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 and has reached the final twice since then, but will he ever lift 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.

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

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He just missed out on series wins with his electric partnerships with Debbie, Georgia May Foote, and Faye Tozer, but we're expecting big things again in 2019 from his pairing with show favourite Michelle Visage.

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, and then repeated his placing with Debbie McGee and Faye Tozer.

Worst-ever finish: Giovanni and partner Laura Whitmore came ninth in 2016.

Former celebrity partners: Georgia May Foote, Laura Whitmore, Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer.

Current celebrity partner: Michelle Visage

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’. 

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Photo credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

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