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Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show

Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show with an American Smooth as stars RETURN to the tower's iconic ballroom for the first time in three years

Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show with an American Smooth as stars RETURN to the tower’s iconic ballroom for the first time in three years

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Strictly Come Dancing returned to screens on Saturday night for its ninth live show, as the show returned to Blackpool Tower for the first time in three years for the programme’s iconic annual trip to the coastal town.

The show opened with a performance by the show’s professional dancers, as they were surrounded by neon signs that read ‘Blackpool is Back’ – before judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke does come on stage to join in the dancing.

Hamza Yassin was the first to perform in the iconic ballroom with partner Jowita Przystal, as the duo took on an American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s iconic 1979 hit New York, New York.

Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show with an American Smooth as stars RETURN to the tower's iconic ballroom for the first time in three years

Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool: Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal open the show with an American Smooth as stars RETURN to the tower’s iconic ballroom for the first time in three years

And it was an impressive start for the couple, as Shirley dubbed the wildlife photographer the “one to beat” as he stepped out in a tailcoat and bow tie ensemble.

“Hamza, you shone brighter than all the balls, beads and bracelets in the world. You give Blackpool such respect, your footwork, you dedicated yourself to small details. Even though it’s Blackpool, you’re as cool as a cucumber. You are the one to beat for me,” the CJ said.

As Anton was ready to take the stage with them, as he said, ‘People ask if I miss dancing, that’s the dancing I wish I had done. Welcome to Blackpool everyone, outstanding.

And though Craig generally got reviews, he called it “spectacular”, sharing, “I didn’t like your solo jazz section, but the timing, footwork and movement was absolutely spectacular.”

“No matter what they throw at you, you play with excellence, it shows that you are in complete control of yourself, your partner and this ballroom,” Motsi echoed.

And after Hamza described the performance as “an absolute honour”, he managed to take home a score of 38 as Craig and Motsi both gave up nine points, while Shirley and Anton gave up ten.

Molly Rainford and her partner Carlos Gu were next to the dance floor with a Jive to American Bandstand (Bandstand Boogie), as Claudia said they “nailed”.

Anton was quick to agree: “Absolutely great. It’s clean, it’s perfectly timed. Keep it up, good dancing – well done.

“It needs to be a little lighter, obviously you’re dancing next to a professional. But what I love about you is that you absolutely sell the dance,” Craig said.

Motsi and Shirley also made positive comments for the pair, with the latter sharing, “Hope we all appreciate how well this jive was done.”

As usual, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman put on a glamorous presentation, Claudia donning a feather bust jumpsuit while co-host Tess opted for a bright green fitted dress.

It comes after Fleur East and partner Vito Coppola topped the standings last week with 39 out of a possible 40 points.

And without a dance, last week Tony Adams also exited the competition in sensational fashion with an apparent hamstring injury, losing his spot.

STRICTLY COME DANCING: WEEK 9 DASHBOARD

Fleur East and Vito Coppola:

Will Mellor and Nancy Xu:

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystał dance an American Smooth: 38 points out of 40

Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu:

Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez:

Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe:

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell:

Kym Marsh and Graziano DiPrima:

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