Strictly Come Dancing is back and in full swing.
The much-loved dance competition returned to the BBC last week with a premiere episode that kept viewers at home endlessly entertained – not least because of 78-year-old contestant Angela Rippon’s “jaw-dropping” high kick.
EastEnders star Bobby Brazier and his professional partner Dianne Buswell kicked things off with a well-received Charleston that earned high praise from the judging panel, which comprises Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, and Anton Du Beke.
It was a mixed bag of dances this week, with some stars rising to the challenge and others, such as Les Dennis and Nikita Kanda, falling behind on the leaderboard. You can find the updated leaderboard here.
Episodes will continue to air every Saturday on BBC One, with the results show following suit on Sunday evenings.
You can find the full line-up and the pairings for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing here.
Here are the biggest talking points from the second competitive episode of Strictly 2023.
Layton Williams makes history with a “ridiculously” remarkable quickstep
This week’s episode of Strictly finished on a high thanks to 28-year-old film and theatre actor Layton Williams whose quickstep with professional partner Nikita Kuzmin was hailed by the judges as the best dance of the evening.
The actor – best known for playing the title roles in Billy Elliot and Everything’s Talking About Jamie – stepped out in a suit-and-tie ensemble to match Kuzmin. Their dance to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” wowed the judges, two of whom (Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse) gave standing ovations when it came to a glorious end. Presenter Tess Daly put it best as she told the pair that they “brought the house down”. Even the notoriously hard-to-impress Craig Revel Horwood was floored by their technical achievements, telling Williams, “You are ridiculous. That is incredible.” Mabuse echoed her fellow judge’s sentiments, adding, “This was the dance of the night.” The performance earned Williams and Kuzmin four scores of nine, bringing their week two total to 36 – the highest score of the evening. This is only the third time in Strictly history that a dance in the second week has received four nines.
Les Dennis gives it his all – but sinks to a series low
The TV personality, 69, lived up to his reputation with a hugely entertaining performance, dancing the samba alongside professional partner Nancy Xu. The pair put a nautical spin on the dance, moving and grooving to the 1973 hit track “Rock the Boat” by The Hues Corporation.
The duo were all smiles, however, the judges were far from impressed. Horwood told the pair, “You’ve taken basic to a whole new level.” His harsh criticism was echoed by much of the judging panel, although others – such as Mabuse and Ballas – commended the duo on their enthusiasm, which managed to overshadow some of the technical faults in their routine. “I’d have to give you a 10 for entertainment,” said Ballas. “You have foot faults galore but there is something about you that is really attractive to watch.” The pair scored a series low (so far) of two points from Horwood. In total, they received 15 points.
Angela Rippon stuns again
The 78-year-old – who makes history as the oldest contestant to feature on Strictly – floored viewers last week with her Cha Cha Cha to “Get the Party Started”, which featured an incredible high kick in the routine. Rippon, therefore, had high expectations to live up to this week and she did so flawlessly.
Rippon and her partner Kai Widdrington took on the Foxtrot, dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young”. The pair were commended by the judges who applauded the journalist’s “flow and sophistication”. Ballas especially had high praise for the dance, going so far as to say Rippon has the best frame of the whole evening. The duo scored scores of eight, eight, seven, and eight, bringing their total from week one and two to 60.