'I survived it', Laura jokes as she dazzles the judges on Strictly
Bray's Laura Whitmore opened this year's Strictly Come Dancing with a flourish last night.
The TV presenter has been widely tipped to be the first-ever Irish winner of the BBC show - and she finished the night in second place on the leader board.
The remaining dancers will compete for the first time tonight.
Dressed in a tasselled white number, there were no signs of nerves from the new dancer as she took to the floor with her dance partner, Giovanni Pernice.
"She's got it! Yeah baby, [Laura Whitmore] sets the bar high for the series! #Strictly has truly begun," BBC said of her debut, on their social media account.
"She's done it ... and she's survived it," Laura joked as she went backstage after her performance.
Ahead of her appearance, the blonde revealed her nerves to close pal Eoghan McDermott on his 2fm show.
"I feel physically ill. I don't think I've ever been this nervous," she said.
"I've always wanted to do Strictly and if anyone knows me, that's my release. I go out and have a boogie."
She revealed how in rehearsal her partner Giovanni warned her she would have to keep her legs closer together during their performances.
"He keeps telling me to close my legs. He keeps saying 'Laura, your patatina is showing' - I looked it up, it means little potato," she said.
Meanwhile, Jay McGuiness - last year's winner of Strictly Come Dancing - thinks Whitmore has a good chance of taking home the gold this time around.
Jay, who is best known for being one-fifth of former boyband The Wanted, was full of praise for the Bray woman.
"She's a total babe. I think she's in very good shape," he told the Herald.
"I think she'll do great. She has a good personality, she's a mixture of funny and adorable."
While the show may look like fun, Jay (26) said it's not easy.
He advised Laura and her fellow contestants to support one another. .
"My best advice is to look out for each other.
"When you're doing it, you feel like everything is against you," he said.
"When you've got 10 other people doing the same, you feel better."
It looks like Laura should also expect to not get out much over the next few weeks as rehearsals take their toll.
"It really is the biggest commitment ever, it takes over your whole life," Jay said.
"It punches you in the face in the best way. The most we ever did was nine hours in a day," he said.
English singer Jay is gearing up to perform in Big: The Musical in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre from December 7 to January 17.
He said he's looking forward to spending Christmas in the city with his family.
"My mum is flying out. I've got family in Monaghan and Mayo, too. They'll see it as well."