ENTERTAINMENT
02/12/2020 06:00 GMT

Strictly Come Dancing Star Clara Amfo Responds To Kevin Clifton's Claims She Was 'Slaughtered' By The Judges

The Radio 1 presenter said the former Strictly pro "knows what he's talking about" after he called out the judges' "harsh" scoring.

Clara Amfo has responded to Kevin Clifton’s comments that she was “slaughtered” by the Strictly Come Dancing judges during her time on the show.

The Radio 1 DJ and her partner Aljaž Skorjanec were voted off the BBC dance series last weekend after landing in the bottom two alongside Jamie Laing and his partner Karen Hauer.

She had previously also found herself at the bottom of the leaderboard a week earlier, which led to former pro Kevin commenting that the judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse – had been particularly harsh with her when they gave their scores.

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Clara Amfo

Responding to Kevin’s comments, Clara exclusively told HuffPost UK: “I mean, I appreciate Kevin’s support, he knows what he’s talking about, do you know what I mean? 

“He was a pro on the show for years, he’s got a very particular perspective. All I know is I tried my best and how I was reacted to by the judges, well you guys saw, I just tried to dance, that’s all I tried to do.”

Kevin said at the time: “My thoughts on it... you know when the judges go to some people, ‘Oh, there’s a couple of little bits that went wrong, but I loved it’, or, ‘Something went wrong there, but well done you for carrying on’.

“Yet with Clara, it was like, ‘You made a couple of mistakes’, and it was, ‘Nah, you made some mistakes’, and they slaughtered her.”

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Kevin Clifton

Clara also opened up about the impact that some of the judges’ less positive comments had on her confidence during her time in the competition.

“There were some weeks, when what the judges said, like, yeah, it did knock my confidence and it gets to you,” she said. “And even though you might smash it in rehearsal, all of a sudden you remember a not-so positive comment and it can throw you. 

“And I think, for me, it was just about just trying to zone out, listen to Aljaž and be like ‘look, you know what, it’s not about the cause, it’s about how this song makes you feel, it’s about us having fun, it’s about entertaining people at home so just go out there and just do it’. And I think that’s what kinda kept me in the zone.”

BBC

Speaking about managing her Radio 1 schedule, her podcast and all her other lockdown work commitments alongside the punishing Strictly schedule, she said: “You’re training for up to eight hours, sometimes nine, ten a day, you’re exhausted, bits are aching, whatever.

“And then Saturday night it’s tits and teeth and razzle dazzle and you do it and it’s amazing and it feels fab but, you know, there’s so much that people don’t see: it totally takes over your life.”

Despite saying she feels “gutted” about being eliminated from the competition, Clara told us she managed to pick up her mood when a passer-by offered her some comforting words of support.

“A van driver barked at me yesterday when I was leaving work,” she told us. “He was like ’you were robbed darling’, and I was like, ‘you know what, yeah, that to me is like my leaderboard equivalent, I’ll take it!’.

“That was all the validation that I needed. People have been very lovely and I don’t take it for granted, for sure.”

Read HuffPost UK’s full interview with Clara Amfo this weekend to find out how the Radio 1 presenter feels about being called a national treasure, to hear about the cake she treats herself with when lockdown gets too tough, and much, much more.