Actor Will Mellor and Wildlife presenter Hamza Yassin have placed joint top of the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard in week one of the new series.
It was the first competition night of the popular show on Saturday (24 September), with 15 couples battling it out to get as many points as possible.
Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps star Mellor performed an electric jive to Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin with his partner Nancy Xu which impressed judges Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas so much that they gave him a standing ovation and a score of 34.
Mabuse questioned where Mellor had learnt his hip movements as she exclaimed: “You surprised me, I’m speechless. That was fantastic. Best start ever.” While Anton Du Beke said that it looked like the actor had been dancing the routine for 18 months, adding: “It was absolutely amazing.”
Yassin and his partner Jowita Przystal also dazzled with their joyful foxtrot to Islands In The Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers to secure their 34 points. Mabuse said: “That was exquisite. That slow – it was enough for me” while ballroom dance extraordinaire Du Beke said: “We’ve got ourselves a ballroom dancer in the house.”
Places three through five
Britain’s Got Talent finalist Molly Rainford and new professional Carlos Gu came in third with a score of 31 for their energetic samba. Following their routine to Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne Marie and Little Mix, Mabuse described the singer and actress as a “shooting star”.
Singer Fleur East and new professional Vito Coppola took fourth place, with a score of 29, for their electric cha cha cha to Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez which closed out the show. Donning a hot pink sequined outfit, East dominated the stage which caused Revel Horwood to confess it was “a bit too wild” for him, but praised her as a “fantastic dancer”.
Mabuse advised her to control her sense of power and to add “a little bit of softness” into her movements.
Ted Lasso actress Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe performed an elegant Quickstep to I Am What I Am by Klaus Hallen Tanz Orchester. Dressed in a black sparkly ballgown paired with long black gloves, Taylor twirled and dipped her way to a score of 28.
Du Beke said the “nuts and bolts” needed a bit of work but praised her look, adding: “When you came out there you just epitomised the golden age of Hollywood. It looked so beautiful.”
Who was in six through ten on the leaderboard?
TV presenter Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez delivered an elegant American Smooth for their first dance to You Send Me by Aretha Franklin, securing them a score of 26. Du Beke told Skelton to “own the dance” more but added that she was “great”.
Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin also took home a score of 26 after performing a vibrant cha cha cha to Dance by DNCE. Mabuse said: “I absolutely loved this team… It comes straight through. What I love is this focus, you understand what the dance is about. Allow yourself to enjoy it even more because you are great dancers. Loved it.”
Actress Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima were the first couple to take to the dancefloor, achieving a score of 23 for their jive to Yes by Merry Clayton. Dressed in matching canary yellow, they twirled and dipped throughout with Ballas praising the Coronation Street star for opening the show, saying: “What a way to open the show, that was amazing.” However, Craig Revel Horwood described it as “sluggish” and said she needed to be up on her toes more.
Comedian Jayde Adams and dancer Karen Hauer received a standing ovation from judges Mabuse and Ballas after they performed a lively samba routine to Dirrty by Christina Aguilera featuring Redman, landing them a score of 23.
Mabuse praised Adams, saying: “You’re absolutely contagious. The energy, you’re selling parts of the performance, we’ve got all of that” but asked her to work on her technique. The comedian and dancer are also the show’s second female same-sex couple, as Katya Jones was paired with Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams in 2020.
The series’ second same-sex pairing of BBC Radio 2’s Richie Anderson and reigning Strictly champion Giovanni Pernice delivered an energetic cha cha cha to I’m Your Man by Wham! for their first routine.
Wearing matching T-Shirts that said ‘Choose Dance’, they also received a score of 23 with Anderson’s mother also giving him an additional top score of 10. Revel Horwood joked: “For a moment I thought I was at RuPaul’s Drag Race darling”, adding that he thought it was stiff but gave him “full marks for entertainment”.
Places 11 through 15 revealed on the leaderboard
Kiss FM DJ Tyler West and professional partner Dianne Buswell performed an elegant American Smooth to Falling by Harry Styles. During the routine, they attempted the challenging Angel Lift, which saw West lift and spin Buswell over his head – which secured them a score of 21.
Ballas said the atmosphere they created was “stunning” while Revel Horwood felt it was “a little bit pedestrian” and lacked emotion, but added that he loved the dramatic lift.
EastEnders actor James Bye and Amy Dowden delivered a retro-themed jive to What I Like About You by The Romantics, picking up a score of 22 for their efforts. Anton Du Beke reflected on some of the mistakes Bye made, joking: “I like it, if you’re going to go wrong, go completely wrong just stand still and pick it up eventually”, but added that he thought it was a “good number”.
Loose Women star Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington took on the tango to Voulez-Vouz by Abba, and despite making a few mistakes they secured a score of 21. Ballas noted that it seemed “nerves got the better” of the TV presenter but that when did not make a mistake she had a “beautiful top line” and needed to trust herself and her partner more.
Suited and booted in a tuxedo and ballgown, Bros singer Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova opted for a quickstep to Sir Duke by the Chris Walden Big Band, which secured them a score of 20. Ballas said the performance had “potential” but suggested they go back to the drawing board and work on Goss’s technique.
Former footballer Tony Adams and Katya Jones paid homage to his illustrious sports career as they danced the tango dressed in red jerseys. The ex-Arsenal defender was lowered to the dancefloor on a gold cannon and briefly danced with a football as they performed to Go West by the Village People.
Despite the theatrics, the couple placed bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 15. Mabuse said: “I do feel, honestly, that from a soccer man to a dancer, we are a step further. And I love that you have this energy and this conviction.”
How did the show start?
The first live show of the dance competition’s 20th series kicked off with a joyful group dance by the judges and professional dancers. Performing to a medley of songs, the female dancers wore vibrant feathered skirts with matching headdresses as the males donned bright yellow trousers and multicoloured shirts.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.
Full leaderboard after week one
- Will Mellor and Nancy Xu
- Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal
- Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu
- Fleur East and Vito Coppola
- Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe
- Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez
- Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin
- Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima
- Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer
- Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice
- Tyler West and Dianne Buswell
- James Bye and Amy Dowden
- Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington
- Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova
- Tony Adams and Katya Jones