Who are this year's Strictly Come Dancing couples? 2021's dancefloor pairings revealed

It's the moment we've all been waiting for - time to find out which celebrities will be paired with which professional dancers in the 19th series of Strictly Come Dancing.

By Rhys Lewis Published: 18 September 2021 - 9.30pm
BBC Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey with the Strictly glitterball trophy

The wait is over. Strictly Come Dancing's 15 celebrity contestants for 2021 now know who their professional partners are - and so do we!

The dance pairings - including the show's first all-male partnership - were announced on a special launch show on BBC One at 7.45pm on Saturday, September 18. Here are the 15 couples aiming to follow in the footsteps of Oti and Bill and lift the glitterball trophy in 2021.

Adam Peaty and Katya Jones

Adam Peaty and Katya Jones BBC

Triple Olympic gold medallist Adam is in good hands with Katya - this is her sixth time on Strictly and she was a winner with Joe McFadden in 2017. Last year she was one half of the programme's first same-sex partnership with another Olympian, boxer Nicola Adams. We think these two will get on swimmingly!

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington BBC

Presenter AJ and former Junior World Latin American champion Kai - a Strictly debutant - are both reality TV veterans: he was a finalist on Britain's Got Talent and twice runner-up on Ireland's version of Strictly, Dancing With the Stars, while she has appeared on Celebrity SAS, Bake Off and Cooking With the Stars. A recipe for Strictly success? 

Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova 

Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova BBC

Nadiya returns to the competition with BBC Breakfast host Dan after a year as a support dancer in 2020. After performing a low-scoring foxtrot to Three Lions with England goalkeeper David James in 2019, she may be relieved to hear than Dan has left Football Focus well behind him. Her best performance in three series in sixth in 2017 with Davood Ghadami.

Greg Wise and Karen Hauer 

Greg Wise and Karen Hauer BBC

Actor Greg has been paired with Strictly's most experienced professional. This is Karen's 10th series but she has yet to lift the glitterball trophy - can she and Greg go one better than last year's runner-up spot with Jamie Laing?

Eliminated in Week 4

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe 

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe BBC

John and Johannes will form the show's first all-male partnership, although the South African dancer is no stranger to making Strictly history - in 2019 he danced with fellow pro Graziano Di Prima in the show's first same-sex routine. This is Johannes' third time as a competing pro, his best result coming last year as he finished eighth with Caroline Quentin. Sadly his partnership with John has come too late for the Bake Off winner to impart some culinary advice to him - Johannes was knocked out of this year's Celebrity MasterChef at the heats stage.

Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima

Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima BBC/SOPA Images

After two years as a support dancer, Graziano is returning to Strictly competition with comedian and Loose Women panelist Judi. His only competitive series, in 2018, saw him finish 12th with Vick Hope, although he has used the downtime well, setting a Guinness World Record for the most Botafogo Samba steps with 90 in 30 seconds on sister show It Takes Two in 2019. Talk about loose!

Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez

Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez BBC/SOPA Images

Gorka and ex-EastEnder Maisie Smith finished runners-up last year, so he'll be hoping his pairing with another former soap star - Coronation Street's Katie - will see him slide into the top spot in 2021. That was his second runner-up place in four years, as he also finished second with Alexandra Burke in 2017.

Eliminated in Week 3 after surviving dance off in Week 2

Nina Wadia and Neil Jones 

Nina Wadia and Neil Jones BBC

Neil has been a Strictly professional since 2016, but actress Nina is only his second partner on the show. In 2019 he finished fifth alongside footballer Alex Scott, although the run to the brink of the final was not without its challenges as Neil sat out weeks 6 and 7 with a calf injury. 

Eliminated in Week 2

Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu 

Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu BBC

CBBC presenter Rhys says he's intrigued about the Latin dances and interested to see if he can get his hips to move in the same way as the pro dancers'. Fortunately for him Nancy is a Latin specialist and was a finalist in the under-21 World Championships in 2010. She has been a Strictly professional dancer since 2019 but this is her first time with a celebrity partner.

Robert Webb and Dianne Buswell 

Robert Webb and Dianne Buswell BBC

Comedian Robert was hoping for a patient partner and laid-back Aussie Dianne might be just the one. This is Dianne's fifth season of Strictly, her best place coming in 2018 as runner-up with YouTuber Joe Sugg. The two began dating after the show and are still together - in return for her dance tips Joe has clearly shared his vlogging expertise as she was named the UK's most-subscribed new YouTuber of 2019.

Withdrew after week 3 due to ill health

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice 

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice BBC

In Giovanni, EastEnders actress Rose has been paired with Strictly's Mr Consistent. Of the current crop of professional dancers, no-one has a higher average score than the Italian's 34.29, and in his six appearances he has finished runner-up no fewer than three times, with Georgia May Foote in 2015, Debbie McGee in 2017 and Faye Tozer in 2018.

Sara Davies and Aljaž Škorjanec 

Sara Davies and Aljaž Škorjanec BBC

With Anton du Beke's graduation to the judging panel, Aljaž becomes the current longest-serving male professional dancer. Dragons' Den investor Sara is his ninth dance partner since he made a winning debut in 2013, lifting the glitterball trophy with Abbey Clancy. Could his partnership with entrepreneur Sara do the business once more?

Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin

Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin BBC

Strictly's youngest ever celebrity contestant, 19-year-old TV chef Tilly Ramsay, has been paired with the show's youngest current professional, 23-year-old Ukranian Nikita Kuzmin. It's his first time on the Strictly dancefloor, although he has been dancing since the age of four and appeared on the 2020 series of Let's Dance, Germany's version of Strictly, going out in week 2 with rapper Sabrina Setlur.

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden 

Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden BBC

McFly singer and children's author Tom could write Strictly history with Amy if he can emulate bandmate Harry Judd and lift the glitterball 10 years after Harry's win. This is Welsh dancer Amy's fifth series of Strictly, her best result coming in 2019 when she finished runner-up with Karim Zeroual. 

Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse 

Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse BBC

Oti became the first dancer to win back-to-back glitterball trophies last year when she followed up her 2019 victory with Kelvin Fletcher by winning again with Bill Bailey. Can she and ex-England rugby player Ugo make it a three-peat? The added incentive for the South African is that this series of Strictly - her seventh - is expected to be her last, so what better way to bow out?

Watch the couples dance live for the first time when Strictly Come Dancing returns at 7pm on Saturday September 25 on BBC One

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