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Strictly Come Dancing 2022 week 1 recap

This year’s celebrity contestants took to the dance floor for the first time tonight.

Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

It’s official – Strictly Come Dancing is back!

The 20th series (yes, really) kicked off tonight with 15 new celebrities and their professional partners taking to the floor in this year’s first live show, after being paired up in the launch show last night.

Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were on hand to guide us through all the action, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke returned to give their views on footwork and fleckerls. The show also featured a stunning carnival-themed opening routine from Strictly’s professional dancers – and the four judges showed off their moves too!

But whose Strictly campaign started out with a bang – and who stumbled at the first hurdle? Find out more…

Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Hear’Say singer and Coronation Street star Kym is one of the early front runners for Strictly Come Dancing 2022 – could she and Graziano wow with their opening Jive to ‘Yes’ by Merry Clayton? In their VT, Kym spoke about looking forward to the challenge of Strictly and introduced Graziano to her family.

The dance: Dressed in a sunshine yellow frock and dancing on the set of her current presenting gig Morning Live, Kym gave us a great start to Strictly 2022. For me she needed a little more drive into the floor, which would have given her more bounce, but I liked her pointed toes and thought she acted the dance very well, as well as finishing her lines with her arms really nicely. She’s definitely got tons of potential and I can see her going a long way in this competiton.

The comments: Shirley liked the simplicity of the routine and praised Kym’s rhythm, saying she did ‘remarkably well’. Anton loved it – Kym’s technique made the routine look clean and the speed was ‘terrific’, but wanted her to work on her spins. Craig disagreed, saying it was sluggish and Kym needed to be up on her toes more, but the spins were very good and he loved her arabesque. Motsi thought Kym looked comfortable on the dance floor but wanted her to bring more confidence and energy.

The scores: 4, 6, 6, 7 – 23 out of 40

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Radio DJ Tyler and his partner Dianne had the daunting task of performing the first American Smooth routine of the competition. In their VT, Dianne played Tyler their first dance song – ‘Falling’ by Harry Styles – whilst he battled with the challenge of the routine’s ‘angel lift’ and not stumbling over his size 12 feet! Could he rise to the challenge and wow the judges?

The dance: This felt like a very contemporary American Smooth, with nice flow across the floor from Tyler. I felt he could work on his posture a bit more and was slightly too down into his knees (though this bodes well for his Tango!), but he coped well with the lifts and brought a level of emotion to the dance I perhaps wasn’t expecting. A few wobbles, but certainly one to watch in the coming weeks.

The comments: Anton praised Tyler’s hands and partnering, saying it was ‘gorgeous’ to watch him and Dianne together, but said there were problems ‘below the waterline’. Craig thought it looked pedestrian and the footwork was sloppy, wanting Tyler to dance through the moves, but loved the lift and could see potential. Motsi disagreed – there was plenty of emotion, but Tyler needs to work on his technique in hold. Shirley thought the lift was beautiful and Tyler created a stunning atmosphere, but wanted him to learn a bit of footwork.

The scores: 4, 5, 7, 6 – 21 out of 40

Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This year’s all-female pairing, comedian and actress Jayde and partner Karen planned to wow us with their Samba to ‘Dirrty’ by Christina Aguilera. In their VT, Jayde spoke about her enjoyment of being on Strictly – but could she bring that sense of fun to the Strictly dancefloor?

The dance: Opening with a reveal, Jayde and Karen had fantastic mirroring throughout and I loved how willing she was to throw herself into the performance. She had some really nice lines in her hands and arms and a great sense of fun throughout, tossing her hair and shaking her hips, and did a great job of leading and showing Karen off. The footwork could do with some refinement – it got a bit marchy in places and looked a little bit flat-footed – but her energy couldn’t be faulted and she was so entertaining to watch. She even got a standing ovation at the end!

The comments: Craig also thought it was flat-footed and Jayde’s voltas ‘needed help’, but liked her ‘sharp’ arms and sense of rhythm. Motsi thought Jayde’s energy was absolutely contagious and told her to keep it up, but wanted her to work on her feet and stamina. Shirley loved Jayde’s attitude and was impressed with her framing of Karen, but agreed it was a little flat-footed and had too many heel leads. Anton thought it was ‘brilliant’ and Jayde’s top half was ‘magic’.

The scores: 4, 7, 6, 6 – 23 out of 40

Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Loose Women presenter Kaye and partner Kai opened their account on Strictly with a Tango to ABBA’s classic ‘Voulez Vous’. In their VT, Kaye spoke about her excitement to be dancing the Tango and developing her alter ego, Fifi La Touche, to help her get into character. Kai also took her to a bar to practise getting into the song’s storyline – but would it help her deliver a stellar performance?

The dance: Kaye certainly brought the drama to the Tango! I was really impressed with her control, particularly in the spins, and thought she also had great posture in hold – you couldn’t have got a cigarette paper between her and Kai. That said, she did look a little nervous and I wanted her to push down into the floor a bit more, but it was a solid start and hopefully bodes well for the coming weeks. She even got a standing ovation from Shirley!

The comments: Motsi said Kaye surprised her with her elegance and composure and had so much potential, but wanted her to trust herself. Shirley thought the nerves got the better of Kaye and there were too many mistakes but thought her top line was beautiful. Anton said Kaye’s arm line was ‘immaculate’ and her opening promenade was brilliant – there was a lot to like. Craig also really liked it and thought Kaye exceeded expectations.

The scores: 6, 5, 5, 5 – 21 out of 40

James Bye and Amy Dowden

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

This evening, Eastenders star James and his partner Amy performed a Jive to What I Like About You by The Romantics. In his VT James spoke about his keenness to learn and asked Amy to ‘transform [him] into Anton Du Beke’. However, he struggled with the fitness required for the routine – would he make it through on the night?

The dance: James and Amy’s record shop-set routine certainly had plenty of content, and he seemed to cope with it well. He was a little flat-footed to start with, but soon picked up, and had great energy and enthusiasm. I would have liked to have seen him be less throwaway with his feet and hands, but he certainly gave it a red-hot go and I feel like he’s going to win plenty of people over by virtue of how much he’s enjoying himself.

The comments: Shirley said James made a good impression but wanted him to breathe and enjoy it. Anton liked it and thought it was a good number despite the mistakes. Craig said James’ upper body needed work and wanted him to dance with a little more easy, but thought he did a great job. Motsi liked how compact the routine was but wanted James to keep his confidence when he made a mistake.

The scores: 6, 5, 5, 6 – 22 out of 40

Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Radio 2 presenter Richie and 2021 Strictly Come Dancing champion Giovanni began their Strictly journey with a Cha Cha Cha to I’m Your Man by Wham!. In their VT, Giovanni took Richie to an 80s-themed bar to get into the character of the routine, whilst Richie also spoke about the need to keep calm during the dance. Could he deliver a winning performance?

The dance: Dressed in a ‘Choose Dance’ T-shirt and dancing on top of a Rubik’s cube, right from the off Richie brought a huge dose of personality to the dance floor. His sheer sense of joy and exuberance was infectious and it made for a really enjoyable performance. Whilst there are some technical areas that need work and I would have liked his arms to be sharper, I feel like he’s going to rapidly become a fan favourite and think he’s got potential to go far in this competition.

The comments: Anton was ‘overwhelmed’ and loved every second of it, but said Richie’s timing made him twitchy. Craig called it stiff and spiky and said there were no hips at all, but full marks for entertainment. Motsi wanted Richie to listen to the music but keep giving all the energy of this performance. Shirley disagreed with Craig – the hips were locked in the chassis but Richie had a flexible upper half – but she wanted him to take more time in his cha-cha-cha.

The scores: 5, 5, 6, 7 – 23 out of 40

Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Countryfile and Blue Peter presenter Helen and her partner Gorka performed the second American Smooth of the series, dancing to ‘You Send Me’ by Aretha Franklin. In her VT Helen spoke about her worries about being elegant on the dancefloor – could she channel that and deliver a slick performance?

The dance: Wow! Helen moved beautifully across the floor, with gorgeous flow and lovely rise and fall throughout, and looked absolutely superglued to Gorka in hold. She coped well with the lifts and I loved the playful quality she brought to the dance, as well as her lovely lines and footwork. It was an utter joy to watch and she’s definitely shown why she’s one of the front runners to lift the glitterball trophy this year.

The comments: Craig said it was ‘lovely energy’ and Helen does have elegance. Motsi wanted Helen to lift her eyeline for her balance, but it was a great start. Shirley called the beginning ‘divine’ and loved Helen’s arms but wanted her to straighten her spine. Anton praised her line in the lifts and told her to ‘own the dance’ and believe in herself.

The scores: 6, 7, 6, 7 – 26 out of 40

Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

CBBC star Molly and her partner Carlos also performed a Samba, dancing to ‘Kiss My (Uh Oh)’ by Anne-Marie and Little Mix. In her VT Molly spoke of her love for the Strictly costume and how well she clicked with Carlos, but also the challenge of performing the voltas and struggling with the pressure of the routine. Could she get over her mental block and smash the dance on Saturday night?

The dance: Molly absolutely exuded confidence in her Samba routine from the moment she came down from her stairs prop. She had lovely control in her spins and I thought her hip movement was great as well as her hands and arms. It did lack a little bit of that classic Samba bounce, but for sheer energy and entertainment factor – as well as pulling off the ending drop – she couldn’t be faulted. I’m really keen to see what she’ll do next and think she could go a long way in this competition.

The comments: Motsi said it was the best show of the night, praising Mollie’s engaged core and the basic fundamental steps in the routine and calling her ‘a shooting star’. Shirley liked the volta, the body movement and Molly’s styling and shape. Anton loved it, whilst Craig couldn’t wait to see more.

The scores: 7, 8, 8, 8 – 31 out of 40

Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Singer-songwriter Matt and his partner took to the floor with the series’ first Quickstep, dancing to Sir Duke by The Chris Walden Big Band. In his VT Matt spoke of his determination to work hard and wanting to try his best, as well as talking about his experience of performing in Las Vegas and bringing some of that to the dance. Would he bring his entertainer’s spirit to the routine on the night?

The dance: Looking dapper in a tuxedo, Matt had a lovely lightness on his feet and a great sense of musicality. He moved well around the floor and you could tell he was putting in a huge effort. Although some of the faster choreography looked a little sloppy and he needs to work more on his posture and nerves, it was a solid start and I think he may well do better in the Latin routines than the ballroom.

The comments: Shirley said Matt had a lot of swag and potential, but the routine fell apart slightly and his movement was ‘rattling’. Anton thought it was stylish and praised Matt’s timing, but his frame was too loose – he needs a better line through the body. Craig said it was ‘punchy’ and a great routine, whilst Motsi thought it was smooth and easy but wanted Matt to rehearse more to improve his confidence and look at the audience.

The scores: 5, 5, 5, 5 – 20 out of 40

Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Paralymic swimmer Ellie and her partner Nikita were the second couple to perform a Cha Cha Cha, dancing to ‘Dance’ by DNCE. In the VT Nikita explained the concept of their rooftop swimming pool-set dance to Ellie, as well as helping her to channel the sassiness of the dance. Ellie also spoke of the support Nikita has given her – could she bring the swag on Saturday?

The dance: Well Ellie certainly brought out her sassy side on the Strictly dancefloor! She had lovely arm and hip movements and I thought she got into the character of the routine really well. Although her cha-cha walks were a little skippy in places, she handled the armography brilliantly and loved her sense of confidence too. It’s clear she’s having a whale of a time and I’m looking forward to seeing more from her next week.

The comments: Anton liked how Ellie ‘powered’ across the floor and praised her side-by-side work, timing and characterisation. Craig thought she got a little stuck in the New York, but liked her attitude and rhythm as well as isolation. Motsi loved Ellie’s focus and her sense of teamwork with Nikita, whilst Shirley enjoyed her confidence and said her timing was ‘beautiful’.

The scores: 6, 7, 7, 6 – 26 out of 40

Tony Adams and Katya Jones

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Football legend Tony and his partner Katya began their Strictly journey dancing a Tango to Go West by the Village People (later adapted as an Arsenal chant). In their VT, Tony spoke of his excitement to learn a new skill as well as his nerves and his struggle to master the routine. Would he be hitting the back of the net with his performance?

The dance: Descending from the ballroom ceiling astride a golden cannon and clad in a dashing red suit (complete with his number on the back), Tony certainly made a dramatic entrance. Unfortunately there was a stumble early on, which seemed to throw him off in terms of his timing and footwork, and he looked overly stiff throughout. However, I thought he did a good job leading Katya and their side-by-side work was strong, so here’s hoping he can improve in future weeks.

The comments: Craig thought it was stompy and Tony’s feet looked glued to the floor, but said it had attack and aggression. Motsi said Tony had made a step to becoming a dancer and loved his energy and conviction. Shirley praised Tony’s shape and said he had potential to have a great frame. Anton agreed – there was plenty to like but thought he was looking up too much.

The scores: 3, 4, 4, 4 – 15 out of 40

Will Mellor and Nancy Xu

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Actor Will and his professional partner Nancy took on the third Jive of the evening, dancing to Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. In his VT Will spoke about his nerves about performing on live television, as well as wanting to do well and have fun, and how grateful he is for Nancy’s support as a partner. Could he deliver and produce a winning performance?

The dance: Dancing on top of giant letters spelling out his name, Will certainly had plenty of swagger and great hip action. It was a bit skippy in parts and needed a bit more Jive basic for me, but he had pointed toes, lots of stamina and handled the armography well. It was a fast routine that he made look surprisingly easy and the dreaded ‘stink face’ was nowhere in sight! I really enjoyed it overall and think they could be dark horses to win the whole competition.

The comments: Motsi was left speechless and called it ‘fantastic’. Shirley praised Will’s solo work, determination and power. Anton said it was ‘so brilliant’ and that Will owned the routine. Craig thought it lacked retraction, but loved it.

The scores: 8, 9, 8, 9 – 34 out of 40

Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Comedian Ellie and Johannes – AKA ‘Team Jellie’ – were given the Quickstep for their first routine, dancing to ‘I Am What I Am’ by Klaus Hallen Tanzorchester. In her VT, Ellie spoke about wanting to learn to be more graceful but struggled with the technical aspects of the routine. Could she conquer her challenges and produce a standout routine?

The dance: Looking gorgeous in a sparkly black frock, Ellie brought plenty of personality to her routine – but also a lovely frame and some nice rise and fall. It was a little marchy out of hold and felt a bit on the slow side to start with, but she had really good movement across the floor and a nice playful quality in the middle section (I can’t wait to see her Charleston!). The kicks were a little throwaway but she pulled off a challenging routine well and I’m excited to see what she comes up with next week.

The comments: Shirley said it was ‘better than OK’ but wanted Ellie to focus on her feet and fundamentals. Anton said she epitomised the golden age of Hollywood, calling her character part ‘exquisite’ and praising her arm line. Craig agreed the footwork was a problem and Ellie’s spins need work, but enjoyed the routine overall. Motsi called it ‘classic, elegant, fun and light’.

The scores: 6, 7, 7, 8 – 28 out of 40

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Pryzstal

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Wildlife presenter Hamza and partner Jowita were dancing the evening’s only Foxtrot, performing to ‘Islands In The Stream’ by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. In their VT, Hamza showed Jowita some clips from his wildlife career, but also spoke about wanting to improve his confidence. Would they be walking on the wild side with their routine tonight?

The dance: Well that was just lovely. I really liked Hamza’s sense of care and gentleness in this routine; he did a great job of leading Jowita and the dance had a beautiful romantic quality to it. He was a little too down in the knees for me, but had some great rise and fall and nice posture and a really sweet, light quality in the side-by-side work. I actually found myself getting a little teary by the end! A very strong start and certainly one to keep an eye in the coming weeks.

The comments: Anton said ‘we got a ballroom dancer in the house’ and praised Hamza for not lowering his heels whilst moving backwards. Craig simply said, ‘who knew darling? Wow!’ Motsi called it ‘exquisite’, singling out Hamza’s slow step, whilst Shirley loved his gentleness, footwork and musicality, saying it was ‘so easy’.

The scores: 8, 9, 9, 8 – 34 out of 40

Fleur East and Vito Coppola

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Team Fleurito – singer and presenter Fleur and partner Vito – closed the first show of the series with their Cha Cha Cha to ‘Let’s Get Loud’ by Jennifer Lopez. In her VT, Fleur spoke about dealing with the challenge of the dance and wanting to do Vito proud. Could they finish an already spectacular opening show on a high?

The dance: Wow! Fleur exuded confidence and energy, delivering a fierce performance with plenty of sass. She had excellent cha-cha walks, great mirroring with Vito and a strong sense of power as well. I thought her hip action was the best of the night and she produced some really sharp lines as well. Whilst I’ll be interested to see how she handles the Ballroom and there were a couple of over-extended moments (particularly one leg move where her heel almost took out the front row), she definitely showed why she’s reached frontrunner status and provided a fitting end to the evening.

The comments: Craig thought it was a bit wild and needed more technique, but Fleur is a fantastic dancer. Motsi was impressed by Fleur’s power and conviction, but wanted her to have more control and softness in the body. Shirley agreed – Fleur’s power was great but she needed some contrast in her legs and feet. Anton called her a ‘superstar’ and praised her ‘immense’ side-by-side work, but wanted more refinement when she danced with Vito.

The scores: 7, 7, 7, 8 – 29 out of 40

The leaderboard at the end of the evening was:

Will and Nancy – 34
Hamza and Jowita – 34
Molly and Carlos – 31
Fleur and Vito – 29
Ellie T and Johannes – 28
Helen and Gorka – 26
Ellie S and Nikita – 26
Kym and Graziano – 23
Jayde and Karen – 23
Richie and Giovanni – 23
James and Amy – 22
Tyler and Dianne – 21
Kaye and Kai – 21
Matt and Nadiya – 20
Tony and Katya – 15

Strictly Come Dancing will return on Saturday 1st October at 6.30 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with the results show on Sunday 2nd October at 7.15 PM.

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