Strictly Come Blogging

Louise. Lou. Loulabelle. Loulabelle44. Louby. loulabelle44@outlook.com.
Proudly blogging about Strictly Come Dancing ALL YEAR ROUND since 2006. Always spoiler-free.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Oti Joins Two Reality Shows

Oti Mabuse will be taking part in two reality shows ahead of the new series of Strictly.

She has signed up for Celebrity Masterchef. Former Strictly participant Greg Rutherford is also taking part. The show will be broadcast later this summer.

Oti is also going to be a team captain for All Star Netball for Sport Relief. Former Strictly participants Vick Hope, Denise Lewis and Jade Jones are also taking part. 

Oti's team will take on a team captained by Jennifer Saunders. The match will be shown on 20th July on BBC Two.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Congrats Gorka & Gemma!

Congratulations to Gorka Marquez and his partner Gemma Atkinson, who became the proud parents of a baby girl on Thursday.

Gorka posted the news on Instagram:




View this post on Instagram

๐šƒ๐™ท๐™ด ๐™ป๐™ฐ๐š‚๐šƒ ๐™ฟ๐™ธ๐™ฒ ๐™ฑ๐™ด๐™ต๐™พ๐š๐™ด ๐š†๐™ด ๐™ฑ๐™ด๐™ฒ๐™ฐ๐™ผ๐™ด ๐Ÿน๐Ÿฅฐ Our beautiful baby daughter arrived on Thursday 4th July and myself and Gem couldnโ€™t be happier ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’— She's incredible and she certainly made an entrance, giving us all quite a fright at times. @glouiseatkinson my absolute HERO! After seeing you go through all you did to bring our little girl to life has made me love and respect you even more. What a trooper you are. I couldn't be more proud of you!! โ™ฅ๏ธ Thank you SO much to the nurses & doctors at The Royal Bolton Hospital who did the most incredible job taking care of gem and our baby. ๐Ÿ™ Back home now for family time ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿคฑ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ #blessed

Friday, July 05, 2019

Congratulations Pasha & Rachel

Congratulations to Pasha Kovalev and Rachel Riley, who got married in Las Vegas recently.

Rachel posted a picture on Instagram to break the news.



The couple are expecting their first child later in the year. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Judges To Dance With Celebrities

According to Craig Revel Horwood, the judges will dance with the celebrities this year, in a new twist to Strictly Come Dancing.

The Daily Mirror reports that Craig broke the news on This Morning, stating: "This year is going to be very interesting because like Australia... the judges will be dancing. I don't know that Shirley Ballas knows that yet but she will be. We dance with the contestants, you put yourself on the line, so to speak. I did it in Australia and I absolutely loved it, it was great, with Courtney Act, which was absolutely fantastic. I loved it, to come into the room, to choreograph, to actually create an entire scenario and star in it yourself. And be judged, that is sort of the big thing. But I loved that, I thought it was really great fun. And I'm up for anything."

I really like this idea. I loved seeing the judges dance on tour this year, and would love to see them in competition. I think Shirley especially would be great. She's a born competitor, after all.

It will be a lot of pressure for whomever is the new judge, though. Which makes me think that they must have recruited someone pretty experienced.


In the Australian competition, this was done with six couples remaining. Two couples each teamed up with a judge and performed a group routine. Here is Craig's routine with drag queen Courtney Act & Josh Keefe and kids' TV presenter Jimmy Rees & Alexandra Vladimirov.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tamara Ecclestone For Strictly?

According to reports, Tamara Ecclestone is being lined up for Strictly this year, and is keen to take part as long as she can fit it around childcare.

A source told The Sun: โ€œTamara would love to do Strictly, and her family and friends are all desperate for the public to see the real her. But her priority is [her five year-old daughter] Fifi. Tamara is an incredibly hands-on mum, and wants it written into her contract that she can rehearse around the school run, and fetch Sophia from her various after-school clubs and birthday parties. Itโ€™s not a standard request, but Tamara has said she will train around-the-clock when Fifi is in bed.โ€

It might not be a "standard request", but it's no different to other celebrities who have work commitments. I'm sure she is not the first celebrity to have to fir the show around other things.

Congratulations, Pasha!

Congratulations to Strictly pro Pasha Kovalev, and his partner Rachel Riley, who are expecting their fist child in December.

Rachel posted the news on Instagram:



Pasha is not returning to Strictly this year, and will leave when the pro tour ends on 2nd June, which means he'll have more time to devote to fatherhood.

Congratulations, Graziano!

Congratulations to Strictly pro Graziano di Prima, who recently got engaged to partner Giada Lini.

Graziano popped the question on stage at the Watford Colosseum on 7th May, during a performance of Burn The Floor.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Neil and Katya To Switch Places?

According to reports, Neil Jones will finally get a celebrity partner this year, while Katya warms the bench.

The pro lineup was confirmed some while ago, but there has been no official word on who will get a partner. The Sun reports that Katya will miss out this year, due to the Seann Walsh incident.

A source told the paper: โ€œKatya knows she is being punished for her actions and the scandal she caused. She feels BBC bosses are saying she canโ€™t be trusted to act professionally with a celebrity. It is frustrating as she has put so much time and effort into the new series. But producers were adamant. While they let her stay in the cast they canโ€™t condone her behaviour or all the drama she caused. No one is bigger than the show.โ€

If the reports are true, it's a shame that we'll miss out on Katya's creative choreography. But there isn't enough room in the series for all the pros.

Of course, if Katya is out and Neil is in, there is still a slot to replace Pasha up for grabs, which would then be filled by Luba or Johannes. I think having two pros who have not previously competed will shake it up a bit.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Darcey Departs

Dame Darcey Bussell will not be returning as a judge on Strictly this year.

Dame Darcey has been part of the show for seven years, but wants to devote more time to other projects.

In a BBC press release yesterday, she said: "I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I canโ€™t imagine having gone any better. I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day."

This will spark speculation about a replacement. Personally, I can't see it being someone from the Latin and Ballroom world, because that is Shirley's role. There has only ever been one speciallist on the panel.

I'd like to see another dancer or choreographer with no previous Strictly connection. Someone like Kate Prince of ZooNation (who is probably far too busy) or Matthew Bourne (likewise).

Interesting times ahead...

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Pro Dancers Confirmed To Return

The BBC announced this week that, with the exception of Pasha Kovalev who has already announced his departure, all of last year's pros will be returning in 2019.

Director of Choreography, Jason Gilkison, will also return to oversee the dance content of the show.

The biggest question on the lips of every fan is "Who will actually get celebrity partners?".

Many, myself included, would like to see Neil finally come off the subs bench and partner a celebrity for the first time.

But there is also Johannes, who was received warmly last year and would be equally as deserving of a partner.

For the past few series, there have been more female celebrities than male. There is the possibility that Luba replaces Pasha, and swings the balance back the other way. Luba was fantastic on the recent Strictly tour, and like Johannes is also a fan favourite despite only having been in the line-up for one series.

The BBC probably won't make any announcements until they have confirmed the line-up of celebrities. We'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Proshchal'nyy Privet, Pashpot!

Professional dancer Pasha Kovalev has announced that he will not be returning to Strictly this year, after eight years on the show.

He announced the news on Twitter:



Having been a champion with Caroline Flack, he probably feels that he has nothing else to achieve, and can move on from the show without leaving behind any unfinished business.

Pasha is definitely one of the most professional dancers, rarely speaking about his personal life (he has been with former Strictly partner Rachel Riley since 2014), and rarely seen in the tabloids. His focus has always been making his celebrity partner look good, and has been a gentleman with all his partners of varying abilities.

Farewell, Pashpot. We'll miss you and your Russian spy polo neck sweaters.

Will Gorka Leave His Hat On?

Strictly pro, and father-to-be, Gorka Marquez will potentially be baring all for The All New Monty 2019: Who Bares Wins.

Based loosely on The Full Monty, a group of celebrities will prepare to strip in front of an audience in order to raise awareness of testicular cancer, and encourage men to check themselves. The celebrities will be coached by Ashley Banjo and Alexander Armstrong, who himself has stripped in the past two programmes.

Alongside Gorka, ITV have announced that former Strictly participants Rav Wilding and Willie Thorne will also be a part of the line up.

No broadcast date has been set as yet.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

NTAs Short List Vote

It's the final round of NTA voting. Strictly needs you!

Strictly Come Dancing is nominated in the Talent Show category, against Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor, The Voice UK and Dancing On Ice.

Case your vote here.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Chris Evans Says "Yes"

Chris Evans told Alex Jones on The One Show that he has said "yes" to Strictly, although it's not clear if they have actually asked him formally.

The Scotsman reports that he said: "I have said yes, I have said yes... I think whatโ€™s funny about it, everyone puts it off and tries and keep it a secret. No, announce now, weโ€™re doing it now.โ€

Chris has talked about the show on his breakfast show a lot more than usual this year, and has had Anton on as a weekly guest. He revealed that he was invited to Saturday's wrap party.

The timing strikes me as odd. Evans will leave Radio 2 next week to join Virgin Radio. Why would he be suddenly offered Strictly when he is heading out of the door. Admittedly, being a BBC employee is not a requirement - Vick Hope works for Global's station Capital. But why wouldn't he have done it while at the BBC?

Sounds to me that he's just putting himself out there as 'available'.

Alan Carr: "I Would Do It"

Comedian Alan Carr has said that he would do Strictly, but is too busy next year.

The Evening Standard reports that Alan told the Loose Women panel: "I will do it but next year I have a busy year, Iโ€™m going on tour. They cornered me and said โ€˜would you do it?' I would do it but, listen, I hate those VTs where theyโ€™re like โ€˜hello, weโ€™re doing salsa so weโ€™re off to a dips factoryโ€™. Like, what? You know what I mean, they go to the zoo or a museum. And itโ€™s like โ€˜no I need to be in a studioโ€™.โ€