Cape Town - The sixth season of Strictly Come Dancing on SABC3 got into full swing on Wednesday night - and proved that no-one, no matter how popular, was safe - when kwaito artist L'vovo Derrango and his pro partner Mary Martins were the first couple to be eliminated from the show.
The third episode of the new season marked the first elimination after two curtain raiser episodes that introduced the 10 star-studded dance couples who will be competing against each other for the title of Strictly Come Dancing champion.
For the first time, the elimination does not only rely on the judge's scores, but the viewers' votes as well – meaning that a couple who did not impress the technical-savvy judges could still go through to the next round based on viewer support.
Who are the early favourites?
It came as a big surprise, then, to see the wildly popular musician and crowd favourite L'Vovo be the first to be sent packing.
But before the shock elimination came, the two-hour show saw some impressive dance skills from TV presenter Graeme Richards and partner Lindsey Muckle whose slow, sexy, Latin infused Rumba impressed the judges and viewers.
Early favourites Jay Antsey (Isidingo, Sleeper's Wake) and Thsolo Moholwane put on another rousing performance, while TV presenter Lalla Hirayama and Grant Esterhuizen wowed the judges once again.
The most-improved award of the night went to 5FM producer Damon Kalvari and partner Hayley Hammond whose awkward debut last week was a distant memory as they tackled the Viennese Waltz with poise, while sexy pair Zakeeya Patel and Ryan Hammond were declared dark horses by the judges.
Also showing their hard work at rehearsals were paying off was colourful couple Kuli Roberts and Sylvester Sefotlhelo who danced the Foxtrot.
Cruel twist of fate
Actress Connie Ferguson and her partner Brandon Eilers seemed to coast through on their charm and grace alone as their steady Cha Cha failed to live up to the judge's expectations.
The night, however, was one performance light as comedian Mpho Popps and Nombulelo Hlathi did not take to the dance floor because Mpho had taken ill shortly before the show went on air.
But at the end of the night's fun and with the viewer votes in, hosts Marc Lottering and Pabi Moloi broke the news that the competition was over for L'Vovo and Mary.
In a cruel twist of fate, Mary was also eliminated from MasterChef SA over on M-Net on the same night!
The rotund L'Vovo thanked fans for their support on Twitter on Thursday morning - but admitted he was missing his fridge.
Jay also shared her sadness at seeing her new friend eliminated so early in the season:
Bittersweet evening.. My boy @LvovoSA shouldn't have left:( sweet soul... Wish the country could have seen the real Lvovo..:(— Jay Anstey (@jayanstey) July 24, 2013
* Strictly Come Dancing airs on SABC 3 Wednesdays from 20:00 to 22:00. Viewers can get talking about the show on Twitter using #SABC3Strictly.