It was a good night for female pop stars on Strictly Come Dancing’s first proper live show of this year’s series, with Steps singer Faye Tozer and former Pussycat Dolls’ star Ashley Roberts topping the leaderboard.
The new series kicked off in spectacular style as this year’s new crop of 15 celebrities took to the ‘Strictly’ dance floor in a bid to impress judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli.
Ashley was cheered on by bandmate Kimberly Wyatt for her Viennese Waltz to ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran with partner Pasha Kovalev.
Head judge Shirley Ballas told her she showed “a beautiful musical ear, so feminine”, while Bruno Tonioli said the dance was “all seamlessly beautiful”. Even Craig Revel Horwood was impressed, telling her “the whole thing was gorgeous.”
They were awarded sevens by three of the judges, with Darcey Bussell giving them eight to put them at the top of the leaderboard with 29 points.
Faye Tozer and her partner Giovanni Pernice were the last couple to take to the dancefloor for a Cha Cha Cha to ‘Lullaby’ by Sigala and Paloma Faith.
Craig praised her, saying it was “most certainly worth the wait and by no means a tragedy darling. It’s amazing what you’re doing week one”.
Bruno added: “Clean, clear polish with plenty of sparkle. The performance level of all our contestants, you’ve given us a very good level of performance. It’s very difficult to predict how this is going to play.”
They were given a score of seven by three of the judges and an eight from Darcey for a total of 29, which took them to the top of the leaderboard in joint first with Ashley and Pasha.
However it wasn’t a great night for all the contestants. ‘What Not To Wear’ presenter Susannah Constantine failed to impress any of the judges with her samba to ‘Tico Tico’ by Carmen Miranda.
Her partner Anton Du Beke emerged from under her large skirt to start the routine, which Bruno Tonioli described as “more like Car Crash Miranda than Carmen Miranda.”
Craig Revel Horwood said she looked like she was “staggering about lost and drunk at a party”, prompting Susannah to ask him: “Will you come and show me how to do a few steps?”
She only managed a total score of 12, with Craig awarding her just one point, which saw her languishing at the bottom of the scoreboard.
The first live show of the series attracted an average audience of 8.9 million viewers, with a peak of 10 million, beating rival show ‘X Factor’ on ITV.
The two-and-a-half hour show was the most watched show across all channels on TV for the whole day and had an audience share of 47.3%.
‘X Factor’, which aired on ITV after ‘Strictly’ ended, pulled in an average of five million viewers and a peak of 5.6 million according to overnight ratings.
This marks a slight dip for ‘Strictly’ compared to the equivalent episode last year, and a slight increase for ‘X Factor’.
Last year’s first live ‘Strictly’ episode had an average of 9.3 million viewers and a peak of 10.2 million.
None of the celebrities will be eliminated this week with the scores from last night being added to the public votes from next weekend show to decide who will leave first.