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Strictly's professional dancer Katya Jones flashes her abs in a sports bra

The first two new contestants for the 20th series of Strictly Come Dancing were announced on Thursday – Will Mellor and Kym Marsh.

And professional dancer Katya Jones, 33, flaunted her washboard abs as she stepped out in a cropped black long-sleeved top and grey Roxi leggings.

She was joined at the rehearsal by Strictly lovebirds Kai Widdrington and Nadiya Bychkova, who looked as smitten as ever, and other pro dancers.

Stunner: Professional dancer Katya Jones , 33, flaunted her washboard abs as she stepped out in a cropped black long-sleeved top and grey Roxi leggings

Stunner: Professional dancer Katya Jones , 33, flaunted her washboard abs as she stepped out in a cropped black long-sleeved top and grey Roxi leggings

Exciting: Russian performer Katya added a pop of colour to her ensemble with a pair of red trainers as she headed to rehearsals after the first celebrity contestants were unveiled

Exciting: Russian performer Katya added a pop of colour to her ensemble with a pair of red trainers as she headed to rehearsals after the first celebrity contestants were unveiled

Exciting: Russian performer Katya added a pop of colour to her ensemble with a pair of red trainers as she headed to rehearsals after the first celebrity contestants were unveiled

Russian performer Katya added a pop of colour to her ensemble with a pair of red trainers as she headed to rehearsals after the first celebrity contestants were unveiled.

She styled her brunette locks in a half-up half-down style and flaunted her natural good looks as she went fresh-faced for the outing.

Katya appeared to be in good spirits as she smiled while on the phone, while she carried a coffee and a snack in one hand. 

Elsewhere, at Wednesday’s rehearsals, Katya gave a big thumbs up as she left a nine-hour rehearsal, flashing her abs in a white crop top.

Chatting: Katya appeared to be in good spirits as she smiled while on the phone, while she carried a coffee and a snack in one hand

Chatting: Katya appeared to be in good spirits as she smiled while on the phone, while she carried a coffee and a snack in one hand

Chatting: Katya appeared to be in good spirits as she smiled while on the phone, while she carried a coffee and a snack in one hand

Thumbs up! Elsewhere, at Wednesday's rehearsals, Katya gave a big thumbs up as she left a nine-hour rehearsal, flashing her abs in a white crop top

Thumbs up! Elsewhere, at Wednesday's rehearsals, Katya gave a big thumbs up as she left a nine-hour rehearsal, flashing her abs in a white crop top

Thumbs up! Elsewhere, at Wednesday’s rehearsals, Katya gave a big thumbs up as she left a nine-hour rehearsal, flashing her abs in a white crop top

Katya had a big smile on her face as she gave a fellow dancer a hug after a gruelling session. 

Despite her long day, she looked incredible wearing navy tracksuit bottoms and a jacket with Fila trainers. 

She added a slick of ruby red lipstick and wore her raven locks down in a straight style.

At Thursday’s rehearsals, Kai and Nadiya put on a loved-up display as they sweetly walked hand-in-hand outside rehearsals.

Tough times: The Russian went through a gruelling NINE-hour session - she looked incredible wearing navy tracksuit bottoms and a jacket with Fila trainers

Tough times: The Russian went through a gruelling NINE-hour session - she looked incredible wearing navy tracksuit bottoms and a jacket with Fila trainers

Tough times: The Russian went through a gruelling NINE-hour session – she looked incredible wearing navy tracksuit bottoms and a jacket with Fila trainers

The launch date of this year's series of Strictly has been confirmed as Wednesday September 7

The launch date of this year's series of Strictly has been confirmed as Wednesday September 7

The launch date of this year’s series of Strictly has been confirmed as Wednesday September 7

Ukrainian dancer Nadiya, 32, kept it casual in blue leggings and a cropped grey hoodie which gave a flash of her toned abs.

She kept comfortable in a pair of blue and orange trainers and shielded her eyes with a pair of round sunglasses.

Nadiya styled her golden tresses in a straight fashion and appeared to be in good spirits as she flashed a smile.

Her boyfriend Kai cut a laid back figure in grey cargo trousers and a black graphic T-shirt, which he styled with grey trainers.

Hand-in-hand: She was joined at the rehearsal by Strictly lovebirds Kai Widdrington and Nadiya Bychkova, who looked as smitten as ever, and other pro dancers

Hand-in-hand: She was joined at the rehearsal by Strictly lovebirds Kai Widdrington and Nadiya Bychkova, who looked as smitten as ever, and other pro dancers

Hand-in-hand: She was joined at the rehearsal by Strictly lovebirds Kai Widdrington and Nadiya Bychkova, who looked as smitten as ever, and other pro dancers

He sported a pair of aviator sunglasses and wore his dark locks in a slicked-back style as he held hands with Nadiya.

Elsewhere, Karen Hauer and Luba Mushtuk flaunted their incredible figures as they joined their fellow professionals at rehearsals.

Karen, 40, showed off her lithe physique in black leggings and a striped bra, which she styled with a pair of white trainers.

She styled her curled tresses in a loose up-do and sported a pair of oversized shades and gold hoop earrings for the outing.

Stunners: Elsewhere, Karen Hauer and Luba Mushtuk flaunted their incredible figures as they joined their fellow professionals at rehearsals

Stunners: Elsewhere, Karen Hauer and Luba Mushtuk flaunted their incredible figures as they joined their fellow professionals at rehearsals

Stunners: Elsewhere, Karen Hauer and Luba Mushtuk flaunted their incredible figures as they joined their fellow professionals at rehearsals

All smiles: Strictly newbie Lauren Oakley also attended the ninth day of rehearsals and was seen eagerly waving as she arrived

All smiles: Strictly newbie Lauren Oakley also attended the ninth day of rehearsals and was seen eagerly waving as she arrived

All smiles: Strictly newbie Lauren Oakley also attended the ninth day of rehearsals and was seen eagerly waving as she arrived

Luba, 32, opted for a pair of black leggings and a black bralet, which gave a flash of her washboard abs.

Strictly newbie Lauren Oakley also attended the ninth day of rehearsals and was seen eagerly waving as she arrived.

She looked effortlessly chic in grey shorts and a cropped black vest top, which she styled with a pair of white trainers.

She kept her essentials in a black handbag and shielded her face with a pair of black cat-eye sunglasses.

Colourful: Also seen at rehearsals was Nikita Kuzmin, who cut a vibrant figure in a blue tie-dye co-ord set, made up of a shirt and shorts

Colourful: Also seen at rehearsals was Nikita Kuzmin, who cut a vibrant figure in a blue tie-dye co-ord set, made up of a shirt and shorts

Colourful: Also seen at rehearsals was Nikita Kuzmin, who cut a vibrant figure in a blue tie-dye co-ord set, made up of a shirt and shorts

Also seen at rehearsals was Nikita Kuzmin, who cut a vibrant figure in a blue tie-dye co-ord set, made up of a shirt and shorts. 

She completed her look with a pair of black trainers and sported a pair of aviator sunglasses, while she styled her blonde locks loosely in a straight fashion. 

The launch date of this year’s series of Strictly has been confirmed as Wednesday September 7.

Coming soon! Kym Marsh has joined the lineup for Strictly Come Dancing 2022

Coming soon! Kym Marsh has joined the lineup for Strictly Come Dancing 2022

At last! Will Mellor was the first star confirmed for the new series

At last! Will Mellor was the first star confirmed for the new series

At last! The first two stars for Strictly Come Dancing 2022 have been announced, with actor Will Mellor (right) and soap favourite Kym Marsh (left) joining the lineup

Coronation Street actress Kym and the Two Pints Of Lager and A Packet Of Crisps star Will, both 46, were unveiled on Thursday’s BBC Breakfast, with Kym revealing she’s wanted to join the show for ‘a number of years.’

She said: ‘I’ve considered doing Strictly for years but the timings never worked out. I’m so delighted that this year they have! 

‘I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress, it’s unreal!’ 

See you later: She gave a fellow dancer a big hug outside on the street

See you later: She gave a fellow dancer a big hug outside on the street

See you later: She gave a fellow dancer a big hug outside on the street 

Speaking on Breakfast, Kym admitted she hadn’t told her Morning Live co-host Gethin Jones about taking part in the show, despite hm previously taking part in 2007.

She said: ‘I was joking with him and I said ”were you on Strictly because you’ve never mentioned it!” I think he was always asking me if I was going to do it, and he kept going on about it again over the next few months, and of course I’ve not spoken to him and I’ll probably get a message later saying ”you never told me!”

Speaking via. Zoom, Kym revealed that her parents were both hiding behind a curtain while she took part in the interview, and they were even more excited to see her take to the dancefloor. 

Here she is! Former Coronation Street star Kym was unveiled as the second contestant on Thursday's BBC Breakfast

Here she is! Former Coronation Street star Kym was unveiled as the second contestant on Thursday's BBC Breakfast

Here she is! Former Coronation Street star Kym was unveiled as the second contestant on Thursday’s BBC Breakfast

Soap favourite: Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor on Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019

Soap favourite: Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor on Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019

Soap favourite: Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor on Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019

The actress, who rose to fame as a star of the band Hearsay, added she’s open to learning the new dance styles, as they will be a stark contrast to her pop star days. 

She continued: ‘I’m just very keen to learn watching it, I’ve done dancing before when I was a little girl, and when I was in Hearsay, my husband is very excited about me being able to teach him, so we can do it when we go to the balls.

‘Any of them really, just to learn how to dance properly would be brilliant.’

Asked whether she’ll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: ‘I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don’t forget that, he was the villain back in the day!

‘These are the people I truly respect, this is what they do, I’m just going to have to suck it up I guess, you’ve just to take it on the chin.’

Determined: Asked whether she'll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: 'I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don't forget that'

Determined: Asked whether she'll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: 'I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don't forget that'

Determined: Asked whether she’ll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: ‘I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don’t forget that’

Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor in Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019, and since October 2020 has co-hosted BBC’s Morning Live.

It is set to be a busy year for Kym as she also set to film Waterloo Road at the end of the year, joining the school drama as mother-of-two Nicky Walters.

Kym’s unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show, with the actor saying he’s signed up to bring some joy to his mother after a ‘tough time’ for his family. 

He said: ‘I’m honestly so chuffed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year! Not going to lie, it’s totally out of my comfort zone and I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about.

‘This is also my Mum’s favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!’

First big star! Kym's unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show

First big star! Kym's unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show

First big star! Kym’s unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show

Following a series of clues alluding to his previous acting roles, Will was unveiled as the first Strictly star during the Breakfast show, and said he agreed to join the show after vowing to ‘grab life’ following his father’s death in 2020.

He told Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt: ‘Excited is one word for it, terrified is another, that’s one of the reasons I’m doing it, it’s stepping out of my comfort zone.

‘When I said yes to doing it, it was a long way away, but it’s going a bit closer it starts settling in and it gets a bit frightening now.’

Tragic: He said he signed up for the show to bring some joy for his mum, after his beloved father Bill passed away from cancer in 2020

Tragic: He said he signed up for the show to bring some joy for his mum, after his beloved father Bill passed away from cancer in 2020

Tragic: He said he signed up for the show to bring some joy for his mum, after his beloved father Bill passed away from cancer in 2020

Will added that he has already told his two children he would be joining the show, adding he wanted their blessing to take part over fears he could embarrass them.

He added: ‘I had to tell my kids, because I had to ask if it was alright, they’re 18 and 14, I’m not going to do anything they find mortifying, they’re OK. It’s something that I’ve never done before.’

Will also revealed that he decided to join the show after vowing to ‘grab life and create new memories,’ and said he wanted to bring some positivity for his mother following his dad’s death in 2020, two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Blast from the past! Will starred in the BBC comedy Two Pings Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps from 2001 to 2011

Blast from the past! Will starred in the BBC comedy Two Pings Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps from 2001 to 2011

Blast from the past! Will starred in the BBC comedy Two Pings Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps from 2001 to 2011

Sinister: He also played the villains drug lord Harvey Gaskell on Coronation Street last year

Sinister: He also played the villains drug lord Harvey Gaskell on Coronation Street last year

Sinister: He also played the villains drug lord Harvey Gaskell on Coronation Street last year

‘I lost my dad in 2020, and from then I thought I’ve just got to grab life and do things and create new memories, and that’sone of the reasons I said yes.

‘Because she’s had such a tough time of it I wanted to give her something to look forward to, she lost my dad and her brother and brother-in-law and sister in a year and it was a really tough time for the family. I think mentally it will be good for me as well.’

While he is best known for playing Gaz Wilkinson on the BBC comedy Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, Will has also had roles in Holby City, Broadchurch and more recently, drug lord boss Harvey Gaskell in 2021. 

Ready to dance? Following the announcement, Will was in high spirits as he exited the BBC Breakfast studios

Ready to dance? Following the announcement, Will was in high spirits as he exited the BBC Breakfast studios

Ready to dance? Following the announcement, Will was in high spirits as he exited the BBC Breakfast studios 

Dance it out! He showed off some of his best moves as he stepped out in Media City Salford

Dance it out! He showed off some of his best moves as he stepped out in Media City Salford

Dance it out! He showed off some of his best moves as he stepped out in Media City Salford

Return: It comes after the launch date for this year's Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7 (Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly pictured)

Return: It comes after the launch date for this year's Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7 (Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly pictured)

Return: It comes after the launch date for this year’s Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7 (Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly pictured)

It comes after the launch date for this year’s Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7, when the series will film a pre-recorded launch show which sees this year’s celebrity contestants paired up with their professional partners.

Strictly bosses released a statement confirming the date while inviting fans to apply for tickets, with launch set to air on BBC One later that month.

They wrote: ‘Dust off your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is back!

‘The stunning 20th series returns, bringing glamour and show-stopping dancing back to Saturday nights on BBC One – and we’re extremely excited to be able to welcome an audience back to the studio for this year’s shows.

‘Hosted by the very talented and glamorous Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show will once again come live from Elstree Film and Television Studios.

‘Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year’s live shows on Wednesday, September 7.’ 

Show: The series will film a pre-recorded launch show on this date, meaning viewers will likely see the celebrity contestants paired up with their partners the weekend of September 10 (L-R Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse)

Show: The series will film a pre-recorded launch show on this date, meaning viewers will likely see the celebrity contestants paired up with their partners the weekend of September 10 (L-R Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse)

Show: The series will film a pre-recorded launch show on this date, meaning viewers will likely see the celebrity contestants paired up with their partners the weekend of September 10 (L-R Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse)

To mark the BBC’s 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before.

In another statement, Strictly bosses said fans can enter a draw to watch a recording of the special performance take place on August 24. 

They said: ‘Strictly Come Dancing is celebrating 100 years of the BBC! The professional dancers will be throwing a party like only they know how, with a group number full of all the usual sparkle and glamour. 

‘There may well be a surprise or two as well, with special guests and fun tributes to some of your favourite BBC shows.’

Show: To mark the BBC's 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before

Show: To mark the BBC's 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before

Show: To mark the BBC’s 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before

Judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke have all been confirmed to return.

Meanwhile, four new pro dancers have joined the line-up, which means that 20 professionals in total are ready to bring their skills to the BBC show’s dancefloor later this year – the show’s biggest dancer line-up in history.

The four new world class dancers completing this year’s professional troupe are European cup winner Vito Coppola, Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu, former Under 21 British National Champion Lauren Oakley and Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas.

A statement said: 'Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year's live shows on Wednesday, September 7'

A statement said: 'Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year's live shows on Wednesday, September 7'

A statement said: ‘Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year’s live shows on Wednesday, September 7’

They join the 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.

Show favourites Alijaz Skorjanec and Oti Mabuse both quit Strictly Come Dancing earlier this year.

Not every pro dancer will be paired with a celebrity with four traditionally performing only in the pro routines.

New faces: Strictly Come Dancing will have its biggest professional dancer line-up in history when it returns this autumn for its 20th series with four new pros joining the show

New faces: Strictly Come Dancing will have its biggest professional dancer line-up in history when it returns this autumn for its 20th series with four new pros joining the show

New faces: Strictly Come Dancing will have its biggest professional dancer line-up in history when it returns this autumn for its 20th series with four new pros joining the show 

STRICTLY COME DANCING 2022: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?

KYM MARSH

1659684734 638 Strictly Come Dancing 2022 BBC Radio 2 DJ Richie Anderson

1659684734 638 Strictly Come Dancing 2022 BBC Radio 2 DJ Richie Anderson

Age: 46

Profession: Coronation Street star and presenter

Kym says: ‘I’m so delighted that this year they have! I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress.’

RICHIE ANDERSON 

1659689169 892 Strictly039s professional dancer Katya Jones flashes her abs in a

1659689169 892 Strictly039s professional dancer Katya Jones flashes her abs in a

Age: 34

Profession: Radio presenter 

Richie says: ‘This is a dream come true! I cannot wait to get in those sparkles and sequins and shimmy across the most famous dance floor in the world!’

WILL MELLOR

1659684734 194 Strictly Come Dancing 2022 BBC Radio 2 DJ Richie Anderson

1659684734 194 Strictly Come Dancing 2022 BBC Radio 2 DJ Richie Anderson

Age: 46

Profession: Actor

Will says: ‘I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about. This is also my Mum’s favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!’

 

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