FOR most people, seeing reigning champion – and Olympic medal winner – Louis Smith seemed to be worth the ticket price alone on Friday night.
However, there were quite a few moments that also tickled their fancy; and these mainly involved the male dancers (Artem Chigvintsev and James Jordan) being topless.
This incarnation of the Live show is still full of panto fare: you have the "baddie" (Craig Revel Horwood), there's audience participation (there was a text vote and score cards inside the souvenir programme) and if anyone deserved the "goodie" title it had to be daytime telly favourite Fern Britton who looked stunning after her time on Strictly – and has the wit to banter with the judges.
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For the fun factor, cricketer Michael Vaughan provided a good target for all three judges. Bruno Tonioli continued to defy the ageing process and in his swinging kilt he and Len Goodman brought a lot of light-hearted fun to the sparkling evening, which had a Burns Night flavour throughout.
Back to the dancing, both Denise Van Outen and Louis Smith–- with their respective professional partners Mr James and Mrs Ola Jordan – stole the show. Van Outen's jive was fantastic but her Walk Like An Egyptian Charleston simply has to feature some of the most innovative choreography Strictly has seen for a long time. Smith's Time Of My Life should have secured him the glitter ball trophy; but the crowd may have been swayed by Mr Jordan's kilt swishing and "pecs appeal".
The surprise element was presenter Kate Thornton who was a fantastic host and could give both her telly counterparts a serious run for their money.