Strictly makes major change to celebrate landmark 20th series | The Sun

STRICTLY Come Dancing will feature a record 20 pro dancers this year – to mark the show's landmark 20th series.

Four new additions have been revealed today, including another Italian Stallion, Vito Coppola, who's set to give Giovanni Pernice a run for his money.

Last year he won Italy's version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars, beating fellow competitor Bianca Gascogine into second place. 

He'll be joined on the BBC1 dance contest this autumn by Latin dancer Michelle Tsiakkas, Carlos Gu and Lauren Oakley.

Both Lauren and Michelle are well known to the Strictly team, having starred in the Burn the Floor tour with other pros from the show.

They join the 16 professional dancers already revealed for the upcoming series: Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

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Vito said: “I am really excited to become part of this family.

"I cannot wait to start this new adventure and to challenge myself. Strictly sto arrivando! (or: Strictly I am coming!)”

Carlos added: “I’m thrilled to join Strictly and very excited to get started. It’s a new chapter of my life and a new challenge as well.

"I’m absolutely ready to take on this journey and to shine.”

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Meanwhile Lauren said: “I’ve grown up watching Strictly, always hoping that one day I could be part of the best show on television, doing what I love the most. Now that it’s happening, it doesn’t quite seem real.

"I can’t wait to start this new sequined adventure and join this incredible family.”

Michelle added: “Being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing has been my dream ever since I was a little girl.

"I cannot believe my dream has come true! I’m so grateful to be joining this incredible family and I can’t wait to step on that magical dance floor and give it my all!”

News of the bumper line up of pros adds to the expectation that this series will be returning to form after three years of Covid lockdown restrictions.

Earlier this week it was revealed exclusively by The Sun that the much-loved Blackpool week would return in the autumn, barring another outbreak.

The annual extravaganza was axed during the Covid pandemic.

But staff at the iconic venue and nearby hotels have been told to prepare for the BBC show’s return in November.

Celebs and pro dancers last performed at the seaside special in 2019.

Bosses are now pulling out all the stops to ensure Strictly’s 20th series this year is marked at the home of ballroom.

A TV insider said: “Blackpool week is such an important part of Strictly and everyone was gutted not to be able to go for the last two years.

"The production team are working out the logistics but everyone is feeling really hopeful that the show will be able to return there for 2022.

“And the fact that it will reach the landmark 20th series makes it all the more important.”

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Blackpool has been an annual event in Strictly’s calendar since 2013.

The hit show, hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, could also have a full studio audience again this year.

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