It's started - and the producers capture the feel of the nation: Sparkly popcorn, Len & Craig cushions, drawn curtains and "Get off the phone, don't you know what time it is?"
It's Strictly time! Belly laughs and soppy grins at the ready ...
The Belly Laughs were provided by Hairy Biker Dave, who Karen has clearly decided not to tame, but to join instead. Fabulous partnership, with Kave channelling Mick Jagger. Terrible technique but absolutely loved Dave's joy in the cha cha and the judges (bar Craig) joining in the spirit. Boom! Darcey summed it up: "I want to cry with happiness".
The Soppy Grins made an appearance for the Sophie and Brendan (Brenphie) waltz to Moon River, her topline a little floppy but lovely movement and gentle phrasing. Proud mum Janet was in tears; I loved Sophie's honest appraisal: "I was terrified but I didn't throw up!" Also, Tony and Aliona (Toniona) made me smile. Yes, posture needs work but I thought he had quite lyrical arms. Very sweet.
In between the laughs and soppiness, Kevanna (Susanna and Kevin) were my favourites of the weekend; I was smiling all the way through. Smashing partnership already and I do love seeing someone really let themselves go and have a good time. Bags of natural personality and energy, just needed a touch more bounce - it was there in training - so more to come from them.
Credible performances, high likeability factor and good partnerships from Ben and Kristina (Bentina) once he's loosened up they could be ones to watch; Fiona and Anton (Antiona) *Hand Darling Hand*; Robin and Deborah (Robrah) keep up, Debs; Patrick and Anya (Patya) flat footed but groovy; Ashley and Ola (Asha) elongate the arms, don't stab; Mark and Iveta (Marketa) were terrific, a great pairing and lovely characterisation and attitude.
Julian actually might need to calm down a bit - I need to see him dance properly, because I think he can; Rachel is nice but will also need to be sassy and more focused; Loved that James is immediately protective of Vanessa - never been a fan, but she worked hard and did everything he asked, so well done - they seem to have well gelled *ahem*. Abbey and Aljaz are indeed the beautiful couple and also seem very sweet; gorgeous lines in a lovely routine gave them dance of the night. But can she rock the Latin? Natalie and Artem hit the floor confidently, very good technically - they didn't seem to match the chemistry off it though.
Bruce quote of the night: "The Floor Manager's job is to stop the presenter looking stupid. I wish we had one of this show."
Best Dress (es): Rachel and Abbey's - simple, classy and elegant.
Tess' look: The Purple One ;)
The Pro Dance was a belter, all feathers and Bruno on the table, ballroom drama and Latin tricks - quite tough to follow, but it was the opening weekend so ...
Next stop: It Takes Two with Zoe Ball, 6.30pm BBC 2 TONIGHT! She's here all week :)
Week 2 begins on Saturday at 6.20pm and to keep you going, here's the link to the clips from week one.