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The Strictly Comedown: Meeting (and Bitterly Judging) the Couples

The Strictly Comedown: Meeting (and Bitterly Judging) the Couples

Hi ballroom fans. Nice to see you/To see you nice etc.

I wanted to do a Strictly podcast this year but no one volunteered to co-host, it’s creepy to record one alone and I’m too irresponsible with money to have any spare for a microphone.

So - keen as I am to rap my own jingle - I’ll just write my prime-time musings here instead. If anyone has any podcasting tips or wants to discuss Craig’s hairline on a weekly basis, please email me at

For anyone who hasn’t set an alarm or drawn a disco ball on their calendar, Strictly starts tonight.

With mere hours to go you’re probably busy doing some preliminary stretches so I’ll run through my vindictive slash lustful appraisals of each couple as quickstep-ly as possible.


No idea but it usually works out fine.

Jamie from Made in Chelsea and Michelle Visage were the only ‘celebs’ I’d actually heard of, and Jamie was such a bad dancer the launch show left him in a cast.

(I personally feel this is an elaborate lie and he’s actually tied up in a candlelit underground yoga studio by his socialite VSCO girlfriend pre-empting the Strictly Curse. And fair play to that woman, I too would be intimidated by the superhuman that is Oti Mabuse and her great big unfathomably spherical naturals.)

Suspicious bowings-out aside, let’s discuss the potential winners, losers and midnight street-snoggers among the cast of Strictly 2019.

James Cracknell and Luba

STRICTLY james and luba.jpg

Hot. As an aesthetic, Luba’s whole tanned, flaxen-haired Slavic goddess vibe is not very avant-garde but she was really funny at the launch. (Nobody laughed because no-one ever believes an attractive blonde woman could possibly be making a joke. But I get you Luba.)

James is rugged and has nice chest hair. Hopefully he hasn’t got a wife or kids. Luba probably married her childhood ballroom-dance sweetheart at 16 in St Petersburg but as Katya and Neil have taught us, people move on. I feel the name Luba is a generally a good sign.

Dancing-wise it doesn’t look promising but in lust terms it’s full steam ahead.

Chris Ramsey and Karen

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Karen is rocking a particularly butch close-shaven hairstyle this year and I for one am waggling my 10 paddle in approval. The female pros probably have to sign some sort of contract where they promise not to cut their hair shorter than nipple length so respect to Karen for ignoring that. Those are my only thoughts to be honest.

Mike Bushell and Katya

STRICTLY katya and mike.jpg

As punishment for making out with Seann Walsh in the spotlight of a lamp-post last year (unacceptable even if she hadn’t been married) Katya has been paired up with somebody she probably wouldn’t bone.

Which is actually kind of a shame because she’s now single. The sweet irony. Anyway, if the Ed Balls fiasco was anything to go by, these two will provide some memorable telly.

Saffron Barker and AJ

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Literally no one cares.

Karim Zeroual and Amy

STRICTLY karim and amy.jpg

He’s wearing leopard print DMs what more do you want? Amy is a beautiful Welsh daffodil and these two are going to make the final.

Karim will fall in love but they won’t get together because Amy’s too Welsh and conventional. Plus there’s a ten year age difference and she’s engaged. Gutted.

Alex Scott and Neil

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I reckon these two are going to win and if Neil wasn’t such a corny dork I’d be into it. Everyone loves a lioness.

Neil was publicly humiliated last year when his wife snogged her celebrity partner in the middle of a brightly-lit public walkway. Obviously the BBC kept her on the show because it was exactly the kind of salacious outrage Strictly fans writhe off their sofas for.

Neil also has really unfortunate tattoos and although they aren’t technically the BBC’s fault, they do inspire a certain level of compassion. I feel like the BBC is apologising for orchestrating the breakdown of Neil’s marriage by gifting him this nimble-footed goddess as a partner.

The voting public were wet for Katya’s snogging scandal but will probably feel guilty and vote for Neil this year, even though he’s a self-satisfied nobwhack.

Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes

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Sadly I have no idea who either of these people are so we’ll have to wait and see, but the clips of Catherine (in whatever soap she’s in) pushing someone into a fountain sporting mascara-stained cheeks and a wedding dress bode pretty well.

Will Bayley and Janette

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Janette is such a massive babe.

When Tess was introducing the professional dancers, people were being described as ‘ITALIAN BALLROOM CHAMPION’ and ‘WORLD LATIN CHAMPION’ and Janette just got ‘Two-Time Winner of the Strictly Christmas Special.’

Don’t tell me this show doesn’t do bathos.

Janette’s trophy cabinet might be a bit sparse but she’s the loveliest Strictly pro and will take good care of earnest young Will.

Anneka Rice and Kevin

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Anneka is too much of a lefty to dance with casual racist Anton DuBeke. Kevin is in trouble for being a homewrecker, plus he won last year so he’s stuck with Rice.

Kev will do his best to be a gent but so far all I’m sensing is panic behind the eyes.

Dev Griffin and Diane

This image sums up a real low for the Strictly costume department.

The only good thing about Diane’s hair colour is the sweet relief we’ll all feel when she finally lets 2009 go and ditches it.

The fact Dev’s been paired with her indicates he’s also a ‘professional nutcase’ so this should be a match made in eyeroll heaven.

Viscountess Something and Aljaž

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You just get the feeling that these two are going to get a lot of technical feedback regarding what a ‘beautiful lady’ the Viscountess is.

Being one of those sure does hide a multitude of sins doesn’t it?

It’s actually pretty depressing that Strictly gets away with blatantly objectifying women when they don’t have a natural flair for wiggling.

You won’t catch the judges shouting AT LEAST YOU’RE A STONE COLD FOX at clompy-footed football blokes or wobbly male Olympians. (Although actually I wouldn’t put it past the randy terrier that is Bruno Tonioli.)

Kelvin Fletcher & Oti

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I’m far too busy mourning the loss of Jamie Laing to care, but based on Kelvin’s Dairylea triangle torso and winning smile, he’s probably not gona be the one to provide Bruno with an opportunity to gloss over iffy footwork with bicep compliments.

Emma Barton and Anton

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Anton du Beke is the least endearing person in showbusiness and Emma from Eastenders, (whether she’s sporting a sequinned tabard or not) is off my list by association.

Apart from the fact I’ve never forgiven Anton for using the P word in relation to the signature Strictly fake tan (trying to wean myself off cancel culture so I won’t go on about it) he’s also obsessed with ‘hilariously’ lamenting the collection of ostensibly older/less talented women he’s been ‘charitable’ enough to dance with, and the general trauma it’s brought him.

It’s good to see the rickety old hypocrite dancing with someone younger this year, but anyone who gets paired up based on chemistry with du Beke must have a taste for hackneyed cliches and the smell of must. And for that I judge them.

Just to clarify, I love old white men as much as the next crypto-chauvinist, Len Goodman and dear old Brucie being prime examples, but Anton is just a bit of a wrong’un isn’t he. End of rant.

and finally… Michelle Visage & Giovanni

STRICTLY michelle and giovanni.jpg

I predicted this coupling and am expecting a disco-ball-shaped medal in the post any day now.

OK fine, it was pretty foxtrotting obvious that a woman with a diamond tattooed between her taters would be set up with a man whose bicep reads: ‘Nato per vincere’.

Cento per cento my favourites and a genuine possibility that this year Giovanni’s arm will come true.

Start Dancing etc xxxx

Midweek on Fleek : Things I like that you might too #13

Midweek on Fleek : Things I like that you might too #13