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Emma Pollard Headshot

Let The Strictly Battle Commence!

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Well we weren't let down were we? The opening live shows of Strictly provided everything we could have asked for and more, the drama, the tears (thank you Victoria), the mood swings of Craig and - it's fair to say - a ridiculous number of 'yahs' courtesy of new judge Darcey Bussell.

It was our first chance to get a taste of the talent, or in some cases, the not so talented, but in any case it demonstrated that this tenth series is definitely one not to be missed. As always we were introduced to the celebrities and their professional partners as they made their way down the stairs and onto the stage, smiles hiding their nerves desperate not to trip up on the first challenge of the evening.

There were a few surprises over the two nights, with Lisa Riley impressing ALL the judges, described by Len as 'a fizzy bottle of cola' and proving that she could be a strong contender in the competition. She capped off a fantastic Cha Cha Cha routine by lifting up her partner Robin Cousins into her arms with a huge grin on her face - now if that's not entertainment for you...! Sid Owen's commanding waltz also got temperatures rising in the studio, much to the surprise of the judges... the dark horse of the competition perhaps?

A shocker at the opposite end of the spectrum came with Victoria Pendleton. She may have brought home the gold at the Olympics but she has a huge battle on her hands if she wants to get anywhere near the Strictly glitterball. Her partner Brendan is equally competitive so it will be interesting to see what they bring to the floor next time round. Getting rid of her nerves (and tears) may be the first task in hand.

Kimberley Walsh also impressed us with her sexy cha cha cha, definitely another one to watch and proving that her Girls Aloud experience will certainly come in handy throughout the competition. Louis Smith pulled out a few familiar moves with his splits finale most certainly impressing Darcey Bussell who seemed to thoroughly enjoy that all important 'hip action'. Paired up with the gorgeous Flavia Cacace this duo is another that could go all the way... in more ways than one - watch this space!

There was plenty on show from the rest of the celebs, not least Jerry Hall's interpretation of the waltz as a series of poses (does she realise it's not Britains Next Top Model?) and Nicky Byrne's illegal lift (definitely not a good idea to get on the wrong side of Craig at this stage in the competition). Of course the show wouldn't be complete without a few gags from the legendary Bruce Forsyth... whether it was a case of laughing at him or with him remains a matter of opinion.

Whilst week one is unsurprisingly full of nerves, anxiety and in some cases over excitement, this tenth series looks set to be a treat. We have clearly only experienced a taster of the glitz, glamour, drama and delights of what's to come over the next few weeks.