Dr Ranj and Joe Sugg have got Strictly Come Dancing off to a sparkling start as two of the biggest surprises of the first live show.
Predictably, trained dancers Ashley Roberts and Faye Tozer were top of the leaderboard, but children’s doctor Ranj Singh and YouTube vlogger Joe Sugg were right behind them with enough promise to give them a run for their money in bagging the glitterball trophy.
Of course, there were a number of dancefloor duds in the show’s first outing this year – Susannah Constantine looks to be getting set up for failure – but read on for our take on the night’s action and what judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli had to say about it.
Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden
Dance: Foxtrot to the Top Cat theme
What we thought: Taking on the unenviable position of first person of the series to dance was Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules and his partner Amy Dowden.
Foxtrotting to the Top Cat theme (of course – The Cat), Danny made a big entrance in a hot pink suit and leopard-print shirt, with dance moves that were every bit as sharp.
What the judges thought: Shirley said: “I’m in love.”
Darcey said: “You are one agile mature man”.
Kate Silverton and Aljaz Skorjanec
Dance: Cha Cha Cha to Kiss by Tom Jones
What we thought: Taking a leaf out of Susannah Reid’s book, Kate’s first dance with Aljaz saw her sitting behind a news desk in a pair of fake glasses.
She did a pretty solid first performance, and although it involved a bit too much posturing and a bit too little dancing, we were impressed with the amount of personality she showed.
What the judges thought: Bruno said: “You don’t get that at the news at lunchtime.”
Craig said: “There was an awful lot of stomping around.”
Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard
Dance: Waltz to I’m Kissing You by Des’ree
What we thought: Lauren was incredibly graceful and has been so well matched with AJ.
It was a beautiful Waltz, but all of the slower numbers tend to be a bit yawn at this stage before the celebs have had a chance to really develop their technique.
What the judges thought: Shirley said: “Beautiful princess with beautiful chemistry I think you’re going to do very well.”
Bruno: “It was like watching Strictly’s Romeo and Juliet.”
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
Dance: Tango to SexyBack by Justin Timberlake
What we thought: Well, it wasn’t that Seann was a particularly terrible dancer, but his constantly open mouth did completely distract us from the routine.
Katya was very brave to choreograph the end fling across the floor.
What the judges thought: Darcey said: You were grabbing her a bit too much. I liked it as a whole, maybe not that end.”
Shirley said: “I have to enforce the rule here. There was a lift at the end of that routine.”
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima
Dance: Jive to Feel it Still by Portugal
What we thought: This was the first couple we’ve seen tonight who look properly exciting for the weeks going forward – the judges might have been critical about Vick’s Jive technique, but she’s such a natural dancer.
We thought the scoring was incredibly harsh.
What the judges thought: Shirley said: “For me it was a little discombobulated. Not quite my cup of tea.”
Bruno said: “The fact you managed to keep up with that rampaging stallion, extra points for that.”
Craig said: “I felt like it was all about Graziano.”
Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke
Dance: Samba to Tico Tico by Carmen Miranda
What we thought: Poor old Susannah isn’t even being given the chance not to be the comedy turn, what with her giant dress hiding Anton and fruit bowl on her head.
Ok, Anton was hilarious, but we barely got the chance to see Susannah dance.
What the judges thought: Craig said: “I felt you were staggering about lost and drunk at a party, darling. The best part for me was when you fell on the floor at the end.”
Darcey said: “I know this show is about entertainment, but I’ve seen you work hard and I know there’s a dancer in there.”
Charles Venn and Karen Hardy
Dance: Cha Cha Cha to Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use) by Sub Sub
What we thought: Wow, Charles has certainly been working hard – we can’t even clap in time as well as he can, never mind dance like that.
He looks so confident already, some celebs aren’t that good even weeks into the contest.
What the judges thought: Darcey said: “You are definitely very watchable. I’ve never seen a man able to deliver a Cha Cha on week one that relaxed.”
Shirley said: “That was a disco routine for me, that was exempt of Cha Cha.”
Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev
Dance: Viennese Waltz to Perfect by Ed Sheeran
What we thought: Unsurprisingly, Ashley is an absolutely beautiful dancer, and no doubt is going to come in for a mountain of criticism for previous experience.
Still, we’re really excited to see what she does next.
What the judges thought: Darcey said: “There’s so much artistry in that.”
Craig said: “I thought the whole thing was gorgeous.”
Dr Ranj and Janette Manrara
Dance: Cha Cha Cha to How Will I Know by Whitney Houston
What we thought: We’re calling it now – Dr Ranj is going to be in the final this year.
He’s a great dancer, he’s fun, and everyone loves him. Straight to the winner’s podium!
What the judges thought: Shirley said:”I just wasn’t expecting that, it was light, it was fun.”
Bruno said: “The diagnosis is very good, doctor.”
Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez
Dance: Waltz to When We Were Young by Adele
What we thought: It’s likely that this is one of the dances that is going to get lost in the huge number of performances from week one.
Very graceful, but not especially memorable.
What the judges thought: Bruno said: “The worst is over now relax. Next time, feel it, don’t overthink it.”
Craig said: “You went horribly wrong halfway through, but managed to get back into the swing of it.”
Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse
Dance: Samba to Soul Limbo by Booker T and The MG’s
What we thought: Cricketers are traditionally pretty good on Strictly, and while Graeme may not be right up there in the top three tonight, he’s not terrible.
We especially loved that he managed to work his signature move, the floss, into the routine.
What the judges thought: Craig said: “Your hands are like cricket bats, very flat, no shape, wooden.”
Darcey said: “Your rhythm is exceptional and the energy is amazing. You’re like a wonderful rough stone that Oti’s going to polish.”
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
Dance: Quickstep to Dancing by Kylie Minogue
What we thought: What’s not to love about Stacey and Kevin? Their Quickstep was so much fun to watch, and Stacey looks really good for week one.
However, they did that annoying thing of claiming she was unfit and rubbish before coming out with a smasher of a routine.
What the judges thought: Darcey said: “Oh my gosh, you are an absolute delight.”
Craig said: “For someone who puts her life at risk making documentaries, to come out there with all that glamour and the hardest dance, you did pretty well.”
Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova
Dance: Waltz to Take it to the Limit by The Eagles
What we thought: Lee looked dapper and moved well, but again, it just wasn’t very memorable.
However, he dealt really well with slipping on the stage midway through. Other than that, we’ll be struggling to say what his dance involved by tomorrow.
What the judges thought: Bruno said: “Look how well and confidently he leads.”
Craig said: “You were very stern of face throughout, concentrating more on the steps than the story.”
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Dance: Jive to Take On Me by A-Ha
What we thought: Young, fun, energetic, and a surprisingly good dancer.
But ok, BBC, we get it – he works in social media. The overuse of emojis all over the screen made a good dance really annoying, although it wasn’t at all Joe’s fault.
What the judges thought: Bruno said: “You were like a jet-propelled grasshopper. It’s been a night of surprises and you were the biggest one.”
Craig said: “I saw you dance on the launch show two weeks ago and I did not have high hopes for you at all. That has changed everything.”
Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice
Dance: Cha Cha Cha to Lullaby by Sigala
What we thought: Faye has come under a lot of criticism for being a trained dancer, but she’s great to watch and is clearly having so much fun.
She’s definitely up there with the best dancers this season and we’re expecting her to go far.
What the judges thought: Craig said: “It’s amazing what you’re doing in week one, incredible.”
Shirley: “I’m sure you’re going to come back and give everyone a run for their money.”
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