Entertainment

Tuesday 17 September 2019

First four Strictly Come Dancing couples revealed during 2019 launch

Kylie Minogue kicked off the evening with a medley of her hits.

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly have kicked off Strictly Come Dancing 2019 (Ian West/PA)
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly have kicked off Strictly Come Dancing 2019 (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green and Kerri-Ann Roper, PA

The first four pairings have been announced on Strictly Come Dancing, as this year’s batch of celebrity dancers prepare to battle it out for the glitterball trophy.

The 17th series of the BBC One dancing programme launched with 15 celebrities from the worlds of sport, television and comedy.

Former Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley was paired with South African professional dancer Johannes Radebe.

YouTube star Saffron Barker will dance with AJ Pritchard, while US TV personality and Ireland’s Got Talent judge Michelle Visage will take to the dance floor with Giovanni Pernice.

Former England footballer and Arsenal star Alex Scott was paired with Neil Jones.

Host Tess Daly, joined by Claudia Winkleman in the studio, said: “Welcome to Strictly Come Dancing 2019. It feels good to be back.”

Tyldesley told Daly of her pairing: “I’m so happy.”

Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas returned as judges, this year joined by newcomer Motsi Mabuse.

The South African dancer, who was a judge on the German Strictly equivalent, Let’s Dance, said: “Oh, I love it. There’s so much love and dedication here, I already feel a part of the family.”

Australian singer Kylie Minogue kicked off the evening with a medley of her hits, including All The Lovers, Better The Devil You Know and Dancing.

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The celebrities and professional dancers during the launch show (Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)

Minogue sang as the professionals performed their first group dance of the series.

Head judge Shirley Ballas advised this year’s 15 contestants: “First of all I think this is going to the most magnificent journey of your life.

“You have to put the hours in, you have to really, really listen to your magnificent professional dancers, leave your egos at the door and pick them up on the way home.”

Tonioli said he wants to be “dazzled”.

Neil and Katya Jones, who last month announced they are splitting up after six years of marriage and 11 years together, danced together on a podium during the second group performance of the night.

Their split came nearly a year after Katya was pictured kissing her former Strictly dance partner Seann Walsh, although they did not cite the comedian in their reasons for the break-up.

As the evening kicked off, Steps star Faye Tozer, who competed in last year’s series, told her Twitter followers that she was tuned in.

She said: “So excited for the Strictly class 2019!! It’s the most incredible experience! We are tuned in and ready!! Good luck everyone!!”

PA Media

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