Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Class of 2017

Here we are with a line-up of newbies, and fairly mixed bag for the Strictly pick-n-mix in 2017. Some young, some old, a drought on sports people and a gaggle of popstars, with some real surprises thrown in along the way. We're flexing our blogging fingers for what is bound to be an eventful year...

Mollie King
We do seem to be getting The Saturdays on instalments with five easy payments, we're up to three out of five now. I'd rather it was three out of five Spice Girls or Girls Aloud or whatever, but we take our popstar fodder where we get it. A wikipedia search suggests she might not be as ringer-y as you would initially expect, seems like she spent more time winning skiing competitions than going to stage school, and thankfully she wasn't coerced into the Dancing on Ice revival. She's only 5ft 3 and if she gets partnered with Kevin I might just roll my eyes out of my head.

Davood Ghadami
Popstar followed by a soap star, so far so predictable, but it looks like they've made a popular choice with Davood this year! Twitter made a collective "oooh" when he was announced, and whilst there isn't a lot of evidence either way, it just seems like he'll be a good contestant. I have my worries he might be a bit stiff and/or gangly, but we do love a journey. Give him to Katya, I say, and start sewing those see-through shirts.

Ruth Langsford
Ruth is inherently likeable, she's like that slightly-cool friend of your mum's who you don't mind bumping into, and most importantly, she is NOT Eamonn Holmes, for which we are all grateful. I see her being in the Deborah Meaden category, and whilst she won't be in it for weeks on end, will have a truly marvellous time. At the moment she's definitely on Anton's dance card, but maybe they'll go crazy and give him Mollie or something.

Gemma Atkinson
This felt like a blast from the past, as I mainly remember her from Hollyoaks in the early 2000s, but Casualty and Emmerdale means she's been on TV fairly consistently for a while. She has also done a lot of reality TV. She seems like an unknown quality when it comes to dance ability, and I feel like she may suffer the wardrobe department's wrath of trying to do young and edgy outfits.

Rev Richard Coles
Now there's a surprise! Amid what seems like a thoroughly predictable line-up this year, we suddenly get a member of the clergy thrust upon us. Possibly in the 'Ed Balls' category, and he actually was in a band so could have pretty good timing and rhythm, but he has also confessed (see what I did there?) to having arthritic knees. I'm also sad once again that Erin has left, because she would have obviously have been partnered with him, which makes me wonder if he will be given to one of the newbies.

Joe McFadden
With a name like that, I assumed he was in Westlife, serves me right for not watching Holby City I suppose. Bit of an unknown quantity, although his CV shows he's done a fair bit of theatre in his time, including some all-singing-all-dancing stuff like Rent. Also, the show now has to decide between tartan-shortbread-Scottish or ooh-doctor-I-feel-faint numbers, so they're basically spoilt for choice.

Simon Rimmer
This seemed like a nice surprise for the show, Simon isn't a superstar but seems like an all-round good egg, and doesn't seem to be doing Strictly to launch an album or whatever. Considering all the random things he has to deal with live on Sunday Brunch every week, I feel like he'll be able to handle it, even though he is obviously going to be dad-dancer-extraordinaire. He's also been posting videos on Twitter of him trying to teach himself to waltz, which is super-endearing.

Aston Merrygold
Otherwise known as the tiny one from JLS with a name like a pixie. I know we keep going on about it, but 5ft 4 really is rather small - and basically makes him a shoo-in for Janette. I can see them flinging each other around as I type. There's also the controversial issue of him being a judge on Got To Dance, which didn't stop them signing up Louise last year, but does make the whole thing seem a bit weird. People will be expecting the standard to be exceptionally high - can he do a Danny Mac and win everyone over?

Susan Calman
I was so happy to see Susan appear out of the blue, you don't actually get many comedians on the show, let alone female ones. Like Aston, she is also teeny-tiny, and will probably end up with AJ, although I can see her having a whale of time with Ginger Neil, and he definitely needs a partner this year. I doubt she's going to go massively far, but stranger things have happened (by which I mean Nancy Dell'Olio in her entirety).

Brian Conley
This one brought on a bit of an eyeroll, I don't think anyone is particularly desperate to see Brian Connelly doing a cha cha. Saying that, he's done a fair bit of theatre and variety in his time (including something directed by Craig R-H no less), so I'm sure he will be capable, if not a total ringer. Can you be a ringer when you're over 50? I've also had in my head for years that he is a super-tall person, but he's actually only 5ft 11. Men's heights aren't as interesting now that Natalie Lowe has left *sob*

Charlotte Hawkins
I'm getting Rachel Riley flashbacks here. Classic ITV fodder, she'll look good in a frock and will probably be a bit tentative. I don't have much to say other than that she's 42 despite looking about 28, so she must have some sort of super-power up her sleeve.

Chizzy Akudolu
Another Holby person? Why does the show I don't watch have two people from it this year? She's been on TV since she was a kid but doesn't seem to have done stage school, although she did come second on Lets Sing and Dance for Comic Relief, so I'm sure there's some talent there. Also, she said in her announcement that she once came second in a disco dancing competition aged 13, which is so endearingly naff I've warmed to her.

Debbie McGee
I may refer to her as The Lovely Debbie McGee all series, since I have no 'Matt Goss From Bros' option. She's actually a bit of a ringer on the quiet with her years of ballet training (dramatically swept aside during the Iranian revolution, google it), and being a magician's assistant means you have to be flexible enough to be crammed in a tiny box, oh the glamour. I can't see her being very good at latin, but we'll have to see what partner she gets.

Jonnie Peacock
One of those rare, rare moments when someone on your wishlist actually turns up on the show! I want him to dance with Oti and have a journey and pick up where Greg Rutherford left off, miracles do happen sometimes. Since he is the only sportsperson in the line-up this year, there's actually some pressure on him for someone who isn't an experienced performer. Chin up, shoulders back, big smile, Jonnie!

Alexandra Burke
A bit ringer-y, but not too ringery - and also a fairly starry name in a line-up that people haven't really been raving about. Seeing her on The One Show reminded me that she didn't just win the X Factor because she can sing, but because of her bouncy enthusiasm and general star-quality. She'll look fierce in a spangle-tastic Strictly frock and with the right partner could easily go all the way. Bring it on.