The usual line-up of TV presenters and soap stars are there…
Over the past two weeks, Strictly Come Dancing has been announcing which stars will be featuring in its star-studded line-up for its 2019, and 17th(!), series.
The line-up features the usual mix of daytime TV presenters and soap stars, but also has a healthy amount of sportspeople, its first-ever Viscountess, and as we’re sure you’re well aware, the only and only Michelle Visage.
Sadly, the series doesn’t feature anyone who is openly LGBTQ, but here’s who we’ll be watching struggling to come to terms with foxtrots and Argentine Tangos for the next three months, and where we think they’ll finish and be partnered with.
Predicted placement: 1st
Predicted partner: Gorka Márquez
Who?: During her career, Alex Scott has become one of the England women’s team’s most capped players, and captained Arsenal during the 2014/2015 season. She was also part of the team when it won all four trophy competitions in which they featured. Since retiring from the sport, Alex has been a pundit on both BBC and Sky. With a sporting background like this, Alex is probably the woman to beat this series, as her sporting pedigree will probably see her in good stead to take on the variety of dances. Also, the vast majority of female athletes who have competed on the show have gone on to do really well, like Denise Lewis who got second place back in the second series, or Claudia Fragapane who got fourth place in series 14. As for her partner, Gorka is a likely fit. Strictly mostly alternates between pros having good celebrities and bad celebrities, and Gorka seems like he might match Alex in height.
Predicted placement: 8th
Predicted partner: Anton du Beke
Who?: If you were frequently watching television back in the 80s, chances are you saw Anneka Rice at some point. Especially if you were a fan of the show Treasure Hunt, which she presented from 1982 to 1988. She also has a myriad of other television credits to her name including Hell’s Kitchen, Sporting Chance and various Royal Variety shows. By her own admission, she’s not the greatest dancer, saying “I haven’t danced since I was 7 and Miss Beer sent me home from my ballet class because I was hopelessly uncoordinated.” This could be trying to throw people off the scent, and it is likely that Anneka might be able to do well in some dances and progress on merit as opposed to public vote. But as there’s a Strictly tradition of pairing Anton du Beke with one of the older ladies, we do have a feeling we’ll see her dancing with Strictly’s original pro.
Predicted placement: Runner-up
Predicted partner: Graziano Di Prima
Who?: Fans of Coronation Street will recognise Catherine Tydelsey as barmaid Eva Price, and fans of Strictly rumour lists will recongise Catherine as she’s featured on many of them since vocally voicing her desire to be on Strictly in recent years. As Eva Price, Catherine had relationships with some of Corrie’s central characters, like Nick Tisley and Aidan Connor. And as Catherine, we can see her going all the way to the final. Soap actresses typically do well, like Georgia May Foote and Kellie Bright back on series 13, and with Catherine desperately wanting to do the show, she’ll be putting in the hours to stay in. As for her pro partner, she has said due to her height she thinks she’ll be with a taller pro like Aljaž or Graziano, and it’s the latter we see her with.
Predicted placement: 14th
Predicted partner: Dianne Buswell
Who?: Chris Ramsey has been performing comedy since 2007, and has appeared on a wide variety of comedy panel shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats, Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Celebrity Juice. But like most funny-men, his stay on Strictly is likely to be short-lived, especially after he said his dance experience was limited. “At my wedding I danced with my wife; that one song took about six months practice, and I definitely stood on her feet a couple of times,” is what he told the BBC. There seems to be a small trend with Dianne Buswell being paired with funny people like Rev. Richard Coles or Joe Sugg, and given how Strictly likes to alternate pros with good celebs, she’ll likely be giving Chris a few whirls around the dance floor.
Predicted placement: 10th
Predicted partner: Karen Clifton
Who?: David James was the England’s men’s team’s goalkeeper in the 2010 World Cup, replacing Robert Green after he fumbled and allowed the United States to equalise in the opening rounds. David has also played for clubs like Watford, Liverpool and Manchester City, and currently sits as the fourth-most capped player in the Premier League. Since retiring from the sport, he has been a pundit for the BBC and BT, and he more recently coached the Kerala Blasters FC, before being fired following an 11-match loss streak. Although footballers like John Barnes and Robbie Savage did get pretty far, we can’t see this translating to David, but getting roughly midway through the series is not mean feat. Height-wise, David and Karen are probably quite similar, so that’s likely to be his pro partner.
Predicted placement: 7th
Predicted partner: Katya Jones
Who?: Keen listeners to BBC Radio 1 will probably recognise Dev Griffin. The radio DJ has hosted a variety of shows on the station, having presented before big shows like Chris Moyles or Nick Grimshaw. Currently, he presents weekend afternoon shows alongside Alice Levine, but he did start off working in children’s television on BBC 2. And with this amount of listeners around, he might be able to buck the trend of radio DJs like DJ Spooney or Vick Hope who exited the competition fairly early. Dev seems like he might be able to get in the groove, and if he is paired with Katya Jones, her creative choreography could see them go relatively far.
Predicted placement: 6th
Predicted partner: Giovanni Pernice
Who?: Emma Barton is this year’s omnipresent EastEnders representative, pretty much the one guarantee the show has. Emma has been playing Walford’s very own Honey Mitchell since 2005, although she did leave the soap between 2008 and 2014. One of her most prominent storylines was when she gave birth to a child with Down syndrome, although some scenes were criticised for being ‘unrealistic’. The EastEnders cast typically has a history of doing well with winners like Jill Halfpenny and Kara Tointon, and others like Kellie Bright, Davood Ghadami and Jake Wood have gone far in the competition. However, others like Gillian Taylforth, Jessie Wallace, Sid Owen and more recently Tameka Empson have left at early stages. However, Emma seems like she would be a good dancer, and making the quarter-finals would make sense. We’ve chosen Giovanni as her partner, mainly because he usually gets good partners, having made the finals three times in his four years on the show.
Viscountess Emma Weymouth
Predicted placement: 12th
Predicted partner: Aljaž Skorjanec
Who?: Viscountess Emma Weymouth is probably the celebrity who drove the most people to Google her name when she was announced. According to the BBC release, she is a philanthropist, model, chef and businesswoman. She is also married to the Viscount Weymouth, who owns the Longleat estate. On her own, the Viscountess has launched Emma’s Kitchens, to share her love of food, and is also a contributing editor to Vogue. Sadly, we don’t see her taking to the dance floor that well, but we feel she’ll have the fun-loving Aljaž Skorjanec as her partner, so at least she should be fun to watch.
Predicted placement: 11th
Predicted partner: Oti Mabuse
Who?: Double Olympic god medalist James Cracknell has apparently had his eyes on Strictly for a while, although he had allegedly been prevented by his then-wife. James has won gold medals in both the 2000 and the 2004 Olympic Games in the rowing event, and has kept fit since, competing in The Race Across the Atlantic and The Coldest Race on Earth. As much as it would be great to see James go far in the competition, rowing isn’t a sport known for being incredibly mobile and he did suffer a near-fatal accident after being struck by a truck. Whether this injury will have an impact on his dancing is unknown, but some injuries can flare up. Oti is a likely pro for him, having performed well with Grahame Swann last series, and the fact that she’s mostly gotten sportspeople during her four-year stint on the show. Only Danny Mac, who she reached the finals with, isn’t a professional sportsman.
Predicted placement: 5th
Predicted partner: Luba Mushtuk
Who?: Strictly seems to have broken its reality TV star rule now that it’s allowed Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing to compete. Jamie has starred on the structured-reality TV series since it started airing in 2011. Outside of the show, Jamie has appeared on other celebrity shows like Celebrity Bake Off and Celebrity Hunted, he also launched his own business, Candy Kittens, in 2012. Jamie is very likely to be an incredibly good dancer, but questions remain over whether the public will warn to him, as many do think Strictly should avoid reality TV stars. He might not have dance experience, but he could end up becoming the unpopular talented dancer like Ashley Roberts and Alexandra Burke from previous seasons. With Pasha Kovalev having left the show last series, there is now a replacement, and unless Strictly introduces same-sex couples (which we have a feeling it won’t yet), Jamie will more than likely be paired with a girl. And as Luba is the most senior female pro who hasn’t danced with a celeb, ignoring last year’s Christmas special, we feel it’ll be her getting the opportunity.
Predicted placement: Runner-up
Predicted partner: Janette Manrara
Who?: We can’t imagine Karim being too familiar to many of our readers, given that he is a CBBC presenter. Karim has presented for the channel since 2014, and played Sadiq in The Sparticle Mystery from 2011 to 2015. However, Karim sounds exactly like our kind of contestant, enthusing: “I’m so excited to be Strictlified. I want THE LOT. The skimpiest of clothes, the widest of flares, the brightest of colours and the tallest Cuban heels a guy can find! The more flamboyant the better… sequins galore please!!” We have a sneaking suspicion that Karim will be one of the surprises of the year, and make it all the way to the final, and we think he’ll be partnered with Strictly’s very own pocket-rocket Janette Manrara.
Predicted placement: 9th
Predicted partner: Kevin Clifton
Who?: Oh please, do we even need to explain who Michelle is to you guys? Just in case we do, Michelle rose to fame as part of the band Seduction, but today is more known for being RuPaul’s right-hand woman and squirrel friend on the RuPaul’s Drag Race judging panel. She has been part of the show since the third season, and she will be joining Mama Ru as part of the judging panel when Drag Race UK lands later this year. We can’t wait to watch Michelle’s Strictly experience, as surely Drag Race icons will appear in the audience to cheer her on, and the endless jokes we’ll be getting it about it on seasons of Drag Race to come. Sadly, we doubt Michelle will make it all the way to the final, but she might end up getting paired with seasoned finalist, and last year’s pro winner, Kevin Clifton, who always gets the best out of his partners. We’ll have all our Michelle reaction gifs on hand for when she’s dancing.
Predicted placement: 15th
Predicted partner: Amy Dowden
Who?: If you do something on BBC Breakfast, eventually you’ll get on Strictly. Just ask past ones like Bill Turnball, Susanna Reid, Carol Kirkwood or Naga Munchetty to name a few. Mike is best known as BBC Breakfast’s sports presenter, although he is probably most famous for having fallen into a pool while interviewing swimmers during the Commonwealth Games. And as much as a viral hit that video was, we don’t think it’ll translate into votes and Mike could end up being the first of this year’s celebrities out. As much as we’d like to see Welsh pro Amy Dowden make a final, we feel that she’ll be the pro paired with Mike.
Predicted placement: Runner-up
Predicted partner: AJ Pritchard
Who?: YouTuber Saffron Barker might not be a name on everyone’s lips, but the vlogger does have over four million followers on her combined social network channels. Saffron’s initial foray into the world of YouTube was in a band called Born2Blush, where they uploaded a cover of Uptown Funk. Barker since left the group, and got into vlogging with focuses on beauty, lifestyle and challenge videos. Like last year’s YouTuber, Joe Sugg, Saffron will probably be able to get her fanbase behind her and make it to the final, it also helps that she’ll probably be a very good dancer. The obvious choice for her pro partner is Strictly’s youngest one, AJ Pritchard, and with her he might finally make his first final, as opposed to semi.
Predicted placement: 13th
Predicted partner: Nadiya Bychkova
Who?: Strictly has been giving us a steady stream of Paralympians over the years with the likes of Jonnie Peacock and Lauren Steadman. Will Bayley is the lastest paralympian to join the line-up, and is currently the world champion in para-table tennis, a title he will be defending at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Will suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital joint contracture, and for this reason he don’t think he will make it to the same places as Jonnie and Lauren before him. Perhaps he’ll prove us wrong and dance incredibly well, but we think he might be dancing alongside pro Nadiya Bychkova.
Of course, watch all of these predictions turn out to be completely wrong…