HuffPost UK caught up with the dancing pair on the red carpet at the TV Choice Awards, and while they seemed in no rush to hand over the Glitterball trophy (Ore said they’d have to “prize it from their cold, dead hands”), they did manage to tell us who they were tipping for success this year.
With Eamonn Holmes in earshot (he excitedly called the pair “the ‘Strictly’ maestro and his daughter”), Joanne declared she was “team Ruth”, before Ore told us who he would have his money on.
He explained: “She reckons that Ruth is going to do really well, I think they could all do amazing.
“Obviously there are some who have different levels of experience, it’s just about who takes the opportunity by the scruff of the neck and really wants to be there till the end. You never know.”
“But I’ve said I reckon Jonnie Peacock… people are going to get behind him. Obviously he’s the first disabled athlete to be on the show, and that won’t hold him back, it really won’t, because he’s a Paralympic champion for a reason. So I think he could be one to watch.”
While on the subject of contestants with “different levels of experience”, we also asked whether they thought stars who joined the show with dance training already had an unfair advantage.
Ore, best known for his work on BBC Sport before joining ‘Strictly’, said: “You can’t have a show like ‘Strictly’ with only people with no experience at all, can you?”
Joanne then added: “The thing is, though, even if they have experience in musical theatre or whatever, they haven’t done ballroom and Latin, and that is so different.
“I’m finding that for myself, because now I’m in musicals, I’m finding I have to do tap on the spot, I’ve had to learn commercial street dance and hip-hop in ‘Flashdance’, and it’s quite hard. Even though I’ve danced for 30 years, but I’ve been doing waltzes.”
Following this, Ore concluded: “You’ve got people from all walks of the showbiz world, and whether it’s actors, singers or theatre performers, they’re all going to have had at some point some level of dance experience.
“You’d never want to shoot people down before it’s started. Let’s see what they can do, and then we’ll start judging.”
We also asked the pair for their words of wisdom for any of this year’s contestants who hoped to follow in their footsteps and win the show.
Joanne said: “I would say if you wanna go quite far, which they obviously do, then you have to put in the hours, but at the same time you have to always enjoy what you’re doing.
“You have to make sure you have a good relationship with your partner, and really have a good time while putting in the hours.”
‘Strictly’ kicks off on Saturday (9 September) on BBC One, during which time the 15 celebrity contestants will discover which professional dancers they’ve been partnered with.
The launch show will also feature a special tribute to former ‘Strictly’ host Sir Bruce Forsyth, who died last month at the age of 89.