Street dance, same-sex pairings and a controversial line-up: 5 reasons why everyone’s talking about Strictly Come Dancing 2018

Fans are getting excited for brand new Strictly on BBC One this year - and here's why.

Strictly Come Dancing is back for another year - and you can catch all the action on BT TV.

The Starter + BT Sport package comes with all four BT Sport channels, plus 85 Freeview channels including BBC One HD.

So make sure you’re sitting comfortably on your sofa on Saturday night as the red carpet launch show kicks off the brand new series.

Here's why everyone’s talking about Strictly this year - and why you should tune in.

1. Couple’s Choice dance

Strictly couple's choice dance

For the first time since the Charleston was introduced back in 2009, Strictly has introduced a new dance category for 2018, in which the celebrities and their professional partners will be able to choose from one of three styles to show off the celeb’s ability.

The three styles they can try out are: Contemporary (taking inspiration from ballet, lyrical and modern dance), Street/Commercial (covering all styles of urban dance, plus pop/commercial) and Theatre/Jazz (very much the style of musical theatre, including elements of tap, soft shoe, burlesque and jazz).

We can’t wait to see which dance the celebs will try for the first time on Strictly.

[Read more: Strictly Come Dancing bringing in street dance, burlesque and ballet for 2018]

2. Same-sex pairings

Strictly same sex pairings

In a Strictly first, some of the pairings in the professional dances throughout the series - which are usually shown at the start of each episode - will be same-sex.

According to The Sun, Pasha Kovalev and AJ Pritchard will dance as a duo, while Karen Clifton will perform with another female dancer.

This is thought to pave the way for a same-sex celebrity/pro pairing on the show.

For now, the format for the celebs and professionals is staying as it is, with a spokesperson for the BBC saying: “Strictly has chosen the longstanding ballroom dancing format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples.”

[Read more: Strictly’s Kevin Clifton would have ‘no problem’ with same-sex dance couples]

3. Line-up controversy

Strictly line-up controversy

There has been some controversy over this year’s stars after the line-up was revealed in full last month, with some fans calling it the ‘worst ever’ and critics saying it ‘lacked creativity’.

Head judge Shirley Ballas addressed the furore on Loose Women, saying: “It has to be a mixture of people [celebrities] and, at the end of the day, people will watch it, they’ll judge for themselves.

“Give these stars a chance and I know that, as with every year, people love to tune in, and this is going to be a great panel of people.”

We are so excited to see what the celebs bring to the dancefloor each week. Here's the full celebrity line-up:

Ashley Roberts - Former Pussycat Dolls star

Charles Venn - Casualty and EastEnders actor

Danny John-Jules - Red Dwarf actor

Dr Ranj - TV doctor

Faye Tozer - Steps singer

Graeme Swann - Former England cricketer

Joe Sugg - YouTube star

Kate Silverton - BBC newsreader

Katie Piper - TV presenter and campaigner

Lauren Steadman - Paralympic athlete

Lee Ryan - Blue singer and EastEnders star

Seann Walsh - Comedian

Stacey Dooley - Documentary presenter

Susannah Constantine - Presenter and fashion writer

Vick Hope - Capital Radio presenter

[Read more: Strictly Come Dancing 2018 line-up: Full cast revealed]

4. Dancers’ shake-up

Strictly Brendan

Former Strictly professional dancers Brendan Cole and Chloe Hewitt will not be performing on the show this year.

Chloe joined the show in 2016, but despite performing in the professional show dances each week, she has not been partnered with a celebrity on the main show since she joined.

She did appear on the 2016 Christmas special with TV presenter Gethin Jones and also took part in the 2017 Children In Need special with Blue Peter presenter Razi Chinyanganya - but sadly she won’t have a chance to lift the coveted glitter ball trophy this year.

[Read more: Strictly stars pay tribute to axed pro dancers]

Brendan will also not be returning as he didn’t have his contract renewed by show bosses earlier this year.

After hearing the news, Brendan - who joined the BBC One show on its inception in 2004 - said he was ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointed' by the decision not to be asked back.

At the time, he told on ITV’s Lorraine: “It’s hard to talk about. The BBC haven’t renewed my contract.

“They made an editorial decision to not have me on the show. I’m quite emotional.

“I’m a little bit disappointed. It’s very hard to talk about. It’s a recent decision, I’ve always known this day will come.

“It’s an editorial decision. I’m a very strong character within the show, I had my strong views.”

Brendan won the inaugural show in 2004 with news presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, but had not lifted the Glitterball since.

[Read more: Brendan Cole axed from Strictly]

Italian Graziano Di Prima, South African Johannes Radebe and Russian Luba Mushtuk are the three new professional dancer for 2018.

The other professional dancers who will be returning to the Strictly ballroom are: Anton Du Beke (the only original pro left after Brendan’s exit), AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones,  Kevin Clifton, Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, Oti Mabuse and Pasha Kovalev.

5. Romances new and old

Strictly romances

One of Strictly’s most loved couples, professional dancers Karen and Kevin Clifton, confirmed their split earlier this year - so the 2018 series will be the first time they have appeared on the show together since.

The couple went public with their separation in March 2018 after three years of marriage and months of speculation about their future together.

Kevin made the Strictly final with Susanna Reid in 2013, Frankie Bridge in 2014, Kellie Bright in 2015 and Louise Redknapp in 2016 - but has never lifted the glitter ball.

Karen made the final with former Towie star Mark Wright in 2014 - but also has yet to win the glitter ball.

[Read more: Karen and Kevin Clifton confirm split]

Pro dancers Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara are still as loved-up as ever following their 2017 fairytale wedding.

The couple recently announced their new 2019 tour, Remembering The Movies, where they will celebrate Hollywood’s songs, dance routines and legendary stars.

Professional dancers Neil and Katya Jones aka The Jonses have also been happily married since 2015.

In terms of celebrity romances, last year saw celebrity contestant Gemma Atkinson plagued by rumours that she was dating professional dancer Gorka Marquez.

The couple confirmed their romance after the show ended and are are still very much together.

She told the Sunday People: “With Gorka, I had six months of getting to know him as a friend, that’s what is different.

“I’ve never fallen for a friend before. For us it was a Strictly blessing. We weren’t dancing together and we were both single. No one got hurt or trampled on, no one left anybody for anybody else so it was literally a Strictly blessing for me and Gorks.”

But they’re not the only ones to fall for each other on the dancefloor, and you can read all about Strictly romances from previous years here.

The Strictly Come Dancing launch show starts Saturday, September 8 at 7.35pm on BBC One. Catch up with the BBC iPlayer app on BT TV.

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Images: BBC One / Rex Features

 

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