Kicking of with Kylie - love it!! She was having fun, the dancers were having fun - what’s not to love? Watching this, I turned to The Mammy and said Kylie would be my dream signing for the show - it’s never going to happen, but what if it did?!?
Loved new judge Motsi - she seems delightful, and as she showed in the judges number, the girl can dance!! This is definitely the most balanced the panel has ever been in terms of ballroom & Latin experience, which makes me very excited!
And now, onto the couples!
Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe
Delighted with this one - Catherine seems lovely (and from the group dance she looked like she showed promise!) and I really liked what we saw of Johannes on It Takes Two last year, glad he’s getting a partner this year to show what he can do!
Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard
Not a surprise, seeing as AJ “let this slip” (insert eye roll here) on The One Show, but I think this could be a good partnership. AJ tends to get the best out of his celebs, and I think she has the fan base to get her far in the competition.
Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice
This is a pairing I did not see coming! But I love Michelle Visage and I think Giovanni is going to do well with her (and I think she’s going to give him a run for his money!!)
Alex Scott and Neil Jones
Delighted for Ginger Neil that he finally gets a partner!! And I think Alex is going to be Good!
James Cracknell and Luba Mushtuk
Poor Luba. Poor, poor Luba. I’m sure James is a lovely guy, but he looked stiff as a board in the group dance and moreover, he looks completely terrified of the whole thing. I don’t think they’ll be there long...
Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden
Now this is a pairing I’m excited about!! He looked like he could move fairly well, and Amy had absolutely no poker face when they called out her name so I’d say she liked the look of him from rehearsals! And after her nightmare turn with DJJ last year, she deserves a good one!
Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer
I didn’t know Chris when he was announced, but he’s doing a nice line in self deprecating humour which I’m loving! Never a big Karen fan, but I liked what she did with Charles last year (their samba was magnificent, and her reaction to the 10 was brilliant!) so I’ll be interested to see how they fare.
David James and Nadiya Bychkova
Despite the fact this is her third season, I still haven’t warmed to Nadiya! David James strikes me as someone who is either going to be really good or really not good, I just can’t work out which!
Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke
Now THIS was a pairing I did not see coming!! (Much like the year he was paired with Katie Derham!) He was obviously thrilled, and she was flabbergasted to get the Kind of the Ballroom! However, much as Anton was going on about “17th time lucky”, and “book me in til Christmas”, the reality is he’s never going to win because his Latin isn’t strong enough. (Although after the travesty that was Susannah last year, I hope he sticks around for a while).
Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaž Škorjanec
Again, another signing I’d never heard of, but she has Aljaz so I’ll be rooting for her to stick around for a while!
Anneka Rice and Kevin Clifton
Another pairing I never saw coming - let’s be honest, TPTB announced Anneka and pretty much the entire fandom went “Oh well, that’s Anton sorted so!” But we reckoned without rule wherein The Winner always gets a duffer... this is going to be hamtastic!
Mike Bushell and Katya Jones
Based on the group dance, I don’t hold out much hope for their longevity... mind you, Katya made miracles happen before (Ed Balls), so who knows?
Will Bayley and Janette Manrara
This looks like it will be a fun pairing - Will seems very enthusiastic and I’ve always loved Janette. But her records not great - she can get terrific partners (Jake, Peter Andre, Aston) but never gets them past the mid-point!
Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell
Dianne really surprised me with Joe last year (and how they DIDN’T win is still a source of bafflement to me nine months later) - she’s fierce popular, and Dev looks like he’s going to be a fun partner for her.
Jamie Laing and Oti Mabuse
Oh lads. Jamie Biscuits was my favourite of all the celebs this year, so I was gutted when helsinkibaby texted me during the week and told me he’d had to withdraw because of injury. I didn’t think I could be any more gutted, and then they paired him with Oti!!! DEVASTATED.
The Beeb have since announced his replacement is former Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher (ex- Andy Sugden) - which as an Emmerdale fan is a real case of fandoms colliding!! It isn’t a massive surprise, as his names been bandied about for the past few days. I’m still disappointed about Jamie Biscuits, but I’m looking forward to seeing him dance and see how he gets on with Oti - I checked out his Instagram and he seems super happy and excited to be on the show.
Roll on September 21st...
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