Strictly Come Dancing 2021 – It Takes Two's Janette Manrara reveals Anne-Marie & Moira Stuart to join Xmas special

ANNE-Marie and Moira Stuart have been announced as the latest celebrities taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

The singer and newsreader were revealed on BBC Two spin-off It Takes Two on Thursday night hosted by Janette Manrara.

During this year's festive special, Anne-Marie will dance with Graziano Di Prima while TV and Radio presenter Moira will be paired with Aljaz Skorjanec.

Speaking on a video link on It Takes Two, the 2002 singer said: "I am about 15 million per cent excited.

"If it all goes wrong, I may just whack out a song quickly and hope that that gets me a few points but I'm trying hard, I'm learning so much."

When asked to describe Anne-Marie in three words, Graziano said: "She's a star, we've got chemistry and she can dance.

"I'm really confident, she is working so hard and she's got the moves. She is doing really well."

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest news and gossip…

  • Milica Cosic

    Anne-Marie joining Repair Shop's Jay & First Dates' Fred

    Anne-Marie will go up against Repair Shop host Jay and First Dates maître d' Fred who have already been confirmed for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

    The two television favourites were unveiled on Strictly spin-off It Takes Two by host Rylan Clark on Monday evening's show.

    Rylan teased viewers with an array of clues ahead of the official reveal, with Fred represented by a red rose, while Jay's platter featured some sandpaper and construction materials.

    Much to the delight of fans of the show, the festive special will be making its eagerly awaited comeback after being axed last year – after Covid restrictions made it impossible to film.

    Furniture restorer Jay has been chased by the BBC for years to do Strictly, but was never available.

    However, taking a few days out to learn a routine for the Christmas show proved just the ticket.

    He explained: "I was always too busy but I have always wanted to learn how to dance. That’s one of the greatest achievements."

    Jay will be partnered with professional dancer Luba Mushtuk.

    Fred, meanwhile, will be dancing with Dianne Buswell.

  • Milica Cosic

    Anne-Marie for Xmas special 

    Anne-Marie has been partnered up with Graziano Di Prima who danced with Loose Women star Judi Love before her exit earlier this series.

    Delivering his verdict on her training so far, Graziano said: "I'm really confident, she's working so hard. She's doing really well."

    Anne-Marie will go up against Repair Shop host Jay and First Dates maître d' Fred who have already been confirmed for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

  • Milica Cosic

    Strictly signs singer Anne-Marie for Xmas special 

    STRICTLY Come Dancing will see pop star Anne-Marie learn to dance for the BBC show's Christmas special.

    The singer – who is best pals with Ed Sheeran – is joining TV stars Jay Blades and Fred Sirieix in the celebrity line-up.

    After It Takes Two host Janette Manrara made the announcement tonight, Anne-Marie appeared on the show by video call.

    She joked: "If it all goes wrong I might just whack out a song quickly. I hope that will get me a few points.

    "I'm trying so hard. I'm learning so much."

    She added: "I'm very competitive."

  • Milica Cosic

    Still no confirmation on Craig’s return to show

    Craig-Revel Horwood is still in isolation after testing positive for Covid.

    He will only return to the show if he tests negative next week and is back in good health.

    Speaking before last Saturday’s show, Strictly spokesperson said: “Craig Revel Horwood has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating following the latest government guidelines.

    “While Craig will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend, all being well he will return the following week.”

    He was double vaccinated and, in the same series that it emerged three pros hadn’t been jabbed, criticised anyone who turned it down.

  • Milica Cosic

    Ladbrokes: Dan Walker ODDS-ON for Strictly boot

    DAN WALKER IS ONCE AGAIN favourite with Ladbrokes to be sent packing from Strictly Come Dancing this weekend.

    Despite recording his best score of the series last time out, the bookies make the BBC Breakfast presenter an odds-on shot at 5/6 to be eliminated from the competition this weekend.

    Elsewhere, 7/4 says Tilly Ramsay’s time is finally up, with every other name currently being 4/1 or bigger for the boot.

    Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “It seems Dan Walker has got more lives than a cat, with the BBC Breakfast star still clinging on to his Strictly spot, but the odds suggest this will finally be the weekend he’s sent packing.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    When does Strictly return to our screens?

    The next episode of Strictly takes place this Saturday, November 27, 2021, at 6.55pm.

    And fans will have to wait for the results show, which airs the following day at 7.20pm on Sunday, November 28, 2021.

    You can also catch any missed episodes on the BBC iPlayer.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Explained: Has Shirley Ballas had plastic surgery?

    Shirley – who is currently loved up with boyfriend Danny Taylor – has previously had liposuction, breast implants, and, in 2019, implant removals.

    She's also had Botox in the past, but the judge, who has turned 60 this year, has recently revealed that she would consider having a 'mini facelift'.

    Speaking to The Sun, she said:“I’d have a mini-facelift, just this bit here. I’m suddenly 60.

    “Your skin gets more wrinkled on your hands, your neck starts to go and your bum starts to sag, you take your bra off and the titties fall to your knees.

    “You get up every morning, there’s another lump and bump and you think, ‘Where did that come from?’”

  • Joseph Gamp

    Explained: Shirley Ballas' rise to fame

    After her time with Nigel Tiffany, Ballas moved on to become Sammy Stopford's partner. The pair fell in love and got married and went on to become one of the fastest rising couples in ballroom dance.

    They danced together from when she was 18 to 23 and won all the major titles worldwide.

    The pair then parted ways and she met Corky Ballas, who she married and had son Mark with in 1986.

    Corky and Shirley competed together and won their first professional Latin title in 1984 and went on to win it a further eight years in a row.

    In 1990, they moved back to the UK and went on to win the Open British Professional Latin title in 1995 and '96.

    Shirley was previously a judge on the American version of Dancing With The Stars.

  • Joseph Gamp

    What is Shirley Ballas's net worth?

    Shirley's estimated net worth is around £3.8millon.

    Shirley joined Strictly in 2017 and was paid £180,000 by the BBC for that series.

    This was £70,000 short of the amount given to her predecessor Len Goodman, 75, for the same role.

    But in 2018 she landed a victory when she received a pay rise to equal Len's former £250k salary.

    Fellow judge Bruno Tonioli reportedly earns the same amount, while Craig Revel Horwood and former judge Darcey Bussell received £180,000 for each series of Strictly.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Explained: Who is Shirley Ballas?

    Shirley Annette Rich was born in Wallasey on 6 September, 1960 – making her 60-years-old.

    Ballas caught the dancing fever from a young age, and began dancing at age 7. She started performing competitively the following years.

    At 15, Ballas moved to North Yorkshire to partner British Ballroom Champion Nigel Tiffany. As dance partners, they won Professional Latin at Blackpool Dance Festival in 1983.

    Ballas stopped competing in dance competitions in 1996, becoming a dance coach and judge for ballroom and Latin American competitions.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Rose Ayling-Ellis firm favourite to lift Glitterball

    Meanwhile Rose Ayling-Ellis remains the firm favourite to win the show, odds on at 1-5.

    "Rose has one hand on the trophy already in our eyes and it will take a spectacular slip-up or shock result for any of the other remaining contestants to win this series of Strictly Come Dancing," said Aitkenhead.

  • Joseph Gamp

    List: The remaining celebrities in Strictly 2021

    There are still six celebrities all dancing for that Glitterball trophy.

    The stars that are left in the competition are:

    • AJ Odudu 
    • Dan Walker 
    • John Whaite
    • Rhys Stephenson 
    • Rose Ayling-Ellis 
    • Tilly Ramsay

    The man responsible for the music

    Musical director and arranger Dave Arch is the man in charge of the band.

    He is a British pianist, conductor, arranger and composer who has enjoyed a prolific career covering a broad spectrum of the music business including albums, films, and commercials, live and television work.

    He is also the Musical Director for recent productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

    Recap: Judges reaction to Tom Fletcher's dance

    Motsi Mabu described it as the “toughest” dance-off she has seen since joining the BBC One show but felt Rhys and his partner “put on another extra level”.

    Fellow judge Anton Du Beke added: “I agree with the other judges.

    “It was an outstanding dance-off. On Saturday night Rhys made a slight mistake and Tom didn’t really fulfil his potential in the dance.

    “Tonight, both couples danced exquisitely but just a very slight edge goes to Rhys and Nancy.”

    But head judge Shirley Ballas disagreed with her fellow judges and would have saved the singer and his partner.

    Has AJ confirmed her romance with Kai?

    AJ Odudu appears to have confirmed her romance on the BBC1 show after liking a cheeky tweet about her “getting it on” with pro partner Kai Widdrington.

    TV presenter AJ, 33, liked the tweet on Saturday night which read: “Flipping love @AJOdudu what a top girl! Such a great attitude & lovely personality. I hope she is getting it on with Kai cos she deserves it! #StrictlyComeDancing #Strictly #Strictlycatchup.”

    Viewers went into meltdown on the show last week during Musicals Week after the pair almost kissed again despite an “awkward” VT.

    The pair were left lingering at the end of their Waltz to Sound of Music hit Edelweiss with fans suggesting they were about to smooch.

    One viewer commented: “If they don’t get it on, I’m going on hunger strike.”

    Another wrote: “Kai really fought with himself. You can see it, he wanted to but forced himself to hold off.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Dancing to silence was a challenge

      Dancing to 10 seconds of silence was a challenge, Giovanni admitted yesterday.

      He said: “I am a professional dancer. I have been doing it for 23 years. Even 10 seconds of silence was so hard because in that 10 seconds you have to think about your steps, you have to keep in the beat.

      “So I was like, now I understand what she is (doing). The 10 seconds was just powerful.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Fans angry at Arlene Philips over OCD comment

      FANS have slammed ITV after Arlene Phillips was shown making a joke about OCD.

      The former Strictly Come Dancing judge, 78, made the comment about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the launch episode of the new series.

      As she travelled in the car to meet c a m p mates, she said: ” I cannot live with dirt — I’m completely OCD about everything in my life being organised, clean, neat and tidy.”

      But viewers were unimpressed.

      One tweeted: “I’m disappointed ITV didn’t edit it out. OCD is not a funny quirky desire to be clean. It is a mental health condition.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Rose & Giovanni melt hearts once again

      Earlier this week, Rose and Giovanni melted hearts on This Morning as they reflected on the impact of having Rose – who is deaf – taking part in the BBC dance competition.

      Rose told presenters Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary: “It’s society that makes it difficult being deaf …

      “My mum – when she found out I was deaf, she felt so alone. She felt she had no idea about deaf culture and deaf community.

      “It’s society that makes it difficult being deaf…. there’s nothing wrong with being deaf, I have no problem with it.”

      Italian dancer Giovanni, 31 added that Rose is “100% the best dance partner” on the show.

      He continued: “I’m a professional dancer, I’ve been doing it for 23 years. 

      “Even 10 seconds of silence was so hard because in that 10 seconds, you have to think about your steps and you have to think about keeping the beat – and I was like, ‘Now I understand what she goes through.’”

    • Joseph Gamp

      Aljaz was once crowned champion

      Model Abbey Clancy showed she was more than just a pretty face with a killer turn on the 2013 series.

      She was paired up with Aljaz Skorjanec for the show, and in the finale beat Natalie Gumede and Susanna Reid.

      This was the first year of a streak of finale appearances by professional Kevin Clifton, however he’s yet to win.

    • Louis Allwood

      Ladbrokes latest odds

      Dan Walker is the favourite with Ladbrokes to be sent packing from Strictly Come Dancing this weekend.

      Despite recording his best score of the series last time out, the bookies make the BBC Breakfast presenter an odds-on shot at 5/6 to be eliminated from the competition this weekend.

      Elsewhere, 7/4 says Tilly Ramsay’s time is finally up, with every other name currently being 4/1 or bigger for the boot.

      Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “It seems Dan Walker has got more lives than a cat, with the BBC Breakfast star still clinging on to his Strictly spot, but the odds suggest this will finally be the weekend he’s sent packing.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Has Shirley Ballas had plastic surgery?

      Shirley – who is currently loved up with boyfriend Danny Taylor – has previously had liposuction, breast implants, and, in 2019, implant removals.

      She’s also had Botox in the past, but the judge, who has turned 60 this year, has recently revealed that she would consider having a ‘mini facelift’.

      Speaking to The Sun, she said:“I’d have a mini-facelift, just this bit here. I’m suddenly 60.

      “Your skin gets more wrinkled on your hands, your neck starts to go and your bum starts to sag, you take your bra off and the titties fall to your knees.

      “You get up every morning, there’s another lump and bump and you think, ‘Where did that come from?’”

    • Louis Allwood

      Strictly signs singer Anne-Marie for Christmas

      STRICTLY Come Dancing will see pop star Anne-Marie learn to dance for the BBC show's Christmas special.

      The singer – who is best pals with Ed Sheeran – is joining TV stars Jay Blades and Fred Sirieix in the celebrity line-up.

      After It Takes Two host Janette Manrara made the announcement tonight, Anne-Marie appeared on the show by video call.

      She joked: "If it all goes wrong I might just whack out a song quickly. I hope that will get me a few points.

      "I'm trying so hard. I'm learning so much."

      She added: "I'm very competitive."

    • Louis Allwood

      When will he be back?

      Craig-Revel Horwood is isolating for ten days after he tested positive for Covid.

      He will only return to the show if he tests negative next week and is back in good health.

      Speaking before last Saturday’s show, Strictly spokesperson said: “Craig Revel Horwood has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating following the latest government guidelines.

      “While Craig will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend, all being well he will return the following week.”

      He was double vaccinated and, in the same series that it emerged three pros hadn’t been jabbed, criticised anyone who turned it down.

    • Louis Allwood

      Inside Rylan Clark’s beautiful new kitchen

      Rylan Clark has the most beautiful new kitchen with FOUR ovens, voice-controlled lights and a champagne fridge.

      The presenter recently had the cooking space re-done in his Essex pad, and it looks fabulous.

      The 33-year-old has an amazing open-plan kitchen and living room, which is described as the "social hub" of his house.

      Rylan had help from Wren Kitchens to create his dream space.

      Although there are plenty of amazing features, one that stands out for the star is his fridge, which is the home to a lot of fancy booze.

    • Louis Allwood

      Kai Widdrington reveals painful groin injury

      Kai Widdrington has revealed a painful groin injury he gained in training alongside AJ Odudu.

      The choreographer blamed his celebrity dance partner for the bizarre "spider bite" mark left on his inner thigh after being "stood on multiple times".

      Kai, 26, and AJ, 33, documented their trip to Blackburn on the TV presenter's Instagram on Thursday afternoon as they discussed his injury.

      The Big Brother's Bit on the Side host admitted she was "obsessed" with their upcoming performance, but it had been taking its toll on their bodies.

      "I'm obsessed with our dance routine, right – I am so obsessed that I haven't even whinged to you about how in pain I am," AJ began.

      "I'm like, 'Listen, I am going to get that leg screwed on'. It feels like it is hanging off right now!"

      Kai interrupted to update fans that he was the one "in pain" after suffering from the injury to his groin as his legs had been "taking a battering".

      "However, I am in pain. I've been stood on multiple times, my legs have taken a battering," he explained. "I can't show you because it's not PG.

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