The Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool Special rehearsals were well under way when Gethin Jones, Strictly semi-finalist from series five, took us into the spectacular ballroom on Strictly’s It Take Two show for a peek at what we can expect from the eight remaining couples…

Gethin met up first with Jamelia and Tristan MacManus, Katie Derham and Anton Du Beke and Peter Andre and Janette Manrara.

And Jamelia was positively giddy with excitement. No wonder, really… She has survived a record four dance-offs to get to Blackpool. Is she worried about a fifth dance-off?





Jamelia tells Gethin how excited she is to be in Blackpool for the Strictly special

 

“No,” she told Gethin. “I want to be in it again and beat it again, over and over again!”

Jamelia and Tristan are dancing a Quickstep to The Monkees’ 1960s classic ‘I’m A Believer’.

But will the voters believe her?





Jamelia and Tristan are dancing the Quickstep – and hoping to avoid the dance-off for a fifth time

 

Peter promised to take fellow contestants clubbing after the show and Katie said if he didn’t her husband – John Vincent – would!

First, though, Peter has to get through a Jive to Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep, Mountain High’.

“It’s an exciting routine and we’re rocking and rolling,” says Janette. “It’s a big, big dance for a big, big show.”





Peter and his partner Janette will be doing some Jive dancing

 

And Katie and Anton are dancing the American Smooth to Dean Martin’s ‘Ain’t That A Kick in the Head’.

“If we get through to next week, it will be my first Argentine Tango on Strictly,” said Anton. “They normally save it for the semi-finals but I’ve got it next week. I’ve never got to the semis. It’s emotional.”





Katie’s perfecting her kicks for her American Smooth with Anton

 

“Who should we be looking out for?” Gethin asked pro dancers Joanne Clifton and Natalie Lowe.

“Well, I saw Aljaz Skorjanec and Helen George rehearsing their Charleston,” says Joanne, “and it was a very energetic dance and they were very much together. I think the audience are going to like that one.”

“It’s the most difficult choreography we’ve done,” says Helen. “It’s a lot do.”





Helen and Aljaz rehearse their energetic Charleston for Blackpool





“I’m looking forward to seeing Georgia May Foote,” says Natalie. “She’s doing an American Smooth in Viennese Waltz timing [to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’ which you’ve probably only ever seen done once before in the history of Strictly. Ballroom on this floor is very special.”





Georgia rehearses for one of the Blackpool special’s two crowd dances

 

Back in the London studio, Zoe Ball was talking to Louise Redknapp, 2012 Strictly winner Louis Smith and Mel Giedroyc, who has just been named the host of the 2016 Strictly tour.

Jay McGuiness‘s Jive is the stand-out performance so far for me,” said Louis.

“He’s going to be great with the Salsa at Blackpool,” added Louise (which he’s dancing to “Cuba” by the Gibson Brothers). “It’s his time now.”





Will Jay and Aliona’s Salsa have enough sauce for Blackpool?

 

“Katie’s elegant but maybe technically she’s not at the standard of some of the others,” said Louise.

“I love Anita Rani because she’s a grafter,” said Louise. “She works so hard and she looks amazing.”

Anita is dancing a Paso Doble with Gleb Savchenko at Blackpool to “Malaguena” by Connie Francis.





Anita and Gleb’s big dance is a Paso Doble

 

What about Kellie Bright?

“Kellie has come on so brilliantly,” said Mel. “She wants it. I could see it in her eyes last week.”

She’s also dancing a Quickstep, with Kevin Clifton, to Dolly Parton’s ‘Nine to Five’.

At the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Kellie was in awe of her surroundings.

“It’s beautiful, more beautiful than it looks on the telly,” she said.

And Kellie was excited about the two group dances the celebs will also be part of.





The Blackpool excitement is written all over Kellie’s face. Anita is a bit calmer…

 

One has an “Upstairs Downstairs” theme set in 1920s Blackpool, with the celebs upstairs playing aristocrats and our pros downstairs in the kitchen creating mayhem,” says Jason Gilkison, Director of Choreography.

“The whole thing kicks off where one of our celebs sends back food and the dance is the food going from dining room to kitchen.”

And there’s a dance routine with a Lindy-Hop.

“If I could learn any style of dance it would the Lindy-Hop,” says Kellie. “So I’m very excited about this.”

Bring on the towering performances from the Blackpool Tower…

Strictly Come Dancing at Blackpool is on BBC1, Saturday, November 21, 6.50pm.