I can’t decide whether it’s better or worse to have had the launch show only the day before the first live show. On the one hand, the launch show gets you all excited and you don’t have to wait long to see the amazing teams in action. On the other hand, it’s quite nice to have a bit of time to ponder how they’re going to do, to let those initial thoughts sink in and get some anticipation going for what to expect.
It doesn’t matter though, because the first live show of the series has been on gone and what a fantastic kick off it was. Here are some thoughts of the dancing as it went down, and then, gulp, I’ll make my predictions.
Kym & Graziano - Jive
Their intro VT was all about being introduced into the family, which seems a bit early if you ask me. Surely that’s a mid-season situation? The song felt a bit slow for a jive so it didn’t have the good energy I was looking for but the moves weren’t bad and some good rhythm. “You’ve got somewhere to grow,” says Shirley, which isn’t the compliment she thinks it is.
Tyler & Dianne - American Smooth
The song was quite dull and I did notice his thumb sticking up which I thought would rile Craig, but maybe that’s not a week one thing. Good character though and stacks of confidence, the lifts were huge for a first week. Awkward from Shirley to have forgotten how the scoring works, but she styled it out.
Jayde & Karen - Samba
I couldn’t think how the song would work with the dance but it really did. I’m not sure the technique was at all good, but the energy was fabulous and she also had heaps of confidence and character. Their partnership is amazing, and I hope they go far!
Kaye & Kai - Tango
To be fair to Kaye, I would find it hard to get passionate and fiery with Kai, too. Not too bad character-wise, although it did look like she plastered a serious face on and stuck with it. Craig said what we were all thinking, was expecting much worse and actually it was pretty good - just a few too many mistakes.
James & Amy - Jive
Initially, I was happy that this was the kind of jive I was looking for but woah it went so badly wrong… to the point that it couldn’t be styled out. But when James was getting the steps right, it looked pretty good. He dealt with the comments very well too, and the scores were surprisingly high considering the number of mistakes.
Richie & Giovanni - Cha Cha Cha
I need to know more about the bar with the drinks served in Rubik’s Cubes, but that aside, this was a fun dance. Good moves, great confidence, so much dancing on his own. It takes a lot to overshadow Gio but I almost forgot he was there. The judges had mixed feelings though. Love that they leaned in to the Head Judge Nikki phenomenon.
Helen & Gorka - American Smooth
You can debate all you want about people with previous dance experience but my expectations were high because she was great on the Christmas special. It was excellent, although compared to the others, there was an aura of self-consciousness that the judges spotted as well. Good scores though.
Molly & Carlos - Samba
This was great, good hips, fun dance, lots of character and I was loving the purple. But it didn’t totally grab me and I can’t put my finger on why. Shirley did a little X Factor tease with her comments and overall they got good scores.
Matt & Nadiya - Quickstep
My overriding memory of this dance was how the suit just seemed to be really ill-fitting, I guess it was supposed to be like that because we know Vicky Gill is top notch, but I found it distracting. Overall it was a good dance, not the best we’ve seen tonight and a couple of wrong foots here and there. I just continue to get that perfectionist vibe from Matt, and that he’s not going to take poor comments very well.
Ellie & Nikita - Cha Cha Cha
This was really good, well choreographed, it could have been awkward but it was so good. Ellie did quite a lot by herself too, so good confidence, and I loved her pushing over Nikita. Great rhythm. Adorable that she had to look sass up in the dictionary.
Tony & Katya - Tango
Oof, this was a tough watch, it’s been a while since we’ve seen anyone struggle like this. But good on him for getting through the whole thing and keep up the momentum to the end. Anton, who we think is the nice one, was really quite brutal: “When you come out and dance, we don’t know what your routine is. As it turns out, neither do you.”
Will & Nancy - Jive
Team Meller-Xu is not a catchy enough name. It should be XuMeller, like Shmeller. Not the cleanest footwork ever and posture might need work, but absolutely the right vibes - really funky and confident and engaging. Ridiculously high scores for a first week!
Ellie & Johannes - Quickstep
Team Jelly, now that’s how a team name is done. I love her high aims to come out of it knowing “I did it ok.” You could see her concentration and counting but it was really good, she actually did do it ok. And it was a cute reaction to the scores - shut up, Motsi!
Hamza & Jowita - Foxtrot
I’m super happy Jowita’s got a partner this year, she’s adorable. This was a great dance, very sweet, very good to a fantastic song. A tiny bit stop-start and not stacked full of confidence but a great job for such a quiet guy. Very smiley. I worry how he’s going to get on with the more flashy dances.
Fleur & Vito - Cha Cha Cha
Epic Tina Turner vibes from this lady. Really good dance to finish on and a wonderful song. Amazingly straight legs from Fleur and good partnership with new boy Vito (who I am loving). Motsi asked the key question: “Why is how much do we need.” Love Motsi.
So the boys topped the leaderboard with Will & Hamza equal at the top, Molly and Fleur not too far behind. Down the wrong end is Kaye and Matt, with Tony a significant step behind right at the bottom. But as we were told many times, these are just the first scores that will then be added to next week’s to determine the first set of couples in danger.
Now all I need to do is make my predictions. The first to exit must be Tony, surely? And then finalists, assuming there will be four (which is not a given based on recent years): Fleur, Will, Helen and Tyler. I feel like, despite the boys being on top this week, the women have a stronger presence this year so far, but time will tell.