Each series of Strictly so far, we've seen a different professional dancer lifting the Glitterball with their celebrity, with no one ever winning it twice. Every year, I like to look at the couples and think about whether we'll see another new name on the trophy, or whether one of them could repeat their success, and be the first to win twice.
Looking at the odds today, Louis Smith & Flavia seem to be the favourites with most of the bookies today, which would be a first win for Flavia meaning a tenth new professional dancer on the trophy. I would love to see Flavia win, especially if Louis can live up to the pre-season buzz around him, and the two of them produce some fantastic dances. Flavia's was runner up in series 5 when she danced with Matt Di Angelo, and with Russell Grant last year, won the hearts of the nation with her routines bringing out the fun and enjoyment of dancing.
Second and third favourites seems to be Denise Van Outen & James and Kimberley Walsh & Pasha. James has come close in the past two years, firstly with Pamela Stephenson in 2010, making the final and finishing third, and last year, despite nerves and apprehension from partner Alex Jones, they still reached the semi-final. James has the added incentive to want to win the Glitterball - his wife Ola has already done it and he'll want to match her achievement!
It's only Pasha's second year, but he won the hearts of Strictly viewers last year, making the final, and finishing as runner-up with actress Chelsee Healey. Not only did he come across as a patient teacher and genuinely nice guy, he also produced some fantastic choreography for Chelsee, and if he can repeat that this year, perhaps his name could be on the trophy this time around?
But what about the professionals in this years competition who've already won the Glitterball? Do any of them stand a chance? There are four dancers still competing who have won the series in the past: series 1 winnner, Brendan; series 7 champion Ola; Artem in series 8; and, reigning champion Aliona. According to the bookies, Brendan stands the best chance of repeating his victory from way back in 2004 with Natasha Kaplinsky. His partner this year, Victoria Pendleton, has odds placing her about fourth favourite, but let's not forget, celebrities from the world of sport, particularly those in individual sports such as cycling and athletics, are often very determined, have the fitness to work hard and have the ability to learn and refine techniques, giving them a competitive edge over celebrities from other areas of show business. The country is still on a high from the Olympics and Paralympics, so this could give both Louis and Victoria additional support from the voters.
And finally, we still have newcomer Karen Hauer, an unknown quantity for most Strictly fans. Partnered with Westlife's Nicky Byrne, she could join the ranks of professional dancers who've won the competition on their first series. Around fifth or sixth favourites with the bookies, but armed with huge support from Westlife fans, voting could see them kept out of the bottom two for a long way into the competition, and if Karen & Nicky impress with their dancing as well, then who knows if they could be the next recipients of the shining globe that is the Glitterball trophy.
Of course, none of us really know yet how good any of the celebrities are going to be this year and I'm certainly not going to write off anyone at this stage, but by Saturday 6th October, once we've seen them all dance their first dances, who knows who will be rising to the top of the leaderboard and perhaps persuading us that they might be in with a chance to be the 2012 Strictly Come Dancing Champions.