I'm so excited to be giving HELLO! the lowdown on my thoughts on Strictly this year - it's going to be very different watching from the comfort of my living room - I'm not sure how that's going to feel - but I can't wait to see how the series pans out. Last night it actually felt like normal - the opening show is always pre-recorded so I always watch that with my wife Zoe. Next week will feel different, but like everyone else I was desperate to see who would be paired with who. What did you think of the couples? Let us know in the comments below.
For me, a good partnership with chemistry is vital to not only impress the judges but also the audience at home, and if I'm really honest I was surprised by some of the choices. Many made sense but with Anton Du Beke and Susannah Constantine - I felt it was way too predictable! It will be fun for a few weeks but I am expecting an early exit for them both. Once again they have given Anton an older contestant - which is a bit boring. I like her banter and think she will be really fun.
Anton Du Beke and Susannah Constantine's pairing was obvious
I think the couple to watch this year will be Karen Clifton and Charles Venn. Is he single? Because the chemistry is obvious! He has the perfect partner in the show in Karen as what she delivers is amazing. I also love Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova - a perfect match, I predicted that one. As soon as Lee was announced I thought he would get Nadiya. It's headline gold. He's single and tall and she's the hot blonde on the show. She is also an incredible dancer, if not one of the best dancers and best teachers, and I have a feeling he will go far. She will keep him under control and they will probably go right to the end.
What about Dr Ranj? Doesn't he seem so sweet? He's been placed with Strictly's very own Disney princess Janette Manrara and they're great together. I think they will be really popular with the younger audience and I predict great things for them.
Hear what I, Brendan Cole, have to say each week about Strictly Come Dancing
Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima are just gorgeous together too, don't you think? Obviously I don’t know either of them but I am very excited to see what they will both do and they look good together, which is half the battle in the early days - you need to look like you are in the right partnership. On the flip side, I have to say I wasn’t sure about Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley's partnership. Do you think that works? I would have liked to have seen Kevin partnered with someone else....I don't know who.... maybe Kate Silverton or Lauren Steadman? I can't really put my finger on why - Stacey seems great, and looks like she is going to take over the show with her incredible personality so I am looking forward to seeing what she can do, I just didn't quite feel she and Kevin were right.
I think the same about Oti Mabuse and Graeme Swann - that's an odd pairing. She is an amazing dancer and a fantastic girl, but she is also one of the toughest pros while Graeme seems to be there for a good time so that will be interesting at least! One of the celebs I'm most looking forward to watching is Seann Walsh. I don’t think he is going to be one of the best dancers but he seems a great guy and his partner Katya Jones is one of the best pros, so if anyone can do it for Sean, Katya can. She does have a very strong style though, so I hope he is ready!
The new celebrity contestants have now been paired
It's obviously early days now - and I think the test will come for everyone when it gets to the third or fourth week in the show when the partners come into their own and start doing interesting things.
I've read people talking about the fact that Danny John-Jules already knows Bruno Tonioli, but I don’t think that will make much of a difference to be honest. Judges definitely have their favourites as we have seen over the years and that's human nature, but at the end of the day it's the audience who will be voting you in. Your job as a pro on the show is to make your performance incredible so that people want to keep you on the show. And your job as a celebrity is to be hard working, charming and interesting and to make people want to see you the next week too.
I can't wait to tune in next week to see what happens next - give me your predictions for the coming weeks and I'll be back next Sunday to tell you exactly what I think!