Strictly Susan’s going to be this year’s Ed Balls
Comic could surprise, says Janette
STRICTLY pro Janette Manrara reckons Scots comedian Susan Calman might just turn out to be this year’s Ed Balls.
Glaswegian Susan has taken some flak from critics and is one of the bookies’ top tips to make an early exit.
But Janette, favourite to win with JLS singer Aston Merrygold, hopes Susan is the surprise package who wins viewers’ hearts in next Saturday’s first live show.
“I’ve been chatting with Susan loads and I’ve got a lot of time for her,” said Janette, 33.
“When she learned the first group number she came and told me how amazing she felt putting the steps to the music.
“Ed was one of my favourite people last year. He wasn’t a Danny Mac but he was so in love with the dancing and everything that goes with it.
“So, you can never judge a book by its cover.”
And Miami-born Janette insists Susan’s fellow Glaswegian Joe McFadden, a big favourite with Holby City fans, has real potential, too.
The “Strictly curse” has been blamed for numerous relationship breakdowns, most recently the reported split between last year’s finalist Louise Redknapp and footie pundit husband Jamie.
But Janette has been loved-up with fellow pro Aljaz Scorjanec – who is paired with ex-Emmerdale star Gemma Atkinson who says she’s single – for years and they tied the knot a few weeks ago.
“We don’t feel it makes any difference,” she confides. “We had our six-year anniversary just before we got married. We’ve lived together for a long time.
“It was really just a case of making whatever we have official. Nothing else has really changed.
“I’m just so happy and the only thing Aljaz is finding strange is wearing the ring. We’ve just moved into our first ‘Mr and Mrs’ flat and have been doing that up.”
This is the 15th series of the Saturday night sensation which seems to outdo itself each year.
Shirley Ballas has taken over from Len Goodman as head judge and Janette says contestants and pro dancers alike should pin their ears back.
“I’ve known Shirley for a while and she has so much information to pass on,” she said.
“She’s the queen of Latin and she knows so much about the techniques of that and ballroom.
“I don’t know yet whether she’ll be nice or strict, but it’s nice to have another lady on the panel.
“I think bringing in another woman changes the dynamic. We’ll have to see if it will work, but I think it will.”
The launch show paid an emotional tribute to former host Sir Bruce Forsyth and Janette admits news of his death left her in tears.
“He was so kind to me when I first joined,” adds Janette. “You always felt he was on your side.”
Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1, Saturday 6.25pm.
Janette is favourite to win.
Pro dancer Janette Manrara, far left, has tipped comedian Susan Calman to be the “new Ed Balls” in this season’s Strictly.