Giovanni Pernice's fans share complaint following 'emotional' Strictly return

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice dancing the Viennese Waltz
Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice dancing the Viennese Waltz (BBC)

Strictly is back on our screens at last, and viewers were thrilled to see the new lineup strut their stuff on Saturday night.

Former winner Giovanni Pernice was among the professional dancers making their return, this time partnered with actress Amanda Abbington.

However, as some of his fans commented on social media, there was one aspect of the pair's routine that they weren't so keen on…

The Italian took to Instagram, where he posted images of himself and Amanda during their Viennese Waltz, which impressed the judges with its elegance. In the caption, he wrote: "Proud of you @amandaabbington74! That's the way to start. Did you guys enjoy last night?"

While many of his fans were complimentary, one commented: "Was a long wait [crying-laughing emoji]… It had ended when I woke up." Another agreed, writing: "It was a long wait but worth it! Really beautiful and Amanda did you proud". 

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice performing the Viennese Waltz
Amanda and Giovanni impressed with their Viennese Waltz (BBC)

A third, meanwhile, took issue with the scoring, writing: "Beautiful. Should have been a higher score…" The couple can't have been too disappointed, however, as they were second on the leaderboard along with three other couples, and a fourth fan commented that the dance was "emotional".


Ahead of the first live show, Giovanni prompted some delightful nostalgia when he filmed with his former dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis last week.

Rose and Giovanni dancing
Rose and Giovanni recently reunited (BBC)

He teased Rose's appearance on his Instagram Stories with an image of their shadows side-by-side, which he captioned: "Who is this?" Rose confirmed that she and Giovanni had reunited in the next story, although she teased the Italian by denying that her name was Rose.

The EastEnders actress danced to victory with Giovanni back in 2021, becoming the first deaf competitor on the programme. The pairing was much-loved by viewers for their sweet bond and shared silly sense of humour, as well as for their talent and hard work.

Giovanni and Rose posing for a photo at the BAFTAs
The duo won the dancing show and a BAFTA (Getty)

Viewers were especially impressed by their moving Couple's Choice to Clean Bandit's song Symphony and the poignant dance routine was swiftly hailed by judges and audiences as Strictly's greatest-ever performance, going on to win a BAFTA.

READ: Rose Ayling-Ellis holds 'deep affection' for Strictly's Giovanni Pernice

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing fans have spotted their winner already – reactions from week one

The pair paid respect to and raised awareness for members of the deaf community in the routine when the music cut as they continued to dance in silence. However, Rose provoked surprise earlier this year when she confessed in an interview that she initially disliked it.

Giovanni Pernice Rose Ayling-Ellis Couple's Choice
Giovanni and Rose performing their Couple's Choice (BBC)

"I hated it," she told The Guardian. "I watched this pre-recorded video by external choreographers and immediately didn't like what they'd come up with."

She feared the dance would score her the "pity" vote, adding: "I was up for the idea, as long as it wasn't a patronising stunt. An attempt to get the pity vote, all sad, dreary and 'poor me'. It was what hearing people think deaf people experience". 

Giovanni Pernice in white and black suit
The Italian is a Strictly fan favourite (Getty)

"Very insular, cut-off, small. It was so sad. And that's not me." After reworking the routine, Rose embraced the dance as it began to feel "more true" to her.

She went on: "It was only at camera rehearsals in the studio, when I was told the crew – who never stop – all dropped what they were doing to watch that I thought: 'This might be a big deal.'"