The actress managed to top the judges’ scoreboard with an impressive 30 out of 40 for her cha cha cha with partner Robin Windsor, which ended with him jumping into her arms.
And she even managed to win over the notoriously hard to please Craig Revel Horwood, who gave her eight out of ten for her efforts – one of the highest scores from any judge over the two days of opening shows.
“Three words darling,” he told her, “You can dance!”
Darcey Bussell added, “I love someone who can take risks. You’re going to be a joy to watch on this show.”
Kimberley Walsh and Louis Smith also put up a good show, picking up 28 points and 27 points respectively for the efforts at the cha cha cha.
“You can’t win Strictly on week one, but you can make a fantastic impression, and that’s what you just did,” Len Goodman told the Girls Aloud singer, while Darcey Bussell told Louis, “In my eyes you’ll go far in this show.”
Sid Owen also fared well, surprising the judges with his waltz with partner Ola Jordan – while Richard Arnold also took to the floor for a waltz with Erin Boag.
“You held the mood throughout, I was pleasantly surprised,” Bruno Tonioli told the EastEnders star – and there was also praise for Richard. “There were moments when it could have been better, but that’s the same for everybody tonight.”
Dani Harmer also attempted a waltz for her debut dance with Richard Arnold, winning a mixed response from the judges for her efforts.
“You’ve got it all, you just need to use it correctly,” Bruno said, while Darcey added, “I think you’re going to have a lot more fun with the Latin next week.”
Meanwhile Jerry Hall and Johnny Ball were left propping up the judges’ scoreboard on Saturday night, with Jerry scoring just 18 points for her cha cha cha with Anton du Beke, and Johnny only managing to notch up 17 for his cha cha cha with temporary partner Iveta Lukosiete.
“You’ve certainly taken minimal to a whole new level darling,” Craig told Jerry following her routine – while Johnny also fell foul of the panel.
“It was all a little bit Last Of The Summer Wine to be honest,” Len told the TV veteran, while Craig added, “It looked like you had some disorder of the central nervous system.”
The first elimination will take place next Sunday evening after the 14 couples have performed again on Saturday night.