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Strictly's Susanna's 'sassy side'
Television presenter Susanna Reid got the new series of Strictly Come Dancing off to a flying start with a racy routine that ended with her cartwheeling onto a sofa.
The BBC Breakfast star, wearing an electric blue fringed dress, danced the jive with partner Kevin Clifton, who had vowed to show off the "sassy, sparky side" of the 42-year-old mother of three.
They were praised by the judges for their performance to Shake your Tailfeather by The Blues Brothers, that started and ended on a red sofa like the one from which Reid usually presents the morning show.
Judge Len Goodman said the dance was "like chicken soup to the eyes" - adding that he meant it was tasty and satisfying, while Darcey Bussell said Reid's energy and style had wowed her.
Reid and Clifton were given a standing ovation - one of only two couples last night to receive that honour. Six stars took to the dance floor as the glitterball was dusted off for the 2013 series, with the final nine debuting on tonight's show.
They were awarded a total of 28 points from the judges, which will be carried over to next week's show and combined with a public vote as no one is being voted off this weekend.
The other star of the night - judging by the audience getting to their feet - was Coronation Street actress, and favourite to win this year's Strictly trophy, Natalie Gumede.
She and Artem Chigvintsev did the cha cha to Boney M's Rasputin and were widely praised for their first dance, gaining the highest score of the night with 31 points.
Gumede, 29, best known for playing Kirsty Soames in Coronation Street, wore a white and gold dress and was told by judge Bruno Tonioli that her "lascivious, sexy" dance showed she was "going to go far" in the contest.
Craig Revel Horwood, known for his usually catty comments to celebrity dancers, told Gumede: "You're a brilliant dancer and so far, you're the front runner."
His vitriol had evidently been used up on former golfer Tony Jacklin, to whom he awarded just two points for his waltz to What'll I Do by Alison Krauss and told that he "became the hunchback of Notre Dame".
Jacklin was also compared to a "Galapagos tortoise" by Tonioli, with the only kind words coming from Goodman, who said he "summed up the spirit of the show, someone with no dance experience coming out and having a go".
The 69-year-old, who has been Ryder Cup captain four times, was given a total of just 16 for his first effort with partner Aliona Vilani.
Many of the contestants seemed nervous tonight but Ashley Taylor Dawson had perhaps more reason than most .
The 31-year-old Hollyoaks actor was not only first up, dancing the cha cha to One Direction's That's What Makes You Beautiful with Ola Jordan, but his wife was due to give birth to their second child on Thursday.
Veteran presenter Sir Bruce Forsyth joked that he would step in to take Taylor Dawson's place if he got called out to be by his wife's side, and even threatened to copy Miley Cyrus's "twerking".
He told Jordan: "You could keep up with me, couldn't you dear? We might do a bit of twerking."
Luckily as that didn't happen, the audience instead was shown a competent routine that earned Taylor Dawson 25 points. The actor, wearing a pink and black shirt with a slashed front, said of being first on the floor: "It was very, very scary. I'm still shaking. It's a bit of a crazy time right now."
Tonioli seemed taken with one part of the dance in particular, telling him: "You looked seriously at ease on your hands and knees, and your face when you were admiring Ola's derriere was a picture, a picture of happiness."
Revel Horwood complained that the star's footwork was "feral" but admitted: "The good thing is, you're pretty easy on the eye."
Murder On The Dancefloor singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor's routine, to Audrey Hepburn's Moon River, reduced her mother - the former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis - to floods of tears.
The 34-year-old, whose husband Richard Jones, bassist with The Feeling, was also in the audience, was told by partner Brendan Cole as they completed their waltz: "I'm so proud of you. That was phenomenal."
Ellis-Bextor, wearing an elegant grey tuille dress, was praised by Goodman, who said: "The actual beauty of the dance was gorgeous."
Bussell said she particularly enjoyed the "flow, grace, elegance" of the dance, and the singer waltzed away with a total of 28 points - the joint highest score of the night.
Waterloo Road star Mark Benton used his acting skills to get into the spirit of his tango to Hernando's Hideaway, by Alma Cogan. Wearing a purple sparkly shirt and a mask, he pretended to be a jewellery thief for his routine which Tonioli described as: "Carry on Thieving".
Bussell told Benton: "I loved it. You're going to be the most brilliant entertainer for us."
Benton, who scored 24, told co-presenter Tess Daly, who wore a canary yellow dress for last night's show: "That was great fun."
Viewers were introduced to the competitors three weeks ago and they have been practising ever since, fitting their rehearsals around their day jobs and their screen commitments.
Other stars taking part in the series - and due to strut their stuff tonight - include Countdown's Rachel Riley, fashion designer Julien Macdonald and model Abbey Clancy.