Strictly Come Dancing 15 – Launch Show Summary

Yes, it’s the annual Strictly Launch Show/Singles Mixer/Cattle Auction, where all the pros are lined up and paraded before the celebs and an invisible hand picks them up and flings them together based on height, personality, and how likely they are to secretly bang in a cupboard on the tour. Sadly, the theme this year is not outer space or the PORN TRAIN, but “understated classic glamour”. I know right, what a bloody let down. It feels like this might be in part due to the need to keep things tasteful given that this is also the Bruce Forsythe Tribute episode. Said tribute taking the form of a classic ballroom pro dance to Fly Me To The Moon, and a VT of all of the pros who knew Bruce sharing memories, like that time Bruce made a joke, or that other time Bruce made a joke, or how Bruce lent Anton his van and a spade no questions asked when he had that…little problem.

Special guest singers are Shania Twain (who uses the pro dancers as back up) and Rita Ora (who doesn’t). So Shania wins that one, as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the song she’s singing or the Victoria’s Secret Real Housewives Of Maine lingerie set she’s wearing to sing it in. Special new Head Judge is Shirley Ballas who looks about 20 years younger than when she was here last (not judging, just observing) and who is introduced via the medium of a VT where she spins around on her own in an empty ballroom, going cross-eyed and throwing glitter everywhere. Already she’s more dignified than Len ever was.

Those couples then!

Alexandra (already pumping out “personality” at a rate of knots) & Gorka
Aston & Janette (ba’duh)
Brian (apparently wearing that puppet on top of his head now) & Amy
Charlotte (completely lost in the Car Crash Group Dance bless her) & Brendan
Chizzy & Pasha (TEAM PIZZY!)
Davood (pronounced Dar-Vud, if you want the practice) & Nadiya
Debbie & Giovvani (I am *craving* a May To December romance here, prepare yourself)
Gemma (DED NORMAL NORTHERN LASS) & Aljaz
Joe (cute as a button) & Katya
Jonnie & Oti (Oti’s third partner under 30. Out of three. Let’s start a rumour she hates old people, knocks over their walkers, nicks their scratchcards etc etc)
Mollie & AJ (who has not got less wooden or more adult looking in between series sadly)
Richard & Dianne (furthering the grand tradition of gay men on this show being partnered with Antipodean pros)
Ruth & Anton (ba’duh ba’duh)
Simon (looks even more lost than Charlotte) & Karen
Susan & Kevin (Susan spends the whole show babbling about how there’s one pro she wants as her partner and then it’s Kevin and then she cries and yaps about how she has pictures of him all over her house and you either find this very endearing or VERY scary)

Oh yeah, there’s three new pros as well. They’re introduced via their own routine, the theme of which is that they’re late so they’re not in the routine. Which is a choice. (I remember the old opening pro routine where it looked like Lilia was late, but it turned out she’d just been hitting the biscuit tin between series). The newbies are Nadiya (the sexy blonde one), Amy (the DED NORMAL WELSH LASS one), and Dianne (the one who’s been made to dye her hair the colour of Ronald McDonald’s pubes, because we all know Aliona loved it when they made her do that).

Only two weeks until the first live show this year, which is promising, because in the Launch Routine at the end half of these guys look incapable of putting one foot in front of the other without it ending up halfway up their nose. I can’t wait.

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35 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 15 – Launch Show Summary

  1. Jillian Boyd (@JillyBoyd)

    Think we’re very much rooting for the same people here, Monkseal – am especially very much here for TEAM PIZZY and Annie Wilkes-Calman. Shirley seems good value. Hope she actually gets to speak a bit more once the live shows start.

    Reply
  2. DJ Mikey

    Astin Merrygold said “Strictlified”, I wonder how hard I’m going to have to online vote to make him first boot. I officially HATE him, the fact that he’s partnered with Janette just makes it easier.

    Jonnie Peacock has an attempt at a man-bun, we can only hope that Strictly steps in as it did with Jay. Fingers crossed.

    Davood is currently my front-runner for the men, although he doesn’t appear to be an Italia Conti brat I still have hope that he’ll be good.

    Debvanni is getting my full support, because I’m sick and twisted.

    Reply
  3. ChaChaChavvy

    There was a horrible moment where I thought Rita Ora’s backing dancers were the Strictly pro dancers, and they were going to do some Hot Cops-esque ‘street’ inspired routine. I was trying to spot which one was Brendan, and which one Anton.

    How rich is Debbie? I’m envisioning a marriage to Giovanni and a honeymoon where she mysteriously disappears over the side of a cruise ship.

    Aston’s beard makes him look like a disturbing garden gnome or a creepy Toby jug. I am not going to get past this.

    Mollie looks like AJ’s very glamorous stepmother who’s going to take him shopping lots because she wrecked his parents’ marriage.

    I know from Twitter that Oti is obsessed with athletes, so I imagine she’s very happy with Jonnie, although he looked the most out of his comfort zone.

    I like ITT Kevin but I don’t like main show Kevin. If Susan Calman makes me completely like Kevin, I shall never forgive her.

    Brendan has totally fucking checked out, hasn’t he? I suspect Karen is already halfway there.

    Has Pasha been at Anton’s mahogany hair dye?

    Kill them, Chloe. Kill them.

    I still think the cast needs a sprinkling of star-power.

    Reply
    1. Fenweasel

      If anyone was going over the side of a cruise ship, it would be Giovanni, after Debbie had tired of him. Under the fluttery eyelashes and twinkly smile,she is clearly made of steel. I hope to see Giovanni looking increasingly terrified as the weeks go on (he deserves it for the initial look of horror on his face when his name was called).

      Reply
  4. Dex

    I think they had to chop a big opening number to make way for Bruce’s tribute, which is a terrible shame because I was SO READY for an office prodance. Joe has something of the Julien McDonald about him, which puts me off. I’m not sure Jonnie is going to find dancing very easy, but I am ROOTING FOR HIM and Oti.

    Reply
    1. Broon

      Joe has NOTHING of the Julien McDonald about him!! He’s beautiful, and he’ll be the best male, although I think Davood will be all Ricky Nipple style masculinity getting the ovary voters on side.

      Reply
      1. BeyonceCastle

        Plus we could have had had the return of Bad Boss Brenda with his phone, briefcase and paper shuffling.

  5. Sue Howarth

    Chizzy, Rev Rich and Alex stood out in the group dance, looking forward to them
    What is all the DS Alex hate? Weird
    I was looking forward to Twitter Susan Calman, creepy, crying Susan not so much.
    Loving,loving, loving Shirley. If she was a stick of rock it would say Gay Icon all through the middle. She is a huge improvement to the show.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Alex is the *classic* case of the superfans being as batty as the superhatahs, they feed off one another. Although even then it normally takes a month or so for a celeb to build up a fanbase to the level that that sort of feedback loop can happen.

      Reply
  6. Lesley Rigg

    I may be transferring my ‘got to get to Blackpool vote’ from Susan to the Rev, who seemed to pack more charisma into his bite of the group dance than all the other boys together. I am going for Rimmer or Conley as first boot – and hoping that Susan re-emerges sooner rather than later!! The lads looked like a car crash in that group dance 🙂

    Reply
      1. John

        In fairness, he has had a fair bit of depression. Did seem very unhappy and addled during his stint in the Jungle.

        I couldn’t help notice all the self deprecation going on. Gemma, Mollie, Alexandra, Aston all giving it the whole ‘I’m dead normal I am, burp, can do backflips and musicals, don’t mean I can dance eh cor blimey what they thinking?’

        So far so familiar.

    1. monkseal Post author

      It’s hard to tell who they want to get further between Susan/Richard because the latter got more of a personality push but the latter was much more front and centre in the group dance.

      Reply
  7. Plinkiplonk

    Aaaaaand we’re back.Feels like a cosy warm blanket, somehow.

    I can partly see where the Alexandra hate comes from because Bitch. Will. Not. Shut. Up. I am giving her the benefit for now, due to family berievement, maybe she was just nervous.

    Had to snigger about Johnny’s comment, that his first dance would be ‘of course, Footloose’. I am totally calling him in Movie Week doing Pirates of the Carribean, complete with peg leg – you’ve heard it here first.

    Some interesting hair choices there: Brian Conley – WTF? And Anton going for the grey temples look is all kinds of creepy. Retire with a smidgen of dignity, Gramps.

    Reply
    1. Kate

      Nooo, I’m loving Anton going grey! He’s a respected family man now, no longer aging lothario. We middle aged mum’s are seeing him in a new light.

      Reply
  8. Kate

    Bit worried by Johnny’s hair and initial performance in group dance but hopefully Oti will whip him in to shape. They are my pick for winners. Am puzzled by Susan going drippy over Kevin. She’s an openly gay woman, she doesn’t need to do this. Think “the lovely Debbie McGee” will be insanely competitive, Gio will be praying to be voted out, but I do like the other poster’s idea of them going on a cruise after whirlwind romance….

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      A good 50% of Susan’s pre-show twittering has been her saying “I haven’t danced with a man since X” and winking “who will be my boyfriend?” stuff whilst also highlighting her wife, she’s playing this from both angles, for the comedy, I would say.

      Reply
  9. Elaine

    Susan, by her own admission cries at the drop of a hat. Don’t worry, the Calman I know & love will return! I am also for team PIZZY!

    Reply
  10. JKK

    Thank you for your blog. I can’t quite work out if I look forward more to the show or your recaps. I’ve never needed #Strictly so much (given that what passes for current affairs is increasingly petrifying from every angle) but I don’t think I’ve ever had so many favourites in a series. I can’t wait to see the progress of Rev. Richard Coles, Jonnie Peacock, Susan Calman, and even Debbie McGee whose irrepressible optimism has recently won me over on Celebrity Masterchef. I’m very pleased with their pro-pairings too, especially that Debbie didn’t get ‘the hopeless old dear to be humoured by Anton’ slot. It dawned on me during the show that Susan would have to get Kevin as the dinkiest male. Didn’t really need to have her obsessing over him. Interested to see how Kevin deals with a non-ringer – finally – but hope they’ll go quite far. Very excited about Shirley too as there’s no grumpy old Len to get on my nerves and she’s the first new judge to actually be expert in the dances they will be judging.

    Reply
  11. John

    I’ve backed Joe, Molly and Davood pre show as I think the ringerness of Alex and Aston will put off the voters. Astons pairing with Jeanette in particular has scuppered him out of the gate. He could be the new Nureyev and he won’t win.

    Bit worried by Davoods muscle shuffle during the show though. I think he has a lot to learn. Seemed one of the more nervous ones too.

    Jonnies a dark horse. What is he capable of I wonder. Seemed very sure of himself….

    Overall I like this line up. Less fame and more personality this year. I like it.

    Reply
  12. TJ

    I quite liked the Brucie tribute but the “memorable moments” they picked were…choices. One of the most “iconic” for the average viewer, I would’ve thought, was his keeping things flowing and preventing When-I-Won-With-Ramps from destroying the studio when they tangled mics in the salsa. More than anything else I can think of, that showed the real skill he did have as a compere, and even though it was 12 years ago (yikes), I bet many still remember it.. A better memory than “befuddled man mispronounces names and laughs about those forrins,” for me, but who am I to say?

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      They seemed to want to restrict it to people who were still on the show which meant…yes, not a lot to say from the pros, because there are so many johnny-come-latelies there who only did the series when the wheels were really starting to come off. Kevin and Anton probably would have slid under the bar for a fully comprehensive retrospective, I’m not sure about the rest of them.

      Reply
    2. BeyonceCastle

      Thanks for reminding me. Her does deal with it well. Band keeping on playing regardless is amusing. I do wonder whether she got a bollocking afterwards…no one else has ever stopped after a wardrobe malfunction have they (Kara’s cha cha dress, Chelsea’s tango dress amongst others).

      Reply
  13. LadyWahWah

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I feel like I’ve found Nirvana. I haven’t openly guffawed so much since Craig Revel Horwood’s last nose job. Where have you been all my Strictly life? Thank you for this delicious snark, as well as all the snarky commenters too. I’m going to love this season now.

    Reply

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