Friday, September 30, 2022

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Strictly speaking, Anton Du Beke Rose praises Ayling-Ellis’ Couples Choice

Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke has praised reigning champion Rose Ayling Ellis’ “extraordinary” performance in couple selection as he prepares for his return for the highly anticipated 20th series of the show.

The former dance pro – who has now permanently replaced Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel – admitted it was “difficult” to think about the final series, not mentioning the routine that won the TV BAFTA for Must-See Moment.

Anton will join head judge Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse to appear on the Strictly panel for the Strictly launch, which is due to air on Friday after it was postponed due to the Queen’s funeral.

When asked about his favorite moment from the previous series, Anton said, “It’s hard to think about last year’s series without thinking about Rose and her incredible journey.

“I think the dance that she and Giovanni won the BAFTA for was extraordinary, and there were other extraordinary moments in their journey through Strictly.”

Craig Revel Horwood agreed, saying: “Yes, Rose and Giovanni and the moment of silence. I just thought that was brilliant because she let everyone into her world so we can all understand her.”

Acclaimed by millions for their quiet Couples Choice routine, Rose and her professional partner Giovanni Pernice were eventually crowned champions of the 2021 series.

Anton, who has been part of Strictly since the first series in 2004, continued: “I can’t believe, well, I really can, it’s been going on for so long and every year we have a new audience, a new generation, who grows up with the show.

“There is a wonderful feeling around the show. I love that feeling of lifting everyone up, which I think has been highlighted by the lockdown. The sun shines when Strictly is on.’

This year’s Strictly will introduce four new professional dancers after the departures of Oti Mabuse and Aljaž Škorjanec earlier this year.

Anton added: “Having 20 pros is going to be awesome, messy and amazing! As a choreographer you have so much opportunity and potential to create some incredible numbers. Visually it will be spectacular.

“These new four dancers are all brilliant and bring with them so much enthusiasm and excitement that being a part of Strictly Come Dancing is every dancer’s dream.”

This year Strictly will also return to Blackpool for the first time since 2019 after Covid restrictions forced the show to cancel its planned specials at the famous Tower Ballroom.

Head judge Shirley admitted she still considers the city “home” as it was there that she discovered her passion for dance.

She said: “This was my first event when I was seven years old. The only year I ever missed was the year I gave birth to my son.

“I love everything about Blackpool including the lights and walks on the beach, the people and the nightlife. The best dancers from all over the world come to Blackpool – it is their ambition and their dream.”

Meanwhile, Motsi revealed the dream star she would have loved to dance with, saying: “I would dance with Nelson Mandela if I could and I have so many questions for him. I think thanks to him we can achieve our dreams today.

Strictly Come Dancing will finally return to screens on Friday with its pre-taped launch show, where this year’s celebrities will discover their professional partners.

The launch was originally scheduled to air on September 17, but was postponed due to the Queen’s funeral, which was scheduled to air just two days later.

Just a day later, on Saturday, Strictly’s first live show will air and all 15 couples will hit the dance floor for the first time.

Strictly Come Dancing returns Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. The first live show will be broadcast on BBC One and iPlayer on Saturday 24 September at 18:30.

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