The weekend’s Strictly Come Dancing launch show saw the celebrity contestants finally discover which professional dancer they would be paired with for their time on this year’s show.
The famous faces, including Ruth Langsford, Gemma Atkinson, Debbie McGee, Simon Rimmer and Alexandra Burke, stood by excitedly as host Tess Daly revealed their professional partners, and it seems all pairings were met with utter glee by the thrilled contestants.
However, it seems that romance is already in the air for a few of the recently-matched couples. Strictly Come Dancing is undeniably famous as a hotpot for celeb/dancer romances, and it looks as though this year will be no exception.
Former Emmerdale star Gemma Atkinson was, on Saturday night, paired with Aljaz Skorjanec, and couldn’t hide her initial joy at being paired with the pro. She called the match “every girl’s dream”.
However, according to The Sun, Gemma has already been getting close to another professional dancer before the pre-recorded launch show.
One source stated that Gemma and Strictly pro Gorka Marquez, who is paired with Alexandra Burke, “could not keep away from each other” at the rehearsals for the launch show, and were overheard exchanging fitness tips, as Gemma is a keen gym-goer.
(Gorka, who joined the show in 2016)
The insider even revealed that actress Gemma also attended Gorka’s birthday meal – and she was the only celebrity contestant to be invited.
The source said, “They couldn’t keep away from each other at group rehearsals. Gorka even invited Gemma to his birthday meal and they sat together the whole night.”
“There is definitely something developing – everyone can see there’s an obvious attraction.”
Former Hollyoaks star Gemma is single, and has even admitted that she’s completely open to finding love on the BBC programme, stating that the Strictly curse wouldn’t bother her.
She said, “I’ve been single for ages so there wouldn’t be any curse for me. It would be a blessing.”
It’s also reported that 30-year-old Gorka has been single for nine months, having split from his fiancée in December last year.
Some fans are also guessing at romance for singer Mollie King, 30, too, who on Saturday night was paired with the youngest of the professional dancers, AJ Pritchard, 22.
On social media, the couple revealed that they spent the night watching the launch show together, along with some of Mollie’s close friends. And they clearly couldn’t hide their joy at being paired together, with AJ declaring on social media “I’m so HAPPY”.
Fans were quick to take note of their enthusiasm, with one writing, “You looked like the cat that got the cream lol. You’ll be great together.”
Another said, “Is this the 1st tweet in your new relationship! lol #strictlycurse”, in response to an excited tweet from Mollie about their new pairing
As for the rest of the Strictly pairings, the celebs and professionals appeared to be delighted with their matches on the launch show. Ruth Langsford was paired with show veteran Anton Du Beke, while GBM presenter Charlotte Hawkins was coupled up with another long-term pro, Brendan Cole.
Susan Calman was overjoyed to be paired up with three-time winner Kevin Clifton, and won over the hearts of the audience when she actually cried with joy.
Pasha Kovalev, who is dating Rachel Riley, was matched with Chizzy Akudolu, while Brian Conley was paired with new dancer Amy Dowden. Aston Merrygold has been paired with Janette Manrara, while Davood Ghadami was set up with newcomer Nadiya Bychkova.
Joe McFadden was joined by pro Katya Jones, who danced with Ed Balls previously, and Jonnie Peacock got Oti Mabuse as his partner. Reverend Richard Coles, who delighted audiences with his comedic performance, got Dianne Buswell, a new pro dancer, and Simon Rimmer was paired with Karen Clifton, Kevin’s wife.
Debbie McGee was also paired with Giovanna Pernice, who looked ecstatic about his celebrity match.