Strictly’s Kelvin Fletcher proves to be ‘hot new favourite’ on first live show

Strictly star Kelvin Fletcher is the new hot favourite, thanks to whips, blackmail and pro partner Oti Mabuse.

The ex-Emmerdale actor was the shock sensation on Saturday’s first live show.

Kelvin, 35, put his success down to Oti’s tough love during training for their routine.

He said: “I’ve done triathlons and ­marathons. Nothing comes close to this. There’s parts of my body that have never ached before. I keep saying, ‘Can I have a break?’ but Oti cracks the whip!”

Kelvin also revealed how his talented dance partner, 29, resorts to friendly blackmail to keep him training.

The actor added: “The other day I was ­trying to distract her from starting training and ­chatting away because my legs were aching and I didn’t realise she was ­recording me on her phone and threatening to put it on ­social media.”

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Kelvin wowed the judges with his ­“electrifying” hip-shaking samba and ­received 32 points, the highest score of the night, beating bookies’ favourites Karim Zeroual and Alex Scott.

Head judge Shirley Ballas said: “You’re outstanding.” And Bruno Tonioli added: “This hunk is on fire!”

Kelvin was a late arrival to the BBC One show after he replaced Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, who was forced to pull out after injuring his right foot while filming the launch programme.

Fans also loved new judge Motsi Mabuse, Oti’s sister, who has taken over from Dame Darcey Bussell, calling her a “breath of fresh air” and a “lively and bubbly addition”.

Meanwhile, reports at the weekend that fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood was set to quit the show were denied by his agent.

The first live edition drew a peak ­audience of 8.5million viewers, down 1.5m on last year. Insiders said it was still the most-watched show on Saturday night.

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