Strictly Come Dancing 2021: The Candidates – Ranked


The 2021 Strictly Come Dancing lineup has been unveiled in its entirety, which can only mean one thing. It’s Christmas already. Merry Christmas to everyone!

But who are these brave celebrities who have dared to develop a close friendship with a professional dancer who statistically has a high probability of ending their marriage? You will find them below, ranked from worst to best in terms of likely success.

Sara Davies

Crown of glory… Sara Davies. Photography: BBC

Sara Davies is currently most famous for two things: appearing in Dragons ‘Den a decade after everyone stopped watching Dragons’ Den, and inventing a machine that makes envelopes. As such, it doesn’t matter what happens to him on Strictly. She could win or break her pelvis the instant she is introduced to her partner, or anything in between. It’s already the crowning glory of her life, and we should all feel dizzy for her.

AJ Odudu

Pionnier?  J AJ Odudu.
Pionnier? J AJ Odudu. Photography: BBC

Every year that I’ve made these rankings I’ve had to pretend to be puzzled as to why black female applicants tend not to progress very far on Strictly, and now I have to do the same with AJ Odudu. The motto here, as if you need to remind yourself, is that you should never trust a voter base that likes to applaud TV theme tunes.

Dan Walker

Dan Walker.
Bon courage… Dan Walker. Photograph: PA

Fun fact: Every time I mentioned Dan Walker in a printout, he tweeted me in response. So, if you agree, I’ll just direct this next step to him directly. Hi Dan, well done for participating in Strictly Come Dancing this year. Honestly, I don’t see you very well, but it’s good that you make the effort. Does this mean that you are trying to improve your profile so that you can switch to ITV for more money? Please don’t tweet me Dan, I’m talking rhetoric.

Judi Love

… Judi Amour.
Are you fine, eh? … Judi Amour. Photography: BBC

You may know Judi Love from her appearances on Loose Women, This Morning, and Celebrity Juice. But I’m more interested in the fact that she has a heading in OK! magazine. No one who writes something for anyone is fit enough to dance. If I started dancing now, I would be in the back of an ambulance with a burst heart within minutes. Based on this, I am worried about Judi.

Greg Wise

Greg Wise.
Pari sage ? … Greg Wise. Photograph: Dillon Bryden / BBC / PA

Greg Wise is an actor and writer, and was likely booked because Strictly wanted his wife Emma Thompson to be in the audience every week. Its inclusion is hard to call; my Twitter followers are absolutely convinced he will win, but they also believed Labor would win every election since 2010 and didn’t see Brexit coming. It’s probably best to assume that it will be terrible, then.

John White

Program name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: n / a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Celebrity announcements (n / a) - Photo: John Whaite - (C) BBC - Photographer: BBC
History maker ^ John Whaite. Photography: BBC

Until recently, Whaite was best known for winning the third set of The Great British Bake Off. Now, however, he’s making history as one half of Strictly’s first all-male partnership. As such, it doesn’t matter whether he’s good at dancing or not, as his presence means The Speech will honk around town and smash our bones to dust long before anyone has had a chance to properly assess it. Good luck to him.

Rhys Stephenson

Rhys Stephenson.
Battle lost? … Rhys Stephenson. Photograph: BBC / PA

Now, you’re unlikely to know who Rhys Stephenson is unless you regularly watch CBBC. And if you watch CBBC regularly, then you are too young to text a premium rate number to vote for a contestant in a televised dance competition. What I’m saying is Stephenson better be absolutely spectacular on the dance floor or else he’s toast.

Ugo Monye

Very good footwork?  … Ugo Monye.
Very good footwork? … Ugo Monye. Photographie : Dave Benett/Getty Images

As a former England rugby player, Monye will go two ways. Either he will show a level of physical skill of Matt Dawson, or his body will be such a mess of tension and injury that it will teeter on the floor like an arthritic Frankenstein. Either way, I will watch carefully.

Tilly Ramsay

The father's daughter?  … Tilly Ramsay.
The father’s daughter? … Tilly Ramsay. Photograph: BBC / PA

Tilly Ramsay is Gordon Ramsay’s daughter, but don’t let that put you off. Tilly looks nicer and better composed than her father who – as if to be said – wouldn’t be good on Strictly. So is there this?

Rose Ayling-Ellis

Rose Ayling-Ellis.
Flying the flag for Albert Square… Rose Ayling-Ellis. Photograph: BBC / PA

John Whaite isn’t the only Strictly competitor to make history this year. Rose Ayling-Ellis – best known for her role in EastEnders – is set to become the series’ first-ever deaf contestant. It must be intimidating to be the figurehead of an entire community, but it’s a chance for Rose to prove to the world that deaf people can do anything, including dancing better than Dan Walker.

Robert Webb

Robert Webb
Black Horse? … Robert Webb. Photograph: BBC / PA

You will recall that about a million years ago Robert Webb was in a dance competition and doing pretty well. But then his heart raced and he almost died, so he couldn’t participate in Strictly. As such, his inclusion this year technically qualifies as a comeback, and – even though he’s inevitably dumped at some point in the anonymous mid-section of the series – he should still consider it a lap of honor.

Katie McGlynn

Katie McGlynn.
Soap veteran… Katie McGlynn. Photograph: BBC / PA

You might know Katie McGlynn from her role as Sinead Tinker on Coronation Street, or Becky Quentin in Hollyoaks, or Scout Allen on Waterloo Road. Or you might know her from social media. Or you may not know her at all. Maybe you’re not even going to watch Strictly Come Dancing this year and plan to go your whole life not knowing who Katie McGlynn is. Kinda weird that you’re reading this if it’s the latter, but I won’t judge you. Either way, Katie will be rejected right before the Halloween episode, and there’s nothing you can do to stop her.

Adam peaty

Make a splash… Adam Peaty.
Make a splash… Adam Peaty. Photograph: BBC / PA

It is clear that something has gone terribly wrong here. Usually, when an athlete participates in Strictly, it is after retiring for a few years and looking for a transition to work on TV. But Adam Peaty literally just won two gold medals at the Olympics. Literally. The man has just stepped off the plane from Japan. What the hell is he doing here? Either way, he’s clearly in excellent shape and will undoubtedly trample all the competition.

Nina Wadia

Nina Wadia.
Fan favorite… Nina Wadia. Photograph: BBC / PA

Can Nina Wadia dance? Nobody knows. Does Nina Wadia have a fan base big enough to see her take the win? Uncertain. But look, Nina Wadia being on Strictly Come Dancing means that Nina Wadia is getting a little more on TV, and that’s the important thing. Even though she’s useless – even though she completely loses control of her legs and ends up hurting a member of the studio audience – I swear to vote her all the way.

Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher.
Family affair… Tom Fletcher. Photography: BBC

Fletcher is a talented songwriter and children’s songwriter, but make no mistake: he’s only here because his wife won I’m a Celebrity last year. Can you imagine living in this house? Can you imagine curling up in your bedroom to escape the sheer passive aggression of Tom and Giovanna endlessly trying to outdo each other on their comparative reality TV popularity? The endless red-eyed, ear-tearing arguments about whether taking a quick step to ironic novelty is more exhausting than having to share a campsite with Vernon Kay? It would be like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Tom better win Strictly, for the sake of his marriage.


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