REVIEW: Strictly Come Dancing Live brings all the glamour to Arena Birmingham

Sequins, glitter and a battle for a glitter ball trophy can only mean one thing. Strictly Come Dancing Live is back in town.

It’s one of the biggest tv shows of the year that pulls in millions of viewers to watch celebrates take to the stage, and it’s easy to see just why Strictly has such a massive following.

The show has enjoyed great success over the years, which has seen it embark on a tour around the country for the last 11 years, bringing seven celebrities and their professional partners to arenas across the county where they perform two of their favourite dances from the series.

Once again, the tour kicked off in Birmingham, which saw thousands of fans take their seats in Arena Birmingham as 2017 champion Joe McFadden and his fellow celebrity cast of 2017 brought all the glitz and glamour to the dance floor, performing some of the biggest routines of the series – including Joe’s incredible Argentine Tango with that lift from week 12.

Being a huge Strictly fan and having attended the tour for the last three years myself, I was once again prepared for a night of sheer talent and spectacular routines – including the pro group dance themed around Game of Thrones and a Hollywood opening number – and I wasn’t disappointed.

2016 champion Ore Oduba did a fantastic job in swapping his dance shoes for the microphone as he hosted the evening, where he built up a great chemistry between himself and the crowd as well as the panel of judges.

Opening the show is no easy task, but Alexandra Burke and her partner Gorka Marquez had no problems in getting the party started with their skilful jive to Proud Mary that earned them three 10’s from judges Craig Revel Horwood, Dame Darcy Bussell and the wonderfully eccentric Bruno Tonioli. Followed by their stunning quickstep that the duo first performed in Blackpool, Alexandra and Gorka scored a solid 58/60 from the judges.

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Throughout the rest of the evening, the loveable and radiant Susan Calman and her partner Kevin Clifton were an absolute joy to watch as they performed an feel-good quickstep followed by her iconic Samba where Susan channelled her inner Wonder Woman. Between their two dances they scored 44/60.

Eastenders star Davood Ghadami and his Nadia Bychkova brought fire and passion to the floor with their sizzling Paso Doble – although admittedly his sheer shirt proved to be a bit of a distraction for Craig – before earning a high scoring 28/30 for their Charleston, giving them a total of 54/60.

Next up was presenter and radio host Gemma Atkinson and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec. Gemma told the crowd that when her Strictly journey first began, she could barely walk in heels, and her Mum gave her the knickname ‘Baby Elephant’. But under the hands of her parntner, Gemma’s blossomed into a beautiful dancer who scored a total of 54/60 for her firery Paso Doble and elegant American Smooth.

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Jonnie Peacock became a huge inspiration to many when he became the first Paralympic athlete to take part in Strictly. And alongside his partner, 2016 champion Oti Mabuse, he wowed the audience and judges with his rapid kicks and flicks in his jive and care and delicacy in his American Smooth, earning him a combined score of 49/60.

Finalist Debbie McGee too became a huge inspiration during the last series, proving that age has no limit when it comes to learning to dance. Her clean, pricise moves and mind blowing lifts in both her American Smooth and Salsa earned her high praise from the judges and a combined score of 59/60 alongside her partner Giovanni Pernice.

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Last to take to the floor was current champion Joe McFadden and his partner Katya Jones. The dynamic duo won over the hearts of the nation last year with the sensational routines, leading them to lift that glitter ball trophy we all know and love. Performing their Charleston and epic Argentine Tango, the pair earned a combined score of 59/60. Yet it wasn’t enough for the pair to recclaim their title as the audience crowned Debbie and Giovanni winners, with Susan and Kevin taking second place.

Group dances from both the celebrities and the professionals were to watch – the La La Land closing performance was a personal favourite to me bringing beautiful colours to a sensational number.

Strictly’s success is unprecedented, which explains why it’s not only enjoy by people in the UK as the show runs across 56 countries. Whether you love it for its cheesy jokes, witty banter, beautiful routines, Strictly is a show that has something for everyone, and I’m already excited for it to return to my tv screen this year.

Strictly Come Dancing Live runs at Arena Birmingham until Sunday.

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