Strictly Come Dancing scored its highest ratings of the series so far as more than 10 million viewers tuned in to watch Seann Walsh and Katya Jones perform their “Dance of Shame”.
All eyes were on the comedian and the dancer as they performed for the first time since being wrapped up in the controversy around their kiss.
Viewers had to wait until nearly the end of the almost two-hour long broadcast to watch Walsh and Jones, the penultimate couple to perform.
But it was worth the wait – Strictly drew an average of 10.6 million viewers, according to overnight ratings.
It peaked at 11.9 million viewers, had an audience share of 51.2% and was the most-watched show across all channels on Saturday, the BBC said.
The average number of viewers was up 1.4 million from last week’s episode.
Comedian Walsh and dancer Jones – who both apologised for their actions earlier in the week – faced the music with their jaunty Charleston, which saw them greeted with cheers from the audience when they tackled a number of tricky lifts.
The judges scored them 28 points, putting them in fourth place on the leaderboard.
The pair had been surrounded by speculation that they would leave the show for the controversial kiss, which was revealed in pictures in The Sun newspaper.
Walsh’s now ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries broke her silence soon after, claiming the kiss had happened on her birthday.
In a withering statement, actress Humphries claimed that Walsh had called her “psycho/nuts/mental” when she suspected something was going on between him and Jones, who is married to Strictly dancer Neil Jones.
Earlier this week, Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood said that Walsh and Jones should return to the dancefloor, no matter what.
He told The Jonathan Ross Show: “My take was keep them in the show, make them do the Dance of Shame, if you like.”
Saturday’s Strictly barely made any reference to the furore around the stars’ personal lives, with Walsh and Jones ignoring it completely in their pre-recorded material.
However, hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly did make a light-hearted reference to it as they opened the show, quipping about the “odd headline” over the past week.
The episode saw broadcaster Stacey Dooley and her partner Kevin Clifton top the leadboard with 33 points.
However, presenter and campaigner Katie Piper is at risk of losing her place in the competition.
She and her partner Gorka Marquez received 18 points for their jive, putting them at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Strictly Come Dancing’s results show airs at 7.45pm on BBC One.