BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing finally returned to our screens on Saturday, with this year’s celebrity line-up stepping out onto the iconic dance floor for the very first time.
As per Strictly tradition, the much-loved competition’s launch show revealed which Strictly Come Dancing professionals were to be paired with which celebs, and while the process looked a little different this year due to COVID-19 – contestants and professionals found out before in a pre-recorded segment – the announcements weren’t any less exciting.
Nicola Adams made Strictly history after being paired with professional dancer Katya Jones as part of the show’s very first same-sex couple, revealing prior to the show that she didn’t see “why it’s a big deal”, while singer HRVY was paired with Janette Manrara after confirming he was clear of COVID-19 a week before the show’s launch.
Now the Strictly pairings have been confirmed, rehearsals can get underway for the first week of dances, and, while the contestants have only performed in a group dance number so far, head judge Shirley Ballas has already given her verdict on the Strictly line-up, while former professionals James and Ola Jordan have predicted the Strictly 2020 winners.
Now the 12 celebs now know who they’ll be dancing with – who’s already on their way into to the Strictly Come Dancing judges‘ hearts this year?
Here’s everything you need to know about Strictly Come Dancing’s 2020 line-up.
Job: Former Home Secretary, former Labour MP
Partnered with: Anton Du Beke
Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was the final contestant confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing. She is best known as the first female Home Secretary for the Labour Party in 2007. She is now the Chair of the largest NHS trust in England in Birmingham and a Children’s Trust in Sandwell. The political commentator said of her news: “I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly – and that’s very rare for me. Fifty years ago, I got a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing and it feels about time to return to dancing. I couldn’t be in better hands with the Strictly team and I’m going to throw myself into the challenge. Watch out!”.
Partnered with: Janette Manrara
Popstar HRVY (Harvey Leigh Cantwell) is the 11th celebrity contestant confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing. He’s had over a billion combined streams to his name and a social media following of over 10 million. After selling out two UK and European tours, it’s time for HRVY to take on his next challenge: the dance floor. After being announced on KISS Breakfast with Jordan and Perri, HRVY said: “Being on Strictly is going to be such an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to be taking part this year. I think my mum is more excited that she’ll be able to see me every Saturday night now.”
Job: Reality TV star
Partnered with: Karen Hauer
He’s back! After having to withdraw from Strictly Come Dancing 2019 due to an injury, Jamie Laing has been given a second chance at glory. The Made In Chelsea star was announced on This Morning and made a couple of jokes about his ankle injury before revealing how thrilled he is to be a part of the Strictly family once more.
Job: EastEnders actress
Partnered with: Gorka Marquez
EastEnders favourite Maisie Smith will be waltzing her way over the road from Albert Square to Elstree Studios as she signs up for Strictly Come Dancing. The Tiffany Butcher actress has actually been on the show before but for a special. She has some hip hop and experience from her previous training, but will she lift the Glitterball?
Job: Television presenter and former Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist
Partnered with: Amy Dowden
Former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers will be taking on a brand new challenge with Strictly Come Dancing. He told Lorraine Kelly he was “always looking for a challenge, always looking to push myself out of my comfort zone” – and Strictly will certainly do that! Comparing the dance floor to his military experience, he shared: “This is completely off the chart and so it’s going to be a huge challenge but I’m really looking forward to learning something new.”
Job: Stand-up comedian and actor
Partnered with: Oti Mabuse
Funnyman Bill Bailey has been confirmed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing. Bill was announced for the line-up on Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. The presenter said of his news: “In these are strange times we’re living through, it feels right to do something different and take on a new challenge. So I am delighted to be a part of this year’s unique Strictly Come Dancing. My late mum Madrin would have loved it – I hope she’ll be watching.”
Job: Former boxer
Partnered with: Katya Jones
Boxer Nicola Adams will make history on Strictly Come Dancing as she will be a part of the first same-sex couple. The London 2012 gold medallist will perform in an all female pairing, something she is delighted with: ““I’m really excited to be joining this year’s incredible line-up for Strictly Come Dancing. I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts. People might know me from my work in the ring, but I’ll be every bit as passionate and dedicated on the dance floor too. I also wanted to thank the BBC for supporting me and making me the first ever all female-pairing; and it’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry.”
Job: Radio DJ and television presenter
Partnered with: Aljaž Škorjanec
BBC Radio1 DJ Clara Amfo was confirmed as the fifth celebrity for Strictly. She had been heavily tipped for the show and said herself she would love to do it just earlier in the year. After her exciting news was revealed, Clara said: ““As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy, so to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace, see you on the dance floor!”
Job: TV presenter
Partnered with: Giovanni Pernice
Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh was revealed as the fourth celebrity in the Strictly Come Dancing line-up. The newsreader will follow in the footsteps of her GMB colleagues, Charlotte Hawkins, Susanna Reid and Richard Arnold. Speaking of the news, Ranvir said: “The initial feeling of being confirmed for Strictly is one of complete terror – feels like embarking on a rollercoaster, where you really want to do it but you are equally scared. Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!”
Job: Singer/songwriter, formerly of The Wanted
Partnered with: Dianne Buswell
The Wanted’s Max George has big shoes to fill after his bandmate, Jay McGuinness, won Strictly Come Dancing in 2015. After being confirmed as the third celebrity to take part in the 2020 line-up, Max said: “Buzzing to be on Strictly this year. Not really one for the dance floor, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Jay McGuiness set The Wanted’s bar so low…”
Job: Former NFL player and broadcaster
Partnered with: Luba Mushtuk
Former NFL star and Dallas Cowboys player Jason Bell was the second name to be announced in the Strictly line-up. He said he would be “performing at the highest level” and he’s been a fan for a while, thanks to his little six-year-old. “Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan,” Jason explained. “My six-year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game, but she is very excited about me taking to the dance floor. I hope I can do her proud.”
Job: Actress and broadcaster
Partnered with: Johannes Radebe
The first confirmed celebrity was Caroline Quentin, who was revealed on The One Show. She said she was “thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part” and revealed she’s had some previous dance experience when she was little. Joking about her previous lessons, Caroline said: “I do remember what I learnt, but my knees are 50 years older!”
Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One later this year. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.