Last night, fuelled by the Twitter hive mind and WINE, I live tweeted Strictly- even though I promised myself I wouldn’t this year. I also decided that I’d do a weekly blogpost (because we all know I’m not busy enough as it is…) This week was the week that the ‘celebrities’ were paired with their partners, and Len says- as he does every year- “It’s the best year yet! These are the best celebrities ever!” Poor previous celebs. Anyway, if you’re at all interested, here’s my rundown of this year’s pairings…
Ainsley Harriott and Natalie Lowe
I am a big fan of Natalie’s. I think she’s very nice and super enthusiastic (both things have been confirmed by people I know who’ve met/worked with her) and she’s also apparently very tall. Ainsley also seems very enthusiastic- I wonder if he’ll be more labrador than matador on the dancefloor? Anyway, I am a big fan of his cup a soups, so I am feeling favourable towards this pairing.
Iwan Thomas and Ola Jordan
I have absolutely no strong feelings about this pairing. They’re very blonde, aren’t they? He looks a bit like James Jordan. Um, that’s it, really.
Jay McGuinness and Aliona Vilani
There were two- often simultaneous- reactions to Jay on my Twitter timeline: “Who is he?” and “Poor lad, can we adopt him?” He seems lovely, if a bit terrified. People are also mocking his hair, which is a bit unfortunate. I’m not sure how Aliona will deal with him? Gently? Or will she eat him alive? I hope he does well; then he can say he went on a proper reality show ‘journey’ (cue Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ in the background.)
Jeremy Vine and Karen Hauer
I’m not sure about this pairing and I can’t put my finger on it. I’ve never really been a fan of Karen (and we all heard THOSE rumours about THAT spat with Ola, didn’t we?) and this seems an odd combination. But who knows?
Helen George and Aljaz Skorjanek
I’ve never watched Call The Midwife (I have enough of children between having one at home and spending my working life with them. Watching TV programmes about them is a bit of a busman’s holiday), but I can seriously get behind a woman who uses her dogs as rehearsal props. And Aljaz? Well.. *fans self* THOSE CHEEKBONES. I reckon these two could make the final.
Jamelia and Tristan MacManus
Does anyone else remember that time Jamelia went on a rant about Javine and Harvey’s affair (which, IIRC, went on behind Alesha Dixon’s back) on Never Mind The Buzzcocks? Well, I usually like Jamelia, although sometimes she says stupid things on Loose Women (but then, maybe that’s a professional hazard of being on the show?) As for Tristan, I’d completely forgotten about him, so it’s nice to see him back. I suspect these two will also go quite far in the competition.
Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice
Georgia May is the youngest contestant this year. This will be mentioned approximately 7000 times an episode. Do not do a shot based drinking game on the basis of this unless you want to get very, very drunk. Also, Tess said Georgia May looked like a ‘princess’ in her lurid, man made fibre fringed minidress. Kate Middleton would NOT approve. Giovanni is clearly the new Vincent: he’s Italian, looks a bit like Vincent, says the sort of things Vincent said. May be marginally taller. (I met Vincent once. He was shorter than me.)
Kirsty Gallacher and Brendan Cole
This is another ‘meh’ pairing for me. However, she’s sporty and been in The Games and stuff, so I imagine she’s quite focused and competitive. Brendan has definitely mellowed since becoming a dad, but he’s also very competitive. I see these two going far, even though I’m feeling a bit shruggy about this one.
Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko
I quite like Anita Rani- and I love the fact that when paired with Gleb she kept saying she wouldn’t be able to look at his face. He’ll have lots to prove- he’s new here, but has done other Strictly formats around the world-and she’s a former goth. It’s an interesting pairing.
Anthony Ogogo and Oti Mabuse
I’m wondering if boxing (and a diet of Subway) will mean Anthony is good on his feet. I have good feelings about this pair doing well- and he seemed a little bit in love with her. Maybe this year’s Strictly love affair?
Daniel O’Donnell and Kristina Rihanoff
I liked Daniel O’Donnell on the show last night. Granted, I’m not his target demographic, but he seemed like a nice chap who’s going to try his best. From what I’ve heard about Kristina, I’m not sure she’ll be thrilled at her pairing, but hey. At least he’s not John Sargent. I wonder what O’Donnell fans will make of this couple- but at least they’re not as rabid as Directioners (or if they are, they’re less likely to use Twitter.)
Peter Andre and Janette Manrara
I love, love, love this pairing. I think it’s a brilliant one. They’re both enthusiastic and I think they will work well together. Also, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I refer to Peter Andre as My Former Neighbour; a few years ago, after he split with Katie Price, he lived round the corner from me and Benn. The street outside his house was always crawling with paparazzi and it was slightly surreal to walk down there. Anyway, I like these two and I think they’re the favourites this year. I’m tipping them for the final at the very least.
Kellie Bright and Kevin Clifton
I don’t watch Eastenders, so I have no preconceived ideas about Kellie. She seems nice. (Benn: “Is Eastenders contractually obliged to provide at least one cast member a year?”) I do like Kevin though, especially when he wears his cute nerdy glasses. He also does interesting routines, so I’m sure these two will be fun to watch.
Katie Derham and Anton du Beke
Be honest. You thought Anton would be paired with The Lovely Carol Kirkwood and were surprised when he was paired with This Year’s Susannah Reid, Katie. A lot of Anton’s fans think this will be the year he goes far. I’m not so sure- although I like Katie, so I’m willing to be proven wrong.
The Lovely Carol Kirkwood and Pasha Kovalev
My love for Pasha runs deep. He just seems SO LOVELY and NICE and a GENTLEMAN (it’s not really a ‘fancying’ type of love, more a ‘I THINK YOU’RE LOVELY’ love.) It’s fitting that he’s been paired with The Lovely Carol (it’s actually illegal to refer to her without the ‘The Lovely’ prefix.) Don’t discount The Lovely Carol, by the way- she’s a mean belly dancer and I think she’ll be gorgeous in ballroom dances.
So. That’s my rundown of the couples. Who’s your favourite? Join me in three weeks, when armed with alcohol and a device capable of connecting to the internet, I’ll be commenting on the live shows.