FSJ News Updates,
Come Dancing will feature two same-sex couples this year, including reigning champion Giovanni Pernice, who will compete to retain his title alongside BBC Radio 2’s Richie Anderson in the new series.
In Friday night’s launch show, the 15 celebrity contestants found out which professional partners they will be training and performing with during their time on the BBC One show.
Pernice and Anderson are one of two same-sex couples competing this year, along with comedian and actor Jayde Adams and professional Karen Hauer.
Anderson admitted that he had specific requirements for his partner, wanting her to be “big and strong enough to … spin me around the dance floor!”
After being revealed as his studio partner on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Pernice said: “Could you get anyone better than Mr Giovanni? I feel like I’m the envy of the British public now.”
The dancer, who won alongside actress Rose Ayling-Ellis last year, also confirmed he was happy with the pair, noting the radio presenter had “a lot of energy”.
They follow in the footsteps of Bake Off star John Whaite and professional Johannes Radebe, who became the first all-male couple on the show last year, finishing in second place.
Admitting that she was a Strictly superfan, Adams was happy to be partnered with Hauer, saying: “Karen is Strictly.”
The comedian and dancer are also the second female same-sex pairing on the show, as Katya Jones was paired with Olympic gold medalist boxer Nicola Adams in 2020.
Paralympic swimming gold medalist Ellie Simmonds told host Tess Daly that she was proud to represent disabled people, saying: “It means everything to me to represent not just midget rage but disability in general, to step out of my comfort zone and do something I have never done before.
“Dancing is for everyone, yes I’m going to have to adjust, I’m going to have to see what it’s like, but to be out there every Saturday night dancing… I’m so, so proud.”
The five-time Paralympic champion and broadcaster will be dancing with Nikita Kuzmin, who said his goal for this season is “for Ellie to have the time of her life”.
Kiss FM DJ Tyler West was partnered with Dianne Buswell and admitted he thinks his mother was so happy with his pairing that she was actually in the audience seeing her rather than him.
Coronation Street actress and presenter Kym Marsh has teamed up with Graziano Di Prima on the set of BBC Morning Live, where she hosts.
She admitted that her “stomach turned” when she met him, but she was “delighted”.
Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps actor Will Mellor has linked up with Nancy Xu and told Claudia Winkleman he thinks they’re a good match, saying: “I’m like an excitable puppy and so is she!”
TV presenter Helen Skelton warned she needed a partner who was “funny” and “patient” and could understand a northern accent, which is why she was happy to be paired with Gorka Marquez.
EastEnders actor James Bye was paired with Amy Dowden, who he said made him “so relieved” because she made him feel relaxed about the upcoming series.
Singer and radio host Fleur East will be dancing with one of the new pros this year – Vito Coppola.
Coppola admitted, “I’m very tough behind that smile, but I’m sure he’ll be fine because he’s also a hard worker.”
After Wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin was paired with Jowita Przystal, who expressed her excitement saying: “He’s just fearless, I can see that, which is very helpful for me. He’s strong and also patient, that’s really important.”
Bros singer Matt Goss said he was “ready to put my heart and soul into it” after teaming up with professional Nadia Bychkova at the O2 arena.
Ted Lasso actress Ellie Taylor has admitted she had her heart set on partnering Johannes Radebe, so she was thrilled when it was confirmed she would be dancing with him.
Radebe confirmed that he was also happy with his pair, saying: “It was a joy to meet her and to see her excited about the upcoming season excites me.”
Britain’s Got Talent finalist Molly Rainford was also partnered with new professional dancer Carlos Gu as she predicted their time together would be “electric”.
Former England footballer Tony Adams admitted he wanted his partner to be “talented” and a “winner” and got what he was looking for as he was paired with Katya Jones, who won the show with actor Joe McFadden in 2017.
Loose Women star Kaye Adams and dancer Kai Widdrington were the latest couple to be revealed, with the TV presenter praising Mrs Widdrington for doing an “amazing job” raising the dancer as she thinks he is “such a beautiful man”.
Head judge Shirley Ballas gave some advice to the new contestants, saying: “Above all, I want to tell every celebrity that this is the fun part. The hard work is just beginning. Work ethic is key, pay attention to your teacher and when you’ve had a long day, do a little more and the more you practice the better you’ll get.
“And I’m really looking forward to each and every one of you, you’re amazing.”
The show opened with a ballroom performance by professional dancers, and four new dancers—Lauren Oakley, Michelle Tsiakkas, Coppola, and Gu—were introduced to a troupe number.
EGOT winner John Legend also performed his new single All She Wanna Do during the opening show.
The first live show of Strictly Come Dancing will be broadcast on September 24 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.