Could Strictly be any more cheesy? Last weekend’s launch show, portraying our stars in Space, proved that, yes, they definitely can! Darth Craig, alien spray tans and Brendan and Anton’s astronaut bromance… It is going to be cosmic!
So, based on our limited time with the professional dancers and their new celebrity dancing partners, what do we make of it all?
How celebrity is Strictly this year?
Marieke: I knew 9 of them beforehand. Not a bad score! There are the two Olympic alumni, which seems to be a new tradition in an Olympic year. There are some familiar pop stars. I only knew Daisy by association (AKA ex and father). I have seen Naga sitting on the breakfast sofa every now and then. Tameka I saw first on An Extra Slice. And then there’s Ed Balls. Which I knew is (was?) a politician. But I knew him even better because of THAT infamous tweet. The rest I will have to get to know, but *fingers crossed*, no one is annoying me yet!
Danielle: I think I knew everybody beforehand, even if it was just a vague recollection that I’ve seen them. The only person who drew a blank with was probably Danny, but then I figured he was probably on Hollyoaks at some point. I mean he does look like a Hollyoaks actor.
The New Dancers
Marieke: Half a dozen new dancers is a lot! We had to say goodbye to dancers we loved and even a champion (two time!) bowed out after THAT jive. There’s AJ and Chloe, the youngest professionals to date. I think AJ’s voice has only just broken. Perhaps they have been given a contract for a few years, for stability and also draw in younger viewers? Chloe is not paired up with a celeb this year and will be around for the group numbers. Neil and Katya, husband and wife, have also joined the show. A ginger dancer! Now that is something. Katya will replace the Russian hole Kristina left behind. Oksana brings in a Ukranian flow, whilst Gorka flamenco’d his way into the studio. And something that also is becoming a tradition… Where are my male Russian dancers Artem and Gleb at?? Boohooo…. (In the States, I know. Still crying.)
Danielle: Six newbies really is a lot to get your head around, but I was pleased enough when I saw them getting stuck into the group numbers. It doesn’t look like there are going to be any weak links on that front. I’m also still bereft at the thought of not seeing Gleb shirtless anymore, but Gorka the Corker may well console me. Let’s see what they’re really capable of!
Predictions for this Series after the Launch Show
First to leave
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Well that is a possibility. I do see a lot of people curious about his err.. dancing and the vines of his performance in the group dance are flying all over Twitter. Another contender might be Lesley Joseph. Unless there is a Jamelia effect and someone I don’t know about is incredibly unpopular.)
Danielle: Ed Balls is probably going to be kept around for ‘entertainment value’ for a few weeks, so someone like Lesley could indeed be in danger. I hope she doesn’t end up leaving first. The older ladies are usually a lot of fun.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (There’s a big chance of a Clifton finale and I am honestly unhappy with the production pushing it that way. At first sight Kevin has yet another good one, Karen has Will Young and Joanne the loose-hipped Ore Oduba. I am hoping a dark horse will stand up to give the Clifton mafia a run for their glitterball. This could be Claudia and AJ.)
Danielle: Ok. *Takes a deep breath* Louise Redknapp. Ore Oduba. Claudia Fragapane.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Going to name someone completely out there… Judge Rinder and Katya. Or Tameka and Gorka. Just bring on maaany dark horses this year. Surprise finale would be the best.)
Danielle: I’m secretly hoping Anastacia has some moves, although I get the feeling her and Brendan are going to be a fiery combo.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Although Kevin has a good one, Louise struck me as very nervous and even timid during the show. That dress did not help either! Greg Rutherford also had some nerves issues and I hope Natalie will be able to whip those out. Kapow!)
Danielle: Will Young admitted he was seriously nervous, so things might not go to plan there. Ed Balls also looked like a bunny in the headlights, and so did Judge Rinder initially.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Pasha getting another BBC breakfast employee maybe? The pairings were not very surprising in hindsight, although it was hard to judge the new dancers for obvious reasons.)
Danielle: For me, the biggest surprise was how quickly all the new dancers seemed to settle in with the rest of the pack. Hopefully that’ll continue.
Not a Surprise At All
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Anton getting Lesley Joseph was the biggest given pairing ever. Well, them and Claudia Fragapane bagging the new young dancer AJ.)
Danielle: Marieke and I are in agreement. Claudia had to be paired with equally little newbie, AJ, or she’d look like she’s being swung around like a ragdoll with someone like Aljaz.
First to Fly
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Lesley Joseph. It has to be Anton’s partner this year, no? It can’t be as much as a surprise as last year, when it was Pasha who flew first!)
Danielle: Weren’t a few of the pros the first to fly in the glittertastic Space montage? In the actual competition? Ed Balls.
First to Lose their Shirt
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Obviously Danny Mac. No question.)
Danielle: I’m hoping it’s Gorka or Pasha. Either or preferably both.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (That will happen soon. First show. Naga and Pasha. Because it could be anyone! Well, except Ed Balls…)
Danielle: Louise and Kevin, I reckon.
Marieke: Ed Balls. ( Joanne and Ore. Although latin tens are harder than ballroom tens. For ballroom, maybe Will and Karen.)
Danielle: This is so tough to predict at such an early stage. Daisy and Aljaz?
First to Talk Back to Craig
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Judge Rinder. He already did during the launch show! And on a serious note, Brendan or Anton. Feel the Craig love with them…)
Danielle: It’s all over already. Craig and Judge Rinder will be bitchin’ all series.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (Hard to tell just yet, but I have to say Tameka and her ‘corker’ had me in stitches. I also liked Oti’s eyes when she heard Danny was going to be her partner. And the judge and Oksana can share peroxide bottles, how exciting! I also hope Brendan will have fun times with Anastacia. He does not need another Lulu-esque debacle.)
Danielle: Tameka and Gorka have already made an impression. I hope Lesley and Anton get along too, because there’s the potential for a lot of fun there.
Marieke: Ed Balls. (I feel it will be Brendan and Anastacia people will just forget to vote for.)
Danielle: I think if Will can’t his nerves in check, it could well be him heading for an early bath.
Anyway, we’re very excited and can’t wait till Ed Balls, we mean the Strictly madness starts again! Let us know who your early favourites are and follow our Strictly updates on Twitter: @FezzyTV