Strictly Come Dancing’s second live show of the series came Saturday night on BBC One, with the 15 couples facing the series’ first public vote.
And so far at the top of the standings have been Radio 2 DJ Richie Anderson and pro partner Giovanni Pernice – who took to the dance floor with a Quickstep dance, which judge Motsi Mabuse called ‘absolutely beautiful’.
The pair went on a united front during the show, appearing to brush off recent rumors of a behind-the-scenes feud – after reports that they “didn’t click the camera.”
Strictly’s Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice top the standings as judge Motsi Mabuse calls their dance ‘absolutely beautiful’ – after brushing aside feud rumors
While the pair donned matching sequined suits for the visually pleasing dance, the performance was called “absolutely beautiful” by Motsi – as Shirley stood up.
The head judge explained: ‘I didn’t expect it to be so in sync and so good, today you were laser focused – you did a great job. What a transformation!’
‘You are a real showman, I loved it. If you could put that sequined jacket back in my room, I’d be really happy,” Anton joked.
And while discussing the dance backstage after the performance, Richie explained, “This dance required a lot of good posture. And look at me, I have Mr. Bean’s attitude.’
Continues, “Thank you for being so patient,” turning to Giovanni.
As Giovanni gushed: ‘Very very proud of you, we can definitely see improvement, you did a good performance, well done’.
The endorsement comes after the partners were plagued by rumors of a camera gone wrong, with sources telling The Sun that professional dancer Giovanni became frustrated because Richie didn’t listen to him during rehearsals.
An insider said: ‘The couple didn’t click. Richie gets so carried away with the whole experience that he speaks 100 words a minute, and it can be difficult for Giovanni.
“He’s been telling his friends that Richie talks instead of listening during training, and that’s frustrating.”
They then added that it was still early days and they still had to get used to each other: “Giovanni thinks Richie has real potential in the competition.”
However, a source close to the couple told MailOnline: “It’s bullshit that they don’t get along. They can laugh so much and were overjoyed with the reactions on Saturday night.’
Previously, Will Mellor kicked off the show with his pro partner Nancy Xu, after he topped the leaderboard during the first show.
The dancing duo stepped out in a bright Hawaiian shirt and white jeans and performed a Salsa to the face – complete with plenty of spins, lifts and quick footwork.
But a missed pass during the dance sparked some constructive criticism from the judges, with Chief Judge Shirley Ballas commenting: ‘There were some mistakes this night, there weren’t any, I could tell by your little face. Just work a little harder.’
Echoing the area for improvement, Craig Revel Horwood explained, “You just danced it all too heavily into the floor. You have to focus on your arms.”
But Anton Du Beke and Motsi Mabuse were still impressed when the latter joked that ‘those hips don’t lie’.
Despite still taking home a score of 26 out of four judges, the accident caused Will to apologize to his kids watching the performance at home.
“Sorry, it wasn’t great for you kids, I tried my best,” he told the screen.
Nancy apologized for “maybe pushing too hard,” as the actor assured the gaffe was not her fault.
Soap star James Bye was next, who looked smart in a black suit as he took on the Tango with partner Amy Dowden.
The romantic performance ended with a elated Amy screaming with joy as she appeared impressed by the actor – before receiving thunderous applause.
But Judge Craig was critical of the routine for describing it as “lack of drama,” as Shirley noted a “minor glitch” in the middle.
Overall, the head judge was “pleasantly surprised” by the performance while praising the rest of the performance—which was James’ first attempt at ballroom.
Despite Craig scoring just 5, the actor and his pro partner Amy achieved a score of 24, surpassing last week’s score of 22.
Ellie Simmonds was next when she and partner Nikita Kuzmin danced a romantic waltz to a cover of Elvis’ I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.
The swimmer admitted to having trouble adjusting the dance routine this week, but explained that it was “so hard” but hoped she could show viewers that “they can dance whoever they are.”
Despite the challenges, the ballroom song received a standing ovation from Motsi and Shirley – with Craig noting that he “loved the expression” in the “amazing” dance.
And Shirley even got emotional, as she shared, “There’s so much magic in something so simple, it makes me emotional, it was just beautifully executed.”
Received scores of 8’s and 7’s from the entire panel – Ellie and Gorka brought in the highest score of the evening to date with a 30.
Dancing the Cha Cha was Helen Skelton and partner Gorka Márquez, who made a stunning display in matching ice blue ensembles.
The judges were particularly impressed with the Countryfile presenter’s coordination and praised Helen’s strong start.
But in typical fashion, Craig had some critical words for the pair, labeling the performance “bad” while the audience was booed.
“He kept hitting me on the leg and telling me to keep it straight,” Helen said as Gorka corrected that he was just “tapping” instead of hitting.
After hitting the bottom of last week’s standings with a score of 15, Tony Adams and Katya Jones were next to dance the Charleston.
The pair stepped out in vintage two-piece costume ensembles and ended the merry performance with pro dancer Katya throwing soccer ace Tony over her shoulder — while his wife blew a proud kiss from the crowd.
Anton, Motsi and Shirley called it a “huge improvement” from last week and were all impressed with the dance when they told him to “go on” – while Craig left a stern face for disagreeing.
And despite a 4 from the judges, Tony surpassed last week’s score with a total of 22 out of 40.
The very first Paso Doble dance of the series was performed by Ellie Taylor and partner Johannes Radebe – taking to the floor in matching purple ensembles.
“I felt like you were just walking around and posing, not really dancing,” Craig criticized the dance, as Shirley admitted “it lacked the full energy of a pase doble, it just lacked for me.”
But when they noticed Ellie’s “beautiful line,” Motsi and Anton were more positive about the song — because Johannes said he was “so proud” of his partner.
The TV personality beat Tony by just one point as they scored 23 points out of 40, down from last week’s 28.
Fleur East took to the floor to perform a Viennese waltz with partner Vito Coppola – when the singer became emotional after the performance and burst into tears.
“Every day I built it up and got ready to let it go,” Fleur said of her emotion — while Judge Shirley also seemed emotional.
The singer achieved an impressive score of 28 out of 40 points, just one less than the week before.
The second Charleston of the evening danced Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington, with the 59-year-old looking stunning in a bright pink pinstripe mini skirt.
The general consensus of the judges was that the performance was an improvement on last week’s dance, as they praised the hard work of the Loose Women panelist.
Tess Daly shone in a diamond-lined white mini dress, while her co-host Claudia Winkleman opted for a stylish black shirt and white wide-leg pants.
Strictly Come Dancing Week 2 Scoreboard
Will Mellor and Nancy Xu: Salsa dancing – 26 points out of 40
James Bye and Amy Dowden: Dancing the Tango – 24 points out of 40
Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin: Dancing a waltz to a cover of Elvis’ I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You – 30 points out of 40
Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez: Cha Cha to rain on me
Tony Adams and Katya Jones: Dancing the Charleston to My Old Man Is A Dustman – 22 points at 40
Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe: Dancing the Paso Doble – 23 points out of 40
Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice: Quickstep craig 8, motsi 8, shirley 8, anton 8 – 32
Fleur Oost and Vito Coppola: Viennese waltz on Glimpse Of Us – 28 points out of 40
Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington: Dancing the Charleston