Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas says 2021 line-up ‘will blow viewers’ minds’05/31/2021
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Strictly Come Dancing ’s head judge Shirley Ballas has teased the line-up for the new series, promising fans the cast list is “off the charts.”
Speaking at an event in Liverpool on Saturday 29 May, the 60-year-old also confirmed that BBC bosses are hopeful the hit series will be able to return for its usual full 13 week run, after a shorter series aired last year.
Shirley told the audience at Grand Central Hall: “Just when you think Strictly can’t get any better, it does. Honestly it’ll blow your mind when you see some of the cast.”
The Strictly line-up is traditionally announced in early August but earlier this month, Shirley revealed one star who definitely won't be taking part.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, “The Queen of Latin” said that the Prime Minister’s new bride Carrie Symonds has not signed up.
When asked by hosts Holly Willoughby and Philip Scofield if the 33-year-old could be a contender, she replied: "With a boom boom boom and a shimmy – no."
Doubling down on her words, Shirley then told Holly that her answer was "99.999 per cent'' definite, adding: “It is a family show, it's not a political agenda."
While the BBC is yet to confirm the celebrity line-up of stars set to waltz their way over the dancefloor, there have been plenty of whispers including former footballer Michael Owen and TV presenter Dan Walker.
Other big names rumoured to be in the mix are Loose Women star Stacey Solomon, ex-Corrie actor Ryan Thomas, Westlife's Mark Feehily, weather presenter Tomasz Schafernaker, fitness guru Joe Wicks, Good Morning Britain's Alex Beresford and Laura Tobin and Line Of Duty star Gregory Piper.
Strictly fans will also be keeping their fingers and toes crossed that long-time judge Bruno Tonioli will be back on the panel, after he had to sit out of the show last year.
The 65-year-old, who has been a Strictly fixture since it began 18 seasons ago, was forced to miss the series for the first time as he was working in the US and could not travel back to the UK under coronavirus restrictions.
Shirley has previously said she and BBC bosses "hoped" he would be back in his seat beside her for 2021.
She said: "If he has to fly on the back of a pigeon to get there, he'll be back."
Viewers saw a very different Strictly in 2020, with the usually-packed live studio audience limited to crew members and a few small groups of single households and NHS workers, all wearing masks.
Comedian Bill Bailey was the surprise winner of the season along with pro dance partner Oti Mabuse, who also won the 2019 series with stand-in contestant actor Kelvin Fletcher.
Oti recently said she thought that this would be her last year on the show, which also features her sister Motsi on the judging panel.
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