During Friday night’s pre-recorded launch, it was announced that he will be partnered with reigning Strictly champion Giovanni Pernice – but viewers also discovered that for the first time ever, there will be two same-sex teams competing on the show.
The second pairing will be made up of Jayde and Karen, with the former opening up about the partnership during an interview with HuffPost UK and other media outlets prior to this year’s launch show.
Jayde – who is a stand-up comic and Strictly superfan – recalled that she’d first tweeted about wanting to dance with a female pro four years ago, saying: “I was like, ‘if I was on Strictly, I’d like to be with a woman, because then I could lift her’.
“Whenever [Strictly has] partnerships where you have a plus-sized guy, it’s easy for him, because he can lift the girl. But when you have it the other way around, and you have that imbalance… [the male professionals] are great, but they’re not rugby players. So I just thought I’d be [more] able to get into the acrobatics [with a woman].
“And now, not only have I got what we’re calling an all-woman partnership with Karen, but she’s an athlete. You hold her up and she just holds herself there.”
Jayde continued: “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together, just trying to take ourselves out of our comfort zone.”
On what viewers can expect from them dance-wise, the comedian added: “We haven’t really discussed it, but I think we are going to mix it up a bit. We’re not just going to [base our routines on] the height order for the two of us. We’ll just go with who we are as people.
“The thing that you add to all the dances is a narrative, and as a storyteller and a writer and a comedian, I’m all about story. So, it’ll all be dependent on what the story is that we’re creating with each dance.
“I think you might be surprised. She and I are not going to shy away from the romance of dance, either. That’s going to be something really fun to act together, and we’re going to want to show that in our performances.
“I think there’s going to be some chemistry. Romance and chemistry, we’re still going to bring that to our partnership, I think.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Jayde spoke about her own dance background, noting that while she’s “no Ashley Roberts”, she did dance competitively as a child.
“I was confident to be on this show because I know picking up routines is not going to be hard for me, because I’ve got a memory for routines because of free-style disco dancing when I was a kid,” she said. “That stuff stays with you forever.”
The Bristol-born performer began her stand-up career in 2011, and in 2019 made a splash with her award-winning Edinburgh show The Ballad Of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face, the recorded special for which was long-listed for an Emmy.
As well as fronting Channel 4′s Snackmasters and Crazy Delicious, Jayde has also acted in shows like Good Omens and Alma’s Not Normal, as well as the upcoming Take That film Greatest Days.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Jayde shared that she had partly signed up for Strictly as a tribute to her late sister, who died in 2011 at the age of 28.
“I’ve always been fat,” Jayde said. “I’m a really good dancer, but in freestyle disco dancing, back when I used to do it in the 90s, there was a real stipulation over what you looked like when you did it.
“My sister really fitted that mould. I didn’t. We used to have to dance together because we were sisters and it was easier. And I’ll be honest with you, I think I held her back a bit.”
She added: “She wouldn’t have understood any of this stand-up stuff at all. She would have been supportive and found me funny. She always found me funny.
“But she studied contemporary dance at university and she was part of contemporary dance troupes in Bristol and dancing was her life. It’s all she ever did. And I think she would have really understood this.
“It’s quite intense, I’ll be honest. It’s a big thing for me and my family that I’m doing it, and I’m going to try my hardest not to cry every week because I know how annoying that is, because I’ve watched the show for years.”
This year’s first Strictly live show will air on Saturday night on BBC One.