Tuesday 24 April 2018

First Strictly celebs take to the dance floor

Greg Rutherford with his dance partner Natalie Lowe (BBC/PA)
Greg Rutherford with his dance partner Natalie Lowe (BBC/PA)
Judge Robert Rinder and his dance partner Oksana Platero are part of the new Strictly Come Dancing line-up (BBC/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing has added some glitz and glamour to the TV schedule as the series returned, with the first six celebrities hitting the dance floor to compete for the BBC show's coveted glitterball trophy.

Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford and sports presenter Ore Oduba got an early lead on the scoreboard as they came joint first place with their debut dances.

Oduba, who is partnered with Joanne Clifton, received 27 points from the judges after being highly praised for his tango to Geronimo.

Judge Bruno Tonioli said: "I like a tango with a cheeky spin. It was something I have not seen before, it was original and fresh."

Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood agreed, but head judge Len Goodman had a more critical opinion.

He commented: "The drama for me is that I thought it was never going to get started. Give over, it's a tango! They're larking about on a bench, all lovey-dovey."

He added that Oduba was a "good dancer" and that he wanted to see a full routine.

Rutherford was the last contestant to perform, and notably he struggled to perfect his footwork after 15 years as a long jumper.

Having worked hard on the routine, his jive with Lowe to Get Ready was well-received by the judges.

Tonioli said: "By the way it looks, Greg could go all the way my darlings. That's what I mean by giving it welly! OK, it wasn't exactly the paragon of precision, but you have talent, you can dance and you have amazing presence."

Revel Horwood said Rutherford's attempt was "flat-footed and stompy" and that he was "extremely pigeon-toed".

Rutherford was awarded 27 points to match Oduba's score.

TV presenter Laura Whitmore, who opened the show with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, scored 25 points for her cha-cha to Venus, but she was chastised by the judges for having "flexed legs" throughout.

BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty's first dance was a waltz to Run To You with her partner Pasha Kovalev.

The judges were enamoured with her "elegance" and Bussell commented on her "beautiful neck" which is "perfect for ballroom dancing".

Goodman added that she had "potential" despite some mistakes with her footwork, and she scored 23 points.

TV star Judge Robert Rinder impressed with a cha-cha to Mercy with his partner Oksana Platero, a performance that was described as "frenetic" by Revel Horwood and given 25 points overall.

Goodman added: "You put the boy in flamboyant! It was a bit wild in places but if entertainment is a crime, you're guilty."

Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph danced a waltz with Anton du Beke to the hit comedy series' theme song What'll I Do, and she was praised for being "sophisticated and romantic" by Bussell.

Revel-Horwood said his biggest concern was her "posture" but added she had "delicious flow".

Joseph was given 23 points, putting her in joint bottom place with Munchetty on the leaderboard.

The remaining nine celebrities and their partners will be put to the test during Saturday night's live broadcast.

The marks they receive this weekend will be carried forward to week two, when the public can vote for the first time.

:: Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One on Saturday at 6.30pm.

Press Association

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