So that’s it – all the dancers have taken to the floor for their first dance and the preliminary verdicts are in.
On Friday night the first six stars took on either the tango, waltz, jive or cha cha in an attempt to impress the judges (and more importantly, us viewers at home), whilst the remaining nine had to wait until last night for their turn to stand in the Strictly spotlight.
Click here to read my review on the first night’s dances then come back here to find out how week one fared for everyone else.
The second instalment kicked off with a bang last night with all the professional dancers taking to the floor to a rendition of Walk the Moon’s ‘Shut Up and Dance’. Seriously, how long did it take them to choreograph a routine to this number? That and Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’ in the launch show make the two most predictable song selections of the series and its only week 1.
That said, the opening sequence took us on a tour of dance through the ages complete with new Russian pro, Gleb Savchenko, doing his best John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever impression.
Then came the nervous contestants starting with the clearly terrified Jay McGuinness from boy band, The Wanted. He and partner, Aliona Vilani, danced a surprisingly good cha cha but Jay’s nerves showed throughout making for a slightly lacklustre performance. However, I wouldn’t be too disheartened; no doubt in a few weeks Jay’s inspiring Strictly ‘journey’ will have kicked in, transforming him from shy pop star to confident Latin-dancing hunk, complete with video montage and perhaps a few manly tears shed. Frankly I am glad Aliona finally has a partner with some actual potential after several years of no-hopers. The most painful parts of this portion of the programme were the judges’ painful attempts to insert The Wanted puns into their end-of-dance comments. Think “I’m glad you came” and you are “wanted” here.
Jay and Aliona: Cha cha – Craig: 5; Darcey: 8; Len: 7; Bruno: 7 = 27
Next up was sports anchor, Kirsty Gallacher dancing the waltz with ‘bad boy’ Brendan Cole. I have to say, her dress was hands down the best Strictly creation of the night. That being said Kirsty seemed to be another victim to the dreadful nerves, stumbling her way through most of the performance. Brendan nobly defended his partner’s mistakes to the judges but this wasn’t enough to save her from a relatively low score.
Kirsty and Brendan: Waltz – Craig: 4; Darcey: 5; Len: 6; Bruno: 5 = 20
It was presenter and radio host, Jeremy Vine‘s turn next, performing the cha cha with Karen Clifton. The cha cha was definitely not the best dance to be assigned in first week and whilst I was desperately willing Vine’s performance to be spectacular, it was bound to fall short. Craig put it best, labelling it ‘dad dancing’ whilst Darcey, through barely controlled laughter, declared the dance ‘strangely fabulous’. Indeed, it might have been quite difficult to watch in parts, but Vine certainly threw himself into the Strictly experience with gusto.
Jeremy and Karen: Cha cha – Craig: 2; Darcey: 6; Len: 6; Bruno: 5 = 19
Then came Georgia May Foote with new Italian pro, Giovanni Pernice, dancing the jive. Foote spent much of their introduction trying to teach Giovanni ‘northern’ and, I have to say, hearing the word ‘nippy’ in his strong Italian accent was my highlight of the night. These two look like the picture perfect couple with their natural chemistry bouncing off the screen during their jive but, unfortunately, Foote ran out of stamina half way through.
Georgia and Giovanni: Jive – Craig: 6; Darcey: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 7 = 27
Next up was TV chef Ainsley Harriott dancing the tango with Natalie Lowe. Here was a valiant effort but Harriott’s tango face was more funny than anything.
Ainsley and Natalie: Tango – Craig: 4; Darcey: 5; Len: 6; Bruno: 5 = 20
The sixth couple to take to the floor was Katie Derham and Anton du Beke in a very energetic proms-themed jive. Its really rather weird to see Anton with a good partner, something both the judges and Anton took pains to emphasise. The pair were commended by Craig for the ‘most sophisticated and stylish jive’ ever on Strictly. High praise indeed.
Katie and Anton: Jive – Craig: 6; Darcey: 6; Len: 7; Bruno: 7 = 26
Athlete Iwan Thomas and partner Ola Jordan performed next in a tango that was largely forgettable. Indeed, Craig summed it up quite accurately when asked by Tess if the performance met the gold standard; a blunt “no”.
Iwan and Ola: Tango – Craig: 2; Darcey: 6; Len: 6; Bruno: 5 = 19
The penultimate slot of the night went to popstar and Loose Women panellist, Jamelia, with partner Tristan MacManus. The couple’s video introduction focussed on Jamelia’s bubbly personality as she struggled to stop giggling during their training for the waltz. Perhaps she over-corrected as her waltz showed potential but was rather boring. There was me hoping she could be another Alesha Dixon.
Jamelia and Tristan: Waltz – Craig: 4; Darcey: 6; Len: 6; Bruno: 5 = 21
In a transparently strategic move, bookies’ favourite Peter Andre and partner Janette Manrara were last to perform on Saturday night’s show. Their introduction video featuring a nineties dance battle was painful to watch, even by Strictly‘s standards, but it was quickly forgotten as the two subsequently pulled off the ‘best dance of the two nights’, according to head judge, Len. I wonder if frontrunner Helen George was secretly fuming in the wings as Andre swept in at the last minute to take the top spot.
Peter and Janette: Craig: 7; Darcey: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 7 = 30
So that’s it for week one. Who do you think was the best dancer across the two nights and who might be in danger of elimination next Sunday? Vote in the polls below and sound off in the comments.
Florence Odette xx