Last weekend Strictly fans had double the glitter and glitz. Over Friday and Saturday night, we saw 15 nervous new Strictly Come Dancing celebrities take to the floor for their first solo performances.
Each episode was full of shocks, surprises and pleasing amounts of sparkle. And they had serious Strictly superfans (me included) predicting who will make it to Blackpool and beyond.
We had were “strangely fabulous” bottom wiggles, celebs suffering from a “touch of the gallops”, “lumpy” tangos and “total technical droughts” as well as performances with “tremendous potential.”
From Peter Andre’s scoreboard-topping Cha Cha to Anita Rani’s surprisingly sparkly performance, these are the celebrities we think are already touching distance from the Glitterball…
We all suspected the Call the Midwife star would be resplendent on the dance floor and Friday night’s Waltz confirmed it. The former ballet dancer and marathon runner was poised and elegant, graceful and confident.
Nurse Trixie Franklin would have been as impressed as the formidable judges were. “Hold me upside down and smack my bottom,” spluttered Len Goodman. “I can’t believe this is week one and we are seeing this standard.”
If Helen can channel the sexy confidence of the latin dances with as much ease as she embodied ballroom, this gal is heading to the final.
There’s a reason Andre is the bookies favourite. A couple of beats into his Cha Cha to Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera and it was clear Andre’s skill set isn’t limited to oiling up his pecs and emerging from waterfalls a la Mysterious Girl. The judges were impressed by his first foray – he shot up to the top of the leaderboard – and Andre got a well deserved standing ovation from the audience too.
This chap has got the personality and the performance level to be a people pleaser – and the technical potential to impress the judging panel. Someone start polishing that Glitterball.
Georgia May Foote
Former Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote isn’t a household name just yet, but she probably will be by the end of the competition. The 24-year-old shot up to joint-third on the leaderboard during Saturday’s live show with a fun, bouncy Jive to Meghan Trainor’s Dear Future Husband.
She was confident with the moves, happy embracing a character and super easy to watch (not always an simple feat in week one). I predict plenty of good scores ahead!
The Wanted star Jay is one nervous celebrity. The 25-year-old quivered his way through the launch show and couldn’t conceal his trepidation during his first solo performance. But alongside professional dancer Aliona Vilani, his Cha Cha was still awarded a fairly impressive 27 points.
If he can gain a little confidence and start believing in his ability to boogie, I reckon Jay can go a long way in this competition. In fact – and I’m sure Aliona has thought about this – I can see him following in fellow-boy band star (and Strictly champion) Harry Judd’s footsteps…
Countryfile presenter Anita Rani was a bit of a surprise success. The star was given mediocre odds by the bookies and was even named among some of the stars most likely to be out first. But we can’t see that happening. Gone were the wellies and waterproofs, Anita proved she’s got what it takes to embrace the sparkle of Strictly AND impress the judges with some technical talent too.
Her Cha Cha with newbie Gleb Savchenko saw her take joint-third on the leaderboard and become a real contender for this year’s Glitterball trophy.
The Proms presenter sure impressed on the dance floor with her Jive to Roll Over Beethoven this weekend, but there’s another reason she could be headed for Strictly greatness: Anton du Beke. We shouldn’t underestimate how much the long-running pro wants to get to his mitts on that Glitterball trophy.
With Derham by his side he’s finally in with a chance. This two are going to work their sparkly socks off to try and get there…
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 6:20pm on BBC1