21 NOVEMBER 2007

Melanie Brown certainly knows how to spice up a dance routine. The Leeds-born singer wowed judges on US TV show Dancing With The Stars with a "fast, precise and sexy" Viennese Waltz involving several splits, and then pulled out a whip for a passionate paso doble with dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

The couple's sizzling performances won a standing ovation from the audience, which included Mel's fellow Spice Girls and new husband Stephen Belafonte, as well as top marks from the judging panel.

Judge Brunno Toniolo said: "It was a Viennese waltz driven to maximum impact," while fellow panellist Carrie Ann Inaba added: "It gave me chills as soon as you came out here. You just constantly come back and keep surprising me." After Mel's fiery paso doble she exclaimed: "How do you top perfection?".

The 32-year-old star has been a revelation throughout the contest, impressing everyone with her fancy footwork and sexy moves. British judge Len Goodman described her recent mambo as being "so hot I'm surprised you didn't set the smoke alarm off".

Mel is now the favourite to win the competition in next week's final. She is up against IndyCar champ Helio Castroneves and singer Marie Osmond. "She deserves to win," says loyal fellow Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.

If mum of two Melanie does triumph she'll have gone one better than Emma Bunton, who took third place in the show's British version.

Photo: ©
After earning the top score of 30 points for both their dances on the latest edition of Dancing With The Stars Mel and her partner Maksim are now favourites to win next week's finalPhoto: © ABC Click on photo to enlarge