Strictly Come Dancing 2017: Frontrunner Aston Merrygold brings ‘Despacito’ to the ballroom

Only a week after this year’s celebrities dusted off their sequins for the very first time, the stakes are rising at a breathless pace in Strictly Come Dancing. In Week 2, there were standing ovations and dance disasters across the evening’s performances.

Setting the tone for the rest of the evening, frontrunner and ex-JLS member Aston Merrygold impressed judges and audiences alike with a neon festival-themed salsa. Although he worried fans by dropping partner Janette Manrara on her head during rehearsals, the risks paid off in a jaw-dropping lift sequence which earned the first 9 of the series.

Dancing to song of the summer Despacito, Merrygold’s performance introduced an eclectic mix of pop songs to the ballroom. Maroon 5’s ‘Sugar’ sadly couldn’t help Charlotte Hawkins’ “complete dance disaster”, as christened by in-house Grinch Craig Revel Horwood.

Ever likeable but with perhaps too much attack this week, Holby City actor Joe McFadden danced an Ed Sheeran-narrated tango with partner Katya Jones. While head judge Shirley Ballas gave McFadden a standing ovation last week, it was singer and stage actress Alexandra Burke who blew the judges away with an explosive Paso Doble this evening.

After an emotional routine last week, Alexandra and partner Gorka Marquez scored 36, just behind Debbie McGee who lived up to last week’s expectations by delivering a gliding Viennese waltz. Showing off a brand new blade and a fast-paced jive, Paralympic gold medallist Jonnie Peacock proved he’s here to stay alongside the frontrunners, with some impressive hat tricks and Shirley-approved kicks and flicks.

There’s no murder, but the drama is certainly high on the dancefloor already, as the voting opens for the series tonight.

Originally published on The Independent

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