Strictly 2013: Abbey Clancy joins front-runners with debut

Abbey Clancy emerged as a serious contender to the Strictly Come Dancing crown as she made her dancefloor debut on Saturday night.

The model and WAG – who is married to Stoke City striker Peter Crouch – left the judges spellbound with her opening waltz, performed with series newcomer Aljaz Skorjanec.

And they were impressed enough to give her a total score of 32 points – displacing Friday night’s leader, series favourite Natalie Gumede, from the top of the judges’ scoreboard.

“People think the waltz is a small dance,” Len Goodman said. “It’s not. It’s a big dance. And that was the dance of the night.”

Meanwhile Craig Revel Horwood told them: “I had a hunch about you two. That was gorgeous.”

Abbey was one of nine remaining celebrities to take to the floor on Saturday’s show, following the performances of the first six couples on Friday night.

Others who left the judges impressed included Casualty actor Patrick Robinson, who delivered an energetic jive with partner Anya Garnis.

“The jive is a very hard dance,” Darcey Bussell pointed out, “and you don’t have to worry, your energy levels were brilliant.”

Meanwhile Bruno Tonioli added: “I love somebody that goes for it all guns blazing.”