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REVIEW: Standing ovation in Aberdeen for Strictly star Giovanni Pernice

Giovanni Pernice brought the house down in his sold-out Aberdeen show.
Giovanni Pernice brought the house down in his sold-out Aberdeen show.

Strictly star Giovanni Pernice brought his high-energy dance show to Aberdeen’s Music Hall this weekend. And if the rapturous applause and standing ovations were anything to go by it was nothing short of a hip-rolling success.

Hollywood glitz

Performing ‘This is Me’ – his fourth dance show – to a sold-out audience, the 2021 Strictly Come Dancing champion wowed fans from the get go.

Featuring the incredible voices of former Starlight Express singer Whitney Martins and newcomer to Giovanni’s tour, Tobias Turley, who also formed part of his ensemble dance cast, those watching were treated to a fast-paced homage to Pernice’s musical influences.

Beginning with some old-style Hollywood glamour ala Fred and Ginger, Giovanni appeared as if by magic behind a disappearing glitter ball.

Giovanni Pernice in his This Is Me tour at the Music Hall, Aberdeen.

The largely female audience were not disappointed.

Moving onto some Hey Pachuco-style flapper music in time for classic Charleston leg kicks and flips, the first section only paused when the main man himself took centre stage for a chat.

The Italian seemed to be the personification of a fine wine for everyone in attendance. Even those that wouldn’t normally drink seemed to develop a taste for his smooth-tongued patter and cheeky repertoire.

Queen tribute

The biggest laugh of the night came mid-way through a section which Giovanni devoted to his idol Freddie Mercury.

The Show Must Go On, then a burst of contemporary rumba moves by dancers in all white, was reminiscent of the iconic Bohemian Rhapsody video. The singers continued to amaze despite all eyes being on those dancing.

Things sped up when Another One Bites the Dust began featuring familiar tango walks and intensity, before Giovanni appeared in a yellow jacket synonymous with Freddie at Band Aid.

Where Mercury went for Day-O, Pernice had the crowd in raptures singing Gi-O!

Next, a jive broke out to Crazy Little Thing Called Love but then came the hilarity.

Audience involvement

A mainstay of the Giovanni show for all his followers is the tradition of asking one lucky lady onto the stage with him.

However, on this occasion, he found what was likely the only male under 30 in the room.

While the unsuspecting ‘guest’ reclined on a sofa, a high-heel and leather skirt-wearing Giovanni appeared. The other male members of his crew, also dressed in frocks joined in.

Keeping with the Queen theme, I Want To Break Free kicked in – and true to the 80s pop video to match, the cast, including Giovanni’s alter ego Tara Misu vacuumed the stage.

The segment ended with a one-on-one dance between Giovanni and the now-red faced participant while the audience roared in delight.

Best ’til last

However good the first half was – and by any standards it was a masterclass in entertainment – the second act was better.

Beginning with a spellbinding, masterful pasodoble a shirtless Pernice was captivating as the centre point of the formation.

Giovanni Pernice in the paso routine.

Seamlessly tantalising with the flare of the Argentine tango he then upped adrenaline in the Latin section. Things slowed down as the TV dance star paid tribute to his winning Strictly partner Rose.

Saying she brought the best out in him he performed a solo section to Man in the Mirror which moved into a quickstep with his lead female dancer.

Surprise of the show

By this point viewers were exhausted just watching the cast perform. To include a moment where everything seemed to slow down then, was welcome.

However, as Whitney Martins began Celine Dion’s part in Andrea Bocelli’s The Prayer there was an audible sharp intake of breath as Giovanni joined in.

Fans of the song will know the familiar Italian refrain which is not for the faint-hearted – or those short of singing talent. Joined then by Tobias Turley the trio belted out the anthem which ended with a standing ovation.

“Bet you didn’t know I could do that,” Pernice joked.

This is Me

The performance ended with everyone on their feet as he and his ensemble jumped into a springy, colorful take on the titular song from the Greatest Showman which started with Giovanni signing – again, in honour of Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Dance partners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Strictly star Giovanni Pernice.
Strictly dance partners Rose Ayling-Ellis (right) and Giovanni Pernice.

An encore followed and then another standing ovation. Quite simply nothing about this show disappointed. And was only aided by a sense of joy at being in a packed theatre again, corporately experiencing something wonderful.

This is me… this is brilliant! But don’t worry if you feel you’ve missed out, you can still catch him in Inverness.

It’s a definite 5 star rating but like the paddle boards on Strictly… I’d rather say it’s a 10 from me. Fab-u-lous darling.

Strictly’s Giovanni ready to step out for glittering show in Aberdeen and Inverness

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