Strictly Come Dancing 2023 has officially begun, with 16 celebs on to the dance floor.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Zara McDermott from Love Island, and Bobby Brazier from EastEnders have all come to the ballroom in the hopes of impressing judges Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and Shirley Ballas.
The stars are all aiming to follow in the footsteps of last year’s victors, Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal, now that the pairs have been announced and dance practise has begun.
And, while we’ve got many of social media glimpses into the arduous training they’re all doing, there are still lots of Strictly secrets hidden beneath all the glitter and dazzle…
The results show is recorded right after the live show but this is how producers trick us
While it is said that recording Strictly episodes back-to-back can take up to five hours, because it requires filming the live Saturday programme straight before the results show, which airs on Sunday, producers do something to fool those of us watching at home.
According to Good Housekeeping, audience members seated behind the judging panel are rotated between the live and pre-recorded shows, so new faces appear on our screens to distinguish Saturday and Sunday.
According to the magazine, despite knowing the results the day before, audience members are required to give in their phones so that no spoilers may be recorded, keeping it a mystery for loyal watchers at home.
Strictly wardrobe prep begins much earlier than you’d think, before the contestants are even announced
Preparation for the sequined Strictly outfit must begin in May, according to chief costume designer Vicky Gill.
‘It’s very fast-paced; I feel like we all step on to a train back in August and then it picks up speed and it’s a case of us keeping everyone on the train,’ she told The Daily Mail, speaking of the 500 costumes required each series.
‘We don’t know who is going out so it is very much a seven to ten-day process.’
One outfit can require up to 12,000 crystals, and by the conclusion of a series, it is believed that 3 million have been used.
The pros don’t get a day off during Strictly season
While superstars have the day off following their live concerts the night before, professional dancers do not.
‘You’re so busy during the week and Friday we’re in the studio, Saturday is obviously show day and Sunday is meant to be our day off, but we pros, if we’re in the competition, we don’t get Sunday off,’ It Takes Two host Janette Manrara explained to the Huff Post.
‘It’s almost the most important day of the week, as it’s the day that you do lots of research and gather your thoughts about the steps and what you want to use and what the storyline is.
‘Because the celebs don’t have a lot of time to learn you can’t come in not knowing what you want to do.’
There’s a reason why there’s a delay in scoring
Viewers may notice that it takes a few seconds after the performance to hear the judges’ scores, but there’s a good reason for that.
Shirley, Motsi, Craig, and Anton must all inform production of their scores before holding up the paddles on camera.
According to sources, the judges use a secret keypad under the desk to input their scores, so everything appears on our screens at home and the leaderboard is updated.
Strictly pros have their own rituals before taking to the floor – including one who ‘blows on his fingers’
The Strictly pros all have their own pre-ballroom routines, some of which Kai Widdrington has previously shared.
‘In the lads’ dressing room, we listen to music and giggle. Make crazy dances or TikTok videos. ‘Sometimes I blow on my fingers, much as Greg Rutherford used to do before the long jump,’ he explained.
‘Sometimes you get sweaty palms, and it helps to make sure my companion doesn’t slide!’ he said to OK!
Kai, you have to do what you have to do!
The Blackpool ballroom has a special feature to avoid the stars getting injured
Around halfway through the tournament, the celebrities and their partners will visit the historic Blackpool Tower Ballroom, which is really properly designed to prevent accidents – and there have already been a few.
The historic ballroom, which first opened in 1899, features a’sprung’ dancefloor, which means it is slightly bouncy.
Not only is the name great, but the Blackpool dancefloor is nine times larger than the Elstree studios where the other live concerts are hosted.
Group dances are filmed in advance, and some performances are even recorded twice
Some Strictly group numbers are taped ahead of time rather than during the live events.
After sustaining an injury a few months ago, Giovanni Pernice has had to skip a few performances this year.
In fact, because to the epidemic, all Strictly pro performances were taped before the Saturday event two years ago.
Last season, it was discovered that finalist Fleur East was permitted to covertly re-start her pre-recorded dance-off performance after collapsing with her partner Vito Coppola.
Their routine was then paused, and both contender and pro were assessed to ensure they were not hurt before they were permitted to resume.
Fleur and her partner had no say in the decision to halt their performance; the director made the fast decision to ask the band to cease playing.
A source told The Sun at the time: ‘They started their dance again and obviously this second version was the one aired.
‘There was no reference to the fall by the judges either.’
Celebs have to keep things secret for a while – which even means lying to their families
Strictly contestant Eddie Kadi recently said that he was forced to lie to his family to keep things under wraps.
While there’s plenty of speculation and even a mole snooping around, Eddie revealed: ‘I couldn’t trust my mum, she would have probably gone to Church and told half the Church.’
He added: ‘When I was in the car, my baby girl was in the car with me, and she’s like five-years-old, so because I was with my friend and we were going back and forth about me being on Strictly, my daughter was like, “Oh what are you going to be on Daddy?”
‘And I literally had to turn around to her and say, “Daddy is going to be on Blankety Blank,” because I knew she would tell her teacher.’
The contestants have a say in the song choices
Although the music is composed by Dave Arch and played by the show’s orchestra, Les recently disclosed that the participants have some input in the matter, which nearly led to the Family Fortunes star disclosing his big revelation.
The Death In Paradise star accidentally tweeted a playlist titled ‘Strictly by Les Dennis’ a week early, later explaining: ‘What happened was, the Strictly producers asked me to send a playlist of songs you might like.
‘I’m totally hopeless with social media and all that so my daughter put my playlist together for me, and put “Strictly by Les Dennis”, so I could send it to my agent by email but I must have done a fat finger error and put it on Twitter instead.’
The playlist features over 140 songs which Les said was a heavy mix of The Beatles, James Taylor and other ‘real old school’ music.
Strictly pros use the VTs we watch at home to their advantage in the studio
Former Strictly pro AJ Pritchard has already spilled the beans on what happened during the time that those of us at home are watching the VTs from training, before the performance begins.
He told OK!: ‘I think one of the secrets – I wouldn’t want to say this is a secret – but more this is something you probably haven’t thought about… So when you do the show Strictly, obviously we know it is live TV. Good, bad, different – if something goes wrong, we see it. If it goes good, we see it.
‘But the part when I was often called to auditorium, up in that era – whilst you’re sat home having your cup of tea your biscuits, your snacks, the VT is on and we are walking down on the floor.’
He went on: ‘I would always use that opportunity to walk onto the floor and try and get my partner to do the whole dance once through. So the judges, Craig and Shirley and Motsi, can see how good my partner is.’
Not only that, but he’d utilise the VT time to pump up the live crowd so that when they walked on stage, people watching at home could hear the applause and assume they were the favourite.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6.15pm on BBC One.