A Big Catch Up...
First of all I would like to say how sorry I am for not posting a blog for so long; as you can imagine things have been a little hectic over the last few weeks!
So I will start from the beginning...
The launch show went out with a big bang, there was the red carpet, a big new shiny set, lots of professional show numbers and of course the dazzling costumes. I myself had 3 costume changes for the one show!
You have to believe me when I say this; we did not know who our new partner would be until the announcement that you all saw on the launch show. I have read many comments that you though we must have known, due to the last dance where we ended up next to our partners at the end. What you didn’t know is that the professionals practised that dance with SEVEN different endings - one for each celebrity!
During the launch show it was announced that I was dancing with the Goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton, which I must say, at the time, was a big surprise to me because I didn't think they'd give me my sixth sportsman and second Goalkeeper out of eight series!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at all, as sportsmen know how to train really hard and are very competitive.
Straight after the launch I found out I was dancing the Waltz in the first week and had two and a half weeks to try and get him up to scratch. Peter lives in Coventry, so hence I spend a lot of time trekking up and down the Motorways. The first few days were tough but Peter soon got to grips with what he had to do which was - basic technique, good frame and dancing to the music... no easy task for a complete beginner.
As the days counted down Peter was getting better and better, he was feeling confident and so was I... until the day before the big show when we went for a short rehearsal on the Strictly set at the BBC studios. What happened next I hadn’t experienced since series 2 with Julian Clary - Peter’s nerves kicked in with the reality of what was about to happen and all the steps disappeared from his mind!! I tried to reassure Peter that this sometimes happens and not to be too hard on himself - it would all come right on the night. Well, that’s what I thought. I have to say I didn’t sleep well that night with the worry of what might happen in 24 hours live in front of 10 million people if Peter did in fact forget ALL his steps!!
The morning of the live show finally arrived, make-up and hair started at 9 o’clock and that was just Peter... just kidding, yes we do get there early, it can take a while to make us girls look pretty. After make-up and hair, we have band call, which is when we hear our music played by the live band for the very first time. Straight after it’s into costume, a quick powder and straight into the dress run. This is when we practise running the show as live to make sure hopefully everything runs smoothly before the actual live show! If we have any spare time, we have a quick snack, then more make-up, more hair spray and then move onto the stairs behind the set - ready for the walk down as the show goes live.
We hear the title music start, the audience are roaring and Bruce and Tess go on; I straighten Peter’s tie, hold his hand, give him a smile before walking down the stairs for the very first time live. I am feeling very excited as the new series begins.
Peter and I wait patiently for our turn to dance (we were second). Thankfully we don’t have to wait too long because the longer we wait, the more nervous Peter would become! As the VT shows for our rehearsals, Peter and I walk down to take our place on the floor; our names are announced and the crowd are so loud that I am worried that we won’t be able to hear the start of our music!!
Throughout our dance I could feel Peter’s nerves - in fact I'm sure I could hear his heart beating, it was beating so hard. But he manages to get through and I am very proud of him for finishing his routine to a respectable standard for the first week.
The judges were very gentle and fair with their comments and awarded Peter 21 points but were very aware that he was nervous throughout his dance.
Peter felt relieved to have finished the Waltz, but before he could relax it was straight into training on the Sunday morning at 10 o’clock to start work on the Salsa. We had to loosen those hips and make him feel confident and create a party atmosphere on the dance floor. Peter has been working really hard over the last few days getting his Salsa ready, losing his inhibitions, wriggling those hips and feeling a lot more confident. I am really hoping that this Saturday he feels a lot more relaxed, now he knows what to expect, and hopefully he can now enjoy the experience a lot more.
We look forward to performing our Salsa for you - fingers crossed - without any hitches on Saturday night.
Inbetween all the rehearsals and driving up and down the motorway I managed to fit in a photo-shoot where you will probably see more of me than ever before!!!
Watch this space for more updates...
Lots of love,
P.S. Don’t forget to vote, we need it!