TV Review: Strictly Come Dancing Launch Show

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Well, two out of 15 isn't that bad...

Yep, I got a shamefully small number of my predictions from last week's Strictly line-up reveal post right. The launch show was last night and I'm still just as excited for the new series as I was when the cast was announced. Despite the lack of big names they look like they'll be enthusiastic and a group I'll genuinely enjoy watching - I already have so many favourites! So, without further ado, here's my observations on last night's show:

Sophie and Brendan - lovely dress and hair on Sophie, and that pair's got 'finalists' written all over it. I thought Brendan would get someone good after last year, and I've been proved right. Genuinely excited about them, especially after Brendan's mellowing in recent years.

Natalie and Artem - do I suspect someone threw his toys out the pram to get a ringer? I have to admit I'd not heard of Natalie before this (although I knew of her Corrie storyline), but she's been to stage school and looked to have moves in the group dance. Definitely getting into December.

Deborah and Robin - I really hope she's good! Robin's done so well with not-so-good partners in his time on the show so he deserves a contender. I suspect she'll be a surprise package in that people won't think she's very good but she'll work hard and come up with the goods.

Rachel and Pasha - I'm actually quite saddened by this, because I really wanted her to be good, but there's no way they can give Pasha three ringers on the trot which makes me suspect she's a bit rubbish. But I will be rooting for her as she looks like someone who'll fully go for it. Again nice dress too!

Patrick and Anya - I have high hopes for this. If you've seen Patrick's performance on Let's Dance For Comic Relief (and if you haven't, you should) then you'll know he does have some decent moves and bags of enthusiasm, plus a willingness to embrace the silly side of Strictly. Possible finalist?

Ashley and Ola - as I said on Twitter, ringer alert! Ola's sheer glee when she got told she'd got him says it all. I'll be amazed if it doesn't come down to him vs Sophie for the glitterball at Christmas. Watching his group dance it looked like he was pretty decent as well.

Julien and Janette - I suspect he could start to annoy me but I also don't think he'll last very long. Again, enthusiasm factor could play a huge part in this though. My other thought is that they're warming Janette up to be the new Flavia and if she does OK this year they might give her a ringer next time out.

Tony and Aliona- again he looks like someone who'll fully go for it, but I do have a bit of a suspicion that he won't last very long. Which to me is a blessing, because I am not an Aliona fan - she can't choreograph for toffee and lucked out both times she got to the final. I predict they'll be first to go. Sorry Tony.

Abbey and Aljaz - I'm quite excited about this as they look such a great pair together. She actually didn't look too bad in the training either, and frankly the two of them are ridiculously hot. I think they could do quite well, certainly past the halfway mark.

Fiona and Anton - my first thought was 'Oh thank God it's not Vanessa'. My second though was 'She seems nice'. My third thought was 'Please let her be good!' I think she could again be a dark horse and they could get quite far - maybe not to the final, but hopefully close to Christmas.

Vanessa and James - I cannot wait to watch this. It's going to be fiery - bossy James vs take-no-prisoners Vanessa - but equally he's done well getting 'older' ladies to do well when often they're written off (witness Pamela Stephenson's third a couple of years ago). They are possibly my favourite pairing of the series.

Susannah and Kevin - already one of my favourite pairs. BBC presenters have done well previously so I'm hopeful - she looked like someone who'd give it her all and would be fun to watch. Plus she's funny. Can she replace Tess please? And again, I'm loving the retro vibe of her dress and lippy.

Dave and Karen - to quote Brucie, "He's my favourite!" I am a bit worried he won't be very good but I'd say he's this year's Chris Hollins as he looks like he'll bring enthusiasm in spades. And I think 'chuffed as nuts' is my new favourite phrase. So looking forward to their first routine.

Ben and Kristina - I really, really want him to be good for Kristina's sake (although looking at his training and the group dance I wasn't that convinced). But they are a lovely-looking couple and he'll definitely get a huge female following. Hopefully it was just nerves and he'll improve as time goes on.

Mark and Iveta - I have a feeling that he might be a bit too nervous to truly let go, but I'm hoping that Iveta proves herself to be a good teacher and can get something out of him, as he looks like someone who'll try his hardest and with a bit of encouragement could surprise us all.

Other observations:
Bless Kevin! He kept looking like the kid in the playground desperate to get picked for football but knowing he'll be last out. But I loved that he got the biggest cheer of the new pros, and I like him already.
It annoys me that they keep saying Iveta is new. She's not. She was on it last year! I wouldn't mind if they at least mentioned she filled in for Aliona, but it's being totally ignored...
And finally... FLAVIA! Sorry for shouting, but she was one of my favourite pros and I loved her Charleston with Louis last year. It also reminded me how good last year's celebrities were and I'm really hoping that this year's batch can live up to their reputation.

Overall, I think the pairings are far better than the ones I predicted, and I'm looking forward to the new series starting proper. Bring on September 27th!

Did you watch the Strictly launch show? What did you think of this year's couples? And do you have any favourites yet? Let me know in the comments and have a great day!

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