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Giovanni Pernice© Ray Burmiston

Major pop star in talks to appear on Strictly - and she has a past with Giovanni Pernice

Rumours are rife as to who will be taking to the dance floor this year

Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
June 7, 2024
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There is still quite some time to go until the 2024 series of Strictly kicks off - but that hasn't stopped speculation as to who will be taking part.

According to reports, bosses have set their eye on a major British pop star, who just so happens to already have a connection with pro dancer Giovanni Pernice.

Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts is said to be in talks to take to the dance floor following her appearance on last year's Christmas special.

A source told the Sun: "Nicola is a beautiful dancer with amazing musicality. She was really impressive on the Strictly special and her waltz was beautiful. They'd love to have Nicola back and the offer is there for her."

Solo photo of Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts
Nicola Roberts is tipped to take to the dance floor

Nicola was partnered with Giovanni on the festive show - the pair narrowly missed out on being crowned winner after being pipped to the post by EastEnders actor Jamie Borthwick and Nancy Xu.

Despite losing out on the coveted Glitterball trophy, 38-year-old Nicola said: "I said I wanted fun and it has been fun."

It's not clear whether or not Giovanni will actually appear in the upcoming series of Strictly. His future on the show remains in the balance following criticism from former celebrity partner Amanda Abbington.

Issues first surfaced in October 2023 when Sherlock star Amanda abruptly quit the series, just five weeks in. Then, in January, reports of behind-the-scenes issues surfaced, with Amanda requesting footage of her 'tense' training sessions with Giovanni, one of Strictly’s best-loved pros. 

Giovanni Pernice & Amanda Abbington© BBC/Ray Burniston
Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington were partnered for the 2023 series

Since then, there has been a flurry of allegations about Giovanni’s methods, something the Italian dancer has vehemently defended himself from.

Last weekend, Amanda spoke out about the furore and said she wanted to set the record straight about who asked for the pair's training sessions to be recorded, following reports it was the BBC's idea. 

According to Daily Mail journalist Katie Hind, the Sherlock star commented: "I asked for them to be recorded, it was me. Giovanni is nasty. He was awful to a few of us, a group of us."

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice on Strictly© BBC
The actress abruptly quit the show just five weeks in

She also told the publication: "I went to producers early on and told them about Giovanni," and shared that she's received death threats, saying: "You don’t understand how awful this all is. Giovanni's fans have started trolling me now. I have had to come off social media and I'm getting death threats." 

After quitting the show last year, Amanda went on to tell The Sun on Sunday: "I was diagnosed with mild PTSD after Strictly for several reasons…" 

Since then she has opened up about her discomfort with Giovanni's teaching techniques, and reportedly met up with some of his other former partners, who are rumoured to feel the same way.

Last month, it was reported that Giovanni had quit the show but neither he nor the BBC have confirmed whether he will be part of the programme when it returns to our screens in the autumn. 

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