Stars, sequins and style in Strictly show
There’s only really one word to sum up the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour. Fab-U-lous!
Half a dozen glitter balls, a live band and singers, three male judges, and more sequins than you could shake a stick at.
All the ingredients were there to recreate the magic of the TV show in the flesh at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. And there was plenty of flesh on show.
The mainly female audience was treated to the sight of professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev’s toned pecs.
Not to be outdone, cheeky judge Bruno Tonioli bared his chest in the finale dance, gyrating towards the audience as he did so. All of that and Louis Smith’s rippling muscles too.
From the minute the Strictly music opened the show, there were smiles, clapping and cheering from an appreciative crowd.
Cricketer Michael Vaughan was back on home ground and his family was there to support him.
After his samba drew less than flattering comments from the judges he joked that his dancing skills had been honed at Sheffield’s Leadmill nightclub. He decided to do the tour after having so much fun doing the TV series.
“I just really, really enjoyed the show, and it didn’t feel like I’d be doing the whole Strictly experience if I didn’t do the tour afterwards,” he said.
“I had already decided before the Wembley show that I wanted to do the tour, but that really confirmed my feelings - performing in front of 6,000 people at Wembley was amazing.”
Despite several of the other contestants generously suggesting the audience should vote for Michael in his home city, it was Louis who lifted the glitter ball trophy.
Although his TV partner Flavia Cacace had been swapped for Ola Jordan, his Dirty Dancing routine brought the house down.
While the back flips at the end of his rhumba showed off why he’s an Olympic medal winning gymnast.
The laughs came from former cricketer Phil Tufnell, who took part in the 2009 TV series.
He played to the crowd during his salsa, shaking his booty to such an extent that judge Craig Revel Horwood described him as looking like “a slug in salt”.
The female celebrities were Lisa Riley, Fern Britton, Denise Van Outen and Dani Harmer.
Denise was the stand-out star in terms of dancing ability – as she was in the TV series – but it was Fern who showed she has a fine comic touch, working the crowd when she was being interviewed by hostess Kate Thornton.
Each couple performed two dances, one ballroom and one Latin, with the judges scoring them before opening it up to an audience text vote.
The lavish show was directed by Craig, who received a well-deserved round of applause for his creative flair.
By Helen Johnston