THE MEN ARE COMPLETE!
Ed Balls : Not a surprising start as, in the best tradition of politicians, Ed Balls was clearly blabbing his official secrets to the press as soon as his name was inked on the contract. Filling the Jeremy Vine “embarassing dad” slot, Ed Balls is the fourth politician to grace the Strictly floor (because Lord knows we haven’t had enough politics over the last few months) and it’s not surprising to see him follow up his previous tentative toe-dip into the world of sleb via Celebrity Bake Off with a full body bellyflop into the deepest waters of the D List via Strictly. Whilst Ed’s ascent to the giddy heights of the very top tier of the world of politics was glass ceiling’d by his ridiculous name (like previous otherwise assured political performers Virginia Bottomly, Willie Whitelaw and the erly 19th century political maverick the 3rd Earl Of Arseface) the world of light entertainment positively embraces the children of parents who make poor choices. Ed’s an interesting choice as, unlike the other former politicians who’ve competed, there’s nothing really memorable about his time in parliament. Edwina has her sex life and her eggs ; Widdy had her virginity, bad hair, and horrifically backwards, repressive and evil social views ; and even for the Lib Dems Vince Cable had telling Murdoch where to get off and pretending that he saw the financial crisis coming yes he did, he definitely did. What does Ed have? Abolishing SATs for 14 year olds? WORRALEGEND! Still I guess New Labour have to punt *someone* up for national treasure status for SOMEONE who isn’t John Prescott, and who else is going to do it? Hazel Bloody Blears?
Will Young : And so we come fill circle. Will Young dates back to the very first generation of British reality tv. Amidst the trailblazers – the Anna Nolans, the Ben Fogles, the Charlotte The Harlot’s, the Danny From Hear’says, the…whoever was on Series 1 of The Mole (just kidding you know I love you Ollie, Sara, Jennifer, David, you’re all like my children I could never choose!) – Will was the first Pop Idol, and instituted the noble tradition in this country of “sticking it to Simon Cowell” whilst also giving him lots and lots and lots and lots of money. Will rose to fame by subverting Simon’s chosen winner, Gareth (Northern, *cute*, speech impediment, non-threatening, working class, self-effacing, heterosexual to the extent that he had sex with Jordan and let’s face it, you’d have to be pretty ruddy heterosexual) by being the opposite (Southern, handsome in a funny-looking sort of way, school debating club well-spoken, singing dutty songs by The Doors about sex, middle class, self-confident, homo) and taking Cowell himself on for calling him average one time, winning the nation’s hearts in the process. Since then Will has had several number 1 albums and singles, been nominated for an Olivier and most impressively managed to get through an edition of Question Time as the token celebrity whilst only sounding like an utter gorp 5 or 6 times. And yet still he finds himself here. As the runaway presumptive RINGAH winner, but here none the less. Ah well, nice to have a gay contestant who presumably won’t be treated like an utter joke, eh? And if he is…well he can always threaten to have his dad shoot a judge in the face, the old ones are the best, right?
Ore Oduba : The conveyor belt from kids tv to adult entertainment (not like that madam calm down) has wound down of late, with pretty much all kids tv now safely shunted off to a cordonned off minor channel to allow for yet more shows about antiquing and property in daytime because lord knows we can’t get enough of those. Still, Ore is the latest face (and yes other parts, I saw you looking as well, don’t deny it) to make the transition, starting off on Newsround, then moving on to BBC Breakfast, and finally onto presenting gigs in his own right. Admittedly only the National Lottery, and the Olympics “country cousin”, the Commonwealth Games, but gigs none the less. And now Strictly! In terms of form, he’s young, he’s good looking, and based on those embarassing “please make this a viral meemee whatever that means kids!” videos they do on BBC Breakfast, he’s got potential to help this year of Strictly be the actual YEAR OF THE MAN that I’ve been asking for for years now. BUT, and it’s not a small but, he does have form competing with a past Strictly alum in a reality tv dance competition and finishing second best. Yes this :
got beaten in the public vote by Strictly 14th placer Vanessa Feltz recreating the video for “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher on “Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief”. Could Ore suffer in the public vote? To be honest, I’ll think about it once I’ve done processing whatever it is Arlene Phillips is doing at 00:39 there.
Melvin Odoom : So from one minor black male television presenter who rose up through the ranks from kids tv to another. Although Melvin here started in the messy world of Dick N Dom In Da Bungalow rather than the staid educational hothouse of Newsround, and progressed to co-hosting The Xtra Factor, the Kiss FM morning show, and something called “Bang On The Money”, rather than prestige sporting events and The National Lottery, making him very much the chaotic yin to Ore’s more orderly yang. The Loki to Ore’s Thor. The Captain to his Tenille. If we’re going to continue this line of…if we’re honest, slightly racially dubious comparisons, then Melvin has a couple of disadvantages compared to Ore (he’s less well known, not AS handsome, and also he’s really really wee, although that does allow us all a day off from the Natalluminati squeaking “NO, THAT ONE, WE WANT THAT ONE NOW!”) but on the other hand does have the advantage of being a bit of a ringer, with a history of teaching dance to disadvantaged youth and also a degree in “Media Performance”, whereas all Ore has in his educational armour is Sports Science and learning exactly how Susanna Reid likes her coffee. Until this translates to action on the dancefloor for real though, let’s just all contemplate how many jokes Tess’N’Claude’N’Zoe are going to make about his surname, and also how even combined between all those three it’ll come to a lower sum total amount than Brucie would have made.
Danny Mac : The problem : Gleb has gone, leaving behind a nation of women (and men) filled with screams they’ll never utter, ovaries they’ve never burst, panties they’ll never moisten, and restraining orders that will never get the ink wet on. Sure some of us, the enlightened, watch this show for the PURITY OF THE DAHNCE and the thrill of the journey, but what about those millions for whom Strictly isn’t a talent competition but more an edition of Magic Mike : SCD? Well
there’s your answer. Yes, as so often has happened before on this show, the producers have been grubbing around Hollyoaks for Government Grade beef like they’re dumpster-diving at Doncaster Burger King at 2am, and come up with a juicy slab of “this will do”. A rummage round in Danny’s portfolio reveals SIX separate Sexiest Male soap awards, a stint as understudy in Wicked, a period of study at a performing arts school, this performance for Children In Need (Warning : contains previous blog mascot Stephanie Davis, GET WELL SOON STEPHANIE, WE’RE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU TO STOP IT!), and most importantly, an engagement to Carly Stenson, previously known as the other half of Strictly’s most notable Hollyoaks alumnus, Ricky Whittle. And given that Ricky has now converted his time on Strictly into the lead role in a prestige American drama, who could bet against Carly “Stephanie De La Dean” Stenson : Showbiz Kingmaker? It just remains to be seen if he has, y’know, any personality whatsoever.
Judge Rinder : 12 years I’ve been waiting. 12 years since the glory days of “you’re wearing too much foundation”, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening”, “the particularly ugly one on the end” and “silly old queen”. I am of course talking about the truly epic bitch-off between Julian Clary and Craig Revel-Horwood, that rumbled on for all 8 weeks of Series 2, and which has never quite been equalled. UNTIL NOW! HOPEFULLY! Judge Rinder blazes through the nice’n’shiny ITV daytime’s seaside postcard world of Holly & Phil, the Loose Women and that penny slots game with that nice Ben Shepard, dispensing justice to various ne’er do wells and Big Brother contestants, with acid pithy put-downs. Like a more feminine Judge Judy, except not really a judge. He has a much better credential to rule over ITV’s cardboard court than that though – being Benedict Cumberbatch’s mate! Not that I’m insinuating he’s been cast mostly so they can get old Cabbagepatchkid in the front row or anything. Whatever the truth, I hope he and Craig are utterly non-stop vile about one another as long as he lasts, which based on the rest of this cast will probably be about three weeks.
Greg Rutherford : Now this is more like it! An official GOLD MEDALLIST! Admittedly not at these last Olympics, but at one point in time, I’m not picky, as long as you’ve got one in your back pocket you have a free pass onto Strictly as far as I’m concerned. Yes, even if you’re one of the Women’s Eight rowers. Of Team BeeGees Super Saturday threesome, Greg was always the most likely to end up on Strictly because, despite Mohammed Farah shilling Quorn and Jess Ennis-Hill endorsing mortgages, Greg has always been the biggest famewhore of the three, having by now done Celebrity Million Pound Drop, Fake Reaction, Celebrity The Cube, Celebrity Bake Off, Celebrity Chase and numerous photoshoots when you can clearly see his dick that I definitely don’t have saved to a secret folder on my computer called my desktop wallpaper. Strictly was only the logical next step. In terms of this show’s history of long jumpers, Greg has the positive of remembering that Jade Johnson was quite a good dancer, and also the negative of remembering that she shattered her knee into a million pieces. So swings and roundabouts really. You wouldn’t bet against Greg’s Olympic glow to carry him all the way to the final if he’s even nearly as good as Jade was (and I’d also quite like to see him dressed only in a glittery silver cobweb Wardrobe, if you’re reading) but that’s not the real question here is it? No, on this blog, there’s only one competition that Greg’s in this year.
Who’s the fittest?