Strictly 2023: The couples hit the dancefloor for the first time - As it happened

Strictly Come Dancing 2023,Generics,Craig Revel Horwood; Shirley Ballas; Motsi Mabuse; Anton du Beke,**EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01 HRS ON TUESDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER 2023**,BBC,Ray Burmiston
Strictly Come Dancing 2023 judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, and Anton du Beke. (BBC) (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

After meeting their dance partners last week, the 15 celebrities competing in Strictly Come Dancing 2023 took to the dancefloor in the first live show of the 21st series on Saturday, 23 September.

Viewers and the judges got to see the dancing duos' footwork in action, and it became clear who the favourite is after Nigel Harman blew judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, and Anton du Beke away with his powerful Paso Doble.

Layton Williams, Ellie Leach, Bobby Brazier and Amanda Abbington all received the same score of 29 from the judges, while Angela Rippon and Annabel Croft earned 28.

On the other end of the leaderboard was Les Dennis who received the lowest score of the night, 16, for his Tango which the judges weren't too wowed by.

As tradition dictates, there will be no eliminations this week or a Sunday results show which means that the couples' scores will be brought over into the next live show which is when viewers at home will have their say too.

Here is the first Strictly Come Dancing live show as it happened:

Live coverage is over
  • Roxy Simons

    The leaderboard

    After an exciting evening of dancing it was clear who is the frontrunner of the competition: Nigel Harman. But several other dancers are close behind him.

    Layton Williams, Ellie Leach, Bobby Brazier and Amanda Abbington all received the same score of 29 from the judges, while Angela Rippon and Annabel Croft earned 28.

    Strictly week one leaderboard (BBC)

  • Roxy Simons

    Nigel Harman and Katya Jones were the last couple to dance, performing a Paso Doble to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

    Nigel and Katya (BBC)

    Craig was full of praise for Nigel, saying that he'd hate to be in the competition with him because their performance was "the dance of the night".

    Motsi felt the same and said that they were "spectacular", while Anton said that Nigel "stole the night" with his powerful performance.

    Shirley said that Nigel was "the one to beat" and didn't want to stop watching him perform on the show after that powerful performance.

    Scores: 8, 8, 8, and 8. Meaning Nigel and Katya are top of the leaderboard.

  • Roxy Simons

    Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley went next, dancing a Cha Cha to Boom Shack-A-Lack by Apache Indian.

    Krishnan and Lauren (BBC)

    Anton began the judges critique, saying that "from the waist up" he enjoyed Krishnan's performance, but struggled with his footwork. Even so he thought it was "great".

    Craig joked that he "would never watch the news again" after seeing his performance.

    Motsi said that she loved the Channel 4 news presenter's character on the ballroom floor, and Shirley joked that when she watches him on TV from now on she will think of Boom Shack-A-Lack.

    Claudia told Krishnan that everyone was "obsessed" with him and his performance, and the presenter said that he couldn't stop smiling during their dance.

    The couple earned the following scores: 5, 6, 6, and 5.

  • Roxy Simons

    Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice came next, taking to the Strictly dancefloor with a Viennese Waltz to Pointless by Lewis Capaldi.

    Amanda and Giovanni (BBC)

    The performance saw her get a standing ovation, including from Shirley Ballas.

    Shirley said that she was "emotional" watching Amanda's performance and saying that it touched her heart, she praised the "beautiful chemistry" between her and Giovanni.

    Anton seemed at a loss for words after seeing Amanda's dance, saying that she was "great" and "emotionally exquisite" on the dancefloor. But he urged her to remember to breathe because she appeared "30 seconds from passing out".

    Craig said that he felt Amanda's dance was "over-powered" and needed to be softer, earning him loud booing from the crowd. He got the audience back on side when he said that Amanda danced well despite the issues he'd mentioned.

    Motsi said there was "something so so special" about her, adding that she was impressed with the "quality" performance.

    Amanda and Giovanni earned the following scores: 7, 7, 8, and 7.

  • Roxy Simons

    Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe went next, dancing a Cha Cha to Uptown Girl by Billy Joel.

    Channeling her tennis roots, Johannes portrayed a tennis player while Annabel appeared as a pundit before stepping onto the dancefloor.

    Johannes and Annabel (BBC)

    Motsi said she was "positively surprised" by Annabel's performance, and Shirley said that the former tennis player was "controlled", "poised" and "elegant".

    Anton said that Annabel was "amazing" and added that she was "just exquisite" on the dance floor.

    Craig had some constructive criticism for Annabel, but he did say that she delivered the "most elegant, swanky Cha Cha" that he's ever seen in his life.

    Afterwards, Annabel praised Johannes as such a "special man" and she loved being able to work with him on the show.

    Annabel and Johannes' scores were as follows: 7, 7, 7, and 7.

  • Roxy Simons

    Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell come next, dancing a Foxtrot to All About You by McFly.

    Bobby and Dianne (BBC)

    Craig began the judges critiques saying that he needed to work on his "rise and fall" but he had a great frame and was good at storytelling.

    Motsi agreed with Craig's praise and added that she loved the way he "looked at Dianne", joking "why will no one look at me like that?", she also said that his performance had a "pure energy."

    Shirley said that Bobby was "endearing" on the ballroom floor and said that his performance was "absolutely beautiful" and was showing potential already.

    Anton said that Bobby's performance was his favourite dance of the night so far, and he was "stunned" with how good he was.

    While speaking with Claudia Winkleman she was left shocked when Bobby said that Dianne would "auntie" his children in the future, which the co-host amusingly misheard.

    Bobby and Dianne earned the following scores: 6, 7, 8, and 8.

  • Roxy Simons

    Next up is Paralympic champion Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystal who are dancing the Quickstep to I’m Sitting on Top of the World by Bobby Darin.

    Jody and Jowita (BBC)

    Anton urged Jody to work on being more upright, and added that he could be smoother on the dancefloor but "generally speaking, a very nice peformance."

    Craig added he needed to have more "finesse" and his "presentation needs work", even so he said that it was "pretty amazing what you did there."

    Motsi said that Jody had great energy but he needed to work on his performance, and said he should "open up" because that will make him much more comfortable on the ballroom floor.

    Shirley joked that she was "a sucker for a man in a tails suit" and called Jody "sophisticated" as a dancer, and she added that he needs to work on his confidence moving forward.

    Jowita is looking to replicate her success after winning in 2022 with Hamza Yassin, and the pro seemed delighted with Jody and said after their dance that she was so proud of his performance.

    The couple earned the following scores: 5, 5, 6, and 5.

  • Roxy Simons

    Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola went next, dancing a Jive to Can’t Tame Her by Zara Larsson.

    Ellie and Vito (BBC)

    Shirley said she couldn't believe that they were on week one of Strictly because of how well all of the celebrities are doing, adding that Ellie needs to work on her consistency but she "has it all".

    Anton said that Ellie was "amazing" and "tremendous" with her dance, and said that while she needs to work on her feet he loved her performance.

    Craig said that she was "sharp and precise" and said that she "needed more energy" towards the end, but that she is "an incredible dancer."

    Motsi said that she loved watching Ellie's dance, saying "it's week one and you're dancing like this, what more is there to come?"

    Ellie was beyond delighted with the judges critiques, saying she couldn't believe that Craig had praised her performance.

    The couple earned the following score: 7, 8, 7, and 7.

  • Roxy Simons

    Les Dennis and Nancy Xu came up next, dancing a Tango to Don’t You Want Me by the Human League.

    During the VT Les joked that he was going to use all of his acting skills to impress on the Strictly dancefloor, with Nancy saying she wanted to push him with their first performance.

    Les and Nancy (BBC)

    Motsi joked that she needed to "speak the truth" when asked if she found Les' performance entertaining, she said that he had "a lot of energy going in the right direction."

    Shirley added: "The music has to hit the ear and come out of your body and you did that spectacularly", and she also said that he did "much better than [he] thought he was going to do."

    Anton said he "enjoyed" Les and his "character", while Craig had a few more choice words saying he should have "stayed behind the bar" for the dance, adding that he at least "gave it a go and that's what this is all about."

    The pair earned the following scores: 2, 4, 5, and 5.

  • Roxy Simons

    Next up was Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima, performing Cha Cha to Crush by Jennifer Paige.

    Zara joked that she was like "a lump of wood" at the beginning of her Strictly journey, but she felt she was improving as rehearsals continued.

    Zara and Graziano (BBC)

    Zara's performance saw her doing the splits and other impressive dance moves, and after she said she couldn't "believe" it.

    Craig didn't like the dance, calling it "wooden" and said that she was "awkward" coming out of hold but that he saw the intention was there.

    Motsi said that she saw "connection" between her and Graziano, and she added tat they "look so good together".

    Shirley said that she did a "grand job" on the dancefloor, and she was looking forward to seeing her journey in the competition.

    Anton added that he enjoyed Zara's performance and she had a good base for Strictly, he said that now she needs to keep building on her skills and she'll be "one to watch".

    Zara and Graziano received the following score: 3, 6, 5, and 5.