Welcome back one and all to another week of #StrictlyLiveBlogging, our weekly live blog of the BBC’s hit celebrity ballroom contest Strictly Come Dancing, as it returns for its long awaited new series.
Two whole weeks have passed since the launch show, and tonight, 15 nervous celebrities and their professional partners are taking to the floor for their very first dances. We will be here bringing you all the happenings from the dance floor as and when we get them from 6.25pm, and with a warm up from 5.45pm looking ahead to tonight’s show and the dances we can expect to see!
Please don’t forget to comment below with your thoughts or Tweet me using the hashtag #StrictlyLiveBlogging!
So here it is. Our Saturday and Sunday nights from now until December are officially starting right here! As we left the last live blog, the fifteen new celebrities were paired up with their professional partners on the launch show.
Tonight, in a whopper of a two hour and 20 minute live show (best get some drinks and snacks in), all of them will take to the floor for their first dances. A quick reminder, courtesy of the BBC Strictly Twitter, of who’s been partnered with whom – and more importantly, what their first dances are and which songs they’ll be dancing to:
And here’s the class of 2017 shortly after finishing dress runs today:
As with previous first shows in recent years, the judges will score the first dances tonight as usual, but there’s no dance off this week. Instead, their scores from this week get carried over and added to the scores next week, along with the public votes which go live next week also – details on how to register to vote for free are on the Strictly website here.
Several former Strictly alumni have been reminiscing/sending their good luck wishes to the new class of 2017 today – amongst them, 2006 runner up and Spice Girl, Emma Bunton, and 2012 runner up and Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh:
Looking at Twitter, it’s safe to say the new celebs are a mixture of raring to go and cacking their pants (metaphorically):
20 minutes to go!
It’s worth mentioning at this juncture, to our delight, that last year’s winner and current reigning champion Ore Oduba is still very much a part of this year’s series, as he is hosting the first ever official Strictly podcast every Monday from next week:
Big shout out has to be given at this point as well to our fellow Strictly nuts on here, Strictly Support Group, who are just as excited as we are about tonight’s live show (Hi guys!):
15 minutes to go! Also to mention here that the delightful Zoë Ball is back with It Takes Two, Monday to Friday at 6.30pm on BBC Two from next week. It appears she’s a bit excited, yes:
10 minutes to go!
Nothing like a bit of banter with the band pre-show…
Here we go people!
Loving this professional dance to ‘You Got the Love’! Oti looking very graceful it has to be said!
That is some entrance from the judges there. Darcey and Shirley looking lovely!
Gemma Atkinson and Aljaz Skorjanec opening the show tonight then, with a Cha Cha Cha. A standard first week dance ahead? Let’s find out…!
Gemma says she wanted to bring out her inner J.Lo…safe to say she is doing that so far! Very good New Yorkers!
My score: 7. Really great first dance to open the show, lots of potential.
Shirley loved the cheekiness of the dance. Bruno says she’s like an Amazonian catwalk queen. Craig thinks it’s a bit blocky and square. Darcey says that it’s fast and full but congratulated her on breaking the ice for the others!
Scores for Gemma and Aljaz:
Brian Conley and Amy Dowden up next, doing the first tango of the series. Not expecting much for this I’ll be honest!
I think it’s safe to say one of the places for next week’s dance off is secure…
Our score: 2. Don’t expect Brian to be around long with performances this wooden!
Bruno loved the intensity, passion and tragedy…almost. Craig said his posture was poor and that he wasn’t leading, but it was something to work on. Darcey says the intensity is there but he has to work on working the dance into the ground. And Shirley? She loves Brian’s character and promenade and a good performance overall.
Brian and Amy’s scores from the judges:
Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez next with a waltz…will they deliver the romance and passion needed?
It appears Gorka is anti-caffeine, ladies and gentlemen…
Safe to say Lexy is moving with all the grace of a leading lady!
Our score: 8. As beautiful a first waltz as you could hope for!
Craig says her hold and shoulders need a bit of work, but loves her expressive arms and feel for the dance. Darcey says she loves how Alexandra gives the musical expression to the dance and that sold it to her. Shirley said she could see the dance meant something to her and that she could be a front runner. Bruno says he felt so good and like he was enveloped by silk. That’s some good scores coming I feel!
Alexandra and Gorka’s scores are in:
Sunday Brunch’s Simon Rimmer and Karen Clifton are next with the first Paso Doble of the series. Will he be able to stand the dancefloor heat?
Hmmm. He’s got the command and intensity of the dance right but his footwork is a bit stumbly. Not a bad first go though!
Our score: 5. Not bad but a lot to work on!
Darcey agrees with us on the determination and focus not being aimed correctly but that with time this will come. Shirley (with some nice glasses) said the choreography was strong but that he needs to rotate more. Bruno said it was like a pressure cooker about to explode but that he was like a crashing cockroach(?). Craig said there was a lot of ‘standing there and stomping around darling’ and that it was lacking a lot of shaping.
Here comes Simon and Karen’s scores:
Charlotte Hawkins from Good Morning Britain, and Brendan Cole are next with, unusually, the first foxtrot of the series. Shirley’s expecting a lot as it’s a notoriously difficult ballroom dance!
Oooh. Definitely getting Katie Derham vibes from Charlotte. Very graceful like a Hollywood film star from the golden age of movies! Good navigation with the bench too!
Our score: 7. Stunning first attempt at a foxtrot, lots of potential here!
Shirley got everything she was looking for. Bruno said it was classy, elegant and traditional. Craig saying lots of potential, as does Darcey who says she needs to use her back.
Time for Charlotte and Brendan’s scores:
So at this halfway stage have to say Charlotte and Alexandra are our favourites so far. Who are yours?
First of the Holby City stars now as Chizzy Akudolu dances with Pasha Kovalev for a Cha Cha Cha…expecting a lot of exuberance and life here!
Woop! Chizzy is shaking it like a disco queen! Bit of wobbly feet placement but she’s selling it for me!
Our score: 6. A fun and fab-u-lous first dance!
Bruno says he could get addicted to ‘Fizzy Chizzy’ and loves to see her on the dance floor! Craig said it was a bit too disco but a great sense of rhythm. Darcey says she’s a sassy lady and wants her flirty attitude. Shirley said she wants to get fizzy with Chizzy also. An order of Chizzy all round I guess!
The scores for Chizzy and Pasha are in:
Jonnie Peacock and Oti Mabuse are next up with the first waltz from a male celebrity…will he be the perfect leading man?
Very good placement it has to be said! Jonnie’s really selling the feel of the dance. Great choreography from Oti as well.
Our score: 7. Surprisingly lovely first dance!
Craig is impressed despite some minor movement quibbles. Darcey says she’s impressed by his focus and determination but needs to bring the character. Both Shirley and Bruno loved how endearing and charming it was. Got to say I agree!
Jonnie and Oti’s scores are in:
Joe McFadden is the next of the Holby City actors to take the stage with Katya Jones with the first jive of the series.
Hmmm. Bit stompy and lacking flicks and kicks that really bring this dance alive. Joe needs to let go a bit more I think!
Our score: 5. Not quite polished but a diamond in the rough!
Darcey loved the focus and choreography but agrees with us re: kicks and flicks. Shirley loved Katya’s choreography also. Bruno said he rocked the house and was handy with a chamois cloth. Craig says HE. LIKES. JOE. That’s him impressed then!
See? Craig. Likes. Him!
Joe and Katya’s scores are in:
Total: 29 – top of the leaderboard now!
Comedian Susan Calman and Kevin Clifton are up next. How will they fare with the first Viennese waltz of the series?
Susan’s definitely brought a light hearted, comedic air to this dance. Bit flat footed in places but a lot of grace too!
Our score: 6. We’re going to be quite mad about this partnership for sure!
Bruno said like a weird and wonderful arthouse film. Shirley says she needs to work on focusing the technique. Craig said she got the essence of the dance. Darcey says she captured the storytelling of the dance but to tone down her (obvious) love of Kevin!
Here comes Susan and Kevin’s scores:
Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernici are next up with the second Paso Doble of the night. Will they cast any magic spells of dance tonight?
Big surprise from Debbie there. A lot of finnesse and attack for a first dance, and for a Paso too!
Our score: 7. Dramatic and full of content. Really good first go!
Bruno said it had a lot of bite and content. Craig said she danced like a 20 year old (I agree) and that Darcey said she was on fire and is going to go a long way. Shirley said she’s got it all and is outstanding. A dark horse indeed I think!
It’s time for Debbie and Giovanni’s scores:
Total: 30 – that now puts them top of the leaderboard!
Davood Ghadami and Nadiya Bychkova are next with a Cha Cha Cha. Will it bring the entertainment factor of an EastEnders epic storyline?
Sparky but a bit of hip action and feet placement lacking. Good start though!
Our score: 6. Lots to work with but a lot of good too.
Craig agrees with us on the hip action. Darcey and Shirley admires the capturing of the partnership. And Bruno said he couldn’t think about dancing. I wonder why…?
Davood and Nadiya’s scores are in:
Ruth Langsford from This Morning and Anton Du Beke up next with a waltz. Will she make her hubby Eamonn Holmes proud?
Ruth is so graceful and elegant, quite rounded shoulders mind.
Our score: 7. Very beautiful and elegant waltz!
Darcey and Shirley agree with us on the shoulders and upper part of the body but agree about the elegance. Bruno says she doesn’t need to grab Anton so hard. Craig agreed by saying it was ‘Stumble and grab’ time (bit harsh)!
The scores for Ruth and Anton are in:
So excited about this next one – it’s the Rev Richard Coles and Dianne Buswell with a cha cha cha! Praise be to the heavens…
He’s on a cloud with a harp. Just give him the glitterball now! A bit like the parson’s eggs – good in parts!
Our score: 6. For the sheer entertainment factor he has my blessing!
Shirley said it was a fantastic surprise and says he’s loveable. She was also impressed with the syncopated Cuban break. Bruno said it was full of heavenly delights and diabolical technique! Craig said all the problems began when the cloud landed (bit harsh to the cloud I think) and Darcey said absolutely divine and can’t wait till next week. Nor can I! Heaven knows we need a laugh (yes I just went there)!
The scores are in for The Reverend and Dianne:
Mollie King and AJ Pritchard are next up with a jive. Come on Team Sats!
Good golly Miss Mollie indeed! Loving all the kicks and flicks. Nice, fun and feel good!
Our score: 7. Best jive of the series so far I think!
Bruno loves that she wants to impress but that she has to work with her partner and following their lead. Craig agrees and says she needs to react to AJ but great rhythm. Darcey said she will get stronger and get the attack required but she delivered with style. Shirley said a good job and lots of potential.
Mollie and AJ’s scores are in:
Closing the show tonight it’s JLS star Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara. Can he end the show on a high with his foxtrot? The water bottles seem to agree!
Aston is Mr Foxtrot indeed! This year’s Ore Oduba? Quite possibly!
Our score: 8. A very solid start indeed!
Craig’s not fond of the flashy show off moments but likes his sense of musicality. Darcey said it was controlled, confident and stylish with a modern twist and is one to watch. Shirley said it had elements of traditional foxtrot with a decent frame. Bruno said Aston’s his favourite – slick and flowing like a DB11 – a classic in the making. Seems like the best came last!
In come Aston and Janette’s scores:
Total: 31 – he ends top of the leaderboard for the first live show!
That’s it for another #StrictlyLiveBlogging. The first Charlestons and Quicksteps are next week and I for one can’t wait. See you back here next weekend at 6:45pm (with our warm up at 6:15pm) and in the meantime…keeeep dancing (and live blogging)!
😄😄😄 🎉🎉🎉 💃💃💃 📝📝📝