Strictly bosses use 'speed dating' method for pairing celebrities with dance partners

Contestants attending the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at the TV Centre, London.
This year's Strictly Come Dancing contestants (Credit: PA)

Strictly Come Dancing producers use a dance form of ‘speed dating’ to decide which professional partners the celebrities should be paired with.

The hit BBC show has become famous for the Strictly curse - which has seen countless relationships ended as contestants fall for the dance partners. And it has been revealed bosses are able to spot chemistry between the celebrities and the professionals within minutes.

Aljaž Škorjanec, one of the professional dancers, explains in BBC One special, Strictly The Professionals: “They put us in a circle. We do a salsa and a waltz. The celebrities do, like, four steps and then we sort of move on.”

Read more: Catherine Tydesley almost vomited on dance partner

Fellow dancer, Dianne Buswell, dubbed the experience, “speed dating”.

EastEnders actor Jake Wood, who reached the semi-final in 2014 with Janette Manrara, admitted “The producers all walk around and you’re not sure what they’re looking at.”

The Saturdays singer Mollie King, who was on the show in 2017, joked, “all of us female contestants danced with all of the pro boys and it was one of the best moments of my life, just being swung from man to man”.

Read more: Anneka Rice befriends Strictly champion Stacey Dooley

The producers may be on the look out for chemistry but comedian Brian Conley revealed the professional dancers were more interested in where the celebrities were based than their dancing ability.

He recalled: “Everyone will come up to you and say, ‘Hello, where do you live?’ I thought, why does everyone want to know where I live? And it’s because they know they’ve got to rehearse with you and they don’t want to be too far away from London.”

Anneka Rice and Karim Zeroual attending the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at the TV Centre, London
Anneka Rice and Karim Zeroual attending the Strictly Come Dancing launch (Credit: PA)

Yesterday, pro dancer Kevin Clifton - who won the show last year with girfriend Stacey Dooley - denied claims he was not happy at being paired with 60-year-old TV presenter Anneka Rice this year.

It was reported that Clifton was annoyed he had been given the oldest dance partner as it would scupper his chances of winning the glitter ball two years ago.

But asked about the rumours Clifton denied them, saying: “She’s ace.”

Strictly The Professionals airs this Saturday.