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Strictly Come Dancing judge, Shirley Ballas spoke to the press, including Express.co.uk, after accepting the Virgin Media BAFTA TV Award for Best Entertainment Programme about the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing. Ever since Dancing on Ice featured the first same-sex skating couple, consisting of Ian ‘H’ Watkins and skater Matt Evers, the pressure has been on for Strictly to do the same. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
Will there be same-sex couples on Strictly this year?
Strictly Come Dancing fans are over the moon to hear the long-running dancing series is going to go ahead this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
There will be a few changes to the show’s format this year as a result of the pandemic and the government guidelines to help tackle the virus.
For example, the show will return or a reduced number of episodes and there are talks of there being no live studio audience.
One major change which could take place this year is the introduction is a same-sex couple.
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Same-sex couples have featured on the show once before, in a breathtaking performance by professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima.
Johannes and Graziano danced to a live performance by singer Emeli Sandé during Strictly Come Dancing results show in 2019.
While their performance was praised around the world by fans, their routine received 189 complaints for being ‘offensive’.
In a response to the complaints, the BBC said: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have been able to facilitate the dance between Johannes and Graziano during the Professionals’ dance.
“They are dancers first and foremost, and their sex had no bearing on their routine.”
In 2018, six of the professional dancers also danced in a same-sex performance during a results show.
Shirley gave her opinion on having a same-sex couple on the show and gave her full support.
She told the press, including Express.co.uk: “Graziano and Johanne’s performance for me will always stand out in my mind as being the most iconic, beautiful number of two people that can move to music so well and so beautifully.
“For me, it doesn’t matter, I had a little girl partner until I was 12. She would play the ‘man’ role and I would play the ‘lady’ role.”
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We have in my ballroom dance industry some of the most fantastic same-sex dancers.
“Their footwork is just ‘wow’. And that’s what it is, its just two bodies on the dance floor movement to music, creatively and that what it is.
“We see it all the time on the west end and here and there and for me, there is nothing new and I am hoping. So let’s just see.”
Other rumoured changes include no live music acts and all of the professional dances being recorded a month before the show airs.
Despite the changes, Shirley teased fans will “not be disappointed” about the new series.
She said: “Let me tell you. You cannot miss it. They have got so many things lined up.
“Some of them are bit ‘wow’ do you know what I mean? It’s one of those shows.
“I know that Sarah James and Joe Wallace have done absolutely everything in their power to bring light and just happiness to people for the autumn and winter months coming.
“You will not be disappointed. That I can tell you.”
She added: “Inside that social distancing you have to be creative and we have Jason Gilkison, one of the best minds in the business with creativity and he will take those roles and stick to them.
“Those boys and girls are professionals, who are the best in the world, by the way, they will bring to the forefront, the most magnificent talents, that they can create and I think you will be surprised.
“You could be quite shocked I’m telling you! I am! You are!”
Strictly Come Dancing 2020 is coming soon to BBC One
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