Strictly stumped in dances at Sheffield Arena

Enjoying the moment: Homegrown cricket star Michael Vaughan in action at the Arena
Enjoying the moment: Homegrown cricket star Michael Vaughan in action at the Arena
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It may have been cold outside but the dancefloor was smokin’ at Sheffield Arena for the last night of this year’s live Strictly Come Dancing Tour.

Packed with sequins, sparkle, innuendo, fake tans, fireworks and fun it was a sure fire way to banish the Sunday night blues.

Right from the start it was a battle between homegrown ex England captain Michael Vaughan and fellow former cricketer Phil Tufnell to stay off the bottom of the leader board.

Vaughan was on a sticky wicket with his ‘Sheffield’ samba fully admitting he’d honed his skills on the dancefloor at the Leadmill, while Tuffers got off to an equally dodgy start.

The pair giggled away at the back in the group dances like naughty school boys before taking to the floor again for their second innings.

Vaughan managed to pull a delightful American smooth out of the bag with professional partner Natalie Lowe despite tripping at the beginning of his routine, while Phil’s salsa was described by judge Craig Revel Horwood as a ‘dance disaaaster’ and head judge Len Goodman said he looked like ‘a slug in salt’.

Among the highlights of last night’s show were Denise Van Outen and James Jordan’s egyptian-themed Charleston which scored three perfect tens - top marks from the judges.

It was difficult to disagree with Len Goodman, when he told the delighted audience Fern Britton and Artem Chigvintsev’s beautiful waltz should have been designated an area of outstanding beauty.

And Artem’s exposed and finely honed torso, exposed during the couple’s first dance was definitely worthy of a perfect ten.

But the stars of last night’s show and worthy winners of the glitter ball were Olympic gymnast Louis Smith who teamed up with professional dancer Ola Jordan for the live tour.

Their sensual rhumba-tango fusion to a cover of U2’s haunting With or Without You was simply mesmerising. But it was bettered in the second half by their interpretation of the iconic Dirty Dancing routine to ‘I’ve Had the Time of my Life’ - providing a fitting finale to a sparkling show.

Other celebrities in this year’s line up included pint sized actress Dani Harmer who performed a technically perfect Tango-quickstep fusion and former Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley, who lit up the dancefloor with her infectious smile and energetic enthusiasm.

Mixed with some fabulous music from Alan Rodgers and his Strictly band, a plethora of witty one liners and filthy innuendo from Len, Bruno Tonioli and show director Craig Revel Horwood the feel good show provides the ultimate tonic on a cold winter’s night and sent the audience out into the Attercliffe snow with smiles on their faces.