Strictly's Richie Anderson praises Giovanni Pernice in heartwarming tribute after first dance

The stars are competing for the glitterball trophy together

Strictly Come Dancing stars Giovanni Pernice and Richie Anderson have nothing but admiration for one another as the BBC presenter paid tribute to his dance partner following their first dance over the weekend.

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

Proving how strong their friendship is, Richie shared a clip of their dance - the Cha Cha Cha to I'm Your Man by Wham! - and gushed about their partnership.

Loading the player...

WATCH: Rose Ayling-Ellis pens heartwarming message to Giovanni Pernice

"A moment I'll never forget and so grateful I got to share it with @giovannipernice," he wrote. "Thank you Gio for being the most amazing teacher over the past fortnight.

MORE: Giovanni Pernice talks sizzling chemistry with Rose Ayling-Ellis after dedicating tattoo to her

MORE: Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice spark reaction with near kiss during rehearsals

"Last night was a real dream come true moment [heart emoji]. And what a banger to cha-cha-cha too, Wham I'm your Man.

"Plenty of feedback from the judges to take on board, can’t wait to get back in the rehearsal studio tomorrow and put it into practice. Thank you Gio and @bbcstrictly [heart emoji]."

Celebrity friends and fans alike were quick to comment, with AJ Odudu writing: "You were incredible and we love your mum!" Una Healy added: "Yes Richie!! Well done, you were brilliant."

Richie and Giovanni danced the Cha Cha Cha

Meanwhile, on Friday's launch show for the new 2022 series, Giovanni was reunited with his partner from last year – Rose Ayling-Ellis. The reigning champions took to the dance floor to reprise their Viennese Waltz to the Alicia Keys track Fallin'.

On what advice she had for this year's contestants, Rose told host Claudia Winkleman: "Don't expect what you're thinking of expecting. It's so much more than you think. Listen to your partner. They know what they're talking about. They are the dancers, they are the experts - not the celebrities.

"Just embrace learning so much of a new skill and just enjoy it because, once you finish it and once you stop it, you will never be able to do it again. So just appreciate it."

Like this story? Sign up to our Strictly Come Dancing newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.