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New Strictly pro Kai Widdrington is Giovanni Pernice’s flatmate and things are gonna get competitive

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - Pro Dancers (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Strictly Come Dancing 2021's new professional dancer, Kai Widdrington - (C) Kai Widdrington - Photographer: Unknown
Kai has joined the professional line-up (Picture: Kai Widdrington)

New Strictly Come Dancing professional Kai Widdrington has said he expects it will be ‘a little bit competitive’ with Giovanni Pernice – because he’s his flatmate.

The Dancing With The Stars Ireland professional has been announced as a new addition to the line-up, alongside former Let’s Dance Germany professional Nikita Kuzmin, reigning South African Latin champion Cameron Lombard and winner of The Greatest Dancer Jowita Przystal.

Kai, 25, already knows Italian dancer Giovanni, 30, extremely well, as the two dancers live together, and while Gio wishes his friend well, they both have a competitive edge.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Kai said: ‘I get to dance alongside my flatmate, what more could you want? But he’s delighted, he was wishing me well.

‘He’s known for a little while as well but he’s had to keep it quiet as well.

‘It should be fun sharing a stage with you with one of your best mates. So that’s an added bonus definitely. We are really naturally quite competitive anyway, and he’s quite competitive in general but we just mess around. When it comes down to it, it’ll be a little bit competitive.

‘But at the end of the day, it will be just be fun to share the stage.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Can Nguyen/Shutterstock (12088077y) Giovanni Pernice 'Dr Ranj: Scrubs to Sparkles' theater production, Garrick Theatre, London, UK - 15 Jun 2021 One-off stage show performance in aid of the MAD Trust
Giovanni has been on the show since 2015 (Picture: Can Nguyen/Shutterstock)

Giovanni – who is dating Love Island’s Maura Higgins – has set a pretty high bar, having reached the final with three of his partners, Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee and Faye Tozer.

He has also previously been partnered with Laura Whitmore, Michelle Visage and Ranvir Singh, coming fifth with Ranvir in last year’s series. 

Meanwhile, Kai reached the final of Dancing With The Stars Ireland twice in four series, with camogie player Anna Geary and former Miss Universe Grainne Gallanagh. 

Kai, who was World Junior Latin-American champion aged 14, said that he grew up watching Strictly, telling BBC Breakfast: ‘I used to watch the show when I was a little boy, they introduced me to it and that’s kind of what got me into dancing in the first place.

‘So they’re huge fans of the show, they watch every season, so they’re over the moon that I’m going to be joining the professional lineup.’

Strictly Come Dancing announce new professional dancers
Four new dancers have joined the show (Picture: BBC)

Kai has previously danced in group performances on Strictly.

The dancer also gave some details on Strictly rehearsals, which kick off next week. 

He said: ‘We’re preparing a lot of the group dances now, we’re in rehearsals but I think it officially starts for us on Monday.

‘So that obviously will be on Zoom and social distancing and stuff like that, so we’re trying to stay as safe as we can before the season starts.

‘But rehearsals officially start on Monday.’

Kai, Jowita, Cameron and Nikita will join Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones and reigning champion Oti Mabuse for the upcoming 19th series.

Anton Du Beke will not be dancing this year, having taken over from Bruno Tonioli as a judge, while Janette Manrara has replaced Zoe Ball as the host of It Takes Two.

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