Thursday 26 April 2018

Singer becomes Strictly Come Dancing’s 200th contestant

Another celebrity name has been confirmed for the popular dancing programme.

Another singer announced for Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy
Another singer announced for Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy

By Lucy Mapstone and Ian Jones, Press Association

Aston Merrygold is the latest celebrity to join this year’s Strictly Come Dancing – and the 200th contestant in the show’s history.

The former JLS star told Scott Mills on his BBC Radio 1 programme that he is in it to win it, and that he will try to avoid doing backflips – a move he is known for – while on the dancefloor, because it could see him marked down.

He also said his previous dance experience as a boyband member will not be much help to him.

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Aston Merrygold (Ian West/PA)

“It’s ballroom, and that is nothing to do with anything that I do,” Merrygold said.

He added, at the risk of disappointing his fans: “I’m trying not to get twos, so no flips.”

In an official statement, the singer said: “I’m so happy to be joining Strictly. It is such a brilliant show and I’ve followed it for years.

“I’m both nervous and excited to learn from the professionals about a whole new way of dancing!”

Merrygold, who shot to fame with JLS on The X Factor in 2008, is the 200th person to take part in Strictly since the series began in 2004.

The 200 contestants have included 62 actors, 48 TV/radio presenters and 34 sport stars, according to analysis by the Press Association.

Merrygold is one of 27 singers and musicians to take part in the show.

There have also been seven models, six chefs and three politicians – including the surprise hit of last year’s series, Ed Balls.

The PA’s figures include only those celebrities who have appeared as a contestant in the proper series, and doesn’t count people who took part in one-off specials for Children in Need or at Christmas.

Just over a third of contestants (35%) have been in their 30s – the biggest proportion for any age group. Nearly a quarter (22%) have been in their 40s, while 19% have been in their 20s.

Some 18 contestants (9% of the total) have taken part in Strictly while in their 60s. Just three contestants have been in their 70s: Johnny Ball, Paul Daniels and Lesley Joseph.

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JB Gill, Marvin Humes, Aston Merrygold, Oritse Williams of JLS (Chris Radburn/PA)

At the other end of the age range, the show has featured only two people in their teens: gymnast Claudia Fragapane and actor Louisa Lytton.

A comparison of the 200 contestants’ ethnicity shows that roughly four in five (81%) have been white.

Merrygold, the eighth confirmed star for the current series, joins a list of celebrities made up of Mollie King, Davood Ghadami, Ruth Langsford, Gemma Atkinson, Rev Richard Coles, Joe McFadden and Simon Rimmer.

Press Association

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