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Proudly blogging about Strictly Come Dancing ALL YEAR ROUND since 2006. Always spoiler-free.

Monday, September 05, 2016

The Couples!

Saturday's launch show saw this year's Strictly celebrities get partnered with their pros.

For the most part, I think the couples are well matched. I guess we'll find out for certain as the show progresses. Here are my thoughts about the couples...

Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton: Having made the final three times in three series with Strictly, I thought it might be time for Kevin to get a duffer, but he seems to have done well again. I think Louise is a good match for Kevin, and she should have some dance ability. I think he'd do well to make another final, but they should do OK.

Naga Munchetty & Pasha Kovalev: I think this will work. Naga is very composed and elegant, and Pasha is one of the less tactile pros. I think they will have a very professional and respectful partnership.

Anastacia & Brendan Cole: I think this will be a great pairing, if they get along. Anastacia is just the right side of crazy. She has been through a lot, but is a survivor. Brendan 2.0 of the past few years is patient and kind. If they have fun, they should be aces on the dancefloor. This was one of a number of age-appropriate pairings this year. 

Laura Whitmore & Giovanni Pernice: Another good pairing. They look good together, and I think they could do well.

Melvin Odoom & Janette Manrara: Based on height, there was no-one else that Melvin would be partnered with. News has come to light that Melvin used to be a dance teacher, so could this be more of a partnership than a traditional student/teacher hierarchy? Interesting...

Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe: Again, a no-brainer based on height. I'm pleased for Natalie that she has a partner actually taller than she is. Expect the usual 'length of bone' and 'jive doesn't suit the tall' discussions.

Robert Rinder & Oksana Platero: We don't know anything about Oksana's teaching style, but Robert was looking for a Russian who could keep him in line, and he's got a Ukrainian who I'm sure will work him hard.

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse: Based on her reaction, I think Oti must have seen something she liked about Danny in the group training session. She was beside herself with excitement. Anthony's injury held back Oti's choreography last year, so I can't wait to see what she can really do.

Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard: Another age-appropriate pairing. Claudia is so little that any pro would tower above her, so the best thing is to give her someone close in age. Claudia should be good, which will give AJ the chance to shine in his first series.

Daisy Lowe & Aljaž Skorjanec: I was surprised to see that when they stood together, that they are not hip-to-hip. Daisy's legs are really long! I'm sure that won't hinder them. And of course, they look amazing together.

Lesley Joseph & Anton du Beke: After finally making a final last year, it was back to normality for Anton, once again being paired with a more mature lady. But, again, this was the most age appropriate choice. Lesley doesn't appear to be a duffer like some of the dead weight he's dragged around. I hope she can hold her own.

Tameka Empson & Gorka Márquez: Tameka is a big personality, and a massive fan of the show. I'm not sure how I would feel in her shoes being paired with a newbie pro. Tameka already appears to be somewhat of a fan favourite, and Gorka will have to give her the choreography and experience that a Strictly superfan deserves.

Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton: Having sat out last year's competition, and previously not having the most gifted dancer in Scott Mills, I thought Joanne might get an obvious ringer like Will. I like Ore, and I think they'll be a good match. Joanne is an excellent teacher.

Ed Balls & Katya Jones: When it came down to Karen and Katya, I was convinced that Karen would be paired with Ed. I suspect that Ed will be out of the competition quite quickly, and so we won't get much chance to see what Katya can do. I am also gutted that we won't get to hear enough of Katya's fantastic mixed-up accent. A worthy replacement for Ola.

Will Young & Karen CliftonI was convinced that Karen would get Ed. This was mostly because I didn't think they'd give a brand new pro a duffer. I can't wait to see how this partnership develops. Will is obviously less tactile than Karen, so there will definitely be some exploration of physical boundaries. But he is a professional, and having seen him in the west end run of Cabaret, I know he can pull it off.

On the face of it, the team seem to have done a good job partnering the couples.

So, what of the group number?

It's clear to everyone that Ed was the weakest one, and made noticeable mistakes. The standout performer for me was Tameka. She was on it throughout and looked fantastic. Anatstacia and Lesley looked good, but might have to work on their arms. Robert wasn't as bad as I feared he might be. Everyone else looked reasonable in the limited amount of screen time they got.

This could be a very good year...


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