Who’d have thought that watching the country’s former Shadow Chancellor dance to Gangnam Style could prove to be one of the best nights out in Birmingham?
Trust me, I was shocked at how much I found myself and the rest of the sell-out audience at Barclaycard Arena clapping, cheering and crying with laughter as Ed Balls brought out some serious moves for a salsa that will certainly go down in Strictly Come Dancing history – even if Craig Revel Horwood still called it dreadful and scored it a four.
The Strictly Come Dancing live tour had its opening night in Birmingham last night, which saw a whopping 10,000 plus Strictly fans head to the Barclaycard Arena to watch the series favourites battle it out once again for that glitter ball trophy.
Let me tell you, there was some serious talent in the room with all three finalists taking to the stage. 2016 champion Ore Oduba teamed up with Karen Clifton, Louise Redknapp was reunited with her partner Kevin Clifton, Danny Mac returned and performed his record-breaking samba with his professional dancer Oti Mabuse.
The stunning Daisy Lowe once again won over the hearts of the crowd with Aljaz Skorjanec, Lesley Joseph showed that anyone can dance beautifully at any age with her new partner Gorka Marquez – or as she called him Gorka the Corker! And of course, the people’s favourite, Ed Balls and his partner in crime Katya Jones.
Hosted 2015 finalist and 2016 tour star Anita Rani, the audience were promised a night of spectacular group dances as well as the celebrities two favourite dances of the series. And I for one expected nothing less that plenty of glitz, glam and sparkle from the opening night of the 10th anniversary tour.
I wasn’t disappointed, and I think it’s fair to say neither were the rest of the crowd. From an incredible West Side Story group dance from the Strictly pros to Daisy and Aljaz’s breathtaking waltz, amazing aerial artist Amy, Danny’s saucy samba and, of course, THAT jive from Ore and Karen, which earned the BBC sports presenter high praise from judge Craig, who seemed to be in a rather good mood, dusting off his 10 paddle on more than one occasion.
Of course there was banter afoot when it came to the judges, Len Goodman, Craig and former Strictly champ Karen Hardy. Amongst the highlights were Len’s top five Strictly dances of all time which included Jay McGuinness’ jive from 2015, Abbie Clancy’s quickstep, and Anne Widdecombe’s samba. But my personal highlight had to be seeing Strictly Scrooge, Craig, swapping roles with Ed Balls to prove that he too has still got the moves by dancing to a section of Ed’s salsa.
Whilst Kevin, who has reached every final of the competition that he’s taken part in, was desperate to win the trophied and begged the audience to ‘end four years of fury’ and vote for him and his partner Louise, who wowed with their incredible pasodoble from Blackpool and their quickstep; sadly it wasn’t to be as Danny and Oti took stole the trophy with a perfect score of 40.
Whether it’s on the television, our live right in front of your very eyes, Strictly Come Dancing is a show that will always remain one of the most beautiful, talented and fun-filled evenings of all time. It’s a 10 from me!
Strictly Come Dancing the Live Tour runs at Barclaycard Arena until tomorrow.