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Strictly's Debbie McGee sparks controversy with perfect 40 score – find out why

The star has wowed viewers with her flexibility on the show

Sophie Hamilton

There was excitement on Strictly on Saturday when Debbie McGee and her dance partner Giovanni Pernice were awarded a perfect 40 score. The pair performed a dramatic Tango to The Black Eyed Peas' song I Gotta Feeling, causing the notoriously hard-to-please Craig Revel-Horwood to bow down to the pair. It was the first 40 of the series, and at age 58, Debbie has an army of fans cheering her on.

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Debbie and Giovanni perform the Tango on Strictly

Debbie has been through a difficult and emotional time over the last year, having lost her husband, the magician Paul Daniels. After Saturday's show, she took to her Twitter account to thank her dance partner Giovanni. She posted: "I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful partner @pernicegiovann1.This is a week I will never forget. You have given me my sparkle back." However, on social media there were mixed reactions to her score, with many citing her previous ballet training as an unfair advantage.

READ: Debbie McGee responds to rumours of romance with Strictly's Giovanni Pernice

While there was lots of praise for Debbie, there were a few tweets complaining about her previous dance training and suggestions she had been over marked. Debbie previously trained as a ballet dancer at the Royal Ballet School aged 16, before joining the Iranian National Ballet and later appearing on The Paul Daniels Magic Show.

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Debbie with her late husband Paul Daniels

Debbie hit back, tweeting: "I'm really trying to ignore all the negative ones. You can't please everyone. I'm just doing my best & enjoying myself." Her fans rushed to support her, with one writing: "Ignore them! You had ballet training in the 70s – so what? I was a sprinter in the 70s – now I couldn't run for a bus! You're brilliant." Another told her: "Ignore them darling! It's a pleasure to watch you and @pernicegiovann1 every week! I'm rooting for you till the end."

Debbie and Giovanni are now the favourites to win the competition, with odds of 2/1 with William Hill. Despite her previous training, Debbie has admitted that she hasn't danced in over 30 years. She recently told The Telegraph: "It was more than 30 years ago when I last danced and I can safely say that you can't do things with an older body like you did when you were 20. Ballroom doesn't relate to the ballet that I did before in any shape or form."

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