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Strictly Come Dancing 2021 pairings confirmed as launch show makes history


The pairings for Strictly Come Dancing 2021 have been announced.

The big launch show of the BBC One dancing competition aired on Saturday night, which saw the couples paired up, some epic group dance numbers and a musical performance from pop star Anne-Marie.

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman hosted the show as the pairings were announced – with the show making history with its first deaf contestant in EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and the first male same-sex pairing with chef John Whaite and his professional partner.

Judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel-Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke were also present to be judging the performances from our celebrities in the full-length 2021 series.

Last year it was comedian Bill Bailey who took home the glitterball trophy with professional Oti Mabuse.

However, with some excellent professional dancers whipping our stars into shape, who shall reign supreme in 2021?

Here are the celebrities and their dance partners.

Adam Peaty MBE and Katya Jones

The Olympian and world-renowned swimmer Adam Peaty has been paired up with Russian professional dancer Katya Jones, who previously won with Joe McFadden in 2017.

Last year, Katya was paired in the show’s first same-sex couple with another Olympic legend – champion boxer Nicola Adams OBE.



Swimmer Adam Peaty has been paired with Katya Jones
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TV present AJ Odudu has been paired with new pro Kai Widdrington
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AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington

Television presenter AJ Odudu has been paired up with a new professional dancer for the show in the form of 26-year-old Kai Widdrington, who was a Junior World Latin American champion in 2010.

Kai has previously appeared on the Irish version of Dancing with the Stars, whilst also reaching the final of Britain’s Got Talent series six.

Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova

BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker has been paired up with Ukrainian-Slovenian dancer Nadiya Bychkova, a multiple-time Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion and two-time World and European Champion.

Nadiya previously danced with David Ghadami, Lee Ryan and David James on previous series.



BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker has paired with Nadiya Bychkova
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Actor Greg Wise has been paired with Karen Hauer
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Greg Wise and Karen Hauer

The Crown actor Greg Wise has been paired with Venezuelan Latin dance specialist and World Mambo champion Karen Hauer.

She has been part of the show since its tenth series and was last year paired with Jamie Laing and made it to the final.

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe

The Great British Bake Off star John Whaite has been paired with South African dancer Johannes Radebe in the show’s first male same-sex pairing.

Johannes was previously paired up with Catherine Tyldesley and Caroline Quentin.



Chef John Whaite makes history as he is paired with Johannes Radebe
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Loose Women star Judi Love has been paired with Graziano Di Prima
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Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima

Loose Women panellist and comedienne Judi Love has been paired up with Italian dancer Graziano Di Prima.

Graziano was last paired up with a celebrity for series 16 and was partnered with Vick Hope but they finished in 12th place.

Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez

Former Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn has been paired up with Spanish dancer Gorka Marquez.

Gorka has previously come in second place twice on the show, with Alexandra Burke in 2017 and Maisie Smith in 2020.

He has also been paired up with Tameka Empson and Katie Piper.



Former Corrie star Katie McGlynn has been paired with Gorka Marquez
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Former EastEnders actress Nina Wadia has been paired with Neil Jones
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Nina Wadia and Neil Jones

Former EastEnders actress Nina Wadia has been paired up with flame-haired British dancer Neil Jones.

Despite joining the show in 2016, Neil has only been partnered with a celebrity once – with former England footballer Alex Scott in the 2019 series and they finished in fifth place.

Could the comedic actress help Neil deliver a higher spot?

Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu

CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson has been paired up with professional dancer Nancy Xu.

This is Nancy’s first celebrity pairing and she was previously a West End star and a finalist in the U21 World Championships in 2010.

Will it prove first time lucky for Nancy with a celebrity?



CBBC’s Rhys Stephenson has been paired with Nancy Xu
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Comedian Robert Webb is coupled up with Dianne Buswell
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Robert Webb and Dianne Buswell

Peep Show star Robert Webb has been paired up with Australian professional dancer Dianne Buswell.

Dianne previously came in second place with her now-partner Joe Sugg in 2018.

She has also been paired up with Reverend Richard Coles, Dev Griffin and Max George.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice

EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis has been paired up with Italian professional and previous Open Latin Dance Champion himself Giovanni Pernice.

Giovanni had previously been paired on the show with Georgia May Foote, Laura Whitmore, Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer, Michelle Visage, and Ranvir Singh.

Rose is the first deaf contestant in the show’s history.



EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis is the first deaf contestant on the show and is paired with Giovanni Pernice
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Dragon’s Den star Sara Davies is paired with Aljaž Škorjanec
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Sara Davies and Aljaž Škorjanec

Dragon’s Den star Sara Davies has been paired up with Slovenian dancer Aljaž Škorjanec.

Aljaž previously won the show in the eleventh series alongside Abbey Clancy.

He also was runner-up in the fifteenth series with Gemma Atkinson.

His other partners have included Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe, Kate Silverton, Emma Weymouth and Clara Amfo.



Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Tilly Ramsay is paired up with Nikita Kuzmin
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McFly star Tom Fletcher is paired up with Amy Dowden
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Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin

TV chef and presenter Tilly Ramsay has been paired up with Ukrainian dancer Nikita Kuzmin.

This is Nikita’s first series as part of Strictly and he previously worked for judge Motsi Mabuse’s dance company in Germany.

Will Tilly be able to show off the glitterball trophy to dad Gordon Ramsay?

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden

McFly star Tom Fletcher has been paired up with Welsh dancer Amy Dowden.

Amy came in second place in 2019 with Karim Zeroual.

She has also been paired up with Brian Conley, Danny John-Jules, and JJ Chalmers.

Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse



Rugby legend Ugo Monye has been paired up with double-winner Oti Mabuse
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Rugby legend Ugh Money has been paired up with South African dancer Oti Mabuse.

Oti has won the show for the past two years in a row with both Kevin Fletcher and Bill Bailey.

In the fourteenth series, Oti also came in second place with Danny Mac.

Other series saw her paired with Anthony Ogogo, Jonny Peacock and Graeme Swann.

*Strictly Come Dancing continues next weekend, with the first live show on Saturday 25th September on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

What pairings have excited you the most for Strictly Come Dancing 2021? Let us know in the comments below.


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