STRICTLY Come Dancing siren Katya Jones has landed the historic honour of partnering boxer Nicola Adams in the TV competition’s first same-sex dance pairing.
Although the partnerships will be officially revealed by the BBC next weekend, photos of Katya and Nicola leaving a Covid-safe secret location in London yesterday indicated that they have been teamed up.
Katya, 31 — famously caught snogging her 2018 partner Seann Walsh — has already said she would ‘love’ to lead Nicola around the ballroom.
As the 12 contestants were unveiled in their sparkles for the first time today, Olympic gold medallist Nicola, 37, said the reaction to her same-sex pairing has been ‘amazing’, adding: ‘I’ve had lots of positive messages, everybody saying they can’t wait to see me, so I’m excited.
‘I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. I hope I don’t disappoint with my dance moves and I’ll be giving it 110 per cent.
‘It means a lot to me. I think it’s a brilliant step in the right direction, especially on the diversity side of things. Women dance with women all the time in the professional circuit.’
Meanwhile, fellow contestant Jacqui Smith, 57, has tapped up former Labour chancellor Ed Balls for tips following his legendary performance on Strictly four years ago. ‘I’ve been lucky that Ed Balls has given me some advice,’ said the former home secretary, although she admitted: ‘I’m not sure I would ever be able to match his Gangnam Style.’
Jacqui said the most important advice he gave her was that ‘people love Strictly and love you taking it seriously’. She added: ‘That’s what I’m going to be doing.’
Another hopeful, HRVY, faces a race against time after catching coronavirus. The singer and YouTuber is in quarantine in the hope that he’ll be fit for the show’s start in just over a fortnight — if only to please his granny.
The 21-year-old said: ‘My nan is buzzing, she left me countless voicemails just saying how excited she is. She’s always been such a big fan of the show, so I feel like this is going to be a big, proud moment to watch me on TV.’
Clara Amfo, 36, Radio 1 host
‘I want to just surrender myself into it. It’s an absolute fantasy world.’
Jamie Laing, 31, Made In Chelsea star
‘If I get injured again it would look like I bottled it! So I really have to be careful.’
Ranvir Singh, 43, news presenter
‘I think my family who have seen me do bhangra are quite confident that I might have a sense of rhythm.’
JJ Chalmers, 33, sportsman injured by a bomb in Afghanistan in 2011
‘The debris smashed my body from pretty much my knees up. So my feet should be all right!’
Jacqui Smith, 57, former home secretary
‘I’m a very, very competitive person. I hardly ever do anything unless I think I’m going to be able to win.’
Max George, 32, The Wanted singer and boyfriend of Stacey Giggs
‘My girlfriend Stacey laughed and then laughed a bit more. I think she thought I was joking at first.’
Maisie Smith, 19, EastEnders actress
‘There’s usually someone from EastEnders on the show so there’s always someone I can support and now I’m that person — it’s just surreal.’
Nicola Adams, 37, boxer
‘I’ve already won two Olympic gold medals, I want to lift that trophy now.’
Bill Bailey, 55, comedian
‘They have got a tough job in turning around someone clumsy like me into something that can look like a dancer.’
HRVY, 21, singer
‘I went to The Wanted’s last concert when I was younger — I was a big fan, so it’s really cool that Max is doing it.’
Caroline Quentin, 60, actress
‘I’ve been working with Elizabeth Hurley and she’s more excited about it than anyone I’ve ever met.’
Jason Bell, 42, NFL star and Nadine Coyle’s ex
‘Nadine, my daughter’s mother… when I told her, she just was like, “Are you sure your back can do it?”’