Giovanni Pernice made it to the runner-up spot in his first year on Strictly in 2015 – before coming ninth the following year. How well will he do in 2017?

Here’s what you need to know about Giovanni:

Who is Giovanni Pernice?

Born in Sicily, Giovanni was inspired to take up dance by watching none other than Come Dancing, the long-running BBC show that was Strictly’s non-celebrity predecessor.

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Giovanni watched the show on TV with his grandparents. “I was like ‘wow’, all the chemistry between the boys and the girls was incredible,” Giovanni told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The men were men and I just thought that’s what I want to do, I want the girls around me all the time like that.”

At 14 he moved to Bologna to further his dance career and went on to win the Italian Championships in 2012, as well as to compete all over the world.

Giovanni recently toured the UK with his show Il Ballo e Vita – Dance Is Life – which also featured an appearance from Strictly 2017 newbie Dianne Buswell.

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In 2016’s Strictly pro challenge – featured on companion show It Takes Two hosted by Zoe Ball – Giovanni took the Guinness World Record for the most Jive kicks and flicks accomplished in 30 seconds. Giovanni managed 55, ahead of Oksana Platero, Janette Manrara and Karen Clifton who all performed 54 kicks and flicks. 

Favourite dance: Unsurprisingly, it’s the Jive

Best-ever finish: Giovanni placed second in his first-ever Strictly in 2015, with partner Georgia May Foote.

Worst-ever finish: Last year Giovanni and partner Laura Whitmore came ninth.

Former celebrity partners: Georgia May Foote, Laura Whitmore.

Did you know? Giovanni has ‘Nato Per Vincere’ – ‘Born To Win’ in Italian – tattooed on his arm as well as ‘Il Ballo e Vita’, which means ‘Dance Is Life’. 

Photo credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock