In 2019, I wrote a quick post after every week of Strictly Come Dancing. Last year, I wrote absolutely nothing about the show, even though the fantastic Bill Bailey won it and I spent the entire two and a half hours of the final crying at everyone being so emotional. This year? Who knows, maybe something in between? It seems about time to dust off the glitterball on the blog though, and have my say over the launch show that took place this past weekend.
It was lovely to see the show back in action, and good to see that precautionary measures are still being taken but they aren’t front and centre and being referenced every five minutes. We’ve got the gorgeous Anton du Beke as a full time judge now after his guest stint last year. It makes perfect sense for him as a career progression, and I noted, this might be the first time we have four sensible judges? Not to say I haven’t enjoyed Bruno falling off his chair in the past, or Darcy getting crushes every five minutes. But these are a good bunch, aren’t they?
And then we come on to the contestents, in order of being paired up, here are some thoughts:
- Robert Webb - I like him, but probably don’t know much of him without his comedy partner, so this will be interesting. Being partnered with Dianne makes sense, she’ll be able to whip him into shape.
- Katie McGlynn - She was honest about having that problem a lot of actors do, worrying about having to actually be themselves on screen for a change. But she showed off a signature move, embarrassing as it was. They’ve teamed her up with Gorka, who thank goodness has his hair back to normal.
- Rhys Stephenson - I’ve never seen anyone more of a children’s TV presenter since Karim, so much energy! And Nancy gets her first partner, very interested to see what her training technique is.
- Sara Davies - If I’m honest, I immediately called her as the one they would have put with Anton. And who’s the new Anton now he’s the other side of the paddle? Aljaž, of course!
- Dan Walker - Adorable and tall and awkward and all that good stuff. I’m slightly in love with the way Nadiya calls him Daniel, so formal!
- Rose Ayling-Ellis - Superbly important and exciting to see her participate, and tremendous that Gio has already started picking up sign language to be a real partner.
- Adam Peaty - This must be the first time we’ve seen him with a shirt on, no? Although it has to be noted that on his first meeting with Katya, he was just in those skimpy trunks. So not much left to the imagination.
- AJ Odudu - I loved the dress she was wearing, sparkly and purple. And really enjoying how many different accents we’ve got going on this season. She’s partnered with another newbie, Kai, who I didn’t warm to on first viewing, but watch this space.
- Greg Wise - you have to wonder what he’s doing on this show, the dude arrived at a stately home on a horse to meet his partner Karen. Doesn’t matter though, I’m just waiting for Dame Emma to make an appearance in the audience.
- Judi Love - Fantastic energy and a great laugh. Partnered with Graziano, I just have a feeling they’re going to have a good time, even if she doesn’t know what an American Smooth it.
- John Waite - It just had to be Johannes jumping out of a giant glitter cake. I can’t wait to see what the choreography is for these two, it was one of the most brilliant and interesting things of last year’s show.
- Nina Wadia - She is doing the opposite of the traditional actors thing, and is determined to create characters for each of her dances, and with Neil, I think that’s going to work very well.
- Tom Fletcher - looking very slender and dapper, and determined not to be compared to Harry… but not afraid of bringing him out early in the launch video. Partnered with Amy, which will be good, although I have a feeling he’s going to be really nervous.
- Tilly Ramsay - She’s not scared of the judges because of her terrifying father. Partnered with new boy Nikita. I just have a feeling I’m not going to enjoy these two, but I await being proved wrong.
- Ugo Monye - This guys seems fun but you have to think they’ve partnered him with Oti on the assumption he won’t help her to a third consecutive win. Gotta be pressure with a two times champion.
After all were introduced, they did the group dance, which was pretty good - everyone stayed in time. I still have nightmare flashbacks of Charlotte Hawkins’ mis-timed point from 2017. This is the class of 2021:
I’m already sizing up who I think is going to win it, although tend to refrain from making a full on prediction until after the first week of full dancing, which is next week… and I can’t wait!