left on a high, I hope I have spiced everybody's night up!"

It was the third week in a row that he and professional partner Janette Manrara had found themselves in the bottom two.

He and Riley both performed their routines from last night's show again - Macdonald dancing the salsa to The Spice Girls' "Spice Up Your Life" and Riley and partner Pasha Kovalev doing the quickstep to "Johnny Got a Boom Boom" by Imelda May - in a bid to remain in the competition.

Afterwards judge Darcey Bussell said: "Both performances were 100 times better but for me it goes down to the difficulty of the dance and because of that I would like to save Rachel and Pasha."

Craig Revel Horwood added: "I am choosing to save the couple that simply danced the best on the night, Rachel and Pasha," while Bruno Tonioli said: "I have to go for content, skill and storytelling. My favourite dance was from Rachel and Pasha."

Macdonald scored 23 points in last night's show, along with Dave Myers and Deborah Meaden.

But it was former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton who was at the bottom of the leaderboard with just 22 points.

Hairy Biker Myers, who was taken to a beauty salon by partner Karen Hauer ahead of the show, was told his waltz to The Eagles' "Take It To The Limit" was his best dance of the BBC1 series so far.

Meaden, who performed a jive to Bucks Fizz Eurovision-winning hit "Making Your Mind Up" and in the true spirit of the original had her skirt ripped off by partner Robin Windsor, was watched by fellow Dragons Den star Peter Jones from the audience.

But the entrepreneur was told "it just wasn't your dance" by Bussell, while Revel Horwood added: "There was no real spring in your step and the kicks I have to say were very, very lame."

Macdonald was told by Goodman: "It was a little bit wild and wacky, it needed more control."

Meanwhile in joint place at the top of the chart were Abbey Clancy, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Natalie Gumede, who all scored a 35 out of a possible 40.

Actress Gumede wowed the judges with her performance after suffering from a compressed disc and sciatica which left her with chronic back pain all week and left her appearance in last night's show in doubt.

The former Coronation Street star danced the quickstep to Usher's "Yeah!" after only having a couple of days to practice.

Tonioli said: "I can't believe that you delivered a dance of this standard in such short time. You captured the spirit of the dance so well. I thought it was absolutely wonderful."

Clancy and partner Aljaz Skorjanec's tango to Florence and the Machine's "Spectrum" was "snappier than the crack of a whip", according to Tonioli.

"You are a formidable couple. There was snap, crackle, pop. Punchy, dynamic. That was a terrific tango," added Goodman.

The night had got off to a promising start with Ellis-Bextor's "exquisite" foxtrot to "Cheek to Cheek" by Dick Haymes which earned her and partner Brendan Cole a standing ovation.

Tonioli told the singer: "You really look like a star from Hollywood's golden era."

"It was elegant, it was graceful. The movement around the floor was absolutely exquisite," Revel Horwood added.

The results show also featured a performance from Keane along with this year's The Voice UK winner Andrea Begley.

Twelve couples now remain in the competition.

PA

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