Strictly Come Dancing has a secret formula for success that gets us hooked every year – so, have you spotted it? | The Sun

ANOTHER season of Strictly Come Dancing is upon us with a fresh batch of stars all set to boogie for our viewing pleasure.

But eagle-eyed fans have spotted a trend when it comes to the type of celebs producers recruit year after year.

And this year is no exception.

From the soap siren to the ageing comedian and the 'single ready to mingle', Strictly pays homage to its 'tribes'.

It's clearly a winning formula, as millions of viewers consistently tune in every series.

Here we reveal the typical tribes – and how this year's array of celebs fit in.

BBC's 'pet project'

What's the best way to thrust a young, up-and-coming star onto people's radar?

Stick them on your channel's flagship show, of course.

This year ex-Corrie star Ellie Leach is the broadcaster's 'pet project'.

Bosses are said to be so sure Ellie will be a hit on Strictly that discussions are already underway about her joining BBC One drama Waterloo Road.

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Last year it was CBBC presenter Molly Rainford – who has since bagged a role on the BBC's flagship soap EastEnders.

Meanwhile 2021 featured not one but two – YouTube chef Tilly Ramsay, who's since become a BBC Children in Need ambassador and CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson.

HRVY, who first rose to fame as a presenter on CBBC before launching a singing career, was the chosen one in 2020, and finished in fourth place.

In 2019 the Beeb plucked for YouTubers Saffron Barker, who's since appeared on Celebrity Hunted and was a runner-up on The Celebrity Circle.

Arguably its biggest pet project success story was 2018 contestant Stacey Dooley, who saw her star rise from a BBC Three documentary maker to a household name.

The 'single-ready-to-mingle'

Let's be honest, we all love it when a young, single and attractive celebrity gets paired with an equally good-looking professional dancer – especially when sparks of sexual tension fly.

That was the case in 2021 when singletons AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington delivered some of the steamiest performances the show has ever seen.

Last year Helen Skelton signed up for the show in the wake of her split from husband Richie Myler.

While she didn't find romance on the show, viewers instantly warmed to her – her Couple's Choice routine to Cabaret song Mein Herr was hailed an iconic 'revenge dance' and helped her waltz all the way to the final with partner Gorka Marquez.

Pussycat Dolls singer and finalist Ashley Roberts was the representative of the tribe in 2018 – and hooked up with pro dancer Giovanni Pernice.

Saturdays star Mollie King was the single queen in 2017, and was rumoured to have dated her pro partner AJ Pritchard.

This year EastEnders' Bobby Brazier has said he's single and is "looking for a really sweet lovely endearing experience" with his pro partner.

He told The Sun: "I'm single, I'm looking for a beautiful relationship – like a big sister."

The soap siren

Waterloo Road and ex-Emmerdale star Adam Thomas joins the show this season and will serve as its mandatory soap hunk.

He'll be looking to emulate his fellow Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher, who lifted the Glitterball trophy in 2019.

Soap stars tend to do well on Strictly – Corrie's Georgia May Foote and Hollyoaks' Danny Mac were runners-up in 2015 and 2016.

And in 2020 EastEnders' Maisie Smith reached the final but lost out to winner Bill Bailey.

Last year Coronation Street star Kym Marsh was the designated soap siren, but had to take some time off due to a battle with Covid – she eventually returned but was eliminated a week later.

The newsreader

Over the years Strictly has been a great outlet for newsreaders to let their hair down and prove they're not always so serious.

This year Channel 4's Krishnan Guru-Murthy will swap the news desk for the dancefloor – following in the footsteps of Dan Walker in 2021 and Ranvir Singh the year before.

None have matched the success of series one winner Natasha Kaplinsky.

In 2019 BBC Breakfast's resident sports presenter Mike Bushell was the seventh contestant to be eliminated, while Kate Silverton reached week eight in 2018.

Mike's colleague Naga Munchetty and radio presenter Jeremy Vine both represented the tribe in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

The 'who's that?' DJ

For the last few years there's always been a contestant who many fans have never heard of – and typically, they're a DJ.

This year it's Nikita Kanda, 28, a presenter on the BBC Asian Network.

In 2022 there were two – former CBBC presenter and Kiss FM DJ Tyler West, and Richie Anderson, a weekday mornings travel news reporter on BBC Radio 2.

The show did wonders for Radio 1 broadcaster Clara Amfo's profile – this year she was one of the main presenters reporting from Glastonbury.

It also boosted the career of 2018's Vick Hope, who went from Capital to BBC Radio One and is now married to DJ Calvin Harris.

The retired athlete

Strictly loves to recruit a retired athlete – and often it's comedy gold.

Last year former Arsenal player Tony Adams delivered a string of hilarious routines with his partner Katya Jones, and remarkably made it to week eight.

Ex-rugby star Ugo Monye finished in 11th place the year before, while rowing champ James Cracknell was the first to be booted out in 2019, after putting in a seriously stiff performance.

David James received the second lowest score in Strictly Come Dancing history but survived the dance-off – against Cracknell.

This year tennis star Annabel Croft, 57, will be flying the flag for retired athlete clan. Let's hope she fares a little better.

The ageing comedian

No one saw it coming when Bill Bailey, now 58, won Strictly in 2020 with partner Oti Mabuse.

Strictly likes an ageing comedian, and Bill has certainly set a new standard for this year's contestant, Les Dennis, 69.

Other seasoned funnymen who have competed on the show include Robert Webb, 50, who had to pull out in 2021 for health reasons, and Brian Conley, 62, in 2017.

Brian was the fourth to be voted off the show – afterwards he branded the Strictly studio a "s***hole" and referred to judge Darcey Bussell as "the horny one".

The faded popstar

What will Strictly be without a pop star crawling out of the woodwork in the hope of a career resurgence?

Although this year may be lacking in that department, it's a tried and tested formula that has proved successful.

Steps star Faye Tozer was a finalist in 2018, narrowly missing out on the Glitterball to Joe Sugg, while The Wanted's Jay McGuiness won the show in 2015 – the same year Peter Andre competed.

In 2021 McFly singer Tom Fletcher was doing well until he got Covid and was eliminated in week eight.

The Wanted star Max George was a hot favourite in 2020, but he was eliminated in week three after a dance-off against Maisie Smith – who he's now dating.

X Factor champion Alexandra Burke was on the show in 2017 but didn't quite manage to replicate her winning ways, finishing runner-up.

American superstar Anastacia became one of the highest-profile celebrities to appear on the show in 2016, though she was plagued by an injury, while Pop Idol winner Will Young competed in the same year but pulled out for “personal reasons”.

The Olympian

Many fans were shocked to learn that this season of the show will be without one of its most impressive tribes – the Olympian – for the first time since 2016.

Often these sports stars fly the flag for diversity; last year paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds was a huge hit with viewers, and made it to week 7.

The previous year swimmer Adam Peaty was paired up with Katya Jones and put in some seriously sexy routines, again making it to week seven.


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Paralympic table tennis player Will Bayley was a contestant in 2019 but withdrew from the competition following an injury during rehearsals.

Paralympian Lauren Steadman made it all the way to the semi final in 2018, while sprint runner Jonnie Peacock was the first contestant with a prosthetic leg in 2017.

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