It was welcome back to Strictly Come Dancing as Series 11 kicked off on Friday 27 September. We saw six of the fifteen couples strut their stuff with the remaining nine couples dancing tomorrow night.
The scores were:
- 31 – Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvinstev
- 28 – Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton
- 28 – Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole
- 25 – Ashley Taylor Dawson and Ola Jordan
- 24 – Mark Benton and Iveta Lukosiute
- 16 – Tony Jacklin and Aliona Vilani
There is no public vote this week with all the scores carried over to next week. The scores for week 1 and 2 will be combined with the telephone vote and the bottom two will dance off.
All fifteen couples were introduced to us with week 1 split over Friday and Saturday nights.
Brucie and Tess were back in their familiar roles as host with Sir Bruce Forsyth on good form. Long may it continue.
First up in the competition were Ashley Taylor Dawson and Ola Jordan. Ashley and his wife are expecting the birth of their second child imminently so we may see Ashley running from the dance floor to the delivery room. They danced the Cha-Cha to ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ by One Direction. From the first dance it is clear that Ashley is a contender and knows his left from his right foot.
Len: Could have been a bit crisper but you will sail through this.
Bruno: Your timing was very good but work on your hips. Well done.
Craig: A good amount of rhythm but your hips were completely feral. Your good point is that yopu are easy on the eye.
Darcey: A really impressive first dance. You clearly enjoy dancing with Ola. You are going to do very well.
A score of 25 is a good solid start to Ashley’s Strictly experience.
Tony Jacklin and Aliona Vilani were the second couple of the evening to dance. They tackled the waltz to ‘What’ll I Do’ by Alison Krauss. Tony is one of Britain’s most successful golfers but our expectations are pretty low for his progress in Strictly. It was a capable start for a first dance although we know that Craig is going to hate his hand positions.
Bruno: There were some brief moments but then you turned into a Galapagos turtle. Follow the flow.
Craig: When you finally got in hold you became the hunchback of Notre Damme. It was littered with mistakes. A bit of a disaster.
Darcey: You’ve got that first dance out of the way so the nerves should go. Show us the confident Tony.
Len: You are the spirit of this show. You were trying to remember the routine and get through it. Well done.
A score of 16 included a very unkind 2 from Craig. Improvement needed. Go Tony.
Mark Benton and Iveta Lukosiute danced the Tango classic ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’ by Alma Cogan. Mark is a big guy who may get a little smaller with all the exercise he will get dancing. A credible and entertaining Tango with Mark using his acting to produce some great facial expressions.
Craig: You had the intent and purpose. However your thumb bothers me. I thought you danced it actually rather well.
Darcey: I was a little worried when your chin got stuck to your chest. When you got into hold it was fab.
Len: You had attitude, recognisable steps throughout the dance. I am shocked how good that was.
Bruno: It was like a Tango with a comedic twist. Carry on thieving. Great performance.
A score of 24 should put Mark into mid-table on the overall leaderboard.
Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton performed the Jive to ‘Shake Your Tailfeather’ by Blues Brothers. They hit the ground running and for me produced the best dance of the night so far. There was even a bit of solo dancing from Susanna.
Darcey: Wow. You really sold me that Jive. Fast and energetic. Maybe try a lower heel so you get more bounce. I can’t wait to see what you do next week.
Len: Tasty, satisfying. Terrific.
Bruno: Read all about it. This girl can shake it. You have a fantastic stage presence. You have to be sharper on the kicks but fantastic.
Craig: Don’t raise your arm and that cartwheel nearly went horribly wrong. Energy and personality sublime.
A score of 28 was impressive for a first dance but well deserved.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole waltzed to ‘Moon River’ by Audrey Hepburn. It was a gentle affair with Sophie making it through the dance very capably.
Len: It was quiet and understated. Gorgeous.
Bruno: I could sense the aura of sophistication. You got the mood absolutely right. The top line needs some work on extending.
Craig: That would havc been beautiful if you didn’t ruin it with the top line.
Darcey: You carried it off. Beautiful.
A score of 28 including a 7 from Craig was a great start.
Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvinstev performed the Cha Cha to disco hit ‘Rasputin’ by Boney M. Natalie looks very committed to improving and seemed to put a lot of hard work in, driving Artem hard. Natalie looked sharp and confident throughout the routine and looks like a very strong contender for the Strictly title.
Bruno: With that attitude you are going to go far. More hip action and watch your foot placement.
Craig: You are a brilliant dancer and our front runner.
Darcey: That was brilliant. I can’t wait until next week.
Len: Great. You do need a bit more hip action but fabulous.
A score of 31 with an 8 from Craig in week 1 is an impressive start for Natalie. Get your bets on now if you think Natalie will win.
Tomorrow night we see the remaining nine couples from week 1.
For details on scoring see Strictly Come Dancing Judges Scores