I felt cheap.
But also a little bit excited. I can't help it. I have always really fancied Jimi Mistry.
This year, as always, the (straight) men have a perv buffet that consists of blandly nubile youth and like-a-fine-wine metaphor-inspiring older models who your creepy male relatives can arrange their trouser-lap area to under the cover of a spread-out Saturday newspaper.
They also have Ann Widdecombe, who has lovely hair in the publicity shots. I can't say that our personal and political views have ever enjoyed any kind of Venn diagram fun together, yet I feel strangely protective of Ann and prematurely annoyed by the slew of derogatory gags about her appearance that will be aimed at her by panel-show comedians for as long as she stays in the competition
The desirable male contestants often disappoint in comparison to their female counterparts. But this year, straight girls nationwide with not much to do on a Saturday night can thrill to:
Matt Baker – he's the Chris Hollins you can entertain mild sexual fantasies about! This is slightly unfair to Chris Hollins. He is a lovely, attractive man. Just seems a bit wholesome. So does Baker, but they've done a remarkable job of giving him a near-Patrick Dempsey degree of smoulder in his press shot. (Also, he has done a lot of gymnnastics, although let us remember that that didn't get Gaby Logan very far.) One of my correspondents has already expressed some dismay that her secret Countryfile crush is going mainstream. Incidentally, reality-TV mathematicians will be feverishly scribbling down in their Effort ledgers the fact that Baker was the first to utter the magical 'give it 100 per cent' in his introductory VT.
There is Scott Maslem who, judging by the women I speak to, isn't the subject of any mild sexual fantasies. They are all deeply vivid, if somewhat elemental.
There is my beautiful Jimi Mistry, who I am pretty much over, having watched his introductory VT and felt worried he might be a bit embarrassing uncle. 'Oh god, I love dancing. Yeah, I'm ALWAYS out clubbing. I used to be a breakdancer back in the day...'
And then, ladies, if you like 'em hairless, there's Henson. From the neck up, Gavin Henson is like the sweet-natured, slow-speaking sidekick in a Disney film ( 'It's not normally a thing I do, dancin'...') , all wide eyes and just-woken-up hair. Disney or Creature Comforts, I haven't totally decided which. From the neck down… well, it's not my cup of cha-cha-cha, but I guess it's impressive.
There are other contestants, of course, and we will be touching on them (not literally – eww, sticky fake-tan rubbing off on my fingers) on Saturday when
Of course, the hotter male celebrities are likely to be literally outstripped by the New! Hot! Young! They Have Been On Telly In America! Professional Dancers. Two of the particularly dreamy new pros pop up where they have absolutely no business to at the end of this BBC Newsbeat gallery of the celebrity contestants. When I saw this, I was reminded of the classic 'How did that get in there?' botched slideshow scenario. In their attempt to remind everyone that, honestly, Strictly Come Dancing is really sexy now, sexy we tell you, with really handsome men and everything, we can expect the BBC to 'accidentally' flash up those pictures whenever things look like dragging – instead of the Strictly scorecard, during Newsnight, mid-Songs Of Praise. 'Ooh! I don't know how they got in there! It must be a computer error! We're working very hard to fix it. Oh no! It's happened again!'
Generally, the whole business of What They Have Done To Strictly is still unfathomable to me. But I'm a lover, not a fighter (I was reminded of this as I tried, with little success, to sing the Michael Jackson part of The Girl Is Mine at karaoke on Monday night), so I'm just going to roll with it and see what happens. But still. If it's all about the sexiness and youth, why hold on to the likes of Anton and Erin? And why ditch the most popular professional dancers who were responsible for retaining the show's loyal supporters through the years when the quality of celebs was low, low, low? There must be some hefty internal politics involved, as yet unrevealed by the tabloids. Otherwise, it is so illogical it makes me wonder if the whole light-entertainment dance show charade is simply a lavish cover-up for a spy cell. Strictly Come Spooks. You can have that for free, commissioning editors. You're welcome.