Wednesday 26 April 2017

Everything you need to know about tonight's Strictly Come Dancing

Laura Whitmore with her dance partner Giovanni Pernice as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Laura Whitmore with her dance partner Giovanni Pernice as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Anastacia with her dance partner Brendan Cole. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Ed Balls with his dance partner Katya Jones. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Self-confessed "control freak" Naga Munchetty who has admitted to having reservations about appearing on Strictly Come Dancing as "spinning around in sequins" could be at odds with her serious persona as a newsreader. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Daisy Lowe with her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Claudia Fragapane with her dance partner AJ Pritchard. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of Melvin Odoom with his dance partner Janette Manrara as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 20, 2016. Photo credit should read: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of Danny Mac with his dance partner Oti Mabuse as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 20, 2016. Photo credit should read: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.
Louise Redknapp with her dance partner Kevin Clifton as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Anton Du Beke with dance partner Leslie Joseph. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of Greg Rutherford with his dance partner Natalie Lowe as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 20, 2016. Photo credit should read: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.
Will Young with his dance partner Karen Clifton. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Tameka Empson with her dance partner Gorka Marquez as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Ore Oduba with his dance partner Joanne Clifton as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of Naga Munchetty with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev as they prepare for this year's Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 20, 2016. Photo credit should read: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.
Will Young with his dance partner Karen Clifton, who will be paying tribute to David Bowie when he takes his first spin on Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire
Judge Robert Rinder with his dance partner Oksana Platero. Photo: Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire

The time is nearly upon us: the 14th series of Strictly Come Dancing will begin tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

What can we expect?

There are so many contestants during this opening show that their performances have been split over two nights: half dancing on Friday and the remainder taking on the dancefloor on Saturday.

Although the couples will still be trying to impress the judges, there's no public vote this week – so no eliminations and hopefully fewer nerves in the room.

The couples have had the past three weeks to practice their first routine and get in shape since the series launched at the end of August.

Who are the contestants?

There are 15 brand new contestants taking to the floor for Strictly 2016, but the most talked about so far are Will Young, who is no stranger to televised talent contests after winning Pop Idol on the brink of the Millennium, and Ed Balls, who very much is a stranger to televised talent contests despite previously being an MP.

Other hotly tipped celebrities include Louise Redknapp and Laura Whitmore.

Who will be hosting?

Familiar favourites Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will return to host the series as usual, while Zoe Ball will present It Takes Two, the Strictly Come Dancing spin-off show, on Monday at 6.30pm on BBC Two.

What about the judges?

This year offers your last opportunity to witness Len Goodman deliver his delightful and damning verdicts to the contestants before he steps down from Strictly. He'll still be the lead judge until his swansong and is joined this year by the usual team of Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell, all of whom are staying put.

And when is Saturday's show?

Tune in to BBC One at 6.30pm on Saturday to catch up with the rest of the contestants.

What's happened so far?

We got a hint of the contestants' dancing prowess at the launch show in August, but according to resident Strictly ogler Michael Hogan Claudia Fragapane, Will Young, Louise Redknapp, Greg Rutherford, Daisy Lowe and Laura Whitmore are the ones who are within a chance of doing well.

Off stage, everybody's sharing their views on this year's most intriguing contestant, Ed Balls. Tonioli delivered the damning statement that Balls was "going to be the next Ann Widdecombe".

"I don't think the nation is ready for another one," he added. "I still haven't recovered from the first one. I think I called her the Dalek in drag. He has to top that. Ed – you have to top the Dalek in drag. I want you to be like a hippopotamus in Fantasia."

While Tonioli ruled out Balls's chance of winning ("As much as being elected prime minister"), the former MP wrote a response in The Telegraph on Friday: "Now the hippos in Fantasia are actually quite good, so if Katya can do for me what Disney did for them, our dance will be a triumph."

Balls will be dancing the waltz for his Strictly debut.

Telegraph.co.uk

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