Strictly's Russell Grant Comes out of his shell!

PICTURE the countdown commotion to nine o’clock behind the scenes at Television Centre, there are people rushing here and there checking make-up, checking lighting, checking sound levels and checking my blood pressure!

Everybody has a job to do, they know how to do it and they are all getting on with it so the sheer professionalism of the BBC is something to behold as they draw the strings of the show together to produce our favourite weekend viewing.

The nervous tension mounts as the minutes pass and we all spend the last few moments wishing each other good luck and going through our own moves in our heads.

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The band strikes up, Bruce strides out, and the 2011 Strictly Season is up and running.

The tension is palpable as Holly and Artem take to the floor and we are all spellbound by their slinky, sensual, sizzling cha-cha-cha. The judges open with 28 points – it’s an awesome start and I’m wondering whether I can match that their performance and their points.

Waltzing into our hearts comes Dan Lobb and Katya to take 24 points with their graceful elegance and charm.

My old buddy Lulu and partner Brendan Cole were fun and entertaining and I predict things are going to get better and better for them as the programme progresses.

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Am I right in thinking the judges were a tad hard on Robbie and Ola’s cha-cha? I thought they used the floor well, and they entertained us with an original and exciting performance. They could well be the ones to watch in times to come.

I am “coming out of my shell” as the last performer on Strictly’s opening show. The pulses are pounding, I feel queasy and clammy, but determined to do the best I can and not let fabulous Flavia my wonderful partner down.

Flavia opens my shell and I hear a huge, heart-warming cheer and there I am the biggest pearl you’ve ever seen and we cha-cha to Bananarama’s Venus. I think it all went pretty well, but it was such a whirl and a swirl I can hardly remember what happened. All I know is that Flavia is thrilled and when we get a standing ovation at the end (the first ever for a first night) I feel myself filling up with tears of emotion and relief.

The judges give us 21 points, but does it matter? Not when it’s compared to the pleasure and satisfaction I have from getting through my first Strictly session successfully and also from the fabulous feedback flooding in from all quarters.

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A BIG thanks to all you Twitterati out there who were tweating so much my performance “trended on Twitter”. That’s another first for me!

So the big opening night has come and gone. What a wonderful night!.


Strictly Come Dancing contestant Russell Grant is writing for the Advertiser about his experiences on the hit show. Catch up with his blog every Thursday and Monday.

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