September 29th, 2016

Strictly Come Dancing wows Barclaycard Arena

Updated: 4:57 pm, May 12, 2015

IT was glitter, spray tan and smiles all round last weekend when the Strictly Come Dancing tour came to town.

Beautifully reimagined for the live audience at the newly renamed Barclaycard Arena, the hit BBC One show brought the magic of ballroom dancing to Birmingham – complete with a huge dancefloor which covered much of the venue’s floor and note-perfect live band and singers.

Hosted by the pun-derful Zoe Ball, each couple showed off two toe-tapping routines with judges Craig Revel Horwood, Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup chiming in with comments and scores at the end of each dance.

Series winner Caroline Flack wowed with her glitter ball winning charleston, while Scott Mills’ beloved ‘Under the Sea’ samba – complete with crab costume – had the audience on their feet.

For audience members whose favourite dancing duo had been voted off the competition too soon for their liking, it was an opportunity to see them strut their stuff and showcase their most memorable dance routines one last time.

Fans of Thom Evans, like myself and most other women in the arena, were not disappointed to by his choice of sailor and open-shirted costumes or by being given the chance to see how much he had progressed since leaving the competition only five weeks in – Thom and partner Iveta having clearly worked hard since being booted off the show.

Special commendation must go to Rachel Stevens who had stepped in for Frankie Bridges mere days before the start of the tour – proving that no matter how long it’s been, the steps always come back to you.

But, the well-deserved title of winner of the evening went to boyband star Simon Webbe and his partner Kristina Rihanoff, whose argentine tango was, by a long-shot, the most-technically impressive and best danced performance of the evening – topping the table with 57 out of a possible 60 judges’ points.

If one criticism could be made, it was that there could have been a couple of dances performed just by the professional dances – they wow television viewers each week and while there were a couple of sections of group numbers where they featured, one professional-only dance would have topped off the evening.

Overall, the show proved how television programmes can be taken out on tour – allowing those of us not lucky enough to win studio-audience tickets the chance to experience their magic.

Professional dancer Karen Hauer and partner, Kevin Clifton, showing off their best moves. s Trevor Adams, matrixpictures.co.uk

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