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Laura Whitmore kicks off the new series of Strictly Come Dancing

Laura Whitmore kicks off the new series of Strictly Come Dancing

Laura Whitmore kicked off the new series of 'Strictly Come Dancing' with an energetic cha cha to 'Venus'.

The 31-year-old television presenter and her dancing partner Giovanni Pernice impressed the judges with a first class routine full of exciting moves.

Speaking after her performance, Len Goodman said: "Well, I must say, what a lovely start to the show. A lovely amount of cha cha content which I appreciate. You've got to work on straightening your legs but first on, first class!"

However, Craig Revel Horwood lived up to his reputation, slamming Laura for having flexed knees throughout the performance.

He added: "The whole thing was danced on flexed knees. I thought the whole thing was a little unstable."

However, Craig was impressed at times during the night - particularly by Ore Oduba's unconventional tango to 'Geronimo'.

He told the BBC television presenter and his dance partner Joanne Clifton: "I loved all the storytelling at the beginning, it set up the whole dance for me."

Judge Robert Rinder brought some excitement to the proceedings with a "extraordinary" cha cha to 'Mercy'.

Darcey Bussell gushed: "It was extraordinary. That was the wildest surprise I've ever had. The amount of detail you were able to add was outstanding."

Whilst the night was filled with excitement and glee, there was a poignant moment when Lesley Joseph and Anton du Beke waltzed to the 'Birds Of A Feather' theme tune 'What'll I Do'.

The performance left judge Bruno Tonioli feeling "very emotional", whilst Len praised the 70-year-old actress' "clean and precise footwork".

Naga Munchetty also impressed with her own waltz and admitted she was very "relieved" to have got the first dance over and done with.

Olympian Greg Rutherford - who jointly topped the leaderboard with Ore - rounded off the night with a fabulous jive to 'Get Ready'.

Len told him: "It was as good as we've seen tonight, 100 per cent. You came out there, you gave it full on, a great attack. But you're a really good dancer and I'm looking forward to seeing it."

Whilst Bruno added: "By the way it looks, Greg could go all the way. That's what I mean by giving it welly. I loved it. I'm telling you, you have talent. I really loved watching you."

'Strictly Come Dancing' continues on Saturday evening (24.09.16), where the other nine contestants will take to the ballroom floor for the first time.