So Strictly is back! The show which steals the limelight on a Saturday night appears to go from strength to strength. But what gives it that sparkle and keeps viewers hooked series after series?
The new head judge, Shirley Ballas sums it up when she says ‘Strictly has everything’. ‘Glitz, glamour, storylines, journeys, music….. it cuts across many borders, young and old. It’s just so inspiring.’ And the 13 million viewers who tuned in for the last final obviously feel the same. So what elements will continue to make the show the success of Saturday nights?
The Judges play a big part. Their differing personalities and approaches keep the judging fresh and entertaining. Shirley Ballas, world champion ‘queen of Latin’ claims her judging style will be ‘fun, firm, feisty and fair’. She was born and raised in Wallasey, Merseyside but has lived in the US for more than 30 years. She has been a regular guest on Strictly’s American show ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and will work alongside fellow judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood. She jokes that she ll need to keep an eye on the boys, especially Bruno and his invasion of personal space with his flailing arms! Returning at the helm are hosts Tess Daley and Claudia Winkleman.
The show has made stars of a number of former contestants : Matt Baker, Susanna Reid and Ore Oduba to name but three. The guests this year include Jonnie Peacock, Alexandra Burke, Mollie King, Rev Richard Coles and Aston Merrygold with Aston (JLS star) already being named by some as the favourite to win. Viewers also warm to the inevitable underdog with a number winning the hearts of the nation and providing as much entertainment as the more inevitable masters of the dance floor. Ed Balls raised many smiles with his unforgettable Gangnam Style salsa, John Sergeant and Russell Grant also gave some memorable performances.
There’s no denying that the Strictly phenomenon is huge . Versions of the show are now being produced in more than 50 countries. It has gained a clear lead in recent years in the ratings war with ITVs X-Factor and its popularity shows no sign of waning. So in the lead up to Christmas, fans will settle down on a Saturday night, the bookies will rubbing their hands in expectation and there will be a lot of fun and entertainment in the meantime!
Strictly Fun Facts:
9 times the judges have given a score of one (eight of them from Craig Revel Horwood)
207 is the number of celebrities who have participated in the show to date
41 is the perfect scores of 40 that have been awarded (Caroline Flack and Danny Mac got four each)
504 cans of hairspray are used per series. That’s 252 litres – enough to fill six Mini Cooper petrol tanks
57 years separate the oldest contestant and youngest contestant to date (Johnny Ball, 74) and youngest (Louisa Lytton, 17)