Strictly Come Dancing row: Pro dancers ‘at war’ over same-sex couple

Strictly: John Whaite confirmed as the fourth celebrity

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Strictly Come Dancing is set to return this autumn to BBC One with a line-up of star-studded contestants. The BBC One show is set to make history once again this year with their first-ever same-sex male pairing, but tensions could be rising as the male professional dancers are reported to be battling it out to be part of the couple.

Strictly Come Dancing producers have yet to reveal the pairings for the show, but there is believed to have been a scramble by the pros to land John Whaite as their dance partner this year.

At 6ft 2in, the Bake-Off star is the show’s tallest dancer yet, which means he could be paired with newcomer Kai Widdrington.

Aljaz Skorjanek and Johannes Radebe are also in the running to be paired with John with the both of them just coming close to 6ft.  

A source revealed: “Producers are keen to pair up John with the right dancer and that means ensuring he has someone of a similar height – and Kai fits the bills perfectly.”

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“Kai also has experience of being in a same-sex pairing as last year he was coupled with Big Brother star Brian Dowling on Ireland’s version of Strictly,” they continued to The Sun.

“But there will be disappointment felt, in particular, Johannes and Graziano as two years ago they blazed a trail by performing the show’s first all-male dance routine on the show.”

Speaking to Matt Lucas on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, John said: “I am so excited, I am very, very nervous, I’m not going to lie. 

“I can’t wait to get going… I was born to be on that dance floor, I’ll have to be taken off kicking and screaming because I’ll have chained myself to the staircase, I’m so excited.

“What’s more exciting for me, is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion. 

“Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts!” have contacted Strictly Come Dancing for comment.

Matt asked: “You’re one half of the first-ever, all-male partnership. How excited are you that you’ve made Strictly history before the show has even started?” 

“It’s an honour. When they asked me if I’d be interested, I just bit their hand off, because to do that and represent the LGBTQ+ community is one thing, but to see two men or two women dancing together, it’s not about sexuality, it’s about intimacy and respect,” he explained. 

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This year, the show will be introducing four new professional dancers; Jowita Przystal, Kai Widdington, Nikkita Kuzmin and Cameron Lombard. 

They join the professions dancers already revealed for the upcoming series: Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse. 

Speaking on their arrival Kai said: “This is my childhood dream come true. Watching Strictly from the very first series as a young boy from Southampton and now 18 years later, to be a professional dancer on the show is the most amazing feeling.”

Nikita added: “I’ve always been amazed by the magic Strictly Come Dancing brings. No matter what country I have found myself living in, I’ve never missed a chance to watch it. And joining it as a professional dancer is my big chance to make some magic on the most famous dance floor. I can’t wait to give it my all!”

Adding to their arrival, Cameron exclaimed: “Thank you Strictly Come Dancing for this life-changing opportunity. Not only is this a dream come true but a challenge I am accepting with both hands. 

“I am excited beyond imagination and looking forward to leaving my mark on the dance floor!”

Jowita explained: “This is my biggest dream come true. No words can describe how I feel right now. I’m still pinching myself to check if this is real but I am beyond excited to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family and I can’t wait to give all of my heart and soul on that dance floor!”

The BBC has confirmed Strictly will return for a full-length series however for the second year running they will not be taking their usual trip to Blackpool due to the ongoing Covid situation. 

Professional dancer Anton Du Beke also joins the judging panel this year sitting alongside Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood. 

Strictly Come Dancing returns this Autumn and is available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. 
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