The 2022 series of Strictly Come Dancing will begin tonight (Friday 23 September), with fans eagerly anticipating lots of sleek routines, sequins and sparkle from a brand new batch of celebrity dancers on the much loved BBC show.
The launch of this year’s show, which is the 20th series, was delayed by six days due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II as the UK was going through a period of national mourning at the time when the show was originally due to be broadcast.
The launch show for each new series has always been important, as it is the first time viewers are introduced to all the new celebrities, and also the show’s judges and professional dancers.
But, just who will judge the celebrities each week?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Who are the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 judges?
As always, there are four judges who will give their opinion of the performance of the celebrities each week of this year’s Strictly competition - and give them their all important scores.
This year they are Anton Du Beke, Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.
Who is Anton Du Beke?
Du Beke is a professional dancer, aged 56, who lives in Buckinghamshire. He has appeared in every series of the popular BBC dancing show, since 2004, and has been partnered with a variety of celebrities.
Despite being a professional dancer on Strictly for 18 series, he never once had the opportunity to lift the Glitterball trophy.
He came close twice though, he reached the final with news broadcaster Katie Derham in 2015, and Eastenders actress Emma Barton in 2019.
Anton Du Beke first took over Bruno Tonioli’s Strictly Come Dancing seat at the judges table, last year, when Covid restrictions stopped Bruno from travelling to the UK from the US.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Anton would be a permanent Strictly judge moving forward, with Bruno choosing to concentrate on the US equivalent.
Outside of Strictly, Du Beke has been dancing since the age of 10. His professional dance partner since 1997 has been Erin Boag.
The pair turned professional in 2002, competing mainly in the UK. Their best result on the competition circuit was in November 2003 when they won the IDTA Classic in Brighton.
Who is Shirley Ballas?
Shirley Annette Ballas, aged 62, is a professional ballroom dancer, dance teacher, and dance adjudicator.
She began dancing at the age of seven, and started competing in professional dance competitions a short time later.
She specialises in the International Latin division, where she won several championship titles and earned her nickname The Queen of Latin.
In 2017, Ballas began judging on Strictly and was appointed the head judge position the same year.
Ballas had one son with her ex-husband, a fellow professional dancer called Mark Ballas, known as Corky. The couple’s son, Mark Ballas Junior, is also a professional ballroom dancer.
Ballas has also appeared on the US version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars, and has given master classes for those taking part.
Who is Craig Revel Horwood?
Craig Revel Horwood, aged 57, is the longest serving member of the Strictly judging panel.
In fact, apart from one episode which he had to miss due to contracting coronavirus in November 2021, Horwood has appeared in every edition of the show since its inception in 2004. He is the only judge to have been on the panel for every series.
He has a reputation for being the harshest of the judges and his criticism of the judges often lead to him being booed and jeered from the studio audience.
Horwood was also a judge on two other versions of Strictly in other areas of the world; Dancing with the Stars in New Zealand alongside former Strictly professional dancer Brendan Cole, and the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.
Away from Strictly, Revel Horwood is an author, dancer, choreographer, conductor, theatre director, and former drag queen. He is often seen performing ballroom and Latin routines.
In July 2021, Horwood was given an Honorary Doctor of Arts by the University of Winchester.
Who is Motsi Mabuse?
Motsi Mabuse, whose full name is Motshegetsi Mabuse-Voznyuk, is a 41-year-old professional dancer.
She has been a judge on Strictly Come Dancing since 2019. She has also been on Let’s Dance, the German version of Strictly Come Dancing, originally appearing as a professional dancer but later became a judge on the show.
In 1998 she was the runner up in the national championships. The following year she found her dance partner Timo Kulczak, who later became her romantic partner, at the British Open Championships in Blackpool.
The pair married in 2003 and competed in international dance competitions from their home in Germany. They later divorced in 2014.
In 2013 she won the German Latin dance contest with the Ukrainian dancer Evgenij Voznyuk. In 2015, it was confirmed that Mabuse was in a romantic relationship with Voznyuk.
She became Motsi Mabuse-Voznyuk in a small legal ceremony in 2017, and the couple’s daughter was born the following year.
Between Mabuse television commitments, the couple run a dance school together in Germany, where she has been based for over 20 years.
Mabuse’s sister, 32-year-old Oti Mabuse had been a professional dancer on Strictly since 201 but she announced she would not be returning for this year’s series earlier this year.