Monday 24 October 2016

Peter Andre tops Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard after red-hot cha cha cha

Lorna Cooper

Published 26/09/2015 | 21:39

Peter Andre with his dance partner Janette Manrara dancing during dress rehearsals for the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing Credit: BBC/Guy Levy/PA Wire
Peter Andre with his dance partner Janette Manrara dancing during dress rehearsals for the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing Credit: BBC/Guy Levy/PA Wire

Singer Peter Andre raised the roof and topped the leaderboard with his red-hot cha cha cha in the second part of Strictly Come Dancing's opening double-header.

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The 42-year-old justified his position as the bookmakers' favourite to win the glitterball as he strutted across the dance floor to Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man with partner Janette Manrara.

The audience rose as one at the end and the judges were full of praise as they awarded 30 points. "Oi, oi saveloy! The best dance of the two nights," cried head judge Len Goodman.

"Fantastic. I love the performance level. Get some fire in the loins. Come on, snake hips!" exclaimed Bruno Tonioli.

There was even praise from normally curmudgeonly judge Craig Revel Horwood: "I really, really enjoyed it. It was sharp, it was clean, you romped it!"

Elsewhere, broadcaster Jeremy Vine had the audience on their feet and judge Darcey Bussell in giggles as he and partner Karen Clifton danced a rip-roaring cha cha cha to September by Earth, Wind And Fire.

Trading on his profession, the 50-year-old's routine began with a bizarre news-themed speech before he hit the dance floor.

What Vine's cha cha cha lacked in technique, it made up for with sheer enthusiasm. But the response from the panel was mixed: "That dance would qualify for the championship of dad dancing," sniffed Revel Horwood.

A laughing judge Bussell said: "It was strangely fabulous. I knew I was going to love you" while Goodman observed: "You were never sure where you were going next!"

Vine ended the night with a score of 20, with Revel Horwood bestowing just two points.

Read more: 'The perfect gentleman' - Daniel O'Donnell impresses with Strictly dancing debut

Glamour arrived in the form of broadcaster Katie Derham who clearly had a ball dancing a jive with partner Anton Du Beke.

There were a few jokes from the panel at Du Beke's expense because his celebrity partners have tended to be no-hopers in recent years.

"Anton, you're dancing, darling. We're loving that!" said Revel Horwood. "The most sophisticated and stylish jive we've had," he added.

Goodman exclaimed: "Anton, this could be the year you realise Strictly goes right up until Christmas!"

Derham's jive received unanimous praise (as did her long legs) and the presenter earned 26 points.

Nerves were a feature on this night as several couples succumbed, including singer-turned-presenter Jamelia. Her waltz with partner Tristan MacManus started well, but the 34-year-old could not maintain that level.

"At the beginning it was fab, but you start to lose it as you go further and further," said former ballerina Bussell as Jamelia scored 21 points.

Former athlete Iwan Thomas and Strictly favourite Ola Jordan did not quite make the grade with their tango. "The posture is not right at the moment. There needs to be a lot more presentation," stated Revel Horwood.

The 41-year-old looked disappointed as he received only 17 points, but he vowed to do better next week.

The cha cha cha also brought out the hip swivels from pop star Jay McGuiness. He impressed with his routine alongside partner Aliona Vilani and earned 27 points.

The Wanted singer kicked off the show and despite his nerves, he impressed the judges: "You were like a glass of Guinness: full-bodied and got a lot of froth on the top," said head judge Goodman.

Tonioli gushed approval: "You have the potential of being a great hit. You worked through the leg, through the foot, and we never see that."

When fellow panellist Revel Horwood agreed with Tonioli, the Italian judge sparked laughter from the audience by playfully falling off his chair.

If TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher wants to win, she will have to find some confidence.

The 39-year-old was noticeably nervous and it showed in her performance with partner Brendan Cole. However, the judges did not hold back and awarded only 20 points. "The flow of steps were very stilted. It lacked a continuous flow that this dance absolutely needs," said Revel Horwood.

Among the starry couples, the audience had their favourites and celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott was one of them. The 58-year-old showed dramatic flair during his tango with partner Natalie Lowe to Abba's Voulez Vous.

"That's the longest I've ever seen you not smile!" said Goodman. "You need to sort your posture out. But the acting, I have to say, was absolutely brilliant," conceded Revel Horwood.

Bussell appeared to be somewhat distracted. "I couldn't take my eyes off your lips", she said as the genial chef received 20 points.

Former Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote and new professional Giovanni Pernice danced an energetic jive and scored 27 points for the effort.

The 21-year-old flagged towards the end, but the judges liked what they saw. "Incredibly impressive first dance," said Bussell.

Tonioli added: "You two are made for each other, the chemistry was tangible."

Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were on top form as they kept the night flowing, geed up the audience and encouraged any downcast stars.

At the end of the first week, it is BBC Breakfast's Carol Kirkwood - one of those in the first six couples who danced on Friday - propping up the leaderboard with a low score of 16 points. The scores will be carried over to next week, with the bottom two couples facing the dreaded dance off before one pair is voted out of the series.

The next episode of Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One on Saturday October 3 at 6:20pm.

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