There are several signs that signal that the countdown to Christmas is on. Giant variety tubs of chocolates sneak their way on to supermarket shelves, the amount of TV adverts for toys exponentially increases… and the Strictly Come Dancing line-up is announced.
I have been a major Strictly fan since it started way back in 2004 (remember Natasha Kaplinksy?). The popular Saturday night TV show is due to start its eighteenth series imminently, so naturally the lineup has been recently announced. And guess what? It’s the same old faces.
I don’t blame the BBC. If something is broke don’t fix it, right? Their tried and tested format consistently pulls in the viewers year after year – including their tried and tested makeup of contestants.
So, as a bonafide Strictly aficionado, here’s my run down of this year’s lineup – including my not-so-scientific Strictly classification method plus prediction’s for this year’s series.
The Middle-Aged Woman – Caroline Quentin
Actress best known for Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Ruth Langsford, Carol Kirkwood, Vanessa Feltz
Most likely to be partnered with – Anton DuBeke, as he generally gets partnered with older ladies. Plus this may be Anton’s last year so the producers may decide to partner him with someone who actually has a chance (see below).
Prediction – Its recently been revealed that Caroline is a trained ballet dancer, so she may do a Debbie McGee and end up in the top three.
The Male Sport Star – Jason Bell
Former NFL player and BBC NFL presenter
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Gavin Henson, Robbie Savage, Darren Gough
Most likely to be partnered with – As Jason is 6 foot tall I predict he will be partnered with the tallest of the Strictly professional ladies, Nadiya Bychkova.
Prediction – Male sport stars go either one of two ways when it comes to Strictly – they either smash it, or crash and burn. I have a hunch it will be the latter.
The Ex-Boyband Member – Max George
Former member of boy band The Wanted
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – fellow bandmate Jay McGuiness, McFly’s Harry Judd, JLS’s Aston Merrygold
Most likely to be partnered with – Australian pro Dianne Buswell.
Prediction – Top four finish.
The Breakfast TV Presenter – Ranvir Singh
ITV Good Morning Britain host
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Mike Bushell, Charlotte Hawkins, Naga Munchetty
Most likely to be partnered with – Johannes Radebe is a big fan favourite, despite only making it into the main Strictly pro lineup for the first time last year. I predict they will partner him with Ranvir.
Prediction – Middle of the road.
The Radio DJ – Clara Amfo
BBC Radio One presenter
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Dev Griffin, Vick Hope, Scott Mills
Most likely to be partnered with – Gorka Marquez. I’m thinking Strictly will want to make up for leaving him out of the main lineup last year.
Prediction – Clara will have musicality on her side, but I predict she’ll be out by week five.
The Olympian – Nicola Adams OBE
Former professional boxer, first ever Olympic female boxing champion, first openly LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing medal
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Claudia Frangipane, Greg Rutherford, Louis Smith
Most likely to be partnered with – Apparently the Strictly ladies are clamouring to make history and be partnered with Nicole as part of the show’s first same-sex pairing. I’ve got a feeling Nicola may be partnered with Karen Hauer.
Prediction – I think she will go all the way. As a boxer she will be light on her feet and as an Olympian she will have the drive and determination.
The Older Male – Bill Bailey
Comedian, best known for his role in cult comedy sitcom Black Books
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – John Sargeant, Dave Myers, Paul Daniels
Most likely to be partnered with – Oti Mabuse (the winning professional from the previous year tends to end up with a contestant that hasn’t got much of a chance the next year).
Prediction – Will stay in for longer than he should on account of the comedy factor.
The Paralympian – JJ Chalmers
Former Royal Marines Commando turned Invictus Games medallist turned TV presenter (okay, so not technically a Paralympian but very much in the same realm).
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Johnnie Peacock, Will Bayley, Lauren Steadman
Most likely to be partnered with – Katya Jones.
Prediction – Top 5 finish. Will have the drive by the bucketloads.
The Reality TV Star – Jamie Laing
Best known for appearing on the reality television series Made in Chelsea
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Mark Wright, Peter Andre
Most likely to be partnered with – Based on what I have seen of Jamie I think he will need a pro partner with a lot of patience, so I’m predicting he will be paired with the lovely Amy Dowden.
Prediction – Back with something to prove after having to exit the previous series early due to injury, I predict a middle of the road finish for Jamie.
The Eastenders Star – Maisie Smith
Eastenders actress and winner of the 2019 Children In Need Strictly Special
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Jill Halfpenny, Jake Wood, and her onscreen mum Patsy Palmer
Most likely to be partnered with – Fellow redhead Neil Jones.
Prediction – She’s young, has Strictly form, and was recently revealed to have had professional dance training – I predict a top three finish.
The Social Media Star – HRVY
Singer, TV presenter and social media star HRVY (real name Harvey Cantwell – he obviously has a problem with vowels)
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Joe Sugg, Saffron Barker
Most likely to be partnered with – Pocket rocket Janette Manrara.
Prediction – Will leave at some point during the latter half of the series.
The Former Politician – Jacqui Smith
The first ever female to hold the title of British Home Secretary
Following in the Strictly footsteps of – Strictly legend Ed Balls, Anne Widdicombe, Edwina Currie
Most likely to be partnered with – Housewives favourite Alijaz Skorjanec.
Prediction – Former politicians have failed to do well in Strictly so I predict an early finish.
Do you agree with my Strictly predictions for 2020? Or do you think the celebs will be partnered with someone else? Let me know in the comments below.