As well as a whole new crop of celebrities that have not been seen on the dance floor before (except Susanna Reid who won the sexy newsreader special) we also have some new professional dancers for this 11th series of the show.
Sadly no Vincent and Flavia to watch this year although Flavia did say tonight that will both return with their amazing tango routines.
The 2 new male professionals for this year are Kevin Clifton from Grimsby and the slightly more exotic sounding Aljaž Skorjanec from Slovenia. From the sound of the audience reaction we are guessing Aljaž might win a few lady fans over the next few weeks.
There are 3 new female professionals this year; Janette Manrara from the US, Iveta Lukosiute from Lithuania and Anya Garnis from Russia. Janette may not have won any friends amongst the celebrities when she said to the press that she did not recognise any of them and had only heard of Julien McDonald because he designed some dresses for dancers she knew.
There look to be some strong pairings this year as well as some shall we say unlikely winners. We guess James Jordan must have upset one of the show’s producers to get paired with Vanessa Feltz. Vanessa and Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden both seem unlikely to trouble the later stages of the competition on tonight’s evidence as do Hairy Biker Dave Myers and golfer Tony Jacklin who look odds on to produce some “dad dancing” as soon as they are let loose on the dancefloor.
At the other end of the scale we have a few likely winners of the class of 2013 with Abbey Clancy and new pro Aljaž Skorjanec looking not only highly decorative but also good movers. Likewise the pairing of Countdown’s Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev looks to have plenty to please everyone in the house.
Other possible for going all the way are Ashley Taylor Dawson from Hollyoaks and Ola Jordan. Our final tip for getting to the final stages is former rugby star Ben Cohen and the all-woman Kristina Rihanoff.
Although Anton yet again missed out on one of the most likely female celebrity winners he did manage to get ex Bond girl Fiona Fullerton. We would say that on one quick viewing he may actually stay in the competition longer this year than he has done before as she looks like a lady that can carry off a good ballroom number.
The presenters appeared much as last year with Tess Daly looking very glamorous in a slightly revealing sparkly number and Bruce Forsyth veering between entertainment, forgetting to read the autocue and sounding like a father’s wedding speech.
Her is the full line-up of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing pairings:
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole
- Deborah Meaden and Robin Windsor
- Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev
- Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev
- Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton
- Julien McDonald and Janette Manrara
- Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis
- Ashley Taylor Dawson and Ola Jordan
- Tony Jacklin and Aliona Vilani
- Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Skorjanec
- Fiona Fullerton and Anton du Beke
- Vanessa Feltz and James Jordan
- Dave Myers and Karen Hauer
- Mark Benton and Iveta Lukoslute