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Deflation for Ed Balls as 'politically correct' waltz fails to impress judges

Published 24/09/2016

Greg Rutherford with his dance partner Natalie Lowe (BBC/PA)
Greg Rutherford with his dance partner Natalie Lowe (BBC/PA)

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls said he was "madly disappointed" with his Strictly Come Dancing debut which left him bottom of the leaderboard.

The ex-Labour MP's waltz with partner Katya Jones to Elvis's Are You Lonesome Tonight? failed to impress the judges with Craig Revel Horwood calling it "pedestrian".

Balls scored 21 points but and said he had done "massively better in rehearsals" and felt he had "let down" Jones.

He added: " We started from a low base but the truth is we are madly disappointed.

"It would have been so much better but I messed up the turns which I have done so many times.

"As a result I never really did get through the rest of it the best that I could."

Head judge Len Goodman said he was "pleasantly surprised" by Balls performance whilst judge Bruno Tonioli called the dance "prim and proper" and "politically correct".

Balls was part of the second group of celebrities to hit the dance floor, with several breaking the 30 points barrier.

Model Daisy Lowe flew to the top of the leaderboard with a near-flawless waltz to Nat King Cole's Unforgettable.

She received 32 points, with Goodman calling it the the best dance he had ever seen in the first week.

Lowe, who is partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec, said: "I can't believe it. I am gobsmacked, I am speechless and that really rarely happens."

Lowe paid tribute to her grandfather who passed away recently.

She said: "All I can think is that my grandpa must had been meddling with the numbers and I got a nine from Len on week one.

"I am just so grateful and so it is wonderful to do it as a tribute to gramps. It really meant the world to me."

Bookies' favourite Will Young placed fourth with 30 points behind joint second placed Louise Redknapp and ex-Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac who each collected 31 points.

Mac, dancing with partner Oti Mabuse, performed a cha cha whilst Redknapp danced a jive with partner Kevin Clifton to Jump, Jive An' Wail.

Former Pop Idol winner Young danced to David Bowie's Let's Dance, with Goodman - who is appearing in his final series of Strictly - calling it an "excellent performance".

Their high scores knocked down Friday night's performers, including initial front-runners Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford and TV presenter Ore Oduba.

Radio DJ Melvin Odoom received 22 points for his maraca shaking cha cha to Loco In Acapulco with partner Jeanette Manrara, placing the pair 14th.

Tonioli told the former Xtra Factor host that he "forgot the hips", whilst Revel Horwood called the performance"wooden" and "stiff".

Odoom said he felt like he had "won Strictly" by just making it through the performance.

He added: "I feel so happy. The judges enjoyed the performance and I am still alive.

"I don't care about the scores as long as we got from the beginning to the end with no interruptions and no injuries then we are happy."

Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane and partner AJ Pritchard received 26 points for their cha cha to One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful whilst EastEnders actress Tameka Empson and partner Gorka Marquez also collected 26 points for their paso doble to El Gato Montes and Y Viva Espana.

Anastacia and Brendan Cole collected 28 points for their cha cha to Lady Marmalade, putting them in fifth place.

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