Strictlys back! Strictly Come Dancing makes explosive comeback as live shows return

Strictly Come Dancing made its highly anticipated return on Saturday, with the first live show of its 20th series kicking off with a joyful group dance by the judges and professional dancers.

Hosts Claudia Winkleman, 50, and Tess Daly, 53, welcomed viewers back for the new series of the popular dance competition, as they got set to watch 15 new celebrities make their dance floor debuts.

Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke and Motsi Mabuse made up the judging panel, and it's safe to say they were impressed by this year's contestants.

Former Coronation Street star Kym Marsh, 46, and Strictly pro Graziano Di Prima, 28, were tasked with opening the show, and they took to the dance floor to perform the jive to Yes by Merry Clayton.

Dressed in matching canary yellow, Kym and Graziano twirled and dipped throughout the routine, achieving a score of 23.

Head judge Shirley praised the actress for opening the show, saying: “What a way to open the show, that was amazing."

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell were next up, with the duo performing the American Smooth to Falling by Harry Styles. The pair received a total of 21 from the judges, with Shirley giving them a seven.

Comedian and actor Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer were up next with their lively samba routine, which secured them a score of 23.

Their performance to Dirrty by Christina Aguilera received a standing ovation from judges Motsi and Shirley and members of the audience.

Motsi praised Jayde, saying: “You’re absolutely contagious. The energy, you’re selling parts of the performance, we’ve got all of that.

“Please do me a favour, keep it up and forward wherever the journey may move but work on those techniques, work on those feet and work on sustaining that level from one up until the end of the dance – but what a start I say.”

Loose Women's Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington then performed the Tango to Voulez-Vouz by ABBA, gaining them a score of 21, followed by EastEnders' James Bye and Amy Dowden, who performed the Jive to What I Like About You by The Romantics, scoring 22.

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Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice scored 23 for their Cha Cha Cha to I’m Your Man by Wham! while Helen Skelton's American Smooth to Aretha Franklin's You Send Me with Gorka Marquez scored 26.

However, it was Molly Rainford and Strictly newcomer Carlos Gu who blew the judges away halfway through the show. The pair performed the Samba to Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne Marie and Little Mix, which saw them awarded a seven from Craig and an eight from the rest of the judges, totalling 31.

Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova scored 20 for their Quickstep to Sir Duke by The Chris Walden Big Band, followed by Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin, who were awarded 26 for their Cha Cha Cha to Dance by DNCE.

Ex-footballer Tony Adams and Katya Jones then performed the Tango to Go West by Village People, scoring 15, but it was definitely soap star Will Mellor who stole the show.

Will and Nancy Xu jived to Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin and the judges were noticeably blown away by his performance, with Tess exclaiming: "You gave that some welly, Will!" as they headed over to the judges.

The pair scored 34, putting them at the top of leaderboard and proving that they're ones to watch.

Comedian Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe were up next, dancng the Quickstep to I Am What I Am by Klaus Hallen Tanzorchester. The duo came away with 28 out of 40.

Dancing the Foxtrot to Islands In The Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystał impressed all four of the judges and were awarded an impressive 34 – putting them alongside Will at the top of the leaderboard.

Last but definitely not least was former X Factor star Fleur East and new Strictly pro Vito Coppola, performing the Cha Cha Cha to Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez.

She's been the firm favourite to win the series ever since the line-up was revealed, and Fleur definitely didn't disappoint with her first Strictly performance. Fleur and Vito scored 29 out of 40, with the judges all commenting on her energy and power.

The first live show finished with Will and Nancy and Hamza and Jowita at the top of the leaderboard, and Tony and Katya and Matt and Nadiya at the bottom.

This week's scores are carried over to next week however, meaning everything could completely change.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday nights on BBC One.


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