Oh yes! Strictly is back on our screens in all its glittery, fake tanned, sequinned glory, and this time the girls are at the helm, though we did have a brief appearance from Sir Bruce at the start of the show as he handed over the reins to Tess Daly, looking gorgeous as ever, and Claudia Winkleman, who as always was comedy gold.
As the stars were introduced to the audience, each one looked appropriately orange and also petrified as they waited to find out who they were paired with.
Gregg Wallace was first up, and as Tess put it, he really is out of the frying pan and into the fire, poor chap. He is paired with Aliona, who looked decidedly less than thrilled; probably because she’s just seen her chances of lifting the glitterball go sailing out the door.
Jake Wood has been teamed up with Jeanette, who seemed happy enough, though he was rather nonplussed. Steve Backshall has been given a divine gift in the form of Ola, and you possibly won’t see a happier man this evening.
Thom Evans is paired with Iveta and bless his little heart he looked like he had no idea what he was facing when she sashayed her way over to him. Iveta, however, was over the moon, and Claudia had a wonderful time teasing her about being speechless while she looked suitably embarrassed.
The girls were up next, and an incredibly nervous Caroline Flack was given the demi-god that is Pasha. Ooh, I do like Pasha. As Claudia said, the pairing is adorable on every level.
Jennifer Gibney was paired with newbie Tristan, and we can now assume he has little to no hope of winning in his first season, while Pixie Lott, a vision in canary yellow, is with the second newbie, Trent. Trent clearly has no idea who she is, but they look like siblings. Trent now has a very good chance of winning, I would imagine.
Simon Webbe led the second group of males, and he’s paired with Kristina. Wow. A powerhouse couple, I think. Watch this space. Tim Wonnacott is paired with Natalie, and though she says she’s happy, we all know that these dancers aren’t about to admit their true feelings, are they? The fake grin said it all though.
Scott Mills has newbie Joanne. I could care less really, but they both seemed elated, which leaves Mark Wright with Karen. He looked scared stiff; she looked like she wasn’t going to take any nonsense.
Alison Hammond has been paired with Aljaz; which must surely be his punishment for winning with the amazing Abby Crouch last year, and Judy Murray has Anton. Pity poor Anton, please. I know he annoys a lot of people, but nobody deserved this. Really, nobody.
Sunetra Sarker has Brendan, who is always a safe bet, though I can’t see them lasting much after the halfway point, and Frankie Bridge is teamed with Kevin, who will be striving harder than ever for that glitterball after coming second last year.
Since the pairings took a massive hour and fifteen minutes, we were only left with time for a group dance. It’s hard to see each person really, but stand outs for me were Caroline, Pixie, Thom and Simon. Some of the males looked pretty similar to my dad on the dance floor- except he’d probably have more coordination.
So now we have a three week break, but then Strictly will be back with its usual double bill weekend. Given the natural and easy rapport between Tess and Claudia, and some of the pairings we now have, I am really looking forward to this series. Join me every Saturday and Sunday of the series for my rundown and in depth totally shallow analysis of each and every performance!
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