Here Come The Boys

St George's Hall

IT'S fair to say that the Strictly hunks know their demographic.

"Gorka, you're fit!" yelled a woman a couple of rows behind me, as shirts were ripped open on stage to reveal three shiny bronze male chests. The packed crowd squealed with delight.

Muscles rippled, hips gyrated, eyes twinkled and lithe limbs worked the dance floor as Aljaz Skorjanec, Giovanni Pernice and Gorka Marquez treated their largely female audience (I counted just three men) to a sizzling show at St George's Hall last night.

This is billed as "The show that everyone has been waiting for" - and for Strictly fans, it didn't disappoint.

Aljaz, Giovanni and Gorka are the rock stars of Strictly Come Dancing. They're among the hottest of the professional dancers - ask any woman watching Strictly who she'd like to be partnered with on the BBC's hit show and chances are it will be one of this three - and here they are on tour together. In the actual flesh.

You could practically reach out and touch the testosterone as they each took to the stage, to frenzied whoops and cheers normally unleashed for boy bands. The format was a series of dance-offs, as Aljaz, Giovanni and Gorka battled it out with red hot Latin moves and ballroom romance, and it was left to the audience to decide the winners of each round (no complicated leaderboards; it was all down to who got the loudest cheers).

No surprise that Italian stallion Giovanni (my Strictly hunk of choice, just saying), the Guinness World Record holder for kicks and flicks, won the jive round. Aljaz, who sends grown women swooning with a flash of his cheeky grin, won the ballroom and new dad Gorka, who would be the heart-meltingly shy one if this was a boyband, won the Latin battle.

Magic Mike-style muscle aside, these guys are giants of the dance world and it was a treat to see such world-class performers in action, accompanied by impressive partners and backing dancers. Highlights included Giovanni's hauntingly sensual Purple Rain rhumba, Aljaz's sexy Justin Timberlake mash-up and Gorka's sweeping Bruno Mars-inspired Paso Doble.

Beneath the jokey banter and spoof rivalry, there was an endearing warmth to this show, with a sweet three-way bromance at its heart.

Hosted by the excellent Elisabeth Troy of Clean Bandit, with a terrific beatbox artist spinning the decks, this was a hugely entertaining show reminding us why these Strictly professionals are at the top of their game.