Get your pens and pencils ready.
Easing you into the new series gently with a reminder and tribute to those who pro’d before us.
Thanks to the BBC for scheduling this at the same time as Strictly this year, makes things really easy, kisses.
Stacey Dooley Investigates : Strictly Come Dancing
Monkseal Investigates : Ear-Defenders
You can tell that The X Factor is dead and buried from the fact that they don’t even bother with a theme for the Strictly Launch Show this year. No spaceships, no spy academy graduation ceremony, and worst of all no Porn Train, just bland uplift and all-round positivity. Maybe they feel they need to devote more time to explaining to everyone who the bloody hell the cast is this year is rather than gimmicks? If there IS a running narrative thread through the evening though, it’s “The Perils Of AJ”, as first Janette nearly cripples him in a lift in the opening routine, then we all get a good gawp at the fact that the show’s stylists have done his hair like that of a 17th century member of the nobility (and not one of the male ones), and THEN his celebrity partner almost sends him flying at the second of their conjoining. Poor lad. Two years of making the semis and this year I’d be surprised if he made the first theme week unencumbered by a plaster cast.
Duffer Duty : Unsurprising to see Katya partnered with one of the men with the least potential, as she’s put with Seann Walsh, a loud comedian unknown to this show’s audience who can’t even kick his legs in time, and no more surprising to see Anton given Susannah “if I say ‘menopause’ enough times will you excuse me moving with the speed and grace of a careening oil tanker” Constantine, given his well-worn niche. Oti (Graeme Swann) and Aljaz (Kate Silverton) are also not unexpected entries in this category, having mostly lucked out with Young And Beautifuls for their respective Strictly runs so far, although at least their partnerships seem to be with celebrities whose personalities and profiles might allow them to last a little while. Rounding out the bottom end prowise is Gorka, who after the last two years with Strong Confident Woman appears to have a job on his hands with Katie Piper given that she is, quite frankly, transparently pooping herself throughout the evening.
Middler Minders : Frank disclosure : as she’s apparently a salsa teacher, I may have put Lauren Steadman higher than this before she tried to garotte AJ but, well, it happened so… Of the other potential Dark Horses, Miss Ranjie has Janette for height reasons, Lee (who went to two separate stage schools, but it doesn’t show, and also has Lee Ryan’s personality) gets Nadiya, “Internet Sensation” Joe gets Dianne, and Stacey Dooley gets Kevin and promptly the pair of them put on a show of excitement that makes “Kel’n’Kev” look positively subdued. I cannot wait (*reaches for Valium*).
Ringer Wranglers : As is show custom, hot newbie Graziano gets sexy ringer Vick, as is Giovanni custom, he gets another “strong on paper” with Faye Tozer, and Danny John Jules gets gifted to Amy with a little bow round his neck as an apology for making her experience two solid months of “IT’S A PAHPETTTTTT!” and comedy falling over with Brian Conley last year. Getting a temporary boost up to this category, because the entire of the Car-Crash Celeb Group Opening Routine was choreographed around him for some reason, is Charles, who is given to Karen. Frankly I am hoping for raw sex from these two and nothing else.
Super-Duper-Mega-Ringa Sainthood : Which just leaves Pasha. Pashy. Pash-Pash. Lovable old Pashpot. After several years in a row of creaky weathergirls, barely relatable mums and Chizzy “I just can’t stop being First Boot on reality shows” Akudolu he’s got Ashley Pussycat-Doll, the MEGA-RINGAH, who outdances half the female pro line-up in the CCC Group Opening Routine. Combined. Yes, they’ve cast Pasha in the villainous cackling overdog baddy pairing this year. Eep. When it was Artem it worked, because he’s pretentious. When it was Oti and Natalie it worked because they’re terrifying supernatural forces of aggro-dance. When it was James it worked because…well…it was JAMES JORDA. Can it work when it’s Pasha of all people? Lovable smiley Pasha? We shall see.
Oh and they say there’s three new pros, but literally all two of them do is sit in the back of a car whilst Anton makes dad jokes at them. So not so much…
Fun Fact : in the five series I’ve been doing the cast reveal posts like this, split by gender, whichever one got the most hits also had the winner in it. So get pointlessly refreshing for your favourites and GIVE ME MORE PAGE VIEWS DAMNIT!
And here goes my life for another year…