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Daniel O'Donnell makes an entrance

Singer impresses on Strictly debut with waltz to an Irish classic

By David Young

Published 26/09/2015

Daniel O’Donnell and his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff last night
Daniel O’Donnell and his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff last night

Crooner Daniel O'Donnell didn't put a foot wrong last night as he glided through his Strictly debut with glamorous partner Kristina Rihanoff.

Dapper in white tie and tails, Daniel and his partner waltzed to the strains of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling in a classic version sung by Belfast's own Ruby Murray.

The judges loved him - well, three of them, anyway.

Len Goodman told a clearly nervous Daniel: "Your footwork is the best I've seen." Fellow judge Bruno Tonioli was just as upbeat: "Very proper, very well collected, very well-placed."

And former prima ballerina Darcey Bussell enthused: "You danced like a perfect gentleman...Well done!"

Only Craig Revel Horwood was unimpressed: "It was pretty uneventful actually, until the bit where you nearly ripped Kristina's arm out." The Kincasslagh singer said afterwards: "I'm happy it's done.

"I'm excited now - but you can't tell," he joked to presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Earlier in the evening Daniel's wife Majella had tweeted: "I don't know about Daniel, I think I'm going to be sick! Go get 'em Daniel & Kristina!!"

There was no public vote on last night's show - that starts next week when one of the 15 couples will be knocked out.

Despite Craig's criticisms, Daniel and Kristina racked up a decent score of 24 from the judges, a respectable performance that will give them a confidence boost for the rest of the Strictly series.

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