Who is Giovanni Pernice, Strictly Come Dancing pro?

Giovanni made an instant impact when he joined the show for series 13. Here’s what you need to know about him.

Giovanni Pernice made it to the runner-up spot in his first year on Strictly in 2015 – before coming ninth the following year. He's made it to the 2017 final, but will he be lifting the Glitterball Trophy?

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 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. 

Giovanni is one half of one of the public's favourite couples in 2017 as his partnership with Debbie McGee has won over viewers who love their chemistry and daring lifts. Debbie has often said that she needs to keep reminding the dancer that she is 59, not 20, but they have still managed some of the series' most spectacular moves.

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Debbie and Giovanni have scored two 39s so far, for their Charleston and American Smooth, and will be hoping to reach a perfect 40 in the final.

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. Can he go one better with Debbie McGee in 2017?

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’. 

Celebrity partner 2017: Debbie McGee

[Read more: Debbie McGee reveals her true feelings for Giovanni]

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Photo credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

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