Dancing king | 

DWTS Ireland pro to join Strictly with Maura Higgins' boyfriend Giovanni Pernice

The dancer will join the show in the autumn.

Kai Widdrington (BBC/PA)

Neasa Cumiskey and Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Dancing With the Stars Ireland’s Kai Widdrington has joined the professional dancer line-up for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 25-year-old has been a Dancing With the Stars veteran since 2017, where he was partnered with actress Katherine Lynch.

Now, he is set to appear on screen alongside his flatmate – and Maura Higgins' new boyfriend – Giovanni Pernice as a Strictly Come Dancing professional.

Widdrington told BBC Breakfast that Pernice was “delighted” that he’ll get the chance to work with his friend and is wishing him well.

He 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 one of your best mates. So that’s an added bonus definitely.

Giovanni Pernice was most recently paired with Ranvir Singh (Guy Levy/BBC)

He added that he expects that things will get “a little bit competitive” between him and his Italian roommate once filming begins.

“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.”

Widdrington is one of four new dancers joining the Strictly team, alongside former Let’s Dance Germany professional Nikita Kuzmin, reigning South African Latin champion Cameron Lombard and winner of The Greatest Dancer Jowita Przystal.

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He added that he grew up watching the show with his parents, who are “over the moon” about their son’s newest opportunity.

Widdrington said: “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.”

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